Thursday, 14 January 2016


One tool the storyteller has in his or her quiver of tropes to perhaps fend off a fading suspension of disbelief—when the audience is no longer transported into that fiction or fantasy and is growing unwilling to buy what’s improbable (the most treacherous area for an author or actor is delineated by the inconsistency in which the impossible drifts towards the merely unlikely)—is called the lampshade hanging technique. Accorded with the principle that anything is less glaring than a bare bulb, the narrator calls attention to the offending material and tries to move on—hoping that the audience identifies enough with the characters to accept that everyone is finding the situation incredulous.

If used craftily, one won’t notice it—naturally. The antithesis of deliberately calling out minor discrepancies is a more of an endemic problem to the industry (I don’t think that such a trope could be found in literature prior to film and television—except as primary transgressions, possibly) is a strange phenomenon called “genre blindness,” which is something pervasive and highly visible. Though I am not certain if much of modern theatrics are set in a Universe slightly parallel to our own, characters sometimes do seem separated and sheltered enough never to have seen a movie or a sitcom themselves. This plot device, which can present pretty monumental challenges maintaining that suspension of disbelief, accounts for all those instances where teens don’t blanch at the idea of wondering into the woods at night when zombies and werewolves are afoot, undying scepticism in the face of near irrefutable evidence to the contrary, Bond villains willing to indulge a creative death for their nemesis rather than dispense with him quickly and directly or—as some have wondered—whether the characters of the Star Wars saga were even paying attention to the previous episodes or never bullseyed womprats back home—they’re not much bigger than two metres. What are some other examples of “genre blindness” you can think of?