Sunday, January 22, 2017

You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Superior Race

Hello Everybody!  It's Grace, just back from a lovely weekend away.  There was chocolate.  It was quite nice.

This is the FOURTH installment of the series "You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your _________", inspired by Star Wars and becoming one of my most favorite things.

The rest of the series:
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Chosen One
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Redemption Arc
You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Love Triangle

Anyway now that you've got those, I'll begin.

Superior Races are found in pretty much every work of fantasy or science fiction.  In fantasy it's usually the elves (you can find more on that here), and in science fiction it's usually humans.  So what's the matter with this?  Isn't it good to have a specific race for all your mindless critters to gawk at in wonder?  Like I've said in other installments, I have nothing wrong with this trope existing, I just want to encourage room for improvement.  It's time for our handy-dandy numbered list!

1. It's always elves.
ALWAYS!  ALWAYS ELVES!  WHY!?!?!?!?!?!
Seriously, guys.  Tall, fair of face, slim, perfect hair, usually white, I mean, they're nice to think of and all, but why are they always the most advanced?  Why are pretty, skinny, tall, white people the epitome of civilization?  I'm pretty sure there's a history lesson in there somewhere.  Why can't we have short, stout, dark-skinned, ugly people be the uber-evolved ones for a change?  Or just short?  Or just ugly?  Or just dark-skinned?  
Or maybe I'm just mad about the hair.  WHY DO THEY HAVE SUCH FABULOUS HAIR???

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2. They always look down on other races.
I mean yeah, it's kinda typical for countries who think they have it all to snub their noses at those who don't, but fantasy seems to take this too far.  I can understand if you don't want to involve yourself in a war which could kill all your fabulous men and therefore destroy the shampoo industry, but you won't even LOOK at dwarves?  Like, what are they gonna do, blind you with a glare?  I don't think so.  I mean you can tell me that years and years of prejudiced and hate and fighting each other can bring this on and I can nod my head in understanding, but at the same time I find it hard to believe that every single nation of elves cannot get it through their thick skulls that it might be nice to have the dwarves on their side.  And that they might accomplish that by helping Thorin instead of, you know, imprisoning him.  Basically all you've done is solidify another hundred years of fighting.  There goes your fabulous men.  Who will make your shampoo now, Thranduil?  WHO??

3. If they give other races a thought, it's to impose their way of life.
So Star Trek.  Humans are clearly if not the most dignified and perfect race, the best at getting themselves out of the endless scrapes they (and by they I mean Captain Kirk) end up in.  This puts them at a much higher level than all the other races (and silicon-based life forms, and strange sparkling gas clouds, and sentient marshmallows) they come across.  Now they have this policy where they're not supposed to interfere with all the other races and are supposed to allow themselves to develop on their own.  Do they follow this policy?  Sometimes.  When it's convenient for them.  And after they've introduced democracy, shown the life forms how a blaster works (usually hands-on), and let them see human beings flying a space ship and wearing colored shirts and bell-bottoms.  

But because James T. Kirk is The Most Incredible Man to Ever be Born and What Would the Galaxy Do Without Him, they end up interfering.  They destroy human-controlling computers (how did humans end up on that planet anyway?), sentient ship-eating monsters (it was just hungry...), and the first alien they see show any kind of aggression (I'd show aggression too if a bunch of cocky space-men landed on my front door!).  If there's other humans involved, okay.  I get that.  But "allowing planets to do their own thing" means you don't just randomly show up so your science team can have a sample of that ONE plant which they're never going to use and is just gonna sit in a lab somewhere plotting revenge against the human race.  I have nothing against science.  I have a lot of things against Captain James T. Kirk's interpretation of "don't get involved".  

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4. They are generally selfish biscuits.
Oh.  So.  Selfish.  They never let anybody else have nice things.  No, they are so superior, they are the only race they can think of who deserves all this wonderfulness.  You may not have any of it.  Not one bit.  NONE.  Nothing!  Keep your filthy peasant paws off their stuff!

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What if they were helpful for a change?  Or at least, like Kirk, tried to be helpful?  It might not succeed, but it's better than being holed up in Mirkwood for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

5. They're immortal.
Speaking of thousands of years, what's with the whole immortal thing?  Why are the most fabulous always the longest-living?  I mean, that just makes them even more stuck-up, and even more revered (or feared) by the rest of the world.  One lifetime of a human is just a few years in the eyes of an elf, so naturally they're going to act like they rule the world.  You can have elves around who have existed since the earth was created!  And it's not just elves.  If the beings aren't actually immortal they seem to be and certainly act like it (nothing can kill Captain Kirk), and we never see them die just because they got old.  Do they get old?  Is "old" even a thing?  

6. They save everything.
In the end, the superior race always comes along to fix everything, or at least significantly improve the situation.  I mean, if the elves hadn't been there for the hobbits or for Thorin, things would have gone very badly very quickly.  Why can't your characters figure things out for themselves?  Why do they need space humans, fabulous magical white people, or anything else, for that matter? Yeah, a place to rest is always nice.  Yeah, your society now knows to talk things over instead of throwing nation-wide temper tantrums.  But is there another way?  Did they really need instruction from the greatest and most sparkly being in existence?  


So there you have it.  I hope this helps you get creative with your superior race, if you have one.  There's nothing wrong with having elves, and if you like the stereotypical elf, keep it.  Just remember to mix things up a bit once and a while.  Oh, and never get between an elf and his beauty products. 

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2 comments:

  1. You might say they're quite "selvish" ;)

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    Replies
    1. Omg that's the best thing I've heard all week! I hereby grant you one virtual hug.

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