Archive for October 24th, 2011

October 24, 2011


asher roth

In professional wrestling, something that is kayfabe [kay-fayb] is not real, but rather ‘acted out.’ People who believe that kayfabe acts are real are called ‘marks,’ as opposed to ‘smarts.’ Those who know wrestling is scripted but still enjoy the storylines are known as’ smart-marks,’ ‘or smarks.’

Kayfabe in general is the portrayal of events within the industry as ‘real’ or ‘true.’ Specifically, the portrayal of professional wrestling, in particular the competition and rivalries between participants, as being genuine or not of a worked nature. Referring to events or interviews as being a ‘chore’ means that the event/interview has been ‘kayfabed’ or staged, or is part of a wrestling angle (fictional storyline) while being passed off as legitimate.

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October 24, 2011

Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis

Addendum to the Tommy Westphall Universe by Dave Dyment

Tommy Westphall is a minor character from the drama television series ‘St. Elsewhere,’ which ran on NBC from 1982 to 1988. Westphall, who is autistic, took on major significance in the show’s final episode, where the common interpretation of that finale is that the entire St. Elsewhere storyline exists only within Westphall’s imagination. As characters from St. Elsewhere have appeared on other television shows and those shows’ characters appeared on more shows, a ‘Tommy Westphall Universe’ hypothesis was developed where a significant amount of fictional episodic television exists within Tommy Westphall’s imagined fictional universe.

The Tommy Westphall universe hypothesis, an idea discussed among some television fans, makes the claim that not only does ‘St. Elsewhere’ take place within Tommy’s mind, but so do numerous other television series which are directly and indirectly connected to ‘St. Elsewhere’ through fictional crossovers and spin-offs, resulting in a large fictional universe taking place entirely within Tommy’s mind. In 2002 writer Dwayne McDuffie wrote ‘Six Degrees of St. Elsewhere’ for the Slush Factory website, the earliest version of the hypothesis to be found online. In a 2003 article published on BBC News Online, ‘St. Elsewhere’ writer Tom Fontana was quoted as saying, ‘Someone did the math once… and something like 90 percent of all television took place in Tommy Westphall’s mind. God love him.’

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October 24, 2011

Deus Ex Machina

god from the machine

A deus ex machina [dey-uhs-eks-mah-kuh-nuh] (Latin: ‘god out of the machine’) is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. The phrase comes to English usage from Horace’s ‘Ars Poetica,’ where he instructs poets that they must never resort to a god from the machine to solve their plots.

He refers to the conventions of Greek tragedy, where a crane (mekhane) was used to lower actors playing gods onto the stage. The machine referred to in the phrase could be either the crane employed in the task, a calque (loan translation) from the Greek ‘god from the machine,’ or the riser that brought a god up from a trap door. The idea is that the device of said god is entirely artificial or conceived by man.

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October 24, 2011

Plot Hole


deus ex machina

A plot hole is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of logic established by the story’s plot, or constitutes a blatant omission of relevant information regarding the plot. These include such things as unlikely behavior or actions of characters, illogical or impossible events, events happening for no apparent reason, or statements/events that contradict earlier events in the storyline. While many stories have unanswered questions, unlikely events or chance occurrences, a plot hole is one that is essential to the story’s outcome. Plot holes are usually seen as weaknesses or flaws in a story, and writers usually try to avoid them to make their stories seem as realistic as possible. However, certain genres (and some media) which require or allow suspension of disbelief are more tolerant of plot holes.

Writers can deal with plot holes in different ways, from completely rewriting the story, to having characters acknowledge illogical or unintelligent actions, to having characters make vague statements that could be used to deflect accusations of plot holes (e.g. ‘I’ve tried everything I can think of…’ to keep critics from asking why a particular action was not taken). The nature of the plot hole and the developmental stage at which it is noticed usually determine the best course of action to take. For example, a motion picture that has already wrapped production would much more likely receive an added line of dialogue rather than an entire script rewrite.

October 24, 2011

Suspension of Disbelief

master of disguise by hillary white

Suspension of disbelief is a formula for justifying the use of fantastic or non-realistic elements in literary works of fiction. It was put forth in English by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a ‘human interest and a semblance of truth’ into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. Cognitive estrangement in fiction involves using a person’s ignorance or lack of knowledge to promote suspension of disbelief.

The phrase ‘suspension of disbelief’ came to be used more loosely in the later 20th century, often used to imply that the onus was on the reader, rather than the writer, to achieve it. It might be used to refer to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. These fictional premises may also lend to the engagement of the mind and perhaps proposition of thoughts, ideas, art and theories.

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