Category:Public Medium Ignorance

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Just drive fast and turn left, and you'll easily be a NASCAR driver.
"There's not a lot of people who know that."
Peter Sellers, imitating Michael Caine (who, incidentally, never actually said that line until after Peter Sellers' death).

All of us here know that there's a diverse array of titles within any one medium. Like, not all video games are Wii Sports or Grand Theft Auto or Super Mario Bros. or Tetris or Halo. There are games like the Silent Hill series, which tries to immerse you in an environment through the use of incredible attention to detail and lots of optional internal monologue, before gradually creeping the living daylights out of you over time. Or The Elder Scrolls series, which presents to you a wide-open world and a ton of choices you can make in it, giving you unprecedented freedom to experiment and explore.

The general public doesn't (always) know that, though — people who don't play video games think that all games are like the ones they hear about on TV, which would tend to be either Wii Sports (due to the Wii showing up in retirement communities all over the place), or the latest "controversial" violent game that the media love to shove in people's faces. If these people are older, expect their perceptions of video games to be even worse.

Likewise, comic books are not all about poorly-written superheroes in garish spandex costumes fighting one-note supervillains with outlandish plots. There are a great many comics telling other kinds of stories, such as the supernatural mystery Leave It To Chance, the numerous indie Slice of Life comics or even various Japanese comics manga, such as the cute family comedy Yotsuba&!. And certainly the Super Hero genre itself is much better written than what is stereotypically attributed: Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns should be proof enough of that. Good luck explaining that to the average person on the street. If you say you like comic books, they'll respond with something like, "So you like Superman and Spider-Man?".[1] Some comics (usually ones dubbed "graphic novels" to eliminate this very problem), like the autobiographical Fun Home or the aforementioned Watchmen, have won awards for their artistry and originality. But the general public doesn't know about that.

And of course, cartoons. We know all about the Animation Age Ghetto. Cartoons can only be funny, right? The sheer number of non-comedic cartoons says otherwise. On the other hand, many companies seem convinced that kids will watch cartoons only if they are funny, and add extraneous humor that sometimes clashes with the mood just to fulfill their comedy quota. There have been non-comedy cartoons for adults, but they haven't done terribly well. Unfortunately, the Animation Age Ghetto lives. Often, animators have to start with an R-Rated Opening in order to warn young audiences and their parents that what they're watching isn't a Disney animated flick just because it had cartoon people on the cover.

This is especially true for anime. On the public eye, anime is either associated with Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball and Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh! (often with the Animation Age Ghetto), or with sordid, lecherous Hentai. And the dialogue is either poor dubbing along the lines of Speed Racer, or blatant Blind Idiot Translation.

Heaven save pen-and-paper roleplaying games, which a significant chunk of the general public has simply never heard of, or, at best, has some nebulous awareness of D&D, in the same way they have a nebulous awareness of Andorra.[2]

The public at large has these prejudices and preconceptions. These are their Small Reference Pools, and the prejudices that result. These works are often prime targets of Snark Bait, Hate Dumb and Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch. Common Knowledge is usually ignored in these situations. Works that fall into this have a high tendency to suffer from a Audience-Alienating Premise. Exposure to a Gateway Series can certainly be very helpful to break these prejudices. If a significant title stands out from the perceived "ghettoed" group, the No True Scotsman fallacy is often applied to try and distance a well-liked entry from it.

Subtrope of Pop Cultural Osmosis Failure, Did Not Do the Research, and Internet Backdraft.

  1. If you're in North America, that is; in Europe the response will be more along the lines of, "So you like Donald Duck and Asterix?"
  2. For the record, Andorra is a small country in Europe, bordered by Spain and France.