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As you fall down with the greatest ease Babe, I'm glad you'll make it there in one piece

Ya know I'll scream till I hit the ground But I know your pretty ears won't hear a sound Gather up the bits that used to be my body If ya sell 'em, They'll buy 'em, cause dang are you a hottie.

Padur Karil Love is a Complex Form of Masochism"

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We have since been informed that Blixty Slycat is no longer a TVTropes troper, as in January 2012 he declared he was quitting TVTropes, and Fast Eddie obliged by banning him. This fact does not discount that Blixty Slycats statement as reprdocued in this Work is wholly representative of TVTropess culture.

We also ask for you not to believe in Fast Eddie (Owner of TVTropes), who has attempted to silence Something Awfuls charitable contributions by deleting the following from the Something Awful article on TVTropes:

This list of charities is not meant to be exhaustive and only as suggestions. You are encouraged to support a charity of your own choice:
Women for Women o https://give.womenforwomen.org/sponsorship/index.htm?wfw=EnRedir Matnwa Community Learning Center o http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3453251 o https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/BeyondBorders/OnlineDonation.html Red Cross o http://www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html Books Aloud o http://www.booksaloud.org/ Point Foundation: The National LGBT Scholarship Fund o http://www.pointfoundation.org/ Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice o http://www.astraeafoundation.org/ Albert Kennedy Foundation o http://www.akt.org.uk/ Stonewall o http://www.stonewall.org.uk/ Herorat: Detection Rats Technology o http://herorat.org/ Aasha Foundation: Hope for Girls o http://aashafoundation.org/ RAINN o http://www.rainn.org/ Rape Crisis o http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/ Nanowrimo Young Writer Programme o http://ywp.nanowrimo.org

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Foreword
TVTropes is a website which prides itself for collecting and analysing tropes common themes in fiction and is considered one of the most popular websites right now. It is, unfortunately, also rife with anti-intellectualism, hugbox mentality and an exaggerated sense of self-worth. It has often been compared with Reddit, except with less misogyny/MRA, but with more Anime. The Something Awful forums (a vile pit of hate, as termed by Owner of TVTropes Fast Eddie) had had three semi-successful threads on the insightful opinions of TVTropes and its members, tropers. Dismissed as a group of angry people making mean jabs at tropers and cherry picking terrible quotes, what tropers are unaware of is that the threads contain more literary analysis and criticism than can be found on their site. While Something Awful goons compare notes on deconstructionism and postmodernism, tropers have a chart on breast size of Japanese Anime girls.2 One of these analyses is The Problem with Troper Poetry by Something Awful Goon The Triumphant, who has analysed the many poems written by Tropers and critically point out the flaws and failings of every one of them. This is not something you can find in TVTropes, which - surprisingly for a site for analysing fiction has a strange active disdain for criticism. The chief perpetrator of this hatred of criticism stems from Fast Eddie himself, and this attitude is prevalent across the board for a number of tropers. This Work is intended to collect all entries of The Problem with Troper Poetry. We encourage all goons and tropers, especially those interested in poetry and its art, to have a read through for further understanding of the subject. Seriously though troper poetry is horrible, holy shit I dont want to read a single one of them ever again. The Saddest Rhino 28/01/12

This is not an exaggeration.

Awkward insipid and horribly gauche Pompous, pretentious, ineptly meticulous Dull as the heart of an unbaked brioche Floundering versicles feebly versiculous Often attenuate, frequently crass Attempts at emotions that turn isiculous, For Christ's sake stick it up your ass. T.S. Eliot, The Triumph of Bullshit I was never qualified for this. Im qualified to talk about poetry, sure. I have a degree in literature with a focus in creative writing. I studied under some incredible writers. Im a poet and Ive won some awards (real ones, not internet ones) for my work. To partially quote David Lynchs masterpiece Wild at Heart, one look at me and you know I mean business when it comes to fuckin [talking about poetry]. But tropers dont write poetry. What I wound up critiquing here is only poetry in the technical definition that its authors called it poetry. Theyre written in overwrought, contorted English that no major poet has ever used. Tropers have no idea what poetry actually isthey dont know how to analyze it, theyve never seriously read or thought about any famous poems or how they work. The dominant thought seems to be that poetry is just song lyrics without music (and not even wellwritten songs; since you could learn a lot about how to write poetry from John Darnielle or Blake Schwarzenbach). What youll find in this book is, rather than poetry, something new. Tropetry. Its usually rhymed (with no other formal elements), and almost always about either love or the Big Important Human Condition. It thinks that tricks like acrostics or haiku form are revolutionary tools for opening the readers eyes to the nature of the world. And, like Virgil to Dante, Im here less as a writer and more as your tour guide to this twisted, hideous world (there is no BeatriceI wouldnt let a 14-year-old girl anywhere near TV Tropes). Please forgive me for what Ive done. The Triumphant 01/30/12

Table of Contents
Part 1: Rhyme, Rhythm, and Meter.................................................................................................... 1 Part 2: Free and Blank Verse .............................................................................................................. 4 Part 3: Subject Matter and Scope ...................................................................................................... 7 Part 4: Meaningless Whining ........................................................................................................... 11 Part 5: What Is This Feeling You Neurotypicals Call Love? ................................................................ 14 Part 6: No Singing School Except / Studying Monuments of Anime .................................................. 19 Finale: I Do Not Think That They Will Trope for Me .......................................................................... 22

Part 1: Rhyme, Rhythm, and Meter


Tropers, when they write rhyming poetry, write it as though they know what rhymes are but have never actually read any poems. They write it like they know poems have to rhyme, the mediocre pop or metal music they listen to rhymes, hence their poems can flow like a song. This can work-- a lot of great poets (Burns comes to mind ) wrote their poems to be set to music-- but it doesn't work without a direct rhythm and meter to the poem. If rhyme is a poem's face, the rhythm and meter of a work is the skull. And tropers basically carved eyeholes into a solid cube of plastic and then stapled a printout of an anime character over it. For comparison, here's eight lines from one of my absolute favorite poems, and eight lines from a troper's poem. Both deal with isolation, the pain of a life never lived, a sense of melancholic longing. Which of these flows more naturally, feels more like actual human thought? Tachi posted: Alone she sits on the edge of night On a windowsill of wavy shadows and silver light The glass barrier cold as death against her skin As she gazes out with eyes seeing what has never been On the dark vault of lost hopes and tears never shed Of screams never voiced and blood never bled Twinkling stars so faint, so far away Falling victims one by one to the cruel light of day

W.B. Yeats posted: Those masterful images because complete Grew in pure mind, but out of what began? A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street, Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can, Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone, I must lie down where all the ladders start In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart. It's Yeats, obviously. And it's not just the masterful imagery-- it's the effortlessness of its movement. In Tachi's poem, you can never, ever become immersed in it, because so much of the poem's energy is spent chugging and lurching to the next rhyme. Part of this is because every. single. line. is end-stopped. Each line forms a single, complete, independent phrase, so that at the end of each you're left staring at the awkward rhyme they settled on rather than moving to the next. This isn't helped by the fact that tropers, by and large, have no idea how to punctuate poetry, so that it reads like a laundry list of disparate lines rather than a single, unified thought. Look how much better it looks when you punctuate it and enjamb it slightly: Tachi posted: Alone, she sits on the edge of night-on a windowsill of wavy shadows and silver light, the glass barrier cold as death against her skin-as she gazes out, with eyes seeing what has never been.

It's not good by any means, but it looks like a real poem. It moves on the page. It feels like an actual person's thoughts, not a poetry-by-numbers imitation by someone who's never read a real poem. (It should be noted that AABB, end-stressed, end-stopped couplets are called heroic couplets-- and that they're so artificial and lifeless in written poetry that people have been using them for detached, ironic effect since Alexander Pope. But nope, writing any format but the most obvious is hard, so heroic couplets all the way down.) Troper poems almost always have a really broken, unnatural cadence to them as well. I'm sure that one of their ever-hated teachers must have taught them how to do iambic pentameter, but I've never seen it. A regular, smooth meter to the poem, rather than becoming noticeable, helps the form disappear. Yeats is a master of this-- unlike many Modernists, he tended to write in fixed forms, but he disappeared into them so smoothly and easily that you'd hardly notice. Let's do accent markups on 2 lines each of Yeats and Tachi. Yeats posted: I must lie down where all the ladders start In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart. He alternates two rhythms here: Iambic pentameter (da DUM, da DUM) in the first and anapestic meter (da da DUM, da da DUM) in the second, which creates a natural, steady sense of progression while still making the last line of the poem stand out as slower and more tired by virtue of its longer rhythmic feet. Tachi posted: Twinkling stars so faint, so far away Falling victims one by one to the cruel light of day

The most noticeable thing is that pretty much every word that's not a preposition or article is stressed. Rather than flowing naturally, this highlights the poem's artificiality. It's impossible to read it and actually feel the words or consider them as ideas. The jagged rhythm makes you notice the rhymes (which, in a good poem, become almost invisible), which in turn pushes the poem further and further away from actual human speech and thought. Let's revisit Tachi once more, this time trying to make those opening lines flow like an actual poem. I make no promises that I can make it good-- it's still faux-Byron pablum with nothing meaningful to say-- but just look how about two minutes of thought about form and flow on my part can actually make it not utter garbage. Tachi posted: She sits, alone, on edge of night-Waving shadows on the sill, silver night and glass, death-cold, a pressure on her skin-and stares out, eyes on what she's never seen.

The end goal of the poet's art is to make you feel like their words are your own, like their thoughts are intimate and close to you and in your head, and the way that Tropers construct their poems directly counteracts that-- they draw attention to the (usually terrible) rhymes, use almost universally either AABB or ABAB rhyme schemes, either cram an overly-long thought into one line or pad out a meaningless phrase to twice its

length so that it can fill a full line, they treat the English sentence like Yoda so that they can get an end rhyme out of a line, they have no actual sense of meter, rhythm, stanzaic forms, or anything that actually goes into making a poem. If this sounds familiar, it's because they're also all things William McGonagall, the Worst English-Language Poet, was famous for.

Part 2: Free and Blank Verse


First, let's look at blank verse, which is different from free verse. Blank verse is unrhymed, but still follows iambic pentameter (although you will still see unrhymed verse in other meters). It's probably the most common form for English poetry-Marlowe's plays first pioneered its use, most of Shakespeare's plays and a lot of the greatest British poets use it. Paradise Lost is entirely in blank verse. Kit Marlowe posted: Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed in one self place, for where we are is Hell and where hell is there must we ever be; And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves and every creature shall be purified, All places shall be hell that is not heaven.

And, with metrical notation: quote: Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed in one self place, for where we are is Hell.

I bring up blank verse only to point out that, despite being one of the dominant forms of poetry for 500 years, I haven't seen one troper poem that actually uses it. Not one. Because they can't do rhythm, don't even seem to know what it is or how important it is, and don't care to actually learn how to write. Now for free verse. Free verse is technically without rhyme or meter. I say technically because it isn't-- these are incredibly powerful tools and you'd be an idiot to toss them aside because they're too hard and you're too lazy to use them. (Tropers are idiots). Eliot wrote that "no verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job," and his free verse more than anyone else combines a technically unstructured form with a lot of complex metrical and structural elements. Let's look at him beside a troper poet who has the fucking audacity to rip him off. Blixty Slycat posted: I am the axe upon my own head an iron-feathered eagle with no wings, regardless I have nothing, I am nothing. Rusted over pipe-dreams that leak acid are the only things I have left if there ever were a poet here, there is no poet now eye am the multichromatic rainbow filtered down to black and white a heap of broken images, where the sun beats mature poets steal, but true thieves only really borrow rocket answers fly away faster than you can catch them, screaming into tomorrow and you are left behind. So am I all I really know is that they don't care about us so as we attempt for one last time to fly among the stars in the sky I would just like to remind each and every one of these childs that there is no heavenly kingdom, no father that is ours or if there is, he has left us. Forever and ever. Amen and goodbye.

T.S. Eliot posted: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Only There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

(For a great way to get a feel for the rhythm, check out Alec Mothafuckin' Guinness reading it here at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbunup_t-s-eliot-the-waste-landalec-guinn_creation, starting at a minute in.) First off, let's look in general at how beautiful Eliot's is linguistically. There's a ton of alliteration (stony, son, say, sun, stone, sound), and the poem echoes itself-- "what are the roots that clutch, what branches grow," "no shelter, no relief, no sound of water." This creates a relentless to it. You feel trapped, you feel like the poem is bearing down on you, you feel hemmed-in. As the section goes on and the repetition gets stronger and more present, you can feel the work closing in on you. This is form. This is every bit as important as the words. Eliot doesn't use a distinct metrical form, true. But he does use rhythm, meter, and form incredibly carefully. Let's look at an actual line: quote: ...no sound of water. Only there is shadow under this red rock By ending the line with "only"-- a word front-loaded with stress, rather than endstressed, he creates the same hesitation the word itself does. The stress shift (ending a line with a trochee rather than an iamb is fairly uncommon in poetry) causes you to take notice, creates a moment of conflict prolonged by the pause of the line break. Then, the incredibly stressed "this red rock" at the end of the next line counterbalances it-- only reinforced by the two lines sharing the last three words, creating a dense rhyme that, combined with the heavy stress, serves to anchor the image. In this section, the reader is being addressed by a sinister figure, possibly a Satanic one, who is demonstrating the brokenness of their world and highlighting the comfort that the certainty of fear and solitude provides, and the form is a part of this. As the speaker takes control, it shifts from the hesitancy of the "only" to the certainty of "this red rock," and this is entirely done through form. Free verse isn't free. Writing a poem, as Blixty did, with complete ignorance of your meter and form is like writing a poem and just going "doodley-dum-dee-doo" for the words. Now Blixty's. For starters, there's the ubiquitous problem that tropers don't fucking know how to punctuate their lines, but we already discussed that. Given the opportunity to use a poetic form that gives access to a multitude of tools, what does he do with them?

Blixty Slycat posted: Rusted over pipe-dreams that leak acid are the only things I have left if there ever were a poet here, there is no poet now

Absolutely fuck-all, that's what he does with 'em. Never mind the fact that half of the poem has no damn meaning, it has nothing to carry those words. There's nothing resembling a regular meter, no real play with the words along the lines of assonance or alliteration. You can get Eliot stuck in your head-- I'll often go through the day with a passage from The Waste Land rattling around. The use of rhythm, internal rhyme, and various other elements of free verse make it haunting. Blixty's poem is awful-- it's meaningless and ugly. Just compare the line he stole from Eliot to the line that follows it: "a heap of broken images, where the sun beats / mature poets steal, but true thieves only really borrow". The first has some real power and grace to it, but the second is just sort of... there. It's lifeless. Free verse isn't supposed to be dead. When used well, it can have more life and energy to it than anything else. But the way to do that isn't to jam heaps of bad metaphors and over-long lines into it, which is what tropers do. Again, there's no actual thought put into the work, they just assume "hey, there's no rules, that means I can just write whatever and as long as it's deep it'll be good." Basically, what I was saying about how tropers try and write rhyming poetry like they were making up song lyrics? Blixty's poem is pretty much the perfect counterpoint of his awful, awful music. (http://blixtyslycat.bandcamp.com/) Not to mention that it's basically angsty gibberish. Next I'm going to look at the actual subject matter of troper poems.

Part 3: Subject Matter and Scope


This is the one we've been dancing around-- the fact that, even with perfect form, these poems would still be bad by virtue of having nothing to say. First, I wanna talk about the scope of Troper poems (let's call them troems). The thing that separates poetry from prose is restraint. A good poem uses no more words than is absolutely necessary. This is one of the challenges of formal poetry-- a sonnet has 120 syllables, and you have to make sure none of them are padding. (You can, of course, write poems that overflow, that are exuberant and bursting. Ginsberg did this, Gerard Manley Hopkins did this. Tropers are not that caliber, and Ginsberg and Hopkins made it work by making that exuberance and energy be a vital part of the poem). Pretty much every modern poet focuses on small things, on glancing details, on quiet moments. If you are telling a story directly and aren't trying to write a ballad, you need to take a serious look at what you're doing and whether it needs to actually be a poem or if you're just trying to gussy up prose. Eliot tells us about the decline of human civilization and its broken, abortive attempts at rebirth, but he does it through a cacophony of tiny, insular voices. Even Blake, the master of didactic poetry, tried to teach us about his weird religious morals through allegory and parable. Tropers don't understand this. When they use metaphor, it's either a metaphor with one obvious meaning or one that doesn't make sense but rhymes. They don't know how to suggest, how to imply, how to expand from the personal into the universal. Look at a Seamus Heaney poem about finding purpose in life and becoming a part of the world, compared to a Bobby G poem on the same subject. Seamus Heaney, "Human Chain" posted: Seeing the bags of meal passed hand to hand In close-up by the aid workers, and soldiers Firing over the mob, I was braced again With a grip on two sack corners, Two packed wads of grain I'd worked to lugs To give me purchase, ready for the heave The eye-to-eye, one-two, one-two upswing On to the trailer, then the stoop and drag and drain Of the next lift. Nothing surpassed That quick unburdening, backbreak's truest payback, A letting go which will not come again. Or it will, once. And for all.

Bobby G, "being Constructive" posted: Must make life count or do not be at all Teach yourself and be more than animal Save lives, make cash, raise kids, grow big and strong Do what's right and your best all your life long Pain is not a virtue; freedom is true For what you believe, fight for what is you Liberty, democracy and justice Your heroes say, 'Don't sit back; stand for this!' Go to your grave with pride in your success And rot down there until there's no pride left Your memories may live on for a while As thoughts, and precedent for the next trial If there's an afterlife then you will mean And if there's not you might have never been Being constructive is a hollow lie But it's the best way to stay occupied

Heaney's poem is, well, human. It's about personal experience, about something real that Heaney did and how it fit into the greater narrative of our efforts to find purpose. It takes some work to ferret out what he actually means-- or at least, what he suggests -but the quiet grace of it is pretty perfectly handled. Bobby's, however, is as cold and soulless as Deboss's eventual robot wife. It has nothing human to it-- no character, no heart, no depth to the speaker, just a badlyrhymed, un-punctuated list of platitudes. And at the end it attempts to sum up the entirety of human life and our attempts to find purpose with a pithy couplet. It doesn't converse with the reader, it just plops out a turd of malformed wisdom, leans back in an easy chair, and cracks its knuckles. (It also has an element that always, always indicates a bad writer-- if you look at its couplets, the end of the first line is always sensible, the words are in the right order, and flows with a more natural rhythm. The second line of the couplet usually has clumsier phrasing, the words in a less natural order, and a clunkier rhythm-- "freedom is true / fight for what is you," "live on for a while / precedent for the next trial" for example. This is because Bobby sat down, wrote out the whole poem in order, and never ever revised a single word of it.) Next, and on a closely related note, what are troems about? (Well, not counting the times they don't actually mean anything and are just trying to sound deep). The answer is almost always BIG THINGS. In the same way that all their fiction is about giant wars and heroes and the world being in danger, all their poems are about grand, universal truths. Go to the poetry thread and read their haikus-- Basho doesn't even describe things in motion, just the world around their movement, but tropers are trying to cram people dying in car accidents and God being a figure of infinite joy and beauty into seventeen syllables. A great poet can wring an incredible amount of pain or joy out of a chance moment or a thought. Tropers try and answer the question of existence and land with the passion and force of a burp. Again, good poem in which Jean Valentine recounts a night she spent alone, and an awful poem in which As The Anointed tries to tell us that everything is meaningless and waaaah waaaah this world is hopeless, God is Dead.

Jean Valentine posted: Even all night long while the night train pulls me on in my dream like a needle Even then, down in my bed my hand across the sheet anyones hand my face anyones face are held and kissed the water the child the friend unlost.

As the Anointed, "The Cynic's Song" posted: Fear is what will keep you living Altruism? No, stop giving Illusions that the mind contrives Let the ego come alive Unwrap your parcel full of lies Realize it's all quite useless Everybody dies Insane is he who sheds his blood So that he might enrich the mud Internal cracks, inherent flaws No reason enters through these doors Everyman, the unwashed masses Vermin choke on putrid gases Inside cities full of eyes The hateful and the damned arise A kind man looks up to the skies Belief has failed, so he sighs Life is only its end's disguise Everybody dies

First off, a poem should be a conversation, or even an argument. You're never going to actually convince anyone that everything is meaningless and that death is the only certainty in 21 lines. Also, the first letters of each line spell out FAILURE IS INEVITABLE. If the theme of your poem can be summarized in three words, don't fucking write that poem. Really though, the problem is that Tropers, by and large, are wholly uninterested in humanity. You don't need an incredibly exciting, globetrotting life to write good poetry-some of the poems of mine that I'm proudest of are about the time I was depressed and purposeless and got cheap tickets to the back row of a Beethoven symphony, or the time

my girlfriend and I danced to old, angry blues music, or when me and a friend drank and smoked a couple cigarettes and didn't say much of anything. But, just like how Major Tom wants his novel to be an epic cycle involving giant guns, troper poems have to address some huge universal idea. They're not about people, they don't come from anywhere near the heart-- it's an assembled persona teaching us a lesson. No one ever feels awkward or conflicted in troems: it's absolute despair or perfect calm, all the time. Their poems never consider an idea, they just say HERE IS A TRUTH ABOUT HUMAN CULTURE, INPUT IT AND ALTER YOUR PROGRAMMING ACCORDINGLY. Look at this one from Bobby G: Bobby G posted: Little skylark flying high Singing to the summer sky Underneath the cars pass by The people inside do not hear

A good poet would make this about-- well, a good poet would view the lesson of "man, people in the city are so self-centered and ignorant of nature" of having been done to death a century ago, but an alright poet would stress the quietness of this act. They'd leave it at the first 3 lines, punctuate it correctly, and have a charming little epigram. They wouldn't say "BY THE WAY, THE PEOPLE IN THOSE CARS? THEY DIDN'T NOTICE THE BIRD. ALSO WE NEED OUR BRIDGES TO HAVE MORE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY." tl;dr: Tropers have no sense of subtlety, ambiguity, or suggestion. These are some of the most important parts of poetry.

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Part 4: Meaningless Whining


Okay, I've tried to lay out some of the basic ground rules of poetry these fuckwits are totally ignorant of. Now I wanted to look at a few of their shorter works, see if we can figure out what they're actually saying and why. First off, vandro, the founder of the poetry thread and one of the worst writers in it. I know I've made this joke before, but nearly everything he writes sounds like Mr. Stewart from Deadly Premonition. But does it say anything meaningful despite that (no. No it does not. They day Tropers make a complex point is the day I stop being fueled by hate and scotch). His poems fit into the Troper-Poem genre of meaningless whining. Vandro posted: The chaos of my heart It hurts my being I realized I am a fiend That will only make you suffer My love. Blake Scwarzenbach once wrote a song called "I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both." The title of that song is exactly what this poem is trying to say in less than half as many words, and it says it better. vandro posted: The Night guides me The Darkness lures me The Oblivion seduces me The Despair calls me The End is me. There's a lot of ambiguity in this poem. On the one hand, the speaker seems like they're probably a vampire. On the other hand, they might be a werewolf. A lot of troper poems are like this. It's like they know that poets are miserable human beings (which, I mean, we usually are), and therefore that all their poetry has to be bleak and about the meaninglessness of life. This is especially true for the ones who write in free verse-- because if they're going to be lazy thinkers, they may as well be lazy writers. The thing is that even the most miserable and sad poems don't wallow in it. Sylvia Plath's main hobby was suicide attempts and her poems are full of comedy, whereas these people are lonely (because they are repugnant) and their poetry reads like someone staring you in the eyes and just frowning as hard as he can. Look how a talented poet expresses these dark, painful feelings-- the dread of accomplishing nothing, the feeling that you won't amount to anything and no one expects you to --and then look at how a hack who wants to sound important does it.

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T.S. Eliot posted: Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter, I am no prophetand here's no great matter; I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid. Eliot's is funny, self-effacing, warm and human. My favorite part is the way he uses rhyme-- both the feminine rhymes (meaning lines that end on an unstressed syllable and rhyme) and the weird pairing of hugely important phrases with trite, ordinary ones ("tea and cakes and ices" / "force the moment to its crisis"). This creates this deflated, slightly pathetic feeling, as J. Alfred winds himself up to saying something big and then stumbles. "I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker / And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker" is one of my favorite lines of poetry, because that's how it feels to have that fear-- simultaneously vast and pathetic, feeling huge in its pain and tiny in its importance. I know I've said before that Tropers have no sense of irony or balance, but dark, miserable poetry is where that's mostimportant. No one wants to read a laundry list of how sad you are, they want to read about conflict, real emotions, the complex fears and pains of the human experience. Bobby G posted: The world's greatest minds Couldn't solve this mystery So why on Earth Did I take it upon me? Hollow and blind, Between horror and bleakness, I arrive at disgust, Am ashamed of my weakness Consumed by self-pity Or am I just pissed? I feel like a liar Maybe I don't exist See, this is what happens when people who don't know how actual human beings work try and explain depression. They know it makes you sad, they know that it makes you feel guilty, they know that it's confusing and scary. Here's a list of synonyms for that. There's no build to most Troper poetry. It just goes on for 16 lines of different words for sad or cynical and then it stops. I've heard Ramones songs that have more emotional progression and natural structure.

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Miss Nayoung posted: I brought you pain. I am your nightmare. I am your problem and you don't want it. I brought you war. I am a rock that you will not move. I brought justice. You do not have value. You are nothing. I remove you from my way. As if you never were. You could switch any of these lines with any other and it wouldn't make a spit of difference to the poem as a whole. They're literally meaningless. Tropers just take words they think are dark and unhappy and string them together. That bit in Spinal Tap where Christopher Guest says he wrote a song in D Minor, because that's the saddest chord? That's literally how they try and write. It's like looking at a Goya painting and thinking it's shocking and horrifying because of all the black and red he used. Meanwhile real poets who want to write about pain or sorrow are paying attention to, you know, real life-- note that none of the poems I've quoted has an action of person at its core, just lists of feelings. But Wallace Stevens can't see a man serving ice cream without decrying that God is dead and his throne is empty, and Edwin Morgan makes an ashtray into the loneliest, most painful thing in the world. Edwin Morgan, "One Cigarette" posted: No smoke without you, my fire. After you left, your cigarette glowed on in my ashtray and sent up a long thread of such quiet grey I smiled to wonder who would believe its signal of so much love. One cigarette in the non-smoker's tray. As the last spire trembles up, a sudden draught blows it winding into my face. Is it smell, is it taste? You are here again, and I am drunk on your tobacco lips. Out with the light. Let the smoke lie back in the dark. Till I hear the very ash sigh down among the flowers of brass I'll breathe, and long past midnight, your last kiss. Next we'll look at Troper's terrible, terrible attempts to write romantic works. Spoiler warning: none of them have had sex ever!

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Part 5: What Is This Feeling You Neurotypicals Call Love?


Alright, it's come to this. I know I looked at miserable poems last time, but let's be honest-- a lot of tropers probably have pretty miserable lives. They're qualified to write those poems, even if their poetry is awful. Getting laid, though-- ohlord, let's take a look at troper love poetry. First I want to lay down the basic cardinal rule of love poetry, as stated by Neruda: never say the word "love." The romantic/friendly/sexual relationship between two people is intensely complicated and multifaceted, and trying to write a poem that condenses it to "I love you and it [is awesome / sucks / gives me a boner]" means you have failed catastrophically. We've looked before at tropers' inability to write poetry that doesn't do huge, broad-strokes grand statements, and this is an area where trying that is completely unacceptable. With that in mind, let's start with Padur Karil's "Love is a Complex Form of Masochism" Padur Karil posted: My ego's bruised, My spirit's damp And it seems like yer a petty tramp This feels like barbed wire around my chest As you take my hand and tell me this is for the best. Now we're jumping off the edge together I fall fast but that parachute makes you light as a feather As you fall down with the greatest ease Babe, I'm glad you'll make it there in one piece Ya know I'll scream till I hit the ground But I know your pretty ears won't hear a sound Gather up the bits that used to be my body If ya sell 'em, They'll buy 'em, cause dang are you a hottie.

Even ignoring that atrocious final rhyme (which I would put ten bucks on only existing because Padur couldn't think of a rhyme for "body" and didn't want to revise), this is a pretty wretched poem. The basic idea-- "we're in love but it's tearing me up but that's okay because I love you so much" --is fine for Morrissey songs or someone with the poetic talent of Keats, but is so goddamn overdone that it can't feel authentic. It doesn't feel like an actual human emotion because it's, well, a well-worn trope we've seen way too much of. Love is, essentially, about two forces: the subject (our speaker) and the object (the addressed party), and you need to give at least a sense of one of them for this to be anything other than an exercise in metaphors. Here's a short piece I wrote for my senior thesis where I tied to do this in a glancing way-- you don't need to dig into their heads and explain everything, but you can't just write about the feeling. You need to look at real-life moments, at irony, at the feelings people have about feelings.

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The Triumphant, "Mashing" posted: I saw a purple foxglove in the mountains you would have loved and the ridges behind it, beetleshells and velvet curtains. It hadnt rained in so damn long, and I could see Georgia on the horizon waiting like an inevitable diagnosis. Foxglove is a natural curative which can repair a certain frantic quality, a stutter, of cardiac illness. And I know youre waiting for the apropos payoff where I make some use of that. And I am too. When you're going through heartbreak, you're not just sad, you're not just saying "this sucks and I am going to fall apart but I love you and wish you well" (or, more likely "you are dating that jerk but I am going to keep on being awkwardly in love with you because I think it makes me noble.") It feels like doom itself, it feels like a numb pain and a problem that will never ever be resolved. It's a lens through which you view the world, not just a thing by itself you try and slice up and describe. Padur's poem isn't just bad, it's insulting-- although ostensibly a love poem, it's entirely about the speaker and how he feels about the relationship. It treats the object of its love solely as that-- as an object. I have no idea what she's like, any of the moments they've shared, how she feels in the relationship. It's all about the love he feels and the poem is an excuse to keep reflecting it back on himself. This is basically the Petrarchan mode of love poetry, and it is an old approach to poetry-- to the point that Shakespeare's sonnets were in part written to point out how tired it was. In my poem I tried to create a sense of dialogue and familiarity between speaker and object, show a self-awareness and irony-- the speaker's aware of his failure to fully communicate what he's thinking, he knows that his self-pity must be somewhat wearing on the target of his love, he feels a sense of guilt for intruding. In Padur's, I get no sense of a two-sided relationship. It's just "here is how I feel about you!" The object of the poem could literally be someone he's never spoken to before, and it wouldn't change the work at all. Part of this complete lack of human element in their poetry is that, of course, ever love poem they write is completely sterile and devoid of sexuality or intimacy. (The only ones I've seen who do occasionally mention it in their poems are Spain Sun and Schitzo-- who are also the only two whose poetry approaches actual quality.) I don't want to say that this is because most of them will never get laid, but only because that's such an easy observation. Instead I'll chalk this up to them being uncomfortable about sex and never reading a modern poem that addressed this. Look at Poison Arrow's attempt to write a love poem.

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Poison Arrow posted: My Angel For those I love, even though it may leave me worse off. I look at you and all I see, a wounded angel staring back at me. Silver wings, and silver hair, and silver stains on silver gown. Signs of wounds you never share, and the happiness you never found, but I'll always be around. My wounded angel fallen down, you never once have made a sound or screamed or cried with all your might and I'll always remember such a sight a thing more beautiful never found, than my wounded angel, fallen down. Whatever has scarred you so, my wounded angel, white as snow? Come with me and let them heal, those scars and wounds and hate and fear. I want you to know just how I feel. A way to help you, I have found. My broken angel, fallen down. And though to you I couldn't reach, I still try to span the leap. But even as much as I cry, the rain's still falling from the sky. And dreams and hope and joy and cheer, float ever upwards through the air. I still love you, I still care My healed angel, in the air. Look, Arrow-- you're trying to write a stirring recounting of a couple's torturous relationship, pain, and recovery, but I don't see people here. I see little anime figures in stock poses (and a fat goth girl writing in a moleskine notebook). I can't even picture the figures in it as having genitals, let alone having sex. Love and lust are physical feelings, full of chemistry and hormones and heat. There's a reason that Pablo Neruda's love poems resonate with people-- because we love with our genitals as much as with our hearts or minds. This is why Leonard Cohen's stuff is so goddamn beautiful-- "Hallelujah" is a song as much about sexual longing and frustration as it is about some pure platonic ideal of love. The guy wrote some of the most stirring, heartrending love songs of all time, and he also wrote a song that was basically directions for how to go down on a woman. This is not a coincidence.

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Frederico Lorca, "Gacela of Unexpected Love." posted: No one understood the perfume of the dark magnolia of your womb. Nobody knew that you tormented a hummingbird of love between your teeth. A thousand Persian little horses fell asleep in the plaza with moon of your forehead, while through four nights I embraced your waist, enemy of the snow. Between plaster and jasmins, your glance was a pale branch of seeds. I sought in my heart to give you the ivory letters that say "siempre", "siempre", "siempre" : garden of my agony, your body elusive always, that blood of your veins in my mouth, your mouth already lightless for my death. Lorca's love isn't some pure, unphysical angel that is sad but then you make her happy. It's a woman, and he loves her body, and she smells great, and her physical presence throws him into madness and he needs her. I can relate to this (although I've also had sex at some point in my life, giving me an advantage over most tropers). I can't relate to Poison Arrow's poem. Even though I know exactly what it's about and I've lived through similar things, I just think "oh, it's about being in love with someone who's hurt and then you help them and feel good." Lorca's hits me, even though he and I are pretty radically different and the way he loved was distant from the way I do, because he cuts to something real and immediate-- passion, lust, foolishness, the terrifying physicality of overwhelming love. Again, gonna open myself up to comparison. Here's a passage from a piece I wrote where I tried to do exactly that. The Triumphant, "The Money And The Flesh" posted: In tallow electric light I watch her take the bottle yellow and green and pull deep. The ripple down the cord of her throat like the wake of a boat; the shiver hits her shoulders and spreads through breasts like fat white Tennessee magnolias. When the whisky quivers tumble to her soft belly I taste the sympathetic twinge copper and pepper, honey and birch. Look, I'm sorry to harp on this point, but it keeps coming up again and again. There's no humanity in these troper poems. There's no detail, no contradictory feelings, no small personal narratives. I never get a sense of who they're about, just what feelings the author wants me to have. One more to prove my point:

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Freezair For A Limited Time posted: ''It's nothing I haven't said\ A thousand times before\ But though it's cliche, \ It's something I'll say A thousand and one times more\ 'Cuz what I really said was "I love you, sweetheart, hold on tight\ I've got you now, it'll be alright\ Your tears are my rain, \ Your smile is my light, And I'll repeat this refrain all through the night\ You're the very best thing That I think I'll ever know, \ I've got you safe, now\ It's the end of the chase, now\ And I won't ever let you go!"

Who are these people? What is their love based on? Why does he love her so much? What is he like outside of her? Even the Romantics, who were all about idealized love and the ideal, recognized you couldn't just do that shit. Byron's "She Walks In Beauty" may not tell us much about its subject, but it uses her as a focal point and explores exactly what makes her special and why she captivates the narrator-- it's about beauty, but also about how Byron was drawn to contradictions and conflict. Troper love poems, however, all boil down to basically "I love you, and it makes me feel [x]." No sex, no reason, no complexity, no actual feeling. They're all just professions of love without any real emotion or cause behind it. Love is a set of complex emotional and physical feelings one person has for another, but these poems aren't even about people, they're just about ideas.

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Part 6: No Singing School Except / Studying Monuments of Anime


Okay, so I've looked at how tropers can't work with form, can't work without form, can't write sadness, and can't write love. But why? I don't want to just say "these guys are terrible poets and here's how they fail"-- although I do want to say that a lot. I also want to look at the systemic problems, the causes for why their poetry is failing. 1. They Think Poetry is "easy" For starters, let's look at the monument to failure (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Poetry) quote: Pretty words. No, really. That's what poetry is. Sometimes it rhymes, sometimes there are more line breaks than usual. All you really need to make a poem, though, is to put it together so it sounds good, just because you want it to sound good. Or sometimes look good on the page. Look, if you don't already get it, then you won't. Can fall prey to True Art Is Incomprehensible or True Art Is Angsty in the wrong hands. Might also be a case or Love It or Hate It, due to overexposure to some poems in secondary school. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TrueArtIsIncomprehensible) that is the Poetry page.

There are no words for how wrong this is. From the simplistic description of "like prose, but pretty! " to that unbearably smug "heh, most poetry is just True Art bullshit that people make up so they can look smart." We've seen before how tropers think that complex=good and simple=easy. It's why all their fiction is 3-part cycles, why they need a perfectly realized world before they can write a single character, why they want to compete about who can come up with the biggest tragedy instead of actually trying to make their stories make sense. And poetry goes against that. Poems are short, they don't take place in fantasy worlds, they don't tell epic stories. Tropers seem to think that the whole point of poetry is "just write something that sounds cool," and so they think they don't really have to try. Part of this is because they never, ever revise anything (remember all the tortured rhymes from Bobby G's work?)-- since it only takes them 5 minutes to write a poem they assume that's all the work it takes, even though it's basically impossible for a poem's (especially if it's a rhyming poem) rough draft to be remotely close to finished. There's basically no planning, no drafting. It's the same lazy, lazy approach they use to writing fiction, but when combined with a form that demands that every word be thought out and every syllable be in exactly the right place, their laziness and condescension towards the medium become even more apparent. Look at what "a published writer" on their forums thinks about poetry. tendollarlameo posted: Anyways, yeah, so, like, poetry. The fuck is it? I read poetry and I think "Oh, they're getting across a point but instead of writing it in a prose, they're stressing emotions." So I think, "That's easy, I can do that."

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And then I write a poem. This is when I realize that, a) my poetry seems extremely mediocre from my choice of words, and b) I have no idea if I am doing it right. Poetry is all about freedom of expression, right? Well I can't do that. I have to have rules to follow. It's the same reason I never finish sandbox games. Poetry doesn't have to rhyme. I get that. But sometimes I'll see poems that are indented to the left, then center, then the left, then the right. What. The. Fuck. What purpose is that? How does that help get your point across? Why do people prefer poems that rhyme anyways? Am I stupid for not understanding poems that seem to make no sense to me at all, using stream of consciousness to create the equivalent to literary abstract art? Please, poets, explain poetry to me. I have poetic inspiration. I know I have a poet's vein and I can write wonderful poetry. Hell, I don't even care if it's wonderful or not. I just want to write. But I feel like a complete idiot because I'm a fucking published writer who can't understand something as simple as poetry.

This, of course, betrays the second point I want to make. 2. Critical thought is anathema to their process Clearly, then, if it's easy to write good poetry then it shouldn't take any work to understand it. They dismiss poetry as being "True Art is Incomprehensible" because, like every other masterpiece they shove under that banner, it requires conscious effort. Even with a poet who writes in straightforward language, understanding why a poem works and what elements contribute to it takes thought. You can't just point at the Deadpan Snarker Antihero and the Complete Monster with a Xanatos Gambit-- you have to look at how the work is built. It's not that TDL doesn't understand poetry, it's that he doesn't try. Of the 14 poetry-specific tropes they have, over a third of them are about rhyme, one of them is about fanfiction in poem form, and the rest are about what form a poem takes or what kind of poem it is. There's none for bathos, for the flow of a poem on a page, for the major metrical forms and elements (except for the one that was mentioned by xkcd), or for any major poetic movement. I've seen them describe The Waste Land or parts of the Four Quartets as a "Mind Screw"-- works which "will pad themselves with meaningless sequences to make the audience work even harder." I'll admit that Eliot's hard, but those poems aren't incomprehensible. They just take work and thought. The Waste Land is my favorite poem and I can talk with authority on it, not because I'm an enlightened genius who was able to grasp it immediately, but because the first time I read it I went through it cold, went through it again with Eliot's notes, read it again with comprehensive annotations, and then read it without annotations to see if it made any more sense. It took me about as much time as watching a few episodes of Doctor Who would have and it made me a vastly better writer for putting in that work. But tropers have a sneering condescension that they already know everything they need to (and that they learned it from TV Tropes).

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Reading a poem requires unpacking it, and writing a poem forces you to combine a ton of different elements so that they fit together seamlessly. You can't wing it, and you can't just try to ape the surface elements of poetry without actually knowing how they work. Troper-poets are like kids who stick some tires to a plank, roll down a hill, and think they've built a car and that those pretentious snobs at Ford just put in an engine and radiator to make people think they're great engineers.

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Finale: I Do Not Think That They Will Trope for Me


Okay, so in my last rant I looked at how part of the reason Troper poems are almost universally awful is that they're so goddamn arrogant that they think they can do it without any work, and they never revise anything or plan anything. Now I want to look at the second part of that-- they're also pretty goddamn stupid. First, let's hear Doma Doma (who keeps popping up as a rape apologist) unintentionally express one of their central problems-- their ever-present cultural myopia. Doma Doma posted: I freaking love poetry, I write it from time to time (mostly about Death Note, but there's some non-universe-based stuff as well), and it's a crying shame you can't quote poetry in public, let alone your own, without looking like the most pretentious twit since Harold Pinter. Anyway, I like the sort of poems that have, at minimum, good grammar, more clear images than there are swear words, and reasons to put the line breaks in particular places. (So, not exactly a big fan of Ginsberg.) My favorites are The Bells, The Last Ship, The Harp that Once on Tara's Halls, In Flanders Fields and My Last Duchess.

His main poetic theme is anime, he thinks that free verse poetry is just randomly structured for the hell of it, and there's nothing on his list that isn't basic high school education. Why, that almost feels like the perfect segue into They don't really know any poems Oh sure, they know of some basic poetry. But it's all surface-level survey stuff. On their "notable poets" list, there's only around 4 that you wouldn't find in a high school textbook or a basic "intro to poetry" reader. None of them are contemporary writers. I'm not saying that everyone should know who Louise Gluck or Billy Collins or John Berryman or Carol Anne Duffy is-- but I'd expect someone who claimed to love art, love poetry, and considered themselves a poet to maybe, just maybe, have written up something about more than the bare bones of the Western canon. Even that is pretty lacking-- no Wallace Stevens, no E.E. Cummings, no Friedrich Shiller, no Arthur Rimbaud, no Lorca, no Anna Akhmatova. I'm sickened by the thought that these people who think they know how to write a poem convincing us of the emptiness of the world (by making the first letter of each line spell out FAILURE IS INEVITABLE) have never read "The Emperor of Ice Cream" or A Season In Hell. This isn't just me as a liberal-arts educated elitist-- chances are that most of you know more about major poets and poetic movements than most of the tropers who call themselves poets, just because you've probably actually experienced art in any way other than the most passive consumption. The knowledge they do have is often pretty shallow, or flat-out wrong. For well over a year their page on Yeats's "The Second Coming" claimed that it was about the return of Christ. Not only would anyone who studied Yeats in any depth tell you that's flat-out wrong, a simple check on wikipedia would have told them it wasn't an overtly Christian poem. The page for it gets the name of the Easter Rising wrong, thinks Yeats was a WWI veteran, and spends absolutely zero time on analysis. Their page on William Blake gives absolutely zero insight into his theology, contributions to art, poetic forms, and

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completely misses the point of "The Tyger" (they think it's about how scary tigers are) and any of the subtext in Songs of Innocence. Wrap your head around that. They have an entry on William Blake, and never once talk about his religious views. The man is almost certainly the most theologically strange and visionary poet of the Western Canon, and they summarize that as "he was religious but didn't like the church." This is how that makes me feel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFACGX5k2Ic) In short-- I have a fairly small collection of physical books of poetry. It takes up maybe an eighth to a sixth of my total library. And yet the one shelf of poetry I do own is a better writer's resource, with more poets and more schools represented, and a deeper level of critical insight, than their entire goddamn wiki. They're stuck in the past The handful that do know about poets still don't view it as a living, exciting thing. The way Rottweiler treats Western philosophy-- like it stopped around 1900 (or earlier) and is now complete --is the way about 90% of the troper-poets I've seen treat poetry. This is why almost all of their poetry tries to be formal stuff with tight, obvious rhyme structures-- because all they know is Poe, Thomas's more famous works, Shakespeare, Blake's poems (never, as stated, his mystical works), the London Romantics, Wilfred Owen, and Burns. These are all poets who are taught fairly regularly, referenced in pop culture, and are fairly commonly-known. (And again, I love all these poets, but tropers never seem to actively seek out anything they don't already know). This is why troper poems always have the stressed, end-stopped, obvious rhymes-- that's a feature of poems that are usually taught in beginner-level language arts classes in high school, because that makes them really easy to teach. Troper poetry rhymes because they think that's what poems all do, and they think that because that's what they've learned. The thing is that these poets were masters of sound, and Tropers don't know how that works-- Poe's entire poetic body is dedicated to making beautiful, harmonious poems, and despite him seemingly being one of TVT's favorite poets the word "rhyme" doesn't appear a single time on his page. Tropers know what a rhyme is and that when Byron uses them it sounds good, but they have no idea why or how to replicate it. Their poetry reads like mine did when I was 13-- before I discovered Ginsberg and Sexton and realized that it was more than just writing about comic book characters using fancy words and an AABB rhyme scheme. They have a mediocre knowledge of the canon, a practically-nonexistent knowledge of anything after about 1930, and have absolutely no clue what's going on in the medium today. It's not even Intro To Poetry, because when I took that course we at least read some Plath and Hughes and talked about Blake's cosmology and a couple of former US Laureates.

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So, to summarize this whole series in one sentence: Tropers don't know about structure, meter, or any formal elements and think that means poetry is easy, don't know how to address typical themes and subjects and think that makes them deep, and know very little about the canon and nothing outside it and think that makes them experts. And then their attempts to write poetry bring us all joy from the bottom of our hate-filled spleens. Thanks for letting me do these rants, and fuck every troper who wrote anything I had to read for them, because that shit is depressing.

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so as we attempt for one last time to fly among the stars in the sky I would just like to remind each and every one of these childs that there is no heavenly kingdom, no father that is ours or if there is, he has left us. Forever and ever. Amen and goodbye.

Blixty Slycat As the Sun Beats

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I freaking love poetry, I write it from time to time (mostly about [the Anime] Death Note) Doma Doma

You could switch any of [the lines of Troper poetry] with any other and it wouldn't make a spit of difference to the poem as a whole. They're literally meaningless. The Triumphant

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