Rivetism

Let’s talk about literature. Again.

I have stumbled upon several discussions and a nice word that I cannot but translate into English. The word is “rivetism” which roughly expands to “an overwhelming desire to enforce absolute correctness in the details” and stems (as I’ve heard) from discussions about literary merits of a movie measured in the correctness of the number of rivets on a tank turret. Needless to say that “rivetism” is a pejorative.

Yet there is a point, and an arising question. Suppose you watch a movie about something you know, and know well. Take, for example, cooking. And there is this guy who takes a frying pan and loudly announces he’s going to make a soup. Ridiculous, right? Or imagine a book about school, where everyone loves the gym class. This is a slightly unrealistic scenario, doesn’t it seem so? So, when your expertise on the topic is sufficient to discern unrealistic assumptions, the hitherto suspended disbelief kicks in, and you have issues with connecting to the characters. This is the reason why people from air and space engineering are not so overwhelmed when talking about Gravity or pretty much any other space fiction movie that pretends to depict reality, as technical or scientific issues that are obvious to a professional are often overlooked by the authors. What makes this interesting is that disbelief is more readily suspended if the fiction is clearly depicted as fiction without further discussion of the technical details. That’s why Warhammer 40K works for me pretty well and Ready Player One does not.

Sadly, rivetism becomes inevitable if you get more closely acquainted with not only technical issues, but also real-life social interaction as well. Working in or at least witnessing a structure of at least 100 people gives insights about human interaction, and it is often the case that the human interaction patterns observed in real life do not match those depicted in fiction… at all. It begins with all those superhero movies that are plainly unbelievable when you know how many people work in order to make a single flight of a plane possible. It goes on with secret organizations no one has ever heard of yet with unlimited budgets and so on.

Probably, one just has to accept the inevitable truth that authors rarely have an idea about the (social and technical) mechanisms they use inn their plots, relax, and try to enjoy the narrative or the action nevertheless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.