clichés in the "magnificent seven" fandom

as observed by allaire mikháil

date: 17 Jul 2002

I sincerely hope that the following observations, accurate as they might be, aren't hurtful to any "Magnificent Seven" author out there. I have encountered them so often in this fandom that I cannot help but think that they have long since begun to influence new authors' perception of the characters and managed to not only completely overshadow canon, but also to distort the men we know to mere caricatures of themselves. That's the point when I usually get the dry heaves, and hit the 'delete' key.
Still, I'd like to point out that not any story with an abundance of the following points is automatically bad. But too many clichés are... well, deplorable. To channel Ezra.
I tried to keep the list funny and I also attempted to refrain from too much nitpicking. In short: Let's hope this makes you laugh and not grind your teeth, and perhaps rethink your newest story idea. Thank you.

1.   When Ezra's hurt, everyone gathers in the clinic and
a)  berates himself for mistrusting him
b)  feels guilty for thinking Ezra has run out on them instead of running headfirst into trouble
c)  sleeps in a chair by his bedside
d)  tries to force-feed him
e)  reads to him
f)  worries like hell
  or, alternately
g)  ties him down
h)  fills him up with laudanum despite his protestations
i)  has to hunt for him all around town because no matter how close to death he is, he managed to flee from the abuse heaped upon him by his sadistic comrades, most especially Nathan.
2.   Broken ribs are normal, heck, re-broken ribs are normal, too!
3.   Bullet holes can be sustained in numerous fashions, and always get infected, but are never bad enough to kill a man.
4.   Gambling can be trouble. Riding out can be trouble. Hey, walking around in the fucking village can be trouble!
5.   Clothes are only worn to get ruined. Or to be used as bandages. Or both.
6.   Self-sacrifice is common, but is usually survived by the man in question.
7.   Kicking someone when he's already down is one of the great joys of mankind.
8.   Winning something in a poker game is only a prelude to losing the money spectacularly.
9.   Ezra fought in the War, although not necessarily on the Confederate side. Nonetheless, everyone automatically assumes that he defended slavery and perhaps even fought in battles with Chris, Buck, Nathan etc. on the other side. Whatever happened, it soon becomes clear that he now suffers from
a)  remorse
b)  nightmares
c)  is hunted by an old comrade/enemy,
c)  has to deal with his friends' hostility, or
d)  impresses the hell out of everyone who realizes that he had to have been a mere boy who nonetheless was the stellar example of an honorable Southern officer born to lead men in battle. Awww.
10.   Ezra will always think that no-one cares/trusts/likes him... until the sequel. Or the sequel's sequel.
11.   Child-abuse is incurably linked to being green-eyed and 'auburn-haired'.
12.   Breaking down in a crying fit is a normal reaction for an ATF agent.
13.   Thankfully, gamblers in the Old West have a better grip on their emotions. Only most of the time, of course.
14.   No matter how grave the wounds sustained, they always heal without leaving any scars. Heck, Nathan's back was just bad luck!
15.   Josiah should just have become a bear... considering how often he's compared to one!
16.   Ezra must hate, hate, hate honey -- or slurp it by the gallon... considering how often his voice is described as a smooth honeyed drawl!
17.   Chaucer (Ezra's horse) has way more sense than its rider will ever have! Must amount to at least an equine IQ of 200.
18.   Ezra and rivers, gorges, ravines, deserts, caves... don't mix. But then, it's wilderness, and as such, utterly deplorable. So it's understandable, really.
19.   Nathan's main occupation is standing around, making wise-assed cracks at PoorBaby!Ezra's expense, looking worried after the subsequent shootout and then miraculously healing the wounded. Leonard McCoy was way better off... he at least had more often than not a plotline, even in fanfic!
20.   Ezra should never be allowed to handle
a)  dynamite
b)  gun powder
c)  any explosive at all since the resulting mayhem will be incredible. Ask the chicken.
22.   a) It's customary to hit Ezra to voice one's displeasure with his actions. Or lack thereof.
    b) Ezra will not only take it, but twist it around in his mind into a sign of affection and caring.
    c) Furthermore, no one will ever see it as wrong (hitting him is evidently a tried-and-true method of letting off steam) or understand the necessity of apologizing for it.
    d) So Ezra will consider it as nothing less than he deserves. Can we say 'low self-esteem', girls?! Good. His is in the negative numbers.
23.   Josiah should be sanctified! No crows, no inner demons, no violence or drinking -- just your friendly neighborhood priest who's almost as wise and infallible as the pope.
24.   One word: Tascosa. Never, ever, let Vin go there. Carnage will ensue.
25.   Chris' placement in the present (let's say ATF!) always miraculously makes him a better man who doesn't flee from a confrontation of the emotional kind (like he always did in the series), but rather faces it head-first. Neither does he whore around. Or drink. Much. Astonishing. Must be a control thing.
26.   Sooner or later, Atlanta's shadow will reappear and Ezra's past in the FBI will tear him and his comrades apart once more. Duh again.
27.   'Gambler' and 'conman' are still common denominators to describe an ATF undercover agent. One has to wonder why.
28.   Ezra will always, always be misunderstood... until the last paragraph. In the sequel, the whole learning process will start anew, because no matter how often his 'friends' learn that he's a decent man at heart, they'll all have forgotten about it until the next story. Well, shit happens.

And so on, and so on, and so on... <sigh>


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