On suspension of disbelief, or lack thereof

Erethizon dorsatum (J. Glover, Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve been watching Being Human—the SyFy version, which is for the most part meh and/or problematic (and, being a scripted show about the supernatural, clearly not long for the network). Lately I have been having more trouble dismissing Problematic From A Feminist Perspective issues by lumping them into the catch-all category of “crap entertainment.” I’m not sure if it’s because I’m subconsciously vetting media for The Daughter’s eventual consumption, because I’m just more thoughtful in my fourth decade, because my tolerance for (and amusement in) bad writing has plummeted, or because I’ve reached some sort of saturation point.

But this is not a Feminist Post, but a Suspension of Disbelief Post (and the problematic gender issues, sadly, do not require that I suspend any disbelief at all). Thusfar, there is but a single thing for which I cannot suspend my disbelief: databases.

It’s a recurring plot point that the vampires have them—maybe some of their own, or maybe they just glom onto those devised by the various human organizations they’ve infiltrated; unclear and irrelevant—as do the police. And these are some fabulous databases. So incredibly, Big Brotherly complete that a member of the police department (psychologically unstable, but in the way of television cops: unstable enough to drive a Dramatic Scene and provide Tension, not enough to cast doubt on his ability to Get To The Truth) can suss out a fake identity just by staring into the Matrix.

Now, I am perfectly happy with conspiracy theories: I grew up on dystopias, rife with badly behaved multinational corporations; I am perfectly happy to believe in fictional Evil Governments (and far less happy to believe in them in the real world). But…even though we all complain that everything’s Microsoft, it’s not. Not everything talks to everything else. (Believe me. I used to shepherd data from Source A to Source B and make sure it played nicely. It was not a straightforward procedure. And this was data that the company owned, in systems the company had set up. And this was a private company that wanted to use the data to make money, not a public department-cum-political football facing perennial budget cuts. And never mind the whole PEBKAC issue.)

So I can easily swallow the mythologies they chose to assign to vampires, werewolves, and ghosts (though I might lament that some aspects are icky, boring or both). But I cannot swallow databases that are (or are presumed to be) so very extensive and error free. That’s one porcupine too far.