User:R. fiend/Mentions in fiction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Recently I've been seeing more and more sections at the bottom of articles about a subject's "mentions in ficition" or "pop culture references". These are generally filled with insignificant crap, or F.E.C.E.S. (see my user page). Too often (far too often) this is generally a list of times a few words (usually a person's name) were spoken in passing by someone on TV. It's nearly getting to the point where people are adding "my daddy said the words 'Ben Kingsley' once" to the bottom of the Ben Kingsley article. Yes, it's an exaggeration, but not enough of one. Now, sometimes mentions in fiction are significant, but they are more than just mentions, they are best left to occasions when the subject plays a significant role in an important work of fiction.

Let's take some poets for example, imagine these are included towards the end of the poets' respective articles (I haven't checked any of the articles to see if any of these mentions are there, they are theoretical for now):

A signiciant example:

  • "Lord Byron plays an important role in the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard." This is an example of a time a fictional reference is significant. While Byron does not appear in the play, much of the plot centers on him, making him an essential element of the play.

A borderline example:

  • "'Funeral Blues' by W. H. Auden is read in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral." This is a bit questionable. The poem is certainly not essential to the plot, but it is read in its entirety during an important and poignant scene in the film. After the release of the film, some books of Auden's collected poetry had a sticker on them saying something to the effect of "Contains the poem read in Four Weddings and a Funeral", showing that there was some perceived interest in Auden generated by the film.

A bad example:

  • "Lord Tennyson is mentioned by Lisa in an episode of The Simpsons." (Actually, I'm not sure he was ever mentioned, but with several hundred episodes it's not unlikely.) This is an utterly insignificant mention, saying nothing more than that the words "Lord Tennyson" were spoken on an animated TV show. "Who cares?" is about the only reaction one can expect from this. Or another example: "In the film Straight to Hell, Matt MacMahon starts to read a poem he wrote, but is shot in the head before he completes the first line. What is heard of the poem is identical to Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade." This says a bit more, but is still way too inconsequential and trivial for mention in Tennyson's article.