Processing Information

I disagree with this.

I don’t think it’s the overload of information that causes people to lose common sense. It’s what they do with the information.

Anecdote time: I’ve been a longtime watcher of Pretty Little Liars. For those of you who don’t know, it’s about a clique of girls who are stalked by someone impersonating their dead best friend. That is the very short summary. To dig a little deeper, the stalker turns out to be a group of people which actually explains how the stalker (identified throughout the series as ‘A’) can accurately track four girls in a town. Anyway, there have been a few false leads – each time there has been someone shown in a black hoodie, which is the stalker’s trademark.

So I know someone (let’s call her Z) who will cling to the belief that a black-hoodied person is the latest evil stalker on the block. This occurred quite recently with a fairly minor character, the kind who hangs around for less than a season and doesn’t get much screen time when she is around. The character died shortly after her ‘reveal’ but Z insisted up and down that the character was still the stalker.

This, I think, is where the loss of common sense comes in. The character was present for twelve episodes out of five seasons, none of which centred on her. She made no logical sense for being the stalker. Her backstory was enough to explain a motive, but her presence in the series was so little that I felt it would be insulting to the audience to make such a minor character someone with such a major presence.

To me this is an occurrence of someone believing WYSIWYG – blindly swallowing the information, choosing not to question it, and proceeding to the next episode. There’s no questioning as to why the minor character wasn’t A, no trying to figure out who it is based on all the information given. It’s less of losing common sense and more of not knowing what to do with the information – and so the information gets taken in and absorbed,  going unchallenged and unquestioned.

I think this way the information goes unprocessed: the knowledge is there, but the logic thereof isn’t.


7 thoughts on “Processing Information”

  1. WYSIWYG – I don’t know what this means, but generally, I don’t think there is any harm is someone sticking to what they believe, not in the case of fictional things anyway. Yes, everything may point the other way, but there’s nothing wrong with having invented an alternate scenario and sticking with it, even if it is wrong. It’s not hurting anyone, and it’s not worth getting het up over, not in my view, at least. Different if its a factual matter as that could hurt the individual and other around them. Interesting post though 🙂


    1. What You See Is What You Get – refers to things taken at face value and also a computer term.

      I agree that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you believe, but that is also what annoys me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been told to dig deeper, look for further meaning in various classes (I was an English major, and some tutors did place emphasis on meaning beyond the surface)

      Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is where common sense comes into the picture. Was “Hoodie” simply a red herring? Do you rely on what your common sense tell you? Do you rely on logic? Do you rely on gut instinct, or do you accept the red herring because it’s easier to do so?


    1. In a couple of times yes. For instance, one “Hoodie” (the fourth reveal, if memory serves) proved to be trying to write a true-crime book, and this was reliant on his relationship with one of the stalkees.

      My problem with accepting each Hoodie for being the stalker is this: PLL is midway through season 5. Still at least two seasons to go. The identity of the stalker is the great mystery of PLL – why reveal it at this point when there’s more to go?

      I personally go with logic, though I do think a lot of people just take the red herrings because it’s easier.

      Liked by 1 person

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