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Old 01-30-2024, 06:32 PM   #1
L.J.Steele
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

I was listening to a podcast about screen writing which mentioned the Tiffany Problem.

In sum:
One of the biggest problems facing those who wish to make historically accurate films, is the lack of knowledge of the general public. Although many members of the public do not know great amounts about particular time periods, they believe that they do. One of the skills of historical consultants to tv shows etc is to advise on what people *think* is true. This has become known as the Tiffany Problem. Coined by fantasy writer Jo Walton, the name originates from the complications of having a character in a historical book named Tiffany.

Many people feel that Tiffany is a modern name, popularised by the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In fact, Tiffany was a name used across history, including in the medieval period. It was a skewing of the Greek word Theophania, and the Christian feast of the Epiphany. Girls born on the 6th of January, the feast day, were often named some variant of the word which included Tiffany. However, if you gave regular old Joe Bloggs off the street a book set in the 14th century with a central character called Tiffany, you would be laughed away.

https://justhistoryposts.com/2019/03...ffany-problem/

Presumably this extends to games -- when the GM or player has researched a thing that is appropriate for the setting, but it just kills the other players suspension of disbelief in the setting.
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Old 01-30-2024, 08:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
I was listening to a podcast about screen writing which mentioned the Tiffany Problem.

In sum:
One of the biggest problems facing those who wish to make historically accurate films, is the lack of knowledge of the general public. Although many members of the public do not know great amounts about particular time periods, they believe that they do. One of the skills of historical consultants to tv shows etc is to advise on what people *think* is true. This has become known as the Tiffany Problem. Coined by fantasy writer Jo Walton, the name originates from the complications of having a character in a historical book named Tiffany.

Many people feel that Tiffany is a modern name, popularised by the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In fact, Tiffany was a name used across history, including in the medieval period. It was a skewing of the Greek word Theophania, and the Christian feast of the Epiphany. Girls born on the 6th of January, the feast day, were often named some variant of the word which included Tiffany. However, if you gave regular old Joe Bloggs off the street a book set in the 14th century with a central character called Tiffany, you would be laughed away.
Perhaps in defiance of this, Charles Stross's recently released Season of Skulls has a character named Theophania, and commonly called Tiffany.
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

A corollary of this is falsehoods that keep being perpetrated on screen because so many folks believe it is true. One being that the recipient of a shotgun blast will suddenly change direction and fly out of a window. This despite a Mythbusters episode that busted that idea. If the show depicts a person getting shot not moving away from the blast, a lot of folks will think the show got it wrong.

For the name thing, can't hurt to hand out a brief printout of the name's history. Like this: https://www.behindthename.com/name/tiffany

Nothing says games can't include a bit of education.
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Old 02-01-2024, 01:49 AM   #4
johndallman
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Presumably this extends to games -- when the GM or player has researched a thing that is appropriate for the setting, but it just kills the other players suspension of disbelief in the setting.
I positively enjoy stamping on incorrect popular culture, in any setting that shares history with the real world. Fortunately, my usual players and GMs will believe me, if I show my work.
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Old 02-05-2024, 10:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
I was listening to a podcast about screen writing which mentioned the Tiffany Problem.

In sum:
One of the biggest problems facing those who wish to make historically accurate films, is the lack of knowledge of the general public. Although many members of the public do not know great amounts about particular time periods, they believe that they do. One of the skills of historical consultants to tv shows etc is to advise on what people *think* is true. This has become known as the Tiffany Problem. Coined by fantasy writer Jo Walton, the name originates from the complications of having a character in a historical book named Tiffany.

Many people feel that Tiffany is a modern name, popularised by the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In fact, Tiffany was a name used across history, including in the medieval period. It was a skewing of the Greek word Theophania, and the Christian feast of the Epiphany. Girls born on the 6th of January, the feast day, were often named some variant of the word which included Tiffany. However, if you gave regular old Joe Bloggs off the street a book set in the 14th century with a central character called Tiffany, you would be laughed away.

https://justhistoryposts.com/2019/03...ffany-problem/

Presumably this extends to games -- when the GM or player has researched a thing that is appropriate for the setting, but it just kills the other players suspension of disbelief in the setting.
Even just a few decades ago, 'Beverly' and 'Evelyn' were common male names. This has been known to throw people in today's world when they run across it.
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Old 02-06-2024, 01:47 PM   #6
L.J.Steele
 
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Even just a few decades ago, 'Beverly' and 'Evelyn' were common male names. This has been known to throw people in today's world when they run across it.
Not to mention Leslie.
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Old 02-06-2024, 06:55 PM   #7
sjard
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Reminds me of the bit about a certain well known comedian being lightly bullied as a kid for introducing himself as Hope, Leslie. Considering he was a comedian, and the story was in his own words, I both don't doubt it much, and also wonder how much of it was for humorous effect.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Not to mention Leslie.
I've met more male than females with the name Leslie; there is a generation gap.

I've met more males named Beverly than females, but all of them in my grandparent's generation (the served in WW 2 generation); the only females named Beverly that come to mind are B. Crusher (fictional) and some female actor from the 60's.

The real surprise is the number of Hmong kids named Chubaka/Chewbacca. (When subbing, I stopped counting at 18.)
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Old 02-11-2024, 10:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

Sir Harry was added to the Arthur story by Thomas Malory, and not by Monty Python as most people would probably guess.
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Old 02-16-2024, 11:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tiffany and the Game Writer/GM/Player

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Sir Harry was added to the Arthur story by Thomas Malory, and not by Monty Python as most people would probably guess.
Er, why would one guess that? If I were guessing anybody it might be Shakespeare - surely that's the most famous quote using the name Harry.
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