To start with, I’d like to point out that I have a very busy schedule today and the next couple of days, so I only barely have enough time to make this post. Sorry, guys! I’ll try my best to keep you posted.
The other day, I was talking to Sean about his last Humans post and asked me what I thought of the idea. I considered his idea, before I disagreed. It’s not, I don’t think, that humans as a whole have a superiority complex the size of something really big, that “winners don’t question their ability”, or that anything that they aren’t the best at isn’t worth two bits, but that humans are more likely to have a mass inferiority complex.
Of course, he challenged me to state why I thought that they could act so arrogant and yet feel so inferior, when I happened upon a train of thought. Now, I’m not trying to say that humans do fit this mold – this was just a track on my train of thought that I decided to pursue, while thinking about superiority/inferiority.
Short Man Syndrome, probably more properly known as a Napoleon Complex is the name we give to short people acting overtly aggressive towards people who are physically larger than they are. Although studies have shown that this probably isn’t a significant effect and, in fact, that taller people are statistically more likely to lose their tempers (what? I don’t invent these studies!), it’s become part of the common parlance and the common mindset. When we see a short or small person buffing up, acting aggressively, bragging about his sexual prowess, making lewd and lascivious remarks to women, we roll our eyes and go, “Ah, Short Man Syndrome.”
Well, maybe you don’t, but let’s pretend we do.
Now, this alleged syndrome/complex, which in fairness probably doesn’t exist outside our minds, is an inferiority complex characterised by aggression and cockiness. No, really – think about it. They’re trying to look arrogant, but it’s all based in inferiority.
Now consider the humans, at tallest about six and a half feet tall – again, I’m not saying they do all have Short Man Syndrome, but it was an interesting line of thought – compared to the night elves, average male height seven feet tall, and the draenei, average male height seven and a half feet tall. It may not look like much in game, but these guys are physically looking up at these two other races. It may be balanced out a bit by having to physically look down at the dwarves and gnomes – but really. Surely some of the humans are intimidated by the size of these big races.
Alternatively, just consider that the human height range is about 4’10” to 6’6″. Imagine being a human at either end of this scale, trying to communicate with other humans. Not a lot of fun, that!
Now, of course, I tell this to Sean, and he jokes, “Maybe they have Middle Child Syndrome.”
Oh, really? You want to go there? Fine.
Middle child syndrome refers to the tendency of a family of three (the archetypal example, but it applies in all cases with a middle child) to have the oldest being given special privileges because of age, the youngest being spoiled because they’re the youngest, and the middle child to feel different or left out of the family dynamic.
Whether it actually exists is also questionable, but there’s certainly a whole tonne of anecdotal evidence for middle children feeling left out or ignored in a family unit.
Of course, humans don’t, as a rule, have middle child syndrome about the Alliance. That would be silly. But since Sean brings it up: consider Short Man Sydnrome and Middle Child Syndrome in your characters. They don’t really exist as psychological disorders or constructs, but they’re archetypal examples of character types that you could make use of to make your character just that bit more interesting/unique.