Music to go with the article
It is often said that 'conflict is the soul of drama'; without some form of conflict to fuel things, there's no engine to drive the story and thus little reason to engage with it. However, we would like to propose an amendment to this phrase which includes something important but, sadly, all too often forgotten:
Meaningful conflict is the soul of drama.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy occurs when a conflict exists that simply lacks any reason for the audience for selfpreservation about how it is resolved. This is often because the setting is extremely but meaninglessly Darker and Edgier, and all sides are abhorrently, equally evil- or at least, far enough gone that any difference between the two is splitting hairs. As such, consumers of media affected by Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy tend to approach conflict between parties or factions with remarkable indifference; because no matter who wins, the universe will still suck. (And while it would be really nice to see them all lose, it ain't going to happen.) In other words, there is nothing at stake. While there is a conflict happening, for all that the audience is concerned there might as well not be because they likely have little reason to care about who wins or loses.
This is basically the emotional result of Black and Black Morality. Because the conflict between the equal evils is essentially meaningless, there is no dramatic tension. Maybe one Cosmic Abomination eats you in a slightly less painful manner than the other one, but either way, you're still a gonner. You can't support any factions or hold on to any ideals after this effect has set in. All you can do is sit agape as the writers apparently attempt to outdo themselves at making the setting even worse and more unpleasant and more nihilistic to the point where the media is as monotone-miserable as Joy Division. This trope is not just about a World Half Empty, but about Evil vs. Evil and too much cynicism producing this effect.
A variant is basically when a Sad and Meaningless conflict meets Too Much Pain and is combined with meaningless angst; a story is simply too bleak, angsty and without hope for the audience to really care what happens. Leaving aside how obviously and overly depressing this is to read, if the characters are doomed to failure no matter what they do, and it is too obvious that they are doomed and their every action to avert this is pointless and hopeless, then the ending is inevitable and can be seen a mile off — so why bother continuing on with the story? (especially if Developing Characters are done badly and you can't care about who's in it) This, of course, does not mean that all stories have to end happily — but most of the time, a good Tragedy works because the characters involved are given a chance to escape their fate but, for whatever reason fail to do so; take away this chance, and usually what will happen is that the story just ends up being a lengthy description of unremittingly unpleasant things happening to someone.
Sadly this happens in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight
Many of the critics and even some of the fans claim that Twilight suffers this badly in the Love Triangle the third book Eclipse is built around. Edward, Bella, and Jacob all come off as extremely possessive, selfish and emotionally manipulative Jerks to the point that all possible resolutions to the triangle equally repugnant.
There's also the issue of the Volturi in the same series. They are built up as a corrupt government who ruthlessly murder vampires over any slight, forcibly "collect" powerful vampires, and look for excuses to destroy the Cullen family. The problem is, vampires as a whole are a bunch of murderous animals who do nothing but think about their next meal and who to kill to get it. Thus, not only are the Volturi the only ones trying to instill any sense of order into the vampire world, but they're the few actually keeping the vampires from slaughtering humans without restraint. Even the Cullens in no way condemn or try to stop this behavior, which makes their declarations that human lives are valuable come across as rather hollow. Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that they're supposed to be defending humanity, the werewolves apparently slack off a good bit (they do nothing to stop Peter and Charlotte in Midnight Sun, even though there were werewolves transforming at that time), and actively go against their duties when Jacob imprints on Renesmee and puts her before his job as Alpha. This is all best summed up by their actions in Breaking Dawn. The Volturi try to use Renesmee as an excuse to kill the Cullens and their allies, the allies are so kind as to go outside the city limits to slaughter people during their stay, the werewolves do nothing to stop this because the allies are needed to protect Renesmee, and the Cullens loan cars so the allies can find victims more easily.
I hate this type of conflict
What do you think?