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Author Topic: Pseudopod 76: Tales of the White Street Society  (Read 16690 times)

Chodon

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Reply #25 on: April 05, 2008, 08:26:05 PM
I think this one falls into the same lines as "Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe".  It's the narrator's perspective on the Irish being drunks and living in squalor, not the author's.

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JoeFitz

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Reply #26 on: April 05, 2008, 08:47:50 PM
I think this one falls into the same lines as "Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe".  It's the narrator's perspective on the Irish being drunks and living in squalor, not the author's.

To be clear: I don't mean to suggest the author holds these beliefs, but rather that I disagree in letting the narrator to express the racism so explicitly.

To my recollection, in Borderlands, while there was a racist narrator, I do not remember any graphic, scatological and sexually gross images. That story was okay for me, but not particularly interesting mostly because I find alternate history is generally not my cup of tea.



wakela

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Reply #27 on: April 10, 2008, 12:27:53 AM
I found this story delightful.  I kept thinking of Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, an intellectual and buffoon at the same time.  The writing was fun and Alasdair's reading was great.  Maybe an American accent would have been more appropriate, but somehow, as an American, I've gotten used to an English accent as an intellectual accent, especially from this period. 


The racism didn't bother me, but I find the criticism interesting.  I think it would have been more racist if it had been less over the top, but it was extreme enough to be laughable.  Then again, if the target had been Blacks instead of Irish, it would have been completely inappropriate.  And if Americans had been the butt of the joke, no one would have blinked an eye.   

Also, Lovecraft's writings were pretty racist.  So when doing a Lovecraftian piece, is this something we want to imitate, or is it a part of history we prefer to erase?



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Reply #28 on: April 10, 2008, 10:23:25 AM
The racism didn't bother me, but I find the criticism interesting.  I think it would have been more racist if it had been less over the top, but it was extreme enough to be laughable.  Then again, if the target had been Blacks instead of Irish, it would have been completely inappropriate.  And if Americans had been the butt of the joke, no one would have blinked an eye.   

I think the difference is that the Irish aren't the target of racism in the US anymore.  Maybe sometimes as Catholics, but that's pretty much gone too.  When we finally reach the point where blacks no longer are targets, our decendants can probably look at racism against them in a lighter way.  I'm not talking about slavery.  That's a whole other ballgame.



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Reply #29 on: May 02, 2008, 04:47:42 PM
I really enjoyed the story. I'm genuinely surprised to see people A - offended at the depiction of racism and B - questioning whether it's intended in a tongue in cheek manner.

For the record, I'm of Irish descent myself.

I would compare the main character ("protagonist" just seems inappropriate in this circumstance) to the townspeople in Blazing Saddles. His attitude and casual disregard for those outside of his immediate social circle serve to identify him as a figure of fun. I'd say that he is much more the "target" of the piece than any of the supporting cast.



Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #30 on: May 03, 2008, 04:13:03 AM
I really enjoyed the story. I'm genuinely surprised to see people A - offended at the depiction of racism and B - questioning whether it's intended in a tongue in cheek manner.

For the record, I'm of Irish descent myself.

I would compare the main character ("protagonist" just seems inappropriate in this circumstance) to the townspeople in Blazing Saddles. His attitude and casual disregard for those outside of his immediate social circle serve to identify him as a figure of fun. I'd say that he is much more the "target" of the piece than any of the supporting cast.

I can certainly see that POV.  I've also learned, at the cost of a friendship, that you can't assume that the bigoted crap someone spews is meant to make fun of bigots.  When I laugh at Archie Bunker, I'm laughing at the stupidity of his beliefs; when some folks laugh at him, they are laughing because they think he's right.  If you assume your friend (or an author) is laughing for the same reasons you are, you may both be in for a shock down the road.

In the case of this story, I think the description of the main character certainly made him unsympathetic - he a manipulative moral vacuum with no respect for himself, and less for others.  It tells me that the author and I are probably on the same page (pun intended)... but I didn't like the story well enough to finish it, so I don't really know.

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Reply #31 on: September 24, 2009, 06:58:29 PM
Oh my goodness, this was hilarious.

"A den of Wanton buggery"

This was excellent, for it's sheer humor, but I think the satire is very, very pertinent today.  No-one has a real problem with the Irish in America anymore, but plenty of people have problems with plenty of other groups.  I also think that tales like these are a nice counter-balance to the natural tendency of humans to turn the past into "the good old days".

Still, I think the satire is back seat to the humor, and rightly so.  Humor is hard to write  and this piece had just the right tone and timing.  Well done.



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Reply #32 on: October 14, 2009, 04:36:03 PM
I listened to the sequel to this one more than a month before listening to this one.  That one I found boring and couldn't finish it, so I expected this one to be the same.  I gave it a shot nonetheless.

And this one really hit my funny bone.  The narrator is so unreliable as to wonder if any of these events happened in any form whatsoever.  If part of it did happen, this man is downright scary, burning down a building full of people and, rather than hiding it, he makes up a story and BRAGS about it. 

His POV is just so so so skewed, that each over-the-top description and event just serves to reveal his own ignorance that much more.  The part that particularly tickled my funny bone is when he kept on referring to the woman as "Old hag" long after he knew her name.  Who in their right mind would do that?  That reminded me a bit of King Arthur's meeting of Dennis in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  :)



Millenium_King

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Reply #33 on: July 28, 2010, 05:25:12 PM
I tried to get into this one, I really did, but I found I just couldn't stay with it.  I enjoyed it's tongue-in-cheek attitude and some of its over-the-top imagery, but I there was a lack of vigor in the narration and a lack of period accuracy in some of the language that kept me from really getting into it.

First, I thought the framing did little to help the story.  I know the "White Street Society" (har har - a little racist pun, perhaps?) is used to frame a series of these stories, I just don't felt it added anything.  If anything, it slowed the narration down.

(1) As "pulpy" as this story may have been, I would have preferred to see even more "front-loading" in it.  The framework describing the "hairy ghost" did not draw me in.  Contrast this with the intro to "Horror at Red Hook" where we are told quite clearly that a once proud man was reduced to an insane wreck.  In a story like this, where it's being told clearly after it had happened, I would have liked a little more teasing about the horror at the end - and a little less drawing room chatter.

(2) I actually felt this wasn't over-the-top enough to be truthful.  Not that I had a problem with all the "-isms" in this piece (racism, sexism etc.), but I think playing the humor even harder would have softened the blow.  I really wanted the narrator to say "Yes gentlemen, it was even more ghastly than the floating head of Kraka-duzm!" and someone to shout "Preposterous!" as their monocle pops out.

(3) I didn't note them all, but the language grew dangerously modern in some areas.  "revealing her gross anatomy" is not as period as "her grotesque anatomy."

Finally, everyone who thought this was too "racist" (or whatever) needs to relax.  It's a period satire and leaving that sort of stuff out would weaken it immensely.  They are not likeable characters and their racism serves to make them look foolish, not actually encourage discrimination.  I actually happen to be of Scotch-Irish descent and I laughed the whole time.

I was really very, very disappointed to see calls for censorship here of all places.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 06:32:26 PM by Millenium_King »

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Scattercat

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Reply #34 on: July 28, 2010, 05:28:05 PM
(3) I didn't note them all, but the language grew dangerously modern in some areas.  "revealing her gross anatomy" is not as period as "her grotesque anatomy."

"Gross anatomy" meaning "the entire body," not "the disgusting body."

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Fenrix

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Reply #35 on: December 22, 2011, 02:50:42 PM
I'm not sure how I failed to comment on this story. However, Unblinking manages to say everything I would want to, but better. One would get the impression he has a particular skill at wordsmithing.

And this one really hit my funny bone.  The narrator is so unreliable as to wonder if any of these events happened in any form whatsoever.  If part of it did happen, this man is downright scary, burning down a building full of people and, rather than hiding it, he makes up a story and BRAGS about it. 

His POV is just so so so skewed, that each over-the-top description and event just serves to reveal his own ignorance that much more.  The part that particularly tickled my funny bone is when he kept on referring to the woman as "Old hag" long after he knew her name.  Who in their right mind would do that?  That reminded me a bit of King Arthur's meeting of Dennis in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  :)


In closing, I do feel it necessary to highlight "her oleaginous chore". Great choice of words.

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Unblinking

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Reply #36 on: December 27, 2011, 03:54:30 PM
One would get the impression he has a particular skill at wordsmithing.

I try.  :)




Fenrix

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Reply #37 on: September 05, 2014, 06:41:35 PM
Anyone read this from the author? http://boingboing.net/2014/09/05/a-horror-novel-that-looks-like.html

It looks fascinating, and I already know I like Mr. Hendrix's twisted brand of satire.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”