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Author Topic: PC032: Senator Bilbo  (Read 11623 times)
Anarkey
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« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2008, 06:42:29 PM »

I really liked this story, overall.  I did think it was a little too slow in places, and could have gotten to its final scene a little more quickly.  With my sample set of two for Duncan I'd say leisurely may be a stylistic marker for him.  I was happy with the use (or misuse, as some would have it) of political elements.  I am so happy Rachel made the comparison to Flannery O'Connor...that resonance was occurring for me but on a level just below my awareness, and when she said "Everything that Rises Must Converge" I went "Oh, yes.  Yes!" inside.  Southern Gothic in the Shire.  I'm so there. 

Like others, loved the gay trolls who can speak articulately but go out of their way to pretend in front of the wacko racist. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 06:45:42 PM by Anarkey » Logged

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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2008, 12:26:19 AM »

It didn't occur to me that the trolls were gay.  I don't remember the sex of either of them being specified, so when it was revealed that they were a mated couple, I just assumed that one was male and the other female, and the Distinguished Gentlehobbit just hadn't bothered to note that about them.
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DKT
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« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2008, 11:53:49 AM »

I think the tell was when the senator kept referring to them as his "boys."
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Listener
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« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2008, 09:09:34 AM »

I haven't read the thread yet or even had time to finish the story, but I really, REALLY don't like this one already (I have about nine minutes left in the MP3). It's like LOTR fanfic meets Strom Thurmond meets the Republicans meets that story on EP where the Liberals won and Wyoming is still a segregated land...

Too many ideas. Too much going on. Too slavish to LOTR. Stories inspired by, okay. Stories derivative of, not so much.

The reading is up to Frank Key's usual standards, but that's the only good thing. This story is a pastiche that, in my opinion, tries to hold a mirror up to the American political process and ends up smashing that mirror over our heads.

Sorry, Andy Duncan. I'll have to give this one a FAIL.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2008, 09:13:22 AM »

I think the tell was when the senator kept referring to them as his "boys."

Ah.  That got by me.  Maybe I wasn't liking the story enough to pay close attention.
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mt house
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« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2008, 03:26:35 PM »

Hilarious! Best podcastle yet! I was trying to do yoga at the same time and almost hurt myself I was laughing so hard!
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mt house
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« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2008, 08:28:36 PM »

wow, I just read the comment AFTER posting mine. LIGHTEN UP PEOPLE! This is SATIRE! My favorite form of story. Reading the posts reminds me of an e-mail I got (pre-election day) about Obama being "anti pledge of allegiance, and anti national anthem." It was all bogus, of course. It was a piece of satire that was eventually taken as fact and e-mailed with reckless abandon around the globe. The world needs more laughter, more Frank Key, and more FUNNY fantasy stories! Thank you Rachel!
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stePH
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« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2008, 04:58:44 PM »

Reading the posts reminds me of an e-mail I got (pre-election day) about Obama being "anti pledge of allegiance, and anti national anthem." !

So what if he is?  So am I.  It don't mean anything ....
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mt house
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« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2008, 12:37:11 PM »

The point isn't whether he is or isn't (although when you run for president, it's USUALLY a good idea to buy into that kind of stuff), the point is that it was a piece of satire written by a comedian journalist but it was taken as fact by some, well, gullible (to put it nicely) people.
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Zathras
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« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2008, 12:44:59 PM »

The point isn't whether he is or isn't (although when you run for president, it's USUALLY a good idea to buy into that kind of stuff), the point is that it was a piece of satire written by a comedian journalist but it was taken as fact by some, well, gullible (to put it nicely) people.

Wizard's First Rule:  "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true."
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eytanz
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« Reply #50 on: November 29, 2008, 01:00:54 PM »

The point isn't whether he is or isn't (although when you run for president, it's USUALLY a good idea to buy into that kind of stuff), the point is that it was a piece of satire written by a comedian journalist but it was taken as fact by some, well, gullible (to put it nicely) people.

Fair enough, but I should point out that most of us who didn't like this story understood very well that it is satire. Personally, I just think that it's pretty bad satire. I'm glad that it worked for you, but it's not usually a good idea to assume that just because someone doesn't share your taste in stories, they are stupid, which is what your first post seemed to say.
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mt house
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« Reply #51 on: November 29, 2008, 10:31:34 PM »

No No, come now, that's not what I meant. If you didn't LIKE it, OK. If you were OFFENDED by it, which a lot of listeners seemed to be, then you were taking it too seriously. Believe me, I've felt guilty about not finishing some escape pod podcasts because I don't feel I'm "smart enough" to enjoy it. This one just seemed to be the perfect mix for MY taste.
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JoeFitz
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« Reply #52 on: December 03, 2008, 06:46:46 PM »

No No, come now, that's not what I meant. If you didn't LIKE it, OK. If you were OFFENDED by it, which a lot of listeners seemed to be, then you were taking it too seriously. Believe me, I've felt guilty about not finishing some escape pod podcasts because I don't feel I'm "smart enough" to enjoy it. This one just seemed to be the perfect mix for MY taste.


I'm all in favour of satire, but, as here, it easily misses its mark because satire is extremely difficult to do well. The satirist who overplays her hand does so at her peril.

I thought this piece was so overplayed as to be offensive to the Middle Earth setting and the United States political "history".

I didn't seen any insightful commentary in this piece. Orcs are not "misunderstood" in the Middle Earth setting. There are plenty of characters and groups within Middle Earth who ARE misunderstood by Hobbits. Choosing one of them as the "immigrant" in a re-hash of US nativism might have been interesting, cute or even funny.
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Corydon
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« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2008, 09:01:32 AM »

I didn't seen any insightful commentary in this piece. Orcs are not "misunderstood" in the Middle Earth setting. There are plenty of characters and groups within Middle Earth who ARE misunderstood by Hobbits. Choosing one of them as the "immigrant" in a re-hash of US nativism might have been interesting, cute or even funny.

I think the point isn't that orcs are misunderstood, by hobbits or anybody else, in LOTR.  Tolkien makes it pretty clear that they are rotten to the core.  Rather, it's that Tolkien in LOTR offers an essentializing worldview (orcs are bad, by their very nature) that mirrors racist attitudes in our own world.  That's not a new critique of Tolkien, for what it's worth.

What is new about the story-- and you can take this or, as a lot of people have, leave it-- is importing the character of Sen. Theodore Bilbo into that critique.  I found that to be clever: I've always chuckled a little at Senator Bilbo's name, and I think the notion of importing a 1940's southern state house into the Shire is just plain funny.  I didn't take it as satire of our world; satirizing a long-dead figure is mostly pointless, and I don't think the picture painted is one that lines up too closely with 21st century America.  Rachel's reading of it as a character study a la Flannery O'Connor is much more convincing to me.
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izzardfan
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« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2009, 12:31:20 PM »

It didn't occur to me that the trolls were gay.  I don't remember the sex of either of them being specified, so when it was revealed that they were a mated couple, I just assumed that one was male and the other female, and the Distinguished Gentlehobbit just hadn't bothered to note that about them.

I felt the same way.  In fact, I thought to myself, "Oh, I guess I missed where it was mentioned that one was female."

I think the tell was when the senator kept referring to them as his "boys."

Ah.  That got by me.  Maybe I wasn't liking the story enough to pay close attention.

I noticed the "boys" reference but didn't make the connection later to, "Oh, that means they're gay."

I didn't much care for the story overall, but I'm not a Tolkein fan, and while I understood the reference to U.S. politics, I still felt the story was boring.
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MattArnold
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« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2009, 07:16:12 AM »

I enjoyed it. It brought to mind David Brin's Salon.com article on Tolkien as the enemy of modernity.

Why is "Senator Bilbo" so interesting to me as a critique of some of romanticism's more common foibles, while "Sweet, Savage Sorcerer" is not? Is it less obvious? Is it that this gives a second look to a work far more well-known than a romance paperback? Is it that the wish fulfillment of "Sweet, Savage Sorcerer" shows the harmless rosy side of romanticism without any downside, and "Senator Bilbo" illustrates the dark side of romantic elitism?

Or is it merely a reflection of me and the concerns of the people around me?
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #56 on: December 30, 2009, 04:24:08 PM »

I'm glad that I didn't listen to this one back when it originally came out, as I was in political overload listening to all my co-workers talk about politics non-stop, and refusing to listen to anyone's political opinions that conflict with their own.  (None of that is Podcastle's fault, of course)

I like when a story carries a message, but for me to like it the story has to come first.  The story has to exist as an entertaining story without considering the message, which in this case it did not.  Subtle political messages, sure, but this one carried a bludgeon (like the Moon over 1600, or whatever, at Pseudopod did).

And I disliked the Lord of the Rings usage for reasons others have already stated.  I think it was eytanz who said that it seemed more like it was written by someone who had heard of LotR than anyone who was really inspired by LotR.  So, instead of a tribute or a parody, it just struck me as swiping the famous character name simply to draw in the readers.

Rachel asked those who objected to the use of Tolkien here if they also objected to Maguire's Wicked.  I hated Wicked (the novel), but not at all for the same reasons as I disliked the LotR usage here.  I thought the idea for Wicked was pure genius.  It didn't try to make me love the Wicked Witch unconditionally, only to help me understand her, and it tried to do so while (mostly) not mucking around with the events of Baum's original story.  The trouble for me is that Baum's Witch didn't seem particularly evil, but Maguire convinces me that his version is truly a bad person especially with her actions towards the boy.  The play is an entirely different story from the novel (loved it!).  And since one of my two published stories is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz with some of the characters drastically altered, it's obvious that I can't knock anybody simply for using a pre-existing world (insert expression about throwing stones and glass houses).  Anyway, enough Oz ramble, though for those of you who might be interested, I wrote some editorials about Oz a while back.

Wizard vs. Witch:  Who's the Real Villain?
Examines the roles in Baum's original story--I'd say the Wizard is clearly the villain, despite popular.
http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=184

Wicked--Novel vs. Musical
http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=187
A joint review of both the musical and the novel, what I loved and what I hated.
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« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2012, 12:45:05 AM »

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of the reader. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

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