Author Topic: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta  (Read 16419 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« on: November 13, 2009, 04:54:30 AM »
Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta


By Mike Norris
Read by Ben Phillips

In lieu of an excerpt, we shall regale you with some correspondence between the author and Pseudopod’s chief editor.

From Mike Norris’s cover letter: I learned of an extraordinary occupation, wherein an ordinary Joe, toting only a bible and a pistol, could legally cross the southern border under the licenses of the U.S. physicians that accompanied him to perform free roadside surgical procedures right in the back of his van. I managed to track down one of these medical coyotes, and I wrangled an interview out of him, explaining that I was a writer interested in publishing a story about his fascinating mission. That much was true … If I’m to be damned for a story I’ve written, “El Dentisto que Corta” will be my one-way ticket to Hell.

Ben’s response: Dear Mike, Thank you for sending us “El Dentisto que Corta”. Yes, I’m pretty sure you are going to hell for writing it, and we’re probably going to join you because we’re going to produce it. …


Happy Friday the 13th!!!


Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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SCREAMINGMONKEY

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 01:12:23 AM »
First, Ben you are amazing, and sound awesome, as always.

Second, as someone who has worked as an EMT, OR Tech and had the awesome job of being a tissue procurement tech for an eye bank (basically this job was all about driving around in the middle of the night and extracting the corneas and sometimes the entire eye globe from deceased donors in morgues); I have to say this story creeped me out and I couldn’t listen after the first 15 minutes or so.  I am no stranger to blood, gore, dead people and medical procedures, but damn this story just creeped me out completely.

I kept shaking my head saying “No, no, no, he did not just do that….”

I’m going to have to get drunk and listen to the whole thing, I think that’s the only way I could handle it.

Excellent story, Pseudopod. Alasdair and Ben you rock.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 04:18:33 AM »
It's been a long time since a Pseudopod story made me feel this queasy.  There were a very high number of "Ew!" moments.  That combined with the destructive nastiness of the main character left me with a weird aftertaste.  That's not necessarily negative criticism.

I didn't have any idea what the point of the story was besides "incompetent healer rampages across Mexico leaving death in his wake".  Then I read the correspondence between the author and Ben Phillips quoted above.  Now I appreciate the story a bit better.
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MacArthurBug

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 01:17:35 PM »
I am deeply disturbed. I should have waited until full daylight to listen to a story with dentist in the title. So.. much.. ick. I actually LIKED this story. The dismissive attitude of The mc. The jibbering my brain was doing as the story went on (she was dead, how could he not know she was dead) The writing was excellent- giving me the heebie jeebies and making me squirm and actually PAUSE the story (I usually either listen through or stop all together) so I could take a breather. A lot of the horror from this - for me- was in the COULD be aspect. I'm not a compleatly ignorent American, just mostly, and I know that there ARE people like this in the world. The unsettling axspect of that alone is enough to make my skin crawl.

At least there wasn't a drill.
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empathy44

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 08:28:53 PM »
So, old school Mayan retribution at the end?

Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2009, 09:53:03 PM »
So, old school Mayan retribution at the end?
that's kinda what I was hoping for, but I don't think that's what happens.

awesome story
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

Sandikal

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2009, 11:15:14 PM »
What an ambiguous ending!  What a narcissistic narrator!  What a great reading!  There wasn't anything supernatural in this story, just the very real horror of one of the really, really horrible people that occupy our planet.  Whatever the villagers ended up doing to him, it was less than he deserved and less horrific than his "surgeries".

BenjCano

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2009, 08:43:32 PM »
I haven't had a chance to listen to the story yet, but I must chime in with a bit of a correction.

The story's title is "El Dentisto que Corta," which I believe the author meant as "The dentist who cuts."  But he ended the noun "Dentista" with an "o" to make it agree with the masculine article "el."  Normally in Spanish, nouns, adjectives, and articles have to agree in singular/plural nature as well as with masculine/feminine.

But "Dentista" is one of the few exceptions to that rule.  "Dentista" is both the masculine and feminine form of the noun, so the correct title of the story ought to be "El Dentista que Corta."  The masculine article would indicate that the dentist of the title was male.
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2009, 09:09:42 PM »
Wow this story was one of those that was horrific because it's so believably true as something that could or has happened.  Creepy! 

Such an unlikeable protagonist, and no character arc whatsoever, which would both usually cite complaints from me, but the writing was so well done and concept so horrific that these things didn't really bother me.

The worst part for me was imagining the operation that left the assistant eyeless, and now this boy follows hi mutilator around like he's his son.

What was that about a Mayan retribution?  Maybe I missed something at the ending.  All I saw was her "rewarding" him for his efforts in front of a crowd.  Was there something supernatural going on there that I missed?

Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2009, 09:22:52 PM »
I haven't had a chance to listen to the story yet, but I must chime in with a bit of a correction.

The story's title is "El Dentisto que Corta," which I believe the author meant as "The dentist who cuts."  But he ended the noun "Dentista" with an "o" to make it agree with the masculine article "el."  Normally in Spanish, nouns, adjectives, and articles have to agree in singular/plural nature as well as with masculine/feminine.

But "Dentista" is one of the few exceptions to that rule.  "Dentista" is both the masculine and feminine form of the noun, so the correct title of the story ought to be "El Dentista que Corta."  The masculine article would indicate that the dentist of the title was male.
yes, BUT you also have to realize that the main character doesn't speak a lick of Spanish, so in that respect bad Spanish is entirely excusable :)
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2009, 10:01:02 PM »
What was that about a Mayan retribution?  Maybe I missed something at the ending.  All I saw was her "rewarding" him for his efforts in front of a crowd.  Was there something supernatural going on there that I missed?

From the tone, I kinda figured the townsfolk were going to cut him to shreds.

gelee

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2009, 10:21:42 PM »
Wow.  That was just urk-tastic.  The "denstist's" blase dismissal of...well, everyone besides himself, was just jaw-dropping.  Wonderful story.  Kind of felt bad for his assistant, though.  Why do I get the feeling that the Dentist had something to do with the kind ending up blind?  Pink eye, maybe?

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2009, 03:11:08 AM »
Ben your reading is, as always, excellent. Bravo sir. Bravo. I have been listening to older pseudopod stories and love the way you breath life (or death?) in to the narrative. 
The worst thing that could plausibly happen to anyone would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me even though I did not want to be used by anybody.

Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2009, 04:49:56 AM »
Pink eye, maybe?
more like dust in the eye.
"I'll get it out for you"


side note edit: post 1800! :)
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2009, 07:59:51 AM »
I kept shaking my head saying “No, no, no, he did not just do that….”


This quote completely sums up my experience. I am sure the other people at the market thought I was mad, as I wandered the store in my rain soaked trench coat... gibbering to myself.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2009, 04:03:19 PM »
Wow.  That was just urk-tastic.  The "denstist's" blase dismissal of...well, everyone besides himself, was just jaw-dropping.  Wonderful story.  Kind of felt bad for his assistant, though.  Why do I get the feeling that the Dentist had something to do with the kind ending up blind?  Pink eye, maybe?


I think he said pretty much straight out that he was responsible.  Something along the lines of mentioning when he looked at the kid who is not merely blind but has no eyes at all, and mentions that eye surgery is the one thing best left to experts.  So I'm guessing he slipped and butchered the kids eyes by mistake and had to remove them entirely.

MacArthurBug

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2009, 05:55:44 PM »
I kept shaking my head saying “No, no, no, he did not just do that….”


This quote completely sums up my experience. I am sure the other people at the market thought I was mad, as I wandered the store in my rain soaked trench coat... gibbering to myself.

Yes! You'd think I'd have learned not to listen to EA stories in public- but I often end up publically embarrising myself by responding to something I'm hearing and getting funny looks.
Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2009, 02:01:23 AM »
Here's a rule:

Non-visual input doesn't get to me. Ever. I read and listen a lot, and enjoy the creepy stories, but they never creep me out, make me respond.

Until now.

Wow. Just, wow. I really enjoyed this story. I won't listen to it again, but I really enjoyed it. The writing was excellent and the reading really brought it to life.

This is the way a scary story should be done. This kind of quality is why I read and listen.
I read, therefore I am...happy.

MacBean

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2009, 08:04:11 AM »
All I can say is: Hell, yes.

I have really limited space, so I don't keep many podcasts after listening to them. This one's here to stay, though.
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2009, 10:15:28 PM »
I crammed all my comments into the donation box, but here goes:

This is an offering to Pseudopod towers to make me stop thinking about "El Dentisto que Corta." Please. Seriously, jaw dropping, blank-stare horrifying story, brilliantly read by Ben. "Love like Thunder" was 'merely' fascinating, and I was really impressed and had made a mental note to donate, and then bam. Just, what the hell. Oh my god no I don't know where to begin on how wrong all of that story is and that's the point. Thank you.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2009, 03:55:48 AM »
Jesus Christ!

I've had some stories that creeped me out since I started listening to Pseudopod, but this one takes the cake!

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2009, 04:44:47 PM »
What an incredibly twisted story. Made all the better by Ben's nonchalant narration. Well done all around.

So, old school Mayan retribution at the end?

Oh, yeah. I'm pretty sure that's where the story was going, what with the not-quite Reptillian description of the girl and Cesar's kicking legs beneath a crowd of the Mayan kids.

Kind of felt bad for his assistant, though.  Why do I get the feeling that the Dentist had something to do with the kind ending up blind?  Pink eye, maybe?

I think at one point in the story he says something like, "Proof that occular surgery should be left to the professionals and not me." So my reading would be that yeah, he cut out the kids eyes for some reason.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2009, 06:27:14 PM »
Yesterday I couldn't stop thinking about this story, today I can barely remember any of the details.

Trauma in action, folks.

Oh god that was it. That was the most implicitly horrifying thing about the entire story, and nobody mentioned it and I wanted to shake you all and shout it-- as horrifyingly incompetent as this guy was, he left a blind child to sew it up.

Think about it or rather don't.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2009, 09:27:17 PM »
What was that about a Mayan retribution?  Maybe I missed something at the ending.  All I saw was her "rewarding" him for his efforts in front of a crowd.  Was there something supernatural going on there that I missed?

Oh, there is NO way that guy is surviving that night.  He killed his patient, he's too drunk/stupid to realize it, he's being surrounded by guys with knives...  My favorite part of this story is when the crone comes, probably to officially condemn him, and she laughs derisively at him.  He assumes she's making a little joke about having no teeth, and he smiles and claps.  At that point, she places her hand on his cheek, and there's this little tender moment as she seems to genuinely pity him for what's about to happen to him.  I like to think what's going through her head is, "Wow.  You really have no idea what's going on right now, do you?  You're actually just a complete and total moron.  How tragic your life must have been.  Not that this is going to stop us from making you die horribly."  That's the wisdom of old age, shining across a cultural and linguistic gap.  It's rather beautiful, really.

Thanks very much for the kind words about the narration, everyone.  Glad you "enjoyed" the story.  I love sharing special things like this with the world.

yicheng

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2009, 02:30:14 PM »
Great story! 

Just one minor quibble.  Please for chrissakes, it's Tempeee (with an Eee at the end) not Tempeh like the preserved soybean food.  Something about you Escape Artist narrators and your instance on mispronouncing the name of that town.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempe,_Arizona

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2009, 04:03:39 PM »
Oh, there is NO way that guy is surviving that night.  He killed his patient, he's too drunk/stupid to realize it, he's being surrounded by guys with knives...  My favorite part of this story is when the crone comes, probably to officially condemn him, and she laughs derisively at him.  He assumes she's making a little joke about having no teeth, and he smiles and claps.  At that point, she places her hand on his cheek, and there's this little tender moment as she seems to genuinely pity him for what's about to happen to him.  I like to think what's going through her head is, "Wow.  You really have no idea what's going on right now, do you?  You're actually just a complete and total moron.  How tragic your life must have been.  Not that this is going to stop us from making you die horribly."  That's the wisdom of old age, shining across a cultural and linguistic gap.  It's rather beautiful, really.

I think a missed a couple details, but that makes total sense, and I like the story even better with that ending!

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2009, 10:14:09 PM »
Please for chrissakes, it's Tempeee (with an Eee at the end) not Tempeh like the preserved soybean food.  Something about you Escape Artist narrators and your instance on mispronouncing the name of that town.

Yes, we insist on mispronouncing everything we can.  And just so I can keep avoiding the correct pronunciations...  Can someone point me at a site with a comprehensive listing of place name pronunciations, other than Wikipedia whose pronunciation scheme I find time-consumingly inscrutable?  Googling, e.g., "pronounce sheboygan" is not always as effective as you might hope, apart from wikipedia.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2009, 04:33:41 AM »
Thank you for everything, gang.  You're the best.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2009, 10:19:37 PM »
What a squirm-in-my-buss-seat story.  Nice.  That little real-world tidbit about these "coyote" surgeons roaming Central America is such a great, gory gem I found myself thinking, "Damn...I wish I discovered that!"

The character's narcissistic inability to see how wrong his actions are reminded me of the narrator's inability to see how crazy he is in "The Tell Tale Heart" and worked so well for similar reasons.

Ben's feeling on the ending and the crone were similar to my reactions while listening.  I don't think this guy's surviving the night.  But the ambiguity left to that is beautiful.  First of all, it's far scarier, to me than if the dentist's fate was described (particularly the image of his assistant lying on the ground, legs twitching up in the air and imagining why....shiver!).  Plus, it's ambiguous enough to possibly interpret a different ending--they just party for the night, and the dentist wakes up the next day and starts the whole process over again (also a chilling possibility).  So I get two endings for the price of one, depending on what strata of horror I wish to meditate on in a given moment.

Nicely done.  And another example of why "rules" like sympathetic characters and character-development arcs are limiting things to get hung up on.
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2009, 06:03:37 PM »
Yes, we insist on mispronouncing everything we can.  And just so I can keep avoiding the correct pronunciations...  Can someone point me at a site with a comprehensive listing of place name pronunciations, other than Wikipedia whose pronunciation scheme I find time-consumingly inscrutable?  Googling, e.g., "pronounce sheboygan" is not always as effective as you might hope, apart from wikipedia.

http://phoenix.about.com/cs/phoenixfactsfun/ht/pronounceplaces.htm

The first links from:

http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=how+to+pronounce+tempe&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

No need to get defensive.  Maybe I touched on a nerve, but this isn't the first time I wrote about mispronouncing 'Tempe'.  Honestly, it's so weird that Escape Artist readers are the only people that I've ever heard consistently mis-pronouncing that word.  I usually figured that if the jocks from ESPN know how to pronounce it, everyone else in the country has to.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2009, 01:02:31 AM »
Thanks for the links, and sorry about the defensiveness.  I was kind of hoping for a more general reference site, but perhaps it's just not out there.  All the ones I can find are limited to some smaller geographical region like a state or a country.  I guess I just need to build a collection!

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2009, 03:38:22 AM »
Great creepfest.

Oh, there is NO way that guy is surviving that night.  He killed his patient, he's too drunk/stupid to realize it, he's being surrounded by guys with knives...  My favorite part of this story is when the crone comes, probably to officially condemn him, and she laughs derisively at him.  He assumes she's making a little joke about having no teeth, and he smiles and claps.  At that point, she places her hand on his cheek, and there's this little tender moment as she seems to genuinely pity him for what's about to happen to him.  I like to think what's going through her head is, "Wow.  You really have no idea what's going on right now, do you?  You're actually just a complete and total moron.  How tragic your life must have been.  Not that this is going to stop us from making you die horribly."  That's the wisdom of old age, shining across a cultural and linguistic gap.  It's rather beautiful, really.


I think a missed a couple details, but that makes total sense, and I like the story even better with that ending!
Actually, I found this part to be kind of jarring and took me out of the story.  I agree with Ben's interpretation of what was about to happen, but if he had just killed a girl of the village, I don't think the other villagers would be laughing at him.  They would be sad or angry.

Also, though it wasn't inappropriate for the story, I Alisdair's outtro pulled me away from the story and into an imagined debate about health care reform. 

But other than those two pretty minor point I thought it was a great ep.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2009, 05:10:43 PM »
The Lovecraftian ending (specifically because Lovecraft associated Cthulhu with people of color and working class people because he was a classist and a racist and was expressing his fear that way) and the fact that the indigenous characters didn't get to be well, characters, just to stand in for a mass of people for us to pity both really turned me off.

I listened all the way through.

I was glad it was a nice way to weave in discussing healthcare reform.

But really, I didn't take much away.

Even the main character wasn't creepy, just an exaggerated stereotypical serial killer like person....amoral, abused, warped in the usual ways.

I don't watch slasher movies, but I've listened to some very graphic Pseudopod stories all the way through. And to be honest, this one didn't engage me. I had a hard time caring. I got angry, but that was it. And that was mostly at the well-meaning racial insensitivity.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2009, 06:21:34 PM »
Quote
The Lovecraftian ending (specifically because Lovecraft associated Cthulhu with people of color and working class people because he was a classist and a racist and was expressing his fear that way) and the fact that the indigenous characters didn't get to be well, characters, just to stand in for a mass of people for us to pity both really turned me off.

I'd disagree with this, although I guess it comes down to definitions.  The portrayal of the poverty stricken natives without individualized characters doesn't strike me as a racist because of the 1st person narration - The narrator doesn't see them as individualized, but the entire story is about what a clueless, ego-driven wanker he is and he's our only source of observation.  Minor side details never portray them as acting either as clueless savages (The whole scenario is not just an attempt at luring him into becoming a sacrifice for the godless heathens - they really thought he would help) nor clueless noble savages (honorably shrugging their shoulders and chalking it all up to the circle of life, or whatever - they are exacting revenge for being taken advantage of - probably more justice than they'd get in the local courts and undeniably human and not noble).  I certainly wasn't pitying them in the end.

As for Lovecraft - while undeniably racist (Michel Houellebecq's H.P. LOVECRAFT: AGAINST THE WORLD, AGAINST LIFE is still the monumentally definitive work on the topic), and undeniably later repentent (not that matters in the least to the observation for story concerns - we're not here to judge the man, just to see how this attitude informs his work), the perceived racism doesn't strike me as "Lovecraftian" - non-whites in Lovecraft are generally used to symbolize his fears of miscengenation or in a more general sense, to project the "other" as atavistic, implying both a bestial savagery and openness to horrid, ancient wisdom.  Sure, there's savagery here but as I said above, nothing to imply that the natives are somehow wiser or tapping some ancient power.  Seems like good old "eye-for-an-eye" to me.

I also wouldn't characterize the narrator as a "serial killer" - he doesn't strike me as an unempathizing, amoral, sociopath, just a dolt who's absolutely convinced he's capable of doing anything he sets his mind to.  Technically, wrong or not, he believes he's "helping" these people and that doesn't strike me as the mind set of a sociopath.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 03:37:17 PM by Sgarre1 »

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2009, 03:23:27 AM »
...and the fact that the indigenous characters didn't get to be well, characters, just to stand in for a mass of people for us to pity both really turned me off.
...
I was glad it was a nice way to weave in discussing healthcare reform.
...
Even the main character wasn't creepy, just an exaggerated stereotypical serial killer like person....amoral, abused, warped in the usual ways.

I don't watch slasher movies, but I've listened to some very graphic Pseudopod stories all the way through. And to be honest, this one didn't engage me.

They weren't standing in for a mass of people. They WERE a mass of people. And THAT was the character. In this case, the group was a character in the story. No need for individuals here. And no need for pity. That's not what they are there for. They are those who don't know, but wise up in the end and get theirs. If I am not mistaken, that's a paraphrase for one of those 3 or 4 basic plots The Ely mentions in some of his in/outros.

I didn't see any typical serial killer in the story. Just an arrogant idiot. Take away the knives and I know people just like him.

Personally, I don't want The Pods to go into politics. I listen for enjoyment. If I wanted politics, I would listen to talk radio.

Slasher movies don't compare to Pseudopod very well, so judge them on their separate merits.

As to this story not doing it for you, that's what makes the world great. If two people are the same, one of them is not necessary. The next story may be the best thing in the world for you and bore me to tears.
I read, therefore I am...happy.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2009, 08:21:31 AM »
If two people are the same, one of them is not necessary. The next story may be the best thing in the world for you and bore me to tears.

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nevermore_66

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2009, 07:30:54 PM »
Yeah, just not seeing the pent up, subconscious racism there - well-meaning or otherwise.

And I have to agree that the masses of faceless people are a product of the perceptions of the first person narrator.

And even pressing that further, I do not believe that the main flaw of this character is racism.  It's not even malice, not even subconscious, hidden malice (where he's punishing someone for a perceived slight and letting his conscience dress it up as something noble).  His main flaw is pure narcissism and the complete inability to experience empathy or see outside his own head long enough to see what hideously horrendous shit he's perpetuating.  He'd be cutting up white people too, if he could.  This is the place and these are the people he gets away with it with (too many "with's"?).  Everyone of any demographic belongs to one giant, faceless mass to this character because he doesn't consider anything outside of himself.

An artificially inflated, forced, didactic social conscience in fiction writing does not make those social issues any better...it just makes the fiction worse.
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2009, 08:17:43 PM »
The Lovecraftian ending (specifically because Lovecraft associated Cthulhu with people of color and working class people because he was a classist and a racist and was expressing his fear that way) and the fact that the indigenous characters didn't get to be well, characters, just to stand in for a mass of people for us to pity both really turned me off.

I listened all the way through.

I was glad it was a nice way to weave in discussing healthcare reform.

But really, I didn't take much away.

Even the main character wasn't creepy, just an exaggerated stereotypical serial killer like person....amoral, abused, warped in the usual ways.

I don't watch slasher movies, but I've listened to some very graphic Pseudopod stories all the way through. And to be honest, this one didn't engage me. I had a hard time caring. I got angry, but that was it. And that was mostly at the well-meaning racial insensitivity.

Sorry the outro didn't work for you.  The health care thing's an interesting one as, on this side of the pond, it's not a political issue at all.  Or rather, it's the sort of political issue that people agree on the basics of and nothing else. 

That being said, and this is a genuine question, what would you have liked the intro to be about?  There's genuinely no front to this I'm just curious as to what lies in the overlap of the following Venn diagram:

STUFF IN AL'S HEAD RELATED TO THE STORY

STUFF LISTENERS WOULD LIKE DISCUSSED

oddpod

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2009, 08:54:03 PM »
can we just unscreew the top of al's head and rumige round inside !!
kind of like an idears pick-and-mixs !!!

card carying dislexic and  gramatical revolushonery

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2009, 09:52:33 PM »
That being said, and this is a genuine question, what would you have liked the intro to be about?  There's genuinely no front to this I'm just curious as to what lies in the overlap of the following Venn diagram:

STUFF IN AL'S HEAD RELATED TO THE STORY

STUFF LISTENERS WOULD LIKE DISCUSSED

I'll happily go with STUFF IN AL'S HEAD RELATED TO THE STORY.

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2009, 12:33:39 PM »
This was great little romp.  The horror factor for me is that this would fit so well into that post-apocalyptic genre that is supposed be just around the corner, and the fact that this could just be a straight up modern day narrative (rather than a work of fiction).
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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2009, 09:01:34 PM »
That being said, and this is a genuine question, what would you have liked the intro to be about?  There's genuinely no front to this I'm just curious as to what lies in the overlap of the following Venn diagram:

STUFF IN AL'S HEAD RELATED TO THE STORY

STUFF LISTENERS WOULD LIKE DISCUSSED

I like the intros pretty much as they are, sometimes with stuff from your history, or from pop culture, or whatever, that relate to the story.

I like Pseudopod's intros better than Podcastle's, because they are of more general interest.  Podcastle's tend to get a little long because it's giving too many details of the author/reader's publishing history rather than philosophizing.  For publishing history I like just a quick sentence or two about that "They've been published here and here and have a book coming out in January." kind of thing.

Also, I love your accent, so even when the intro is of less interest, that alone is entertaining to me.  :D

wakela

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2009, 01:31:24 AM »
Sorry the outro didn't work for you.  The health care thing's an interesting one as, on this side of the pond, it's not a political issue at all.  Or rather, it's the sort of political issue that people agree on the basics of and nothing else. 

That being said, and this is a genuine question, what would you have liked the intro to be about?  There's genuinely no front to this I'm just curious as to what lies in the overlap of the following Venn diagram:

STUFF IN AL'S HEAD RELATED TO THE STORY

STUFF LISTENERS WOULD LIKE DISCUSSED

In general I like the ol' in-out on Pseudopod, and I actually look forward to them.  This one just seemed too political.  Maybe that's because I'm American, and the words "universal", "health", and "care" are rarely followed by anything that doesn't set my teeth grinding.  Your story about your relative receiving fast, quality care seemed like the numerous accounts of how great the British system is and how America should seek to emulate it.  But I caught myself, because the outtro was still appropriate to the story, and if it had been about any other advantage of living in the developed world I wouldn't have noticed.

Whether or not it was a political statement, I don't think Pseudopod is getting too politicized in general.  In short, don't change a thing. 

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2009, 07:15:38 AM »

In general I like the ol' in-out on Pseudopod, and I actually look forward to them.  This one just seemed too political.  Maybe that's because I'm American, and the words "universal", "health", and "care" are rarely followed by anything that doesn't set my teeth grinding.  Your story about your relative receiving fast, quality care seemed like the numerous accounts of how great the British system is and how America should seek to emulate it.  But I caught myself, because the outtro was still appropriate to the story, and if it had been about any other advantage of living in the developed world I wouldn't have noticed.

So, there's a part of you who doesn't want to hear a British person talk about life in Britain because some of it is relevant to a political debate in America? I find that fascinating as an insight to human nature, and to the nature of the internet. There's a big difference about an American politician saying things in the media about the British health care system - either positive or negative - than a British person saying the same things to a British audience. The assumptions are different, the perspective is different - lots of things that can be left unsaid in Britain because everyone has experience with the system in question may be very important to the political debate in the US, and leaving them out when talking in the US can skew the discussion in a way it won't in the UK. Plus, of course, everything is couched in fact that the two countries are simply different on a cultural level, and not everything that is right for the US is right for the UK or vice versa. But all this becomes so much more complicated once you introduce media like Pseudopod to the mix - a truly international medium, but not a directed one - Alasdair isn't talking to Americans here, specifically, and he is not making the adjustments you get when a diplomat or a lecturer is specifically trying to talk to a different culture. He is talking from his POV, and we are all percieving it from our own POVs, and a lot of interesting stuff gets lost - or added - in translation, even though the language is the same.


(Disclaimer - I'm not trying to say anything about health care. I'm intrigued by how political discourse is becoming more complicated in an age where the internet makes communication global)


simplewhimsy

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2009, 10:56:46 PM »
New listener here!

To me what I found really creepy overall was the man's assertions that Jesus and God were backing him up on this.  Constantly he'd go back to how Jesus had saved him and it was thanks to God that he was able to perform such wonderful works.  People who think and talk like that while doing something so cut and dry bad to another person seriously creep me.

As for the boy, I wondered a bit if our dear dentist wasn't trying to harvest his eyeballs to sell on the black market, much as I presume he was doing the same with the girl's kidney(s?).

I loved how the end was written.  So often when intoxicated (by alcohol or even just when on a natural high) you do lose the depth perception, and things just sort of float away from you, so you get vague impressions of things and events going on.  Even without the alcohol, that's how I picture the dentist wandering through life, he's just disconnected from everything.  And it fit so well with my impression of the Mayan people, left to their traditional culture without much outside influence, just as the dentist had left such outside influence behind as he traipsed further and further in (which, from the sound of the narrative seems like he was going further and further back in time, away from the gentler sort of culture that is the Mayan peoples now and back to the ancient mayans, so that it is laughable that he declares himself a god -- even if it is to himself in his musing.  Who is he to stand up to any of their old gods, for whom blood flowed freely?).  Ancient Mayans did not treat their prisoners kindly.

In the end, I found the story very interesting in that remote staring-at-the-spider-on-the-wall-in-fascination-even-though-it-grosses-you-out kind of way.  Live by the sword, die by the sword kind of thing.  A strange sort of justice.  Kudos to the reader as well, great job!

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2009, 07:32:39 AM »
this hit a sensitive spot with me.  both the betrayal of trust and the strong taking advantage of the weak are sensitive points in my psyche so this story was maybe a little too effective.

Can someone point me at a site with a comprehensive listing of place name pronunciations, other than Wikipedia whose pronunciation scheme I find time-consumingly inscrutable?

you can try dictionary.com which has a surprising number of place names and uses the easier to understand phonetic spelling instead of the international pronunciation alphabet.

but hopefully wikipedia is gonna get better.  after your comment i rewrote the ipa template so that it has mouseovers describing how to pronounce each character (you can take a look at it in tempe).  it takes a while for a change like this to work through wikipedia's bureaucracy but hopefully it'll make pronunciations useful to the average user.

anybody who takes a look at the template and has comments i'd love to hear them (direct messages would be best).  we've gotta work with language geeks so it's not going to be completely targeted at laymen (that's why some mouseovers have comments like 'short i' or 'schwa e') but at least we get an example word for each sound.

anything that you can think of that will make it easier to understand we can look including.

Ben Phillips

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2009, 10:11:42 PM »
but hopefully wikipedia is gonna get better.  after your comment i rewrote the ipa template so that it has mouseovers describing how to pronounce each character (you can take a look at it in tempe).

Wow, that's pretty nifty I think.  Huge improvement!

Bdoomed

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2009, 04:50:43 PM »
you work for wikipedia?  I mean I know anyone can edit stuff but I don't know the exact allowances about that...
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?

goatkeeper

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2009, 05:26:06 PM »
What was that about a Mayan retribution?  Maybe I missed something at the ending.  All I saw was her "rewarding" him for his efforts in front of a crowd.  Was there something supernatural going on there that I missed?

Oh, there is NO way that guy is surviving that night.  He killed his patient, he's too drunk/stupid to realize it, he's being surrounded by guys with knives...  My favorite part of this story is when the crone comes, probably to officially condemn him, and she laughs derisively at him.  He assumes she's making a little joke about having no teeth, and he smiles and claps.  At that point, she places her hand on his cheek, and there's this little tender moment as she seems to genuinely pity him for what's about to happen to him.  I like to think what's going through her head is, "Wow.  You really have no idea what's going on right now, do you?  You're actually just a complete and total moron.  How tragic your life must have been.  Not that this is going to stop us from making you die horribly."  That's the wisdom of old age, shining across a cultural and linguistic gap.  It's rather beautiful, really.

Thanks very much for the kind words about the narration, everyone.  Glad you "enjoyed" the story.  I love sharing special things like this with the world.

I really wanted to interpret the ending this way.  In fact, I listened to the ending twice hoping I would, but it just seems too ambiguous. 

The Mayans are the ones that come across as complete and total morons (most horrifying moment in the story-- when the girl gets fingered briefly before being knocked out again, and the villagers around her just look at each other curiously as if to say "the white man knows what he's doing-- he's white!)
The ambiguity in the ending is masterful-- villagers raise blades and bottles-- ritual killing or celebration?  Why the unbuttoning of pants?  Caesar's shaking leg-- is he getting a handy too or are they disemboweling the poor blind child?
I think you could make a case that this ambiguity weakened the ending, but even so I appreciate how well he pulled it off.

And ya, kick ass reading.  I got to freeonlinedictionary.com for my pronunciation issues.

eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2009, 06:08:11 PM »
I really wanted to interpret the ending this way.  In fact, I listened to the ending twice hoping I would, but it just seems too ambiguous. 


I really don't think there's anything ambiguous about the ending. I mean, I could see your point, if the entire story hadn't been designed to establish that the narrator has no ability to tell what the hell is going on around him. The fact that he's interpreting it one way more or less assures us that the opposite is true.

goatkeeper

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2009, 08:00:57 PM »
I really wanted to interpret the ending this way.  In fact, I listened to the ending twice hoping I would, but it just seems too ambiguous. 


I really don't think there's anything ambiguous about the ending. I mean, I could see your point, if the entire story hadn't been designed to establish that the narrator has no ability to tell what the hell is going on around him. The fact that he's interpreting it one way more or less assures us that the opposite is true.

It's a good point, but the Mayans are aso established as being unable to tell what is going on around them.  They don't have a clue-- just because he's a got a medical book they sit back and watch him remove organs, snip her innards arbitrarily, finger rape her and then pour tequila in her body cavity.   Their faith in him is as blind as poor Caesar's.
I couldn't quite buy them saying "oh no, she's dead!  let's exact vengeance!" after they were just oblivious enough to allow/watch him do all of it.


eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2009, 09:17:02 PM »
I really wanted to interpret the ending this way.  In fact, I listened to the ending twice hoping I would, but it just seems too ambiguous. 


I really don't think there's anything ambiguous about the ending. I mean, I could see your point, if the entire story hadn't been designed to establish that the narrator has no ability to tell what the hell is going on around him. The fact that he's interpreting it one way more or less assures us that the opposite is true.

It's a good point, but the Mayans are aso established as being unable to tell what is going on around them.  They don't have a clue-- just because he's a got a medical book they sit back and watch him remove organs, snip her innards arbitrarily, finger rape her and then pour tequila in her body cavity.   Their faith in him is as blind as poor Caesar's.

That's not the impression I got from the story. The impression I got was that they were passive, but observant - they were basically waiting to see what he was doing. And note that the ending suggests (though I don't think it is clear on this) that the girl-demon was summoned in the body of the girl he was working on. I got the impression that they basically were thinking "he's killed her, lets wait until he moves away and then she can get her revenge" - and since there were indications that they sacrifice humans to their gods, maybe the girl was doomed anyway.
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Jim Bihyeh

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #52 on: December 11, 2009, 06:48:11 PM »

Yes, I also felt the patients (and victims) were as passive as any of Conrad's Africans in "Heart of Darkness." This is necessary for the protagonist's con, of course, though it seemed a little odd that their rituals would come back to "get" the white, Christian witch-doctor (a neat reversal here) when they didn't seem to have much of a presence earlier. I don't know if that's the writer's fault, seeing as how the DENTISTO doesn't speak Spanish and has never bothered to learn, so there's no way the Mayans would be communicating with him.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the horror that played out here. It felt real, visceral, and shocking. I believed - by the end - that this self-serving prick has many cousins in the Third World operating their rusty saws as I sit here typing on this forum...
The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own. But as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea...