Author Topic: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta  (Read 16182 times)

heyes

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2009, 07:33:39 AM »
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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Unblinking

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2009, 04:01:34 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: November 30, 2009, 08:31:24 PM »
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. 

eytanz

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2009, 02:15:38 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, 05:56:46 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!

deflective

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Re: Pseudopod 168: El Dentisto que Corta
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2009, 02:32:39 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, 05:11:42 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, 11:50:43 AM »
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, 12:26:06 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, 01:08:11 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, 03:00:57 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, 04:17:02 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, 01:48:11 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...