Author Topic: EP237: Roadside Rescue  (Read 26462 times)

eytanz

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Reply #75 on: February 21, 2010, 10:06:30 AM
the weird part is how the alien, and his driver, *want* ethan to realize that his fear was producing pleasure to the alien. this is why the discussion about sex vs. gender, and the insisting on money at the end. if ethan would have never been told what is the purpose of the whole thing, and (surely) if he would have not been physically assaulted, then i think there would have been no problem.

but why would the alien insist on him knowing? that was actually the condemnable part.


I interpreted it differently - the alien didn't care one way or another, but the driver wanted Etan to know what was going on. Probably as a rather misguided attempt at self-justification, where he feels that explaining to people somehow makes what he was doing better.



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Reply #76 on: February 22, 2010, 05:27:03 PM
the weird part is how the alien, and his driver, *want* ethan to realize that his fear was producing pleasure to the alien. this is why the discussion about sex vs. gender, and the insisting on money at the end. if ethan would have never been told what is the purpose of the whole thing, and (surely) if he would have not been physically assaulted, then i think there would have been no problem.

but why would the alien insist on him knowing? that was actually the condemnable part.



Maybe that's the alien's OTHER fetish--the creepy "I need to shower" reaction. 



Cadigan

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Reply #77 on: February 23, 2010, 09:16:55 PM
I've just read four pages of responses to this story and it's been a truly gratifying experience.

I wrote this story to raise questions. I don't know all the answers; I know what I think is right according to my own ethical and moral code. But one size doesn't fit all. An experience some people brush off as forgettable can be significant and/or disturbing to other people. Two people can encounter each other--for one, it's nothing special and for the other, it's a life-changing moment. One person's erotica is another person's belly-laugh...or theology. Pornography is in the eye of the beholder...but what if the beholder doesn't perceive with eyes?

If something happened to you and you felt raped, but everything in the world, including the law, said you hadn't been, what is your recourse? Where can you turn to for understanding? How do you recover?

When I first wrote this story, I was actually thinking of Robert Sheckley's story, "Untouched By Human Hands," in which two humans are searching a warehouse on an alien planet--ravenously hungry, they're trying to find something to eat. First, they work from the hypothesis of one person's meat being another's poison. But after discovering that the aliens' food and poison are both poison for them, they look for yet another alternative. They do find one, but I'm not going to tell you what it is.

Thanks to all of you for your reactions. I appreciate them.



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Reply #78 on: February 24, 2010, 03:30:56 PM
If something happened to you and you felt raped, but everything in the world, including the law, said you hadn't been, what is your recourse? Where can you turn to for understanding? How do you recover?

I always like when the author drops in.  :)  This question you mentioned is an interesting addition.  Society would probably dismiss such a person as eccentric or insane, and any justice would be left to that person to carry out themselves--the retribution itself would be seen as further proof of insanity, thus confirming people's suspicions. 

(I did just watch Shutter Island last night, so I may be riffing on that a bit)  :)



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Reply #79 on: February 24, 2010, 08:44:01 PM
Moral discussion aside, I think the fact that this little story has generated so much discussion is a testament to the author.

I especially liked the extended awkwardness of the ending. If you live long enough to experience a situation that is so completely beyond your control -- and I'm not talking about sex, just life occurrences in general -- that you can only submit and ride the tide and may never really achieve a resolution, then you can appreciate that awkward moment. "Should I be mad?" "Was I just an unwitting victim to something?" "Does it matter?"

In the end, the morals don't matter anyway. 'Violation' is purely subjective, and subjective from each side. If I have sex with my wife at every opportunity and go into it feeling as though it's all about me and I don't care what she gets out of it, then I am violating her. By many of the definitions in the preceding discussion I am raping her. However, if from her point of view she gets out of it what she wants, then she is not being violated, but rather gratified.

Screaming 'rape' in the absence of such both gives unnecessary weight to a non-crime and diminishes the deserved attention of actual violations. In that case, the screamer is the criminal and deserves to be harshly punished.



tinroof

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Reply #80 on: February 25, 2010, 04:40:29 PM
Screaming 'rape' in the absence of such both gives unnecessary weight to a non-crime and diminishes the deserved attention of actual violations. In that case, the screamer is the criminal and deserves to be harshly punished.

Because the risk of prosecution if no one believes them is really going to help victims feel comfortable with reporting their abusers.



Talia

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Reply #81 on: February 25, 2010, 05:10:49 PM
Screaming 'rape' in the absence of such both gives unnecessary weight to a non-crime and diminishes the deserved attention of actual violations. In that case, the screamer is the criminal and deserves to be harshly punished.

Because the risk of prosecution if no one believes them is really going to help victims feel comfortable with reporting their abusers.

Well, people who maliciously file false reports should absolutely be punished. Its a criminal act with the potential to destroy the other person's life. You can't just let that go.

And people do, in fact, do this. Here's one rather mind boggling example:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0128101cigs1.html

As far as I know its only in the cases where its very clear the woman was lying that she is charged with anything, as in this example, which is as it should be.



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Reply #82 on: March 04, 2010, 12:31:37 AM
Whether it was rape or not, the story thoroughly creeped me out and left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. 

I don't know if it was the author's intention to inspire nausea.  If so, then the story was a success, if a rather unpleasant one.

I doubt it, though.



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Reply #83 on: March 04, 2010, 12:35:41 AM
Hmm, i wonder if we put up a poll with the options "I am a female and was disturbed by this story", "I am a female and was not disturbed by this story", and the same for "I am a male...", how the percentages would work out.  I'm thinking that more females would be disturbed by the story, even though the victim in the story was a male, due to women in human cultures tending to be victims of assault more than men. 

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elleasea

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Reply #84 on: March 12, 2010, 05:51:23 PM
Wow!  I had no idea there was such an interesting discussion board on here!  I just came on to see why there hadn't been any new episodes lately, I may have to come back to get in on these convos!

I'd like to briefly chime in about what I thought about the story.

I am really grateful that this story is opening up a conversation about "what is rape?" in a culture that seldom has the stomach to look at the issue for very long.

I think it is very unfortunate that we live in a society in which victims of sexual assault of any kind feel the need to remain silent for fear of stigmatization.

did the tribble rape etan?  Here I think that we've really assumed that the creature is capable of understanding human emotions.  If you are defining his rape as: intentionally invoking fear and alarm for sexual gain, than from Etan's perspective, then yes.  What are not considering is does the creature understand that the particular vibrations he prefers are from fear?  from anger?  Can he understand that sex is a power/control/trust issue in humans?  Can he be committing a crime if he's unaware of the implications?

Now I am NOT trying to promote that human rapists/sexual violators can/should be freed from this idea of intent, since they are part of and in tune with the human condition.  I think it's interesting that no one so far (that I read) has questioned our automatic assumption that the Tribble experiences life the way we do and can conceptualize harm/fear/rape.  Very anthropomorphic.

The navigator is obviously uncomfortable with what he is perceiving as a sexual violation.  He passes that concept onto Etan.  Had the navigator never mentioned sex, Etan would never have thought of it in that way, and hence (because of the lack of physical intimacy) would not have been violated in anyway other than the way we all feel after encountering a indolent, crazy person on the bus.

What if the navigator is misinterpreting the creatures feelings of sexual satisfaction?  How can we really know if that's what's going on, or if that's the navigators interpretation of events?

I'm just saying, let's not assume that we can understand Tribbles.

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Reply #85 on: March 12, 2010, 07:03:48 PM
Wow!  I had no idea there was such an interesting discussion board on here!  I just came on to see why there hadn't been any new episodes lately, I may have to come back to get in on these convos!

I'd like to briefly chime in about what I thought about the story.

I am really grateful that this story is opening up a conversation about "what is rape?" in a culture that seldom has the stomach to look at the issue for very long.

I think it is very unfortunate that we live in a society in which victims of sexual assault of any kind feel the need to remain silent for fear of stigmatization.

did the tribble rape etan?  Here I think that we've really assumed that the creature is capable of understanding human emotions.  If you are defining his rape as: intentionally invoking fear and alarm for sexual gain, than from Etan's perspective, then yes.  What are not considering is does the creature understand that the particular vibrations he prefers are from fear?  from anger?  Can he understand that sex is a power/control/trust issue in humans?  Can he be committing a crime if he's unaware of the implications?

Now I am NOT trying to promote that human rapists/sexual violators can/should be freed from this idea of intent, since they are part of and in tune with the human condition.  I think it's interesting that no one so far (that I read) has questioned our automatic assumption that the Tribble experiences life the way we do and can conceptualize harm/fear/rape.  Very anthropomorphic.

The navigator is obviously uncomfortable with what he is perceiving as a sexual violation.  He passes that concept onto Etan.  Had the navigator never mentioned sex, Etan would never have thought of it in that way, and hence (because of the lack of physical intimacy) would not have been violated in anyway other than the way we all feel after encountering a indolent, crazy person on the bus.

What if the navigator is misinterpreting the creatures feelings of sexual satisfaction?  How can we really know if that's what's going on, or if that's the navigators interpretation of events?

I'm just saying, let's not assume that we can understand Tribbles.

Welcome, elleasea!  I'm glad you've decided to check out the forum and join the discussion.  :)

Interesting points!  I assumed that the alien understood human fear/reactions/taboos because of the presence of the navigator.  The navigator seemed to be both dedicated to doing his job well and also prone to talk, so I would assume that he would've told his employer at great length about whatever he wanted to know.  Then again, the alien might just not be interested in explanations as long as he gets his satisfaction, and could've ignored any explanation.

And your questioning of the assumption that the navigator understands the alien to any great degree is also a good point.  We don't know if he made that interpretation up himself or if his employer told him directly.  Even if he was told directly, that doesn't mean that he wasn't misled or that he didn't misunderstand.  If I had an assistant of another species, I doubt I'd tell him certain details such as details of certain "taboo" subjects, and the definition of "taboo" varies widely even between human cultures.

And is this alien's "sexual" feeling necessarily the same as what we'd interpret as sexual?  Our minds can have other strong reactions provoked by sounds or scents.  If I walk past a music hall and hear the sounds of a beautiful symphony I might be overcome with emotion.  If I tried to explain this to a member of another sentient species, would they really understand that this human emotion caused by music is any different than human sexual pleasure?  So in the story, when the navigator is explaining this, I don't think it's far-fetched to speculate that the navigator doesn't entirely understand his employer.  Would this story be any less creepy if the alien were only experiencing an emotional reaction to an auditory cue that triggers something in its brain that has nothing to do with sex, much like a beautiful symphony might have on me?  Could it still be construed as rape if neither Etan nor the alien see it as sexual at the time of the event, but the navigator convinces Etan's it was sexual after the fact?

And in the case of experiencing strong emotion when walking past a music hall--could that be considered a violation?  If this alien responds sexually to different noises, maybe the sound of a violin simulates a similar feeling in its mind as being raped.  If you invited the alien to a symphony, is that a crime?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 07:06:56 PM by Unblinking »