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Author Topic: Ratings and Genre Debates Re: PC107: The Behold of the Eye  (Read 6137 times)
eytanz
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« on: June 10, 2010, 03:45:55 AM »

Rated R for "ever shifting landscapes"? How is that supposed to help me decide whether or not the story is to my sensibilities?

Well, I did say Foul-Mouthed-Fairies before that. But you're right in that the rest of it is fanciful. Mostly because I don't like being the MPAA.

(Disclaimer: I still haven't listened to the story, I'm responding to the general point about ratings. Please feel free to split the thread)

I appreciate that you don't like the role, but the ratings are a service you offer your listeners, and in my opinion, you should either do so informatively, or not at all. Based on your rating, this could easily be a totally light-hearted story with some fairies swearing in it.

Personally, I don't care about swearing, and I don't mind explicit sex, but I do like knowing in advance if there is graphic violence. Because if I'm feeling stressed out about work and want a story to cheer me up, I'd rather not listen to something that depicts violence with anything resembling realism. Other listeners may wish to listen to stories with young kids, and want to make sure there isn't anything that would be disturbing to them.

Obviously, you can't please everyone here, and no ratings system can address everything that upsets everyone. But it seems to me that explicit sex and violence are the two things most people will want to know about, so it's important to let is know of them.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:11:06 AM by DKT » Logged
alllie
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 08:23:08 AM »

Maybe I am just oversensitive. I can't bear to even look at the pictures of what is happening to animals in the gulf. I probably couldn't look even if the same thing was happening to BP management even though that would be justice.

The part I listened to was well written. Of course the narration was great but, please, no explicit torture and gore. At least not without a more explicit warning. 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:12:01 AM by DKT » Logged
Anarkey
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 10:15:53 AM »

(Disclaimer: I still haven't listened to the story, I'm responding to the general point about ratings. Please feel free to split the thread)

I appreciate that you don't like the role, but the ratings are a service you offer your listeners, and in my opinion, you should either do so informatively, or not at all. Based on your rating, this could easily be a totally light-hearted story with some fairies swearing in it.

Personally, I don't care about swearing, and I don't mind explicit sex, but I do like knowing in advance if there is graphic violence. Because if I'm feeling stressed out about work and want a story to cheer me up, I'd rather not listen to something that depicts violence with anything resembling realism. Other listeners may wish to listen to stories with young kids, and want to make sure there isn't anything that would be disturbing to them.

Obviously, you can't please everyone here, and no ratings system can address everything that upsets everyone. But it seems to me that explicit sex and violence are the two things most people will want to know about, so it's important to let is know of them.

Since I'm responsible for the vast majority of the ratings statements, in all their fancifulness, I feel I ought to say something here.  I write the statements when I post the episodes.  Usually this is months after I've read and chosen the story.  I don't set the ratings, and honestly, sometimes they surprise me, either because I don't remember the specific reason why the rating is given and/or I disagree.  I trust the ratings giver, of course, and we've never (to my recollection, I'll be happy to see counterexamples if they are pointed out to me) had a complaint that a G story should have been PG or an R story should have been G, so I think the rater is pretty much on the money.  I expect people to use the rating, not my fanciful words, to make their decisions.  If, generally, the fanciful words are so misguiding, I'm happy to omit them.  I thought they were kind of fun but ehhh, I'm not all that attached to them.    When I think something might be triggery, I try to be darned explicit about it (see the warning for The Mermaid's Tea Party, frex, or Fulgurite), but usually I am not trying to help people make their decisions with those little statements, specially on stories I don't think have anything particularly objectionable. 

If someone wants their kid to listen to something we've rated R without previewing it themselves first because the ratings statement isn't very indicative, well, not sure what to say there, except I'm not the parent.  It's on them to make sure the media their kids imbibe suits their standards.  R is generally accepted as not for children.

I did not think there was anything triggery in this story.  I appear to have been mistaken.  My apologies to alllie that she felt blindsided by the story.  FWIW I think alllie made the right choice, turning it off when she discovered it wasn't for her.  We'll have a different story next week.  Try us again then. 

Lastly, I just want to be clear on our editorial policy: we will not be excluding stories that lean toward horror, or are horror outright.  Both Dave and I, sick deviants that we are, happen to like horror.  We are committed to offering variety: in tone, in plot, in atmosphere, in characterization and in setting.  There won't be horror every week, that's for certain.  But neither will there never be horror.  I can't even promise to warn every time a story is potentially horrifying, since this story isn't horror to me, and I wouldn't have thought to do so. 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:12:12 AM by DKT » Logged

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alllie
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 10:31:01 AM »

Lastly, I just want to be clear on our editorial policy: we will not be excluding stories that lean toward horror, or are horror outright.  Both Dave and I, sick deviants that we are, happen to like horror.  We are committed to offering variety: in tone, in plot, in atmosphere, in characterization and in setting.  There won't be horror every week, that's for certain.  But neither will there never be horror.  I can't even promise to warn every time a story is potentially horrifying, since this story isn't horror to me, and I wouldn't have thought to do so. 

Then what is pseudopod for?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:12:23 AM by DKT » Logged
Kaa
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 11:01:25 AM »

Then what is pseudopod for?

Steve once quoted something over on Escape Pod that deserves to be paraphrased here: Fantasy is what I'm pointing at when I say 'Fantasy.'  By extension, so is horror.  If you don't like the story, then don't like the story. Please stop trying to impose your own concepts of the genres on the rest of us. Just move on and listen to the next one. Maybe it will be more to your liking.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 11:12:39 AM by DKT » Logged

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Talia
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2010, 11:25:56 AM »

Lastly, I just want to be clear on our editorial policy: we will not be excluding stories that lean toward horror, or are horror outright.  Both Dave and I, sick deviants that we are, happen to like horror.  We are committed to offering variety: in tone, in plot, in atmosphere, in characterization and in setting.  There won't be horror every week, that's for certain.  But neither will there never be horror.  I can't even promise to warn every time a story is potentially horrifying, since this story isn't horror to me, and I wouldn't have thought to do so. 

Then what is pseudopod for?

I would suggest that just because something is horrific to someone personally or has horrific elements, does not make the story itself fall into the "horror" category. There are lots of stories that fall somewhere in between horror and fantasy. 'Tis the editor's prerogative to make a call as to which category it falls within, for publishing purposes. Naturally, there will be people who disagree with these calls sometimes, but such is life.


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alllie
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2010, 11:41:38 AM »

Then what is pseudopod for?

Steve once quoted something over on Escape Pod that deserves to be paraphrased here: Fantasy is what I'm pointing at when I say 'Fantasy.'  By extension, so is horror.  If you don't like the story, then don't like the story. Please stop trying to impose your own concepts of the genres on the rest of us. Just move on and listen to the next one. Maybe it will be more to your liking.

As Damon Knight once put it, "science fiction is what I am pointing at when I say science fiction" but Steve divided the podcasts into science fiction, fantasy and horror and I pretty much agreed with what he or Rachael pointed at.

I have heard or read that escapepod gets the most listeners, then podcastle, then pseudopod. Bringing horror over to podcastle, that seems like it would lose you listeners. Not that I am totally against horror. I'm a supporter of starshipsofa and they sometimes do horror, like Lawrence Santoro's "Little Girl Down the Way", but Tony always gives us plenty of warning so we know what we are getting.

I don't listen to pseudopod even though Alasdair Stuart is one of my favorite narrators and does or used to do most of his narrating there. I know what I like and I used to know where to find it.

What you seem to be saying is that podcastle is yours now, not Rachael's or Steve's, and you can do horror if you want. H. P. Lovecraft wrote that horror was "supposed to be against the world, against life, against civilization." And I like Lovecraft but he concentrates on the scary, not on the suffering and torture and gore, as most horror does these days.

I think what you need is an additional editor, a female editor, someone with more tender sensibilities so she can warn you when a story has a strong horror element, so you will know. Then you can at least tell us so we won't be listening to a neat little story about a fairy that lives in a child and be dumped into torture, suffering and gore.

Maybe men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I can understand loving roller-coasters or even some scary movies but I can't understand reveling in the suffering of another creature.

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eytanz
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2010, 11:48:58 AM »

I think what you need is an additional editor, a female editor,

Anna (Anarkey) is female.
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DKT
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2010, 11:50:10 AM »

Alllie, you seem to be confused about a few things.

First, Anna, my co-editor, is a female. We make all our story decisisions together.

Ann, our associate editor/slusher, is a female. Her opinion is always considered.

PodCastle is not run by Rachel anymore, although we also respect her opinion, and she's been very supportive. (She's the one who asked us to take over for her, afterall, as discussed in the latest metacast).

PodCastle was never run by Steve.

I'm sorry your reaction to this story was a bad one. We will have a different story next week, and I hope you enjoy it more. (Although, be warned: it involves junior highers, which I know some people in these parts consider a different kind of horror.)

Edited: typo
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 12:13:41 PM by DKT » Logged

Talia
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2010, 11:59:19 AM »

As a female listener who thoroughly enjoyed the story, I would argue this is not a male vs. female tastes thing. This is an individual tastes thing.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2010, 12:21:41 PM »

Then what is pseudopod for?

Here's how I see it: Horror (ie: Pseudopod) is horror for horror's sake. However, other genres can have elements of horror in them. My first EP flash entry could be considered horror, as could the story I wrote last night (for the sheer blase attitude of my MCs as they destroy their opponent's spaceships).

Another example: "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", which I just watched last week (disclaimer: I read the book first and liked it too), has a pretty brutal rape scene and a less-graphic-but-more-squicky rape in which the main character is forced to perform oral sex on a man in a position of power over her. I would qualify them both as a form of horror, even though the story at its heart is a mystery/thriller. It's not a horror story.

I think any genre can have horrific elements, and those are what you reacted to in PC107. However, the greater part of the story is fantasy, which is why I didn't have a problem with it being on PC. Plus, horror generally has "bad" endings and PC107's ending, while not amazingly uplifting, was at least semi-positive.
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hautdesert
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2010, 12:25:47 PM »


Ann, our associate editor/slusher, is a female. Her opinion is always considered.


Not only am I female, but I dislike horror. Very much dislike it. That's not to say I don't like my fiction dark sometimes, but I'm not a horror fan.  And I have to take some blame for recommending "Behold" since I read it on LSS and really liked it a lot and made sure to tell Anna and Dave about it. (Though I think Anna had already read it, I'm not sure.)  No way is "Behold of the Eye" horror. 

I totally agree with Anna that if anyone finds a particular story disturbing--for whatever reason--the best thing to do is turn it off.  And I can't think of any reason not to talk about that in the forums. That's what the forums are for.  Allie totally has the right to feel the way she does about any story, and totally has the right (and a straight out invitation) to talk about it, even if I or anyone else disagrees.

But just IMO, I don't think it's helpful to put a boundary around "Fantasy" that's so constricted that anything dark or gory or frightening isn't admitted.

I also have to admit I kind of bristle at the "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" thing.  Men are from Earth, and so are women.  We're the same species.  Time after time, research has shown that there's just as much variation between individual men or individual women as there is between men and women generally.  Women are expected to have certain characteristics, and when we meet a woman who doesn't, confirmation bias allows us to say "Oh, she's just unusual" instead of revising our assumptions--no matter how many "unusual" women (or how few "normal" women) we meet. 

Anyway.  I really, really would not have enjoyed "Behold" as much as I did if it had been horror (because I really, really don't like horror), and I think the images in "Behold" that are disturbing are appropriate to the story, they show us Toby's self-destructiveness and self-loathing in an undeniable and powerful way, and make the story's resolution that much more redemptive and hopeful.
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ridiculouslee
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2010, 05:30:57 PM »

Then what is pseudopod for?

Pseudopod is for horror and this story wasn't horror. It was a story about a fairy taking residence in a human mind.

Yes, the scenes representing the hate that the character Toby had for his "tormentors" were horrific, but that was a very small section of the story, and it didn't bother me because I caught right away that it was only symbolism. I could also relate to the emotions the images represented.

I mean, if you've ever had someone do something cruel to you and thought "I could just kill them!" then you've had a corpse fall from the sky of your "Behold."
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2010, 05:34:42 PM »

[I originally included these paragraphs in my comments in the original story thread and have moved them here for appropriateness.]


As to alllie's concerns (which, I agree, might originally have been expressed with more tenderness beneath the honesty), I think they may have been allayed - at least a little - by an audio warning that matches the one on the blog post.  I don't know about others, but when I get the podcast, it just appears in a folder on my computer - I don't get the text of the blog posting - and I was surprised (not displeased or shocked or whatever) when the strong language occurred (and again later, with the fairly explicit sexual content).

Most Podcastle stories haven't ventured as far into that territory (and again, I'm not complaining that this one did, just comparing) and I think it would have been reasonable to have a warning tag at the front of the audio of this one.

And is it really so far-fetched that someone might react to descriptions of rains of corpses and poisonous thorns and a world ravaged by fire and a tortured giant and crucified torture victims that have to be killed out of mercy as elements of horror?  Even if they were metaphorical constructs in an imaginary fairy room in someone's mind?

I agree that those elements didn't make the whole story into a horror piece, but they were pretty darned horrific, even as an internal landscape.

I also think those elements could easily have made the whole story horror and I think the only reason they didn't is because it didn't end there, with the Toby committing suicide.  Because Toby (unlike too many others in the same situation) survived through to the perspective and maturity of adulthood (and whether he did so because of the death of his brother is debatable), and managed to re-fill his behold with new, healthier images, the story manages to stay out of the realm of full-blown horror, even as it skirts its border.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 05:37:28 PM by Wilson Fowlie » Logged

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alllie
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2010, 12:48:43 PM »

It seems that I was the only one disturbed by the brutality and torture in this story. I find that deeply troubling, a sign that the CIA, Bush and Cheney have won. We are now a country where torture is so acceptable that it is a permissible metaphor in a story about a fairy. It used to be in movies, in books, that when a character engaged in torture, was even willing to engage in torture, that was a sign he/she was a bad guy. And this wasn’t a reversible role. Torture made someone a bad guy forever. It was something no one good would ever do. Something America did not do.

But those days are gone.

I’ve been noticing it a while, ads for movies whose main selling point is the torture of human beings, the glorification of the serial killer, the glorification of US agents who are torturers and murderers. Evil people all, by any objective standard. And so many people have internalized this that in America polls now show that a majority finds torture acceptable.

~shudder~

And I have no doubt the polls are true because I was the only one who seemed to find the torture metaphor disturbing at all. Now that we are a nation of torturers we can expect more and more torture in our art and literature. The bad guys have won.

That is so sad to me.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2010, 01:03:55 PM »

Torture is just a by-product of the human spirit.  To assign it soley to the bad guys is ignoring the harsh reality of the world.

Heck, most of America, all western expansion was founded and paved by cruelty.  The desire to keep evil away from the good guys is blind romanticism.  There has always been a fair amount of ba taste in the "good" things America has done.  Howver, history is written by the winners, so we get to tone all of that down or relabel it as good.  It's just naiivety to want to keep all of that away from our daily lives.  Sure, withhold it from the children, I'm all for that up to a point, but to be saddend that it is enterng mainstream America is just naiive.  It is merely a reality that we have to deal with.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 01:12:10 PM by Bdoomed » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2010, 01:09:51 PM »

As to alllie's concerns (which, I agree, might originally have been expressed with more tenderness beneath the honesty), I think they may have been allayed - at least a little - by an audio warning that matches the one on the blog post.  I don't know about others, but when I get the podcast, it just appears in a folder on my computer - I don't get the text of the blog posting - and I was surprised (not displeased or shocked or whatever) when the strong language occurred (and again later, with the fairly explicit sexual content).

Most Podcastle stories haven't ventured as far into that territory (and again, I'm not complaining that this one did, just comparing) and I think it would have been reasonable to have a warning tag at the front of the audio of this one.

And is it really so far-fetched that someone might react to descriptions of rains of corpses and poisonous thorns and a world ravaged by fire and a tortured giant and crucified torture victims that have to be killed out of mercy as elements of horror?  Even if they were metaphorical constructs in an imaginary fairy room in someone's mind?

No, it's not far-fetched. We obviously missed for Alllie on this one.

The only thing I can do is reiterate what Anna said above. We will try to warn you (the audience in general) if we think something is graphic. And you're right - the audio warning is IMO the big road sign for this. Off the top of my head, we've done this with "Mermaid's Tea Party" and "Fulgurite" in the past six months.

We will try to warn you. Occasionally something we might not think merits a warning, our audience might think it should've received one. I won't record a warning for every episode with something dark in it (because that would make the warning less useful, IMO. But I'll probably be overthinking episode ratings for a long time now.
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DKT
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2010, 01:10:05 PM »

It seems that I was the only one disturbed by the brutality and torture in this story. I find that deeply troubling, a sign that the CIA, Bush and Cheney have won. We are now a country where torture is so acceptable that it is a permissible metaphor in a story about a fairy. It used to be in movies, in books, that when a character engaged in torture, was even willing to engage in torture, that was a sign he/she was a bad guy. And this wasn’t a reversible role. Torture made someone a bad guy forever. It was something no one good would ever do. Something America did not do.

But those days are gone.

I’ve been noticing it a while, ads for movies whose main selling point is the torture of human beings, the glorification of the serial killer, the glorification of US agents who are torturers and murderers. Evil people all, by any objective standard. And so many people have internalized this that in America polls now show that a majority finds torture acceptable.

~shudder~

And I have no doubt the polls are true because I was the only one who seemed to find the torture metaphor disturbing at all. Now that we are a nation of torturers we can expect more and more torture in our art and literature. The bad guys have won.

That is so sad to me.


Alllie, if you think that as a result of running this story, we the editors condone torture, I don't know what to tell you except that it simply isn't accurate.

In fact, I'd argue that Mr. Duncan's story does an excellent job at describing just how awful torture is, especially when we're the ones torturing ourselves.
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Talia
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2010, 01:19:21 PM »

It seems that I was the only one disturbed by the brutality and torture in this story. I find that deeply troubling, a sign that the CIA, Bush and Cheney have won. We are now a country where torture is so acceptable that it is a permissible metaphor in a story about a fairy. It used to be in movies, in books, that when a character engaged in torture, was even willing to engage in torture, that was a sign he/she was a bad guy. And this wasn’t a reversible role. Torture made someone a bad guy forever. It was something no one good would ever do. Something America did not do.

But those days are gone.

I’ve been noticing it a while, ads for movies whose main selling point is the torture of human beings, the glorification of the serial killer, the glorification of US agents who are torturers and murderers. Evil people all, by any objective standard. And so many people have internalized this that in America polls now show that a majority finds torture acceptable.

~shudder~

And I have no doubt the polls are true because I was the only one who seemed to find the torture metaphor disturbing at all. Now that we are a nation of torturers we can expect more and more torture in our art and literature. The bad guys have won.

That is so sad to me.


Um. A few responses.

First of all, you weren't the only one disturbed by the violence. You're just the only one actually upset by it.  Its supposed to be disturbing and uncomfortable.

Secondly -
Quote
We are now a country where torture is so acceptable that it is a permissible metaphor in a story about a fairy

In what universe would that somehow be unacceptable? I don't get it. Are you saying all fairy stories need to be sparkly rainbows and sunny odes of joy with fuzzy kittens or something? To me its interesting when an author makes more of a particular standard creature than the, well, the archetype, I guess. So I like a good, dark Faerie story.

Thirdly, fourthly, etc -
Quote
It used to be in movies, in books, that when a character engaged in torture, was even willing to engage in torture, that was a sign he/she was a bad guy. And this wasn’t a reversible role. Torture made someone a bad guy forever. It was something no one good would ever do. Something America did not do.

You're missing the point that this kid is messed up and hurting, so he's taking it out on people in his mind. Its also unrealistic to think "torture makes someone a bad guy forever." that makes no sense. Its illogical. I think most of us would agree torture is a bad thing; however it makes no sense to me a person who engaged in it would forevermore be unredeemable. People are capable of changing. Not always, but a lot of the time. Perhaps "torturers are bad guys forever" was how it was popularly portrayed in media of old, but that's a very black and white view. The world is not black and white, and as the world comes to accept THAT fact, exploring the grey areas becomes more common in media as well.  Its not that people are all "yay torture!", its just exploring the grey areas.

While I do agree with you to a certain extent - shows like 24, for example, most definitely glorify torture and violence - I don't think you're making an accurate assessment about people's mindsets in general. People who use their brains don't see a tv show and go "oh ok, TORTURE IS GREAT NOW!!!' and the morons who do think that way would be led astray by something else anyway. I did not hear this story and feel the need to run out and bludgeon someone. I think its fair to say no one else did either :p More to the point - this story doesn't at all suggest its OK to engage in these behaviors. This behavior was the mental behavior of an agonized suffering youth. Its symbolic of his inner pain and rage. Its not a "yaaay torture is great" story at ALL. And yes, its important to consider the context. The world's not black and white. The story isn't black and white.

Also, if you think about it, uttering a statement like "the bad guys have won" because of .. well, a short story? With a fairy in it? Isn't that maybe a little much? heh. Tongue Just sayin.




« Last Edit: June 11, 2010, 01:29:41 PM by Talia » Logged
Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2010, 01:38:07 PM »

And I have no doubt the polls are true because I was the only one who seemed to find the torture metaphor disturbing at all.

I don't think anyone said that they didn't find those images disturbing.  In fact, Ann specifically described them as "images ... that are disturbing" in her post.  I didn't say so explicitly (though I think one could infer it from what I did say), but I found the torture depictions - among the other, yes, horrific things going on - to be quite disturbing.

What people have said that they didn't push the story into the realm of being horror, especially since they were depictions of what a character in the story desired (but didn't actually act on).

alllie, you yourself said, "I probably couldn't look even if the same thing was happening to BP management even though that would be justice."  So, there's at least a tiny part of your mind - just as there is in everyone - that wants to torture (or have torture committed) under certain circumstances (for revenge, if for no other reason).

But your reaction to the story shows that there's another part of your mind that knows that torture is wrong.  And that part of you is stronger (and, happily, right!).  But in the world of this story, there would - not unlike ridiculouslee pointed out - very likely be an oil-covered BP CEO in your own behold.

In the story, Toby didn't actually torture anyone (other than himself) - he only thought about it, even wanted it.  And yes, that was disturbing.  But at the end, he purged himself of those desires, which is the point (or at least a point) of the story - that we can keep ourselves from acting on things we want that we know are wrong.

(By the way, I'm not convinced that BP management enduring what the oil-soaked animals have endured would be justice.  Revenge, I would buy, but I don't equate revenge and justice.)
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« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2010, 01:38:29 PM »

Torture is just a by-product of the human spirit.  To assign it solely to the bad guys is ignoring the harsh reality of the world.

I'm not sure I follow you.  Can you expand on that, please?
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2010, 01:42:15 PM »

In fact, I'd argue that Mr. Duncan's story does an excellent job at describing just how awful torture is, especially when we're the ones torturing ourselves.

Exactly!  Thank you for expressing what I couldn't find the words for!

I won't record a warning for every episode with something dark in it (because that would make the warning less useful, IMO. But I'll probably be overthinking episode ratings for a long time now.

I felt that this story rated an audio warning to a greater degree than "The Mermaid's Tea Party" did (although I admit I don't remember that story all that well, so I might disagree with myself if I listened to it again).

From the confluence of strong language, depictions of sex and drug use and the (can we all agree on this?) disturbing scenes in the behold, I think - as someone else pointed out as well - that this story was one that a parent would want a warning on before unwittingly sharing it with his or her young child, as I believe many listeners do.

I think the "What would a parent be disturbed by their child hearing?" metric may make it easier to decide when a warning is desirable.  Forgive me if I've caused you to second-guess yourself.

Also, I think your rating on this piece was pretty spot-on (though I might have included something about 'simulated sex acts' in the rating description, but whatever).  I just think the story merited an audio warning to go with the text one.


Cripes, will all you people please stop posting things while I'm taking too long to draft my own posts, please?  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2010, 01:51:04 PM »

I felt that this story rated an audio warning to a greater degree than "The Mermaid's Tea Party" did (although I admit I don't remember that story all that well, so I might disagree with myself if I listened to it again).

Well, it shouldn't be an either or situation, in my mind. For my part, I didn't want parents to think a story with mermaids and pirates in it = fun for the kids, because that story had some very dark things in it.

From the confluence of strong language, depictions of sex and drug use and the (can we all agree on this?) disturbing scenes in the behold, I think - as someone else pointed out as well - that this story was one that a parent would want a warning on before unwittingly sharing it with his or her young child, as I believe many listeners do.

I think the "What would a parent be disturbed by their child hearing?" metric may make it easier to decide when a warning is desirable.  Forgive me if I've caused you to second-guess yourself.

Also, I think your rating on this piece was pretty spot-on (though I might have included something about 'simulated sex acts' in the rating description, but whatever).  I just think the story merited an audio warning to go with the text one.


Fair enough, Wilson, and I appreciate your response.
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2010, 02:19:48 PM »

Alllie, if you think that as a result of running this story, we the editors condone torture, I don't know what to tell you except that it simply isn't accurate.

I actually have a very good opinion of everyone at escape artists. I think you are all good guys. And if that isn't true I'd rather you didn't tell me. But I think you, along with everyone else in the country, is being desensitized to torture, literally taught it's okay. No surprise that torture shows up in more and more movies, and TV and literature.
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2010, 03:33:57 PM »

I felt that this story rated an audio warning to a greater degree than "The Mermaid's Tea Party" did (although I admit I don't remember that story all that well, so I might disagree with myself if I listened to it again).

The Mermaid's Tea Party had a man sexually violating a corpse in front of a child in it, and within the story this was actual, not metaphorical, not something happening at a remove, in someone's mind (or Behold, if you prefer).  You really think Behold of the Eye was worse? 

I'm not trying to call you out, Wilson.  You say you don't remember Mermaid's Tea Party all that well.  It seems pretty obvious that my cultural laterality and outsider status is making the audiences' mores hard to understand and navigate.  It will be helpful to me, if we decide to give further ratings or warnings or whatever, to try to understand what are the things people find so objectionable.  Alllie has actually been pretty vague.  I still don't know for sure what scene was the one that wigged her out, and has her condemning me as inured to, and even in favor of, torture.

So far I've got: we don't warn often enough (wilson) nor specifically enough (eytanz) about what will bother people.  I've also gotten a lot of "but what about the kids?!" which I think is a BS complaint (and I think I've explained why), especially given in the theoretical abstract way it's been given here, as a what if.   This isn't a podcast for children.   

Like DKT, I think more frequent warnings lose their efficacy, and part of the reason we're non-specific is to avoid spoilers.  Shocking or violent aspects of the story are also usually climactic ones and plot turning ones.  We've been tagged often enough about spoilers in the intros.  OTOH, if we can help people better filter their content, that seems like a great  idea, and I'm for it.  On the other, other hand I'd really prefer if people just listened, less fearful of things they didn't want to hear, and made their choices by turning the podcast off instead of pre-emptively deciding they didn't like stuff based on necessarily superficial assessments of violence, language, and sex it might contain.  Still, I realize the dream of personal responsibility is a lot of ideological fluff, and I understand that people want to know they'll love it in advance and want the easy guide to stuff they wish to avoid.  I'm just not sure how we do that in a way that is meaningful to everyone, consistent, and doesn't create a crapload more work for us and the people who volunteer for us (i.e. the hosts).
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2010, 03:48:19 PM »

Alllie has actually been pretty vague. 

This:

 
Quote
Most weekdays it rained corpses, faceless, gurgling blood from slit throats.  Flashjack would sit in the library, listening to the pounding on the roof, or stand to look out the floor-length windows and watch the bodies battering the jetty, falling out of the sky like ragdolls of flesh, slamming the wood and bouncing, slumping, rolling.  He'd watch them splash into the water, sink and bob back up to float there, face-down, blood spreading out like dark ink until the sea itself was red.  The troll under the jetty, who never showed himself these days, would be a dark shape in the water after the showers of death, grabbing the bodies and dragging them down into the depths; Flashjack had no idea what he was doing with them, wasn't sure he wanted to know.

The lake on the island was on fire.  The island on the lake was choked with poisonous thorns.  The castle on the island was in ruins.  At the top of the beanstalk which was now a tower of jagged deadwood, bleached to the colour of bone, the giant sat in his castle, eyes and lips sewn shut, and bound into his throne by chickenwire and fish-hooks that cut and pierced his flesh.  Flashjack had tried to free him, but every time he tried the wire grew back as fast as he could cut it.  Flashjack wept at the giant's moans which he knew, even though they were wordless, were begging Flashjack to kill him; he just couldn't do it.

The worst were those that Flashjack could kill, the torture victims who were crucified, nailed to stripped and splintered branches, bodies dangling in the air, all the way up and down the thorny tower of the dead beanstalk.  He recognised the faces he had seen through the window of Toby's eye, laughing in crowds, he knew that these were imagos of tormentors tormented, imagos of vengeance, and when he'd tried cutting them down they simply grabbed for him with madness and murder in their eyes; but he couldn't suffer their suffering, not in the Behold of the Eye, which was meant to be a place of beauty, and so he put them out of their misery with his knife as they appeared, most weekdays, one or two of them at a time, just after the rain of corpses.

...

Flashjack huddled in his prison of glass, watching the boy outside batter his fists against it.  He buried his face in his crossed forearms, but it didn't really help; he couldn't hear the screams, which comforted him a little when he curled up in a ball at night and tried to sleep, but even when he closed his eyes he could see this new generation of tormentors tormented, each arriving naked and afraid, to be broken, mutilated, maimed for days, weeks, months, and then their skin stripped off, sewn to moon-bone structures speared into their shoulders until, eventually, they rose from the carnage of themselves, spread wide their ragged leather wings and joined the ranks of the tormentors to set upon the next new arrival.

To me, that is horror.
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2010, 04:02:26 PM »

I felt that this story rated an audio warning to a greater degree than "The Mermaid's Tea Party" did (although I admit I don't remember that story all that well, so I might disagree with myself if I listened to it again).

The Mermaid's Tea Party had a man sexually violating a corpse in front of a child in it, and within the story this was actual, not metaphorical, not something happening at a remove, in someone's mind (or Behold, if you prefer).  You really think Behold of the Eye was worse? 

I still haven't listened to Behold of the Eye, so I can't comment about whether it is worth. But I would consider a scene of explicitly described  violence, real or imagined, to be worse than the rather obliquely described scene of a man sexually violating a corpse in front of child in "Mermaid's Tea Party".

Not, mind you, that I'm saying that that story didn't deserve a warning.

Quote
So far I've got: we don't warn often enough (wilson) nor specifically enough (eytanz) about what will bother people.

It's exactly that lack of specificity I've been complaining about, but the fact you are specific about some things but not others. If you say that a story has "swearing fairies" in it, and make no other specific mentions, I'm going to assume there isn't going to be any potentially disturbing content other than swearing. I would actually prefer a vague warning "this story is rated R for adult themes" over a specific, yet partial, warning. A vague warnings makes me expect the worse, and then I can be pleasantly surprised.

Quote
  I've also gotten a lot of "but what about the kids?!" which I think is a BS complaint (and I think I've explained why), especially given in the theoretical abstract way it's been given here, as a what if.   This isn't a podcast for children.   

There have been several posters over the years commenting that they listen to stories with their kids. But it's true that Escape Pod was the only one of the three podcasts that explicitly encouraged that. On the flip side, pseudopod is the only one of the three podcasts that explicitly discouraged that. I never got the impression that podcastle was not a podcast for kids, even though clearly not every story was for kids.

That said, I don't have kids, and while I do occasionally hang out with my friends and their kids, we do not listen to podcasts together. I'm not really concerned about "what about the kids?" - I'm concerned about the "what about Eytan?". I have a pretty wide tolerance for a lot of stuff that is disturbing to myself and others, but I do like to know what I'm getting into, especially when violence is concerned.

Quote
OTOH, if we can help people better filter their content, that seems like a great  idea, and I'm for it.  On the other, other hand I'd really prefer if people just listened, less fearful of things they didn't want to hear, and made their choices by turning the podcast off instead of pre-emptively deciding they didn't like stuff based on necessarily superficial assessments of violence, language, and sex it might contain. 

As I said above, for me it's not a question about what I want to avoid, it's a question about what mindset to listen to a story to. But, also as stated above, I would rather have no warning at all, or vague warnings, than misleading ones.
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« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2010, 04:31:31 PM »

I still haven't listened to Behold of the Eye, so I can't comment about whether it is worth. But I would consider a scene of explicitly described  violence, real or imagined, to be worse than the rather obliquely described scene of a man sexually violating a corpse in front of child in "Mermaid's Tea Party".

Not, mind you, that I'm saying that that story didn't deserve a warning.


Even if the oblique scene is quite concrete and the explicitly violent scene is wildly hyperbolic?
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2010, 04:38:34 PM »

I still haven't listened to Behold of the Eye, so I can't comment about whether it is worth. But I would consider a scene of explicitly described  violence, real or imagined, to be worse than the rather obliquely described scene of a man sexually violating a corpse in front of child in "Mermaid's Tea Party".

Not, mind you, that I'm saying that that story didn't deserve a warning.


Even if the oblique scene is quite concrete and the explicitly violent scene is wildly hyperbolic?

I can't speak for anyone but me here, but yes - for me it's not the nature of the scene, it's the way it's described. It's all fiction, after all, it's not like any real child was exposed to their sailor friend raping a mermaid corpse. Stories that deal with real current events are different for me in this regard, but that's not relevant to any story recently posted by podcastle.
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« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2010, 04:50:49 PM »

I still haven't listened to Behold of the Eye, so I can't comment about whether it is worth. But I would consider a scene of explicitly described  violence, real or imagined, to be worse than the rather obliquely described scene of a man sexually violating a corpse in front of child in "Mermaid's Tea Party".

Not, mind you, that I'm saying that that story didn't deserve a warning.


Even if the oblique scene is quite concrete and the explicitly violent scene is wildly hyperbolic?

I can't speak for anyone but me here, but yes - for me it's not the nature of the scene, it's the way it's described. It's all fiction, after all, it's not like any real child was exposed to their sailor friend raping a mermaid corpse. Stories that deal with real current events are different for me in this regard, but that's not relevant to any story recently posted by podcastle.

I think the general standard for ratings goes counter to that.  Frex, I think a television depiction of a child being slapped by a parent is considered worse than any number of decapitations in something like Tom & Jerry.  Clearly the former is less violent, but the implications of the violence go deeper than the latter, which is usually targeted at children and not considered all that serious.
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« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2010, 04:55:06 PM »


I think the general standard for ratings goes counter to that.  Frex, I think a television depiction of a child being slapped by a parent is considered worse than any number of decapitations in something like Tom & Jerry.  Clearly the former is less violent, but the implications of the violence go deeper than the latter, which is usually targeted at children and not considered all that serious.

True, but you were asking for my preferences, not for my conception of the general public. As you noted, ratings are extremely difficult, and the main reason for that is that everyone has their own issues with different types of content. Let me say that I am very appreciative of the fact that you are clearly putting a lot of thought and effort into the matter, and I know it's a tough aspect of the editing job.
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« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2010, 06:33:13 PM »

Here are the new warnings standards for PodCastle:

  • Stories that are rated R will not have fanciful wording on the story postings, but will simply say whether the R is given for one (or more) of these categories: violence, sex, language, adult themes.  The levels of violence or sex or language or adult themes will not be quantified in any way.  This will begin with the next posted story of R rating.
  • Stories rated PG and G will continue to have fanciful tags because making those up is kind of fun, and the content warnings on those should never be dire, anyway, unless we've rated it wrong (and so far we don't think we have).  We stand by our policy recommendation that parents preview stories before they have their children listen to them, regardless of rating.
  • The audio file will now contain the rating level and, if the rating is R, the category or categories for the rating (sex, violence, etc.).  Inclusion of audio ratings will begin with PC 111.
  • In some cases, stories will receive additional audio warnings, as The Mermaid's Tea Party did.  This will be at the discretion of the editors, relatively rare, and should not be taken to imply that other stories are devoid of things that might disturb any given individual listener.

We hope this helps listeners avoid stories they'd prefer not to hear. 
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« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2010, 08:29:01 PM »

That sounds perfect. Thanks for this!
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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2010, 12:30:48 AM »

The Mermaid's Tea Party had a man sexually violating a corpse in front of a child in it, and within the story this was actual, not metaphorical, not something happening at a remove, in someone's mind (or Behold, if you prefer).  You really think Behold of the Eye was worse?

I really had forgotten that story, though when you gave that description, it came back to me somewhat.  (I had, actually, been confusing it with a previous mermaid story from a few - or more? - weeks earlier, which also, as I recall, had some adult themes.)

So, I thought I'd refresh my memory.  I found the text online and looked for the passage you mentioned.  And in all honesty, I'm not entirely certain that, when I first listened to it, I figured out what the author was talking about.  Maybe I did, but I'm pretty sure that I took the "milky-white streaks across her scales ... not unlike the white sap of the poisonous flower" to be that sap, not what it turned out to be.  (Duh, clever me.  Not.)

I may even have wondered, at the end of the story, what the warning was all about.  Which just goes to show.  Smiley

So, yeah, I'd say that in terms of explicitness of description, "Behold" is more extreme.  (I'm avoiding a value judgement of worse or better, just more or less meriting a rating or warning.)  Having refreshed my memory, I think that, while the difference isn't nearly as great as I thought (mostly because I was remembering the wrong story), I think I still believe that I'd put a warning on "Behold of the Eye" sooner than "Mermaid's Tea Party".  But only a touch sooner.

So far I've got: we don't warn often enough (wilson)

I didn't intend to imply that, and if I did so imply (or state), I apologize.  I meant to refer only to "Behold of the Eye" itself and that I felt that it, specifically, merited a warning for descriptions of violence.

In general, I've been quite fine with the warnings that Anna and Dave (and Rachel before you) have had; this is the first story (that I recall at the moment, anyway) where I had a reaction of "Wow, this is pretty harsh!" without having some idea that I was going to have that reaction.  (And as I said, not being warned didn't bother me, but I believe I thought something along the lines of Some people are getting more than they bargained for.)

I've also gotten a lot of "but what about the kids?!" which I think is a BS complaint (and I think I've explained why), especially given in the theoretical abstract way it's been given here, as a what if.

Fair enough.  When I used that example, I was deliberately theoretical and abstract, because I meant it as a possibility of something to use as a guide to determine if you might want to have a warning.  In other words, if you consider a story from a parent-and-child point of view, (rather than that of, say, a seasoned Podcastle listener), what might a reasonable rating level be and is an audio warning merited?  I truly didn't intend it as a reason to have ratings or warnings and I apologize for not making that clear.  (Also, note the word 'possibility' above - it wasn't (and isn't) a request, so much as an idea of something a hypothetical editor of a hypothetical fantasy podcast might use. Smiley )
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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2010, 12:31:22 AM »

I like the part where Bush and Cheney invented torture and I'm responsible for it because I listened to a story about a gay man coming to terms with himself via metaphor.  I think that's a really cogent, well-reasoned argument.  Just a couple of bullet points here:

- Chimps torture each other.  Torture is neither new nor unusually widespread.

- Putting torture into a story is not the same as approving of it.

- Listening to a story about torture in which it is used to BE torturous and appalling is not desensitizing.  Desensitizing is when the subject is treated casually and thus the actual ding an sich becomes less significant to the person exposed to the desensitizing stimulus.  It's the difference between watching porn for three hours a day until you lose all sense of eroticism in nudity versus watching an artful erotic scene with your spouse and becoming very turned on.  The torture in this story was patently not used casually; it was intended to seem devastating and to contrast with the wholesome childlike wonder of the earliest scenes.  This is a long bullet point because the distinction here is pretty crucial.  "Schindler's List," to borrow a cultural touchstone, did not desensitize people to violence, and decrying the violence in it would seem a bit silly and rather prudish.  "Inglorious Basterds" treated violence rather like the songs in a Broadway show, and decrying the violence in it would seem reasonable and probably still a bit prudish if I'm being honest with myself.  (I loathe that movie for a variety of reasons which I shan't get into here.)

---

On topic, I actually do like the new ratings standards; I ignore ratings as a matter of course, but I think these new ones are more accurate and help actually better serve the whole point and purpose of a ratings system in the first place than the old system, which was often wildly inaccurate and tended to bizarrely not mention things that logically ought to get a mention in a ratings system.  Whimsy is lovely, but if you have a ratings system, then it should probably be used to rate things so people can decide whether to consume a given story.
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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2010, 12:36:44 AM »

I would consider a scene of explicitly described  violence, real or imagined, to be worse than the rather obliquely described scene of a man sexually violating a corpse in front of child in "Mermaid's Tea Party".

Even if the oblique scene is quite concrete and the explicitly violent scene is wildly hyperbolic?

I agree with Eytanz here.

If I somehow couldn't avoid seeing (for instance) a prolonged, graphic rape scene in a movie, one that disturbed me down to the core, I wouldn't find it a less disturbing scene if it turned out to be (or even if I knew going in that it was) a daydream of the rapist, or a nightmare of the victim and never really happened.  I would still consider it something I would have wanted to be warned about.

Whereas a victim (or perpetrator) describing an actual (in the story) rape would cause me to have a reaction more to the person describing it (pity, rage, whatever) than to the act itself.  It might still be hard to take, but it would be, well, less graphic and explicit, and so merit a lesser warning.

I'm not saying everyone would (or should) react that way, just that I would, though I think, going by what he said, so would Eytanz.
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2010, 12:38:24 AM »

It seems pretty obvious that my cultural laterality and outsider status is making the audiences' mores hard to understand and navigate.

I'm not entirely certain what you're referring to here, and I'd be genuinely interested know more about this.  Are you an outsider to Podcastle?  To the U.S.?  To something I'm not thinking of?  If this is something that you've talked about elsewhere in the forum and don't want to rehash (which I would totally understand), I would be happy with a link to the discussion.  I sometimes go long periods without making my way here, and likely I miss a lot of good discussion.
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2010, 12:50:50 AM »

Last thing for today. (Thank God! I hear you cry. Smiley )

I agree with alllie in classifying that quoted passage as horror.  I suspect that if just that excerpt (perhaps with a touch of editing to make it stand alone) had been posted as a entry in the Pseudopod Flash Fiction contest, it would be doing quite well.

But I disagree that those four paragraphs make the whole piece a horror story.  There's too much else going on for that to be true.
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2010, 12:53:25 AM »

The Mermaid's Tea Party had a man sexually violating a corpse in front of a child in it, and within the story this was actual, not metaphorical, not something happening at a remove, in someone's mind (or Behold, if you prefer).  You really think Behold of the Eye was worse?

I really had forgotten that story, though when you gave that description, it came back to me somewhat.  (I had, actually, been confusing it with a previous mermaid story from a few - or more? - weeks earlier, which also, as I recall, had some adult themes.)

So, I thought I'd refresh my memory.  I found the text online and looked for the passage you mentioned.  And in all honesty, I'm not entirely certain that, when I first listened to it, I figured out what the author was talking about.  Maybe I did, but I'm pretty sure that I took the "milky-white streaks across her scales ... not unlike the white sap of the poisonous flower" to be that sap, not what it turned out to be.  (Duh, clever me.  Not.)

I may even have wondered, at the end of the story, what the warning was all about.  Which just goes to show.  Smiley

So, yeah, I'd say that in terms of explicitness of description, "Behold" is more extreme.  (I'm avoiding a value judgement of worse or better, just more or less meriting a rating or warning.)  Having refreshed my memory, I think that, while the difference isn't nearly as great as I thought (mostly because I was remembering the wrong story), I think I still believe that I'd put a warning on "Behold of the Eye" sooner than "Mermaid's Tea Party".  But only a touch sooner.

I guess it's a taste thing? I found that scene in "Mermaid's Tea Party" incredibly disturbing. I still find it incredibly disturbing. And, as subtle as it was, it was pretty explicit, which is why we slapped the warning there.

When I read Behold, the scene in question felt horrible, yes. But for me, in a cartoonish, Tim Burton, Nightmare Before Christmas kind of way. Like Anna said earlier, different triggers. Obviously, people reacted to it on a more visceral level than I did, and we're taking steps to correct that in the future.

In general, I'm glad to hear people seem to like the new rating system. I hope it's useful and allows people to a) have a better idea of what the week's story is going to be in tone, and b) help decide whether or not you want to listen.  


(Is the other Mermaid story you're thinking about "Foam on the Water"?)
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2010, 07:14:12 AM »

I'm not entirely certain what you're referring to here, and I'd be genuinely interested know more about this.  Are you an outsider to Podcastle?  To the U.S.?  To something I'm not thinking of?  If this is something that you've talked about elsewhere in the forum and don't want to rehash (which I would totally understand), I would be happy with a link to the discussion.  I sometimes go long periods without making my way here, and likely I miss a lot of good discussion.

I'm not culturally American, though my passport says that's my nationality.  I'm not even culturally a First Worlder.  Though I've now lived in the U.S. for more years than I've lived outside of it, I still fail to understand things on a fairly regular basis.
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« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2010, 08:41:44 AM »

I guess it's a taste thing? I found that scene in "Mermaid's Tea Party" incredibly disturbing. I still find it incredibly disturbing. And, as subtle as it was, it was pretty explicit, which is why we slapped the warning there.

When I read Behold, the scene in question felt horrible, yes. But for me, in a cartoonish, Tim Burton, Nightmare Before Christmas kind of way.

It feels to me like a difference in sensitivity to sexual subjects versus violent ones.  But I could easily be wrong about that; I hate to generalize.

I also wonder if there's a difference in reaction to reading something than to hearing it.

(Is the other Mermaid story you're thinking about "Foam on the Water"?)

Yes. Thank you.
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« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2010, 08:56:57 AM »

I'm not culturally American, though my passport says that's my nationality.  I'm not even culturally a First Worlder.  Though I've now lived in the U.S. for more years than I've lived outside of it, I still fail to understand things on a fairly regular basis.

I imagine that's quite stressful.

I don't know if it's any consolation, but there are people who are born and raised in this culture who don't (seem to) get things either.  Maybe not the same things, but probably comparable ones.  The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper, while cartoonish, is not much of an exaggeration over some geeks I've met.

And my wife would tell you that I have a fairly pitiful understanding of social conventions most of the time.

All of this is not to minimize or marginalize the issue but to assure you that you aren't utterly alone in it, even though the particular things you struggle with may be different.
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« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2010, 09:40:54 AM »

I imagine that's quite stressful.

Ehhh, it's not so bad.  Outsider perspective is more useful than detrimental, in the main.  And I actually camouflage pretty well, as many outsiders do whose outsider status bears no obvious external markers.  I was bringing it up in case you thought I was being obdurate or rhetorically dense to prove a point.  I wanted you to know that it's likely I honestly don't get it and I'm not jerking you around and I'm open to being educated on any given nuance of American culture.

Of course, one does occasionally have to endure being accused of helping the bad guys win and being desensitized to torture and being allied with Bush/Cheney when one runs a story (written by a Scot) by someone who knows next to nothing about you (not even your gender) much less about your background, but hey, Dave endured it right alongside me and he's American through and through, so maybe that cannot be attributed to my cultural laterality.  

Not to say I don't appreciate your sympathy.  I do.  Thank you.  I just want to be clear we're not in a 'woe is me' situation.  I actually think I've led a pretty fortunate life, with lots of experiences that were worth having, even the unpleasant ones, and even if most other people can't identify with what I've lived.
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« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2010, 06:36:44 PM »

It seems that I was the only one disturbed by the brutality and torture in this story. I find that deeply troubling, a sign that the CIA, Bush and Cheney have won. We are now a country where torture is so acceptable that it is a permissible metaphor in a story about a fairy. It used to be in movies, in books, that when a character engaged in torture, was even willing to engage in torture, that was a sign he/she was a bad guy. And this wasn’t a reversible role. Torture made someone a bad guy forever. It was something no one good would ever do. Something America did not do.

But those days are gone.

I blame 24 and Jack Bauer.

Oh, and as for "The Mermaids' Tea Party", the sexual violation in question did not happen "in front of a child".  The child came across the corpse after the fact, and we were left to infer what had happened from the description.
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« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2010, 06:43:08 PM »

Oh, and as for "The Mermaids' Tea Party", the sexual violation in question did not happen "in front of a child".  The child came across the corpse after the fact, and we were left to infer what had happened from the description.

Technically, this is true.  She did not observe the incident with her eyes, she only heard it happen, and saw the results afterward.  For my druthers, hearing is being present. 
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« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2010, 11:25:11 PM »

I guess it's a taste thing? I found that scene in "Mermaid's Tea Party" incredibly disturbing. I still find it incredibly disturbing. And, as subtle as it was, it was pretty explicit, which is why we slapped the warning there.

When I read Behold, the scene in question felt horrible, yes. But for me, in a cartoonish, Tim Burton, Nightmare Before Christmas kind of way.

It feels to me like a difference in sensitivity to sexual subjects versus violent ones.  But I could easily be wrong about that; I hate to generalize.

I don't know. For me, the scene in the Mermaid's Tea Party is horrifically violent and sexual.

Our goal is to rate/verbally warn in regards to explicitness, whether it be explicit violence, sexuality, or language.

I suppose there's an issue of tone, too. The passage in Behold is grotesque, but when taken in context with the rest of the story - like a Teddy Bear getting turned into a monster, or Flashjack flying off into outer space or whatever, so when it starts to rain of corpses, etc., it just felt unreal and cartoonish to me.

Obviously, YMMV. (As can be seen in this discussion.)
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« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2010, 11:26:45 PM »


I also wonder if there's a difference in reaction to reading something than to hearing it.


That may be. There's probably something to be said for what you're doing while you're listening as well. (If I'm doing paperwork, or commuting, or cooking dinner, etc.)
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« Reply #47 on: June 13, 2010, 07:15:17 PM »


I also wonder if there's a difference in reaction to reading something than to hearing it.


That may be. There's probably something to be said for what you're doing while you're listening as well. (If I'm doing paperwork, or commuting, or cooking dinner, etc.)

It think so. I think if I had read it, it was only a few paragraphs, I would have skimmed over it, but hearing it read by a talented narrator made it worse. At least for me.
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« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2010, 09:39:56 AM »

Then what is pseudopod for?

Having wandered around the PseudoPod episode comments enough, I can confidently state that the editors picked the best venue for this story. I can only imagine the bitching about "you got fairies in my pseudopod". Now if the middle section with Fuzzy was puled out alone and warped a bit more, it would be a solid candidate. But instead, it was used as a tempering agent in a fairy tale.
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« Reply #49 on: July 27, 2010, 12:27:49 AM »

Quote
Is the other Mermaid story you're thinking about "Foam on the Water"?

We tagged a warning on that one because it had BDSM in it. The first narrator I approached about reading it actually refused because he found it too offensive. It was a narrator who frequently reads for Escape Artists and he added that he'd never turned down a story before.

The new rating system looks awesome, Anna & Dave.
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« Reply #50 on: August 26, 2010, 01:06:35 AM »

Having wandered around the PseudoPod episode comments enough, I can confidently state that the editors picked the best venue for this story. I can only imagine the bitching about "you got fairies in my pseudopod".

Actually, I recall "Bottle Babies" avoiding that one.
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« Reply #51 on: March 04, 2011, 04:24:24 PM »

Having wandered around the PseudoPod episode comments enough, I can confidently state that the editors picked the best venue for this story. I can only imagine the bitching about "you got fairies in my pseudopod".

Actually, I recall "Bottle Babies" avoiding that one.

Fair enough. But I think we can differentiate the fairies between the two stories. The Bottle Babies fairies fit the old Grimm mold of capricious and vicious and downright "not nice". Even with the sex and filthy language, Behold of the Eye fairies are a bit closer to an adult version of Disney fairies. Monsters versus more human creatures.
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