Author Topic: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President  (Read 17396 times)

eytanz

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EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« on: November 04, 2010, 03:00:33 PM »
EP 265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President

By Chris Dahlen
Read by Cheyenne Wright

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My name is Ted Tuscadero. And I want to be your President.

I say that with a humble heart. I realize that even after eight stellar years in the Senate, some of you are still getting to know me. And I’ll admit, I am not perfect. The other day, when I told a VFW in Littleton I would blast Iran to glass, and at the same exact time I swore off the war at a town hall in Concord? My bad. Or the time that three of me showed up for the big debate in Manchester, and we got in a fistfight over who was going on the air? Yeah, the chattering classes had a few laughs over that one.

And that little incident before the holidays, when I crashed, as lit as a Christmas tree, into a pole and my car exploded, killing me instantly and taking a mailbox, a transformer and a barn cat with me? It looked bad, I know. But that proxy was on the fritz. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. And the more we talk, the better you get to know me, the more you’ll see what I mean.


Rated PG-13 For sexual situations and adult language.

Show Notes:

  • Election day is always better with clones!
  • Mr. Dahlen is editorial director of Kill Screen, a new print quarterly magazine about videogames.
  • Feedback for Episode 257: Union Dues: The Sum of Its Parts.
  • Next week… We travel to Japan!



Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 06:00:45 PM by eytanz »

ElectricPaladin

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2010, 03:06:59 PM »
Oh, man, I want to listen to this one so hard. I can't wait!
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Scattercat

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2010, 10:35:05 PM »
Hee!  I had to slush this one when a query came in from the author.  It was fun.  I'm looking forward to hearing it.  My previous reaction remains firmly in place:


Quote from: Scattercat the Angry Slusher
Biggest issue I have is a flailing nerd-rage cry of "That's not how
cloning woooooorrrrks!"  And then I beat my tiny fists against my
playpen wall.  (Though honestly, it's almost a scifi convention now, like
FTL.  It just irritates the hell out of me.)

And so...

That's not how cloning works!

*flails*

Fun story.
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Boggled Coriander

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 03:32:51 AM »
And so...

That's not how cloning works!

*flails*

Fun story.

Justification:

When person-duplication was developed, the press and the popular imagination took one look at it and though, "Aha! Cloning!"  Scientists rolled their eyes and said, "This isn't cloning! This is different! Cloning uses totally different technology!"  But it was no use.  The public had been already been influenced by decades of science fiction. 

Now, even scientists grudgingly call it "cloning" when they're talking to the press.  But they die a little inside, every time.
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Loz

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 07:54:41 AM »
I enjoyed it, and I think that for a certain value of cloning it does work, it's a clone of Ted Tuscadero as a grown man, with a copy of his brain with, presumably, just a slight tweak so that the clone knows and accepts that he's a clone. The thing I don't get is that, presumably, once the candidate wins (or loses) the Presidential race all the proxies are killed off, and why our Ted Tuscaditto doesn't appear to know this fact. I would have thought it would make sense to make them aware of their limited life, or if the sliding polls make them unpopular, why they didn't have some automatic kill-switch in them. That's a really minor niggle though. The main thing I liked about this was that our Tuscadero/Tuscaditto wasn't a stereotyped politician of either side of the aisle (or whatever it is you Americans have over there), not an angel but not Boss Hogg either.

It wasn't him unknowingly walking off to his death that got me, it was when he asked the mayor to arrange the ground-breaking event so that he as an individual rather than just any old Ted Tuscadero would be involved. It's possibly his only moment of individuality and it doesn't look like he's going to get it, unless I've completely misunderstood the end of the story.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 09:31:09 AM »
Hee!  I had to slush this one when a query came in from the author.  It was fun.  I'm looking forward to hearing it.  My previous reaction remains firmly in place:


Quote from: Scattercat the Angry Slusher
Biggest issue I have is a flailing nerd-rage cry of "That's not how
cloning woooooorrrrks!"  And then I beat my tiny fists against my
playpen wall.  (Though honestly, it's almost a scifi convention now, like
FTL.  It just irritates the hell out of me.)

And so...

That's not how cloning works!

*flails*

Fun story.

That didn't bother me at all in this story.  Yes, cloning does not work that way, but I never considered this to be cloning.  This is more of a mind-body copy than just a genetic duplication.  Yes, one person asks him if it's cloning, and I believe his answer was that it could be called cloning, but:
1.  He's a practiced liar, and he can say it this vague way to avoid having to directly contradict them.
2.  He's not a scientist, so maybe he doesn't understand the difference.


Well, Escape Pod, you've finally done it.  This is the FIRST politically focused story on Escape Artists that I didn't hate.  And not only did I not hate it, I really enjoyed it.  AND I sympathized with a politician character.  Pretty much all the other ones have been as entertaining as a political ad, but this one managed to center around politics and be interesting and sympathetic.

Great story, lots of interesting implications in this one.  Gah!  Politicians everywhere!  I wonder if that was a metaphor for the increasing politician presence saturation in our lives in the media as election day approaches (which I'm still recovering from this election season).  If so, it was a good one.  If not, well, I'll just pretend it was anyway.

I also appreciate Mur sharing her views of politics and elections, which are quite close to my own.  Particularly frustration with the promises politicians make as if they did not have to overcome the personal and political biases of hundreds of other politicians to get any single change enacted. 

Part of the reason that i could relate so well to this politician was the peculiar situation he's in.  He's working his ass off to win this election, but even in his mind, someone else is going to reap the main benefit of it.  This brings him away from the stereotypical power-hungry money-hungry douchebag politician, because he is standing for his ideals WITHOUT swimming in a Scrooge McDuck style money vault.  His situation is much more idealistic than your typical politician.  He even realizes it, but shies away from it, such as when he thinks about sitting in the white house, and then abruptly changes thoughts as though realizing that HE will not be the one sitting in the White House, HE will not be the one with the glory and the power and the money.  AT BEST he'll still just be a spin doctor lookalike, and AT WORST, he'll be executed.

The ending was handled PERFECTLY, on a hopeful note in the character's mind but with the reader being aware of the inevitable messy ending.  Interrupting the haircut was the perfect way to do it, because it tells me that they're clearly not intending to keep this guy around if they're not going to even let him get a proper haircut before hauling him away.  Yet he seems oblivious of this, perhaps realizing deep down what's going to happen, but trying to cling to the go-getter self that he is so proud of, despite the sudden valley looming ahead.

jenfullmoon

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 10:32:48 AM »
I enjoyed it, and I think that for a certain value of cloning it does work, it's a clone of Ted Tuscadero as a grown man, with a copy of his brain with, presumably, just a slight tweak so that the clone knows and accepts that he's a clone. The thing I don't get is that, presumably, once the candidate wins (or loses) the Presidential race all the proxies are killed off, and why our Ted Tuscaditto doesn't appear to know this fact. I would have thought it would make sense to make them aware of their limited life, or if the sliding polls make them unpopular, why they didn't have some automatic kill-switch in them. That's a really minor niggle though. The main thing I liked about this was that our Tuscadero/Tuscaditto wasn't a stereotyped politician of either side of the aisle (or whatever it is you Americans have over there), not an angel but not Boss Hogg either.

It wasn't him unknowingly walking off to his death that got me, it was when he asked the mayor to arrange the ground-breaking event so that he as an individual rather than just any old Ted Tuscadero would be involved. It's possibly his only moment of individuality and it doesn't look like he's going to get it, unless I've completely misunderstood the end of the story.

I don't know. It seems like a pretty publicly weird thing to kill off EVERY Tuscaditto (hee), especially since they have very publicly been all over the place. People would notice and even possibly object to the wholesale slaughter of every guy who's been working hard to get to know everybody. Hell, people might even get a little attached to their personal Teds. On the other hand, killing off the occasional Tuscaditto wouldn't be noticed if he steps out of line, which is where this seems to be going.

It's a very interesting story, and a bit heartbreaking when he can't make phone calls any more and the only person he really has is Rachael. (No mention of a Mrs. Tuscadero in this scenario, which makes me wonder. No single guy can get elected President, so what would they do with the clones' feelings towards the Mrs., whatever they are? I wonder if they "fixed" that too.)

Mostly, though, I find it hard to figure out what Tuscaditto here thinks is going on. He seems to somewhat know he's going to be killed off, but sort of doesn't? That's strange and confusing.

ElectricPaladin

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 10:53:18 AM »
And so...

That's not how cloning works!

*flails*

Fun story.

Justification:

When person-duplication was developed, the press and the popular imagination took one look at it and though, "Aha! Cloning!"  Scientists rolled their eyes and said, "This isn't cloning! This is different! Cloning uses totally different technology!"  But it was no use.  The public had been already been influenced by decades of science fiction. 

Now, even scientists grudgingly call it "cloning" when they're talking to the press.  But they die a little inside, every time.

That was pretty much my internal edit.

For me, this is a story with much potential, most of it missed. I thought a little more exploration of the real Weird Future consequences of this technology would have been interesting. Immortality! The world's best doctor as your personal G.P.! Incredibly hot (and creepy) threesomes! Incredibly weird labor negotiations! Even the political ramifications - which the story was more or less about - were weakened by having Ted the only proxy mentioned directly by the story.

That said, I really enjoyed the themes the story did delve into. Ted's growing identity crisis, the ways his personality buckled and shifted under the pressure of being a Ted rather than the Ted. I also enjoyed the character portrait of a politician who was both more and less than a mensch.

I did find the end a bit unsettling. It was very disquieting, to end on such an uncertain, uneasy, and frankly disturbing note as Ted fearing for his life. It seemed out of place in what was basically a fun, weird story.

Which I basically enjoyed.
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Rachel Udin

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2010, 09:33:29 PM »
I have to say I like the reading of Ted... that said, I thought Ted, eventually came off as likable, and I felt a little bad that he was going towards his inevitable death with a smile.

I also like how over time he separated himself from Ted proper, became close to the town folk and though he had a political agenda, seemed to really become attached in a way. There is even a larger separation between so-called clone Ted and Ted going to the white house in terms of moral implications. First with the idea of killing the clones at all, which clone Ted doesn't seem to like, even if it's not him, and then the swindling to get constituents. Did they leave behind some of the copying of his brain so he could get the job done better?

This story also reminded me of an old Escape pod episode--I forgot which one exactly where the guy cloned himself for the experience that his clones had, though it was darker, some of the themes kind of felt the same--using clones as a tool to gain and then destroying them at the end, where the clone is more likable than the actual person.

This kind of theming also reminds me of such polarizing Sci-fi themes as the robot is more human than the human, or the alien is more kind than the human. And if it's not that, then it's a simple us v. them. In this case the clone is more human than the "real" human. I'd love someone to be able to attack the gre/ay between these extremes once in a while. I'd like to see that twisted with more than relying on these two conventions.

Scattercat

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2010, 09:55:01 PM »
It's hardly a blind reiteration of the convention here; the clone has different experiences than the original and grows apart naturally, not because artificial is better than real.  The clone gets the actual life connecting with the actual people he wants to serve.  The real politician stays in Washington and grows more and more distant.  It's only natural that he wouldn't care much if the clones get killed; he's never really met them, and in his mind they're just "proxies," tools to accomplish a task, no more meriting a thought than the cow that provided his steak or the lettuce plant that died for his salad.  Really, the story is more about how experience changes us than about how non-humans are automatically better than humans.  I agree that that trope is often overused or used badly, but it doesn't really fit this story.
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blueeyeddevil

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 12:30:38 PM »
Hmmmmm,

I wish I'd finished the story earlier. I would've liked to get a fresh take on it from certain inquiring minds, because I just don't see this story in the terms others have.

First, the short and wiseass review:
Another possible title, at least for this reading: "The Election Song Of Smidgen The Snack-Candidate"
I am surprised that people liked this reading and voice when so many absolutely hated/were skeeved out by Cmar's reading for "Smidgen". The parallells don't end there either. Both are the stories of artificial beings created with an inborn desire for the furtherance of a certain goal, who use all possible charm and persuasion to reach said goal, which in the end results in their destruction.
The story was good, but more compelling as a conceptual springboard for larger ideas (detailed below) than for its own plot-merit. The ending, I felt, was rather stereotypical, though that isn't a bad thing in this case. I'm surprised that no-one else twigged on to the idea that this haircut is a specific act of individuality (in order to maintain identical appearance I assume the campaign had carefully trained hairdressers who only cut the porxies' hair in the same style at the same time) and is literally cut off in the middle, the dooming stroke, as it were.

Alright, more theoretical stuff down here, read on at peril of boredom:


When the speculative element of the story is left as vague as this one is, and leaves things open enough so that it doesn't necessarily contradict any known biological or physical facts, I then feel far less need to worry about the particulars. I know this story contradicts what is currently understood about cloning, but it makes a point of indicating that this is not the world as we know it...the point of cloning in this case is to create an actual double. Whatever that entails is left, I believe, intentionally vague.
This shouldn't be so hard to swallow for the sake of a story; the most popular podcast novel so far written is based on an (ironically) identical principle.

This has been hashed out already, so let me get to my real point:
The real question being asked here, it seems to me, primarily concerns the nature of identity, power structure, and philosophical affiliation. The secondary concepts that are brought out through the initial list include: the wisdom and necessity of a large centralized government, the need to produce (literally produce, in fact mass produce, in this case) a professional ruling class or group, and whether (this is an issue as big and old as history) the ends ever really justify the means.

The questions that don't get asked explicitly in the story, but I think should be, are: Can a man have his proxy as vice-president, with the capabilty of copying the president out there, does there even need to be the office of vice president. When one individual is elected on the deeds of somone else who is nigh-identical to said individual, does that person indeed become interchangable.  Is the leader the man, or the concepts the man embodies?

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 01:50:08 PM »
I am surprised that people liked this reading and voice when so many absolutely hated/were skeeved out by Cmar's reading for "Smidgen".

I don't recall anyone being skeeved out by Cmar's reading of Smidgen.  In fact, that seemed to be the part that everyone seemed to like.  The people who didn't like Smidgen disliked it because of the story itself, not Cmar's reading of it.  I like Cmar's voice and it's particularly well-suited for a salesman.  He can pull off the voice of a mock-sincere scam artist, just dripping with greasiness.  Whether or not you liked the story of Smidgen, his voice was well-suited for it, selling diabetes and obesity in a love-shaped package.  Here he is selling empty promises in a hope-shaped package.  And in both cases the character is REALLY GOOD at selling.

The questions that don't get asked explicitly in the story, but I think should be, are: Can a man have his proxy as vice-president, with the capabilty of copying the president out there, does there even need to be the office of vice president. When one individual is elected on the deeds of somone else who is nigh-identical to said individual, does that person indeed become interchangable.  Is the leader the man, or the concepts the man embodies?

Ooh, THAT'S an interesting question.  Especially since the proxies grow apart over time.  This Ted isn't the same as Senator Ted anymore, so after election, if President Ted were killed, and replaced by a proxy, he'd no longer be quite the same person.  They all started in the same place, but that was just a branching point.  That could make for a really interesting "power behind the power" plot:
Geez, Ted's poll numbers are dropping.  Let's poison him and replace him with Ohio Ted--his numbers have been consistently above average.  Just print off a new proxy to toss at Ohio, and no one's the wiser!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 01:51:48 PM by Unblinking »

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 01:58:39 PM »
Still thinking about this story, days later.  

I had a thought relating to the intro, the part with Mur talking about the current political system, with politicians being elected based upon promises that they know they can't fulfill, that they pretend that they can accomplish by themselves even though they really have to work with hundreds of other politicians to pass anything.

With the proxy system, that problem just gets worse.  Instead of just one guy making promises, there are 101 of the sumbitches making promises, that presumably the voters feel he actually means.  But if all the proxies are killed off, all that information, all that compassion is lost in one fell swoop.  The promises this guy makes are literally worth nothing, because President Ted would not even be aware of them on any level.  It's bad enough to have a President who breaks his campaign promises, but this guy isn't even breaking his own promises, he's just unaware of them.  From a narrow point of view, it's hard to blame him for breaking promises he's unaware of making.  From a broader point of view, he allowed the proxies so he could be held accountable for that, as well as for any crimes the proxies commit, like the DUI.

And, taking that thought a bit further, if you don't hold the original accountable for crimes of a proxy, politician's criminal activity becomes a much harder thing to hold against them.  "The President was found doing unmentionable things with an intern."  "Oh, that was my proxy.  He's been punished, but I can't be held accountable for his actions!"  The implication of the 100-proxy campaign is that the proxies actually represent the candidate in their positive interactions, so why not their negatives as well?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 02:00:53 PM by Unblinking »

Schreiber

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 07:12:04 PM »
It's true: this is not how cloning, as we currently understand it, works. Am I categorically  opposed to stories in which both cloning and the "uploading" of memories are possible? Not at all. J.C. Hutchins and crew do it wonderfully in the 7th Son Universe.

That being said, I was a little disappointed in this story. The use of "proxies" seems a little unimaginative. Swap the narrator for Rahm Emmanuel and it's no longer a speculative story in any way, shape, or form.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 09:07:30 PM »
I liked this story. Was I the only one waiting for the reveal that Rachel was a clone? The cost of creating a "clone mold" was high, but hiring 2 aides for each of the 100 proxies would be very expensive also.

I know he had hoped they would make a proxy of Rachel one day, but I was thinking he might not have known that she was one.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 10:57:13 AM »
That being said, I was a little disappointed in this story. The use of "proxies" seems a little unimaginative. Swap the narrator for Rahm Emmanuel and it's no longer a speculative story in any way, shape, or form.

Yes, if you remove the speculative element, it would no longer be a speculative story, but it also wouldn't be the same story as this one. 

If you remove the proxies, then it's just about political campaigning. By removing the proxies you'd remove the implied death at the end, the public polls about proxies, the ability of one candidate to be physically present at 100 different locations, the leader board to determine the White House time-sharing, the fact that he's campaigning for his own office yet even he knows that he would at best sit in the chair for a week at a time, the ethical question of exploiting and then murdering copies of your own self, etc...  There are a lot of interesting things that are entirely dependent on the speculative element.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 11:39:22 AM »
For me, the technology was simply less "attack of the clones", more "Dollhouse".  Cloning is at that weird place right now, where it goes from science fiction to alternate reality.  Imagine the sci-fi stories written around 1900 with 2010 jets in them.  There was some knowledge of flight, and how it worked, but I'm pretty sure there would be some who would say "That's not how flight works, those airplanes are far too heavy!" or some such. 
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Schreiber

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 12:41:41 PM »

Yes, if you remove the speculative element, it would no longer be a speculative story. 


I guess I walked into that one. What I mean to say is that the speculative element of the proxies felt a little air-dropped into a world that was a little too much like our own. Not because it had to be, but because the author wasn't particularly interested in imagining how the world would have changed between now and then.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 04:18:01 PM »

Yes, if you remove the speculative element, it would no longer be a speculative story. 


I guess I walked into that one. What I mean to say is that the speculative element of the proxies felt a little air-dropped into a world that was a little too much like our own. Not because it had to be, but because the author wasn't particularly interested in imagining how the world would have changed between now and then.

Sorry, I couldn't resist the joke.  :)  I did understand what you meant, despite the joke, but I didn't have a problem with it.  I figured this was very near future, like perhaps 2012 or 2016, and the proxy technological is brand new.  Society as a whole hasn't had time to change much, except for the direct effects of this technology which is too expensive for anyone but the super-rich to participate.  Maybe it said a year and I missed it, but I just figured it was meant to be very-near future.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2010, 10:03:50 PM »
I liked it, even though ( I am only speaking for my self ) but I knew that the clone was going to disappear at the end. I would have liked to see the author give the clone a fighting chance maybe let him run away or something other than "get in the van" its like the " Long Walk" from "Lady and the Tramp".
Imagine if you will the president of the United States who has a renegade clone running around.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2010, 05:09:17 PM »
I kept on being reminded of Bruce Sterling's Distraction, also a story with a mixture of cloning & politics (and an addition of neuro-psychology).

This one was a fun romp, but the clumsy explanation of cloning got to me, too.  It more or less amounted to "magic shit happens and then suddenly...  clones everywhere!".  But it was otherwise pretty well written.

Schreiber

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2010, 05:41:32 PM »
Imagine if you will the president of the United States who has a renegade clone running around.

I imagine a bunch of ornery pundits would be constantly demanding to see his birth certificate.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2010, 09:57:13 AM »
Imagine if you will the president of the United States who has a renegade clone running around.

That sounds awesome!  Can I hear a sequel?  This Ted goes blindly to his fate, but there are 98 Teds still potentially in the world--one or more could get away, the government covers it up to avoid embarrasment, and then the extra Teds show up here and there while the government tries to suppress them.

Schreiber

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2010, 12:05:29 PM »
"The Prez, there's only one of me til suddenly there's two of me and when two is what you see of me -GADZOOKS! Three of me! Three's the proper score of me, there's three of me, no more of me, and we can tell you -WHOOPS! Sorry: Four of me."

BTW, you guys know that the butt of the last joke was the pundits themselves, not the current President, right?

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2010, 07:40:55 PM »
Quote from: Unblinking
Well, Escape Pod, you've finally done it.  This is the FIRST politically focused story on Escape Artists that I didn't hate.  And not only did I not hate it, I really enjoyed it.  AND I sympathized with a politician character.  Pretty much all the other ones have been as entertaining as a political ad, but this one managed to center around politics and be interesting and sympathetic.
Yes.  I put the shields up and braced for impact when I saw the title, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

I don't have too much to contribute, but I wanted to add my voice to those that liked the story.  The characters were all interesting and complicated.  The SF element was integral and well explored.  It made me think and wonder, and that's the most important element to an SF story for me.

Question:  Did Cheyenne Wright say "noo-kew-lar" instead of "noo-clee-ar"?  Well, he did.  I double checked.  Was that how it was written in the text, or is that how Wright says it?  Wright's a pretty damn good reader, so my money is on the text.  Bush II got a lot of flack for mispronouncing "nuclear," but a lot of people pronounce it the same way.  If Tuscadero mispronounces it too, then it would be a subtle jab at Bush, but at the same time a comment on the sameness of politicians, being that Bush and Tuscadero are from different parties. 

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2010, 10:39:16 PM »
The ending sent a shiver straight down my spine. I found it both chilling and heartbreaking.

I can't imagine there wouldn't be some sort of "clone rights" group that would delve into the mysterious vanishings of the clones, though. I can only see this ultimately ending in massive scandal all around.

But that's not the story the author was out to tell. :)

This story is going to stick with me for a while. Not because of the whole cloning thing, but because of the tragedy of the main character.

Boy, I'm bummed. Time to look at pictures of baby animals or something.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2010, 02:31:17 PM »
I really enjoyed this story, particularly the ambiguities in regards to power and the truth.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2010, 01:49:04 PM »
I so loved this story; it didn't try to do too much but enough to keep me engaged. Great reading!

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2010, 03:36:29 AM »
I think I quite liked this one.
Actually some of the discussion on here has helped my mind delve deeper into the details.
I don't think it was my favourite style of story - but was good.

hardware

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2010, 04:28:00 AM »
Not too much to say that hasn't been said other than it was a nice one. I would love to see this developed into a nice little indie SF dramedy flick actually. Any takers ?

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2010, 12:13:26 PM »
"The Prez, there's only one of me til suddenly there's two of me and when two is what you see of me -GADZOOKS! Three of me! Three's the proper score of me, there's three of me, no more of me, and we can tell you -WHOOPS! Sorry: Four of me."

I love this reference so much :)

I really enjoyed this one, and was definitely feeling attached to *this* Ted by the end of the story. I wonder what the community would do if they knew what had happened to their Ted clone? (And yes, it's not cloning, but as a research biologist I've just given up at this point  ::))

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2010, 02:23:25 PM »
I was a fan of this one, I love the idea that the future of our politics is personalized clones/proxies/whatever.  Although i found myself disbelieving the story towards the end when the proxy didn't realize what the original Ted was doing...seemed like a let down, so maybe the proxies weren't exact clones, they were altered so as not to think like the original?
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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2010, 07:45:08 AM »
This was an okay story, and for me "Okay is the new Good".
I was half expecting to find that there was no original surviving Ted, only a board of directors, cabal, whatever, and the Ted clones were mascots or spokes-actors à la Ronald McDonald. That would have been too much like real life, and so not SF.

Many years ago I was in Ottawa, and one of the government minions said that 95% of what comes out of Parliament was determined by people 3 levels down from the federal cabinet ministers.

nitpick @Mur, in the closing credits: "... recently someone asked me how to spell Daikaiju. D-I-A-K-A-I-J-U ..."?
tsk-tsk :o
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 07:47:38 AM by Planish »
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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2010, 11:12:04 AM »
nitpick @Mur, in the closing credits: "... recently someone asked me how to spell Daikaiju. D-I-A-K-A-I-J-U ..."?
tsk-tsk :o

I thought it was spelled "DA-I-KA-I-JYU" (in kana). But properly, it's spelled like this:

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2010, 03:32:39 PM »
Many years ago I was in Ottawa, and one of the government minions said that 95% of what comes out of Parliament was determined by people 3 levels down from the federal cabinet ministers.

Yes.  If you haven't already, you can see this illustrated quite well (and quite hilariously) in the British sitcoms Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.
"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2010, 08:42:48 PM »
Yes.  If you haven't already, you can see this illustrated quite well (and quite hilariously) in the British sitcoms Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

Some of the best British telly I have ever seen! I'm pretty sure it's all true...

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2010, 07:49:00 AM »
Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said that it was true, and the writers insisted that some plot points in YPM were straight from ministers and other officials (having a 'diplomatic tent' at an event in Saudi Arabia so that British officials could still drink alcohol in a country where it is supposedly forbidden).

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2010, 01:12:14 PM »
I didn't really care for this one.  I, too, flailed and flopped about cloning and how it worked, and the way Ted was treated by the different people felt really creepy because I was sure that he was going to be thrown back into the clone-recycling vat as soon as his tour of duty was up. 

Also, too many plot holes in this story to count: the largest of which is what I call the Prime Law of 4chan, "There is ALWAYS porn of it"!  In a world where you can just make docile clones of people, why wouldn't you have armies of sex clones running around everywhere.  Even if it's highly expensive and restricted, there ought to be several thousand black-market cloning facilities popping up overnight in any number of countries with lax laws (Switzerland, Thailand, North Korea, Mexico, Argentina, etc, etc).  Besides the personal uses by billion dollar moguls, think about what would happen in a world where you can literally make a copy of anyone.  There would literally be millions of porn films made by clones of every famous person ever.  Want to see Paris Hilton do it with a clone of Jesus?  Viola!  How about a gay flick with Edward and Jacob from Twilight?  It's cake with clones!  Want porn of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama doing the dirty?  No prob.  How about the Pope with Margaret Thatcher?  Probably got that too.

Dude, that's like a seriously eff'ed world.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2010, 02:26:39 PM »
How do you know such porn doesn't exist?  The story doesn't really address the world of underground pornography.
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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2010, 03:23:24 PM »
In the age of the Internet, there is no more "underground".  Not when you can give anyone college age or younger a credit card and a broadband connection and ask them how much porn they can get and get back the answer as: "All of it". 

But to address your point, I guess nowhere in the story does it explicitly say that there isn't a crazy amount of porn of every famous person there ever was on the Internet, just like nowhere in the story does it explicitly say that Invisible Pink Unicorns haven't taken over the world's governments.  But I think something that far-reaching and society-impacting would probably make it into mention in everyday conversation, like "Hey Ted, don't leave any DNA on your silverware because they'll make clone porn out of that." or "Hey Ted, did you see that latest Harry Potter movie?  No, not the lesbian clone porn with Hermione and MacGonagall, the one with the original actors."

And even if the polite society was too polite to mention it in passing conversation, I still maintain that it's one eff'ed up world.

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2010, 05:08:17 PM »
I don't tend to mention a lot of porn in my day-to-day conversations. 

Also, these are legal government clones, and the implication was that cloning was not something ordinary people had a lot of access to.  I'd imagine that underground clone-porn sites would have to be pretty underground in the same way that snuff films are currently pretty underground. 

Basically, I agree with you that this porn is a likely consequence of the technology existing, but I don't see why the story is flawed for not mentioning it.  The existence of cheap, free porn on the Internet is a huge consequence of that technology, but a story from back in the 1950's could have been about a hypothetical massive computer network and not be flawed for not dwelling on the idea of porn.  Hell, a modern story about the Internet and computers wouldn't be flawed for not mentioning porn.  Plus, right now we have Photoshop, which means that we can already see anyone we want spliced into a porn picture, and that hasn't exactly destroyed culture or had any real impact on anyone beyond skeevy people who really, really like celebrities.
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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2011, 05:42:22 PM »
Scattercat, I'll admit that when I posted it earlier, I was posting mostly out of jest.  But I do stand by my criticism that if cloning was to become available there would be more far-reaching society consequences than seemed to be represented in the story.  A non-porn related impact would be that the entire judicial system would have to be rewritten around cloning.  Case in point: If I have another clone of myself, and I murder someone OJ-Simpson-style leaving plenty of DNA evidence for the CSI's to find, they'd never be able to convict me, because they can't prove definitively that it me and not the clone (nor vice versa).  In another example, every professional sports organization in the world would shell out millions of dollars for a chance to clone a Babe Ruth (or whoever), Michael Jordan, or Muhammad Ali.  How would that affect the popularity of sports as a whole?  For that matter, how many pop icons would be cloned overnight?  Michael Jackson?  Elvis?  Marilyn Monroe? 

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2011, 08:18:48 PM »
Probably a lot.  Sounds like an awesome set of stories!

I still don't see why it's a flaw that this story, which focused on the use of clones by presidential candidates, is in any way at fault for not writing every possible story involving cheap magic-clone technology. 

Let me try another tack.  In Star Wars, there are very likely Force-sensitive people who don't become Jedi and use their powers to cheat at gambling and become criminal masterminds.  (In fact, such people have featured in the various spin-off products.)  Is Episode IV a bad movie because they didn't include one of those? 

This story was very much about the use of clones in the political arena, and in particular the experiences of one clone out of hundreds in one small town in the middle of nowhere, at a time when the cloning technology is still pretty expensive (at least to get the initial copy made.)  I can't get mad if the story's central premise has a lot of interesting and potentially cool implications; I'd be annoyed if they tried to fit all of that in, frankly.
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yicheng

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2011, 11:39:54 AM »
We may have to agree to disagree.  I'm not sure if using Star Wars really helped your cause, because they are enough plot wholes in that series to fly a Star Destroyer through.  Episode IV was actually one of the better Star Wars movies (probably because Lucas hadn't gone really really crazy yet), and in and of itself (before the whole Star Wars universe was ludicrously constructed with it's midichlorians and non-jedi force-sensitives), it was pretty much internally consistent.  After all, in that movie, for all we know Luke, Obi-Wan, and Vadar are the only Force-sensitives we know of.

As for the story, I have to say again that "expensive" doesn't imply "rare".  After all, Ferrari F430's are pretty expensive, but you still see one of two of them just driving around.  There are implications in the story itself that other candidates besides Tuscadero employ cloning tech, so at the very least, it's available to private citizens (presumably ones with lots of money).  And this means that more powerful private individuals (e.g. Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoc, etc) most definitely would have access to cloning, to say nothing of other countries and multi-nationals.  Imagine what a bored Saudi prince with a few extra $M lying around would buy himself for his birthday if he could clone anyone he wanted to.  Or what intelligence agency would do if they could clone anyone (say a foreign diplomat with top secret access to information and computer systems).  I don't expect the story to cover all of it in any great detail, but I simply think that plopping down Mayberry, USA, and saying "there's cloning, but everything else is exactly the same" is too much for me to swallow. 

I don't expect you to agree with me, nor do I expect you to suddenly hate the story because of what I said.  I actually found the characters fairly enjoyable, but the inconsistencies were too flagrant for me to get past.

BTW, I think Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" is a good book on a similar subject of politics in the future and genetic manipulation.

http://www.amazon.com/Distraction-Bruce-Sterling/dp/0553576399

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2011, 07:52:04 PM »
Imagine what a bored Saudi prince with a few extra $M lying around would buy himself for his birthday if he could clone anyone he wanted to.

What an idea, and what a setting. Those guys aren't even supposed to drink.


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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2011, 10:56:30 AM »
Imagine what a bored Saudi prince with a few extra $M lying around would buy himself for his birthday if he could clone anyone he wanted to.
What an idea, and what a setting. Those guys aren't even supposed to drink.

Wahhabi Arabs are not Saudi Princes.  You might want to do some research on Saudi history.  The excesses and "liberal" indulgences of the Saudi family are quite well-known, and are one of the main grievances of Islamic Fundamentalists.

And BTW, Jews aren't supposed to drive on Saturdays and eat Cheeseburgers but I'll bet you can more than few that do.  Technically Christians aren't supposed to that either, but that's a whole new can of worms.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 11:42:15 AM by yicheng »

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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2011, 11:32:53 AM »
Add me to the list of people who loved this story!
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Re: EP265: We are Ted Tuscadero for President
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2011, 12:00:43 PM »
Wahhabi Arabs are not Saudi Princes.  You might want to do some research on Saudi history.  The excesses and "liberal" indulgences of the Saudi family are quite well-known, and are one of the main grievances of Islamic Fundamentalists.

And BTW, Jews aren't supposed to drive on Saturdays and eat Cheeseburgers but I'll bet you can more than few that do.  Technically Christians aren't supposed to that either, but that's a whole new can of worms.

Saudi Princes are Wahabi. At least technically.

Speaking of which I wonder if, given DNA from his heirs and the correct technology, one could use cloning techniques to produce a new Mohammed? And if so would he be able to hear God as well as in his first physical incarnation?

As for Jews eating cheeseburgers, they'll be sorry when the rapture xenovirus is deployed and only the non-cheeseburger eaters are left behind as the chosen people.

I mean really, what a bunch of schmucks! It isn't as if the aliens didn't warn them in good time.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 12:09:05 PM by Balu »