Author Topic: EP420: The Shunned Trailer  (Read 14407 times)

Dem

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Reply #50 on: November 18, 2013, 03:07:00 PM
No, no wiser. At least from reading the comments I can see it's because I don't read Lovecraft, have no idea what Cthulu is (or are. Ok, now I do) and don't have much idea about Ivy League universities because ours are Oxbridge (Ancient), red brick (modern and sniffed at by the Ancients), or 'jumped up polytechnics' (very modern and sniffed at by both Ancient and Modern but at least you can do media studies there and who needs Latin?). That and we don't have trailer parks so I was thinking about the ones that precede new films. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

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PotatoKnight

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Reply #51 on: November 18, 2013, 03:57:11 PM
No, no wiser. At least from reading the comments I can see it's because I don't read Lovecraft, have no idea what Cthulu is (or are. Ok, now I do) and don't have much idea about Ivy League universities because ours are Oxbridge (Ancient), red brick (modern and sniffed at by the Ancients), or 'jumped up polytechnics' (very modern and sniffed at by both Ancient and Modern but at least you can do media studies there and who needs Latin?). That and we don't have trailer parks so I was thinking about the ones that precede new films. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

Well, the cultural bases for this story probably run too deep for any "translation" to bring this story back for you (the pastiche of Lovecraft's prose style is a big part of what I liked about this one) and it seems you've got the gist, but here's my effort:

The Ivy League is the US's equivalent to the "Ancients," though not as ancient.  Harvard and Yale are the ancient-est (literally in the case of Harvard, though I think there are other US universites older than Yale though newer than Harvard).  They are steeped in tradition and use things like latin mottoes and look like the old European universities they were modeled on.  Vassar and Radcliffe were part of the "Seven Sisters"--the women's college equivalent of the Ivy League back in the day.  Radcliffe has now been incorporatated in to Harvard and Vassar is no longer a women-only college.

MIT would be the equivalent of a "jumped up polytechnic" and has the distinction of being as or more prestigious than Yale or Harvard, while rejecting many of the pretentions of those schools.  There is no latin motto, no graduation with honors.  If you say you went to MIT, everyone knows you are smart.  If you say you went to Yale or Harvard, everyone knows you are either smart or well-connected.  One tradition they do have is their class ring which has a beaver on it--nature's engineer.

The "English" translation of trailer park is, as I understand it, caravan park.  They are strongly associated with the lower-class whites.  It is the one of the lowest-prestige places you can be in the US (a stark contrast to the Ivy League schools).  As has been noted, this story embodies some negative stereotypes of poor rural whites.

Also worth noting is that poor rural whites are associated with various evangelical brands of Christianity (this is a bit dated--evangelical Christianity having spread to wealthier suburban folks).  These forms of Christianity largely originate in and are widely popular in the US and reject book education and seminary degrees in favor of strong personal spiritual connection with God.  The cultists in this story are an imagining of what that evangelical bent would look like with the worshipers of an ancient unfathomable evil.  This retroactively reframes the cultists that appear in actual Lovecraft stories as the equivalent of more sedate mainline protestant denominations whose religious leaders would go and study and who have fancy trappings of belief that Evangelicals would reject.

Edit: Post originally said cultists worship an ancient unfathomable detail. Poetic, but inaccurate.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 05:22:54 PM by PotatoKnight »



Dem

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Reply #52 on: November 18, 2013, 05:46:07 PM
I think our 'jumped up polytechnics' would be delighted to be compared with MIT and our red bricks include University College London which is neither reddy nor bricky! It was founded on egalitarianism of entry though, which makes it an all round good egg. This story, I will have to pass on - I'm just not immersed enough in the key cultural references. Note to self: write a piece for EP that features the Brummie crew of a generation ship whose captain is an unreconstructed Glaswegian and First Mate a Celtic supporter. Will anyone survive the first week?

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Alasdair5000

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Reply #53 on: November 18, 2013, 06:29:51 PM
Do this. Do this and I swear we will find readers for it. Many of which may be me.



eytanz

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Reply #54 on: November 18, 2013, 07:15:08 PM
No, no wiser. At least from reading the comments I can see it's because I don't read Lovecraft, have no idea what Cthulu is (or are. Ok, now I do) and don't have much idea about Ivy League universities because ours are Oxbridge (Ancient), red brick (modern and sniffed at by the Ancients), or 'jumped up polytechnics' (very modern and sniffed at by both Ancient and Modern but at least you can do media studies there and who needs Latin?). That and we don't have trailer parks so I was thinking about the ones that precede new films. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

There's a category between "red brick" and "jumped up polytechnics" - for what it's worth, the red bricks were founded in the 19th century, and the polytechnics became universities in the early 90s. Quite a few of the UK's universities were founded in between, especially the ones that form the 1960s group, including the University of York, where I teach.



Dem

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Reply #55 on: November 18, 2013, 07:42:55 PM
Probably includes Sussex, where I've taught. It was derided as the place 'trade' successes sent their kids if they couldn't get them into Oxbridge. Very arty at the time, now rather more hard core. I spend quite a bit of time at what was the teacher training college over the road - now Brighton university. Used to lob stuff at each other over the A27 in the 1960s! Nearly did my PhD at York :)
Ok, apols for Brit-cademia thread hijack!

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InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #56 on: November 19, 2013, 02:16:36 AM
I would guess that the nearest thing to "red brick" would be the larger State schools. Like the UC system in California. But we're, well, big, and have a lot of different levels of higher educational systems.

And the Ivy League looks down on them, but then the Ivy League looks down on *everybody*.



PotatoKnight

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Reply #57 on: November 19, 2013, 02:39:45 AM
I'm guessing polytechnic has a slightly different meaning in the UK than simply school with "Institute of Technology" in its name? Since that's about all I can get out of Wikipedia and by that definition MIT surely qualifies.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #58 on: November 19, 2013, 03:02:13 AM
No, no wiser. At least from reading the comments I can see it's because I don't read Lovecraft, have no idea what Cthulu is (or are. Ok, now I do) and don't have much idea about Ivy League universities because ours are Oxbridge (Ancient), red brick (modern and sniffed at by the Ancients), or 'jumped up polytechnics' (very modern and sniffed at by both Ancient and Modern but at least you can do media studies there and who needs Latin?). That and we don't have trailer parks so I was thinking about the ones that precede new films. Ah well, can't win 'em all!

Well, the cultural bases for this story probably run too deep for any "translation" to bring this story back for you (the pastiche of Lovecraft's prose style is a big part of what I liked about this one) and it seems you've got the gist, but here's my effort:

The Ivy League is the US's equivalent to the "Ancients," though not as ancient.  Harvard and Yale are the ancient-est (literally in the case of Harvard, though I think there are other US universites older than Yale though newer than Harvard).  They are steeped in tradition and use things like latin mottoes and look like the old European universities they were modeled on.  Vassar and Radcliffe were part of the "Seven Sisters"--the women's college equivalent of the Ivy League back in the day.  Radcliffe has now been incorporatated in to Harvard and Vassar is no longer a women-only college.

Ooh ooh. The College of William and Mary, where I went, makes it very clear that while Harvard was completed first, W&M was planned earlier. Or was it the other way around? Once upon a time, this sort of thing was very important to me.



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Reply #59 on: November 19, 2013, 04:02:18 AM
AWESOME... I blew milk outta both nostrils... uhhh..wait .. I wasn't drinkin milk.. ???.. no matter... this story was da bomb!!!

Almost as funny are the pretentious efforts to analyze, trivialize and criticize the stories here...

Veni.... Vidi.... Velcro...
I came..
I saw....
I stuck around....


Dem

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Reply #60 on: November 19, 2013, 12:56:27 PM
Do this. Do this and I swear we will find readers for it. Many of which may be me.
Don't tempt me ...

Science is what you do when the funding panel thinks you know what you're doing. Fiction is the same only without the funding.


Devoted135

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Reply #61 on: November 19, 2013, 10:41:01 PM
Having downloaded a collection of Lovecraft's short stories a while back, and having very recently gotten into the Arkham Horror board game, I LOVED this! I thought it was a note-for-note perfect send up of all that was near and dear to his heart. And of course, Norm gave a fantastic narration. :)



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Reply #62 on: November 20, 2013, 07:35:01 PM

I thought this was hilarious. Simultaneously skewering Lovecraft, Southern Evangelicals and the Ivy League is no mean feat, and it was done with panache. And could anyone have possibly been a more perfect narrator for that than Norm Sherman? No, definitely not…

This is exactly what I thought. I loved the social critique here - what happens when an Ivy League, probably high-middle class white guy finds himself rescued by the people in a trailer park? How does he negotiate the feelings of mild repugnance, perhaps even fear, and the need to show himself equal to the debt he owes to people he probably called trailer trash just the day before? This is what good SFF is about, projecting reality back to us, using the speculative and the fantastic.

Oh, and the end... that was just brilliant, one of the most satisfying ends I can remember in a story.



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Reply #63 on: January 07, 2014, 09:56:02 PM
I am so late to the party as to be completely irrelevant but I just have to say I loved this. I listened to it while taking my dogs on a long walk around the neighborhood. I received numerous concerned looks and stares as I helplessly giggled at thin air and occaisionally had to wipe a tear from my eye. I'm amazed I had the strength to hold onto the leashes. The tattoo, the Mick Jagger lips, the Yale fury, the Vassar girls, the fish-stick Cthulu, I could go on and on.
Thank you, Escapepod for making it quite a happy new year for this listener.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 10:18:58 PM by FireTurtle »

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Fenrix

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Reply #64 on: January 07, 2014, 10:16:15 PM

I am so late to the party as to be completely irrelevant but I just have to say I loved this. I listened to it while taking my dogs in a long walk around the neighborhood. I received numerous concerned looks as stares as I helplessly giggled at thin air and occaisionally had to wipe a tear from my eye. I'm amazed I had the strength to hold onto the leashes. The tattoo, the Mick Jagger lips, the Yale fury, the Vassar girls, the fish-stick Cthulu, I could go on and on.

Thank you, Escapepod for making it quite a happy new year for this listener.


A thank you is NEVER irrelevant. Shine on you crazy diamond.

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LaShawn

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Reply #65 on: January 31, 2014, 05:02:44 PM
I'm just now listening to this, and I just got to the part about the condom.

DIES. DIES. DIESDIESDIESDIESDIESDIESDIESDIES....

I just wanted to say that.

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Reply #66 on: February 10, 2014, 03:49:14 AM
Oh youz guys...listening to this episode whilst treadmilling made me look a little more than spastic.

a little?.

Cocking my head this way and that while thinking wtf did he just say?...oh no he din'...oh yes he did. Followed by bursting out in laughter and just as quickly choking it back barely in time to prevent a full out conniption.

Maybe I should have expected something a bit different from an episode numbered 420. Lesson learned.

Lyrical and witty, unrelenting this replaced my favorite Escape Artists episode yet. Bravo!



CryptoMe

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Reply #67 on: March 29, 2014, 05:15:42 PM
Well, I was not a fan of the writing style for this one. I found the wordiness reminiscent of a 2nd year university undergrad, oh so thrilled with their own cleverness. Reading the forums, I see this was intentional, as an homage to H.P. Lovecraft. Well, now I know why I never got into Lovecraft (not just the story topics, apparently) and why I never will.

There were some very funny bits in the story. On the whole, though, I found the plot to also be reminiscent of a 2nd year university undergrad, oh so thrilled with their own cleverness. I guess this one really just wasn't for me.



hardware

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Reply #68 on: April 17, 2014, 01:32:53 PM
This one was OK, not so much more. I feel a bit oversaturated with the whole Lovecraft mythos, Cthulu references are the new Star Wars references in the geek world, it seems, in terms of ubiquity. But it mimicked the style of Lovecraft pretty well, and had it moments of comedy. 



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Reply #69 on: June 17, 2014, 05:21:09 PM
I put this as #30 on my Best Podcast Fiction of All Time list:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/the-best-podcast-fiction-of-all-time-21-30/