Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: PC345: Makeisha In Time  (Read 16384 times)

ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #25 on: January 18, 2015, 05:38:15 PM
ElectricPaladin, I'm a little surprised that you didn't pull out this line

the very modern and trendy goal of recognizing women and people of color in history

That's a very good get - kudos! I completely missed that line. You're right, of course. Since when is seeking a better, more accurate understanding of our human history "trendy?" Well, when it's the history of women/people of color, of course. That's "trendy." The history of white men, though, that's just history, not some flash-in-the-pan "trend" in the zeitgeist.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


RDNinja

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Reply #26 on: January 18, 2015, 09:10:32 PM
ElectricPaladin, I'm a little surprised that you didn't pull out this line

the very modern and trendy goal of recognizing women and people of color in history

That's a very good get - kudos! I completely missed that line. You're right, of course. Since when is seeking a better, more accurate understanding of our human history "trendy?" Well, when it's the history of women/people of color, of course. That's "trendy." The history of white men, though, that's just history, not some flash-in-the-pan "trend" in the zeitgeist.

If you had read all of what I wrote, you also would have seen where I said that recognizing people of all genders and races in history is a good thing, and an issue that needs to be addressed in real life. But it is trendy at the same time, because it has only gained broad popularity in recent years (especially on the timescale that Makeisha is operating in), and this story in particular was explicitly said to be influenced by an award-winning essay written only a couple of years ago. Would this story and its theme have been as well-received 10 years ago? 30 years ago? Or in the pre-modern eras in which Makeisha spent most of her lives? That's what I mean when I say it's trendy, and it's not meant to imply that the idea is not worth pursuing in general. But hey, what do I know? I'm just a poor, ignorant white man, right?

And thanks for the (very) thinly veiled accusations of racism. It's always nice to feel welcome in a new place.

I think it's very telling that when I criticized aspects of the story and Makeisha's choices and character development, no one went to the text to provide counter-points or different interpretations of the actual story. Instead, people assumed I was attacking the idea and philosophy behind the story. I thought it was pretty safe to point out that becoming a Viking pillager or feudal warlord just to get your name in the history books was an objectively immoral thing to do, but apparently not.

So you're right about one thing, ElectricPaladin. This thread does bear a striking resemblance to recent conversations on race in the broader world. Specifically, it reminds me of the debate surrounding the Charlie Hebdo massacre, in which people lined up to make excuses for the crimes of mass-murdering sociopaths (of color), by insisting they were goaded into it by the racism of white men.




benjaminjb

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1389
Reply #27 on: January 18, 2015, 10:47:14 PM
I guess, RDNinja, as I did with your comments on "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" ("seems to be nothing more than a violent revenge fantasy against bigots") and "The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere" (a "cliche" coming-out story), we will just have to disagree on the relative merits of this story.

And I sincerely hope that this story spurs you to write your own version, whatever that might be: "person with time travel powers steadily uplifts the past by transferring little bits of knowledge to ancient societies, thus advancing progress," perhaps? That would be a fun story.

Now, I might read that story and think it's a little simple in its understanding of history: that one person could, say, eliminate pillaging from Viking culture seems like a conservative fantasy about the importance of the Great Person vis-a-vis society. Which is, by the by, why I don't bother arguing with you about Makeisha's historical jaunts and how she contributes to history as it is currently known, i.e., taking part in Viking raids rather than introducing the Vikings to, I don't know, solar powered energy.

(Because isn't part of the story about how Makeisha isn't all that exceptional, that women have been leading war-parties and practicing medicine throughout history, and that their presence has been systematically erased? Which is why she takes part in history in many of her jaunts.)

Also, dude,
It's always nice to feel welcome in a new place.
, you've been here since August. That should be long enough to know how these forums roll, I'd say.

(P.S. I am absolutely serious about you writing a story, by the way. We may differ in politics (just a guess), but one of the great things about sf/fantasy is the way that the stories are in conversation.)



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #28 on: January 18, 2015, 11:36:20 PM
Moderator note:

That's what I mean when I say it's trendy, and it's not meant to imply that the idea is not worth pursuing in general.

Quote
And thanks for the (very) thinly veiled accusations of racism. It's always nice to feel welcome in a new place.

RDNinja - you don't get, in the same post, to complain about how someone is reading implications that aren't there to your words and then base your entire comment on similarly unsubstantiated implications of that person's words. If you want to be judged by what you say and not by what other people think that implies, fine, that's a fair request. But then you must also extend the same courtesy to those people.

More generally, and this goes to everyone here - let's tone this down. Keep the discussion to the story - which can include the cultural background it came from and is resonding to - but no more negative comments, attacks or passive aggressive barbs against any other posters. If you can't say what you want to say in a manner that is respectful of other forum members, regardless of whether you agree with their views of either the story or the world, don't say it.



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #29 on: January 18, 2015, 11:42:18 PM
ElectricPaladin, I'm a little surprised that you didn't pull out this line

the very modern and trendy goal of recognizing women and people of color in history

That's a very good get - kudos! I completely missed that line. You're right, of course. Since when is seeking a better, more accurate understanding of our human history "trendy?" Well, when it's the history of women/people of color, of course. That's "trendy." The history of white men, though, that's just history, not some flash-in-the-pan "trend" in the zeitgeist.

If you had read all of what I wrote, you also would have seen where I said that recognizing people of all genders and races in history is a good thing, and an issue that needs to be addressed in real life. But it is trendy at the same time, because it has only gained broad popularity in recent years (especially on the timescale that Makeisha is operating in), and this story in particular was explicitly said to be influenced by an award-winning essay written only a couple of years ago. Would this story and its theme have been as well-received 10 years ago? 30 years ago? Or in the pre-modern eras in which Makeisha spent most of her lives? That's what I mean when I say it's trendy, and it's not meant to imply that the idea is not worth pursuing in general. But hey, what do I know? I'm just a poor, ignorant white man, right?

And thanks for the (very) thinly veiled accusations of racism. It's always nice to feel welcome in a new place.

I think it's very telling that when I criticized aspects of the story and Makeisha's choices and character development, no one went to the text to provide counter-points or different interpretations of the actual story. Instead, people assumed I was attacking the idea and philosophy behind the story. I thought it was pretty safe to point out that becoming a Viking pillager or feudal warlord just to get your name in the history books was an objectively immoral thing to do, but apparently not.

So you're right about one thing, ElectricPaladin. This thread does bear a striking resemblance to recent conversations on race in the broader world. Specifically, it reminds me of the debate surrounding the Charlie Hebdo massacre, in which people lined up to make excuses for the crimes of mass-murdering sociopaths (of color), by insisting they were goaded into it by the racism of white men.

I do think it's interesting that you think I'm accusing you of being, personally, a racist. I never said that. I don't know you. You could be white or black or Asian, a man or a woman, or even a potato uplifted to human intelligence by bizarre scientific experiments and wired into an old iMac. I have no idea. I do think, however, that jumping to that conclusion is basically a sideways ad hominem attack. You're insinuating that I have personally attacked you by connecting you to a deplorable social ill. I have done nothing of the sort. I have attempted to undermine your ideas based on what I believe you were expressing. If I mischaracterized you, well, that's bound to happen in any conversation. If what I wrote caused you to see a link between your words and the words of people who are rightfully deplored, well, perhaps that's something you should examine. I can't tell you to what degree your mind has been parasitized by racist ideation - that's something only you can unpack and examine, but I'm not going to shy away from dissecting ideas that I have a problem with.

I would argue that "trendy" is a poor choice of words to describe this nascent trend, for all the reasons that myself and benjaminjb noted in our posts. If it doesn't actually reflect your beliefs, well, that's your business. I'm glad you corrected our misunderstanding. Again, however, nobody is calling you a "poor, ignorant white man." As I wrote above, for all I know, you're a potato.

I'd like to wrap up this part of the post by saying this: if your skin is too thin to deal with someone pointing out how something you said might maybe be a bit racist without taking it as an accusation that you, personally, are a racist, then you're probably not ready to have this kind of conversation. Heat, kitchen, and all that. Racism is hard. Dealing with the ways it creeps its tentacles into your brain and perverts your thoughts is hard. As a rough guideline, however, unless someone says "you are a racist," there's at least a chance that they don't mean to attack you personally.

I also think that it's interesting that you wrote:

I think it's very telling that when I criticized aspects of the story and Makeisha's choices and character development, no one went to the text to provide counter-points or different interpretations of the actual story...

Because that's just not true. I know for a fact that my responses have repeatedly included references to the text and that those points have not yet been responded to. For example, I responded to R W H's comments by pointing out an explanation for Makeisha's many competencies. The same is true of many of the other posts I've read so far.

Now, onto your second-to-last point...

I thought it was pretty safe to point out that becoming a Viking pillager or feudal warlord just to get your name in the history books was an objectively immoral thing to do, but apparently not.

This is an interesting one, because I do agree with you, to a point. It does say something not entirely positive about Makeisha's personality that she was willing to indulge in a little historically-contextualized violence as part of her quest to become recognized. I do want to point out four corollaries, though.

First, if I recall correctly, it's interesting to me that Makeisha didn't start to indulge in destructive violence until much later in her quest. Her earliest violent life was as a Bavarian warlord, and although that life was certainly violent, the goal was in cultivating a new and better order. She was forging a state, and when you do that you sometimes have to crack a few heads. I'm not saying that it was excused, but I think we can all agree that it's more complicated than that. I think you can see Makeisha's increasing reliance of violence as a statement about her increasing desperation.

Second, none of Makeisha's violence really was purely destructive. Frankly, in real history, very little violence really was. Premodern raids and warfare were basically part of the economy. Historical pirates weren't the freedom-loving rogues of "Pirates of the Caribbean," they were a combination of the losers of an early war for independence, escaped slaves, and oppressed minorities (there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition) looking for revenge and to enrich themselves and provide stability for their families at the cost of people they rightfully hated, which is a pretty legitimate way to go about your life, if you ask me. Anyway, the point I'm making is that it's unfair to hold historical figures to purely modern standards.

Third, I don't think Makeisha really sees the past as real - that's why she's able to kill herself in it. It's certainly interesting that Makeisha doesn't view her jaunts into the past as really part of her real life while at the same time being dedicated to achieving recognition for that past, but for me that's a paradox that drives the story, rather than undermining it.

Four - and this is the most interesting - I wonder if Makeisha would be getting the same flack if she were a man. We expect more violence from men. On Escape Pod we hear our fair share of military sci-fi stories about bold space troopers blasting away at aliens or space conquerors forging stellar empires, and in my experience thus far, most people are able to swallow their violence and domination in the story's context. That's not to say that there isn't a moral event horizon beyond which we start to lose sympathy for these characters, but I think that female characters - and Makeisha - get treated very differently.

I'm reminded of a musical I saw recently called "The Fourth Messenger." The story was basically about what might happen if the Buddha had the same life story, only in a modern context, and if the Buddha were a woman. The part where the Buddha abandons his wife and child, for example has a very different impact when the Buddha is female... but why should it? Why would we give Siddhartha a pass but not "Mama Sid?"

Anyway, to your final point, I haven't actually heard anyone saying that the violence against the French magazine was excused. What people are saying is that it's important even in the wake of this violence to examine the fact that Muslims and Arabs in general are a shat-upon minority in France and in most of Europe, that magazines like Charlie Hebdo do express the scorn that the majority holds for that minority, and that maybe there's a problem with this situation. Now, maybe you are in the unfortunate position of being surrounded by morons who actually are trying to excuse the massacre, but I have been lucky enough to avoid such nonsense, and until now I hadn't been aware that it existed.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 11:44:32 PM by ElectricPaladin »

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


benjaminjb

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1389
Reply #30 on: January 19, 2015, 12:31:17 AM
(there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition)
gimme, gimme, gimme (please)

And eytanz, sorry to make your work here harder. I'll try harder to be on track and polite



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #31 on: January 19, 2015, 12:33:08 AM
(there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition)
gimme, gimme, gimme (please)

Hang on... there was a whole book about it on Amazon...

[I don't remember all the stories, myself, because I haven't taught Hebrew School in years...]

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #32 on: January 19, 2015, 12:34:00 AM
(there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition)
gimme, gimme, gimme (please)

Hang on... there was a whole book about it on Amazon...

[I don't remember all the stories, myself, because I haven't taught Hebrew School in years...]

Here we go!

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


DKT

  • Friendly Neighborhood
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 4980
  • PodCastle is my Co-Pilot
    • Psalms & Hymns & Spiritual Noir
Reply #33 on: January 19, 2015, 01:06:29 AM
(there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition)
gimme, gimme, gimme (please)

Hang on... there was a whole book about it on Amazon...

[I don't remember all the stories, myself, because I haven't taught Hebrew School in years...]

Here we go!

 :o

WANT.


Varda

  • Rebound
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 2710
  • Definitely not an android.
Reply #34 on: January 19, 2015, 01:39:46 AM
(there are some amazing stories about Jewish pirates preying on Spanish shipping following the Inquisition)
gimme, gimme, gimme (please)

Hang on... there was a whole book about it on Amazon...

[I don't remember all the stories, myself, because I haven't taught Hebrew School in years...]

Here we go!

AHHH and my local library has it! Except tomorrow's MLK Day and it will be closed... arrrgh... Tuesday then...

Let's all take a moment to lust after this TOC together:

Columbus and Jamaica's chosen people
Adventuring in the New World
The king's essential heretics
Samuel Palache, the pirate rabbi
Amsterdam, the new Jerusalem
Zion warriors in the new world
Exodus to heretic island
Cromwell's secret agents
The golden dream of Charles II
Buccaneer island
Epilogue: Searching for the lost mine of Columbus.

Medical Microfiction: Stories About Science
http://rckjones.wordpress.com


RDNinja

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Reply #35 on: January 19, 2015, 05:03:27 PM
I apologize for my earlier intemperate posting. It was uncalled for.

Let me try to rephrase my critiques now that I've had a chance to ruminate and distill my thoughts:

This story falls into two of the common pitfalls of didactic fiction. First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.

Secondly, because the story is intended to promote one particular ethic, other ethical considerations are swept under the rug. The designated hero is not bound by ordinary morality, because she is promoting the lesson of the story. She neglects her marriage and it falls apart, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. She abandons her friends and family to (theoretically) travel to the future utopia, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. She goes back in time and kills people just to see her name in the history books, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. Fictional atrocities are excused, because they service a real-world good. But the end result is that the champion of that virtue the author wanted to promote has become the villain of the story, and it makes that virtue look worse than it did before.



SpareInch

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1388
  • Will there be sugar after the rebellion?
Reply #36 on: January 19, 2015, 05:47:23 PM
I apologize for my earlier intemperate posting. It was uncalled for.

Let me try to rephrase my critiques now that I've had a chance to ruminate and distill my thoughts:

This story falls into two of the common pitfalls of didactic fiction. First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.

Secondly, because the story is intended to promote one particular ethic, other ethical considerations are swept under the rug. The designated hero is not bound by ordinary morality, because she is promoting the lesson of the story. She neglects her marriage and it falls apart, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. She abandons her friends and family to (theoretically) travel to the future utopia, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. She goes back in time and kills people just to see her name in the history books, but that doesn't matter, because it's promoting the lesson of the story. Fictional atrocities are excused, because they service a real-world good. But the end result is that the champion of that virtue the author wanted to promote has become the villain of the story, and it makes that virtue look worse than it did before.

She didn't necessarily want her name in the history books, though I'm sure it would be nice to have your name in there, but just to have women and black people recognised for the parts they have played in history.

And wanting your people's contribution to history recognised is not a liberal ethic. It's just human nature. To say that there's something intrinsically unbelievable in a black woman wanting black people and women to be recognised for their contributions makes no sense to me. You surely can't think that up until the late 20th century, the black and female population had no interest in such things, can you?

Fresh slush - Shot this morning in the Vale of COW


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3926
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #37 on: January 19, 2015, 07:18:17 PM

First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.


What do you think is the modern liberal ethic that she devotes her multiple lives to? I don't recall a strong message about universal health care or anything that leaned towards an Occupy vibe. One could read into your statement that it's a modern liberal position that black people and women accomplished things before the 1960s. I don't think you made yourself as clear as you thought you did.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


RDNinja

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Reply #38 on: January 19, 2015, 08:20:56 PM

First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.


What do you think is the modern liberal ethic that she devotes her multiple lives to? I don't recall a strong message about universal health care or anything that leaned towards an Occupy vibe. One could read into your statement that it's a modern liberal position that black people and women accomplished things before the 1960s. I don't think you made yourself as clear as you thought you did.
I'm referring to the idea that the poor recognition of women and minorities is a problem that should be (or even could be) addressed. I don't think she was likely to pick up such ideas from her 7th-century Viking berserker friends, or the soldiers in her medieval Bavarian army, or her Japanese feudal lord, or while hunting in the Cenazoic wilderness, etc.



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3926
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #39 on: January 19, 2015, 08:42:07 PM

First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.


What do you think is the modern liberal ethic that she devotes her multiple lives to? I don't recall a strong message about universal health care or anything that leaned towards an Occupy vibe. One could read into your statement that it's a modern liberal position that black people and women accomplished things before the 1960s. I don't think you made yourself as clear as you thought you did.


I'm referring to the idea that the poor recognition of women and minorities is a problem that should be (or even could be) addressed. I don't think she was likely to pick up such ideas from her 7th-century Viking berserker friends, or the soldiers in her medieval Bavarian army, or her Japanese feudal lord, or while hunting in the Cenazoic wilderness, etc.


So you feel her actions in the past were driven out of a desire to improve the recognition of women and minorities? That she manufactured and manipulated events during all those past lives to please Present Makeisha?

I think it's easier to believe that she went a-viking (etc, etc) because that was a thing that people did. Including women.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


RDNinja

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Reply #40 on: January 19, 2015, 08:53:36 PM

First, the main character is required to have a particular viewpoint, because it is required to draw attention to the issue the author wants to deal with, even when such a viewpoint doesn't make sense given the character's experiences. Makeisha spent the vast majority of her life living in pre-modern, pre-liberal eras, but manages to not only pick up and maintain, but even to devote her numerous lives to, a modern liberal ethic. When her modern life is experienced only a few weeks at a time, broken up by decades-long lives in other periods and locations, it simply doesn't make sense for her to go through it all with such a modern mindset.


What do you think is the modern liberal ethic that she devotes her multiple lives to? I don't recall a strong message about universal health care or anything that leaned towards an Occupy vibe. One could read into your statement that it's a modern liberal position that black people and women accomplished things before the 1960s. I don't think you made yourself as clear as you thought you did.


I'm referring to the idea that the poor recognition of women and minorities is a problem that should be (or even could be) addressed. I don't think she was likely to pick up such ideas from her 7th-century Viking berserker friends, or the soldiers in her medieval Bavarian army, or her Japanese feudal lord, or while hunting in the Cenazoic wilderness, etc.


So you feel her actions in the past were driven out of a desire to improve the recognition of women and minorities? That she manufactured and manipulated events during all those past lives to please Present Makeisha?

I think it's easier to believe that she went a-viking (etc, etc) because that was a thing that people did. Including women.


From the story:
Quote
A woman unafraid to die can do anything she wants. A woman who can endure starvation and pain and deprivation can be her own boss, set her own agenda. The one thing she cannot do is to make them remember she did it.
 
Makeisha is going to change that.
 
No more suicides, then. Makeisha embraces the jumps again. She is a boulder thrown into the waters of time. In eighth century Norway, she joins a band of Viking women. They are callous but good-humored, and they take her rage in stride, as though she has nothing to explain. They give her a sword taller than she is, but she learns to swing it anyway, and to sing loudly into the wind when one of the slain is buried with her hoard, sword folded on her breast.
 
When she returns to the present, Makeisha has work to do. She will stop mid-sentence, spin on her heel, and head for the books, leaving an astonished coworker, or friend, or her husband calling after her.

So yes, it was explicitly stated that she joined the band of Vikings for the purpose of getting into the history books. No suggestion of Viking-relevant motivations.



eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #41 on: January 19, 2015, 09:01:54 PM
I don't think that that's the only way to interpret that segment (though I can see why that reading is consistant with the text). I took the fact that she joined the band of Viking women to be just the type of thing she always did, which seems to be go back to history and do something violent. That's her old pattern, she's just returning to it. What her newfound determination affects is not her actions in the past, but what happens when she returns to the present - before, she never really tried to engage with her legacy, now she is determined to do so, and make sure that her actions are remembered.



Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3926
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #42 on: January 19, 2015, 09:20:01 PM

I don't think that that's the only way to interpret that segment (though I can see why that reading is consistant with the text). I took the fact that she joined the band of Viking women to be just the type of thing she always did, which seems to be go back to history and do something violent. That's her old pattern, she's just returning to it. What her newfound determination affects is not her actions in the past, but what happens when she returns to the present - before, she never really tried to engage with her legacy, now she is determined to do so, and make sure that her actions are remembered.


I'm with Eytanz here. I see it as the character's transition from avoidance and passivity to acceptance and active pursuit. I saw the primary decision to stop running away, to stop being untrue to herself, and to stop living for other people.

I can see how the interpretation of her motivations could be made. However, the interpretation of the text is as a much a reflection of the reader as of the words set before us. I've looked at my ink blot and I'm happy with what I see.



What can you see?

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #43 on: January 19, 2015, 10:10:02 PM
What can you see?

The foot positions for the first three steps of an Argentinian Tango, as danced by a pairing of a housecat and a squid. I'm assuming that's what everyone sees.



jkjones21

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 821
  • Fiend of borderline obssessives.
    • Catchy Title Goes Here
Reply #44 on: January 19, 2015, 10:19:41 PM


What can you see?

Alan Moore's nihilism.

Jason Jones
http://jkjones21blog.wordpress.com

I'm a Cage, he's a Cage, she's a Cage, 'cause we're all Cage!


Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3300
  • Anything for a Weird Life
Reply #45 on: January 19, 2015, 10:34:44 PM
Alan Moore's nihilism.

You, sir, are today's winner of the internet.



benjaminjb

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1389
Reply #46 on: January 19, 2015, 11:34:53 PM


What can you see?

Alan Moore's nihilism.

"This forum is afraid of me. The accumulated filth of their politics and their didactic fiction will foam up about their waists, and they will look up and shout 'Save us!' And I'll look down and whisper, 'no.'" - commenter Rorschach21



SpareInch

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1388
  • Will there be sugar after the rebellion?
Reply #47 on: January 20, 2015, 02:16:10 PM
I'm referring to the idea that the poor recognition of women and minorities is a problem that should be (or even could be) addressed. I don't think she was likely to pick up such ideas from her 7th-century Viking berserker friends, or the soldiers in her medieval Bavarian army, or her Japanese feudal lord, or while hunting in the Cenazoic wilderness, etc.

I didn't see that as being the result of any ethical decision in Makeisha's modern life, but rather the result of her putting whole lifetimes into achievements of which she was, rightly or wrongly, proud. And then finding those achievements being credited to other people.

Imagine if you had invented a new sort of car engine that ran on sunshine and lettuce leaves, then six months later you found GM fitting it to all their new models and claiming that Fenrix had invented it. You'd be justified in demanding recognition for what you had done, wouldn't you?

I think Makeisha is in the same situation. She did all the work to create a stable Bavarian state, and some nonexistent bloke gets all the credit.

I don't know about you, but I'd be miffed.

Fresh slush - Shot this morning in the Vale of COW


Fenrix

  • Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
  • Editor
  • *****
  • Posts: 3926
  • I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.
Reply #48 on: January 20, 2015, 03:21:40 PM

Imagine if you had invented a new sort of car engine that ran on sunshine and lettuce leaves, then six months later you found GM fitting it to all their new models and claiming that Fenrix had invented it. You'd be justified in demanding recognition for what you had done, wouldn't you?


I'm actually now working on one that runs off coffee grounds and despair, because it would get a better LEED certification due to its improved sustainability.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Reply #49 on: January 22, 2015, 04:02:25 PM
I really loved this story! That's two hits in a row from Varda! ;D

One of the elements that made the story for me was the tension between Makeisha's perception that her present life was her only "real" life and the reality that she couldn't actually live her present-day life in any meaningful way. She can be (and typically is) fully engaged in each of her past lives and live them to the absolute fullest, but because she can't engage her present-day life in the same way she ends up feeling like a shell of a person. Of course, each of her past lives have deep meaning regardless of whether history remembers them properly, but what is more human than her desire to see her footprint in history? Therefore I understand her desire to escape the pattern, but I think the story is purposefully ambiguous about the success of her attempt to find a better future.