Author Topic: Pseudopod 99: Photo Finish  (Read 19318 times)


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Reply #25 on: July 30, 2008, 12:40:23 AM
Good idea. Not so great on the execution. Maybe that was in the reading; this was by far the weakest Cheyenne Wright reading on PP. His accent was all over the place, he went too fast, and then he shatnerized his pauses toward the end to try and build suspense. I found myself not caring.

As someone who's been in the news business for almost 10 years, I find I should've cared more about this story, but I just didn't.

I tend to have a difficult time focusing on stories he reads.  At first I thought I just wasn't zoning in enough but now I've noticed it's consistent.  Fast with confusing accents is a bad mix for my easily distracted brain.
So, I think I didn't really care for the story, but should prob listen again or read it to make that call.


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Reply #26 on: August 06, 2008, 12:11:26 AM
I thought this was pretty good. Nothing amazing - as others have pointed out, protagonist haunted by the outcome of his callous deed is a fairly well-worn horror plot but it's lasted that long for a reason.  In this case, it's not about originality but execution.  And I liked the whole "CASEY CRIME-PHOTOGRAPHER thrown into a Kitty Genovese situation" framing.

Of course, these kinds of stories are ultimately reassuring, as they promise a universe that cares about "justice" - unless he's just lost his mind.   Someone once posited that the EC TALES FROM THE CRYPT Story Model A (killer gets his comeuppance in poetically appropriate way, usually involving the risen dead) was a last gasp of Romanticism in an unlikely form - gosh darn it, the universe still cares about un-righted wrongs but the only vehicle it has left, that an audience will accept, is a rotting corpse and eye-for-eye violence.

Thanks for listening.
“Humor is a developed sense, stemming basically from cruelty. The more primitive a mind, the less selectivity exists. … A man slips on a banana peel and breaks his back. The adult stops laughing at that point, the child does not. And a civilized ego finds embarrassment as acutely distressing as physical pain. A baby, a child, a moron is incapable of practicing empathy. He cannot identify himself with another individual. He is regrettably autistic; his own rules are arbitrary…”
Lewis Padgett, “When The Bough Breaks” (1944)

« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 12:13:05 AM by Sgarre1 »


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Reply #27 on: August 06, 2008, 07:56:51 PM
Indeed. But not only did he take a picture - he asked the guy to pose - and paid him! That's where he crossed the line into wrong-doing and moral blameworthiness. He didn't have an obligation to intervene - that's a job for the professionals and for people with steelier nerves.

Well put.  I would say that the line the journalist crossed was a different ethical boundary than the one he's getting taxed for, that interfering with his subjects for his own personal gain was an altogether different infraction than failing to intervene in a different manner and for more selfless reasons.  But maybe that's not the point.  Like you said, he was straddling the line of decency to begin with.   Giving the murderer a pack of cigarettes and having him pose can be reasonably seen as the straw that broke the camel's back.
That's what I saw too. Taking pictures made him borderline scum - giving them a pack of cigarettes and taking pictures of him posing with the hostage was too much. He stopped being a chronicler of society's ill and, for however brief a time, became part of them. That's why he was being haunted.

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Reply #28 on: October 22, 2009, 04:43:26 PM
This story was both good and bad:

Bad:  Well-worn horror trope, The reading was not good with his accent all over the place.

Good:  VERY well written.  Especially the dream/hell at the end with the inevitable events replaying in snapshot form. 


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Reply #29 on: July 13, 2010, 11:36:35 PM
Eh.  It was alright.  A pretty well-worn story idea that played out like a hack-version of a Twilight Zone episode.

I didn't really feel like the photographer deserved the torment he received.  The ghost blamed him for her death, which is absurd.  To demand that a bald, old fat man wrestle a gun away from a multiple murderer is insane.  No police officer would advocate that.  "You might have saved me" says the ghost - yes, perhaps, but he instead might have gotten both her, himself and even other people killed (if he had been taken hostage as well, for example).  He was callous, but responsible for her death?  Nah.

Unlike, for example, the circumstances surrounding Kevin Carter's famous photograph there was no definite chance that the photographer's intervention would yield positive results.

I once watched a group of people burn literally to death in a crashed car.  I was seperated from them by eight lanes of fast-moving traffic and a concrete barrier.  Rushing to their aid would likely have killed me and, even if I had made it, pulling them from the inferno would have been highly unlikely - if not fatal.  I do not feel guilty that I did not do anything.  I feel sad they died - but none of it was my fault.  The situation felt the same here: the woman was already burning to death metaphorically - does it matter if someone stops to snap a picture?

One of the things that bugged me most was that he never really starts blaming himself for her death.  He sees her everywhere.  She blames him.  But he does not blame himself.  Because of this, it really began to feel like the ghost was being unfair (ie. why not blame her killer?  or the police?).  Scummy photographers are convinient targets, yes, but this guy didn't seem deserving of her torment - nor did he seem guilty enough to secretly desire it.

I think this unevenness of motive and driving animus basically derailed what would otherwise be a good-old-fashioned revenant story.

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