SandySandfort on October 15, 2009, 08:19:05 am
As for his "I don't believe in that Jimmy Carter... crap." statement he made earlier, Jimmy Carter didn't make that rule, JESUS did. For a "man of the cloth," Reggie doesn't seem to know his King James very well.

So your assumption is that Reggie is a Christian? Interesting.

The very fact that he argued with the hallucination about it, means at least some small part of him knows it's wrong, but he refuses to admit it.

Not necessarily. There are other explanations that fit just as well. His hesitation may suggest that Reggie is just playing back "tapes" he got from sexually conservative parents. The shadows of all our childhood teachings still exist within us. Two examples, one more on point, one trivial, but illuminating.

I know Jews who were raised in conservative or orthodox families. As adults, they rejected most of the ritualistic literalism of Judaism. Nevertheless, they find shrimp, pork and cheeseburgers repulsive.
 
Do you ever find yourself walking down a sidewalk and trying not to step on a crack? Why do you think that is?

Brugle on October 15, 2009, 03:24:07 pm
When I first saw Reggie's vision, I immediately thought "Monsters from the id".  A few seconds later, I thought "Mirror of Erised".  I don't expect the story to reflect either of those, but today's panel reminded me of the first.

SandySandfort on October 15, 2009, 06:29:02 pm
When I first saw Reggie's vision, I immediately thought "Monsters from the id"...

Why haven't I seen this all along? The beast. The mindless primitive! Even the Krell... Oops! Sorry, just a momentary flashback from my many years of watching Forbidden Planet over and over and over...

You may have noticed some "Easter eggs" in EFT. There will be more; not just fromForbidden Planet, but to infinity and beyond! Oops.


Azure Priest on October 15, 2009, 11:47:35 pm
As for his "I don't believe in that Jimmy Carter... crap." statement he made earlier, Jimmy Carter didn't make that rule, JESUS did. For a "man of the cloth," Reggie doesn't seem to know his King James very well.

So your assumption is that Reggie is a Christian? Interesting.

The very fact that he argued with the hallucination about it, means at least some small part of him knows it's wrong, but he refuses to admit it.

From what I recall, he was chosen as "king" because he's a PRIEST, and was drawn wearing the collar (an exclusively Christian artifact). As well as being called the closest thing to a "leader" that CERES had when Guy made his first visit, specifically because he "leads" the church there.

Not necessarily. There are other explanations that fit just as well. His hesitation may suggest that Reggie is just playing back "tapes" he got from sexually conservative parents. The shadows of all our childhood teachings still exist within us. Two examples, one more on point, one trivial, but illuminating.

I know Jews who were raised in conservative or orthodox families. As adults, they rejected most of the ritualistic literalism of Judaism. Nevertheless, they find shrimp, pork and cheeseburgers repulsive.
 
Do you ever find yourself walking down a sidewalk and trying not to step on a crack? Why do you think that is?

He would still be technically incorrect in saying that "there's nothing wrong with the fantasy" and that Jimmy Carter was the author of that "crap."

There are numerous historical examples where one man "fantasizing" about another man's wife, sister or daughter lead to brutal and costly wars.

The most famous of these are the story of Helena of TROY,(where the Trojans kidnapped Helena and the Greeks had to go to war to win her back) and the greatly mystified story of England's King Arthur.

Arthur was SIRED by a man who lay with another man's wife and then his father and his mother's husband killed each other in battle.

Arthur's downfall came when his best knight, Lancelot, began fantasizing about Arthur's wife, Gwenevere, and eventually seduced her, at which point, Arthur's half sister, Morgan la Faye, seized the opportunity and drugged/ enchanted Arthur, pretended to be his wife and sired Mordred. Mordred, led by his mother's hatred of Arthur (because of the way he was sired),  would raise an army against his father and then they went to war, killing each other and leading to the fall of CAMELOT and its democratic ideals which in turn led to the DARK AGES.

SandySandfort on October 16, 2009, 08:13:47 am
From what I recall, he was chosen as "king" because he's a PRIEST, and was drawn wearing the collar (an exclusively Christian artifact). As well as being called the closest thing to a "leader" that CERES had when Guy made his first visit, specifically because he "leads" the church there.

I don't recall for certain, but I am pretty sure we never used the word "priest." In any case, there are all sorts of non-Christian priests, official and self-appointed. Again, I don't recall whether there was the collar drawn or not, but adopting Christian paraphernalia does not a Christian make. Ever heard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? Reggie was chosen as "king" because he is an actor and he has the gravitas. Reggie is the owner of the church and the church itself is the closest thing on Ceres that looks like a royal court.

He would still be technically incorrect in saying that "there's nothing wrong with the fantasy" and that Jimmy Carter was the author of that "crap."

Quite correct, if he had said that Carter was the author, but he didn't say that. The controversy about Carter having said that in the Playboy interview, was about Carter. Now, if you are objecting to the characterization of "lusting in your mind" (which is what Carter said) as crap, well that's why there are horse races--differences of opinion.

Everyone is free to pick one of the many bibles then cherry pick the parts he likes. Many bibles? Sure, the Catholic Bible includes the Apocrypha, the Protestant Bible does not. The Jews only recognize the old Testament. Muslim recognize old and new testaments as holy writings that are trumped by the Koran. Even the Protestant Bible has been through many permutations. Then there is the Book of Mormon... As for the King James, it is full of translations errors such as the goofy "Thou shalt not kill" reading of the commandment against murder. 

So, pick your bible, and hope that the writers got it right. We have no independent evidence that Jesus of Nazareth even existed, much less any assurance that he said what he is reported to have said. I'm sure there were more than a few "blessed are the cheese makers" steno errors.

There are numerous historical examples where one man "fantasizing" about another man's wife, sister or daughter lead to brutal and costly wars.

Yeah, and there are many times as many incidents of fantasizing--and much more--that have lead to no brutal and costly wars or any significant negative consequences. The story of King Arthur is a legend. While there may have been an historical Arthur, Jesus and Hercules (I believe there were, BTW), the detailed stories about them and the long quotations attribute to them are almost certainly made up stuff. 

Brugle on October 16, 2009, 12:19:18 pm
I don't recall for certain, but I am pretty sure we never used the word "priest."
You did (page 35), but Ernie's affirmation sounded joking (to those in the know).

By the way, I figured one reason the audience was held at King's Court was the sign out front, which (I'm a little reluctant to admit) reminded me of Arnold on Happy Days adopting that name because it would cost too much to change the sign.  (Is Reggie's last name King?)

SandySandfort on October 16, 2009, 03:30:24 pm
You did (page 35), but Ernie's affirmation sounded joking (to those in the know).

Correct. Guy made an assumption, Ernie went with it... sort of.

By the way, I figured one reason the audience was held at King's Court was the sign out front, which (I'm a little reluctant to admit) reminded me of Arnold on Happy Days adopting that name because it would cost too much to change the sign.  (Is Reggie's last name King?)

Bingo. I thought we had mentioned that earlier, but yes, his name is Reginald King. You will also note that another sign says, "Karaoke Church of Universal Faith, Nondenominational." That could be anything. It all depends upon what you believe is universally true. Needless to say, opinions vary on that issue.

Corydon on October 17, 2009, 08:01:20 pm
The problem with the Jimmy Carter reference isn't that it presents a conflict with Reggie's religion (whatever that may be), it's that it comes off as anachronistic.  Carter is an obsession/punchline for the modern American right, but I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote: for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*  That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!

*Probably a bad analogy, as Cleveland's scandal was a whole lot more significant than Carter's.  But I can't think of a really good comparison offhand.


SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 12:39:58 am
The problem with the Jimmy Carter reference isn't that it presents a conflict with Reggie's religion (whatever that may be), it's that it comes off as anachronistic.  Carter is an obsession/punchline for the modern American right, but I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote: for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*  That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!

How old do you think Reggie is? Maybe he is an anachronism. And remember, he's only talking to himself...

Corydon on October 18, 2009, 06:45:30 am
I don't know.  Maybe Reggie is 500 years old.  Maybe he's fifteen.  Maybe he's a fifth-dimensional alien whose real name is "The Great Gazoo."  It doesn't change the sudden inconcinnity created by suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::

SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 08:36:28 am
I don't know.  Maybe Reggie is 500 years old.  Maybe he's fifteen.  Maybe he's a fifth-dimensional alien whose real name is "The Great Gazoo."  It doesn't change the sudden inconcinnity created by suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::

I will tell you a little secret. Every science fiction alien, robot or creature made of pure thought and energy is a human being in disguise. And the stories are almost always about here and now. Sure, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but almost all science fiction is topical commentary wrapped up in space ships, ray guns and time warps.

The Carter comment seemed out of place to you. I'm sure you are not alone in that. However, I think most readers understand that science fiction language and symbolism are derived from contemporary usage. Little Babbette says, "No duh!" and nobody raises an eyebrow. Yet, do you really think that late 20th Century slang will be around in a hundred years? Chill baby. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

J Thomas on October 18, 2009, 09:46:29 am

I will tell you a little secret. Every science fiction alien, robot or creature made of pure thought and energy is a human being in disguise. And the stories are almost always about here and now. Sure, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but almost all science fiction is topical commentary wrapped up in space ships, ray guns and time warps.

This is true. Every now and then we get a science fiction story that actually starts out with different cultural assumptions and runs with them. These tend not to be very successful. The first example that comes to my mind is _Courtship Rite_ by Donald Kingsbury. Kingsbury made some jarring cultural differences and a lot of people went "Eeeeewwww!" and stopped reading before page 30. His next novel, _The Moon Goddess and the Son_ was 100% patriotic american fantasy with not one single idea that had not been published before as US military SF.

Hal Clement wrote about aliens that on some levels were pretty alien. But their thinking was centered around concepts of duty and courage in ways that exactly mirrored those of americans in his time.

Quote
The Carter comment seemed out of place to you. I'm sure you are not alone in that. However, I think most readers understand that science fiction language and symbolism are derived from contemporary usage. Little Babbette says, "No duh!" and nobody raises an eyebrow. Yet, do you really think that late 20th Century slang will be around in a hundred years? Chill baby. Just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Yes. Look at the speech patterns in, say, books by Edgar Rice Burrough. Or the original Buck Rogers. _Armageddon 2419_ is worth reading for the description of a 25-century artillery barrage that could have come out of WWI if you didn't like anything else about it.

Still, I tend to agree with Corydon. Reggie seems like a smart and careful thinker, and it was a bit disconcerting when for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.

Just as an aside, it looked to me like Jesus's point was not so much that it's bad to think about women, more that it's bad to kill women for being prostitutes. If we're all sinners then maybe we should be cautious about killing people for their sins. I'm not sure what Carter's point was but it sure looked to me like another media-manufactured scandal, at least as much as Cheney shooting his hunting buddy or Bush Jr. using cocaine.

Brugle on October 18, 2009, 04:38:45 pm
the Jimmy Carter reference ... comes off as anachronistic
I think I know what you mean.  When Star Trek: TNG was first showing, some friends enjoyed it and wanted me to watch with them.  I usually didn't, because the minor customs (mannerisms, fashions, attitudes, etc.) that typically change every few decades were almost always present-day.  My friends didn't mind, but I was used to reading good science fiction and was frequently jarred by the improbability.  Note: J-L Picard's preference for "tea, earl grey, hot" was not jarring--it was the sort of common anachronism that I'd expect to occur frequently in almost any society.

Similarly, Reggie's reference to J Carter's Playboy interview was not only not jarring, but in character.  I imagine that Reggie, among other things, is considered an ethical adviser on Ceres.  Carter's interview was often discussed during and after his presidential campaign, at several levels.  For many sorts of ethical questions, I suppose there would be instructive examples from the interview, the reaction to it, etc.  Also, Reggie displays lots of 20th to early 21st century stuff (pages 43, 44, 45), so he might have a special interest in that time.

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Carter ... I'm confident that in a century he'll be a footnote
Maybe.  Maybe not.  Many well-known historical people were no more important to their time as other less-known or unknown people.  Perhaps a tanglenet Christian channel will put on a show called "The lust in Carter's heart", with dramatizations of what writers imagine he lusted for (and sermons denouncing it).  Produced well, it could be a great series of period pieces about sexual practices (real and imagined) of the late 20th century--and if viewers lusted in their hearts after watching, the church could absolve them for a small fee.

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for Reggie to bring him up would be like bringing up, I dunno, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child.*
No, that would have nothing to do with the story.  The best-known part of Carter's interview was the lust in his heart (or maybe mind--I don't remember).  It takes more than lust in the heart to make a child.

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That Reggie references Carter rather than St. Paul suddenly pulls the reader back into the 21st century: a jarring sensation!
Well, my reaction was different.  I was a bit surprised at the strength of Reggie's reaction, and thought that there might be an interesting back-story.  The Carter reference also suggested that Reggie is well-educated, but I don't put much stock in that since I don't know enough background.

I hope that not many readers have a reaction similar to yours.

Reggie ... suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::
Reggie ... for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.
I suppose that each of you has listened to lots of Rush Limbaugh (I haven't--an hour or two about 20 years ago was plenty) and has studied his listeners enough to have a good idea of their typical reactions to many things.  If you both say that Reggie's reaction is typical of a Limbaugh listener, I'll accept that.  But so what?  Reggie's reaction was consistent with his character, appropriate to the situation, and probably more intelligent than my reaction would have been.  I hope it advances the story.

I'm not sure what Carter's point was but it sure looked to me like another media-manufactured scandal,
Carter gave the interview to a widely-read magazine, so of course the media were involved.  If you mean anything more than that, please tell us.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 04:43:27 pm by Brugle »

Brugle on October 18, 2009, 06:11:39 pm
Every now and then we get a science fiction story that actually starts out with different cultural assumptions and runs with them. These tend not to be very successful. The first example that comes to my mind is _Courtship Rite_ by Donald Kingsbury. Kingsbury made some jarring cultural differences and a lot of people went "Eeeeewwww!" and stopped reading before page 30.

Some SF authors would consider a Hugo nomination to be a sign of success.

Good SF makes assumptions that are consistent with what we know, or that are explained.  For example, if people all have a genetic trait that would be counter-survival in the environment where they would have evolved, then we'd expect that trait to be a result of something other than natural selection, perhaps selective breeding or other genetic engineering.  A story set in a society of such people that had resulted from evolution by natural selection would face scorn, but it might still be admired if the story was good enough.

The only Kingsbury novel that I've read is Psychohistorical Crisis, and I wasn't impressed.  I might try Courtship Rite.  The Wikipedia entry for Courtship Rite doesn't say much that I could use to judge.  Did you like it?  What was particularly good?

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Hal Clement wrote about aliens that on some levels were pretty alien. But their thinking was centered around concepts of duty and courage in ways that exactly mirrored those of americans in his time.

I don't know any humans, let alone Americans, whose thinking is centered around concepts of duty and courage.  I'd expect to find courage as a varying trait in most intelligent creatures, and something that might be called duty (perhaps learned) as a varying trait in most intelligent social creatures, but to center thinking about such concepts sounds impossibly alien to me.  (My imagination is poor.)  I think I've read most of what Hal Clement wrote, and I don't remember any aliens like that, but I read some of them a long time ago.  I'd enjoy rereading such a story--do you have any specific stories in mind?

I do recall Iceworld as being strained in trying to disguise (for a while) the fact that the main viewpoint characters were far from human.  If that's true, those aliens might seem not alien enough to be convincing.  But I don't remember Iceworld well.

SandySandfort on October 18, 2009, 08:34:27 pm
Reggie ... suddenly making him sound like a Rush Limbaugh listener.  ::shrug.::
Reggie ... for one sentence he turned into an idiot dittohead.

It never ceases to amaze me how many liberals (and conservatives, for that matter) just don't get Rush Limbaugh. They think they understand what he believes (they don't) and they thing they know who his listeners are (they miss that one too). Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. He's smart and understands what makes good radio. That's it. As for his listeners, I don't know how anybody would know who is listening, only who gets on the air. As much as possible, his screener passes over people who want to "ditto" Rush in favor of folks who don't agree with him. Talk show conflict makes good radio, slavish agreement does not.

I got on Limbaugh's show 3 times by giving Bo, the screener at that time, a good sound byte that disagreed with what Limbaugh was saying. Limbaugh always politely thanked me for my call. He loved me because I made good radio. Arguing with me was not intended to convince me (or his listeners) of anything. His intent was to entertain and I obliged him.

I wrote an article for the LA Times on how to get onto Rush's show or any talk show. If you would like to read it it's here:

  http://articles.latimes.com/1995-06-25/entertainment/ca-16834_1_talk-show-host

After the article came out, a lot of Rush haters used my techniques to get on his show. It became the topic of the day on his show for some time.

Reggie's reaction was consistent with his character, appropriate to the situation, and probably more intelligent than my reaction would have been.  I hope it advances the story.

Thanks. I understand the reality, though. You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself. So I did.   ;)