Michael Stuart Kelly

A Well-Rounded Monster

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A Well-Rounded Monster

The following article from The Onion is hilarious, but it is so spot on truth-wise, I have to put it in Writing Techniques instead of the Humor section.

Literary Study Finds All Modern Narratives Derived From Classic ‘Alien Vs. Predator’ Conflict

From the article (actually, it's only one paragraph, so it is the entire article):

OXFORD, ENGLAND—Explaining how the timeless clash between the two sides remains among the most elemental forms of storytelling worldwide, a study published Tuesday by researchers at Oxford University has concluded that virtually all modern narratives are re-expressions of the classic Alien Vs. Predator conflict. “The Epic Of Gilgamesh, Paradise Lost, The Old Man And The Sea—each is simply a different culture’s exploration of the ageless, universally relatable struggle between Alien and Predator,” said study co-author Dr. Gavin Horsley, who noted he has yet to encounter a civilization whose most prized written works and oral traditions did not derive from the prototypical confrontation between the savage Xenomorphs and their technologically advanced, extraterrestrial humanoid adversaries. “Even when the conflict is internal, such as that of the titular character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it’s one’s internal Alien versus one’s internal Predator—an extension of the classic AvP ur-myth that underpins every fictive struggle.” Horsley went on to cite Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem as “a narrative Rosetta Stone” to deciphering any other sequel in the Eastern or Western canon.

This is the clash of evil against evil (as exemplified by the schlock movie).

Both Predator and Alien have two sides of evil--one is an outright bully and the other is just plain nasty as it can invade from the inside. Both kill qua kill.

If you want to make a monster for a villain, here is the archetype and it goes back to the beginning.

For the Christians among us, think of Satan.

Even Rand did this with collectivism (the bully) and altruism (the nasty) united by malignant parasitism. Her drooling beast couldn't hold a candle to it once she metaphorically nailed the archetype.


:smile:

Michael

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Francisco,

You're right, but she later came up with that thing about evil being impotent and that her novels were clashes of the good against the good.

However, a good part of the fascination in AS is precisely the clash of evil against evil.

I believe a lot of horrible schlock gets written as fiction in O-Land because they downplay evil. Philosophical importance may be one thing, but storytelling is quite another.

I give you one piece of evidence to ponder:

Tales of the Mall Masters by one David Gulbraa, who also writes for Capitalism Magazine. This book also got a good review over at RoR back in 2006, but got no traction whatsoever.

Here's a small excerpt from the book from the Amazon blurb:

I am Layvanwick and I am the boxboy. For ten years I have labored with artistic intensity in the fluorescent glory of Albertsons Discount Center, in the West Park Plaza shopping mall. I love this grocery store. It is my temple. I worship here daily. For ten years I have raced over the brightly polished tiles, down the spotless aisles, to and fro under the lights, with blue apron, crisp white shirt, black bow tie, soft-soled shoes my proudly-worn uniform. I have stacked cardboard boxes of merchandise in skyscraper towers to the ceiling, and then danced my boxboy dance beneath and between them, sliding and spinning with chaotic graceful efficiency as I stocked my shelves with colorful cans, bottles, boxes of beautiful groceries. I have arranged soup cans face out with scientific precision. I have slipped on cotton gloves to fondle frozen foods to sleep in misty freezers. I have watered vegetables in the jungle produce section, and mopped the floor to keep old women from slipping. I have stacked flour in the baking section till my face was white with dust. I have hurled huge bags of dog food into massive stacks, like an ancient slave building pyramids in Egypt.

And I have smiled at the shoppers as I bagged their groceries with the quick severe precision of a surgeon saving a life, my hands a blur, the groceries tumbling into bags like icons juggled by a magician.


It gets worse when he meets the girl.

She looked at my long train of carts. "You are a strong master of your carts!"

"Yes, I am. Are you a master of your mannequins?"

She smiled a huge innocent smile of pure happiness -- and her eyes got strangely large.

"Yes! They flirt with me occasionally, but I let them know who's boss!"


:smile:

Believe it or not, I bought this thing. I couldn't get to the villain yet (laughing too hard every time I try :smile: ), so I will have to get back on the clash of evil against evil idea to be 100% sure. I have no doubt it will be as I said, though.

:smile:

Michael

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I give you one piece of evidence to ponder:

Tales of the Mall Masters by one David Gulbraa, who also writes for Capitalism Magazine. This book also got a good review over at RoR back in 2006, but got no traction whatsoever.

Holy crap. This really is not a parody. Or, at least it's not meant to be a parody. Whoa.

Nah, it's got to be a joke. C'mon, fess up.

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Nah, it's got to be a joke. C'mon, fess up.

Dennis,

No, it is not parody.

It is intended, to quote from the "Author's Note": "... to portray a culture with an Objectivist substance and a Greek style."

The quotes in my previous post are from the "Prologue: The Hunchback of Albertsons."

:)

On the opening "Acknowledgments" page, he makes public thanks to Peikoff, Hull and Binswanger, with the usual disclaimer that he alone is responsible if he did not get what they were talking about.

However, this work is direct fictional progeny of the ortho school.

Michael

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Let me say another thing, though, before going back to the laughter.

Gulbraa's book really, really sucks, but he did write it, get others to help revise it, and publish it.

Kudos to him for that. No mirth there.

He did something productive while so many do not.

Michael

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He did something productive while so many do not.

Ah, c'mon! The guy's the literary equivalent of this:

It deserves nothing but scorn. He should be discouraged vigorously. Zero kudos, and a double dose of mirth. Some stupid name made up by Lindsay Perigo. Whatever it takes.

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Dennis,

LOL...

I have a soft spot for productive goofballs.

:smile:

I've also been greatly entertained by Amanda McKittrick Ros. You can read a little about her on page appropriately titled The Rocks of Regard.

I see Tales of the Mall Masters in that light.

Instead of going negative, here's a game you can play. I don't drink alcohol anymore, but imagine how hard it can get with strong spirits. This game (probably without alcohol as part of it) was dreamed up by a club of famous authors--read about it here:

Books So Bad They're Good: The Inklings Laughed
by Ellid
Jan. 21, 2012
Daily Kos

From the article:

JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and their coterie have become legends. This group of writers, most of them associated with the University of Oxford, eventually grew to encompass Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Christopher Tolkien, Lewis' elder brother Warnie, Roger Lancelyn Green, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson, R. A. "Humphrey" Havard, legendary medievalist J. A. W. Bennett, Lord David Cecil, and Nevill Coghill. They would meet either at the Eagle & Child pub or in Lewis's rooms to critique each others' writing, have a pint or two, and discuss literature in general. The Lord of the Rings, Out of the Silent Planet, and Charles Williams' All Hallows Eve all had their genesis at Inklings' meetings, and given Tolkien's propensity to revise his works into the ground, it's a safe bet that no one would have ever heard of Frodo, Aragorn, or Eowyn if the Inklings hadn't demanded that Tolkien keep writing.

It was not all serious at Inklings meetings, however; like most book lovers, Lewis and his friends enjoyed a good laugh from time to time. And so, on the nights when no one had a chapter to read, they would pull out a copy of an old book and start passing the book from hand to hand, each reading until he dissolved into uncontrollable laughter.

The book was by a woman named Amanda McKittrick Ros...

She really does try your funny bone.

Apropos, my favorite unintentionally funny poem snippet of all time comes from dear Amanda's hommage to Westminster Abbey:

Holy Moses! Have a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook!
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer...


:smile:

So the drinking game could go like this. Everyone warms up with light lubrication by downing a predetermined amount of alcohol.

Person A starts reading Gulbraa's masterpiece. The moment he cracks up, he has to down a boilermaker (or at least a shot of something). Next person's turn, picking up where Person A left off. And so on around the circle.

I bet you don't finish the first chapter.

:smile:

Michael

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Predator: the government?

Alien: the citizenry?

????

Greg: yep, that's right!

--Brant

????

The collective government is exactly as evil as the collective citizenry

because the collective citizenry created the government in their own image. :wink:

The Bible described the two faces of evil as:

1: The Beast ~ which is overt evil

2: The False Prophet ~ which is evil posing as good

The False Prophet is the far more effective of the two, because liars can easily trick people into hating (and negating) God simply by doing evil and claiming they are doing it in the name of God... just as there are liars who call what is good, evil... and what is evil, good. This is why doing evil under the color of authority of God is the one sin for which there is NO forgiveness. Condemnation is absolute and irrefutable, because only someone who genuinely hates goodness could do it.

Greg

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I bet you don't finish the first chapter.

Bet everyone dies of alcohol poisoning if they try to soldier through to the end of the prologue.

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