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Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 20:44:15 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) More on "Hour of Trust"

Adam Stephanides wrote:
>If it is indeed the case that the rebels' sole "pitch" to prospective
>suicide bombers is broadcasting footage of those who have already committed
>themselves (and the "emcee" in the broadcast we see attempts no other form
>of persuasion), then American society, not just the government, is in
>terminal decay: there must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of people ready to
>throw their lives away, who only need to be shown an example to trigger them
>off.  It's all the more likely, then, that Clio is not in contact with the
>rebels, but was inspired in the same way by earlier broadcasts.  Nor need
>she share any beliefs with the rebels, since the suicide bombers we hear
>don't seem to have any beliefs in common.
>Pushing the argument further, we can surmise that the reason we hear nothing
>about the rebels' ideology or program is that they don't have one, just a
>general desire to change things and a countercultural milieu.  The rebels'
>troops are the same sort of people as the suicide bombers, just a little
>less aimless.  On this reading, then, the rebels are not a new society being
>born, but a symptom of the old society's decay: in mantis's analogy, they're
>less like the barbarians than like the Roman mob.

Right.  Technically the rebels cannot possibly be "barbarians" in the
classical sense (external non-members), they must be the alienated
proletariate.  So I apologize for that--there are no barbarians in the
story.  Their action is therefore a "civil war" in the classical sense
(class warfare) rather than in the regional conflict of US history sense,
or perhaps like the slave revolts in classical times.  The cult of ken has
an "alien" feel to it, but this again is supposition--in any case,
barbarisms (immitation of the alien) are often seen as a trait of decay in
both the ruling class (modes of dress, hair styles, new religions) as well
as the proles (most famously new religions that offer what the rulers are
no longer providing), but again, barbarisms do not make proles into

"General desire to change things" I would ammend to "change things through
violent revolution."  Bullets, not ballots.

But yes, in the past when I've said the rebels were using the immolators, I
meant it in just the way you have presented it now: that is, I never meant
that the immolators were indoctrinated in any way, shape, or form; rather,
I meant the immolator behavior is a wave that is being channeled by the
rebels for their own purposes.  (Maybe as if the castrators of Russia had
been somehow used by the Bolsheviks to further the revolution?  No, make
that the Mensheviks?  Constitutional Democrats?)

In any case, it seems to me that immolation tv (iMTV) viewers will in broad
terms either be shocked/demoralized or intrigued.  Those who are intrigued
will either want to be rebels and film those people (join the new movement
of the living), or they will want to be immolators themselves (join the new
movement of the suicidal).

Re: the rebels and their cause.  I'm not so sure.  Looking at history, it
seems like the (Western) Roman Empire fell to "barbarism and religion," but
even the religion side is cloudy: the victorious barbarians had Arianism,
which in turn was part of a struggle which Catholocism eventually won.
That is: it wasn't like the barbarians rolled in on this year, and then
everyone was Christian (Catholic) the next year (or even the next century).
The Christian martyrs being fed to the lions were not generally Arians, to
my knowledge; the barbarians who sacked Rome and took over Western Europe
were Arians; from a distance both groups are Christian, but the "smoothing
out" of difference took some time and bloodshed.

My problems with this reading: if Clio has just switched, either today or
some other day, then I think the need to nail down what it was and when it
happened would be essential.  Without this, I cannot see how it is
supported except in the General Nihilism way.

(Her coded speech, which I take to be as much a character statement as we
can get from her, seems much more pro-rebel than nihilist.  Her action is
undeniably that of an immolator, and as such it forms a cryptic link
between the heretofore separate groups of immolators and rebels.)

(If she had said anything before flaming, like "This is for Flint
Michigan!" then many questions would be resolved--maybe not!) :)

Then there is the tricky bit about the immolation device.  Even granting
General Nihilism, if a novice can whip up the immolation device on her own
and use it as easily as deodorant, well that would be an important story
detail, too.

(Hey Adam, read "The Blue Mouse" in CASTLE OF DAYS.  Come on, please!)

Even after all this discussion on the one short story, I guess I should
claim to be both stoned and watching tv (with reference to the Wolfe
interview), since otherwise I must be retarded. 


booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
56 Lexicons left until OP!


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