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Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 22:58:07 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) Jerry's link

Hey Jerry, I wish you had never given me that link to that google group 
"griping about Wolfe".  I read most of the threads because I wasn't used to so 
many people blatantly saying that Wolfe was no good!  They weren't just 
claiming that he didn't appeal to them, but that he was a bad writer! 
I really kind of got upset at a lot of what those guys were saying, so I feel 
like getting it off my chest to sympathetic ears. You guys can skip this if 
you want - there is nothing earth shattering or important here.

I really wanted to slap some of those guys down - I think they really do 
deserve to be called lazy and incompetent.  Holy crap.  Wolfe has never been 
anything but wonderfully kind to me in his letters, and he responds with such 
frequency that I feel bad about writing him back quickly for fear he will feel 
obligated to take time out of his schedule to address all the concerns of an 
ultimately unimportant young man.  
I imagine all the hard work he puts into constructing a story that will reward 
re-reading like few other texts out there with his labyrinth of clues and 
careful research, and then these guys just call him "bad" because they 
perceive some kind of social message that disturbs them or something. Maybe 
they should return to the "choose your own adventure" genre, where they have 
more control over the way the plot unfolds - if you get a bad ending or a 
misogynistic message, you can start over and pick a new path.

And they keep talking about Severian as if his ideas were odd: I've lived with 
that rhetoric all my life; my father is exactly like Severian, from the way he 
talks about women to the way he thinks about punishing people.  Don't these 
people know someone like Severian? He's not that bad of a guy.  I thought he 
should have killed even more people when he had the chance.  He is too nice in 
some scenes, like sparing Agia in Claw.  I admit that not everyone can get 
Wolfe, but just because you don't understand an author doesn't mean you should 
label them as a bad writer!  
Severian is even nice to the brute beasts of the world.  I certainly wouldn't 
have cared if Triskele lived or died.  The other day I had a dream about the 
Taco Bell Dog and it kept peeing on my leg.  I would give anything to destroy 
it painfully. Microwave? Perhaps someone elses' microwave, eh? Have they never 
met anyone with a streak of cruelty?  Don't they realize that all human 
relationships involve pain and suffering?  Physically beautiful men and women 
destroy those who seek their love every day with their "individuality" and 
insistence on "choosing" the ones they want to love - it's inescapable in a 
social system that desire will be subverted and someone will be hurt in almost 
any public interaction.  Even saying no to a date is placing your own 
"selfish" desires above those of someone else.  But it is necessary if you 
want to have any control over your destiny. But it involves, if not cruelty, a 
willful and confident statement that your desires are MORE IMPORTANT than 
someone elses'.  Anyone who claims they have never been cruel does not 
understand the world.  Forging an identity requires more cruelty and harm to 
the people around you than most realize.  Should people really be nicer to the 
domestic pets of the world than they are to conscious human beings with real 
desires?  We ignorantly torture people all our lives just by existing, yet we 
love our domestic animals, and consider the desires of beasts as superior to 
the needs of humanity, needs which are reflections of the beastly desires we 
find so endearing in pets.  But humans feel real pain, mental anguish that 
comes from retrospection. People talk about feelings and all that stuff; they 
are really talking about chemical reactions like the stimulation of 
phenylethylamine production through sexual attraction or arousal.  What is 
cruelty but another aspect of that chemistry?
I guess I should be posting this over there.  Almost everyone here realizes 
the universal application of the tortured souls that Wolfe depicts.
Hey, from this post can you tell why I'm a big fan of Wolfe's work?

Marc Aramini


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