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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How social justice ruins stories

A lecture in 12 pictures. Daddy Warpig directs our attention to a prescient Outland cartoon:
On the same subject, Didact's Reach quotes my example of how properly applying the Social Justice principles he upholds would have completely destroyed GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and wonders if that is part of why the series has declined with each new book.

I suppose this might explain why A Dance of Dragons was such an unbearably long, tedious, boring doorstopper of a book. This exact idea is something that Vox Day has addressed repeatedly in his screeds against the need for feminism and equalitarian impulses in high fantasy and sci-fi. In fact, the single fastest way to counter Martin's frankly absurd notion that "many of those differences are created by the culture we live in", is to conduct a simple thought exercise, which Vox walks us through as follows:

Consider the consequences of changing Cersei Lannister from an oppressed woman used as a dynastic piece by her father to a strong and independent warrior woman of the sort that is presently ubiquitous in third generation fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal fiction.
  • Cersei doesn't marry Robert Baratheon.  She's strong and independent like her twin, not a royal brood mare!
  • House Lannister's ambitions are reduced from establishing a royal line to finding a wife for Tyrion.
  • Her children are not bastards.  Robert's heirs have black hair.
  • Jon Arryn isn't murdered to keep a nonexistent secret.  Ned Stark isn't named to replace him.
  • Robert doesn't have an accident coordinated by the Lannisters, who don't dominate the court and will not benefit from his fall.
  • Robert's heirs being legitimate, Stannis and Renly Baratheon remain loyal.
  • The Starks never come south and never revolt against King's Landing.  Theon Greyjoy goes home to the Ironborn and never returns to Winterfell.  Jon Snow still goes to the Wall, but Arya remains home and learns to become a lady, not an assassin, whether she wants to or not.
So, what was a war of five kings that spans five continents abruptly becomes a minor debate over whether Robert Baratheon's black-haired son and heir marries Sansa Stark, a princess of Dorne, or Danerys Targaryen.

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41 Comments:

Anonymous fish March 17, 2015 12:07 PM  

Breathed was way ahead of the game on the "Hacker" concept as well!

Blogger Nate March 17, 2015 12:10 PM  

"So, what was a war of five kings that spans five continents abruptly becomes a minor debate over whether Robert Baratheon's black-haired son and heir marries Sansa Stark, a princess of Dorne, or Danerys Targaryen."

Well... you are leaving out the Snow Zombies.

Then again... so is GRRM...

Anonymous Miserman March 17, 2015 12:17 PM  

So, what was a war of five kings that spans five continents abruptly becomes a minor debate over whether Robert Baratheon's black-haired son and heir marries Sansa Stark, a princess of Dorne, or Danerys Targaryen.

That is the idea. World peace is one of the highest moral aspirations of today.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet March 17, 2015 12:18 PM  

So let me snark a bit: are you saying you prefer all out war to peace?

Anonymous Gecko March 17, 2015 12:20 PM  

FYI, Tyrion is Aerys II's son via Tyrion's wife, so the imp's kids would eventually battle it out with with Robert's kids once they learned the truth.

Also, Ned is in on the secret that Mance Rayder is Prince Rhaegar. Ned would eventually assist his foster son, Jon, and true daddy Rhaegar to reclaim the throne.

Regardless, it'd be so much more fun than Feast and Dance.

Blogger jaericho March 17, 2015 12:23 PM  

Well... you are leaving out the Snow Zombies.

Then again... so is GRRM...


Perfect!

Blogger Josh March 17, 2015 12:23 PM  

So let me snark a bit: are you saying you prefer all out war to peace?

For epic fantasy fiction? Absolutely.

And they all lived happily ever after isn't a plot in and of itself.

Blogger Marissa March 17, 2015 12:37 PM  

It's clear that when Cersei makes her own decisions that things go very badly, even for herself.

Anonymous Earl March 17, 2015 12:54 PM  

I prefer all out truth to peace.

Blogger Corvinus March 17, 2015 12:58 PM  

The takeaway: if people don't reproduce, the world becomes more boring.

So, feminism makes the world boring.

Blogger jay c March 17, 2015 1:12 PM  

So, feminism makes the world boring.

Would that it were true! Instead, they make it look very boring until the facade crumbles. Then it gets very interesting for a short period of time before settling back to business as usual.

Blogger jay c March 17, 2015 1:14 PM  

It's the feminist fantasy that gets more and more boring until everyone lays down and dies a la Miranda.

Blogger grendel March 17, 2015 1:14 PM  

Amazing that this was published 24 years ago. Think it could be published in most newspapers today?

OpenID cailcorishev March 17, 2015 1:14 PM  

I still have several of my Bloom County books. For a lefty, Breathed was pretty good at exposing the left's foolishness on a lot of topics.

Anonymous kfg March 17, 2015 1:24 PM  

"Tofu."

Cultural appropriation!

Anonymous Stickwick March 17, 2015 1:45 PM  

cailcorishev: For a lefty, Breathed was pretty good at exposing the left's foolishness on a lot of topics.

Was he really a lefty? I mean, I know he was a bit squishy on some issues, but he's so reality-oriented, I find it hard to believe that he's an actual out-and-out lefty.

My favorite storyline was the War on Cat Sweat Scalp Tonic.

Blogger YIH March 17, 2015 1:45 PM  

I'm surprised Outland still exists. Breathed is rather picky about the terms it can be published:
1. Sunday only.
2. Cannot be reduced in size.
3. Cannot be rearranged - must be published as shown, cannot be placed as a top to bottom 'strip'
Considering how newspapers are shrinking some have dropped it (or not taken it).
If it wasn't for 'Bloom County' nostalgia it probably wouldn't exist at all.
Trouble is 'Outland' is a poor substitute for 'Bloom County'.

Anonymous jm March 17, 2015 1:47 PM  

*after Oliver purchases a copy of Ebony*

"Might you, dear sir, have the latest issue of Ivory?"

"Shoo! I run a progressive newsstand here."

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 17, 2015 1:51 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 17, 2015 1:51 PM  

Things would have been even quieter if Lyanna Stark had just kept her legs together.

Blogger B.J. March 17, 2015 1:53 PM  

Martin is simply a hack. 5 books, zero endings. Is it really so hard to wrap up a plot now and again? Instead we get meaningless chapters focused on secondary and tertiary characters no one cares about and which go nowhere. Someone needs to get that guy a good editor.

OpenID cailcorishev March 17, 2015 1:59 PM  

Was he really a lefty? I mean, I know he was a bit squishy on some issues, but he's so reality-oriented, I find it hard to believe that he's an actual out-and-out lefty.

Well, he was definitely an environmentalist and into animal rights, and those were two of the bigger lefty issues of the day. Most of his open political shots in the strip were at Republicans, but they had the presidency at the time. I'd be surprised if he didn't vote Democrat, though. I'd liken him to Douglas Adams, who was an atheist and certainly believed in evolution but was able to poke fun at those things in his books.

It doesn't seem like that's as common now; if you're on the left and hope to survive there, you have to take all the left's mantras seriously and never question anything lest you aid the opposition.

Blogger Corvinus March 17, 2015 2:08 PM  

Instead we get meaningless chapters focused on secondary and tertiary characters no one cares about and which go nowhere.

Like Bran the cripple.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 17, 2015 2:16 PM  

Berke Breathed was that strangest of all lefties. The one that was able to put the joke the first. It's why Garry Trudeau hated him so much. Breathed could get by on his talent instead of pandering to left. Doonesbury was never as good as Bloom County and somewhere inside Trudeau knows it.

Anonymous Alexander March 17, 2015 2:30 PM  

Stannis objects. "Remaining loyal" implies that there was a time when he was disloyal... and no loyalty was ever owed to the inbred bastard! He remained loyal to the rightful line of succession of Robert Baratheon at all times.

Blogger MATT March 17, 2015 2:31 PM  

Thowe bulletpoints make me think some boredom could do GRRM's world some good, actually..

Anonymous p-dawg March 17, 2015 2:43 PM  

Doonesbury is dreary; Bloom County is funny.

Anonymous WaterBoy March 17, 2015 3:07 PM  

Cataline Sergius: "Berke Breathed was that strangest of all lefties. The one that was able to put the joke the first. It's why Garry Trudeau hated him so much. Breathed could get by on his talent instead of pandering to left. Doonesbury was never as good as Bloom County and somewhere inside Trudeau knows it."

There's a reason for that:

"Then there’s the schism between Breathed and Garry Trudeau, the satirical mind behind “Doonesbury.” The two artists’ work appeared in papers side by side for years, but they have never shaken hands. There’s a reason. The younger cartoonist, searching for a style, borrowed plenty from “Doonesbury” and then chafed when the elder artist pointed that fact out in public.

“He came as close to a hero for me as I was going to have in the comics world,” Breathed said. “But I earned his spite by doing a lot of things wrong, and then when he called me on it, and did so relatively benignly, I was a smartass. I was, what, 21? I didn’t handle it well. After that, he had no interest in having a beer with me.”
"

Blogger bob k. mando March 17, 2015 3:50 PM  

Cataline Sergius March 17, 2015 2:16 PM
Doonesbury was never as good as Bloom County and somewhere inside Trudeau knows it.



sure it was. read some of the older collections.

the dividing line is the sabbatical Trudeau took in the middle of the Reagan admin.

left wing but funny before, godawful ever since.

Blogger grendel March 17, 2015 4:23 PM  

Martin may have acute Lucasitis. When the success of the earlier work wins an artist greater freedom, so a bunch of dumb shit an editor should've squashed makes it through and all the later work suffers for it.

Blogger MidKnight March 17, 2015 4:42 PM  

@cailcorishev

I still have several of my Bloom County books. For a lefty, Breathed was pretty good at exposing the left's foolishness on a lot of topics.


Ditto George Carlin, before he got all bitter after the early 90's. His takedowns of environmentalists and Feminists (and wishy washy language) are still classics.

On a related note - College Humor actually has a sharp video that is spot on...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqevO_zrxsA




Anonymous BigGaySteve March 17, 2015 4:53 PM  

It does get a little tiresome when the only antagonists available are either STR8 White Church Going Men or people who have been driven crazy by STR8WCGM. Especially when people encounter the reality of crime that never seems to be committed by who they are told to fear. The only alternative seems to be when Ann Rice's son projects his ex boyfriends as antagonists. Eventually you can plot out the script in the first couple pages, the poor black lesbian computer genius overcomes several STR8WCGM because special. Of course the STR8WCGM have a secret HQ under the country club.

Anonymous it wnt imprv March 17, 2015 5:16 PM  

does anyone else think martins problem is that he learned how to write long by doing what was basicly a tv soap. with a tv show we turn in theirs a story its over in hour and it really wasn,t that important what is important are the characters and it's the characters that we come to see and that provide the continuity and the payoff, with genre fiction its usually the other way around we open a book, meet a character and they serve the plot and its the plot that gives it continuity and will eventtully provide a payoff. i think when martin writes a chapter for a song of fire and ice he is writing it how he would a tv show. a little story that lets you learn something about a character and like tv doesn,t generaly change things to much. and if the books were centered on the character in the chapter they would work but their not, unlike tv shows which work for and because of their characters a George rr martin character is either dispicable or dead and their exsistance isn't the point. a little story no matter how well written will disappoint if it doesn't either let us spend time with an important character like a television show or advance the big story of the plot in an important way like a novel.

Blogger GK Chesterton March 17, 2015 9:42 PM  

No I think you are right imprv. I think that's one of the reasons it has adapted so well to TV.

Anonymous Mr. A is Mr. A March 17, 2015 9:45 PM  

Deterioration of main stream American comic books via SJW invasion accelerates:

Batman variant cover pulled due to SWJ complaints

Zombified for almost 20 years, it would be good if Marvel's and DC's print characters were given their final rest.

Anonymous Link dropper March 17, 2015 9:59 PM  

Off topic, just curious if anyone had since these charts? Both links have the charts, the second has footnotes but the first has comments criticizing the data.

Gender Preference in Video Games - Cheezburger Network

Gender Preference in Video Games - Fade to Black blog

Anonymous Jack Amok March 17, 2015 10:04 PM  

So, what was a war of five kings that spans five continents abruptly becomes a minor debate over whether Robert Baratheon's black-haired son and heir marries Sansa Stark, a princess of Dorne, or Danerys Targaryen.

No, no, you've got it all wrong. The story becomes a heart-felt emotional drama where Danerys Targaryen must choose between the noble Baratheon and the exotic stable boy who haunts her dreams. Little does she know, however, that the stable boy is actually a prince from a far-away land sent by his royal father to spy on the Seven Kingdoms, but if she chooses the exotic prince, how will she ever tolerate Sansa Stark as Queen?

Anonymous Anubis March 17, 2015 10:33 PM  

"Gender Preference in Video Games - Cheezburger Network"

I would say there is no way World of Warcraft is 40% female but I stopped playing before they added knockoffs to pokemon and Farmville to the game.

Blogger Ragin' Dave March 17, 2015 10:34 PM  

Maybe the fact that Martin has killed off just about every character worth caring about is the reason book sales have dropped.

Stories have to be enjoyable to keep people buying them. At this point, the whole "Song of Ice and Fire" is late night TV being run with secondary characters that nobody gives a damn about. I have absolutely no desire to buy another book from him. It's tedious. Slog through hundreds of pages just to end up with a plot-line that contains nothing and no-one of any real import? Nah. I'll pass. Tom Kratman has some good books. I'll give him my money instead.

Blogger Thucydides March 18, 2015 12:31 PM  

Frankly, I always preferred apolitical cartoons like "Calvin and Hobbes", "The Far Side" and "Dilbert" to ones trying to push a message on me.

I will admit I loved the Bloom county story lines focused on Opus the Penguin, since they were mostly whimsical.

Blogger SirHamster March 18, 2015 3:48 PM  

I would say there is no way World of Warcraft is 40% female but I stopped playing before they added knockoffs to pokemon and Farmville to the game.

A sizeable number of my WoW guild is female (proven by voicechat). 40% sounds reasonable from that experience.

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