Deconstruction Round Up, October 19th 2013

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by chris the cynic)

Part of the point of these posts, one which I’m always forgetting to mention, is that not everyone can comment on, or indeed read, every comment engine.  So in addition to giving links to various deconstructions as they’re updated this is to be a place where anyone, at least anyone who can use wordpress comments, can comment on and be seen commenting on any of the deconstructions.

For example, if you want someone who can’t read disqus comments to know what you said at Ana Mardoll’s or Slacktivist you can copy them over here.  If you yourself can’t use disqus and have something to say about either of those you can say it over here.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Multiple Deconstructions:

bluecarrot: littledeconstruction on WordPress and Tumblr

Little Women: first post: WordPressTumblr

Chapter 6: We Need To Talk About Beth: WordPressTumblr

Chris the Cynic: Stealing Commas

Multiple Deconstructions:

Erika M. and Will Wildman: Something Short and Snappy

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: My Little Po-Mo

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Multiple Deconstructions:

Omskivar: Omskivar Reviews

Philip SandiferPhilip Sandifer: Writer

Please comment or e-mail us if we’ve forgotten anybody or you have anyone to add. Or if any links are broken, or if you’re linked to and don’t want to be, or if you find a wormhole, or for more or less any reason really.

One thought on “Deconstruction Round Up, October 19th 2013

  1. christhecynic October 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Giant walls of text in response to Ana’s stuff.

    First, a note about the Disney thread. With a lot of games it might be difficult to remove content late in development, but with the kind of game in question (one inspired by Skylander’s game-play but not mirroring it exactly) it wouldn’t. The franchise specific parts are cordoned off and designed to be skippable. Not releasing the figures for the racist franchise would, itself, cut the racist franchise’s content. All that would be needed beyond that would be to remove whatever indicated there was content you couldn’t access (doorways or portals or menu options or however you get to the franchise specific content.)

    In other words, even if Disney failed to realize they were being racist jerks before the whole world (hyperbole there) cried out them, “This shit is really racist!” (not so much hyperbole there) it would have taken basically, but not quite, zero effort to not continue the racism in the game.

    Second, a lot of stuff about the Narnia post. To help you sort through it, it will go like this
    -One version of the scene from the Last Battle if Edmund got his wish in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
    -Another version of the scene from the Last Battle if Edmund got his wish in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (This one focusing more on the lipstick and nylons thing)
    -A lengthy bit where I just react to the various things from Ana’s post in the order in which they came with no continuity between them.
    -Continuing a story Gila started, I’ll summarize it first because if you can’t read disqus you can’t read Gila’s story.

    Italic chunks are from Ana’s post, bold bits are from the original text. (obviously since Ana quotes the original text some things are both.)

    Each bit described above will be separated by a helpful:

    and Edmund said he wished they could have gone to America with Susan

    “Sir,” said Tirian, when he had greeted all these. “If I have read the chronicles aright, there should be two more. Has not your Majesty two sisters and a brother? Where is Queen Susan and King Edmund?”

    “My sister Susan,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “Is no longer a friend of Narnia.”

    “Yes,” said Eustace, “and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says ‘What wonderful memories you have! Fancy you still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’ ”

    “Oh Susan!” said Jill. “She’s interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grow-up.”

    “Grown-up, indeed,” said the Lady Polly. “I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”

    “Well, don’t let’s talk about that now,” said Peter.

    “And Edmund is worse!” Eustace said.

    “I said not to-” Peter began.

    Eustace cut him off: “He treats Susan like a friend.”

    “Edmund,” Jill said in a voice that dripped with contempt. “He cares about nothing but making Susan and his other friends happy. He’s always too keen to be nice to people.”

    “Look!” Peter said. “Here are lovely fruit trees. Let us taste them.”

    Ignoring Peter, Eustace said, “We know better than that. Outsiders need to be sneered at.”

    Lucy leaned over to Peter and said, “I don’t think they’re going for it.”

    “Once a traitor,” Jill said, “Always a traitor.”

    Peter and Lucy looked gravely at each other.

    “Choosing Susan over US!” Eustace shouted so loudly it made everyone’s ears hurt.

    “We could hit them with rocks,” Peter said to Lucy.

    and maybe even dabble in hellish lipsticks.

    I should have read further, I considered going there but I didn’t.

    “Sir,” said Tirian, when he had greeted all these. “If I have read the chronicles aright, there should be two more. Has not your Majesty two sisters and a brother? Where is Queen Susan and King Edmund?”

    “My sisters Susan and Amy,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “are no longer friends of Narnia.”

    “Amy!” Jill spat. “Don’t tell me he convinced you to call him that.”

    Eustace added, “Whenever you’ve tried to get them to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, they say things like, ‘What wonderful memories you have!’ ‘Fancy you still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children,’ and, ‘Don’t you remember we were supposed to seek Aslan in this world?'”

    Jill said “They’re interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations.”

    “And I’ve never seen Amy so happy so shut up,” Lucy said. “And we should all be grateful to Susan for bringing her such joy. None of us ever managed to do it, even Aslan couldn’t.”

    They all held their breath, for it is not at all nice to be pursued by an unknown something either on land or sea.

    “I saw a danger lurk!” (Credit to Tommy Smothers)

    But what it turned out to be was far worse than anyone had suspected.

    “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

    “Actually, I did.”

    “Shut up, Eustace.”

    at last they were seeing what so many people have foolishly wanted to see—the great Sea Serpent. The folds of its gigantic tail could be seen far away, rising at intervals from the surface. And now its head was towering up higher than the mast.

    And from the head came a soft, sheepish voice, “Could you point me the way back to New England?” it asked in a downeast accent, “I seem to have gotten lost and can’t find the way there from here.”

    (For those who don’t know the accent, those last words would be especially pronounced in their non-standardness: theYAH from heYAH.)

    Incidentally, if you ever need to point out to someone that Wikipedia has all kinds of accuracy problems (in addition to its many more serious problems with privilege in its community and among its gatekeepers), I point you to this article on Drinian

    Wikipedia is so anti-truth and pro privilege and generally bullying that when I learned about the massive gobs of transphobic bigotry the best I could manage was neither shock nor outrage but a flat: figures.

    And yet still, it seems to be the quickest reference available for those who can’t afford an electronic encyclopedia they keep updating. Is there a non-evil Wikipedia alternative?

    and does anyone want to join my mischievous fan-theory that the Very Hard To Find sea serpent sidled up to this ship not for food but because it was confused and thought the dragon-shaped ship was a kindred spirit? Clearly the whole loop-the-loop thing was the sea serpent trying to hug its new friend.

    If this were Star Trek it would either want to mate with the ship or think this ship was its mother.

    Twelve Dimensional Grand Master

    I could make you a set of coherent rules for twelve dimensional chess. But it would have 68,719,476,736 cells, which is rather a lot. A mere 6 dimensional chess board would, if standard, be an 8x8x8 cube of 3d chess boards that are made of eight normal chess boards stacked on top of each other. A nine dimensional one would be an 8 by eight by eight cube of those. And finally when we get to 12 it’s an eight by eight cube of 9 dimensional ones.

    A lot of space, counterbalanced by having extremely powerful pieces (2d chess pieces move in lines, 3d chess pieces in planes, 4d chess pieces in 3-spaces, so forth.)

    now did the first brave thing he had ever done.

    He said, “Stop you idiots, it just wants to be friends. And, incidentally, I want to wear lipstick like Edmund.”

    And once the attacks stopped the serpent peaceably decided not to destroy the ship and challenged Reepicheep to chess, which is why it had come.

    Eustace and Edmund did each other’s makeup with stuff Caspian had gotten from the lone islands for Lucy even though she never saw the point of it. Lucy had been happy to give it away.

    And that one moment where everyone had to luxuriously stare, rather than following the voice of someone who knew the way out, was what damned them all. If only they hadn’t been so full of their preconceived notions about Talking Animals being one-dimensional stereotypes instead of three-dimensional characters like humans (and note that no one stopped to stare at Eustace’s character development). The ship sank to the sea and we all went home! Buh-bye everybody!

    All the internets.

    Very soon the whole ship’s company except Lucy and the Mouse (which was fainting) was in two long lines along the two bulwarks, each man’s chest to the back of the man in front, so that the weight of the whole line was in the last man, pushing for their lives.

    If not for Lucy their savior would have died from exertion but fortunately Lucy had realized that one person more or less would make no difference in moving the serpent but could make all the difference for the Mouse.

    No one on the ship noticed Lucy’s quick thinking and good work because they all were too busy congratulating themselves at being big strong men and ignoring the fact that they would have been doomed if not for the Mouse they left to die.

    Seriously, Lewis, fuck you.


    Gila’s story had Eustace pondering about the fact that his life altering event had not changed him as completely as he expected and wondering if dragonishness could grow back. When the Serpent comes and he cries for it to stop it does stop, smelling the sent of dragon on him and thus recognizing him as kin. The Serpent offers to share the catch (the ship) with him and Eustace briefly wonders if accepting the offer to save some of the crew would be morally right. Then the story ends with

    “No. I am not a dragon. And you can’t have this ship.”

    The huge eye narrowed. “We shall see about that.” And the great head was gone, lifting up again, until the serpent made a great arch across the ship.

    Some people fight dragons their whole lives.

    Eustace took a deep breath, and drew his sword.

    Which brings us to my continuation:

    Caspian looked on as Eustace broke his second best sword into bits against the hide of the serpent. Cousin of the old royalty or not, the insufferable whelp would pay for that. So infuriated was he that he didn’t notice when the Serpent stopped.

    The Master Bowman, a man* whose name Caspian had never bothered to learn, had been directing the others in firing arrows at the Serpent, while firing his own bow with seemingly impossible skill, and the effect had been nonexistent.

    Given that, Caspian had never even considered that Eustace —Eustace of all people– might do something useful.

    * * *

    The Serpent returned his gaze to Eustace and said, “Not a dragon?” It laughed. “Not a dragon, a mere Human boy with a half rate sword, and you’re going to stop me on your own?”

    Eustace’s voice shook and his hands gripped the hilt of the broken sword so tightly all color had drained from them, the fear was overwhelming but still he said, “I’ll try.”

    The Serpent brought its face so close to Eustace that to the others it appeared crosseyed as it kept its gaze firmly fixed on the boy. It inhaled so strongly it almost knocked the boy off his feet from the rush of air. “I say a dragon you are.”

    “I’m not a dragon,” Eustace said in a voice that he wanted to be a shout but came out more of a whimper.

    The Serpent opened its maw. The stench of salt and death poured forth and threatened to overwhelm Eustace. “If you’re not a dragon. I’ll simply have to eat you.”

    Eustace shook with fear.

    “Or,” The serpent added, “I suppose I could let you go and merely eat the rest.”

    Eustace was silent for a time. The less charitable members of the crew thought he was considering the Serpent’s offer. The Master Bowman and Reepicheep recognized that he was simply terrified. True warriors new the feeling of terror. True warriors knew how hard it was to not be conquered by it. True warriors respected those who stood fast in the face of terror.

    The Master Bowman and Reepicheep prepared to attack in Eustace’s defense, even though the inside of the Serpent seemed as impenetrable as the out.

    Eustace managed to speak before they did: “I’m not a dragon and you can’t have them.”

    The Serpent lifted its head, but not so much it couldn’t see Eustace, just enough that its jaws precariously hung above him. Then it spoke, “Even though I’ll eat you?”

    Eustace could only manage one word. He knew that he could do nothing against the great Serpent with his own strength and a broken sword. He wished he were still in the form of a dragon. Not a dragon, just still in one’s body so that he might be useful, so that he might save these people. Even if it meant never going home. Even if it meant never having human interaction again. As things were he was sure he was going to die. He simply said: “Yes.”

    The serpent pulled back and looked at Eustace for a moment.

    “A dragon you are,” it said.

    “I’m not-” Eustace started.

    “And these tiny beings are under your protection?”

    This time there was no hesitation; Eustace did manage a shout, “Yes!”

    Reepicheep and the Master Bowman rushed forward. The Bowman to Eustace’s side, Reepicheep leaped upon the boy’s shoulder, sword drawn, and almost knocked him off balance.

    “And he is under ours!” Reepicheep shouted.

    The Serpent laughed. Not, as many suspected, because of the size of Reepicheep. He respected the Mouse now, even if he would still like to eat the Mouse. The Serpent had eaten a few meals it respected in its time. Not that many, most really weren’t worthy of anything but food, but some were worthy opponents as well as food.

    When the Serpent had finished laughing it said, “A dragon with strange friends.”

    The Serpent pulled away from the ship, but before it left it added, “I will not eat your friends in front of you, Dragon, but do not think that means I will not eat your friends. If they should travel these waters without you I will treat them as I treat any other food.”

    * Ok, so technically the position of Master Bowman is a title handed down from Female to Female since the time of High Queen Susan, and this is the first Human Master Bowman in many generations. She studied under a great Dryad after she ran away from home when she witnessed a her father kill a different Dryad by chopping down her Oak**. Lost and alone in the forest she was taken in by the Master Bowman of the day, one of the few Dryads still awake.

    She never truly understood how strange it was to have met two Dryads in the time before The Waking. So few had remained awake that when Aslan woke the rest only seven weren’t sleeping. But to Iisha (damn you ambiguous “I”s, her name is not lowercase Lisha) Dryads seemed normal.

    The one she had watched die she tried not to think about, the one who trained her in the ways passed down from High Queen Susan was her sole companion for much of her life. Her mother, her sister, her close friend. Someone whom she could not wait to return to.

    But the Dryad, whom she called Dry because knowing only one living Dryad it wasn’t confusing and Dry’s real name could only be spoken by trees, had asked her to go on this journey.

    “He’s a fine Swordsmouse,” Dry had said, “but some threats aren’t nice enough to come within a sword’s length before they’re lethal. He’d never admit to needing help, but he should be defended from the threats he cannot reach.”

    So Iisha had come aboard, the Master Bowman of the generation would hardly be turned away. The others had all assumed she was male, and on a boat of nothing but she had let them indulge in their fantasy.

    When Lucy came aboard she had at first been happy to have the kinship of another woman, even one so young. Fluent in the legends she knew that Lucy’s mind was older than her body and hoped for companionship. But she had been cautious. This proved wise as it seemed that either Lucy’s transformation into a child had warped her personality, or she wasn’t nearly as nice as the legends had said. [Because in Glia’s version Lucy isn’t so nice.]

    And so her secret was kept from all. Well, almost all. She’d had to tell Reepicheep, whose nose could smell blood from her and was very concerned. None of the other sailors noticed anything unusual at that time of her cycle, and Reepicheep, himself alone, kept her secret.

    ** In fact the Oak became a mast, the mast became a part of the ship that carried the lost lords. The Dryad’s ghost terrorized the lords until the Galmian sailors, more knowledgeable in the ways of trees than Telmarines, were able to contact her and make peace with her. Once the lords had all been dropped off the Oaken mast, the Dryad’s ghost, and the Galmians sailed to parts unknown as part of a great and interesting adventure that I can’t reveal here because doing so would violate the sacred oaths of the Drysian Mysteries**. What is seen in the Mysteries must not be described. What is heard must not be repeated. What is thought must not be revealed. What is dreamed must not enter waking life.

    What is smelled, on the other hand, is Oak.

    ** But I will say that Resurrection must be possible because look what happened to the Oak. And the Aslanites say you need to leave this world forever when you die. It’s no wonder that it was a priestess of the Drysian Mysteries who finally saved those dwarves from their delusion when Aslan himself could not. Once you’re initiated into the mysteries you’ve got truth on your side.

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