Drabblecast 181 - Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

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Travelin Corpse Feet
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Travelin Corpse Feet » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:27 pm

This fell flat for me because of the "secret" at the end. We all die and nothing we've ever done means anything? I'm not usually this blunt but, no shit.

Thing is, the puppet presents this as if its a universal truth that everyone can (or maybe just should) give up. That's an opinion. It might've worked better for me if the puppet had had some special kind of perspective on things, but I never got the impression that it was anything other than another sentient meat golem who spent some time philosophizing. I think this story damaged itself by trying to go for all-encompassing universal truth, when something more personal would've come closer to the mark.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Etaan » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:25 pm

Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:This fell flat for me because of the "secret" at the end. We all die and nothing we've ever done means anything? I'm not usually this blunt but, no shit.
I'm sorry, but "no shit"? The idea that life's a bitch and then we're worm food flies in the face of almost every organized religion in the world. If a small community of (Christians/Muslims/Hindus/Jews/Vikings) witnessed something so awful that they suddenly knew this to be true, their entire worldview would be shattered.

I'm always impressed when someone can have such a superior attitude when theirs is the opinion that is in the vast minority.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Travelin Corpse Feet » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:16 pm

Etaan wrote:
Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:This fell flat for me because of the "secret" at the end. We all die and nothing we've ever done means anything? I'm not usually this blunt but, no shit.
I'm sorry, but "no shit"? The idea that life's a bitch and then we're worm food flies in the face of almost every organized religion in the world. If a small community of (Christians/Muslims/Hindus/Jews/Vikings) witnessed something so awful that they suddenly knew this to be true, their entire worldview would be shattered.

I'm always impressed when someone can have such a superior attitude when theirs is the opinion that is in the vast minority.
You've completely missed the point, which is that the idea that nothing you do on earth matters is not some incredible revelation. Hell, many of the religions you're mentioned do the exact opposite of what you're suggesting--that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile, and as a result that you need to prepare for immortality in an entirely different realm because nothing is going to last.


Edit: Removed a stupid snipe I made because it was stupid to retaliate and I apologize.

I went off on something I didn't like in a story. Yes, it was harsh, but there's no reason to say I have a "superior" attitude. If you have a problem with an argument, please make one of your own instead of attacking the person who posted it.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by strawman » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:43 pm

What is this, a rehearsal for next week's family reunion sensibilities? If you realize someone has misunderstood you, their criticism is neutralized. Ipso Facto.
Now please pass the gravy.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by tbaker2500 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:36 am

strawman wrote:What is this, a rehearsal for next week's family reunion sensibilities? If you realize someone has misunderstood you, their criticism is neutralized. Ipso Facto.
Now please pass the gravy.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Etaan » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:25 pm

Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:You've completely missed the point, which is that the idea that nothing you do on earth matters is not some incredible revelation. Hell, many of the religions you're mentioned do the exact opposite of what you're suggesting--that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile, and as a result that you need to prepare for immortality in an entirely different realm because nothing is going to last.
Sorry, I took your remark to mean that the lesson of the story was common knowledge to any of the "right thinking" set. I've known too many smug secularists and it shows.

The terrible lesson revealed by the dummy, however, isn't - as you put it - that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile. The life altering revelation is that there is no immortality, no other realm that they should be preparing for. The ultimate culmination of all our lives is decomposition and a long forgotten obituary. The narrator wishes it wasn't so, that the story could have ended on a happy lie, but the truth will out.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Travelin Corpse Feet » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:26 pm

Etaan wrote:
Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:You've completely missed the point, which is that the idea that nothing you do on earth matters is not some incredible revelation. Hell, many of the religions you're mentioned do the exact opposite of what you're suggesting--that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile, and as a result that you need to prepare for immortality in an entirely different realm because nothing is going to last.
Sorry, I took your remark to mean that the lesson of the story was common knowledge to any of the "right thinking" set. I've known too many smug secularists and it shows.

The terrible lesson revealed by the dummy, however, isn't - as you put it - that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile. The life altering revelation is that there is no immortality, no other realm that they should be preparing for. The ultimate culmination of all our lives is decomposition and a long forgotten obituary. The narrator wishes it wasn't so, that the story could have ended on a happy lie, but the truth will out.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but that's not what I took away from it. The line "All your ambitions turn to rust" looks to me more like a warning that nothing anyone does lasts. I got more of an "Ozymandias" vibe from that than I did a "By the way, there's no afterlife" one.

My main point comes from the assumption that this story is an argument on the futility of human existence, and my problem with that is that it treats the futility argument as an end point rather than one node in a huge philosophical morass. It packages an idea (nothing lasts) with a behavior (despair), and the one doesn't have to logically follow the other. Sure, as Frost once wrote "nothing gold can stay," but shit, it's nice while it's gold ain't it? In my mind things are infinitely more valuable and wonderful when they're in limited supply. Sure, nothing lasts. I don't see why anything has to.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Unblinking » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:42 pm

Etaan wrote: The terrible lesson revealed by the dummy, however, isn't - as you put it - that earthly pursuits are impermanent and futile.
That might or might not be the lesson. The lesson is never explicit in the story, and I imagine a wide variety of lessons could be inferred, none of them necessarily correct or incorrect.

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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Lucid » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:10 am

Travelin Corpse Feet wrote:My main point comes from the assumption that this story is an argument on the futility of human existence, and my problem with that is that it treats the futility argument as an end point rather than one node in a huge philosophical morass. It packages an idea (nothing lasts) with a behavior (despair), and the one doesn't have to logically follow the other. Sure, as Frost once wrote "nothing gold can stay," but shit, it's nice while it's gold ain't it? In my mind things are infinitely more valuable and wonderful when they're in limited supply. Sure, nothing lasts. I don't see why anything has to.
I took mostly the same thing from it that you did - and I agree that despair does not necessarily follow from the idea that nothing lasts, that there is not permanence and existence is pointless and futile. My existence is small and brief and it's likely that 50 years after I'm dead nothing I've done will be remembered. In the grand scheme of things it's pretty pointless and silly. But I kinda like it and I have no need for a part of me to endure in any way at all past my own death. So the puppet says "despair! for you are nothing!" And I reply, "Meh. This beer is nice though."

However, I don't think the quality of the story was really that dependent on the "horrible truth" actually being horrible. Or even being true. So you say, "We all die and nothing we've ever done means anything? I'm not usually this blunt but, no shit." And I respond, "Meh. The story is nice though." :)
By which I mean, your point is valid and I agree. However, I don't think it really took away from the story. Maybe in a world peopled with talking meat puppets this idea opens a void too horrid for people to look into and keep their sanity. It's just a plot device.
Etaan wrote:I'm sorry, but "no shit"? The idea that life's a bitch and then we're worm food flies in the face of almost every organized religion in the world. If a small community of (Christians/Muslims/Hindus/Jews/Vikings) witnessed something so awful that they suddenly knew this to be true, their entire worldview would be shattered.
They'd probably adjust. Humans are pretty flexible and resilient. This small community wouldn't be the first to have their world view shattered and recover. I mean, the idea of a heliocentric solar system once flew in the face of every organized religion in the world and while I'm sure there was a period of adjustment when we figured out that the Earth orbits the sun, not the other way around, everything worked out ok.

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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by strawman » Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:24 pm

EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY ???
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Lucid » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:40 am

Yeah... unless people are still killing each other over this and I'm just not aware of it.

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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Etaan » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:13 pm

strawman wrote:EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY ???
Yeah, it turns out that the natural reaction to something like this is to repress the memory, avoid the topic with your kids and get kinda depressed. Just like with [censored for being way too easy].
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Betadog » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:39 am

Hey, did anyone else pick up on a Nyarlethotep vibe?

Maybe I'm stating the obvious here but the whole story addressing the big black nothingness seemed like a nod to the opening line of "Nyarlethotep" by HPL where the narrator addresses the "...audient void...". Nothing to listen but listen it does.

Nyarlethotep was a story about a performer who caused a town to wander off in madness, and this story was about a performer who caused a town to get all freaked out.

Loved the story by the way. Listened about four times. Good stuff.
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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Jace » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:45 am

The story was, if I may use painting to illustrate, laid up with beautiful and vibrant colors carefully brushed onto the canvas with rare skill and artistic talent, each stroke a dulcet of lovely musical notes (sorry for mixing the simile).

But Traveling Corpse Feet is right. The picture was off. If one paints a fantastic depiction of a gray wall, you still have a fantastic depiction of . . . a gray wall. Not that the story, that is to say, the content or 'meat' of the piece was a gray wall, but it didn't quite rise to the level of its writing.

James Joyce - my favorite wordsmith - had a similar problem.

A friend of mine once said that some novelists are great storytellers, and some are great writers. Stephen King is a great storyteller but an only adequate writer. The author of this tale, I fear, may suffer from the opposite condition as King.

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Re: Drabblecast 181- Funeral Song for a Ventriloquist

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:39 pm

Jace is right.
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