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The Old Hack

Story Wednesday May 23, 2018

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8 hours ago, The Old Hack said:
8 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Those were antagonists. I was deliberately listing protagonists, because you are at least supposed to be on their side and I think that's what Dan plans with Nioi.

Ah! I'm sorry, I didn't get that. I just tried to find examples of likeable characters that nonetheless weren't safe to be in the vicinity of.

Dan's been pretty good it seems with morality having some greyness to it, yeah Elliot's a boy scout, but we've seen him struggle with the idea that maybe his "fighting bullies with a smile" routine was a bad thing. We have Magus that has done some terrible things but he was put in a bad situation against his will and used like a toy, which brings us to Pandora who's been responsible for some shitty things, but that was a result of her losing focus on what really mattered as she got older and unstable. Nioi's been shown to care greatly for Lord Tedd and believes that General Shade Tail is doing bad things to him that needs to stop. Her belief that Ellen was in need of help might be more a sign of her being overly compassionate, rather than anything malignant. Like the person that wants to help people with anything even though the people never ask for it, some people may find it annoying especially if they didn't ask for help and suddenly there's some stranger helping. Wanting to help someone isn't a bad thing, but their approach to it isn't always seen that way.

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1 minute ago, Scotty said:

Her belief that Ellen was in need of help might be more a sign of her being overly compassionate, rather than anything malignant. Like the person that wants to help people with anything even though the people never ask for it, some people may find it annoying especially if they didn't ask for help and suddenly there's some stranger helping. Wanting to help someone isn't a bad thing, but their approach to it isn't always seen that way.

Good intentions can still lead to ruinous results. In fact, they are notorious for it.

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9 hours ago, The Old Hack said:
9 hours ago, Scotty said:

Her belief that Ellen was in need of help might be more a sign of her being overly compassionate, rather than anything malignant. Like the person that wants to help people with anything even though the people never ask for it, some people may find it annoying especially if they didn't ask for help and suddenly there's some stranger helping. Wanting to help someone isn't a bad thing, but their approach to it isn't always seen that way.

Good intentions can still lead to ruinous results. In fact, they are notorious for it.

Yes.

Also, Nioi's moral compass might be damaged by General Shade Tail and/or the world she lives in, without her even realizing that.

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22 hours ago, Scotty said:

Dan's been pretty good it seems with morality having some greyness to it, yeah Elliot's a boy scout, but we've seen him struggle with the idea that maybe his "fighting bullies with a smile" routine was a bad thing. We have Magus that has done some terrible things but he was put in a bad situation against his will and used like a toy, which brings us to Pandora who's been responsible for some shitty things, but that was a result of her losing focus on what really mattered as she got older and unstable. Nioi's been shown to care greatly for Lord Tedd and believes that General Shade Tail is doing bad things to him that needs to stop. Her belief that Ellen was in need of help might be more a sign of her being overly compassionate, rather than anything malignant. Like the person that wants to help people with anything even though the people never ask for it, some people may find it annoying especially if they didn't ask for help and suddenly there's some stranger helping. Wanting to help someone isn't a bad thing, but their approach to it isn't always seen that way.

And then there's Damien, who was under the mistaken impression that A. he was a god, and b. that meant he could do whatever he wanted. He never truly repented, but at the end when he started to question his divinity, he did seem to acknowledge that if he wasn't a god his actions had been wrong.

Frankly, I expect that as we get to know Voltaire & General Shade Tale better they'll turn out to have reasons for their evil acts that readers can be sympathetic to. (And I'm almost sure Lord Tedd himself will be fully redeemed in the end.)

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45 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:

he did seem to acknowledge that if he wasn't a god his actions had been wrong.

No he didn't. What he said was that if he wasn't a god, existing would be pointless. That is not in any way or form acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

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1 hour ago, ChronosCat said:

Frankly, I expect that as we get to know Voltaire & General Shade Tale better they'll turn out to have reasons for their evil acts that readers can be sympathetic to. (And I'm almost sure Lord Tedd himself will be fully redeemed in the end.)

We really only have one scene of Shade Tail, so we don't have a lot to go on, but everything we saw about Voltaire doesn't really paint him in a sympathetic light, particularly the part where he considers humanity his toys: http://www.egscomics.com/comic/2018-02-19

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1 hour ago, The Old Hack said:

No he didn't. What he said was that if he wasn't a god, existing would be pointless. That is not in any way or form acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

I was specifically referring to this comic, where I interpret him to question for a moment whether he was right to kill his creators. Admittedly, he never showed any signs of doubting any of his other choices, and even if I'm reading him right he never got beyond "maybe" to fully accepting he did the wrong thing.

It also in no way even comes close to redeeming him - it just makes him a tiny bit more human in my eyes, and perhaps a bit pitiable.

46 minutes ago, partner555 said:

We really only have one scene of Shade Tail, so we don't have a lot to go on, but everything we saw about Voltaire doesn't really paint him in a sympathetic light, particularly the part where he considers humanity his toys: http://www.egscomics.com/comic/2018-02-19

I don't expect we'll ever consider Voltair a good guy, but I do expect that we'll find out he does have some non-evil traits, and perhaps reasons for why he is how he is that aren't his fault. (Also, after Pandora's heel/face turn I wouldn't be shocked if Dan did somehow find a way to make him truly sympathetic too, but I'm not expecting it.)

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45 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:

I was specifically referring to this comic, where I interpret him to question for a moment whether he was right to kill his creators. Admittedly, he never showed any signs of doubting any of his other choices, and even if I'm reading him right he never got beyond "maybe" to fully accepting he did the wrong thing.

I suspect we have to agree to disagree here. I do see your interpretation and it is valid, but it struck me more as denial than acknowledgment. Nonetheless, you have made your point.

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Just now, ChronosCat said:

he did seem to acknowledge that if he wasn't a god his actions had been wrong.

Just now, The Old Hack said:

I suspect we have to agree to disagree here. I do see your interpretation and it is valid, but it struck me more as denial than acknowledgment. Nonetheless, you have made your point.

Damien denied the fact that he was created in a lab and threatened to kill anyone that tried to say he was. When Grace proved that he wasn't invincible, and in response to that he felt he'd rather kill himself and take Grace with him than be locked up. He did say "I've gone too far to turn around." which can also be taken as his acknowledgement that what he's done was wrong but also that there was absolutely no way of redemption so he could either die, or continue killing (if he was truly a god that is).

The tragedy with Damien is that he was conditioned to do what he did by his creators, his creators made the mistake of having no way to control him once they had succeeded in making him believe that he was an all powerful god. In another reality, maybe Damien turned on his creators, but then went on to unify the Seyunolus in a more peaceful manner and usher in an era a coexistence with Humans, not saying that's what happened in the second life universe as it seems like coexistence between Humans and Seyunolus has been going on for a long time which, just saying that some other universe might have it, and wild speculation.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Scotty said:

The tragedy with Damien is that he was conditioned to do what he did by his creators, his creators made the mistake of having no way to control him once they had succeeded in making him believe that he was an all powerful god. In another reality, maybe Damien turned on his creators, but then went on to unify the Seyunolus in a more peaceful manner and usher in an era a coexistence with Humans, not saying that's what happened in the second life universe as it seems like coexistence between Humans and Seyunolus has been going on for a long time which, just saying that some other universe might have it, and wild speculation.

Hey, wild speculation has its place. I am all for the possibility of some hypothetical reality where Damien might be redeemed. In fact, one reason I loathe Damien as much as I do is how one-dimensional he was. I am not saying he is unrealistic as a character, mind you -- only that all his personality traits are Narcissistic and abhorrent.

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Just now, The Old Hack said:

Hey, wild speculation has its place. I am all for the possibility of some hypothetical reality where Damien might be redeemed. In fact, one reason I loathe Damien as much as I do is how one-dimensional he was. I am not saying he is unrealistic as a character, mind you -- only that all his personality traits are Narcissistic and abhorrent.

The one dimensionalness might have been due to Dan's writing at the time as well, had Dan gone with the "Damien runs away with the possibility of coming back later" route, I suspect there'd have been more development to flesh out Damien's motivations and such (though he'd likely still want to kill people), just like with how Pandora and to a lesser extent (mainly due to lack of appearances) Magus have developed to have more depth.

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1 minute ago, Scotty said:

The one dimensionalness might have been due to Dan's writing at the time as well, had Dan gone with the "Damien runs away with the possibility of coming back later" route, I suspect there'd have been more development to flesh out Damien's motivations and such (though he'd likely still want to kill people), just like with how Pandora and to a lesser extent (mainly due to lack of appearances) Magus have developed to have more depth.

Possibly. We'll see. The big issue is that once you have demonstrated a willingness to commit mass murder of people whose sole crime was not believing in your godhood, you have pretty much sunk so far past the moral event horizon that there is really no coming back.

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Just now, The Old Hack said:

Possibly. We'll see. The big issue is that once you have demonstrated a willingness to commit mass murder of people whose sole crime was not believing in your godhood, you have pretty much sunk so far past the moral event horizon that there is really no coming back.

Not arguing that, just saying that if Damien had become a recurring antagonist, we might have seen flashbacks to his creation. If good/evil is something that is learned, then Damien would have been innocent for a short time after his creation, and that would have been stripped from him over the years by his creators.

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10 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

Frankly, I expect that as we get to know Voltaire & General Shade Tale better they'll turn out to have reasons for their evil acts that readers can be sympathetic to. (And I'm almost sure Lord Tedd himself will be fully redeemed in the end.)

I see it the other way - I'm sure Lord Tedd himself will be redeemed, while Voltaire or General Shade Tail might not be although we will definitely get some reasons to be more sympathetic to them.

8 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

I was specifically referring to this comic, where I interpret him to question for a moment whether he was right to kill his creators. Admittedly, he never showed any signs of doubting any of his other choices, and even if I'm reading him right he never got beyond "maybe" to fully accepting he did the wrong thing.

I read it similarly. In fact, I think he DID realized that what he did was wrong, but not WHY.

1 hour ago, Scotty said:

If good/evil is something that is learned, then Damien would have been innocent for a short time after his creation, and that would have been stripped from him over the years by his creators.

... which is pretty consistent with the idea that he wasn't killing people because he was evil or sadist or something. He was killing people because they convinced him it's the right thing to do. (Obviously, they must've done some mistake which made him include them in that list.) Maybe in his case they did find some way how to accelerate his growth, or maybe he was just so sheltered that he never got opportunity to develop his own personality.

9 hours ago, partner555 said:

Voltaire ... particularly the part where he considers humanity his toys: http://www.egscomics.com/comic/2018-02-19

That wouldn't be the most unsympathetic part.

TORRES: You know, I have really had it with this superiority complex of yours.
FEMALE Q: It's not a complex, dear. It's a fact.

However, even toys could be played with differently. Look at Toy Story. Voltaire is giving the vibe that his idea of playing with toys is pretty close to Sid's one.

It's like ... there is one scale about how much you care about some's opinion ; on that scale, "toys" are indeed the last step, after "slaves" and "pets" (say ... "friend", "servant", "slave", "pet", "toy").

There is different scale about how much you care about some's well-being. Being someone's pet might be humiliating, but if you are well cared for you may have it better that someone homeless, considered person but not cared at all. In winter.

8 hours ago, ChronosCat said:

I don't expect we'll ever consider Voltair a good guy, but I do expect that we'll find out he does have some non-evil traits, and perhaps reasons for why he is how he is that aren't his fault.

This, however, may happen.

 

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7 hours ago, hkmaly said:

That wouldn't be the most unsympathetic part.

TORRES: You know, I have really had it with this superiority complex of yours.
FEMALE Q: It's not a complex, dear. It's a fact.

 

The "complex" comes not with believing oneself to be superior, but with feeling the need to rub it in everybody's faces, as if you found it disturbing that someone would refuse to acknowledge your greatness. We for instance don't go around constantly telling every animal we encounter about how we are superior to them--we just want them to not meddle in our business too much--so why would a superhuman being feel the need to be praised by lesser beings? Seriously, a Q would find the praise of other Q to be infinitely more meaningful than praise from mere mortals, and demanding praise from mortals is about equivalent to a human demanding that the birds in the trees sing for him.

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39 minutes ago, ijuin said:

The "complex" comes not with believing oneself to be superior, but with feeling the need to rub it in everybody's faces, as if you found it disturbing that someone would refuse to acknowledge your greatness. We for instance don't go around constantly telling every animal we encounter about how we are superior to them--we just want them to not meddle in our business too much--so why would a superhuman being feel the need to be praised by lesser beings? Seriously, a Q would find the praise of other Q to be infinitely more meaningful than praise from mere mortals, and demanding praise from mortals is about equivalent to a human demanding that the birds in the trees sing for him.

Also, it doesn't make you seem superior. It makes you seem insecure.

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17 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

Also, it doesn't make you seem superior. It makes you seem insecure.

Quite. If you are superior, then why do you need to be praised for it?

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3 hours ago, ijuin said:

Seriously, a Q would find the praise of other Q to be infinitely more meaningful than praise from mere mortals, and demanding praise from mortals is about equivalent to a human demanding that the birds in the trees sing for him.

2 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

Also, it doesn't make you seem superior. It makes you seem insecure.

Note that in the time of that specific episode, power of Q was greatly reduced.

So yes, she WAS feeling insecure.

2 hours ago, ijuin said:
2 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

Also, it doesn't make you seem superior. It makes you seem insecure.

Quite. If you are superior, then why do you need to be praised for it?

Note: This question is better to be asked standing on well isolated mat.

Also, the word usually used is "worshipped".

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15 hours ago, hkmaly said:
On 5/26/2018 at 7:31 AM, ChronosCat said:

Frankly, I expect that as we get to know Voltaire & General Shade Tale better they'll turn out to have reasons for their evil acts that readers can be sympathetic to. (And I'm almost sure Lord Tedd himself will be fully redeemed in the end.)

I see it the other way - I'm sure Lord Tedd himself will be redeemed, while Voltaire or General Shade Tail might not be although we will definitely get some reasons to be more sympathetic to them.

I'm a little confused, how is that different from what I said?

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8 hours ago, ChronosCat said:
On 5/26/2018 at 11:30 PM, hkmaly said:
On 5/26/2018 at 1:31 PM, ChronosCat said:

Frankly, I expect that as we get to know Voltaire & General Shade Tale better they'll turn out to have reasons for their evil acts that readers can be sympathetic to. (And I'm almost sure Lord Tedd himself will be fully redeemed in the end.)

I see it the other way - I'm sure Lord Tedd himself will be redeemed, while Voltaire or General Shade Tail might not be although we will definitely get some reasons to be more sympathetic to them.

I'm a little confused, how is that different from what I said?

The way you said it sound like you consider the probability Voltaire and General Shade Tail would get sympathetic reasons higher than the probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed. I see it other way, meaning I consider probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed higher.

(Although looking at it again, I think I got little lost in it, and it's not like "almost sure" is exact quantifier, so I'm not surprised you got confused.)

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An important detail to remember is that there are no Villains.

Every character who does bad things, in fiction or real life, has a reason that justifies or mitigates doing bad things.

Granted, the validity of that reason may exist only within the mind of the bad guy.  But the reason is there.

Knowing that reason may make a villainous person more understandable.  But sympathetic?

Every person has some reason to do bad things.  But most of us refrain from doing those things.

Once you have caused another person's death, injury, or loss of property, my sympathy for you will be a distant concern.

However I will still want to know the reasons for your actions.  Are there others being compelled to do what you did?

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21 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

The way you said it sound like you consider the probability Voltaire and General Shade Tail would get sympathetic reasons higher than the probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed. I see it other way, meaning I consider probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed higher.

(Although looking at it again, I think I got little lost in it, and it's not like "almost sure" is exact quantifier, so I'm not surprised you got confused.)

"Expect" isn't exact either. I was actually using "almost sure" to mean something like 90-99% sure, and "expect" for anything above roughly 70%.

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55 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:
1 hour ago, hkmaly said:

The way you said it sound like you consider the probability Voltaire and General Shade Tail would get sympathetic reasons higher than the probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed. I see it other way, meaning I consider probability Lord Tedd would be redeemed higher.

(Although looking at it again, I think I got little lost in it, and it's not like "almost sure" is exact quantifier, so I'm not surprised you got confused.)

"Expect" isn't exact either. I was actually using "almost sure" to mean something like 90-99% sure, and "expect" for anything above roughly 70%.

That's definitely not what I expected from "expect".

Ok. My numbers are:

* Lord Tedd would be redeemed - 90-99%

* Voltaire and General Shade Tail would get reasons for what they do - 85-95%

* Those reasons would actually get our sympathy at least partially - 60-85%

(It's funny to put your estimates into numbers as if there would be some scientific calculations behind them :) )

1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

An important detail to remember is that there are no Villains.

You mean there are no people who would be villains because they decided to be villains.

1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Every character who does bad things, in fiction or real life, has a reason that justifies or mitigates doing bad things.

Not in bad fiction, actually. Only in good fiction or real life.

1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Granted, the validity of that reason may exist only within the mind of the bad guy.  But the reason is there.

Yes.

1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Knowing that reason may make a villainous person more understandable.  But sympathetic?

Surprisingly, sometimes even sympathetic. At least in fiction.

 

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30 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

That's definitely not what I expected from "expect".

Ok. My numbers are:

* Lord Tedd would be redeemed - 90-99%

* Voltaire and General Shade Tail would get reasons for what they do - 85-95%

* Those reasons would actually get our sympathy at least partially - 60-85%

(It's funny to put your estimates into numbers as if there would be some scientific calculations behind them :) )

I consider myself to be expecting something if I confident it's the most likely outcome; certainty or near-certainty is not required.

To go into numbers regarding the EGS possibilities in question:

* Voltaire will gets more character development (including backstory and/or non-evil character traits) - 75%

* Said character development brings some sympathy from me - 50%

* Said character development makes me like him and/or consider him good - 40%

* General Shade Tale gets more character development (including backstory and/or non-evil character traits) when he finally shows up again - 90%

* Said character development brings some sympathy from me and/or makes me consider him good - I have no idea (we just don't know enough about him yet for me to guess).

* Lord Tedd will get enough character development to gain sympathy from me - 99%

* Lord Tedd will be redeemed in-story - 95%

...Putting numbers to confidence levels based on intuition is pretty fun. :) It's also a lot more accurate than using vague words that have different implications to different people, though probably not as precise as it sounds (I don't think intuition can really be quantified to that level of precision; also I know personally I like certain numbers more than others and have to be careful to avoid picking a number just because I like that number). Maybe I should do this sort of thing more often.

 

1 hour ago, hkmaly said:
2 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Every character who does bad things, in fiction or real life, has a reason that justifies or mitigates doing bad things.

Not in bad fiction, actually. Only in good fiction or real life.

That depends on if "because it's fun" counts as a reason that "justifies" doing bad things. Plenty of villains from fun and not-horribly-written (though admittedly not very deep) stories seem to have no reason for their actions beside psychopathic sadism.

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26 minutes ago, ChronosCat said:
1 hour ago, hkmaly said:
3 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Every character who does bad things, in fiction or real life, has a reason that justifies or mitigates doing bad things.

Not in bad fiction, actually. Only in good fiction or real life.

That depends on if "because it's fun" counts as a reason that "justifies" doing bad things. Plenty of villains from fun and not-horribly-written (though admittedly not very deep) stories seem to have no reason for their actions beside psychopathic sadism.

The situation is actually more complicated, because even good fiction might have totally one-dimensional villain, especially if it's not the main villain, and be good for other reason, while even bad fiction might have villain with very complicated and realistic motivation and be failure for example because the main hero is failure. Your example of not-deep-but-fun story is not only case.

But what I wanted to say is that there is no limit on how unrealistic and simplified can person be portrayed in fiction, especially bad one.

(Also, unfortunately we need to count psychopathic sadism as reason as there are people like that even in real life ; just not as often AND it's unlikely person like that - who's only motivation is psychopathic sadism - will get anywhere far. We can even say that such reason mitigates doing bad things in the "it's not his fault, he's just ill" sense, although the border between what is part of personality and what is mental disorder is blurry. Nevertheless, at least some mental disorders CAN be reason to NOT put someone in jail.)

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