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The stupid may burn, but it should burn swiftly. - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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The stupid may burn, but it should burn swiftly. [Jan. 5th, 2012|09:29 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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This is one of the reasons I don't do very well with the "over-the-top ridiculous dystopian satire" sub-genre. Actually it's a host of the reasons. Because:

1) Whatever satirical reductio ad absurdam you've come up with, someone else will have proposed it as a real thing. We have hit the critical number of monkeys and availability of communication to make this happen.

2) "Other People are So Dumb" is not actually a very interesting premise for a book. Sure, someone has to point out the stupidity when it comes up in public forums. But elaborating on it at book length? So that Our Proud Heroes can at least be smarter than Those People? Meh. If the premise of your dystopia is one my 4-year-old goddaughter can pick apart in ten minutes, try again. I mean, she's almost 5. So she's getting pretty good at this picking apart of the big monkeys' nonsense. But still.

3) How We Got There From Here is actually fairly interesting to me. Sometimes humanity actually does adopt a phenomenally dumb idea locally, for values of "locally" that can include entire empires. This doesn't just happen out of ignorance. Sometimes we know better and do the dumb thing anyway. How? Why? The thing is: satirical dystopia writers do not much seem to care. The story linked above looks phenomenally unlikely to be enacted, from here. What would it take to get there? Sighing and saying, "People, man...they're so dumb sometimes..." is not enough. It's not enough to make me buy your worldbuilding, and it's not enough to figure out things we can do to stop the stupid in the real world.

And so I tend not to care so much.

In other news: still sick, but on the mend, I think.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2012-01-06 03:58 am (UTC)
I hope you continue to get better.

I am currently listening to the unabridged audiobook of _Fly by Night_ by Frances Harding, which contains a society which has been battered by many successive groups determined to make others' lives miserable for either a) power or b) their beliefs. Some people may have been fooled by the various factions, but there's no assumption in the book that they were stupid: at worst gullible or not looking carefully enough. In other words, a dystopia but NOT a dystopian satire, and a great deal stronger for that. Also a really compelling listen with some great characters and some lovely writing. And a memorable goose.
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[User Picture]From: biguglymandoll
2012-01-06 07:04 pm (UTC)
"Whatever satirical reductio ad absurdam you've come up with, someone else will have proposed it as a real thing. We have hit the critical number of monkeys and availability of communication to make this happen."

Nicely said!

As for the article, once I doublechecked it wasn't an Onion headline... Well, wow. Thin, good looking people already tend to get better grades - they need help with that? Dukan's goofy. I'm trying not to go for French jokes.
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