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Tattooed Hand Auditor | joined 12 May 2004 | 110 posts


Moenghus = Mallahet? posted 13 May 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeMoenghus = Mallahet? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

That last post was from me, I just forgot to log in... view post


Moenghus = Mallahet? posted 14 May 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeMoenghus = Mallahet? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

The reason I thought Kellhus could see sorcery as well as sorcerers was the following passage on page 525, where he is trying to figure out Skeaos's deal:

"How was this possible? Sorcery? If so, it possessed nothing of the strange torsion he'd experienced with the Nonman he'd battled so long ago. Sorcery, Kellhus had realized, was inexplicably grotesque - like the scribblings of a child across a work of art -though he did not know why. All he knew was that he could distinguish sorcery from the world and sorcerers from common men."

The fact that he can see sorcery, not just read the fact of a person being a sorcerer in their face, is what made me think he was one of the Few.

But as someone pointed out, he can't be one of the Few or Cishaurim because the Chorae that Cnaiur threw him didn't hurt him. Maybe I misread the passage...

Or maybe there is some Dunyain potential for sorcery that their training gives them, but had never been tapped because they shun/disbelieve those things.

This creates a compelling case for Moenghus being Mainthanet since the latter can distinguish sorcerers...

Mainthanet is also pretty good at sniffing out spies. But here's my question - how could Sarcellus have escaped his notice? His rank is just below the Grandmaster of the Shrial knights, so he would have met the Shrial at some point. Kellhus noticed the weirdness of Skeaos immediately. Since we know that Sarcellus is the same kind of creature, wouldn't Moenghus have noticed it? Especially since he is looking at faces for spies? view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 19 May 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I'd like to take issue with the whole good/bad dichotomy. I think trying to moralize Bakker's universe into black and white is to miss an important aspect of his writings. I also find Kant and European Enlightnment thought ethically problematic. While it sounds good in theory, it fails to address many problems which would make its universal claims applicable. A huge problem with philosophy is that it is usually studied completely detached from the historical context in which it was concieved. I think that morality exists, however it looks different as the circumstances shift. And this not moral relativism. We could all agree that killing is wrong, but there are numerous instances where it is deemed permissable. Even in absolutist situations, there are always exceptions. This doesn't mean that you throw out the maxim that killing other people is bad, but you develop sharper skills to evaluate situations and analyze context.

Having studied Just War ethics, I can bring an example from such a context. The Catholic Church, before the Crusades, unequivocally held that killing was wrong. When soliders went to war, they were required to beg for forgiveness for their sin of killing. When they went to fight Muslims in the Crusades, the Pope decided that killing infidels was OK, that it wasn't the same as killing Christians. Muslims were put outside the pale of moral consideration. This is a well honed mechanism in the application of universalist Enlightnment thought, an inherent problem. How could all men have been created equal (except women, and everyone besides white people?) How could we have slavery and colonialism and not have the system collapse under its own contradictions?

Similarly, I don't think that we can put Kellhus in a good/bad dichotomy where he is good if against the Consult or evil if against it. Where are we standing? With him on his mission to protect the Dunyain? Or with the Inrithi? I find that although all that exists for him is Mission, he has moments where he does perceive when something is wrong. (Like the first time Cnaiur rapes Serwe.)

Let's remember that the Scylvendi allied with the No-God in the last Apocalypse. Are they all evil? To the end of time? Because they went to war against other men and killed some? Or is it because their cause was not just? Is the holy war just? Can we really say that making war on people just because they occupy a city that a long dead prophet was born in is just? It is based on a relative conception of holiness.

I think with Kelhus, our ideas of right and wrong and their ideas of right and wrong are not what guide him. The man until now has been outside of history. He is Dunyain. Bad for him is unowned action. He is manipulative and kills, but only enough to achieve his goal. He does not wontonly go around killing people or lying to them. He does not dominate just to dominate. Rather, Kellhus, at this point, is outside of history, and context, relative to his mission, is everything. This may change. But perhaps this is why he occupies such an ambiguous moral position. He is outside of emotions. He is pure intellect. He is war.

That's how I read it anyway. view post


Fantasy and Philosophy posted 19 May 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionFantasy and Philosophy by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Escape from what is what I would ask. What is the real world? I am a graduate student, and some would argue that I don't live in the real world anyway. I worked for several years in between spurts of academia, but the cube farm always seemed surreal to me. Hugging someone I love seemed like a moment of the real world.

I also get really annoyed with the distinction that Sci Fi is more adult and forward looking, because it is more "useful" and that F is backward and historical. I would argue that the real world is gravely lacking mutiple awareness of history...

Of course there is an element of escapism in reading F. Isn't reading anything for pleasure escape. Even if you are absolutely fascinated with watch repair and reading everything you can on it, unless you are opening a watch repair business, isn't that escapism. It seems that any pleasure oriented actions don't register on the utility richter scale and so they are acts of escapism.

I enjoy reading about imaginatively concieved things and having my brain be taken on fun and intellectually engaging adventures that I would not have gotten to take otherwise. Reading for pleasure is such a big part of my life, such a major aspect of keeping my balance as I move through my life (and fantasy is such a big part of that reading)... well, it functions as a mind saving device.

I hope I never get stranded on a desert island. view post


Moenghus = Mallahet? posted 10 June 2004 in The Darkness That Comes BeforeMoenghus = Mallahet? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

As far as I know there are two different groups of people killing off spies. One is Mainthanet, who is killing off everyone's spies in the Thousand Temples and his actions are legal because the penalty for spying there is death. The Mandate is not singled out here, the Emperor and the Scarlet Spires have no spies either. This is not particularly suspect since we know that Mainthanet's generally been cleaning house in the Thousand Temples and this could be part of cleaning out corruption. Then there is the Consult that is following Mandate operatives. That's different. Blinding the Mandate is an obvious tactic, since the Mandate are the only ones who believe in the Consult anymore.

As for the whole business of ripping off people's faces, there seem to be two possibilities. One is for a nice addition to a Nonman's cloak. Another is that it provides some blueprint for a Consult skin spy. Although the Scarlet Spires knows the identity of Geshrunni so he can't work as a spy, but they don't know the id of the older corpse.

I personally would be flabbergasted if Mainthanet was working for the Consult. Bakker gives us clues about people who are - their eyes are strangely dead, they are pathetic, gross, etc. We are not given these kinds of clues with him. But there is a possibility that he is the older corpse. Five years is the right amount of time.

As for Mohengus, he must know the Mandate prophecy about an Anasurimbor coming at the end of the world and in asking for his son to come to Shimeh, he knew what he would be setting in motion...

At this point I am dying for the TWP to give me some new info to toy with... view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 14 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Well, while I accept the fact that women have always been subject to the crap end of some system of domination, and, I might add, still are, I think that this system varies a great deal with time, place and society. We can't assume that things were peachy in the caveman days and then male dominence set in and we have only begun to redress the problem. Linear trajectories are assumptions of progress. History has been written in such a way to exclude women and to propogate their role as chattel. For instance, women have enjoyed more freedom of movement and and equality in many nomadic societies throughout history, from the Mongols to the recent tribes on the central Asian steppes. The limitation of movement in urban areas was limited to upper and middle class women. The sex segregation and veiling required of women in upper class Greece and Rome engendered a whole working world for lower class women. Women whose movement was restricted due to their class, often had access of corridors of power that their lower class counterparts did not. And women did have some control over their reproductive systems. Women's medicine was only wrested away from them when midwives and single women were massively persecuted during the witch hunts in Europe during the oh so enlightened Renaissance when strictures really began to tighten up on women.

All I am saying is that the oppression of women differed greatly according to the nature of a given society and many many other factors. The status of women within Christianity took a major nose dive after incorporation into the structure of the Roman Empire. Islam elevated the lot of women in Iran, but restricted it in Egypt. Why does there seem to be little variation in Earwa?

I am also wondering about women among the Dunyain. I don't have my books now, but when they arrive at the fortress in the north, there are women amongst them and the group has survived. But, we have yet to see any through Kelhus's recollections. I am very nervous about this, especially after seeing the face room. I would dread stumbling on a mating room. Who and where is Kelhus's mother? If he has the concept of Father and has a dialogue going with him in his head, why is any thought of a mother totally absent? Basically, I wonder about gender relations and roles amongst the Dunyain...

Sorry about the long winded post! view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 18 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Maybe some Spoilers below.......


I don’t think that the female character or gender portrayal in Earwa is one dimensional. I do wonder if we can consider all of the Three Seas one society. In the end, you are the author, but can the Kian and the Scylvendi be meshed in the with different groups of Inrithi?

I just wanted to call into question the general tone of the thread which seems to assume that most of the history that we have of the past with regard to women is reality or accurate. I don’t personally believe in an objective history, but there are women’s personal realities. It’s not that I question women’s position in various structures of hierarchy, but that history writing itself is part of that system of patriarchy and has been configured as a way of seeing to render women as invisible and powerless chattel, or as evil, unnatural and corrupt. The former as the presentation of the good, normal woman that constitutes the majority and the latter as the anomalies that should serve as a warning. A large part of feminist historiography seeks to do intervention and rewrite this general (read: masculine) history and also to find new ways of writing history to deal with the fact that history has been created for the texts of men, which are by in large the only texts that exist.

I love your books. But I did find myself becoming a little wary of the archetypes. The woman in power, the harridan, is so thoroughly gross. The waif is totally demented. My favorite female character is Esmi, which is why I adopted her archetype in an oblique way. She seems to me the most multi-layered and complex character of all the women. The most real. Her relationship to Kellhus is reminiscent of a Gnostic view of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. I was totally blown away by what Kellhus says to her in the bit about how she has internalized the patriarchal order. I just feel that barring her, the archetypes run the risk of someone like the harridan becoming the woman made ruthless because she is has stepped into a position of power unnatural to her gender. I’m not saying you do this, but it is a risk of handling archetypes.

That said, I fully agree with you that the power of eunuchs in the Persian Empire certainly does not reduce the bite of institutional slavery, but the meaning and form of the bite is not as we understand it now and that must be taken into account. That kind of slavery is not the same as triangle trade slavery and that distinction is as key as the fact of slavery itself.

I read TWP too fast the first time and have to do a second read. (I was just too greedy!) But I can tell you that I am all for the de-sanitizing. I see your worry about Esmi, the only potential problem might be her feelings and recollections about her time as a prostitute. But I think you deal with that in TWP.

Woe to my length! view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I’m not talking about moral relativism, but rather historical contingency. Slavery is not good how ever you cut it, in my opinion. But, the experience, the institution, the practice of it varies across time, societies, class, gender, race, etc. (these are not already constituted categories) so that an African slave picking cotton in Alabama has an experience that is a pretty far cry from a Georgian slave made eunuch who goes from the harem to being governor of Isfahan and amassing a vast personal fortune. These are pretty important differences that inhabit the same word.

Our specific representations of these two experiences depend on the questions we ask, sources we select, the way we read those sources, and methodology of our interpretation.

I’m hashing all this out in a paper and am still struggling for clarity, but here’s a shot. The beauty of fantasy is that you have a freer hand to play with historical narratives in your story than someone like me who can’t manage to write anything but boring academic stuff. I don’t think you’ve got the wrong history. Wouldn’t a wrong history imply that there is a correct representation that gives voice to a pre-discursive reality? But from the perspective of women, gender and sexuality, some are better than others. It’s all about how that narrative is constituted. The histories we write reflect our conceptions of the present in our narratives of the past. And history is constituted from the recollections, interpretations and narratives of others.

And I don’t think your story is misogynist, but I am just trying to call attention to the overwhelmingly misogyny of “general” historical representation, where general means a naturalized masculinist gaze and agenda.

By in large we can argue, that in different ways, political, social, economic systems have been stacked to be unequal and disempowering for women. But, the ideas that we associate with the present, like gender equality, are not totally new to this century. In prior times, when they did exist, records of these views were later quashed and suppressed. Gnostic Christian movements come to mind. Or the Cathars in southern France. Aren’t there any popular “heretics” in Earwa with weird gender ideas that accept women? I feel that we cannot assume that before our century things just sucked for women because surviving written records said that systems sucked for women and that was the unproblematic representations of lived experiences.

Feminist historiography is trying to move away from the “add women and stir” approach because that does not address what makes women as subjects and gender/sexuality as analytic an optional category that could be excluded at will in the first place. Far deeper critiques about the discipline of history, and how historical significance is constituted are being explored.

Serwe seems mentally disturbed more than innocent, if you ask me. She’s been through a lot and has come up with some pretty creative explanations about why and what has happened to her.
And she thinks Kellhus is God. Maybe that’s not her fault, because I get the feeling if he started working on me, I’d probably think he was God too. I guess for me, the problem with Serwe is that it’s difficult to tell how much of those ideas are her coping mechanisms and which ones Kellhus nudged in there. Like her belief that her baby is Kellhus’s… But then maybe that ambiguity is the point.

This distinction is a bit more clear with Esmi. The fact that the conquerors speech is authored by Kellhus is supreme irony, if you ask me. Esmi has her powers – her intellect, her emotional strength and her refusals. Her refusals are subtle and intriguing. But in dealing with weapons of the weak, as well as archetypes, it’s an extremely fine line to not reproduce them as helpless and powerless victims. That is not to say that you should leave helpless and powerlessness out of the picture, but a complex picture does unexpected things that upset the transmission of representations.

Well, I’ve really messed this up. Maybe you’d like to read my paper, in your copious free time! Ha! (Well, it’s coauthored by my advisor, so there is one person who knows what they are doing in there.) view post


What is/was/will be your college major? posted 20 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat is/was/will be your college major? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I majored in International Studies, the humanisties/social science mishmash major at my school. Lots of flexability and no commitments. view post


First Word that Comes to Mind posted 20 July 2004 in Off-Topic DiscussionFirst Word that Comes to Mind by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

pugnacious (of course I don't even know what it means). view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

What happens in history is contingent, as well as what is told about what happens in history. The former means that any event is contingent and was not an inevitable outcome. The implications of that are not moral relativism, which we finally fleshed out way better in the paper, but a destablization of the teleology of progress and de-centering of the individual, autonomous, unified subject. It is from there that we move beyond add women and stir. It's still vague here, but there is a reason the paper's 40 pages! I'm sure we'll get mauled at the conference.

The Warrior Princess. Would you mind describing what exactly you have in mind as that archetype? She’s usually virginal for one, right? Or man-less. A depiction that I read recently that I really liked, which is not warrior princess, but fighting woman, is those two female marine in Erikson's Memories of Ice. The ones guarding Silverfox. I thought they were amazing. When they finally pulled out their swords, fought and got butchered I almost cried. They were so deadpan and funny and then so matter of fact about stepping into almost certain death.

I had this flash last night while I was re-reading TWP. I realized what an important and subtle role gender plays in the unraveling of Cnaiur. When he’s watching Serwe sleep he thinks, “so beautiful. So like his forgotten wife” (32). That forgotten wife is Anissi (sp?) and she is half Norsirai? Is this a chain that starts with Moenghus and ends with Kellhus. It seems like women carry the reverberation enacted at both ends by the Anasurimbors and that gender blurs in the middle as does love and hate. It is through this that Cnaiur, although he is somewhat awake, is undone. But maybe he’s just nuts. Am I pulling this out of thin air?


Aldarion, thanks for the citations... view post


Women In the Three Seas posted 20 July 2004 in Author Q & AWomen In the Three Seas by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

PS - What do you understand to be moral relativism? view post


There's a listing for the release posted 12 November 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThere's a listing for the release by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Don't get too excited - if he hasn't finished the book, how do they know how many pages it is and all that. The Warrior Prophet was timed to be released just as I finished my grueling first year of PhD hell and when it was pushed back, I was so fried that I almost cried in despair.

It sounds ridiculous, but it was a big deal at the time... view post


Another Maithanet Theory (possible spoiler) posted 05 February 2005 in The Warrior ProphetAnother Maithanet Theory (possible spoiler) by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

All of this sounds credible, but I can't escape the feeling that Moenghus is really running the show. I think whether he is aware or not, Maithanet is doing Moenghus's bidding. How many people are Kelhus's flunkies without knowing it. How many know it and don't care.

They don't care because they can't see the level of manipulation. They internalize Kelhus's imperatives as their own desires. I think that when someone has been made to so something heinous, like Cnaiur, and becomes aware of the level of manipulation that made him want to do it, he grows enraged (and scared!).

But based on what's happened so far - Kelhus's transformation of man to prophet, forged in the fires of not yet fully consummated holy war - I feel like the object of this holy war (masterminded by Moenghus) is to forge his son into the prophet that can wield the Three Seas as the resource needed to fight the one true threat to the Dunyain father-son tag team - the Consult.

Because after all, it doesn't seem like the Consult knows how to play nice and share, and the Dunyain are not the easy meat of other mortals.

Forgive me if I've butchered the names, I don't have my book with me now... view post


Another Maithanet Theory (possible spoiler) posted 06 February 2005 in The Warrior ProphetAnother Maithanet Theory (possible spoiler) by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Just the fact that Moenghus is Dunyain could account for the fact that he is cunning and powerful. We cannot assume that Moeghus is Mallahet, but we do know that he controls a faction of the Cishaurim. And, if he is a sorcerer, well, it's difficult to imagine the Dunyain being mediocre at anything... I guess it depends on the nature of the talent. Is it something you have and then improve at according to practice, or is the level of your talent set. How much depends on will... view post


Moenghus as Harbinger posted 08 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtMoenghus as Harbinger by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

It would be kind of cool to see a female Dunyain in action. But more interestingly, what would a Dunyain be like who is world born, inspite of good teachers. I don't think Dunyain training can be replicated outside the monestary...

When an Anasurimbor returns. That is sufficiently vague. No lag time specified and no clarification about whether it has to be a known Anasurimbor or not...

We are following a vaguely Christian pattern, first John the Baptist and then the big bang himself. view post


Moenghus as Harbinger posted 16 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtMoenghus as Harbinger by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Just like Jesus. view post


A few questions . . . posted 01 April 2005 in Author Q & AA few questions . . . by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I haven't been looking at the history of Earwa so much from the standpoint of an 'absolute observer,' as from from the standpoint of what is known or thought to be known at the time of the Holy War.


This is very cool. So many historians tend to by pass the fact that we have to deal with the history of texts (and the historical insight they afford us) as much of the historical information they can impart.

As one of my favorite historians notes, "there was a significant dialectic between empirical observation and lived experience of some form, and the generation of these texts" (59). There is the issue of circulation - popularity and acceptability for cultural reasons, as well as thing just being lost (like libraries burned in war time). The sum of all knowledge is formed by what is written and what circulates at a given moment. A text is not a linear accumulation of knowledge because it “did not exist in isolation from a structuration imposed by a brute and shifting empirical reality, manifested not least of all in the loss, mutilation and censoring of texts and voices from the past" (60).

(From Sanjay Subrahmanyam's Penumbral Visions)

I really like the idea of not everything being able to be known in Earwa... so like our world (however such a condition may be glossed over.) At least that's how it looks for weird history writers like me whose idea of history is outside what is encompassed by official archives and libraries. view post


Moenghus as Harbinger posted 02 April 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtMoenghus as Harbinger by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I continue to hold out hope that Kelhus's child will be a girl - after all, in the mysoginistic world of the Three Seas, where the harridan, harlot and waif are armed only with the weapons of the weak, what else could herald the end of the world but an all powerful female! view post


A few questions . . . posted 11 April 2005 in Author Q & AA few questions . . . by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Sometimes I feel like the shy onlooker, with perversely fierce sympathies, wishing you would show a little more skin... view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 11 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

As I was flipping through Carole Hillenbrand's "The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives," the other day (on a major procrastinative detour from what I should have been looking for) I was wondering if we ever get to see things about the Fanim, besides the remnants of their almost always exotic and decadent accoutrements. I feel like much of what we see in TWP is the exoticized objects left in their wake or their banner from a distance. This bothered me a bit, although I realize this is because a lot of this is told through the perspective of the Inrithi, to whom Fanim would probably seem both effeminate/decadent and fearfully ferocious (that intertwining of heresy and sexual perversity/gender chaos), I wonder if this does not bleed into the omniscient perspective descriptions… (or are they omniscient from the perspective of the Inrithi army?)

The more human moments of everyday life have been few – the only Fanim we see are grandees or the padirajah, or as faceless victims of plunder… no fat sorcerer or savvy whores that break any stereotypical images and let us see what is going on from within… but perhaps you are saving this for future books. Perhaps it will be introduced as Kelhus meets up with daddy’s helpers. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 14 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Well, some strange things are happening to him. He's beginning to have emotions and involuntary emotional reactions.

I am not sure he is evil either, at least not in the sense of what we think of as unadulterated malice. He simply has one overarching goal -to get to dad - and all other things must be made to follow. (Maybe also to be equal to dad, hence the desire to learn the sorcery).

I am just curious, if the Dunyain are so free of emotions and customs and history, what is this sense of "Father" that he sets out with from the beginning and does that change over the course of the book? What is vested in the biological connection? What cultural notions of paternity? view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 19 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I read some amazing "histories" of Mongol battles and sieges. When they laid seige to Baghdad, they used their corvee labor (from other sucessful sieges and villages on the way) to build a second wall around Baghdad's walls. This way people couldn't slip out of the walls. Then they lobbed flaming balls and big rocks into the city. The graneries burned down and while people were trying to put fires out, they scaled the walls. Before too long the city surrendered. They put the Caliph and his sons to death, and then looted and pillaged the city.

Unfortunately, most of these are in Persian and have not, to the best of my knowledge, been translated. Their tone and approach are very interesting though - in terms of what is honorable/admirable behavior and what is not. view post


A few questions . . . posted 21 April 2005 in Author Q & AA few questions . . . by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Wouldn't that be funny if Kelhus was a prophet - then the God(s) would be using him the way he uses other people. Can't think of a anything more disconcerting for Dunyain than not coming before. view post


Feelings for our protaganist posted 24 April 2005 in Author Q & AFeelings for our protaganist by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I find him totally fascinating. He does not anger or gross me out. I do recognize that I would not want to be on the receiving end of some his machinations though. (If I hated and was angered by everyone who did things or held views different from mine (most religious views, nationalism, sexism, etc.), that threatened my sense of sovereignty, then I would hate most people in the world, including most members of my family). I envy some of his intellectual and physical capabilities. But, at the end of the day, I would not want to be anywhere near him. Through the printed page is close enough. view post


Feelings for our protaganist posted 24 April 2005 in Author Q & AFeelings for our protaganist by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Well, of course Kelhus deceived Serwe. But she never did find out. Frankly, his deceptions made her deliriously happy on some level, especially at the end. (I frankly doubt she would have believed him if he tried to level with her.) In the context of the story, she is a concubine – a plaything – and then she is a piece of meat for pillaging tribesmen. Kelhus screwed up her life?

I am not defending him, and no, I would not want to be on the receiving end of that treatment, but, if you look at her quality of life, what sort of a turn did it take? You think she would prefer to end up giving birth to blue babies again as long as someone did the ethical thing and was honest with her? Seems like she went from bad to better. It may have been a blessing. Serwe almost wanted to be lied to, as long as someone made everything OK.

And, maybe Kelhus is what could be called a prophet. He certainly seem superhuman on many levels. This is not a defense. What he did is completely unconscionable. But what is the source of emotion? Truth? Doesn’t it come out of stories we tell ourselves or other people tell us about the meaning of things in the world? Do we comfort our selves with stories that the love we share with someone is truly shared, that we understand the word love to house the same meanings? Seemed to me that she ended up deliriously happy at the end of her life.

And, about differing views, when things like the right to abortion and birth control are under attack, people’s differing views ARE an attack on my personal sovereignty. When someone thinks the Bible (or any other scripture for that matter) should be the basis for education and law, I feel very under threat. It all depends on power and position no?

You think worrying if my extended family is the next to be blown to smithereens by patriotically fired up American troops (who have the support of a wide swath of a duped, ill informed, even willfully ignorant American public) is being a cynical chuckler? How about the fact that the government is pushing legislation through to severely censor the line of work I am in so that it adheres more to government policy.

Your theory of imposition is perhaps limited – so the US reinforced its own sense of sovereignty by bombing Iraq? Someone is going to take away my right to a safe abortion and then I will feel truly sovereign? I have no problem with someone thinking abortion is wrong, unfortunately that doesn’t translate into someone just not going out and getting one for themselves. And if the government wants to think it is the master of the universe, that is great, but unfortunately that generally means flexing some major military muscle. So civilized discussion is all good, but the differing views that I am talking about lead to serious consequences.

I don’t mean to dump this all on you in a deluge, but yes, people’s views often do threaten my life in very up close and personal ways that are pretty hard to ignore. I choose to deal with it by doing the best I can. If I got angry every time, I’d explode with hate. This was a real problem for me when people all around me were voting for Bush, who I consider a threat to me in some of the ways I’ve outlined above. So in order to not hate all those people, I avoid talking about those things, or I walk away. view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 28 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I can check for English translations and get back to you. If not, I could probably render you a translation of the Baghdad siege, but after the end of my semester... they really are great battle stories. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 28 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Remember the scene where the Pragma smacks Kelhus so hard in the face he falls down, just for interrupting him... by our ethics, that is bordering on child abuse. But even up to my grandparents' generation, that sort of thing was just good child rearing. Kids were whipped and beaten by their parents and teachers on a regular basis, for their own good. It was accepted practice.

So in a way, comparing the practices of the Dunyain (or Cnaiur's violence) to our time (and place) is a little pointless. (Because having killed the most men in battle was considered admirable and brave in most medieaval contexts.)

So is Kelhus evil? Maybe from where we are standing. But is that really the most interesting way to pose the question? view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 29 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

OK, here's the deal: The account of the Fall of Baghdad that I mentioned is written by a Persian ploymath named Nasiruddin Tusi (well known for works on astronomy, logic and ethics). It is written as an appendix to another text, a long history of the Mongols. Both these accounts are written by Persian (bilingual also in Arabic) historians who at different times were attached to Genghiz Khan's grandson, Hulagu. The main account is written by a guy named Juwayni who only covers Genghiz up through Hulagu's destruction of Alamut (the mountain stronghold of the Ismailis, also called the Assasins). So Tusi wrote the appendix to cover Baghdad, which was conquered 2 years later and marks the beginning of the Ilkhanid rule of what is today most of Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here is the English translation of the main text:

Juvaynī, ʻAlāʾ al-Dīn ʻAṭā Malik, 1226-1283.
Genghis Khan : the history of the world conqueror / by ʻAla al-Din ʻAta-Malik Juvaini ; translated from the text of Mizra Muhammad Qazvini by J. A. Boyle with a new introduction by David O. Morgan.
Seattle : University of Washington Press, 1997.

Unfortunately, the appendix has not been included in this translation (which is weird because the translator muses over why the author wouldn't include the fall of Baghdad - but then, the manuscript he is working from is full of gaps).

The main text should be full of juicy battle stories, politics and intrigue.

My offer still stands to translation the Fall of Baghdad part of the appendix, since I've already done a read through of it with a professor.

Hope this helps. view post


What is your favorite sport? posted 30 April 2005 in Off-Topic DiscussionWhat is your favorite sport? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I like watching World Cup Soccer. (I was one of those freaks that woke up at 4AM to watch the games live from Korea last time).

What I like to participate in is different. Gymnastics (which I did until I hit puberty and my body was unable to handle the strain). Modern dance followed (lower impact stress on joints). I liked cross country running. Then I started smoking and drinking and, well, yoga and walking are about it for me now. (It's not a bad amount of exercise given that I have been living without a car all my adult life). view post


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