18.8.07

glass machines and Mary Sues

i've taken a nauseating, long-procrastinated* look at the plot of the Left Behind books recently, and have now finally given up calling it a plot at all. that's not my biggest beef, though.

the heroes are Mary Sues. idk if anyone even remembers what a Mary Sue is, so for the edification of those who've never had their short stories or novels reviewed by honest guys: Mary Sue, a term originally from the world of the fanfic kids, refers to a character who is irritatingly godlike or inherently "better" than their peers, always better-looking and more talented, and represents the fantasy alter-ego of the author. a 'Sue is entertaining to nobody but its creator: a kind of literary wank, if you will.

and Sues is what we got here. as Fred Clark has already criticised:

Rayford Steele -- the virile, sexually obsessed but chaste hero pilot -- seems to be Tim LaHaye's fantasy wish-fulfillment stand-in. Cameron "Buck" Williams seems to represent the dream self of Jerry B. Jenkins. The aging hack ghostwriter of subculture genre fiction transforms himself into a world-famous, Pulitzer-winning, super-journalist admired by writers and desired by women everywhere.
Clark is right; these are Sues par excellence, saving the world for Jesus with their awsum 1337 skillz.

(i can't believe i just typed that.) but i bring up Sues to make a point: i got asked yesterday why i so consistently refuse to reveal my race, gender or age to anyone in the Wired. this is why: because i'm sick of seeing kids create alter-egos for the Net that are so wildly stupid, so stereotypically arrogant and blatantly untrue, that i can't even take them seriously: the impossible body-types of Second Life and IMVU, the boasts i hear again and again about skills and hacks and girls, the image-centred hordes of the social networking cartels, all make me hurl with their pretentiousness, and i wanted to escape that. i didn't wanna be just another grunt with a perfect virtual life and no mind behind it; i was trying to remove the face entirely so you couldn't see anything but the thoughts.

so this is my biggest hitch here: in reading these awful Sues, i became even more aware that we decide part of what we think of others, even here in the Wired, on their persona. that's why mine is a null, as i've said, a genderless, faceless construct: i meant it to be a glass machine, whose workings are clearly visible through its colourless exterior.

and that's why. now, of course, i've started wondering exactly how much of the glass' structure is surmisable from the clockwork, and whether online personae are all Sues or not...

Lepht

ed: I've been carrying on with Clark's criticism, and sadly, he's disappointed me with his approval of "the surrender of self involved in surrender to God". that frankly disgusts me; surrender? surrender the most valuable thing you all own, your own minds, and let the teachings take control without question? this i cannot and never will advocate. - L

*i know it's not a transitive verb, but it looks good, okay?

3 comments:

Equus Pallidus said...

It is apparent to me that your philosophical background goes much deeper than mine.

But as far as theology, you are a punk kid ;). There will be no rapture, that is a recent invention.

Equus Pallidus said...

I forgot to say since you don't believe in God, if you ever want to know something email me. Don't think that the Evangelicals are serious Christians. For them they just want to be entertained and feel more important than everyone else. The I got something you don't have mentality.

Like a dog with a bone.

Lepht said...

oh, absolutely. i'm no theologist, and i recognise the Rapture for the modern fringe obsession it is; as we're both aware, it's not in the Bible and it never was. it just weirds me the hell out to see the evangelicals believing so seriously that it's in their holy books and is going to happen.

besides, living in Texas, you'd be the first point of reference anyway. even if i don't believe in your God, i still respect you as a reasonable guy, and you have first-hand experience of these people, after all.

L

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