Book 5 - Prologue 1

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Book 5 - Prologue 1
Comic - Book 5 - Page 1
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Sorry if this is a bit wonkish and off topic.

RaidAurora wrote:
Anomynous 167 wrote:

I think you're missing the point. Price-tags don't take away meaning, they give meaning. They say "This is how much this object is worth". Things had meaning up till the point where Huehue unilaterally declared that he can unagree to "Caesar's" agreements.


I think I was reading this thread specifically to find a response this objectionable, but didn’t know so until now.

If meaning—here and in Erfworld—is ever synonymous with price, then we got major problems.


(CW: Politics)

The problem is the assumption that "Price-Tags" are unique in giving things meaning or give the greatest meaning; things can have meaning without them and indeed often have a greater meaning without them.

Yes, a thing can have meaning conferred to it because of a price-tag. But often doing so does, in fact, make it mean less. So in that case a price-tag definitely can take meaning away, and equating meaning to just a 'price-tag' is definitely something that will, and in fact is currently, causing problems.

Some defenders are suggesting "..but all things have a price"; maybe, but then that implies, as Raid suggests, we have "major problems".

Jade wrote:
EpicCrab wrote:
Jade wrote:

the dichotomy of a "for-profit charity."


I'm not huge on the paying disabled workers below minimum wage bit of Goodwill, but I do want to point out that being a company with its own revenue stream does guarantee a steady stream of money for charity, which donations can't guarantee, and that Goodwill is a non-profit, because enough of their revenue that doesn't go to expenses and employees goes to running charity programs.
A pretty significant number of their franchises are probably exploiting disabled people for cheap labor, but it's not like they don't do anything good, either.


Ok, I guess I'm done with rationing my anger, it's time to leave this world the way I came in: angry and screaming.

Rant ahead; you've been Warned
Spoiler: show
I am disappointed and hurt. I can not believe that in this day and age, I have to explain that the ends do not justify the means; that people/companies who do some good does not negate any shitty things they also do; and point out the sheer lunacy of defending a company that is exploiting it's own workers because it's charities help train people and find them jobs.

Also, if a non profit company needs to exploit people in order to make it's charities function, then that company doesn't deserve to exist. You wouldn't want to work at a job that couldn't pay you, would you? If you're a volunteer, good on you, but if you take the job under the premise that you can make a living off of that job, then the person who created the company shouldn't have done so.

But hey, as long as the ends justify the means here, I guess:


  • The near genocide of Native Americans was ok, because, yay America!

  • The subjugation and enslavement of Africans was alright, because America would not have become the economic powerhouse it is today if it had to pay for all that infrastructure and labor.

  • Speaking of slavery, the Father of Modern Gynecology, J. Marion Sims, performed experimental surgeries on female slaves without anesthesia. But, good came of that, so it's a-ok!

  • And speaking of horrible experiments on brown women without their full consent, remember when the Unites States tested birth control on poor illiterate Puerto Rican women, who weren't made aware that they were guinea pigs or the possible side effects?

  • Or how about all those human experiments caused by Nazi and Japanese scientists during WWII? That must have been acceptable because think of all the science we learned! The things we learned about hypothermia, spread of disease, bone/tissue/organ transplants, totally worth all the surgeries and vivisections done on living people without any consent, or anesthesia. Oh, and all the rape that was involved too.


I'm not linking to all that, Google is free, and just knowing this shit happened is enough to make me cry without having to actively seek it out.

In case the pattern hasn't been detected, you notice how a lot of these terrible things happened to minorities, people that were considered subhuman or not human at all? And that the price these people paid with their lives, their humanity, their dignity, was considered worth it because it "caused some good"? And do you by any chance make the connection between that and people who have disabilities, whether mental or physical, who have also had a history of being abused, mistreated, experimented on, and killed, and of being considered subhuman or not a "complete" human?

So maybe, just maybe, can we see a demographic of our population that is vulnerable, that is being treated as less deserving, as less human, as the rest of our population, and be a little bit angry and concerned, and not dismiss it by stating "well, they're doing some good"?

A person with disabilities getting paid 23 cents an hour may be a far cry from human experiments, but I see it as I see women getting paid less than men, and people of color getting paid less than that; I see it as a Sign that those people are not being treating with Respect, are not as Valued to our Society, and that their Needs and Rights are not considered Important enough.

I don't know how else to emphasize that we should care about other people and treat each other fairly and with respect.


(CW Politics)

Indeed, it's easy to say that the suffering of somebody else is worth it, in the end, for the greater good, when you're receiving the good and not receiving the suffering.
Damien wrote:
Anomynous 167 wrote:
Good news for Underclocked. Huehue says you don't have to pay your debts to your creditors.


To be fair to Huehue, that entire deal was reliant on Charlescomm freeing Caesar, which they failed to do, and he rendered the point moot.

To be fair, Charlescomm did free Caesar, and Caesar was free to run head-first into a portal.

It's not Charlie's fault Huehue goaded Bill into using up all his juice so that he couldn't disenchant Caesar's neck. It was Huehue that ensured that no-one was able to fulfil their "Obligations".
RaidAurora wrote:
I believe we are about to see a cutting critique of commodification, the self-devouring wastefulness of branding/advertisement, and the problem of an Erfworld where all are reduced to a mutable and interchangeable numbers. When units can only be expressed or express themselves in these terms, they become alienated from the very forces that rule their lives.

But we haven't seen any evidence that Generica is reducing units to numbers... at least not to any greater degree than the rest of Erfworld where trading a man for a keg of beer doesn't raise an eyebrow, and treaty negotiations can put a magical price tag on every unit and asset a side has.
I think whatever's uniquely wrong with Generica is going to relate specifically to putting capital-S Signs up for sale.
The thing is (in regards to the problem with Generica), the meaning and value of Signamancy is there because people agree that signamancy is valuable. The issue at hand won't just be affecting Generica but all signamancy dependant sides.

You know who else are dependant apon Signamancy? The Hippy Conclave. The Datamancers are in the poor house, the Floorists break even, and the Signamancers are the wealthy ones there. The Hippies aren't going to have the wealth they used to have.
RaidAurora wrote:
My prediction is that Generica is using advertisement, simulation, and so forth to sustain itself in a kind of Source-draining cheat. Perhaps there is some kind of loophole regarding what constitutes signs, and we are witnessing the degeneration of this loop as it arrives at its inevitable self-nihilation.

I think you're falling for a mental-trap in which you think everything is attributed to the latest thing that's been established in lore (Everything that is a problem is from the Source... Everything is H-strings... All Charlie Magic shenanigans are Carnymancy, everything is G-strings).

I think there is a much simpler problem that is going on that doesn't require knowledge of The Source to identify (Which I alluded to when I first wrote this subject title). When everything is for sale: Someone can buy them out.

And when Signamancy looses it's value, someone can buy you out for cheap

And that someone is Charlie.
Anomynous 167 wrote:
You know who else are dependant apon Signamancy? The Hippy Conclave. The Datamancers are in the poor house, the Floorists break even, and the Signamancers are the wealthy ones there.

It's the other way around, the Florists are rich because they produce food for the MK, and Signamancers break even.
Hm, while there have been a bunch of detailed comments about the different West Wing references in the name of the president, I have not seen any references to Westinghouse Electric, the power company turning to broadcasting and morphing into CBS Corporation after a crash.

Looks like there is plenty signamancy to dig for in that story as well - corporate competition, risks and overselling, reinventing the image and focus, advertising and conserving a smidgen of identity... Check it out, it is an interesting piece of economic history :)
The most important thing is that Bryce is almost a Digger, he's wearing a slouch hat anyway and has a few Australian inflexions.
Anomynous 167 wrote:
The thing is (in regards to the problem with Generica), the meaning and value of Signamancy is there because people agree that signamancy is valuable. The issue at hand won't just be affecting Generica but all signamancy dependant sides.

You know who else are dependant apon Signamancy? The Hippy Conclave. The Datamancers are in the poor house, the Floorists break even, and the Signamancers are the wealthy ones there. The Hippies aren't going to have the wealth they used to have.
RaidAurora wrote:
My prediction is that Generica is using advertisement, simulation, and so forth to sustain itself in a kind of Source-draining cheat. Perhaps there is some kind of loophole regarding what constitutes signs, and we are witnessing the degeneration of this loop as it arrives at its inevitable self-nihilation.

I think you're falling for a mental-trap in which you think everything is attributed to the latest thing that's been established in lore (Everything that is a problem is from the Source... Everything is H-strings... All Charlie Magic shenanigans are Carnymancy, everything is G-strings).

I think there is a much simpler problem that is going on that doesn't require knowledge of The Source to identify (Which I alluded to when I first wrote this subject title). When everything is for sale: Someone can buy them out.

And when Signamancy looses it's value, someone can buy you out for cheap

And that someone is Charlie.
I admit that I am tempted by the current state of affairs to ascribe the problem of Generica to Signamancy, but the evidence I use is more related to Byrne’s reaction to Generica than the simple description of its features. I’m inferring, from Byrne’s extreme worry and desire to “reign” all this Signamancy in, that his concerns stem moreso from the problems of his discipline than from the fiscal. Especially since he compares Portia to himself in terms of caster ability.

What you say is also a huge and apparent liability. Chuck can buy them out, though as for why he would do such a thing, we have no idea at this time. As is often the case with a fluid storyteller (who, if I am not mistaking, has said he reads the forums specifically to subvert expectations), we have been led to an area where enough Context is withheld to prevent an accurate diagnosis. Given that the Context we do have access to is screaming Signamancy at us, and we have been ideating on what could possibly be the problem at the Source, that is where my attention is focused.
Upon reflection and references shared in this forum I am finding my own idea increasingly less likely, but there might be a touch of witch-hunter in Bryne's Signamancy? He seems more Australian than Puritan, and the story seems to be headed elsewhere, with the Side and characters probably going to be shown again, but it's still an interesting thought.

In some alternate story this could be a set of prologues to introduce a caster-hunter character showing up at times of crisis for a series of Sides, with each prologue showing more of how he's really trying to take out or cripple powerful casters, but doing so by convincing each Side that it's in their best interest. "Burn the caster! Burn her!" "She's lighter than a feather!" "She turned me into a Sourmander(but I got better)!" and so on.
Lipkin wrote:
Anomynous 167 wrote:
Delores Mulva wrote:
I'm guessing that Edward Westwinghouse, aka Ted, carries a big stick.

Wait, "speak quietly and carry a big stick" is a West Wing reference?

"The west wing" refers to the west wing of the White House, where the president and his staff are officed. And according to wikipedia, it was Teddy Roosevelt that had the offices moved to the west wing in the first place. So Delores makes a good bet.


I want to revive this thread to point out that the other pun mixed in here is a reference to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation now known as CBS which shared domination of the retail appliance market (along with many other things) for much of the last century. a leader of a heavily signamatic side with the name Westwinghouse would have much a huge amount signamancy from that aspect of the name.