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Posts Tagged ‘satire’

Derek, Tim and ‘Trol’ are three ageing rebels, hitting their fifties. Disillusioned by the way the world has turned out and the frustration of their teenage dreams of a better life or a revolution.

All they have left are stories of past glory and pints of cheap beer at one of the last punk-pubs in London.

Watching a riot unfurl on television, to no point and no effect, their frustration boils over and they decide to do something futile and stupid, a grand, nihilistic gesture of futility.

Comedy, social and political satire, and frustration all meet in this story of a ‘revolutionary caper’

 

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18lp5c9jxqj7rjpgEsoteric horror brought to you courtesy of ironic sexism.

In the twenty-some years I studied at the Miskatonic I came to realise the importance of the university in relation to the safety and security of the planet as a whole. Scholars at this fine institution, with its collection of rare tomes and artefacts and with its association to exploring the furthest reaches of our planet nowhere was better suited to battle the elder horrors which threaten this world – in secret of course.

Since at least the nineteen-twenties, and likely as far back as its founding, the university has been a centre for a number of professors and investigators risking life, limb and sanity to preserve fragile humanity from destruction at the hands of cosmic horrors.

But no more.

Our little cabal of professors and assistants, explorers, scholars of ancient languages, parapsychology, science and antiquities was outed when an overzealous assistant registered our society with the university authorities – seemingly on a whim. There were some benefits to this, we no longer had to masquerade as something else when we needed to use facilities and money was made available, which greatly improved the quality of the coffee we were drinking but had we known the consequences this would have we would have never gone along with it.

Things proceeded as normal, albeit with better coffee, for perhaps a month until we received a visitation from the campus diversity officer who had been checking into the various university groups and societies to ensure they conformed to a set of rules so changeable, esoteric and confusing that even I – who has mastered the incantations of the Dark Pharaoh – could not decipher them.

What it appeared to boil down to was that we were all too old, too white and too male and that we would have to induct more people from what she referred to as ‘minorities’. Women, persons of colour and so forth.

This delighted professor Abernathy, who has long argued that we need ‘more chicks in eschatological disaster prevention’, but it presented a problem for the rest of us, whose classes are still mostly inhabited by white men as well and the few women we did have in our classes showed little or no interest in tackling shadowy monstrosities from beyond.

It was then that we made our second mistake, in explaining this difficulty we asked for help.

And we got it.

Professor Bentham was not au fait with any of the fields necessary for our work, only with ‘Gender Studies’, but since she simply disappeared into the stacks and did not bother us this was little worry.

More concerning by far was the application – which we could not deny – of a foreign student, a pygmy or ‘little person’ which I’m given to understand is the preferred term – of the Tcho-Tcho tribe, originally from Tibet before their diaspora.

Na-Na, for that was his name, much to the amusement of Professor Abernathy, was a problem from the start. He would scurry, disconcertingly, through the stacks and leap out at the most inopportune moments. When he attacked Professor Carnegie with a blowpipe and dragged him off into the stacks, never to be seen again, we protested only to be told that was his culture and we should not be so judgemental, that we should ‘decolonise our attitudes’ towards his rich heritage. Even when we found a human hand, gnawn upon, laid atop a leather-bound folio of The Yellow Sign, which we suspected to belong to Professor Carnegie, nothing was done. ‘Dietary requirements of his culture’ we were told.

We had other problems by then of course. Female interns from the Gender Studies course who had joined our group as aides and researchers walked out en masse having read – in passing – a tome of ritual magic attributed to Dr Dee and having taken offence at talk of esoteric principles of ‘maleness’ and ‘femaleness’ utilised in the rituals within. They would listen to no explanation and it mattered not one jot to them that this was centuries old.

Thanks to them to university paper ran an ‘expose’ on us as a hotbed of sexism and we were besieged by constant protest, culminating in the pulling of a fire alarm as part of the protest. In the ensuing confusion with the fire brigade over a century’s worth of meticulously referenced knowledge was lost, along with many first editions. A great loss to our great work.

Besieged by angry furies, sniped at constantly by a cannibalistic half-man and with our work exposed to the world we did the best we could as the stars began to turn right.

During our most delicate preparations Professor Bentham made herself known to us again, forgotten for so long. Only she was different, she had degenerated – no, sorry, transitioned – into something other, an avatar of Shub-PoCurath (you can’t say the ‘N’ word or anything that sounds like it). Hooved. Tentacled. A hundred breasts and dozens of gaping, suppurating vaginas covered the knotted trunk of her body, indistinguishable from her many babbling mouths.

Professor Abernathy attempted, heroically to intercede and shove her back into the stacks. We thought he had been devoured, but it was worse.

The next day we were awash with campus police and a worried looking person from the office of the Dean. Professor Abernathy was being held up on molestation charges. In the struggle his hands had touched at least four breasts and three vaginas and Professor Bentham, now operating under the preferred pronoun of ‘Ia’ was holding him up on rape charges.

The siege – and the fire alarms – began again.

Despite all this, as the stars came right, we held out hope that we could stave off the end. We had everything prepared, meticulously, to heal the tear in the world that would admit the dark ones to this reality. All we needed was a virginal incantrix for the climax of the ritual. We had a volunteer and at the right moment she recited the words perfectly, but nothing happened.

There could only have been one possible cause, and she had cost us the world through her dishonestly.

But, apparently, that was slut shaming.

So now, as a black sun devours the sky and shadow tentacles devastate the planet, as the campus police come to arrest me for insensitivity, even as our world comes to an end, the conspiracy becomes clear.

We were the victims of a new cult, a cult that listens and believes, a cult that will live on until the very end because they made a deal with the dark powers beyond.

#KillAllMen

Or at least #KillMenFirst

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french_revolution_graphic_by_party9999999-d3cwc36

Please see disclaimer*

Flush with success after rooting out thought-crime recidivist Jonathan ‘Paltrow-Fucker’ Ross and stringing him from the gallows the Committee for the Unification of Narrative Tropes has begun turning its eye on other problematic areas, such as ancient myth.

Committee chair Zutana Alors explained the committees priorities thus:

“For millennia now classical myth has exerted a strong, exclusionary and problematic influence over multiple cultures and has cast a long shadow over all fiction. By attacking the root cause of these particular tropes we hope to eliminate a great deal more problems before they start. Much of ‘science’ fiction and ‘fantasy’ takes its cues from these sorts of stories and changing them should eliminate a great deal of offensive material.”

Pressed for further details the committee released a preliminary report on the changes they’ve decided to make, specifically to Greek mythology.

  • Race is an issue, all the characters are Greek. To fix this people of all ethnicities will be introduced into the mythology, over-represented compared to contemporary demographics to compensate for millennia of literary oppression. The only remaining Greek character is Hades, who will double as a symbol of hegemonic white oppression over that period.
  • As a symbol of beauty Aphrodite creates unrealistic expectations and hence body issues in many young women. As such she is to be replaced by a genderfluid, pre-op, plus-size, disabled transwoman with special needs. This will demonstrate that anyone can be sexy and that everyone is deserving of love.
  • Ares is a phallocentric glorifier of violence and destruction. He creates a problematic template for toxic masculinity. Changed slightly, Ares will make an excellent figure of fun and a cautionary tale to be avoided. As such he is now a buffoon with a giant cardboard sword and is to be renamed ‘Dudebro’.
  • Theseus and the Minotaur has been deemed to be prejudiced and triggering towards Otherkin (those who identify as having animal souls) and will be rewritten into a peaceful encounter wherein Theseus and the Minotaur engage in a long debate. After the debate Theseus will check his human privilege and come to an understanding of his innate, subconscious prejudice to the non-human community.
  • Zeus is also a deeply problematic figure as a womaniser and serial rapist. As a model the committee has looked at how to correct the story of Leda and the Swan. In the new version Zeus approaches Leda respectfully with no obvious intent of seduction or physical intimacy until she expresses a possible interest. They undertake a journey to visit Eunomia, goddess of law and justice, where they draw up a contract of consent before their coupling. Leda changes her mind and says no, Zeus respects that and returns to Olympus. This has required excising Helen of Troy from the canon, but as – like Aphrodite – she presented an unrealistic, platonic ideal of female beauty – this saved even more bother.

The committee was asked by a member of the Culte de la Raison who attended the open meeting why they were devoting so much time to rewriting fictions and where the harm was in what were obviously just stories. He was informed that words hurt before being dragged outside by the Revolutionary Guard, all the while protesting the need for empirical evidence. He was then beaten to death with typewriters to make the point more emphatically.

*Definitions of liberty and equality may vary, fraternity includes sororalty and all points in between. One liberty per customer – to be determined by the committee. Some are more equal than others. Dictionary definitions not accepted. Semantic arguments not accepted. Allegory, metaphor and problematic characterisation or situations not covered. May cause ideological fanaticism. Side effects may include loss of humour, ‘triggering’, excusing bigotry from traditionally oppressed groups and emotional blackmail.

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rosspaltrow460Tragedy struck today when it was announced that mildly controversial comedian and chat show host Jonathan Ross would be hosting and presenting the Hugo Award at Loncon3. In Social Justice circles this news completely eclipsed the impending invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military and was the topic of heated debate amongst feminists and their allies, since Ross has occasionally made jokes about women. The debate has – thus far – culminated in the resignation of Farah Mendlesohn from the convention board and calls for a boycott.

Asked for comment, SF&F blogger Petulianta Clarke offered the following:

“This would have been a great opportunity for us to take a step in overcoming sexist stigma. So many people have this idea that all feminists are po-faced, humourless harridans who will raise hell over complete non-issues at the drop of a steampunk fascinator. Jonathan Ross’ selection as presenter of the award shouldn’t have been that controversial and by letting it slide or limiting ourselves to a few angry blogs we could have made real progress in not seeming like censorious tossers.”

Alas it was not to be with a twitterstorm flaring up and the impending participation of international social justice laughing stocks such as PZ Myers, Freethought Blogs and Skepchick (responsible for similar stereotype reinforcing actions in the atheist blogosphere) the opportunity has slipped through the SF&F community’s fingers and preventing the ‘progressive’ bloc looking like fuckwits now seems impossible.

Comment, of course, has been relatively small but silent eye rolling, blocking on social media and opening a new Google Search tab are all on the rise. Off the back of recent non-controversies relating to the SFWA and controversy exploiting and profiteering videos by Anita Sarkeesian it seems unlikely that self-styled social justice advocates will be able to be taken seriously for the foreseeable future, even when they have valid points.

Virtually unknown author of satirical SF, Elton Whitemale offered this comment on the affair:

“It’s shocking to me that an industry that prides itself on its creativity and which has long been associated with controversy and pushing boundaries has become so timid and so ravaged by self censorship.”

He went on:

“We can imagine dragons and faster than light starships, sweeping alien vistas, but we can’t seem to accept someone might tell jokes that are counter to our personal taste, or admit that we don’t like them without involving politics. Why can’t we be more like the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund? They’ve backed people in trouble over hentai featuring monsters, animals and underage girls. That’s commitment to free expression for chrissakes.”

“What the fuck do I know though? Being melanin deficient and having an XY chromosome disqualifies me from having an opinion, apparently. There’s fucking irony for you.”

He added, downing a glass of whisky.

Jonathan Ross is controversial for stating that he wouldn’t mind having sex with Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008 and for being led astray by notorious junkie and David Icke aficionado Russell Brand.

The whole affair looks set to rumble on pointlessly, making all manner of people look bad and stop talking to each other at least until the next controversy du jour pops up, probably by Monday.

Rumours that Harlan Ellison has had himself buried alive for the sole purpose of spinning in his grave over these events have yet to be confirmed.

Update: Ross has withdrawn from presenting the Hugo due to the outrage. An event summed up very well by Sarah Pinborough as:

“It’s pretty Daily Mail actually. “People worried about being abused, abuse man who hasn’t abused them yet”

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molesworth“I would like to present to you…” said the worthy-looking man, all grey hair, patched elbows and the threadbare spirit of the educator “…the St John’s Boy for Schools!”

The Minister blinked, wetly and gave the old professor a smirk. “I think you mean School for Boys Mr Wick.”

“Oh no,” the professor smiled and swept aside the sheet, revealing a small boy in short trousers and a school blazer, skinned knees, snotty nose an entirely unremarkable child.

“Your son?” The Minister sighed and leaned forward, resting his three chin upon his interwoven sausage-fingers.

“No Sir. This is a Mark Two Molesworth. A genetically engineered, near-human replicant, designed to fix a major problem in education.”

This was all far beyond the Minister whose mind was already dwelling on whether to have the pigeon-breast salad or the pork loin for lunch. He was only half listening. “Some sort of robot? What’s it for?”

“Um, not really. If that helps you understand though yes, it’s a sort of robot.” The professor scratched his head and stroked his beard as he thought how to get his point across.

“The problem, you see, is that learning simply isn’t cool. Girls get all sorts of encouragement from each other and from society at large to learn in order to overcome the perceived ‘bimbo’ factor. Boys, however, get no such aid despite being far outstripped by girls in many academic fields.”

“Yes, yes,” said the Minister, picking waxy dirt from under his thumbnail. “Terrible business, white paper, special committee, more funding to subsidise private schools…” it was a mantra he’d learned soon after he took on the job. The same thing he trotted out to reporters.

“Yes, well, none of that does any good. We can’t change the culture that holds them back by such methods. We can’t make learning ‘cool’. We can’t make boys want to learn and any young lad that does take up the opportunities we present to them is in for a drubbing.”

“Quite.”

“The Molesworth can fix that!”

The Minister’s attention was diverted from thoughts of lunch by the passion in the professor’s voice and the implications began to penetrate his thick skull, millimetre by millimetre.

“…how?”

The professor took his seat opposite the Minister and gestured wildly as he excitedly laid out his plan. “We produce large numbers of Molesworths and insert them into classes in large enough numbers to form the beginning of a clique or group. One that values education and good behaviour and applies a positive degree of peer pressure to counteract and overcome that of being an illiterate thug!”

The Minister paled and scowled, his jowly face crinkling like a boiled tomato. “Won’t that, ah, skew the classes to being predominantly male?”

“We also recognise the value of… ah… positive reinforcement for men coming from young ladies. We hope to have the Jessica and Elizabeth versions completed soon. They, of course, will be pretty and charming and will only have eyes for well-behaved and academically adept boys.”

“It all seems a little unethical.” The Minister hemmed and hawed, rocking back in his seat. The professor just looked at him.

“No worse than making up Father Christmas in order to get children to behave all year and we have to do something. Tests have demonstrated a marked improvement in the academic development of boys in such an environment. It wouldn’t be too expensive to implement and the potential rewards of a better educated and better behaved populace are…”

“…not as great as you might think.” The Minister interrupted and his frown deepened even further.

“What?” Cut off mid-flow the professor didn’t quite know what to make of this statement.

“Put, plainly Mister Wick, we need plebs. We need foolish, uneducated and dim-witted men to clean toilets, sweep streets, die in the army and keep the prisons nice and full – and profitable. Your plan would not serve that end and with immigration being so damn unpopular there’s no other choice.”

“But…”

The Minister waved his hand dismissively. “Good day Sir. Your funding is cut.”

“But the future! Technology, science!”

“Good. Day.” The Minister pressed a buzzer and his aide came in, leading the professor and his young – artificial – charge back outside. Pausing at the door.

“Everything alright sir?”

“Fine Jenkins, fine. Honestly, some people. They seem to think the current state of affairs is unintentional.”

“I blame the education system sir.”

“Quite.”

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