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3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Going Post... · 1 reply · +13 points

The Discworld has had a lot of focus on the power of Words (Books = Knowledge = Power = (Force x Distance ÷ Time) and also the power of belief.

Could these amassed words have had the power they did if Moist hadn't walked the Walk in front of the remaining postmen, who now believe Groat, that Moist is The One.

Ritual and belief have a kind of power even in Roundworld. And Moist is pretty good at making people believe things, don't you think?

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'A Hat Full... · 2 replies · +16 points

I think it's notable that Granny Weatherwax acknowledges that Magrat is better at the doctoring, whereas it's pretty well acknowledged that Granny is the best at the headology and the showier magic, and Nanny at midwifery.

Doctoring definitely requires close attention to the rules of cause and effect. You need evidence more than intuition to figure out which toadstool kills and which one cures. You need a research witch!

(And Nanny seems to be the keeper of lore - from hedgehog songs to ancient writing and the location of dead kings)

So...what kind of witch will Tiffany be :)

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'A Hat Full... · 0 replies · +12 points

It's also been recut and recut for a very long time, so it's hard to be sure what the original actually looked like. I think there's been some kind of imaging done but I forget the results.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'A Hat Full... · 1 reply · +30 points

Something else, too, that I think we often forget when reading Pratchett now, is that he's often spoofing trends in literature that have been since forgotten or shoved under the rug. This is the case for the Canting Crew - he's not glorifying homelessness, he's making fun of people who were glorifying homelessness - but we've forgotten about those people.

Something similar happened with Interesting Times, where he made fun of a lot of "Orientalist" bullshit that we've blockout out of our collective consciousness. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece of a book, but I do think some of the jokes referencing specific books and movies have flown over a lot of people's heads. If you take, say, bad kung fu movies made for the US market, and then do a scathing send up of those cliches in a parody movie, and then all those bad kung fu movies melt away like the 90% of everything that is crap that they are, you're left with what looks like a really racist movie rather than a movie criticizing racist stereotypes.

But yes, it would have been better if he included more explicitly non-white characters in non-parody roles. He falls into "white-is-default" along with most white authors even in current publications.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 2 replies · +42 points

I think it's so far gone uncommented on, but I've always read Paul as being coded neurodivergent, whether on the autistic spectrum or otherwise differently-abled. His focus on birds and on art read like special interests, to me, and it makes Polly's gentle but fierce protectiveness of her bigger, older brother make a lot of sense to me. I do appreciate that she never thinks anything negative about him or his intelligence, just that he wouldn't be suited specifically to running a large inn (I wouldn't be either).

Like a lot of information in this book (Lofty and Tonkers relationship, various people's possible personal identities, Polly's own possible sexuality) we're left to put together conclusions from sometimes subtle and sometimes less subtle clues, without our familiar modern words for things being used, which I think is a marvelous way to treat these topics in terms of a fantasy or historical narrative.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 3 replies · +11 points

I'm with you all the way on Mal. I've always thought there was an implication that Mal has been living a masculine-coded life even prior to enlisting - even before I noticed the possible appearance in Carpe Jugulum. And the idea that Mal got Weatherwaxed is good, to me.

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4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 0 replies · +4 points

Yeah, this is actually the thing. We actually have Macy's to thank for the gendering of pink and blue because it doubled the sale of baby things.

Then we'd started to get mostly away from it until sex-identification-of-unborn-babies became a thing and there was a big marketing push sometime between my birth and my younger sister's, in the 80s. All my baby stuff was green and yellow, all hers was pink, and my brother's was blue.

Frugal millenniasl bringing it back around though, killing the gendered baby stuff industry like all the rest - my sister's son got orange and green and when her daughter came along she just got all his stuff instead of new pink purchases.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 1 reply · +20 points

I love Nobby for all these reasons and more. He's also genuinely kind and thoughtful, especially after Jingo, and that's never clearer than when he's playing Colon's opposite.

And he's just unapologetically himself and happy with that. Why should he care if how he dresses sometimes bugs Colon? Colon needs bugging anyway.

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4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 2 replies · +34 points

These books were written over a long period of time by a man who changed and gained education and social causes throughout his life. I know "product of his time" doesn't negate something being harmful or upsetting, and that we don't go handing out gold stars to straight cis white dudes for not being terrible... but I do think Terry's attitudes about gender-based humor of all sorts changed quite a bit between the writing of this book and the end of his life (probably in part BECAUSE of response and discussion surrounding this book) and I feel like talking about him as if he held these attitudes right up to the end of his life is really belittling to both the man and our capacity as humans-who-mean-well to question and correct our beliefs and behavior.

I was just reading Neil Gaiman talking about some of the changes made to Good Omens to deal with jokes that, in hindsight, were hurtful to people even if that was never the intent. That's Neil and not Terry, but I know they were aligned in a lot of ways, philosophically and textually, and I can't help thinking that if Terry were alive and adapting this book some of these jokes would be altered and/or missing altogether in the revised version.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 0 replies · +13 points

Combining this with Terry's hate and ridicule for the Good Old Public School system I think this is actually a lot closer to being the intended target here.

I also think this isn't a joke he would have made just a few years later.