Player freedom vs. Author freedom

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Skip the Penguin

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Jan 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/2/00
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I played Jigsaw again recently, after reading Mr. Nelson's essay about
it. I remember that he talked about how he chose not to put the
Holocaust in the game. I'm glad, because if Jigsaw were to say that I
couldn't prevent the Holocaust, I'd quit the game, and boycott Mr.
Nelson's works. I also have a little nit to pick about character
continuity, (First, Black wants to prevent war, then he tries to kill
off the Titanic survivers...) but that's a side issue. I am writing a
game about the Holocaust. The player can choose:
1) Leave everything alone. (No parallel universes here. You change
something, you wipe out everyone ahead of the turning point. Surely that
will weigh on someone's concience.)
2) Kill Hitler
3) Kidnap Hitler, and place him in the past where he can do little harm.
4) Go to the treaty of whatever it was after WWI, and plead for leniency
for Germany.
5) Go way back in time, to the early church fathers, and try to head off
the anti-semitism.

Ok, maybe I just spoiled my game, but it's not due for release for quite
a while yet. The point I'm trying to make is that the player can take
whatever choice he wants, but he'll have to live with it. Is this too
much? Too little? Comments, sugguestions?

Skip the mildly receptive penguin

--
Why do we long to touch
What we most fear?
Who can deny the cobra, deadly grace?
The luring symmetry of fanged face,
Yet if, spellbound, we reach
Into the serpent's place
Our life dissolves in venom without a trace.
- Calvin Miller, A Requiem For Love


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Before you buy.

Afgncaap5

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Jan 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/2/00
to
>if Jigsaw were to say that I
>couldn't prevent the Holocaust, I'd quit the game, and boycott Mr.
>Nelson's works

That's a bit harsh, don't you think?>The point I'm trying to make is that the
player can take


>whatever choice he wants, but he'll have to live with it. Is this too
>much? Too little? Comments, sugguestions?

Hmmm. Maybe. I like the idea behind it, and I think that it's good to give
players multiple endings. It's a pain to write all of the endings, though.

edr...@my-deja.com

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Jan 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/3/00
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In article <386EB6E7...@email.com>,

Skip the Penguin <skipro...@email.com> wrote:
> I played Jigsaw again recently, after reading Mr. Nelson's essay about
> it. I remember that he talked about how he chose not to put the
> Holocaust in the game. I'm glad, because if Jigsaw were to say that I

> couldn't prevent the Holocaust, I'd quit the game, and boycott Mr.
> Nelson's works. I also have a little nit to pick about character
> continuity, (First, Black wants to prevent war, then he tries to kill
> off the Titanic survivers...) but that's a side issue

Begging your pardon, but I think you're rather missing the point. In
Jigsaw, the goal was not to avert historical catastrophes; it was to
prevent history from being changed. In each mission, Black was trying
to alter some pivotal historical event; the goal of the player was to
preserve that event, in order that the integrity of the whole tapestry
of History (with a capital aitch) be maintained. If history is altered,
you lose.

It's not a value judgement. It doesn't matter whether the event in
question was beneficial, tragic, or utterly atrocious. Although we
might like to think that preventing WWI would have been a great idea,
Jigsaw's thesis is that such a change could have unforseeable, maybe
disastrous consequences in the grand scheme of things.

My understanding of why Graham Nelson didn't want to include the
Holocaust was that he felt that neither he as an author nor IF as a
medium could do that event any sort of justice, and he didn't want to
cheapen it by making of it a game. If he had included it, I think it's
reasonable to assume that preventing it would not have been a viable
option, because this would have gone against the game's theme, to wit:
that history, no matter how tragic, is immutable.

-M.

Mark Manning

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Jan 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/3/00
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edr...@my-deja.com wrote:

: My understanding of why Graham Nelson didn't want to include the


: Holocaust was that he felt that neither he as an author nor IF as a
: medium could do that event any sort of justice, and he didn't want to
: cheapen it by making of it a game.

For me, this hits the nail on the head. I think (and this is simply
my personal opinion) that there are some things so monstrous and affecting
that one can't really respond to them by way of a game. Some while ago,
someone (I think Martin Amis) published a novel, "Time's Arrow", where
time goes backwards, and the gas chambers are creating, rather than
destroying, vast numbers of lives. A critic commented that the author was
"playing with fire, without realising that fire burns". I agree entirely.
The Holocaust was something so monstrous and so massive that such a
treatment (indeed, the vast majority of treatments) are simply
inappropriate memorials to the vast number of human beings who lives were
snuffed out.

Mark

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/3/00
to
Mark Manning <mr...@msm.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
> : My understanding of why Graham Nelson didn't want to include the
> : Holocaust was that he felt that neither he as an author nor IF as a
> : medium could do that event any sort of justice, and he didn't want to
> : cheapen it by making of it a game.
>
> For me, this hits the nail on the head. I think (and this is simply
> my personal opinion) that there are some things so monstrous and affecting
> that one can't really respond to them by way of a game.

That's a generalization.

Anyone looking at Zork 1 would have said that a game can't do justice to
the idea of a deadly car accident, either.

Let's just say that nobody has yet come forward as being skillful enough
to do it right.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

skipro...@email.com

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84qbvb$8gr$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
> Begging your pardon, but I think you're rather missing the point. In
> Jigsaw, the goal was not to avert historical catastrophes; it was to
> prevent history from being changed. In each mission, Black was trying
> to alter some pivotal historical event; the goal of the player was to
> preserve that event, in order that the integrity of the whole tapestry
> of History (with a capital aitch) be maintained. If history is
altered,
> you lose.
The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I know,
let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD would
do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it without
thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black prevents a war,
saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill off the Titanic
survivors. Something doesn't fit here.

>
> It's not a value judgement. It doesn't matter whether the event in
> question was beneficial, tragic, or utterly atrocious. Although we
> might like to think that preventing WWI would have been a great idea,
> Jigsaw's thesis is that such a change could have unforseeable, maybe
> disastrous consequences in the grand scheme of things.

So? I don't care. If White were a Jew, and visited the Holocaust, how
likely would it be that things would be left alone. It's certainly
possible, seeing what happens when you let Black alone at WWI. I have
several friends who are Jews. If I were playing, you think there's any
chance I'd leave things alone, even to finish the game? I mean, war I
can tolerate, but not that.

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84roa1$9bq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

skipro...@email.com wrote:
> The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
> said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
> let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
know,
> let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD would
> do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it without
> thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black prevents a
war,
> saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill off the Titanic
> survivors. Something doesn't fit here.

Sure: You're refusing to accept that Graham wrote a story other than the
one you wanted to read. And now you're criticizing him for that.

Black's motivations have been explained. It's one thing not to buy them
and another to say that Graham glibly implemented something without
considering the effects.

> So? I don't care. If White were a Jew, and visited the Holocaust, how
> likely would it be that things would be left alone. It's certainly
> possible, seeing what happens when you let Black alone at WWI. I have
> several friends who are Jews. If I were playing, you think there's any
> chance I'd leave things alone, even to finish the game? I mean, war I
> can tolerate, but not that.

So, then, you'd be wanting to play a different game, then. I'd
recommend staying away from "Photopia", too, though, because there are
things in that you just *have* to leave alone, no matter how much you'd
like to change them.

--
[ok]

Graham Nelson

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84r0h8$cjq$1...@pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk>, Mark Manning

<URL:mailto:mr...@msm.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
> : My understanding of why Graham Nelson didn't want to include the
> : Holocaust was that he felt that neither he as an author nor IF as a
> : medium could do that event any sort of justice, and he didn't want to
> : cheapen it by making of it a game.
>
> For me, this hits the nail on the head. I think (and this is simply
> my personal opinion) that there are some things so monstrous and affecting
> that one can't really respond to them by way of a game. Some while ago,
> someone (I think Martin Amis) published a novel, "Time's Arrow", where
> time goes backwards, and the gas chambers are creating, rather than
> destroying, vast numbers of lives. A critic commented that the author was
> "playing with fire, without realising that fire burns". I agree entirely.
> The Holocaust was something so monstrous and so massive that such a
> treatment (indeed, the vast majority of treatments) are simply
> inappropriate memorials to the vast number of human beings who lives were
> snuffed out.

I entirely agree. (Oh, and hello, Mark -- for those who don't
know, Mark is a Fellow of my old college at Cambridge, and indeed
once caught me illicitly working on a dreadful adventure game in
the Applied Maths computer rooms... he let me off.) My strongest
feeling, in particular, was that to have any form of Holocaust
simulation which had a winning line -- however difficult a winning
line -- would be disrespectful, implying somehow that if only the
victims of Auschwitz had been more resourceful, more clever,
etc., they might have escaped.

The nearest I got was the following almost cut-scene:


Toll Gate
Here, the eastern rock face meets the Ash River just to the south.

Cut into the rock face is a square-cut doorway, radiating cold and
open only onto blackness. Above it is an adamantine plaque, bearing
the simple word "TOLL" and a graph.

> EXAMINE GRAPH

The vertical axis of the graph runs from 0 to 110 M, whatever M is;
the horizontal axis, from 0 to 100 Y. Plotted on the graph is
a rising curve, climbing slowly to M=20 at Y=20, then to M=40 at Y=40,
and then a sudden rise to M=80 by Y=50: after that the curve gradually
rises to M=110.

> ENTER GATE
You stumble through the ice-cold blackness of the Toll gate, to
emerge...

As a confused child running along what you somehow know is the
Tiergarten, the green avenue of Berlin, full of marchers and bustle
and noise. You catch sight of a pretty, shining toy dropped on the
road and pick it up. It's a gold badge, with a black four-armed
sign on! You pin it to your old cloth jacket, just above the star
your mother makes you wear... You wave to the marchers, and they
soon see your pretty badge.

*** You have died ***

The graph is a death toll of people killed by other people during
the twentieth century. The last little story, one of three
possible stories (chosen by the game at random but all resulting
in unavoidable loss of game), was told to me by a friend who
was a visiting professor of law at All Souls here in Oxford,
when I was teaching maths at Magdalen College: it actually
happened to him as a boy, except for the last sentence. He ran
home and showed his mother the badge (a Nazi badge, of course)
and his parents were simply terrified trying to work out how
they could safely throw it away. Almost alone of his family,
he was got out of Germany, and survived. It is a strange thing
to be told such stories by somebody who was there, and although
I didn't retell his story terribly well, it seemed to me that it
had some sort of place in "Jigsaw", which was otherwise a pretty
happy-go-lucky sort of history.

But not an interactive place, I think. The Toll Gate is not a
puzzle. It has no solution.

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United Kingdom


skipro...@email.com

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84sele$or6$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

okbl...@my-deja.com wrote:
> In article <84roa1$9bq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> skipro...@email.com wrote:
> > The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
> > said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
> > let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
> know,
> > let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD would
> > do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it without
> > thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black prevents a
> war,
> > saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill off the Titanic
> > survivors. Something doesn't fit here.
>
> Sure: You're refusing to accept that Graham wrote a story other than the
> one you wanted to read. And now you're criticizing him for that.
>
> Black's motivations have been explained. It's one thing not to buy them
> and another to say that Graham glibly implemented something without
> considering the effects.
Where? I never saw them explained. All I know is that Black wants to
change history. WWI was explained in person, but Black wasn't around to
explain for the Titanic, so I'm having to guess. I can guess why
preventing WWI will help the world, but I want to know the
rationalization for other things.

>
> > So? I don't care. If White were a Jew, and visited the Holocaust, how
> > likely would it be that things would be left alone. It's certainly
> > possible, seeing what happens when you let Black alone at WWI. I have
> > several friends who are Jews. If I were playing, you think there's any
> > chance I'd leave things alone, even to finish the game? I mean, war I
> > can tolerate, but not that.
>
> So, then, you'd be wanting to play a different game, then. I'd
> recommend staying away from "Photopia", too, though, because there are
> things in that you just *have* to leave alone, no matter how much you'd
> like to change them.
Actually, I liked Photopia. The death wasn't really the theme. Remember
the difference between one accidental death, and millions of intentional
deaths. Jigsaw was saying "I don't care how rotten history is, that's the
way it has to be." I don't buy that. People have commented on how they
wouldn't mind the world without WWI displayed as a "losing" sequence. I
probably wouldn't mind a world without the Holocaust.

edr...@my-deja.com

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84roa1$9bq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
skipro...@email.com wrote:
> In article <84qbvb$8gr$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
> > Begging your pardon, but I think you're rather missing the point. In
> > Jigsaw, the goal was not to avert historical catastrophes; it was to
> > prevent history from being changed. In each mission, Black was
> > trying to alter some pivotal historical event; the goal of the
> > player was to preserve that event, in order that the integrity of
> > the whole tapestry of History (with a capital aitch) be maintained.
> > If history is altered, you lose.

> The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson


> said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
> let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
> know, let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD
> would do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it
> without thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black
> prevents a war, saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill
> off the Titanic survivors. Something doesn't fit here.

I'm not sure how to respond to this, other than by repeating my
original post, since it seems you didn't really grasp it.

Graham Nelson wrote a story of time travel in which the primary moral
imperative is that history must not be changed. It wasn't about
preventing war or saving lives or making the world a nicer place; it
was about altering the course of history vs. trying to keep that
history intact.

Perhaps that isn't your favorite sort of time-travel story, which is
fine, but that doesn't make it a poorly written story.

-M.

Daniel Barkalow

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 skipro...@email.com wrote:

> So? I don't care. If White were a Jew, and visited the Holocaust, how
> likely would it be that things would be left alone. It's certainly
> possible, seeing what happens when you let Black alone at WWI. I have
> several friends who are Jews. If I were playing, you think there's any
> chance I'd leave things alone, even to finish the game? I mean, war I
> can tolerate, but not that.

But why do you say that preventing the holocaust would keep you from
winning? In the scenes in the actual game, changing things leaves you with
"You have wrecked the course of history", and prevents you from
continuing. Preventing the holocaust would certainly change so many things
that history would not be the same, and you couldn't expect the story to
continue from that point. But if you actually like the little end blurb
for changing history for a particular situation, there's no reason not to
consider that a win, unless your goal is to play the rest of the game, in
which case you have to treat it as a game and not as a moral decision.

Alternatively, the scene could be one in which you prevent the holocaust
as it actually happened without being able to change Hitler's views or
final goals. Then the rest of the world is not so horrified and does not
fight so hard and the Jews don't get slaughtered until the Nazis control
the world...

I.e., you have to make sure Hitler goes after the jews first, and the
people who can stop him second. You don't end up in a position to change
him or kill him, so you can only postpone the inevitiable.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*


Philip Goetz

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
<edr...@my-deja.com> wrote in message news:84qbvb$8gr$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...
> In article <386EB6E7...@email.com>,

> It's not a value judgement. It doesn't matter whether the event in
> question was beneficial, tragic, or utterly atrocious. Although we
> might like to think that preventing WWI would have been a great idea,
> Jigsaw's thesis is that such a change could have unforseeable, maybe
> disastrous consequences in the grand scheme of things.
>
> My understanding of why Graham Nelson didn't want to include the
> Holocaust was that he felt that neither he as an author nor IF as a
> medium could do that event any sort of justice, and he didn't want to
> cheapen it by making of it a game. If he had included it, I think it's
> reasonable to assume that preventing it would not have been a viable
> option, because this would have gone against the game's theme, to wit:
> that history, no matter how tragic, is immutable.
>
> -M.

So, the Jigsaw player would have had to make sure that the Holocaust
did occur, perhaps by saving Hitler from Black's assassination attempt.
It seems to me that this would have been the most important scenario to
include in Jigsaw, because it is the best test of its hypothesis that
history
should not be changed.

Phil

Joe Mason

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
*** SPOILERS: Jigsaw ***

This space intentionally left blank.


In article <84sueb$345$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <edr...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>
>> The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
>> said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
>> let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
>> know, let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD
>> would do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it
>> without thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black
>> prevents a war, saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill
>> off the Titanic survivors. Something doesn't fit here.
>
>I'm not sure how to respond to this, other than by repeating my
>original post, since it seems you didn't really grasp it.
>
>Graham Nelson wrote a story of time travel in which the primary moral
>imperative is that history must not be changed. It wasn't about
>preventing war or saving lives or making the world a nicer place; it
>was about altering the course of history vs. trying to keep that
>history intact.

Yes, but that isn't responding to HIS question, which is a good one.

Why did Black try to kill off the Titanic survivors?

He didn't ask what the story was about, or what themes were involved: he asked
about the motivations of one character in the story.

I don't remember Jigsaw well enough to know if he's interpreting it right,
but I do remember being confused about Black's motivations in the Titanic
section. In most of the segments Black is trying to make the world a better
place (prevent WWI, inspire the creation of good music, etc) but in the
Titanic segments it's not clear what Black is trying to accomplish. The
obvious thing for Black to try to do would be to prevent the Titanic from
sinking, but IIRC Black's actions don't seem to have any bearing on this at
all.

Wait, something's coming back to me: maybe somebody who's played this more
recently can confirm. One of the passengers was a diplomat or ambassador
carrying secret documents, weren't they? Was Black trying to prevent the
documents from being delivered?

Joe

Sean T Barrett

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
*** SPOILERS: Jigsaw ***

Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> This space intentionally left blank.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

>Why did Black try to kill off the Titanic survivors?
>

>I don't remember Jigsaw well enough to know if he's interpreting it right,
>but I do remember being confused about Black's motivations in the Titanic
>section.

My Jigsaw experience in a nutshell:

Discover that Black is going to try to alter history.

Discover that I must prevent Black from altering history
if I am going to advance the game (it was not entirely
clear to me that the alternate worlds I returned to were
necessarily worse).

Be put in a horrific, horrific delimma that obligates me
to kill someone (echoing an infamous philsophy/morality
gedankenexperiment). [Personally, I think anyone who
thinks that in a hypothetical Holocaust-involving Jigsaw
it's acceptable for the game to demand you to kill one
person but not for you to allow millions of others to
perish needs to rewind their moral compass.]

Say, "Ok, I get it, I'm going to have to try to
prevent Black from altering history, possibly by doing
uncomfortable things".

Get absolutely nowhere on the Titanic, having absolutely
no clue what Black was trying to accomplish there (I
was expecting him to try to prevent it from sinking in
the first place).

Continue getting absolutely nowhere.

Get a walkthrough.

Discover that I have to stand around in a room for several
turns until someone gives me an object. No doubt this was
hinted or explained somewhere and I had missed it by relying
on the walkthrough.

>Wait, something's coming back to me: maybe somebody who's played this more
>recently can confirm. One of the passengers was a diplomat or ambassador
>carrying secret documents, weren't they? Was Black trying to prevent the
>documents from being delivered?

I don't know. I believe a footnote explains how important
it was that the document get through, but I never understood
in what way Black was involved.

Perhaps Graham's target audience is people who were more on
the ball than me and everything needed to figure out what
Black was up to was there.

But for me, I quit Jigsaw at this point, since I didn't see any
way the game experience I was having on the Titanic could live up
to the promise of the WWI sequence.

I actually spent some time hunting around on the net looking for
reviews or critiques of Jigsaw (or Curses, for that matter, which
I never got anywhere in either), to see if I was missing something,
but I never found any explanation.

Sean B

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84sueb$345$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
>In article <84roa1$9bq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> skipro...@email.com wrote:
>> In article <84qbvb$8gr$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
>> edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
>> > Begging your pardon, but I think you're rather missing the point. In
>> > Jigsaw, the goal was not to avert historical catastrophes; it was to
>> > prevent history from being changed. In each mission, Black was
>> > trying to alter some pivotal historical event; the goal of the
>> > player was to preserve that event, in order that the integrity of
>> > the whole tapestry of History (with a capital aitch) be maintained.
>> > If history is altered, you lose.
>
>> The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
>> said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
>> let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
>> know, let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD
>> would do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it
>> without thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black
>> prevents a war, saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill
>> off the Titanic survivors. Something doesn't fit here.
>
>I'm not sure how to respond to this, other than by repeating my
>original post, since it seems you didn't really grasp it.
>
>Graham Nelson wrote a story of time travel in which the primary moral
>imperative is that history must not be changed. It wasn't about
>preventing war or saving lives or making the world a nicer place; it
>was about altering the course of history vs. trying to keep that
>history intact.
>
>Perhaps that isn't your favorite sort of time-travel story, which is
>fine, but that doesn't make it a poorly written story.
>

It isn't (my favorite sort of time travel story), but that isn't what
I see flawed in the narritive. Black seems to have no motivation; if
you're keeping history unchanged for the sake of keeping history
unchanged, that's reasonable -- you're reactign to black's
interference. But black seems to be changing history just for the
asake of changing history. If Black _is_ trying to make history
better, then a lot of black's actions don't make sense. If black is a
just a villian, wit h no motivation other than being there because
they story needs one, that's not unreasonable, but it's at odds with
black's character as it's portrayed in the story.

--
L. Ross Raszewski
Loyola College in Maryland
x4174
"God is dead." -- Nietzche
"Nietzche is dead." -- God

Graham Nelson

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Jan 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/4/00
to
In article <84sele$or6$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <URL:mailto:okbl...@my-deja.com>

wrote:
> In article <84roa1$9bq$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> skipro...@email.com wrote:
> > The point is, Black doesn't seem to have a brain. It's like Mr. Nelson
> > said (No offense intended.) "Hmm. Black's gonna change WWI. I know,
> > let's save the archduke. Alright. Now, we'll change the Titanic. I
> know,
> > let's prevent survivors. (That's what not sending a SOS or CQD would
> > do!) That sounds good." and he goes off and implements it without
> > thinking about Black's motivation to do it. First Black prevents a
> war,
> > saving millions of soldiers, then Black tries to kill off the Titanic
> > survivors. Something doesn't fit here.
>
> Sure: You're refusing to accept that Graham wrote a story other than the
> one you wanted to read. And now you're criticizing him for that.

Justifiably, I think. "Jigsaw" is a pretty bog-standard piece of
require the course of history to be somehow sacrosanct. It also
wouldn't work any other way, because if you were allowed to kick
history out of shape, it wouldn't then be able to simulate history
any more. But none of this was very original and I think it's
perfectly fair to make the points above.

Emily Short

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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----------
In article <Fntw...@world.std.com>, buz...@world.std.com (Sean T Barrett)
wrote:


>*** SPOILERS: Jigsaw ***
>
>
>Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> This space intentionally left blank.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>

> Be put in a horrific, horrific delimma that obligates me
> to kill someone (echoing an infamous philsophy/morality
> gedankenexperiment). [Personally, I think anyone who
> thinks that in a hypothetical Holocaust-involving Jigsaw
> it's acceptable for the game to demand you to kill one
> person but not for you to allow millions of others to
> perish needs to rewind their moral compass.]

Arguably so. [Thanks, btw, for this unexpected little metaphor. I have yet
to meet a winding compass, but I find the concept charming.] Yes, the
dilemma is horrific, and it is more genuine, and more significant, for not
using the Holocaust. Graham's reason for not wanting to include it makes
perfect sense to me, but I also think that the use of an event so freighted
would have been, from an artistic point of view, a mistake. The Holocaust
is one of our few remaining pieces of common cultural mythology -- by which
I do *not* mean it didn't happen, but simply that it is widely known, and
discussed, and used as a proof against which other evils may be judged. And
so (because we already know the answer) who would even bother to ask,
"Should this have been allowed to happen?"

Revolving the matter around the Archduke, who is at least to most of us
little more than a dim memory from history class, and who carries no special
emotional coloring, puts the dilemma on a fairer ground.

Now here is the sticking point: I do agree with Jigsaw's enforced
conclusion, once for the rather abstract reason that playing God is
dangerous, and again, somewhat more specifically, because I believe that
history is the result of the moral choices of billions of people. To mess
with it would be to tamper with their freedom, and would at best have
ambiguous repercussions re. the state of their souls. Since I do agree with
White's agenda, I have to accept the results for the gameplay -- for
instance, that the Archduke must die as scheduled. And, I suppose, that the
Holocaust would have to be allowed to go forward. (At this point one is,
Pilate-like, reaching for a bowl of water and a washcloth...) If I'd
encountered a scene in which I'd actually had to carry through on this,
though, I think I would have found it too much to take -- too manipulative,
too weighty, and too trite, all at once. The single bullet for a single man
got the same idea across, without clouding the issue.

Not everyone is likely to agree with the reading on my moral compass.
(Perhaps it has wound down after all. Or the Earth's moral field has
flipped polarities.) But I think the point stands regardless: it would have
damaged the delicacy of the work to have included a choice whose
significance, to almost all of the audience, is predetermined.

ES

edr...@my-deja.com

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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In article <84tgam$cur$1...@watserv3.uwaterloo.ca>,

jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Joe Mason) wrote:
> *** SPOILERS: Jigsaw ***
>
> This space intentionally left blank.
>

>


> Yes, but that isn't responding to HIS question, which is a good one.

What I was responding to was his (apparent) insistence that Black's
motivations should be about EITHER causing catastrophe OR preventing
it. My interpretation is that Black's motivations were about neither.

> I don't remember Jigsaw well enough to know if he's interpreting it
> right, but I do remember being confused about Black's motivations in

> the Titanic section. In most of the segments Black is trying to make


> the world a better place (prevent WWI, inspire the creation of good
> music, etc)

I believe you are incorrect on this point. In one of the missions,
Black is trying to prevent "War and Peace" from being finished. In
another, Black is goosing with the Wright brothers' first flight. I
believe in yet another, Black is trying to escalate the Cuban missile
crisis, although I could be remembering that wrong.

At the very least, I know you are wrong about the music. Black is
deliberately distracting the Beatles by whistling while they're trying
to record the White Album. It's fairly clear that he/she is trying to
prevent the album from happening. You have to kiss Black to get him/her
to shut up, so that the band can get on with it.

From this I gather that Black's motivations have little to do with good
or bad, causing or averting historical disaster.

So what are Black's motivations?

I saw Black as an extension/reflection of the PC's self, actually. At
the beginning of the game you have White, all alone on New Year's Eve
and obviously rather disaffected. The world doesn't seem like the place
it maybe should be. Black is the nostalgia urge; the desire to relive
the past and change it in the misguided hope that that would somehow
alter the present for the better. Working against Black is the
realization that all history, good and bad, is an essential piece of
who we are, and we change it at the peril of destroying our own
identity.

Stretching it? Maybe. I'd like to back it up with examples from the
text, but it's been a long time since I played Jigsaw. In any case,
it's a helluva lot more interesting than saying "Black wants to save
lives in the first mission; then Black wants to kill people in the
second mission; this game makes no sense and it sucks."

Jake Wildstrom

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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In article <84vj0f$s8e$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, <edr...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>I believe you are incorrect on this point. In one of the missions,
>Black is trying to prevent "War and Peace" from being finished. In
>another, Black is goosing with the Wright brothers' first flight. I
>believe in yet another, Black is trying to escalate the Cuban missile
>crisis, although I could be remembering that wrong.

I presume you're talking about the scene in which Proust's "Remembrance of
Things Past" is almost destroyed. But that's White's fault, not Black's. In a
fair number of scenes, Black is completely invisible and things seem to go
wrong for unrelated (and unspecified) reasons. The Wright Brothers scene is one
of those.

The crisis I think you refer to is the Suez crisis. Again, it seems like an
attempt to prevent, not to escalate, by IIRC privatizing ownership of the Suez
Canal.

>At the very least, I know you are wrong about the music. Black is
>deliberately distracting the Beatles by whistling while they're trying
>to record the White Album. It's fairly clear that he/she is trying to
>prevent the album from happening. You have to kiss Black to get him/her
>to shut up, so that the band can get on with it.

No, he's not trying to get them not to record the album--simply to record
"Wish You Were Here". We learn that Black's a fan of, presumably, the Beatles'
arrangement qualities and Pink Floyd's songcrafting.

>From this I gather that Black's motivations have little to do with good
>or bad, causing or averting historical disaster.

Not really. He simply has opinions on how to make the world a better place.
Some people think different things about what should and shouldn't be allowed
to happen.

>Stretching it? Maybe. I'd like to back it up with examples from the
>text, but it's been a long time since I played Jigsaw. In any case,
>it's a helluva lot more interesting than saying "Black wants to save
>lives in the first mission; then Black wants to kill people in the
>second mission; this game makes no sense and it sucks."

Well, no, but Black comes across, whenever seen, as reasonably informed and
intelligent, and being such, it's not unreasonable to assume he'd have some
actual game plan in mind before willy-nilly changing the outcomes of random
events.

+--First Church of Briantology--Order of the Holy Quaternion--+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Paul Erdos |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jake Wildstrom |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Arcum Dagsson

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Jan 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/5/00
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In article <84vj0f$s8e$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, edr...@my-deja.com wrote:

Working against Black is the
>realization that all history, good and bad, is an essential piece of
>who we are, and we change it at the peril of destroying our own
>identity.
>

I'd have to agree with this. (The fact that I agree with this view is
not intended to indicate that the following thoughts follow from it,
neccessarily, it just seemed like a good place for my own ideas on the
subject...)

Part of the problem I have with a game where the object is to prevent
the holocaust is that the idea that killing hitler, or several key
people, would stop the holocaust, and indeed, the implied statement that
stopping the holocaust would result in a better world. (My apologies if
I got the details wrong. I don't have the original article around...)

History is a complicated thing. It is quite possible that other people
would step forward and fill the same roles as those key people.
Alternatively, perhaps the war *would* be stopped, but the tensions that
caused it would still be there, resulting in a war later down the road,
when all the concerned parties had nuclear missiles.

Even if those possibilities were eliminated, when considering the
potential result, keep in mind the picture of the world painted by
Lawrence Watt-Evans in his shory story "Truth, Justice, and the American
Way". That story left me with a bit of a chill, since it was a story
about an alternate reality where a different president at a key time
made the US crack down on Germany when they started the war by invading
Czechoslovakia, resulting in World War II not happening. You could say
it was a better place, since the holocaust didn't happen, but it clearly
shows what peoples attitudes might still be like if the holocaust hadn't
been there to make people aware of the racist and prejudiced attitudes a
great many held...

I don't take millions of people dying lightly, mind. I'm just not sure
what it would be replaced with...

Also, this all presumes a fairly standard, history is somewhat altered
my time travel model.

History could be more like one story I read, where it is impossable, or
nearly, to change history, because of it tending to resist change. One
could imagine a piece of if, where you go back in time, shoot Hitler
(or, if you are feeling less bloodthirty, give his parents a condem),
and then go back to the present to find that a minor architect had risen
to power, and done almost the same things Hitler had done, whith the
same resulting present.

Another view of history would be like Ray Bradbury's "Sound of Thunder".
In your initial scouting mission, you step on a bug accidentally, and go
back to discover that the present is almost unrecognisable, because of
the "for lack of a nail" type effect...

A more fun way of looking at history is that you can't go back and
change history, because anything you do has happened and was a part of
history already. That would allow for some interesting if, where every
assassination attempt you do turns out to be something that really
happened historically, or something that might have happened, but was
never noticed...

On another note, wouldn't be just as much of a theoretical benefit to
humanity if you went back in time and stopped the witch burnings and
trials before they started? Just as many or more people died then. I
never really understood why that didn't get as much of a place in the
history books. Perhaps because of the lack of photos?

--
--Arcum Dagsson
Playing tonight live at Milliways, it's the Transfinite Cardinals.
Let's give them a big hand as they perform their first number,
'Multiple Orders Of Infinity'

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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In article <ant041036f7fM+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>,

Graham Nelson <gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Justifiably, I think. "Jigsaw" is a pretty bog-standard piece of
> require the course of history to be somehow sacrosanct. It also
> wouldn't work any other way, because if you were allowed to kick
> history out of shape, it wouldn't then be able to simulate history
> any more. But none of this was very original and I think it's
> perfectly fair to make the points above.

I have to say I'm not comfortable with that for this reason: You had an
idea, you implemented it, but the reader (this particular reader) is
upset (and casting aspersions in your general direction) because you
didn't implement a *different idea*.

The idea that history *is* sacrosanct is not a new one in
science-fiction, and it's one thing to say "I don't like that kind of
story" versus "The author just didn't bother."

Maybe that's too subtle a difference to get across on usenet, but I
think it's an important one.
--
[ok]

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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In article <84su4h$2pj$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

skipro...@email.com wrote:
>
> Where? I never saw them explained. All I know is that Black wants to
> change history. WWI was explained in person, but Black wasn't around
to
> explain for the Titanic, so I'm having to guess. I can guess why
> preventing WWI will help the world, but I want to know the
> rationalization for other things.

Maybe the basic problem with your assumption is that Black wants to help
the world?

> Actually, I liked Photopia. The death wasn't really the theme.
Remember
> the difference between one accidental death, and millions of
intentional
> deaths. Jigsaw was saying "I don't care how rotten history is, that's
the
> way it has to be." I don't buy that. People have commented on how they
> wouldn't mind the world without WWI displayed as a "losing" sequence.
I
> probably wouldn't mind a world without the Holocaust.

Right, because you haven't/didn't/don't buy into the "sacred history"
thing. About a zillion stories have been written about someone going
back in time to change some cataclysmic historical horror only to
discover that the world had been radically altered for the worse.

I don't buy the idea, either, on a philosophical level. But as a premise
for a fiction, it's often highly entertaining. And I think that "Jigsaw"
can be given some slack simply on the basis that it is, as Graham says,
a "happy-go-lucky" look at history--not an attempt to make a profound
point.

In the very first scene of "Photopia", I tried to stop the car, but I
couldn't. On one level, I object to that, because I certainly =could=
stop a car under those circumstances. On the other level, the story
vanishes.

Heh. Ultimately I guess that's what this whole discussion is about,
according to the subject header.

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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Yes, this is pretty off-topic.

Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:

: History is a complicated thing. It is quite possible that other people

: would step forward and fill the same roles as those key people.

: Alternatively, perhaps the war *would* be stopped, but the tensions that
: caused it would still be there, resulting in a war later down the road,

: when all the concerned parties had nuclear missiles.

[disclaimer: IANA history teacher, in fact it was my least favorite topic
in school, probably because we didn't discuss things like this.]

Very interesting point. What would the effects have been on the spread of
communism, for example? Or how about Europe, where America and Britain kind
of got to dictate Western Europe's move to Democracy because so much of it
was wiped out. Or how about in America? I think it's generally agreed that
WW II boosted our economy tremendously. Plus made huge strides for women,
because so many of them went to work. Plus the GI Bill led to a renaissance
in higher education, which led to things like the space program and the
Internet, to name a couple.

I'm the last person to say the Holocaust was a good thing, as some tens of
my grandparents' close relatives were killed during it. Nonetheless, I've
heard folks say that Israel might never have come to exist without the
Holocaust. It created three major incentives for Israel. (1) Millions of
refugees willing to leave their homelands to start fresh in a desert, where
everyone was poor and many of the neighbors hated you. (My grandparents
left Berlin in '33, got to Palestine in '35, but probably wouldn't have
bothered had it not been for the Nazis.) (2) An increased commitment from
Jews worldwide to work for the foundation of a Jewish state, to prevent
something like the Holocaust from happening again. (3) Perhaps a greater
amount of sympathy from the rest of the world for Jews' wishes to have a
state.

So in some respect, the Holocaust---the worst ever massacre of Jews---led
to the formation of Israel, which has since then served as a haven for
oppressed Jews worldwide. The Holocaust may have actually diminished the
amount of persecution that would happen after it!

(Being as shaky on history as I am, I can't really comment on how the
Holocaust affected gypsies, homosexuals, and others who were sent to the
concentration camps.)

: [alternate history] resulting in World War II not happening. You could say

: it was a better place, since the holocaust didn't happen, but it clearly
: shows what peoples attitudes might still be like if the holocaust hadn't
: been there to make people aware of the racist and prejudiced attitudes a
: great many held...

Hm. So the horrors of the holocaust exposed the evils of racism?
Interesting, although you wish there could've been a better way to do it.
Maybe without Hiroshima, the anti-nuclear movement never could have gained
the strength to push disarmament (to the extent that we have disarmed so
far). Who knows if America and Russia might have taken that one extra step
towards a full scale nuclear war, having not seen the horrors of the Bomb?
(And although I'm luckily young enough not to have lived through the bad
parts of the Cold War, I get the impression there were times when we
weren't so far away from it.) This sort of argument offers little solace to
those close to the tragedy, of course, but I think it's fascinating.

The religious among us might even see this as an argument for Why Bad
Things Happen to Good People. Picture God (Jesus, Gaia, whatever) weeping
as s/he slaughters children, knowing it's the only way to allow the human
race to survive. I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it's an interesting
picture.

Certainly the holocaust has been very useful in terms of giving Usenet
debaters a way to end arguments: "creating a Spring IF competition would be
fomenting a new holocaust!" "Oh yeah? Well you're oppressing me by keeping
me from starting a new Comp, you Nazi!"....

: History could be more like one story I read, where it is impossable, or

: nearly, to change history, because of it tending to resist change. One
: could imagine a piece of if, where you go back in time, shoot Hitler
: (or, if you are feeling less bloodthirty, give his parents a condem),
: and then go back to the present to find that a minor architect had risen
: to power, and done almost the same things Hitler had done, whith the
: same resulting present.

I've read lots of scifi, so I've seen these various concepts of time
travel. To pick some bad examples from film instead of literature:
Terminator isn't entirely clear on whether history is changeable, while T2
seems to argue it is. (Um, maybe.) Back to the Future says it definitely
is. 12 Monkeys? Well, if I had understood the movie at all, I might be able
to say. But the answer might be that it's not, assuming the whole thing
wasn't a dream sequence.

But here's the neat thing I never thought of before. The stories of history
resisting change are scifi of course, but maybe there's a kernel of truth
to them! Just look at what you wrote about how the holocaust (let's say
WWII in general) not happening would have left uneased the political and
ethnic tensions of the world at the time. A ball will roll downhill,
although a chance pebble may send it bouncing slightly to the left or right
as it comes down. Maybe wars are the same way: humanity is reacting to
pressures brought about by large-scale developments in demographics,
economics, and cultural evolution, so that WWII may have been inevitable
with or without a Hitler.

Hm.

: Another view of history would be like Ray Bradbury's "Sound of Thunder".

: In your initial scouting mission, you step on a bug accidentally, and go
: back to discover that the present is almost unrecognisable, because of
: the "for lack of a nail" type effect...

For those who haven't read it, this is a great story. Even if you know (or
can predict) the ending, the way it's done is pretty cool.

: A more fun way of looking at history is that you can't go back and

: change history, because anything you do has happened and was a part of
: history already. That would allow for some interesting if, where every
: assassination attempt you do turns out to be something that really
: happened historically, or something that might have happened, but was
: never noticed...

Terminator can be viewed as espousing this opinion, and yes, it could make
neat IF.

: On another note, wouldn't be just as much of a theoretical benefit to

: humanity if you went back in time and stopped the witch burnings and
: trials before they started? Just as many or more people died then. I
: never really understood why that didn't get as much of a place in the
: history books. Perhaps because of the lack of photos?

Huh? The Nazis killed some 12 million people, and that's not including the
number of soldiers and civilians who died in the war, which was by all
accounts a rather big one. I don't think Salem *had* 12 million people.

-Amir

Charybdis

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
> History is a complicated thing. It is quite possible that other people
> would step forward and fill the same roles as those key people.

This is from memory, this is not an entirely accurate quote :

"Shoot the dictator and prevent the war? But the dictator is only the tip
of the iceberg, there'll be another one along in a minute. Shoot him too?
Why not shoot everyone and invade Poland?"
- Terry Pratchett.

- Richard

Gene Wirchenko

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:

>In article <84vj0f$s8e$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, edr...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
>Working against Black is the
>>realization that all history, good and bad, is an essential piece of
>>who we are, and we change it at the peril of destroying our own
>>identity.
>>
>
>I'd have to agree with this. (The fact that I agree with this view is
>not intended to indicate that the following thoughts follow from it,
>neccessarily, it just seemed like a good place for my own ideas on the
>subject...)
>
>Part of the problem I have with a game where the object is to prevent
>the holocaust is that the idea that killing hitler, or several key
>people, would stop the holocaust, and indeed, the implied statement that
>stopping the holocaust would result in a better world. (My apologies if
>I got the details wrong. I don't have the original article around...)

One of the Command & Conquer games started with the premise of
Hitler being killed as a young man. There ended up being a world war
with Russia.

Another possibility of Hitler being killed might have been simply
that another brownshirt would've run Nazi Germany. It's not as if
Hitler was the only one with his views.

[snip]

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko

Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.

Ross Presser

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
alt.distingu...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu.wrote.posted.offered:

>Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:
>: A more fun way of looking at history is that you can't go back and
>: change history, because anything you do has happened and was a
>: part of history already. That would allow for some interesting if,
>: where every assassination attempt you do turns out to be something
>: that really happened historically, or something that might have
>: happened, but was never noticed...
>
>Terminator can be viewed as espousing this opinion, and yes, it
>could make neat IF.

Larry Niven wrote an essay about time travel, I think back in the 70s
or maybe the 60s. He described this view of time travel as "fatalism"
-- whatever happens happens, no changes are possible.

Mr. Niven's theorem: If the universe permits time machines and the
changing of the past, then a time machine will not be invented in that
universe.

Proof: If a time machine is invented, someone will "eventually" use a
time machine to change the past. If the past is changed, "eventually"
it will be changed in such a way that the time machine was never
nvented. "Once" that state of affairs is reached, the past will never
be changed, and no time machine will ever be invented.


--
Ross Presser
ross_p...@imtek.com
"And if you're the kind of person who parties with a bathtub full of
pasta, I suspect you don't care much about cholesterol anyway."

Torbjörn Andersson

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
Graham Nelson <gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> My strongest
> feeling, in particular, was that to have any form of Holocaust
> simulation which had a winning line -- however difficult a winning
> line -- would be disrespectful, implying somehow that if only the
> victims of Auschwitz had been more resourceful, more clever,
> etc., they might have escaped.

This reminds me of one aspect of Trinity that I had all but forgotten.

[Trinity spoiler space]


At least as far as I can remember there is no scenario where you
actually manage to prevent a nuclear blast. The best you could ever
hope for was to do whatever you had to, and then get the hell out
before the blast. And even that wouldn't be possible without those
magic white doors. I wonder if Brian Moriarty had similar reasons.

Torbjörn

L. Ross Raszewski

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
In article <852d5j$9jq$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>, kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
>Yes, this is pretty off-topic.
>
>

...>


>The religious among us might even see this as an argument for Why Bad
>Things Happen to Good People. Picture God (Jesus, Gaia, whatever) weeping
>as s/he slaughters children, knowing it's the only way to allow the human
>race to survive. I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it's an interesting
>picture.
>
>Certainly the holocaust has been very useful in terms of giving Usenet
>debaters a way to end arguments: "creating a Spring IF competition would be
>fomenting a new holocaust!" "Oh yeah? Well you're oppressing me by keeping
>me from starting a new Comp, you Nazi!"....
>

>I've read lots of scifi, so I've seen these various concepts of time
>travel. To pick some bad examples from film instead of literature:
>Terminator isn't entirely clear on whether history is changeable, while T2
>seems to argue it is. (Um, maybe.) Back to the Future says it definitely
>is. 12 Monkeys? Well, if I had understood the movie at all, I might be able
>to say. But the answer might be that it's not, assuming the whole thing
>wasn't a dream sequence.
>
>But here's the neat thing I never thought of before. The stories of history
>resisting change are scifi of course, but maybe there's a kernel of truth
>to them! Just look at what you wrote about how the holocaust (let's say
>WWII in general) not happening would have left uneased the political and
>ethnic tensions of the world at the time. A ball will roll downhill,
>although a chance pebble may send it bouncing slightly to the left or right
>as it comes down. Maybe wars are the same way: humanity is reacting to
>pressures brought about by large-scale developments in demographics,
>economics, and cultural evolution, so that WWII may have been inevitable
>with or without a Hitler.
>

Well, I think what we're getting at here is that you can't predict
accurately what long-term effects will spring from altering history.
Of course, you can't predict what long term effects would spring from
actions inthe present either.

If you want to argue that "Out of all their great evil there must coem
some good" (Genesis of the Daleks), then the argument becomes moot
either way: if you want ot say that there were some long-term positive
effects of WWII, then there would also be long-term good effects of a
not-wwii. Since "better" and "worse" are fairly subjective (and
"subjective" is a term I don't like using since it only makes sense in
a universe with objective truth), the question is not whether the
resulting universe has been damaged by your tampering, but whether you
are happy with what you've done. If you percieve that thee universe
as it stands isn't good enough, you have two options: change the
universe, or change yourself. Taking yourself to be not directly
mutable (I'm not sure you're allowed to use that root like that, but
hwat the hey.), you have to decide (given time travel) whether to
change the present, or change the past. THe real difference isn't one
of how much your actions change things (if stepping on a bug in
prehistoric times causes the world to be vastly different 65 million
years later, then stepping on a bug today will cause the world of 65
million years from now to be vastly different -- sort of adds quite a
weight to every decision you make); the difference is how much of
theeffects of your actions you _personally_ have to live with. In
this case, changing the past makes thngs different for YOU -- you're
the one who has to live with the effects of your actions, and THAT's
the thing that the Time-Traveling Hero has to deal with. But isn't
that why he got involved in the first place?

ObJigsaw: Viewed this way, Black's actions seem quite noble; he wants
to build a better world for _HIMSELF_, and is willing to face the
consequences of his actions. THe problem in Jigsaw is that black's
characterization isn't consistant; There's no method apparant in his
madness. He seems to have acknowledged that history is somethign of a
roll of the dice, and he's just going to randomly fiddle with history
in the hope thatthey come up sixes.

--
L. Ross Raszewski
Loyola College in Maryland
x4174

"I keep it close to me, like a holy man prays. In my desperate hour, it's
better, better that way." -- Melissa Etheridge

Michael Brazier

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
to
"Torbjörn Andersson" wrote:
>
> This reminds me of one aspect of Trinity that I had all but forgotten.
>
> [Trinity spoiler space]



> At least as far as I can remember there is no scenario where you
> actually manage to prevent a nuclear blast. The best you could ever
> hope for was to do whatever you had to, and then get the hell out
> before the blast. And even that wouldn't be possible without those
> magic white doors. I wonder if Brian Moriarty had similar reasons.

Actually, given Trinity's worldbuilding, there can't possibly be a
scenario where you manage to prevent a nuclear blast. The magic white
doors are created by the nuclear blasts -- in fact, your basic goal in
the endgame is ensuring that most of the energy released by a nuclear
bomb is used up opening a magic door. Thus if you _did_ stop one of the
game's blasts, the door that let you reach the bomb would never have
existed, which would make it impossible to stop the blast. For the same
reason, the door at the Trinity site is one-way before you've solved the
puzzles in that region. If you could leave prematurely, nuclear bombs
would work differently, none of the magic doors would have ever existed,
and everything you'd done in the game would vanish into a temporal
paradox.

Why Brian Moriarty chose to build Trinity's world that way is, of
course, another question.

--
Michael Brazier But what are all these vanities to me
Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
X^2 + 7X + 53 = 11/3
-- Lewis Carroll

Arcum Dagsson

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Jan 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/6/00
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In article <852d5j$9jq$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>,
kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:

>Yes, this is pretty off-topic.
>
>Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:
>
>: History is a complicated thing. It is quite possible that other people
>: would step forward and fill the same roles as those key people.
>: Alternatively, perhaps the war *would* be stopped, but the tensions that
>: caused it would still be there, resulting in a war later down the road,
>: when all the concerned parties had nuclear missiles.
>
>[disclaimer: IANA history teacher, in fact it was my least favorite topic
>in school, probably because we didn't discuss things like this.]
>
>Very interesting point. What would the effects have been on the spread of
>communism, for example? Or how about Europe, where America and Britain
>kind
>of got to dictate Western Europe's move to Democracy because so much of it
>was wiped out. Or how about in America? I think it's generally agreed that
>WW II boosted our economy tremendously. Plus made huge strides for women,
>because so many of them went to work. Plus the GI Bill led to a
>renaissance
>in higher education, which led to things like the space program and the
>Internet, to name a couple.

Exactly. Naturally there might have been advances in other areas, but
getting through that era without bombing ourselves to oblivion this time
around. Do we really want to reroll? (the phrase: "God does not play
dice with the universe" keeps running through my head here, for some
reason...)


>
>I'm the last person to say the Holocaust was a good thing, as some tens of
>my grandparents' close relatives were killed during it. Nonetheless, I've
>heard folks say that Israel might never have come to exist without the
>Holocaust. It created three major incentives for Israel. (1) Millions of
>refugees willing to leave their homelands to start fresh in a desert,
>where
>everyone was poor and many of the neighbors hated you. (My grandparents
>left Berlin in '33, got to Palestine in '35, but probably wouldn't have
>bothered had it not been for the Nazis.) (2) An increased commitment from
>Jews worldwide to work for the foundation of a Jewish state, to prevent
>something like the Holocaust from happening again. (3) Perhaps a greater
>amount of sympathy from the rest of the world for Jews' wishes to have a
>state.

I didn't have direct relatives that I know of involved, but my family
roots *can* be traced back to the Gypsies, and with brown eyes and black
hair, combined with that family ancestry (mind you, that's tracing past
the more recent ancestry, which would be Texan, or in my case,
Californian...), I would not likely do well in a Nazi run world. (With
my attitudes, I doubt I'd do well there even if I had blue eyes, and
blond hair...)


>
>So in some respect, the Holocaust---the worst ever massacre of Jews---led
>to the formation of Israel, which has since then served as a haven for
>oppressed Jews worldwide. The Holocaust may have actually diminished the
>amount of persecution that would happen after it!
>
>(Being as shaky on history as I am, I can't really comment on how the
>Holocaust affected gypsies, homosexuals, and others who were sent to the
>concentration camps.)
>
>: [alternate history] resulting in World War II not happening. You could
>: say
>: it was a better place, since the holocaust didn't happen, but it clearly
>: shows what peoples attitudes might still be like if the holocaust hadn't
>: been there to make people aware of the racist and prejudiced attitudes a
>: great many held...
>
>Hm. So the horrors of the holocaust exposed the evils of racism?
>Interesting, although you wish there could've been a better way to do it.
>Maybe without Hiroshima, the anti-nuclear movement never could have gained
>the strength to push disarmament (to the extent that we have disarmed so
>far). Who knows if America and Russia might have taken that one extra step
>towards a full scale nuclear war, having not seen the horrors of the Bomb?
>(And although I'm luckily young enough not to have lived through the bad
>parts of the Cold War, I get the impression there were times when we
>weren't so far away from it.) This sort of argument offers little solace
>to
>those close to the tragedy, of course, but I think it's fascinating.

So do I. I really do recommend reading the story I referred to, BTW.
It's based on the premise that Hoover got reelected for a second term,
because of a third party splitting opposing votes. It is either in the
"Alternate Presidents" anthology, or, alternatively(and more
interestingly), a collection of Lawerence Watt-Evens short stories,
"Crosstime Traffic"...


>
>The religious among us might even see this as an argument for Why Bad
>Things Happen to Good People. Picture God (Jesus, Gaia, whatever) weeping
>as s/he slaughters children, knowing it's the only way to allow the human
>race to survive. I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it's an interesting
>picture.

On that angle, try imagining a world with good. Only good. No evil at
all. It is quite hard. Frankly, I would argue that without evil, good is
not possible, as good comes from observing and rejecting evil (depending
on what my philosophy of the day was, of course).

Kind of reminds me of Hari Seldon, and the Foundation novels, with his
ability to calculate the probability of a war by factoring all such
trends, actually...


>
>: Another view of history would be like Ray Bradbury's "Sound of Thunder".
>: In your initial scouting mission, you step on a bug accidentally, and go
>: back to discover that the present is almost unrecognisable, because of
>: the "for lack of a nail" type effect...
>
>For those who haven't read it, this is a great story. Even if you know (or
>can predict) the ending, the way it's done is pretty cool.

Agreed...


>
>: A more fun way of looking at history is that you can't go back and
>: change history, because anything you do has happened and was a part of
>: history already. That would allow for some interesting if, where every
>: assassination attempt you do turns out to be something that really
>: happened historically, or something that might have happened, but was
>: never noticed...
>
>Terminator can be viewed as espousing this opinion, and yes, it could make
>neat IF.
>
>: On another note, wouldn't be just as much of a theoretical benefit to
>: humanity if you went back in time and stopped the witch burnings and
>: trials before they started? Just as many or more people died then. I
>: never really understood why that didn't get as much of a place in the
>: history books. Perhaps because of the lack of photos?
>
>Huh? The Nazis killed some 12 million people, and that's not including the
>number of soldiers and civilians who died in the war, which was by all
>accounts a rather big one. I don't think Salem *had* 12 million people.
>

Perhaps not Salem, but there were witch trials before Salem. Witch
trials went on all over Europe, and they went on for a long time. There
is no telling how many midwifes, herbalists, and other innocents died,
but it would be reasonable to estimate holocaust levels. I don't really
have the data on me to argue it offhand, but there was an excellent PBS
special called "The Burning Times" that gives a lot of information on
this era of history...

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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In article <852d5j$9jq$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>,
kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
> Yes, this is pretty off-topic.

The discussion could spark some good IF, if you like that time-travel
sort of thing. :-)


> [disclaimer: IANA history teacher, in fact it was my least favorite
topic
> in school, probably because we didn't discuss things like this.]


Noted.

[snippage]


> was wiped out. Or how about in America? I think it's generally agreed
that
> WW II boosted our economy tremendously.

I think that's a common view, but not necessarily an accurate one.

> I'm the last person to say the Holocaust was a good thing, as some
tens of
> my grandparents' close relatives were killed during it. Nonetheless,
I've
> heard folks say that Israel might never have come to exist without the
> Holocaust.

Which begs the question of whether *Israel* has been a good thing.

> So in some respect, the Holocaust---the worst ever massacre of
Jews---led
> to the formation of Israel,

Well, you've said you're not a history teacher, but: are you sure?
Remember that Stalin killed more people overall than Hitler. (And Mao
killed more than both combined.)

> (Being as shaky on history as I am, I can't really comment on how the
> Holocaust affected gypsies, homosexuals, and others who were sent to
the
> concentration camps.)

Here's an interesting question: How much of Hollywood's Golden Age was a
result of the Holocaust? Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, etc.

Skip the Penguin

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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In article <Arcum_Dagsson-52E...@news.bcandid.deja.com>,
Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:
>(snippidysnippidysnip)

> History could be more like one story I read, where it is impossable,
or
> nearly, to change history, because of it tending to resist change. One
> could imagine a piece of if, where you go back in time, shoot Hitler
> (or, if you are feeling less bloodthirty, give his parents a condem),
> and then go back to the present to find that a minor architect had
risen
> to power, and done almost the same things Hitler had done, whith the
> same resulting present.
Interesting idea. I had the same one. I'm using said idea in a game I'm
working on.

>
> Another view of history would be like Ray Bradbury's "Sound of
Thunder".
> In your initial scouting mission, you step on a bug accidentally, and
go
> back to discover that the present is almost unrecognisable, because of
> the "for lack of a nail" type effect...
Chaos theory? I don't buy it. Quantum events in the fourth dimension
would've wiped us out.

>
> A more fun way of looking at history is that you can't go back and
> change history, because anything you do has happened and was a part of
> history already. That would allow for some interesting if, where every
> assassination attempt you do turns out to be something that really
> happened historically, or something that might have happened, but was
> never noticed...
And there is potential for closed paradoxes here... fun things!

> On another note, wouldn't be just as much of a theoretical benefit to
> humanity if you went back in time and stopped the witch burnings and
> trials before they started? Just as many or more people died then. I
> never really understood why that didn't get as much of a place in the
> history books. Perhaps because of the lack of photos?

At one time, I had a game in the early planning stages about this, and
also the Holocaust, and Tianammen Square. (sp?) Interestingly enough, it
took the view that you couldn't change anything. Anything you did would
be countered by someone else, usually unconciously. Like Black must be
thinking about us.

R. Alan Monroe

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
to
>of how much your actions change things (if stepping on a bug in
>prehistoric times causes the world to be vastly different 65 million
>years later, then stepping on a bug today will cause the world of 65
>million years from now to be vastly different -- sort of adds quite a

An episode of the Simpsons had great fun with this very example.
VERY funny!!

Have fun
Alan

Skip the Penguin

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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In article <Arcum_Dagsson-708...@news.bcandid.deja.com>,
Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:

(snipp)


> >picture.
> On that angle, try imagining a world with good. Only good. No evil at
> all. It is quite hard. Frankly, I would argue that without evil, good is
> not possible, as good comes from observing and rejecting evil (depending
> on what my philosophy of the day was, of course).

Alternatively, (as expressed by Christianity), evil comes from observing
and rejecting good.

--
In the middle of the faithless sky there hangs a small, dark world
that once was green and blue. Some say it killed itself by stabbing all
its lovely lands with deep atomic wounds. Some say it took an overdose
of hate. - Calvin Miller, The Singer Trilogy

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:
: In article <852d5j$9jq$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>,
: kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:

: On that angle, try imagining a world with good. Only good. No evil at

: all. It is quite hard. Frankly, I would argue that without evil, good is
: not possible, as good comes from observing and rejecting evil (depending
: on what my philosophy of the day was, of course).

Yeah! Just like Satan says in that South Park movie!

I'm not a big fan of this argument for why evil has to be in the world.
Couldn't we have a world with just *little* evils?

Luckily, it's unlikely that (without divine intervention) we'll be in an
all-good world any time soon, so we won't have to worry about this problem.

:> [lots of people died in the witch trials too]
:>Huh? The Nazis killed some 12 million people, and that's not including the


:>number of soldiers and civilians who died in the war, which was by all
:>accounts a rather big one. I don't think Salem *had* 12 million people.
:>
: Perhaps not Salem, but there were witch trials before Salem. Witch
: trials went on all over Europe, and they went on for a long time. There
: is no telling how many midwifes, herbalists, and other innocents died,
: but it would be reasonable to estimate holocaust levels. I don't really
: have the data on me to argue it offhand, but there was an excellent PBS
: special called "The Burning Times" that gives a lot of information on
: this era of history...

I'm still skeptical. Let's say witch trials went on for five hundred years.
You'd still need 24000 witches being killed every year. There can't have
been more than a couple thousand towns of any major size in Europe (they
didn't have witch trials in China, I assume) during that time. Are you
telling me there were 20 people killed in every small town in Europe each
year?

It's kind of silly to argue this. A massacre of 1 million people is still
pretty darn bad.

-Amir

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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L. Ross Raszewski <lras...@lucy.cs.loyola.edu> wrote:
: In article <852d5j$9jq$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>, kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
: (if stepping on a bug in

: prehistoric times causes the world to be vastly different 65 million
: years later, then stepping on a bug today will cause the world of 65
: million years from now to be vastly different -- sort of adds quite a
: weight to every decision you make); the difference is how much of

: theeffects of your actions you _personally_ have to live with.

Wow. That's pretty serious! Of course, we have no idea *how* it will
affect things in 65 million years, so maybe on the contrary we shouldn't
bother thinking about the consequences of our actions at all! If I go out
on the street and shoot someone at random, maybe just maybe their
1000-times grandson would have been a mass murderer.

Weird.

-Amir

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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Gene Wirchenko <ge...@shuswap.net> wrote:
: Arcum Dagsson <Arcum_...@hushmail.c.o.m> wrote:

: Another possibility of Hitler being killed might have been simply


: that another brownshirt would've run Nazi Germany. It's not as if
: Hitler was the only one with his views.

Right. But the counterargument to these ideas is that individuals *do* make
a difference. Lots and lots of people hated Jews (et al.) in Europe, but a
specific and small group of people came up with the idea of building gas
chambers and sending Jews to them. And it may have taken someone with
Hitler's exact combination of insanity, intelligence, and charisma to unite
a large portion of Europe in the genocidal campaign.

The countercounterargument is that history creates personalities, so that
even if Hitler hadn't done it, the history of the time would have led to a
certain culture, which would eventually have led to someone as much like
Hitler as to make no difference.

I don't know if we'll ever know which of these is correct (if not both).
It's hard to do controlled experiments in History, especially without a
time machine.

-Amir

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

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Jan 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/7/00
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okbl...@my-deja.com wrote:

: [snippage]
:> was wiped out. Or how about in America? I think it's generally agreed


: that
:> WW II boosted our economy tremendously.

: I think that's a common view, but not necessarily an accurate one.

Like I said, I'm not a historian.

: Which begs the question of whether *Israel* has been a good thing.

Urg. My previous post was OT enough; let's not get into politics!

That said, I'm Jewish, and I suspect that the vast majority of Jews agree
that Israel---while doing their fair share of Bad Things---has been a good
thing for Jews. (Or did you mean Good like morally good or something? Too
complicated.) In terms of giving refugees a place to go, serving as a voice
in the UN against violations of Jews' human rights in various countries,
etc.

The vast majority of Palestinians probably think it was a bad thing (or
even a Bad Thing). No surprise given that both groups have a really long
history of being on the land (and disliking the other group on that land!)
& hence want it for their own.

Anyway, I was giving my own personal experience, in talking about how the
Holocaust, a bad thing in my eyes, led to Israel, which is a good thing in
my eyes.

:> So in some respect, the Holocaust---the worst ever massacre of


: Jews---led
:> to the formation of Israel,

: Well, you've said you're not a history teacher, but: are you sure?


: Remember that Stalin killed more people overall than Hitler. (And Mao
: killed more than both combined.)

I said "massacre of Jews," not "massacre of people". I guarantee that Mao
didn't kill more Jews, because there were maybe a few thousand in the
country. And I'm pretty sure Stalin didn't; there were plenty of Jews there
but I don't think 6E6. I could be wrong, but even if there were more, I
doubt 6E6 were killed.

Stalin's massacres would've been a bad example of this because, as far as I
know, they didn't lead to very much at all, except a lot of people being
dead, and the continuation of the oppressive Communist regime.

: Here's an interesting question: How much of Hollywood's Golden Age was a


: result of the Holocaust? Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, etc.

I know even less about Hollywood's Golden Age than I do about the
Holocaust. (For example, when it was, and what happened during it.)

-Amir

okbl...@my-deja.com

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
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In article <8557ji$km4$4...@news.ycc.yale.edu>,

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
>
> Urg. My previous post was OT enough; let's not get into politics!

LOL. It was meant rhetorically. You're citing examples of Good Things
that came out of the Holocaust, and I'm simply pointing out that any
such things are debatable.

What if the creation of Israel led to the utter hatred of the Western
World by Arab nations, ultimately resulting in a series of terrorist
attacks which not only killed millions but held the whole world in a
grip of fear?

> That said, I'm Jewish, and I suspect that the vast majority of Jews
agree
> that Israel---while doing their fair share of Bad Things---has been a
good
> thing for Jews. (Or did you mean Good like morally good or something?
Too
> complicated.)

Jews make up a very small percentage of the population. (Part of their
historical problem, I suppose.)

> Anyway, I was giving my own personal experience, in talking about how
the
> Holocaust, a bad thing in my eyes, led to Israel, which is a good
thing in
> my eyes.

Indeed. And, after a while, one begins to realize that respect for the
integrity of time *does* have its merits. ;-)

> : Well, you've said you're not a history teacher, but: are you sure?
> : Remember that Stalin killed more people overall than Hitler. (And
Mao
> : killed more than both combined.)
>
> I said "massacre of Jews," not "massacre of people". I guarantee that
Mao
> didn't kill more Jews, because there were maybe a few thousand in the
> country. And I'm pretty sure Stalin didn't; there were plenty of Jews
there
> but I don't think 6E6. I could be wrong, but even if there were more,
I
> doubt 6E6 were killed.

I don't know either. It doesn't seem impossible. But then, I know a
lot of Russian Jews and Polish Jews and Jews from other eastern European
nations (or their children). Since the persecution of the Jews in
Russia and the Soviet Union started long before Stalin and continued
long after death, one is tempted to call into question the whole premise
of it "raising awareness" (though it surely did in some places).

> Stalin's massacres would've been a bad example of this because, as far
as I
> know, they didn't lead to very much at all, except a lot of people
being
> dead, and the continuation of the oppressive Communist regime.

Yup. I think Mao is credited with 40 million deaths, and as far as I
know, it has led to nothing.

Then again, I don't know if the fallout from the Holocaust was
especially beneficial, either. Anti-semitism gained a new, socially
charged name, but the tactics of religious prejudice go unchanged, and
non-Jews continue to be persecuted (and Jews for that matter).

It's like racism against blacks in America. It still exists, only the
most overt acts are well-hidden, while mainstream society bubbles over
with prejudcies which are only less obvious because the "N" word wasn't
used.

But I digress. ;-)
--
[ok]

TenthStone

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
to

Well, actually, a decent estimate of the witch-burning population of
Europe in 1700 would be, maybe, 50-60 million people. 12 million
people would be the entire population of all the Italian states.

England executed maybe a thousand witches from 1550 to 1750,
significantly less than a tenth of a percent of its overall
population.

Yes, witch-hunting was horrific; in truth, it's more meaningful to me
than the Holocaust can ever be, since that atrocity was almost pure
racism whereas witch-hunting was in large part a persecution of
nonconformists. Still, the scale of the matter is incomparable to
Hitler's Final Solution.

----------------
The Imperturbable TenthStone
mcc...@erols.com tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

Steven Jones

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
to
The show 'Seven Days' also played with this idea. In the pilot, Frank
knows the results of a basketball game. He goes back one week and bets
on the game. Due to the 'ripple effect' you were talking about, the
outcome of the game is different the second time around.


John W. Kennedy

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Jan 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/8/00
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kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
> I'm still skeptical. Let's say witch trials went on for five hundred years.

Nowhere near that, at least on any meaningful scale. The golden age of
witch trials in England pretty much corresponds to the Renaissance.
(Salem was a brief and isolated incident, fully a hundred years behind
the times.) Now, if you want the scope of the very first witch-trial
ever in history to the very last, that story runs for thousands of
years, from the bronze age (probably the stone age) to today.

By the way, not one person was ever burned for witchcraft under English
law.

And the stuff about them all being "innocent herbalists and midwives"
persecuted by barbarous, unscientific neighbors is new-age crap. Some
utter innocents were punished because someone wanted their land, or for
any of the other reasons that judicial murders are committed, but most
were "guilty" at least of being unpopular, ugly, or insane, and some few
do seem to have genuinely believed themselves to be trafficking with
"spirits". (Not that I would support the death penalty or any other
judicial sanction against most of them -- I make the qualification
because a few convicted of witchcraft were certainly guilty of
poisonings -- but someone needs to speak up for the facts.)

--
-John W. Kennedy
-rri...@ibm.net
Compact is becoming contract
Man only earns and pays. -- Charles Williams

kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu

unread,
Jan 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/9/00
to
John W. Kennedy <jwke...@bellatlantic.net> wrote:
> kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
>> I'm still skeptical. Let's say witch trials went on for five hundred years.

[a cogent, brief discussion of witch huntage]

> And the stuff about them all being "innocent herbalists and midwives"
> persecuted by barbarous, unscientific neighbors is new-age crap.

[I can't snip out a sentence that juxtaposes new-age and crap :) Actually,
I don't have much problem with new-age as long as it isn't new-age *music*]

[Some more rational discussion.]

> but someone needs to speak up for the facts.

I'm sorry, but you're obviously lost. This is Usenet...

-Amir

Adam J. Thornton

unread,
Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
In article <387525AB...@argusinc.com>,

Michael Brazier <mbra...@argusinc.spamaway.com> wrote:
>Why Brian Moriarty chose to build Trinity's world that way is, of
>course, another question.

I asked him that question.

In essence, the answer was, it was 1986, Reagan and Thatcher were in power,
and it looked certain that the world was going to end with a bang rather
than a whimper. The happy ending isn't, and all the rest are worse. It's
a really, really bleak game, when you get right down to it.

Adam
--
ad...@princeton.edu
"My eyes say their prayers to her / Sailors ring her bell / Like a moth
mistakes a light bulb / For the moon and goes to hell." -- Tom Waits

Arcum Dagsson

unread,
Jan 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/10/00
to
In article <85ag1v$sju$1...@news.ycc.yale.edu>,
kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:

>John W. Kennedy <jwke...@bellatlantic.net> wrote:
>> kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu wrote:
>>> I'm still skeptical. Let's say witch trials went on for five hundred
>>> years.
>
>[a cogent, brief discussion of witch huntage]
>
>> And the stuff about them all being "innocent herbalists and midwives"
>> persecuted by barbarous, unscientific neighbors is new-age crap.
>
>[I can't snip out a sentence that juxtaposes new-age and crap :) Actually,
>I don't have much problem with new-age as long as it isn't new-age
>*music*]

Well, new-age is mixed. Some of new age stuff is blatently people trying
to rip off other, more gullable people, by trying to to pawn off hokey
religious junk. Then, some is a resurgance of religious beliefs, in
heavily modified format, that are very old.

And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the Christians
of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of chidbirth was god's
punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was against
god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft. Where the herbalist
bit comes in is that they didn't have asprin in those days, so instead
they'd use herbs for the same effect (ie: willow bark tea. Before
refuting this, look up where asprin was extracted from...)

And, yes, human nature being what it is, everyone with a grudge against
someone else accused them of witchcraft, and events escalated. Also, I
wouldn't exactly call the Christians of the time barbarous, unscientific
neighbors, any more then the Germans of Hitlers time. They were just
people who tended to go with public opinion, and get all excited about
new ideas, like cutting off bits of the anatomy and burning people
alive, without thinking them through. In short, they were just like
people anywhere...


>
>[Some more rational discussion.]
>
>> but someone needs to speak up for the facts.
>
>I'm sorry, but you're obviously lost. This is Usenet...
>

Also, fact? We are talking history, and in any historical discussion,
the further back in history we go, the less fact and the more
speculation things become, because of how documents deteriorate over
time, and a multitude of other factors...

Marnie Parker

unread,
Jan 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/11/00
to
>Subject: [OT] changing history, (was Re: Player freedom vs. Author freedom)
>From: kar...@fermi2.chem.yale.edu
>Date: Thu, 06 January 2000 10:42 AM EST

>Huh? The Nazis killed some 12 million people, and that's not including the
>number of soldiers and civilians who died in the war, which was by all
>accounts a rather big one. I don't think Salem *had* 12 million people.
>
>-Amir
>
>

I'm not a history buff, but I do know thousands of people were killed in Europe
in witch hunts/witch burnings well before the days of the Salem witch trails. I
have heard that some place the figure much higher, if you count all the
inquistions.

Doe


doea...@aol.com ------------------------------------------------
Inform Tips - http://members.aol.com/doepage/infotips.htm
IF Art Gallery - http://members.aol.com/iffyart/gallery.htm
IF Review Conspiracy - http://www.textfire.com/ifreview.html


Fraser

unread,
Jan 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/11/00
to
paene lacrimavi postquam okbl...@my-deja.com scripsit:

>I have to say I'm not comfortable with that for this reason: You had an
>idea, you implemented it, but the reader (this particular reader) is
>upset (and casting aspersions in your general direction) because you
>didn't implement a *different idea*.

I think the upset was because Black didn't have a good motivation
for the changes in history that were being made. White had a
motivation for preventing the changes ("History is sacrosanct"),
but the alterations that Black made seemed random -- the examples
of stopping WWI and killing Titanic survivors were used to
illustrate.

Fraser.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jan 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/13/00
to
Arcum Dagsson wrote:

> And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the Christians
> of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of chidbirth was god's
> punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was against
> god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft.

Show it to me in the historic record. So far, I've never seen this kind
of claim justified; it's always turned out to be unhistorical,
20th-century anti-Christian propaganda.

zomb...@my-deja.com

unread,
Jan 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/14/00
to
In article <387D45A4...@bellatlantic.net>,

jwke...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
> Arcum Dagsson wrote:
>
> > And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the
Christians
> > of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of chidbirth was god's
> > punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was
against
> > god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft.
>
> Show it to me in the historic record. So far, I've never seen this
kind
> of claim justified; it's always turned out to be unhistorical,
> 20th-century anti-Christian propaganda.
>
> --
You mean like the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials,
the War in Ireland, that old blond with all the makeup on Trinity
Chanel, and other fictions of 20th century Anti-Christian Propaganda?

Stuart Moore

unread,
Jan 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/14/00
to
In article <85mp57$gk7$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

Why are you deigning this fundamentalist moron with a reply? He's in
denial that the Christian death-cult has caused millions of deaths,
started countless wars, held back progress and stunted social
development. Ignore him.

Bye,

--
Stuart Moore.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jan 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/14/00
to
zomb...@my-deja.com wrote:
>
> In article <387D45A4...@bellatlantic.net>,
> jwke...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
> > Arcum Dagsson wrote:
> >
> > > And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the
> Christians
> > > of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of chidbirth was god's
> > > punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was
> against
> > > god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft.
> >
> > Show it to me in the historic record. So far, I've never seen this
> kind
> > of claim justified; it's always turned out to be unhistorical,
> > 20th-century anti-Christian propaganda.
> >
> > --
> You mean like the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials,
> the War in Ireland, that old blond with all the makeup on Trinity
> Chanel, and other fictions of 20th century Anti-Christian Propaganda?

In other words, you have no rational contribution to make to the
discussion, so you're just going to stand there and scream, "Christians
are evil!"

Thank you very much. Don't call us, we'll call you. NEXT!

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jan 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/14/00
to
Stuart Moore wrote:
>
> In article <85mp57$gk7$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

> zomb...@my-deja.com wrote:
> > In article <387D45A4...@bellatlantic.net>,
> > jwke...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
> > > Arcum Dagsson wrote:
> > >
> > > > And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the
> > Christians
> > > > of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of chidbirth was god's
> > > > punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was
> > against
> > > > god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft.
> > >
> > > Show it to me in the historic record. So far, I've never seen this
> > kind
> > > of claim justified; it's always turned out to be unhistorical,
> > > 20th-century anti-Christian propaganda.
> > >
> > > --
> > You mean like the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials,
> > the War in Ireland, that old blond with all the makeup on Trinity
> > Chanel, and other fictions of 20th century Anti-Christian Propaganda?
>
> Why are you deigning this fundamentalist moron with a reply? He's in
> denial that the Christian death-cult has caused millions of deaths,
> started countless wars, held back progress and stunted social
> development. Ignore him.

I am neither a fundamentalist nor a moron, nor have I denied that much
evil has been done in the name of Christ. You, on the other hand, are
manifestly a propagandized bigot whose knowledge of history could be
written on two sides of a single 8.5" X 11" sheet.

And I still don't see an answer to my challenge.

Arcum Dagsson

unread,
Jan 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/14/00
to

>Arcum Dagsson wrote:
>
>> And, as far as midwives and herblists, one of the beliefs the Christians

>> of the time had, IIRC, was that the pain of childbirth was god's


>> punishment to women, and that any attempt to ease that pain was against
>> god's will, therefore evil, and as such, witchcraft.
>
>Show it to me in the historic record. So far, I've never seen this kind
>of claim justified; it's always turned out to be unhistorical,
>20th-century anti-Christian propaganda.

Exactly what "historic record" did you have in mind, that you'd consider
acceptable?

School textbooks tend to show a lot of bias, often gloss over things,
and I don't have any on me, so I'll skip that source.

I've already mentioned the PBS documentary, "The Burning Times". I'll
also point you towards a book, "The Chalice and the Blade", by Riane
Eisler, that covers similar topics.

As far as web pages, they aren't really authoritive, but a casual search
of the internet will show up many sites on the matter.

As far as the argument I was mentioning, it would be based on Genesis
3:16:

"To the woman, he said.

'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.'"

There are more places with related info, but I don't really feel like
pulling out a lot of sources right now. Those, and sources they mention
pulling from, ought to be sufficiant. Any really good textbook about
that age should have plenty of information on the witch trials,
inquisition, etc...

Also, by bringing up the mass burning of people accused of being
witches, I'm not trying to point a finger at Chistians as being nasty
people, any more then the atrocities of World War II meaning that
Germans are nasty people, or the virtual wiping out of the American
Indians meaning that Americans are bad.

As far as never having seen this sort of claim justified, have you ever
researched it with an open mind, trying to find out if there was any
evidence either way? The tone of your reply, and some of your other
posts suggests that you will simply ignore, twist, or attempt to
discredit any info I give, but just in case you are actually
interested...

--
--Arcum Dagsson
"Hey! No fair! Why is my whole life situated in a couple of rude words?"
-lessie-

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jan 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/16/00
to
Arcum Dagsson wrote:

> Exactly what "historic record" did you have in mind, that you'd consider
> acceptable?

Real records from the period in question. What the bloody hell do you
think "historic record" means?

It doesn't mean some damfool talking head in a TV show (and no, being
PBS doesn't make it acceptable; at least one PBS "documentary" on the
so-called "Shakespeare authorship question" knowingly presented forged
evidence). It doesn't mean paperback novels. It doesn't mean
extrapolations that because the Bible says so-and-so, someone might have
reasoned such-and-such.

It doesn't mean mixing up witch trials and heresy trials, which have
nothing to do with each other. It doesn't mean vague generalization
from 20th-century writers.

The historic record means the historic record. It means finding a
specific case in which some specific midwife was convicted of being a
witch on the specific grounds of using willow bark (or any other
analgesic) in easing the pains of childbirth. Even a general statement
to that effect would be something, so long as it was contemporary.

(God! If Dorothy L. Sayers were to return today, and learn what has
happened to feminism in our times, she would choke on her own vomit.)

Arcum Dagsson

unread,
Jan 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/16/00
to
In article <38810FFF...@bellatlantic.net>,
jwke...@bellatlantic.net wrote:

>Arcum Dagsson wrote:
>
>> Exactly what "historic record" did you have in mind, that you'd consider
>> acceptable?
>
>Real records from the period in question. What the bloody hell do you
>think "historic record" means?
>

I hate to dissappoint you, but I don't go delving into college library
archives, or more obscure places, in response to demands that I prove
something on usenet. I am not a history professor, and as such, am far
more likely to get my information from the writings of people who are
still alive.

BTW, do you have historical records for the trial and execution of
Jesus? Birth records? Joeseph or Mary's signature on the inn's sign in
book? Just curious, since you seem to be into researching everything so
thoroughly...

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jan 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/17/00
to
Arcum Dagsson wrote:
>
> In article <38810FFF...@bellatlantic.net>,
> jwke...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
>
> >Arcum Dagsson wrote:
> >
> >> Exactly what "historic record" did you have in mind, that you'd consider
> >> acceptable?
> >
> >Real records from the period in question. What the bloody hell do you
> >think "historic record" means?
> >
> I hate to dissappoint you, but I don't go delving into college library
> archives, or more obscure places, in response to demands that I prove
> something on usenet. I am not a history professor, and as such, am far
> more likely to get my information from the writings of people who are
> still alive.

"People who are still alive" -- You mean like the Kansas State Board of
Education? Holocaust deniers? UFO cultists?

If