A Stopped Clock (part 2)
Not much to say today. You’ve probably recognized a few voices from the HPMoR podcast, but one voice you probably don’t recognize is Alexander Jackson, because he sounds pretty normal as Officer Kennedy. You’d never realize that’s what Voldemort sounds like, when he’s not being eeeeevil!!! :) Check out the credits at some point to see the names of all our fine voice actors!
Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Superman Spotting – Maybe, by The Ink Spots
Calhoun’s Club – Lone Digger, by Caravan Palace
Luthor Manor – Boccherini’s Minuetto, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
A Stopped Clock (part 1)
Very minor spoiler for this week’s episode below.
I really love how Lois’s dislike of Superman colors her narrative whenever he’s around. The poor guy is just trying to be helpful, and the first thing she thinks is “yeah, no duh!” I think Alexander made a point of doing this, both because it’s good characterization (when you dislike someone, you tend to be very critical of anything they do), and because the typical reader will be coming into this story with very positive pro-Superman feelings. In order to show Lex’s side sympathetically, there needs to be a fair bit of push against that.
I also love the contrast in the very next scene, where Lex and Mercy mirror that Superman/Lois interaction. But in this one, Lex internally acknowledges that Mercy is extremely competent and probably doesn’t need the instructions at all, and admires that about her. We aren’t given Mercy’s thoughts, but based on their interactions (and the rest of the novel) I imagine that she’s far more understanding of Lex’s reminder and isn’t put out by it. Their entire relationship feels very mutually-admiring and respectful of agency (to me). #LexAndMercyRelationshipGoals
(some minor spoilers for chapter 4 follow)
This is where I really fell in love with this story. Because good vs evil is boring, but good vs good is awesome. My inner utilitarian (and thus inner Effective Altruist) is absolutely on Lex/Lois’s side. Punching criminals is a TERRIBLE misuse of super-powers! Do something that actually matters!
But on the other hand, my inner humanist is totally on Superman’s side. I don’t want some god-being imposing his ethics on us!
And in Superman’s defense, the world really is freakin’ hard. You set out trying to create a classless utopia for all mankind, and before you know it you’ve murdered 20 million people and grossly multiplied human misery by strangling the growth of much of the world. You know what’s safe? Stopping rapes and murders. That, at least, doesn’t generally lead to civilizational collapse. Afterall, Superman can’t forsee all the consequences of his actions–he isn’t God. (Very interesting that he believes in one though. What does he think God’s excuse is? Or is Superman limiting his interference because he believes in God, and figures the ol’ diety has a very good reason for not fixing the place, and therefore doesn’t want to screw up His plan? To re-purpose Weinberg “Good people do good things and evil people do evil things. But for a demi-god to fail to do the most good, that takes religion.”)
Anyway, seeing both sides so clearly and agreeing with both makes me want to see both sides win, and that really amps up the whole story. Now it’s tragic no matter how it turns out, because everyone involved is good, and if they could just team up wouldn’t the world be better? But they can’t. If they could, they wouldn’t be who they are.
(Well, except Lex. He’s still mostly evil.)
In non-Metropolitan Man news – I forgot to ask Ada Palmer a question during last week’s interview that I really wanted to ask. So she answered it in email instead. :) For anyone else who’s interested… (minor spoiler about a character’s name)
“I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and so I’m very curious – why did you choose to go with Jehovah rather than Yahweh?”
I wanted to use the Latinized version of the name, rather than the one closer to the Hebrew, because the Latinized version was used in the French Englightenment, and reflects the fact that his upbringing and background, and Madame’s whole project, are very much tied to the Latin and Christian tradition, and to heterodox and contrary thinkers within that tradition–Diderot, de Sade, Nitezsche–rather than the Hebrew tradition or Hebrew thinkers.
But when he signs his own name, he does spell his first name in Hebrew, the second in Greek, the third in Latin, the fourth in French, and the last in English, so his name is also an historical linguistic genealogy of the overlaid cultural traditions that shaped him:
יְהֹוָה Ἐπίκουρος Donatianus D’Arouet Mason
Actually, when writing his name, he usually leaves out the vocalization marks on the first name and just uses the tetragrammaton. More info than you needed, but I thought you’d find it nifty!
And I did. :)