0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Babam » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:37 am UTC

My first get out of my head moment. I just recently read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, and I'm starting xenocide. awesome comic randall.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Drenami » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:39 am UTC

This is Awesome! Last week i just finished the book again.
Personally i think Peter is feeding the squirrel some drugs within the food to knock the squirrel out before he does the messed up kid stuff.

I do find it funny that in this supposed future Web of the later books the main characters magically stubble upon certain forum posts typed cryptically and realized its from a friend or one of their foes.
As for the state of the web in the books i am glad we haven't matured into the bigbrotherish style of monitoring as in the books. Although, having some people logged in with their real names and identities might just tone down a lot of the racists and hate in a lot of posts.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby akrolsmir » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:40 am UTC

Yay for Ender's Game comics again!

Alerting philoticweb members now...

Edit: Isn't Peter Wiggin supposed to be anonymous as Locke...?
Last edited by akrolsmir on Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:44 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Q_< » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:41 am UTC

I've always reconciled this in my head by assuming that by the time the 22nd century rolls around, the internet will go through enough changes to be completely unrecognizable. Structured. Disciplined. Not like this makeshift Wild West style internet we have going now where we can fritter away our youths discussing nothing; this will be the internet AFTER the academics banish all the unschooled peons to the binary fringes. Or perhaps they will leave the peons to wallow in the already-ruined main internet and move to "The Nets", a lush but exclusive garden of fruitful ideas living out their uncluttered existence in the minds of the politically enlightened, a special part of the internet where only the erudite dare raise their electronic voices above a whisper.

Alternatively, there could be a net-pocalypse, a few netless decades, and a rebuilding of the Nets as they should have been built in the first place. Only time will tell.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Babam » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:42 am UTC

I actually look forward to the day when all the peoples of earth use a single imageboard.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby TheoGB » Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:56 am UTC

Connington wrote:Yeah. The whole idea is basically that Peter, the elder child is quite the ambitious young man, and persuades his sister to go along with his plans. He sets up Locke as the reasonable, statesman persona respected by all the smart people, and his sister writes Demosthenes, more popular, and populist, author, who's stock in trade is occasionally paranoid anti-Russianism. He coordinates them, but she writes them, so they don't read the same, and can pass a writing analysis to confirm that. The irony is that each character by inclination would write the other one's articles, but Peter wants to be the ruler in the end, and Demosthenes can't do that. And of course, the pen names are pretty obvious statements.

Anyways, it seems pretty ridiculous on it's surface, although it becomes less so if you think of Peter as the equivalent of a Nate Silver, multiplied a few times in raw talent, an trying to rule the world (although we never know about Nate...) Yeah, the internet is obviously pictured as smaller, but it's beyond the realm of possibility.

And about the Russia thing. It doesn't bother me that much, due to retcons, which remove the references to the Soviet Union, and Russia's own foreign policy. If you follow the sequels, Russia is clearly portrayed as a country in steep decline, noticeably behind China (the world power) or even the West. So they try to grab power to compensate. Honestly, Russia is going through a toned down version of that in real life.


Cheers to everyone who explained this. I'd never read the book either. Wikipedia implies that the book was revised in 1991 to show the Soviet Union as failing so maybe you read the revised version?

I'm not sure that out of date really matters, though. Is Asimov's Foundation trilogy any worse because people all smoke and everything is printed out on paper?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby tigerhawkvok » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:23 am UTC

Shouldn't Locke's comments (even though he was less popular initially than Demosthenes) be ... well, in the hundreds or thousands? Not the, well, 1's?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby SciBoy » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:27 am UTC

TheoGB wrote:I'm not sure that out of date really matters, though. Is Asimov's Foundation trilogy any worse because people all smoke and everything is printed out on paper?

But them smoking and printing stuff on paper is not central to the plot of the Foundation Trilogy, but the Soviet Union is a central plot point in the Ender series. Not so central that it can't be updated, but it does need updating to stay plausible. Same as our knowledge of how the internet now works would nullify an attempt to blog your way to power. Although, who's to say what kind of dark network they're posting on, the Internet may not be it...
tigerhawkvok wrote:Shouldn't Locke's comments (even though he was less popular initially than Demosthenes) be ... well, in the hundreds or thousands? Not the, well, 1's?

This is sort of the point of the comic, that in the real world, they would never get the kind of following they're getting in the book. Who reads a blog and comments on it these days?
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:45 am UTC

I'm still crossing my fingers for a Cthulhu related xkcd... oh well, a slightly obscure reference to a chapter in Ender's Game is also awesome... Valentine and Peter... and the poor woodland creatures.


Obscure reference to a chapter?

The whole Locke/Demosthenes story line is a major part of the entire Ender's and Shadow series.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Drenami » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:06 am UTC

Obscure in the sense of who really cared at the time of your initial read through about Locke and Demosthenes. I don't know about anyone else but I couldn't wait for the next ender chapter / Battle Room scene and kind of skimmed a little to the next scene.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Arancaytar » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:31 am UTC

This letter is to inform you that you have recieved enough upvotes on your reddit comments to be President of the world. Please be at the UN tomorrow 8:00 sharp.


The moment I gave up blogging about politics may have been when I realized this would not happen. What a let-down.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby the_eye » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:20 am UTC

what I've never gotten: How/why is Enders Game somehow a nerd/geek-essential?

It will be a cold day in hell before I give any of my reading-money to that rabid foaming-at-the-mouth homophobe warmonger named Orson Scott Card. Guy's a complete lunatic.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby A'Tuin » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:24 am UTC

Only noticed the importance of the Squirrel on aboutt he 4th Read though, and i was reading Xenocide before i took a break to check webcomic updates ... crazy

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby ThemePark » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:51 am UTC

glasnt wrote:In addition: SQUIRREL! I wonder if that's the same squirrel that Marigold just acquired.

This. :D
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby mikekearn » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:02 am UTC

This never bothered me before, because I understood the books take place in a different world from our own, but now I'll never be able to read the books again without this in the back of my mind. Thanks a lot, Randall.

Also, welcome, the_eye! You make a very obvious troll.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby sahilsinha » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:14 am UTC

Q_< wrote:I've always reconciled this in my head by assuming that by the time the 22nd century rolls around, the internet will go through enough changes to be completely unrecognizable. Structured. Disciplined. Not like this makeshift Wild West style internet we have going now where we can fritter away our youths discussing nothing; this will be the internet AFTER the academics banish all the unschooled peons to the binary fringes. Or perhaps they will leave the peons to wallow in the already-ruined main internet and move to "The Nets", a lush but exclusive garden of fruitful ideas living out their uncluttered existence in the minds of the politically enlightened, a special part of the internet where only the erudite dare raise their electronic voices above a whisper.

Alternatively, there could be a net-pocalypse, a few netless decades, and a rebuilding of the Nets as they should have been built in the first place. Only time will tell.


The internet being like the wild west is everything that is great about the internet.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Diadem » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:27 am UTC

I don't get the comic. I really don't.

I've read Ender's game plus all the other novels in the series. It's not that i don't get the reference. I even got the squirrel (and that one was very funny). But I don't get the comic. What is the joke trying to say? That they would not any responses on their articles? That noone would read them?

Because there are plenty of very influentional journalists and columnists in the real world. It's not such a stretch to believe one could become an influentional politician. Heck our current minister of education's main claim to fame (before becomming minister) was writing columns.

Plus the book is misrepresented. Peter negotiates a peace treaty with Russia, that is what launches his political career. And he only becomes ruler of the world after doing a lot of stuff in the real world, including launching and winning several wars.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Tidia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:47 am UTC

The comic is a satirical view on the fact that the internet is a cesspool of crap essentially. Doesn't take much to figure this one out.

Also, to the poster who created an account to rant against Card, since when did an authors religious background matter; judge a book by its content etc...
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby quietdan » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:55 am UTC

auriswildrin wrote:And you really should. It's a good book.


Its a great series of books. Go read all 8, should keep you occupied for a few days. ^-^

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby the_eye » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:40 am UTC

mikekearn wrote:Also, welcome, the_eye! You make a very obvious troll.


Well maybe in the sense that I want to create a response, maybe, but not with malicious intent of creating a never-ending thread that goes nowhere and has people all enraged or whatever.

I've been a faithful xkcd-reader for a long time and most of the time, the comics are just .. well almost a window into my thoughts, so to say. So most of the time it's a case of "yeah, somebody who sortof thinks like me".

And then, all of a sudden, a huge, jarring disconnect.

Big enough to make me create an account (which wasn't easy, had to reload that stupid captcha 5 times before I lucked upon one where I had the smallest chance of having an idea what the letters maybe could be) and ask WHY.

What is it about the books of Mr. OSC that makes them so great that one can ignore the man behind them.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby OgRib » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:43 am UTC

Locke was the rational, reasonable moderate online persona
Demosthenes was the "Nuke them all" inflamatory online persona

So the comic itself works he's suggesting today nobody would actually pay any attention to Locke's moderate discourse (instead going for the Fox News ranting).

However the alt-text doesn't work.

In the novel, Peter posted as Locke and Valentine posted as Demosthenes. They deliberately chose to write the viewpoint that went against their character (Peter was the ambitious psychopath, Val the brilliant empath).

The alt-text only works if Peter was posting to reddit as himself instead of anonymously (and in his natural character), to me it looks like Randall forgot that Peter was posting as the moderate voice.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby the_eye » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:44 am UTC

Tidia wrote:Also, to the poster who created an account to rant against Card, since when did an authors religious background matter; judge a book by its content etc...


well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.

Plus, I wasn't ranting. A rant would be much longer. I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby v21 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:59 am UTC

But: Guido Fawkes (http://order-order.com/) is vaguely politically important in the UK. Sure, the guy behind it has been unmasked now, but it started as an anonymous blog, and now the author goes on Newsnight and gets read by MPs and... And the Russians apparently have a lot of important political discussions on LiveJournal. Bloody LiveJournal!

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Czhorat » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:08 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.


That's an interesting criterion. What about Card's views offend you, and where did you read about them? WHY did you seek them out?

For the record, I'm a bit surprised at how beloved Ender's Game is on this board. I found it entertaining and liked the first set of sequels, but wouldn't strongly recommend it to anyone much older than a middle schooler. The ironic thing is that one of your complaints about Card is that he's a "warmonger". The first set of Ender novels, while they are military SF, have what I see as a heavy-handed and obvious anti-war message, especially given
Spoiler:
the big reveal that the war with the "buggers" started off as a misunderstanding. The horror isn't that Ender wiped out almost an entire species, but that he did so for what, in the end, was no good reason. His quest to atone for this in the later books is what gave the first trilogy, in my mind, its soul.


That being said, I suspect that the books would feel dated, the Locke/Demosthenes storyline streches disbelief past all reasonable bounds, and there's too big an underlying message of brutality for me to really LOVE the books. The first of the second set (Ender's Shadow), left me very cold. In that we DID see Card's personal views come to light, and it struck me as much more war-mongering than the earlier ones. For one thing, it felt as if he was playing to anti-Islam bigotry. This, and my general disinterest in the never-ending Ender series, kept me from picking up the rest of the books.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby prithee » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:33 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:Plus, I wasn't ranting. A rant would be much longer. I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.


1. It's a coming of age story that a lot of tech adults would have read in middle school. Anything people liked growing up they're going to be disproportionately affectionate to as adults, whether it be music, movies, books, whatever.

2. It directly targets and somewhat panders to socially disenfranchised smart kids. Geeks are not immune to gravitating towards being told what they want to hear, that they're intellectually superior and that should mean something to their social status.

Combine the two and you have rabid fandom. It's not much different than Twilight or Harry Potter or Buffy in its elevation of misfits.

It's recreational reading and as long as you don't expect anything profound or deep, it's very enjoyable. Don't let fans scare you away from something. As far as "required geek reading", eh, maybe. Way below Hitchhikers though. :)

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby tzvibish » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:36 pm UTC

Ender's Game is one of my top 10 favorite books of all Eternity.

But this is the one plot point that always bothered me, even as a child. Even if they managed to get read by a lot of people, how did they manage to get enough readers to give them political sway in such a short amount of time? I always thought is was because they were anonymous. It sorta has an intrigue aspect to it. But after blogging and reading blogs for a while, I've come to learn that anonymity only makes you less interesting, unless it's something completely controversial (not politics).
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby mheney » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:37 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:
Tidia wrote:Also, to the poster who created an account to rant against Card, since when did an authors religious background matter; judge a book by its content etc...


well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.

Plus, I wasn't ranting. A rant would be much longer. I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.


I enjoyed much of the series - read all 8 books - without feeling the need to go and research the author himself. It was science fiction; I was entertained; that was good enough for me.

I can see where having foreknowledge of an author and a disagreement with them on basic principles might interfere with one's enjoyment of their works, or disincline one to support them. Fair enough. But there ARE ways to leagally read books without buying them. Libraries are great sources for books (and with 2 kids, trips to the library are highly recommended); and then there's bookmooch.com - an on-line book-swapping community. You earn credits for books you send out; you "spend" them on incoming books. Sender pays shipping (book rate, of course!), otherwise it's free. And, of course, there's borrowing the book from a friend/acquaintence/coworker. You get to read it; none of your money goes to the author, and it's all above board.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby ThreeIfByAir » Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:42 pm UTC

v21 wrote:But: Guido Fawkes (http://order-order.com/) is vaguely politically important in the UK. Sure, the guy behind it has been unmasked now, but it started as an anonymous blog, and now the author goes on Newsnight and gets read by MPs and... And the Russians apparently have a lot of important political discussions on LiveJournal. Bloody LiveJournal!


And, of course, don't forget Nate Silver. (There's a reason FiveThirtyEight was on the Locke blogroll.) He posted anonymously (as 'Poblano') and gained a fair following before he unmasked himself. In this age of the internets, someone who writes cohesively and cogently enough will be discovered and fairly widely followed eventually.

And as for the impossibility of political power through blogs, you have heard of Daily Kos and the Drudge Report, haven't you? They may not be anonymous, but they exercise a fair bit of power through their blogs...

(Despite being a Brit, I hadn't heard of the 21st century Guido Fawkes. But then I've lived in the US for the last ten years.)

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby fealuinix » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:07 pm UTC

Tidia wrote:The comic is a satirical view on the fact that the internet is a cesspool of crap essentially. Doesn't take much to figure this one out.

Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby firinne » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

I don't understand people who say that the Net of the Ender books was fine back then but isn't now. Is 1984 ridiculous because of the technologies it incorrectly supposes for the titular year? No. AU.

In other news, I loved this comic 'n' stuff. >.> Got distracted by comments.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Armadillo Al » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:28 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:What is it about the books of Mr. OSC that makes them so great that one can ignore the man behind them.


In my case, I managed to pick up the book in a bookstore and read it before I learned anything about him.

The government doesn't require people to know everything there is to know about every book and every author you read in order to read a book. Sometimes you just, you know, find a book that catches your eye and flip it open.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:31 pm UTC

Its a great series of books. Go read all 8, should keep you occupied for a few days. ^-^


Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind,
Enders Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant,
Ender in Exile

Not counting short stories, that's 9 :)

I found the first one so gripping I read it in a day. Speaker took me weeks, and Xenocide (even though I loved "Greigo's war") took me months. I felt compelled to read Children of the Mind because i wanted to finish the story, but it was sub par to the first 3.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:39 pm UTC

firinne wrote:I don't understand people who say that the Net of the Ender books was fine back then but isn't now. Is 1984 ridiculous because of the technologies it incorrectly supposes for the titular year? No. AU.

In other news, I loved this comic 'n' stuff. >.> Got distracted by comments.




I liked today's comic because the most recent Locke writing looked like a twitter post.

Taking over the world as a teenager by blogging is pretty far fetched, but having 2 young geniuses sway political opinion doesn't sound impossible. If Einstein had a blog today, it would probably be worth reading, though that alone wouldn't have earned him his rep.

The cool part of the Ender's series isn't the politics anyway. It's the action and situations the characters get into. To a smaller extent I enjoyed the moral dilemmas Card set up.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby jzimbert » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:46 pm UTC

Now this is just freaky. I literally finished reading that book for the first time 3 days ago. Also, I'm 32 years old. Yes, I'm a failure as a nerd.

On a side note, this board has the most difficult to read CAPTCHA system I've ever seen.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:55 pm UTC

jzimbert wrote:Now this is just freaky. I literally finished reading that book for the first time 3 days ago. Also, I'm 32 years old. Yes, I'm a failure as a nerd.

On a side note, this board has the most difficult to read CAPTCHA system I've ever seen.


I had to refresh the image 5 or 6 times. I wonder if Peter Wiggin would have gotten it on the first try?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Baza210 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:13 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I don't get the comic. I really don't.

I've read Ender's game plus all the other novels in the series. It's not that i don't get the reference. I even got the squirrel (and that one was very funny). But I don't get the comic. What is the joke trying to say? That they would not any responses on their articles? That noone would read them?


I think the implication is that there's a million kids with wordpress and livejournal accounts out there that consider their opinions to be just as logical and world-changing as the Wiggins did, so if they were to enact their plan in our society they would not have had any impact at all.


Really dug today's comic, even if the squirrel thing was the only bit that really made me laugh. However, when I saw "Anonymously" I immediately expected something to do with 4chan. I'm pretty sure Peter Wiggin would have posted on 4chan.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Simon17 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:25 pm UTC

Hey guys.
My favorite episode of Growing Pains was the one where Jason took Ben to see his favorite singer in concert. Ben got a chance to go backstage to get his autograph and the guy was a complete dickhead. He even called him a snot-nosed little brat. Well Ben was pissed and he didn't want to go to the concert any more. But then Jason talked to him and Ben went to the concert and had an awesome time.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:29 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:
Tidia wrote:Also, to the poster who created an account to rant against Card, since when did an authors religious background matter; judge a book by its content etc...


well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.

Plus, I wasn't ranting. A rant would be much longer. I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.


Might I suggest a library?
The internet removes the two biggest aids in detecting sarcasm:
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2)the assumption that the other person is sane
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GreyingJay
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby GreyingJay » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:39 pm UTC

Ender's Game put us, as readers, inside the head of a kid who was head-and-shoulders smarter than everyone else, a social outcast, a misfit, misunderstood, and picked on by bullies. Let's face it, how many of us geeks were in that exact same spot? How many of us said, "That's me!" Even if we weren't actually as smart as Ender, we either thought we were, or fantasized how cool it would be if we were.

I actually learned a few things about leadership skills, reading the book and contrasting the various leaders in the book (Graff, Ender, Bonzo, Peter, etc.) I would almost call this required reading for anyone in a leadership position over other people, particularly kids or teenagers. Yes, the thought processes the characters go through in the book are all over-the-top, but they have their basis in reality.

Besides, it had weightlessness, spaceships, aliens, and lasers. What's not to love?

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Diadem
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Diadem » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:39 pm UTC

Baza210 wrote:
Diadem wrote:I've read Ender's game plus all the other novels in the series. It's not that i don't get the reference. I even got the squirrel (and that one was very funny). But I don't get the comic. What is the joke trying to say? That they would not any responses on their articles? That noone would read them?

I think the implication is that there's a million kids with wordpress and livejournal accounts out there that consider their opinions to be just as logical and world-changing as the Wiggins did, so if they were to enact their plan in our society they would not have had any impact at all.

Sure, but the entire point of the novel is that the Wiggins are brilliant. More than that even. Ender is the smartest kid in a school that is made up of all the smartest kids of earth. Peter is just as smart, but with a defective personality.

It's not a stretch to think that well written blogs can have a significant impact on opinion. There are real world examples. And don't think of Peter as a blogger. Think of him as a columnist. He's not writing on his own blog. He's writing a column in an online newspaper (which in the future have presumably complete replaced paper newspapers). Such people have always had a big influence. There are plenty of real world examples of columns or open letters creating major upheavels, even toppling governments.

Besides if you read the later novels it's clear that he's not just writing columns. He's a member of several political think-tanks. He keeps in touch with many politicians and other government sources, who supply him with information, and ask him for his opinion. He slowly builds up his influence over time. He starts as a simple columnist, but by the time he becomes really influential he's much more.

Plus he does a lot of things in the real world as well. He negotiates a peace treaty, he helps rescue kidnapped battle school children, later on he starts and wins several wars. And he's helped behind the screens by several extremely powerful people for personal reasons (Graff and Bean mainly. Graff pretty much owns the IF, and Bean convinces all the other battleschool kids to help Peter).
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister


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