REVIEW: Killfile Wars # 3

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Thu May 25 11:59:44 PDT 2006

Jesse Willey wrote:

>   I was going for a more ninja approach.  Not pop
> culture ninja but real ninja.  Ruthless, efficent, and
> the only code is get the job done.

Actually, there's quite a bit of debate on that issue; some feel that
the ninja were actually a caste of samurai, in which case they do have
a code of honour.  (How honourable the Samurai code is in also a
subject of debate.)

>   Thus the whole thin line debate.   Where does justic
> end and vengeance begin?   Is there even a difference?
>  Is what we call justice merely revenge with a written
> set of rules that people agree to follow?  Personally,
> I think these are all important questions.

True, but you're not actually asking the questions.  In order to
properly raise them, you have to use contrast.

The KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT storyline, and also the Batman KNIGHTFALL
bloat-a-thon, raises this question, as well as the question of what
makes a hero.  And both heroes are defined by what they aren't.  Spidey
is not Kraven the Hunter, and Batman-- the true Batman-- is not Azzie,
as he's known by friends.

A story in which Azzie fights a greater evil does not pose the
justice/revenge/true heroism question because there is no line, thin or
otherwise, to throw the two opponents into sharp relief.

>   I don't consider cynisism to be juvenile.   I have

Because cynicism is an immediate, knee-jerk reaction, much like
nihilism, it inherently requires less intellectual maturity.

> nothing again optimism either.  Whatever floats your
> boat.   If anything I consider myself a bitter
> optimist.  I'd like the world to be a great and
> wonderful place.   I just think that it isn't going to
> happen.

That would be a hopeful or well-wishing cynic, then.  Optimism and
cynicism aren't defined by what you would like to happen-- they're
defined by what you think you will happen, by your general attitude.
That's the difference.

>   The point is simple.  All people are assholes.

It's a simple and obvious point, yes, which is one reason why it's not
worth your time as a writer; it's also a fallacious and
overly-simplified understanding of reality.  One can't hide their head
in the sand and ignore inconvient truths about their heroes and loved
ones; at the same time, the best way to percieve reality is with a
little bit of love.

The filmmaker Cassavetes is notoriously hard on his characters (not to
mention his audience!) but he also _loves_ his characters, he
understands them.  There's a difference between showing that a
character is human and showing that a character has dirty underwear.


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