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Messages - Madness

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General Earwa / Re: The PreFAQ
« on: June 23, 2013, 02:15:53 pm »
Decided to bump this thread with a question that might not be 100% pertinent but oh well.

For some reason, it donned on me that the whole of Golgotterath is surely a topos. A really big and terrible one.

+1 on the bump. A friend and I discussed about it a few times in the past weeks and it is really difficult to frame a TSA FAQ. Too many questions remain relevant throughout the series.

Golgotterath seems like it would be the worst topoi?

The White-Luck Warrior / Re: Questions and hopefully answers
« on: June 22, 2013, 07:03:00 pm »
Hey Deliverator, I'm MIA on a little life sabbatical but there is an updated version, reflecting new links (excepting the former Second Apocalypse, which is now a redirect) in News/Announcements stickied as Links to Fan Resources. Cheers, welcome to the Second Apocalyse.

General Misc. / Re: So, whut up with male 'privilege'?
« on: June 15, 2013, 11:51:39 am »
There is a rare chance that you, personally, do absolutely nothing to further ingrain the set of manifest behaviours we've called WMP. I'm certainly not innocent. But I enjoy breaking apart moments of circumstance like this so indulge me while I bullet-point some abstractions:

- Every time I'm sitting around with buddies and we allow, through our inaction or laziness, demeaning or derogatory jokes or comments to linger unchallenged.

- Every time we, as people in the world, make unwanted compliments or comments concerning/towards/about members of another gender.

- Every time we thoughtlessly allow our selves and our children to consume and reproduce gender stereotypes and actions portrayed in the media.

- Every time we meet stereotypes of these representions in our lives or (re)enact stereotypical actions or situations.

I could probably think of more and definitely include a bunch of common heuristic and bias errors that seem to take place over a wide sample of a skewed population (WEIRD studies - cheers to whomever on TPB got me hooked on that acronym. Though, I think many practicing scientists understand that demographic and its various socioeconomic reasons). But this is the messy arena in which human behavior, of word or action, manifests these thoughtlessly embodied societal and cultural norms.

The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: TDTCB, Ch. 16
« on: June 14, 2013, 01:47:12 pm »
Biggest Q's for me remain how the Cishaurim infiltrated the council chambers of the Scarlet Spires and why their sorcery emanates from their foreheads "as though through a window to the Outside."

Sorcery Spoiler:

(click to show/hide)

The Great Ordeal / Re: Excerpt - The Unholy Consult, Chapter One
« on: June 14, 2013, 01:41:39 pm »
By all means, spoiler away, I have no issues with spoilers at all and I'm greedy for some information related to books that is not in the books.


The Dunyain Anasurimbor are the offspring of Ganrelka's Bastard.
I think I missed where it says so. I thought Kelmomas sent his own son into Ishual, as he was telling to Seswatcha one day?

I'm not 100% sure - and don't have TJE on me - but I believe Celmomas does say to Seswatha that he's building Ishual "as somewhere his line can survive" but I took that to mean a final refuge for House Anasurimbor, something any of the Family might use for respite. He tells Seswatha to hide the map to Ishual in the coffers.

I feel that there is a chance that Ganrelka was Cel's first son - born of a teenage daliance and not originally expected to figure in the succession.

It probably isn't that far-fetched to think that Ganrelka is Celmomas' firstborn; arranged marriages, pubescent viability, etc.

General Misc. / Re: So, whut up with male 'privilege'?
« on: June 14, 2013, 01:32:12 pm »
So I've followed along for five pages; I feel like this is all being analyzed a little out of context.

Male Privilege seems to be a title, which denotes a demographic. The longer version, as far as I've encountered it, goes White Male Privilege but one has to be neither white nor male to experience its dividends.

Also, its effects are borne of accumulated history, despite being humanly (not humanely) embodied and, thus, culturally then socially manifested (or in other cases, vice versa: socially then culturally manifested). Both/All genders are complicit, partaking in the existence of WMP because it takes all kinds to embody and manifest such a complex, circumstantial crux.

The Great Ordeal / Re: Excerpt - The Unholy Consult, Chapter One
« on: June 13, 2013, 07:14:16 pm »
However, who was that nameless face woven into the cloak?
You mean - who was that Nonman Kellhus encountered? I don't think it matters,  all nonmans are over 2000 years old, all they carry ancient knowledge of these days. Except these who went insane.

We know this actually - Bakker asked a question years ago on Zombie Three-Seas. I wouldn't want to be the person to spoil it for you and it's ulterior to what I actually meant:

When the Nonman tells Kellhus he recognized him as Anasurimbor, he fumbles with a particular face on his cloak. I was wondering who that Anasurimbor was?

Because if not, then we might assume that all the Dunyain are Seswatha's descendants, not Celmomas'.
This is correct only under circumstances that Seswatha is Anasurimbor, but books never mention anything like that. Otherwise there is only one way: Kelmomas's wife was Anasurimbor as well.  Eowa has their own Targariens?

That's actually a really good point - that could easily be an mid-game bombshell by Bakker. Incestual bloodline.

However, I think we're all missing the point. The Dunyain Anasurimbor are the offspring of Ganrelka's Bastard. The arguments go that Ganrelka is either Celmomas' son, brother, or nephew, based on the fact that Celmomas is 15 years older (I think) than Ganrelka. If he's Celmomas' nephew than I, for one, don't think that counts as fulfilling the Celmomian Prophecy.

My current thinking is that the Dunyain are Seswatha's descendants (and that Kellhus knows this thanks to that little chat he had with Akka's inner Seswatha) and that Esmenet (and therefore Mimara) is descended from the true Anasurimbor line. In the PoN books, there are references to Esmenet having quite pale skin, despite being Ketyai, which perhaps suggests she has some Norsirai (and maybe Nonman) blood. We know Mimara reminded Cleric of his wife. And both Esmenet and Mimara are supposedly super-smart for non-Dunyain humans (the given reason for Kellhus choosing Esme to bear his children), also suggesting some influence of Nonman blood. In particular, Mimara has the Nonman talent for making great conceptual leaps in her understanding of the metaphysics of the world.

IMO, any male pronoun used in reference to the Anasurimbor who returns at the End is purely an artefact of the rigidly patriarchal culture of Earwa (both in Seswatha's time and in Kellhus'). I.e. everybody in Earwa who knows of the Celmomian Prophecy would naturally assume it'd be a male descendant. Including Celmomas himself and Seswatha.

Like the thoughts, Duskweaver. Concise first post ;).

But how can be he Seswatcha descendant if he clearly son of Anasurimbor? The Nonman does not just says that he has blood of Anasurimbors', he says that he exactly bears "his face" ie direct descendant on father's line.

Achamian's dreams in The White Luck Warrior explicitly state that Seswatha was carrying on an affair with Anasurimbor Celmomas' wife.  Seswatha also seems attached to Nau Cayuti as though he were NC's father.

Making great points, Kein.

We have two divergences, I think. The Dunyain seem in no way progeny of Nau-Cayuti - likely the Dunyain are of the Few because of generational training for cognitive function, in line with what Bakker's said elsewhere.

Which means that Seswatha corrupting the Celmomas bloodline and where that bloodline held out, if it did, still remains a question; Last Scion speculation, etc.

The Forum of Interesting Things / Trollhunter
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:50:46 pm »
Norwegian Mockumentary. Find it. Watch it.

Nuff said.

[It's on Netflix, apparently, for those lucky enough.]

The Great Ordeal / Re: Excerpt - The Unholy Consult, Chapter One
« on: June 12, 2013, 11:23:22 am »
Hi Kein,

It saddens me that no one is around/took the time to answer your question...

Welcome to the Second Apocalypse, by the way.

Apologies, this might get convoluted.

Firstly, we've had a version of this debate in various places around the forum, most explicitly in Infidelity and the High Kings of Kûniüri.

Secondly, I think we've discussed it so much because we've assumed that the Celmomian Prophecy's fulfillment is important.

The Nonman at the beginning of TDTCB does seem to confirm that Kellhus is related to an Anasurimbor that the Nonman had previously killed. However, who was that nameless face woven into the cloak?

But there are other obligatory questions to ask.

Were the Anasurimbor of the Few before Seswatha? Because if not, then we might assume that all the Dunyain are Seswatha's descendants, not Celmomas'.

What does having Nonmen blood (which all Anasurimbors, apparently, have had since the Nonmen tutelage) mean for the Anasurimbors?

Could Celmomas' bloodline have survived somewhere other than Ishual?

Does this help at all? I'm sure it simply prompts more questions ;).

General Earwa / Re: Dune (Frank Herbert) and TSA (Bakker)
« on: June 11, 2013, 12:58:57 pm »
Thanks, Srancy ;).

Disciple of the Dog / Re: Disciple Mixtape: Track One
« on: June 11, 2013, 12:57:55 pm »
Lol, cheers, Callan.

Disciple of the Dog / Disciple Mixtape: Track Two
« on: June 11, 2013, 12:50:10 pm »

Quote from: ”DOTD, p5”

When Jonathan and Amanda Bonjour first came to my office, I assumed it would be yet one more missing kid gig, and I was right. When a couple comes in together, it generally has something to do with either a parent or a kid—usually the latter, but you would be surprised at how many grandmas go off the rails gambling, and how many grandpas climb on the rails—the snorting kind. Especially these days.

And mystery. The child Bonjour is missing. The tone is set and Disciple is rambling to the races.

I honestly think I could quote the entirety of this book; too many great one-offs. However, Disciple spends moments regaling us as to where his Private Dickery is located. Specifically, omitting the scenery:

My kingdom consists of a narrow, thousand-square-foot retail slot strategically situated between a souvlaki stand and a porn shop—so when the air doesn’t reek of charred lamb, it smells like cheap lubricants. My office lies at the back, next to the all-important copy-slash-smoking room. I have my desk positioned so that I can either pretend nobody’s home or, with a simple crane of my neck, glimpse anyone unfortunate enough to wander in. This is precisely what I did when I heard the cowbell on my entrance cough and clunk—apparently it has a crack in it—at precisely 11:48 A.M. on Monday.

Craning his neck, Disciple sees the two Bonjours by his secretary, Kimberly, waiting on the Dick himself.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p6”
Jonathan Bonjour was heavy- set. I would have thought of him as fat, but I have this mindset where I begin flattering people mentally the instant they walk in the door. The well-practised lie always comes off the best. I knew instantly that he was a lawyer simply because his suit fit. Since no two people pack on weight the same way, it’s pretty much impossible for fat guys to find suits that fit off the rack.

Disciple – a cynic, overtly, having seen it all – seems to judge thoughtlessly. He goes on to dress down Mrs. Amanda Bonjour and concludes:

Side by side, the two of them fairly shouted good genes and easy living—a testament to the American Dream.

So of course something tragic had to have happened.

Disciple highlights that he has two routines, “Remington, razor-sharp on the outside but warm and slippery within, or I play Columbo, a mob of yarn tangled about concealed razors” (p6). He opts for Remington and saunters out to introduce himself to the Bonjours and have Kimberly lead them into his office.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p7”
Once in my office, Jonathan Bonjour shook my hand with the inky ease of people who habitually press the flesh … I’ve yet to meet a lawyer who wasn’t a cynic of some description. You spend your life pretending to believe assholes and you’re bound to start seeing shit everywhere you look. Just another hazard of the trade.

I could tell that he recognized something in my eyes as well. Weird, all these little moments that pass between people. For most everybody, they slip into oblivion, but me, I catch them like flies.

Here we have the first experiential indications of Disciple’s hyperthymesia or eidetic memory: the accumulation of trivialities.

Disciple sees much more of a victim in Amanda Bonjour:

When I reached out to shake her hand, she almost flinched, as though instinctively loath to confirm what the greater part of her refused to believe. Everyone knows that touching something makes it real.

Disciple turns the failed handshake into an invitation for the Bonjours to sit and Amanda Bonjour immediately starts crying.

I hate to admit it, but that was the precise moment I decided to charge them my highest rate. Ugly, I know, but the doctor said this whole storytelling thing would be, and I quote, “little more than a self-aggrandizing exercise in futility” unless I’m brutally honest.

Disciple admits to giving something like a fuck but the meat of this is in the narrative; can we count on honesty? Will Disciple’s “honesty” dilute the supposedly exactitude of the simple recounting of memory?

“It’s our daughter, Mr. Manning. She’s missing.”

Even though I expected he would say as much, I found myself slightly winded. I really don’t know why, given that I had heard the words “She’s missing” more times than somebody like you would care to remember. It’s like the planes hitting the World Trade Center: you see it over and over and over, until it carries about as much punch as a movie trailer, and then one night you see it and wham! it steals your breath, and you sweat horror, as though part of your soul had been on that plane, and had only now remembered.

She’s missing…

“What’s her name?” I asked.

“Jennifer,” Mrs. Bonjour said, a wisp of reverence in her tone. She snuffled.

“Jenni,” her husband added. “That’s, ah … what, ah … what everyone calls her.”

Disciple goes on to describe some mild empathy with the Bonjours and missing their daughter.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p8”
The Bonjour house, I knew, was becoming a museum to “last times.”

Disciple asks for a picture and immediately begins some gaze commentary:

Long blond hair, straight enough to summon memories of Marcia Brady. Full lips. Straight teeth. Happiness almost shining in her sparkling blue eyes.

I knew instantly that she hadn’t run away—she was too attractive. Runaways are almost always plain or downright ugly, as intent to escape the damnation of photos like these as to flee the judgment of peers, parents, what have you. Beautiful people generally lack the motive required to stage their own disappearance. On the contrary, beautiful people tend to be about appearances.

I should know.

Disciple voices his opinion about Jennifer not running away and gets the low down on dear Jenni.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p9”
The story they told me sounded like something cribbed from the Biography Channel. Flattering and negativity-free. You see, people always make cases. Always. Rather than simply describe things, they pitch them this way and that. So when the Bonjours said that Jennifer was a curious girl, an overachiever, and so on, they were literally offering evidence of the adequacy of their parenting skills, while at the same time saying, “She wasn’t the kind of girl who …” They wanted me to know that whatever it was that had happened to their precious daughter had precious little to do with them. And when they mentioned her “weakness for musicians,” they were saying that, as perfectly as she had been raised, she exhibited a dispositional vulnerability to untoward influences—so to speak.

If I was surprised when they mentioned the cult, it was because I had expected drugs to be the culprit—simply because they almost always are when beautiful kids take roads not marked in their parents’ road atlas. According to Mrs. Bonjour, she had found Them online as a high school student, first becoming, without the knowledge of Mom and Dad, a “long-distance associate,” then graduating to become a “text messenger” in her first year of college. At some point she began attending weekend retreats, which cut ever more deeply into her visits home, until she dropped out of her nursing program altogether and moved into the Compound—a place just outside a Rust Belt town called Ruddick in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“They call themselves the Framers,” Amanda said.

Disciple follows with some further questions, interjecting future facts about his subsequent Web searches.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p10”
“The leader’s name,” he [Mr. Bonjour] continued, “is Xenophon Baars. He’s a former philosophy professor out of Berkeley, believe it or not …”

There is some requisite back and forth between the Mr. and Mrs. on account of disagreeing about the validity of Baars’ “extreme” claims.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p11
“Exactly. This Baars has convinced his followers that the world is more than five billion years older than it is. And that it’s about to end.”

Disciple spends some moments trying to wipe his face of the inappropriate shit-eating grin, wrestling with the absurdity of Baars’ claims.

I’ve seen more than my fair share of absurdities in my time: Christ, this job throws them at you like rotten fruit at a burlesque gone wrong. Tragedy astounds people no matter what, sure. The big things are just too heavy to be caught in human nets. But life also has a nasty habit of dishing up calamity as the punchline of a joke as well, and with a regularity that’s nothing short of perverse. We keep waiting for something Shakespearean to happen, when most of the world is just an annex to the Jerry Springer show. Squalid. Cheap. Mean-spirited.

So few people die pretty.

Disciple looks over Jennifer’s picture, sees a bill, and is struck by a “chill of sudden conviction dropped through me … The first of many such chills, as it turned out” (p12).

He decides that Jennifer is dead.

Then he goes on to press them about ongoing police investigations or dealings with The System:

Quote from: ”DOTD, p12”
I understood the kinds of limitations that cops faced: the politics, the fatigue individuals were prone to, the constraints of policy and procedure, the ways bureaucratic machinery could generate irrational outcomes.

I’ve worked in factories before. I know the score.

Some more introductory notation concerning the Dead Jennifer mystery:

The story they told was one of a local police chief who meant well but was hopelessly out of his depth when it came to this case. Caleb Nolen, his name was. Chief Caleb Nolen. From what they described, he did everything by the book, and a few things above and beyond. According to the Framers (Nolen had interviewed all twenty-seven of them), Jennifer left the Compound with another cult member named Anson Williams at around 8:30 P.M. to walk into town to a bar called Legends, where the two liked to dance. The walk was a long one, at least two and a half miles, much of it through Ruddick’s largely abandoned industrial park, but apparently the two enjoyed the air, exercise, and the opportunity to talk. They were close friends but not lovers. Witnesses placed the two of them at the bar, dancing and drinking, until approximately 11:30 P.M., when the doorman said Jennifer left muted but not otherwise distraught. According to Anson, she had been nursing a headache most of the evening and finally decided to return home to sleep. He claimed that she agreed to call a cab at his insistence, but the doorman said that she left on foot, headed in the direction of the Framer Compound.

She never arrived.

According to cellphone records, Anson called her twice, once at 12:03 A.M. and again at 12:17 A.M. She didn’t answer. He then called the Compound, asking whether anyone had seen her. When he learned from the doorman that she had walked, he struck out on foot after her, calling her name and searching the verges of the road. Evidently, he feared she had been hit by a passing car. He found nothing. At 1:33 A.M., Xenophon Baars himself called the police department, expressing his concern. At approximately 2 A.M., one of Nolen’s deputies embarked on a cursory search of the route and the surrounding brown lands— apparently the area is mazed with abandoned steel and assembly plants, a creepy place for a young woman to be walking alone, but so familiar to the locals that they thought nothing of it. When she failed to turn up the next morning, the Chief wisely said to hell with procedure and pulled out all the missing-person stops. By mid-afternoon they had some eighty-plus volunteers combing the ruined structures and surrounding ravines. There was no sign of her. None. They tried again the next day, this time with State Police dogs. Again, nothing.

The Bonjours got the call from Nolen’s office that morning, and I could see the catastrophe on their faces as they described it: the little girl they had loved, nurtured, and even suffered on occasion was missing. Gone.

They fell silent after that.

Disciple asks them about media outreach to which Amanda said that one outspoken reporter had told them the media buries stores about missing pretty white girls as “out of fashion” (p14).

This spawns another something of a tiff between the mourning couple and Disciple takes some mental notations concerning the two. They, honestly, thought their daughter lost:

Quote from: ”DOTD, p14”
I glanced at the glossy on my desk, at the dead girl’s almost smiling eyes. I could already see the crime scene photographs, the grisly before and after. Naked. The limbs bent in poses the living would find excruciating. The skin purple-grey-white. That was when I started thinking of her as “Dead Jennifer.”

Sounds horrible, I know. What can I say? I’m a freak.

I shook my head and pinched my eyes. I did what I always do when my thoughts take an errant turn: I asked a question. “How would you characterize your relationship?”

This seems to shake the lady Bonjour and through the course of another quibble reveals to Disciple that Jonathan Bonjour slapped their daughter in their last fight… that Father Bonjour blames himself. Disciple makes a tongue-in-cheek note that he “appreciates honesty” (p15).

Quote from: ”DOTD, p15”
Rates, conditions, and so on are always difficult items to discuss, so you have to be opportunistic, take what chances the ebb and flow of conversation offer. I typically use money talk to doctor breakdowns in the conversation, especially if things become emotionally overwrought.

No small amount of defensiveness and aggression walks into offices like mine. But as soon as you mention money, most of the personal shit just evaporates. I could literally see Mr. and Mrs. Bonjour’s heart rates slow as I discussed the terms. Few things are more dear to the human animal than simplicity, or the appearance of it anyway. And few things are more simple, more apparently superficial, than monetary transactions.

Open the wallet, close the heart—that’s generally the rule.

They agree to Disciple terms without a thought and our PI Dick suffers “that vague and momentary regret that accompanies lost opportunities” (p16). He’s juggling bills after all and these are the easy marks apparently.

Finally, Disciple inquires as to why Mr. Bonjour didn’t go to his firm’s in-house investigators. After some momentary shock – Mr. Bonjour hadn’t said he was a lawyer – they reveal that Amanda Bonjour is the mastermind behind hiring Disciple.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p17”
“No offence, Mr. Manning, but my opinion of your profession is rather … jaded …”

This was like a hooker saying she finds the company of strippers embarrassing. No offence, he says. Fucking lawyers.

They go on to tell Disciple that Mr. Bonjour has been down to Ruddick, Rust Belt and that the people “are more like Disciple.”

After some diminishing conversation, Disciple tells them that time is everything with missing persons and that he will start immediately.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p17”
Then I did what I always do with new clients when I take a job: I gave them a list of things to do. Search her room for anything that might help: an old diary, drug paraphernalia, computer disks, or camera SD cards. Call Nolen to tell him they had hired me, that they expected him to do everything in his power to assist me. The same with Xenophon Baars, taking care to conceal their outrage, of course. “No ego allowed,” I told them, quite oblivious to any irony. “This is not about scoring points.”

You see, the Bonjours had come to me because they were helpless. Sure, they’d contractually engaged my services, but emotionally they’d simply swapped one kind of helplessness for another. Who hasn’t suffered a pang of impotence in the presence of a mechanic, a plumber, or (worst of all) a computer technician? My clients not only leave my office with a professionally legitimated Don’t-worry-about-a-thing lie, they also take home a false feeling of empowerment.

A to-do list.

Makes them happy, and it makes my job easier—sometimes, anyway. Clients have a way of fucking things up.

Disciple makes to walk them our and Mrs. Bonjour knells to tie her shoes.

For whatever reason, after Disciple’s minor social commentary and embarrassment as he peruses his cracked ceiling and faux-rich flooring, there is this singularly haunting quote, which always sticks with me:

Quote from: ”DOTD, p18”
Then I realized that Mrs. Bonjour was crying. She had knelt on one knee to tie the shoe on the opposite foot, then switched to the other and just … hung there, her cheek pressed against her knee. Sunlight cut across her at an angle, casting arthritic shadows of her hands and wrists across the mat.

She trembled like a timid dog at the vet, keened in a baby-small voice. Her words, if there were any, were inaudible.


He fills out his observation with some more future fact, highlighting the experiential immediacy of his memories with what he learns later – how much of the narrative is so coloured, we don’t have the luxury of knowing.

This actually distinguishes an interesting moment. Disciple knows how this story ends yet presents it – or lives it – as revelatory, once again.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p19”
It’s strange, isn’t it, glimpsing the person behind the type. The feeling of inside-out recognition. The lining up of first-person perspectives. The twinge of ghosts moving through each other. You bat an eye and suddenly, somehow, this stranger has become a family member.

I was left with that humbling feeling of having witnessed something heroic …

Or at least something beyond my mangy capabilities.

And there’s the setup!

Detective fiction seems to innately satisfy the constituents of narrative unfolding. It marks an interesting distinction in genre because of a fairly contained and self-reflective history of hallmarks. Yet even in some amateur literature studies of detective fiction, I have a nagging suspicion that Bakker thoroughly subverted even these genre-specific norms.

News/Announcements / Re: The Second Apocalypse Mindmapping Account
« on: June 10, 2013, 02:29:26 pm »
I think I heard an echo ;). Lol, how many entendres?

Some interesting maps already exist but nothing as comprehensive as Jorge claimed.

Disciple of the Dog / Re: Disciple Mixtape: Track One
« on: June 10, 2013, 02:25:32 pm »
Lol - cheers. I'm sure some of the posts will attract TSA readers as there are explicit comparisons to make between Disciple and Nonmen.

It'll be interesting to see who partakes and if anyone picks up the book based on these threads.

Disciple of the Dog / Disciple Mixtape: Track One
« on: June 08, 2013, 07:42:46 pm »
So I’ve wanted to do this for awhile. I’m not sure that many of the TSA readership actually followed across genres but I feel Disciple of the Dog is worth breaking down – despite the fact that Bakker allegedly wrote DOTD in three months, listening to 10,000 Days the whole time. Apparently, it is his least literary work; and so begs to be analyzed in its minutia ;).



Meet Disciple Manning, Private Dick extraordinaire.

Quote from: ”DOTD, p1”
For some mysterious reason, maybe genetic, maybe environmental, maybe some combination of the two, I am doubtful and irreverent through and through. Show me a picture of your newborn baby and I’ll ask you if you’re holding it upside down. Tell me you’ve won the lottery and I’ll give you the number of my coke dealer. Show me a flag and I see kinky sheets on a hooker’s bed. I never commit, not to the big things, and certainly not to the little. It’s not that I’m evil or anything, it’s just that, no matter how hard I try, I never think what I should. Where everyone sees a Merge sign, I read Detour.

A true-blue individual—that’s what I am.

Truth is, the only kind of individualism Americans believe in is the one that numbs the sting of name tags, or that makes a trip to the mall an exercise in self-creation.

The consumer kind.

The false kind.

And who knows? Maybe that’s the way it should be.

Ignore the Merge sign long enough, and sooner or later somebody gets killed.

Disciple seems to imply that he, or individualism, will get people killed.

Then onto the most oft quoted passage of the book:

Quote from: ”DOTD, p2”
I’m what you would call a cynic.

This isn’t to be confused with a skeptic. Skeptics don’t believe in anything because they care too much. For them the dignity of truth is perpetually beyond the slovenly reach of humankind. We’re just not qualified.

A cynic, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in anything because he doesn’t care enough. I mean, really, who gives a fuck?


By picking the Detective vehicle (which many think strikes to the heart of narrative) and Disciple’s first-person expression, Bakker allows himself some direct condemnation of the reader: holding those who would share Disciple’s perspective accountable as real-life individuals. Disciple’s autobiography might be fiction but the reader, his audience, is… as real as real can be.

Do we care about Disciple? Do we care about the world we find him in (which seems to mirror ours in so many ways)? Are we cynics or skeptics?

My name is Disciple Manning. A stupid name, I know—pretty much what you would expect from stupid-talking parents. When people ask me my name, I simply say Diss, Diss Manning. When they make funny with their faces, I lie and tell them I was named after my father, Datt Manning. I usually get a laugh out of dat. If I don’t, if I still get the funny stuff, you know, the What-fucking-planet-are-you-from look, then I hit them, hard—unless they happen to be a cop, in which case I just keep kissing ass.

The one thing you need to remember about me is that I don’t forget.



According to the doctors, it’s driving me crazy.

And the concise summation of our character vehicle; we are welded to Disciple’s autobiography, to Sherlock’s perspective, absent dear Watson the chronicler.

And this is why I find myself sitting down and writing. My latest therapist thinks my problem isn’t what I remember so much as how. She’s a big believer in the power of stories. She thinks hammering my more toxic memories into narrative form will give them some kind of psychologically redemptive meaning.

I can’t help but correlate first-person perspective, especially one that is consciously autobiographical, to a direct communication to the reader. Disciple is retelling us his memories. The following are to be events of things, which already happened. Clearly, Disciple hasn’t benefited from “some kind of psychologically redemptive meaning”…

But what are we expected to take from his “stories,” as the readership?

Quote from: ”DOTD, p3”
Sounds foofy, I know. I’ve always thought writing is just what happens when we pursue our genius for justifying our scams for its own sake. But she’s cute, and there’s a wisdom you get after botching as many suicide attempts as I have. Putting pen to paper just doesn’t seem that big a deal after putting knife to skin.
Nothing does, really. Strange knowledge, that.

And Disciple quickly derails the meaning of any of his words – after all, writing to us, across the boundaries of time, space, and fiction beats another failed attempt at the oblivion Disciple seems to seek.

Disciple continues on to suggest that it is the minute, day to day, decisions, the piling and piling of concession, which defines our lives, the stranded sense of continuum that results in our lives as they stand in the Now.

Great quote:

You see, it’s convenience that drives the species, not in any grand sense but in the most squalid way you could possibly imagine. Say your wife starts coming home late on a regular basis, and you get this kind of queasy feeling in your gut, like on some parallel plane of existence you just stepped off the Tilt-A-Whirl. So what do you do? Say nothing. Follow the ruts. Keep your eyes on the habituated prize. Only ten years to go on the mortgage!

It’s these kinds of decisions that define who we are, by and large. The small kind. The lazy kind.

I really love that Tilt-A-Whirl line.

Trust me, dude, I know. I spy on you. I see you all the time.

I’m the archivist of your lesser self—you know, the side of you that calls the shots between official engagements. I’m the bastard who makes your secrets real. Disciple Manning, the sole proprietor of Manning Investigations, based out of Newark, New Jersey.

That’s right. I’m a private detective. A dick. The part-time security guard of the investigative world.

A real winner.

Disciple is implying comparable flerws between the people of his world and the readers...

We shall see...

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