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[Sorcerer & Sword] Fistful of Humanity

Started by Doyce, July 13, 2004, 01:00:12 PM

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Hey folks, quick thinker-question.

I'm planning on revisiting the abortive Clicking Sands one-shot I ran a few months ago, and in the interim I've had time to consider the relationship map that comprises the movers and shakers in the town in which most of the action takes place.

The end result looks like a split-three-ways-instead-of-two version of the town featured in Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars/Last Man Standing (all basically the same movie), with the PCs cast in the role of the cagey protagonists who can choose to play-or-be-played by the aforementioned power groups.

My question: in a story like those movies mentioned above, what do you see as Humanity?
Doyce Testerman ~
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.

Ron Edwards


It's absolutely unambiguous: Humanity = compassion for the weak. These movies* are entirely compatible with Jules' famous speech at the climax of Pulp Fiction, which I recommend sitting down and listening to in full detail, starting with the bacon/sausage discussion.

The "boss" bad guys in the story are bullies, and not especially effective ones at that - they can only scare weak people, and hence are themselves vulnerable to suggestion of betrayal. The real menace in the stories, which is to say the bad-ass enforcer who usually shows up about halfway through, is villainous because he has no regard for the weak whatsoever and only cares about who's strongest.

The hero is compassionate toward the weak - both in the abstract toward the town as a whole, and specifically toward several individuals (in Yojimbo, most obviously, the young couple). He is so compassionate toward them that he is willing to die for them. It has nothing to do with pride or with being a bad-ass - he is absolutely the opposite of the tough bad-ass villain, and I call your attention to how this villain invariably tries to say "We're two of a kind" to the hero. They aren't.

A lot of smoke gets blown about how the hero of these stories is an "anti-hero" in some way. It's all bullshit. The hero's own tough-guy rhetoric (or silence, for that matter) is also bullshit. The hero is a big softy and will bleed out his last drops to help out these weaklings who are being pushed around.


* I also recommend the novel which was the basis for the first movie (Yojimbo) - Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett.


Quote from: Ron EdwardsIt's absolutely unambiguous: Humanity = compassion for the weak.

That was about how far I got in before the whole thing became glaringly obvious -- I was getting turned around by some of the dialogue in Last Man Standing about how 'when you go down, it'll be because of a skirt', and was toying with love or loyalty or something.  Compassion for the weak covers all of it.  Sweet.

Red Harvest, eh?  Wonder how I've missed hearing of that as the origin story for these movies.  Definitely have to check it out.  Yay, vacation reading!

Thanks again, Ron.
Doyce Testerman ~
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.