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sin hierachy in pump up the volume

Started by Emily Care, February 23, 2006, 08:20:31 PM

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Emily Care

Okay, this may be a pretty frivolous thread, I admit it.

I watched the 1990 movie Pump Up the Volume the other night. Unexpectedly, it didn't suck.  Christian Slater et al were ferociously '80s in it, and the issues of high school ennuis were as timeless (I presume) & precious as ever, but as I watched it I realized there might be a reason why it held together well enough: the writer escalated the stakes of the action everytime something got revealed or resolved, and it all tied in & together to a pride at the center of the story.  They could well have read Dogs before writing the script. : )

So here it is:

The general plot is that Christian Slater's character runs a pirate radio station under the pseudonym "Happy Hard-on Harry", streaming obscenities and critiques of the system (especially his high school) on short wave.  The show is an underground hit which the HS school kids love, and their parents and school staff hate.

Pride: The principle of the school wants it to be the finest in the district. At any cost.

Injustice: Students with low grades get expelled from school, denying them their right to an education.

Sin:  The principle expels students with low SAT scores, after the semester starts, so she can use their funding and making the school look good.

Demonic Attacks: Christian Slater's character starts riling up the students of the school. 

False Doctrine: That only students with good grades deserve to be educated.

Corrupt Worship:  All the students of the school listen to "Harry" and start putting his slogans as graffiti in the school. Some students trash their parent's homes, and start speaking out against the culture of hypocrasy at the school, the pressure to be perfect.

False Priesthood:  Tapes of the shows are sold, and several students start wearing varsity jackets with "HHH" on them.  Another student who has been writing him evocative letters to read tracks "Harry" down & becomes involved with him: he gets a partner in crime.

Sorcery:  Violence begets violence. The school faculty start hitting students and the expulsions escalate. A sympathetic teacher is fired. The FCC are called in to stop Harry.

Hate & Murder:  One student kills himself after being called on the pirate radio show.  (This is the major escalation of the plot)

So the kind of interesting thing about this is that there are no Dogs--the FCC are the closest thing, and they are mostly comic relief. They are just there to flush Harry out in the final conflict.  Christian Slater acts as the champion of all the students, saying what they cannot, but he does so from the vantage of being a demon, stirring up trouble with no authority except the truth of his words & their appeal to the students.  He also exposes injustices done to students by other students, such as a gay boy who was molested by another student. The moral structure, obviously, is very different.

And few Dogs would pretend to have an ejaculation on air, so it's just a wee bit different that way too.  : )

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Well, what happens if you assume that Mark (a.k.a. Happy Harry Hardon) is a Dog, and you describe the town before he gets there (and remember, he does transfer in from out of state)?

Pride:  Parents want their children to get good grades, not because they want their children to enjoy learning, but for the grades themselves

Injustice:  Children are not valued for who they are and what they do, but for what the school system does to them.

Sin:  Some students deny themselves completely, and become "perfect".  Some students stop giving a damn about learning.

Demonic Attacks:  Standardized tests.

False Doctrine:  Kids are destined to either be good apples or troublemakers.  The school system should weigh the needs of the good apples more heavily than those of the troublemakers.

Corrupt Worship:  The school principal starts selectively expelling troublemakers.

What do the NPCs want from the Dogs?

Sister Nora wants the Dog to show her something worth believing in.
Sister Paige wants the Dog to judge her perfect facade, and see the real her underneath
Sister Loretta wants the Dog (clearly a troublemaker) to prove that he is in league with the demons
Brother Malcom wants the Dog to admit that nothing will ever make his pain go away
Sister Cheryl (good teacher) wants the Dog to show her how she can help the children of the town
Brother David (guidance counsellor) wants the Dog to appreciate his tireless efforts to help the children of the town

Sounds like a hell of a town to me.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

Emily Care

That sounds dead on, Tony. It does match the fact that he goes around helping other students. Though, instead of christening babies, he talks to depressed troubled teens to let them know they're not alone.  His venue for righteousness is an anti-establishment, therapeutic talk show.

I do think it's neat though, that he rights the ills through causing effects that are very demonlike.  It points out the therapeutic nature of demonic attack.  If they didn't point out that something's not right in a town, it'd be a much longer time before people got around to figuring out what was actually at work in the community.

And, then, I suppose that towns with nothing rotting at their heart's might not see bad stuff as attacks, but be able to work together to get through the hard times. But the guilty conscience shines through.
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Quote from: Emily Care on February 23, 2006, 09:40:48 PM
And, then, I suppose that towns with nothing rotting at their heart's might not see bad stuff as attacks, but be able to work together to get through the hard times.

"Sakes alive, but we had a cold winter.  Ain't been nothin' like it in living memory.  Killed off half our herds.  Old Man Jessup's barn fell down cause the main timbers froze clear through to the core and cracked.  Cracked, if you c'n believe that!  I tell you, it's a good thing we had the protection of the King of Life, and the wisdom of the Prophets what told us to salt away provisions every year just in case of such hardship.  As it is, this winter was a right blessing.  It reminded us all how important we are to each other.  Praise God in all things!"

Wouldn't you love to present a town like that to some hard-bitten, shoot-em-in-the-face Dogs, just once to see how they'd react?
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


Well, to be true to the town creation mechanic, you would have to have some Pride there.

Perhaps, "We've done so well we don't need to listen to the Dogs."
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker

Emily Care

Maybe  a*little* pride, but just think how fun it would be to have your dogs ride in after peeling themselves out of the clutches of some bat nasty demon, only to find themselves in a town that's "doin' just fine, thank you, could you pass the salt?"

Or better yet. That is in a real bind & a real pickle, but that truly just needs the Dogs to help them out, rather than to have them root it out.

Of course, play too much of that would get dull. Who want's to role play out delivering mail and blessing babies night after night?  This would be a refresher, like ginger on the palate between courses of sushi.  : )
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Towns of this nature, I handle as 'between towns'.  For example, on the way out from the temple our first game, I narrated "You ride through a couple of towns; they're pretty close to the core, so they see Dogs through a lot, and there's not a lot to do.  You perform a marriage in one of them, deliver the mail, and head on out.  Occiasionally you talk to a troubled soul, but nothing that takes any special effort to sort out."

To the topic, I have a real soft spot for Pump up the Volume, and now I'm going to have to watch it again, with Dogs in mind...


I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.


Tony, you may want to check out the Good Town thread, although James pretty much summarized it already.

+ Mikael
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By the way, I'm all for this kind of thread, looking at movies or books in Dogs town creation terms. You can bet that I do it all the time.