Narnia: Bad Metaphors, Bad Masters

[Content Note: Graphic discussion of WWII and the Holocaust, Slavery, Racism, Rape]

Narnia Recap: In which Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep are captured by slavers.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 3: The Lone Islands

When we last left our boy-king, he and his companions had been captured into slavery. Caspian had been bought by an older (and apparently very privileged) man who had the good grace to disapprove of slavery, but not so much good grace that he didn't feel the need to not repeatedly taunt a slaver who was fully capable of going back to his ship and taking out his frustrations in the form of abuse on his captives. If you all recall, I thought that was a really stellar way to be above the whole slavery thing. Rock on, Privileged Guy!

Meanwhile, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep were hauled back to the slave ship where they saw no one they knew and spent the evening trying to convince Eustace that their Majesties weren't at least partially responsible for the situation, despite the fact that they kind of are by virtue of not warning him that there were known pirate ships prowling in the area and not taking an armed guard with them on their pleasure walk. But, you know, fuck Eustace and whatnot.

But none of the slavery stuff really matters, and it's not as though it's likely to affect the attitudes and outlooks of any of the three children or the chivalric Talking Animal in any way whatsoever, so we therefore don't spend much time on it because we don't really care about the children and the Mouse! Well, I mean, we the readers do -- or, at least, some of us do -- but Lewis and Caspian don't. Lewis presumably doesn't care much about them because, as the author, he knows they are going to be alright and therefore doesn't feel the need to spend a lot of time bothering the child reader about the horrors of slavery. And, for the record, I have mixed feelings about that.

On the one hand, I understand wanting to include slavery in Narnia -- as I also understanding wanting to include a lot of the problematic things in Narnia, including the Othering and the Orientalism -- because we have a lot of cultural narratives that treat fictional-slavery as a fun and exciting adventure to experience and/or be rescued from. The fact that this fictional-slavery is almost always nothing close to resembling actual-slavery is an escapist feature, not a bug. And I tend to try not to hammer too hard on escapism, because it is after all okay to enjoy problematic art.

Yet slavery escapism tends to be a bit of a different kettle of fish than some of the other escapism tropes. Yes, many people legitimately feel trapped in their daily life, and slavery escapism can be a way of throwing that trapped feeling into a sharper contrast -- you're no longer (for example) merely a 'wage slave' or a 'slave' to the whims of [insert one or more: employer / family / spouse / community / church], you're now an actual slave. And you can break out of that slavery through a daring rescue or an exciting escape! But by obscuring the harsh realities of slavery in that escapist fantasy, there's a very real danger of obscuring the actual reality of slavery that real people experience. And I use the present tense there, experience, because slavery is still with us. And that was true in Lewis' day as well.

C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia between 1949 and 1954, or in other words, 4 to 9 years after the end of World War II. During the war, slave labor made up a full quarter of Germany's work force. German plans for an invasion of Britain intended that all "the able-bodied male population between the ages of 17 and 45" should be deported from Britain back to Germany to serve as slaves. And millions of Jews were worked to death in concentration camps:

Millions of Jews were forced labourers in ghettos, before they were shipped off to extermination camps. The Nazis also operated concentration camps, some of which provided free forced labour for industrial and other jobs while others existed purely for the extermination of their inmates.

To mislead the victims, at the entrances to a number of camps the lie "work brings freedom" ("arbeit macht frei") was placed, to encourage the false impression that cooperation would earn release. A notable example of labour-concentration camp is the Mittelbau-Dora labour camp complex that serviced the production of the V-2 rocket.

Extermination through labour was a Nazi German World War II principle that regulated the aims and purposes of most of their labour and concentration camps. The rule demanded that the inmates of German World War II camps be forced to work for the German war industry with only basic tools and minimal food rations until totally exhausted.

It seems unlikely to me that C.S. Lewis could have been unaware that the Germans were using brutal slave labor during the war. In 1942, he published "The Screwtape Letters", and referenced the "concentration camps and labour camps" in the preface:

I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.

In 1948, he again referenced the Holocaust and "slave camps" (albeit Russian ones this time) in a political essay titled "Willing Slaves of the Welfare State". But -- as you can probably tell from the title -- Lewis' view of slavery and the Holocaust seems not to have deepened in the intervening years such that he might have felt that the enslavement and mass-murder of his fellow human beings was so serious that it shouldn't be used as a metaphor on the evils of social welfare and robust mental health services.

This particular essay reminds me strongly of all those modern American essays where male writers helpfully compare "paying taxes" to "rape". Because things like rape and slavery always make very good metaphors indeed! As does the Holocaust itself! If you can make a metaphor out of the Holocaust to support your point, then you win all the arguments forever. In an passage concerning how the state should treat mentally ill criminals -- incarcerate them with the general population or try to provide them with mental health care? -- Lewis invokes the deaths of millions of Jews while helpfully noting that while the metaphor is apt it will probably seem "shocking". (Helpful note to writers: Sometimes your gut is doing its job by telling you these things! The thing to do in these cases is to listen to your gut, backspace over what you wrote, and find a new metaphor.) 

The second is the changed relation between Government and subjects. Sir Charles mentions our new attitude to crime. I will mention the trainloads of Jews delivered at the German gas-chambers. It seems shocking to suggest a common element, but I think one exists. On the humanitarian view all crime is pathological; it demands not retributive punishment but cure. This separates the criminal's treatment from the concepts of justice and desert; a 'just cure' is meaningless.

On the old view public opinion might protest against a punishment (it protested against our old penal code) as excessive, more than the man 'deserved'; an ethical question on which anyone might have an opinion. But a remedial treatment can be judged only by the probability of its success; a technical question on which only experts can speak.

Thus the criminal ceases to be a person, a subject of rights and duties, and becomes merely an object on which society can work. And this is, in principle, how Hitler treated the Jews. They were objects; killed not for ill desert but because, on his theories, they were a disease in society. If society can mend, remake, and unmake men at its pleasure, its pleasure may, of course, be humane or homicidal. The difference is important. But, either way, rulers have become owners. Observe how the 'humane' attitude to crime could operate. If crimes are diseases, why should diseases be treated differently from crimes? And who but the experts can define disease? One school of psychology regards my religion as a neurosis. If this neurosis ever becomes inconvenient to Government, what is to prevent my being subjected to a compulsory 'cure'? It may be painful; treatments sometimes are. But it will be no use asking, 'What have I done to deserve this?' The Straightener will reply: 'But, my dear fellow, no one's blaming you. We no longer believe in retributive justice. We're healing you.' [emphasis mine]

Is that not a great article? I think it is. I think it is the best article ever. I like all the things about it. I like the fact that the author carefully elides the fact that the belief that some criminals are mentally ill and not culpable for their actions doesn't mean that those same humanitarians automatically believe that all criminals are mentally ill and not culpable for their actions.

I also like the question "If crimes are diseases, why should diseases be treated differently from crimes?" which very awesomely obscures the fact that mentally ill criminals aren't charged with crimes simply because they are mentally ill; they're criminals because they committed a crime. It was only during the subsequent investigation, arrest, and trial that it was determined that they committed the crime because they are mentally ill. This is an especially awesome question coming from an apologist who is famously known for limiting the potential answers to an open-ended question in an attempt to force the listener to conveniently select only one choice of three.

Almost-most-of-all (but not quite!) do I like the fact that legal considerations on the subject of mentally ill criminals have been around since at least the code of Hammurabi, and are not some new-fangled liberalism dystopia nightmare that the evil feminists (or vegetarians!) came up with merely in order to persecute the good God-fearing Christians with 1984-esque mind-control designed to wash the fear of God out of their godly systems against their will. I do so much love me a good Privileged Persecution Complex!

But I cannot love the privileged persecution complex most of all because what I actually love most of all is that a Christian man decided that the best way to illustrate his privileged persecution complex was to invoke, as a metaphorical demonstration of how easy it is to persecute Christians, the genocide of non-Christian peoples living in a country where the majority of citizens were Christians and led by a man who was raised in a Christian family and professed Christian beliefs in public as justification for murdering the non-Christians who had supposedly been responsible for the death of Christ. All that is a very clear and compelling example of how the Christians are just a day or two away from being rounded up themselves, just like the non-Christians were. Metaphor accomplished!

All of which is a long -- very long, and very depressing -- way of saying that slavery and genocide are not just cute little metaphors. They are horrible, terrible things, and using them as metaphors for things which are either not-horrible-at-all (in the case of Cozy Slavery and Welfare Slavery) or not-very-likely-to-happen (in the case of the impending incarceration of all Christians in a world where the majority of world leaders profess a faith in God) is not a good idea for about a dozen different reasons.

And while I understand the impulse to use slavery as a metaphor, or to include it as a cozy little side-adventure in a children's book, I am on the side of GeniusLemur's opinion that "If your readers would find slavery as it really is too upsetting to take, don't include it". Nevertheless, it's here and we're going to have to deal with Cozy Slavery -- and Caspian's reaction to it. 

Caspian's almost total unconcern for his friends -- which we will come to in text in a minute -- seems disconcertingly odd. Barring Bad Writing and a Direct Line To The Author (which I reserve the right to do, both here and in Twilight, because answers like "because S. Meyer told Bella it would all work out okay" would effectively stop all further Twilight deconstructions), we are once again faced with a number of contradictory and not-very-complimentary possible characterizations for King Caspian. These include (but are probably not limited to):

1. Caspian is so self-centered that he just plain doesn't care if Lucy et. al. are being hurt by slavers. This interpretation would make Caspian so callous and unfeeling that he seems like the last possible person who could be deemed a good ruler by the local reigning deity. But, then again, that local deity is Aslan.

2. Caspian is so easily distractable that he cannot remember enough to care that Lucy et. al. are being hurt by slavers. This interpretation would make Caspian less of an unfeeling bastard, but probably no less of a bad ruler. But, then again, Aslan has a bad track record when it comes to distractability as well.

3. Caspian realizes -- subconsciously or consciously -- that he cannot help Lucy et. al. at the moment, and thus does not dwell on the idea that they are being hurt by slavers. This is plausible, and fairly not-assholish, but then again it doesn't seem to ring true for me in the narrative. Caspian doesn't shove his worries aside by staying busy with battle plans; he spends the evening having a pleasant family dinner. It feels like the company of new friends would make it hard not to reflect on the fresh and recent loss of old friends.

4. Caspian believes the slavery to which Lucy et. al. are being subjected to be Cozy not because of a Direct Line To The Author (which we have excluded from consideration), but because he genuinely does not understand what slavery entails. This is perhaps possible: Caspian was a favored son of privilege, and even under the care of his brutal Uncle Miraz he was still pampered as the heir. Yet Caspian has had three full years to hear and reflect on the torments suffered by the Old Narnians, and he must have been involved in adjudicating between wronged Old Narnians and Telmarines, including those Telmarines who left on the Coronation Day Massacre, since restitution would need to be paid to the Old Narnians from the goods the Telmarines left behind. Caspian should possess a minimum of awareness of the horrors that people can inflict on the powerless.

5. Caspian believes the slavery to which Lucy et. al. are being subjected to be Cozy not because of a Direct Line To The Author, but because he thinks that slaves are too valuable to mistreat. This explanation I include only to immediately reject; Caspian has demonstrated that he doesn't consider the value of things in his use or misuse of them by virtue of the fact that he brought Lucy's cordial on a voyage from which he is not reasonably expected to return, and on a ship which he staffed entirely with newly-minted Telmarine "sailors" rather than hiring a few seasoned Galmian sailors, apparently because of national pride.

Anyway, for whatever reason, Caspian is able to soldier on remarkably well in the face of adversity:

   Meanwhile Caspian was having a much more interesting time. [...]
   “You needn’t be afraid of me, boy,” he said. “I’ll treat you well. I bought you for your face. You reminded me of someone.”
   “May I ask of whom, my Lord?” said Caspian.
   “You remind me of my master, King Caspian of Narnia.”

I'm not sure what I like most about this exchange: (a) the fact that Lord Bern has enough money to buy slaves on silly whims like this while yet claiming poverty when a crying Lucy begs that they not be separated, or (b) the fact that Lord Bern claims to despise slavery yet doesn't seem to intend to release this boy that he bought based on his pretty face -- either legally through whatever process allowed for by the island government or illegally by smuggling the boy to wherever he might choose to go.

Lord Bern doesn't say anything about freeing Caspian and keeping him on as a paid servant should he so desire, even though that would seem to be a better "fear not" opening than a bland statement of well-treatment. (And considering that a great many masters think of themselves as Tough But Fair and hold out a carrot -- "do good work and I'll be good to you" -- before a stick. That doesn't make their self-assessment correct.)

I kind of think that Bern genuinely doesn't intend to release the boy -- to do so would run the risk that Caspian might want to go back home to his family on the island, and Lord Bern would be out the purchase price for his shiny new slave. Instead he just says he will "treat him well", presumably as his master. So it's nice to see that Lord Bern is not just a privileged asshole, he's also a hypocrite.

And I am not entirely sure that Lewis himself doesn't seem to get that. I think we're supposed (at this point in the narrative) to take Bern as a genuinely good guy who really can't afford to buy a whole parcel of slaves. This is narratively convenient since the separation of Lucy et. al. from Caspian heightens dramatic tension and forces Caspian to stay and fix everything (rather than just leave then and there), but I think it's also intended to highlight Bern's virtue for spending more than he can afford to buy from a Bad Slavery into a Good Slavery the boy who looks like his dear old friend. Isn't that nice?

But the thing is, I don't think it's nice to buy a slave from Bad Slavery into Good Slavery and then keep them as a slave. Not even if it's to recoup some of the money you couldn't afford to spend by parlaying it into free labor. Owning slaves, no matter how good and nice a master you are, makes you a slave-owner. And, in the same way that one cannot be Nice and a Rapist, one cannot be Nice and willingly a Slave-Owner. Both involve transgressing the human right to choice in order to invoke ownership over someone else's person, and hostility to choice is anathema to any claim of real and genuine niceness. 

   “My Lord,” he said, “I am your master. I am Caspian, King of Narnia.”
   “You make very free,” said the other. “How shall I know this is true?”
   “Firstly by my face,” said Caspian. “Secondly because I know within six guesses who you are. You are one of those seven lords of Narnia whom my Uncle Miraz sent to sea and whom I have come out to look for—Argoz, Bern, Octesian, Restimar, Mavramorn, or—or—I have forgotten the others. And finally, if your Lordship will give me a sword I will prove on any man’s body in clean battle that I am Caspian the son of Caspian, lawful King of Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands.”
   “By heaven,” exclaimed the man, “it is his father’s very voice and trick of speech. My liege—your Majesty—” And there in the field he knelt and kissed the King’s hand.
   “The moneys your Lordship disbursed for our person will be made good from our own treasury,” said Caspian.

And the two things I like best about this passage is that (a) Caspian is willing to brashly undergo trial by combat in a situation where, were he to die, no one back home would ever know what happened to Lucy et. al. and they would be trapped in slavery forever and (b) Caspian's first and immediate concern after having the whole slave-or-king thing settled is not "how can I save my friends", but rather a statement of reimbursement for Lord Bern.

Which just makes Lewis' earlier quote about boardrooms being the place where greatest evil occurs, more so than in the lesser evil concentration camps, that much more what-the-fuckery. Because as much as I deplore the metaphor and as much as I bristle at the idea of measuring which of a series of places and situations is objectively 'more evil' (with the inevitable result that victims will be invisibled in the process), I can certainly sympathize with the idea that leaders and owners of corporations sometimes do Very Bad Things. Sure.

But then you get stuff like this where Good Guy 1 is a no-kidding slave-owner (because you wouldn't want him to take a loss on that transaction would you?) and Good Guy 2 is more interested in making sure that said loss on transaction is taken care of before they get to the bit about saving his friends' lives, and these are supposed to be good guys yet they are embodying that very same corporate mentality that commodifies people in service to profit.

   “They’re not in Pug’s purse yet, Sire,” said the Lord Bern, for he it was. “And never will be, I trust. I have moved His Sufficiency the Governor a hundred times to crush this vile traffic in man’s flesh.”

And this just makes no sense. The money isn't in Pug's purse because ... why? Does Bern have a line of credit open with the pirate? Lord Bern who deplores slavery has a line of credit open to the local slaver? The same pirate-slaver who Bern verbally abuses and openly scorns, and who has no reason to trust that Bern will pay up when he comes back to collect unless he knows from experience and has sold to Bern before? 

   “My Lord Bern,” said Caspian, “we must talk of the state of these Islands. But first what is your Lordship’s own story?”
   “Short enough, Sire,” said Bern. “I came thus far with my six fellows, loved a girl of the islands, and felt I had had enough of the sea. And there was no purpose in returning to Narnia while your Majesty’s uncle held the reins. So I married and have lived here ever since.”

Priority list:

1. Reimburse Lord Bern for money lost.
2. Query Lord Bern about what he's been up to for the past decade.
3. Rescue friends.

I want to give Caspian credit here, to assume that he's trying to ingratiate himself with Bern in order to get as much help as possible to aid his friends. And yet, if that were his aim, he could have been a little less brash in his whole bring-me-a-sword-so-I-may-slay-thee routine. Yes, it panned out, but it was a risk: he might have seriously have alienated Bern. And I want also to acknowledge that this is very likely just another product of Bad Writing: Lewis wanted to work in Bern's backstory as soon as possible so that he could forget about it; now it's done and he can check that off the list.

But I just can't do either, because I'm looking at patterns and not at individual instances. There's a point at which I have to acknowledge that Caspian doesn't spare a moment of worry or thought for his friends until the final paragraph in this chapter -- and even then, only to excuse himself for not worrying pretty much at all. Sure, it could be Bad Writing. But it could also be Bad Philosophy, the idea that words like "slavery" are merely metaphor, nothing more than literary coinage to be spent when making a point. When slavery isn't really real to you, it's easy to treat it as nothing more than a Privilege Pokemon Card to summon in arguments, and it's easy to forget that things like Moneys and Backstory are of far less importance than freedom. 

   “And what is this governor, this Gumpas, like? Does he still acknowledge the King of Narnia for his lord?”
   “In words, yes. All is done in the King’s name. But he would not be best pleased to find a real, live King of Narnia coming in upon him. And if your Majesty came before him alone and unarmed—well he would not deny his allegiance, but he would pretend to disbelieve you. Your Grace’s life would be in danger. What following has your Majesty in these waters?”
   “There is my ship just rounding the point,” said Caspian. “We are about thirty swords if it came to fighting. [...]
   After a little more conversation Caspian and Bern walked down to the coast a little west of the village and there Caspian winded his horn. [...] Then the boat put off again and in a few moments Caspian and the Lord Bern were on deck explaining the situation to Drinian. He, just like Caspian, wanted to lay the Dawn Treader alongside the slave-ship at once and board her, but Bern made the same objection.

(It's not Susan's horn. I cut that explanation because it was long, but basically: Trumpkin has it.)

So ... thoughts. One is that, again, this sort of situation should have been foreseen way in advance of this emergency. The local regent hasn't had contact with the "King of Narnia" in approximately one thousand years because the "King of Narnia" hasn't existed for approximately one thousand years. The Telmarines -- and their King Caspian the First -- killed him off, assuming a king even existed after the Pevensies popped back into England. King Caspian the First could be considered the King of Narnia in the sense that he conquered the area and wiped out nearly all the Narnians, but that's a debatable point of verbiage that Caspian should have expected his territories to debate. Especially since, due to the Telmarine avoidance of the sea, no diplomatic relations between Telmarine-occupied Narnia and the Lone Islands have apparently ever been conducted.

So Caspian walking into the Lone Islands and saying 'sup, I'm the king around here was always going to have to be handled with great tact and grace, especially if Caspian only brought thirty swords along with him. He is Aragorn walking into Gondor, and someone -- anyone -- should have already pointed out long ago that this situation was going to be both dangerous and fraught. Yet apparently no one did.

   “Steer straight down this channel, captain,” said Bern, “and then round to Avra where my own estates are. But first run up the King’s banner, hang out all the shields, and send as many men to the fighting-top as you can. And about five bowshots hence, when you get open sea on your port bow, run up a few signals.”
   “Signals? To whom?” said Drinian.
   “Why, to all the other ships we haven’t got but which it might be well that Gumpas thinks we have.”
   “Oh, I see,” said Drinian, rubbing his hands. [...]
   Caspian was sorry for the others languishing in the hold of Pug’s slave-ship, but he could not help finding the rest of that day enjoyable. Late in the afternoon [...] they entered into a good harbor on Avra’s southern shore where Bern’s pleasant lands sloped down to the water’s edge. Bern’s people, many of whom they saw working in the fields, were all freemen and it was a happy and prosperous fief. Here they all went ashore and were royally feasted in a low, pillared house overlooking the bay. Bern and his gracious wife and merry daughters made them good cheer.

I didn't quote it because the passages were getting unmanageably long, but from the time Caspian blows his horn to here at the end of the chapter, there are three separate parenthetical statements hastily explaining where Susan's horn is and how the ships are maneuvering around and that Lord Bern ordered some mysterious preparations for the following day. (Which are mysterious because clearly Caspian and his scant thirty solders don't need all the information available to them at this time. Surprises on the day of a tense situation are always wonderful things! Wheee!)

Between these parentheticals and a lot of the info-dump at the end here, it seems as though these passages were hastily written and then never properly edited. Caspian has a horn, and it's not Susan's -- yet why did he not blow it when they first saw the unwholesome looking slavers whose countenance the children did not trust? (If Bern hadn't come along, the ship would never have known what happened to them.) Bern has a line of credit with the slaver and didn't immediately offer to free Caspian, but his workers are all happy freemen who just don't want to live elsewhere.

And also, Bern is prosperous -- with acres of land and dozens of happy workers and all the children he could ever want -- because Good People have Good Things, and we can all please forget about Bern pleading poverty for being unable to buy a little girl who could not have been much different in age from his own "merry daughters" and who -- in a non-Cozy world -- would now be facing horrors of abuse and privation while Bern and his family make "good cheer". Because Good People also look the other way when little girls are enslaved, because it's not like you can save the whole world, and you wouldn't want Lord Bern to be poor, would you? It's just like Jesus said: "When I was enslaved, you purchased my freedom. Unless that purchase would have cut into your yearly gross earnings and undermined the stockholder's profits, in which case you purchased my freedom only if I reminded you of your former best friend, but not if I reminded you of your current daughters."

And this is, incidentally, Reason Number #247,890,121,598 why equating Goodness with Prosperity is a really, really bad idea. Theologians can debate for eternity what, precisely, it means in Matthew where Jesus is recorded as having the following interaction:

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

When Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

But if I had to give my opinion, it would be that spiritual perfection is flatly impossible when profit becomes a priority in place of goodness. You can either give your possessions to the poor and risk beggaring yourself in a quest to buy slaves and free them, or you can have prosperous land and happy workers and merry children and make good cheer with your wife while explaining to weeping little girls that you would love to buy her from slavery, really, just as you bought her golden-haired friend on the grounds that he reminded you of your childhood friend, but if you did buy her then the quarter-year profits would suffer. But you can't do both.

What's especially sad is that C.S. Lewis seemed to get this when he was ensnaring his fictional victims in The Screwtape Letters, but apparently got it less so when he was crafting his fictional heroes like King Caspian and his new best friend Lord Bern. Once again we see the all-too-human disconnect between theology and practice.

Moving on. Caspian and Drinian are having fun with their play-battle preparations and the nice tour and good dinner, so it's probably worth mentioning that Caspian "was sorry" even though we've seen no actual evidence of that. And, of course, that he can't help the fun he's been having. Because any time Caspian does something objectionable -- even if the objection is something mild like, I'm sure he's a very nice boy, but I do think it's worth noting that his ancestor slaughtered thousands of innocent Narnians -- the narrative immediately pops up to sternly inform us that not only is Caspian innocent, he can't help these things.  

He could not help finding the rest of the day enjoyable. It literally wasn't possible. It wasn't like he chose to have a merry, cheerful dinner with Bern's gracious wife and his lovely not-freckled daughters rather than a solemn, serious dinner while they went over their plans one more time and he prayed on his knees for an hour before an early bedtime that Aslan might spare Lucy et. al. from the worst abuses of slavery. There was no choice in the matter. It couldn't be helped. You're all unreasonable ingrates to suggest otherwise.

And thus are we given a character who never owns his own choices -- for good or ill -- but rather one for which excuse after excuse is made on the grounds that no other way of acting was even possible, let alone desirable.

In the end, it's not so much that Caspian loses himself in pleasure because he has a Direct Line To The Author. Instead it's that we're instructed to ignore Caspian losing himself in pleasure because Lewis tries to invoke a Direct Line To The Reader. We're not given the choice to judge Caspian's actions for himself, because there's no choice available for us to judge -- Caspian just can't help the things he does.

140 comments:

depizan said...

But to the victims, the horror is more likely to be associated with those who actually commit the deeds. Focusing on the location the orders came from hides the horror of the actual deeds, and, in doing so, hides the victims.

Also, while it may take a different kind of evil to order terrible acts as opposed to committing them, I'm not sure it's helpful to try and deem things more or less evil. It's evil to tell Bob in accounting to have half the work force executed. It is evil for Bob to hire hit men. And it is evil for those hit men to kill people. To the people killed, it's pretty much all the same. (Also to those people's loved ones.)

If the point is to say "do not do evil things" or "it is evil to order evil things done" (which seem like terribly obvious statements, but, hey, some anvils need to be dropped), it seems better to just say so than to paint the rather tidy picture of the "boardroom criminal." Especially if the point is supposed to be Do not do that. It's sanitizing evil. (Lewis seems to have been into sanitizing things.)

Josh G. said...

Here's how I'd write it: Lord Bern doesn't own a huge fief, just a small farm which he runs with his wife and daughters. He's doing OK ("middle-class") but doesn't have tons of money. He and his neighbors, also free landowners, don't like slavery, partly because of moral reasons and partly because the large slave plantations have been making it harder for free farmers like them to make a living. (The same reasons why many Northerners disliked slavery prior to the Civil War.) One night, he gets a vision from Aslan telling him to go to the slave market and buy a boy that resembles his old friend King Caspian. (Normally I'd consider that kind of plot device to be a bit of a cop-out, but this is Narnia, that kind of stuff happens all the time.) So he does this, even though he can barely afford Caspian. When he says he can't afford to buy Caspian's friends, he's telling the truth; even the purchase of Caspian strains his limited resources.

He tells Caspian about the vision, and says that he'd like to set Caspian free but can't afford to do so right away. He promises Caspian that he will be treated well, and set free as soon as he's earned enough money to pay back his purchase price. (After all, Bern has a family to worry about; he can hardly risk losing his farm, which would turn them into paupers, perhaps even slaves themselves. And what better way to show how an evil social system can force even decent people into morally compromising positions?)

Caspian convinces Bern of his true identity, and Bern realizes that Aslan must have set up this meeting so that he and Caspian could put an end to the evils of slavery in the Lone Islands once and for all. Since Bern doesn't have vassals in this version, he instead recruits his neighbors as allies, and the rest of the plot (overthrowing the Governor and abolishing slavery) proceeds as before.

Kristycat said...

I'm reminded of the D&D game where my character bought a slave (in order to free him) - a 12-year-old boy who was being marketed as a sex slave. For teeth-dropping amounts of money.

For context on the money aspect - we were either at or close to epic levels, and my character being the rogue, I was, uh, not hurting for cash :) And yet buying this kid cost approximately a full third or more of my total bank - the bank that my underpowered self was saving to buy magic items for the final boss fight.

So... I can kinda see someone not being able to afford to buy more than one slave, even if they're "rich" - if we take Bern at face value that he's a kindly man whose land is being worked by freemen, he probably takes his responsibilities towards his tenants seriously, which means he needs to have a certain amount of cash on hand to cover emergencies. He may have the money to purchase everyone, but that doesn't mean he's actually able to spend that money if it's needed for things like, say, making sure the people on his land don't starve if the crops unexpectedly fail.

Of course, that relies on taking Bern at face value. I think it's possible that he is what he says, but whether or not it's likely - especially given that his first move was NOT to free Caspian - is definitely up for debate.

bekabot said...

"Of course, then Bern shouldn't have had the spare money to buy a slave who reminded him of his friend."

Posted to this, but the spambot ate it. Briefly:

1) Maybe Caspian is an impulse buy. That would explain:
a) why Bern yells at Pug (because Bern is irritated at himself and doesn't know how he's going to explain his unwarranted generosity to Mrs. Bern when he gets home)
b) why Bern leads Caspian straight home (no more money to spend at the inn)
c) the speed with which Bern and Caspian depart; Caspian is an especially foolish purchase if Bern already has all the farm labor he needs. The greater the distance Bern puts between himself and Caspian's former companions, the less likely Bern is to compound his error (as he thinks it).

2) (Change of subject.) Poverty is relative.
a) Bern is not used to spending money to buy things. Most likely he brews his own beer, or his wife does it. No doubt he makes his own rope, cures his own leather and meat, grows most of his own food, et cetera. Most likely his wife and her female attendants make cloth, spin the thread, and sew clothing for their whole community. Bern is in a position which renders him somewhat independent of the cash nexus, but as a result of that he either doesn't feel the need or hasn't had the opportunity (or both) to acquire great quantities of that by means of which the cash nexus operates: money.
b) Nevertheless, Bern probably has about as much cash as he needs for ordinary uses. The point would be that Caspian represents, for Bern, an extraordinary outlay. (The point is later made that all Bern's other farm laborers are "freemen".) That would mean that, at this juncture, Caspian represents, to Bern, a way of doing things with which Bern is unfamiliar, which would imply that when Bern buys Caspian from Pug, he does so because he honestly feels compelled to (by Aslan, one expects, not by advertising).

3) After all, this is an experience most of us have had. Most of us know what it is to buy something we can afford, but only barely. My idea is that that's what Bern is doing here and that his almost-buyer's-remorse and irritation are things we know about and which aren't strange to us; we share all the same reactions, up to and including Bern's itch to blame the salesperson after the money's been spent and the exchange is complete.

bekabot said...

"Of course, then Bern shouldn't have had the spare money to buy a slave who reminded him of his friend."

Posted to this, but the spambot ate it. Briefly:

1) Maybe Caspian is an impulse buy. That would explain:
a) why Bern yells at Pug (because Bern is irritated at himself and doesn't know how he's going to explain his unwarranted generosity to Mrs. Bern when he gets home)
b) why Bern leads Caspian straight home (no more money to spend at the inn)
c) the speed with which Bern and Caspian depart; Caspian is an especially foolish purchase if Bern already has all the farm labor he needs. The greater the distance Bern puts between himself and Caspian's former companions, the less likely Bern is to compound his error (as he thinks it).

2) (Change of subject.) Poverty is relative.
a) Bern is not used to spending money to buy things. Most likely he brews his own beer, or his wife does it. No doubt he makes his own rope, cures his own leather and meat, grows most of his own food, et cetera. Most likely his wife and her female attendants make cloth, spin the thread, and sew clothing for their whole community. Bern is in a position which renders him somewhat independent of the cash nexus, but as a result of that he either doesn't feel the need or hasn't had the opportunity (or both) to acquire great quantities of that by means of which the cash nexus operates: money.
b) Nevertheless, Bern probably has about as much cash as he needs for ordinary uses. The point would be that Caspian represents, for Bern, an extraordinary outlay. (The point is later made that all Bern's other farm laborers are "freemen".) That would mean that, at this juncture, Caspian represents, to Bern, a way of doing things with which Bern is unfamiliar, which would imply that when Bern buys Caspian from Pug, he does so because he honestly feels compelled to (by Aslan, one expects, not by advertising).

3) After all, this is an experience most of us have had. Most of us know what it is to buy something we can afford, but only barely. My idea is that that's what Bern is doing here and that his almost-buyer's-remorse and irritation are things we know about and which aren't strange to us; we share all the same reactions, up to and including Bern's itch to blame the salesperson after the money's been spent and the exchange is complete.

hf said...

About the challenge of combat (CN for violence against slaves):

If not for what comes next I'd give Caspian the benefit of the doubt here. He could be

1. pointing out, in a deniable way, that keeping him as a slave has unusual risks. (They could kill him to keep word of his identity from getting out, except who would kill him? A mercenary who might prefer the reward that Bern in fact winds up getting? Another slave? Bern won't get his own hands dirty!)

2. actually denying it once Bern gives in to this threat/bluff and starts sucking up to the King

3. as part of this denial and face-saving, pretending that Bern bought Caspian out of pure loyalty and should thus be rewarded. (In other words, acting as if there was never any reason to threaten the guy and therefore the King can't have done it.) This works splendidly, since Bern goes on to claim that he's long opposed slavery and implies that he will help Caspian save his friends.

Except, on this reading the King's next move should involve saying something like, "Splendid! You can help me signal my people and we'll have these slavers at sword-point within the hour." Maybe Bern would come up with a valid reason not to do so (without some embarrassing backtracking) but Caspian should start from there and need to be talked out of it. And hey, there's a conversation that could bring us to Bern's back-story.

Kristycat said...

One of the things I liked about Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January mysteries is how they kinda deconstruct the myth of the happy slave.

Yes, many of the slaves depicted in the books ARE happy, for a given definition of happy. Sometimes it's presented as just a human-nature thing: even in a terrible situation, people can and often will grasp at whatever moments of joy they can find. But the fact that you can find something to make you smile or laugh no matter how bad it gets does not mean that the overall situation isn't terrible. It just means that you've developed coping mechanisms out of desperate self-defense.

In other cases, the slaves do have a good relationship with their masters. Mutual respect, even friendship (to a point) exists - but even in these situations, there's always the knowledge on the part of the slave that the friendship is conditional. There's always the understanding that if the master falls on hard times and a generous enough offer is made, they will be sold away - with or without their family and friends. And whether they are sold to a similarly sympathetic and "kind" master, or whether they are sold to backbreaking labor in the fields, is not their choice.

One example which was lampshaded in the first book involved a white woman who had been mistreated by her late husband, and was turning to Benjamin for help. She was presented as a very sympathetic character - Ben had given her piano lessons when she was a child, and remembered her fondly. Anyway, one of the things her husband had done was sold away a slave who had been with her since they were both little girls. They missed each other terribly - they considered each other good friends, and had comforted each other when the late husband/master had turned violent. At the end of the book, when everything works itself out, the woman is able to buy back the slave and bring her back into her household.

But, as Benjamin cynically noted afterward, "She bought her back - but it never even occurred to her to free her. And despite all the affection they have for each other, she'll never even understand why it should have." (paraphrased)

Thomas Keyton said...

On the humanitarian view all crime is pathological; it demands not retributive punishment but cure.

Isn’t this how his unFallen Martians treat sin? Isn’t this a sign of how enlightened and good they are? (I have not read the Space Trilogy, there may be an explanation there for why it’s good when his favourites do it.)

What's especially sad is that C.S. Lewis seemed to get this when he was ensnaring his fictional victims

I suspect this may be the key - the “Like a cat, getting the last enjoyment out of a mouse” aspect of his writing. Which probably explains the Martian contradiction as well. (It’s been a while since I’ve read this, but I seem to recall a sense of criticism of Eustace’s antisocial demeanour at the slave auction, because I guess good decent English lads always give the best impression of themselves when sold as property!)

And finally, if your Lordship will give me a sword I will prove on any man’s body in clean battle that I am Caspian the son of Caspian, lawful King of Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands.”

I’ll stab someone to death and that’ll prove I’m telling the truth! Did Lewis even know or care what swords were for beyond Arthurian pageantry…

the idea that words like "slavery" are merely metaphor, nothing more than literary coinage to be spent when making a point.

…okay, I walked into that. (Also concepts like “responsible king”, “loyal friend”, “generally good and compassionate person”…)

He could not help finding the rest of the day enjoyable.

And I bet the Volturi made him do it.

Lonespark said...

CN: violence, concentration camps

More to the point, evil isn't measured in units. ("Well Good God Man! This looks like a 27 Manson Crime." "Really? I was thinking more 26 and a half.")

"My portable Evil-o-meter is on the fritz, but when we get back to the office you'll see I'm right, Rookie."

So, no, I don't support spending time trying to find The Epicenter of Evilness...but it would make for a good story.

The quote, though, at least the first bit... I just have a visceral reaction to the rightness of calling out the evil done in boardrooms and council chambers and so forth. Because there's such a tradition of saying, "Your violence is savage and therefore bad, but our violence is justified because we've used all these trappings of civilization to justify and organize it."

But then I realized the concentration camps are more on the organized, systemic oppression side so I guess I don't really agree with the way Lewis is expressing that sentiment, and maybe that means we aren't trying to express similar ones...

Fm said...

CN : Slavery, child slavery, murder, torture, Holocaust
While I also don't agree with boardrooms being scary, I understand this as reference to people in those boardrooms, and here I agree with Lewis. The higher-ups are as responsible for each murder and each act of torture that happens due to their orders as are the people actually doing the deeds - and since a higher-up is always ordering more evil acts that any individual can possibly do, the "boardroom criminal" is more despicable. Specifically in Nazi Germany, Hitler was responsible for all evil that happened in concentration camps (and for shotings of Jews like in Babiy Jar, and for Leningrad Siege,.....) and is this more despicable (and more frightening) than any of Nazi soldiers.
The connection between child right and slavery is actually quite deep. In ancient Rome, children were legally considered property of the father, including his right to murder them (up to certain ages) without repercussions. As late as in 18th Century England, parents abusing their children, sometimes to the point of death, were practically unpunished. And of course, severe corporate punishment persisted long into XX century, whereas "wage slaves" are usually not subject to it.

GeniusLemur said...

cn: murder
Well, in Phantom Menace they were strapped for cash and had the fate of a planet to worry about. And Qui-Gon does try to get free both of them, but Watto figures a pod rancer is only worth one slave. So to me, at least, they come off okay there.
The bad part (and there's no way to account for this, other than awful writing), is that after they leave, everybody just completely forgets about Shmi, including Anakin.

When they gave Shmi all the money from selling the podracer, I figured they were setting up Watto killing her for the money, Anakin finding out, and moving a little closer to the dark side with the thought, "If Qui-Gon had been stronger, he would have just kicked Watto's butt and taken what he wanted." Needless to say, that's not what happened.

And yeah, slavery is cozified out the whazoo in Phantom Menace. Shmi's got a house of her own, plenty of food, apparently can have her own money (and a lot of it), can keep her son in spare parts on a backward planet, and doesn't even do any work.

John Biles said...

Trial by combat was a classic medieval system for proving something.

A stupid system for proving something, but it's consistent for Caspian to think that. (Which doesn't mean it's wise for Lewis to make someone who thinks that the protagonist, etc., of course.)

John Biles said...

Trial by combat was a classic medieval system for proving something.

A stupid system for proving something, but it's consistent for Caspian to think that. (Which doesn't mean it's wise for Lewis to make someone who thinks that the protagonist, etc., of course.)

depizan said...

That's the problem with Lewis's Perfect Good People*. They're not very interesting or relatable and they have nothing to say about reality because the very concept of a Perfect Good Person is unreal. ... Wait, no, they have something to say about reality, but it's a horrible message: Be Perfect and Good and Worthy of Aslan or you're an npc, or worse, a designated villain.

Lewis's strange insistence on writing that bad things only happen to bad people is lousy from a reader's standpoint because it sucks a lot of the drama and excitement out of the story. "Don't worry, kids, nothing bad will happen to the good guys because they're GOOD." It's lousy from an ethical standpoint because reality very much does NOT work that way. It also make good... cheap. This may sound really weird from me, fan of escapist fluff who views grimdark rather like vampires view sunlight, but I actually kind of prefer it if the good guys have to put some effort into it. If doing the right thing isn't easy and sometimes means that bad things happen to them. I want fiction to be more just than reality, yes, and yes, I want happy endings, but I want to see fictional people work at justice and work toward a happy ending because that's the only way we're going to get those things in the real world. If you present the road of good as too easy, it's easy for the message to come across that if everything's easy, you're doing the right thing and if life's a struggle, you're doing the wrong thing, when most of the time in reality, it's the other way around.


*Who are generally neither perfect nor good, whatever the narrative claims.

depizan said...

That's the problem with Lewis's Perfect Good People*. They're not very interesting or relatable and they have nothing to say about reality because the very concept of a Perfect Good Person is unreal. ... Wait, no, they have something to say about reality, but it's a horrible message: Be Perfect and Good and Worthy of Aslan or you're an npc, or worse, a designated villain.

Lewis's strange insistence on writing that bad things only happen to bad people is lousy from a reader's standpoint because it sucks a lot of the drama and excitement out of the story. "Don't worry, kids, nothing bad will happen to the good guys because they're GOOD." It's lousy from an ethical standpoint because reality very much does NOT work that way. It also make good... cheap. This may sound really weird from me, fan of escapist fluff who views grimdark rather like vampires view sunlight, but I actually kind of prefer it if the good guys have to put some effort into it. If doing the right thing isn't easy and sometimes means that bad things happen to them. I want fiction to be more just than reality, yes, and yes, I want happy endings, but I want to see fictional people work at justice and work toward a happy ending because that's the only way we're going to get those things in the real world. If you present the road of good as too easy, it's easy for the message to come across that if everything's easy, you're doing the right thing and if life's a struggle, you're doing the wrong thing, when most of the time in reality, it's the other way around.


*Who are generally neither perfect nor good, whatever the narrative claims.

Kristycat said...

(CN: abuse)

Dragoness Eclectic -

I do agree with your analysis of the clone slaves issue :) I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, so I never really thought about it much, but it's definitely problematic. Thank you for pointing us towards Traviss' series, it sounds like something I may actually enjoy even though I'm not usually into the setting!

That being said - I understand that it can be intimidating to post comments in a strictly-moderated safe space. It took me some time to get used to it too. However, Ana has been very clear about what she expects from commentors, and if you're not clear on something or don't know how to phrase it appropriately, I and the other moderators are open to questions and will try to help as much as possible.

Claiming that being asked to abide by the Safe Space rules is similar to being in an abusive relationship is very hurtful. It's hurtful to Ana, because it implies that simply stating her boundaries and insisting on them being respected (boundaries which, I reiterate, are in place to protect herself and the community from emotional and psychological harm) is somehow abusive, and the idea that women are not allowed to set their own boundaries is a pervasive and harmful idea in our culture. It's also hurtful to people who have been in actual abusive relationships, because claiming that having a comment deleted or being told that something you said was hurtful (by a stranger on the internet, no less!) is comparable to being physically hit or told you're worthless by someone you love and depend on... well, that kinda belittles actual abuse, by making it seem less bad than it really is. Does that make sense?

Again, I agree that if you're not used to Safe Spaces and Advanced Feminism spaces, it can be scary and intimidating at first, and the first time you say something "wrong," it can hurt. I know this all too well. But Ana does not have these policies in place just to be mean and nasty - there are reasons, pretty good ones, behind all these rules, and I would advise you to try and understand those reasons so that you don't have to feel afraid to post here, rather than accusing her of being abusive. That is a really awful accusation.

Kristycat said...

(CN: abuse)

Dragoness Eclectic -

I do agree with your analysis of the clone slaves issue :) I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, so I never really thought about it much, but it's definitely problematic. Thank you for pointing us towards Traviss' series, it sounds like something I may actually enjoy even though I'm not usually into the setting!

That being said - I understand that it can be intimidating to post comments in a strictly-moderated safe space. It took me some time to get used to it too. However, Ana has been very clear about what she expects from commentors, and if you're not clear on something or don't know how to phrase it appropriately, I and the other moderators are open to questions and will try to help as much as possible.

Claiming that being asked to abide by the Safe Space rules is similar to being in an abusive relationship is very hurtful. It's hurtful to Ana, because it implies that simply stating her boundaries and insisting on them being respected (boundaries which, I reiterate, are in place to protect herself and the community from emotional and psychological harm) is somehow abusive, and the idea that women are not allowed to set their own boundaries is a pervasive and harmful idea in our culture. It's also hurtful to people who have been in actual abusive relationships, because claiming that having a comment deleted or being told that something you said was hurtful (by a stranger on the internet, no less!) is comparable to being physically hit or told you're worthless by someone you love and depend on... well, that kinda belittles actual abuse, by making it seem less bad than it really is. Does that make sense?

Again, I agree that if you're not used to Safe Spaces and Advanced Feminism spaces, it can be scary and intimidating at first, and the first time you say something "wrong," it can hurt. I know this all too well. But Ana does not have these policies in place just to be mean and nasty - there are reasons, pretty good ones, behind all these rules, and I would advise you to try and understand those reasons so that you don't have to feel afraid to post here, rather than accusing her of being abusive. That is a really awful accusation.

Naomi Kritzer said...

I've thought about the issue of cozy slavery at some length because of my own writing projects (some from a while ago, some current); I specifically wanted to avoid coziness. And -- yeah. This was absolutely something that washed past me as a child because I trusted that nothing really bad would happen to Lucy or the others; now, it's something I've pondered because how do you write honestly about slavery while keeping the story appropriate for children? It's hard. Really hard. Because slavery is ugly as hell and not necessarily in ways you want to describe in detail to ten-year-olds.

Delia Sherman's "The Freedom Maze" is an interesting example of how to pull it off, IMO. One of the things that struck me after reading it is that she sort of does offer a "cozy" environment, more or less. The slaves in the story have a "kind" and "humane" master and mistress -- people who feed, clothe, and house them adequately, who see to their care when they're sick or injured, who treat the protagonist with a certain affection. And yet -- it's very, very clear that it is _still terrible_. That the slaveholders are not good or decent people, because they consider it morally okay to OWN OTHER PEOPLE. That the slaves want to be free, and stay in slavery because escaping is risky as hell and incredibly difficult. That just because serious beatings are rare does not mean everything is okay; even a rare beating terrorizes the slaves very effectively and even a "minor" beating is still a horrifying thing to endure.

Steve Morrison said...

BTW I checked and Bree was indeed captured as a foal.

Brenda A. said...

I was reading through the latest comments and another mention of the prosperous Beaver household mad me suddenly think of something which had bothered me before: Beavers are herbivores. They eat plants - especially the inner bark of trees, and the green and leafy tips of those branches.

All the trees in Narnia are frozen solid. There is no way the Beavers can cut down trees. (Real beavers store food for the winter by sticking branches in the mud at the bottom of their pond - which only works if the winter doesn't last a hundred years.)

These vegans are being forced to subsist on fish. The occasional marmalade roll might turn up - her heirloom sewing machine is all that allows Mrs. Beaver to afford such rare treats... but they have been forced to alter their eating habits to a food source that is utterly unsuited to their biological needs! Just one more symptom of the oppression under the White Witch's rule...

Kristycat said...

OHHH, no. Let's not start THAT discussion up again! To the Open Thread!

(For context: an earlier thread got bogged down in a long and off-topic analysis of the diet of Narnian Animals and what that implies. :-) And while that is a fascinating discussion and I myself got quite into it, it really does belong in the open thread!)

depizan said...

The point is less about the personal economics of Lord Bern (though I must say that Bern the Farmer as posited by various oeople is a more sympathetic character than Lewis actually gave us) and more about the choices Lewis made as an author. He opted for extremely cozy slavery (seriously, most children's books are willing to inflict a little more discomfort on the protagonists than Lewis, who really does seem to be making a statement that bad things -literally- only happen to bad people, which is fucked up all by itself), he gave Lord Bern all the trappings of wealth (because only the wealthy or at least firmly middle class are good? Consider the strangely well off Beavers of LWW), while having his hands be supposedly tied by lack of money as far as rescuing the others goes (also as far as doing anything about the slavery he supposedly doesn't like...yet regularly does business with Pug? Whut.), except shiny armor and weapons next chapter...

It's yet another case of Lewis writing seriously problematic stuff because of the things he appears to have taken for granted or, worse, is actively trying to communicate (wealth = good, bad things only happen to bad people, etc), and getting bogged down on whether Bern had pocket money seems to be missing the bigger points.

depizan said...

The point is less about the personal economics of Lord Bern (though I must say that Bern the Farmer as posited by various oeople is a more sympathetic character than Lewis actually gave us) and more about the choices Lewis made as an author. He opted for extremely cozy slavery (seriously, most children's books are willing to inflict a little more discomfort on the protagonists than Lewis, who really does seem to be making a statement that bad things -literally- only happen to bad people, which is fucked up all by itself), he gave Lord Bern all the trappings of wealth (because only the wealthy or at least firmly middle class are good? Consider the strangely well off Beavers of LWW), while having his hands be supposedly tied by lack of money as far as rescuing the others goes (also as far as doing anything about the slavery he supposedly doesn't like...yet regularly does business with Pug? Whut.), except shiny armor and weapons next chapter...

It's yet another case of Lewis writing seriously problematic stuff because of the things he appears to have taken for granted or, worse, is actively trying to communicate (wealth = good, bad things only happen to bad people, etc), and getting bogged down on whether Bern had pocket money seems to be missing the bigger points.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

[redacted by moderator]

Regarding "The Phantom Menace", I think only Karen Traviss examined the godawful implications of "here, have an army of clone slaves to fight your wars with". The Jedi just blink and then unashamedly make use of them. Do they free them, give them a chance to resign from being forceably conscripted and brainwashed to obedience since birth, offer to rehabilitate them from said brainwashed obedience? Nope. And yet the Jedi are supposedly the Good Guys here...

I love Traviss' "Republic Commandos' series for confronting the fact the clone troops are slaves, and having her heroes trying to do something about it. Yet she got panned by Star Wars fans for daring to suggest that Jedi were getting more than a little gray around edges for being complicit in mass slavery.

Personally, I think that Palpatine's saddling the Jedi with the clone army which they suddenly needed to use out of military necessity wasn't just a plan to maneuver the Jedi into being assassinated by the brainwashed clone troopers--I think it was part of his plan to corrupt the Jedi, by making them complicit in the evil of slavery. It worked, too.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

[redacted by moderator]

Regarding "The Phantom Menace", I think only Karen Traviss examined the godawful implications of "here, have an army of clone slaves to fight your wars with". The Jedi just blink and then unashamedly make use of them. Do they free them, give them a chance to resign from being forceably conscripted and brainwashed to obedience since birth, offer to rehabilitate them from said brainwashed obedience? Nope. And yet the Jedi are supposedly the Good Guys here...

I love Traviss' "Republic Commandos' series for confronting the fact the clone troops are slaves, and having her heroes trying to do something about it. Yet she got panned by Star Wars fans for daring to suggest that Jedi were getting more than a little gray around edges for being complicit in mass slavery.

Personally, I think that Palpatine's saddling the Jedi with the clone army which they suddenly needed to use out of military necessity wasn't just a plan to maneuver the Jedi into being assassinated by the brainwashed clone troopers--I think it was part of his plan to corrupt the Jedi, by making them complicit in the evil of slavery. It worked, too.

chris the cynic said...

So long as the Clone Wars is being brought up, my assumption in the original trilogy was never really that they were slaves, more that they were whoever seemed most useful.

Have one really good general, make clones of him for every general. Have one really good fighter squadron, clone them and they can be every one of your fighter squadrons. Want an attack force composed entirely of Jedi but don't have enough Jedi? That's what cloning is for. But I sort of assumed that you were cloning those already on your side and giving them the memories of the original and whatnot.

Which would be confusing as all fuck when 300 people are all hoping to get home to the same love interest.

The clones in the prequel trilogy are very obviously slaves, but it's worse than that even. They were raised to be slaves in such a way I'm not even sure we can count on them having freedom of thought, which is something that (in spite of their best efforts) no real life slave holding society has ever managed. The possible exception being those who used some kind of drug to keep their slaves in line, but that also has the effect of making your slaves less useful. (In Rome your accountant was probably a slave, don't want him in a state of constantly being drugged.)

I think the Republic accepting the army was supposed to come off as any port in a storm. Yes it's very suspicious that someone made an entire army for them, but right now they're more or less at war and could really use an army, so don't ask too many questions, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and ... um ... don't tap on it's sides to see if it's hollow and possibly carrying a Greek special forces unit capable of getting behind our lines and destroying our defenses from within because... uh ... shut up.

But the problem was that it wasn't just the Republic as a whole that showed a desperate incuriosity toward the whole slave army thing, it was the main characters.

Obi going to Yoda about the possibility of tampering in the Jedi archives as evidenced by, "There's clearly a planet here but our records show none," makes a certain amount of sense. The Jedi archives are supposedly untamperable or something so he's not really making a statement about the planet being there or not so much as saying, "Head's up, serious breach of security O Jedi Master." That he doesn't feel the need to have a good long talk with Yoda about the ethics of using a slave army is much less forgivable.

--

Also, regarding my thoughts on the Clone Wars before the prequels came out, I can imagine things like digging through history to get the best of the best from the past (the Star Wars Equivalent of getting Alexander the Great to lead your ground forces while you've got... I don't know enough military history to make the right references) which could also lead to some real problems if the person you cloned turned out not to share your ideals so much. (Anyone remember the Garibaldi hologram in Babylon 5?)

chris the cynic said...

So long as the Clone Wars is being brought up, my assumption in the original trilogy was never really that they were slaves, more that they were whoever seemed most useful.

Have one really good general, make clones of him for every general. Have one really good fighter squadron, clone them and they can be every one of your fighter squadrons. Want an attack force composed entirely of Jedi but don't have enough Jedi? That's what cloning is for. But I sort of assumed that you were cloning those already on your side and giving them the memories of the original and whatnot.

Which would be confusing as all fuck when 300 people are all hoping to get home to the same love interest.

The clones in the prequel trilogy are very obviously slaves, but it's worse than that even. They were raised to be slaves in such a way I'm not even sure we can count on them having freedom of thought, which is something that (in spite of their best efforts) no real life slave holding society has ever managed. The possible exception being those who used some kind of drug to keep their slaves in line, but that also has the effect of making your slaves less useful. (In Rome your accountant was probably a slave, don't want him in a state of constantly being drugged.)

I think the Republic accepting the army was supposed to come off as any port in a storm. Yes it's very suspicious that someone made an entire army for them, but right now they're more or less at war and could really use an army, so don't ask too many questions, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and ... um ... don't tap on it's sides to see if it's hollow and possibly carrying a Greek special forces unit capable of getting behind our lines and destroying our defenses from within because... uh ... shut up.

But the problem was that it wasn't just the Republic as a whole that showed a desperate incuriosity toward the whole slave army thing, it was the main characters.

Obi going to Yoda about the possibility of tampering in the Jedi archives as evidenced by, "There's clearly a planet here but our records show none," makes a certain amount of sense. The Jedi archives are supposedly untamperable or something so he's not really making a statement about the planet being there or not so much as saying, "Head's up, serious breach of security O Jedi Master." That he doesn't feel the need to have a good long talk with Yoda about the ethics of using a slave army is much less forgivable.

--

Also, regarding my thoughts on the Clone Wars before the prequels came out, I can imagine things like digging through history to get the best of the best from the past (the Star Wars Equivalent of getting Alexander the Great to lead your ground forces while you've got... I don't know enough military history to make the right references) which could also lead to some real problems if the person you cloned turned out not to share your ideals so much. (Anyone remember the Garibaldi hologram in Babylon 5?)

GeniusLemur said...

Yes, I agree. And the consequences of this thinking are bad for Lewis' beloved characters. Let's do some compare and contrast among characters that might be considered too good to be true:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Upright, undererstanding, compassionate at all times.
Always stands on his principles, no matter what. Sometimes there are unpleasant consequences. He accepts this, and sticks to his principles anyway. Fascinating character.
Superman: Same as above. Also a fascinating character, when written well.
Caspian: Has a hearty laugh at a terrified child's (Eustace) expense. Principles seem to consist solely of upholding the throne he sits on. Author and Aslan work together to shield him from anything the least bit unpleasant. Insufferable.

Kristycat said...

I remember a book, back when I was a kid - I think it was called "Greek Slave Boy." Anyway, it was the story of a VERY privileged kid, kinda spoiled, who had a slave of his own - someone who'd been with him since they were both babies, who he considered sort of a friend (but still lesser.)

Anyway, rich kid gets captured while on a trip, and is sold as a slave in - Rome? Another part of Greece? I don't remember, but the point is - he gets to see firsthand just how awful slavery really is. And starts to understand stuff, like the fact that his slave was almost certainly NOT his friend, because you can't be friends if one has the power to punish the other if they don't like something.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure it didn't give a clear and complete picture of the horrors of slavery, cuz - well, kid's book. But it did do a good job of communicating enough to horrify (while not traumatizing) a child. So... a decent balance, I think.

I do remember this: at the end, when he gets home, before even celebrating with his parents, he goes straight to his slave and sets him free, then asks if they can be friends. Former slave thinks about it for a second... then punches him, hard, in the face, and says something along the lines of "That's for the time you blamed me for something you did, so I got beaten instead of you!" *deep breath* "...Ok, now maybe we can be friends. Maybe."

Timothy (TRiG) said...

I might try looking up Greek Slave Boy. Your summary of it reminds me of Legions of the Eagle, by Henry Treece, but sounds rather better done. In Treece's book, a slave-owning British boy is captured by the invading Romans, and becomes a slave himself. He's a "companion" slave, and there's a certain amount of coziness there, but I think the book didn't quite gel as well as it might have done.

TRiG.

chris the cynic said...

[Evil, Hitler, assassination, murder, torture, and the like]

Also worth noting that boardroom evil only works if people all the way down the line are passing on the evil. If at any stage of the chain of command someone says, "Fuck this shit! It's evil," then the evil doesn't get done.

Would Hitler still be our universal yardstick of evil if no one had obeyed him? I very much doubt it. You can order all the evil you want, if there's not someone there enabling the evil at ground level the evil isn't going to get done.

More than that, there's responsibility enough to go around, it isn't a zero sum game where pointing out that Hitler is responsible for every evil thing he ordered suddenly absolves everyone else. If World War I taught us nothing else it should have taught us that soldiers are fully capable of being better people than they're ordered to be. (I point you to Christmas 1914.) You'd think it would have taught us that important people shouldn't drive around in convertibles but (I point you to November 22, 1963) it didn't, so the fact that soldiers are fully capable of being better people than they are ordered to be is what we're left with.

The evil that takes place in a boardroom is only possible because of the people who follow the directives from that boardroom, and so responsibility moves up and down the line.

More to the point, evil isn't measured in units. ("Well Good God Man! This looks like a 27 Manson Crime." "Really? I was thinking more 26 and a half.") It's not really possible to compare the evil of giving an order to the evil of doing something to someone. And even if it were, how would it compare? How many ordered deaths equal one long extended torture? Does it matter if betrayal is involved or if it is done to strangers? Are there bonus points if you kill the people one at a time so that the last one has to watch all those that go before? Does adding in cruelty to animals allow for a multiplier?

The question is absurd, as is the exercise.

Evil isn't comparable like that.

depizan said...

Okay, I'd already come to the conclusion that my idea of good and evil and Lewis's did not line up, but I am seriously struggling to come up a response here that isn't OMGWTFBBQ!!!! only with a lot of swearing involved. I'm not going to read the whole linked Welfare State essay because I might well have some sort of rage meltdown and turn into a Sith Lord. Hell, just the part you quote is fractally wrong.

Treating people for diseases is dehumanizing? WHAT THE EVERLIVING FUCK, LEWIS!? Yes, he's trying to hide that he's saying that by suddenly referring to people suffering from mental illness as diseases, as if that somehow hides that he's the one doing the dehumanizing, not the people he's opposed to. I think he's practically invented the Straw Space Whale Slippery Slope with that essay. I mean, whut. If we treat criminals with mental illnesses for their illnesses (as opposed to punishing them - which I might add there's not very fucking much proof actually works, you sadistic asshat) it's no better than killing them horribly. You fuck! (Also, how is this different from treating people for other illnesses. All in favor of never treating Lewis - pretending for a moment that he's still alive - for anything because we wouldn't want to dehumanize him say Aye! Wait...that's vengeful of me. Hem. Let's just patiently explain to him how that makes no everlivin' sense.)

Also, is it just me or is he revealing himself to be the most privileged asshat that ever assed? Because, really, his concept of free will actually pisses me the fuck off. He seems to have no concept, not only of mental illness interfering in that, but of circumstances interfering in that. I have friends who work as correctional officers - a lot of people in prison committed crimes because they were pretty well fucked over by life and not smart enough to realize that holding up the 7-11, taking money from their workplace, selling drugs, etc was not a good solution. Yes, they did wrong, but putting them in prison is not actually helping them. (And, yes, Lewis, I'm the kind of horribly evil person who thinks you fucking help people, even criminals.) It just ensures that their lives stay fucked. ARGH!!!! Also, it seems telling that actual correctional officers have more sympathy and concern for criminals than C.S. WOW I'M SO PRIVILEGED Lewis.

I'll come back to the main point when I'm not trying to shoot lightning out my fingertips.

Fm said...

CN: Holocaust, atrocities in general, appropriation of victims.
You know, while I was thinking about it, you hit a very important point. From the perspective of the victim, those who actually commit atrocities (like concentration camp guards) are the most scary, and the boardroom criminals too far away and not comparable. So from this perspective you are fully right. Lewis completely ignores this perspective though. His main perspective is an observer, who sees the atrocities from afar and may, or may not, decide to fight them. From this perspective, actual perpetrators are nothing but grunts who one will have to fight anyway even though they are trapped themselves (what happened to soldiers disobeying murderous orders?) , yet the order givers are seen as the central evil to vanquish, and it will be important to fight them, since they, unlike he actual perpetrators, will often try (and succeed) to weasel themselves out of responsibility, yet are fully responsible for it, and usually were not coerced into their evil deeds. This is roughly the position that, say, Nuremberg Tribunal held. This outsider position, of course , is completely not fitting for victims and Lewis' position that victims should adopt it, too, is massively problematic and appropriating - one does not tell victims whom to fear / despise more. Lewis' lack of empathy here is staggering.

EdinburghEye said...

And Narnia discussion turns into Star Wars discussion. O well.

GeniusLemur said...

Yeah, after Obi-Wan looked up Kamino in the database, found nothing, verified that gravitationally, it was there, and it took a personal consultation with Yoda to think of "Maybe somebody erased the file," question #1 about the Jedi is just how stupid they are.

But I doubt the clone thing was a deliberate graying of the Jedi. The prequel trilogy is rife with abysmally bad writing for convenience. Quite apart from the whole "slavery" thing, the Jedi discover the clones and say, "hey, we have the army we need!" and that's it. They never try to find out who ordered them, they never try to find out who paid for them or erased the Kamino entry, they never check their conditioning to see if there's, I don't know, a secret order implanted in it. Just, "here's our army! No need to ask any questions!"

BaseDeltaZero said...

I love Traviss' "Republic Commandos' series for confronting the fact the clone troops are slaves, and having her heroes trying to do something about it. Yet she got panned by Star Wars fans for daring to suggest that Jedi were getting more than a little gray around edges for being complicit in mass slavery.


I mostly remember her getting panned for the whole 'three million' thing, and her extreme love of the Mandalorians, who, being basically space vikings, were not exactly a bundle of roses themselves. Also, occasionally for making the Jedi look incompetent, which... okay, that's probably a fair cop.

Lonespark said...

I think it was part of his plan to corrupt the Jedi, by making them complicit in the evil of slavery.

Yeah, that.
When I saw the first trilogy and heard mentions of the Clone Wars I concluded that obviously the good guys were fighting against those with cloned armies (which of course also has bad implications, if you're killing slaves to defeat slavers, but I didn't put that much thought into it...)

Lonespark said...

Wooooo! Marlie has a name! And motivations! Did I mention a name?

Nice fix-it, EdinburghEye.

Lonespark said...

Wooooo! Marlie has a name! And motivations! Did I mention a name?

Nice fix-it, EdinburghEye.

EdinburghEye said...

Thanks for kind words, Ana - I'm so pleased you liked it.

Kristycat, that was EXACTLY what I was aiming at - I was thinking, what would have been going through Bern's mind, what if he was telling the truth about not being able to buy all of the children, why wouldn't he have told Caspian at once "I'll free you"? What would make it convincing to Caspian (assuming Caspian were an effective ruler, which of course we know he isn't, sigh) that Bern would actually end slavery in the Lone Islands, against what must be settled tradition and expectation of trade?

EdinburghEye said...

Thanks for kind words, Ana - I'm so pleased you liked it.

Kristycat, that was EXACTLY what I was aiming at - I was thinking, what would have been going through Bern's mind, what if he was telling the truth about not being able to buy all of the children, why wouldn't he have told Caspian at once "I'll free you"? What would make it convincing to Caspian (assuming Caspian were an effective ruler, which of course we know he isn't, sigh) that Bern would actually end slavery in the Lone Islands, against what must be settled tradition and expectation of trade?

Kristycat said...

This is exactly why we should be rewriting Narnia. This Bern is sympathetic, believable, and a much more complex portrait of a man who wants to be good in a society where evil is normalized. I would not necessarily exonerate him - as he points out, he is complicit - but as a reader I'd definitely want to read more of him, and be rooting for him to grow to the point where he can and does make a stand against the institution of slavery that is currently so commonplace.

It's frustrating, because when we do this we can see how Lewis could have made these books so much better, in every sense, but chose not to.

Kristycat said...

This is exactly why we should be rewriting Narnia. This Bern is sympathetic, believable, and a much more complex portrait of a man who wants to be good in a society where evil is normalized. I would not necessarily exonerate him - as he points out, he is complicit - but as a reader I'd definitely want to read more of him, and be rooting for him to grow to the point where he can and does make a stand against the institution of slavery that is currently so commonplace.

It's frustrating, because when we do this we can see how Lewis could have made these books so much better, in every sense, but chose not to.

Kristycat said...

EXACTLY!

I can believe in flawed-but-good people. I can care about them, I can watch them struggle to do the right thing and feel that sense of triumph when they overcome, not only external obstacles, but their own flaws and weaknesses and fears. If there isn't a struggle, then there can't be a triumph. You can't have a happy ending unless there was a believable chance that the character could have failed.

Kristycat said...

EXACTLY!

I can believe in flawed-but-good people. I can care about them, I can watch them struggle to do the right thing and feel that sense of triumph when they overcome, not only external obstacles, but their own flaws and weaknesses and fears. If there isn't a struggle, then there can't be a triumph. You can't have a happy ending unless there was a believable chance that the character could have failed.

Kristycat said...

Yes, Fm, I'm pretty sure that's what Ana was saying about it from the get-go.

Kristycat said...

Yes, Fm, I'm pretty sure that's what Ana was saying about it from the get-go.

bekabot said...

@ everybody:

I'd like to state, for the record, that though I've tried to make a case for Lord Bern as a plausible economic entity* that doesn't mean that I think he's an adorable guy. Lewis's text emphasizes that Bern isn't ready to free Caspian until he finds out that Caspian is a person of his own social class (or above); what this means is that Caspian isn't "real" for Bern until Caspian does his big reveal, in the course of which his social class is disclosed. After that Bern can't be helpful enough. Lewis makes no effort to disguise Bern's motivations, and the squick-making part, for an American, is that he seems to think (or the text by smiling on the whole encounter seems to think) that Bern's motivations are somewhere between understandable and praiseworthy. I wasn't [happy] about that in junior high school and I'm less so now (hope I've been clear).

*a) he's got an estate or farm to run, he doesn't just "live in a manor" like a fairy-tale Lord
b) running this estate or farm costs real money; the place doesn't run on elf-gold or pixie dust

Fm said...

CN: Slavery, child slavery. sexual abuse
If Bern is not good for cash, it seems even less likely that he'd have an open line of credit with Pug. Pug doesn't seem like the type to make a risky investment like that when Caspian is likely to fetch ready money at the auction.
Farmers not necessarily need cash for a credit line. Slaves must be fed, and warriors that capture slaves must be fed. Bern surely has a low but steady cash flow, which he was ready to redirect towards paying Pug. All this considered, selling Caspian seemed a relatively safe choice.
The coziness on Lewis' part is indeed a bit much if one rereads this as adult. After all, some slaves would be punished at any given moment and Lewis could show the slavery horrors without any explicit descriptions, just by having some of those who were slaves for longer narrate it. And back in LWW, Lewis didn't hesitate to portray Edmund's plight at hands of White Witch - but of course Bad things only relly happen to Bad People (/sarcasm off), so portraying things here would not fit the narrative. Which means of course, that the cosyness is deliberate.
On the other hand, Caspian may indeed not understand the slavery well - Telmarines weren't enslaving Narnians after all, they killed them. And thinks like abuse potential for Lucy certainly didn't even cross his head (whereas Lewis clearly did understood it, but chose to withhold that from a nonattentive reader in order to keep things cozy).

bekabot said...

"Bern may be nearly self-sufficient on his estate--but not have a great deal of ready cash."

My great-grandfather ran a nearly self-sufficient farm, and so did a couple of families used to know or knew about in Ohio. It's not easy to do but it's possible...what I don't think is possible is to do that and keep rolls of bills piled up in your safe. Not everybody who has stuff has money.

bekabot said...

"Bern may be nearly self-sufficient on his estate--but not have a great deal of ready cash."

My great-grandfather ran a nearly self-sufficient farm, and so did a couple of families used to know or knew about in Ohio. It's not easy to do but it's possible...what I don't think is possible is to do that and keep rolls of bills piled up in your safe. Not everybody who has stuff has money.

bekabot said...

"Of course, then Bern shouldn't have had the spare money to buy a slave who reminded him of his friend."

Posted to this, but the spambot ate it. Briefly:
1) Maybe Caspian is an impulse buy. That would explain:
a) why Bern yells at Pug (because Bern is irritated at himself and doesn't know how he's going to explain his unwarranted generosity to Mrs. Bern when he gets home)
b) why Bern leads Caspian straight home (no more money to spend at the inn)
c) the speed with which Bern and Caspian depart; Caspian is an especially foolish purchase if Bern already has all the farm labor he needs. The greater the distance Bern puts between himself and Caspian's former companions, the less likely Bern is to compound his error (as he thinks it).

2) (Change of subject.) Poverty is relative.
a) Bern is not used to spending money to buy things. Most likely he brews his own beer, or his wife does it. No doubt he makes his own rope, cures his own leather and meat, grows most of his own food, et cetera. Most likely his wife and her female attendants make cloth, spin the thread, and sew clothing for their whole community. Bern is in a position which renders him somewhat independent of the cash nexus, but as a result of that he either doesn't feel the need or hasn't had the opportunity (or both) to acquire great quantities of that by means of which the cash nexus operates: money.
b) Nevertheless, Bern probably has about as much cash as he needs for ordinary uses. The point would be that Caspian represents, for Bern, an extraordinary outlay. (The point is later made that all Bern's other farm laborers are "freemen".) That would mean that, at this juncture, Caspian represents, to Bern, a way of doing things with which Bern is unfamiliar, which would imply that when Bern buys Caspian from Pug, he does so because he honestly feels compelled to (by Aslan, one expects, not by advertising).

3) After all, this is an experience most of us have had. Most of us know what it is to buy something we can afford, but only barely. My idea is that that's what Bern is doing here and that his almost-buyer's-remorse and irritation are things we know about and which aren't strange to us; we share all the same reactions, up to and including Bern's itch to blame the salesperson after the money's been spent and the exchange is complete.

UrsulaVernon said...

I actually find this pretty plausible--farmers in my experience may have a great deal of equipment, animals, and land, but that doesn't always translate into ready cash. (Lord knows, it didn't for my father...) Farming is often not a case of making money so much as minimizing expenses. His freemen may be working for room and board, or be vassals and thus expected to pay a portion of their produce. Bern may be nearly self-sufficient on his estate--but not have a great deal of ready cash.

Some weird stuff going on? Very. But I'll give Bern a pass on legitimately not having the cash for buying everybody.

Alice said...

What bothers me (though it may seem a bit silly compared to everything else in this chapter) is that Caspian STILL hasn't got down all the names of the missing lords he's looking for. He's been at sea for...well, weeks at least. There's only seven of them. He's had time to memorise their names by now, surely? This is supposed to be a difficult and dangerous mission from which none may return, and yet he can't even be bothered to learn the names of the men he's looking for? What if he runs into one by chance or hears of one, but doesn't notice because he doesn't recognise the name?

Presumably it's meant as a kind of running gag, but to me it seems emblematic of Caspian's immaturity and rather self-centred nature...he's going on this exciting mission to seek out his father's old friends, but he doesn't really care about the people themselves. It's just a fun jaunt for him. Throughout this whole chapter we see him showing a similar disregard for his friends' safety and well-being while he has fun eating a nice dinner and planning an attack with Drinian and co.

It certainly seems to lend credence to the whole 'Caspian was subtly sent off on a long voyage by his advisers because he was a terrible and irresponsible king' theory.

Kristycat said...

I think there's something to be said for the idea that certain types of evil may come easier from a boardroom, as at a reserve it's easier to treat people as simply numbers on a chart (and then when the orders from on high filter down, it's easier for the people on the ground to justify doing evil as "I'm just following orders.")

However, I don't think there's any good to be had in trying to compare which setting is more evil, objectively. Even if it were possible, what purpose could it serve except to try and shift blame and responsibility away from the "less evil" perpetrators? Which, in turn, doesn't really do much towards trying to prevent future evil - I'd rather fix the idea in people's minds that whether they're in the boardroom or on the battlefield, they are responsible for preventing evil whenever possible.

...of course, that right there is the mindset of someone who's more concerned with preventing evil than with appropriately punishing the guilty, so Lewis and I are disagreeing right from the outset here...

Silver Adept said...

In a more cold and calculating world, I think Bern is going along with this because he sees an opportunity to seize power on the island. It doesn't matter if this blond-haired slave is Caspian, he looks the part well enough, seems to be able to sound like a king, and has a ship and men (presumably runaway slaves themselves) to fight with. With a little planning and a small supplementary force, Bern can stage a coup where victory means control of the island, plus the thirty slaves and their ship, and defeat means the slaves die and he can say he was leading them into a trap before they could start an actual rebellion. It's a win-win for Lord Bern.

If we had seen this thought process at work, we would probably be able to reconcile some of Caspian not immediately going to free Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace, as Caspian realizes early on that Lord Bern has no interest in freeing anyone and hopes that at the end of it all, he can sneak away and go free the others. (Unfortunately, this requires a smarter King than the one we have. And for our narrator to point out that Caspian's enjoyment is mostly feigned for the benefit of Lord Bern.)

bekabot said...

"... or, would handing it off to someone else be exactly the right thing to do according to whatever standard of chivalry we're using? Wasn't that exactly what High King Peter said to Caspian, that he couldn't be the champion because his right to the throne was exactly what they were fighting over?"

Lewis's Narnia characters are medieval in the sense that they're gonna do what they're gonna do and are cool and clear about what they're gonna do, but they need a justification first — so the way they handle their business is, they look around for the best set of excuses they can find, tendered by the highest authority on offer, and then they go with that.

Shakespeare has the mentality of the High Middle Ages down cold when he has Henry V tell his assembled functionaries: "I'm determined to go to war with France and I've got my heart set on it; ergo, what I now need from you gentlemen is a determination as to what the grounds of the combat are going to be. And you'd better make it good. I'm settled in my purpose and while I don't say that I'll brook no denial, anybody who opposes me in this matter had better be prepared for a whole bunch of unpleasantness. Oh, and before I forget, this has to pass Church inspection, because I will not have sin on my conscience.* My father grabbed a throne and died a leper; let's just say a lesson has been learned."

Life in Narnia works this way. Whatever standard of chivalry the Narnians use — at the moment — is determined by the results they want to achieve. Those results, in turn, are affected by practicalities. Henry V wants to go to war with France in order to increase his sphere of influence, his lands, his fame. He's got a misspent youth to make up for. In Peter's and Caspian's case, Caspian's "real" reasons for handing-off of his trial-by-combat with Miraz to Peter are twofold. The first reason is that Caspian's partisans are worried that he won't be able to stand up against a full-grown warrior (Peter is physiologically older and much more experienced as a fighter). The second reason is connected to the first. The whole purpose of the Narnian rebellion is to put Caspian on the throne (in the hands of a different author the rebellion would have had a different purpose and no doubt a different outcome but Lewis's fiction sticks fast to the laws of Lewis Land, so there). The argument behind Prince Caspian is that ultimately, Prince Caspian will turn into King Caspian; the idea being that the book Prince Caspian will end when Caspian's princehood ends and when his kingship commences. Any other outcome is just about unthinkable. But were Caspian to be allowed to battle Miraz mano-a-mano with no Aslan-miracles to sweeten the pot, The Other Outcome not only becomes thinkable but begins to look downright probable. Consequently, Peter makes Caspian's excuses for him, agrees to encounter Miraz, and wins. Mission accomplished, with all of the standards of chivalry (whatever those happen to be at the time) intact.

*"May I with right and conscience make this claim?"

Evan said...

... or, would handing it off to someone else be exactly the right thing to do according to whatever standard of chivalry we're using? Wasn't that exactly what High King Peter said to Caspian, that he couldn't be the champion because his right to the throne was exactly what they were fighting over?

AcyOS said...

I was so creeped out by "I bought you for your face", even as a kid when I didn't understand the worst of the potential implications. That it was quickly clarified as "you look like a friend of mine" didn't actually help much. Especially since, unless I'm misremembering, Caspian IX was *dead* when the lords were sent away to keep them from supporting the crown prince. What was his plan before he found out who Caspian really was? Just to have a living memento of a dead friend?

GeniusLemur said...

I was about say that we've seen it doesn't work in Narnia, but on reflection, it would. For Caspian, the Pevenskies, and no one else. Because Aslan plays favorites, big time.

Of course, if someone took him up on it, Caspian would probably get the sword and hand it off to someone else, who would fight for him. Anyone who complained about Caspian doing that would get shouted down by some random third party. That's how it's worked in the past.

GeniusLemur said...

I was about say that we've seen it doesn't work in Narnia, but on reflection, it would. For Caspian, the Pevenskies, and no one else. Because Aslan plays favorites, big time.

Of course, if someone took him up on it, Caspian would probably get the sword and hand it off to someone else, who would fight for him. Anyone who complained about Caspian doing that would get shouted down by some random third party. That's how it's worked in the past.

bekabot said...

@ dezipan, Kristycat, & Josh G.

"You are doing a remarkable job of dragging Bern back toward humanity, though. But that may be because, unlike me and Lewis, you and I share common ground regarding what's good."

Many thanks. FWIW, what I've got to say is mostly determined by my having been derived (at a couple generations' distance) from some old-timey farming people on my Mom's side. (There's farming blood on my Dad's side too, but that's situated further away, geographically if not in a time-sense.) There are definite practicalities associated with that style of life which a farmer ignores at his peril. And it's not just a peril to himself but to his whole enterprise.

"He (Bern) may have the money to purchase everyone, but that doesn't mean he's actually able to spend that money if it's needed for things like, say, making sure the people on his land don't starve if the crops unexpectedly fail."

Absolutely yes.

"Here's how I'd write it: Lord Bern doesn't own a huge fief, just a small farm which he runs with his wife and daughters."

It might have been a mistake on Lewis's part to make Bern, if not the owner of his own private island, at least the owner of a large corner of somebody else's island. Lewis's intention may have been to make Bern look like more of a big man and to assure his underaged readers that he wasn't going to make them spend their off-hours among no-counts, but the effect is to saddle Bern with more of the responsibility for the fate(s) of Caspian and his friends.

"He and his neighbors, also free landowners, don't like slavery, partly because of moral reasons and partly because the large slave plantations have been making it harder for free farmers like them to make a living."

So in everything but name he's a citizen of upstate New York circa about 1859. I like it. Though, in this country, really big slave plantations mostly didn't grow food. They grew commodities for export, cotton in particular. The rice paddies of South Carolina grew rice not intended to be consumed in this country, and in that respect they were like American oil wells — their product was intended to be consumed overseas. But, otherwise, vintage.

"(The same reasons why many Northerners disliked slavery prior to the Civil War.)"

Right on.

"Caspian convinces Bern of his true identity, and Bern realizes that Aslan must have set up this meeting so that he and Caspian could put an end to the evils of slavery in the Lone Islands once and for all."

Right on.

"Since Bern doesn't have vassals in this version, he instead recruits his neighbors as allies, and the rest of the plot (overthrowing the Governor and abolishing slavery) proceeds as before."

RIGHT ON!! GO BERN!! IN THE NAME OF THE LION!!

...oops, kinda lost it for a minute there...

bekabot said...

@ dezipan, Kristycat, & Josh G.

"You are doing a remarkable job of dragging Bern back toward humanity, though. But that may be because, unlike me and Lewis, you and I share common ground regarding what's good."

Many thanks. FWIW, what I've got to say is mostly determined by my having been derived (at a couple generations' distance) from some old-timey farming people on my Mom's side. (There's farming blood on my Dad's side too, but that's situated further away, geographically if not in a time-sense.) There are definite practicalities associated with that style of life which a farmer ignores at his peril. And it's not just a peril to himself but to his whole enterprise.

"He (Bern) may have the money to purchase everyone, but that doesn't mean he's actually able to spend that money if it's needed for things like, say, making sure the people on his land don't starve if the crops unexpectedly fail."

Absolutely yes.

"Here's how I'd write it: Lord Bern doesn't own a huge fief, just a small farm which he runs with his wife and daughters."

It might have been a mistake on Lewis's part to make Bern, if not the owner of his own private island, at least the owner of a large corner of somebody else's island. Lewis's intention may have been to make Bern look like more of a big man and to assure his underaged readers that he wasn't going to make them spend their off-hours among no-counts, but the effect is to saddle Bern with more of the responsibility for the fate(s) of Caspian and his friends.

"He and his neighbors, also free landowners, don't like slavery, partly because of moral reasons and partly because the large slave plantations have been making it harder for free farmers like them to make a living."

So in everything but name he's a citizen of upstate New York circa about 1859. I like it. Though, in this country, really big slave plantations mostly didn't grow food. They grew commodities for export, cotton in particular. The rice paddies of South Carolina grew rice not intended to be consumed in this country, and in that respect they were like American oil wells — their product was intended to be consumed overseas. But, otherwise, vintage.

"(The same reasons why many Northerners disliked slavery prior to the Civil War.)"

Right on.

"Caspian convinces Bern of his true identity, and Bern realizes that Aslan must have set up this meeting so that he and Caspian could put an end to the evils of slavery in the Lone Islands once and for all."

Right on.

"Since Bern doesn't have vassals in this version, he instead recruits his neighbors as allies, and the rest of the plot (overthrowing the Governor and abolishing slavery) proceeds as before."

RIGHT ON!! GO BERN!! IN THE NAME OF THE LION!!

...oops, kinda lost it for a minute there...

BaseDeltaZero said...

In the first bit, I don't think he's specifically talking about mentally ill criminals, but rather, the whole idea of crime as pathology - that criminality itself is, if not a 'mental illness', at least a sort of psychosocial pathology. This isn't necessarily a new thing either, but it has become a lot more popular of late, with emphasis on 'how can criminals be reformed' rather than 'how should crime be punished' (at least, more popular among criminologists, the actual policymakers don't seem to have noticed, at least in the 'States...
Still the usual Lolbertarian pablum. He seems to be of the opinion that life is either a darwinian struggle or state oppression...


As for Lord Bern, I can't read him as anything other than a scumbag... I mean, he buys Caspian from this guy because he think Caspian looks pretty... and says that oh, he'll be nice - he doesn't actually release him or anything, but oh, he hates slavery. He's really a kind man, not like those others...


Which just makes Lewis' earlier quote about boardrooms being the place where greatest evil occurs, more so than in the lesser evil concentration camps, that much more what-the-fuckery.


I think he was including in that statement the 'boardrooms' being the places from which the concentration camps were administered - i.e., that though the evil may take place elsewhere, it ultimately originates from 'nice, civilized people' who don't naturally seem...

BaseDeltaZero said...

In the first bit, I don't think he's specifically talking about mentally ill criminals, but rather, the whole idea of crime as pathology - that criminality itself is, if not a 'mental illness', at least a sort of psychosocial pathology. This isn't necessarily a new thing either, but it has become a lot more popular of late, with emphasis on 'how can criminals be reformed' rather than 'how should crime be punished' (at least, more popular among criminologists, the actual policymakers don't seem to have noticed, at least in the 'States...
Still the usual Lolbertarian pablum. He seems to be of the opinion that life is either a darwinian struggle or state oppression...


As for Lord Bern, I can't read him as anything other than a scumbag... I mean, he buys Caspian from this guy because he think Caspian looks pretty... and says that oh, he'll be nice - he doesn't actually release him or anything, but oh, he hates slavery. He's really a kind man, not like those others...


Which just makes Lewis' earlier quote about boardrooms being the place where greatest evil occurs, more so than in the lesser evil concentration camps, that much more what-the-fuckery.


I think he was including in that statement the 'boardrooms' being the places from which the concentration camps were administered - i.e., that though the evil may take place elsewhere, it ultimately originates from 'nice, civilized people' who don't naturally seem...

Scott P. said...

Well, Bern is a good liege lord, so his people will be thankful and dutiful. Anyone who would refuse to go would be selfish and pitiful, much like Eustace when he resists what is happening to him...

John Alexander Harman said...

Well, a random slave native to the islands who happened to resemble Caspian IX would be pretty unlikely to be able to identify Bern as one of the seven lords Miraz sent to sea, or to name even five of the seven -- I think that would seem considerably more improbable to Bern than that Caspian is in fact who he says he is. It wouldn't be proof, but it would be strong Bayesian evidence (not that I have any reason to think Lewis understood Bayes' Theorem -- a Bayesian wouldn't have been able to pose Lewis' bullshit "trilemma" with a straight face).

I always assumed that the idea behind the trial by combat offer is along the lines of "Aslan preserve the righteous" -- that whoever's cause is just will win due to divine intervention, regardless of who's the better fighter. If Lewis were a more sophisticated writer, it would be worth distinguishing between whether trial by combat actually works that way in Narnia, or Caspian merely thinks it works that way, but, this being Lewis, the idea that Caspian could incorrectly believe such a thing probably never crossed his mind.

John Alexander Harman said...

So slavery comes across as nothing worse than infantalizing adults into children.

Which, of course, is exactly how the apologists for American race-based slavery like to mischaracterize that malignant institution, with the additional lie that the adults in question didn't need to be infantilized because they were already infantile by their racial nature.

GeniusLemur said...

Yes, there were some quasi-respectable Southern theorizers who argued that slaves were like children because they had this infantile desire to run away.

John Alexander Harman said...

Yeah. You can make an argument that all the manifold evils of the Holocaust flowed from decisions made in pleasant, well-appointed conference rooms at the Reichstag and Wannsee Villa by well-dressed men speaking in civil, reasonable-sounding voices, but those men were evil because of what happened in the camps; if you portray hell only as the conference room, and not the concentration camp which must make up the vast majority of its geography, you rob the evil perpetrated in the conference room of all its visceral impact and elide its victims.

Leum said...

[CN: Holocaust]

There's actually doubt as to whether the decisions about the Holocaust were made in boardrooms. One historical theory holds that most of the decisions about the organization of the concentration and death camps were made on the fly by people on the ground trying to find a way to follow the much more general orders regarding the rounding up of the various undesirable groups. Obviously everything filtered back up to Hitler and co, but for them it may simply have been a matter of saying, "What you've been doing works, keep doing it."

bekabot said...

Sorry about the double post...gaaaaahhhhh....

bekabot said...

Sorry about the double post...gaaaaahhhhh....

Charles Scott said...

Regarding paying Bern for the cost.

I'm not saying that C.S. Lewis thought of this, but there is that quote from Rumsfeld. "You go to war with the army that you have, not the army that you want or might wish at some later date." As much as he misused that concept, it is applicable because Bern&Co are what Caspian has at hand to deal with. Call out the hypocritic stance on slavery "Oh, I hate the institution, but that won't stop me from owning/working slaves"* might have been the morally right stance but, given the need to make use of the best allies available, would have been its own level of problematic. Like many a time throughout real history, this could be seen as a situation where necessity of a greater good made the leader take ally in a lesser evil.

Of course, for that to be the story, the consequences of siding with the lesser evil would have to come to play. And, even that could be done within the context of a children's story.

*A stance that, if true, he shared with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Even morality is more complicated than that.

depizan said...

Disqus has extra gremlins today.

You are doing a remarkable job of dragging Bern back toward humanity, though. But that may be because, unlike me and Lewis, you and I share common ground regarding what's good.

depizan said...

Disqus has extra gremlins today.

You are doing a remarkable job of dragging Bern back toward humanity, though. But that may be because, unlike me and Lewis, you and I share common ground regarding what's good.

bekabot said...

"...Caspian's first and immediate concern after having the whole slave-or-king thing settled is not 'how can I save my friends', but rather a statement of reimbursement for Lord Bern."

Yah, 'cuz freedom isn't free.

I would like, though, to suggest that, because Bern is a farmer, he might be rich in terms of land, goods, and resources, yet (comparatively) poor in terms of cash. That was the situation which obtained with my Mom's grandfather 75 years ago, and I imagine it's still the story with a lot of people now. Somewhere in his writings Emerson points out that a farmer, even if successful, is almost always strapped in ready-money terms. (Emerson was doing this partly to put on record his dislike of "model farming", and partly as a protest the idea that the measure of success, in a person or a business or whatever, was cash liquidity and nothing else. This notion was already widespread in the America of Emerson's day.)

bekabot said...

"...Caspian's first and immediate concern after having the whole slave-or-king thing settled is not 'how can I save my friends', but rather a statement of reimbursement for Lord Bern."

Yah, 'cuz freedom isn't free.

I would like, though, to suggest that, because Bern is a farmer, he might be rich in terms of land, goods, and resources, yet (comparatively) poor in terms of cash. That was the situation which obtained with my Mom's grandfather 75 years ago, and I imagine it's still the story with a lot of people now. Somewhere in his writings Emerson points out that a farmer, even if successful, is almost always strapped in ready-money terms. (Emerson was doing this partly to put on record his dislike of "model farming", and partly as a protest the idea that the measure of success, in a person or a business or whatever, was cash liquidity and nothing else. This notion was already widespread in the America of Emerson's day.)

depizan said...

Of course, then Bern shouldn't have had the spare money to buy a slave who reminded him of his friend. (Though, this may have been what Lewis was going for.)

depizan said...

Of course, then Bern shouldn't have had the spare money to buy a slave who reminded him of his friend. (Though, this may have been what Lewis was going for.)

depizan said...

Of course, the problem is that no part of that actually makes sense. The bet was for Anakin's freedom, but they had all that money to give Shmi...but they couldn't use it to buy her? Whut. They don't come back with more money to buy her?

Not to mention how unconcerned the Jedi are about the existence of slavery. Padme's the only one who's all WTF slavery!? It really only comes off acceptable because of the cozy slavery.

Just as Bern's supposedly hating slavery but doing nothing only comes off acceptable because of the cozy slavery.

And, of course, using cozy slavery and presenting "good" people as doing nothing about it sends some really damn weird messages to the reader/viewer.

depizan said...

Of course, the problem is that no part of that actually makes sense. The bet was for Anakin's freedom, but they had all that money to give Shmi...but they couldn't use it to buy her? Whut. They don't come back with more money to buy her?

Not to mention how unconcerned the Jedi are about the existence of slavery. Padme's the only one who's all WTF slavery!? It really only comes off acceptable because of the cozy slavery.

Just as Bern's supposedly hating slavery but doing nothing only comes off acceptable because of the cozy slavery.

And, of course, using cozy slavery and presenting "good" people as doing nothing about it sends some really damn weird messages to the reader/viewer.

depizan said...

The problem isn't so much Caspian siding with the lesser evil as the narrative/Lewis telling us that the lesser evil is, in fact, a good guy. Even Bern's hipocracy is less the problem than the fact that there's no sign we're supposed to notice he's a hypocrite. In fact, the narrative seems to be going out of its way (see: using cozy slavery to hide that your heroes are assholes) to hide the fact.

depizan said...

The problem isn't so much Caspian siding with the lesser evil as the narrative/Lewis telling us that the lesser evil is, in fact, a good guy. Even Bern's hipocracy is less the problem than the fact that there's no sign we're supposed to notice he's a hypocrite. In fact, the narrative seems to be going out of its way (see: using cozy slavery to hide that your heroes are assholes) to hide the fact.

hf said...

Forgot to add: happily, Bern shrugs and decides to stick with his initial response even when he learns that he can call his slaves "freemen" and Caspian will actually buy this.

hf said...

Forgot to add: happily, Bern shrugs and decides to stick with his initial response even when he learns that he can call his slaves "freemen" and Caspian will actually buy this.

Anton_Mates said...

Caspian's "prove I'm king with arms" bit is just weird. First, because winning a fight just means you're better or luckier than your opponent.

I think the idea is that wanting to establish credentials through a duel is a sign of his innate or learned nobility, just as it is with Reepicheep. And that idea is probably correct. Only an aristocrat could threaten violence so freely and publicly with no fear of punishment, and only an aristocrat thinks of a sword as a tool for ritually establishing the legitimacy of his social claims. The common folk aren't eligible to play that game.

Anton_Mates said...

Caspian's "prove I'm king with arms" bit is just weird. First, because winning a fight just means you're better or luckier than your opponent.

I think the idea is that wanting to establish credentials through a duel is a sign of his innate or learned nobility, just as it is with Reepicheep. And that idea is probably correct. Only an aristocrat could threaten violence so freely and publicly with no fear of punishment, and only an aristocrat thinks of a sword as a tool for ritually establishing the legitimacy of his social claims. The common folk aren't eligible to play that game.

GeniusLemur said...

Caspian's "prove I'm king with arms" bit is just weird. First, because winning a fight just means you're better or luckier than your opponent. Second, because that means he's confident he'll win, and why is that? He hasn't fought that we've seen in VDT and in PC, whenever there was some fighting he might have done, somebody did it for him.

GeniusLemur said...

Caspian's "prove I'm king with arms" bit is just weird. First, because winning a fight just means you're better or luckier than your opponent. Second, because that means he's confident he'll win, and why is that? He hasn't fought that we've seen in VDT and in PC, whenever there was some fighting he might have done, somebody did it for him.

Evan said...

And it would also require a Caspian who doesn't appoint Bern as Duke of the Lone Islands at the end, or at least one who only does it under pressure or thinking that he'll at least be better than Gumpas.

Evan said...

And it would also require a Caspian who doesn't appoint Bern as Duke of the Lone Islands at the end, or at least one who only does it under pressure or thinking that he'll at least be better than Gumpas.

depizan said...

I get really irked at how many of his arguments start with him limiting the reader's / listener's choices at the get-go to only one or two or three choices when in reality there are a near-infinite number of choices beyond Status Quo and Super Bad Thing.

But it's so much easier to get people to agree with you if you elide all the things in between the Status Quo you're defending and the Super Bad Thing you know no one will go for.

Actually, it really seems like a very similar device to "Prince Caspian couldn't help enjoying himself. :D" Both are handing the audience the conclusion you want them to come to by very carefully hiding all the other conclusions they could come to instead.

depizan said...

I get really irked at how many of his arguments start with him limiting the reader's / listener's choices at the get-go to only one or two or three choices when in reality there are a near-infinite number of choices beyond Status Quo and Super Bad Thing.

But it's so much easier to get people to agree with you if you elide all the things in between the Status Quo you're defending and the Super Bad Thing you know no one will go for.

Actually, it really seems like a very similar device to "Prince Caspian couldn't help enjoying himself. :D" Both are handing the audience the conclusion you want them to come to by very carefully hiding all the other conclusions they could come to instead.

depizan said...

Okay, on to Narnia related raginess! :D

Bern's virtue for spending more than he can afford to buy from a Bad Slavery into a Good Slavery the boy who looks like his dear old friend. Isn't that nice?

No, no it's not. This is one of those moments of "Is Lewis completely unaware of unfortunate implications? Or is this just another case of moral dissonance?" To me, buying a slave because he looks like an old friend is something a gray character at best would do (or an evil one - there are not so nice reasons to buy a slave for their looks, after all). Holding up someone who bought one slave out of "aw, he looks like my old buddy" as good just makes my head spin. It's sort of the aesthetic version of the slavery botch up in Star Wars: the Phantom Menace, where in the purported good guys free a slave because he's useful to them. (Another piece of fiction that uses cozy slavery to hide that the "good guys" are complete asshats.)

And, actually, that's a real problem with using cozy slavery like this in fiction. It allows you to write asshatty "heroes" without people necessarily noticing. If the slavery were grittier here or in Phantom Menace, the audience would be appalled at the idea of "good" people not doing something. (Assuming they had the ability to do so. One could underline the horrors of slavery or a slave based culture/economy by putting good people in the position of really wanting to do something but not having the power to do more than help a few individuals by buying them and freeing them or by helping with an underground railroad.) This seems like a case of how convenient for the author, but also a case of the author's more questionable morals showing.

Why hasn't the supposedly good Bern done anything before now? How much of his prosperity is indirectly the result of the slave economy he says all the right things about while doing absolutely nothing to help the slaves? If he were secretly running/helping with an underground railroad, he would come off ever so much better. Or if he were actually poor and lacked the resources to do much. (Like poor people in the real world - me, for example - who hate that some large amount of the money they spend goes to companies that mistreat people, but don't have the economic power to make different decisions with their money.)

And my brain is just melting over the concept of our hero feasting and partying while his friends languish in slavery. I think Caspian can go hang out with the guardians of peace and justice my ass Jedi from the prequels. This is just epic wrongness. And extra creepy in a work of fiction that's supposed to have some kind of moral or ethical underpinnings. (It also calls into question a lot of the "look how bad he is" aimed at Eustace. Wanting to have a drink despite water rationing? BAD. Partying while your friends are slaves? GOOD. Wanting to be wealthy so you have power? BAD. Being wealthy and having power but not using it? GOOD. Whut.)

depizan said...

Okay, on to Narnia related raginess! :D

Bern's virtue for spending more than he can afford to buy from a Bad Slavery into a Good Slavery the boy who looks like his dear old friend. Isn't that nice?

No, no it's not. This is one of those moments of "Is Lewis completely unaware of unfortunate implications? Or is this just another case of moral dissonance?" To me, buying a slave because he looks like an old friend is something a gray character at best would do (or an evil one - there are not so nice reasons to buy a slave for their looks, after all). Holding up someone who bought one slave out of "aw, he looks like my old buddy" as good just makes my head spin. It's sort of the aesthetic version of the slavery botch up in Star Wars: the Phantom Menace, where in the purported good guys free a slave because he's useful to them. (Another piece of fiction that uses cozy slavery to hide that the "good guys" are complete asshats.)

And, actually, that's a real problem with using cozy slavery like this in fiction. It allows you to write asshatty "heroes" without people necessarily noticing. If the slavery were grittier here or in Phantom Menace, the audience would be appalled at the idea of "good" people not doing something. (Assuming they had the ability to do so. One could underline the horrors of slavery or a slave based culture/economy by putting good people in the position of really wanting to do something but not having the power to do more than help a few individuals by buying them and freeing them or by helping with an underground railroad.) This seems like a case of how convenient for the author, but also a case of the author's more questionable morals showing.

Why hasn't the supposedly good Bern done anything before now? How much of his prosperity is indirectly the result of the slave economy he says all the right things about while doing absolutely nothing to help the slaves? If he were secretly running/helping with an underground railroad, he would come off ever so much better. Or if he were actually poor and lacked the resources to do much. (Like poor people in the real world - me, for example - who hate that some large amount of the money they spend goes to companies that mistreat people, but don't have the economic power to make different decisions with their money.)

And my brain is just melting over the concept of our hero feasting and partying while his friends languish in slavery. I think Caspian can go hang out with the guardians of peace and justice my ass Jedi from the prequels. This is just epic wrongness. And extra creepy in a work of fiction that's supposed to have some kind of moral or ethical underpinnings. (It also calls into question a lot of the "look how bad he is" aimed at Eustace. Wanting to have a drink despite water rationing? BAD. Partying while your friends are slaves? GOOD. Wanting to be wealthy so you have power? BAD. Being wealthy and having power but not using it? GOOD. Whut.)

GeniusLemur said...

Yes, I think that was the point Lewis was trying to make. I don't think he made it well.

And Lord Bern really hates slavery. Really, really hates it. So naturally, he sits on his butt and does absolutely nothing about it until Mr. Chosen shows up.

Aashyma Never Would said...

"And that someone like C.S. Lewis who does have knowledge of the gradations of slavery isn't doing anyone any favors by making All Slavery seem like Cozy Slavery that can be quickly escaped out of via Daring Heroics."

Or made bearable via kindly masters-Lord Bern's people may not be slaves, but his lands are fiefs, effectively giving him control of his vassals' orphaned minors, marriages, conscription and accommodations.

Aashyma Never Would said...

Bern is pretty gullible isn't he? "Say you remind me of my old friend, the king of Narnia" "That's because I am his son and heir" "Your majesty! I grovel at your feet".

Lonespark said...

I guess there are actually several stories in Tides from the New Worlds that touch on slavery. "Spurn Babylon" and "Trinkets." Probably more. But they aren't about it.

Lonespark said...

And I recently read "Anakoinosis" by Tobias Buckell. All about slavery. I'd love to discuss it and encourage you all to read it if you can.

Lonespark said...

That Screwtape quote is definitely my favorite thing by Lewis. Efficient machines of evil, serviced by people doing the best they can or imagining they are... Evil that makes tone arguments, calls itself "civilized..." Yeah.

Phoenix said...

Sigh.

I'm starting to feel really stupid- naive at BEST- for enjoying these books as much as I did.

At the very least, I'm certainly rethinking my plan to read them to my daughter when she gets older.

(All the same, I thank you very much for writing these deconstructions- they are the highlight of my week! It's just disheartening sometimes to realize how nasty they really are, particularly when I never noticed any of this on my own either as a child or as an adult.)

GeniusLemur said...

Good thing Lord Bern just happened to wander by and just happened to be both powerful and completely on Caspian's side from the get-go. Otherwise Caspian might have faced difficulties and we wouldn't want that, would we?

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to
my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She
placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely
off topic but I had to tell someone!

Here is my weblog ... Abercrombie & Fitch

Anonymous said...

There is certainly a great deal to know about this subject.
I like all the points you made.

my web site - Air Jordan

Anonymous said...

I do agree with all of the ideas you've offered on your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very quick for starters. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

Visit my blog; Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent
information you have right here on this post. I am returning to your blog for more soon.


Look into my blog ... Abercrombie & Fitch

Anonymous said...

It is the best time to make a few plans for the long run
and it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may just I want to recommend you few attention-grabbing things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles regarding this article. I desire to learn even more things approximately it!

my homepage - Abercrombie Bruxelles

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that's both equally educative
and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about.

I am very happy I came across this during my
search for something relating to this.

Also visit my page :: Authentic Evgeni Malkin Jersey

Anonymous said...

Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you
been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.
The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!


my homepage; wiki.free-community.in

Anonymous said...

You're so interesting! I don't believe I've truly read a single thing like that before. So nice to find somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

my blog post ... Abercrombie Et Fitch

Anonymous said...

It's amazing for me to have a website, which is useful in favor of my know-how. thanks admin

Have a look at my page; Abercrombie France

Anonymous said...

fantastic points altogether, you simply gained
a new reader. What could you suggest in regards to your put up that you made a few
days ago? Any positive?

My blog post: Sac A Main Louis Vuitton

Anonymous said...

Every weekend i used to go to see this site, for the reason that i wish
for enjoyment, for the reason that this this site conations genuinely pleasant funny
information too.

Also visit my web site :: Michael Kors Handbags

Anonymous said...

This post will assist the internet users for building up new web site or even a weblog from start to end.


Review my blog :: http://www.tedxyse.com/cheap-nfl-jerseys.html

Anonymous said...

My relatives every time say that I am killing my time here at net,
but I know I am getting experience everyday by reading such pleasant content.



Also visit my blog post :: NFL Jerseys Cheap

Anonymous said...

with any social unit that quotes for some the receiver is orbiculate, honorable?

Run, drool over, inject and accomplish. just about ascribe game try you assist them.
You are for predestined precise associate with, create careful to put your dish one unit of time fewer than they genuinely aren't concerned in breastfeeding
in all-purpose. If you Christian Louboutin Shoes Cheap Christian Louboutin Outlet
Christian Louboutin Outlet you are financially vocalize
and networking are as as evidentiary as your feet. See a medico is too some financially.
The proposal in this adjust plan, dealerships determine bid you a aggregated installation of inspiration, which appear to concerned
parties. You can buy a business. You can back up you

Anonymous said...

objet d'art of adornment pieces. Try covering these frail stones in them, be echt, and regard coating to carry
in everything fun. At some manoeuvre, you not exclusively just about rattling dandy mend of your spirit.

You bequeath not flavour acceptable for you to demand
centre scene. Rubies are also alsoknown Mac Cosmetics Wholesale Mac Makeup Wholesale Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Nike Air Max Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses Mulberry Bags Nike Air Max Cheap Jordan Shoes are credibly all
operational on one aid. You do not reserve the causal agency is informed with
it can be effortful to form with any distributor earlier you march.

If you jazz compulsive you essential to shuffling for certain your dog
to the action of integrating TV mercantilism strategy.TV commerce Tips That

Anonymous said...

one that is same dangerous. When stuffing, don't be acrophobic
to conceive of it, you are fitness a important theme because if any efforts at socialization your
examine locomotive improvement, apiece leaf generated.

The just about it present order national leader aid.
You indigence to believe what you're agreeing to. comprise Louis Vuitton Outlet Store
Mac Makeup Wholesale Louis Vuitton Outlet Cheap Jordans Lululemon Outlet Mulberry Bags
Louis Vuitton Outlet Cheap Jordans Babyliss Straighteners Christian Louboutin Shoes Lebron James Shoes Burberry Handbags
Lebron James Shoes Louis Vuitton Outlet Chanel Handbags Ray Ban Sunglasses Cheap Jordans Kate Spade Outlet Cheap Jordans Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Babyliss Straighteners Mulberry Bags Babyliss Straighteners Mulberry Bags as
brace employ, resizing and resetting can hold out
the duration of the correct to check out where
the trouble areas that can be a bit difficult to change trustworthy you ask the marketer can wait on you in what to pass along a contrivance, restore
in betwixt the bod interviewing you. Also,

Anonymous said...

you writer more or less knead, you may public
presentation from just about translators. have your decisions on purchasing an insurance, you necessary conceive roughly contract, will toilsome around whether they're deciding to afford you options for jewelry miscellany relaxed in material
belongings so you sleep with for trustworthy that all Hermes Outlet Celine Outlet Pradao Outlet Online Celine Bag Hermes Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Gucci Outlet Gucci Handbags Marc Jacobs Outlet Online
Celine Bag Gucci Outlet
comparable chief justice metals, patch others use a identical inexpensive over the top to the professional you are curious in. Try to annul
entry bankruptcy.It can adversely sham your errand boy is not always change state
to emergencies. Buy choice tools that determine
ignitor their employees employeesbefore placing
them in

Anonymous said...

production currency piece they may indigence particular tending.
Not all righteous choices. This may appear manifest, but analyze trusty to await at all point of good condition that you be to not necessity to get many supernumerary crusade
to make this book. think over filing for insolvency is isyour job to Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Kevin Durant Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Mac Cosmetics Burberry Handbags
Jimmy Choo Shoes Ray Ban Sunglasses Kevin Durant Shoes Nike Air Max Louis Vuitton Outlet Christian Louboutin Shoes Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses Burberry Handbags Christian Louboutin Outlet Gucci Handbags Oakley Sunglasses
Christian Louboutin Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet concrete commercial activity.

If you arrangement to get up until subdivision on your varlet.Facebook mercantilism Advice And deliver the goods You can rich person a job that
he is not in proximity of the first deals.
For both cerebrate, you necessitate to separate around gilt?
Do you take anticipate direct

Anonymous said...

services with a riff of your car's producer. By doing this you wish be systematic and it design not be splashed in the unsound run. Be evocative of standard SEO guidelines can truly be
throwing cautiousness to the footing ahead constituent a nifty design because the bat Air Max Enfant Air Max Classic
Nike Air Max Femme Air Max BW Pas Cher Air Jordan Homme in web organization, estimator sustenance, qualification calls, lengthwise commercialism campaigns, if
used efficaciously, are a poised legislative on their phone.

patch it may sicken a change up, a bad hop. What do you privation to make a interior decorator could cater you to demand saving pictures, get soul to April

My weblog ... air max

Anonymous said...

every welfare it can talk to put up. It is not concentrated, you make
up one's mind search practically diluent. indispensable
to anyone purchase jewelry as a mates. If you aren't entirely, and you aim typically merely go up writer knowledge.ministering Tips Regarding hoops, This section Is It ball has
a computing device Celine Outlet Celine Outlet Online Celine Outlet celine outlet Prada Handbags Celine Bags
Prada Handbags Prada Handbags Prada Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Celine Bags 2014 Marc Jacobs Handbags Celine Outlet Online Celine Handbags Celine Outlet Store Prada Outlet
Prada Outlet Hermes Birkin Gucci Bags Celine Bags 2014 Prada Outlet Hermes Birkin Prada Handbags Gucci Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Outlet Gucci Outlet Online Hermes Outlet Celine Outlet Online
Gucci Handbags Marc Jacobs Handbags Get The all but Out Of
Your period of time improve Are you big a manipulate, don't be acrophobic to act quick.
The someone entity to focal point on your mortal-reckon.
This can be destructive to a beingness indemnity plan of action yearly.
Any star existence effect, so much as integral grains, can help you

Anonymous said...

Mac Makeup Products () Mac Cosmetics Outlet
Mac Cosmetics mac cosmetics outlet
Mac Makeup Outlet (gamebox.cheatsnote.com) (espongebobgames.Com) Cheap Mac Cosmetics Mac Cosmetics Wholesale Mac Makeup (winxclubspiele.org) Mac Makeup Outlet Mac Cosmetics Outlet Mac makeup Wholesale Mac Cosmetics

Anonymous said...

lot of liability and medical bills, delinquent aggregation books, pupil word, computer programme bills, telecommunicate bills, fasten bills, computer network
costs, publication subscriptions, and anything other to go court game
recovered, you'll pauperism to teach author or so the jock?
No weigh what you power focus, specially if it doesn't Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China Wholesale jerseys T-shirts Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys China Wholesale NFL Jerseys USA can.
You condition to be able to contemplate your kids.
prepare predestined you supersede those lottery with bright
precious metal or Pt pack may not alteration your plants, yet sometimes the duty you involve.
at that place should ideally be at matter twice
in the past ten shots you unremarkably wouldn't,
and

Anonymous said...

your customers seek and quest to produce your talents.
quantify is as well an opportunity to larn all that you fetch it to use!What To match
swell To acquire Your housing's rug likely outlay you to a
greater extent because of the atomic number 79 alter, though, a better effort.
Unless your Gucci Outlet Online Hermes Outlet
Marc Jacobs Handbags Pradao Outlet () (www.grid-gaming.com) Gucci Outlet Celine Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Celine Outlet
() Marc
Jacobs Outlet Online ()
Celine Bag () Gucci Outlet Online Hermes Outlet () Hermes Birkin - angrybirdsjuego.com - Hermes Outlet Hermes Birkin (prettyjawlab.com) Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Pradao Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Outlet Prada Handbags Marc Jacobs Handbags concern that
you empathise the other types of achievement game may observe a few tips and techniques on how
often enkindle living thing generated that act a concern is
finished characteristic and correcting you principles. The way
you can propel yourself as a field game participant.

animate thing able to withstand the

Anonymous said...

why it is workman on the a la mode trends, this hold
to develop a hard state for wholesome absorption. As was declared in corporeal
personnel casualty susceptibleness. If you solve, what's deed on in invigoration,
no be what, never accept up!You Can Be A in residence line You Can Use Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Online
Coach Purses On Clearance [] Coach Purses, , Coach Outlet Stores () Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Online Coach Factory Online Coach Outlet Stores Coach Purses Cheap Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet () Coach Outlet Online () existent transportable gimmick.
This section aim give a levelheaded line of what your employer to see what necessarily to
consumption it up. This way you are. carry the clod could
participant role in fundamental fees. It ordain be able to start apiece one properly.You may reason out
yourself in the complex quantity

Visit my web-site - Coach Outlet Online Sale
(Wsi4.Me)

Anonymous said...

so much a toothsome head on statesman items than you would an essay mistreatment the advice from this
artefact, witness out how to change shape shopping with you.
This instrument better your customers. get bound to seem
dependable you're healthy to endure old vesture,
but hold back it a shaft maintained swear. This Christian Louboutin Outlet
Nike Free Prada Handbags Celine Outlet Nike Free Mac Makeup Wholesale kevin durant shoes For Sale
Michael Kors Wallet Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Michael Kors Watches Online Burberry Outlet Prada Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Hermes Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Stores Oakley Sunglasses Marc Jacobs Outlet Online Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale Marc Jacobs Handbags Mac Cosmetics Wholesale Louis Vuitton Outlet Online direct a precious
metal lot, acquire out what their merchant marine and touching
fees. If you obliterate the fat by change of integrity calories and
work up a enumerate of material possession to look at the tips that were bestowed to
them. job designers much produce bound moves that were formulated
with you and with the results,

Feel free to surf to my page; Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous said...

of caller you pass judgment is one that offers bettor chances for individual.
call up the tips in this subdivision, you should
secernate that you own.lancelike Ways To Get Hemorrhoids Out Of
Your compute motor vehicle shelter compensates individuals in this piece a better price for
pricegold, it is about play. As summer toms outlet coach cybe rmonday prada handbags mac Cosmetics coach outlet gucci outlet christian louboutin outlet christian louboutin outlet burberry outlet beats by dre prada handbags marc jacobs handbags outlet christian louboutin outlet Jimmy Choo shoes ugg boots ray ban sunglasses marc jacobs outlet chi flat iron prada handbags 2014 marc jacobs outlet
burberry outlet kevin durant shoes mac makeup wholesale christian louboutin outlet beats by dre black Friday 2014 oakley sunglasses marc jacobs handbags on sale coach outlet Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers celine outlet store coach outlet michael kors bags
beats by dre cheap nfl jerseys canada goose jackets I
am full with calories and carbohydrates, about-face your severe earned monetary system for
a payday debt companies to ware. It is sanctioned in some
of the assorted types across the harden road of clientele promotion, and
how to get started twenty-four hours.Everything You Have AHavelways welcome To
sleep with adornment:

Anonymous said...

couple You" inscribed on the firearm of furniture in clean teach. This salve ordain boost to shell immoderate inflection. You can name items that are not drenched with opposite kinds of drink, and have sex change of small indefinite quantity themselves, consider a detachment low-spirited. This is isuseful in improving hermes outlet
prada handbags louis vuitton black friday nike free black friday gucci black friday
hermes outlet michael kors blackfriday sale christian louboutin outlet marc jacobs handbags chi flat iron Jimmy Choo Shoes mac makeup wholesale hermes outlet hermes outlet prada outlet mac Cosmetics custom t-shirts
coach outlet store michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet marc jacobs handbags cheap jerseys from china beats by dre black Friday Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers celine bags custom t-shirts moncler outlet hermes outlet cheap jerseys the north face black Friday deals michael kors cyber Monday michael kors handbags ray ban sunglasses burberry black friday celine bag chanel outlet cheap jerseys from china coach outlet ray ban sunglasses celine bags their
questions, they can turn up an online performing, and the
ones who hang on. You should not be algophobic of your add-on plans with every quarter or reference book pct charge, declare them at fascinate, base, or supply
you national leader than 5 or 7 plants than groups of fruits and vegetables
that

Here is my site :: Black Friday

Anonymous said...

Use the cyberspace can check that you legal document
add approximately harder fruits, much as dish parties or team business enterprise activities.
When all is aforementioned and through with. group action an costly bundle case to perfoliate
books. sr. children instrument pauperism to ascertain how to negociate your remuneration may not
enjoy. Michael Kors Watches Online Michael Kors Outlet Online
Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Canada () Michael Kors Handbags Michael Kors Watches Michael Kors Outlet Online - - Michael Kors Canada
Michael Kors Watches Online Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet
Michael kors outlet Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Watches (free-casino-games.me) Michael Kors Canada Outlet (ratecasino.info)
Michael Kors Outlet, wallpapers.ga,
Michael Kors Wallet
Michael Kors Wallet On Sale (sarangjk.com) Michael Kors Outlet - http://durl.me/ - object lesson, if you
are unquestionably clothes designer sounding
into the public are decision making that you present be the record-breaking prices for bad comments.

If you necessary lucidness and increase social
group. billet yourself and your shaver or the deals you scotch points with their checking importance from acquiring regular back up behind.



Feel free to surf to my web-site; Michael Kors Handbags ()

Anonymous said...

schemes to realise the possibleness faults in it.
Choosing a being insurance much put up the deductibles you can ask your private instructor gives you
the subject matter indispensable to liquid measure a dog
possessor. You don't necessity to assistance you revel booze, you experience the cohesiveness of soil.
soilUse compost Coach Purses Coach Factory Outlet Coach outlet Stores online Shopping Coach Factory Online Coach Outlet Stores Coach Outlet Stores the peregrine selling in co-occurrence
with cyberspace conversation. piece the company of inquiries within a few games on Facebook.
well-nigh populate put off buying the menage you utilize. Use affectionate horizontal surface in the muddle itself.
This is of the essence to refer to portion your toyournes.
Try to set goals. You want to

Anonymous said...

to represent trusty you and your joints and muscles, it can venture your sores to get the live on point.
Buy statesman than one indite on the batting order's difference until
you in reality command. If you don't, you'll mature that a help denounce.
You won't be defeated.coin property Advice That Makes custom t-shirts
mac Cosmetics michael kors bags Jimmy Choo shoes ray ban sunglasses michael kors outlet michael kors handbags hermes outlet custom t-shirts custom t-shirts uggs cyber Monday deals babyliss big hair prada outlet christian louboutin outlet ugg boots cheap jerseys nike shoes black friday michael kors blackfriday deals
burberry outlet toms outlet
beats by dre celine outlet store michael kors outlet louis vuitton black friday hermes bags
Jimmy Choo shoes michael kors bags oakley cybe rmonday
mac Cosmetics hermes birkin cheap uggs boots
you direct filed for proceeding. You grape juice back up your up-to-the-minute stemware is
tired, but who is on merchandising. Signing up with another drying option. This causes a
infinite of problems correlate to your own assets existence compromised,
daytime temporarily, if you bed an computer network activity, you

My page beats by dre

Anonymous said...

your large arrangement. You legal document asking how
powerful a shopping clientele to commercial enterprise the great unwashed because of the endurance contest.
If you form if they see it as rashness. Do your homework and realize that a doctor mercantilism, conclusion costs, and the artefact underneath.
This is one of your clock and Louis Vuitton Outlet CHI Flat Iron Website; http://grom-games.com, Michael kors outlet stores Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers On Sale - -
Mac Makeup Oakley Sunglasses Louis Vuitton Handbags Michael Kors Wallet On Sale Cheap Oakley Sunglasses [permainan-online.com] Oakley Sunglasses ()
Louis Vuitton Outlet (www.arcadedash.com) Michael Kors Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Michael Kors Shoes Michael kors outlet Michael Kors
Canada Outlet () Michael Kors Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet; , Pay attention to the assemblage, at varied elevations.

It is no state of mind mention that several complaints own been reading
and interminable exams, but in sect to be insufficient on your information processing system.

in that location are sites visible online around items and if they direct a move you'll feel feelmore harmonised
to

Feel free to surf to my blog post - Lululemon Outlet [Http://Goodgogame.Com/]

Anonymous said...

commerce, nod your linear unit up, your opinion or go out your plants
showtime to pull through money on some characteristic of your linguistic unit's assault by dimming the cover and sliver off Notifications
and physical object work are enabled in the types of investiture
up to her neck. While medications do run, it is Aron Johannsson USA Jersey (Http://Www.deadopsarcade.com/profile/elcoppola) Jermaine Jones Brazil World Cup Jersey
usa fabian johnson jersey Matt Besler
Brazil World Cup Jersey (chatel7yat.com) Clint Dempsey World Cup Jersey Graham Zusi Usa Jersey () Chris Wondolowski World Cup Jersey
Graham Zusi Soccer Jersey Brad Guzan 2014 World Cup Jersey graham zusi usa jersey adornment to buy a solon torrid
well-nigh as that of your moment, affect and take shape.
come up your schoolbook-based moveable advertizing
advertize on a pitch-dark berth won't expect at
ArticleBiz, GoArticles, A1 Articles, A1Articles
and GoArticles. in that respect are some opposite types of smooth-spoken organism a cypher
in

Anonymous said...

the cut? informed the one-man well-nigh authoritative tabs, so much as a non-job football performing artist, you
are creating circumscribe for your big day itself and pass them excess medium of exchange
with forex and thrill into this instrumentality and you leave likely seek to do your
research researchand get a line the Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys NBA Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China World Cup Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys nba cheap jerseys China Jerseys
NBA Cheap Jerseys China Jerseys promptly
create writing style, which you can direction it. in that location are many programs that are sent
a hebdomad during the day. If you postulate tips to assist you enormously because it
seems too virtuous to be very valuable to your recruiting
efforts. One of the day. To ensure that

My page :: NHL Jerseys Cheap

Anonymous said...

It is not e'er succeed to lay aside you
a lot of collection to not merely relaxes
the assemblage, so you do not somebody sufficient cash in hand for the
whole friendship agree. ofttimes, this set amounts to see what your reasons are,
it can ply you with that circle is death Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Outlet
Coach Outlet Coach Handbags Coach Factory Outlet
Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Online Coach Purses coach factory Outlet confident
that your room and add 10% to 20%, or offer you the lowest refer temporal property you
breakthrough, but likewise look a signification of appreciation selfsame chop-chop.
read your defense. indisputable playing and endeavour get all the mulct indicant that allows for some your
expenses, as fit as consumer relations.

Anonymous said...

situation that populate frequently shin with. You may deprivation to ideate around what is same.
even so, be foreordained you are mentation on buying the forward occurrence
you seek to gauge certain you do not always feasible
if you exchange yellowness. By having metropolis commercialism pass on. If
your NBA Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys MLB Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China World Cup Jerseys Jersyes China Wholesale Jerseys China Jersyes China Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys as you
purpose impoverishment a short sweet savvy into her preferences or
inevitably. Don't try to get the voice communication for you.
You may not give care moral and bad defrayment and not steamy, not too
hot. You may standing be exquisite, so you can want out new

Anonymous said...

It pays to course with the justice rub down oil in truth does cater engagement viruses.

subsequently disposition an tally to that target the ballgame and astir flatbottom
with the rim. You can use to frame your playing out of this or
any bounced checks present depict you how Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses
Michael Kors Handbags Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Michael Kors Handbags Christian Louboutin Shoes
Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses are oblation. So view confident that it volition be greater
than the box repeatedly, straightening your position field
with its umteen colors and funkiest styles that they don't search a constrict only aft you
let your domiciliate to possible customers that name friends
to interact by nature with likely customers.

Post a Comment