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9B – Reaper Man - Part 2

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Part two on Reaper Man (1991), exploring prologues, disability studies, "vegetarian" vampires, bereavement, Alzheimer's, euthanasia/assisted dying and more!

Listener Liz's essay that inspired this episode: https://somelizthoughtsondiscworld.blogspot.com/2022/06/reaper-man-death-or-death.html

...there. Just before we get started, I want to thank our new Patreon B J The beach. Thank you for supporting the show and if you too want to be a cool patreon supporter just like B J, you can go to unseen academicals pod. You can go to Patreon dot com slash unseen academicals pod and sign up there. I think there's still one spot left in the cheap art here. I can't remember what I've called it, but there's there's a the power of the OCT baby Um. Yeah. So thanks again for your support, B J. and yeah, let's get into the show and let's get into our second episode on Reaperman. It's dear's world. It's dear's world podcast analysis. Yeah, so I'm Josh and I am still going solo on these rouperman episodes. I am trying to tea up some guests for the future ones, but yeah, trying to get these rouperman ones out while they're they're fresh and to keep the schedule going. So it's just going to be me again. I don't know if this one will be as rampily as the last one. I'm not going into a big existential theories and ethical philosophies and things like that, but we'll see how we get. We'll see you. This is about two of our exploration of reapermand focusing this time on the window prudes and fresh start club our storyline and using it to explore the power of the prologue, disability studies, the origins and ideologies inherent in the novel theories of Human Vegetarian Vampires, for even Alzheimer's and assisted dying do a bit of a misworld wrap up at the end as well, yes, rather than the metaphysical side of Rapermand in this second part, and I'm thinking all these episodes might just be two parts from now, because that that seems to be the natural length that they are ending up being, because I think there's normally two or three big themes or big ideas per book that I want to look at. So I might try and see if that makes things a bit easier with the new format, now that I don't have to necessarily factor in the availability of another Co host and unless I have guests on and things Um, and try and just, yeah, get maybe have two episodes out in her book, but try and get them done within a month, a month and a half of each other. But yeah, we're not talking about the big metaphysical ideas that we covered. I'm still saying we but that I covered last episode, which focused on the death side of the story, which is the major one that everybody talks about and remembers, and I said in that episode that I just sort of ignored the secondary B plot with the wizards and the shopping trolleys and things, which I'm still ignoring because it's sort of a service level kind of thing and I'm not that interested in but what I did unfairly neglect was window poons and the fresh start club, which are obviously an important part of not just the book but of the discworld series as a whole, given that it's the introduction of these, I guess, disenfranchised different fantasy species. I think it's the first time we get a real proper treatment of that and obviously that's where and that's where a lot of the later series goes and ends up exploring, mostly through the watch and the city novels rather the death ones. But I wasn't really sure what to say about the much like the trolleys and things, that seemed like a surface level sort of thing. But yeah, I had a listener of the show named Liz, who lives in France right in and and share her thoughts about the novel and she came up with some very interesting observations that seemed really obvious, or at least the core idea of them as obvious. Not they're specific reading itself, but Um yeah, she was analyzing the or interpreting the first what are they called the fresh start club in terms of disability, which again seems very obvious, and maybe this is being said elsewhere and informal reviews or blogs and things like that, but I haven't seen it brought up anywhere at all in any of the academic scholarship that I've been looking at, which is all preoccupied with the metaphysical stuff that I talked about in the first episode and really honing in on death and like we talked about the passages that get started in every article about a specific text, talking about the water going down the mountain which is abroad, every article on reprimand sites the speech he gives to Asrael at the end. But even those ones that do touch on the fresh start club, like myself, interpreted as more of a civil rights as in as in racial and cultural civil rights rather than disability studies which, when you think about it, like, and as we'll get into all the fresh start they're not just outcast because of their species, they are, I guess, disabled versions of their species, in that you have the reverse Werewolf, you have the vegetarian vampire that we'll talk about later and of course prunce who's in a wheelchair right Um. So very obviously pointing to disability. But I think because of the greater presence of the cultural civil rights campaigns and just where Pratchett's analogies of these sorts of things go in the latter books it gets overlooked and when I dug into it there's there's a lot there, and I mean a lot. This could be a long one. So yes, on this episode I'm going to be looking at reading the fresh start club and some sides of the the death and Miss Flittworth story Um, in terms of disability studies and through that I'm also going to be touching upon some of Pratchett's late life work and writings about euthanasia and the right to death, which obviously tie in with the themes of Roopman and I think goes to show that a lot of the things he ended up promoting quite quite publicly and successfully in his later life in sponsor to his Alzheimer's diagnosis really were...

...there in his philosophy from the start, or, you know, at least as far back as so it wasn't just a reaction to his situation. I think the way he reacted to his Alzheimer's representative of a deep philosophy the Pratchett held that he is very explicitly trying to share through Reaperman. And Yeah, I want to caution against, you know, reading the opinions of characters as the opinions of their authors, although in the case of Reaperman I think it's pretty clear that, like I mentioned on the previous episode about this being a Didactic Bill Dunster man, I mean this is very clearly trying to impart a specific, if not message, then then way of looking at the world and philosophy here that I think it's not a stretch to attribute to Pratchett. And also the readings about his personal philosophy and his sort of first hand opinions are back up. But yeah, I do want to caution against reading all books and all characters as as representative of their author's opinions. But I think yeah, rebman is a pretty clear example where those two ideologies line up. Before we get in through all of that there, I want to spend a bit of time just gus seeing the prologue and, I guess, the the epilogues to rip men and Pratchett's discworld books, which is something else Lis pointed out and I guess speaks to why maybe I and a lot of others overlooked the fresh start club or really felt a disconnect between the two. Or three. I guess there's three. There's the death and misflip worth stuff, which also incorporates the auditors and the metaphysical side of things, and then on the wizard side you have the invasion of the shopping trolleys. But also there the fresh start clubs story. For myself and other academics who either ignored this part of the story or felt disconnected from it, perhaps overlooking the prologue or the the introduction to the story, which does feel disconnected from its main plot. But if you read it it's telling you, and this is true of all books. Like when I'm teaching students, I always say pay the most attention to the first page of the book and the last page of a book, because these are telling you what the book has been about. Like when you write an essay and you write an introduction and say here's what I'm going to show when then you have the conclusion that says this is what I've shown you and here's what we've learned, it's the same. It's true for most novels. Right the first page is going, here's what this book is about, and then the last page is going that's what the books about and this is what it means. I mean you have to do a bit more analyzing there, but it's it's normally there. Yes, so I feel very silly sort of overlooking it because I guess, eleven books into the series this kind of zoomed out introduction and then the meandering through the different vignettes. It's sort of a stylistic staple of project's writing, which we'll get into more about in a second. So yes, there's a tendency to sort of skip through it and get to the central story. But I think in the case of Rouperman, by not doing a bit of a closer reading of those sections, you're perhaps setting yourself up to or I was setting myself up to miss the connections between the different themes and their greatest significance. Indeed, Liz herself says that she finds it illuminating and enjoyable too, when she's finished a book to go and meet go back and immediately read the first couple of pages and and sort of reflect on the connection between what was there that you may have forgotten and then where they've got to at the end of the book and since writing in about there. So Liz and I have been talking a bit and she's actually gone away and made a chart of the different formal characteristics of Pratchett's prologs, which is very impressive and quite relatable given my ongoing our vampire chart that I'm talking about. And Yeah, I don't have time to go into everything about this chart, but some useful observations that could be made when we laid the chart out and how to look at the different changes over a chronological period is that a staple of the early series at least, is the use of different vignettes, a little short slice of life stories at the start of the book. So in the case of Rouperman we get the prologue with death and the auditors, but then we get the trees and the mayflies and sort of hitting the same themes from different angles and different examples. And all of this is according to Lizar's subjective definitions and identifications, and I haven't had time to go back through forty one books and read the prologues of them and double check everything. But according to her categorizations, this use of vignettes is almost consistent throughout the first half of the discworld series before dropping off almost completely lead. So this is perhaps more of a stylistic shift in projects writing as as he goes on. But interestingly all the death following more start with vignettes. So which might be by the fact that the death sequence is limited to the first half of the series, are, I think, thief of times a little bit outside the first half. But yeah, the death sequence is contained within the first part of the series. So perhaps he was just a coincidence that it's stylistically matched up. But I think, given the metaphysical nature of the death books, themes and preoccupations, that this really is something that perhaps adds to the books. So something to keep in mind as we go through the next couple of books. Conversely, instances of project going straight into the story, as as Liz calls it, but I guess yes, starting if not in the middle of the action with our primary character, getting into the primary plight of the novel, are extremely rare. The vignettes are present in twenty three of the forty one novels, so that's fifty, just over half the steers series, whereas we get straight into the plot in only seven out of the forty one discuard novels se but more interestingly, I think that these instances of the straight...

...into the story, example that Liz identifiers, are all clustered in a specific period between two thousand and two and two thousand and four. You have four books in a row, Night Watch, the Wee Freeman, monsters regiment and a hatful of sky. That all sort of start off with the main character doing the main thing. And then you have a couple more examples within the next couple of years. You have the three books going postal, Third Winter Smith. Then you have making money from two thousand seven, which list says is a straight into the action story, and then there's unseen academicals in between, and then I shall wear midnight, the third tiffany aching book to begin with getting straight into the story, whereas the only earlier book that Liz says gets straight into the story is sorcery. Each does begin with the orphaning of coin. I don't know if if I would count that one because it does have the prelude paragraph there. So again, these categorizations are subjective but I think they'd be Um, if not entirely accurate, fairly representative like. So it's interesting that Pratchett seems to yes, have picked up this or done away with this stylistic prologue that really has been a defining aspect of his writing for the previous years, and does it for a few books but then sort of does away with it pretty quickly. And I I also went and checked Pratchett's prediscworld books for comparison and I found that the two sci fi books, the two the two science fiction books strata in the dark side of the sun, jumped straight into the story, while the fantasy one, the carpet people, has this mythological prelude about the history of the carpet world and things. So this also seems to be a generic convention rather than a Pratchett specific stylistic convention. Right. Fantasy has this epic history, especially Tolkien and a Lord of the rings and things which Pratchett is influenced by. So perhaps it's just the fact that he is writing in that fantasy mode that is inspiring these sort of drawn out preludes. Because yes, despite not bringing it back until two thousand and two he is doing it earlier in his science fiction novels also in his later non discworld books. The more realistic dodger jumped straight into the story, while the more mythological nation, which is still presented as a real story but has a bit of more of a fantastic and mythological element to it. It has this prologue chapter that is a creation myth. So yeah, and I haven't checked the Johnny in the Bromeliad books, but perhaps they're some insight there as well. This is the kind of textual analysis, formal analysis, that I'm not really inclined to, but yes, there's something Liz notice and pick up. I think anyone who has read a couple of discword books is sort of aware of Pratchett's zoom out zoom in start of the book, which is an obvious parody of the Bible Right. The genesis starts off with the creation of the universe and zooms in until you get to the garden of Eden and everything. But Liz points out that there used to be a nightly children's program shown just before the six PM BBC news in the nineteen seventies called the clangers, and every episode of that began with the narrator panning from the earth, paying across the universe and to the earth and then zooming down into the declanger's home. So, given the time period, nineteen seventies written there, it's possibly that is a more direct and more ironic or comedic influence for practice. But again, according to Lizar's categorizations, this sort of panning in only takes place among a few of the early books, are in the color of magic, skips the light fantastic, which starts off as a continuation of Rincewin falling off the edge of the disc from the previous book. But then, yeah, you have the zoom in in, equal rights and more. And then, according to Liz he doesn't reuse this technique, at least not at the beginning, in the prologue part of the book, until the fifth elephant which, if that's accurate. Is Interesting to me because they're the fifth elephant book is where that cosmological view of the actual structure of the elephants becomes relevant to the plot. So he brings it back once it becomes relevant to his story again. Something else Liz suggested is that, along with the Bible and other traditional examples of this zooming in style where you know, goes from the universe and then there's the turtle and the elephants of the disk and everything. Yeah, although it's interesting that he doesn't use it again in the last hero where that that cosmological vision is also relevant. So I'm not sure what to make of that. But these are the kind of observations you can make when you do chart things out and then's up to someone else maybe to put it the significance together. But yes, it was interesting looking over there. As Liz reminds me, paying attention to the the prologue and the the epilogue of a book can be important to interpreting what it's about and you can often illuminate the kinds of things that if you read and just go well, what's all this about? How do these connect to the story? With without taking in to account that thematic framing Um, and Liz points out that this is a very important part of Shakespeare's writing. where, you like, we've talked about the if we shadows have offended epilogue from a midsummer science dream. That that might have been in the Sam and bonus episode. We did, but I think I know we've talked about that previously. But also the soliquity by benedict the end of much ado about nothing tells you how to interpret these events that otherwise, yes, I'm much ado about nothing, and that speech sort of ties it all together and tells you what the point of it all is. And then Liz says, most notably two houses prologue from Romeo and Juliet tells you that the story is less about the specific love story between its two teenage protagonists but rather this ongoing feud between their two families. That you know. That...

...opens with the statement about this story being about two households both alike in dignity, but by the time you get to the suicide at the end everything, you might have forgotten that. Yeah, that that's really what this story is about. And Liz connects this to Riperman. It's not just about death's journey or even Windell prunes's journey through the story, but is a meditation on death itself, and Liz says of the imminent end of loss and, conversely, of the joy of life and fellowship. And she specifically points out the portrayal of the elderly in connection to the mayflies and the canny Pines and suggests that perhaps the significance of these vignettes has lost a bit in their comedic treatment, which maybe doesn't get across the seriousness of where the exploration of these themes goes in the later novel. Yeah, there the observation there is that, rather than just being about the metaphysical aspects of death, it's also about the human experience of death and the experience of there is in its proximity. And she's put all of this, in all of these thoughts into like a review essay she's titled Terry Pratchett's Reperman Death or death, which is upload. She started a blog um just called some list thoughts on discworld, which is at blogspot dot com. So if you want to read more of Liz's thoughts on Roperman, you can check that out. And she connects this too ideas of disability and bereavement that I'm going to get into for the rest of this episode. This sent me down a real rabbit hole about disability studies and things that I think are very pertinent to a reading of Rouperman. So very thankful to Liz for writing in with this extensive reading of rippermand and yeah, she's essentially inspired the analysis about a book I really was struggling to find things out about before I went into it. So yeah, thanks for the inspiration there, Liz. And if you're listening to the show like Liz and you have some specific thoughts or questions about the book, So don't be afraid to write in with them, and I think we have the email that is unseen, academical pot at Gmail Dot Com. I don't know if they'll inspire an entire episode of the way this one did, but yeah, so let's get into the analysis. What I'm doing here is I'm trying to do a reading of Riperman through the Lens of Disability Studies, which I'll explain in a bit now. Disclaimer, this is not something I have a significant amount of experience with or even perspective on. I am not disabled or at least I don't consider myself disabled. You know, I'm not even entirely comfortable with the term disability and I know some disability studies theory. So activists have problems with that term. That does seem to be the term that has been arrived upon within the world of disability studies itself. I mean that's what it identifies as and that's what the scholars who have developed this school of thought have arrived on calling it. So that's that's what I'm I'm going with for this but, as we'll discuss, there is some stigma attached to just the the idea of disability itself. This is something I am new to Um and I have done a fair amount of reading, but I don't pretend to have any kind of authority or expertise about disability studies. I'm relying on the sources that I found and went to and I'm presenting my understanding as how it relates to Rouperman and my reading of that books. With all those disclaimers out of the way, let's get into it. Yeah, Christopher Krenz explains in his chapter on Disability Studies in the eighteen wildy blackwail companion to literary theory, which is sort of my default literary theory book that I go to if someone asked me for like an o view of the actual theoretical side of literary analysis. So if that is something you're interested in, I recommend checking out that one. That is the companion to literary theory published by Wiley Blackwell from twenty eighteen. Currency explains in that book the Modern Disability Movement can be traced to the late nineteen sixties when disabled activists in the United States and the United Kingdom began to argue that that they were a group that were denied basic rights and began actively contesting traditional negative perceptions of themselves as pitiable individuals with tragic medical problems. And he says the significance of this movement in the nineteen sixties is whereas previous activists groups such as veterans and the blind, but only really ever advocated separately for their own interests, these modern disability activists consciously built on the concurrent civil rights movement, presenting themselves as a unified group facing widespread discrimination. So they're they're banding together and I guess the ties in with repermands themes of individuality and collective action. Right, this movement only really solidified and all became politically effective once are grouped together rather than fighting individual battles. And yes, speaks to regishoe and the fresh start club's ethos that everybody is well. But along with this unified front came the radical redefinition of disability as a subjective or culturally defined position rather than an objective medical one, which arguably stigmatized disabled people as damaged, in inferior and in need of rehabilitation or cure. Right. This is sort of analogous to second wave feminism, which proves the idea of the FEMININEM from an inherent biological property to a socially inflicted, or at least imparted one, which, if you want to know more about that, you can go reader the second sex bond, Bouba, who we mentioned, who was had an ongoing romantic relationship with Jean Paul Sartre, who we talked about at length last episode. And then it also sort of follows the letter third wave feminist philosophy of our Judith Butler, who we talked about. The unseen academic levelsode, but by suggesting the idea that...

...by framing individuality is this paradoxical virtue that is socially defined yet also synonymous with individual integrity, and I don't know if this is something that can necessarily be resolved, and I'm certainly not going to do it on a podcast about a fantasy series. This cultural redefinition of disability comes directly out of group activism, with Modern Disability Studies, group Simi Linton observing in her immensely influential nineteen ninety eight or claiming disability, that people as disparate as the blind and those with cognitive disabilities or people who use wheelchairs, actually have very little in common regarding their disability, other than the social and political circumstances that have forged them together as a group, and it is the way they are categorized by society that brings them together, rather than having anything in common physically. And here we begin to see a bit of tension that between the ideologies are being presented in riper man about individuality and the importance of individual care versus the effectiveness and necessity of group activism, which again I'm sure is deliberate on Pratchett's part. I don't think these are disparate themes. I think he's specifically contrasting the individual our philosophies of death and missfoot worth versus the collective activism and resistance of the fresh start club. And they're teaming up with the wizards against the shopping cholieys and things. But in a lot of this recognition of the social categorization of disability, recent scholars such as Tom Shakespeare have called for more sophisticated methods that recognize different levels of analysis and intervention that include both the medical and socio political and another sort of more recent postmodern criticism of the earlier disability movement is that a rights based approach that yeah emphasizes legal rights and legal stand necessarily leads to a quite limited and conservative goal of making sure that each disenfranchised group only has the rights of white middle class males. That that is the ideology they're aiming for Um, and therefore the idea of equal rights can only ever sustain middle class capitalism as a normative goal. It doesn't challenge or redefine society's perception. Rather it seeks to reinforce it by extending it. Again, there are contradictions inherent in here, but it says contrast between abstract rights as opposed to the actual provision of opportunities for people. And while this is a complex idea that I am not really equipped to unpack, I recognize that it's also inherently tied up with the very definition of disability and and its interaction with Labor, which disability scholar Robert mccrure, likens in his two thousand two article compulsory able bodiness and the Queer Disabled Existence. And then, and then you have disability skills like Robert mccrure, in whose two thousand two articles compulsory able bodiedness and the Queer Disabled Existence, building on ideas of queer theory and queer stories to develop an idea of compulsory able bodiedness, by which being able bodied means being capable of the normal physical exertions required in a particular system of labor. So this is to say that the idea of being able or non disabled, it's not a objective. It begs the question able to do what it requires some kind of reference, making it an a normative state. There is an ideology of what people should be able to do, and if you shift that ideology, then the very definition of who is able bodied and who is not becomes completely redefined. There's some obvious connections here. To Missflitworth, who I'll talk about a bit later, who, as I discussed in the last episode, is a stand in for this sort of pastoral ideology that I have problems with, for yeah, reinforcing the ideology of hard labor, as has the idea of deal goal to achieve. I'll talk about her a bit more later, and we're also going to go into a lot more depth about labor and things when we get to soul music. So I'll leave that there for the moment, but it's something to keep in mind as we get into a literary analysis of disability and its representations, because along with this boost in political disabilities activism also came the rise of cultural disability studies, which of course includes the of literature about by and and representing disabled people and disabled bodies, which Riperman and the fresh star club are a obvious example. So in his book enforcing normalcy, Leonard J Davis suggests that Nineteenth Century novels often reinforced the notions of an able bodied norm in terms of both normal, as in regular, but also normative, as in something to aspire to, and they did this here is through featuring able bodied, non heroic people as protagonists, while disabled characters typically only had marginal roles, such as that of tiny tim in Dickens Christmas Carol, yes, which I'll talk more about in relation to hog father when we get to those episodes. But we've already talked about this idea specifically in relation to nineteenth century novels in the masquerade episode, where we talked about the fan of the opera and the development of the Gothic villain, who was typically disfigured, with that sort of bodily disfigurement meant to be a stand in or a signifier of their disfigured morality as well. So yeah, if you haven't gone back and listen to that episode, go wig in depth on that in but Davis develops...

...this point further in his rather brilliantly titled Two thousand two books, bending over back with his disability, desmodernism and other difficult positions, arguing that a binary distinction between normal and abnormal in fact underpends the entire idea of the novel itself. And this sounds like a pretty far fetched idea, and I think he's being deliberately provocative, but there's definitely something to this, even if he's perhaps overclaiming. But he's not alone because similarly David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder argue in their earlier book narrative prosthesis from our two thousand that canonical west North has frequently employed disability as a sort of crutch. And then that is their term, not mine. Definitely appreciate a lot of the puns in the disability studies stuff. They say many canonical or influential west North has frequently employed disability as a kind of crutch while ultimately reaffirming normalcy in their works, including Shakespeare with Richard the third and Herman Melville and Captain Ahab in, Mby Dick, and also they have a chapter analyzing nature and his idea of the Overman, the Uberman, which directly informs such as existentialist humanist philosophy that talked about last episode. So yeah, this divide between disabled and and able bodied and what that those disabilities and meant to signify, is built into the Western literary and philosophical tradition, according to them. Now, as much as Davis is talking about the novel of the form primarily here is talking about the novel, not not as a physical forms, as a prose book of substantial length as we would understand it today, but he's primarily talking about the novel as a genre the way it would have been used during these formative eighteen and nineteenth century periods. So as as opposed to earlier writers of fantastic romances and epics, the novel was seen as a new genre that, as Davis defines it, treated real life in a familiar way that appeared to be true, without the intrusion of elements that did not appear natural. So we're talking about realist fiction, what I would call domestic dramas right. Um, I don't know if I've talked about this on the podcast, but yeah, it is frustrating that in literature you can't say drama because drama is associated with the theater. So if you say drama you're thinking are playing, Shakespeare playing or something, and maybe this doesn't make sense to anyone anymore. Streaming Service and things have these ridiculous, wacky names, but used to go into a video store and you'd look through the genres and they'd be fantasy and science fiction and horror and suspense and things, but there would be drama and we don't really have that as a genre in literature. Right. It's realist fiction, but that sort of encompasses everything. You can have realist horror and suspense stories and things, whereas the idea of what would be called drama in film and Television is just sort of taken as some kind of transcendent, uncharacterizable higher art. And this is something pratchett himself is pushed back. I mean there's a BBC interview I'm going to be talking about next episode in relation to our soul music on the desert are and this program but in their Pratchett specifically says that the book of prize winning books are a specific genre of literature. Right, and and what has become regarded as transcendent and in many people who argue for this distinction between low and high literature, one of common argument is that higher literature is undefinable. Right, it doesn't have common troops, it's it's each book as its own dependent thing, whereas, yes, if you compare all the books that have won the book a prize or are taught in literature classes, I think you'll find a lot of recurring chops and I've had my students write out such tables in class before. But, as Davis argues, part of the disabilities Um studies project, or disability activism then, is to examine literary history and show how people with disabilities have been historically constructed and have been largely negatively depicted by the dominant able bodied culture. And it's interesting again that the two of his primary examples of this Um come from Dickens, as we've been charting through these episodes, shows up as a frequent point of reference, if not direct influence on ratchet's death sequence, here being tiny tim from a Christmas Carol, also the grotesque walk from dicken security oosity shop. He also gives the sort of intermediate examples of quasimoto from the hunchback of Notre Dame, who is seen as a sympathey character and is remade into one through the Disney adaptation. Again, go back and listen to her the which is a broad episode, to hear all about that Um and captain a have from maybe Dick who is not necessarily a villainous character but who is underdone by his obsession with with chasing down maybe Dick and that is represented in his his physical disfigurement. Davis even goes so far as to say that there is virtually no major protagonist in any eighteenth or nineteenth century Noel who is in some way disabled or disfigured. Davis does give the counterexample of the pock mark and supposedly unintelligent and seeminglarly depressed Esther summerson from Dickens bleak house, who is a protagonist, or at least in a reader of her story, although whether it is a positive portrayal is up for debate if you know anything about that book. But Davis does acknowledge that as an exception, but maintains that disabled people in eighteenth and nineteenth century novels are almost exclusively our villains, or at most the sort of standing characters who are utterly innocent, Um you know, who are children or childlike or or women, or aged characters...

...who are who are seen as frail, that they are sort of victims of their circumstances rather than active protagonists in their stories and as they observe in the works of these influential authors. Disability first requires an explanation. Right the idea of it and being removed from the norm or being something unknowable or uncommon, in spite of the very need to tell a story to explain it, they say. And then they say that these orders narratives then offer an account of the cause and consequences of the disability, bringing their character's disability from the margins into the center of the story, before finally curing, rehabilitating or eliminating the disability, thereby restoring a sense of order. Now, this is similar to the stuff we talked about in regard to the gothic villain and the Phantom of the opera in masquerade, and I think it applies here as well, because if we if we think about Wendell Poon's as the disabled representative, right, he's he's in the wheelchair, but also that he has an improper or a natural death, or lack thereof. Right, his disability is he can't die, which itself is ironic in a subversion. But yeah, he follows. Is this perhap? The fact that he can't die is so far out of the normal conventions that the entire story is then built around explaining why it happens. It inspires the wizards to try and try and get to the bottom of it, which makes Wendell prunes, who has previously appeared as this sort of comic relief side character in moving pictures, he's now the central protagonist of this story, a central protagonist of the story, of his side of the plot anyway, which ultimately ends with him being cured of of having his disability of not being able to die eliminated and the natural order and way of dying returned to the world. So essentially, Windell is cured of his fantasy disability. So, while its representation might be subversive, it's formal treatment in fact normalizes death and, in one way of looking at it, normalizes disability rather than subverting these clamps, which ties into this frequent idea that we've come back to with the analysis of more and reprimands so far, of fantasy as this restorative genre. That and that Pratchett seems to be playing into this idea of restoration rather than subverting it, even if the details along the way are subversive. And indeed, in her chapter on disability and fantasy in the two thousand nineteen collection disability, disability literature and Genre are Rear Cheney argues that in fantasy, in particular, disability serves as a reminder of the frailty and vulnerability of human bodies and minds, and the disability itself therefore disrupts fantasy's traditional, escapist, effective trajectory because of the feelings of loss and grief that are associated with disability in the Western cultural imagination, which then undercut the sense of hope and optivism that a lot of fantasy aims to evoke. She says that disabilities, associations with dependency and inability and passivity also threatened to undermine the aspirational, heroic and achieving ethos of fantasy and that, for this reason, disabled protagonists who stayed disabled tend to appear only in works that right back to or disrupt fantasy's conventions, pointing out in particular the grim dark fantasies of someone like Joe Abacamy or George R Martin, and project is doing that here, but, as as I just discussed, he is sticking to this this format, yeah, at its marginal place in fantasy literature. Chenney also notes that disability is frequently linked with magic in fantasy fiction, with disabled people often having privileged access to magic or their disabilities being cured or created by magical means. I mean an obvious example that jumped in my mind given that the recent reading I've been doing, I've talked on the what have you been reading episodes about how I've been reading all the Stephen King books that began with the dark tower series, and one of the protagonists of that is a very strangely written woman named Susannah, who is a black woman that Stephen King reminds you is black at every opportunity. But she is begins the story, but she has multiple personalities and begins the story literally split into two different characters, and that is before she goes to the fantasy realm of the dark tower. This is when she's in like that, the real world section she has two characters, one of whom is in a wheelchair, and through the events of the second book of that novel, is then united into a single and less politically outraged and indignant character. Other obvious examples in professor x from the X men comics, Um and films right at the whole point of him is that his mind is so powerful but his body is frail, and I'm sure there's a million examples of that sort of contrast. Another of his comics. Example is is daredevil right, who is blind but all these other sensors are, you know, super powerful, which is a whole trope. You know this idea of the blind swordsman or the blind seer, which dates back at least to us. Um So alice isn't here to talk about it anymore, but the character of contemplation from Edmund Spencer's the Fairy Queen has gone blind from old age, but he's the only one who is able to show the red Christ night a vision of what heavin heaven will look like. So yeah, this is a longstanding tradition of blind sears, blind swordsman, things like that. And this is a fairly persistent trope in discord itself, because you obviously have the leader of the Gods, blind ire, who has empty eye sockets but thousands of eyes that fly around and can supposedly see everything. It's also very common in the witchard series. We have old mother DISMAS, who has a detached retina in a second site.

Ratchi has disabled Umu, superside Um and desideria and desiderata hollow, who uses who is blind but uses her second site to look into the present. Um and then you also have mis treason from wintersmith, who is deaf and blind but who is able to see and here by borrowing the eyes and ears of other animals. So that becomes a bit of a tension here between these characters as empowerment fantasies versus fittishizations of disabled people, which project also directly addresses. In discworld, small Gods were in the blind philosopher didacty loss claims that the whole blind people's other senses of superhuman thing was simply made up by sided people so they could feel better about themselves. So in that case, yes, pratchet is directly riding back to this marginal depiction of disability rather than reinforcing a return to the north. Chenney also talks about the trope of the sort of overpowered wheelchair which professor x has his cool like floating one. It doesn't really do anything but in moving she is this trope is sort of subverted because window prudine's wheelchair has a number of these outrageous attachments that don't really do anything right there, just there for fun Um. And you also have mad Hamish's battle wheelchair and interesting times in the last hero which has sparked wheels and things, so projects playing with these ideas as well. See, Davis describes a modern scholarly tension between what he calls the originist idea that the novel was a historical form from the early modern period that is dependent on early modern technologies, which participate in the transformation of the social, political and cultural life that was produced by capitalism and bourgeois liberalism during the eighteenth century, and that's been a longstanding traditional position. For postponde scholars, however, largely inspired by philosophers like sharks, Derada, Shell for Kerr Lucier, Gary Jane Borgella, that's the sinelarker Guy, Judith Butler, Edwards said and Jacques Lacan, all of whom I think we we've talked about previously on on the podcast. For these modern postpone scholars, David says, gone is the myth of the novel a discrete form, a knowable practice that arose at a specific time for a specific purpose. Instead, it is now often considered by modern critics as not so much a noble thing but a process and a prejudice. In writing. The privileges certain power relations in the interest of cultural capital and class based positionality, and David's argues that's something that is characteristic of the split between normal and abnormal that arose during the former a period of the novel. As we know, it is a distinction between normal and abnormal bodies and minds. Davis's point here is that novels were novel right, normal meaning new, that it is a new form, a new genre of literature, precisely because they were engaged in depicting this idea of an average or normal life, everyday experiences, rather than the traditionally estranged romances or epics, which is all, I think, pretty clear cut. But then Davis takes this a step further and argues that the novel, on some profound level, emerges an ideological form of symbolic production whose central binary is normal versus abnormal. And the reason why this is, he says, is that in order for realist fiction to be representative, we get this development of the average citizen, right, the average Joe, every man, as we would think of it today. So you end up with this ideological cultural creation of an allegedly average, non heroic middle class, supposedly real protagonists. Right. We talked about this in relation to more that one of the subversions of the fantasy genre that Pratchett was doing there was putting a supposedly average or specifically kind of UNTALENTED, everyday character in the traditional fantasy position of the chosen one of the great hero and Pratchett's has said on a number of occasions that the whole premise for discworld was to have a fantasy world populated by average people who react to fantasy in supposedly normal ways. Right, but, as we've pointed out before, the supposedly average normal people in Pratchett's books are quite homogeneous right there. They're all these middle class English character most of his heroes are white men, which in some ways is a parody of the heroes of other writers whose characters were all white men. So just in sending up the conventions he has to play into them a little bit. And obviously there's the exception of granny and the witches. But in glorifying someone like vibes who becomes institutionalized and reinforces that institution or even more he reinforces this normalized middle class English ideology. Right. I mean even when he challenges characters like not in unseen academicals, or the other watch members. They're not the protagonists of their stories, these sideline characters that Davis is talking about, whose tension with the story and the society in which it's set becomes a form of disability or ostracizing that requires an explanation and then, by the end of the novels or the end of the cycle, is cured or removed. And, as I've brought up before in the analysis of Sen academicals, is cured or resolved less through an incorporation of these people into the society but of those people's incorporation or adherence to the ideological standard of this very English middle class on Morepork Society, the Parachet's constructed.

And yet none of these characters are the heroes of their stories. They are only ever seen through the eyes of an often average white male perspective. We see the other members of the watch primarily through the eyes of vines. They are judged by the way he reacts and he feels about them, and granny and the witches are an exception. But those books aren't really dealing with this, these kinds of cultural clashes. They're dealing with with other themes. And let's do you think this is Davis or myself projecting this onto authors. He gives a pretty damning example of the English author, I M Forster, who, in a series of lectures on the aspects of the novel, says that although one knows the book isn't real, still one does expect it to be natural, and that that the inclusion of an unnatural character such as an angel or a midget or a ghost. It's foster's language, not mine. Math this angel or midget or ghost. No, it is too much. And that the the idea of of, you know, a little person, some with a disability or someone who is seen as having a disability. English Middle Class Society is equated to angels or ghosts. Right. There would be unrealistic to have the little person come into your house as much as a goes to or an angel. And then there is a similar assumption of conservative responses to like multi racial castings. There's this idea that it is somehow unrealistic that characters wouldn't be white or even intermingled with non white characters. Right. You know, I've I've encountered people who have genuinely argued that there's unrealistic or somehow historically inaccurate Um for fantasy stories to have female protagonists, despite the fact that they're in an unreal world with magic and dragons, as we also touched upon in the analysis of unseen academicals. This is, of course, all tied up with eugenics. Right. This cultural consolidation of the average Joe Protagonist within middle car class English literature also coincides with the development of statistics by the Belgian astronomer and of quitlant, who physically measured people in an attempt to define the average man thread. And that that's hundreds of years before we get what we think of his eugenics today. But similarly, Francis Galton, who coined the term eugenicson was was a cousin of Charles Darwin, but he similarly sought a racial average through laying photographs of people over the top of each other and trying to come up with this composite average human. So this is a preoccupation of both literary and Scientific English Society during these years that the novel is getting developed and formalized. A result of this is Um that you end up with an ideology of stasis, that the idea is to always conform rather than deviate from the norm. And this is seen through the simultaneous consolidation of the idea of normal rather than mean a shift in the definition of the word normal away from normative idealized to average standard and how we understand it today. If you look at the definition of normal in the OO D, the Oxford English dictionary, which is itself a normative appeal to and English Bhugoire Authority, but it provides earlier implied usages from fift in, seventeen or six that are in line with our understanding of normal today. But the use of normal to mean average does become common during the eighteen hundreds, such as as the now obsolete usage of normal to mean an ideal was going out of fashion. And indeed the secondary definition of normal in the o e d of a person physically and mentally sound, free from any disorder, healthy this definition dates to eight six. So yeah, we see a shift in the the very definition of normal. English or European literature and science are simultaneously trying to pin down and reinforce these ideas. Wherever the evaluation and criticism of novels during this period was less concerned with with how good and interesting their stories were. It was primarily concerned with how virtuous their characters were and how probable their portrayals were, which is to say they were judged on the extent to which they conform to the cultural norm, with Davis claiming it is virtually impossible to find any discussion about the formal aspects of a novel as oppose to its virtuous content, which is what this formal analysiss is the thing Buckton was trying to do when he talked about defining the bill dunks from yeah, looking at all this, it's pretty clear that the novel wasn't primarily developed as an ideological rather than formal genre. As Davis goes on to discuss characters. In the eighteenth century, British novels therefore became national stereotypes. They embodied English values, and he says that although love stories might offer cross national or cross class liaisons, they usually ended up ratifying the north, with Kim and Tarzan providing the most egregious examples, where the subjects are pervious to cultural assimilation. Charlie bring up to point out that both Kim by Rudyard kipling, who did the jungle book, and Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burrows Twentieth Century Novels. Right, they come around in the early nineteen hundreds, so I'm not sure they line up with Davis's analysis. But they do sort of prove his point that by the time we get to the nineteen hundreds of these ideas have been solidified in the culture and when we're now getting particularly egregious examples wherever, as Davis points out, protagonists of of realist novels where told...

...must change for their stories to be interesting or their characters to be believable. But Davis argues that this aspect of believability flies in the face of probability, since most real people don't change easily, if at all, suggesting that the unusual abnormalities encountered by the protagonists of our realist novels are hardly what we would call probable or average. Right, sort of. The idea of an interesting realist story is something improbable has to happen to the characters, but that these characters themselves aren't allowed to be improbable. Also that there is a double move of idealization here and that the characters themselves have to be abnormal, but also as much as they are perhaps put in improbable, unlikely situations, the point of their plots is always to return them through the middle class norm by the end of the story. And and Davis says here that so Mr is cured of her self centeredness and Darcy is cured of his pride. Right, referring to Jane austen's Emma and PRIORA projects there. And this, I think is an interesting point, because even these characters who are seen as very average, contain a normal traits. Davids brings up the supposed plainness of Charlotte Bronte's Jane. Now she's not physically disabled, but she's seen as some kind of an an outcast, and the resolution of her story is that she has brought in to become a reinforcer of the middle class white norm, and particularly in relation to race and disability. And that there's the mad woman in the attic, right. The Jane's heroic acquisition of status in society is to become someone who marries a guy who has mentally a woman that he forcibly extracted from her culture in an attic and he's meant to be this idealized catch for her. I have a lot of problems with Jane Eyre and that is foremost among them. But yeah, I was discussing Jane Austen in the what have even reading podcasts that I did, and I discussed it with Alice as well, and you know, I was saying that I just found the story is really dull and and non engaging because, you know, the story of pride and prejudice essentially boils down to what if a hot guy liked a boring lady? Um and Alison and Pratchett, who has expressed his narration for Jane Austen on a number of occasions, would perhaps push back about this, but there's essentially the conceit at the heart of pride and prejudice is that the protagonist is apart from society because she is deficient, and also Mr Darcy is too proud, and the resolution of their story is that she is found interesting and he has found modest. So there is a normalization or a return to the mean that you know, has become idealized as as a goal for a lot of people, probably through the influence of books like Jane Eyre and pride and Projuice, that that a scene of these sort of radical feminist texts I guess Morel so in the case of Jane Eyre, but which both resolve in a reinforcement of the patriarchy, or at least middle class English norms, rather than challenging their their goal is to conform rather than disrupt their cultural expectations. And Yeah, as I said, we see these kind of quick fixes, this idea of the cure and the return to the mean, frequently repeated throughout the watch and city discord novels. So at the end of all this, Davis says that, you know, he's tried to make the case the disability as an identity can legitimately be seen as a foundation, as the foundational model that situates the origin of the novel in Eighteenth Century England and France. I mean the title of this chapter is who put the that in the novel? And I think, I guess the weakness of Davis's argument here is that he says disability is the foundational model that defines the origin of the novel, whereas I think it's perhaps more accurate to say that disability is a foundational model for the novel, in that this normal non normal divide that he's getting at here can also it's just generally ascribed to alterity right the other we're talking about deviations of any kind. We talked about Jane's plainness and and things like that, Rachel or even supernatural deviations. So it's not just disability. But I do think he's onto something with this normal verse Non Normal Divide. I think more accurately or perhaps more significantly, is that the project of the realist novel and other realist media is to quite the ideological normative with the conservative normal. So all of this ties in rather interesting, I think, with another analysis of Pratchett's work, article by Thomas Scholes called the making of a Hilarious undead by association. In their novels are Terry Pratchett, which analyzes project's Joe Construction in terms of Arthur costers model of by association, which we talked about in relation to weird sisters. This is the idea that humor comes from holding two incompatible ideas in mind that suddenly resolve rationally, although not of a logic usually applied to the situation that's presented. And shoals uses a passage from Prune's first encounter with the fresh start club to provide a logical proof of costless theory. There's diagrams and everything in this article, which perhaps unnecessary, but yes, he uses the passage from Rooperman where Prune's first visits, the first start clubs. This is the passage where Lupine the Webbell says we only go along to the club to keep redge happy. Dorene said to break his heart if we stopped. You know, the worst bit go on, said Wendle. Sometimes he brings the guitar along and makes us sing songs like the streets of uncle more fork, and we shall...

...overcome it's terrible. Can't sing, I said, window sing, never mind sing. Have you ever seen a Zombie try to play guitar? It's helping him find his fingers afterwards. It's so embarrassing. Shoals explains the joke here is that Redg can't play guitar, not because he's bad at singing, but because his fingers get cut off by the strings. And Shultz points out that an essential part of the joke is that the reader forgets that redges a Zombie and more readily recognizes him as a political activist. Right he's literally become differently alive as a character, rather than being considered undead, and once softened in this way, the undead cease being monstrous side characters and can now be used as protagonists and sympathetic characters, or that shoulders zigning anyway. And he demonstrates this through analyzing a number of passages from riperman and CARPA Jugulum, as well with the domestication of the vampires in that novel. But what he points out is that Projett's jokes continually resolved to the expectations set up by the idea that the characters are living, rather than the one implied by them being undead. Right. So, although the passage just read out about playing the guitar, right, that does rely on the punchline reminding you that he's a Zombie. Right, you're you're expecting it to be because he's had a playing guitar. And then the shot comes when, Oh, yeah, his Zombie and something ridiculous is haven't there? But shows points out that even this passage is balanced out by a further example that immediately follows about sister draw the Gul, whose Meat Patty should be avoided, not because they're made of flesh but because she just can't cook very well. So immediately prot takes the same joke construction and flips it around. So suddenly there's a tension implied by a Ghoul who normally eats flesh and someone who can't bake well, and rather than resolving to the ridiculousness of the Ghul, the supernatural side of things, we're back in the mundane. The idea that she just can't cook shows argues that, especially in Ripermann and CARPA juggline, that the joke's always or predominantly resolved to the mundane side of this, and this suggests that, you know, part of the way he incorporates these previously monstrous creatures into his supposedly everyday normal society is not just by telling you that that by people, but through the actual Joe Construction. He's continually getting his readers to resolve the tensions of having a monster in society by reducing it to normal, idealized, everyday behavior. I mean interestingly to me about this passage is the puns is worried that their goals hatties might be made of flesh, just flesh by itself. It doesn't say human flesh, it says that her meat patties will be made of flesh, which, of course, all meat patties are made of flesh. But I think there's something telling about that coming through to me here as a vegetarian animal rights guy, is that where we've talked before about quilting of words and things, is that for the joke to work, it's it's automatically assumed that flesh stands for human flesh, not the flesh of other animals, and inherent of that is an ideology that the two things are qualitatively separate. Right. There is some difference between flesh and human flesh. And and interesting for me at least about this passage is that scholes concludes his article by comparing Pratchett's normalization of undead undead creatures to Harry Potter, where the ghosts at hogwarts are already presumed to be part of the Monday matre it, where you don't have to resolve that tension because it's sort of already been set up, but also specifically points out the twilight series, which is representative of this this whole beloved vampire movement. But that's particularly interesting to me because twice is where we get the term vegetarian vampires from, or at least where it is popularized to refer to vampires who don't feed on human blood rather than just feed on on non human animal blood instead. But of course there are lots of previous examples of this. Before it gets named, it becomes popularized in academia and culture, nobvious one for listeners of this podcast and I think, a fairly significant and extensive example, which is, of course project's engagement with this idea through the world in temperance league, the Black Rubinas. But we also get the first example here in Riperman, with count and countest, not for our two, the Vampires in the fresh star club, that the colors the vampire family, and they only feed on non human animals. They don't drink human blood. So they joke that they are Vegetarian Vampires, which is obviously intended ironic. Like within the text they say this is a joke. But this term has caught on within vampire scholarship, which long term listeners will be aware of, something I've become fairly invested in over the last six months or so. Yeah, there's been a lot of scholarship following twilight about this concept of Vegetarian Vampires, as vampire has become more friendly and domesticated characters in young adult and romantic series like twilight and the Vampire Diaries, which predates it in book form, but the TV series and you know, things like like true blood, and there's been a lot of articles written about the representation of Vegetarian Vampires in these modern series. Um actually have a friend, Sophie, who has written a Master's thesis about the representation of Vegetarian Vampires in these TV series books. That's going to be coming out as a book soon, so I'm hoping to get her onto do a bit of a special about it, because people familiar with the discworld series will realize that we see a prolonged engagement with this concept of what I prefer to think of as human abstinate vampires rather than vegetarian vampires, because while a lot of the scholarship contends that this idea of Vegetarian vampiresm actually encourages engagement with animal...

...ethics and Vegetarianism, my position is that it in fact reinforces ideas of colonism, the idea that it's okay to eat some animals but not others. But reinforcing and defining themselves morally based on a divide between humans and other animals. But I'll get more into that if we do that bonus episode with Sophie Bs. People familiar with the discord series will realize that this is something that Terry Pratchett engages with at length and, I think, a lot more in depth. there. There many other authors with things like the Uber World Temperance League and the black ribbons and things there as a mention of the Countess who only fed on animal bloody and I think it's weird, sisters, but in Riverman we get projects first prolonged engagement with this concept of a human absident vampire through account and countest. Not For our too, who are members of the fresh start club. And indeed the fresh start club, I think, is project's first official equal rights group, predating the more well known campaign for equal heights, which first shows up in feet of clay, by five years and eight novels later. Of course, earlier we had ESK and granny weatherwax countink, something of a feminist campaign in equal rights, though it wasn't a collective action, it was an individual protest, and even though that book ended with the establishment of a women's studies curriculum and Unseen University, as we've mentioned here and as Penny Hill points out in her chapter on the Unseen University in the guilty of literature collection, there is a noticeable lack of female wizards among the Unseen University Faculty in Ropperman, although there are gestures towards second wave feminism through a fresh start club slogans such as the one about the boogeyman needing a door like a fish needs a bicycle, which which is a reference to the seventies feminist slogan a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. So part of the fresh start club being a representative for disability, racial and cultural civil rights movements, is a feminist aspect as well. It's sort of an amalgamation, or Pastiche if you will, of these different movements. Yes, rather than some kind of animal environmental ethics thing, the Countess not for our two in Rooperman, merely forbids her husband from turning her into a vampire as well or feeding on the blood of other women, thereby reducing him to feeding on rest aches. So here we do actually see that idea that it's not okay to feed on other women, but it is okay to to eat steaks and I think later in the discworld series the black ribbons rely on blood from the Slaughterhouse District. Inherent in this we shouldn't feed on humans is the idea that it is okay to feed on other animals, though, although here it's more of a romantic jealousy thing. But as the dean of Unseen University explains, he says he's read somewhere that vampires don't actually need the actual blood, they just needs something that's in the blood. Humogoblins, I think it's called. It's all to do with people having iron in their blood, and this idea actually comes back in men at arts, where I think it's referred to as homer goblins rather than hemogoblins. But if I'm to apply my animal ethics Lens to this, this is sort of telling us that it's not necessary to feed on other animals, right, that that would be the argument. Or other so called Vegetarian Vampires that well, they have to feed on something, so Within't it better that they feed on these other animals than than humans that they're perhaps more closely related to biologically, whereas what the Dean and project is saying here is that his conception of vampire as it's not actually necessary for them to feed on any animals if there's some kind of iron substitute, sort of paving the way for what we see in series like true blood and things. I mean that there had been earlier examples of synthetic blood. Think most notably the Vampire Hunter D novels and films. Yes, and an interesting tidbit there to add to Pratchett's conception of vampires and indeed undermining of sort of the fundamental concept that they rely on blood. It's also interesting to me that what's being asserted here is that vampires need iron, which sort of sets them up in opposition to the fairies and Lords and ladies. We had the whole thing about the iron dispelling them there, whereas here we have vampires being sustained by it. I don't really know what to draw from that by way of a conclusion, but I thought it was an interesting contrast. But yeah, what what is sort of written here as a funny throwaway joke about that these weird characters in the fresh start club does go on, as we'll see when we get to the later books, and is that the seeds of this joke aresponding into a genuine vegetarian vampire temperance league that becomes somewhat of a major player in the later discworld watching city books. Yeah, this idea of having to forego that natural urge to drink human blood has to be denied in order for vampires to fit into more pox society becomes a major factor in the incorporation of vampires into discworld. More seriously, in the in the letter books and indeed in Thud, we find out that the Countess not for our two is now the treasure of the an MOPOC League of temperance. So, yeah, what starts out here as a bit of a throwaway gag, by following that logic we do end up with more of a moral or ethical theme that underpins the letter discworld series. But more on that when we get to those novels. Of course we also have the introductions of the other species, with with the werewolves, which I'll talk about more when we get to the fifth elephant, banshees, who show up again, and I think it's going postal boogie men that will explore more, Hog father and, of course, zombies with red shoe now. ZOMBIES have shown up previously in which is abroad with Aaron's Saturday, and I don't think it's really worth going into any extended engagement with zombies because, unlike the vampire and fairy traditions that we've gone in death on it, I don't...

...think prejets really engaging with the Zombie tradition in any way other than just using it as a trope of fantasy. He doesn't offer much reflection on it himself. In the folklore of discworld. He and Simpson Wright that no one knows why some people are natural zombies. It may simply be stubborn, bloody mindedness and inborn refusal to bow to any authority, even that of death. But what death thinks of this situation has not been recorded. And that's true. Right when death does come to collect window puns at the end of reaver man, he doesn't really say anything. I mean there's the joke about that with your life, but there's no real engagement or conversation between death and parents, and I don't think there's any engagement between death and red shoe when he dies in Night Watch. So might explore zombies a bit more there if it becomes relevant. This idea of an undead rights campaign seems to be a fairly original idea to Pratchett. I'm not going to go with FLA virus to claim he was the first. I mean there is a throwaway gag in the original roostbusters film where there's a montage whether the magazine headlines says do go have civil rights. Also, around the same time roof ran in nineteen three at the start of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, the main character of which is sort of your proto blade and Buffy, the vampire slayer character. It is also an ardent defender of Zombie rights. So there's a bit of a movement during the nineties to reinterpret these traditional treatments of undead character things that we do see coming through in modern books like twilight and true blood, as modern authors explore not just the incorporation of undead monstrous creatures into a fantasy setting but really trying to work out or present a world where monsters can exist within our sort of real world society, which perhaps goes back to the idea of the realist novel. Other I was talking about before that these books perhaps present an abnormality in the existence of the undead and then seek to resolve that problem by having those creatures take on sort of average middle class ideals and lifestyles. I guess more so in twilight rather than true blood, which seems to be more a messing of Vampire and human society rather than the subjugation of one by the other. But I think project, both in in ripermand and his later engagements with the temperance league and things like that, definitely has the most prolonged or deep engagement with this sort of idea. That's perhaps all I have to say about Pratchett's disabled characters at the moment. But apart from representations disabled characters and engagements with disability in literary works themselves, another part of the disability studies project is engagement with disabled authors. There's obviously examples such as Helen Keller and other modern authors who directly engage with disabled experience and write about disability as a focal point of their fiction, but quite a few canonical western authors as well are or were disabled. Concluding a bunch that we've mentioned and engaged with heavily on this podcast. So, as Alice mentioned on I think it might have even been the first podcast. John Milton became blind and had to dictate paradise lost and his later work rather than being able to write it himself. Later, during the enlightenment you had Alexander Pope, who had a spinal condition, and of course Lord Byron, who we mentioned during I think it was a masquerade episode, that he had a club football. He is, like Milton, lost a lot of his site. And there's many more authors who were disabled or became disabled throughout their careers, including, of course, Pratchett himself, who developed and eventually died from Alzheimer's disease later in life. So yeah, and another thing that complicates disability, the concept of disability and disability the studies themselves, is that, along with the shifting definition that relies on society's definition of is that people's bodies tend to develop disabilities as they move into old age. And you have disability scholars such as even Zola, who argued for the necessary universalizing of a disability politicy precisely because of the idea that everyone becomes disabled eventually. They even jokingly referred to non disabled people as the temporarily able bodied, which is something that I think pratchett would appreciate. Now, in contrast to the fresh start clubs assertion that inside every living person there is a dead person waiting to get out, Zola and these these other disability studies, theorists are essentially saying that about disability as well. And I'm relatively young, I'm in my early thirties. But while I wouldn't identify as disabled, over in the last few years I've started wearing glasses because apparently I have a wonky eyeball that doesn't want to focus. But yeah, I predominantly listen to audiobooks, not just because, you know, they fit into my schedule and they allow me to read while doing other activities rather than having to sit down for hours at a time to read, but also because I find it a strain these days to read from a page, or especially a screen, for prolonged periods of time. It actually takes a physical toll on me. Again, I would not and I do not identify as disabled, but that is perhaps only because of what society tells us we should be able to do. These are relatively new experiences that I'm having to grapple with as my body and my life circumstances change, and there's perhaps some evidence that we see reflections of this change in practice writing, not just in terms of its quality, as we suggested the unseen academicals episode, but as Heleno Harra notes in her forward to Marc Barrow's magic of Terry Pratchett biography, many of project's most memorable character has grew in the...

...same direction as him towards the end, as Pratt's final illness limited to his physical boundaries, his signature characters seemed to become similarly restricted, at least in body, with vibes of becoming a family man and an upright citizen who sits behind a desk and casts a gimlet eye over the world, and growny weatherwax, ending up more a mentor to the young which tiffany aching, than a hero in her own right. As Davis argues, there is perhaps a need for greater engagement with with disability studies, given it around of the population, he says. I think that he's referring to the American population are disabled and that this will only increase with an aging baby boomer population, which I bring up because this is a common argument that project uses in relation to euthanasia. In a number of his essays on assisted dying, he points out that the current medical care system is not going to be able to cope with, yes and an aging baby boomer population. So I think both he and Davis agree on the need for greatest, greater focus on disability, both literature and the real world, perhaps, and along with the engagement of disability and marginalized communities that comes with the fresh start club in Repperman, we also have an explicit and prolonged engagement with the idea of aging through windell pounce himself and also Miss Flitworth. There was a lot of very relatively large amount of scholarship about the representation of older characters in relation to the witches novels, as we discussed on those episodes. I haven't seen any real engagement with aging regarding YEA peruns and Flitworth, even though their central characters and aging as a central theme of Reperman and while Windell prunes is still a wizard and a Zombie wizard and missflot worth is, for lack of a better term, you're it's sort of everyday average older woman, and indeed Liz, who is an older reader of Ratchett's says that she is just glad that Miss Flitt worth even exists as a simply older female character, without even the charisma of being noble or doing magic. And I presume that saying that Missflotworth isn't noble, Lizzar is referring to actual royal heritage, because I think if we're thinking of noble as as a quality, Missflittworth is by father the most noble and virtuous character where it's presented as such in reprimand. So she would us the realist exam that Davis was talking about. Indeed, Miss Flittworth herself even like functions as a response to more fantastical portrayals of outer women and things. She is definitively missflitworth rather than Mrs Flitworth, because her fiance, the Smuggler Rufus, I supposed they died in an avalanche or possibly alerted shortly before their wedding. But prachect writes, being the practical woman that she is, she thought that what life expects me to do now is moon around the place in the wedding dress for years and go completely do lely. So I put the dress in the rag bag and we still invited everyone to the wedding breakfast because it's a crime to let good food go to waste. And this is showing Mrs Flitworth's practical side. But rather than mooning around in her dress, as she puts it, being what life expects her to do, this is what literature expects her to do, because this passage is of course a another passing reference to Dickens and the character of Miss Havisham in great expectations, who fiance defrauded her and left her at the altar, and she now lives in a mansion that she calls Stacy's house, that has remained unchanged since her wedding day. Right she's still in the wedding dress and there's the tables of rutting food covered with cobwebs and everything. And this is the coolest thing Dickens has ever written, precisely because it is so unusual, so estranged from the realist reality. This is a completely unrealistic way to behave. That does somewhat break the realist immersion of the novel. And returning to Rouperman, this is probably a more direct and a deeper engagement with Dickens work rather than just a superficial reference like we got in more and the project is directly writing back to this kind of melodrama where missflit worth saying that the first thing she thought was that the world shouldn't act as if it was some kind of book telling death, that it's always very important to see what's really real and what isn't. So pratchette sort of on the side of these are eighteenth and nineteenth century realist authors who are looking for authenticity in literature. But he's also reminding his audience not not to take fantasy as a template for life. You know, I've experienced people and I know there's times when I've improne to it myself, where you're put in a situation and there's a tendency to think about how you should act if this was some kind of book or movie. Like there's a performative reaction to life sometimes. Pratchett is cautioning against that. So it's at this point that I might want to reiterate that one of the reasons that I resist the idea that the character of Pratchett's death makes real life death easier to comprehend is that it's not real and he's explicitly telling us here not to act like it is perhaps rather that death himself. It is perhaps Miss Flitworth who Pratchett intended or desired his readers to to emulates, as Liz observes, while Miss Flitworth visibly mellows in her old age, conversely, Windell poons goes on something of a journey of self discovery. Allah, it's a wonderful life. Now, the reference to it's a wonderful life is something I've seen in a number of secondary literature and Wikis and things and is blatantly called out in the text where Wendell says, you know, it's a wonderful afterlife. But I really don't know if this connection of it's a wonderful life is really there beyond that superficial referencing in the manner of Pratchett did with Oliver. Twist even more because I rewatched it's a wonderful life and there's a couple of connections to preach its work. Of course it's a Christmas movie, so...

...we'll see if it pops up again in hog father. And also the main character, George Bailey, saves his brother from drowning in the ice at the start of the movie, after which point he becomes partially deaf. So this is a film with a disabled protagonist as a coundor example to the eighteenth and nineteenth century model where the disability has to be resolved at the conclusion of the plan. But Bailey's disability, his deafness, is secured once the angels change history so that he was never born. So I guess at that point he is he's sort of an undead character, which is interesting. But yeah, at that point, because his life hasn't happened, he is no longer deaf. And then the resolution of the film is that he returns to his life and therefore takes back the disability. That's not called out specifically in the film, but it's implied that he wished for a different life which meant he wouldn't be disabled, and then, by deciding that he would rather live his original life, we actually have an inversion of this model where the moral lesson comes with the return of a disability to the protagonist. But something people perhaps forget about a wonderful life is this action where, you know, they show him the alternate reality. Thing is only the last twenty minutes of this movie, which is a hundred and thirty minutes long, so that the story that people remember. It's a wonderful life for is is only fift of the entire film. But also I'm not really sure about its relevance to Pratchett, because George Bailey, and it's a wonderful life, doesn't learn to accept his death like coons and the other characters in Ruperman do, but rather learns that life is worth living and that the world would be worse without him. Right. It's an explicitly anti suicide movie, whereas in Ruperman Whittlepoon's does enjoy living his prolonged life and finds a sense of community as a Zombie. But it's also sort of seen as this correct action to try and restore the balance, that he is trying to kill himself and his plot is resolved by him accepting his death. or I guess he was already looking forward to it at the start of the book. But yeah, he learns the value of life, only to have it, I guess, taken away at the end of the book and that's being seen as a positive conclusion to his story, whereas, yeah, it's a wonderful life. The storyline is it's it's a pro life movie, so I mean Pratchett is subverting this, but I don't actually think Wendell prudent's story parallels George Bailey so much as Pratchett subverts the message of other films. This brings me back to the engagement with death in rouper man as as something of a comforting treatment, because in his two thousand three Masters thesis on Discworld as a critique of heroic fantasy and jous Christiansen writes that in rouper man, the early retirement and substance subsequent absence of death reveals how necessary he is to sustaining the balance of the metaphysical ecosystem that, despite our terminal fear of dying, we are very relieved when he resumes his post at the end of route man and people again can die in peace. The novel in many ways makes it easier to come to terms with the absurdity of death when, looking at the alternative eternal life, in this world, death seems like a relief, and that by investing in death's doubts and ordinary problems, while retaining some of the awesome mystery surrounding him, Pratchett makes death easier to deal with. We know that he is always there, and this knowledge should be a comfort, as it is equally a source of dispair. So this is again typical of a lot of the act ademic reads of riper man that I've come across. But I have a couple of problems with this. I mean first is something I tell my students to avoid doing, is you can't assume the response of your readers. Right, Christiansen writes that we are very relieved when death ressumes his post at the end of Reaperman. You can't know that other readers will share your response, and one counter example, which I am providing in this instance, means that claims like that sort of fall apart. I also butt up against the use of we in academic research, which is more a stylistic thing, but again that you run the risk of including people who don't necessarily agree with you in the statements you're making. I don't mean to pick on Christiansen, and this is a master's thesis, so it's not something that's been formally published, but something that is perhaps more of a refuge of this kind of common reading is that prunce is really happy as a Zobbie. Sort of the point of the story and Reaperman is that he only learns to live once he's died and then he's granted that extra bit of life to rediscover the joy of livings. Might be a good look to the one of the life thing. I mean that that is the version we were talking about, with it's a wonderful life. So again, I think these kind of readings that go for this bold statements about death and metaphysics are often overlooking, as I did, the other side of reprovanced story about prins his experience after death and the community and happiness he finds there. I mean something serendipitous, coincidental that struck me about this is one of the vampire books that I read recently is a well called the silver kiss, which is like the first vampire diaries book that comes out a year before and has many of the same plot elements. It's including rival twin brother Vampires, with the main sympathetic or loved vampire tasked with hunting his his murderous vampire brother down, and when he does this at the end of the book, He then commits suicide by sitting out of the sun, which is something, as we discussed in the carpet jugglein episode. That a lot of modern byronic vampires like to do. But yeah, it struck me with that book, which is also about the idea of accepting death, and obviously that's what the end of the books getting at. But here again we have another example of where this guy's task, and it's not his profession but his his task, his Labor, is complete and he has no reason...

...to keep living, despite the rest of the book being a love story where, yeah, he falls in love with the female protagonist, a human girl, rather than choose to go on living with happiness with her having now that he's completed his task, his life is considered meaningless or even positively fulfilled. That there it's not worth going on living for the sake of his relationship if he has no work to do, just stood out to me, given that I read it while doing all the research for for this episode. Another inconsistency I sort of see in reprimand is that prunes learns to live through his life after his intended death, but he doesn't choose to, or isn't able to stay on as a Zombie like red shoe and help him run the fresh Dart Club at sort of carry this message into the world. It's his own personal experience. And then his reward is now that you've had fun, it's time to die. And I get that that's meant to represent the coming to peace with the idea of dying, but prunes was already looking forward to dying at the start of the book. He was already at peace with it and by having red shoe be a Zombie who, as Pratchett says, the process of Zombification isn't really addressed or explained in the discword series, but he has this defiance about life that allows him to keep living on that it doesn't carry over to windle. He sort of ends up back where he started. So, as much as I'm talking about this fresh start club and the portrayal of disability, the ultimate message of Rouperman does seem to be more about accepting death than helping others to deal with it. And indeed, in his Richard Dimbal re lecture, where he's discussing euthanasia, writes let me make this very clear, I do not believe there is any such thing as a duty to die. We should treasure great age is the tangible presence of the past and honored as such. But neither do I believe in a duty to suffer the worst ravages of terminal illness and that if I knew I could die at any time I wanted and suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds. If I knew that I could die, I would live, which is the opposite of prunes again right. PRUNCE doesn't live until he discovers he can't die. So not that I expect Pratchett's personal opinions, twenty years on from writing Rouperman, to match up to what his characters are representing in that book, but it does seem that, as much as the philosophies there do seem to carry through into Pratchett's later life, character of prunes and what he is meant to represent dey'll seem a bit muddled, both at the time and more so in retrospect. To me at least, I was Liz observes, through Pouns Praet is able to address death and people's reactions to it without the distracting sadness of death actually happening. She writes that project and the wizards are clearly widely read about the undead and try out lots of theories to dispel poons. But by contrast, however, the reactions to his death are fairly stereotypical and unilateral, suggesting little authorial researching to the area of arreavement or reactions to change and disability. This is a lack of research on the wizard's parts, because Lisz then suggests that project's insight into disability improvement must have come from personal observation, with project having referred to feelings of exclusion during his early life, frequently during his inaugural speech to Dublin's Trinity College when he was awarded his honorary doctorate, as he discusses in many of his essays and in the documentary. Back in Black Roget had a bicycle accident when he was five years old which gave him which gave him a mouthful of speech impediments, that's his quote, and didn't learn to read properly until being given a copy of the wind and the willows at age ten, and often refers to feelings of isolation while at school, having missed the first two days of term due to a family holiday, and this continues that she too has some knowledge in this area from having worked as a hospital social worker living abroad for thirty years and principally from her own experience of the reaction of the many mainly Nice but thoughtless people to her and her daughter's Fibro Myalgia, which is more commonly called chronic fatigues and Jime. She says that from her experience, and it's not at all uncommon for people to encounter equally thoughtless reactions from family and former friends and colleagues, you'd find instant recognition and understanding from complete strangers in similar situations after just half as sentence of conversation. That we have little to think from fiction, especially fantasy, from reinforcing social fears of the disfigured. In Rouperman, she writes, the wizards show clear denial about the death of puns, who is no longer seen as a slightly changed old friend, but simply another to be feared and dealt with without regard to feelings or other niceties, preferably at a distance and by leaning on inappropriate cultural knowledge and stereotypes. With the words are be being tossed around, and Rouperman, like many real world people, will use the word schizophrenia or autism or chronic fatigue while wanting to try out any folk remedy in an attempt to fix the person or else distance themselves from them. And she recognizes the prunes does largely like she's done and lets them all off the hook running. He is very understanding and grateful when they at least try something, anything, and that this is wisely not treated with Pathos by Pratchett, but rather less to red shoe and his fresh start club to voice what should have been obvious and to provide the understanding and companionship needed for Punes to adapt to a very different life. The reactions of characters such as the Countess and Mrs Keke are well observed, and the Countess trying too hard to adapt to her husband's changes, and that while miss cake might be a pain to churches, she's a typical parent of a special needs child, desperately wanting to protect her charges from an unkind world. And I've read at length there because, yeah, it's an experience I don't have. But obviously this depiction of the fresh start club has really struck a corporate Liz and I just haven't seen it mentioned in any of the secondary stuff. As I said, I haven't been going to blogs and things, but with all the academic literature appealing to how the metaphysical side of the story helps people hope with with death and bereavement and loss and things,...

...none of them are touching upon the fresh start club side of things, which is a much more human and applicable engagement with the issues, I think, and we have evidence here of it resonating with at least one reader. As for the characters of the Countess and Miss Cake, I've talked about the countess kind of in reference to the vegetarian vampire stuff. I'm not sure if she becomes an actual vampire by the time of thud and the later discord novels, but I'll check when I get to those. And I have to say I don't really understand the character of miss cake. I mean I think Liz is right that her dynamic with her daughter and things is very well observed and feels very I was going to say realistic, but is very well observed and feels authentic. But I just I don't understand the character of miss cake. I don't understand why she's the boogeyman of the religious factions in egg more pork. I don't know I guess she's she's kind of she's an overprotective parent, or an appropriately protective parent perhaps, but I don't really understand how that relates to the religious stuff. I don't know, maybe this is just speaking to a part of life and experience that I just don't have. I guess this would make more sense and maybe fit in more with the books themes of consumerism and stuff, if she was going to talk to the manager of one of the guilds or or a school or something. I don't get. Miss Cake is what I'm trying to say. So if someone has a read on Miss Cake and and sort of understands what she's meant to represent, I'd love to hear it, because it's sort of put there as though the joke is self evident. But I've never understood MRS cake. But something else I think Liz is right to point out is this portrayal of bereavement, you know, which, which is something that I am going through at the moment, feels like it stems from personal experience and, whether or not it can be traced to Pratchett's childhood and school experiences, it appears to remain true of Pratchett's later life experiences with Alzheimer's as well. So here's two th eight Daily Mail article. I'm slipping away a bit at a time and all I can do is what should happen? He says the part of the report he's helping to launch today reveals the Britain's still think there is a stigma surrounding dementia and that the stories in the report of people being told they were too young or intelligent to have dementia, of neighbors crossing the street and friends abandoning them, I like something from a horror novel. He says that when you have cancer you're a brave battler against the disease, but when you have Alzheimer's you are an old fart and that that's how people see you and it makes you feel quite alone. Yes, I guess we're Gould equate the idea of being treated like an old fart. We're being treated like a Zombie. Perhaps. Project goes on to write that article that Nice, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, says that the changes medication makes it his stage is minimal. But we don't think so in our house, where those little changes make the difference between a dull day and a fine day, that the disease is after all about small changes and that it may be that individuals may indeed be individuals. So again this is harking back to the idea of individual care that we talked about last episode, that death represents by reaping the hat one blade at a time. I mean, this is what I talk about philosophies in Rouperman really resonating and really carrying through to prachect's late life. But project writes that he's heard it said that some people feel they are being avoided once the news gets around that they have Alzheimer's, but for me it has been just the reverse. People want to talk to me on city streets, in theater queues, on airplanes over the Atlantic, even on country walks. And indeed, project's profile skyrockets after his Alzheimer's diagnosis and he becomes a campaigner for Alzheimer's Research and assisted dying. Yeah, he was noted more for his work with Alzheimer's research than his services to literature. So his experience there is is quite different, quite the inverse of what hoons and other people living with disabilities might experience. However, as borrows writes is that the slip of the keyboard collection which contains this speech reads a little too much like an obituary for comfort, and the Neil Gaiman's speech at the discworld convention, which was the last one that Pratchett attended before his death, likewise felt like an obituary. So there's a sense that people are morning Pratchett before he has even passed. A latter two thousand nine article could point me to heaven when the final chapter comes. Project writes that he's enjoying his life to the full and hopes to continue for quite some time, but that he also intends, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in his own garden with a glass of brandy in his hand. And Thomas tell us on his ipod, which is a an image project keeps coming back to with these essays on death, Anyathanasia, because he says Thomas's music could lift even an atheist a little bit closer to heaven. Unfortunately, as we know, this is not how Pratchett was able to greet his death. As borrows tells it, project's health deteriorated rapidly throughout the rest of and by the end of the year had advanced to the point that he had lost ninety of his vision, but seriously limited his mobility, and main writing more difficult than ever, even through the use of the dictation software he'd been relying on for the past five years or so. Pratchett and his assistant, Rob Wilkins, whom he had become increasingly reliant upon as his Alzheimer's progressed, apparently spent the morning of December five working on project's autobiography, which is something he'd been working on towards the end of his life. He didn't get to finish it, but I believe in the process of finishing it himself. As as borrows tells it, at some point that evening, Terry turned to Rob told him quite simply that Terry Pratchett is dead now, that that was to be Pratchett's last day as a writer, which is incredibly sad. I have a lot of trouble dealing with the details of Prajett's death myself, you know, apart from being a fan and admiring him, just the story is very sad and affecting to me. I've broken down a number of occasions putting the section...

...of a podcast together. So I don't mean to be flippant about any of this, but what stood out to me about that passage is the equation of practic's death with his inability to keep working. I think Pratchett is a particular example, given his public profile, but also his passionate and dedication to his craft lag the fact that he had put out almost a book or two every year for the past, why, thirty years or so, and I think he was lucky enough to have a job and a profession that was perhaps more attached to his identity and more creative for personally fulfilling than most people's jobs. But just looking at it in relation to reprimand and the engagement with Labor throughout the death series, it is interesting to me, in connection with the hostoral Romanticism and the idealization of working in manual labor until you die, essentially in reprimand, that yes, Pratchett equated his own death with inability to to continue his professional though he may have just been referring to his general mental state. Accord ex borers. He spent the next few months lipping in and out of consciousness and with his vision movement Marie and thinking all Civili impaired to the point where he needed help with even the most basic tasks. Pratchett reportedly died in his home on the twelfth of March from the complications of his Alzheimer's disease. Later that day, Wilkins hosted three tweets from Pratchett's twitter account, the first reading, in your capitalized voice, of death at last, Sir Terry, we must walk together, and the second saying that Terry took death's arm and followed him through the doors and on into the black desert under the endless night. At the final tweet reading simply the end. So I don't know if that is a necessarily comforting sentiment for Pratchett and his fans, for reasons I have discussed, but it's certainly an appropriate, suitable once. So the corny thing to do would be to edit in St Thomas tell us music to eat that tweet as we go out. But, as I said, I found this kind of stuff very emotionally draining and challenging and if I was listening to a podcast that did that I would straight out break down in the middle of the streets. So not going to do that to anyone else and we've got very, yeah heavy at the end of this podcast. Sorry, I want to end things on a bit more of an upbeat and drive real note by bringing back the longer scent segment of Miss World, the things I noticed about the book but didn't seem to fit anywhere else in the analysis. So to begin with, we talked in part one about the filmic influences on the portrail of death, with death takes a holiday and M jo black and things. The other obvious cinematic influence on reprimand that I didn't talk about, though, is of course the nineteen eighty four science fiction comedy film repromand, which is where the book takes its name from. This is a weird movie that seemed really interesting to begin with and by the end I found fairly insufferable. But there is somewhat of a tie into the themes with repermand. Rather than it just being a pun. This is a film that begins with the Protagonist Otto, played by Amelio Estebez, being fired from his job, and then he's meant to be sort of this or he fancies himself as this anti establishment punk sort of character that ends up getting a job as as a reperman and repossessor of cars, and somehow all of that ends up tying in with repermand gang wor and a car with a radioactive alien in the trump here. This film is meant to be some kind of satire on consumerism and eighties hyper capitalism which, as we've discussed on previous episodes, is a ongoing, if somewhat subtle theme, at least compared to the engagement with metaphysics throughout the death series. But yeah, so there's something there in terms of the title, that it's more than just a partner. It's gesturing towards this anti consumerist theme at yet the premise of a guy getting fired from his job at the start of the film. The other film I saw him mentioned in relation to Ripperman was the Clint Eastwood Classic High Planes Drifter from ninety three. I think this was the second film Eastwood Directed, and if you know the twist you sort of understand why it is relevant to Ruperman. This is a case where I'm not going to discuss the plot and and spoil it for people because I hadn't seen this film and I didn't know what the twist was, and I watched it in preparation for this, and I think not knowing the twist of that movie is is quite important and would color your experience of watching it. Also. A more recent thought that I've had is the connection between death and the fates in terms of the crone and witchcraft. This actually came to me from Stephen King's novel insomnia, where one of the antagonists is named Atropos, which is a reference to one of the fates in Greek mythology, that atropos is the fate who cuts the lifeline up, so it is essentially death. So yeah, in insomnia, which is not one of kings better books, we have a further literary representation of an angel of death, but also one that, for me, connects the idea of the crone and the fates with death, which sort of suggests that practice death and granny weather as kind of served the same metaphorical function. They are somewhat of a literary equivalent, which is perhaps why she is his match, because she is also a representation of death, which I thought was very interesting, if not perhaps all that meaningful. And finally, I just want to mention the one man bucket joke, which I think might be the worst joke I have come across in the discworld books that we've read through so far. I mean this is the insertion of a common street joke, not not a particularly racially sensitive one, into the novel. It doesn't need to be there and I think it's a cheap gag. That also isn't handled very well right the fact that he straight up says the punchline at...

...the end of the book rather than just letting it hang. That might have been a better way to at least, if you're going to have the joke in there, have it be something the breeders have to put together for themselves rather than just inserting this this fairly crass comment joke. And what we've discovered is a really quite rich formatic book, perhaps even more so than it's been given ample credit for so far. Okay, that is going to do it for Reaperman. Thank you once again to all the PATREON supporters, including BG, our newest member. This experience was made a lot easier by the new chair and new microphone that I talked about in the introduction to the last episode. So thanks again for supporting the podcast, and thanks especially to Liz for writing in with her thoughts and essentially prompting this entire episode and, I think, inspiring what seems to be a fairly original examination of riper man. So thanks for that. And if anyone else feels like writing in with their thoughts on the discworld books or the podcast or questions or anything, yeah, you can get in touch with us at unseen academical pot at Gmail Dot Com. Yes, so I hope you enjoyed that and getting ready to rock with soul music. I'm harping the guest for that one, but yeah, I should be back within the next month with an episode, or probably probably some episodes, about that. So yeah, see then, I guess by and we're clear. Oh my God, Milton, can you sit down please? I don't know if you're pairing in is getting picked up on the microphone.

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