Pyramids Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Dotsie » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:29 am

Frasier??? It was certainly popular, and I watched most of it, but every episode was the same! Frasier's behaviour never changed (neither did Niles', but at least he wasn't annoying). With Friends, at least you got a different episode every week.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:40 pm

swreader wrote: As many of us have said, and I will say one more time, Pyramids is a pastiche. It has a number of humorous references, eg. You Bastard as great mathematician, and punning allusions to other pieces of literature, and a pun in the name of the country - something you've never commented on--but it is not satire, any more than Monty Python is satire.


Pastiche was a word I didn't know the meaning of. According to my dictionary pastiche is "a piece of writing that is created by deliberately copying the style of sb/sth else".
So the Assassins Guild bit could be classed as a pastiche of Tom Brown's Schooldays, but I fail to see how anything else in the book could be classed as a pastiche. Exactly what style was TP copying? :?

(BTW I made reference to the pun in the name of the country in my intro. :lol:)

So you're saying that Monty Python's Life of Brian is in no way satirical? :shock: I can't agree with you there at all. Are YOU sure you know what the meaning of satire is? Or maybe like me, your "knowledge of satire is Nil" :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:11 pm

You do know that Sharlene is a retired literature professor don't you? It's nice that you keep on trying though, dear little pooh :P
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:21 pm

About the need for a kind of knowledge to understand the jokes, it's true yes but I knew the paradox we talked before, I read the page someone posted to refresh memory but still don't find it funny, it caused a smile but no laughs.

About Monty Python, sometimes I love them, sometimes not, it depends on the gag.
As Tony said before, I liked Pyramids and I reread it in these days, and I still like the book, love the ancestor bit, but during the entire book I never laughed out loud as I did with most of TP's books , so I think at the end we can sum everything with Jan's words : "it's all just a matter of taste in the end" :D

(Friends was nice, I watched it, but not even close to being funny as TP books, which could be even embarassing if you're reading them out of your house when people can see you :lol: and :lol: and :lol: . With some books I actually had to close it because I couldn't read it due to too much :lol: ) :D

Sharlene, you were a literature professor?Didn't know! wow :D *bowing to the professor*
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Postby raisindot » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:34 pm

swreader wrote:Oh dear-- I'm afraid Pooh that your "Theory of Humor" is just pooh. The whole thing is based more or less in terms of visual humor which is hardly the way to analyze a novel. Additionally, you reveal a lack of awareness of the breadth and complexity of American humor. We are not known particularly for our "Level 1" humor-- the pratfall. Though using your terms, I suppose that the Three Stooges and the Keystone Kops match that. But you ignore the type of humor or satire illustrated by Chaplain, Will Rogers, Mark Twain, Joseph Heller and Sinclair Lewis, to mention only a few.


SW, you'll notice that I keep in the part of the quote where you say Pooh is wrong :D , but much as I wish to agree with you, it is pretty much a lamentable fact that the most popular humor in American has always been slapstick oriented.

Other than the humorous sayings of Ben Franklin, a strong American humor "voice" really didn't emerge until people like Artemis Ward starting publishing his 'southern bumpkin' pieces in the mid 19th century. These were satires of poor white trash culture, consisting of lots of insult humor and fighting and eye gouging punctuated by long strings of colorful curses. Mark Twain was heavily influenced by this kind of humor and many of his early 'satires' were written in this style for western and eastern audiences. But Twain rose out of formula to become the first genuine, world-recognizable American humorist, and even though his humor had elements of slapstick to it, he moved it far past that into expressing the 'voice' of the antebellum south, particularly in Huckleberry Finn.

American humor really diverged into separate camps in the early 20th century: sophisticatd wit and satire were owned by the New York-based generation of writers and playrights (Perelman, Parker, Thurber, Benchley, Kaufman.Hart, etc.), while most early American films, stage shows (vaudeville) and early TV shows were totally slapstick or jokey (rather than satire) oriented, which they had to be to accommodate the limitations of the silent era and the predominantly immigrant audiences in the vaudeville audiences.

Yes, there were a few people who incorporated pathos (Chaplin, Keaton, Capra) into the mix, and directors who specialized in more witty comedies (Cukor, Hawks, Lubitsch), but I always have thought the only true pre-1960s American satire that matched anything the British did was the Marx Bros. "Duck Soup," which was both a hilarious and chilling putdown of fascism, and perhaps Chaplin's "Modern Times" and "The Great Dictator."

Still, even with these memorable exceptions, nearly all of the most popular American humor, particularly on film and early TV, was sentimental or slapstick in nature, and rarely took a hard-edged satirical jab at American institutions. Every once in a while you had a noteworthy excepion ("Dr. Strangelove," "The Graduate"), but, in general, most Americans did not embracing satire, or at least they didn't until The Simpsons began, which opened the floodgates for a whole new generation of satirical animated shows, from "South Park" to "Family Guy." And the main reason these shows are popular is because their main characters are throwbacks to the tradition of the American slapstick buffoon and stereotype.

How does this tie back to "Pyramids?" Not sure, because I just can't bring myself to get through it again. I tried, Pooh, I tried, but I couldn't get over the hump. :D

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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:35 pm

Dotsie wrote:You do know that Sharlene is a retired literature professor don't you? It's nice that you keep on trying though, dear little pooh :P


Also a retired judge. :D

I bet all her life she's had people agree with her, and I bet none of her students ever said her knowledge of satire was nil. :twisted:

Anyway, I'm sure it does her the world of good. :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:00 pm

I think I have something we should consider that more or less sums ups satire and why Monty Python is perhaps not necessarily always the best example - have a look (and especially listen) at THIS

In particular give Mel Smith's character (the arch film critic Alexander Walker) your full attention, notably around the 2:29 min point as this quite rightly points out that the Python team very often didn't get it right perhaps because the student humour they modelled some of their genre on simply isn't terribly funny, big or even very clever... :shock: :lol:

That sketch - Level 3 if not 4 pooh? :twisted:
One argument it does support is that the satirical script is most definitely English and was used in a hugely popular and influential 'new-wave' award-winning comedy show that broadcast on prime-time 'intellectual' BBC2 when the UK only had 3 TV channels (and virtually no cable TV) available to the general population. For it's entire run Not the 9 o'clock News was 'must see' TV for Baby Boomers as well as teenagers.

What I would like to know from our US debaters is whether that type of comedy show would have been shown on a similarly prestigious but mainstream US networked channel in that period (circa 1979-1982) and lapped up by 'Middle America' viewers as well as the more 'sophisticated' coastal communities? :)
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:51 am

Um...er...

swreader wrote:Pooh, your knowledge of satire is Nil

swreader wrote:...but it (Pyramids) is not satire, any more than Monty Python is satire.


As you quoted wiki to be, here's some right back atcha, hon (as Tina would say).
Let's see what Wikipedia says about Monty Python's Life of Brian. 8)

Wikipedia on Life of Brian wrote:Religious satire and blasphemy accusations
The film has been seen as a critique of excessive religiosity, depicting organised and popular religion as hypocritical and fanatical. The film's satire on unthinking religious devotion is epitomised by Brian's attempt to persuade an enormous crowd of his followers to think for themselves:

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me, you don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes, we are all different!
Man in Crowd: I'm not.
Another Man: Shhh!
The film also satirises both the tendency to interpret banal incidents as "signs from God" and the factions and infighting that can emerge from this. For example, when Brian loses his shoe, some of his over-zealous followers declare it to be a sign but they can't agree on what it means, while one other instructs them to "Cast off the shoe. Follow the gourd!" (which is viewed by some as being significant owing to Brian's seemingly charitable refusal to accept a price for it - and not even haggle over what it is worth - the truth actually being that it was a cheap, unwanted gift).


poohcarrot wrote:Are YOU sure you know what the meaning of satire is? Or maybe like me, your "knowledge of satire is Nil" :lol: :lol: :lol:


8) 8) 8)
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:03 am

This from the man who thinks Wiki is less than accurate. :lol:

I have to say that although this is all very interesting, it's getting further and further away from the discussion of Pyramids.

Please try and keep your arguements relative to the discussion.

Oh and Sharlene was a lawyer, but served as a 'Judge Tempore' Which is:
A judge pro tem is not a regular judge, but someone (usually a lawyer) who is brought in to serve temporarily as a judge.
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:41 am

I'm not at all qualified to debate on American vs English satire, so I won't.

I'd just like to say something here... :lol: and it is Pyramids-related, in a way :lol: ok don't kill me, I can't go on talking about Monty Python, I might just talk about something I know :lol:

talking about "matters of taste" I'm the only one I know of that laughed for this little piece of Star Trek:
start of ST piece (if you don't like ST go straight to the end of ST piece)
when Quark wants to die and asks Garak to kill him, they try a few ways and then after the last one they say:
G-how's that?
Q-awful. Did you hear that sound of bone snapping?I don't want that to be the last thing I hear.
G-it wasn't so loud
Q-you don't have these ears. Snapping vertebrae is out.
G-we're running out of options Quark. You don't want to be vaporised because you need a body, the disruptor ruined your clothing, the knife was too savage, the nerve gas smelled bad, hanging took too long, and poison... what was wrong with poison?
Q-it doesn't work. If I know the food is poisoned I won't eat it.
G-For a man who wants to kill himself you are strangely determined to live
end of ST piece

I laughed because it reminded me of that Dorothy Parker's poem "you might as well live", that I read in a 'literary notebook' in my early teen years and immediately loved it (then I searched for the original version), AND ALSO because I loved Garak.

Now, maybe if that joke of the turtle paradox or any other joke had been made by the ancestors or someone else nice, it would have been funnier than this one with Teppic and those two soulless men who were killing poor-cute-little-turtles, kind of tiny-wee-A'Tuins !
Those bloody murderers!
There was no lead-character who was really nice in here. The ancestors and Chidder were the best, but had little space :?

Is this ok on a Pyramid-discussion? :oops:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:02 pm

Well jan, as my scale only goes up to 3, I'd have to say it was defo a 3 (I forgot about Not the 9 o'clock news!).
And I love the way you called j-i-b "sophisticated". :lol:
And in answer to your question at the end, I think j-i-b had already answered it with his excellent critique of US humor two posts before yours.

j-i-b, I agree completely with what you said, but if I had tried to write the same, it wouldn't have been half as eloquent and I'd have been probably accused of US bashing. :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:19 pm

Tonyblack wrote:This from the man who thinks Wiki is less than accurate. :lol:


:shock: I like Wiki. I don't think I've ever said it was less than accurate, have I? :?
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:01 pm

poohcarrot wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:This from the man who thinks Wiki is less than accurate. :lol:


:shock: I like Wiki. I don't think I've ever said it was less than accurate, have I? :?
In that case I apologise - I must be mixing you up with someone else. But Wiki is written by anyone who cares to join and isn't always accurate. It's good fr basic facts, but I don't think I'd bet my life on the info they have there. :wink:
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:12 pm

Crysania those turtles should be honored to be sacrificed to further the knowledge of philosophy! Plus there's good eating on one of them.

Interesting point that there's no real likeable hero character - I'm not sure how far I agree - I think Teppic is allright apart from his inability to overule Dios while King (and the inherent problems of being royal of course). But there is not much to his character I suppose and Ptraci doesn't develop until the last few pages.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:24 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:Crysania those turtles should be honored to be sacrificed to further the knowledge of philosophy! Plus there's good eating on one of them.

Interesting point that there's no real likeable hero character - I'm not sure how far I agree - I think Teppic is allright apart from his inability to overule Dios while King (and the inherent problems of being royal of course). But there is not much to his character I suppose and Ptraci doesn't develop until the last few pages.
I think that's a good point. There isn't a lot of character development - Teppic goes off who knows where at the end. Ptraci reluctantly becomes monarch and Dios gets zapped back onto his ever repeating time loop. You finish the book and think - 'well that's that'. I'm not that bothered with what becomes of them because I don't feel I got to know them.

I'm kind of curious as to whether Ptraci woul have stood up to Dios as well as she to to the other guy. But not that interested. :lol:
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