Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby rockershovel » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:09 pm

every once in a while there is a DW book which doesn't really work for me, and having read it twice Snuff is one of them. The others, in no particular order, are Carpe Jugulem, Making Money[/i( too much like a re-run of[i] Going Postal], and what was the point about te buried golems? I didn't much care for Equal Rites( in this case because of its transitional nature and unsettled style ). Unseen Academicalsseemed to me to be composed from two mismatched books, and I have to say that I found the Glenda/Nutt thing distinctly squicky, although the Nobby/Tears of the Mushroom thing in Snuff was worse.

All prolific authors do this from time to time. Dickens' works are very uneven in quality. H G Wells produced numerous novels which have long since faded from view. Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels contain numerous continuity discrepancies for the sake of the story, along with some passages which would have best been left in the editor's waste paper basket - the escape disguised as a bear in Post Captain, for example, is simply absurd and very jarring in an essentially realistic setting, while Maturin's abilities as surgeon and physician verge upon the supernatural at times.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Llamedosian » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:24 pm

Hi all, first post - am still reading Snuff and loving it, although I would agree that they style has changed - only to be expected really, and still better than 90% of what's going around I'd say.

I notice a lot of discussion of what the goblins represent in the 'real world' - the obvious answer is black african slavery, what with the tobacco plantations etc. But in themselves, and how they are treated by the majority, I would say they are more like Roma gypsies (and, to a lesser extent, like Irish Travellers). What do people think?

There are several things that make me think this, based on the culture of the goblins as represented rather than the slavery option (which Pratchett had already done with the golems, and excellently).

- The fact that everybody hates the goblins, even the races/elements of the Discworld society generally looked down on - they are the very bottom rung, which is precisely the position the Roma have occupied for centuries in Europe

- The fact that they are popularly believed to steal, to be dirty and stinking, to steal others' children, to harm their own children - all slurs cast at roma gypsies

- The unggue business - like the goblins, gypsies have elaborate superstitious rituals regarding purity, a lot of it to do with their bodily fluids, with things from the inside being considered purer than things outside - it is also considered very dangerous for people's possessions to be kept by others after their death, as death is considered polluting, and gypsies used to destroy a person's private possessions when they die, if possible burning them with the body (sometimes travelling gypsies would even burn the caravan in which the person died too). Moreover, in the same way that the goblins' unguue gets misinterpreted, people often see the actions of gypsies related to their purity rituals as off-putting negative traits - throwing things out of the living area rather than disposing of it 'properly' etc

- The goblin's fatalism, and their idea that they 'did something bad' in the past and so deserve their wretched way of life - in her documentary book on european gypsies, Bury Me Standing, Isabel Fonseca talks at length about the fatalistic quality in the gypsies, and alludes to traditional superstitions that a gypsy smith forged the nails that crucified Christ (or, alternatively, stole the nails from the cross after the crucifixion) and the gypsies were cursed for this to roam the earth forever.

- The fact that what 'redeems' the goblins is a gift for music - it is only after hearing Mushroom's playing that people other than Vimes realise that the goblins are worth saving. Gypsies are famed for their musical skills, and it is often the only thing about them that conventional society tolerates them for.

The speech that Rain On Hard Ground makes to Vimes at the beginning of the book sounds so much like the lament of modern-day travellers who are forbidden to travel and yet forbidden to settle, forever pushed to the fringes and then maligned for being there (cf. Dale Farm):

"We know what the law is, Mr Po-leess-maan. The law is the land. You did not make the land. You did not make the sheep, you did not make the rabbits on which we live, you did not make the cows, or the horses, but you say 'these things are mine'. This cannot be a truth. I make my axe, my pots, and these are mine. Some love was mine. Now it has gone... Maybe a hundred or two hundred years ago, there was in the world what people called 'the wilderness', or 'no man's land', or 'wasteland', and we lived in such places, we are waste people."

Any thoughts on this interpretation?
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:03 pm

Sounds pretty good to me! Although I'd say that the goblins represent anyone who is exploited or treated as a non-person. I like your Roma theory though.

There's mention of a tax being made on tobacco products and yet the sellers and producers are raking it in. As soon as there was any threat to their profit, they changed tactics and used exploitation. This is not much different to closing manufacture in, for example, the UK and switching it to a third world nation that will work longer hours for a lot less money.

To me the book is about exploitation and the exploited in general.

Welcome to the site, Llamedosian! :D
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby DaveC » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:58 pm

Welcome to the site! :)

Having had lots of first hand experience with gypsies as I work at a cinema, I'd say I mostly agree with your theory. They mostly try and get anything for free, cause havoc in the screens and fight/seduce each other in the public areas. Whereas Pterry's goblins try to keep to themselves.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Oberon » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:52 pm

I think that the comparison is to any group who are/have been coldly exploited. As Sir T said in one of the books (can't remember which and I'm paraphrasing) True evil begins when one group of people come to see another group of people as "things".
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” (Terry Pratchett).
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raptornx01 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:51 pm

Danny B wrote:
* Willikins just got on my wick. Hard men don't yack on about it; they stay quiet and if they decide to do you, they do it with the minimum of fuss. This is the first time a hard case in a Pratchett novel has felt wrong to me.


Yeah, I mean A hard man shouldn't go around, like, eating people's noses or stuff like that.

On the summoning dark, it wasn't really a creature of pure vengence, it was a creature that lived since the begining and spent the last 10,000 years in the role of a superstition. So it was more then just what the dwarves thought it was. (honestly I kinda thought it might be another kind of Hiver (sp?)) Also didn't the other Goblins point to it as well? Not just stinky? they, like Dwarves, and like Vimes are also children of the dark, they live in and around it. It made sense to me they might know something about it.

On Sybil's rose bush outburst, i noticed it, and chocked it up to some of Sam rubbing off on her. :)

*Spoilers for other books*

and He, whether you want to admit it or not, has changed over the years. He learns, and takes his experiences with him. Like blinding himself with a match in men at arms, but then blinding others with a match in the wilinus (sp?) pass in The 5th elephant. or pushing 71 Hour Achmed against a wall and being to told "look down" at the knife in Jingo, then also in the 5th Elephant telling Inigo to "Look further down". He takes what he gets and turns it into an advantage, even if he might do so grudgingly, like with his status. To me, nothing here struck me as being out of character.

*end spoilers*

Young Sam interests are familiar to anyone that either has kids or lived with them. At least he takes a more scientific interest in it, rather just rolling in it.

In the end I quite enjoyed the book very much. And look forward to seeing how it passes on future re-readings.

and side note and just my musings: I also find it odd that someone who got burned by a positive feeling from reading TvTropes would so easily trust a negative feeling from same.

Edit: it took me as long to read this thread as it did to go through the book, geez...
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby alicenanjing » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:43 pm

Llamedosian wrote:I notice a lot of discussion of what the goblins represent in the 'real world' - the obvious answer is black african slavery, what with the tobacco plantations etc. But in themselves, and how they are treated by the majority, I would say they are more like Roma gypsies (and, to a lesser extent, like Irish Travellers). What do people think?

There are several things that make me think this, based on the culture of the goblins as represented rather than the slavery option (which Pratchett had already done with the golems, and excellently).


Any thoughts on this interpretation?


Hello and welcome!
You know, I was wondering about the same thing myself. They felt a lot like gypsies to me, and all the associations that you pointed out ( the ritual observances, the association with the dark, the public scorn, the musical talent and so on) are real. Only one thing though: in Snuff, the goblins believe they are waste people, no more than vermin. This is not true of gypsies. It is true that in the past (in the 15th, 16th centuries) they have portrayed themselves as a people which wanders the earth as penance for a major sin, and - I'm not familiar with their legends - they may have legends which support this view. There may be a sense of racial guilt or shame ingrained in them, I don't know. But in modern times, at least in my experience, they do not believe themselves to be inferior to other peoples, far from it. Rather, they seem to enjoy playing the Trickster in some sort of world commedia del'arte in which all the other peoples play slow country bumpkins, ready for the plucking. That's a far cry from the meek goblins who let themselves be driven like lambs to the slaughter.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:08 pm

I think the African analogy is far more appropriate.

Gypsies did and do have their own vibrant culture and have, traditionally, been treated as outsiders and 'inferiors' in the countries in which they dwelled, but there was never a history of widespread enslavement of Gypsies (other than in WWII).

Black Africans, other hand, were enslaved by Europeans for nearly 400 years. They were treated as property that could be sold, abused and killed without repercussions. Part of the justification whites used for this behavior was their belief that blacks were an inferior, debased race that, with the rare exception, could never rise above their status as laborers and could never be 'civilized.' In the American south at least, most blacks themselves believed these assertions and contributed to their own oppression. It really wasn't until the Civil War (when black soldiers from the north fought valiantly against the Confederacy) and Reconstruction (when freed blacks were installed in southern legislatures for a few short years before the south forced them out and imposed another century of oppressive segregationist laws) that blacks began to see that were capable of higher aspirations than picking cotton.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby alicenanjing » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm

Sorry ( and I am, indeed, sorry for this), but the Gypsies do have a history of enslavement, admittedly, only in Romania, but they have been slaves there for centuries, until 1851, if I'm not mistaken. This is one reason why Romania has such a large Gypsy population - they multiplied a lot during that time, and were also forced to become settled.
But, again, neither the Blacks nor the Gypsies think of themselves as "waste people".
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:13 pm

alicenanjing wrote:Sorry ( and I am, indeed, sorry for this), but the Gypsies do have a history of enslavement, admittedly, only in Romania, but they have been slaves there for centuries, until 1851, if I'm not mistaken. This is one reason why Romania has such a large Gypsy population - they multiplied a lot during that time, and were also forced to become settled.
But, again, neither the Blacks nor the Gypsies think of themselves as "waste people".


I defer to your knowledge on the enslavement of gypsies. But slavery of white people and non-African non-white people was also quite common in Europe until the late 18th century, when it gradually started being abolished. But no other ethnic group was enslaved with as much cruelty and on as widespread a scale as Africans by Europeans. From the late 15th century through the mid 19th century, several million Africans were 'exported' to the Americas, and slave trading became a huge source of income for many Englishmen, Dutch, Spaniards, Portuguese and Americans. Black slaves were certainly considered to be a 'waste people' in the Americas; they were worked until they died, and the high mortality rate was a chief reason why demand for slaves was nearly insatiable for centuries. Blacks today wouldn't consider themselves to be 'waste people,' but certainly if you went to a cotton plantation in Mississippi in the first half of the 19th century, you would have found many slaves who were brainwashed by their white oversees into thinking that they were barely more than bi-ped pack animals.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby rockershovel » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:19 pm

..a typical post on the subject of the slave trade.

Try doing a little research on the taboo subject of African slavery in the Muslim world, you will be absolutely appalled. Go on from there and look at the role of Arabs in the trans-Alantic slave trade - it wouldn't have filled a single ship without them. You might be interested to learn that slavery was only legally abolished in the last Arab country in 1970, and to this day ( as any expat will tell you ) newspapers in UAE or Saudi routinely contain adverts relating to "absconders" as they are known - indentured servants or labourers who have broken their contracts.

This of course is WHY the subject is taboo in our politically-correct Alice-in-Wonderland society.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raptornx01 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:38 pm

I think indentured servants are a bit different then the usual "slaves" people think of. Being voluntary being the most important difference. But that happened as well in the Americas. (personally though if you chose to do that knowing what you were getting yourself into then more power to you. its your life to live how you choose. I can see how it can be abused though.)

And don't forget the majority of the African slaves were tribal people taken by the more "civilized" black Africans and sold to the Europeans et al.

Thats really where the taboo nature of such things come in. People want to make things as a black and white issue (so to speak). but the reality is much more complex and grey. there were white slaves and black slave owners. there were black land owners in the south. there were nearly as many asian slaves as black slaves in the US at the time (mainly in the west). it was a crappy time, and crappy things were done. Hopefully we can learn not to do it again.

Back to the book...

I went through it again. Yeah, the main goblin from the hill (whose wife was killed) did touch Sam's arm and knew about the SD. "I hear you as you can hear me"

and its pretty clear the SD didn't make its presence known untill Stinky touched his (sam's) arm. Just after stinky's touch and plead for "Just Ice" sam notices stinky had be beaten by people, starts to get mad and thats when the memories of the cave surface.

I also wonder if what stinky is is an avatar for the Summoning dark. (or a vessel) I'm thinking of the words Sam hears just before their horse trip "There is nothing so retched that there isn't something that won't care for it" (something like that) and just after that stinky does his little horse kneeling trick. Why, i dunno, not done yet.

I am likely the story more the second time though.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:27 pm

rockershovel wrote:..a typical post on the subject of the slave trade.

Try doing a little research on the taboo subject of African slavery in the Muslim world, you will be absolutely appalled..


I'm well aware of that subject and it was just as appalling. But not to defend slavery in any form, but "old world" slavery as practiced by Europeans and Arabs (and even Asians) was in many ways very different than the way slaves were treated in the new world. In Europe and the Arab world, many slaves become skilled craftsmen or household servants and large numbers managed the household finances of their owners. They may have been property, but their owners saw their intrinsic value, often trusted them and treated them well, and sometimes freed them after a certain period of time. Like any investment, many (but certainly not all) owners intelligently saw the benefits of keeping their slaves healthy, since it would be extremely expensive to have to train another slave to take over the job of one who had died due to neglect or abuse.

This simply wasn't the situation in the New World. Slaves were brought from Africa to perform the most menial and labor intensive work on the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean and Brazil. In fact, one main reason why Africans became the preferred "race" for slavery was because many had a higher degree of genetic resistance to malaria, which was highly prevalent in the New World. But keeping the slaves alive and healthy wasn't no priority of their overlords. They were brought over to be worked to death, and extremely high mortality rates (and increasing demand in North America) expanded the market for a literally disposable workforce.
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby Ridcully » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:06 pm

I just finished listening to Snuff (have trouble reading/concentrating due to a car accident a while back -blabla) and ... I'm not a fan. Admittedly, I prefer a book over an audiobook but hey - that's the way it is and I am thankful Steven Briggs is such a fantastic reader :clap: . Nevertheless, even he could not take away my disappointment in Snuff. I might have to (really) read it again or listen to it, but so far it does not rank high in my TP book list.

Rest assured, I will not bother y'all with my incredibly intelligent/witty/profound insights/review in/of the book :lol: as lots of it has already been so eloquently put. The book, like ISWM (which I also had to listen to, instead of reading) just feels very 'dark' and -as someone has already said- very 'talky'. I have read and re-read all of TP's books, some of which I liked more than others of course. However, it just feels that ISWM and Snuff have taken a very different turn from the other Discworld books.
Sorry I cannot explain better, writing so much text really causes me some troubles, but hopefully you understand what I mean. :oops:

Nevertheless, as I have read before and totally agree to, a "bad" TP novel is still preferable over any other novel (at least in my opinon) so I will definitely give Snuff another try. I'm just not in a hurry to do so ;)
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Re: Snuff *Warning Spoilers*

Postby rockershovel » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:24 am

regarding slavery in the Arab world, I can only suggest that you undertake a little actual research. You might start with the key words eunuch, harem and janissaries, and go from there. Death rates for the trans-Saharan crossing were far in excess of those encountered in the Middle Passage.

Romans had valued slaves who served as major-domos and advisors; Mammy has the status of a constitutional monarch within the household in Gone With The Wind. This doesn't affect the fact that a huge majority of slaves were field hands or other labourers, or that slaves were routinely castrated or sexually abused, or simply worked to death, in the Arab world
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