Going Postal Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby poohbcarrot » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:29 am

Tonyblack wrote:
poohbcarrot wrote:How many days are there in a Discworld week? I thought there were 8, this book says 7. 8)
I'm sure there are eight - maybe it was an editting error. What page is it on, only I'm fairly sure I remember Octeday (the eighth day) being mentioned. :)


Top of page 23 US HB.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:43 am

A couple of problems there.

1. I only have the UK copy.
2. I don't have the US hardback. :P

Yes, I know they are more or less the same problem, but I feel it is an important one.

Could you tell us what is actually happening at the top of page 23 of the US HB copy so that I might find it easier to find the relevant bit. :wink:
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Postby poohbcarrot » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:55 am

"4 miles an hour is 672 miles a week".

4 x 24 x 7 = 672

4 x 24 x 8 = 768
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Postby Dotsie » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:00 am

Alright Mr Cleverpants. But how do you know how many hours are in a Discworld day? Or how many minutes in an hour for that matter? :P
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:07 am

In the 8 days a week thing - I only just got around to re-reading GP on Saturday night and yes Octeday is mentioned around about the time Moist meets Adora for the 1st time.

The Ultimate Fate of Golems: they are sentient and they are fundamentally well-disposed to biologically sentient creatures. They are also not easily swayed in the logic dept. Perhaps when the last Golem is freed they will destroy themselves as being too much of a moral and physical threat to the rest of creation?

Too much information/analysis: I can certainly see where Tina's coming from and if the cut and thrust of debate is spoiling your enjoyment of something that's precious to you then of course choose to stay away. We all have our various comfort zones and pet theories and as we're passionate and intelligent readers things are bound to get heated at some stage. And some people's debating styles are irritating in the extreme sometimes :oops: and others press home their well thought out arguments rather too vigorously at times to the point where other people want to say "zip it for pity's sake - we get it!".

Terry's work is full of satire and that's not always hilarious or shouldn't be as it's really supposed to be thought provoking not funny haha? So the very fact that we can discuss the books in such depth (and heat at times) is actually a compliment to Terry and to his work of which humour and humanity are important keystones. Our debates on here are in general well-regulated and interesting, even when we start to get excited about the conceptual side of things, and that's to our credit, but maybe we get too serious at times about what is after all a work of fiction.

I've seen too many people ripped to pieces over petty narrow-minded arguments like 'can Balrogs fly' to take some things seriously - this is a work of fantasy FICTION albeit based on reality and Moist is not a real person. So we base our attitudes on how we'd likely react to him if he was real - so I'm seeing him as the big-headed plausible rogue who is almost totally self-obsessed, manipulates everyone he can and when he does good, does it for highly questionable reasons, although he can feel genuinely for people like Adora, Stanley and Groat. That is of course his saving grace and why he's 'better' or, more truthfully, a far more sympathetic character than Gilt (as in guilty or 'all that glitters' blah blah - sometimes even Terry's irritating in his genius comic flare - but I find very little to admire in the personality Terry's given him.

Others enjoy Moist differently and that's fine too - it's just a story that people can enjoy on many levels. And Moist is NOT like Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry pooh - they repented! :twisted: :wink:
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:34 am

But Moist saved the cat that's just pure good :D (and Stanley and Groat too)
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Postby Trish » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:36 pm

swreader wrote:
Trish wrote:
Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit wrote:Moist is Not in with these characters.


No. (Financial sector CEOs, etc bit here)

Set a thief to catch a thief is good.

Moist is scum.
Lots of snakes are fascinating to watch.


Trish, I think you are confusing Gilt and Moist. But I do think that Terry is writing about the financial world, swindles, and how they take place.

It seems to me that Moist pretty much has the view of the world that the great mass of people are a rather pedestrian kind of evil, and thus can be manipulated and deserve to be.

Moist's thefts from the forgeries at the banks are part of the game he plays seeing if he can outwit the rich and powerful--not for personal financial gain, but as a "game".

Nor has Moist, in his own mind, done anything all that wrong--because he hasn't seen the pain he has caused. He is quite insulted and yet upset by Pump's accusation that he has murdered 2.338 people.

But Moist changes in the course of the novel. He has a talent for manipulating other people and he really is far more intelligent than average. He has been forced by Vetinari's angel trick to see people as people. Consequently, he has developed a sense of conscience by the end of the book which is why he sets out to destroy Gilt and the Board of Directors of the Trunk. He is, in fact, the only one who can do it without destroying the society, which may explain why Vetinari chose him.

If one thinks of Moist in terms of Ponzi schemes, he'd be the original Ponzi--a small time con artist who took a number of people for what was a good deal of money to them, but not on a national scale.

Reacher Gilt (which sounds a bit like guilt) is much more like the type of corporate criminal you allude to. Gilt is operating on a much bigger scale with ambition so mad that even an Igor won't stay with him. He is the Bernie Madoff, the AIG, the Countrywide Executive (and all the others) of Ank-Morpork. It is significant, however, that Vetinari has the meeting with the Board of the Trunk at the beginning, and that Gilt (like a good Republican) insists that The Trunk is Private Property and cannot be regulated for the welfare of the state. We only come to see Gilt for the ruthless eveil man he is toward the end of the book.

Gilt remains a background figure until Pratchett has educated Moist. The fake message that Moist slips into the Trunk's transmission - The Charge from the Dead - is the revelation of the major corporate criminal. And like the amoral mad being that he is, Gilt is nowhere to be found by the time the message is read out. He has left his co-conspirators to "face the music" alone.

The Board of the Grand Trunk have taken over The Trunk because the original owners were not sophisticated enough in finance. This really is robbery with intent to kill. And Gilt's associates, the various bankers are corrupted by him, as he says in the final speech to Igor, because they are corruptible in nature. All of them have fiduciary responsibility to their depositors, shareholders, whatever--but they are embezzling for personal gain.

Gilt kills--not directly but like a corporate decision, without getting his hands dirty. He kills young Dearheart and he kills Angrahammrad by accident because he was trying very hard to kill Moist. Those people represent threats in some way to his operation and he is totally indifferent to the death of Angrahammrad and the near deaths of Groat and Stanley. He kills Horsefry because, although he is a part of the operation, he is also a threat, a weak link who might expose the scheme. And slowly but surely he is killing The Trunk--the operators who are forced to work in unsafe conditions, without adequate time for repair or rest for themselves. He is in the process of destroying one of Ank-Morpork's vital institutions and bringing an economic collapse like the Great Depression.

What distinguishes his activities from Moist's is Gilt's megalomaniac willingness to destroy a whole society for his personal gain. In roundworld terms, he is one of the "movers & shakers", the head of insurance industries, banks, oil and coal companies, who are concerned only for themselves because they believe they are the only people who matter.

Gilt steals money and life from society because he sees society, not as real individual people, but as a mass to be manipulated for his own profit.



My first reading of GP was that Terry had created a Butch Cassidy figure. A conman, yes, but a likable one. Then I read it again. And again.

Moist may differentiate himself from Gilt (whose name I read as "plated, false" rather than guilt), but he is no different. He is only unaware.

Embezzlement: Gilt & Co used Grand Trunk monies to buy the Trunk, but also dipped into other client's accounts to cover this. Not true embezzlement; just moving some numbers around. You know, like Moist did.

Yes, Moist blanches at Mr Pump's statement that he has killed "2.-whatever people" because he did not think through the damage he wreaked.
Wreaked is a pretty good word. How many people, now, in 1933, in 1873, lost everything because banks shuttered and paper money became worthless? And how many "did the Moist," knowingly and deliberately took advantage of those who did have a bit saved?


In GP (US paperback, pg 112), Gilt tells Horsefry that "nothing is going to go wrong" because Horsefry thinks of money in the old-fashioned way.
He goes on: "Money is not a thing. It is not even a process. It is a kind of shared dream. We dream that a small disc of common metal is worth the price of a substantial meal."

In MM (Us paperback, pg 107, 108), while being interviewed by Sacharissa, Moist uses Gilt's own analogy to describe worth when he says: "Sell the gold to the dwarfs. Money is a commodity, nothing more. A potato is worth more than gold."

Yep, these are different books. However, someone mentioned the evolution of Moist's character. Oh, yeah... he evolved.


Gilt hired Mr Gryle to kill and destroy. He knew it and accepted the consequences
.
Moist destroyed, too; the difference is he did so at two removes and only when he was shown the shadow of his damage by Spike, did he realize his actions affected real people in real time.


Moist did not think of the consequences of his actions.
Does this make him a "nicer" con man?
Does his donation of the stolen 150AM to the PO really absolve him of his damage? Does that donation truly mitigate his deliberate forgeries and grift?


Graft has always been with us. Some famous author (no, pooh, I don't remember who and am not going to look it up to satisfy your curiousity) said "8% graft is acceptable."
Ok, I could live with the county commissioners, school district and the village skimming 8.
I could even live with the bank taking 8 for their trouble.

It's when they wade into 8x arbitrary-number-here that I get upset then even more upset when I do some simple math and see just how much has been appropriated for "society."


Thing with GP, just as with all Pratchett's other novels, is that it does deal with people now and life now.
It just hits much closer to home.
I am interested what Moist will do with the A-M tax office.
Last edited by Trish on Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:37 pm

Dotsie wrote:
poohbcarrot wrote:Vetinari has re-programmed them so they can harm humans in self-defence.


I either missed that bit, or you're referring to Vetinari giving Mr Pump the power to harm on the authority of a government official. Which is a bit different. It means that Vetinari has developed an army of supersoldiers who will obey only him (if he sack all his employees :wink: ).


Lord Vetinari wrote:...other specialists, who are fully entitled to kill in their own defence or in the protection of the city and its interests. Why should Mr Pump be any different just because he's made of clay?

We alone know he has.....added instructions


Mr Pump was a split second away from smashing Stanley's head in with a heavy kettle.

He's a licenced to kill Terminator.

In Night watch, the barrier was against the interests of the Patrician at the time. If he had had 10 Mr Pumps and ordered them to destroy the barrier it would have been a blood bath.
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Postby Trish » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:44 pm

Sharlene--

You said Gilt and corporate decision in the same sentence.
In the US, a corp (S or C) is a legal entity, exactly like a person, with all the constraints, restraints and injunctions. Difference being that a corporation's sole aim is profit.


Figure that, as head of the Board of Directors, Gilt knows this. After all, US statutory law is based on English common law (interpretation), so the function of a corp in either country cannot be that different.

Gilt cuts employees and wages to keep or maximize profits.
Gilt eliminates other BoD members to keep or maximize his own share of those profits.


Reads like real life to me.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:26 pm

Trish - I agree about 'Gilt' being as in 'all that glitters is not gold' rather than 'guilt'. :)
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:56 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:"4 miles an hour is 672 miles a week".

4 x 24 x 7 = 672

4 x 24 x 8 = 768
You are not taking into account that the golems have a day off a week. :P :wink:
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Postby Dotsie » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:14 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:
Dotsie wrote:
poohbcarrot wrote:Vetinari has re-programmed them so they can harm humans in self-defence.


I either missed that bit, or you're referring to Vetinari giving Mr Pump the power to harm on the authority of a government official. Which is a bit different. It means that Vetinari has developed an army of supersoldiers who will obey only him (if he sack all his employees :wink: ).


Lord Vetinari wrote:...other specialists, who are fully entitled to kill in their own defence or in the protection of the city and its interests. Why should Mr Pump be any different just because he's made of clay?

We alone know he has.....added instructions


Mr Pump was a split second away from smashing Stanley's head in with a heavy kettle.

He's a licenced to kill Terminator.

In Night watch, the barrier was against the interests of the Patrician at the time. If he had had 10 Mr Pumps and ordered them to destroy the barrier it would have been a blood bath.


Exactly so - none of this was in self-defence, it was in defence of the city and its interests, as instructed by a government official.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:25 pm

And Mr. Pump is of course still a 'tool' in this analogy - if he was a bullet he'd still kill you whether or not Vetinari had ordered him to do it in defence of the city or to execute as a personal vendetta/professional hit. You can argue it both ways.

The real test is what a free Golem would do in the same circs - of it's own free will. They wouldn't necessarily choose to kill someone - they're so strong in a fight situation they could render someone perfectly incapable without having to kill them.
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:38 pm

bullets don't take the day off mr. Pump works for the government he is employed by the city of Ankh-Morpork.

Moist is not like Gilt, maybe in some ways but in some important ways he is clearly not. Gilt doesn't mind if somebody has to be killed to get at the money (Horsefry for example) Moist is very bothered by the fact that Pump thinks he killed 2,3 people. Moist never used weapons and he never killed anyone to get at the money and in the end Moist stays on the right path.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:22 pm

poohbcarrot wrote:Mr Pump was a split second away from smashing Stanley's head in with a heavy kettle.


Pump was gonna hit Stanley because Stanley had the kettle as he was "going to have a moment" with the heavy kettle because he thought Moist was going to hit Mr. Groat... ahem.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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