December 29th, 2013

Phoebe in Wonderland

Pandora WTF

So Pandora sent me an email saying that the Tuvan Throat Singing station was the one I listened to most this year. Which is news to me, because I didn't even remember having such a station on my account, though I wouldn't be surprised if I did. But even if I did, I'm pretty sure I've listened to the Jack Off Jill station about 50 to 100 times more often than all my other stations combined.

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"For a Living"

I was thinking the other day about the question "What do you do for a living?" and realized that if you asked that question on Traipah, even translated into the local language, most people would be confused by the question. You would have to explain it to them, because on Traipah everyone is guaranteed a living, regardless of what they do with their lives. (Though they are strongly encouraged to contribute.) And once you finally managed to explain the question to them, they would look at you with the kind of horrified facial expression you might see if someone from another culture came to our culture and casually alluded to the fact that in their culture they ritually rape and eat their own children sometimes.

Or I suppose, they might think you're joking at first and then you explain you're serious, that in our culture you need a job just to live even though people outnumber the jobs about 20 to 1 at least. Once they knew you were serious, THEN the look of horror would commence. And then you explain about the social services and welfare, the look of horror relaxes. But then you explain how food stamps keeps getting cut, and how welfare recipients and unemployment recipients are viewed, etc. etc., and the look of horror returns.

This kind of thing, among many others, is why the people of Traipah consider humans to be barbarians on the order of how we might view the Aztecs. It really says something about their collective character that they not only manage to tolerate humans, but even befriend them. After all, what are the odds that someone in our culture could befriend a pre-contact Aztec?

Oh, and it gets better, or worse as the case may be, for them. Not only did they have the mixed luck to have First Contact with a race of barbarians, but then they found out that theirs is possibly the only civilization in the whole Three Galaxies region that AREN'T barbarians. I think the Na'Voom Da and the Vorsht may be the only other decent civilizations in their universe, by their standards.

Hmmm... this gives me an idea. Like, have a scene in one of the stories that clearly illustrates to the readers the fact that, though they can befriend humans and other sophonts, the only species they treat as true equals are the Na'Voom Da and the Vorsht. Like, it somehow becomes clear that the people of Traipah treat humans and others like children, but it isn't very obvious because they don't look treat their children like sub-humans or pets the way we humans tend to do.

A less terrifying and more culturally relevant version of that question for Traipah would be "what do you do with your life?"

This was cross-posted from
You can comment either here or there.