This is a long post, but much of it references TWWF-relevant tweets and Echo Chamber, interwoven with other references I thought of while thinking through this web of intrigue. For extra credit, consider how this might relate to the metaverse model discussion, or simply to the practical challenge of deciding what to do in TWWF, and how to discuss such questions with others. Again, it's a Wall of Text, but if you dig through it, it might be worth it.
If anyone on here hasn't seen this, check it out. (Same with other EC episodes.)
Echo Chamber: Show Within A Show
Tom: "See that's another reason shows within a show are fun -- are you recording this? that's great -- because mistakes you actually make, are mistakes the chracters made, and they're not your fault any more."
Ahh, excuses! Infinite excuses! What might the moral complications of that be?
Dana Shaw @FortuitousDana @PixelmageLezard I'd kind of rather not get into serious game stuff, but...we wanted a morally challenging game.
Morality and excuses have a strange relationship to each other, don't they? Especially with Genre Savvy types. And even more so with those who like to mess with authority, and/or mess with underlings.
That leads into this Mr. A exchange: https://twitter.com/YouHaveFailedUs/sta ... 5711692800
Mr: A: GlyphSun TRY ADJUSTING YOUR MORAL FIBRES UNTIL THEY BECOME COMFORTABLE.
GlyphSun: It's really more of an expression, they can't physically be... ...Wait can you PHYSICALLY adjust your moral fibres? ._.
My: A: GlyphSun OUR SUPERVISORS SOMETIMES CAN. OTHERWISE WE GET TERMINATED.
Hah, how does one adjust their moral fibers? Perhaps with a Hurricane of Excuses.
Speaking of excuses, here's a potential Freudian Excuse:
Graham @WackyMPractical @FortuitousDana I majored in theatre. Never got the chance to do a musical though. I was THIS close #CanYouSeeMyFingers [ https://twitter.com/FortuitousDana/stat ... 2656959489 ]
Read the Freudian Excuse trope... doesn't that sound like a good excuse for the Designated Villain to be taunting Mr. Administrator?
Then, the Powers That Be throw in gems like this:
The Faceless @YouHaveFailedUs @eli_gone_crazy WE RESPECT YOUR STANCE. WE ASK THAT YOU RESPECT US. IN OUR BOOK, THAT MEANS 100% TOTAL DEFERENCE TO OUR WHIMS [ https://twitter.com/YouHaveFailedUs/sta ... 7872232448 ]
Ahh, the truth is spoken!
Hey There @GlyphSun
@YouHaveFailedUs @eli_gone_crazy That's, um... not how it works for humans I'm afraid. Respect is a two way street.
The Faceless @YouHaveFailedUs
@GlyphSun WE HAVE HEARD THIS. IT IS HARD TO INTERNALIZE IF YOU ARE RAISED IN A TOP-DOWN SOCIETY.
Oh, another excuse. Perhaps a justified one. Then again, this is a multi-protagonist plot, isn't it?
In the search of parallels to Mr. A in pre-existing drama, consider Francis Uquhart from BBC's House of Cards (partly based on Shakespeare, and full of tropes!)
House of Cards- FU has a private chat with you [2m]
Creepy, eh? So how does a character like that go about sulking?
Next, consider this video:
Crying Real Tears - Acting Tips By Audition Portal [3m]
"if we don't cry along with them, if we don't connect with them, we often feel cheated. Sometimes we may see tears, but we don't feel their pain -- Why? Many times a scene can be so powerful, and we sob along with the actor, because we simply believe it all, and we're overtaken with emotion. A heartfelt crying scene is the body's orchestration and reaction to a memory, to pain, sadness or anger in our own lives. Tears are simply a vehicle for the inherent truth in the lines to literally spill out... if you produce fake tears, you're missing an important part of the emotional equation... it's important to know where the pain is coming from, and you must first understand the character's reasons and emotional triggers for crying. There must be some truth to what's happening emotionally, or else it's more like lying, than acting... there are times when we cannot help but be moved, because the actor has explored the emotional honesty of a character... but don't give the tears themselves such high regard. Know the words, feel the characters' point of view, their loss, their sadness, feel the character's situation in your own life. Imagined that it's happened to you, and the tears will flow all on their own."
Now, consider Mr. Administrator's question:
"DO YOU SEE YOURSELVES AS ZIMBARDO'S PRISONERS?"
GlyphSun replied, "Not precisely, but to some extent we do feel forced into a role and into certain actions."
Mr. Administrator responded, "CURIOUS. YOU BROKE THE MOULD RATHER DECISIVELY TODAY, AND YET YOU FEEL CONFINED."
And GlyphSun replied, "Must be the pressure of having the weight of reality resting on our shoulders. I guess you understand that feeling. "
Game or not, we're expected to identify with, and empathize with a range of parties -- Mr. Administrator, a variety of metaguards, various fictional and real characters. It's a complex task, especially figuring out the real deal of each of their situations, whether a matter of fiction or reality. Even adding artificial barriers between Echo Chamber and TWWF, there are undeniable points of overlap, and cracks in the wall between each, and our own real lives and psyches.
This gets into a quote from Roger Travis, a humanist who studies the relationship between Homeric Epic and games.
Here, he writes about HALO, but the same ideas are at least as applicable to TWWF:
Epic Life: Back to the Bungle 2: http://www.playthepast.org/?p=3277
"The interaction of the player with the ruleset of Halo to create a performance is a material thing. HALO is a performance practice which creates material artifacts in the form of videos and written records, not to mention those performances by novelists like Greg Bear that are recorded in novel form and published. A rules of the text reading suggests that these material artifacts of performance are themselves humanistic practices that we exclude from the category of “doing humanities” at our own peril. From this perspective, the role of the humanities professor is precisely to do what Plato wanted the philosopher of the cave to do–that is to break the prisoners’ chains: to break those chains so that the prisoner may stand up and see that he or she has been in prison and then, when he or she sits down again, to have a better argument than the philosopher of the cave had for why everyone should get up and become aware of themselves as performers. The role of the professor of humanities is to show the HALO-player that he or she is also playing his or her epic life. If there is a crisis in the humanities, it has come about because humanities professors, rather than striving to be chain-breakers, have instead striven to be shadow-puppeteers."
Who are the shadow-puppeteers, and who are the chain-breakers, in all of this?