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  1.  (8545.1)
    I've been speculating a bit about what it is Sirkka does and if it's morally defensible. At first glance she seems to keep a harem of thirteen or more brainwashed sex puppets but since she does it with the power of love!, she still gets to lay righteous fury on Luke for trying the same. It's not hypocritical because Luke is a jerk with a sense of entitlement the size of Jupiter and deserves every kick in the balls he gets. Or something like that.

    I think that's rather the wrong idea. The first and most comprehensive information we're given about Sirkka is that she "Loves everyone freely and unconditionally", and "teaches that to everyone she meets". It's also telling she constantly refers to her bedmates as her "children". My theory is this:

    Sirkka doesn't brainwash people as much as break down certain barriers in their minds, carefully over a period of time. She destroys your inhibitions, prejudices and fears, and so makes you capable to love without reservation, without judgment or fear of losing that which you love. Then you get to get used to that in a (relatively) safe environment surrounded by equally-mindblown peers, which is to say the harem. And that's the whole deal.

    We could call it psychological engineering, Caz would approve of that. Two questions remain however: Why doesn't Luke do that instead of the sleazy parasite gig? Could be because he's so damaged he doesn't actually realize the difference. Secondly, why doesn't Sirkka do her thing with him or any of the other Angels? That's trickier.

    Maybe they fear homogenization. Despite being fundamentally identical in many ways, the Angels have obvious seemingly irreconcilable differences, special interest areas that separate them as individuals while making them a more comprehensive collective organism. It would make sense for them to instinctively resist each others' mental manipulation even if they intellectually might agree with Sirkka's ideals, if we assume there's an intelligent purpose behind their design and they're actually a single superdimensional creature come to guide us on the path toward enlightened starchildren holding hands across spacetime or something along those lines.

    That's a lot to assume. But the alternative would seem to be that either none the others want to be part of that crap, or she considers them more precious than regular people and she respects them too much to do it to them, which either way would mean it's not a wholesome and pure thing she does.

    Any thoughts?
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2010
     (8545.2)
    Good points. And interesting.

    Also, remember that the world is essentially broken. To civilians,"strangers", ie. - anyone you don't know - could wish you good or ill in the Freakangels' world and you wouldn't know until you had your pants around your ankles. There was a rape camp in Whitechapel. Probably not a lot of "healthy sexuality" going on.

    As for the other FAs, one wears a tinfoil hat and wants no part in shagging, KK's horrible and shags boys from Lambeth Road, Kait is Batman and has no interest in shagging (but she does jerk off thinking about Quincy), Luke's a rapist, Mark was recently dead and/or unavailable, Miki's a bit of a kill-joy, Jack (whom Sirkka "loves") is a loner and not interested in sharing her with anyone, Arkady's crazy, Caz is too busy and the only other boy is up a tower all the time. And then there's Connor, who used to be fat. Eeew.
    •  
      CommentAuthorwarrenellis
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2010 edited
     (8545.3)
    And then there's Connor, who used to be fat.

    Connor, who THINKS he used to be fat and some of the other FAs play on that for fun. We've seen him as a slightly plump puppy-fat teenager, so we know that was mostly his body issues, not so much the truth.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2010
     (8545.4)
    @mister hex - would I be right in thinking that Connor is your FAVOURITEST EVA FREAKANGEL?

    As I've mentioned in the weekly threads, I've always taken Sirkka's harem thing to be some form of BDSM relationship. It certainly seems to share a lot of traits with those I've observed or been in, and I'm not sure there's any psychic hocus pocus involved in her building and maintaining said relationship. But if she IS using her powers to build and maintain those relationships without the knowledge or consent of her harem, then imho she's still violating them in a way that isn't a million miles away from what Luke did. Like mister hex said, considering the world the story is set in and the characters involved, I'm not sure there's all that much healthy sexuality to go around.
  2.  (8545.5)
    Interesting point, curb. I never considered it could be a sub/dom thing. I can't really see her zooming around handpicking people with the potential for enjoying degradation. Doesn't seem much like "free unconditional love". But then, it's a pretty foreign area to me.
  3.  (8545.6)
    Mark and Luke both have similar control issues, and I think that's the issue with comparison to what Sirkka does.

    I don't believe that what Sirkka does is brainwashing, because I think she gives her "harem" the freedom to express themselves sexually, without any reservations or inhibitions, as Jenny very well put it.

    What Luke did, and what I believe Mark did (albeit on a larger scale, and not for sexual gain) was to acheive dominance over others, with the simple shortcut of not allowing the victims free will or a choice in the matter.

    I did suggest at some point that perhaps there was a possibility that Luke had been shagging the girl and giving her some mind-blowing powers induced orgasms, and that when observed second hand, it looked like rape, but that arguement has since been proven moot since we were explicitly informed that it was indeed rape.

    Basically, Luke just wanted to get his rocks off, and used the girl as a masturbation tool.

    Mark, on the other hand, had he used tactics like Sirkka, would have had a willing army of followers. But Mark has the Ego, a big, fucking capital E ego, and doesn't have the patience to slowly sway little meat monkeys to his side. So he mass-mind controlled some sheep to... well, we don't know exactly what he was trying to do, do we? But there's no way it would have been a good thing, right?

    I see that, in some base concept, all three have similar ideas. In Sirkka's case, though, it allows her followers freedom of choice, a subtle releasing of desires and thoughts. In the other two's corner, it's dark and depraved. And a more forceful control, a dampening of free will and conscious thought. Even though what Mark had done was never specifically shown, I would far more be willing to consider what he did as rape, than what Sirkka does.

    It may also have a lot to do with the boys being, well, boys, and Sirkka being a woman. If a man was doing the same exact thing as Sirkka, with the same exact intentions and motivations, I still think it'd be a bit creepy. Ever meet one of those "orgy guys'? They always seemed like, yeah, that whole free love thing sounds great, man, but really, are you just trying to fuck my girlfriend?
  4.  (8545.7)
    Re-read book one. Sirkka's a teacher, but Luke is clearly a lecturer. Something of a difference.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2010 edited
     (8545.8)
    I'm not sure much degredation necessarily needs to be involved, just a shared sense of who chooses to be submissive and who chooses to be dominant, which I don't think stops the whole thing from being gentle and loving. That said, there does seem to be an amazingly high number of submissive types in Whitechapel, which again makes me wonder if Sirkka's powers are being used. Then again, it could be that their sexual "abnormality'"is a symptom of their post-crash psychology, or that there's less of a taboo about such things now that society has basically crumbled.

    ETA: sorry to skip your comments, Warren and governmentspy. You posted while I was away. The "Teacher versus lecturer" thing does make a whole lot of sense.
  5.  (8545.9)
    I'm so glad someone started a thread about this. Sirkka's harem is one of the most interesting things about the series, and the relationship between her and Jack is the heart of the series (as we saw in the big blow up at the end of last book.) I'm not sure you can really talk about Sirkka without talking about Jack.

    Sirkka's harem performs three functions. First, it has a personal function to her. Her personality is simply too large to be in a monogamous relationship (to Jack's regret.) Second, it has a practical purpose to Whitechapel. They take in a lot of refugees, and there aren't a whole lot of psychotherapists around to treat them. Thirdly, there's a magical element, although this is left more as subtext than anything else. Whitechapel is the location of some of the most horrific killings of women in history, and then the post-crash survivors turned it into a cannibalistic rape camp on top of that. Sirkka is reversing that energy, with the female in the dominant sphere. You don't have to dig that deep to enjoy the story, but it's there. It's significant because if you were to mention that to Jack, he would shake his head at it. "A cigar is just a cigar." Jack doesn't buy into the deeper meanings of things.

    It's interesting that as strongly as she believes what she's doing is right, Sirkka still needs Jack and is not happy without him. What that tells me is that her harem is her WORK, but Jack is her FAMILY. The only real private time they have is when she kicks the harem out or goes into his head when he's out on the boat. Does Jack need her? I would say yes. He simply has the normal reaction any old-fashioned dude would, even those that are inclined to be tolerant. Sirkka wants Jack to want her AS SHE IS, with the harem and all. Jack wants her to be traditional.

    Is the harem morally defensible? A fair question, considering how harshly the FA treat people who cross the line. A lot of Warren's other creator-owned work is political, and I wonder if it's best to look at FA in the same way. Of course, politics is the study of power in a society, and what the FA have built might not qualify as a political society just yet. A two-tier tribal society, perhaps? The issues the FA deal with (who qualifies as a citizen, which behavior should be tolerated, how to punish wrongdoers) are the issues that societies that are still in their infancy deal with. Would that make those issues protopolitical?

    In strict terms of right and wrong, the FA were already mass murderers when they did the BIG PUSH. Even if you think it happened involuntarily, that would make them guilty of about a billion or more counts of manslaughter at least. Hard to say that Sirkka's harem is morally indefensible on the one hand and simply overlook the deaths of billions of people on the other.

    In terms of moral equivalence, if you were to say there is no right and wrong, then that means allowing Mark and Luke to do whatever they want too. The society would break down pretty damn quick.

    The best way to describe it is to say Sirkka's harem is nontraditional but positive. That's why Jack doesn't even bother to criticize it. No good would come of abolishing Sirkka's work.

    The FA simply do what ALL societies do at all times: focus on survival first, functionality second, and morality third. If someone is protecting the society, they earn the right to live their life as they want. That's Sirkka. Who is the first one to break out the big gun at the first sign of trouble? Sirkka. What does Luke do? Tells everyone to piss off and then roots for the attacking party as he sits on the curb. People don't like to hear that certain individuals have more right to decide how things are done in a society than others, but that's just how society works. The builders build it their way, and the outcasts tear it down.

    @warrenellis

    Thanks for the clarity. Sirkka's an elementary schoolteacher (they tend to be idealistic) and Luke's a post-graduate professor (they are usually out of touch with the real world.)
  6.  (8545.10)
    When it comes to the Big Push, I find it easy to forgive those little angels. They were young and stupid, they were hounded and lonely, they didn't mean for anyone to get hurt and most of all they didn't have any idea what they were doing. It's like if you're five years old and someone gives you a lighter to play with that turns out to be a flamethrower. In my book that's nothing compared to, well, anything any of them makes anyone do against their will.

    As for the rest of your words I'll simply say good post.
  7.  (8545.11)
    Thanks, it gave me a chance to share some observations that just never came up in the weekly thread.
    •  
      CommentAuthorjohnjones
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2010
     (8545.12)
    It's like if you're five years old and someone gives you a lighter to play with that turns out to be a flamethrower. In my book that's nothing compared to, well, anything any of them makes anyone do against their will.


    Maybe. But if they burned down my house with my family inside, I'm going to be inclined to blame them, even if they were five when they did it. At some point results have to count as much as intentions and six billion or so instances of involuntary manslaughter should count for at least as much as one deliberate rape.
  8.  (8545.13)
    This is one of the best things I've read online in a long time, and I'm glad it was brought up. It's something I hadn't thought about before...which makes it one of my favorite things in the world.
  9.  (8545.14)
    I guess my view of crime and punishment is purely rehabilitating. It doesn't matter what you've done as much as what can be done about it or to stop if from happening again. The Push is a mistake they've learned from, while Luke and theoretically Sirkka have attitude problems that could be adjusted.

    If none of them can be killed it's especially important to consider the long term effects. Would you like them to be beaten or imprisoned to pay for their crimes? It wouldn't matter a lot to them a hundred years later. Nothing we could do to them has any lasting effect other than maybe psychologically. I'll leave you to imagine the implications of that. (Because I just woke up and can't formulate my thoughts very well.)
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2010
     (8545.15)
    @ curb - My thoughts on Connor are well known to those who are literate. The rest can go fuck themselves, they don't read FREAKANGELS anyway. Ahem.

    Think about what Sirkka does. She "rehabilitates" sex for people. How does she do that? Well, I imagine there are some blowjobs involved, among other things but ... let's say she takes Jack Jim and let's call her ... Jules. And sits them down. And says "Jim, touch her." And he's got to do it gently, he can't just paw her. And then she says "Jules, touch him." And Jules, who may or may not have been treated quite violently (from a very young age - the world has been like this for seven years, remember. If you were a kid when it happened, you saw nothing but awfullness before you landed almost literally in Sirkka's lap.) Jules touches him, gently but tentaively, at first. As she learns that this is a safe space, she becomes bolder. And Jim learns to listen and respond, not just take what he wants and roll over and go to sleep. Eventuall, they learn to trust people, even if it is only people they've shagged. I think Sirkka does a fair amount of shagging but it's not like she's fucking people into submission. (Although, Warren, I imagine you could get 600 pages out of that. If you were Alan Moore. KIDDING!) Sirkka facilitates people getting together and learning about each other and themselves. (She probably keeps the cutest boys - or girls- for herself. And one would imagine there's some kind of criteria to even get in the door of her harem, otherwise even male in Whitechapel would be complaining of pains in their personality that only Sirkka can fix ...)

    Imagine you "grew up" in Whitechapel. It makes the hideous Victorian version (the one with Jack the Ripper) look like fucking Disney World. There's a rape camp, there's cannibals, there's a constant shortage of everything except brutality, death, disease and horror. You're twelve, say, on the cusp of puberty and you look forward to losing your virginity the way a pilot in the Battle of Britain looks at his next mission : with utter dread and trepidation. Along comes Sirkka and not only does she make you feel horny, she makes you feel COMFORTABLE. If she's using her mind-powers to put the whammy on people, it's only in the most passive way. (Remember when Kait talked about mind reading? "It's like searching an office to find a post-it note stuck to the bottom of the bin.") Sirkka's the therapist.

    This probably made no sense. My robot brain needs beer ...
  10.  (8545.16)
    I COULD BE COMPLETELY WRONG:

    Post-oopsie, I'm pretty sure Sirkka's harem is morally defensible. I interpret what I've seen to be that the only thing Sirkka does with her powers (in the harem, regarding sex) involving calming and soothing things. I believe if a guy/girl/they said no, she'd ask if they were sure and if they said no again, she'd leave them alone.

    A question for Mr. Ellis, if he'll entertain it: Are Sirkka's sex thoughts broadcast over the same mental airwaves as normal speech? If so, I'm willing to give Jack a lot more latitude in whatever he does, because hearing the girl he loves having sex with other dudes for years straight would eviscerate me emotionally. Speaking of which, Jack loves a girl but she can't love just him and not just that, but that overabundance of love she has does the community demonstrable good and I'd bet money he knows that even if she could just love him, the community he's trying to nurture would be hurt, if not imperiled, by the Sirkka-sized hole.
  11.  (8545.17)
    A question for Mr. Ellis, if he'll entertain it: Are Sirkka's sex thoughts broadcast over the same mental airwaves as normal speech?

    From where are you getting the idea that she broadcasts that sort of thing?
  12.  (8545.18)
    From where are you getting the idea that she broadcasts that sort of thing?

    Mr. Ellis, Foremost: Misinterpretation and being unclear on how the powers work and the degree to which an 'Angel has to choose to broadcast a thought. (Is it like tweeting?)


    Specifically:


    +The scene where Jack gets whacked on the head while underwater and Sirkka wakes up screaming "Jack!" If the Angels all control what they broadcast, then was Jack just constantly choosing to broadcast whatever happened to him? Or is there a radar-ish thing he fell off of?

    +Karl saying to KK, "I had to wake up to you peeling yourself off some Lambeth Road boy" as to why he put a tinfoil hat on to shut out other people's broadcasts. Since KK was horrified people would find out, why would she choose to broadcast it? If she wouldn't choose to let people know, then I interpreted, (and here is the jumping off point) that some things are broadcast, regardless of what person feeling them would want. I wondered if orgasm worked the same way.

    EDITED at 5:20 p.m. to make things clearer and avoid arse eels.
  13.  (8545.19)
    ...

    ...


    ...yeah, I need to stop reading this thread now
  14.  (8545.20)
    I'm looking forward to seeing Paul's artwork for the Patriarchal Rape Machine. Is it like a combine harvester with a top hat and a big bushy moustache that belches out some kind of rohypnol gas while it's whirring blades adorned with giant prehensile robot cocks violate those in the immediate area?