13 July 2006

The 9/11 Flying Carpets... Part III - The Narrative

The 9/11 Flying Carpets and the Magic Jet Fuel from Aladdin’s Lamp
(Part III - The Narrative)

Preamble: Laws of Physics don’t change or morph in the world which we know and perceive as real. In the segment of the reality spectrum that we are tuned to, events (incidents) occur sequentially and plausibly – they always do.

When a physical event occurs, it lives behind a footprint that can be examined, explained and analyzed. There’s always a perfectly simple explanation for what happens in our world (Google for Occam’s razor).

For example, buildings don’t collapse without a reason, steel doesn’t melt in jet fuel, and buildings don’t blow up spontaneously, but when they are packed with explosives that are then detonated...

In the world of fiction created by Hollywood, special effects, and make-believe ‘magic’, however, events take a different course: Things can appear out of the blue sky and disappear in a puff of smoke without any reason, trace or explanation – we sometimes believe in the fantasy and 'magic' because of psychological conditioning, influence of rhetorical devices, or fulfillment of an emotional need.

Literary Theory. According to the literary theory, “‘narrative’ is a story or part of a story. A story is any form of text, regardless of medium, describing a sequence of events caused and experienced by characters, some of whom may be fictional.”

Narrative - Traditional Paradigm: “People are essentially thinking beings, basing their reasoned decisions on the merits of discussion and evidential reasoning; what is judged rational is determined by the knowledge and understanding displayed, and by how the case is argued.”

Walter Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm: “The Narrative Paradigm is a theory proposed by Walter Fisher that all meaningful communication is a form of storytelling or to give a report of events […] and so human beings experience and comprehend life as a series of ongoing narratives, each with their own conflicts, characters, beginnings, middles, and ends.

“In non-technical terms, no matter what the context (whether scientific, philosophical, legal, etc) a narrative is a story, an interpretation of some aspect of the world that is historically and culturally grounded and shaped by human personality (per Walter Fisher).”

Storytelling Animals: “Fisher offers a humanistic model of communication in that individuals take sometimes complex information and transform it into narratives. This characterizes humans as ‘storytelling animals’ exchanging messages with each other, and that each message is judged as credible in terms of its consistency and by reference to the values and beliefs of the audience.”

Narrative Rationality: “Fisher reacts against this model as [being] too limited and suggests a new paradigm of ‘narrative rationality’.

He begins with the proposition that:

People are essentially storytellers;

Although people claim ‘good’ reasons for their decisions, these reasons include history, culture, and perceptions about the status and character of the other people involved (all of which may be subjective and incompletely understood);

The test of narrative rationality is based on the probability, coherence and fidelity of the stories that underpin the immediate decisions to be made; and

The world is a set of stories from which each individual chooses the ones that match his or her values and beliefs.”

In practice, both paradigms coexist; however, the people who are 'essentially thinking beings, basing their reasoned decisions on the merits of discussion and evidential reasoning' are heavily outnumbered by the 'storytelling animals' who apply subjective reasoning though their reasons are incompletely understood by them.

As every successful scriptwriter, film director, or magician knows, the scripts always target the [less-discerning] majority in the audience!

Fiction: “Fiction is storytelling of imagined events and stands in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims about reality.”

What’s a Plot? Aristotle says in Poetics, “a plot in literature is ‘the arrangement of incidents’ that (ideally) each follow plausibly from the other.”

A-Plot: “A-Plot is a cinema and television term referring to the plotline that really drives the story. This doesn't mean it's the most important, but rather the one that forces most of the action.”

The A-Plot in The 9/11 Flying Carpets and the Magic Jet Fuel from Aladdin’s Lamp script is about a group of 19 lesser genies from Al-Cock-a-doodle-dooterrorist’ clan who hate the Al-Anarkian way of life and their freedoms (!)

They undergo training by the one surly Genie, Osama Bin Gurian [and his sidekicks, see Stock Characters] in the acts of black magic, sorcery and terror. They enter Al-Anarkia to wreak havoc. Rather than being turned away or arrested at the borders as genies of ill-repute (they are on the intelligence agencies ‘Terror Lists’) they are welcomed with open arms to Al-Anarkia. In fact, their entry to the country is made conveniently easy by the Mock Caliph himself, who has previously changed the Visa requirements for the genies.

On entry to Al-Anarkia they are all being put under surveillance by the government’s numerous police and spy agencies. However, on the fateful morning of 9/11 the surveillance is mysteriously (and conveniently) lifted so that they could hijack four flying carpets and attack various targets…

Their ‘success’ rate in the alleged hijacking of the flying carpts, hitting the targets and creating carnage proves to be phenomenal, even though they have little or no experience in flying or navigating flying carpets. The flying carpets, too, work as if by magic. They destroy tall towers and punch holes in thick layers of reinforced concrete.

Shrub the Mock Caliph, Al-Anarkia’s superhero [are you kidding me?], and his sidekicks [the lesser, chicken heroes] then wage a long war against ‘terrorism’, or ‘War on Terror’, to ‘protect’ the citizens of Al-Anarkia, restore ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘stability’ to all other countries that are ruled by despots like Ali-Baba.

Ultimately, the plot aims to unite all of the white people in the ‘free’ countries against the poor ‘colored’ countries that breed ‘terrorists’ who hate ‘freedom!’ and Al-Anarkian way of life.

The A-Plot is mostly fictional and is used to shroud all but one of other subplots, the B-Plot.

The B-Plot is semi-transparent, though not completely hidden. In the B-Plot, the scriptwriters employ Foreshadowing, a literary device, by dropping subtle hints (which are amplified by mainstream media quote whores, the make-believe ‘renegade’ authors on the Internet and alternative media) about the plot. They leave the audience to work out the ‘real’ reasons behind the stated goal of the fictional ‘War on Terror’. The B-Plot is used also as a fallback option, pumped with ‘we are doing all of this for you’ rhetoric. The B-Plot is meant to make the majority of the audience feel good (Schadenfreude, a German term meaning 'pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune') about maintaining their lifestyles despite the suffering that it brings to the others and despite the physical limitations and constraints imposed by nature. [The earth’s natural resources are running alarmingly low, the ecosystems are collapsing and Peak Oil is looming.] Capitalism is cannibalism. The big fish must eat the small fish to stay alive. Al-Anarkia would use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Poppyistan to build military bases poised against oil-producing countries (the vast opium fields would also be a great treat for the elite and members of the security services). Al-Anarkia then invades Baghdad to control her vast oil reserves. The B-Plot is the ultimate justification for the A-Plot and is used as a powerful Rhetorical Device to remedy any inconsistency that the audience might have noticed in the A-Plot. The Narrative goes something like this: "Why should we let these evil terrorists (man, women, children, babies and all) who don’t like our way of life, attack our country and kill our people be entitled to the oil in their countries when we, the ‘victims of terrorism’, have to cough up 3 dollars for a gallon of gas?"

The C-Plot is a real (non-fiction) plot. A desperate investor, The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through A Dream, who has recently bought the lease for Twin Treasure Towers, plans to destroy the Towers (and another building, No. 7) during the 9/11 attacks and use the insurance money to rebuild them. The Towers are loss-making; however, to demolish and rebuild them by conventional means would prove prohibitively expensive. The Man Who Stole the Dish of Gold Wherein The Dog Ate, and other perpetrators also plan to rob the Twin Treasure Towers of vast quantities of gold bullions, precious stones, financial instruments and other valuables such as highly sensitive data… and possibly destroy certain damaging evidence that are stored therein) in the confusion created by the action in the fictional A-Plot. Also in this plot, the ‘defense’ industry plans to rake in billions in defense contracts. They devise diabolic schemes to sell individuals, businesses, airlines and governments new anti-missile missile systems that can intercept the terrorists' nuclear missiles and other terrible weapons of mass destruction (!) WMD. Clearly, people need protection in their toilets, homes, offices, cars, planes, yachts … against the Poop Missiles, the missing WMD, that the Al-Cock-a-doodle-doo terrorists without borders could defecate on them anyplace, anytime.

The D-Plot is somewhat arcane. Perceived enemies of Israel, the world’s 1.2 billion Moslems, must be annihilated and all of their land, water and oil reserves be given to Israelis, who need it to prosper and expand...as 'promised'.

The E-Plot is wholly esoteric. It’s about Baghdad, the Babylonian Kabala and Rapture...

Plot Generator: A plot generator is “a fictional plot device which permits the generation of plots for an extended serial without requiring a great deal of logical connection between the episodes”.

A plot generator allows the scriptwriters to introduce any idea the wish into the story. “The TARDIS in the ‘Doctor Who’ [British] television series is the epitome of a plot generator, in that it can take the Doctor anywhere in space and time, where he can encounter anything the writers want him to encounter. The HoloDeck, introduced in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, could also be viewed as a plot generator, as its open ended nature allowed the show's writers to construct a number of stories later in the series.”

In The 9/11 Flying Carpets and the Magic Jet Fuel from Aladdin’s Lamp the plot generator is the one ‘Al-Cock-a-doodle-doo’ the ‘Terrorist Genies Without Borders’ a fictional group capable of striking any target, anyplace, anytime to wreak havoc on innocent parties in the heart of the ‘free’ and ‘civilized world.’

Narrative Hook: “A narrative hook (or hook) is something in the opening of a story that "hooks" the reader's attention so that he will read on. One of the commonest forms is dramatic action, which engages the reader into wondering what the consequences of the action will be.“One of the commonest forms is dramatic action, which engages the reader into wondering what the consequences of the action will be. This particular form has been recommended from the earliest days, stemming from Aristotle, and the widely used term ‘in medias res’ stems from the Roman Empire.” In James Bond movies the hook is often in the opening with an action-packed dramatic sequence.

In The 9/11 Flying Carpets and the Magic Jet Fuel from Aladdin’s Lamp the scriptwriters use the impact of the flying carpet against the Twin Treasure Towers as hook.

However, action in itself is regarded as an insufficient hook. The audience should be made to “wonder what will happen next, or what the reasons for the actions to occur were.”

Further, “overly dramatic openings may leave the reader indifferent because the characters acting or being acted on are non-entities; even murder of a faceless character may not engage interest.”

So the scriptwriters recommended the authorities in Al-Anarkia to employ a Terror Alert System to create an additional and powerful hook. As the effect of the initial actions wane, the state of the Terror Alert Condition is raised, e.g., from ‘blue for guarded’ to ‘yellow for elevated’ to ‘orange for high’ and possibly to ‘red for severe’; but rarely, if ever, down to ‘green!’

Stock characters: A stock character is a fictional character that relies heavily on cultural types or stereotypes for its personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. Stock characters are instantly recognizable to members of a given culture. Because of this, a frequent device of both comedy and parody is to wildly exaggerate the expected mannerisms of stock characters.

Plot Device: “A plot device is a person or an object introduced to a story to affect or advance the plot.” However, if a story is poorly-written the readers would notice “such awkward or contrived plot devices” that they would have ‘serious trouble maintaining suspension of disbelief; indeed, the devices may even leave plot holes.’”

A List of Plot Devices: Chekhov's Gun; Cliffhanger; Deathtrap; Deus ex machina; Discovery; Eavesdropping; Flashing arrow; Foreshadowing; MacGuffin; Narrative hook; Pistol effect; Plot coupon; Plot dump; Plot generator; Plot point; Quest; Red herring; Reversal; Sexual tension; Stock character; Villain; Voyeurism.

Narrative Environment: “A narrative environment is a space, whether physical or virtual, in which stories can unfold. A virtual narrative environment might be the narrative framework in which game play can proceed. A physical narrative environment might be an exhibition area within a museum, or a foyer of a retail space, or the public spaces around a building - anywhere in short where stories can be told in space.”

In The 9/11 Flying Carpets and the Magic Jet Fuel from Aladdin’s Lamp the narrative environment is the Homeland and the rest of the ‘free world’ where the fictitious terrorists can strike at leisure anytime.

Source of Quotes: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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