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From: "Jim Henley" <jlhenley@erols.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) WATCHMEN (spoilers)
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 21:03:15 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Alex David Groce
> Does anyone else who's read WATCHMEN agree with my assessment of
> Veidt, and
> if so, what precisely (I think I can say in general) make
> Severian's case so
> different?  (Or, since I know there are some on the list who see things
> differently, what makes Severian the same?)

I completely agree. Veidt's a rotter. The rest of them are indeed culpable
for going along with it.

As for what makes Severian different? Um, excellent question! And I'd tell
you but... it would spoil the satisfaction of working it out for yourself!
Yes, that's it!

Um, actually, I can think of about three very equivocal things in
Severian's favor. I am not prepared to say they add up to a justification:

1) Severian knows he's doing "wrong" in addition to doing good. "Yes, he
[Baldanders] is a bad man, as I am and you are." (From memory, please don't
shoot me over variations.) Merits: Eh.

2) If you buttonholed random Urth citizen number 43,256 and said, "The New
Sun you wish for may come, but it will definitely mean your - and I mean
your - death," maybe most of them would say "okay." Merits: Eh. Most of the
sailors were against it, although we can suspect that many of them are from
times before the Old Sun had cooled so much as it has in - given S's
problems with temporality, let's say Agila's - time. Also, should majority
rule apply on this one anyway? I doubt it. Also, we could always ascribe
any favorable responses to "conditioning" - been raised in that faith from
birth and all that.

3) The Universe of the New Sun really works that way. That is to say, there
really is a God and it really is his plan. Merits: Good work if you can get

> Also, I'm assuming that between the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER and the
> Ozymandias comparison, Moore at least strongly implies the same judgment,
> although I think it's (nicely) ambiguous.

The last page of Watchmen puts the line "Nothing beside remains" into my
head. It seems unlikely that Veidt's scheme will last because his deception
seems perishable. In some ways this dodges the harder question which is,
"Well, what if he _could_ have perfectly deceived everyone?" For me the
answer is easy - he's still a bastard. But that won't be true for everyone.

Note: The foregoing bloviation on matters of ethical opinion was loosed
solely because precisely that was requested. <g>


"These are the days of empty kitchens"
              -- Sheryl Crow

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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