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Guy Maddin's favorite A.D.
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"The concept of the hero is, of course, as old as storytelling itself. In Joseph Campbell’s landmark work “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, he describes the Monomyth, also known as the Hero’s Journey. As you know, the basic concept is simple enough. The hero journeys forth from home to a strange new world, encounters obstacles to his goal, reaches the goal by overcoming a supreme ordeal, and returns to his home with the goal achieved. Nearly every myth and story in the history of humanity, no matter the culture that originated them, will follow this basic outline to some degree. It is our oldest, and most universal story concept by an incredibly wide margin. In fact, the myth of the Hero’s Journey is one a very few things that define us as a species. We’ve studied the Hero’s Journey in previous classes, but today we'll look into it's specific application...."

--------------------------------------

Beep.


Beep.


Two minutes left. Maybe.

She'd made her way past the upturned furniture in the living room and through the kitchen, beyond the charred body of Elizabeth Priestly. In fact, she'd made better time than she'd expected, given the two bullet holes. But she had places to go, things to do, and Eris Marquis was not going to let a little thing like her upcoming death keep her from finishing things.


Beep.


Beep.

Beep.


--------------------------------------

"Now, although the Hero’s Journey is universal, the predominantly Western model of storytelling adds another layer to the myth; that being that the hero must be inherently good and must be opposed by a villain who is not. This is a concept that goes all the way back to the beginnings of Western-exclusive myths and religions. You’ll notice that in the Ancient Greek, Norse, Roman myths, none of them have a singular “bad guy”. Sure there’s Loki, Hades, other gods that represent darkness, chaos or death, but they are not inherently evil any more than Zeus or Thor were inherently good. In fact, as I’m sure you’ve all studied in the past, Zeus was a real bastard when it came down to it. Buddhism, Hinduism, religions that sprang out of the Eastern hemisphere, also do not have the same concept of an outwardly evil opponent to their deities, and when evil does exist, it’s usually personified as an internal force.

Meanwhile, Western religions are very much rooted in the idea of good vs. evil, and the stories that follow from them do likewise. God will always have his Satan. Good guys wear white, bad guys wear black. Luke Skywalker learns to master the Force and defeats the Empire to save the Galaxy. Even the concept of the antihero or tragic hero is not much more than a polish of the idea. Western antiheroes are almost exclusively good guys with stubble and wounded hearts, and they’ll always end up fighting against someone or something even worse than they are. Macbeth is done in by his sinister wife and the manipulation of the three witches. Jay Gatsby is destroyed by a society far more corrupt and phony than he is. Anakin Skywalker falls prey to the machinations of the evil Emperor, but redeems himself at the end.

Now, I’m sure that many of you are thinking that the basic concept of the Hero’s Journey, and of hero and villain is just that, a concept. It’s useful for our myths, our stories, because it simplifies human life to the basic story of good fighting evil. Surely, we wouldn’t reduce REAL LIFE to such base concepts, right? We all realize that real life, and real people operate on levels far deeper than we could ever portray in a limited time through storytelling, don’t we?

And it’s of course on this expectation that we move into our discussion on Survival of the Fittest...."

--------------------------------------

Beep.

Beep.


Eris had stopped laughing once she'd reached the inside. It hurt too much to laugh. But she couldn't keep from grinning. She still wasn't sure exactly when the realization had hit her, but it had made it impossible not to appreciate the beautiful poetry of the situation. It was downright CLASSIC! The greatest playwrights and poets of the Elizabethan Age could not have come up with a better ending!

And to think that all this time, she'd wracked her brain, wondering how it had been that she couldn't seen to buy a break, that everything had gone wrong for her on this island.

It had all been so obvious.

Beep.

Beep.

Beep


--------------------------------------

"We could see it in Reality Television that existed before Survival of the Fittest did, of course. These shows, although clearly manipulated in many fashions, were not fiction. They were not stories written by an author. They involved real people in competition with each other for a goal. Yet, with a little help from the editors, these real people were often reduced to the typical Western stereotype of hero and villain. Why reduce real life to such basic concepts?

Because frankly, the audience demanded it. They watch these shows and don’t want to look into the deeper meanings of the characters. And I say characters because on the television show, that’s what they are. The audience doesn’t want to think of them as real people. And why would you? Wouldn’t it make you uncomfortable to think that the person who backstabbed another to get further in the game may have had real, legitimate, reasons for doing what they did? Or, were they actually doing good, performing a service, and the audience just saw it as evil as it appeared filtered through a television screen?

Now, we have the ultimate reality television show, Survivor of the Fittest. And as anyone can see by the largely youthful fanbase of the show, it takes this distillation to the extreme. The kids who watch this show don't see the kids involved in it as real, because that would be absolutely horrific to most of them. When you reduce someone to a character in a story, you don’t have to think about how you’re watching real people, real high school students, forced to murder each other.

So, those that play the game are the bad guys, and those who fight against them are the good ones. The most popular of course, are the antiheroes, characters like Adam Dodd who are ultimately heroic in their actions but achieve multiple kills by going through hell and back to do so.

We’ll use a character in the most recent version of the show, Eris Marquis, as an example here. Now, Eris was widely known on the island as being, to use the quote I’ve seen most often on the Internet about her, “what a bitch!” To the viewing audience, Eris was a villainous character, a “player”, someone who got her deserved comeuppance when she fired at the heroic character Steve Digaetano, and he returned fire on her. But can you really judge Eris Marquis, or Steve Digaetano, based on what you see of them through a television camera? Are things as simple as him being good and her being bad? Let’s try digging deeper, shall we?

Steve Digaetano was known as a hero because he fit the basic mold. He was good looking, popular, never killed unless he was attacked, and tried to protect his friends. He also failed at doing so on nearly every occasion, and often acted like a complete jackass to people he did not have existing friendships with. Still, he got the heroic edit, so he's looked upon as the good guy. After all, he took out people like Eris Marquis, preventing a villainous character like her from killing more people and winning the game. By doing so, he proved his strength in character and willingness to go the distance to achieve the greater good. These are all classic steps in Steve's Heroic Journey......"

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Beep.

Beep. Beep.


Reaching her destination, she flopped tiredly onto a chair in the dining room, blood still pouring from her side and midsection. It was worth the journey though. The dining room had been almost completely untouched during the previous two weeks, with nary a corpse or mess to be found. It was the blissful, untouched solitude she'd been seeking ever since she'd woken up on this place so long ago. Even Neil Sinclair hadn't hit the dining room when he'd gone around smashing the cottage's cameras earlier.

Ugh. Horrid things, weren't they? These cameras, recording their every move for the idiot public at large. They were a downright invasion of her privacy! If only she had some way.....

Ah, yes. Well, last shots count for all, don’t they?

Eris still clenched the Taurus, that which had granted her power, in her right hand. Bemused, she brought her arm up in the direction of the first camera.

She aimed with one hand, and tried to blink away her increasingly blurry vision.

Then, with one shot, the camera blew apart, plastic and glass and wiring shattering into a thousand different pieces. And she started to laugh once more.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

--------------------------------------

"But let's go back to Eris. One of Ms. Marquis’ humorous “character quirks” to the viewing audience, was that she was an absolutely terrible shot. After all, she fired her gun at half a dozen different people over the course of her time on the island, and only managed to kill someone she WASN’T aiming at! She even ran out of bullets during a crucial fight against Morgan Green, and in her final act, missed Steve Digaetano despite his being less than ten feet away from her with his back turned.

Of course, the fact that she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn won't change anyone's opinion of the character. It's just a trait, and all storyline characters have their character traits. But let's look beyond the character, and at the real person. Let’s look at things that people who just saw the "action scenes" from the show would never pick up on.

You see, after the third season of Survival of the Fittest was completed and aired, large amounts of “lost footage” from the times the cameras were down were eventually recovered and released to the public. Here’s one clip I'll show to you now..."

**************

Alone in the jungle, Eris knelt near a log, holding her newly acquired gun in one hand and an empty water bottle on the island. For what felt like the tenth time, she tried to balance the lightweight bottle on the crooked wood of the log, only to have it tip over and fall the moment she tried to stand up.

"Ugh, would you just STAY on the log!"

Finally, the plastic bottle obeyed her orders and stood there, still wobbling slightly.

Nodding, Eris inspected the gun in her hands one last time, and began to walk away from the bottle. She counted off twenty paces, then suddenly whirled around, holding the pistol in both hands. She aimed, and fired once.

A perfect shot, sending the bottle flying into the air.


**************

"Now, this wasn’t an isolated incident. In fact, Eris used up two full clips of her gun practicing on various targets before she fired at Liam Black for the first time. With those practice shots, she had an accuracy rating of about 90%. In addition, no one watching knew this at the time, but Eris had been trap shooting with her uncle for three years prior to her appearance on Survival of the Fittest. And she was an excellent shot, a natural when it came to firearms. She once claimed that trap shooting made her feel “aristocratic”.

Does knowing that change your opinion of Eris?"

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Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

The second camera was in the far corner of the room, and a second shot took it out in much the same way as the first. The final one she had noticed was almost directly above her, in the folds of an antiquated and unused chandelier latched above the dining room table.

She blew the third camera apart, and pieces of both it and chandelier fell to the table and ground, the debris raining down and around her.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

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"Well sure, you might say, Eris might have been able to shoot a standard target, but it’s an entirely different thing trying to shoot a person! Especially a life or death situation. After all, police officers who perform well on the range will often be disastrous shots when actually firing on criminals.

So let's try another clip on for size, shall we? Now, thankfully there were still some working cameras at the cottage. This particular one was directly above the doorframe looking out, so we can get an excellent view of the situation..."

**************

She flashed a sick smile, and muttered a few words under her breath. They were not loud enough for Steve or Ryan to hear, they were in fact just barely loud enough for the microphone in her collar to pick up.

"No Steve. No pity. You don't get to walk away."

Because in this world, in this game, it could not end this way.

"You just don't."

She had to finish this. See the end of this last requiem.

She aimed the gun.

"IT ISN'T PITY I WANT, DIGAETANO!"

No, no it wasn't pity she wanted. It was him. She'd show him exactly who she was. Exactly how wrong he was.

As the first beep of her collar hit, she fired.


*************

"Don't see anything unusual about this? Well, through the magic of audio-video, I'm just going to zoom in on Eris as she fires, and replay this last part. Let me just slow it down for you…. and there. Note that to start she's aiming directly at Steve Digaetano's torso as he walks away..."

**************

"IT ISN'T PITY I WANT, DIGAETANO!"

No, no it wasn't pity she wanted. It was him. She'd show him exactly who she was. Exactly how wrong he was.

As the first beep of her collar hit, she moved her hands and fired.


**************

"You see, Eris Marquis was not trying to hit Steve Digaetano. She missed on purpose."

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Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

With the final camera destroyed, Eris simply sat back in the chair. Her mind wandered briefly to her vodka bottle. Ugh. She'd left it in her pack, presumably still outside on the porch. Unless one of the others had taken it with them when they'd left, of course.

She longed to be able to go back and retrieve it, but it was probably too late. It had been a good companion to her on this island, helping her out of several tight spots. Not having it with her now was almost like losing an old friend.

“Digaetano…….”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

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"Her final shooting is not the only time this occurs. In fact, every time Eris shoots at a human target, her hands jerk AWAY from the target in question just before she fires. Even when she charged at Morgan Green with a blade, she brought the blade away from his center of mass at the last moment, and as a result only delivered surface wounds.

In short, with every single shot that she fired, Eris Marquis was trying to miss.

So I ask again, is she still just a villainous TV character?"

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Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep

With a brief flash of insight, she also realized that the headaches that had plagued her since she'd been dropped off on this awful place were completely and utterly gone. Well then, that was something, wasn't it? The cure for a migraine is a bullet in the guts.

Unfortunately, things still weren't quite peaceful enough. That horrid beeping was just RUINING her peace and quiet!

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep Beep Beep

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"Now, the fact that Eris Marquis deliberately missed with her bullets and strikes only leads to further questions, ones that we'll probably never be able to answer. Was this a deliberate action on her part, or was it a completely subconscious reaction? Did she know from the start that she was missing on purpose, or did she realize this at some point during her time in the game? Maybe that's not for us to know. BUT, people forget that Eris tried at three separate times on the island to join up with larger groups that were not bent on being killers, only to have them fall apart each time. In addition, her kill of Jim Middleton, also restored through lost footage, occurred when she was completely drunk and apparently thought she was being attacked. She didn't even realize she had killed him until days later.

Does she still fit into the stock mold of a story villain, or is she becoming more of a real person to you?"

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Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep

Eris stared down at the gun in her hands. After the fight with Morgan, she'd made sure to count her shots this time. One bullet left.

She shook her head just slightly, her vision almost gone.

“....Fucking heroes.”

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep BeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeep

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"One conclusion, perhaps bolstered by Eris’ final moments, is that that Eris Marquis willingly sacrificed herself to show Steve Digaetano that he was strong enough in character to kill her. That he could be the hero of myths, and overcome all obstacles to win the game and go home. It has been proposed that even many of those involved in the game see themselves and each other as mere characters in a story. A story where only one will survive........"

--------------

BeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeep

UGH. Did they really have to make this beeping so obnoxious? Really now.

She put the barrel of the gun against the collar.

BeeBeeBeeBeeBeeBeeBeeBeeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBeBebebebebebebebebebebebebebebe

“Oh, would you PLEASE just shut up!"

She pulled the trigger.

be-

Ah, blissful quiet.


G45: Eris Marquis - DECEASED



--------------------------------------

"It was also revealed upon completion of the program that Eris Marquis had kept a journal, one she did not take on the trip with her. I’ll read the final excerpt from it now. You can decide what this means to Eris Marquis both as a character and as a person. Ahem...."

**************

“So I’ve decided to go on the school trip after all. Why? Well, this is the end of the road for Southridge, and I suppose I’ll pay my respects. Perhaps I’ll use this final opportunity to smooth things over with the rest of the council. There’s simply no point in fighting with them any more, not when there’s nothing more significant to happen in our high school lives.

Maybe I’ll even try with those idiots on the football team. You know, if people like Digaetano just put their work effort towards something less juvenile than a stupid game, who knows what they might achieve? Ugh. If only I could make him realize this.


**************

"Now then, was Eris Marquis a villain, a ruthless killer? Was Steve Digaetano a hero, a guy just looking to protect his friends and take out the bad guys? Did it, perhaps, take Eris Marquis becoming a villain for Steve to become a hero, and if so, did she realize this? Did he? Or is it just somewhere in between, and if so, WHERE in between? You know, maybe Eris was just a scared, confused, high school girl caught in a situation she couldn't comprehend, who discovered in the end that she really wasn't a killer at heart. Maybe not. Maybe we're all looking into this too deeply, but hey, that's what we do here.

But if we could get all these possibilities out of Eris, is she still just a character in a television show, just a hero or villain like our ancient stories say? And what does that mean for Steve Digaetano as a character? As a person? What about the other 198 students who were on that island?

Well, that’s your next assignment. Now, you all knew what you were getting into with this course so I don’t expect any objections to this. Each of you is to deconstruct a character of your choosing, using the Hero's Journey as a baseline, and let me know whether they were hero, villain, or somewhere in between. Jacquie is coming around to pass out the parameters of the assignment now, so be sure to e-mail either of us if you have any questions about it, or you can of course see me in my office or after class.

Alright then. Class dismissed."

--------------------------------------

He returned to his office, coffee in hand. It had been a fight, but being the first major college to offer a course directly devoted to Survival of the Fittest, things were coming along quite well. His studies into the nature of the show and those involved in it had been lauded throughout the academic world, and he was almost finished with his first book on the subject, which was widely expected to be the seminal textbook on the phenomenon. Courses were already springing up on other campuses, and each of them would be soon be using his research as gospel.

A student approached as he opened the door.

"Sir, I just wanted to say how amazing it is that you're willing to talk so.... freely about the show like that. But, and like no offense, do you really think that the people on the show are that deep? I mean, for me it just seemed like a bunch of kids going out of their minds and killing each other."

And Daniel Marquis smiled.

"Absolutely, they are. At least, that's using my example. Maybe you'll come to a different conclusion using yours."

He stepped into his office.

Of course, no book offer would bring her back. But logically, this was the next best thing. She’d always wanted immortality in the world of academics. Now, she’d achieved it. And she would be lauded. And she would be praised as the lost and tragic hero that she was.

She was his daughter, after all.
v6!
G058: Kaitlyn Greene aka Katy Buried - Horse Tranquilizer and Syringe
She Knew She'd Found Freedom - Questions - Fools - Barons - Opportunities - Sideshows - Dawns - Gulches

v5!
G038: Deanna Hull - Replica Freddy Glove - DECEASED
From Sea to Sky -Smoke--Sun--Tiki--Nine--Repeat--Talk--Now--Drift--Hunger--Valley--Fall--Rust--Paper--Heart--Sky-
B023: Jesse Jennings - Riz Action Figure - DECEASED
From Vision to Glory -Vision--Summon--Time--Plan--Length--Sleep--Cause-

v4!
B006: Ricky Fortino - Trowel - DECEASED
B022: Imraan Al-Hariq - Remington 870 - DECEASED
G036: Carly Jean Dooley - VASE D: - DECEASED
G077: Andrea Raymer - Gunpowder - ?????
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