Commentary note, circa 2009
Autumn 2009 and e2 is filled with an enormous dose of self-conscious nostalgia... I thought I'd throw in my two cents. I was never part of the first wave to this website, I wandered into these parts at the tale end of 2004 - I arrived at exactly the halfway point of the first decade... From what I've been reading so far this month, this was long after the golden time, but for me the place was catnip - intellectually demanding, creative, and combatative. The rewards were big, but ignorance would be punished. For a bit of narrative context: this was just at the beginning of Halspal's era of dominion as editor-king of e2 (it lasted another 6 months), after something mysterious had happened to Dannye's epoch. E2 at the time was run by a generation of intellectually heavyweight middle-aged hard-asses, and there was a real buzz to locking horns with them. They tended to the hostile, they were slightly cliquey, but Jesus the sheer talent they could lay down in a 12 hour writing storm.
My second node was The Fairy Tale Of The Soviet Union, and it lasted about 5 hours before a blizzard of downvotes led me to request it's deletion. But, even in the process of getting a critical panning (take a look at the soft-links) Montecarlo came by and gave me lots of constructive and supportive advice... Without his reaction (and of course, as an Estonian he has more experience of The Soviet Union than just about any other e2 user) there is every chance I'd have stomped out of this place soon afterwards.
So, why am I re-posting it now? Well, I've always been vain enough to see my e2 writeups as a "collected works of Auduster" and on re-reading TFTOTSU it's very, very obvious that not only have I developed in the intervening years (thank you e2) but that right from the beginning the elements I used were the same as those that would turn up later in my somewhat better work. I have a real fondness for intensively researching a period of history, and then weaving that history round a narrative/fictionalised element - you can see it in Jacob Whetstone, Montenegro, Adam Spencer, Siege of Vienna which are among my highest rep'd writeups. Another thing that's immediately noticeable is while it has some cute turns of phrase, each paragraph is an almost evenly sized block of text, I had clearly not got the hang of prose-structure. But, while the cadence is bad and the use of pipe-link commentary makes me whince, it's very obviously written in the voice of Auduster ("No one need give tips, we have a classless society, so we shall have bribes!" is me all over). Quite simply, this is a missing-link in my own personal progress with the written word.
I've often found that the only difference between a good and a bad writeup on this website is the degree of re-drafting I put it through... I've numerous times seen a writeup of mine start going down, until after a lick of polish it rises and never accrues another downvote... Looking at this one, I'm sure I could make something workable out of it given an hour of re-structuring to nail the cadence and make the prose-form more aesthetically appealing. But that would be beside the point. This is Auduster in rough form.
Therefore, in the interests of e2's posterity, I'd really like it if you didn't smash the hell out of this writeup (and I will make absolutely no corrections) but left it here as a relic. I've learnt a lot from you e2, compare and contrast this pile of shit with Montenegro... Thanks for the memories, old buddy.
Nowadays we tend to be all about the carrot... To be honest, I'd never have stayed here if it weren't for the stick.
A fairy tale of The Soviet Union or Bringing order in the bleak midwinter
Animal Farm stopped in the 40's, now the narrative has an end it can be finished! So leave me alone about being derivative of the illustrious Mr Orwell!
It's more fun if you read the links
Once upon a time there was a land owned and run by Kings and Princes. It was the biggest land in the world and its territory stretched from Ocean to Ocean. Due to its size it had massive resources, but it's winters were harsh and it's territory was difficult to govern, for centuries it lacked material wealth but produced poets and writers, composers and dancers. To it's West were little kingdoms, specks of land by comparison to the giant. But these lands were densely populated, they were closely governed and they were organized. These minute kingdoms of Europe marshaled their forces and carved up the distant realms of the world between them, painting them Pink, Green and Orange on the maps they nailed to their oak paneled walls.
Royalty mixed with royalty and the Queens of Europe looked down upon the Kings of the largest of lands (a monster named Russia) for their people were poorer and they had no empire beyond their country itself. A day came when these little countries egos could tolerate each other no longer and everyone agreed that there would be a Glorious War to settle it all. Temptation itched at the king of Russia and he could not resist but to join in, he would spend his empires monies fighting battles, for the glory of Russia, to win status from the Europeans!
Now for fifty years an insidious idea had been brewing in the poor districts of the cities and capitals of the west. It disguised itself in the language of Sociology, Economics and Philosophy but the idea was simple: if we seize all the power, and give it to philosopher kings, then we can rule a world where everyone is the same, where all are treated equally, and where no one will ever go hungry! And they called this idea Socialism. It was a seductive idea and it tempted men like a two gallon bucket of chocolate ice-cream, but it was flawed. It is obvious now to you my children, simple power can never stop history, the world will always change and you will spend your days playing catch-up against the sands of time!
Well the King of Russia paid too little attention to his people, and locked himself in the opulent beauty of his Amber walled Hermitage; where he formed epic plans for battles and wars. While he plotted glories, forces amongst his people organized themselves, and the strongest and most ruthless rose to the top. They could see the money flowing from their fields and harvests. They knew it was going into armours that lay rotting upon the corpses of their sons, whose remains were being picked at by ravens upon battlefields. These men had gorged themselves on chocolate ice-cream, which their leaders had swallowed in the capitals of the west.
A day dawned when they broke forth from the shadows and seized the country, swarming like ants across the castles and cities. They toppled the king and declared a new day had arrived! A day when Socialism would bring equality, no one shall ever be hungry again! This country shall now be painted Red on our maps! No one need give tips, we have a classless society, so we shall have bribes!
It was a golden day that brutally turned to winter, the armies of The West sprung upon them and squeezed their territories smaller, and all Russia's power lay in the hands of one man, leader of a country in chaos. He had to work out some way to defeat the invaders and make this epic country function as one! This hero was a man they believed to be honest, who acted for the best interests of the country, but the country was huge and making plans was a farce. A scream yelled in The East was heard as a whisper in The West if it was heard at all. But he worked and he tried, and soon he died, leaving the country to the machinations of his lieutenants. Of his lieutenants a strong man rose to the occasion, he had the personality and strength to bring order to this chaos, he would never call himself a king but by god he would act like one!
This hero was concerned with progress and power. He wanted steam, and coal; iron and industry, he spent his peoples lives like silver pennies in his quest to bring order to the chaos. Slowly a new order evolved, a system where the power was held by the few in the name of the many, but where every man was given a job. Where you were happy, productive, classless and equal in the name of Socialism or you were visited by a cadre of friendly neighbourhood grey and red woolen overcoated men of the people, who invited you out into the snow.
Well the world shall never stand still and wait for you, change rolls on like a steam engine across the plains. As the new day evolved in Russia there was a chill wind blowing in The West. In Europe the Orange country had suffered an evil turn of events since the Glorious War, and a dynamic leader had told his country to believe in itself against all evidence or criticism. He dismissed the ideas and philosophy that had brought these lands greatness, painting his country White, naming himself Emperor, he said that the time had come to cast the world anew! Like our Hero, he was remaking a broken economy against external threats, but he focused his people and their resources with more fortune, and built an engine of military power to push out into The East. There was a farcical turn of events, of tried and failed alliances and feeble and embarrassing agreements, as balding men in suits and hats dashed across the world in new fangled flying machines, and the cards finally on the table were an agreement of White, Purple and Red, and an alliance of Pink and Green.
There was a new kind of war, when tanks and planes pushed against the enemy, shredding through territory like butter; A war of economic power, rather than military tactics, where countries tumbled in the face of the Blitzkrieg. Blood was spilt across the globe, traversties were comminted on all sides and the borders of Russia shrank desperately against a battering of White Armies, and our Hero, who was getting pretty used to spending lives, threw men at the enemy like a tide against the rocks. Like the tide they broke, and broke again, abrading away at the rocks until the rocks were in pieces and the tide washed on. And when the rocks were become sands the Red Tide swept East, till it reached the White Capital, where it met an alliance of Pink and Green, who had swept a brief way from the West and come to claim a share of the spoils.
The war left the world in pieces and everything was ready to change. Across the oceans from Russia a country had risen to a position of power no-one had forseen. America, for that was Greens name, was untouched by The War, while all else lay in ashes. The Kings and Queens of the old age had vanished and the world was ruled by constitutional democracies, which I describe to you my children as the compromise of compromises, where the only power lay with those with the most property. The Kings of the old age had given way to the rich; The Imperialist had become the Landowner.
The Final Chapter shall be continued.