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Babycakes
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Picture of kealoy
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Recently on another messageboard I posted this story, giving credit of course, and asked people's opinions. Preceding the tale, I wrote this blurb:
quote:
Maybe you'll find it darkly humorous, maybe you'll find it repulsive or insulting, or maybe you'll find it insightful. Regardless, it was something I read that's been lingering in the back of my mind. Written for a publication to benefit PETA, the author comments, "For the record, I wear a leather jacket and eat meat, but I am quite good with babies."

I didn't realize that the mere mention of PETA would raise so many hackles, and I wondered, had I left out that PETA comment or lied and said it was an anti-PETA work would the story would be viewed differently? Maybe replied saying they still did or did not like it. The thread continues for 5 pages, many posts quite lengthy, debating if Gaiman's logic is flawed or shortsighted, whether he was being sarcastic or brutal, was it merely a piece using shock tactics to get a point across, how far to read between the lines and interpret this work, etc. I could post excerpts, but it gets very lengthy, dominated by two stubborn individuals, one rather vicious in his near flames, so I'll refrain from doing so for now.

Now I wonder how people who are fans of his works see this piece, and does anyone know how Mr.Gaiman himself interprets it. Are we simply reading too far into something?

I dislike intolerance, on either side of the issue.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: December 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by kealoy:
...had I left out that PETA comment or lied and said it was an anti-PETA work would the story would be viewed differently? ...debating if Gaiman's logic is flawed or shortsighted, whether he was being sarcastic or brutal, was it merely a piece using shock tactics to get a point across, how far to read between the lines and interpret this work, etc. ...Now I wonder how people who are fans of his works see this piece, and does anyone know how Mr.Gaiman himself interprets it. Are we simply reading too far into something?


Welll... I kind of want to push PETA out of the picture in analysing it. It was published in Born to Be Wild first, but it's seen print many times after that, more often than not without mention that it was for PETA, so I don't think that knowledge is necessary to understand the story. Stating it is pro or anti PETA only changes your mindset going in and not the message of the story.

Being sarcastic, brutal and shocking? Well, he doesn't expect this to actually happen. I'd think he'd expect readers to recognize the homage to a Modest Proposal (as he'd be a fool to expect otherwise). Yes, it is sarcastic, brutal, and shocking. *shrug* one of the most common tactics to point out real-life horrors (like animal testing) is to be brutal and shocking. I don't know how to react to what you call flawed logic and short sightedness. What are you talking about? The logic that babies are like animals? The people are cruel to get what they want?

I can't think of any quotes by Neil on his opinionon the story, but the fact that he says in the smoke & mirrors intro "I think it makes its point" says to me that, yes, reading too far between the lines is not the point of the story and if you do so you'll start missing the forrest for the trees.

btw, a link to the thread you're talking about would greatly help us to react to what you're saying (unless you wanted to see our virgin reactions to the topic)
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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oh, btw, for those that haven't seen the comic (it was a comic first), the story is told by an elderly person and the last frame is that person being experimented on. Once babies are gone, use to old.
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have read babycakes 3 times.

time 1 I was not quite sure after half of it where it was going, was it just a gory gaiman thing or did it have a point? It did make nice sense in the end to me.

time 2 I tried to se if I could have understood it correctly wich I hoped I had and found it to be really brilliant.

time 3 was today, reading it to my older sister who asked me if a Vegan wrote it.

- that was a question wich I had to know about, I didn´t see Gaiman as a vegie, but he struck a good nerve through the story about humans destructive way of living wich continiue despite the knollege of its doing. I like that he put a question mark about that. But I would like that there was more behind it -in a thoughtthrough way it could play a role for us who really finds it necessary to do something.

But there will always be those who protest.. right?

/VeggieRBD

Rockbabydoll - The original and best
 
Posts: 47 | Location: Sweden | Registered: October 31, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I read it without knowing it was for PETa or what was it about, really, only finding it out while I read -like any story, actually.
I didn't see it brutal and shocking... I mean, I didn't see Neil was being shocking, he was pointing out how us humans ARE brutal. I love this story so much because it points what I think is the main problem in animal experimentin: the fact that, because we've always done it, it seems like there's no other way to do things. Of courtse the story is taking this attitude to an extreme, but that's a way of proving the (in)validity of a point, taking it to its utmost consecuences.

 
Posts: 11802 | Location: home? | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That poem disturbs me. I don't agree with it-- i think there are times when we need to experiment on animals. To save human lives and stuff.
Still, its a very disturbing poem that I don't like to read too much... at the beggining of school last year, a kid started to recite it. At 3 am. This was scary.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am sorry for you, my lord.. that because the story IS disturbing for you, you choose not to reflect upon the message, not go through it again, not ask yourself why yu reacted.

Strange to meet a person who actually gives life to the way of thinking" It´s not pleasent, but i has to be done". Then it WILL be babies next, be sertain.

Rockbabydoll - The original and best
 
Posts: 47 | Location: Sweden | Registered: October 31, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do you all know that Mr Gaiman has written that "Babycakes" is the only work that he has written that has disturbed HIM?

Rockbabydoll - The original and best
 
Posts: 47 | Location: Sweden | Registered: October 31, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Rockbabydoll:

Strange to meet a person who actually gives life to the way of thinking" It´s not pleasent, but i has to be done". Then it WILL be babies next, be sertain.



Doing something unpleasent usually means judging that the consequences of not doing it would be worse. Not everything is done to invoke the warm, fuzzy feeling of pleasure. Some things are done to avoid pain. Soemtimes it is even accepting a lesser pain to prevent a greater pain (should I risk scraping the skin on my hands by clawing at the edge or should I just fall off the cliff?).
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Rockbabydoll:


Strange to meet a person who actually gives life to the way of thinking" It´s not pleasent, but i has to be done". Then it WILL be babies next, be sertain.

Rockbabydoll - The original and best


I dunno... that seems a pretty logical way of thinking. "Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"... simple utilitarian argument. And guess what? I'm specist. I believe that the species i belong to should be preserved and helped. I can't help it-- its what I was born into.
Life ain't all fuzzy and happy. Now i'm going to put on my leather jacket, eat a big steak, and hope whatever shampoo I use is safe for me....
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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the point is

to believe you are above someone else,
and that the suffering of another creature is a better solution then you suffering -by your own actions -is trying to play God (although it is closer to satanism with the non-altruistic way of thinking). In "Babycakes" a conequence of this sort of actions are pointed out.
How You WILL suffer for it in the end.

Rockbabydoll - The original and best
 
Posts: 47 | Location: Sweden | Registered: October 31, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Its not "playing God." All animals beneifit from other's suffering. Yes, I am selfish. I admit that, and I see no problem with it.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Survival of the fittest is a fact. In all the animal kingdom there are members of all species that think they are superiour. Lesser creatures die for the survival and\or betterment of other creatures. This is not a human exclusive. Is it neccesary in alot of cases? No. Is it likely to stop because some salad munching hippies want everything to be all warm and fuzzy, with all living creatures hugging and sitting down for tea together? No. Humans aren't neccesarily the best of animal kind but they're still the top of the food chain. And this piece of wisdom is brought to you by a wussy, pacifist, modern day hippie.

Ivory
 
Posts: 194 | Location: Winston-Salem, NC, USA | Registered: June 16, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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*:)*

As a "Swedish young lady" as Mr Gaiman calls me, I should probably say to sertain folks in here "I wish you were the meatballs I ate as a child"

The ones worshipping selfishness will never go far (if it´s not a long way to Hell;))

I am sorry to see that some also chose NOT to leave the stage of the Cavemen, when talking about "laws of nature": then tell us why you choose to avoid the "Laws of nature" amongst your own race.

I am using the gift of modern man (lacked by others) and use empathy as a way of survival. That does not make me a hippie, although I DO prefer to have it warm and fuzzy, then cold, hostile and alone.

Nighty night

Rockbabydoll - The original and best
 
Posts: 47 | Location: Sweden | Registered: October 31, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Without checking the thread above, did any of we cynical ones say that cooperation didn't work? Mostly, we're arguing that it is impossible to completely remove self-interest from the equation of life. Working to change to balance might work, but only if the system developed actually works better than the one it is replacing. Any system based purely on good intentions without trying to accomodate the nastier side of life is likely to go horribly wrong as the nastier elements take advatages of the gaps in the system(the so-called communist countries of the twentieth century come to mind).
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Babycakes has been a long running favorite of mine, along with Dream of a Thousand Cats, Ramadan, and Nicholas Was... I have the Born to Be Wild PETA work, and was impressed with the artwork. The story makes me happy, makes me laugh, because I think humans would probably turn to such dastardly deeds if push came to shove. Jews stopped eating pork, according to Marvin Harris, author of Cannibals and Kings, when pigs and humans competed for food. They eat the same things we do, and were expensive to raise more than two or three, so it became a religious taboo to eat them. (Please note I am not trying to offend, just trying to come up with a reasonable argument) If eating babies, etc, became necessary, it would no longer be viewed with negativity. Also, I think PETA is all fine and dandy. I love red meat, and I love animals, a paradox. I have three cats, Sir Sebastian Idaho Makepiece Loki Hargett (Eater of Worlds, Bane of Humanity, Cur of North America) Hati and Griswold, two dogs, Allie and Pretty Penny Lane, a horse, Beth, and my new darling ferret Basil Rathbone.

I think I just rambled...oh, well.

Love and respect to all.

~^kel^~
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Olive Hill, Ky, USA | Registered: December 21, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GMZoe:
oh, btw, for those that haven't seen the comic (it was a comic first), the story is told by an elderly person and the last frame is that person being experimented on. Once babies are gone, use to old.


Was this comic part of a collection, or is it in some collection now? Who published it, etc?

"Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"
-The Mad Hatter _Alice in Wonderland_
 
Posts: 4 | Location: quo vadis, Mayeux? | Registered: October 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The comic has been printed twice:
Born To Be Wild (1991) and Taboo #4 (1990)
 
Posts: 13129 | Location: Tucson | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought Babycakes was hilarious. Dark and scary yes, but thats what makes it's sense of humour so much stronger. I've shared it with several of my friends and I recieved horrid glances of "why someone would write this?" in return. But I really think Neil put his message plain and simple for everyone. And portrayed the world with colors that most had refused to see it in. Thats all.
 
Posts: 4 | Location: Wyoming, OH, United States | Registered: January 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Was it "his messege"? I can't see a guy known for his leather jacket and love of sushi as a great champion of animal rights...

When Winter comes and singing ends;
when darkness falls at last;
When broken is the barren bough, and light and labour past;
I'll look for thee, and wait for thee, unil we meet again;
Together we will take the road beneath the bitter rain.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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