[LMB] OT: Malfoy on Pratchett, rated G I swear.

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:13:24 -0400 (EDT)


 --- Azalais Malfoy <tiamat at tsoft.com> wrote: 

> my objection to the statement by
> itself is that while I think the attitude of the
> Vorkosigans to their bio-relatives, even those 
> who were created without their knowledge, is 
> creditable and honourable, it comes awfully 
> close to, if in fact it isn't, a statement 
> that blood ties are more
> 'real' than other kinds of relationship. 

I never thought that. I interpreted their attitude as
being "we have a personal responsibility to those who
are our blood-kin, especially when we are their
progenitors" - and not necessarily as exemplified in
the "biology is wealth" aphorism but in their general
behaviour and attitude.  Not that blood ties are more
'real' but that they contain inherent
responsibilities.

It isn't exclusive - Aral and Cordelia show strong
responsibilities to other people who are not
blood-kin, some of them friends (or servants), some of
them enemies, some of them acquaintances and some
strangers.  Illyan and Bothari, for example - all
sorts of people, some quiet unexpected.    

> Surprisingly, even though I call myself Malfoy, 
> I don't believe that; my personal life just 
> hasn't worked out that way.

Neither has theirs.  This is why I tend to read
"biology is wealth" to apply not to biological
relationships but to biological identity.  (For
example, the dead child in "The Mountains on Mourning"
is a loss to the world, regardless of who she was
related to.)

> > Does the phrase refer to biological family?  I
> always took it
> > as being more general than that. (Maybe because I
> have few or no relatives myself.)
> 
> There are strong implications of that.

Such as?

> That's rather what I meant.  Human nature is human
> nature.  Most people (myself included) aren't 
> terribly idealistic.

I *am* terribly idealistic, but I am aware that
idealists can do as much harm as cynics.
 
> Feudalistic government can work very well 
> in societies where the lower
> classes aren't 'faceless'; 

Feudalism works best in small, low-tech, threatened
communities - where it can work very well indeed. I
don't think there is any place mentioned in the Bujold
novels where this would be the case.

> I think society is full of people who don't
> care about anyone they don't know.  The fact that
> someone is rude or standoffish or whatever to *me* 
> or to *you* doesn't mean they don't care about 
> their own.

And moreover, there are people who only care about
those of their own type, whether they know them or not
- people of the same religion, social group,
geographical area, race, etc.

> It's more like I know how honest and reliable
> the friend is, in what areas.  If you've ever
> met anyone who is completely honest about 
> everything and is 100% reliable all the time 
> no matter what's involved...and isn't lying to 
> themselves...I'm impressed.

Sadly, I don't know a lot of absolutely perfect,
omniscient people who are competent and reliable in
all situations.  But everyone fits on a rough relative
continuum with 'reliable' at one end and 'unreliable'
at the other and it's for me to judge privately
(rightly or wrongly) where they fit. As you say, some
people may be reliable in one way and unreliable in
another.
 
> People aren't always rational.

A charming understatement.

namaste,
Elizabeth