[LMB] A question about Barrayar

Tel teldreaming at gmail.com
Thu Nov 4 06:08:27 GMT 2010

On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 2:44 PM, Mitch Miller <
mitchmiller at entertainmenttax.com> wrote:

> From: "Meg Justus" <mmegaera at nwlink.com>
> Tel, then Damien:
> >> Barrayar pretty explicitly doesn't have a free media (have we -ever-
> >> seen a Barrayaran reporter?). Access to information (& public
> >
> > No, though we don't know they don't exist, but if they do, Cordelia
> > noted they're excluded from Imperial social events.
> Miles notes in The Vor Game that the media's (he didn't use that word,
> though, and I'm on my way out the door, really!) ability to portray Aral as
> a thug in pictures only needs one alteration -- his intelligent eyes.

"Opposition press." Which is a term that in and of itself tends to imply the
media is unfree. *g*

> Of course, what form that media took is up for grabs.
> Megaera
> Well, we know there was some form of holovid drama (remember Captain
> Vortalon?) so
> presumably the shows were circulated over some sort of network.  That being
> the case, I'm
> pretty sure that network would have had some form of news programming.
>  Also, there were
> progressive, conservative, and even republican parties, or perhaps nascent
> parties would be
> a better description, and presumably they had some means of communication
> of their ideas.
> And why have a Ministry of Political Education if there's no press for it
> to censor?

Barrayar does have a press, but not a -free- one. The parties have no need
to disseminate any ideas to the masses - the public have no voice or role
whatsoever in Barrayaran politics.

The news media's called the "third arm of Ezar Vorbarra". We see it in
action in the last part of Barrayar, with the propaganda broadcasts, etc.
It's occasionally mentioned in passing, but only in regards to very formal,
staged events. Komarr's media seems a tiny bit more aggressive, but not
much. Notably, Miles never got -any- media flack during the scandal in ACC.
Or any Barrayaran media flack period, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, on
Earth, he can't escape the media even if he wants to.

Censorship definitely didn't stop with the Ministry for Political Education.
The authorities were censoring Miles's outbound mail even after he was out
of the military (now there's a job).

What strongly shapes my opinion that Barrayarans don't have anywhere near
Western freedom to dissent or free access to information is that Miles,
Elena, and Gregor were never even exposed to the -idea- that Serg was a
villain until they went offworld, when it was common knowledge everywhere
else. On some topics, there is no discussion.

Serg clearly didn't have a wikipedia page with a constant edit war going...

> BTW, the rise and fall of the MPE shows that Ezar was a monarchist, not a
> fascist.  Had he been
> a fascist, he would not have abhorred the Ministry and its "new men," and
> he would not have had
> to cook up his elaborate scheme to get rid of it along with Serg.  He just
> would have had them all shot!
> (See, e.g.,  "The Night of the Long Knives.")
He did, he just arranged it so the other side did the dirty work. If Ezar'd
abhorred the Ministry, it wouldn't have been so strong by the time of his
death. If he'd considered Serg worthy, it'd have survived under Serg's

You do realize that while the Night of the Long Knives wasn't particularly
-subtle- in execution, there was a cover story, etc. Von Schleicher and Röhm
supposedly plotting 'treason' together...

Ezar just had better cover stories. His hand behind it still, though.


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