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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:47 pm 
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I have no idea whether this has already been said or not, but here goes:

Veidt is a Sadist. An ingenious Sadist with a ton of power. He loves crushing people smaller than him. He can't lose. who ever beat him(The Comedian) gets destroyed.Whoever defies him(Rorschach) gets destroyed. If he had any kind of real empathy for anyone, he wouldn't snicker and make nasty puns about a doomed man. He doesn't care who he hurts(half New York, his Secretary, his Servants, his cat) as long as he's right. I'm not even sure if he wants to save humanity for humanity, or for himself.
He's less than The Comedian, at least Blake admitted to being what he was.

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 Post subject: Re: Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:55 pm 
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D-Cubed wrote:
So he's neither condoning or condemning. Thanks for proving my point.


Yes, it's your point, and it's my point as well. How wonderful for both our arguments that Veidt neither gets condoned nor condemned.

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You're problem is that you can't distinguish between Veidt's mass genocide (which is totally immoral) and the subsequent decision to keep it secret (which is slightly less immoral but acceptable to everybody except Rorschach)


I'm not sure you've got my actual distinction between 'em in mind; let me lay it out for you, and *then* we can usefully discuss whether (a) my problem is a failure to distinguish between the two, or whether (b) your problem is a failure to understand that Veidt and Doc are operating on the same principle.

Veidt's reasoning can be summed up as "choosing the lesser evil". He'd kill one person to save a thousand people. He'd kill a million of 'em to save a billion more. We could even say he reasons like an absolute utilitarian, such that the only premise for his actions is the benefit of others; he'd kill half of NYC to save the rest of the world, he'd kill one guy to preserve that plan, he'd simply and only claim in each case that the ends justify the means as the lesser of two evils.

Doc's reasoning? Well, you said it yourself: "DM is an absolute utilitarian -- the only premise for his actions is the benefit of others." Doc kills Rorschach to save the plan because it can be summed up as "choosing the lesser evil." He does the math and figures that the ends justify the means as the lesser of two evils.

The *same* principle that justifies killing one innocent for a greater good justifies killing three or three thousand or three million; it's *never* just about how evil the act is, it's *always* about whether the alternative is worse. If you subscribe to such a philosophy, then (a) if the alternative is worse, you should do it; (b) if not, you shouldn't.

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"Consciousness of vindication" -- now you're just making stuff up, but I'll humor you;
“I did it. I DID IT! I saved Earth from hell.”-- That sounds like he’s fully “conscious” of his “vindication” to me.


But I'm arguing that Veidt can only justify doing something evil -- killing an innocent, killing millions of innocents, whatever -- if he truly believes the alternative is worse: that a good result justifies those evil means, that he did evil things for some greater good. If he *has* saved Earth from hell thereby, then, yes, he can justify the evil he's done. If he *hasn't*, then, no, he can't.

Veidt believes that he *has*, in fact, chosen the lesser evil. He believes he's saved the world from a worse alternative, such that he can reassure himself that the evil he's done is justified by a worthy result. But he's not sure.

And so he'd really like to hear from Doc about whether he's right about that.

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So the world's smartest man isn't sure whether he correctly gambled on the lives on 3 million people.


No, he isn't sure. He'd very much like for Doc to say it'll all work out just fine in the end (in which case the evil he's done would be justified). He'd very much *hate* for Doc to say it won't (in which case the evil he's done wouldn't be justified). He therefore asks Doc whether it all worked out in the end, expecting one of those two answers.

But, he's told, nothing *ever* ends. Doc can't yet say the plan was a success. Doc also can't yet say it was a failure.

Veidt had hoped to get his evil actions condoned, as justified means to a successful end. He'd hoped not to get his evil actions condemned, as unjustified means to failed end. But *neither* happens, because Doc instead tells him that (a) it's too soon to say, and (b) it'll *always* be too soon to say.

Yes, if we strip that quote of all context it's just a presumably false statement; all *sorts* of things end, after all. But if we take it in context, Doc is answering Veidt's question by claiming he can't yet say whether the plan will succeed or fail -- and, given that ignorance, all Doc can do is kill Rorschach for the exact same reason Veidt would: because Doc understands, without condoning or condemning, why one would kill *any* number of people to save yet *more* people.

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Doc safeguards the plan (as do Laurie and Dan) since that is the only reasonable play to make at that point in time.


And, likewise, Veidt instituted said plan since he believed it was the only reasonable play to make at that point in time. Doc kills Rorschach for the same reason Veidt kills three million people: because he genuinely believes the alternative is worse, since, y'know, otherwise, he'd decide to just sit on his ass while things play out.


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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:26 am 
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Just to add another point. RLS made the comment earlier that really there are two questions here.

1) Whether or not there was actually going to be a nuclear war.
2) Whether or not Adrian was justified in his plan.

His comment that it is much easier to justify his plan, once implemented and shown to work is of course true, but there is the implication that he is not convinced that nuclear war was inevitable in the Watchmen universe.

From our perspective of 20 years after, we can see that in OUR universe it didn't happen, but within the Watchmen universe, it was inevitable. Basically everyone in the graphic novel believes this to be the case, and it is stated many times by various people that nuclear war was inevitable, especially after Dr Manhattan decides to leave earth.

This is shown by what happens when Dr M does leave for Mars. It doesn't take the Soviets long to invade Afghanistan, and precipitate matters. After that it is all just a matter of time.

If nuclear war was inevitable, then it comes down to a choice.

Whether or not to act. And having made THAT decision, what to do and how to do it.

Adrian came to the conclusion pointed out to him by Blake, that the world was going to end sooner or later, this was reinforced by the stolen pyschiatric reports indicating Dr M's departure at some point in the future.

As heroes do, he decided to act (the implication in most super hero comics is that superheros act to save the day), he formulated his plan, taking years to decide what to do, then used his accumulated wealth to implement this plan. In my opinion, Adrian chose this plan simply on the basis that it was the one most likely to succeed.

He then implements the plan, and for at least the time being, the plan works. He chooses the lesser of two evils and succeeds. He does the heroic thing by taking on the burden of action, and the burden of keeping this all secret. His methods are only "wrong" if it can be shown without doubt that another course of action lay open, one that succeeds as Adrian's plan has succeed without the loss of life. Otherwise Adrian did what all heroes do, he acted to save humanity, the fact that there is collateral damage this time is simply explicit in Watchmen, whereas in SpiderMan, or the Fantastic Four help destroy half of downtown Manhattan in their latest fight with the Green Goblin or Dr Doom this is just ignored or turned a blind eye to.

You can argue that they don't mean to hurt anyone it just happens, that just makes them less prepared and less aware of the consequences of their actions than Adrian, not less culpable. We accept collateral damage in FF4, or Spiderman or Superman because it is unseen, but we do not accept it in Watchmen because the bodies are displayed?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:21 am 
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ThatWeirdMirrorGirl wrote:
Veidt is a Sadist. An ingenious Sadist with a ton of power. He loves crushing people smaller than him. He can't lose. who ever beat him(The Comedian) gets destroyed ... He doesn't care who he hurts(half New York, his Secretary, his Servants, his cat) as long as he's right.


I think that second part erases the first part.

Veidt loses to the Comedian, and then spends a whole year not bothering to destroy the Comedian. He then spends another year not bothering to destroy the Comedian, followed by yet more years in which he still doesn't bother to destroy the Comedian, followed by *decades* in which he keeps on not bothering to destroy the Comedian. And then Blake discovers the plan, and Veidt -- who doesn't care who he hurts, so long as he's right -- promptly kills him.

So if Veidt is an ingenious sadist bent on crushing Blake for reasons *other* than safeguarding the plan, he's got to be the laziest and least innovative one ever: frittering away a quarter of a century before for some reason finally deciding to kill the guy when Blake starts drunkenly blurting out secrets that need to be kept under wraps -- or Veidt, who doesn't care who gets hurt so long as the plan is right, kills Blake just like (a) he would've killed anyone else who'd found the island and reacted similarly, sure as (b) he takes no steps to destroy Blake before that.

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Whoever defies him(Rorschach) gets destroyed. If he had any kind of real empathy for anyone, he wouldn't snicker and make nasty puns about a doomed man.


We should *all* snicker and make nasty puns about someone who dooms himself for Rorschach's reasons: Rorschach (who makes his debut by fantasizing about how there will soon be war and he'll look down to whisper "no" to people who'll look up to beg for help) would rather die than allow Veidt to save the world. That choice *deserves* to be mocked and laughed at: he could, even at that late date, save himself by just agreeing to let mankind be saved -- but, hey, no, thanks, everybody, I'd rather doom myself.

Veidt lacks empathy for a doomed man who is choosing to doom himself, and for no good reason; we should all lack empathy for that. Veidt talks about regretting Blake's involvement, talks about shame and inadequacy when discussing the deaths of his servants -- but when it comes to a guy who moronically turns down the chance to save his own neck by doing what Dan and Laurie and Jon did for the good of mankind, then, yes, by all means, snicker and pun at the village idiot who'd rather tie himself to railroad tracks instead of helping all of humanity without lifting a finger.

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He's less than The Comedian, at least Blake admitted to being what he was.


Blake chose to keep the secret rather than blow the whistle in advance, because -- just like Veidt -- he concluded the alternative was worse. They'd *both* admit to being the kind of person who'd make that bleak "lesser of two evils" choice; the difference between 'em is that Veidt can shoulder the weight of that awful but necessary crime, whereas Blake is the kind of guy who'd drunkenly blurt out too much stuff despite himself, whereupon Veidt would then kill him.

But not *before* that, since, again, if Veidt had wanted Blake destroyed for personal reasons, he'd have done so in '83 -- or '73 -- or '63 -- or whatever.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:31 pm 
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I was thinking about the parallels between the main narrative and the "Tales of the Black Freighter" last night.

The main character in "Tales" was obviously a parallel to Veidt, right down to the curiously literal line by Veidt at the end - "I dream of swimming across the sea, toward a great, black..." (Paraphrased, don't have the book with me).

As you all know, in the Tales, the character makes haste to return to his hometown before it can be destroyed by the Freighter's crew. He then causes death and destruction himself before finding, to his horror, that it was unnecessary, as the Freighter never came, and he finds himself a murderer - and the story ends with him swimming out to the great, black Freighter to be accepted by its hellish crew for his sins.


Do you think this was a hint from Moore that nuclear war would NOT have happened even if Veidt took no action, and that Veidt killed three million people needlessly?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:07 pm 
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yes 8-)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:51 am 
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The "Is Veidt right?" topic has been discussed to death in this forum. Click here for the classic thread that is probably the most hotly debated one in the entire forum.

[NOTE: I went ahead and merged the threads. Prior to the merge, this thread started two posts ago.--"Curiosity Inc."]

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 Post subject: The End and Ozymandias
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:44 pm 
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[NOTE: This post started its own thread before I merged it here. --"Curiosity Inc."]

does it make anyone else angry that he won and was right even though he did the wrong thing and was a douche about it


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:17 pm 
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itsallajoke wrote:
does it make anyone else angry that he won and was right even though he did the wrong thing and was a douche about it


Well yeah. It goes back to the question of power - as a superhero, and as a person, who has the "right" to do something like that? Who has the right to decide so many people need to die so that their own personal idea of utopia can be achieved? This can carry over to real-life world leaders and spiritual leaders, too, but I think Moore was just going at the concept from the viewpoint of comic book superheroes.

What Veidt did would classify him as a supervillain in almost anyone's book under "normal" comic-book circumstances. But because he appeared to be right in the short-term, they all agreed to be quiet about it except for Rorschach. There is the question of whether history will prove him "right" if it ends all war forever, but Jon's statement to him before leaving is telling. Nothing is really "over," especially if Rorschach's journal is published.

I'm actually kind of wondering if Jon is privately having a laugh at him, there, knowing what will happen if the journal comes to light.

But to answer your question - yes, I think he's a douche. I personally don't believe anyone would ever be justified in something like that, but that's my own opinion.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Last edited by People Must Be Told. on Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:40 pm 
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numb3r5ev3n wrote:
This can carry over to real-life world leaders and spiritual leaders, too, but I think Moore was just going at the concept from the viewpoint of comic book superheroes.


I think the more I read Moore's stuff that's exactly what he's doing. He's personifying all these ideologies and letting them duke it out. He seems to like to let the Apollonian forces win, but again, who knows how much difference it makes in eternity in their particular realities. As contrast, here's our world. The Cold War ended, and there was no Veidt, and no horrible plan. With our history in mind he seems much douchier.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:43 pm 
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so if Veidt is the Apollonian, does that make Blake the Dionysian of watchman?


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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:46 pm 
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TheDude311 wrote:
so if Veidt is the Apollonian, does that make Blake the Dionysian of watchman?

Could you elaborate, please?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:48 pm 
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Great question, I've often wondered that myself.

Rorshach sits as the "opposite side of the same coin" with Veidt, though. Apollo and Dionysus were worshipped at the same temples, just at different times of the year.

However, Rorschach hardly seems Dionysian at all. Perhaps he is the very opposite of Dionysus?

Obsessed with the physical, yet shunning it rather than embracing it?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
TheDude311 wrote:
so if Veidt is the Apollonian, does that make Blake the Dionysian of watchman?

Could you elaborate, please?


Curi-

Apollo was the Greek god of light, the sun, logic, music (composition), math, logic, etc- very Veidt-ish in appearance and symbols.

Dionysus was Apollo's opposite in ways- he was the god of wine, ecstasy, music (performance), theater, madness, etc...

They apparently were thought of as opposites, yet were both worshipped at the same locations.

Edit--

Found this pic on the first page of Google image search for "Apollo God"-

Image

Interesting!

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Interesting passage I found. Keep Veidt in mind for Apollo, but who is Dionysus?

Keep in mind, there is no doubt that Moore was unaware of these archetypes when he penned Watchmen.

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Dionysus is identification, Apollo objectification. Dionysus is the empathic, the sympathetic emotion transporting us into other people, other places, other times. Apollo is the hard, cold separatism of western personality and categorical thought. Dionysus is energy , ecstasy, hysteria, promiscuity , emotionalism - heedless indiscriminateness of idea or practice. Apollo is obsessivesness, voyeurism, idolatry, fascism - frigidity and aggression of world seeking cathexis... Our brains are split, and brain is split from the body. The quarrel between Apollo and Dionysus is the quarrel between the higher cortex and the older limbic and reptilian brains. Art reflects on and resolves the eternal human dilemma of order versus energy. In the west, Apollo and Dionysis strive for victory. Apollo makes the boundary lines that are civilization but that leads to convention, constraint, oppression. Dionysus is energy unbound, mad, callous, destructive, wasteful. Apollo is law, history, tradition, the dignity and safety of custom and form. Dionysus is the new, exhilarating but rude, sweeping all away to begin again. Apollo is a tyrant, Dionysus a vandal. Every excess breeds its counteraction. So western culture swings from point to point on its complex cycle, pouring forth its lavish tributes of art, word and deed. We have littered the world with grandiose achievements. Our story is vast, lurid, and unending
~ Camille Paglia

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:59 pm 
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well I see Blake as the dionysian, because of the defintion of the Dionysian

Dionysus (Dionysian): chaos, intoxication, celebration of nature, instinctual, intuitive, pertaining to the sensation of pleasure or pain, individuality dissolved and hence destroyed, wholeness of existence, orgiastic passion, dissolution of all boundaries, excess, human being(s) as the work and glorification of art, destruction.


if that doesnt sound like Blake, than who does it sound like in Watchmen?

also I bring this up of the whole, Veidt is The Apollonian, Dr M is the Übermensch, so that leaves The Dionysian


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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:03 am 
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I guess Blake would be Dionysus, because he's a hard-drinking wild man who follows his instincts, no matter where they take him. He seems almost ecstatic in 'Nam, while he's torching the place. He's a little scary. I think a book like Watchmen probably serves to refine or clarify compelling but vague ideas like the definitions of Apollonian or Dionysian. Dan's got a bird motif, but is he supposed to evoke Hermes? Rorschach spends time in the underworld, so is he representative of Hades? I guess Doc could correspond to Mars, but he's also the most powerful of them, so maybe he should be Zeus? Zeus was Jupiter to the Romans, but Doc dated Laurie Juspeczyk, not Sally Jupiter.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:41 am 
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TheDude311 wrote:
well I see Blake as the dionysian, because of the defintion of the Dionysian

Dionysus (Dionysian): chaos, intoxication, celebration of nature, instinctual, intuitive, pertaining to the sensation of pleasure or pain, individuality dissolved and hence destroyed, wholeness of existence, orgiastic passion, dissolution of all boundaries, excess, human being(s) as the work and glorification of art, destruction.


if that doesnt sound like Blake, than who does it sound like in Watchmen?

also I bring this up of the whole, Veidt is The Apollonian, Dr M is the Übermensch, so that leaves The Dionysian


Well, if we are talking about Nietzschean symbology, Rorschach is clearly the Nihilist.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:57 am 
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I tend to look at the ideas as a progression, from ancient Greece, or wherever, to the present. The themes are eternal and archetypal, but they get clearer expression as human understanding increases. If I get a good sense of the Dionysian from a nut in a gimp mask firing tear gas canisters at hippies, I have to go with that. Something like Nietzsche's idea of perspectives moving through an abyss could remind a reader of the outlook of several characters in Watchmen. The abyss makes me think of Rorschach, the importance placed on will makes me think of Ozymandias, and the idea of moving perspectives reminds me of Doc's relativist view.

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