Monday, December 08, 2008

A Rant and Some Thoughts

Note: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but just got my Neo back from Number One and found it. What luck, since I didn't know what to blog about today!

I just took a telephone survey about grocery shopping. I do surveys online periodically, too, for Homescan (we scan all our purchases for them) and Entertainment Weekly and People and stuff. And I HATE HATE HATE forced answers. You know, the kind where you have never in your life bought deli meat at Wal Mart and they force you to rate their meat quality on a scale of one to five. It's not hard to have "not applicable" as a category, and if you want honesty, you must have it. Otherwise, I'm getting pissed and giving you all ones. Of course, it was probably Giant doing the survey, and now they'll be really happy because they think everyone else sucks and they don't.

On the same topic, FFS, people, what's up with the reduced employment categories in that qualification question? I don't have an employer. I am self-employed. Saying "employed full time" or "employed part time" is a lie, and I'm sure as hell not a homemaker.

Stupid flawed surveys.

begin thoughts
When Dean confessed to Sam about what happened in hell (yes, this is thoughts on Supernatural, sorry) we were talking about what he'd had to do. One of my friends said something about at least the people in hell have a reason to be there, even if they just made a deal to do it.

I was just reading a section in the Supernatural Magazine that listed the people who'd made deals, and I felt compelled to revisit the topic.

The idea of selling your soul to the devil and being destined to go to hell, even for small things in return, is a concept that, of course, existed long before this show. Certainly, it's difficult not to say "they asked for it" for people like Robert Johnson or George Darrow or Sean Boyden, who wanted talent because they wanted fame or envy or accolades. At 14, though, Bela probably couldn't imagine a worse hell than the sexual abuse she was enduring, and Evan Hudson wanted to save his wife. Even Dr. Silvia Growman used her deal to save lives, which, in karmic terms, probably balanced her desire for success. So saying everyone in hell deserves to be flayed alive over and over for eternity is way overstating. Which, of course, is part of the point.

The real issue, though, isn't about whether the people deserved it. The real issue, in terms of the show, is how much more it punished Dean to have to deliver punishment than to have to take it. Remember John? Who was in hell for 100 years? I bet Dean has thought about that a lot, and what his father endured. (Though John probably would have hopped off that rack on day one.) I'm sure Dean also wondered how many of the people he was flaying were bad people, seriously deserving of it. How many had done bad things in life that they needed to be punished for, and does it even work that way?

Ooooooohhhh! I just had another thought, about Ruby!!!!

We're always wondering why she's different from other demons. What if most of the demons we've met have been bad people already, their nature lending themselves to the full corruption of hell? But Ruby was a dealmaker, good at heart, someone who made a mistake, who has been turned into a demon over a hundred years (thousands, in hell time), but able to remember being human because she started out from a better place?

We know she was a witch, like the ones in "Malleus Mallificarum," in service to the same demon those women were. And of those women, at least two were greedy and vindictive. But Elizabeth had a kinder nature. Sure, she wanted to win stuff and have a great garden or whatever, but she didn't have the avarice the others did, and she really cared about the people who'd died. What if Ruby started out like her?

Such a thing would be akin to a good person in real life going though trauma and abuse and coming out the other side hardened and with skills learned through the horrible events. Skills of manipulation and deceit, with a stronger sense of self-preservation and vengeance. I think that describes Ruby pretty well.

Anyway, that went flying off topic. The point was, it was traumatic to Dean to have to cause that physical and psychological harm to people, no matter what they'd done. And the possibility that the person he was flaying might not deserve it would only make it worse.

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