TWO ARGUMENTS by Tengu
They threw me out of the Thinkery for this...
....Standard Disclaimers. This is based upon a scene in Aristophanes play, The Clouds. this is a rather dark comedy based upon the teachings of the Sophists, who were Philosophers, mostly non Athenian, who often charged big money to teach their often unconventional ideas...And of course, to be a Bad Influence on youth.
Aristophanes gained notoriety by making Socrates the leader of the Sophists (something he always denied.) a dodgy man who had some odd gods and was an expert at making the Wrong Argument defeat the Right...
I, mercifully, do not own Socrates...Nor do I own Aristophanes...And I’m an Ork/Chaos player I'll have all you pansy scum know.
Now picture this scene done by Eldar Harlequins...
If you read this out aloud, (it works fantastic out loud.) Wrong should be done in as sarcastic voice as possible.
....I'll just go drink my hemlock now....
RIGHT; A Craftworld Farseer.
WRONG; A young Dark Eldar
CHORUS; Craft world citizens.
CHORUS LEADER; One of the above.
STREPSIADES; A cunning old man
PHEIDIPPIDES; His cynical son.
RIGHT is an elderly Craftworld Farseer dressed in distinctly outmoded silk robes. He has a perpetual distressed and disapproving look on his ascetic face.
WRONG comes sauntering after him, He is a smirking red haired Dark Eldar youth, dressed in skin tight purple jeans and a ripped black T shirt with the characters for `Commargh Rocks` in red upon it. a jagged knife and splinter pistol are tucked in his belt. There is a Mon-keigh sized bulge in his pants.
RIGHT "This way. Let the audience see you. You're always as bold as brass, anyway."
WRONG (smirking) "Sure, go wherever you like. The more of an audience we have, the more soundly I'll trounce you."
RIGHT "Trounce me? What do you think you are?"
WRONG "An Argument, like you."
RIGHT "Yes, a Wrong argument."
WRONG "Maybe, but I'll still beat you, Right though you call yourself."
RIGHT "How do you think you will contrive to do that?"
WRONG (rolls eyes insolently) "Just by thinking out a few novel ideas."
RIGHT "Yes, they are in fashion now, aren't they- because of those morons out there." (He gestures grandiosely in the direction of the audience.)
WRONG "Morons indeed! They are extremely intelligent."
RIGHT "Anyway, I'll thrash you."
WRONG (unconcerned) "Oh, how?"
RIGHT (smug) "Simply by presenting the case for justice."
WRONG "It'll crumble as soon as I open my mouth. My position is that there isn't any such thing as justice."
RIGHT (sputtering) "No such thing?!"
WRONG "Well if there is, where is it to be found?"
RIGHT (self righteously.) "with the gods of course."
WRONG "Very well; in that case, why hasn't Slannesh been destroyed for putting `all` Eldar in jeopardy?"
RIGHT (Horrified at the mere mention of you-know-who)"Ugh, you make me want to puke. Fetch me a basin, somebody!"
WRONG "you're just a fog bound out of tune old windbag."
RIGHT (rounds on him) "and you're just a shameless out of condition young pansy."
WRONG "I'm terribly flattered."
RIGHT "And an irresponsible, flippant, verbaliser."
WRONG "More of those bouquets!"
RIGHT "And you beat your father."
WRONG (beams proudly.)"Do you know you are spangling me with gold?"
RIGHT "Lead and mon-keigh crap, more like, or so they have said in my time."
WRONG "well, in our time these are all exquisite compliments."
RIGHT "you’re shameless audacity is beyond belief."
WRONG "You are just history."
RIGHT "You're the one that encourages our adolescents to drop out of school. One day Biel-Tan will wake up to what you've been doing to these young people who don't know any better."
WRONG (sniffs disdainfully.)"Don't you ever wash?"
RIGHT "You're not doing so badly, are you? Considering that you used to be a beggar, pretending to be that pirate Malkith and living on little scraps of ideas you got from you're alms bag or stole from the Harlequins.
WRONG (smarmy) "yes, wasn't I clever?" (He beams)
RIGHT "yes, weren’t you barmy? And barmier still the community that pays you to corrupt its young people." (He glowers at the audience.)
WRONG "You don't mean to be this boys teacher, do you, you ancient relic?"
RIGHT "yes, I do, if he wants to have a decent life and know how to do something other than talking and piracy."
WRONG (beckoning PHEIDIPPIDES) "Come here and leave him to rant."
RIGHT "lay a hand on him and you will regret it!"
LEADER "no more fighting and wrangling please, you, (to Right) explain the way you taught the boys in the olden days, and you (to Wrong) explain the New Education, and then he can hear both of you, make up his mind and choose who will be his teacher."
RIGHT "I agree."
WRONG "And so do I."
LEADER "All right, which one of you will speak first?"
WRONG "I'm happy to let him start. and then whatever he says, I'll shoot him down with clever new phrases and ideas by the end, if he so much as utters a sound I'll destroy him with verbal hornet stings all over his face and eyes!" (unholsters his splinter pistol and gestures with it.)
As you battle with words and thoughts of the mind,
We'll soon see who’s victorious and who lags behind
For our friends a great issue hangs on this debate
Educations whole future and Cultures whole fate
now you, who fostered by your education,
the glorious ancient virtues of our nation
deploy for us the voice you love to use
explain your personality and views
RIGHT "Ill tell you about the way boys were brought up in the old days, -the days when I was all the rage and it was actually fashionable to be decent. First of all, children were supposed to be seen and not heard, -not a sound. Then all the boys of the district were expected to walk though the streets together to the music masters, quietly, with decorum, and without backstabbing, even if they were Dark Eldar, -and they did. And when they got there he would teach them some of the old songs by heart, like `Avatar, destroyer of worlds` or `Let the glad strain sound afar`. singing them to the traditional tunes their fathers handed down, and on no account adding rude words. And if any of them did anything disreputable, tying up the melody with changes of mode and rhythm, introducing mon-keigh instruments, the sort of thing Maglor introduced, which they all do now, -why, he was given a sound thrashing for insulting the Muses. (He pauses to relish that thought.)
No, the old days were gold days. Youths had respect for their elders and betters. They weren’t allowed to take as much as a radish head at dinner, or any of the lettuce or celery if their elders wanted it; they never ate posh fish, they never giggled, robbed Imperial worlds...
WRONG (mocking) "How thoroughly quaint! How redolent of Khaine worship, Eldar lifepaths and Craftworld anal retentitism! Come to the Dark City and be free!"
RIGHT "Be that as it may, that’s the sort of discipline that I used to rear the men and women who fought at Iyanden. What does your kind do for our young Eldar? You commit atrocities all over the galaxy. You teach them to wrap themselves in camoline cloaks up to the eyebrows. And when I saw one of those Hellions breakdancing at the Eisteddfod, I nearly choked, -the insult to our beloved Khaine! (to PHEIDIPPIDES) so choose Right, my lad, choose me and have no fear of She who Thirsts, keep away from the Commargh market and the public baths too. If ever you do something shameful, show your ashamed, if someone makes fun of you, use your shuriken catapult. If your sitting down and an older person approaches, stand up. Don't show disrespect for your parents, or do anything disgraceful that would delight Slannesh. Don't run after wyches, you never know what may happen, -suppose some little whore chucks a knife at you as an invitation to a pit fight? Your reputations gone in an instant. Don't ever contradict your father or call him an antediluvian, of course, he is older than you, that's how he was able to bring you up before you could fly on your own, so you shouldn’t insult him with it."
WRONG "Don't listen to him lad, -otherwise, by the Muses, you'll end up just like the sons of Kheradruakh and be called a boring little baby."
RIGHT "what matters is that you'll be spending your time in the gymnasium, getting sleek and healthy, not like these people who are always chattering away in the market square about some abstruse topic or other, or being dragged into court over some piddling quibbling filthy little dispute. no, you'll go down to the Academy Park, and take a training run under the sacred olive trees, a wreath of white reeds on your head, with a nice, decent companion of your own age; in autumn you'll share the fragrance of leafy poplar and carefree convolvulus. and you'll take delight in the spring when the plane tree whispers to the elm!"
If my sound advice you heed, if you follow where I lead,
you'll be healthy, you’ll be strong and you’ll be sleek;
You'll have muscles that are thick and a pretty little prick,-
you'll be proud of your appearance and physique
If contrariwise you spurn my society and turn
To these modern ways, you'll have a pale complexion
And with two exceptions, all of your limbs will be too small,
The exceptions are the tongue and the erection.
You will sing the trendy song, `To be virtuous is wrong,
and every kind of wickedness is right.`
And then you'll catch the current craze for Arubael Vects ways
That is for getting buggered every night.
CHORUS (slightly cynical)
oh how sweet are your words and how modest your thought,
you noble and glorious sage!
How we envy the happiness of those you taught, -
They lived in a real Golden Age!
He's impressed us tremendously, and we advise
that you should be careful to choose
Some real novel arguments, sure to surprise
And to showcase your sexiest muse.
"It looks as if you'll need the newest weapons of your school, in order to defeat your foe and not face ridicule"
WRONG (confident) "As a matter of fact, right though his speech I’ve been positively bursting with eagerness to refute it and smash it to smithereens. That’s why the people at the Thinkery call me Wrong; I was the one who invented ways of proving anything wrong, established laws, soundly based accusations, you name it. Isn't that worth millions, -to be able to have a really bad case and yet win? Well, lets have a look at this educational system he’s so proud of. (turns to PHEIDIPPIDES ) He says, for example, that he won't let you have any hot baths. On what principle do you object to them?"
RIGHT "Hot baths are bad. They make a man a coward."
WRONG (raises a hand) "Hold it! I've scored one there, right away, and there’s no way you can wriggle out of it. Tell me, of the sons of the Emperor (may he rot.) who would you say were the bravest men and performed the greatest number of labours?"
RIGHT "The best of them are unquestionably The Grey Knights."
WRONG "And have you ever heard of the Grey Knights having a cold bath? Well, they were the bravest of them all, or weren't they?"
RIGHT (sputtering) "That -that- that’s just the sort of clever stuff that you hear the young lads coming out with all day! So they flock to the public baths and leave the wrestling schools empty."
WRONG "Then you object to their hanging around the Market Square. I see nothing wrong with it at all; quite the contrary. If it was such a bad thing, the Harlequins would have never described all their sages, such as Nardehel, as `Marketeers`. To consider next the tongue. He says its bad for the young to exercise it too much; well, I say it's good. And then he talks about modesty or decency or something, -another pernicious evil! Come on, prove me wrong; tell me of anyone who's been done any good by being modest or decent."
RIGHT "Many people. For example, that was how Techlis came to be given a knife."(1)
WRONG "A knife! Well well! What a rich haul, I must say! Even The Lord Hellion from the lamp market, -now he’s made a mint by being wicked, but he never got a knife!"
RIGHT "And it was also because of Techlis`s virtue that he got Tykho as his wife."
WRONG "Yes, and that was why she deserted him as well! If he’s been a little bit less virtuous then he might have been a more satisfactory performer under the covers. Women do like some disrespectful handling in bed, you know, (not that a hulking old ruin like you would know that.) (to PHEIDIPPIDES) Listen to all the things that virtue cant do for you, my lad, -all the pleasures you wont be able to have. No teledildonics. No women. No gambling. No fancy food. No booze. No belly laughs. Will your life be worth living without all these? (PHEIDIPPIDES shakes his head) I thought not. Let me turn to, -to the demands of our base natures. (he gives a rictus grin.) Let us say you've fallen in love with a married woman, -had a bit of an affair, and then got caught in the act. As you are now, without arguing skills, you are done for. But if you come and learn from me, then you can do what you like and get away with it. -indulge your desires, laugh and play, have no shame. And then suppose you do get caught wih somebody’s wife, you can say to him, straight out. "I've done nothing wrong; Just look at the Laughing God; isn't he always a slave to erotic desire? And do you expect a mere Eldar like me to be stronger than a god?”
RIGHT "And suppose your advice doesn't work? Suppose he gets radish buggered; then he will have the arsehole of as faggot for the rest of his life, argue your way out of that one."
WRONG "so if he does have the arsehole of a faggot, what's wrong with that?"
RIGHT (snorts) "You mean, what could be worse than that?"
WRONG "what will you say if I prove you wrong about this?"
RIGHT "I'll have nothing to say after that."
WRONG "Very well then, from what class of persons are warlocks drawn?"
RIGHT "From the faggots."
WRONG "I agree with you. And your actors, I mean of course, the tragic ones?"
RIGHT "From the faggots"
WRONG "Right again. And from what class do we get our Exarchs?"
RIGHT "From the faggots."
WRONG "Then don't you see you were talking nonsense? Why, look at the audience; what do you think most of them are?" (they turn to the audience and contemplate them with identical amused smiles on their faces.)
RIGHT "I'm looking."
WRONG "and what do you see?"
RIGHT "Khala Mensha Khaine! The faggots have it by a street! At least, I know, he’s one (pointing) and him, and him with the long hair, -"
WRONG "Well then?"
RIGHT "You win. Here, you sods out there, in the name of the Muses, take my robe, -I'm defecting!" (He throws his outer robe in the direction of the audience members he has previously pointed out. -to reveal that underneath he is wearing an undergarment of distinctly feminine colour and hue. He then runs into the auditorium and up a gangway, -pausing to dally flirtatiously with the odd spectator,- and eventually vanishes from view at the rear.)
WRONG (to STREPSIADES) "Well now, which do you want? Are you going to hand your son over to the psykers and weirdoes, or do you want me to teach him to be an orator and a Trueborn?"
STREPSIADES (delighted) "Oh teach him, -don't spare the agoniser, if necessary, -and be sure to give his teeth a good cutting edge. He should be able to bite the heads off astartes with one side while dismembering squats with the other."
WRONG (confident) "Don't worry, when you get him back, he'll be a top class Commarghite."
PHEIDIPPIDES (aside) "A pale faced wrack, more like, if you ask me."
(1) According to the innumerable and often contradictory Eldar mythic cycles, Techlis was a promising young warrior who had been accused of sleeping with his lords wife. He was sentenced to be exposed in the wilds to be torn apart by ravens (This makes sense when as xenos scholars tell us, ravenna is Eldar for lion.) Knowing his innocence the Eldar gods gave him a knife to defend himself with.