Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spanner: After Winning Script Frenzy, What Next?

1. I Won!
Script Frenzy 2011 is over, and I managed to win in the last week. Since I can write scripts a whole lot faster than I can write prose, Panic Time can end up a whole lot more productive, proportionately speaking, for Script Frenzy than for NaNoWriMo. To summarize: at the beginning of the final week, I had written only 33 pages, and some of those were blank placeholders. At the end of the week, I had 100 pages, none of them placeholders, and just enough to win. Okay, that's out of the way at last.

2. Now What?
Now comes the burning question: what do I do next with the story? Do I start editing the TV series script? Do I go back and finish editing the second draft of the novelization? Or do I go back to the original comics script and update it to fit the story as it now stands three Script Frenzies later?

The answer, of course, is: Yes.

3. Changes to the Second Draft
Now Screnzy's been over for four whole days, and my traditional post-WriMo rest period is done. However, this morning I woke up to find that large portions of Spanner's premise have changed in my half-sleep. Now I have to change the second draft to accomodate these. Fortunately, the new changes explain some otherwise seemingly gratuitous plot elements. The changes also reflect certain current events that I never dreamed of in the 1992-2010 period from the time I started Spanner to the (near) end of the first draft.

The new events that require the new changes are:
  1. In its last gasp of power, Operation Permanent Republican Administration is fighting to replace American democracy with Corporatist dictatorship. Meanwhile, it has finally acquired Canada.
  2. Osama bin Laden is dead.
The new changes are:

The Corporate States of America
In the novelization's first draft, I parlayed the Republican Party's infatuation with the Old Confederacy into a New Confederacy. This turned out to be unwieldy. I decided to simplify things by turning the antidemocratic coup into a strictly Corporatist one. In other words, the giant corporations own the government, and the people are screwed (for the reason, see below).

And so Chapter 1 begins with this narration:
In the year of Our Lord, two thousand fourteen—or, rather, in the year of Our Ford, one hundred fifteen—the Corporate States of America is in its second year of war against the Corporate Republic of China over control of the oilfields of Siberia.
That little bit of narration—a voiceover in the TV series, a caption in the comics—establishes the entire cyberpunk universe in just one rambling sentence.

Fordism: The Only True Religion
The religion of the Corporate States of America, and of the Corporate Republic of China as well, is Fordism, the cult of the Holy Prophet Henry Ford. Other than jumpstarting, so to speak, the automotive industry in America, Ford is most famous for inventing, with Frederick Winslow Taylor, the assembly line. Taylor's "scientific management" and "time and motion studies" were designed to treat workers as if they were machines. But "Taylorism" is only part of Fordism. Ford was a leading champion of suburbanism, and he designed the German Autobahn for Hitler and helped design its successor, the Interstate Highway System, for President Dwight Eisenhower, who as General rode the Autobahns to victory over Hitler. Most important, however, is how he ran his company: as a police state. This is the heart and soul of Fordism: the corporatist ideology of Ford, and of J. D. Rockefeller before him. Naturally, being the Robber Barons they were, they were Social Darwinists who believed that the poor were unworthy of life and who therefore believed that only giant corporations could properly run a government. The government most faithful to this Fordist precept is not America or even China but Singapore, the model government of the twenty-first century.

Ford was also a completely irrational anti-Semite, which led naturally to his hero-worship of Hitler. Modern Fordists dispense with this anachronistic personality quirk of Ford the man because, at least in America, the cult's leading theologian, Ayn Rand, and most of its economic gurus are Jewish. Just as Rand is probably generating electricity spinning in her grave at the reality that her most fanatical followers are the ones most like the corporatist villains of Atlas Shrugged, Ford has no doubt gone turbine at the fact that so many of his leading disciples come from the ranks of the villains of The International Jew. Chinese Corporatism evades this by replacing Rand with the ancient Chinese philosophy most compatible with Social Darwinism, the cruel Legalism, against which Confucius spent his career arguing.

Does the conflict between Corporatist America and China strongly resemble that between Communist China and Russia? Well, guess what: Soviet Communism, better known as Stalinism, was not actually communistic at all, if communism means collective ownership and management. The leading Bolsheviks, not just Stalin but Lenin and Trotsky as well, were huge admirers of Henry Ford who bought huge numbers of Fordson tractors from his Ford Motor Company. Stalin, of course, modelled the entire political system of the Russian Empire after Ford's totalitarian management style. National Socialism is really Fordism plus institutional racism far worse than Ford's own; Fascism, particularly the dominant (and notoriously brutal) Spanish variety, is Fordism taken straight. It was ridiculously easy for China to switch from Mao's imitation-Marxist Stalinism to straight Fordism (called "market socialism" according to the Chinese government's official spin). America, however, is a bit more troublesome, to say the least, because here Fordism is the religion of the elite. And the American elite may be the most predatory elite in history.

Ladenism: The Religion of Evil
At the opposite extreme from the Overclass, you of course have the Underclass. By now everybody knows that the American Navy SEALs have given Bin Laden the martyrdom he craved. (In Spanner, the SEAL who actually killed him is Will Becket, and, being the hereditary vampire he is, he killed him by drinking his blood. The controversial disposal of Bin Laden's corpse at sea was intended to hide this.) Naturally, this spawned a cult. Here's the surprise: the most fanatical of Bin Laden's cultists are not Arabs or Afghans, but American, Mexican, and Salvadoran gangsters in American prisons. There, the warrior cult plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan fused with the neo-Aztec Saint Death cult and neo-Nazi Black Odinism to form the cult opposite to official Fordism.

That means that the "baka bombers" Shira kills in Chapter 3 are not the foreign "holy warriors" of the original scenario, but American or Latin American gangsters trying to blood-sacrifice as many innocents as they can in order to secure their place in Heaven beside their Holy Prophets, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. In other words, Bin Laden's deification by bullet is bound to spawn a new religion that considers even the most violent fundamentalist Islamisms to be weak.

These are the major changes I'm making to Spanner's background scenario. Sure, they're inspired by the latest current events (in Pakistan, the Middle East, and the Midwest), but they solve a number of problems in the first draft.

Now to start writing the second draft...

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