Author Topic: Jury of Peers  (Read 3303 times)

Cramulus

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Jury of Peers
« on: November 13, 2008, 05:47:44 pm »
fiction by Cramulus


Travis Monicker sighed to himself. It was subtle; the audience didn’t even notice. His eyes were twinkling with drama, his teeth bared in a rictus of excitement. “Paul, your case has been made, and you’ve been judged by a jury of your peers.” Travis spoke slowly, drawing out the anticipation of the verdict. All the studio lights were on Paul, a balding middle-aged man from Pasadena. His eyes anxiously darted left and right.

“The public has spoken--” Travis held up his reader to the camera, showing the results of the internet poll. “--and they think you should take a dip.”

“No! Please!” begged Paul, eyes wide with fear. The tears from his emotional moment had barely dried. Paul’s fists banged against the plastic tank as Travis hit the DUMP HIM button. Paul looked anxiously as the diving board he was standing on slowly retracted into wall. When he had only a few inches left, Paul took a big breath and stepped into the pit of vermin.

Travis Monicker, the voice of the people. Travis hosted a weekly game show called Jury of Peers. It was a popular show, and had just been renewed for its fifth season. Similar to courtroom reality TV shows, each of the contestants was “on trial” for one reason or another. Some had been cheating on their lovers. Some had borrowed money and squandered it. Others were simply disgusting people. The contestants weren’t being tried for crimes, per se – that was for the law to handle. They had broken social rules, customs, or taboos. The sentences were often mildly painful, humiliating, or disgusting. The verdict of the trial was determined by an internet poll. Literally millions of people showed up on the Jury of Peers website and cast their vote for what should happen to this week’s lineup of hapless defendants.

Paul, a germaphobe, thrashed around, choking with disgust. The tank was filled three feet deep with worms, cockroaches, centipedes, spiders, all sorts of crawly nightmarish things. Paul coughed until he vomited, his eyes red with tears. Bugs had gotten into his hair. The spotlight on the tank flashed as the intense music ramped up. In order to escape, Paul had to find a key at the bottom of the tank. Some contestants spent upwards of ten minutes suffering in their own personal hell before mustering up the nerve to escape.

Travis, numb to the horrific display, watched listlessly. He would be off camera for the next few minutes and enjoyed the break at the climax of the trial. He took a long, slow drag off his cigarette. Paul yelped a shrill shriek as a big mamma cockroach crawled up his leg and into the darkness under his shorts....



read more here:

http://www.principiadiscordia.com/cramulus/index.php?title=Jury_of_Peers

« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 05:49:47 pm by Cramulus »

Reginald Ret

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 11:49:59 pm »
awesome!
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

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Elder Iptuous

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2008, 01:35:52 am »
That's excellent!
Looooove it.
  :retard:
My only constructive criticism is that i was surprised at the swiftness that the verdict was made. i expected it to be drawn out a bit more for tension, so i found myself realizing what happened in the rear view mirror.

Cramulus

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 02:43:40 am »
thanks much,

feedback very appreciated
I'll take that into consideration when I inevitably hack at this further

Golden Applesauce

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2008, 04:18:20 am »
Good idea.  Have you pitched this to any television networks?

A few comments - Travis (btw I couldn't stop reading his name as Travis Bickle) states that the show relieves social pressure, preventing violence.  Diana cites an example where the show inspired an act of violence.  Nobody picks up on the disparity.  The breaking a computer incident seems a little forced anyway - seems like the kind of thing that the media would run with anyway ( remember the girl who killed herself 'over myspace comments?', etc. )

A little confused on the germaphobe guy.  It kind of implies that he was defending being a germaphobe - which seems completely bizarre, as people with phobias usually know they're irrational and would rather not have that phobia.  Now, if he was a paranoid, or was obsessive about cleanliness that would make some sense.  Either of those two would also give some reason for somebody else to put the guy on 'trial' in the first place - why somebody would be terrible offended by a guy with a phobia seems is beyond me.  You could put a "bulimia is a lifestyle choice" supermodel up there, and have her eat sundays until she finds the one with a key.    OOH OOH OOH - have 8 year old with autism be on trial against another 8 year old over which one is bullying the other.  Normal kid: "Look, we don't want to play with you, moron.  You can't throw.  You can't block.  You suck, and it's not our job to put up with it."  Autie: "You're the moron!  F-f-f-f-fuck-k YOU!" *hauls off and punches the other kid on live TV.*  (of course you'd have to make the normal kid sound less like a little adult.)

The debate section seems kind of weak.  I like how Travis isn't arguing that the show is good so much as that's the way things are, but overall the arguments are to similar to arguments that we've already heard about reality television shows.  The reader's natural tendency will be see Diana as the hero and Travis as a sort of likable "tragic hero" villain guy - playing to that in the debate makes for a little weaker writing.  Specifically, Travis should call out Diana for implying that she and her friends are somehow better than the people who watch the show for entertainment, because I bet the reader is feeling superior to the masses at that point.

The show, and that the show could easily exist, is kind of disturbing.  That it only exists on a single television network is less so.  People are doing it everywhere - there's of a franchise of bread and circuses; this is just the biggest one, and televised.  Many companies use the format as a stress relief team-bonding activity, or use it as conflict-resolution.  Schools use it to deal with problem students.
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2008, 05:37:29 am »
Also also, who is the intended audience for this piece?
Q: How regularly do you hire 8th graders?
A: We have hired a number of FORMER 8th graders.

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2008, 01:20:38 am »
 :mittens:

The show reminds me of Jerry Springer.

He says some good stuff justifying his show, I had a dig about for some sources on it but no luck...

If you wanted to include why people would go on the show, it would be easy enough to use the 15 minutes of fame angle. A lot of people want to be famous and they often don't care how. Shows like Springer give them a chance no matter how devoid of charisma they may be. Its probably the same with those torturous Japanese game shows. Some people want fame so much that they will trade their respect and dignity for it.

Richter

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2008, 03:08:22 pm »
Why didn't I read this sooner?  I really like how you played off existing stereotypes of game show hosts and college protesters.

Brings to mind 6th grade, when told we'd be using peer review for our book reports, my initial response was not wanting any of the fools in class reviewing my work.
Anyone ever think about how Richter inhabits the same reality as you and just scream and scream and scream, but in a good way?   :lulz:

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Cramulus

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Re: Jury of Peers
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 03:27:17 pm »
A few comments - Travis (btw I couldn't stop reading his name as Travis Bickle) states that the show relieves social pressure, preventing violence.  Diana cites an example where the show inspired an act of violence.  Nobody picks up on the disparity.  The breaking a computer incident seems a little forced anyway - seems like the kind of thing that the media would run with anyway ( remember the girl who killed herself 'over myspace comments?', etc. )

Good spot! I hadn't even noticed that.


Quote
A little confused on the germaphobe guy.  It kind of implies that he was defending being a germaphobe - which seems completely bizarre, as people with phobias usually know they're irrational and would rather not have that phobia.  Now, if he was a paranoid, or was obsessive about cleanliness that would make some sense.  Either of those two would also give some reason for somebody else to put the guy on 'trial' in the first place - why somebody would be terrible offended by a guy with a phobia seems is beyond me.  You could put a "bulimia is a lifestyle choice" supermodel up there, and have her eat sundays until she finds the one with a key.    OOH OOH OOH - have 8 year old with autism be on trial against another 8 year old over which one is bullying the other.  Normal kid: "Look, we don't want to play with you, moron.  You can't throw.  You can't block.  You suck, and it's not our job to put up with it."  Autie: "You're the moron!  F-f-f-f-fuck-k YOU!" *hauls off and punches the other kid on live TV.*  (of course you'd have to make the normal kid sound less like a little adult.)

The bulemia idea is great, and I may have to lift it for my inevitable rewrite. Not sure if 8 year olds belong on the show though.

Paul the germaphobe is not on trial for germaphobia, the vermin tank is just this week's awful punishment devised by the panel of sadistic writers. I wanted to come up with something better, as this one is kind of close to Fear Factor, but I think it fit for the time being. I will probably come back and substitute in something else in that section, including a list of other scenarios on the show. It does help to have a "punishment fits the crime" sort of trial though, no?

Quote
The debate section seems kind of weak.  I like how Travis isn't arguing that the show is good so much as that's the way things are, but overall the arguments are to similar to arguments that we've already heard about reality television shows. 

Not sure which arguments you're referring to. I am not familliar with any literature attacking reality TV, mostly out of my own hermitage.

Which arguments are played out?

Quote
The reader's natural tendency will be see Diana as the hero and Travis as a sort of likable "tragic hero" villain guy - playing to that in the debate makes for a little weaker writing.

Hm, that may have come across differently than I intended. I intended neither of them to be clear heroes or villains.

Quote
  Specifically, Travis should call out Diana for implying that she and her friends are somehow better than the people who watch the show for entertainment, because I bet the reader is feeling superior to the masses at that point.

Good angle.

Quote
The show, and that the show could easily exist, is kind of disturbing.  That it only exists on a single television network is less so.  People are doing it everywhere - there's of a franchise of bread and circuses; this is just the biggest one, and televised.  Many companies use the format as a stress relief team-bonding activity, or use it as conflict-resolution.  Schools use it to deal with problem students.

not sure what you mean here. American Idol is still only on one network, yes?


again, I don't consume too much media, so I may be barking at a dead argument.

Also also, who is the intended audience for this piece?

General audience. I wrote it to try and spark myself towards NaNoWriMo, though this was the only piece of fiction I've produced this month.

Recently, I was trying to put together a collection of stuff I've written in the last two years, and it's mostly Discordian stuff.. This is dissappointing because I can't really show it off to people, it requires so much backstory and explanation -- I want to fill out my portfolio with more stand-alone pieces and entertaining stuff. I used to write a lot more fiction, but have only written like one or two short stories in the last few years. So this story was my first step into getting back into prose. I grabbed a lot of conflicting thoughts I had about media, culture, and Outsiders vs The Masses, and poured them into a short story.

Originally, I wanted to write like ten of these this month, but I failed.


Anyway, thanks for the specific commentary - appreciated and will be useful when I eventually retool this piece.