July 19, 2022



Commentary for July 19, 2022:

In my first draft of the script, the debate was a lot shorter and it wasnít inter-cut with these panels showing the E-1000ís infiltrating the studio. But I wasnít at all happy with the way Iíd handled it, so I came back the next day and re-wrote more-or-less the entire chapter from this page onwards. I used pretty much all of the same dialogue Iíd originally written, but spaced it out a bit and expanded on it, because I wanted the candidates to say more, to get across the kind of competing values in play here, and to really showcase what Sally in particular stands for.

Now, I mentioned how I could have had this debate be about sci-fi/fantasy issues, like Mobian civil rights in a human dominated world, but I chose to focus on more grounded questions of economic justice that we can expect to see politicians and activists discuss in the real world. Of course, the relationship between humans and Mobians is, nevertheless, an important part of this setting, so I couldnít leave it out completely. When Haig asks if they even have high school on the Islands, thatís actually a subtle dig at the fact that sheís a Mobian. Doesnít sound like that to you? Well, thatís the point, because itís a dogwhistle.

Westside Archipelago (a.k.a. ďthe IslandsĒ) has an overwhelming majority Mobian population, close to 99.9 percent. Itís also one of the last bastions of traditional Mobian culture anywhere in the world, as most Mobians who live elsewhere have largely integrated with human culture and live basically the way humans do. But there is a perception that Mobians, left to their own devices, are irresponsible towards their children, donít keep them in school, and basically let them run free and do whatever they want. The truth is more complicated than that, as is usually the case with different cultures. I wonít go into details, but essentially Mobian culture allows youngsters a great deal more freedom and autonomy than human culture does, and they handle education quite differently on the Islands than elsewhere. I havenít worked out all the details and, frankly, I donít think I need to, but recall that Sonic objected to the idea of going back to school in the previous chapter. While Island Mobians do go to school, itís not so strictly regimented for them as it is for humans and Mobians in other places.

Of course, bigots donít give a damn about the truth and will latch on to anything to justify their prejudice towards an out group, which is why you have some anti-Mobian humans who think Mobians (and Island Mobians in particular) are irresponsible, uneducated, and therefore unworthy of being trusted with power. Haigís barb about Sallyís age (sheís 21) and the follow up question about whether or not they have high school on the Islands is all pandering to that crowd. That crowd knows it, Sally knows it, and Haig knows that they know it; but the average viewer wonít pick up on it, so if Sally takes the bait, Haig can use that to make her look irrational or as if sheís ďplaying the race cardĒ. That is why itís a dogwhistle.

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