Nabiki Shrugged (Tentative Title)

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Nabiki Shrugged (Tentative Title)

Postby Isambard » Sat May 03, 2008 9:55 pm

I wasn't sure whether I should post this in Outlines and Scenes or here in C&C due to the fact I'm not sure if I am finished writing it and the fact that C&C is largely dominated by chapter based stories. Regardless here it is. In preparation for writing my FMA/Ranma crossover listed in the Ideas forum as "Her Greatest Trick" I thought it would be best to write something to test the interpretation of Nabiki's character I was going to use. After Bioshock and further reading on Objectivism I became interested in how an objectivist interpretation of Nabiki would work and this is what I've come up with so far. Hope its accurate.

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I know what you think of me. You think I’m a monster, a sociopath, a coldhearted bitch, villain of the Tendo family. The truth is different. The truth is that I am a rational person trying to live in an irrational society, a person who thinks of the future in a society obsessed with the past. The truth is that, if anything, I am a product of my environment. No sane person could have grown up in Nerima, seen the sorts of things I’ve seen, lived with the sort of people I’ve lived with and not chosen the path I have elected to follow. The greatest tragedy that ever befell humanity was not a tragedy of the physical but a tragedy of the ideological. That tragedy was the day selflessness was designated as a moral imperative, the day altruism entered into human understanding. My life in Nerima has taught me that to live according to a code that goes contrary to one’s own personal interests, in effect one’s own well being, is to follow a path that leads to self-destruction.

Ranma proved to be the perfect case study with his ardent belief in the virtue of honor. He was always thinking of the needs of others, never his own. This aspect of his character was one that was constantly enforced by those around him. “Don’t think of your own needs Ranma,” they’d say, “think of tradition, think of the dojo, think of your family, your fiancées, the art,” the list goes on and on. And while Ranma played the part of the honorable son, other supposedly honorable people paid lip-service to their beloved honor while never believing in it or even playing the part of honorable men themselves. And time and again Ranma was taken advantage of because of his honor. He could have stopped, all he ever had to do was just set his honor aside and do it. He didn’t and lived as a slave.

In modern society though we consider physical slavery to be an abomination, I can’t help but wonder why slavery of the spirit is not similarly demonized. That is what lies at the heart of altruism and other similar beliefs, slavery of the self to anything and everything but the self. Individual accomplishment, by this token, isn’t as celebrated an achievement as an act of selfless charity. That is what the parasites of the world want. Instead of surviving on their own they instead survive through the achievements of others, counting on their altruism to motivate their sacrifice. Tradition is much the same, especially when it comes to gender. Tradition would have me set aside my own needs and ambitions and live a life dependant on my husband, as a mere mother to children. According to tradition and altruism dependence is a virtue to be celebrated and rewarded by the sacrifices of the independent. I’ve worked for my own money, amassed my savings through my own efforts, no one else’s. Why then should I pay the bills for the dojo while daddy sits around playing shogi with Mr. Saotome?

Daddy asked me once to give him the money to pay the bills for the dojo, the “family’s money” he called it. I didn’t question him and took the amount he wanted from my savings and gave it to him. I sacrificed a bit of my future, my money for college, for the sake of the "greater good." He asked me for money an additional three times after that first request, each time referring to it as the “family’s money.” Not once did he ever give any indication that he was going to start earning his own money, that he might reopen the dojo himself instead of waiting in the faint hope that the Ranma’s engagements would work themselves out and he and Akane would take over. The fifth time he asked for money I took the amount he wanted, placed it into an envelope, took it with me into the room where he and Mr. Saotome were playing shogi, lit it on fire and dropped it into a waste basket. The family didn’t earn that money, I did.
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Postby mondu_the_fat » Sat May 03, 2008 11:24 pm

The last part is extremely out of character for Nabiki.

On the first instance of her father asking for money, she would have IMMEDIATELY asked/implied for some sort of compensation, and on the last instance I'd expect her to put FAKE money in the envelope then burn it.
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Postby Penguin-sa » Sat May 03, 2008 11:36 pm

I have read Atlas Shrugged several times in my life, amazingly enough the last two times for enjoyment (I skipped about 300 pages of speeches that reiterate Ms. Rand's themes asI know what they say). Do you plan a loose re-telling of Atlas Shrugged with Nabiki as John Gault or merely an essay exploring Objectivism applied to an Oriental setting?

If the former, it would interesting to see who would be persuaded to join the "Strike of the Mind". It certainly seems to me that you are setting up Ranma as an analog of Hank Rearden.

On a side note, I find your prose style to be less stilted than Rand's. I would advise that if you expand this work, to avoid Rand's lengthy diatribes on the princibles of Objectivism. While Rand was writing a manifesto, these expositions nearly destroy the work as a piece of fiction. I read through them once in their entirety and than skipped them, just reminding myself of the central point (or as a penance, read through one 50 page block per re-reading). Anyone who is really interested can read the original work.
Stupidity got us into this, why can't it it get us out?
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Postby Isambard » Sun May 04, 2008 12:40 am

mondu_the_fat wrote:The last part is extremely out of character for Nabiki.

On the first instance of her father asking for money, she would have IMMEDIATELY asked/implied for some sort of compensation, and on the last instance I'd expect her to put FAKE money in the envelope then burn it.


Well, this is an interpretation of the character (one I plan to use in the context of another story) and wasn't really meant to be true to canon. The fan-made notion that Nabiki supports the family monetarily is itself out of character. However, if its that far off the mark the I can always change it. In fact your idea makes more sense to the extent that she isn't making an actual sacrifice while still getting her statement across.
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