The SFFaudio Podcast #721 – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – read by Mark F. Smith for LibriVox. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novel (11 hours 14 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse and Connor Kaye
Talked about on today’s show:
The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself., April 1719, the first English novel?, this particular style, it’s its own thread for reality, comic book adaptations, the 1997 Pierce Brosnan adaptation, kids versions, why its so popular, popular with adults and kids, it’s fantasy, a certain cozy and comfortable feeling, vicariously satisfying, This Old House, a whole television genre, buy houses and fix them up, cooking shows, making fun of some things or earnest?, some combination of both?, things they tend to leave out is how fucking evil and racist everything is, shocking, he’s a slave, then he is freed, then he enslaves other people, profits he’s making and gifting are slave profits, you got all your money in McDonnell Douglas, how christian you are, part of the appeal of this book, he builds a fort, the ultra-competent man in the Heinlein novels, largely paranoid and insane, gunports, a stockade wall, then another stockade, then another then another, the cannibals, the cave, the bottleneck, a legitimate fear, not really a legitimate fear, cannibalism in the Americas, of the catholic variety, I’m hungry for man-meat, people went a little chewy, cannibalism is a metaphor for slavery, 90 minutes, changed to a Scotsman, Pierce Brosnan wants to play the bagpipes?, not needed for the story, the actor playing Friday, that nice point in the late 1990s, sets, no CGI, lower budget, a comfy film to watch, a forever published book, still not a draw, a curiosity, so old, 100% sure it was public domain, most people don’t know how public domain works, if you’re in any doubt… Robinson Crusoe, it always sells, Maissa Bessada and Alex from Pulpcovers, The Martian by Andy Weir is essentially this book, shipwrecked on a planet all by himself, eventually rescued by space pirates, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, a character dressed in goatskins talking about providence, an Easter egg, nautical adventure books, islands named after Robinson Crusoe, the fame of the book, Alexander Selkirk’s island, a pretty great story as well, this fantasy novel vs. the reality of Selkirk, a picture of Crusoe at Alexander Selkirk’s birthplace, conflated into the same guy, Chile, double bang for the buck, fiction and history, remote weird islands, craters named after science fiction writers, the Moon, Mars, the same is true, French South Antarctic Islands, Jules Verne names, a Jules Verne island, the pen sure is mighty, transforming geography in the mental space, Tarzana, California, Edgar Rice Burroughs, mixing of fiction with reality, shipwrecked, sea-sick, marooned, cut out a piece of the world, make a name and a man of himself, a dog and 17 cats he’s murdering, horrible farming practices, the woman is a man, god gave him providence, a tiny version of that, puts his master’s foot on his head, a story going woke, getting his just rewards, Robinson Crusoe is such a horrible human being, he’s the hero, the mindset of the time, there were servants and there were masters, how it is, some people are superior, Frodo and Sam in The Lord Of The Rings, Sam likes being a servant, he’s dedicated to his master, the Gaffer, teaching him how to read, just a kind action, Upstairs, Downstairs, the same kinds of problems, disciplined by the head butler, make people know their place, she’s LARPing what she wants to have her life be, being half French, trying to be better than you are, an honorable servant to a good master, pregnant and out of work, sex out of wedlock, don’t talk about the baby I left there, you eat this lie and put it inside you, learn their Christianity, my master is a good master he only beats the lazy slaves, Australian society, working class people, don’t go to university, turning your back on us, a bizarre mindset, isn’t he a good guy?, he lies to Friday, a good movie and a bad movie, an unfaithful adaptation, we as adult human beings in 2022, friends and co-equals, master and slave, the master is kind to the slave, my name is Master, I lied to you, can’t we live on this island together, what the book gives us, a fantasy of the New World, escaping middle class life, July 29th, 2022, John Scalzi did a tweet: behold my fearful power, culture war nonsense, not even kidding, the white males are the lowest difficulty setting, a very John Scalzi-ism, lowest difficulty setting is about capitalism, the colour of the bandaid, crayons, if you have enough starting capital, what does he have in terms of capital, two fowling rifles, a brace of pistols, a cutlass, so much powder, a lot of tools, a dog, cats, bag of seed for fowl, providence and God, rice and corn and wheat, investment capital, this is a story about capitalism, using your, it’s attacking Jesse personally, a fantasy element to the capitalism, keep growing it and growing it, the ship’s captain, advice, tradeable goods, two gold shillings, silver, hides it in his cave, like a moral lesson about capitalism, like Monopoly, how to do great in capitalism, pro-firearms, Walter Matthau and Robin Williams, survivalism is now preppers, your go back, acronyms, bug-out bags, all fantasy, zombie shows, unironically making weapons to kill zombies, the instinct to like this book, a secret base, cups, a knife, some magazines, traps!, for when the zombies happen, nuclear war, make work, incredibly satisfying, prep harder, prevailing winds, its endless, a fantasy of their real life, accumulating capital, I did the work, Jack, handing out dispensations, he’s the hidden governor of the island, he’s playing god, he was born to it, a crazyman covered in goatskins, organizing fighting forces, legitimate lies, no pants, bristling with weapons, a paranoid madman, killing sprees, what makes them evil?, they exist, right in front of us they’re eating men, Captain Cook, put your head under my foot, they showed him for a while, lessons in the book, how you should act, written when he was 60, conduct literature, pamphlets on how to act, a crazy life, the cherry on top, Crusoe and his father, going against his father’s wishes, if he had just listened to his father, the happiest place in the world is where you are, struggle like the working class, dissatisfaction of the upper class, bad stuff’s going to happen, listening to your parents, religious conversion themes, raving religion, his only book, so thankful to his lord, investment properties, two surrogate sons, the British lord, the other he sends to sea, tops up the younger son, his conclusion is both, the sequel, the further adventures, and a second sequel, back to the island, India, in the Brazil, whose side I’m on, they’re going to do some slaving, the pirates are the badguys, in real life the pirates are anti-slavery, pirates are literally the good guys, they probably fart on you, team human, team liberty, everybody gets a share and their shares are equal, dispense justice, insight from this special book, obedient to god, obedient to me, tongue in cheek, done unconsciously, there’s no evidence, Voltaire, terrible adventures and learns nothing, life can be hilarious, made to suffer by God, a garden of Eden story, he brings capital, the cosmic joke aspect, when Eve shows up she’s a dude, you’re my slave and I can’t make babies with you, Swiss Family Robinson, a Canadian TV show filmed in Ontario and Jamaica, dangerous animals, cheetah stock footage, they build a treehouse, every episode they have adventures, more family friendly, Christians, action adventure for the whole family, a creepazoid story about a madman, whole sequence with a bear, Friday fights a bear, tempting the wolves, a true narrative, a conduct book, how to build up your capital, being born an Englishman, if you picture it in your mind it’s superfuckedup, fortress, his parrot, killing the cats, obsessively counting his stock of sultanas, so unrealistic, after 28 years he comes across some Spaniards, if he could even talk, sign language, speaking Latin, a complete freakazoid, its like he’s mentally ill, raving capitalism, what kind of art does he create?, his journal, no poetry, in line with Crusoe’s nature, everything is practical, constantly building, he builds a canoe, then another, invaders!, how much time he spent building this thing, for what purpose, for didactic purpose, this is how you attract employees, a manual for how to not waste your capital, the culture war is lets focus on the race, these people are inferior because they’re cannibals because they’re not Christians, bears in Brazil?, Columbia or Venezuela, take this horrible story of a guy who couldn’t get along with anybody, William Dampier, scientist/explorer, piratical daring do, avocado barbecue and chopsticks, breadfruit, first to eat flamingo and manatee, less of an insane monster Selkirk, a privateer, the ship is about to sink, a stubborn bullheaded guy, did Dafoe meet Selkirk?, the cats, tropical islands covered in rats, invasive species, a plague of rats, keep the rats down, goats, his clothes rotted away, 4 years vs. 28 years, he could barely speak, trouble forming sentences, what it does to your, solitary confinement, devastating, regained his speech, fairly okay mentally, never as happy as when he was solitary, a minor celebrity, recreate his lifestyle, institutionalized (without an institution), he’s a Heinleinian character, indomitable, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, the horse people, Planet Of The Apes, so elegant and refined, the very noble horses, they Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos, taking care of horses all day, an attack on general humanity, a response to Selkirk’s situation, books in dialogue with each other, shipwrecked many times, increasingly improbably places (including Japan), 1726, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, what’s actually happening in this book, a story that everybody knows, a family that’s shipwrecked, the resultant product of that environment, a famous pulp hero, Tarzan!, shipwrecked off the coast of africa, ape mom, ape family, king of the jungle, talk with the animals, The Jungle Book inspired Tarzan, a guy from Europe who becomes the master of the forest and jungle and is super-racist, a competency family, an accumulation of personal capital vs. actual capital, investment in the new world vs. how to be a fantasy man’s man, animal friends, Tantor the elephant, instead of having a physical capital, a knife is all he needs, just a loincloth, a beautiful Eden like place, super-literate, just from reading his ABC primer books, in the minds of people in the times when Tarzan was being written?, Swiss Family Robinson with a kid, superman, more fantastical, bound to capitalism, Christian values, family values in a Christian context, Tarzan is religion free, being a superior being, wrestling with apes, super-muscles, the term that people hate, the phrase “noble savage”, this evil phrase, the noble part, they live like nobility, they don’t have horrible work hours, they have lots of free time, post-scarcity, doing art, totem poles, artistic endeavors, dance is not held in record as well, post scarcity in terms of food, building up capital, trading parties, very post scarcity, the leadership is these guys are old, they want to give us advice, not a top down system, move the lodge, how to deal with other people over there, slaving was done to do exogamy, not to accumulate human capital, build up stuff to give it away, a famous case of a European at Nootka on Vancouver Island, on the other end of South America, he gets the seasons right, a narrative you can imagine being a didactic popular book, they bookend the 1997 movie, you’ve got to write up Dafoe’s story, I must write this up, what does that opening do?, A Princess Of Mars, the movie adaptation, Edgar Rice Burroughs is the nephew, the effect of that frame, modern filmmaking theory, unnecessary, the fight for the sweetheart is not in the book, some reason to want to go back, Castaway is Tom Hanks as Robinson Crusoe, his Friday is a volleyball, product placement, Wilson basketball, FedEx, he makes art (puts a face on the ball), that framing device, the front of the book, pirates with a y, an advertisement at the end, not a true story, a true tale, when we’re watching the movie, a film camera looking at a guy reading a book, the conflation, to remind us this is a not a real story, maybe that’s the point, Daniel Dafoe is just a photocopier, slightly bizarre, a good editor would have chopped it out, a fan of Dafoe, essential to the film, kill their darlings, there’s no logic to it, good and stupid, an overturning of expectations, it kind of fixes the book, why are you doing that book, to make money?, play, who wouldn’t want to be Robinson Crusoe, be scared of cannibals, less racist and less Christian, random passages from the Bible, a religious ecstasy, changing names, Crusoe’s name and Dafoe’s name, a German Brit, Eurotrash headed to South America, dispense justice, very redeeming, the Prodigal Son, hat in hand [but hat full of jewels], the ending of The Odyssey, killing people, he sees his dog, he sees his slave, treated well by his wife, a bad slave, killing spree, about colonialism, a very interesting artifact, a product of the mindset, [manifest destiny], all of this stuff was made for us, we are the stewards and also the owners, a slave rebellion in South America, the right to do whatever the fuck you want, a president who ran on war with Britain, “54-40 or fight”, the Columbia River, the Oregon Territory, the Hudson’s Bay Company, Columbia (a Goddess walking to the west with settlers behind her), we will take this last, we will make it manifest, from Ontario to British Columbia, most Canadians live near the border, wrapped up in these phrases, what made Canada look as it does, Canada is defined by the existence of the United States, eastern states are natural borders, British colonists, nominal British control, no treaties, a slave rebellion in Guyana, sugar or rubber plantations, the seigniorial system, overseas timeshares, group buy a piece of land, managers, the enforcement of their will, people are highly encouraged to invest income in the stock market, causing externalities without knowing about it, a slaveholder who doesn’t know it, AOC’s phone, “nice slave phone”, superannuation funds, fossil fuel, giving money to secure their future, you don’t want to know, you just want the money, a slippage between what people want and what actually happens, I like chocolate, employing slaves, make the prices lower, the slave beaters, bad business practices, this is justified, working as a prison guard, most of them didn’t have a trial, rich people don’t have this problem, slave labour, they were jerks because they were criminals, a slave becomes a slaver, the reports I’m getting…, charity money, educate the natives, god says charity is good, did he hate being a slave?, Pocket Classics, Meanwhile I began to think deeply, who am I?, who made the world?, 1823 slave revolt, “Bachelor’s Adventure”, “Success”, get rich quick schemes, absentee European owners profiting from slavery, the Demerara rebellion of 1823, 2 days, poor treatment, a widespread mistaken belief, Jack Gladstone, their church group, John Smith, the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, every property holder has equal access to the water (for shipping), we’re all working together, imported from another continent, it is all about human capital, people who’ve had it hard or easy, without the crayons, equipment and tools, not your skin colour, the natives are ugly, a prejudice that little kids have, actors who are objectively acting, there is no fact of the matter, when we get to know people, more handsome or more pretty, a face generated by a brain, getting hung up on the skin colour, the justification for how you became a slave, his job at the beginning of the book, these people were legitimately enslaved, this is not a stolen good, I did work to get it, a rationalization to the self, the enslaving processed happened but it wasn’t done by me, he’s not even thinking about it, a natural thing that happens, I am master, you are slave, a way to divide the working class (the poors), Apple and Raytheon, a technique to divide the working class: talk about race, they’re lacking capital, I could just take the bus, cheaper to take your own car, the time investment, a lot more time, time is money, times is capital, there are people who are racists, what keeps you from becoming a bookwriter, no time to do any art, hone your craft, a lot of leisure time, that noble savage thing again, extracting value in a different way, farming the sea, good returns on their fisheries, the externalities like we’ve done, shipping across the planet, kiwi fruit from Australia, nitrogen from Europe, a product of the unthinking capitalism, Scalzi’s point, American-centric, based on how things are in America, completely relative, different ethnic groups, exploiting one another, we’re feeling our way into this, May 15th, 2012, how life works for them, privileged, a very Scalzi sentence, your average straight white men, all the times slavery has happened in the world, one group of people marketing another group of people, North Africa, race is a modern thing, in the old days people didn’t think skin colour caused slavery, the temperature of the place that were raised, Egypt is warmer than Macedonia, growing to be lazy Egyptians, Varingian guard: lazy like these Byzantines, take prizes, to bring prizes home to sell at market to get rich, this one can teach my children, acquiring and bringing capital in, music and theater, get decadent, the obsession today is a technique to divide those without capital, their third yachts, uninsightful to itself but explains how we got here, reading something from 300 year hundred years ago, spending so much time in it, strange to us, squeecore is about reinforcing the elites, its okay to be the goblin emperor because goblins, gender neutral emperor or empress, transgenders for emperors, how about pirate ships?, why not that?, reading this book is a valuable experience, how did we get to the point we are, society now, hereditary nobility, wealth is hereditary, more hereditary in the past?, works his way up, at least equal to his father, a brothers, a landlubber, romanticism, go out and make my fortune, the story of the British Empire, go off to Canada or Australia or India, white privileged there, the taking of one’s own fortune from the empire, the silver had gone, he had to rub it to make it silver again, capital not being used, from middle class to upper middle class, not being profligate, don’t be the Prodigal Son, choose your marriage wisely, measure your money, insurance, providence providence providence, the luck of God, how come I’m the only one to survive?, almost nothing happens, because deus ex machina, Crusoe never reflects too much on slavery, talking about God on the island, charity, he delivered himself, the opportunities came, more than competent to meet the situation, the fortification aspect, his stockade is a prison for some mutineers, the book works better in the beginning than in the end, setting up the sequel, not the core of the fantasy, Space Family Robinson, competency porn, we can science the shit out of this, listening to disco, disco becomes his god, part of the capital he keeps on his shipwreck, comes to see the beauty of disco, really tapping into the core idea of what we like, the difficulty of being castaway, living outside of and within society, the fortitude, Dafoe: a human triumph story, Swift: a human foibles story, horses are the only thing of value, the nobility of the horse, people claiming to do science, putting energy from the sun into cucumbers and extracting sunlight from the cucumber, ridiculous experiments, floating above and dropping their shit on people beneath them, a hilarious guy, women: don’t fart in front of your man, don’t romanticize marriage so much, a very thoughtful reasonable thing, you both have work to do, marriage is work, how to make Irish babies for dinner: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, a reputable friend in America, its going to make everybody rich, are you serious?, yes, I’m serious, trying to convince you of its rightness, Lone Star Planet, everybody from Texas, Texas sized planet, supercattle and superbourbon, inspired by an H.L. Mencken essay from the 1920s, Prussia’s special court for government officials, the punishments were worse the higher up the chain you are, murdering politicians is legal, a law of taxes, a slap on the wrist, a very Texas book, so American, The Malevolent Job Holder, pull his nose, cut off his ears, how vastly more attentive he would be, how polite and suave, vain fellows, brilliantly remembered, a dozen such episodes, the jails bulged with his critics, a cauliflower ear, a black eye, a scar over his bald head, political appointees, specifically for politicians, this will keep government small, the libertarian Prometheus award, a magazine column, growing corruption in government, how primitive societies made fun of people who wanted to lead, armed society is a polite society, the Uvalde case [the Robb Elementary School shooting], arresting the parents, an instinct to not cede the authority of violence to incompetent job-holders, they might get fired and get a job in a neighbouring town, who is going to arrest them?, power imbalanced, the sequels, a hefty book, to capitalize on his success (ironic), one of the secrets, reading very old books, capital from Jesse’s grandparents, comics, leftover capital, all really good books, an infinite number of public domain books (not really), sits on a shelf for thirty years, the capital is available, sitting around in a house that Jesse had access to, people listening, I’d like to read Treasure Island, usually older than Tarzan, Moby Dick, Poe, decades of accumulated wisdom, whatever book that came out this week that somebody got a Hugo award for, maybe it’s going to be a classic for the ages, thousands of fiction books every year, not too many, read old books you’re more likely to get a profit from it, accumulated a lot of brain capital, human development, edifying, make yourself greater, instruct or improve someone, moral or religious knowledge, uplift, to improve someone’s mind, we are edified by great books, a rip-roaring book, they start copying and making fun of him, 300 years later people still doing it, 300 years later, 4,000 years from now, direct brain stream, 2 robots arguing on other planets, still be able to make fun of ourselves and Robinson Crusoe, he’s such and asshole, I’m glad we met him, why is he the hero of this story?, more books that are lifts from Robinson Crusoe, nautical themed, lists of books, Jesse feels proud of himself.