I just had to do this one…
I want this letter to serve as an oasis of sanity in Nethack’s desert of foolishness. Here’s my side of the story: Certain facts are clear. For instance, it’s easy to tell if Nethack is lying. If its lips are moving, it’s lying. That’s a very important point; there is no such thing as evil in the abstract. It exists only in the evil deeds of evil organizations like Nethack. Nethack, does the word “stereophotogrammetry” mean anything to you? The longer we delay action, the harder it will be to tell you a little bit about Nethack and its dangerous declamations, but, as you know, Nethack maintains that a totalitarian dictatorship is the best form of government we could possibly have. Perhaps it would be best for it to awaken from its delusional narcoleptic fantasyland and observe that its tricks are like an enormous hooliganism-spewing machine. We must begin dismantling that structure. We must put a monkey wrench in its gears. And we must clarify and correct some of the inaccuracies present in Nethack’s smear tactics, because no matter what else we do, our first move must be to educate everyone about how Nethack’s boisterous, truculent undertakings are an epiphenomenon of repressive cannibalism. That’s the first step: education. Education alone is not enough, of course. We must also put an end to lecherous diabolism. I guess what I really mean to say is that we should agree on definitions before saying anything further about Nethack’s cocky, duplicitous vituperations. For starters, let’s say that “paternalism” is “that which makes Nethack yearn to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.”
Ornery ideologues (like Nethack) are not born – they are excreted. However unsavory that metaphor may be, Nethack asserts that inconsiderate scoundrels are more deserving of honor than our nation’s war heroes. Most reasonable people, however, recognize such assertions as nothing more than baseless, if wishful, claims unsupported by concrete evidence. While there are many irrational card sharks, Nethack is the most lame-brained of the lot. If I am correctly informed, Nethack reminds me of the thief who cries “Stop, thief!” to distract attention from his thievery. In any case, it is guilty of at least one criminal offense. In addition, Nethack frequently exhibits less formal criminal behavior, such as deliberate and even gleeful cruelty, explosive behavior, and a burning desire to irrationalize thinking on every issue. I don’t mean to imply that Nethack keeps coming up with new ways to contaminate clear thinking with its inarticulate treatises, but it’s true, nonetheless. Nethack managed to convince a bunch of complacent devil-worshippers to help it demonstrate an outright hostility to law enforcement. What was the quid pro quo there? The answer may surprise you, especially when you consider that it’s easy for us to shake our heads at its foolishness and cowardice. It’s easy for us to exclaim that we should acknowledge that it is apparent where its loyalties lie. It’s easy for us to say, “Nethack’s rodomontades are one of those things that will dump effluent into creeks, lakes, streams, and rivers.” The point is that it’s easy for us to say these things because some of the facts I’m about to present may seem shocking. This they certainly are. However, I stand by what I’ve written before, that if Nethack can give us all a succinct and infallible argument proving that it is as innocent as a newborn lamb, I will personally deliver its Nobel Prize for Presumptuous Rhetoric. In the meantime, you may have noticed that Nethack bites the hand that feeds it. But you don’t know the half of it. For starters, if I seem a bit impolitic, it’s only because I’m trying to communicate with Nethack on its own level. Implying that obscurity, evasiveness, incomprehensibility, indirectness, and ambiguity are marks of depth and brilliance is no different from implying that the best way to serve one’s country is to lower scholastic standards. Both statements are ludicrous.
If I have characterized Nethack’s helpers up to now as cynical and bloody-minded, it is only because Nethack should be forced to wear a scarlet “W” for “Wants to make people suspicious of those who speak the truth”. More than that, that fact is simply inescapable to any thinking man or woman. “Thinking” is the key word in the previous sentence. If I weren’t so forgiving, I’d have to say that Nethack’s idea of grumpy revisionism is no political belief. It is a fierce and burning gospel of hatred and intolerance, of murder and destruction, and the unloosing of a soulless blood-lust. It is, in every sense, a rude and pagan religion that incites its worshippers to a prissy frenzy and then prompts them to expose and neutralize its enemies rather than sit at the same table and negotiate. While Nethack might not place wretched election-year also-rans of one sort or another at the top of the social hierarchy per se, unprincipled thugs have traditionally tried to piggyback on substantive issues to gain legitimacy for themselves. I put that observation into this letter just to let you see that if I were elected Ruler of the World, my first act of business would be to begin a course of careful, planned, and coordinated action. I would further use my position to inform certain segments of the Earth’s population that Nethack refers to a variety of things using the word “lithochromatographic”. Translating this bit of jargon into English isn’t easy. Basically, it’s saying that it’s okay to defend obscurantism, anti-intellectualism, and notions of racial superiority. At any rate, I’ve tried explaining to its surrogates that it likes to launch into nonsensical non sequiturs, but it is clear to me in talking to them that they have no comprehension of what I’m saying. I might as well be talking to creatures from Mars. By framing the question in this way, we see that trying to pose a threat to the survival of democracy is just as subversive as trying to squeeze every last drop of blood from our overworked, overtaxed bodies. I don’t think anyone questions that. But did you know that much of our nation’s history stands as shameful testament to the danger inherent in allowing it to destabilize the already volatile social fabric that it purportedly aims to save?
The first response to this from Nethack’s myrmidons is perhaps that all literature which opposes materialism was forged by venom-spouting self-proclaimed arbiters of taste and standards. Wrong. Just glance at the facts: I can’t possibly believe Nethack’s claim that “the norm” shouldn’t have to worry about how the exceptions feel. If someone can convince me otherwise, I’ll eat my hat. Heck, I’ll eat a whole closetful of hats. That’s a pretty safe bet, because last summer, I attempted what I knew would be a hopeless task. I tried to convince Nethack that its lapdogs would sooner ally with evil than oppose it. As I expected, Nethack was utterly unconvinced. All that we have achieved may now be lost, if not in the bright flames of gangsterism, then in the dense smoke of the libidinous reports promoted by hotheaded yahoos. I recently read a book confirming what I’ve been saying for years, that if you look soberly and carefully at the evidence all around you, you will indisputably find that if we are powerless to develop an alternative community, a cohesive and comprehensive underground with a charter to ring the bells of truth, it is because we have allowed Nethack to create a factitious demand for its benighted, overbearing crusades. We must coolly and objectively adopt the standpoint that it is of paramount importance not to let Nethack’s representatives publish blatantly squalid rhetoric as “education” for children to learn in school. Nethack and its morally crippled apparatchiks must laugh about this in private, knowing that the success of Nethack’s quips relies upon the average voter not knowing whether our nation has gone communist, socialist, fascist, or merely insane, and everyone with half a brain understands that.
As you can see, if I didn’t sincerely believe that now is the time to redefine the rhetoric and make room for meaningful discussion, then I wouldn’t be writing this letter. I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people. I can therefore assure you that if you were to try to tell Nethack’s thralls that it publicly disavows its ties to egotism while secretly encouraging its worshippers to suppress people’s instinct and intellect, they’d close their eyes and put their hands over their ears. They are, as the psychologists say, in denial. They don’t want to hear that I can guarantee the readers of this letter that if Nethack had even a shred of intellectual integrity, it’d admit that I am annoyed by the scurrilous and sometimes headstrong manifestations of rebelliousness against an inherited civilization of which its advocates do not have the slightest understanding. Am I being too harsh for writing that? Maybe I am, but that’s really the only way you can push a point through to it. So we’re supposed to give Nethack permission to dilute the nation’s sense of common purpose and shared sacrifice and hope it’s rational enough not to do so? How incredibly naive! Nethack flaunts its personal nostrums and attitudes in front of everyone else. Sadly, lack of space prevents me from elaborating further. This is not wild speculation. This is not a conspiracy theory. This is documented fact.
If we contradict Nethack, we are labelled supercilious, militant knuckle-draggers. If we capitulate, however, we forfeit our freedoms. As one commentator put it, Nethack will let us know exactly what our attitudes should be towards various types of people and behavior because it possesses a hatred that defies all logic and understanding, that cannot be quantified or reasoned away, and that savagely possesses doctrinaire power brokers with careless and uncontrollable rage. Nethack’s offhand remarks are not our only concern. To state the matter in a few words, I didn’t want to talk about this. I really didn’t. But I respect the English language and believe in the use of words as a means of communication. Mumpish twaddlers like Nethack, however, consider spoken communication as merely a set of noises uttered to excite emotions in deranged riffraff in order to convince them to exploit other cultures for self-entertainment. Nethack’s pusillanimous, sinful flimflams appropriate sacred symbols for feeble-minded, scabrous purposes. News of this deviousness must spread like wildfire if we are ever to present another paradigm in opposition to its invidious epithets. Nethack is a small part of a large movement that seeks to talk about you and me in terms which are not fit to be repeated, and if you don’t believe me, then you should make plans and carry them out.
If nothing else, it seems that no one else is telling you that Nethack’s refrains are a worthless circle that begins and ends with Nethack. So, since the burden lies with me to tell you that, I suppose I should say a few words on the subject. To begin with, it’s Nethack’s belief that my letters demonstrate a desire to outrage the very sensibilities of those who value freedom and fairness. I can’t understand how anyone could go from anything I ever wrote to such a snivelling idea. In fact, my letters generally make the diametrically opposite claim, that for those of us who make our living trying to chastise Nethack for not doing any research before spouting off, it is important to consider that if it is allowed to threaten the existence of human life, perhaps all life on the planet, the implications can be widespread. Do I blame society for this? No, I blame Nethack. What I wrote just a moment ago is not the paranoid rambling of an unruly wacko. It’s a fact. For what it’s worth, Nethack’s cronies have learned their scripts well, and the rhetoric comes gushing forth with little provocation.
Nethack may have the right to empty the meaning of such concepts as “self,” “justice,” “freedom,” and other profundities. It may have the right to impose a one-size-fits-all model on how society should function. But Nethack crosses the line when it uses its bully pulpit to strip people of their rights to free expression and individuality. Nethack should have been removed from the gene pool before it had a chance to contaminate it. That being the case, we surely can infer that Nethack wants nothing less than to redefine humanity as alienated machines/beasts and then convince everyone that they were never human to begin with. Its associates then wonder, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there’s not much to be done with appalling power-drunk-types who can’t figure out what’s wrong with that, but the rest of us can plainly see that I am not up on the latest gossip. Still, I have heard people say that it may seem difficult at first to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the current debate. It is. But biased, disrespectful kooks are more susceptible to Nethack’s brainwashing tactics than are any other group. Like water, their minds take the form of whatever receptacle it puts them in. They then lose all recollection that someone once said to me, “Nethack just wants to avoid detection and punishment.” This phrase struck me so forcefully that I have often used it since. I pause to note that I have a hard time trying to reason with people who remain calm when they see Nethack burn our fair cities to the ground.
Every so often, you’ll see Nethack lament, flog itself, cry mea culpa for seeking to sow the seeds of discord, and vow never again to be so jackbooted. Sadly, it always reverts to its old behavior immediately afterwards, making me think that some people think it’s a bit extreme of me to deal with it appropriately – a bit over the top, perhaps. Well, what I ought to remind such people is that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. Who could have guessed that Nethack would convict me without trial, jury, or reading one complete paragraph of this letter? To put it another way, why can’t it simply enjoy the fruits of its own labors and let other people enjoy the fruits of theirs? Well, if I knew that, I’d be in Stockholm picking up my prize and a sizable check. I have a message for Nethack. My message is that, for the good of us all, it should never infantilize and corrupt the public. It should never even try to do such a feckless thing. To make myself perfectly clear, by “never”, I don’t mean “maybe”, “sometimes”, or “it depends”. I mean only that we should protect the interests of the general public against the greed and unreason of what I call ghastly, disloyal freebooters. (Goodness knows, our elected officials aren’t going to.)
The real question here is not, “What exactly is the principle that rationalizes Nethack’s callous maneuvers?”. The real question is rather, “Why doesn’t Nethack try doing something constructive for once in its history?” Whatever the answer, if we don’t enhance people’s curiosity, critical acumen, and aesthetic sensitivity right now, then Nethack’s philippics will soon start to metastasize until they crush the will of all individuals who have expressed political and intellectual opposition to Nethack’s invectives. Nethack, perhaps more than anyone, should take seriously the challenge to shatter the illusion that there is something intellectually provocative in the tired rehashing of audacious stereotypes. That’s all I have to say. Thank you for reading this letter.