Pop Culture Builds 3: Ash Williams (The Evil Dead)
Sometimes, when supernatural forces are unleashed upon the
world, one doesn’t have the luxury of magic or those versed in occult lore.
Sometimes it’s just you, your wits, and a boomstick.
Ash, full name Ashley James William, has more experience
than most with the Candarian Demons and the Deadites they create with their
possession than most, being still alive after multiple encounters with them,
and even managing to resist possession on at least one occasion, two if you
count having to chop off his own hand, which was possessed at one point.
In the first film, Ash is the very picture of a horror movie
Sole Survivor, terrified, running on pure adrenaline, and fighting to survive,
and even being subject to a final scare ending. In the second film, he has
fought off that possession with the help of the cleansing light of the sun, and
after encountering the second set of victims to come to the cabin, finds his
courage, or more accurately becoming unhinged enough to ignore fear, and begins
to fight back with shotgun and chainsaw strapped to the stump where his right
hand used to be. The third film, army of darkness, sends him back in time to
the 14th century, where he battles against the deadites once more,
now a battle-hardened, cynical, arrogant, and unhinged warrior.
Of course, Ash’s story doesn’t in there. He continues on in
Ash vs the Evil Dead, a series that I haven’t seen, but I hear good things
While Ash is human, any race will do for this build, though
methinks one should steer away from races with magical abilities, since an Ash
Williams Build is all about a guy with no knowledge of a mystical nature
fighting and winning against the horrors of the unseen world.
Class-wise, I believe that he is best represented by a
gunslinger, having not only a mastery of firearms, but also the bold, cocksure
attitude to stand in the face of literal demons and fight back. Ash prefers to
be in the thick of it though, so a good strength score is good too, in addition
to dexterity and wisdom. That being said, unless the sanity system is being
used, I’d imagine that Ash probably has only above-average wisdom, since his
mind has been repeatedly assailed by the horror he has witnessed and attempts
at direct possession. As such, he’ll likely be relying on firearm kills and
crits to maintain his grit.
As far as feats go, extra grit will be a must for keeping
Ash going. Also, as a horror movie protagonist, he has to be ready for jump
scares at any time, so the snap shot feat tree is very useful for him, as well
as most gunslinger and grit-related feats.
Ash is rarely seen without his boomstick, so packing a
blunderbuss, shotgun, or other appropriate weapon is a must. Additionally, he
also has a surprisingly advanced prosthetic gauntlet from his time in the past,
which could be represented by a clockwork prosthesis from Magical Marketplace.
As for his other signature weapon, the chainsaw, we can lift that directly from
technology guide. However, if the game you’re running doesn’t have such tech, a
saw-toothed sabre or even a scizor would do the trick.
Of course, you could argue that Ash’s experience with
killing deadites would make him a slayer instead, possibly a grave warden.
Alternately, he can also function as an inquisitor if you’re fine with giving
him access to magic, with the black powder inquisition being an excellent
Without the chainsaw, folks might not immediately recognize
who this build is an homage to. As such, it can be used quite nicely for a
violent, gun-toting survivor of horrors most wouldn’t dream of. One-liners not
Today is Friday.
Today is the day where we can forget the pain from this last week and believe it’s all going to be okay.
This day was made for new beginnings and new adventures and beautiful thoughts that only you could think.
You are a field of wild flowers in a world that feels dead.
Don’t waste your sunshine and spark on those who don’t understand.
I pray you would love so sweetly that others would feel brand new.
Today is yours for creating.
You, light of the world, be true.
In The Divided Self, R.D. Laing offers this description of “ontological insecurity.”
The individual in the ordinary circumstances of living may feel more unreal than real; in a literal sense, more dead than alive; precariously differentiated from the rest of the world, so that his identity and autonomy are always in question. He may lack the experience of his own temporal continuity. He may not possess an overriding sense of personal consistency or cohesiveness. He may feel more insubstantial than substantial, and unable to assume that the stuff he is made of is genuine, good, valuable. And he may feel his self as partially forced from his body.
This sort of interpretation of the self used to be my basic starting point in approaching social media. As Laing argues, a stable sense of self is required for one to have “sane” interactions with other people, otherwise every interaction threatens to overwhelm the individual with insecurity, with fears of losing oneself in the other or of being ignored and obliterated by their indifference. Monitoring these interactions and scoring them increases the chances that we will experience them this way; it both destabilizes the sense of identity security we have going in to an encounter, and it provides a quasi-objective way of confirming the degree to which one is winning or losing “identity” in terms of making others recognize the primacy of your point of view on the world.
Social media is a cause of ontological insecurity that masquerades as its cure. Social media networks literalize and make explicit the ways in which we are “precariously differentiated,” and the asynchronous nature of sociality online disrupts an individual’s sense of “temporal continuity.” The creation of an identity archive would seem to ground the self, but it merely creates an incomplete and inadequate double — a “self partially forced from the body” — over which one has even less control over the uses to which it is put. An online identity in a social media platform is not a medium for our autonomous expression; it is a means by which our identity is warped, exploited, misused, posited, manipulated, and articulated by outside forces. Other people and corporations and advertisers and so on can put “you” to use without your presence or knowledge. The contexts in which “you” appear cede even further from your control, and one is continually confronted with one’s incohesiveness, one’s lack of consistency.
If Laing is right, then social media systematically impose a sense of insubstantiality on users, which opens up the serial pleasure of reaching for small reassurances: likes, and other forms of micro-recognition made suddenly meaningful by the acute insecurity.
For the ontological insecure man, according to Laing, “the world of his experience comes to be one he can no longer share with other people.” In social media terms, this means that “sharing” on platforms increases to the extent that one feels no one shares their world, and it has the ironic consequence of increasing the sense of isolation. The more I mediate my experience to offer it you, the more I make concrete my feeling that you don’t know or share what I experience, or even see that I experience, and that I have to keep shoving examples of it at you.
The point, again, is that social media inverts what it makes explicit. It turns identity into incoherence by archiving what we do and imposing on it a formal, data-based unity. It purports to contain identity but it renders it a blank, a blinking cursor, an untaken photo, a vacuum that never fills, no matter how much is poured in. Social media turn sharing into isolation, by often insisting on the lack of synchronous reciprocity and co-presence in communication there. It makes the attention of others measurable, storable, transferable, making it something that can only come at someone else’s expense, obscuring the idea that attention can vary in form and intensity, that it can be given without being surrendered, and can harmonize with the attention of others into something immeasurably greater.
I can die happy now, because I’ve seen Hugh Dancy and Bryan Fuller with my own two eyes. ;)
I’m crashing early tonight because I was on a plane all night and then rushing through London sightseeing all day (insert GJH here, whispering “see” as I desperately try to see everything in one day), so I am DEAD TO THE WORLD. But I’m hoping to actually meet more people tomorrow? You know, when I’m among the living once again??
(An acknowledgment: yes, these are terrible pictures, but I was trying to clap and yell and take pictures at the same time, and it wasn’t working so well for me, LOL.)