The Party Tour has come to an end, each show to seem to have its own special quality. I’m so proud to be a fan of someone who puts his all in his work and pleases his fans. As I stated earlier, here are my fave looks from the tour. What are yours?
1. Juun J Hooded Oversized Coat with Bape Combat Boots
2. Vintage Jeff Hamilton Mickey Mouse Jacket (do your research, Jeff is the GOAT)
3. Custom Black Pyramid Flight Suit/Jumpsuit/Romper
WTNV Theories and Ramblings - Episode 76: An Epilogue
We always receive the story after the fact. This is one of the downsides of the radio and of media…or maybe it’s just the downside of living a linear, human existence. As the audience, we only get to experience the story after it’s happened. Even “breaking news” is reactionary, reporting on a thing that just happened. You can expand this into larger, existential territory: we experience our lives in real time, yes, but we process these events through memory (and thus, our memories fade or decay or become twisted through our subjective lens). In this way, everything we consume and process is epilogue, a rehashing of the events that already took place.
Ah, the human race. Always a day late and a dollar short.
It’s not all bad news, though. Today’s episode is quite literally an epilogue to the story we will receive in the WTNV novel. Isn’t that just like the creators to give the ending away before the main part of the story is even told?
It’s almost as if all that stuff in between doesn’t really matter. We are often told, erroneously, that it’s the journey that matters most, matters more than the destination itself. But in practice, the ending is the most important part. Yes, Sleeping Beauty, maybe you learned that true love conquers all, but now you have to live ever after with the prince that saved you. Oh sure, Hansel and Gretel, you defeated the wicked witch…but now you have to go back to the father who abandoned you, and won’t that be an awkward rest-of-your-life? In short, our experiences shape us, but we have to live in the ending.
Or, depending on whether or not we are the main characters in the stories of our lives, maybe we aren’t alive at all in the ending. And then we are really stuck there for good.
It’s an important reminder for us and, in true Night Vale fashion, it is tinged with just a little valley-of-the-shadow-of-death. We imagine our lives in the shape of the rise and fall of the Freytag pyramid:
And if our lives really were like that, of course you might think that the journey is important – all those events in the middle (the climax, in particular) are going to be life-changing. Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” follows a similar structure, and the stakes are incredibly high for those who venture its path. But the truth is that our lives really aren’t shaped like that at all. For the most part, life is a straight line with minor variations and the occasional sharp rise or fall. Considering this, the importance of where we end becomes clear…because that’s where the line stops – the only real and true alteration the line ever experiences.
And those of you with mortal, corruptible forms may realize what the final ending for you is. Happy weekend thoughts, my angels!
I am reminded of There Is No Part 1: Part 2 – both episodes share a similar conceit. We enter into the narrative at its resolution and are left without any explanation of the rest of the dramatic arc. As in Episode 63, the effect of this technique is one of discomfort. We like stories. Narrative gives us comfort.
Rob us of this is to rob us of a safety net. If you are a writer trying to create a catchy hook for your readers, you might commit this thievery in a small way – you might begin in the middle of the inciting incident or rising action. It’s jarring, but still a very safe narrative trick, to keep the exposition away from the audience.
However, if you were an existential/cosmic horror podcast, lopping off the first three quarters is a bold move that can create a sense of unease. There is a hole in our story, yet again, and we can only guess at what once occupied the space…and the answers are so tantalizingly closer, but still completely unavailable to us. The more obvious effect of this in An Epilogue is to drum up excitement for the WTNV novel, but it also presents some delightful irony. While this is technically an epilogue for the novel, it is also, simultaneously, a prologue, as it presents to us the only solid information we have about the plot of the novel. And is it ironic or is it completely appropriate that, even though the mystery surrounding The Man in the Tan Jacket is, ostensibly, solved…there is still a shroud around his story and the biggest gap in the episode is, as always, where he is concerned?