This is from Darrow (D.G.Valdron), a fellow writer and Lexxian. It's a deeply perceptive piece of writing: apart from a couple of footnotes, I've posted it without any comments from me, because I really can't argue with most of what he says!
I think I disagree a bit with some of your comments on Stanley Tweedle. I think his case is a bit more complicated.
You seem to be assuming that the Tweedle we see now is the Tweedle that's always been. And that we should accept this Tweedle as a natural fully formed personality. I'm not sure about that.1
I think we should consider that the Stan we know has been the victim, in
Feppo's hands of severe torture. He undoubtedly underwent substantial
further conditioning and torture at the hands of the Divine order.
There's also some evidence that he was subject to some degree of behavioural conditioning. In support of this, I'd cite Episodes 2.16 and 2.17, Net and Web, where Stan displays near pathological/obsessive behaviour over his hat. In fact, I think the whole hat thing is a major clue as to Stan's condition. (Either that or bad writing.)
Stan in these episodes appears to be entirely fixated. In his
conversations, his missing hat assumes equal prominence with the eminent
death of the Universe. It rules his mind to the extent that he
literally ignores a naked Xev in the shower room. His obsession with
his hat leads him to petulantly ignore the requests of the Lexx as it
heads towards a clear potential danger. Think about it: The missing
hat takes priority over sex, death and danger? This is Stan we're
Yet the hat seems to be only the tip of the iceberg. Notice how obsessed Stan is with his security guard uniform. OK, so he hasn't had that many chances to change his wardrobe, but he has actually had a few. He stays with the uniform, a potent symbol of his subjugation and humiliation, through two seasons now. What's going on here?2
I would suggest that the attachment to hat and the uniform are actually symptoms of behavioural conditioning imposed on Stan by the Divine Order.
Consider it. The Divine Order picks up an intelligence asset. The torture him for a while, get what they want out of him for the time being. Now what? Obviously, the first thought is: Off to the organ banks. But what if they still have a use for the asset, the Divine Order, is ruthless and pragmatic. Best to tuck it away someplace for a rainy day.
But how to ensure that the asset doesn't cause trouble in the meantime? Well, keep it in a prison cell forever?
I was reading reports from survivors of Pinochet's secret police. People who'd been abducted and tortured, and eventually released. One of the interesting things was that the secret police, after a time, would simply release their victims back into the community, with little more than that they report to the police every week, not to change employment or residence without permission, etc. The moral of the story is that in a Police State, the whole country is a Prison.
Why keep Stan in prison, when the entire Cluster world is a prison? Well, if we're not going to lock up the asset physically, then there must be methods of locking it up mentally. It strikes me that religious theocracies have always been adept and aggressive at indoctrination and behavioural modification or brainwashing.
It strikes me that the Divine Order would not have wished a wholesale brainwashing. That might have ruined Stan's value, and possibly lost them information or potential uses which they might have wanted.
So what would they put in its place? Probably a series of compulsions. Compulsions as to residence, dress (hard to escape if you can't change out of your prison duds), quite possibly others.
As a thought on that point, it seems to me that Stan, as an Assistant Deputy Backup Courier, would have had at least some combat and/or officer training. He shows no signs, however, of being able to access these abilities effectively. He appears, for instance, entirely unable to react with physical violence or to the threat of physical violence (in Woz for instance, he's unable to even hold prisoners at gunpoint, there are numerous examples of his lack of ability with violence, dealing with threatened violence from Pa in White Trash, Captain Moss in Lyekka, or the actual violence of the scum in LuvLiner). But at the same time, paradoxically, he is not deterred by torture or the threat of torture, nor stopped by pain (Consider his revenge in Gigashadow which involves willingly submitting to torture to achieve his ultimate end, or in Luvliner where as a prisoner he risks/accepts torture, or his behaviour with his hand ripped off in Supernova). I think we're seeing more evidence of imposed psychological blocks.
Consider that Stan has spent the last eight or nine years of his life, before the Lexx in a state of complete humiliation, of suppression and subjugation of his ego. Tortured, conditioned, and then reduced to the status of a cog in a civilisation he once fought.
And worst of all, he knows it. Kai had the benefit of having his mind wiped when he was an assassin. But for every day of his eight years, Stan was totally aware of his fall from grace, of his helplessness. That's gotta be nasty.
Viewed in that light, certain erratic behaviours of Stan seem to make
more sense, among them: -
- His petty and ultimately self-destructive argument with the prisoner transport in IWHS;
- Teaching/forcing the Brains to sing the Stan Song;
- Commanding Lexx to use an inflated and continually escalating series of titles for him in Gigashadow;
- 'Self Appointing' grandiose titles to himself in Patches in the Sky and browbeating a clearly intimidated robot in the same episode.
These actions are at once profoundly trivial and grandiosely extravagantly egomaniacal, even megalomaniacal in their scope and nature. The total effect is of a comic-opera ludicrousness.
But actually, what we're seeing is Stan's continuing rebellion. He's spent eight years, oppressed, suppressed, humiliated as the lowest of the low in the Cluster, and now, he feels a drive to redeem his humiliation with displays of awkward ego gratification and petty tyranny. Of course, this is hardly rational as Stan is now arguably the most powerful man in the Universe, but we're not talking rationality here. We're talking deep-seated and long term emotional trauma's not wholly controlled at the conscious level. I'm not sure Stan himself even fully understands what he's going through.
This begs the question of what Stan was like before his time as a political prisoner. Somehow, based on the very little we've seen in The Trial of Stan, he hardly seems to have been a James Bond. The Stan of then seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Stan of today. This is consistent with the Divine Order leaving him essentially intact.
But powerful experiences provoke strong reactions and erratic behaviours. In real life, survivors of years of torture or oppression may take years to work it out. I think that a lot of what we've seen as "comic relief" behaviour, or "inconsistencies characterisation" or other behavioural extremes may actually be delayed stress reactions to his near decade as a victim/prisoner.
Hmm... Well, I've always believed that an individual's basic character (their motivations, reactions etc) has been fully formed by their early teens, if not before. Not that that means they can't change, of course...
My belief is that Stan's fixation on his hat is his psyche's way of holding onto the last shreds of his own personality - trying to prevent himself being entirely subsumed by the 'spider' entity.
You can read more of Darrow's writing at Final Journey, one of the finest and most chilling fanfics I've ever read.
© 1999 D.G.Valdron.
© 1999 WordWrights.
The Darrow Files