My Dulcet Tones and The Litigatrix

The Short: I read Ken Liu’s The Litigatrix for PodCastle, and it’s up for you to listen to today.

The Long:

I mentioned last week how I’ve gone through a bit of a transition in how I perceive the value of my podcasting work to other people as time has passed.  I’m not going to lie – one of the big things that assured me I wasn’t just chatting to the ether was when other people started asking me for audio work.  There are roughly eleventy bajillion people who want to do voice work, so if I’m getting solicited, somebody likes what I’m doing.

And when I’m getting solicited to read for an author I really like?

Also, murder mystery?

Also, PodCastle.

It was super awesome the first time they asked me to narrate a Ken Liu story.  It was so awesome I went and got my first ever sinus infection and lost my voice, consequently blowing their deadline in a major, major way.  I hate blowing deadlines, but I was physically incapable of doing anything else.  Alas, I said to myself, they’ll never want anything to do with me again, feckless, voiceless wretch that I am.

Once in a while, on very rare occasions, when the fate of the world is a little bit in jeopardy, I am wrong.

As a cynical pessimist, I usually quite enjoy being wrong.

In summary – THIS WAS SUPER AWESOME I’M SO THRILLED YOU SHOULD GO LISTEN AND THEN TELL KEN HOW AWESOME HE IS.

Also, of squee note, the story was originally purchased by Ann Leckie and published in GigaNotoSaurus.  I woke up this morning to a notification that a tweet I was mentioned in was favorited by Ann Leckie.  My level of fangirling here is not at all creepy.

CC: The Ink Readers of Doi Saket

This month’s story through the Crucible is Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s The Ink Readers of Doi Saket.  This is a fun story with a lot going on in it, but I want to home in on a thing it does that you just don’t see a lot of in modern genre literature: Omniscient POV.  That’s the 3rd person narrator who knows everything about everything and traditionally isn’t a character in the story.  If that’s not innovative enough for Heuvelt, it’s an unreliable omniscient narrator.  Neat!

First, let’s take a look at how he goes about establishing the POV so that readers who aren’t trained to expect omniscient nevertheless follow along without getting lost.

It was during a night in the twelfth lunar month of this year when two strong hands pushed young Tangmoo down into the bed of the Mae Ping River, and by doing so, ironically, fulfilled his only wish. Tangmoo flailed his arms wildly, churning up the swirling water. The whites of his eyes reflected flashes from the fireworks as his smothered cries rose in bubbles to the surface, where they burst in silence: help, help, help, help!

This first paragraph goes a long way toward establishing the narrative voice and hinting what’s going on to the reader.  The distance inherent in opening with the date helps and also starts signaling that this is a fable-type story.  The use of “ironically” is also a big clue, because it’s commentary implying that narrator is in a position not just to report the events, but to comment on their relevance in the big-picture context.  At this point it could be a close 3rd on Tangmoo, but unless he’s suicidal, it’s going to be really hard for him to know that, ironically, his wish is getting fulfilled.  The case against a close 3rd on Tangmoo gets even stronger when we have a description of the whites of his eyes – there’s no way Tangmoo would know what the whites of his own eyes lock like while he’s being drowned in the middle of the night.  So the narrator is somebody who can observe the up close details of the scene, knows the inner thoughts of at least one of the actors and how the scenario plays in large context.  The reader doesn’t need to be consciously aware of those details about the narrator, but this is the information that makes the transition to the next paragraph smooth and easy to follow.

These filtered cries of alarm were mistaken by a pair of dragonflies fused in flight, their only wish to remain larvaless and so prolong their love dance endlessly, for the dripping of morning dew.

Here anybody paying attention and trying to determine the POV at play in the story has no choice but to accept an omniscient 3rd unless they want to generate a very specific character and explanation for this story.  Most readers won’t do that automatically, they just fall into accepting what’s going on in front of them.  So there, in less than two paragraphs, you have an atypical POV presented to the reader, the tone of the story established, the inciting incident described, and the major theme of the story introduced and reinforced.  Beginnings, man.  They’re such over-achievers.

What I like in particular about these opening paragraphs, though, is the amount of work they put into establishing the narrator as credible.  You get facts, and useful details.  You get insights.  And you get a little piece of commentary that betrays the narrator’s knowledge and understanding of the situation.  The commentary is important, because having commented once in a fashion that doesn’t at all beg the reader to question the implication (because it’s there to prove something else, not to be evaluated on its own) you’ve now believed one subjective thing from the narrator.  That primes you to believe another.

Which you get.

(There were rumors that the stone was not in fact bewitched at all, but that lustful Somchai suffered from some type of obsessive exhibitionism. Nonsense, of course.)

This is great . The explicit text is lying to you; this story is set in modern day and we find out what’s up with lusty Somchai later.  Those rumors are absolutely and unquestionably true, and every reader knows it.  Nobody would expect the readers to believe anything else.  So even though the text is an explicit lie, the narrator isn’t lying.  That’s a sarcastic “nonsense,” meant to cause a little bit of bonding between the narrator and the reader.  What it’s saying is, “I know the rumors are true.  You know the rumors are true.  But there are plenty of people who are invested in refusing to believe the rumors, and we’re too polite to shatter their beliefs on the subject.”  It’s a secret the reader and the narrator share.

But this, the same as with the dragonflies, was purely coincidental, and nothing should be read into it.

And here comes a piece of commentary that potentially is a lie.  A reader could go either way on whether they think this is meant to be believed.  Obviously it isn’t, but does the narrator know that?  Hard to say.  I’d argue that no, not really, because this motif of the benefits just being a coincidence gets repeated several times, then subverted at the end.

And maybe this was all coincidence, like so much in life.

The wording of this subversion is intensely interesting.  The “maybe” here is the word I’m latching onto because it clearly indicates that the narrator doesn’t believe it was all a coincidence.  They’re open to the possibility, but that’s not their understanding.  The wishes granted after Tangmoo dies are, as presented by the narrator, actually attributable to him.  Yet, in the same breath, the narrator specifies “Like so much in life.”  That right there is a reinforcement of the assertion that the fortuitous circumstances that followed Tangmoo in the days before he was murdered were coincidental.

The difference between whether the narrator means for the reader to assume none of the circumstances were coincidental may seem little, but it’s actually vital to understanding the scope of the story told here.  If the blessings in living Tangmoo’s wake weren’t coicidences, then this is the story of a gifted young man murdered and thereby freed to exercise his gifts more widely.  If they were coincidences, then this is the story of a good, sincere, kind boy murdered and transformed into a force of cosmic beneficence.  The second interpretation is a much bigger story, and the nature of the violence inherent in his murder changes, too.

I’m thinking the narrator was unreliable and none of the things were coincidences.  But I like the other story better.

Next month: May 15 –Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)

CC: If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love

Rachel Swirsky‘s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” started getting award buzz almost the moment it came out.  Controversy followed shortly thereafter, and the controversy blew up a little bit when the nominations came out.  I don’t know how Rachel Swirsky feels about controversy surrounding her stories, but one of my personal career goals is for people to get into bar fights over my stories, so in my head canon, she’s smug.

For anybody who missed the brouhaha, the high level (and very charitable) rendering of the argument is that the people who read the story and went “OMG, Rachel Swirsky, you just broke my heart,” got into a fight with people who looked at the story and went, “Uh, that’s not speculative.”  I have opinions about the respective camps, but they’re not pertinent here, so I’ll ignore them.  (Hint: for commenting on this purposes, you should, too.)

As with many other pieces to run through the Crucible, the element I really want to stare hard at is its structure.  The only other place I can think of off-hand that has a structure like this is a lullaby and I don’t think that’s an accident.  It’s an extremely popular lullaby, and by subconsciously triggering associations with it, Swirsky is immediately lulling her readers, as it were, and invoking a sense of deep, unwavering love.  This is handy because, as we’ve noted in other structurally interesting pieces, the story is short and having the structure do some of the work keeps that from being a handicap.

If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you.

This is an opening line that does a ton of heavy lifting.  It establishes the structure of the story as a series of If/then statements.  It also sneaks in exposition about what’s going on in the (completely elided) frame story.  Not to mention that it sets up the repeated motif of establishing an image with one set of preconceived notions and then immediately providing detail that undermines them.

Let’s talk about that elided frame story for a moment.  There’s an inherent distance with this story that is very important to the success of its emotional impact.  It’s in a quasi-second person, but there’s no pretense at all that the “you” addressed in the story is, in fact, the reader.  This draws attention to the fact that the story is a story, the very effect that leads to some people ragging on second person.  What it does in this case is create a relationship between the narrator and the reader.  We know the narrator is telling us a story, and we’re listening to it because it’s quirky and has a 5’10” T-Rex who is loved.

I’d stare at the two of you standing together by the altar and I’d love you even more than I do now.

This might be my polyamorous heart talking, but if you don’t love the narrator, just a little bit, by that line, I question either your reading comprehension or your capacity for human sentiment.  We’ve been hearing a story from somebody who, we now know, is a really and truly decent person to the important people in her life, and something is not right.  Because this hypothetical fantasy?  It is sad.  Tragic sad, not pathetic sad.  She’s happy, but her heart is breaking, and this is her fantasy.  This is your “Danger, Will Robinson,” moment, but you probably don’t notice on your first time through because you’re a little in love, and you’re sad, and the if/then logic of the story is relentless and carries you on even as the warning signals start.  There’s no explicit frame story, but you’re about to find out what happened anyway.  And since you come at it sideways, with the grief breaking down your fantasy instead of coming at you directly, you’re so much more vulnerable to the impact of the frame story than if there were a proper frame.

Your claws and fangs would intimidate your foes effortlessly. Whereas you—fragile, lovely, human you—must rely on wits and charm.

Here’s where we start to get the explicit explanation of what the missing frame story would tell us, and it’s done through the technique introduced in the first sentence of establishing a set of expectations and then thwarting them.  He’d have the power and ferocity of a dinosaur, not to do violence, but to avoid it.  In fact, it’s not the T-Rex who goes on, in hypothetical if/then-land, to instigate violence, but his zookeeper partner who leads him to the enemies.  And do we blame her?  No.  What we know about him is that he’s relatively short, gentle, loved by a woman we love, fragile, lovely, and in possession of wits and charm.  In other words, thoroughly likable.  Wanting to protect and defend somebody like that is admirable.  We like her for that.  We applaud her.

So, of course, Swirsky undermines us again, and chastises us for that very thing.

I’d avert my eyes from the newspapers when they showed photographs of the men’s tearful widows and fatherless children, just as they must avert their eyes from the newspapers that show my face.

Her compassion here is relentless, but it’s also a bit of her downfall, because it breaks her out of the safe space of her fantasy.  The story structure stumbles after this, breaking, for the first time, into a discussion of the real here and now instead of the implications of a world where her love is a dinosaur.

Let me say that again.  Her compassion for the families of the people who nearly killed her fiancé is so relentless that it interrupts the coping mechanism she’s using to deal with that same tragedy. Reader, Rachel Swirsky just stabbed you in the guts by breaking a pattern.  You have been shivved by a master.

For no particular reason, I would like to hereby publicly state that while nobody I love is a dinosaur, I have no compassion for anybody else’s family, and I do an uncanny impression of a wrathful god.

Return of the Craft Crucible

This has been on hiatus for a long time, but no more!  I really liked doing this, and based on responses here and via email I think others liked it too.  I’m revamping it a little bit to make it more sustainable and hopefully improve the interactivity.  I’m always a fan of my own ramblings, and emails are nice, but by gods, I want a crafty party on my blog!

For those of you who don’t remember or never knew, here’s what we’re doing: Once a month we’re going to take a story and figure out why it’s good.  Obviously we’ll be filtering for good stories.  Preference will be given to stories available for free online.  Then, on Craft Crucible Day, I’ll put up an essay where I tease apart one or another aspect of the craft of the story, how it’s used, and why it works.  There’s a whole category here for previous CC posts.  Future ones will be like that, too.

Everybody else is encouraged to argue with me in comments, propose their own theories, or even do their own analysis elsewhere and drop a link here to let me know about it.

For me, I don’t see these as a “How to” so much as a “How did.”  In other words, this isn’t an instruction manual for writers, but an extended notes section for readers.  Writers are cool, but I’m a mercenary creature and ultimately need readers more.  So this is for you, lovely reading folk.  Let’s stare at how the sausage gets made.

Here’s our upcoming schedule:

March 16 – If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)

April 13 –The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)

May 15 –Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)

June 12 –The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

If that lineup looks familiar to you, that’s probably because I stole the short story Hugo ballot for 2014.  What can I say, all the nominees were published in online markets.  It made my life easy.

Let me know if there’s a story you’re dying to dissect or dig into, and we’ll add it to the lineup.  Also, feel free to let me know you’ve melted into squishy glee at the prospect of this coming back.  Just, you know, don’t get so squishy that you ruin your keyboard, k?

Conventional 2015

It probably would have been better to post this a couple weeks ago, but oh well.  Here’s my convention schedule for this year.  It’s conceivable there will be additions, but as of now I think this is it.

Potlatch – Seattle WA, Feb 6-8

Or, you know, this weekend.  I’m not on any programming because, as it turns out, I continue to be rubbish at planning ahead for cons that happen in my backyard, even with the change in back yard.

Fogcon – Walnut Creek CA, March 6-8

I am on programming here.  I’ll post my programming schedule later.  I’ll also be going out a couple days early, so it’s conceivable that I might be up for some sort of shenanigans in advance of the con. I already have many shenanigans planned, though, so no promises.

Sasquan – Spokane WA, August 19-23

I will probably be on programming.  The last WorldCon I attended was very generous about putting me on programming, and that was before I was on the masthead for a (utterly fabulous, multi-Hugo nominated) magazine.  Then again, with the way WorldCons work, previous performance is no guarantee of future result in a major way.

I will not be at WisCon this year.  It’s a “maybe” for 2016.

The War on Christmas

The War on Christmas is real, and I am its commanding general.

The move to Seattle was cover for establishing a new forward base to solidify our gains from last year’s success.  The battle has been a long one, but as we get closer to our final target at the north pole, our morale builds and our dedication remains steadfast.

Soon, not this year, but soon, I’ll have that cheery, terrifying head on a pike and display it for all the world to see, and feel safe.  No more constant surveillance, no more annual invasion, no more enforcement of a moral code formulated by the jolly, the optimistic, the naive.

I will drink Santa’s blood and rejoice.  Only then will I have the victory I crave.

“Do you ever have second thoughts?” asked my second in command, Captain-general Morse.

“Never!” I answered, my fist striking the air, my lips curling in a snarl of defiance.

“But, Christmas.  Peace on Earth, good will to men.”

“That’s the problem.  Peace bores me, and the good will thing is a lie.  Christmas is about stress, posturing, and telling other people to be cheerful or else.”

“I thought it was about American consumerism.”

“That too, and it’s spreading to infect other holidays.  It may already be too late to save my precious Halloween.”  At this I shed one, single tear out the corner of my right eye.  Halloween!  My precious, sacrosanct holiday of horror and darkness, mortality and despair.  They make inflatable lawn ornaments for you now and you, too pure and naive to defend yourself, have succumbed.

I rattled my saber, a gift from my sister on the occasion of her wedding, and issued the order for our attack.  At my command, hundreds of dog sleds bearing soldiers of the anti-yule began our charge, bearing down on an encampment of the Claus’s henchmen, his patsy scouts sent out to gather materials and supplies to support his ongoing campaign of terror and oppression.  The first moments of the engagement were bloody, with lives lost on both sides.  More on theirs.  I am a careful general, and I don’t spend my soldier’s lives frivolously.  There are so few of us left who can hold out against our pernicious foe.

Just as our victory appeared certain, reinforcements for the enemy appeared on the hill, their horns blaring across the night with the soul-chillingly mockery of triumph that is the enemy’s trademark.  A moment later I felt the searing punch of a knife sliding between my ribs.  Captain-General Morse had betrayed me.

“Why?” I gasped.

“They promised me a new iPhone.  And I really like gingerbread.”

As I lay here in the Canadian snow, my body heat leaving my body on a rush of blood, I accept that this year brings defeat.  But not final defeat.  We can never be permanently defeated.  Someday I will have the Claus man’s head, and I will free you all.

Someday.

The Rhetoric of N.K. Jemisin’s Wiscon Guest of Honor Speech

It’s no secret that I’m a huge, giant, slobbery fan of N.K. Jemisin.  I’m such a huge fan that I usually get about two sentences in to describing how much I like everything she does and want more from her before a voice that sounds distressingly like Neil Gaiman pops up in the back of my head and goes, “Now, now.  Nora Jemisin is not your bitch.”  And then I whine at the voice and go, “But she’s so good!  Surely I’m entitled to demand more of the good stuff from her.”  The voice is so very polite, and so endearingly English that I bite my tongue and whoever I was talking to wonders why I started stuttering mid-sentence. This is a thing I share so you can guess at some of what was going on in my brain when I approached her the day after her guest of honor speech to ask whether she’d be okay with me analyzing her speech at the rhetorical level.  It was important to me that I ask since 1) Analyzing the rhetoric could be seen as being dismissive of the very important and worthy content 2) I know enough writers to know they trend toward neurosis and having somebody examine how their sausage is made could in some small way contribute to her writing or arguing less which is the opposite of what I’d want and 3) It’s polite and given that she was right there, was easy to do. Things I learned from asking her if she’d mind: 1) No, she doesn’t mind 2) It’s really hard to communicate coherently when you’re having loud arguments with phantom Neil Gaiman in your brain about where the line between gushing fangirl and creepy-entitled-fan is and 3) She probably actually has no idea that I’m the person who wrote a review of her book that consisted mostly of, “I want to eat her liver.”  I’m pretty sure I’m still going to have to answer for that someday. At any rate, I have her blessing, and the rhetoric in that speech is very cool, so here goes the analysis.  The whole speech is here, and you should go there to read it.  I’m going to quote it here extensively, but it’s better if you go read the whole thing on its own, first.

I’m tempted to just stop there, drop the mic, and walk offstage, point made. Chip’s a hard act to follow.

This is the first moment of rhetorical greatness in the speech.  One, it’s a really evocative image.  She doesn’t have to literally walk of the stage to borrow the impact of doing just that, which nicely lures the audience in.  We’re invested in listening to what she says from this point, because she didn’t just walk away, point made.  She’s taking the time to share more, and we want to hear what it is.  But it’s also very generous to the audience, crediting them with knowing and understanding exactly why should could just stop there and walk off.  It’s a signal that she’s assuming we’re peers.  The subtext is very “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” in nature.  Given where the speech goes, building this relationship with the audience is critical.

Like Chip said, this stuff has always been here. It’s just more intense, and more violent, now that the bigots feel threatened.

And it is still here. I’ve come to realize just how premature I was in calling for a reconciliation in the SFF genres last year, when I gave my Guest of Honor speech at the 9th Continuum convention in Australia.

There’s a ton going on here.  One, we’re tying the current situation back to the past, while invoking the authority of somebody external.  That gives legitimacy to the points we’re making about the current situation while bolstering the authority of the peopple we’re citing.  Then we follow that bolstering of authority up with a confession of error.  This is really neat because, set up this way, admitting the error becomes a means of reclaiming a position of strength in the rhetorical space.  You’re swapping out the current, weak position for a new one which as of this moment us unknown but untainted and therefore potentially stronger.  This is what many bad apologies try to do, and they fail becuase that’s the wrong place for this technique.  In a badass call-to-arms, however, it’s great, especially since minor admissions of error are humanizing and endearing, making the speech-giver somebody the crowd is more inclined to follow.

During the month or so that it took SFWA to figure out what it wanted to do with this guy, a SFWA officer sat on the formal complaint I’d submitted because she thought I had “sent it in anger” and that I might not be aware of the consequences of sending something like that to the Board.

The whole paragraph is a beautiful bit of summary, letting the audience know context and history in case they don’t with enough commentary that it’s not a straight-up “As you know, Bob.”  That’s important since it would undermine the assumption of peer-ness established early on and risk being patronizing.  It also does a fantastic job of drawing clear lines between the us and them.  I call out this specific sentence from the whole paragraph because it strikes me as the meatiest.  Before this sentence, the facts could be read as ones of the system working: bigot misbehaves, bigot gets punished, why are y’all upset?  This line torpedoes that possible interpretation while also drawing attention to the fact that while she’s not patronizing us, they patronized her rather ferociously.  The ironic tone taken in the whole paragraph gives “sent it in anger” an extra bite.  Of course she sent it in anger – she’s angry, and behavior like this is exactly why.  That extra bit isn’t something an audience is likely to be consciously aware of, but it gives some extra depth and stimulus for them to hang on to and keeps them engaged and listening.

But I suspect every person in this room who isn’t a straight white male has been on the receiving end of something like this — aggressions micro and macro. Concerted campaigns of “you don’t belong here”.

This is straight-up “my problems are your problems, and your problems are my problems.”  Peer-group building.  “Us” reinforcement.  She just co-opted everybody who isn’t a straight white male into her cause.  The “aggressions micor and macro” part is especially critical since it gives permission to everybody who hasn’t received death and rape threats to feel like they belong in that group.  Me, I was doing the, “Er, not really?” until that line.  After that line, well, all the stories I could share are fundamentally boring, but there are plenty.

(Incidentally: Mr. Various Diseases, Mr. Civility, and Misters and Misses Free Speech At All Costs, if you represent the civilization to which I’m supposed to aspire then I am all savage, and damned proud of it. You may collectively kiss my black ass.)

And here, gentlefolk, is the line where I went, “Oh hells yes, am I need to go blog the rhetoric in this speech RIGHT THIS VERy SECOND.”  This line is brilliance laced with crack.

1) It reclaims rhetoric used against her, turns it around, and makes it a bludgeon for counter-attack. Suddenly “half-savage” is so mincing and weak.  It’s a variant on the trick used with the admission of error earlier, but with an added layer of pulling the rung out from under the “them.”  Intead of switching positions from weak to strong, it recharacterizes the position she’s in.

2) You-my constructions reinforce the us-them dynamic she’s building.  Not all speeches need an us-them dynamic, but all calls-to-arms do, and the success of said call depends on how well the lines around us and them are drawn.

3) “Kiss my black ass,” is a cultural cliche.  Everybody, including Hollywood, knows that a mouthy, defiant black American is willing to whip out this particular invitation as needed.  It’s an ethnic middle finger.  Using it here reinforces the power of “all savage.”  It’s an assertion of the ethnic and racial tones, a claiming of ownership over them, and an aggressive declaration that they are, in fact, a strength.  And since she’s drawn her us-them lines very effectively up to here, everybody in the room gets to share in the power of that assertion, whether or not they’re in posession of a black ass to be kissed.

(I don’t even need to name a specific example of this; it’s happened too often, to too many people.)

Nice reinforcement of us-them.  It gives the audience permission to not know exactly what she’s talking about after she’s gone through a long list of things that anybody following closely could tie to this or that specific event.  It’s okay that you aren’t following closely – it’s ubiquitous, we all  know that, we’re a team, let’s move along.

Yeine, the protagonist of THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, was almost a white man because I listened to some of what these people were saying.

The objective brilliance of this particular line is questionable, but it gut-punched me.  That would have ruined that book, and the thought that it nearly happened fills me with a sort of existential terror that has brain-Gaiman sighing in polite exasperation.  I suspect anybody who loves this book correctly, that is to say the way I love this book, would feel the same way.  Anybody else, this is a wasted line.  But her audience was a convention where she was Guest of Honor – it’s a pretty safe place to make a gamble like this.

For the first time in my life I was diagnosed with high blood pressure earlier this year. It’s back down to normal, now, but bigotry kills, you know.

Our second admission of weakness, a pause in the rising rhetoric of power-claiming.  We’re humanizing again, putting an intimate, tangible face on the violence and consequences of the violence referenced in summary and abstraction so far.  We’re all in this together, we’re all cheering for our speech giver, and look at the sacrifices she’s already made, the personal, specific damage already wrought.  This is critical, because it sets up the need for assistance that justifies the call to arms.

So. If they think we are a threat? Let’s give them a threat. They want to call us savages? Let’s show them exactly what that means.

And from here on we’re in a tumbling, climactic, super-empowering call-to-arms.  There’s no weakness here.  It’s all assertion and instruction. It’s a claim of ability supported by concrete guidelines for how to execute it.  This is where she cashes in on the setup of the earlier speech.  This is where she closes the loops she openened earlier, ties up her loose ends, justifies staying on the stage even though she could have just dropped the mic and walked away.

Fucking fight.

Short, sweet, to the point.  Yes, ma’am.