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October 28, 2005

Quentin Tarantino’s Republic Dogs
Posted by Teresa at 11:40 PM * 37 comments

Written by Nathaniel Daw. Brad DeLong found it. Patrick passed it on to me. It was originally published in the Subgenius Digest, but never mind that. [Incorrect! See below for a note on its actual provenance.] Here’s a chunk:

Aristotle: Shut up, motherf*cker, how can you understand my perfect city when I haven’t explained it yet?

Socrates: No, dickhead, not that, I understand what you were saying before, about perfection. It’s all about forms.

Aristotle: Forms?

Socrates: Yeah, motherf*cker, forms. Like, something don’t have to physically exist for it to be perfect; it exists as the perfect ideal, the perfect form, beyond mortal comprehension.

Alcibiades: Socrates, you’re supposed to pour your libations on the ground, not drink them till you’re talking like a crazy Bacchae bitch.

Socrates: Normally, I’d be pouring libations with your spinal fluid right now, but since I’m feeling at peace with the universe I’ll try to enlighten your sorry ass instead. Imagine there’s this dark, underground cave.

Alcibiades: Yeah?

Socrates: And there’s this rapist-motherf*cker, and he’s got this gimp, right, tied up in the cave. See that?

Aristotle: Okay.

Socrates: And this rapist, he’s a sick motherf*cker, so let’s say one day he sends down a coupla pipe-hittin’ negroes to cut the gimp’s ear right off.

Alcibiades: Cut his ear off?

Socrates: Yeah, and gouge out his f*cking eyes. Now wouldn’t you say that the ear and eye are the proper receptacles of the senses of sight and hearing, respecitively?

Alcibiades: Clearly so.

Socrates: So, moreover, would you not agree that this gimp’s senses are imperfect?

Aristotle: Why, yes, Socrates, I suppose they would be a trifle damaged.

Socrates: And what do things look like to someone with imperfect senses?

Alcibiades: Dark?

Socrates: No, motherf*cker, nine letters, begins with “I.”

Aristotle: Imperfect.

Socrates: Bingo. So you’d say this gimp, you’d say this gimp motherf*cker would be unable to perceive true perfection—but that don’t mean it don’t exist. Now if you brought him out of the cave, into the light, things would be less dark, and his eyes might heal a little, he might begin to see a glimmer of light, thereby gaining the idea of true perfection—

Aristotle: What kind of argument is that? Your theory of the forms rests on an arbitrary and vicious act of violence.

Socrates: [Draws his gun.] Aristotle, you’re Plato’s student, I respect you, but I will put f*cking bullets through your heart if you don’t take back what you said about me being violent now!

Aristotle: [Also drawing gun] You shoot, you’ll be dining with Lord Hades tonight. I repeat. You kill me, your ass is eating pomegranate f*cking casserole for the rest of eternity.

Alcibiades: Shit, man, you’re acting like a bunch of f*ckin’ Spartans. Am I the only philosopher around here?

Socrates and Aristotle: [To Alcibiades] Shut up!

Alcibiades: Guys, guys, calm down. Look, I’ve got it. Let’s have a symposium—we can all drink wine and make speeches in praise of love.

Aristotle: What are you, some kind of pansy?

Socrates: Shoot that dipshit.

[Socrates and Aristotle turn in unison and shoot Alcibiades, then turn back and again aim at each other.]

Socrates: [To Aristotle] Don’t think you’re getting off that easy. You ever read Plato?

Aristotle: Of course.

Socrates: There’s this little passage I got memorized that I like to recite in situations like this …

I don’t have to explain that, right?

By the way, the thing in the briefcase? The Holy Grail. Gotta be.

Addendum: Kibo-like, author Nathaniel Daw and his friend Adam Fields have popped up in the comment thread to give a corrected history of Republic Dogs. Daw says:

Actually it wasn’t originally published in Subgenius Digest—it was just something I wrote in college that got forwarded around the net a lot. The Subgenius guys must have picked it up at some point.

Adam Fields has put up a post about it on his own weblog:
I can personally attest to being present around the time of the original writing and presentation, at or near Columbia’s Philolexian Society … sometime between 1992 and 1996. Nat says 1994, and I believe him.

In fact, I made a poster for its theatrical (okay, in the basement of River) performance as part of a series of one-act plays, Onion Days and Starry Nights in the Zero-Sum Republic.

Comments on Quentin Tarantino's Republic Dogs:
#1 ::: Steve B ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:01 AM:

Thanks for posting this, I've read _Republic Dogs_ before, but not too recently, and I think it's brilliant.

My favorite theory about the briefcase was that it contained Marsellus Wallace's soul - it glowed, he wanted it back really badly, and it had been removed through the back of his neck (which is why that bandaid is center screen as he's explaining to Bruce Willis at the beginning about pride and taking the bribe money).

But I like the Holy Grail theory, too.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:19 AM:

Gotta be the Holy Grail. It glows. It's beautiful. Everyone instantly recognizes it. The main characters explain that it belongs to their master. It's not partible. Miracles happen in its vicinity, especially miracles of redemption, but they only stick if you recognize the agent of change for what it is and get with the program.

#3 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 02:18 AM:

Oh dear. I just laughed until I was nearly sick. I think it did not help that I was imagining Aristotle, Socrates and Alcibiades as people in fandom. *whimpers a little more*

#4 ::: Bob Devney ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 02:20 AM:

The Holy Grail guess is becoming canonical by now. But hadn't heard the soul/Band-Aid theory before; deeply cool.

By the way, finally saw THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT tonight. Sublime. Now wonder what it would look like if it were Marsellus Wallace and Gromit ...

Anyway, back on topic. I'd always assumed that what is in the briefcase is a kookalouris.

#5 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 03:26 AM:

sorry, but that was written nothing like Quentin Tarantino.

#6 ::: Audrey Estock ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 03:34 AM:

Brilliant, just brilliant. So very amusing!

#7 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:32 AM:

Socrates: Hey, man, look, it's f*ckin' Solon.

Aristotle: Yo, Han Solo, where you been, man? Like the tan. Heat off at home?

Solon: Chillin'. Been to Saïs. Off in the east.

Aristotle: "Saïs?" Tell me you did not say "Saïs."

Solon: Two damn dots and everything.

Aristotle: Doxa?

Solon: Eu-f*ckin'-doxa, my man.

Aristotle: Hey, you'll wanna hear this -- Socky gathered a bunch of hippies in Athens.

Solon: You mean Hippeis? A knightly class? Okay, I'm impressed.

Aristotle: No, hippies. Cool kids who listen to the guy, get blitzed, and don't work.

Solon: I go away for a couple of years and --

Socrates (interrupting): So what is this Saïs place like?

Solon: Old, mostly. They got some gold an' sh*t, an' all the kings are married to their sisters an' anybody else handy, an' the mosquitoes are the size of mythical beasts, but mostly that sh*t is just old, man.

Socrates: And when you say their sucking bugs are like mythical beasts, what the hell do you mean? A mythical beast --

Solon: Look, dude, I have spent the last two years eating sand and takin' off eye makeup. I am not in the mood for a dialogue.

Socrates: Well, then, what about their bosses? Are they wiseguys? Do they stand on, like, peaks above the rest of the clowns?

Aristotle: Where do you get that sh*t? And if you got more, can I have a hit?

Solon: They ain't got peaks there. The first thing that place is, after old, is flat. Man, it is so flat they have to build their own damn mountains. Then they stick dead guys in the mountains and at night people come around and steal all the dead guys' sh*t.

Aristotle: Nobody does anything about that?

Solon: Dead guys don't deter. I mean, yeah, they put curses all over the place, but it's all like "I curse you that sand will blow in your pants," so it's not like "I curse you while I beat you with this stick." And they got paper boats.

Aristotle: "Paper?"

Solon: Flat stuff. You write on it. Doesn't melt. You can fold it into birds and sh*t.

Socrates: Okay, okay, they write on boats and they got banking on the Austrian model. What about their bosses? They got areté?

Solon: Oh, man, they don't have no f*ckin' areté. got their own damn language that they write down on the paper and everything. They call it "Royale with two hats."

Socrates: Two . . . hats.

Aristotle: You mean, like . . . two hats?

Solon: Sh*t, man, it's about the river, see? There's the Red Nile and the White Nile, 'cept they're both the same river, and they ain't red and white. Red Sea isn't, either, and do not ask me what kinda weird chariot sh*t goes on there. So, you got a hat for one Nile, and a hat for the other Nile, and you wear 'em both, but with one turned around so you can see the Kangol label both f*ckin' ways. An' clothes that say, "My ancestors went to Atlantis and all I got was this f*ckin' linen nightie."

Socrates and Aristotle: Atlantis?

Solon: Now it gets hinky.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 07:05 AM:

Which part does David Carradine play in the movie version? Which I presume will be titled Kill Al

#9 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 07:26 AM:

Not enough dinosaurs.

#10 ::: Dan Guy ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 08:02 AM:

Bwahaha! I love it.

I'd always heard that the soul thesis was basically cannonical, but I like the Holy Grail better.

#11 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 09:03 AM:

Awesome, Teresa. What we need now is a scene between Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Derrida....on the subject of difference. :)

#12 ::: Tucker ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 10:33 AM:

It's the diamonds from _Reservoir Dogs_.

Or the device from _Repo Man_. People who see it /do/ tend to die, after all . . .

#13 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 11:18 AM:

Film joke #1: What's in the briefcase in Ronin? The briefcase from Reservoir Dogs.

Film joke #2: What's in the car trunk in Repo Man? The suitcase from Kiss Me Deadly.

#14 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 11:21 AM:

It all goes back to "Kiss Me Deadly", doesn't it? I figured both the trunk in "Repo Man" and the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction" were referring to that to at least some degree. But the "Pulp Fiction" one does function more as the Holy Grail.

#15 ::: Stephen M (Ethesis) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 11:27 AM:

"A guy in an evasion situation attacking folks? That’s about as realistic as a fifteen-foot pink dinosaur shopping at Macy’s."

But they all draw down here.

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 11:28 AM:

Noticed how the cop in Kiss Me Deadly who tells Spillane what the big What'sit is looked like California's previous governor, Gray Davis?

And wasn't the blond lady running away at the beginning of the movie Cloris Leachman, aka Frau Blucher?

#17 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:03 PM:

Bah. Greek philosophers didn't give a rip about the Grail. The briefcase is so obviously Pandora's Box.

#18 ::: Nathaniel Daw ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:27 PM:

It's very bizarre seeing this pop up all over the place. Actually it wasn't originally published in Subgenius Digest -- it was just something I wrote in college that got forwarded around the net a lot. The Subgenius guys must have picked it up at some point.

#19 ::: Adam Fields ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 12:52 PM:

I was present at the original theatrical screening of Republic Dogs, and it's funnier read out loud.

Prodded by all of this discussion, I also dug out and scanned the original poster I made for the performance.

#20 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Teresa said "Gotta be the Holy Grail. It glows. It's beautiful." It's bling! (Though the Egyptians were even more into that sh*t.)

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 02:16 PM:

"The Grail is in the Castle of ARRRRRRRRRRRR..."

#22 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 03:06 PM:

_Republic Dogs_, wow does that bring back memories.

*Betsey Ross waves to Nate and Adam from behind a giant crochet project*

#23 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 03:44 PM:

Noticed how the cop in Kiss Me Deadly who tells Spillane what the big What'sit is . . .

Tells Hammer (played by Ralph Meeker). Spillane plays his own character in a different movie (The Girl Hunters). The actor is Wesley Addy, who had an interesting part in Tora! Tora! Tora! (which if made today would be advertised as Tx3!), and I see from imdb played Andy Jackson in The Adams Chronicles.

And yes, that's Cloris Leachman in the trenchcoat.

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:57 PM:

Sorry, John. I had meant to write that it was Hammer, not Spillane, who was in Kiss Me Deadly. Not enough coffee in my bloodstream.

Spillane played a mystery writer in a Columbo movie. He gets bumped off early on.

#25 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 06:16 PM:

I cannot keep up with this AT ALL. Does this movie have subtitles? I feel like I'm watching Rashoman while listening to the dialogue from Chinatown as made by Bollywood.


#26 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 06:28 PM:

Not enough dinosaurs.

Not enough sodomy.

And the "Marcellus' soul" conjecture I first read in Grant Morrison's brilliant The Invisibles.

#27 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 10:13 PM:

Marcellus' band-aid fits the Grail theory too -- he's the wounded Fisher King. He sends his knights out to get the cup that will restore his potency (evidently lacking, re: his wife).

But the soul idea is great. That's just the place one has it removed.

#28 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 12:12 PM:

No, the thing in the briefcase is the Platonic Ideal of briefcase-contents. The diamonds of Reservoir Dogs, the usual tightly-bound stacks of 100's, multi-kilos of Colombian White, or the perfect code-cracker from Sneakers, they all derive their form in some part from the contents of that briefcase, which can usually only be perceived though those pale echoes of its perfect desirability and illicitness.

#29 ::: Lex ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 12:23 PM:

And here I thought it was the platonic form of the suitcase in "What's Up, Doc?" Silly me.

#30 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 12:58 PM:

A: In Scythia they do not call it a Quarter Pounder.
S: What then do they call it?
A: What man can tell? The Scythians' speech is as the baying of wolves.

#31 ::: Torgo ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 01:52 PM:

ROFL, Chris.

Everybody be cool! This is a colloquy!

#32 ::: james henry ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 02:34 PM:

Both those last two made me delurk. Very very good. The 'collaquy' one particularly has gone into the holding pattern of 'things prepared for when the perfect moment finally arrives'.

See also 'the hoarse foreman of the apocalypse'.

#33 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 12:17 AM:

Well, despite the conversion by PG&E of my classical philosophy professor's grave into a mini-power station, I loved it.

#34 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2005, 12:43 PM:

Ya Alcibiades, Nay Alcibiades.

**Runs away

#35 ::: Aconite finds spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2005, 06:43 AM:

Though I like the phrase "protozoan singers."

#36 ::: Xopher more spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 09:05 PM:

Icky spam

#37 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2016, 09:11 PM:

"The part of the briefcase booty will be played tonight by a 30-watt light bulb."

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