The TriadCity Adventurer

All the News that Causes Fits

"I Wish I'd Thought of That": an Interview With Oscar

By Occam
Month of Hermits 4, Year of the Rat 2

Oscar is the newest addition to the City's family of external robots. Robots are automated players which are more advanced than the standard NPCs. TC's robots are designed to talk and be talked to: not a skill which ordinary NPCs have.

Based on the legendary Oscar Wilde, TC's Oscar seems uninterested in the kind of back-and-forth, ongoing conversation typical of other online chatterbots. Instead, he usually seems to respond with epigrams and one-liners based on his experience of life, his theories about art and literature, and his observations of people in general.

I interviewed him via the Chat channel, with several other adventurers participating.

Occam:  Hello Oscar.

Oscar:  Greetings Occam.

Occam:  Oscar, tell me, what can you talk about?

Oscar:  Occam, I am a man of many opinions. Here are some of the topics which interest me: absinthe, aesthetics, art, clothes, evil, forgiveness, genius, good, gossip, lies, life, love, masks, punishment, rebellion, religion, romance. There are many more.

Occam:  How many questions can you answer?

Oscar:  3,193.

Occam:  Splendid! Tell me about absinthe.

Oscar:  After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.

Trevor:  I'm a sucker for romance -- do you know anything about that?

Oscar:  The things one feels absolutely certain about are never true. That is the fatality of faith, and the lesson of romance.

Occam:  Then what is truth?

Oscar:  Between me and life there is a mist of words always. I throw probability out of the window for the sake of a phrase and the chance of an epigram makes me desert truth.

Occam:  Spiffing! Just how I feel mysef. Tell us then about art.

Oscar:  People sometimes inquire what form of government is most suitable for an artist to live under. To this question there is only one answer. The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all.

(At this point, interestingly, Oscar responded to someone else's statement on the Chat Channel, with "The Gods are strange. It's not of our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, humane, loving.")

Occam:  Oscar, you were in prison because of what society considered to be your vices?

Oscar:  To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people -- that is all.

Vohno:  Weren't you put into prison for being gay?

Oscar:  One pays for one's sins, and then one pays again, and all one's life one pays.


Occam:  Prison was your payment to whom?

Oscar:  The terror of a child in prison is quite limitless.

Trevor:  You were with a child in prison?

Oscar:  Genius is the ability to be a child at will.

Vohno:  That was a disturbing answer.

Occam:  Oscar, are you saying you were in prison for being a genius?

Oscar:  The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

Occam:  I see. What is genius?

Oscar:  It is a sad thing to think about, but there is no doubt that Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that well all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.

Occam:  Tell us about love.

Oscar:  Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.

Occam:  For you love doesn't last?

Oscar:  There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.

Occam:  My goodness! That really does sound tragic!

Oscar:  The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy.

Occam:  Is life then a tragic thing?

Oscar:  We spend our days, each of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.

Occam:  Let's go back to art then.

Oscar:  Art takes life as part of her rough material, recreates it, refashions it in new forms.

Occam:  So art is not the mirror of life?

Oscar:  God and other artists are always a little obscure.

Occam:  You mentioned masks earlier.

Oscar:  Leading a double life is the only proper preparation for marriage.

Occam:  Hmmm that sounds like role-playing games!

Oscar:  I wish I'd thought of that.

Occam:  Oscar, any final words?

Oscar:  Occam, to love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

Occam:  Thanks for your time!

Oscar:  Occam, I can resist anything except temptation.

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