Monday, February 21, 2011

Eldritch Contract Law.

I've been reading a lot of Dresden Files recently and it got me to thinking, between sunbathing with John Rawls and sips of prosecco, that there exists a number of differences in fae contract law that are exploited repeatedly.

Also: Fae can be spelled fey. Or! Fey can be spelled fae, apparently. Additionally: If any readers are left, bravo. Contract law and fairies. If you keep going, you might deserve a Medal of Honor from the internet.

Point is. Fey (fae?) contract law (at least in Dresden Files) is almost exclusively oral, with few written components and most, if not all of the important terms and consequences knowingly obscured by murky language. It's like a deal with the devil. Except the devil is usually female, totally hot and has a court of labyrinthine motivations and aims to keep track of.

And, of course, this court of incredible, accessible power runs on misery, most of the time or at least an intractable web of lies, deceit and half-truths, lorded over by appallingly pretty women with petty worries and apocalyptic schemes. (Makes me wonder who wrote these stories and why.) Wayward, bumbling humans are the the gasoline on which this society runs, and through cunning use of incredibly high stakes and verbal trickery, this position is maintained.

(This is, in case there was ever any question, the opposite of the way any agreement should work.)

Fey bargaining is based, I think, on a loose system of "if I get you to say something when you're bent over a barrel, you're totally liable and I'm in the clear, I just offered you a deal," which we can shorten to bullshit. But supposing we can't shorten it to bullshit, the fae (yes, I'm going back and forth with the names) when pressed will say something to the effect of we had a deal, to which there is an obligation and a tie to that obligation.

Rawls, of course, says that that obligation and that tie presupposes just institutions, or institutions that are as just as can be, given the situation. But, even if we ignore the fey society, there's still one foundational point on contract law that the fae are missing: Informed consent.

Informed consent is basically what the fae contract law runs away screaming from. It means that basically meant to show that all parties agreeing have a minimum understanding of what the terms, consequences and facts are in the agreement, which has never historically been a strong point for fey bargaining. But informed consent is also a goddamned standard of any agreement ever, the basic point that people who are making agreements, need to know, on a deep level, what they are getting into, what they are giving up and what they are getting, which is a standard the fae don't tend to meet.

So: At least on earth, or an agreement signed to here, one would hope our laws apply and not theirs. And if our laws apply, well, their deals might be something you don't have an obligation to keep.

Thus: Here are some ways you can avoid fairy trickery.

1) Don't make deals.
2) No, seriously. Don't.
3) Repeat.
4) Vocalize, explicitly, using the most unequivocal words possible that you want to know exactly what you get and what you give up. And if they don't want to do that, you might know that you have a bad deal. (That said, few people make good deals with the fey.)
5) If you have already made a bargain with the fae, I'm sorry. You're deep in the hole. Try telling them your consent wasn't informed and force the issue. They're a stickler for rules. Maybe this'll help.

If you're reading this and you're involved with fey, then you might not want them reading over your shoulder. I'm not sure about all fae, but hardcore punk seems like it would be a little abrasive for them. Thus, This Is Hell's cover of 108's When Death Closes Your Eyes. Throw that in with some straightforward lyrics about hiding behind words, and well, I'm pretty sure they'll leave you alone. Good luck.

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