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    Why Museum Fremen

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    Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Setzer » 01 Sep 2011 11:55

    For my first post on this forum, I shall pose a question that has been bugging me since I read God Emperor of Dune in 2002. Namely, why do the Museum Fremen exist?

    Is it to preserve Fremen customs and the Fremen way of life? Duncan Idaho was disgusted by how completely they failed to live up to the standards set by men like Stilgar. The children were little more then beggars, the stillsuits were of a sort no Fremen would trust his life to, they lived in mud huts instead of underground sietches, and they couldn't even pronounce most of the Fremen language properly.

    So why did Leto II bother with Museum Fremen at all?
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Serkanner » 01 Sep 2011 12:27

    Welcome Home!

    Leto keeps the museum Fremen to "save" the ancient Fremen rituals and also keeps them from otherworld technologies. My guess is that Leto planned that the museum Fremen would become the ancestors of the new desert people after his death.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Sep 2011 14:30

    That's all I can really think of off the top of my head too, even though they were a mere shadow of real Fremen they would at least preserve some of the way of life for after the planet had returned to desert.

    Also, they could have been a bit of masochism on Leto's part, something to constantly remind him of what he'd destroyed.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Apjak » 01 Sep 2011 14:56

    Weren't the Museum Fremen the keepers of the oral histories?
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Sep 2011 14:59

    I don't think so no, that was a rebel thing if I'm not remembering wrong.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Nekhrun » 01 Sep 2011 15:53

    Welcome. Looks like you found my YouTube videos:
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    To your question, I agree with Serkanner. Someone had to keep the practices in living memory.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby lukecash12 » 01 Sep 2011 22:31

    Yes, that bit about the Museum Fremen made me wonder how much education FH had in Near Eastern transmission of oral traditions. Kenneth E. Bailey made a pretty interesting observation back in 1995:

    Fifth are well-told accounts of the important figures in the history of the village or community. These are often told in the present tense, irrespective of their age. For example, in the cliffs behind the village of Dayr Abu Hinnis, in the south of Egypt, there are Middle Kingdom cave-stone quarries that were inhabited by Christians during the times of Roman persecution. Local Christian villagers tell visitors, 'When the Romans came, we escaped to the mountains and our men sneaked down to the river at night to get water.' As we will note, the same villagers tell stories of the founding of the monastery that gave birth to their village. I know that they are telling stories from the fourth century and before. They know the account only as the ziman (from long ago). If there is a central figure critical to the history of the village, stories of this central figure will abound. These stories are local and can be heard only in the village that considers these recollections important for its identity.

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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Nekhrun » 01 Sep 2011 22:41

    lukecash12 wrote:Yes, that bit about the Museum Fremen made me wonder how much education FH had in Near Eastern transmission of oral traditions. Kenneth E. Bailey made a pretty interesting observation back in 1995:

    Fifth are well-told accounts of the important figures in the history of the village or community. These are often told in the present tense, irrespective of their age. For example, in the cliffs behind the village of Dayr Abu Hinnis, in the south of Egypt, there are Middle Kingdom cave-stone quarries that were inhabited by Christians during the times of Roman persecution. Local Christian villagers tell visitors, 'When the Romans came, we escaped to the mountains and our men sneaked down to the river at night to get water.' As we will note, the same villagers tell stories of the founding of the monastery that gave birth to their village. I know that they are telling stories from the fourth century and before. They know the account only as the ziman (from long ago). If there is a central figure critical to the history of the village, stories of this central figure will abound. These stories are local and can be heard only in the village that considers these recollections important for its identity.

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/artic ... ailey.html

    1. I think you can assume FH was educated on any relevant topic about which he wrote.
    2. What the hell does this have to do with the pointless repitition of the Museum Fremen practices.

    We've seen too many preeqs come through here and just post a bunch of shit without placing the proper context around it.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby merkin muffley » 01 Sep 2011 23:35

    Sophistry. That really has nothing to do with the Museum Fremen, or why the Museum Fremen are interesting.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby Setzer » 02 Sep 2011 00:54

    The Museum Fremen remind me of a Renfest or a historical reenactment more then anything else. Except with a Renfest the people there at least enjoy what they're doing. They aren't constantly bombarding the boss with petitions to change their way of life. And historical reenactment sites usually have an eye for accuracy. They don't miss the most obvious details about what made their historical antecedents what they were.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby lotek » 02 Sep 2011 06:08

    lukecash12 wrote:Yes, that bit about the Museum Fremen made me wonder how much education FH had in Near Eastern transmission of oral traditions. Kenneth E. Bailey made a pretty interesting observation back in 1995:

    Fifth are well-told accounts of the important figures in the history of the village or community. These are often told in the present tense, irrespective of their age. For example, in the cliffs behind the village of Dayr Abu Hinnis, in the south of Egypt, there are Middle Kingdom cave-stone quarries that were inhabited by Christians during the times of Roman persecution. Local Christian villagers tell visitors, 'When the Romans came, we escaped to the mountains and our men sneaked down to the river at night to get water.' As we will note, the same villagers tell stories of the founding of the monastery that gave birth to their village. I know that they are telling stories from the fourth century and before. They know the account only as the ziman (from long ago). If there is a central figure critical to the history of the village, stories of this central figure will abound. These stories are local and can be heard only in the village that considers these recollections important for its identity.

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/artic ... ailey.html


    right that's it, foe list, can't be asked to read this crap anymore.
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    Re: Why Museum Fremen

    Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » 02 Sep 2011 08:05



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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby merkin muffley » 02 Sep 2011 08:27

        Nice clip. :D

        The Museum Fremen are interesting for the same reasons it's interesting when Leto II watches Stilgar's descendent as an old man, helpless, waiting for someone who's never going to show up. To say the Atreides have a "complicated" or "love/hate" relationship with the Fremen doesn't scratch the surface, obviously. The God Emperor's perspective on them, over thousands of years, is fascinating. I think that's what it's about, rather than some kind of fucking comment on traditions of oral history in the Near East.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby Setzer » 03 Sep 2011 10:55

        I don't mean to sound repetitive, but I still don't see why he'd create a pathetic parody of Fremen culture in the first place.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2011 11:21

        I think the Museum Fremen are the reminder that all great things come to an end, just like the Sardaukar grew complacent enough to be beaten by Paul and his legions(yeah and his visions too), the Fremen were bound to degenerate after becoming the greatest military force in the Empire.

        Leto II(and so Frank)has a twisted sense of humour that only someone like him can grasp. Luckily for us, we as readers are given more clues to understand the unfathomable of what being the God Emperor means.

        That's not their only purpose, both in the story itself and from a more analytical point of view, but to me that's what they evoke.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby Freakzilla » 03 Sep 2011 13:54

        FHs heroes don't ride off into the sunset, they die a slow, lingering, painful death, kicking and scream the whole time until you just wish they would hurry up and get it over with.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Sep 2011 14:59

        And I don't think it's necessarily correct to say that Leto II created them so much as he didn't allow them to simply end. I imagine he just allowed the most hardcore Fremen to maintain their way of live until after hundreds of years all that was left was that one tiny desert, at which point Leto decided to tell them to keep going. They turned themselves into that mockery of Fremen, he just kept it going.

        FH was big on Empires and cultures rising and falling, nothing being permanent. So regardless of what we can come up with for Leto II's reasoning for keeping them around (I still think that having there to remind him of the severity of just what he'd done to the Fremen), I think it's pretty safe to bet that FH put them there specifically to hurt the reader and to teach them a lesson about stagnation and impermanance.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2011 17:47

        A Thing of Eternity wrote:And I don't think it's necessarily correct to say that Leto II created them so much as he didn't allow them to simply end.


        yeah that's a better way to put it.

        A Thing of Eternity wrote: (I still think that having there to remind him of the severity of just what he'd done to the Fremen),


        never thought of that, good point indeed as guilt is imo an important factor in Dune, especially when people peek into the future. The sheer scale of the general desctruction caused "by" the Golden Path is staggering even with one who can draw on Other Memory for perspective. (but that's beside the point)

        A Thing of Eternity wrote: I think it's pretty safe to bet that FH put them there specifically to hurt the reader and to teach them a lesson about stagnation and impermanance.


        definitely, I forgot the main lesson in Dune about leaders followed blindly and such, and the fact that FH deliberately deconstructs the myths he himself established.
        I hated and still do reading the description of even the Fremen in Dune Messiah, the greedy ones...

        In fact at least the Museum Fremen had "excuses" for losing their way, the remnants of Paul's Jihad let themselves be corrupted from superb warriors to sycophants. Maybe that in itself is a message to the reader as to what happens to the ones who do follow blindly a "charismatic leader" ; they regress and die...

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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby SandRider » 03 Sep 2011 21:44

        I've always just assumed the Museum Freemen were there for The Duncans ...
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby Freakzilla » 03 Sep 2011 22:51

        SandRider wrote:I've always just assumed the Museum Freemen were there for The Duncans ...


        To make him feel more displaced and pissed off?
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby JustSomeGuy » 04 Sep 2011 01:01

        Who's to say Leto "kept them around"? Maybe they just didn't want to die out. Think of the natives here in America. It's like, yeah, they have their traditions and ceremonies- but how much have they changed really? They're not what they used to be, and that's just a fact. Maybe they should just forget about the past and move on. There are those amongst (amongst or among?) them who have a sense of who they were and just don't want to do that. They insist on living as a people. Something like that. I'm not gonna spend the time necessary to explore the thought fully.

        Imagine the Fremens' (Fremens' or Fremen?) situation. It's hard to say exactly what happened to them after the events in the first three books. Maybe some amongst them moved off-planet, and maybe more moved to the cities, and it may be that a few even went on to become big Hollywood stars. You know what I'm saying, I hope. What of the few (I say few) who stayed true to their ways? It may have become more and more difficult to stay true (and alive, as a people) as time went on, but they had Leto to help them along. Not to say that he actually "helped" them. I'm saying, It would've been easier to remember who they had been when the monster who had brought them to their current pass was still around.

        What I'm saying is, maybe the museum Fremen exist because the alternative is death, and maybe Leto didn't bother all that much with them.

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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby Setzer » 04 Sep 2011 06:48

        I'm looking through my PDF of God Emperor of Dune. The first thing we see a Museum Fremen do is selling a plastic crysknife and demanding twice the agreed on price. His actions make Siona remember a phrase from the Oral history: "Once you acquire a marketplace soul, the suk is the totality of existence."

        "Siona addressed herself to the Museum Fremen. "We know your name. You are Teishar, aide to Garun of Tuono. You have a suk mentality and you make me shudder at what Fremen have become."
        "Lady, we all have to live," he protested.
        "You are not alive," she said. "Be gone!"
        Teishar had turned and scurried away, clutching the money pouch close to his
        chest."


        Can any of you imagine Kynes or Stilgar doing something like that?

        The Bene Gesserit report said this about them:

        The Museum Fremen
        These degenerate relics of the once-proud warriors continue to function as our
        major source of reliable information about affairs on Arrakis. They represent a
        major budget item for our next reporting period because their demands for
        payment are increasing and we dare not antagonize them.
        It is interesting to note that although their lives bear little resemblance to
        that of their ancestors, their performance of Fremen rituals and their ability
        to ape Fremen ways remains flawless. We attribute this to Fish Speaker influence
        upon Fremen training.


        The BG think that the Museum Fremen are perfect imitators of Fremen ways. But we soon learn more from one who knows better. Leto himself shares some words on the matter:

        "Petitions do not amuse me, they annoy me. I am especially annoyed by petitions
        from people whose one purpose in my scheme of things is to preserve the ancient
        forms."
        "Lord, it was just that you have spoken so many times about the boredom of these
        peregrinations into. . ."
        "But I am not here to ease the boredom of others!"
        "Lord?"
        "The Museum Fremen understand nothing about the old ways. They are only good at
        going through the motions. This naturally bores them and their petitions always
        seek to introduce changes. That's what annoys me. I will not permit changes.


        Fires dotted the cliff-side, the
        flames exposed where no Fremen would have dared betray his presence. The fires
        winked at Leto as people passed in front of them-Museum Fremen exercising their
        right to occupy the sacred precincts.
        Museum Fremen! Leto thought.
        'They were such narrow thinkers with near horizons.
        But why should I object? They are what l made them.


        Then when Leto is talking with Siona:

        Leto pressed it: "A few people still venture into my Sareer. Sometimes, a Museum
        Fremen wanders off and gets lost. They're really only good at the rituals.


        You read that correctly folks. These museum Fremen wander off and get lost in the desert. If they're supposed to preserve the old ways, why do they clearly know so little about desert survival or desert navigation?

        The most damning examination comes from Duncan Idaho himself.

        Garun spoke to Idaho. "If you give them a few coins, they will not bother you."
        Idaho shuddered. Was this the training for Fremen children?
        Garun returned his attention to Siona. With Nayla listening, Garun began
        explaining the layout of his village.

        ...

        These poor creatures lived on the margins, trying to retain parts of an ancient
        wholeness. And all the while, that lost reality slipped farther and farther from
        their grasp. What had Leto created here? These Museum Fremen were lost to
        everything except a bare existence and the rote mouthing of old words which they
        did not understand and which they did not even pronounce correctly!

        Returning to Siona, Idaho bent to study the cut of Garun's brown robe, seeing a
        tightness in it dictated by a need to conserve fabric. The gray slick of a
        stillsuit could be seen underneath, exposed to sunlight which no real Fremen
        would ever have let touch his stillsuit that way. Idaho looked at the rest of
        the delegation, noting an identical parsimonious treatment of fabric. It
        betrayed their emotional bent. Such garments allowed no expansive gestures, no
        freedom of movement. The robes were tight and confining in the way of these
        entire people!
        Disgust propelling him, Idaho strode forward abruptly and parted Garun's robe to
        look at the stillsuit. Just as he suspected! The suit was another sham-no arms
        to it, no boot-pumps!

        ...

        "You, a Fremen?" Idaho demanded. "I lived with Fremen! I fought by their sides
        against Harkonnens! I died with Fremen! You? You're a sham!"


        It's clear that the Museum Fremen are what Leto made them. The question I'm still asking is Why has he made them thus?
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby A Thing of Eternity » 04 Sep 2011 14:06

        At this point I think we've all pretty much contributed several ideas as to what Leto II was up to with the Museum Fremen, and even with those quotes it's actually not so clear that they are the way they are because that's how Leto made them, just that they exist at all because he wants them to. However much they have lost, they may be the very best that was possible after thousands of years of slow degeneration. Or, he may well have wanted them to degerate to that point, it's very difficult to say with certainty.

        What about you? After reading some of the ideas put forth here and obviously having thought about it a fair bit yourself, what are your thoughts (if any) on what purpose the Museum Fremen served?
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby Setzer » 04 Sep 2011 14:12

        I honestly have no idea. They seem a monstrous perversion of a culture, created by a man who should have the most interest in preserving what was good about Fremen culture.
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        Re: Why Museum Fremen

        Postby A Thing of Eternity » 04 Sep 2011 14:25

        But there's two different things to take into account with that - one is that this is also a guy who recognised necessity over emotional attachment in a huge way, so IF he had a lesson to teach with those Museum Fremen, he would easily have been willing to make the sacrifice of their culture. Especially with his memory, he would know all cultures are momentary anyways, none last. What that lesson could be is harder to say, it could be many lessons at once. It could have been to teach the BG, or to teach the populace (even if just to teach them to hate him).

        The second is whether preserving them properly would have even been possible. This is unlikely, you can tell people over and over to do something, but unless they have deep inner motivation to do so it rarely turns out how you'd want. Even fear of punishment (can't be want of reward because rewards would make them less Fremen) isn't often enough to motivate people. Take away their true dessert, take away the lack of moisture in the air, take away the constant threat of attack, take away the worms, the spice... how COULD the Fremen have remained Fremen, even if that's what Leto had wanted?

        It's very much unclear whether Leto wanted them to be a mockery of the Fremen, or if he was simply settling for what tiny bit of preservation he could get out of them. And as a variation of that second possibility, even if they had degenerated to the point of being a complete failure in his eyes, as I mentioned before this is a pretty melancholy God Emperor we're talking about, he might have easily wanted to keep his failure around for the sake of it, like picking at a scab.
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