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SPE_001 - Death of the Author

This is an explanation post of how I intended SPE_001 or "Solving The Greatest Crisis Of Our Time" to be interpreted. If you didn't pay attention in English class, this article is named in reference to the 1967 essay "The Death of the Author".

I'm going to refer to the post as SPE_001 because that's what I reference it as here in the source code. It's just a random identifier I came up with and I don't really know what it stands for, maybe "Special Post 001"? Sure, let's go with that, it is very much "special". The "001" also implies that I intend for there to be more "SPEs" (saying that out loud sounds like saying "sphees", lul).

This post is just in the source code of the blog instead of actually viewable from the site because of two reasons. The first is that I'd rather people try to figure out everything by themselves so I don't actually want this to seen, and the other is for narrative reasons because (but I'll get to that later). Yes, SPE_001 is a fictional narrative by the way.

It should also be worth noting that SPE_001 would be easier to figure out if you've read a lot of SCPs. It's basically an attempt at a SCP and I borrow a lot of the language they use. If you need a basic introduction to what SCP is:

It's a community-based writing group where people write different articles or SCPs based on the universe. Users then flesh it out with their own creations, expanding upon it with different conflicting groups, stories, or what have you. The articles themselves range from the silly and cute to grimdark and genuinely terrifying. It also depends on the styles of the writers and what they decide to work on. People contribute art, writing, songs, dramatic readings, and, yes, even video games.

At it's heart the SCP Universe is about a secret world in modern life where different organizations - the Foundation, the GoC, the Church of the Broken God, etc - rush to try and find and contain anomalous objects or creatures called SCPs. They use different methods, and for different reasons, ranging from trying to keep humanity safe to maximizing profits by selling the strange objects. There are multiple storylines to help cultivate the hundreds of different ideas people have about the universe.

Explanation source.

I'd actually recommend you read SCP instead. You can start with the User-Curated Lists, and go from there. Once you've accustomed yourself to the universe, I urge you to read the stories surrounding the "Antimemetics Division Hub", particularly SCP-055 and then the series "There Is No Antimemetics Division" by qntm, which starts with "We Need To Talk About Fifty-Five".

That's a fuck ton of reading you'll have to do, but the Antimemetics Division is worth it. Trust me.

Okay, now we can start. Let's look at the intro. Oh, and I'm going to assume you've read SPE_001.

Considering the large departure of presentation that normally is seen on my blog, I felt like I had to "train" the reader to understand that this wasn't just a static page (like the rest of my posts are), and you were supposed to do "stuff" on it. The first signal is the transition from my usual dark background colour (or specifically: #191919 in hex for you nerds out there) to white along with the change of font.

Next was putting a button that you were required to press in order to continue with the story. This tells the reader that this post is "interactive" and hopefully they should now be prepared to deal with what I'm going to start throwing at them.

The actual contents of the intro is pretty simple. It's a dream of the 1998 New Zealand Rally. To make it "seem" like a dream I took the "when" (1998) and "where" (New Zealand) and made it very unclear.

All the events I reference actually took place in 1998, I just happened to pick ones that you could have mistaken for taking place in 2021.

The 1998 United States Capitol shooting is obviously supposed to be confused with the 2021 United States Capitol attack.

The bit on people being anti-vaxers is referencing the Lancet MMR autism fraud, which is the original 1998 "research paper" that gave birth to the anti-vax movement. It's still a problem 30 years later (even more so now), so this was super easy to think of.

Nineteen European nations agreed to forbid human cloning on January 12th 1998. There is no connection to 2021, I just wanted to put it in, maybe as a clue to what's happening.

And of course, the 1998 Tokyo Winter Olympics. Although it looks like the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics might not be happening.

For the "where", you'll have noticed that when I'm describing the rally, I keep changing the names of cities/countries to other places in the WRC calendar of that year. But I don't change geographical locations, all of which are in New Zealand.

Finishing the intro puts you in the next stage which is actually just a normal blog post. In fact, SPE_001 was originally just that - a normal blog post, no weird SCP-like narrative, just a fun post about a guy who hates the French. But then I spent like a week making the points table (most of that was reading WRC point scoring rules) and then I was like "why don't I just go all in on the JavaScript?" So I thought of this dumb narrative plot, and it all went downhill from there.

Anyway, when you get close to the bottom of the page, a "tab bar" should fade in the top. And now the real fun beings. This is the part where anyone who has ever read a SCP should recognise what's going on. "ENTs" are "SCPs" and "AARO" is "The Foundation", or they're influenced by them at least (this isn't a SCP).

The most important tab is the AARO article on ENT#344, is mainly just for additional world building and some hints on how to progress the story. But you can mostly figure out what's happening just through the article.

Right, so here it is, I'm going to explain the entire narrative of "Solving the Greatest Crisis of Our Time". This is your last chance to turn back for spoilers.

For funsies I'll give you some context on some of the more less obvious pieces information that I'll talk about in square brackets.

The Australian Anomaly Research Organisation (AARO) is a government funded organisation [the welcome room references tax payers funding their work] that contains and researches "anomalies", which are any strange phenomenon not explainable by science. AARO identifies anomalies as "ENTs" or "entities" along with a number, such as "ENT#98".

In AARO's world, France is really good a table tennis, so much so that they've almost completely dominated the World Table Tennis Championships. This has clearly caused a lot of grief (as it should), causing the creation of "ENT#344".

ENT#344 is a blog post that decries the tyranny of the French being good at sport, and requests solutions from its readers. However, only when it is given a solution that does the opposite of what it asks (making the French better at sport), it will make a "Reality Restructuring event". What is a "Reality Restructuring event"? It's what it sounds like [I intentionally left this ambiguous], and it doesn't sound very good, so it's a thing to avoid.

AARO has found out that it the contents ENT#344 isn't set on the French being good at table tennis, and if the world was different, and the French were good at another sport, it would set it's content about that sport instead.

So, in order to research and experiment on ENT#344, AARO creates "para-realities" that are similar to their world but differ what sport the French are good at.

["Para-realities" could mean something like "alternate universes", but the use of some "computer jargon" when referring to their usage ("forking and modifying", "introduced ... using rsync", "accessed [using an] Internet Browser."), implies that they are "computer simulations" of AARO's universe, but with some slight adjustments.]

In our world (I'm using "world" and "universe" interchangeably here), the French are really good at rally, or specifically, competing in the WRC. This is what the ENT#344 we read was about, which means that our world and AARO's worlds aren't the same (if that wasn't already obvious enough).

This can only mean that our universe is one of the "para-realities" created by AARO [the "Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)" being in the Previous Experiments section confirms this], specifically made to experiment on ENT#344.

Somehow, through the poor security practices of AARO [referenced in both pages], you (the reader) have been able to access documents and a chat application from outside your own universe and in the one of your creators (I dunno, AARO didn't sandbox their simulations properly or something, I didn't think about it).

With this new information you can now either:

  • Go back to the original ENT#344 post and give the 2019 WRC championship to Ogier from Tanak, which will mean the French has "total" domination over the sport, and cause a "Reality Restructuring event" (whatever that means) or;
  • Close your actual browser tab, forget that I wrote this, and do your taxes or something.

Tricked you, this story has no branching paths.

For reference, you can complete this part by removing rally Sweden and Catalunya, and changing the point system to WRC 2003.

Anyway, once you "fix" the 2019 WRC championship and press the submit button... you win! No but obviously, I couldn't have made a "Reality Restructuring event" to actually occur, so instead some stuff happens. The credits in are accessible now, there's some French that seems to go away if you hover over it, and I think there was something about a catgirl.

Scrolling down far enough on page will lead you back to a normal blog post by me (you can tell because it looks like my blog again), where I get very confused about why this page is so much bigger (in terms of size) than my other posts.

And now I can explain the second reason for why this article is not public. There are now two "versions" of me on this blog: "author" me, which is the one I am right now, where I'm aware of everything that's going on (because I wrote it, duh). And "blogger" me, where I'm part of the universe of this blog, but I don't know what's going on (because of the narrative).

It wouldn't make much sense for me to put both versions on the more public facing blog, so I thought it would be fitting for me to be here, in the source code.

Is this needlessly confusing? Yeah.

Just like SCP.