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Jenny! Saint or Sinner? School: Con or Compromise? Messages in this topic - RSS

babelfishwars
babelfishwars
Administrator
Posts: 1147

1/3/2017
I've copy-pasted the bulk of the Jenny School posts here. Please be aware this is a discussion of Fate Locked Content. And please keep it polite. Thanks!

Note: remember, if a player wishes to post in character, please make this clear in the post, or post in Mr Pages’ Fabularities.


Posted originally by Anne Auclair / http://community.failbettergames.com/viewprofile.aspx?UserID=14332 :

So it seems that Sinning Jenny’s school is largely a scam after all :P

Or, at the very least, it’s an institution designed principally for the benefit of Jenny’s private interests rather than the fulfillment of its stated mission.

I have divided the problems with the school into four categories.


1. Personal Profit

Jenny uses her faculty and students to beg donations for her school and hence herself. She also uses her faculty and students to guard the Parlor of Virtue, a private business, during VIP visits. Jenny obviously benefits politically and financially from these two arrangements. To the extent that Mr Wines is partnered with her, he benefits as well.

2. Jenny’s Friends

There are four preferred students: the Urchin, the Bohemian, the Nun, and the Anarchist. So 50% of the regular students are from groups that Jenny is personally connected with: the Nuns of Abbey Rock and the Bohemians of Veilgarden. Neither group is part of the poor or excluded. There’s no reason the opulently garbed Sisterhood couldn’t hire its own instructors, while the Bohemians are members of the educated middle classes and always seem to have echoes available for wine and honey.

Both groups have already visibly benefited from Jenny’s administration. The Sisterhood’s influence has been clearly enhanced and the Mayor probably gifted them the refurbished Mutton Island lighthouse that was the original site of her school (and how's that for administrative competence - spending money refurbishing a building and then radically redesigning the project). Then there's the Ministry of Public Works, which was explicitly dreamed up by the Mayor in order to provide her Bohemian friends with good jobs. This favoritism is not surprising as both groups fought the hardest for Jenny during the election.

Preferential selection at the Finishing School is but the latest example of this official favoritism. The Nuns get a place where their novices can prepare for intrigues in London. The Bohemians get what amounts to artistic training/rehab. It’s also worth noting that neither of these efforts actually seems to benefit London. After graduation the Nun returns to her isolated island convent and the Bohemian delves right back into feeding her honey addiction. So the schooling the Nun receives principally benefits her order, while with the Bohemian it has no effect at all.

It’s also worth noting that the Nun and the Bohemian both have connections with Mr. Wines and are capable of setting up meetings with him. So Jenny’s allies are also allies of Mr. Wines.

3. Favors for Revolutionaries

Jenny also uses the school to gain influence among the Revolutionaries by providing training to hardened Anarchist terrorists. There is a reason Sinning Jenny is “delighted” when you accept the Veteran Anarchists application. The Veteran Anarchist is no dilettante, like say the Photographer or the Starving Poet. He’s experienced in explosives and a true believer in the Liberation of the Night. Over the course of the term you train him to be better at propaganda and infiltration and upon graduation he vanishes without leaving a forwarding address, no doubt with every intention of putting these new skills to terrible use.

This might explain why Mayor Jenny is not getting any active opposition from the Revolutionary quarter. In player terms she’s using the school to earn Revolutionary favors and renown and then cashing those in. It’s also possible she’s promoting the Revolutionaries in an attempt to weaken the Masters hold on London in order to open up space for her own social reforms. Or perhaps it’s just a ham handed attempt to balance out her furthering of the Masters schemes. Whatever the reason, it’s a very rather dangerous strategy. The Veteran Anarchist is not one of the August’s people, he’s clearly a follower of February or April. It’s fair to say that Jenny will have a fair share of responsibility for every bit of Anarchist violence going forward.


4. Openness to Influence

Although the school’s official purpose is to help the disadvantaged of London, members of the advantaged classes – wealthy children, wealthy surface visitors, and government spies – are perfectly capable of gaining access provided they have an advocate on the inside who has some pull with Jenny. This is partly because Jenny only manages her school part-time and correspondingly gives her staff considerable discretion in the selection of students. A teacher desiring to, say, improve their connections with Society will be incentivized to make places for the children of the rich.
edited by babelfishwars on 1/3/2017

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Morkan Kassington
Morkan Kassington
Posts: 261

1/3/2017
Sainnert Jenny's School of Conpromise motto:

Be polite and nice and not too smug

Have fun!

--
Ladies of the Neath, here comes Morkan Kassington, the gem among gentlemen
(He is actually a self-centered and foolish braggart, but he means no harm. Hit him up for social actions or dangerous lessons! Or just flirt.)
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DeserterKalak
DeserterKalak
Posts: 94

1/3/2017
She still takes in penniless waifs, and there's no evidence to suggest that they are having a hard time getting in, due to places being given away by conniving teachers looking for favours.

Her school is a fine institution. The fact that her students can undertake paid work for her as part their finishing exams doesn't count against her.

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Mr Sables
Mr Sables
Posts: 597

1/3/2017
Anne Auclair wrote:


So it seems that Sinning Jenny’s school is largely a scam after all :P
[...]

I have divided the problems with the school into four categories.


1. Personal Profit

Jenny uses her faculty and students to beg donations for her school and hence herself. She also uses her faculty and students to guard the Parlor of Virtue, a private business, during VIP visits. Jenny obviously benefits politically and financially from these two arrangements. To the extent that Mr Wines is partnered with her, he benefits as well.


How do you think schools are run?

Where do you think money comes from in terms of tuition, food, rents, textbooks, materials, travel, etc.? It's quite normal for Jenny to want and need some form of profit in order to provide a service for these people. How much profit does Jenny actually get? I mean, even headmasters get a wage and some profit for running a school at a large? Was your headmaster a scam artist? Was your school a capitalist beacon of unethical profit-mongering? I think this is stretching things a bit . . . I mean, yes, Jenny benefits, but that's necessary in order to provide for the school. We also don't know how she uses her funds; if the Parlour of Virtue sends money back to the school, it makes sense for the school to protect it in turn.

2. Jenny’s Friends

There are four preferred students: the Urchin, the Bohemian, the Nun, and the Anarchist. So 50% of the regular students are from groups that Jenny is personally connected with: the Nuns of Abbey Rock and the Bohemians of Veilgarden. Neither group is part of the poor or excluded. There’s no reason the opulently garbed Sisterhood couldn’t hire its own instructors, while the Bohemians are members of the educated middle classes and always seem to have echoes available for wine and honey.

[...]
Preferential selection at the Finishing School is but the latest example of this official favoritism. The Nuns get a place where their novices can prepare for intrigues in London. The Bohemians get what amounts to artistic training/rehab. It’s also worth noting that neither of these efforts actually seems to benefit London. After graduation the Nun returns to her isolated island convent and the Bohemian delves right back into feeding her honey addiction. So the schooling the Nun receives principally benefits her order, while with the Bohemian it has no effect at all.

It’s also worth noting that the Nun and the Bohemian both have connections with Mr. Wines and are capable of setting up meetings with him. So Jenny’s allies are also allies of Mr. Wines.


Jenny gets a pool of applicants . . .

If you had a choice between a blatant spy threatening to destabilise society as you know it, and a nun that you worked with and know is a very good person in terms of character -? Pretty sure you'd choose the nun, too. There were eight applicants, if I remember rightly, and four were blatantly unsuitable (whether well-off, or spies, or whatever else) . . . so can you blame Jenny for picking the others? Also, notice she greatly favours the urchin, who is poor and broke . . . seems her priorities are straight to me. This isn't favouritism, as - if you want to argue favouritism - the favourite was clearly the urchin . . . the others were just the better of two evils and more 'deserving'.

How do you know how the school benefits people? What if the nun or Bohemian pass what they learn onto others? Find a better sense of purpose? Eventually change careers down the road or are trying to infiltrate their societies or whatever else -? Look at university graduates. A lot - if not most - go into low-paid or unpaid jobs when leaving, before working their way up . . . is that their universities failing them or being 'benefited' or whatever else, or just a reflection of the poor economy and social mobility of the times?

So they're allies of Mr Wines, too?

Like, seriously, Jenny was trying to separate herself from him, and even if they know him, it doesn't mean they like him enough to have Sunday lunch and trade gossip about their weeks . . . people have connections to all sorts of people, but it doesn't always imply 'ally', and we have enough spies in London (and the Nun is primarily against a specific Master, so I doubt she'll be too chummy with that Masters' pals) to know that not everything is as it seems.

3. Favors for Revolutionaries

Jenny also uses the school to gain influence among the Revolutionaries by providing training to hardened Anarchist terrorists. There is a reason Sinning Jenny is “delighted” when you accept the Veteran Anarchists application. The Veteran Anarchist is no dilettante, like say the Photographer or the Starving Poet. He’s experienced in explosives and a true believer in the Liberation of the Night. Over the course of the term you train him to be better at propaganda and infiltration and upon graduation he vanishes without leaving a forwarding address, no doubt with every intention of putting these new skills to terrible use.

This might explain why Mayor Jenny is not getting any active opposition from the Revolutionary quarter. In player terms she’s using the school to earn Revolutionary favors and renown and then cashing those in. It’s also possible she’s promoting the Revolutionaries in an attempt to weaken the Masters hold on London in order to open up space for her own social reforms. Or perhaps it’s just a ham handed attempt to balance out her furthering of the Masters schemes. Whatever the reason, it’s a very rather dangerous strategy. The Veteran Anarchist is not one of the August’s people, he’s clearly a follower of February or April. It’s fair to say that Jenny will have a fair share of responsibility for every bit of Anarchist violence going forward.


If you admit she's so delighted to have an anarchist . . . isn't that contradictory to her being aligned with the Masters?

I mean, a certain Master was killed by this same group in one destiny, so . . .

You even literally just suggested 'she’s promoting the Revolutionaries in an attempt to weaken the Masters hold on London', and - well - that's at blatant odds with how you always paint her as the Masters' lackey, especially with the above points that you made that she's an ally of Wines and so forth and so forth . . . you're contradicting yourself a lot. You then suggest she could be doing this for the Masters, admitting you have no idea why she took this guy on, but still claim it's because she's evil incarnate and selfish as heck. This point was pretty bizarre.

4. Openness to Influence

Although the school’s official purpose is to help the disadvantaged of London, members of the advantaged classes – wealthy children, wealthy surface visitors, and government spies – are perfectly capable of gaining access provided they have an advocate on the inside who has some pull with Jenny. This is partly because Jenny only manages her school part-time and correspondingly gives her staff considerable discretion in the selection of students. A teacher desiring to, say, improve their connections with Society will be incentivized to make places for the children of the rich.


The key word in the story was 'applicants'.


Jenny can't take on the disadvantaged, if the disadvantaged don't apply (or don't want to join).

Also, it's natural for a headteacher to leave some of his/her work to the deputy heads, other teachers, and other staff (including governors and so forth) . . . do you really expect her to run the school, gather funds, teach, hire teachers personally, and so forth and so forth, on top of being a mayor and businesswoman and other duties? Seriously? All establishments are open to influence. Arguably it's a sign of a good school, because they the students are privy to a wide-range of beliefs/attitudes/opinions.
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Kaigen
Kaigen
Posts: 529

1/4/2017
To add to the response to point 4: My memory may be faulty, but I do not remember it being claimed that Jenny's school was for the sole benefit of the disadvantaged (If I am incorrect, please do let me know). Consider the implications, though. In a stratified, largely class-bound society, Jenny's school takes urchin and wealthy alike and trains them together equally. What sort of awareness might this inculcate in wealthy scions? What connections might the poorer students be able to draw upon among their former classmates in order to make their way in the world? The school's willingness to provide a quality education to anyone is arguably its most radical aspect, and the one most likely to encourage broader social change.

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Amalgamate
Amalgamate
Posts: 389

1/5/2017
Yeah, I played through the empress' shadow story and it seemed that the school was legit. You taught orphans, and it was stated that that was Jenny's preferred pupil. You could also teach various other people who clearly could use the education. If the school was a scam, we'll need to wait for another story to see, because in this one it seemed like the school was legit.

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Frederick Metzengerstein
Frederick Metzengerstein
Posts: 69

1/5/2017
It's an interesting question, I think.

On the one hand, only one out of every classroom of three is an urchin, not that education doesn't benefit young people of every social level. I do not think the school predominently teaches the most deserving in Fallen London.

On the other hand, when I taught the urchin, he learnt to bathe and of the benefit of bathing (basic hygiene), more or less managed to write out all the letters of the alphabet (very, very basic literacy), and after his work experience was completed got an apprenticeship with the customary place to stay and a bed (gainful employment, at least for now). Going from itinerant and indigent poor to an apprentice is a substantial increase in class. So the school does good, no doubt about it.

(That was on one playthrough. There may be more storylets revealing more benefits. I'll teach a few more urchins and find out.)

I'm sure that Jenny is corrupt and her school enriches herself and her allies, but this is Fallen London.

As for Jenny and the Masters: reluctant as she is to have ties with them, I did recently receive a huge diamond from an agent of the Bazaar for not undermining their favoured candidate...
edited by Frederick Metzengerstein on 1/5/2017
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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

1/5/2017
Ambiguity is one of Jenny's stated characteristics. She is sinner and saint both - we know that.
As for the school, I would say that if you are a passionate idealist it would fall short of your expectations, but if you are someone in need, such as the urchin or the anarchist or even the bohemian, you would be very glad for the opportunity. Does it serve her own purposes too? Undoubtedly, but it does not make it less worthy to those helped.

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Richard Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
Posts: 30

1/5/2017
I had the feeling that jenny wanted to defend dockers and zailors against the abuse of the masters against them. Nevertheless, the zailor is among the "bad" applicants.
Has someone an explanation ?

There are high chances I only missed one bit of information, but it would be nice to know which one.

--
" All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well". *
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suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 2408

1/5/2017
He does start fights if you take him in, so probably because of that. Can't have the school's reputation immediately crushed
edited by suinicide on 1/5/2017

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Anne Auclair
Anne Auclair
Posts: 2215

1/5/2017
Ironically the zailor is arguably the one who puts his education to the greatest effect. He had trouble interacting with London society because of his alienating experiences at zee. Re-familiarized, he's able to persuade the well-to-do to contribute funds for an exploratory journey into the far east. But instead of favoring the zailors, who have a real need and use for a finishing education, Jenny prefers to help self-isolating nuns and honey mazed bohemians :P There's a reason for this and it's not because the nun and bohemian are better people than the zailor.

The fact that the school sometimes teaches urchins does not mean it's not principally self-interested in design or intent. The Tweed Courthouse is still being used today, even though Boss Tweed built it principally to line his pockets and help his friends. Another example, a corrupt police force is better than no police force as it will enforce some law, but this fact does not negate said police force's corruption. Similarly, a school principally designed to benefit its headmistress's interests can do some good, but this does not negate the fact that said school mainly helps Jenny politically and financially.

And the Anarchist cannot be classed among the deserving. He's an unrepentant terrorist who wants to snuff out all light. If you let him put his finishing education to good use with the Shadow he promptly indoctrinates her in the Liberation of the Night. Presumably he does similar recruitment among London's upper class. The only explanation for him being classified among the deserving is that it serves some political purpose.
edited by Anne Auclair on 1/5/2017

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Kukapetal
Kukapetal
Posts: 1446

1/6/2017
Those issues could just be a case of gameplay/story segregation though. The writers clearly wanted to give us a variety of different students and personalities to work with in this particular storylet, so they gave us applicants from all walks of life to mix and match for our class. Possibly, this isn't what a typical class at Jenny's school looks like, just what our character's class happens to look like in the interest of making the mechanics more interesting.

Storywise, perhaps there was simply a particularly wacky batch of candidates that week, and normally the classes at packed full of needy urchins. Or maybe other teachers got the regular candidates and the player's character wanted to look at the more atypical candidates in the interest of having a more diverse/useful class to carry out their mission.

Or maybe Jenny's an a-hole. I don't doubt that it is very possible :P
edited by Kukapetal on 1/6/2017
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Anne Auclair
Anne Auclair
Posts: 2215

1/6/2017
It's not really a one time story though, you can teach at her school as much as you like. It's not even clear whether these students are the same people you taught formerly or completely new, with Jenny herself hanging a pretty big lampshade on this. And even in the main story you go through three classes at a minimum.

So, with the exception of the Eldest Daughter, I experienced the students less as individuals and more as social archetypes. That's kind of how they seem to be written. They don't have individual personalities so much as social personalities. The Urchin is a typical Urchin: poor, dirty, precious, and resourceful in a fairly criminal way. The Nun is a typical young Abbey Rock nun: ferocious, dedicated, a hunter of the Vake, with a vaguely sinful side given her relationship with Jenny. The Bohemian is a typical Bohemian: artistic but slothful, weighed down by strong drink and too much honey. The Veteran Anarchist is what you'd expect a Veteran Anarchist to be. The Zailor has been to many far off places and feels kind of alienated from shore life. The Foreign Officer is an ambiguous foreign officer who has characteristics of Face and Teeth. The Surface Visitor is a spy for one of the great powers and unaccustomed to life in the Neath. The only exception is, again, the Eldest Daughter, who is very clearly a separate and distinct character with her own unique storyline.

Now a big part of Fallen London is the player's own relationship with the various and distinct social groups that inhabit London: the Church, the Devils, the Spies, the Toffs, the Constabulary, the Tomb Colonists and so on. So I took the above setup as an indication that the school teaches a small student body largely drawn from the Urchins, the Nuns, the Bohemians, and the Anarchists.
edited by Anne Auclair on 1/6/2017

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Kukapetal
Kukapetal
Posts: 1446

1/6/2017
That's definitely a good point. I forgot that you can still teach at the school, because I haven't done it since the end of the seasonal story. If those are the students who are always available, then you're right that they probably are representative of the types of people who usually apply there.
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Kaigen
Kaigen
Posts: 529

1/6/2017
I find it interesting that the Bohemian is labelled as affluent on the basis of her vices. This despite the fact that the chief drink of the Bohemian set is Greyfields 1879 (aka the Cheapest Swill in a Bottle) and honey, the former of which can be traded for the latter at between a 2:1 and 1:1 exchange rate. These are not expensive vices. Zailors gamble away jade and glim of equivalent value on a regular basis (to say nothing of their drinking), and they are still somehow deserving. If the only poor who are deserving are those without vice, one will not find many deserving poor in London, I'm afraid.

And if the Bohemian does not immediately find success upon graduation, well, very few artists are lucky enough to be an overnight sensation. Thanks to her training at the school, she knows how to defend herself, and she knows how to attend to every detail necessary to putting on a salon to promote her work. Anything beyond that rests on her own resources and the fickle attention of the public. The fact that she still partakes of honey does not mean she isn't using these skills. A friend of mine self-published a novel and has a book deal for a second, yet he still smokes and drinks on a regular basis.

--
Just a simple doctor with a chess habit. Publisher of The Flit Dispatch.

"One must remember that the impossible is, alas, always possible."
-Jacques Derrida
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PSGarak
PSGarak
Posts: 718

1/6/2017
Anne Auclair wrote:
It's not even clear whether these students are the same people you taught formerly or completely new...

I'm sure we're supposed to perceive them as new students each time. They're shown making progress in their lessons, which their replacements don't have. E.g. each new Urchin has never even heard of a bath before.

Also their descriptions are less specific than Fallen London titles that refer to individuals. If the orphan were someone specific, he would be called "the Malodorous Orphan" or "the Hopeful Orphan" or "the Sympathetic Orphan." Since the orphan is only called "the Orphan," their identity must be generic rather than specific.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

1/6/2017
I agree. This is the nature of most carousels after all - we are not supposed to think that the same informant gets lost in Dante's Grill 7 times per day, when we go through the Velocipede Squad carousel!

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Shadowcthuhlu
Shadowcthuhlu
Posts: 1530

1/6/2017
Take my words with many grains of salt, while I have seen much, I have also forgotten much.
One thing that stands out about the bohemian is that you teach her self-defense. Maybe the reason they are giving priority is because there one of the more vulnerable populations to the more physical monsters of the neath?

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Anne Auclair
Anne Auclair
Posts: 2215

1/6/2017
Kaigen wrote:
I find it interesting that the Bohemian is labelled as affluent on the basis of her vices. This despite the fact that the chief drink of the Bohemian set is Greyfields 1879 (aka the Cheapest Swill in a Bottle) and honey, the former of which can be traded for the latter at between a 2:1 and 1:1 exchange rate. These are not expensive vices.

The thing about Bohemians is that they aren't a poor class. They come out of the bourgeoisie and any destitution is often the result of dissipation. Greyfields 1879 and Prisoners Honey might be cheap in small quantities, but in larger amounts they would add up. Most of our interactions with the Bohemians involve hedonistic parties after all. Also, the vices of the Bohemians don't stop with cheap wine and honey. In Sunless Sea's Roser Market one of the customers you can meet is the Starving Poet. He has just sold a sonnet for 75 echoes (must have been quite a sonnet!). With that money "he could dine frugally for a fortnight, sensibly for a week, or on Solacefruit for supper." Naturally he blows the whole sum on Solacefruit and thus remains the Starving Poet. So I think a lot of Bohemian poverty, such as it is, is self-inflicted, the symptom of the Bohemian lifestyle.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1686

1/9/2017
Some bohemians were exactly that - others came from the lower classes to begin with. Think artists' models, or creators too avant-garde to actually sell a lot, or people who prefered travelling instead of trying to do PR. In such cases the hedonistic lifestyle could also be solace against the harshness of life. Perhaps the finishing school can teach them how to take more advantage of their gifts. Think of them trying to become Picasso instead of Modigliani.

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