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Survivor: China's Monday Morning Quarterback – Variation in Tacticsby Sun Tzu, as channeled through AJ Mass -- 11/12/2007
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In the end, there can be only one.
In a contest where armies clash for supreme rule, all who remain must assume the role of the general, and must work with manipulation to reach their final goal. Surely there are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, and alliances which must not be honored.
The general who thoroughly understands the advantages that accompany variation of tactics knows the road to victorious glory. The general who does not understand these may be well acquainted with the configuration of the country, or even the language of the locals, yet he will not be able to turn his knowledge to practical account.
Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together. If our expectation of advantage be tempered in this way, we may succeed in accomplishing the essential part of our schemes. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.
There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general. They are as follows:
These are the five besetting sins of a general, ruinous to the conduct of war. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, the cause will surely be found among these five dangerous faults. Now, with the numbers about to be halved, let these flaws be a subject of meditation as related to those remaining.
Recklessness – Jean-Robert speaks without regard to the reactions of his words. Nor is Courtney shy about declaring her dislikes and her intentions. Todd has shown himself to also be quick to divert course without careful thought to the longer term. These three earn a black mark here.
Cowardice – Denise, the maker of lunches, is meek in voice. So, too is Erik, who has let others do his thinking for him without standing his ground. Amanda barely escapes scorn in this destructive quality, as she does speak her mind before demurring – but the red flags are there.
Temper – Jean-Robert is quick to anger and declare his thirst for revenge. While Courtney has in the past snapped at others, of late, her ways have been more in the line of apathy. James, the digger of graves, may not voice his displeasure, but is always to be caught making sour faces and his contempt lurks very near the surface. Todd is also one without any tolerance of the company he has been forced to keep, but thus far has been able to keep his tongue.
Fragility - Courtney may break at the blowing of a light breeze, but the other extreme is just as sensitive to burden of endurance. Here we find Jean-Robert and Denise also failing and flailing.
Over-solicitude – One cannot care too much of one's enemy. Loyalty is a virtue to be sure, as is compassion, but at some point cruel cuts need be made. Many with this quality have already been sent packing long before the goal was in sight. Amanda and Denise are the ones who strike me as most empathetic, and therefore, they get a strike here.
So what has this investigation shown? Jean-Robert was clearly the next to go. With three of the five fatal flaws, his remaining days were few.
Who is in most peril and needs to act quickly to make variation in their tactics so that their image can be reformed? Denise, whose cowardice has left her on the outside of her own alliance, seems poised to be the next to be removed should she not stand up for herself. Courtney's apathy has tempered her temper, but also has come at the cost of perceived loyalty. She too twists in the wind, where her spine might be easily snapped. Todd is ripe for a mutiny, and Amanda needs to begin the distancing of herself, lest she be taken out with a sword meant for him. And with two immunity idols in his pack, the digger of graves can choose to keep his own safety, though his path is not free of obstacles.
How quickly the fortune does change? Frosti, Peih-Gee, and Erik are now in prime position to claim the power. The cracks in the opposing tribe are clearer. Frosti has infiltrated their trust and can make use of their musings. If he can convince Denise that she is no longer in favor, they can join with Peih-Gee and Erik, and match their number. With a level playing field newly formed, those with the most flaws will be the ones with the biggest targets…
And to my former favorite son, Todd, I think this does not bode well for thee. My disappointment could fill the Yangtze.
Until then, I diminish and remain, Sun-Tzu.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: China articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
When not speaking on behalf of long-dead Chinese philosophers, AJ Mass writes about fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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