Donkey-effect

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Language: English

The Donkey-effect is a phrase used in Etrand and Froturn, referring to rushed or excessive policies that provoke fierce resistance that a more patient and less forceful attempt at introducing that policy wouldn't have caused. The term was first used in Etrand, during the reign of King Calder the Unready in the late 7th century and early 8th century.

King Calder made some rather controversial attempts at centralizing Etrand: he planned to force all of the nobility to relocate to Grandfolk, live and work as a caste of bureaucrats and warriors, while all of their former estates would be seized by the King, and the nobles would be only appointed governors rather than actual owners of the land. Needless to say, the nobility wasn't very fond of the idea, and threatened with outright rebellion, demanding that the King renounce these plans - King Calder's response was a hesitant "I will reconsider the reforms" - no reforms would be made at all. Following this, caricatures were made, depicting Etrand's nobility as a grouchy donkey and King Calder as a desperate farmer, desperately trying to get his donkey to move - but the donkey refuses to move an inch for a while, and eventually gets fed up, kicking the farmer in the testicles. Even though these caricatures were banned in Etrand, during the Calder-regime, they travelled to Froturn, where they became rather popular.

The caricatures often had the caption saying "You see? Had the farmer waited patiently, the donkey would have probably moved on its own. Had the farmer asked nicely, the donkey would have considered it. But now that the farmer is trying to push the donkey away forcibly, the donkey is even more determined than before to stay at that place. He's like a statue - he is determined to stay there." or something along the lines.

The term started to be used again during the reign of King Cairbré I of Etrand - and after his reign - referring to how his father Bryant's secularist policies did not preserve the centuries of religious harmony like expected, but instead contributed to its demise by causing the birth of a new generation of fanatical fundamentalists in Etrand who wanted to go a little further than just reversing some of those secular reforms. Some caricatures depicted the dead Bryant (depicted as a skeleton with white hair and beard) trying to push the donkey, who is kicking the skeleton while being fed grass by a farmer representing Cairbré.

The term also got revived in Froturn during the reign of King Ivahó of Froturn, referring to the "surprising" rise of conservativism and "sudden" backlash against secularism after a century of secularist rule by King Cael'mus and Consul Sim'vara, with caricatures depicting the people of Froturn as the unwilling grouchy donkey, and Cael'mus or Sim'vara as the failing farmer.

Due to the high usage of the term in politics, it has also entered colloquial vocabularies, the term "to donkey someone" or "to donkey something" carrying the meaning "to resist even more ferociously than before after being forced more than before" in both Etrandish and Froturnish. It is also given the meaning of being more willing to do something after high amount of resistance, like being more curious than before - for example, the sentence "I am donkeying to see the ring" actually means "Your fierce resistance to the idea of showing me the ring makes me even more curious and willing to see it". Additionally, they question "Why are you donkeying around?" is used to question the reason of sudden unexplained and vocal unwillingness to do something the person was previously considering or even willing to do.