sfp 6 72 for web

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  • bryan rasmussen

    Professor smartypants is going to jump out any second now and yell “hah, gotcha!” isn’t he?

  • Christophe2314

    And here Al gets to see Gurwara’s point at play in real life: you can’t get everyone to work together towards a common goal because not everyone has the same priorities. Up until now, it was so simple in Alison’s mind: she’s trying to do something good, so why wouldn’t people want to help her? Because they’ve got their own goals, equally worthwhile, that just don’t align with her objectives. She can’t force people to help her, and that hinders her ability to make a difference.

    • Lostman

      Well to play a little devil advocate: while their goals aren’t mutaul doesn’t mean there ain’t people down in that building who are willing to join Alison cause, she just has to reachout to them. Not through Sonar, but by herself.

      • Christophe2314

        Yeah, but this is Brad’s event, which he organized to raise awareness of an issue he cares about. Is it okay for Alison to hijack said event and turn it into a recruitment drive for an entirely separate project?

      • Shweta Narayan

        true enough, but she’s kind of been…. assuming that her ideas are the most important ones, and for some people they are! But not for everyone, *especially* not for people who have bigger problems of their own than Alison does. “We’ve got this” doesn’t work without some coherent idea of “we” and “this”, and hopefully this is her learning not to steamroll people.

  • OoO!

    Black stone, white stone, point well made. Now please stop crapping on Alison! The last panel made me cry.

    • Lostman

      Agreed with you up to the last biit, to which I have one word for you: NEVER!

    • chaosvii

      If Alison manages to avoid being incorrect or otherwise presumptive, then she will not be addressed by others on the subject of her errors as often.

      • Shweta Narayan

        Which is one of the things I love about this comic 🙂 It shows that learning to help other people is hard, and it can be painful cause it involves a lot of flailing and hecking up and realizing other people’s perspectives & needs are different from yours. I’ve been where Al is now. It made me a better person. And yeah, it hurt, but that doesn’t mean the people who pointed out my messups were crapping on me.

    • Ellis Jones

      She’s literally the most powerful person on Earth. She can take being out of her comfort zone for a bit.

  • Shjade

    Brad, you are one patient friend.

    At least she dropped it before things got any stickier.

  • Markus

    I’m not sure I side with Brad here. It sounds like he’s suggesting that people who need help can’t also be helping other people. Like, not to rag on him for a tiny snippet of conversation, but I really hate the idea that you can put people into a little box labeled ‘victim’ or ‘person in crisis’ or ‘refugee’ or ‘unwell’ and they aren’t allowed to be anything else until they leave that box.

    • Huttj509

      I think part of it is *we* know what Alison’s trying to say, but Brad does not.

      For the accountant, Alison was approached, interest was expressed in wanting to help people, and the skillset seemed to mesh with Alison’s needs. I see absolutely no issue in that recruitment.

      Alison is trying to suggest similar to Brad, looking for people who want to help and could use a purpose. However, the shift from being approached to doing the approaching…

      It can read as “you have a list of vulnerable individuals who are trying to pull their lives together, I have a need for people, let me see if any of your list would be useful to me” which is, well, a *lot* like what the government did in the dynamorph camps when it first manifested.

      I know I’ve had moments with friends where my response has been “ok, I *know* you wouldn’t say what it sounded like you said, so one of us seems to be confused here.”

      • Walter

        There’s also a sort of stereotype threat here. Dynamorphs have to fight really hard against the idea that they are all super heroes/villains. Brad has got them together to talk about how rough they have it in a society that only accepts them in the context of these sensationalized violent roles.

        If any of them take Alison up on her offer it kind of sets the progress back, you know? Like, it is hard to sell that “we are just folks like you, not automatically all about super fights”, when the most high profile news item about people who look like you is that they are signing up to be bodyguards.

    • Loranna

      I think Brad’s point is, that Alison’s project – as he currently understands it – would put a lot of its members into stressful, emotionally charged situations. After all, the whole point of Valkyrie is to help women caught in a stressful, emotionally charged, outright dangerous situation, yes?

      Even if the danger aspect would not exist for, say, someone like Amanda, dealing with those sorts of situations will take its toll on even the most well-adjusted of souls. And the folk here at Brad’s project are not the most well-adjusted of souls, not yet. I think he feels that Alison has mistaken moments of empathy and connection as signs of advanced progress, when to him, the progress ADA has made is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Or, perhaps, he’s just recalling Alison’s style of leadership back in the day, and is trying to find a polite way to say “Please, no more blind charges into danger. We barely survived it the *last* time.”


      • phantomreader42

        Also, consider Amanda’s history of being misgendered and feared, and how that could cause issues dealing with abused women. Though if she’s working primarily on the financial side that’s less of a problem.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      That’s not what he’s saying. He’s merely enjoining Alison to reconsider the way she phrased her offer for a business deal –products: humans– what it came off essentially as. Networking is never sexy but man did she botch that one.

      You may offer the greatest potential career opportunities when you’re a movie producer looking in a community center for little people to make your Snow White live adaptation but don’t expect to be greeted with open arms.

    • Virgil Clemens

      Brad doesn’t have a surplus of time, so he needs to prioritize, which he has done by choosing to provide a community for dynamorphs to help themselves. Alison’s priority is to *use* the dynamorphs, which while noble is legitimately separate from Brad’s goal. Were he to merge his project with Alison’s, there are going to be times where the two goals conflict, and Alison’s obviously going to favor hers and is the type of personality to ensure which gets preference; especially since she was the alpha/leader personality in her prior relationship with Brad.

    • Korataki

      I don’t think that Brad is projecting a narrow definition on the community- what he’s doing is narrowly defining his role in service to that community. He probably knows better than most what dynomorphs are capable of doing- but any effort he expends in helping Alison achieve her aims will be at the expense of his own, and right now his cause is really, really important.

    • I think it’s more specifically about how those people interact with his organization with a particular expectation that Alison’s idea might violate. You don’t go to the doctor to get recruited for Doctors Without Borders volunteer work, even if you would consider such work in a different context. That doesn’t mean you’re always and forever a patient, it just means you’re a patient when you’re in the doctor’s office.

    • Olivier Faure

      I’m not sure what is position actually is, but I can think of a couple reasons for him to be wary of associating with metahuman recruiters.

      It could encourage dangerous incentive dynamics (like trying to make vulnerable dynamorphs more dependent on the recruiters), it could scare away people who need help but don’t want to be solicited for their powers, and it might generally send the wrong message (you’re here because you’re a resource and this place is an easy way to acquire you).

      I don’t know if it makes sense or if I’m making things up, though. Do real-life support groups have that kind of conflict of interests between their sponsors and the people they’re supposed to help? (my gut says yes)

      • Tylikcat

        Absolutely. Probably the mostly obvious parallel is feminists groups working with groups representing people of color (though, OMG, the examples are legion and Alison has a group oriented towards providing a particular service, whereas Brad’s group is more broadly around community support…) But see also the history of the Human Right’s Campaign’s interactions with the transgender community.

    • Jeremy

      I agree. Empowering people to take action and help others can actually be really healthy.

      Also, it’s really up to individual members to decide what they want to get involved in. Deciding for them is actually disempowering.

      Of course, this is just a one-off conversation, and they’ve both had an emotionally taxing few days. This could be a good thing to revisit when they’re both fress.

    • Jack

      This is an extremely good point. I know for a fact that it can be done because I’m a paranoid schizophrenic who used to work as an employment support advisor helping unemployed and homeless people find work/training/housing. I’d still be doing it if the organisation I worked for had not lost the bid to keep providing the service.

      • Shweta Narayan

        But there’s a difference between doing the work and being kinda strongarmed into the work when you go to a support group, right? And we know Alison didn’t mean the latter, but she sounded way too close to it.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Well…beyond that, I think Brad might be overestimating how forceful Al would be asking for help. I have a feeling that she would be asking if anyone wants in gently and purposely not making anyone uncomfortable. And he’s also not thinking of how Valkyrie could also make this endeavor mutually beneficial for ADA as well (I put that up to Al really not delivering her point well.) The response may be mixed and varied, but not without certain members of both groups being better off for it.

      Heck, I for one can see Amanda totally being on board for helping Al with her project, for example.

      • Shweta Narayan

        Yeah, though given that she started with phrasing it in a way that makes Brad uncomfortable, she maaaay need to work on that part a bit 🙂

        • Pol Subanajouy

          Oh yeah, she totally steered the sales pitch into a wall there. 😛

    • Julien

      I don’t think it was Brad’s point here. I personally took it as: “Look, I built this community for people to gather and be themselves, I don’t want to impose anything on them. If they want to help other people, great, but let them make the decision on their own. The goal of this group is to provide a safe community for people, and I don’t think me promoting Valkyrie here is going to help towards that goal. These two things are separate matters.”

    • I don’t know, i saw Brad’s point more as Alison corrupting the safe space he’s developed into another venue for the community to be extorted at.

    • TimG

      I didn’t see it as Brad saying “dynamorphs shouldn’t help others”, so much as saying “I don’t want to take on any other agenda that could conflict with serving the dynamorphic community.” If a dynamorph came to him and said “I’d really like to find a way to use my dynamorphism for the benefit of others”, he’d support them, but he wouldn’t want to try to steer someone in that direction if it isn’t what they want.

      I see some (imperfect) real world parallels here: Maybe society benefits when an LGBT person comes out of the closet, or when a rape victim presses charges against their rapist, but it’s not necessarily appropriate for someone serving that population to push for them to do so.

      Even if Brad wouldn’t be at all pushy about it, I can see how he could worry that the appearance of having that other agenda might erode their trust.

  • BGB

    Allison is still more articulate and clear than I am after a long day:P
    I’m always sad when a marginalized community fractures itself further, but it’s a common thing. I like the way it is being paralleled in the comic.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    This is usually the moment where I dismiss the content of the page to focus on background details to pick apart, like Alison’s super sayan hair either flowing in the non-existent wind or showcasing her power level comfortably above nine tenth of the myriad–
    But wow. Alison managed to say something as seemingly insensitive and inappropriate as Max’s “What even is altruism when you think about it, man”. Just as I was saying last week that she was starting to get introspective.

    O Alison, how did I ever doubt your ability to do the utmost absolute worst thing at every turn. Would you ever forgive my dithering faith?

    • FlashNeko

      Okay, we get it. You hate Alison and anything she ever says that isn’t self-destructive depression or utter humiliation.

      Please change the record, this one is broken.

    • Jack

      Alison is tired and needs to get some sleep and food before she tries discussing anything, but there’s no way what she said here is as bad as saying that Feral is selfish.

      • ∫Clémens×ds

        He said that all that people do is serve themselves and that sometimes happen to cross the same path as serving others.

        Read what she said again, how close from that mindset that is.

  • 9Jack9

    Go to bed Alison, you’re tired. Sort out your thoughts in the morning.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    Allison. Take a break. Fly home, get some sleep, figure out what you want Valkyrie to do and what you can offer in return (or how she can do something which helps both groups).

    • Tylikcat

      I would add “get laid” but that would just be tragic.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Getting laid may be enjoyable, but its therapeutic value is grossly overstated.

        • Tylikcat

          Mm, I’m a fan, if one can adequately manage the sequelae.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Well, I mean, there’s a Venn diagram intersection of people Al is trying to serve and people Brad is trying to serve. Right? Surely?

    The basics of networking says that you want to make real connections and friends and to pursue opportunities that present themselves with established friends. But being emotionally drained can mean tripping over what would be an entirely honest and mutually beneficial pitch about connecting your two projects. Even with a long time friend.

    Sorry Al, willpower fatigue happens to the best of us. (Heck, I sometimes think that would be a supremely useful bio-dynamic power. To never have your judgment impaired by being emotionally drained, physically tired, having a foreign substance in your system, etc. But I doubt “Always Sober Man!” would sell many issues.”)

    • Jack

      Well there’s a Japanese webnovel called No Fatigue where the MC’s unique ability is that he can’t get physically or mentally tired, but he lives in a world where you can acquire superpowers through training so it’s not the same deal exactly.

    • cphoenix

      I think it’s called “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.” He’s not perfect, but he sure tries! http://hpmor.com/

      • Pol Subanajouy

        My friend recommended that book. I will have to get it off my reading list!

  • spriteless

    She wants to fix something to feel better. She doesn’t know how to join a group that isn’t heroes to feel better. Her last non-biodynamic friends were more a drain than anything. But maybe some of the people Brad is helping also feel good helping other people. Allison just isn’t in a mood to understand that helping people, even selflessly, can be for selfish reasons as well. Understandably.

  • JohnTomato

    Compare and contrast Mr. Underwear’s family using the landscapers and Ms. Alison’s willingness to use the ADA folk. A bit of ethical ambiguity to end the day.

    • Eric Meyer

      Is she wanting to ‘use’ them?

      In the case of the gardeners, this is a situation where they can either take the job, or starve.

      For the dynamorphs, it will be a situation where they can take the job, or go on to live their lives exactly as though the job was never offered in the first place.

      • Ellis Jones

        Isn’t a big sticking point for dynamorphs that they have an extremely hard time getting a job?

        Not sure what you’re saying in the second paragraph- same could be said of the gardeners- they either take the job, or they continue as though they hadn’t been offered it. That might be a really terrible continuation, but the same could be said for the dynamorphs.

  • Arkone Axon

    I will note this: sometimes the best way to help yourself deal with your own problems is to focus on helping someone else deal with theirs.

  • CMena1213

    Well, you have to help yourself before you can help others… but helping others can help yourself (you might know something about that, Sonar)… but… given how many of the people here are struggling just to get by, this probably isn’t the place to recruit for Valkyrie.

    Valkyrie is important, but maybe Alison doesn’t really understand what dynamorphs who can’t pass for human go through?

    But she’s friends with Cleaver… does Sonar reach out to supervillains?

    Good people doing good things in the right way can still have blindspots.

    What am I saying? I just woke up, and this is complicated.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Coffee? Tea?

      • phantomreader42


    • Eric Meyer

      Thing is, Valkyrie could also help those struggling to get by, to find resources and situations that would help, that they would otherwise not have seen. It would get them in touch with more people in positive light (doing unequivocal GOOD GUY work)- stuff that would help the dynamorphic community even more than it would help non-dynamorphs.

      I’m surprised so many dynamorphics seem so angry about heroing, considering that it’s probably THE reason that they’re not completely ostracized as ‘monsters’ and ‘demons’. People see guys like Sonar fighting the good fight, positive publicity machines churning to make him a guy that children look up to, ‘buy his toys’, etc- that normalizes Bat Face with the average Joe. Same with any other dynamorph in a big-time Hero position.

      Cutting a chunk of community out of the greater bits of civilization doesn’t help with integration. In the short-term, it might be helpful to give those who’ve already dealt with prejudice a safe feeling place to vent or heal or whatever, but long-term it just serves to emphasize the idea of ‘us’ vs ‘them’ in the eyes of Jane and Joe Public.

      Take, for example, Gay Pride stuff. Sure, that’s great. You’re not ashamed about your sexuality, gender, what have you. But where’s the “S” in LGBTA? Isn’t that just as valid a sexuality? Right now, while there’s still prejudice in the world, it’s great that those of ‘non-standard’ genders and sexualities have groups they can turn to for help, but Gay and Lesbian are rapidly becoming just as ‘standard’ a sexuality as straight- due in large part to positive or neutral media portrayal pushed by Pride groups. But in a couple decades, maybe less, I think that “S” should be added into LGBTA, and Pride events, if not already so, should simply be about accepting and being proud of yourself and your gender/sexuality, even if it’s straight.

      There’s strong parallels here, with dynamorphism. This sort of gathering is great. It’s a safe place, a place where a dynamorph can go and feel like they fit- or at least like everyone else doesn’t fit either. But saying ‘no, you can’t network here’ or ‘no, don’t treat this like a regular Con, these people are hurting and should be separated from you’ will become poisonous in time. That sort of thing is what allowed the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to gain members in the X-Men, and it needs to be phased out; slowly, ever so slowly.

      • bta

        I seriously doubt activism against domestic violence against women by ways of superpowered bodyguarding would be seen as “unequivocal good guy work” by the majority of the population, the moment it becomes visible enough. Accusations of Valkyrie being a “feminist paramilitary freak brigade bullying those poor men in the safety of their home” are probably gonna come up soon enough.

      • Loranna

        Given that what we’ve heard of the government’s approach to recruiting and training supers when they first appeared on the scene, I think the current dynamorph community has some justified anger at the idea of heroing. They’d equate it less with being normalized by society, and more with being -exploited- by society, a scary-looking guard dog unleashed on bad people, then put back on their leash.


      • Lysiuj

        Minorities can have spaces of their own, and those don’t need to conform to the standards of the majority. So LGBTQ+ spaces don’t need to consider ‘straight pride’ (straight people aren’t oppressed or discriminated against). And Dynamorphic spaces don’t need to be open to recruitment and such. They can decide not to allow that, and it’s not the end of the world if the Allisons of the world need some extra effort in networking.
        And they won’t become supervillains if they feel some need for seperation.

  • AustinC123

    Phew boy it is tricky mapping dynamorphic individuals onto the real-world groups which are ‘othered.’ Yes, they have a hard time in society. Also, some of them can pick up trucks and juggle them around. They are, practically speaking, an enormous potential resource and pointing out that they also face huge challenges isn’t an argument against that fact.

    • Lysiuj

      First, it’s worth remembering that many Dynamorphs, and it looks like even most of them, don’t have ‘powers’ as such, many of them have transformed bodies but don’t get significant abilities, or any at all.
      Second, I’d say that seeing ways in which people can help, if they wish, is very different from seeing them as a ‘resource’. And in fact, approaching people as a resource would just add one more hardship to already difficult lives, because it leads to thinking of them less as individuals and more as possibilities.

      • AustinC123

        Sure, many don’t have anything exceptional to contribute, but many do. In this case I’d say ‘hey Alison maybe put up a sign-up sheet and a poster explaining what’s up with your thing.’
        I hear ya, don’t see people as means, etc. I don’t think it’s inherently immoral to do so, Kantrary as that is, but I see the slippery slope. It’s a further illustration of why Alison and Brad have entirely different goals here: she’s looking to hire (requires [super]human resources) and he’s here to help the people (ends unto themselves). I’d suggest hanging a poster and letting folks come to her if they want to.

    • Oren Leifer

      That’s what makes great science fiction so great. When you can map fictional social conflicts onto real ones with one-to-one accuracy, it’s often harder to engage a wider audience because many people start to feel “the work is about the conflict of x” not “the work covers social problems, including x”. The Mass Effect series has an artificial intelligence/creator conflict that is deliberately reminiscent of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but because of the ways it doesn’t map cleanly onto the real-life conflict it really makes you think more about both sides.

      • phantomreader42

        I recommend Zootopia for this sort of thing too. The divisions between predator and prey have resemblances to racial segregation, LGBTQ issues, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and the War On Terra fearmongering, but none of them are an exact match, and things often go in unexpected directions.

    • phantomreader42

      Phew boy it is tricky mapping dynamorphic individuals onto the real-world groups which are ‘othered.’

      That’s not a bad thing. It blends together and overlaps. The mapping is deliberately not simple or clean. It’s more complicated.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    Brad, maybe consider that your guests are not you and are capable of making their own decisions? Sure, I get that it’s not classy for Allison to be recruiting volunteers for her pet project at someone else’s. But the other dyanamorphs don’t need a Brad to shield them from Allison. They are perfectly capable of making their wants known.

    • Ellis Jones

      Alison literally just left an argument where she was speaking on other people’s behalves.

  • FlashNeko

    This is how antagonists like Gurwara win.

    They change the question from “What can I do?” to “Why should I even bother?”

    • Shweta Narayan

      Except that Al’s premise in class wasn’t “this is what I can do”, it was “this is what everyone SHOULD do” when she didn’t even know the classmates’ contexts – which is why I remain unconvinced that Gurwara is an antagonist. I want to see what he does as Al grows/changes.

  • I’m going to try and gather my thoughts on this… I apologize for the upcoming ramble. This is a really deep topic being presented in different terms. I love this page. I really do, but it also hurts, because… because I get it. I absolutely get it.

    I’m a black person living with mental illness. In this world, I see people who look like me getting murdered on what feels like a daily basis. “Stay Woke” they tell me, and I try, I really do. I read, I educate myself. I would love to protest and petition and work and make a difference. I’m smart. Not rich, but nothing near poor. “Cool, really good hearted, have the ability to make a difference.”

    However, my depression compounds my issue. Some days it’s hard to even get through the day and do all the basic human things. Get out of bed. Eat. Bathe. Hold down a job. It gets significantly worse after the continued incidents, where people who look like me and my family just die, and we get told they deserve it. I already fear taking my own life, so having the compound fear of just… getting shot… let’s say it doesn’t help. Some days, it’s all I can do to just be out of bed, paint a smile on my face and pretend I’m functional. Just… the trying takes up all the effort and energy I have. “Making a difference by caring about themselves. By being here.”

    Which cause is more important? Is taking care of myself first selfish? Or is it the most vital thing? Can I ignore people in trouble, close my eyes to it, even if it is part of my own self-care to look away from the darkness and fear that surrounds me? Am I just part of the problem if I pretend there isn’t a problem, does my forced ignorance make me just as guilty?

    …In the end I really do agree with Allison. It’s been a long life, and I’m just not sure anymore.

    • Shweta Narayan

      …This stranger on the internet thinks taking care of yourself in a world that doesn’t is an incredibly important and vital act, fwiw.

      • Holy shit I was not expecting this level of response from my rambles. *hugs* Everyone here is awesome, thank you.

    • Lysiuj

      I can’t speak from experience, because I don’t face the same challenges you do.
      But I think that any decison you choose to make is valid, and even if you feel the need to help others, you should always make sure you don’t reach the point where the struggle takes too much from you.
      Anyway I don’t know if I’ve actually said anything useful, but I just wanted to add my support.

      • Thank you very much. You said more than you think, and it’s very true and very useful.

    • atma

      I think you need to take care of yourself first, only you can decide how much you can handle, and in which order.
      “You decide” being the operative words here, not that your groups spokesperson will tell you not to be involved in helping others, which I think is what Brad is doing here.

    • ClockworkDawn

      Thank you for posting that. It gave this page a new light for me, and I greatly appreciate you sharing that with us.

    • Keith Willenson

      Warning: I answer your ramble with one of my own. Sorry. tl;dr

      I may say “you,” but I’m really talking about me and my experiences. Feel free to ignore and dismiss any suggestions about how you should handle things. I have no idea about your life and should not tell you anything, but I can’t help myself.

      First, all the protests and desired societal changes are intended to make a better life for everyone. Stressing yourself about things you are not currently able to do does not make your life better.

      On the first day of the protest at the governor’s mansion, there were hundreds. They shut down the road. After a week there were tens. Now there are only a few. Who should feel bad about this? Not everyone can put their whole life into an issue.

      Another point is that it is AN issue. Black people getting murdered on a daily basis is horrible. Actually seeing it/knowing about it is an improvement because it used to happen but was hidden away. Now that people are becoming aware of it something can get done. There are other issues, child prostitution, sweat shop working conditions and pay, immigration issues, politics, etc. Any one of these could use up all your entire energy. I have a friend who is putting all her energy into sexual assault education/prevention because she was sexually assaulted. She no longer has time to be a BLM protest on-site emergency medic. People have to make choices.

      People have limits. You have to work within your limits. There is nothing wrong with that. Some days, all I can do is sign a petition or honk my car horn in support as I drive by.

      Second, you are so far from pretending the problem isn’t there that you can’t even see the people who are. Don’t beat yourself up about imaginary faults. I too have depression. I do not know the names of the most recent people murdered by the police because I choose, for my own health, not to pay close attention. For the same reason, I refuse to listen to political debates or any news show. Still, talk about the most recent horrible thing, seeps in. I want to fill my mind with healthier details like what food I need to cook for my family and gathering my energy to accomplish that.

      One way to approach problems is “Think globally, act locally.” There is nothing more local than your life. When your life is good and you have extra energy, then you can think about what you can do outside your life. Until then, stressing about what you can not do will not help either you or the causes you want to support. The goal is a danger-free, worry-free life for everyone. You are part of that “everyone,” so take care of yourself. Act locally.

      This ramble, today, is my attempted contribution at a better world. I hope it helped.

  • While Al absolutely stepped in it with how she approached this, I strongly disgree with Brad. Valkyrie is a group for dealing with violence against women. Guess what? Dynamorphic women exist. Outreach to groups that don’t share Al’s experiences are necessary to insure Valkyrie doesn’t turn into White Feminism With Superheroes. Having diverse leadership and liasons with different groups is vital to ensure they’re actually taking the unique conditions of people’s lives into account.

    “I don’t really see how our aims are mutual here”? Being dynamorphs doesn’t erase the struggles women face. It’s just a new intersection. And just as Al should be taking into account the experiences of disabled women and women of color and poor women, she should be considering the experiences of the women being served by the ADA. If he’s not considering that and making specific efforts to form alliances with groups that specifically focus on women’s issues, then Brad’s making it that much harder for dynamorphic women.

    Al can’t–and shouldn’t try to–speak for dynamorphs. Valkyrie absolutely needs their direct input, either by bringing some of them in for leadership roles or by having meetings between the groups as Al suggested to Brad.

    Brad’s assumption that they don’t have mutual aims and that they shouldn’t be making specific efforts in outreach on gender are so frustrating and so incredibly realistic. I’ve seen this same assumption play out way too often in the real world.

    • Dirka

      Well said. Thank you for summing up what I was struggling to articulate.

  • MrSing

    At least Max had the decency to pay the poor minorities he employed. Good feelings don’t pay the rent, Allison.

  • Manuel Simone

    So, while Brad is trying to protect dynamorphs by keeping them together and safe, Alison is trying to convince them to be superheroes again and to protect non-dynamorphs. Hmm, BOTH of them are right in their own ways, but also both of them ignore something VERY important: each

    dynamorph should choose what he or she want to do, its their right to decide if they want to be superheoes or to live a normal (as normal as it can be for most of them) life like normal people. They should not force them to do anything they don’t want, and they should be more empathic over their choices. I also agree with the fact that Alison should go to sleep, because she’s tired and a little angry and this is NEVER a good thing especially when you want to have a discussion with a good friend based on contrary opinions.

  • FlashNeko

    I can’t help but notice that Brad is making the same argument Vanessa was making earlier against Carmen, though with the absence of any sort of gendered insults or extreme anger.

    IE: What he believes to be the more immediate and visible concerns of the dynamorphic community are what need to be focused on instead of subtler societal issues that he does not believe apply to them or does not notice that they apply to them.

    He is not wrong to be concerned about the former issues but to just assume Alison is trying to “take over the conversation” such as it were is a bit wrong-headed.

    That said, Alison probably could have been less aggressive in asking his permission to… ask other people if they might be interested in something like this?

  • Nebty

    I’d like to think that after she gets some sleep Alison will be better able to articulate what she means, because I don’t think she’s wrong. She didn’t even suggest promoting Valkyrie during the conference, she just floated the idea of her and Brad getting together afterwards to talk about options. I mean, what’s the harm in putting a blurb about Valkyrie in the ADA’s newsletter or something?

    I can see where Brad is coming from in that he doesn’t want to view ADA members as potential resources, but I really don’t think that’s what Alison’s doing. She thinks of them as “people who get it”, who know what it’s like to be marginalized and who might potentially want to help other marginalized people. So she’s valuing them for the lived experiences that make them uniquely qualified to be able to help the people Valkyrie is reaching out to.

    Plus, doing good, useful work can help boost self-esteem. A lot of Dynamorphs are probably wary of doing volunteer work or other sorts of community-building activities. But Valkyrie seems like it’d be a safe space for them to go engage in something like that.

  • Miss X

    Huh, I guess I initially thought she was offering for Valkyrie to help the dynamorphs (like keeping them safe) what with the comment Brad had about this being one of the few places for them to vent frustrations without fearing for their lives until I read the second half of her first speech bubble. That seems like what I thought she had as a goal for Valkyrie–protect folks who may be the targets of violence?

  • I was worried that it was too real. This is what I get for writing at 2am when I’m emotional and possibly grieving.

  • chaosvii

    The only thing required for a person to never have their ideals torn down is to never present them in a place where anyone is able to evaluate them.

    You say that Gurawa (or if nothing else, people like him) sought to tear down with intent to have Alison give up. Further, you say that he is here to make his ideas unassailable. But has he even actively shielded/concealed his ideals to begin with? How is he protecting his ideals from opposition through his actions? What are those ideals that he is supposedly shielding/concealing from scrutiny?
    Why is this competition between ideals necessarily present in the comic as opposed to just one of many implications that can be inspired out of the text despite not clearly being in the text?

    I ask these questions because your response has veered way far away from what I’m trying to present to you for your input. To clarify, I have presented an alternative narrative, and seeing as you have presented no reasoning to favor one over the other, I’m of the present inkling that you might not here to convince, but merely express.
    You have asserted that the alternative narrative I’ve presented is false, but have given no indication that it is necessarily false. Merely that your narrative remains consistent with itself as well as with all sorts of other true systems of oppression so long as one accepts the claim that my alternative is false.

    Why is Gurawa necessarily as you say he is and necessarily not as I propose nor what anyone else could propose which contradicts your claims?
    Why even bring up the very clear fact that you never said that ideals should be immune from questioning when I never said that was what you were getting at?
    To clarify, I said that ideals should be subjected to scrutiny as a way of framing my proposed narrative behind what Gurawa is doing. I was providing coherence and motivation behind why I supposed Gurawa was doing what he did. And that it follows that by constructing a stress test where Alison’s stated ideals are insufficient to achieve any number of goals, Alison would be confronted with the fact that her stated ideals are insufficient to achieve the goals she strove for, not that said ideals are wrong to hold nor that even her goal isn’t worth pursuing eventually. It was Alison’s presumption that she could achieve the premature goal that was worth testing.
    It was the lesson that she could have sought out less premature goals yet didn’t even realize in hindsight that she skipped that step that was worth learning.
    She has to recognize that there are intermediate steps between “implausible success rate” and “this time I’m ready to get what I worked for” when shooting for what was once implausible.
    Furthermore, Gurawa never disproved her ideals, and he admitted as such, he merely reveled in the fact that he (as well as the student in the hijab) successfully predicted the obvious outcome where her ideals didn’t get Alison where she expected to end up.

    At what point does the fiendish head of tearing down her ideals for the sake of just tearing them down appear? And why is it that particular head rather than one in the shape of a cackling coyote who takes a shine to the sight of an idealist struggling to cope with all the new questions they now have to confront rather than ignore as they did before?

    Or are you not talking about him at all, but merely people he reminds you of?
    I mean if that is the case I guess I pretty much agree with you entirely, but I can’t find myself in agreement with you if you’re making claims about the character.

  • Christophe2314

    Honestly, I’ve kind of been wondering why Valkyrie needs to be a superhero thing in the first place. It’s actually something that plenty of normal people are already doing in the real world, and doesn’t actually require superpowers, so it seems like a somewhat inefficient use of supers.

    • Mitchell Lord

      Because superheroes have the potential to help quite a bit…and because she wants to help however she can, and this is the cause she has chosen? (She just fails to recognize, that other people, good people, might choose a different cause FOR NOW.)

    • Cassidy Moon

      I mean, Valkyrie’s entire thing is a terrible idea. You shouldn’t have superpowered people who are not the least bit impartial do a job that the cops are already doing. It borders on, but is not quite as bad as, vigilantism; and is a bad idea for much of the same reasons that vigilantism is a bad idea.

  • Lladnek

    The impression I got was she had a similar idea as Max(about the dynamorphs work being self-serving) but because she worded it differently didn’t see it as similar. Whereas Brad understood best that curating a safe place for Dynamorphs to deal with their issues is more than enough of a contribution to society. It did definitely call back to the class she’s taking but I also got the impression that maybe she just got hit by the notion she shouldn’t Judge Max as harshly given her own position being similar to his. Maybe wrong but that’s the impression I got.

  • Pythia

    Whoa whoa whoa–what exactly are Gurwara’s ideals here? He didn’t claim anything.

    A devil’s advocate is an important position. He proved an important point. Al can now grow because of that challenge. That’s what good philisophy profs DO. Gurwara didn’t disprove her axiom, because her axiom was “people working together is a description of a better world”. Theirs ISN’T a better world. If I said my personal axiom was “more chocolate is always better” and my professor proved some people will decide vanilla instead… That doesn’t mean more chocolate ISN’T better, just that the chocolate in question should be distributed to those who want it or something. Hell, I’d say he proved Ali right with his setup: if everyone HAD collaborated, everyone would have been better off. A more accurate portrayal of some real world issues would be “if everyone puts down the “fail” stone, everyone gets a B”. Now you have a prisoner’s dilemma situation.

    Gurwara brought up an important fact: Ali was the only one to CHOOSE a failing grade while trusting people to do so as well, and no one else did. This is important because she tends to assume people will just do what she thinks is best without being provided an incentive (when have we seen her provide an incentive?) and she needs to understand that her priorities are not everyone else’s priorities (see: stuff with Brad now, see: Patrick, see: the fellow students).

    I think Gurwara is kind of an ass, but some of my best teachers have been kind of asses. Sometimes you just need to pause and look at the logic chain. He’s not imposing his values on anybody, he is just bringing up questions and making them face reality as it is NOW(and he never said anything about it being unchanging). Students were free to act selflessly and show him he was wrong. But they didn’t.

    • phantomreader42

      Whoa whoa whoa–what exactly are Gurwara’s ideals here? He didn’t claim anything.

      …which supports the claim that he’s deliberately tearing other people’s ideals down to deflect criticism of his own ideals that he doesn’t have the courage to state clearly. If he won’t be honest about his ideals, then why should anyone believe him when he criticizes theirs?

      • Pythia

        Why should he have to state his ideals to criticise someone else’s?

        “What’s the square root of 3423554?”
        “I think it’s four.”
        “No, four is the square root of 16.”

        See the problem?

        You’re basically saying if he states his ideals he’s trying to force them on other people by destroying opposing viewpoints… And if he doesn’t state them he is also trying to do that because apparently that’s the only reason for criticizing something anyone can have? Can a person not just… Posit a problem with an idea because the idea has a problem in it?

        He is a PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR. He’s doing his job. He may be doing his job and being an asshole at the same time, but those are not mutually exclusive things.

        Do you seriously think that Gurwara is so threatened by an undergrad’s ideals that he is refraining from stating his own so that they aren’t attacked? Or maybe he’s just trying to teach a subject without giving away his biases to students that are most likely going to write to them if they know them?

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Hey, I always say that the most underappreciated power in old Nintendo video games is the ability to run and run and run and run and never get tired. 😛

    And cool expanding on the idea. That actually does sound even cooler now that you opened up it’s application more.

    And consequently I did use the pronoun Man in my original pitch because I would love that power. So much work, so much time management, an extra 5-6 hours a day would rock.

  • HanoverFist

    Yes Alison, the dynamorphics who have been marginalized by society will totally love to put themselves in danger to help the people who marginalized them.

  • Mitchell Lord

    Except Allison wants to save supers AS WELL. She wants to save everybody. She’s just hitting up an interesting wall…

    A comparison is to the #BlackLivesMattter, versus #AllLivesMatter. BLM isn’t saying that white lives don’t matter…they just want to use their limited resources to help a specific group that they can help RIGHT NOW. That is in mortal danger.

    Ironically…she probably could make a deal with them. Namely? Offering tthe resources of Valkyrie to Dynamorphs, and vice versa.

    • Tdoodle

      See, that’s the thing. Al hasn’t talked about supers being included the population Valkyrie helps. She absolutely should! But right now, I don’t blame Brad for not seeing how this could be mutually beneficial. For Valkyrie to truly help the dynamorph community, it needs to consult with dynamorphs (and to know to do that in the first place).

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        I think we want to make a distinction here between Supers and Dynamorphs. There is a very important difference.

  • therufs

    And, I could be misremembering, but *is* Valkyrie only planning to serve “normal” people? The more marginalized you are, the more likely you are to be a victim of abuse; I don’t think dynamorphs would be an exception.

  • FlashNeko

    My point was more discounting the idea that Alison would be as aggressive against Brad’s wishes (and possibly the other con goers wishes), since the statement of “speaking for other people” kind of implies she’d be trying to force Dynamorphs to her way of thinking.

    This may not have been your intention for that statement but that’s just kinda how it came off to me.

    • Ellis Jones

      Nah, I just meant presuming other people’s feelings.