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  • Danygalw

    😀 😀

    • Urthman

      WHICH BOOK?!?!

    • Zinc

      I wonder if Patrick only reads second-hand book – that is, reading the memories of people reading books. He can probably do it much more quickly than reading the actual book. But he’s liable to get only partial and skewed understanding of the books this way.

      • Walter

        Nowadays he probably steals the memory of people who leave audiobooks on in the background while they surf social media.

        • Tylikcat

          Phooey, I listen to audiobooks in the foreground, and only surf social media in the background if they’re slow. (I also crank up the speed.)

          Mostly, though, I listen to them while training and doing chores.

      • Weatherheight

        “Second-Hand Books” would be a great name for an album…

  • Mike Elsner

    I love that she gave up being a superhero to find solutions that didn’t involve punching and property destruction.

    So after years of higher education and personal growth, she has carefullly thought through the problems in Patrick’s head.

    Wrecking Ball. A literal wrecking ball (um, is it literal if it’s a mental construct or whatever?).

    “This city’s gotta go.”

    • Noone

      You don’t understand! Now she can give a speech about WHY violence and destruction is the best answer. And she can also tell people to read a book instead of explaining her position.

      • Mike Elsner

        I understand; I agree with you. She thought it through and the best answer really is “hit it very, very hard with a rock.”

        I mean, it’s not lost on me that this is a mental / metaphorical battle in their brains.

        It’s cutting the Gordian Knot.

        • Noone

          Alexander never solved the knot, he broke it.
          That doesn’t sound too promising for Patrick.

          • Kid Chaos

            And now he’s known as “Alexander the Great”, not “some mediocre dude named Alexander”. To achieve greatness, sometimes you have to break the rules. 😎

          • Noone

            I just know that I wouldn’t let him untie my shoelaces even if you gave me money for it.

          • Kid Chaos

            “Did your shoelaces get all tangled? Let me help you with that…” 💀

          • “Alexander wept when he heard Anaxarchus discourse about an infinite
            number of worlds, and when his friends inquired what ailed him, “Is it
            not worthy of tears,” he said, “that, when the number of worlds is
            infinite, we have not yet become lords of a single one?”

            Remember that Alexander’s legacy was the Successor Wars. Great is fleeting, especially when you’re more concerned with attacking the guy over the next hill, and the next, and the next, rather than ensuring continuity of government.

        • Was her fallout with Moonshadow cutting the Guardian Knot?

          • Mike Elsner

            ZBass. That is bad. You should feel bad. 🙂

        • Weatherheight

          Cutting a Gordian Knot with a wrecking ball..

      • Jovial Contrarian

        eDuCaTe YoUrSeLf

      • Lheticus Videre

        Um, how is she saying that INSTEAD of explaining her position? Seems more she’s explaining her position (maybe not very well) AND saying “read a book!”

        • Noone

          You’re right. She is poorly explaining her position and saying “read a book.” Money well spent.

          • Lheticus Videre

            I mean…it’s not like Pat’s mind people are doing any better a job of explaining THEIR position than she is at explaining hers.

          • Noone

            Having a flawed opponent is no excuse.

        • Olivier Faure

          I think Noone’s point is that “read a book!” is a pretty immature thing to say in that context. It communicates “I don’t care about your perspective, because I’ve already decided I knew better than you. Stop embarrassing me with your words and go learn why I’m right”.

          • Dropkick

            Might make right, yeah? Once Allison has decided what course of action she thinks is best, why let someone too weak to stop her talk her out of it?

          • It’s not so simple. Anima is espressing an absolute belief: “Judgement is flawed if it considers emotion”. But that’s not generally perceived wisdom. In fact it’s expressly counter to generally perceived wisdom. So the injunction to “read a book” is not a statement that Alison doesn’t care about Anima’s views, rather it is a statement that Anima needs to familiarise themselves with the dominant viewpoint on the question among the other 7.6bn people on the planet.

          • Olivier Faure

            Well, it’s both. Allison is asserting that Anima’s view come from her not being educated enough on the subject. I get your general point about emotion-vs-reason (though I don’t like that dichotomy in general), but Allison is asserting her view in a really arrogant way.

            Personally, the “dominant viewpoint” thing is why this kind of statement resonates with me negatively. Like, it’s the idea that, because you have a different perspective on emotions or rationality or social interaction than most people around you, it has to mean you fail to understand something obvious that everyone else understands.

            This is a really infuriating line of reasoning, and it’s pretty close to what Allison is saying.

          • Anima just said, in effect, “You aren’t clever enough to understand. Let me see if I can make it simple enough for you.”

            Alison’s snippy comeback was entirely warranted.

          • Olivier Faure

            (no it wasn’t)

            Okay, I kind of get what you’re saying, but I think you’re stretching what we’re seeing quite a bit to fit the “mansplain” narrative. Saying “Let me explain” isn’t 100% equivalent to “You’re too dumb for this conversation”.

    • dpolicar

      It’s a metaphorical wrecking ball, but it’s a _literal_ metaphorical wrecking ball.

      • Weatherheight

        Where does it start? Where does it end?
        ::rusn screaming off into the night::

        • dpolicar

          A literal night?
          A metaphorical night?
          I’m so disoriented right now.

        • Andrew Zimmer

          ::ran off screaming into the knights of the round table::
          ::left with free SPAM::

  • Gotham

    I love that Alison is asking the questions I’m asking


  • Gotham

    The neatest thing about all this is that Patrick Prime may control all of it (even Brain!Alison’s actions) but only unconsciously. There’s a good chance he won’t remember any of it. Which is great because for once it balances the eternally unequal footing they’re on while he reads her mind (the first jerk to mention that he will just see it all play out in her memory when he wakes up gets a weggie)

    But also because I cannot wait for the conversation:
    “So. Pat. Tell me. Do you… feel comfortable with your body?”

    • Weatherheight

      ::bounces around happily on all four hooves::
      I’ve always wanted a weggie!
      I will hug him and pet him and I will call him George!

  • trev006

    If the comic ends on that note, it will not have been a wasted journey.

    I have optimism, mainly because Al took Feral’s excellent example, and therefore probably came up with a good idea. You could delegate this to Feral, then retitle the comic “Amazing Dreamscape Catgirl” and I’d still read it. Hell, I’d probably buy the gold-embossed Kickstarter bundle.

    • Markus

      Technically Strong Female Protagonist doesn’t specify Alison. Feral = the real hero confirmed.

      • Tylikcat

        Still Team Amanda.

        But yeah, have to love Feral.

      • Shjade

        Technically a protagonist doesn’t have to be a hero.

    • Weatherheight

      I’m pretty sure somewhere in Japan, a manga-ka has suddenly sat up straight and screamed “Amazing Dreamscape Catgirl! Of course!” and is even now making the rough drafts of the new hit shojo series.

      • Teka the Budgie

        I’m getting strong Flip Flappers vibes from Feral’s mindscape.

        • Weatherheight

          See, just a few more steps and we’re all wealthy beyond our dreams!

      • Tsapki

        And now I have the image in my head of a hard-drinking, chain smoking Feral in a magical girl get-up and it is AMAZING!

  • Guancyto

    “No, no, see, let me explain it until I somehow become right.”

    • Dean

      “It made sense until I had to explain it to someone else.”

      • motorfirebox

        The story of Patrick’s life.

    • MaxArt

      “… Wait, it sounded better in my mind…”

      • Fluffy Dragon

        “No. no, it really didn’t.” – Alison.

    • Markus

      I dunno if I think Al’s last point is a good one though. Just because Anima!Pat’s goal is paradoxical doesn’t mean it’s not worth striving for.

      I think Anima!Pat needs to be more realistic about the fact that her goal is inherently self-destructive (for her). Also, I think those of us that aren’t abstract motivating forces in the mind of an ex-supervillain can probably say something like “I dunno, some irrational desires I have are fulfilling enough that I don’t really care how rational they are.”

      • Jeremy

        Although the current status quo with the tower as symbol and Lord Child as actual ruler seems to be killing Patrick, so that might be a concern…

      • Ryan

        Striving for pure rationality can be counterproductive when one starts doubling down on one’s irrationality in order to maintain one’s rational facade. Rationality becomes defined by what they are/what they do rather than the objective standard they initially pursued.

        • Eric Schissel

          In which case the definition (as it were) of logic as “the art of going wrong with confidence” (Krutch, 1929) makes even more sense than usual 🙂

      • Graeme Sutton

        Emotions aren’t inherently irrational, emotions are just your motivational system. When people have brain injuries or congenital defects that prevent them from feeling a given emotion the result isn’t a more rational person it’s usually a person who can’t care for themselves or function in society. Being purely rational is meaningless without some kind of goal to direct your rationality towards.

      • Shjade

        When your goal is to achieve something you’ve just demonstrated you don’t even understand in explaining the goal, you’re way beyond just “paradoxical.”

      • motorfirebox

        You also have to balance the value of rationality with the plain fact that human brains flat out aren’t built for it. Which means that any attempt at rationality is inherently going to be something you can’t take at face value, because the organ you’re using to judge that rationality can’t be trusted to be rational.

        • Noone

          If all desires come from an organ that isn’t rational, it is no less rational to desire to be completely rational than any other desire. We can’t criticise Anima for this desire any more than we can criticise any human desire.
          If you put forth that Anima’s desire is futile and therefor even less rational, take in mind that we are creatures with a survival instinct that are living in a universe where immortality is impossible as far as we know.
          One of the most basic desires of all creatures is both irrational and futile, yet we don’t criticise people for not wanting to die.

          • Mechwarrior

            The problem isn’t that Anima’s goal is irrational, it’s that it’s irrational and highly self-destructive.

          • Noone

            True, but you can’t criticise it for being irrational, since that would be pretty hypocritical.

          • motorfirebox

            If you have a theoretical model whose predictions match the real outcomes 90% of the time, you don’t discard it because it’s wrong 10% of the time. Rationality in humans is achievable to an extent. When somebody else acts in a way that appears irrational, the smallish chance that you are misapprehending their rationality isn’t worth completely discarding all rational evaluation.

          • Noone

            All human actions that require rationality are in the service of human desires.
            All human desires are irrational, because the universe is without any provable meaning, except for the ones we chose.
            Most of our desires are also futile, because time and the (suspected) heat death of the universe will make everything the human race combined over our entire existence of a species has ever done will be erased.
            Therefor the only rationality humans have is in how they fulfill and approach irrational desires. Anima’s irrational desire to be free of irrationalness is no less futile or more rational than any of our desires that are the norm.
            How rationally Anima goes about in trying to fulfill this desire can be called into question, but not the rationallity of the desire itself.

          • motorfirebox

            That’s silly. A desire to eat paste is self-evidently less rational than a desire to eat chicken.

        • Dan Nicholson

          Reason is an emergent property of a brain that makes connections between concepts that resembles reality’s correlation of same. The brain operates via a reward system that includes emotions as positive and negative feedback.

          Being rational includes having emotions, and recognizing them, and not being ruled by them into doing something so stupid as to deny they fucking well exist. Humans have a number of cognitive biases, and it’s a pain in the butt to train out of some of them.

          TL;DR if you think people aren’t built for rationality, you may suck at defining it.

          • motorfirebox

            A human mind can be made more rational with work, but that’s not its default setting. We’re pattern-matchers with a selfish concept of risk, rationality is something we largely have to create in ourselves.

    • Yirtimd2
  • Graeme Sutton

    It’s too bad Patrick never read Steve Pinker’s mind. Or any decent cognitive scientist really.

    • Zinc

      Going by panel 5 of http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-113/ , it seems possible that Patrick considered his understanding of the human mind, as provided by his powers, to be far superior to the best-of-art human knowledge, so he might have thought other opinions on the matter to be unnecessary.

      • Walter

        He’s probably right, as far as human minds go. Faulty understanding of his own gestalt weirdness tho.

  • Aresius

    I get Al is mostly invulnerable, but I still don’t think it’s a good idea to turn your back on this mental construct. Anima doesn’t look happy at all with this plan, and I’d expect a knife in the ribs at the first chance

    • Walter

      Eh. Patrick’s whole notion of strength and love is just a copy of her. I doubt any part of him could actually bring himself to chance killing her without pages of rationalizing how it was for her own good.

      • NotPatrick

        Did you miss the part where he summoned giant fiery green fidget spinners to kill her?

        • Walter

          Killing Alison doesn’t look like knocking her around. He could do that for years without it mattering.

          She knows about her own force field, so Patrick knows about it. The tough guy act is about performing masculinity, not causing his future to not include Alison.

          • NotPatrick

            She was bleeding in the real world…

            Also, Patrick apparently received a power upgrade at some point, and can cause nosebleeds, even to Allison. He really is a Menace.

          • Walter

            I don’t think Patrick has received a power upgrade, beyond what all of them seem to be getting. I feel like if Patrick had met Max we’d see an impression in his mind, or maybe it would even happen on screen.

          • Max didn’t need to be directly present in Feral’s surgical room in order to upgrade her, mind. I’ve always wondered about the multiple orbs observed swirling about his hands, and the radius of effect for those powers of his, and whether as a result a few accidentally-max-empowered supers might be coming up in future.

    • Weatherheight

      No matter how mighty the hero, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp her style.
      with apologies to Stephen Brust and Vlad Taltos

      • Unless it bounces.

        • Weatherheight

          Heh. I was assuming it’s already “between” the shoulder blades, but there is more than one way to read that, isn’t there?

          • And depends how long it’s been there. If they’ve been wandering around with a knife stuck between their shoulderblades for several months, then they’ve probably developed some ability to function in spite of it – chronic pain vs acute pain.

  • AdamBombTV

    Wrecking Balls are the latest “MUST HAVE” accessory for the Super on the go. You WORK THAT CHAIN Alison.

    • Kid Chaos

      A little less “Absorbing Man” (Marvel Comics, carried a wrecking ball all the time), a lot more “Batman” (usually outsmarted his opponents), if you please. 😎

      • Ladon

        I think I’m you’ll look at her history as a hero, she was far more Absorbing man than Batman in her tactics. The wrecking ball is an honest statement.

      • Filthy Liar

        Batman wasn’t invulnerable. She’s in Batman’s brain right now, fixing his dumb ass.

        • Weatherheight

          Well, doing something to his dumb ass.
          Your assumption that this will improve Patrick’s situation is, as yet, unfounded.
          ::wiggles his ears as only a smart ass can::

      • Jeremy

        There are problems that require a scalpel, and problems that require a wrecking ball…this might be a wrecking ball day…

        • Randolph Carter

          That’s why they usually call it an ‘intervention.’

        • friendlymosquito

          I just hope it goes better than it did in the song…

  • elilla

    What’s bugging me is what caused Patrick’s outward sorry state. Is it just that compartmentalizing his own psyche (the City) is finally taking its toll (and Alison tearing down the walls will cure him), or was that externally caused by the Conspiracy or some other offensive force (and Alison tearing down the walls will make him functional enough to tell her about it)?

    I’m super curious to see what Patrick will be like when Alison help him blossom!

    • Olivier Faure

      Or maybe building the walls kept him functional as a child, and tearing them down will cause him irreversible brain damage.

    • NotPatrick

      Yea. Like, maybe for a telepathic consciousness like him, having a single human-ish personality imposed upon his vast mental landscape is a pretty artificial and restricted state of mind, only really maintainable under the strain of a pretty unhealthy set of obsessions. Maybe the healthiest state of mind for him is some vast inhuman gestalt consciousness, composed of all the minds he’s ever interacted with. Instead of being some weird mental tin-pot dictatorship where he somehow thinks he has more of a right to his mind and body than all of the other minds he’s absorbed.

    • Walter

      I think what we know as ‘Patrick’, the fragile consensus of his many minds, was disrupted when Alison rejected and abused him. Since then any actions we see him take are almost random, dependent entirely on the outcome of the internal struggles between these personas.

      • Arthur Frayn

        Walter, he rejected her, then she abused him. But the damage started when he let in her point of view. The fact that he (Lord Boy) modeled the Enforcer after her even though her openness is an ontological threat to his wall-based operation, proves that his mind is sick and needs remodeling if it’s going to survive.

        • Walter

          I’m far from convinced that Alison is ‘open’ in any real way. Her values seem pretty set in stone.

          That aside tho, I imagine Lord Boy doesn’t see his operation as ‘wall based’. They’ve walled out the yucky stuff, after all, no need to add any more walls. He’d probably describe it as ‘clean’ or the equivalent. Same way my kitchen isn’t ‘napkin based’.

        • Tylikcat

          “Rejected” is a bit of a glaze.

  • zarawesome

    Anima, for a feminine side of Patrick you’re doing a lot of mansplaining.

    • Olivier Faure

      Wait, what? What’s happening is the exact opposite how what you’re describing. *Allison* is “explaining” to *Patrick* why she knows better than him what’s best for his own mind.

      • Anima just said that recognising your emotions is a sign of weakness. That’s pretty much the epitome of mansplaining/mens rights activism.

        • NotPatrick

          Where did she say that? I seriously can’t find anything to that effect on this or previous pages.

        • TheZorginator1

          Isn’t “men should have all the advantages of women” including emotional vulnerability the epitome of mens rights activism? I thought the negative side of it is using it to distract from having to do anything about womens rights while the thing you’re describing is the psychotic side like vegans who throw blood at people.

          • ampg

            Please don’t make me regret wading into this, but “men should be able to be emotionally vulnerable” is actually a tenet of feminism. Men’s rights activism is often about standing up for more “traditional” ideals of masculinity. Insults like “cuck” and “low-T” (both of which are used against men who are seen as too supportive of feminism and other social justice issues) come from the MRA movement.

          • TheZorginator1

            Look, I don’t really want to wade into this either but I feel I should clarify that I’ve only seen the “rational” side of mens rights activism. Personally I haven’t seen much of the “men can be emotionally vulnerable” from mainstream feminism movements and the closest is usually condemnation of “machismo” which is very different in spirit.

            As for MRA, I suspect that the worse parts of it are much bigger in proportion than the worse parts of other movements but personally I think of other movements when I think of words like “cuck.”

            There are specific instances where MRA is justified (child custody and treatment of male domestic abuse cases come to mind) but while I’m very aware that there are a lot of people using it for straight up misogyny it often feels like the only viewpoint people see is the “red pill” variety. Personally I just feel like mainstream feminism or less tainted organisations should do more to champion the legitimate concerns because it’s hard for me to even talk about this without adding a mountain of disclaimers.

          • Devon Jolly

            The problem with that is most often, when Men follow the tenant and show vulnerability, we get mocked at attacked by the same feminists who pushed us to open up in the first place. “Let me drink your male tears” is the absolute least we usually get. This, as you can imagine brings on a feeling of betrayal and results in the backlash that most people characterize with the more hostile elements of MRA. Which if you don’t actually look into it is all most people even know about the movement.

          • Mechwarrior

            The only times I’ve ever seen an actual feminist use something along the lines of “let me drink your male tears” (Reddit and Twitter don’t count, since anyone can set up an account and claim they’re something), it’s been in mockery of guys who claimed to be allies why trying to make every conversation about themselves instead of the women they were pretending to support.

          • Devon Jolly

            I can fully agree with you on the Male Feminists part of your argument, but that’s hardly the limit of it. Unless you’re saying the majority of public feminists are really passable trannies and their “journalist” counterparts are G.I.R.L.’s rather than Women.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Ever been to Tumblr?

          • Mechwarrior

            I don’t bother with social media. The signal to noise ratio is inevitably low. When anyone can make an account anonymously, it makes the value of any information gained from such a site suspect.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Aren’t those also the places where most people get their views about MRA’s from?

          • Mechwarrior

            Wouldn’t know. I got my views on MRAs by investigating actual MRAs.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Could you please link some sources on where you got what information?

          • Mechwarrior

            I theoretically could, but I’m not going to bother because I have a lot of more pressing things to do with my time than search the internet for something I read five years ago because an anonymous person on Disqus asked.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            What is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

          • Mechwarrior

            I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, I’m just stating my opinion. If you’re too incurious to bother doing a basic investigation of what MRAs actually do or say, that’s on you.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            It’s not very nice to smear an organisation without providing credible sources.

          • Mechwarrior

            If I’d made specific claims about things that they’d done that I couldn’t provide evidence for, that would be smearing them. All I said was that I didn’t like them. which is not in any way, shape, or form a smear.

            But if you’re so hot to defend them, why don’t you put up some evidence of what’s great about them?

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            So, what do you not like about them?

          • Mechwarrior

            Sorry, but I’d have had to have made an assertion of fact, like stating a specific action by MRAs, before you could Hitch-slap me. Stating an opinion isn’t something I need to justify.

          • Noone

            You said you based you opinion by investigation actual MRA’s.
            You did not present any actual sources for this. So your opinions on MRA’s can be dismissed until your provide convincing evidence.

          • Mechwarrior

            And if I were trying to convince anyone of my opinion, you might actually have a point.

          • Dwight Williams

            MRA as I’ve been able to see it so far does seem overly focused on the “right” to commit cruelty at the whim of the practitioners.

        • Isaac Burke

          Mansplaining and men’s rights activism are not the same thing. They both involve men, I guess…

          • IMO they’re culturally adjacent, particularly on that point.

        • Scott

          I’m pretty sure that mansplaining isn’t tied to any position or ideology. Rather, it’s when a man explains a woman’s point of view for her (either accurately or inaccurately) out of an assumption that his explanation will be better. So, if a woman explains her position to a room of people and then a man stands up and says “I think what she’s trying to say is…” that’s mansplaining.

          • Tylikcat

            The original Solnit reference was men explaining things *to* her, though I’d personally accept either. (As someone who does fairly esoteric research, and who not infrequently has men not in my field try to one-up me in my own area as a way of hitting on me*, her article immediately resonated with me.)

            * This seems to be some kind of Ohio mating ritual? I really don’t get it.

          • Scott

            “Well, that article I read said that women are attracted to intelligent men. The best way to show off my intelligence to a woman is to always act like I know more about any given subject than she does. After all, if I admit ignorance on any subject, she’ll think less of me and my ego and masculine pride can’t handle that.”

            -Written with sarcasm but it is a genuine problem. I think there are a lot of men who equate asking for help with admitting weakness. Since they believe that men are always supposed to appear strong, they will never ask for help; especially not from a woman. To take the most cliched example ever, men don’t ask for directions because they don’t see getting lost as an occasional mistake that everyone makes sometimes. They see getting lost as an embarrassing failure that shows they do not possess the skill to navigate; a skill they believe they should have in order to be a man’s man.

          • Devon Jolly

            Or perhaps we just ENJOY talking about things, and thinking out loud. Whether it impresses a girl or not typically doesn’t figure in. We do it even if we’re not with a girl or with a girl and not trying to get into her pants.

          • Scott

            And what you and I are talking about are separate things. I’m obviously not saying that any attempt to have a conversation with a woman is automatically sexist or showboating. That would be ridiculous. However, there are plenty of men who view women as more infantile than men and struggle to see them as equals. This often leads to them taking up one-sided conversations where, instead of listening and responding in kind, they are continually attempting to demonstrate their own superiority.
            Look, things like sexism and mansplaining are not totalities. Just because they happen doesn’t mean you, personally, do it. Just because you, personally, do not do it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          • Devon Jolly

            Me, Co-workers, People on the street, people across a hundred different forums. Accusations of mansplaining seem to be everywhere now, and in most cases, it’s not what you’re talking about, it’s guys going motormouth about subjects they’re interested in.
            Yes, there are some condescending pricks. but the distributions is opposite of your point. Most of us are just vaguely inept socially.

          • Scott

            I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. It seems to me like you are taking this personally but there is no one here who is accusing you of anything. Let people talk about their experiences. If you have something to add, feel free. However, trying to shut down any conversation about these issues just because you don’t do it or your friends don’t do it seems unnecessary and counter productive.

          • Devon Jolly

            Urgh, Tone and the Internet.

            Am I taking this personally, maybe a little, I wasn’t under the impression that you were attacking me, but all of the people using Mansplaning on this thread, and hell , just the use of the word in general are by enormous majority horrible mischaracterizations and _that_ irritates the hell out of me.

            You talk about men seeing women as infantile, unequal, monologueing and talking down to them. But the simple fact is, if we don’t work with you regularly, we talk like this to the guys who aren’t easily distinguished as doing the same job, not just girls. Assuming we have to explain ourselves or what we’re doing, especially in tech, is almost reflexive because assuming you have a clue so often backfires.

            It’s not about sexism.

            But the concept of ‘mansplaning’ is.

          • Scott

            No, I completely understand. The absence of tone in text requires us to insert our own and it becomes really easy to project feelings that aren’t there or to miss ones that are.
            I also understand what you’re saying. There is certainly a time and place for mentorship and training and that relationship should have no regard for gender (although we should all aspire to be able to teach without being condescending).
            However, I do think that there is an entire different level that this can be taken to where it crosses the boundary from reasonable explanation to a sexist dismissal of the other individual’s qualifications. For a first hand perspective of what I’m talking about, I was recently reading an article on what the author referred to as “the male glance” and how common it is for women to have their works or accomplishments dismissed. I’ll link it here if you’re interested. It is really long and I can completely understand if you don’t want to read the whole thing. If you read any of it, though, I would suggest scrolling down to the section titled “The Bad Scientists: A Fairy Tale” because it does a great job of illustrating the sort of interactions I’m referring to: http://www.vqronline.org/essays-articles/2018/03/male-glance

          • Thank you so much for sharing that link! I’d never come across it before, but it’s a wealth of deeply disconcerting and yet all-too-familiar material, beautifully presented to boot.

          • Scott

            No problem. Honestly, I had found it really interesting myself and had been kind of looking for an excuse to share it. If you’re at all interested, I originally came across it because of a retweet from the author of How To Be A Werewolf, another webcomic that I would absolutely recommend.

          • ‘Splaining is one of a great many subtle but highly frustrating behaviours which en-masse create a culture of inequality. Therefore pointing it out is cathartic and socially useful to those currently disadvantaged within that culture.

            However-! Behaviour of this type doesn’t in fact need to, necessarily, be sexist. There simply needs be a clear imbalance of societal power (or “privilege”) between the parties involved, in favour of the one holding forth on whatever subject is applicable.

            The originator of the term “mansplaining” specifically used it to define her experience with patronising assumptions of ignorance in a context where that power imbalance was skewed by gender. However it also features frequently and heavily in conversations where the imbalance is due to race, wealth, class, culture et al. A member of the dominant racial group presuming intellectual inferiority in their hispanic discussion partner, for example, might be described as “whitesplaining”. Very especially ‘splaining crops up in situations involving ableism and identifiably disabled people – who are frequently spoken down to, spoken over, or treated as mentally incapable, just by default.

            The tendency to patronise and assume inferiority when mansplaining comes from power imbalance. But the impulse to prove one’s own superiority of position, to maintain face and present oneself as more knowledgeable than one is, comes from being a member of a dominant social group and thus having to fulfil certain social expectations to prove that unearned superiority. Thusly, you are wont to observe similar behaviours to what is now commonly being described as mansplaining in the men around you even with no women present, because they are, constantly, attempting to jockey for social and intellectual superiority above those around them.

            The difference between that behaviour and proper “mansplaining”, as appropriately labelled – the thing which makes mansplaining sexist – is when a man assumes social and intellectual inferiority in others simply due to their perceived gender. The automatic treatment of non-men as second-class simply due to not in fact being men. And it’s not a niche behaviour – it is a hyper-stratified, far more obnoxious and socially pervasive example which is ridiculously common even in comparison with general bombast. For sure it would surprise many men to know quite how frequently these specific, gendered, patronising behaviours are observed.. and yet, almost every single woman will find their description instantly recogniseable.

          • Chani

            The more popular the word becomes, the more it’ll be misused. (I just hope it doesn’t get as bad as “hacker” or “literally”)

          • This is unfortunately true. At first only people who’d read the origin story knew what the term was for and how to use it. Then, people who’d heard about it from that first group, then people who’d seen it in proper use online without the context, THEN people who saw it on talk shows and TV news.. at this point there are a lot of people using the word who don’t actually understand more than the general feel of what it was meant to be applied for. And a small portion of those complaining about its use now have legitimate cause because it’s lately been misapplied in the way that they’ve always, until then baselessly, accused it of being applied.

          • Chani

            If you’re doing it to men, then perhaps it’s more accurate to call it condesplaining. It’s still a bad habit. Try asking how much they know first, instead of assuming.

          • Yes, this! It’s a terrible behavioural habit even when entirely innocuous and free of discriminatory elements. For it to be MANsplaining in particular, the condescension also necessarily needs be applied to a non-male listener, based on assumptions of their inferiority SPECIFICALLY due to them not being male. The prefix isn’t intended as an insult to the male gender but as an indication that this specific type of ‘splaining is directly imbalanced by gender inequality.

          • Dorykinsy

            To be fair, manspainling is unfortunately a real thing. Men (and most women) often don’t see it unless taught to be aware, because we are conditioned to it. There are simple things to look for when you have a conversation (or watch a man/men and woman/women talking)—like how much women is interrupted versus men. However, it does get overused (and even misused), and it can be hurtful—especially between people who know each other. I’ll admit I’ve done it to my husband. After we talked about it we both came to the conclusion that it’s not a kind thing to do, but neither is it when he sometimes talks down to me (this for us can also be related to the fact he’s older—but it’s still ridiculous if it’s a regular thing and a habit he needs to work on correcting). It is much kinder (and effective—if you want someone to listen) to point out hurtful actions/words and explain why they are hurtful/offensive rather than using labels—even if it is a more common trait of someone who comes from a privileged place.

          • Tylikcat

            Well, that’s not going to bother me. I mean, tendency to get overenthusiastic and be a motormouth? That’s totally me. I try to keep things in check a bit – but if someone else isn’t, I have no trouble jumping in an interrupting them, especially if they did it to me first. (Once again, survived in lead roles in the software industry in the nineties. Not a shy flower.)

            Actual example, and one that managed to catch me flat footed, just because I was so amazed that the words came out of his mouth. A guy was asking me what I was working on, and I mentioned that it was computational / mathematical neuroscience (this was before I became so heavily focused on biomechanics.

            His response was: “Well, it’s been about twenty years since I’ve done Calculus, but maybe I can help you out on the tricky mathematical bits.”

            He wasn’t joking. He was also trying to pick me up. It is really rare that I don’t have anything to say, but…

          • Eric Schissel


          • Andrew Zimmer

            …ugh. Just ugh. On the plus side, I’m guessing this did not increase his reproductive success with you.

            Now we just need to find a quicker fix than millions of years of evolution!

          • The point you’re missing, or pehaps that should be trying to mansplain away,, is that it doesn’t matter why guys are doing it. It’s a pattern of behaviour that enforces the assumption that women are inferior to men. You can try that with Tylikat and they’ll just laugh at you, but because most women have been socialised to be less assertive than men, it more often serves to discourage women from expressing their own viewoint, makes for a hostile workplace – even if you can’t see that – tends to destroy their career progression and ultimately drives the typical, perfectly capable, women out of entire industries like software. Been there, seen it happen.

          • Devon Jolly

            Sweden’s great experiment to remove such socialization’s and make women and men as equal and equally driven as possible, which near everyone on the left and right agreed was a success, directly contradicts you on this. Women (generally) are Not as assertive, have significantly different interests, and will change work fields to things they prefer even when pushed to do otherwise by equality measures. You’re the one making the assumtion this means women are inferior, and making the similarly sexist assumption that ‘mansplaining’ is misogynist or even a real thing outside the hysterical imagination of activists.

          • Oh, I’ve seen this one before. “If you complain about being bullied then actually you’re using it to bully people.”

            And talk about missing the point. The issue isn’t my side of the argument placing a value on assertiveness. A woman is equally valuable to me whether they are assertive or not. So please demonstrate anywhere I have implied women are inferior.

            The issue is that assertiveness is 1) being used as a measure of competence in determining career progression, rather than actual competence (and the number of jobs where being able to shout loudest is a valuable asset is relately small), and 2) that overly-assertive men are being allowed to drive women away by creating a hostile work environment.

            It’s really easy to claim “Oh, it’s not us, women just aren’t as interested in techie stuff”, but in that case the women who make it to the top in tech should be a similar mix of assertive and non-assertive as in the general population, rather than the dominance of assertive types we see. If something changes a population from one ratio to another, then something is selecting for that change.

            “the hysterical imagination of activists”

            I’m presuming you don’t know the history of ‘hysterical’ being used to undermine women? And that all the things that were once claimed to be ‘women’s hysteria’ turned out to be scientific fact?

          • Devon Jolly

            You’re obviously seeing mirages, if that’s what you jump to when you read what I said, Gillon. Like talking to a wall…

            Its morbidly amusing really, because the intelligence and perceptiveness of this comics leftie writers is precisely why I like it.

          • Devon Jolly
          • Devon Jolly

            Urgh, Tone and the Internet.

            Am I taking this personally, maybe a little, I wasn’t under the impression that you were attacking me, but all of the people using Mansplaning on this thread, and hell , just the use of the word in general are by enormous majority horrible characterizations and _that_ irritates the hell out of me.

            You talk about men seeing women as infantile, unequal, monologueing and talking down to them. But the simple fact is, if we don’t work with you regularly, we talk like this to the guys who aren’t easily distinguished as doing the same job, not just girls. Assuming we have to explain ourselves or what we’re doing, especially in tech, is almost reflexive because assuming you have a clue so often backfires.

            It’s not about sexism.

            But the concept of ‘mansplaning’ is.

          • Andrew Zimmer

            …this Ohio you speak of is strange!

            As a cishet nerd, I would probably prefer the opposite situation. Nothing sexier than listening and thinking “I’m pretty sure that was all English” because it’s something she knows/is passionate about but I don’t feel the need to own it or correct it. If married couples can have separate towels, they should allow each other separate academic fields!

            Disclaimer: I had this sort of exchange a lot with platonic friends in high school (it was a magnet school). I’ll take their word for it.

          • I’d be careful of using “cishet”, one word, to self-describe, just to say. Some trans circles use it as a slur against bigoted cis people. It’s technically accurate, but the way the term is normally used also carries connotations of being inured in a typical mainstream-heteronormative mentality and often ignorance or bigotry regarding non-het-norm people. Which, hopefully, is something you weren’t trying to convey!

          • Andrew Zimmer

            Useful advice. Thanks. I usually try to self-label (politely) when entering a space not “about me” or “for me” or even one which seems to lean towards other groups. I figure this way, if I’m not welcome that will be indicated and anyone who doesn’t want to hear it will be able to screen me out.

            That all being said, part of being polite is updating the lingo. So thank you for the guidance and new perspective!

          • I do the same thing, as best I can! Cisgender myself (although not “het”, apparently) – I was using the term quite innocuously until a friend and their discussion group pointed out the negative connotations associated. Not everyone will use it in that manner, anyway, but I figured you ought to be aware. I wish though that a different term for “bigoted or ignorant heteronormative cis person with no willingness to learn” were chosen, one that wasn’t just a combination of their demographics!

          • I’m quite aware of the classic format of mansplaining, but when Anima mansplains “acknowledging your emotions is bad”, they’re also reiterating one of the most self-destructive tenets of MRA advocates. It’s a point the set of {things ‘explained’ by mansplainers} and the set of {MRA core tenets} intersects, even if the set of things mansplained is normally much wider than just MRA beliefs.

          • Scott

            Fair enough. Anything else I could say at this point would just be a semantics argument and…well, has anyone ever had a productive one of THOSE online?

          • Andrew Zimmer

            Not for non-programming languages, no. Syntax guides: great for PERL, bad for IRL…

        • Devon Jolly

          The amount of dumb coming from you and Zarawaesome is… disturbing. And the Mission creep of the bastard term “mansplaining” is beyond irritating.

          For something you may find more familiar; It’s Sexism to dismiss mens attempt to explain themselves and their thoughts because they’re men, you’d definitely say its sexist if a woman is dismissed because shes a woman. And it’s transphobia to dismiss the female face of a guy doing the same.

          What you’re actually talking about is Stoicism. When men express their emotions and vulnerability we are mocked, harassed and hated on for being weak, useless and pathetic. When we decline to do so and tough it out, we’re hated on for being emotionally distant and unavailable. Between men, it’s about knowing the other can handle themselves in adversity.

          • Wow, there’s this odd concept where I come from, it ‘s called being respectful of the opinions of others. Getting into a mine’s bigger than yours argument on this topic would be quite spectacularly ironic.

            Anima is presenting as female. However Patrick is still male, and has shown no sign of being trans. I’m quite willing to go and check with trans friends, but I’m confident that treating Anima as having the perception of a man on this subject is 1) accurate, 2) not transphobic. It’s an interesting blurring of the lines, but Patrick’s brain doesn’t contain anywhere for Anima to pick up a female understanding of the issue that hasn’t first been distorted by the lens of male perception.

            You’ve tried to mansplain why mansplaining isn’t an issue. What that made clear is that you’re oblvious to the damage it does. I spent 20 years in cutting-edge engineering, the only women I worked with who managed to progress their careers were psychologically somewhat similar to Tylikat. One became CTO, the other was my boss, and her job was to smack the CEO when he was being stupid. Neither were shrinking violets, they were in fact atypically assertive for wormen. Every other woman I worked with left the industry. It was easy to see why, they couldn’t get their views across because more assertive men shut them down (cf mansplaining), and no matter how good they were, they hit a glass ceiling, because they weren’t part of the after-work networking with their male supervisors in soccer leagues and the like.You can try to mansplain that as not mattering, or not really what’s going on, but all you’ll be doing is confirming that you don’t actually care about others.

            I have indeed seen men mocked for being self-confident enough to talk about emotions. By the manly supporters of MRA. Didn’t help their case that they were being coordinated by an open neo-nazi and brazen racist.

            I don’t care whether you can handle yourself in adversity, because adversity so rarely happens. I do however care whether you can behave politely towards others, because that’s the side of a person we need to work with day in, day out.

          • Devon Jolly

            Funny thing, you actually hit on why your female co-workers who quit did so in your description of your CTO and boss. They were Atypically assertive. Emphasis on the Atypical. Doubtless they were atypical in more than just assertiveness.
            Which brings us to another point where you contradict yourself. If adversity so rarely happens, why are all of your female co-workers dropping out from ‘overbearing mansplaners’? An obvious form of adversity…
            Yes, men who follow feminist tenants get mocked by MRA’s and Nazi’s hardly denying that. I actually alluded to it. They also get mocked much more often and virulently by feminists according to every study on the subject that showed their data.

          • If possessing “typical” traits of an entire gender literally forces women to quit an industry en-masse, the issue isn’t with the women. It’s with the industry and whatever inordinately toxic environment said industry possesses.

          • Devon Jolly

            Social concusses is built by natural inclination. We;re talking mass generalities and chicken vs egg in this case.
            Also note, that high pressure positions in Medicine, traditionally male, don’t have women abandoning the position in mass, but joining it in mass.
            The atypical I was mentioning was not the attitude of the industry which until the last 5 years I’ve always found to be welcoming to it’s women.
            I was pointing out the contradiction in Davids argument where “Adversity rarely occurs” was set beside, “This is a horribly adverse environment for women”. One of these statements is obviously false, but both were central to his argument.
            And yours.

          • I’m not even touching the “rarely occurs” element as I neither know what David was aiming at on that note nor do I probably agree. It is therefore not even tangential to my argument, let alone central! And thus I don’t consider this response worthwhile because it doesn’t adequately address the response I actually made on this topic – to whit, the fact that a mass exodus on demographic lines insists that something is currently “horribly adverse” for that demographic *in particular*.

            As you say, high pressure work, or anything else applied equally across the board, are not the problem. Women can and want to work in challenging roles. It has to be a particularly unpleasant and frustrating type of prejudice in play specifically directed against them for them, and only them, to leave en-masse. Reading through previous topic replies it is clear what David et al consider this prejudice to be – dismissive treatment by males in the industry, offensive levels of repression of word and thought, likely blocks to advancement or recognition of quality work provided.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Does that also explain why there are little to no women in jobs like waste management, air conditioning mechanics, mining operations, roofers, brick masons etc?

          • Witchetty

            Devon, do you have a link to those studies? I’d be interested to read them.

            I have been condescended to by both men and women. To me, mansplaining isn’t simply a man who happens to be explaining something to me that I already know, or even a condescending man. It’s a man who is assuming I’m ignorant in a way that I don’t see him assume for other men. It’s a very specific phenomenon, one I typically notice in men who already demonstrate a pattern of sexist behavior. An example: I was getting my car jumpstarted, and the roadside mechanic insisted I needed a new battery. I was doubtful, as he kept saying it was at “zero,” but when I looked over his shoulder at his load tester I saw a non zero reading. Also, it wouldn’t make sense for it to be at “zero,” because it was holding at least enough charge to start the engine. Anyways, it wasn’t adding up, so I excused myself and called my dad out of earshot, just to confirm my suspicions. When I returned to the mechanic, he kept telling me the battery was “completely dead” and I needed to replace it. When I pointed out the load tester showed a non-zero number and that the battery was holding charge, he said I simply didn’t understand and I’d be out of luck if I didn’t replace the battery. Then I told him my dad said it didn’t make sense. He said, “Oh, okay. Fine,” and stormed off in a huff. Sure, he was probably just trying to pull one over on me, but I think it was very interesting how quickly he gave up the bamboozle when I brought my dad’s opinion up. Oh, and that was a year ago, the battery’s still working fine!

          • Devon Jolly

            Your anecdote is unsurprising. Ive gotten the same thing at car shops where they try to sell me all sorts of repairs that with a phone search I learn are bullshit. But they push that I know nothing when skeptical until I show them the article on my phone, they they give up in a huff.

            As to the studies, Sure, I’ll go dig them up. May take a few.

        • Olivier Faure

          That’s guilt by association.

          I though mansplaining was about talking down to people about a subject they know better than you?

          • Which is precisely what Anima is doing. “I don’t think you understand. Let me explain more clearly if I can.”

            Alison lives in the human world, where people pay attention to the effects of emotions in their daily lives. Anima exists only in Patrick’s brainscape, and is trying to argue that everyone else is wrong and that Alison isn’t clever enough to understand that.

            Alison is fully justified in telling them to pull their head out of their backside for long enough to take a look around at how the world actually works.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Actually, Anima never claimed that “acknowledging your emotions is bad”. All she is saying is that Menace is a power fantasy, while she is patrick’s rationality, and for this reason she is better suited to rule the city, to be the driving force of patrick’s mind,

          • Tylikcat

            Mm, I think she just said that Menace was false, and created for survival, while she was true, and rational. I think they were both created for survival, and are both incomplete.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Correct. i’m guessing that she was the second personality, born when lord boys removed his desire to be loved and his fear. The “Rational” part of him who made money by stealing credit card password and speculating on wall street. Menace was born later, when he discovered the existence of other biodynamics. My point is that she never directy stated that being devoid of human emotions is the ideal state of being: she is implying that, given the situation, giving her the rulership of the city is the better option, compared to destroying the city. Which is actually the position of most of the commenters, who are reprimanding Alison for her choice to destroy the city.

      • Dropkick

        Yeah if anything zara has it completely backwards.

    • Tylikcat

      One of the things I’ve loved about Anima from the first is that she isn’t a traditional representation of the feminine. And she totally works for Patrick.

      • This, and yet if any male should have an insight into the feminine, it’s Patrick.

        • Tylikcat

          “The feminine”.

          To be fair, when I said “a traditional representation of the feminine” I was thinking of just one particular psychological tradition – a particularly fucked up one that goes back some thousands of years, and posits that men are rational while women are emotional. (There are multiple things wrong with this, the first being the idea that reason is something that is and needs to be separate from emotions. Which isn’t how are brains work. But so many more.)

          My feminine side is all about swords and math and building things. (Not to mention music and poetry.) But this is quite traditional for many cultures, at least a couple of which I can trace my ancestry to.

          • ‘the feminine’ wasn’t my smoothest ever word choice, but it definitely wasn’t trying to buy into the idea of woman as some irrational creature that needs to be led.

            Now man on the othe hand…

            But Patrick gets to see the thought processes of women directly, without the self-censorship that our society forces so many women into (including the unconscious self-censorship of being socialised not to ‘be pushy’). He can’t entirely bypass the cultural inertia of being male in contemporary society, but he is at least getting a higher quality, less distorted signal to analyse.

            Anima says it didn’t help.

          • Tylikcat

            I love it! Anima is his feminine side. And she’s just as much a fuckwit as the rest of the crew! (But in a distinct and consistent sort of way.)

            “including the unconscious self-censorship of being socialised not to ‘be pushy'”

            …ah, but then you have people like me, and imagine what I’d be without it? (Stops, considers my family. Okay, I’d probably be a lot like one of my brighter, more driven cousins. Maybe like H, but… well, we did suspect he was bipolar, and I’m not. It always terrifies me how much I have in common with my father, considering what a horrible person he is.)

          • “imagine what I’d be without it?”

            I for one welcome Tylikcat as Terran Overlord (overlady?)

          • Tylikcat

            Ew. While I certainly have leadership, er, tendencies (especially if I don’t think the job is being done very well – I have no particular need to be in power, I just want someone not to be making an utter hash of it) I don’t actually like pure management positions. Well, so far. (I tend to get bored, and while I get unbored, no one likes that process much. Research is so much better as it gives me so much scope for keeping myself amused.)

          • I’m not really surprised by your reaction. But at the same time it’s one I’d prefer to see in potential leaders. Personally I suspect I’m more comfortable in the staff officer type of position. Someone else can deal with the politics, I’ll get things done.

            OTOH boredom and ready access to the nuclear football do not go together…

          • Tylikcat

            Mm, I’m also being a little flip. I did start out aiming at diplomatic service… because I thought the work was interesting, and because I figured I was unlikely to end up in a long term primary partnership, which left me well suited to it. (Some of this is “assessments one makes when one is nineteen”, but…)

            If the work was sufficiently challenging, I don’t think I’d end up bored. Depending on who I was working with, and how possible it was to accomplish things in the work, it might be pretty soul crushing for me. I don’t mind playing politics, but I like leavening it with being able to build and create things. I might do better at lower levels of government. (I came very close to running for city council as a Green once, but that was mostly for amusement value. And because I was homesick for the district I was born in and wanted to raise some hell. My spouse was horrified because he thought I was far too moderate to be a Green, which is largely true, but also reflected his never bothering to understand my background.)

            But… I don’t know. I have a bunch of mixed feelings about the State Department – much of the time I feel like I dodged a bullet there. But I have deeply mixed feelings about having not been around for the invasion of Afghanistan (you know my story about trying to volunteer, yes? …and not because I supported it, in case that’s not clear) And I spent a bunch of the time I was at MS feeling like I was too politically naive to pull off that environment, which doesn’t really bode well, does it? (I was a lot less so by the time I left, and that was my twenties…)

            I don’t know. Science policy still is my best idea in that direction, and who knows if I’ll even try it? And I’m babbling, and it’s late. Long, productive day in the lab, and I should go fall on my face.

          • Hurrah for long productive lab days.

            I do know that you considered volunteering for Afghanistan, on the science/linguistics/generally having a clue side of things. I’m not certain I’ve seen it further than that. (Hmm, I think I need to deconstruct my thoughts about having you exposed to that sort of environment vs other friends who were doing nice, safe stuff like IED disposal. Maybe I’m slight more ‘Ug, man protect’ cavemanish that I realised).

            I do think science policy makes most sense for you, but given what a clusterfuck 45 is turning it into, I ‘m not sure it would suit any better.

            And having known the local Green candidate, I think your problem there is that you’re far too sensible! Not that non-Greens are much better (you saw my piece on DW about engaging with a local councillor over kerb-cuts?)

          • Tylikcat

            Seriously? That cracks me up. The army did pretty much immediately look at my background and tell me I really should be a Statie (under other circumstances I might have protested, but, reasons), and you know the rest of the story. I would have been best suited to Northern Afghanistan if they put me anywhere interesting at all (or possibly elsewhere in Central Asia). The joke amongst my friends was about teaching women martial arts in my off hours, which would have been a nifty way of risking death.

            I’m not a Green – well, it’s not a very cohesive party here, but the reason I was thinking of running as a Green is that I was most interested in shit-stirring, and if I ran as a democrat there was a reasonable chance I’d get elected (also, the democrats might have had better taste…) Which might have been another issue – I’ve deliberately put certain restrictions on any election campaigns I might ever have (or maybe the opposite – there are essentially no skeletons in my closet, if I ever run it will be the all-singing all-dancing skeleton cabaret), but a fake campaign might be a bit to far even if it would have been fun. (I’m not really a Democrat, either, but oh, our political system is messed up.)

            …and science policy isn’t on the table for at least a few years (hey, I’m already committed to the robot lab) so I’m hoping we’ll be done with 45. And if not, all the more reason. I’m most interested in the international scene, but mostly it’s just about interesting work.

          • Cassidy Moon

            Cultures like..?

          • Tylikcat

            I was thinking of the Irish Brigid, and her associations with smithcraft, poetry, and excellence in warfare (and healing, and a bunch of other stuff – she rocks). And the Greek Athena, who is the goddess both of war and scholarship (for all that some of the plays have her saying some awful things). Not to mention the Hindu Saraswati, goddess of knowledge (mathematics in particular, ISTR) art and music…

            It wouldn’t take me long to find more examples, but those were the ones on my mind 🙂

          • I thought Japanese might appear in there given naginatjutsu and the female samurai tradition with Tomoe Gozen etc. I presume there’s an equally good chance of a Chinese woman warrior tradition.

            Trying to recall where that I saw that article on the Crusades that reported a Saracen document translation that included “so we killed all the Franks, stripped their bodies of their armour, and found yet another one of them who was really a woman”

      • Amy S

        yes, LOVE that the most “Rational” parts of Patrick’s brain are represented as female. Freud would be spitting.

  • Lostman

    Why do I have a feeling that this will just further send Patrick out of wack?

  • Franklin J Gomes

    Anima, if you really are Patrick “true self”, why aren’t you the one in command of the city?

    Maybe is because his true self is the immature child constantly running away for everything he don’t like, and you are nothing more than another false idealized self that is “super logical and above silly emotions” ?


    • There’s nothing immature about walling away trauma. It might not be the optimum long term plan, but it’s usually pretty good at keeping you functioning enough to survive.

      • Weatherheight

        Refusing to drop those walls when they’ve fulfilled their purpose, n the other hand… 😀

        • Whether they’ve served their purpose depends to a significant degree on what’s beyond the green door.

        • zellgato

          That implies you have the actual ability to recognize they’ve fnished their job.
          but you typically can’t from behind the walls
          because the walls are blocking off more than just what you think they do.

  • Thomas S

    I’ve Read a Book , It was “Dune” that did not help.
    I then read “Enders Game” whick kinda did, but not.

    Which book?

    • Noone

      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy seems like it would have a lot of the answers.

      • Philip Bourque


    • Weatherheight

      Lord Boy’s Bane…
      Lord of the Boys…
      Any of the poems by Lord Boy-ron…
      The Fellowship of the Wall, The One Tower, The Return of the Boy…
      Lord Boy of Light…

    • Tylikcat

      I’d personally recommend Kandel, Jessell and Schwartz’s Principles of Neural Science, but my viewpoint is somewhat idiosyncratic, and I suspect many others would prefer fiction or psychology.

  • NotPatrick

    Wow. I don’t have words for how disappointed I am in this comic.

    • Filthy Liar

      His mental palace isn’t a healthy coping method. Destroy all the icons and see what’s left. If you’re legit bummed out by the comic stop reading it and figure out why the (crazy, completely unable to deal with the world) supervillian is a character that resonates with you. Maybe try therapy.

      • NotPatrick

        Reposting from before, but:

        See http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-42-6/ and http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-58-4/

        The purpose of the city is to do more than just protect him from some traumatic memories. It’s to help manage the fact that he has too many memories for something like a human mind to be capable of meaningfully interacting with even a tiny fraction of them. Not just pleasant or unpleasant memories, but whole copies of other people’s minds, with all of their memories. And it only gets worse the older he gets. Where it may have been possible to incrementally construct something suitable starting from childhood, where the size of his mind was growing steadily alongside him, it could very well be impossible to start over now: akin to something like, taking every book in the library of congress, removing the spine so its just a bunch of free flowing unbound pages, and mixing all of the pages of every book together in a gigantic heap.

        The reason I’m disappointed is that they seem to be ignoring any of the interesting things they set up about how or why his mind works the way it does for some trite little moral about emotion vs reason or some carp.

        Hell, even ignoring everything else, for normal mental illness the kind of moral that’s being applied here is pretty dangerous. Take a perfectly ordinary reaction of an unhealthy coping mechanism, say a person responding to the grief of a close death by becoming extremely obsessed with personal hygene, or developing intense feelings of discomfort about getting rid of things (hoarding). Is the best response to just come into their life, point out that their preoccupations are just unhealthy coping mechanisms, and destroy their orderly apartment, or throw out all their stuff?

        Or maybe that example doesn’t have the person actually insane enough to be a good comparison. Fine, let’s imagine the case of a paranoid schizophrenic dealing with a personal loss by inventing some grand conspiracy to explain why their loved one is gone. Is the best approach here to immediately force them into a confrontation where you repeatedly assert that said conspiracy is false and a bad coping mechanism?

        • Tylikcat

          I’m happier with the language you’re using on this page. I ran out of time, but I’d meant to comment on how off-putting I found some of your previous comments on Patrick’s not normal human brain and the artificiality of the city pretty off-putting. I get a lot of people – most often people who’ve known me for a while – who feel compelled to monologue on how I’m not human. I’ve finally decided that my line is common courtesy and while this is a useful sorting process and all, it’s super rude in most of its presentations. So that part is more than a bit personal… and I’m honestly not sure how a person’s mind develops under their own direction can be artificial.

          This plan seems pretty awful to me, I must say… but then, I have some sympathy for Alison as a youngster thrown into a situation which is way over her head. I’m personally most interested in where fifthPatrick is (I’m not saying PatrickPrime until we have more information) but I don’t know how adept Alison is at navigating Patrick’s mind on her own, and I’m not sure how broadly applicable is whatever allowed her to manifest the wrecking ball – so it’s hard to anticipate available strategies.

          • Weatherheight

            “I get a lot of people – most often people who’ve known me for a while – who feel compelled to monologue on how I’m not human.”

            I would say rather the opposite. But I’m biased.

          • Tylikcat

            I identify as human, “anomalous physiology” (I really want to whack M with a rolled up newspaper for that one, even if he is one of my physicians as well as a friend) and all. And maybe more to the point, I think I understand a lot more what is going on, which is something, considering this is a set of interactions I’ve been having since I was a kid. (And I can sidestep the whole thing if I want, but that has it’s own pitfalls. I’m in academia – I’m a scientist – people really can deal. I make more of an effort with, say, the neighbors I don’t know very well.) It’s not a comfortable kind of self knowledge, I have enough ballast to deal with this version of it, and going through all the spine injury crap certainly helps.

            I wish people would think a little bit, though, about the categories they are creating. This whole “I am affectionately telling you that you are outside of my circle,” is pretty problematic. It’s useful in it’s way, but darn, folks, think a little bit about why you feel the need?

        • Filthy Liar

          Does the paranoid schizophrenic present a danger to others due to their psychosis? If so, then yeah, you’ve got to confront them/get them the therapy they need so they’re not a danger to themselves or other people.

          • NotPatrick

            The point was that specifically confronting them in a stressful and panic-inducing fashion is not wise, and that directly attacking their coping mechanism or the main target of their delusion is the easiest way to trigger a violent reaction if such a reaction would occur.

      • Olivier Faure

        Woaw, not cool. You’re making thinly veiled petty insults here.

        • Filthy Liar

          They certainly weren’t intended to be veiled. If you’re identifying with the supervillian right now then you should seek therapy. Which is let us note, what the supervillian did, by coming to Allison.

          • Olivier Faure

            Okay then, let me rephrase: you’re making petty insults here.

            Telling a stranger on the internet, whose personality and background you don’t know, that they should seek therapy, is *not* okay. It’s a cheap shot. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re being an asshole.

      • masterofbones

        You are right! Its totally acceptable to try to lobotomize someone if they go crazy

        • Filthy Liar

          I mean, if that’s the analogy you want to go with, then sure. If Patrick was just a random crazy person then lobotomizing him would be immoral. Instead, he’s a telepath who is radiating his mental state into other people’s heads. If he can’t get that under control then yeah, lobotomy time, because random innocent bystanders in the apartment next door outweigh the benefits of keeping him alive and insane.

          • Noone

            I think it is an error to boil the solution down to the two extremes of “let him do to innocent people whatever he wants” and “lobotomy is the moral thing to do”. Surely there must be more solutions? Like, it would be possible to imprison him in a remote location where you have consenting scientists and psychologists to help him back on his feet? Just to name one from the top of my head. I’m sure you can point out some flaws in that solution, but it would be more moral to at least try this than those other two solutions? I’m sure there are many other solutions we haven’t even thought of.
            I mean, this is a world where people have been studying superhumans for decades. And we have evidence of an actual publicly known mind controller existing in the comic. These people must have some expertise and options that we aren’t even aware of.

          • masterofbones

            If he is a threat, stop the threat. Dont tear his mind apart to see what happens.

    • danelsan

      Yeah, it will be a huge letdown if this just WORKS with no regrettable consequences.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    Alright, Alison, you’ve established that there’s a problem and that Anima’s proposed solution won’t solve it. The next step is to explain why the f*k “Smash Patrick’s mind” will solve it.

  • Olivier Faure

    Wanting your brain to exist without irrational desires is a pretty legitimate desire! It depends on how you define rational, and some people are better at knowing what they want and what they want to want than others, but there’s nothing inherently wrong about wishing your brain worked differently / more efficiently.

    Honestly, I’m getting really annoyed at Allison’s attitude, and I hope the comic doesn’t just prove her right. Telling someone else that you know better than them what mental state is best for them is the height of arrogance.

    • NotPatrick

      Right? There are plenty of perfectly normal human disorders where trying to force some sort of artificial order or control over ones thoughts or emotions is really necessary. For someone with ADHD, having a really strict schedule and predictable environment is often important just to be able to function normally. For a bipolar person, trying to exert control over their constantly shifting emotions is really important.

      Even if this wasn’t a telepath, just as someone dealing with intense PTSD from an absurdly abusive and terrifying childhood, just coming in and destroying all of his coping mechanisms without considering which ones may or may not be necessary is pretty irresponsible.

      • The problem for Anima is they can’t impose their decision on Menace or Lord Boy. Menace’s rivalry with Anima certainly seems to have elements of jealousy in it, and while Lord Boy presents as emotionally flat, it’s clear that they are only functioning by walling away all of the emotional trauma from their abuse. Yet Alison was able to wander straight into those memories, and Gurwara seems to be able to flit through Patrick’s brain at will, so how effective is his lock? Judging by the state of physical Patrick, not very

        And flowing beneath the surface of the city is all of that component. Ignoring the state of your sewers has always been an invitation to disaster.

        Anima may want to deny emotion in their life, but their surrounding environment won’t let them, and rationally they should be able to see that.

      • Olivier Faure

        Dude, stop talking. You disgust me. Just go and educate yourself before you go talk to me about emotions like you know anything about them. If you even knew what “normal” and “functioning” are, you wouldn’t fetishize rationality and fantasize about living like a fucking robot. [insert autism-related insults and implication that you live in a parent’s basement here]

        (wow, that was cathartic)

        Seriously though, yeah, you nailed what I was trying to say. Different people have different needs and all.

    • TheZorginator1

      The base of it is that people are social creatures and emotions are a big chunk of what makes us, well, us. We’re not talking about someone who wants to be in control of their mind, we’re talking about a mind that functions by sectioning things of being run by someone who doesn’t like irrationality.

      People are irrational. If you want to be rational you learn what your irrational thoughts and beliefs are and then you use logic to determine your actions while knowing what your feelings tell you. Purging your mind of irrational thoughts means you decided to read up on Skynet or Hal 9000 and thought “Hey, I can run my mind like that!”

      • Olivier Faure

        “If you want to be rational you learn what your irrational thoughts and

        beliefs are and then you use logic to determine your actions while
        knowing what your feelings tell you.”

        Sure? I don’t think “Wanting the irrational thoughts to stop” is very
        different from what you said, but that’s mostly arguing on labels.

        And it really depends on who you’re talking about. Most people just deal with their emotions using logic and it works well for them. Some people have different brain chemistry, and need medication to keep a functioning mind.

        Even for non-diagnosed people, it’s not completely unreasonable to think “Man, I’m having some really intrusive and unpleasant emotions. I wish they’d go away”.

        (by the way, “People are irrational” fails Hume’s guillotine)

    • How is ignoring a fundamental data flow more efficient? It’s like trying to keep an unstable aircraft in the air while trying to shave microseconds off your duty cycle by ignoring all that messy stuff about air data and aircraft attitude. (Clue, it doesn’t work).

      Even if you want to strip emotion from your own life, you need to be able to parse emotion in others. Particularly if you’re Patrick, because parsing people’s thoughts is what he does. Doubly so if you’re Anima, because you need to be able to predict the actions of Menace and to a lesser extent Lord Boy.

      Anima’s desire to strip themselves of emotion to run the city in a pure rational mode is likely to actually render them incapable of holding power because they’ll lose all ability to model Menace’s actions. And that’s about as inefficient as you can get.

      • Olivier Faure

        I hear you, and I’m mostly being the devil’s advocate here.

        Like, there is a steelmanned argument for wanting to suppress/streamline some emotions, but Patrick isn’t making it (just like Max wasn’t making the best arguments for libertarianism).

        It sounds like Anima’s perspective is “emotions suck and we should get rid of them all”, with little nuance or insight. Which… is kind of annoying, for the same reason Max was? Like, I know people are going to read this and feel vindicated that the strawman has been defeated, so I feel compelled to defend the strawman with a lot of caveats and “Yes, but in most cases this is not the right approach” and… ugh.

        • But if you defend the strawman (and I think Anima’s lack of insight may be the real point, with the argument being only mildly relevant), then people are going to take issue with it, just as they may well take issue with a more firmly constructed argument on the same issue.

          No matter how strong an argument you construct for Libertarianism, I’m going to keep pointing out the people who get left behind. And similarly, if you argue for ignoring emotions, I’m going to keep pointing out that they are inputs into just about everything we do as a society (even the hardest of sciences, cf Clarke’s First Law) and that ignoring them is asking for trouble.

          • Olivier Faure

            Oh, come on, you know that’s not fair. That’s not how strawmen work.

            (also, being libertarian isn’t strictly speaking incompatible with social safety nets; while there’s a correlation between being libertarian and being against social aid, I think that common-sense libertarianism does include taxes and social safety nets and is pretty close to an ideal system)

            The point is that defending a strawman is an uphill battle, because people attacking the strawman can say “See? This is what your position means, all its wickedness/irrationality is now exposed to the nacked eye”, while people defending it need to prove that “No, this is a really extreme case, most cases look more like X, which is reasonable because Y”.

  • JohnTomato

    Putting down some functional philosophy? Damn girl Gurwara just might be proud. Kinda. Maybe. If he were real.

  • Wow, Alison winning a fight, with words!?!

    Also, I love the composition here, just out for a stroll with my wrecking ball…

    • Weatherheight

      It is very visually interesting, isn’t it?
      The idea of literally walking away from the Anima (which always wants to be recognized and paid attention to) is also a visually ironic stroke of genius.

  • David Claughton

    This could be a case of unreliable narrative. We believe that
    the city has existed since Pat was a child and destroying it may destroy his psyche. BUT we only have Lord Boy’s account for that.

    all we actually know, the city could have been created last week when
    Pat had his breakdown and therefore destroying it is actually the exact
    right thing to do. The four aspects we’ve met know a fifth one exists –
    what if he is “Unified Pat” who is only absent because his psyche is
    broken causing him to split into the other four warring factions?

    • masterofbones

      Alison doesnt know either. If you are depressed and want to get better, is it a good idea to give a homeless person a drill and tell them to fix your head?

    • Tylikcat

      Mm, we do have a partial account from Anima, but it is not time specific.

  • Walter

    Panel 3 Alison is my new fav.

    • Pol Subanajouy


  • R Lex Eaton

    A lot of commenters seem to be under the impression that Patrick is in a state to judge what’s best for his own emotional wellbeing. Given everything that resulted when his irrational impulses resurfaced due to his incipient redemption, I’m doubtful that wrecking the mindscape would be worse than a lateral move that could serve as a step towards recovery. His mental state is barely functional, being so easy to knock down.

    So given everything, I’m saying… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a3c13836ce4dc46e081544e2d5ab5af970c1565a591ffa838933f3c593dec98.gif

    • NotPatrick

      Suppose you come across someone who has been dealing simultaneously with PTSD, some sort of moderate autism or sensory processing disorder, and a bunch of random body dysmorphia type problems. For whatever reason, they tend to treat obsessively cleaning their apartment as a kind of coping strategy.

      Now, this person suddenly flips out in a pretty spectacular way in public. Maybe they just start screaming incoherently at a passerby, maybe they freak out and attack someone at a gas station. Afterwards, they run back to their place and start frantically cleaning to calm themselves down.

      Now, as an untrained third party without too much knowledge about their psychological history, or psychology generally, is it reasonable to go over to their place, say “Your desire to control your environment is in and of itself an aspect of your lack of control. Read a book!” and start trashing their place with a golf club?

      • R Lex Eaton

        There’s a big difference. The scenario you’re putting forth is in the physical world and not literally within someone’s mind. Everything in a mindscape is just an approximation of psychology and mnemonic devices.

        And again, my point is that the mindscape Patrick uses is supremely fragile. It’s already been damaged by Alison before. Just not this literally.

        • NotPatrick

          I don’t really see the difference. The relevant detail is just that doing ‘literally anything’ other than the coping strategy of a mentally ill person isn’t actually that good of an approach, even if they do regularly mess up or aren’t that stable. The best way to deal with some mental health issue can be really non-trivial, and it’s not safe to assume that just because the person suffering from them is impaired, that everything they’re doing is completely useless.

          Personally, what I would have done in this situation is to contact Feral again, and tell her when she wakes up that if Allison starts convulsing or bleeding too much to kill Patrick, and then wait it out until she wakes and you get some kind of confirmation. Then approach kid Patrick, whose only motivation seems to be safety, and inform him that there is no way to kill her without killing himself in the process. Then, just talk. Keep things calm, let them stretch out as long as it takes so there are no sudden deadlines or ultimatums for him to panic about. Inform him of your concerns about his state of mind: if he says something that seems unreasonable or crazy, tell him why you think it is so, and specifically why you don’t think it will bring about his goal of increased safety. You both ultimately want the same thing, and at the very least, kid Patrick seems reasonably coherent aside from a few mistaken beliefs. Try to come to some sort of consensus as to what the best path forward should be, since he has the best knowledge of how to manage this mind, despite his kind of myopic emphasis on short-term results compared to their long-term consequences.

          • R Lex Eaton

            When she wakes up? What if that’s not an option? What if there’s no way to come out of this state as long as Patrick has them connected to his own mind?

            Talking things out in the real world is off the table. Talking things out inside the mind has already proven ineffective, since all the archetypes defer to Lord Boy, and he’s not changing his mind about wanting Alison dead. And if there’s a better solution that merging the component with the city, I can’t see it.

            Might not be an ideal solution, but it seems to be the best course of action. Better to worry about the aftereffects when you can actually do something about them.

          • NotPatrick

            For one thing, it seems like she can just hang out in Feral’s head indefinitely and it’s pretty safe, so just chilling there for a few hours seems perfectly safe regardless.
            Two, even then, it’s not clear that it’s even necessary, since Patrick is unlikely to be able to keep them passed out forever, and if Feral wakes up with Allison dead, she *will* kill Patrick, so she can still make the threat credibly anyways.
            Three, it’s not clear that Patrick can read her mind while she’s in there, so it’s entirely possible that she could just lie.
            Four, absolute worst case scenario, Allison seems pretty confident currently that she can just mess things up *now* without having to worry about kid Patrick anyways, so she could just use that as a threat to keep him in a cooperative mood. Only reason I didn’t suggest that as the first thing was that kid Patrick might irrationally over-estimate his chances of winning, and also her not being the one physically causing damage to the only thing he cares about could help avoid fight-or-flight panicked responses, which aren’t usually conducive to keeping someone cognizant of their best-interests.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Granting that’s even an option, Alison doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would sit around and wait for a problem to solve itself. Especially given what’s at stake for the person in trouble.

            If it’s a mistake, then she’ll own it and work to rectify it. Right now, someone has to do something. She’s someone.

          • NotPatrick

            No, there is no reason why someone needs to do something *right now*. Patrick’s main problems currently seem to be substance abuse and self harm, both of which could be solved by just locking him in a padded room until he’s sober. The worst case scenario of just leaving things alone is that he’s mentally unhealthy, experiencing weird psychic migraines and projective episodes occasionally, but largely functional as long as you keep away the drugs.

            The worst case scenario of destroying the city is that it destroys the informational infrastructure of his mind, and is rendered *really* nonfunctional, largely catatonic, or even is ‘taken over’ by various minds he’s absorbed but for now has the mental machinery to keep contained. Suppose behind the door for instance there’s a copy of his mother’s mind, and as soon as Lord Boy is too weak to keep the barriers intact, *she* (or some even worse trauma-associated mental projection of her) takes over.

            There’s potentially no way to rectify something like that.

            Besides, even just being emotionally whole could actually be much worse for Patrick. For now he’s managed to make himself largely indifferent to other people’s pain or misfortune, but an involuntary telepath with a functional sense of empathy would be pretty terrifying. Unlike every other person on the planet, 100 deaths would feel 100 times worse to him than one death. The most natural ethics for him, just avoiding mental pain or guilt as much as possible, would be a kind of local utilitarianism, which would probably just cause him to relapse into being a super villain.

          • NotPatrick

            Oh, and that’s even leaving out the biggest risk of all for this. At some point, he developed projective telepathy. We have no idea what the limitations or consequences of this are because so far he’s been too debilitated by his own mental health stuff. We have no idea if the consequences of this ultimately amount to mind control. Suppose once he gets his shit together, he’s able to broadcast not just disturbing imagery, but emotions? Can he broadcast panic at an entire crowd at once? Anger? Rage? What about a feeling of intense loyalty, or trust? Or is he just one Max power-up away from being able to go full puppetmaster?
            If all of a sudden his shallow facade of an attempt to be human collapses, and something *else* takes over, that would be a world-ending threat, especially if the nearest mind to control is god damn Mega Girl.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I don’t see how any of that could be any less likely to happen due to the breakdown that he’s been struggling with since he arrived.

            I don’t know about you or me, but I’m guessing Alison is aware of the possible dangers, both inside and outside this mindscape. There seems to be no indication that this entire process will be in any way resolved by waiting for help to arrive while all three are unconscious and possibly bleeding out.

            If this doesn’t work… at least she did SOMETHING. Which might even work! I say let’s wait and see.

          • NotPatrick

            A couple points of clarification:
            1. Those things are less likely because literally the only reasonably competent person in Patrick’s skull cares about literally only one thing: that the barriers remain in place. They don’t care that Patrick on the whole is happy or has a drug problem, they don’t care whether or not things are crumbling a bit, but gosh darn it that wall is not coming down on his watch. All of those bad things depend on those barriers coming down.
            2. I’m not suggesting that she wait for help. I’m suggesting that instead of smashing stuff, she make credible threats to force negotiation and hopefully resolution. If she’s already reasonably confident that she has nothing to fear, there’s nothing to lose by just threatening to break the barrier unless he X (since again, it’s the only thing he actually cares about), vs actually breaking it and dealing with all of the (unknown) consequences. Otherwise, I was suggesting Feral could be used as a more certain threat, but using either threat is less risky than actually following through.
            3. I don’t think doing SOMETHING is a fundamental good. Menace did SOMETHING when he tried to take over the world, Mega Girl did SOMETHING when she tried to stop him. Nonetheless, taking a break from the pointless SOMETHINGs to go off, go to college, and think about the actual consequences of things was one of the major premises of this comic.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Urrgh. This is getting us nowhere. Honestly, I’m tired of arguing.

            How about we both reserve judgement until the resolution?

          • NotPatrick

            I personally don’t see a point in reserving judgment, since my judgment is ultimately nothing more than personal annoyance, and concerned more with probability than what the author arbitrarily decides.

            If Captain Kirk decides to take an ostensible 50% risk of his ship being destroyed for the sake of an awesome one-liner or a cathartic showdown that could have easily been delayed a day or two at better odds, I feel kind of annoyed with the show at how cavalier he’s being with other people’s lives, regardless of the fact that the writer is obviously not going to care, and won’t kill all the characters for nothing. Hell, even if it’s a 5% risk, since those can only repeated so many times before the odds add up. But of course no writer is going to let their character be killed by some petty stupid 1/20 risk, even if they repeat it hundreds of times.

            Regardless, you’re free to do as you please. If you continue to respond, I will probably do so in kind until *I* grow bored with the whole thing.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            “I’m suggesting that instead of smashing stuff, she make credible threats to force negotiation and hopefully resolution.”

            And with who exactly would you want Alison to negotiate? With the personification of Patrick’s abused childhood? With Menace? Maybe with the Anima,- and she tried that – but, as we can see, she is not the one calling the shots. The way i see it, there are only two possibilities.
            Or Patrick’s rationality is gone – which i personally belive – and in this situation, any negotiation is impossible. Lord Boy would rather let Patrick’s mind die that confronting the horror of his childhood.

            BUT, if Patrick’s rationality is still working, in some degree… then he knows that, if Alison or Feral even make it back to the waking world, then is prison for life, or death. The only logical solution is to keep them imprisoned, until he can find a way to destroy them,

          • critically_damped

            You forget that Patrick’s “coping strategy” is LITERALLY BEING A SUPERVILLIAN.

          • NotPatrick

            The coping strategy we’re talking about here is
            1. Walling off sections of his psyche containing traumatic memories and hard to handle emotional reactions to things.
            2. Dealing with the overload of mental information constantly streaming into his skull by organizing it into a metaphorical city, and apparently associating his feelings of loss of control with municipal decline?

            The super-villainy seems to be a separate thing, definitely a symptom of deeper problems, but not a way of coping. Also, it seems largely in the past. His current problems mainly seem to be self-harming, substance abuse, and various psychic maladies such as (but not limited to) involuntary projective telepathy of bizarre and disturbing imagery.

          • Dave Huber

            Logical and compassionate. Indeed, very likely what Patrick had – er, “in mind” – when he went to Alison’s door. Being unable to read his own mind, it makes perfect sense to reach out to the one person he can trust to act as an intermediary for an inner dialog.

            However, I remain convinced that Patrick’s mental collapse is due to invasion by Gurwara deleting his memories of the conspiracy. This isn’t just a mental breakdown. Patrick showed no awareness of Gurwara when Alison chased him from the Hall of Records, but perhaps if he were warned / informed of the depredations he could devise a defense.

            The focus for control of the Tower is likely significant. It probably represents a router for external mind links. There should be evidence of Gurwara’s invasions there.

            Menace is the warrior aspect of Patrick’s mind. Alison’s plan echoes his own sentiments here https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-40-6/

        • Tylikcat

          Just to note, the idea that we can separate the mind from the physical brain is not supported by anything we know about neuroscience! Changes in Patrick’s mind => changes in his physical brain. We don’t have independent hardware and software.

      • TheZorginator1

        That’s not the same thing at all. The city isn’t just a coping mechanism, it’s Patricks psyche. Allison isn’t randomly doing something she thinks passes for psychological treatment, she’s performing surgery without training.

        Now that’s not much better but trepanation worked some of the time so maybe wrecking ball to the psyche works sometimes too.

        • NotPatrick

          I phrased it that way because viewing it as random surgery makes it *worse* and I was trying to respond to what seemed like the most reasonable formulation. A lay person performing trepanation is pretty irresponsible.
          Even worse, Patrick’s brain is effectively the brain of some weird
          alien species that’s actively trying to pretend to be a human, and just
          randomly messing about with the core structures that maintain it even more recklessly irresponsible than on a human.

    • FM-96

      I mean, maybe you’re right. Maybe Patrick really isn’t in a state to judge what’s best for his own emotional wellbeing. But Alison sure as hell isn’t either. She is wholly unqualified to make such decisions.

      So in the absence of anyone we know to be qualified, I’d say Patrick probably knows his mind better than Alison does.

      I’m also really not sure why you think destroying the city wouldn’t worsen Patrick’s condition. Destroying the construct that keeps an unimaginable amount of information ordered and contained certainly seems like something that could leave him catatonic to me.

      • R Lex Eaton

        Maybe she is unqualified in expertise, I’ll give you that. But judging from what she’s experienced here, I think that she’s the best person present. She’s a positive influence on Patrick, even if Patrick can’t or won’t acknowledge that. And Patrick can hardly look for the answers by mentally chasing his own tail–he’s the one who’s confused.

        • masterofbones

          Her solution is “I dont like this, better destroy everything”

          Thats not a solution. Thats a way to get a braindead patrick

      • Sterling Ericsson

        Doesn’t it go both ways though? If you think Patrick is the best one to judge what should be done for his emotional and mental well-being, then you have to fall back onto the fact that he specifically, in this instance, chose Allison as the best person to make those decisions for his well-being.

        Whichever way you slice it, Allison is the one that should be making the decision, because Patrick decided she was the best option. Her decisions in this case are also his decisions.

        • FM-96

          I actually hadn’t considered it from that angle. You make a good point.

          Though… did Patrick really choose her as the best person to make those decisions for his well-being? He just kinda stumbled into her home absolutely wasted. It was Alison that decided she needed to help him, wasn’t it?

          (Also, btw, her name is “Alison”, not “Allison”.)

  • Jshadow

    “Menace represents bad,”
    “I represent good.”

    So 2 bad parts of Patrick’s mind are man, but the only good part of him is a woman? Uy….

    Also Ali, only a person who thinks violence solves everything would call rational desires irrational.

    • Weatherheight

      You can hide a lot under the robes of a Librarian…

    • Walter

      I don’t think any part of Patrick’s mind is good.

      • Jshadow

        So if you break it all down, doesn’t that mean he’ll just become a vegitable?

        • Walter

          I could certainly see him lapsing into catatonia. It seems like the most likely outcome.

          • Jshadow

            And honestly preferable.

    • Beroli

      I’ve noticed this thing people do online, at least with fictional characters: Someone said it so it’s established. You want to contest it? Then you need to find another character saying something to contradict it.

      If you think Anima’s perspective is one that’s supposed to be accepted by 1) Alison, or 2) the audience, you’ve missed something about this whole storyline–like all of it.

      (And only someone as messed up as Patrick would call “I must exist with no irrational desires” rational.)

  • Next to last panel: Casually totting off with a multi-ton wrecking ball draped around her shoulders

  • Pol Subanajouy

    3rd Panel Al is so done with everything. I love the arched eyebrow and everything.

  • Weatherheight

    Alison gets full marks for her observations – very much on point.

    On a different note, am I the only one who finds it ironic that the aspects of Patrick seem to be aligning with the elements of the book Alison has read?

    Is this because the book is right and Alison is seeing what is really there, or is it because Alison is seeing what she expects to see, or is it because Patrick i showing her what she expects to see?

  • Philip Bourque

    You know, there are easier ways to kill him. Bust your way out and then slit his throat in the real world.

  • “Wanting your brain to exist without irrational desires is in and of itself an irrational desire!”

    Absolutely right. This is one of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s main irrational desires.

    • Olivier Faure

      Can we not get into that kind of bashing, please? Everyone and their mothers think they’re psychoanalysts when it comes to Yudkowsky.

  • CanuckAmuck

    I love how Alison is casually dragging around a gorram wrecking ball with all the casualness of Linus dragging his blanket.

    • Weatherheight

      Yes! That was of what it was reminding me!
      And it is exactly the perfect analogy for Alison – she drags a wrecking ball as her security device, in every sense of that phrase.
      What a wonderful insight you had there!

  • ampg

    Stop telling Anima your plans, Al! Just start swinging!

  • zellgato

    Ok. I reallly love “No F**ks given” Alison mode

  • wsw

    I’ve been following the comic since summer, but haven’t attempted commenting yet. Hope I’ll manage to meet standards.

    I think final judgement of Patricks morality can only be dealt once Alison destroys is mental system and it all regresses into something. Debates about free will and crime are already possible with real psychology, and we’re dealing with a complex sci-fi mindscape here. He might still not be a nice guy after all is said and done, but at least he’ll no longer be able to shut emotional response to it as easidly.

    His emotions have been limited since childhood by a personification of the mental crossroads he took to deal with his abuse. It sees itself as rational, but is still a naive child in essence.The whole Looney Tunes bit shows how out of tune the Lord Boy doctrine is with actual emotions. Maybe he does have only the emotional maturity of a child, only able to hide it by rationalizing and copying adult emotion. Overloading the system with emotion might very well ”kill” all personas into regressing in all the unleashed emotion. All the others are only subservient to Lord Boy because they are hardwired in supporting Patrick’s coping, while Lord Boy is mostly a product of a single decision, and probably will go down screaming once it’s undone. Together they still don’t form 100% outward patrick: some of his actions are also represented into the emotions starting to leak.

    Probably what half of people here have concluded, but got to start from somewhere..

    • Weatherheight

      Nice thoughts! Welcome to the mud pit… I mean comments section! There’s a lot of theories out there – this one seems at least as plausible as most.

  • Dave Van Domelen

    So Handy, she is.

  • Ophidiophile

    Looks like those philosophy classes weren’t a complete waste.

  • youwish youknew

    I think I disagree with Allison a bit. “Wanting your brain to exist without irrational desires,” seems like a perfectly rational desire. An irrational desire is one that you know wouldn’t be good for, wouldn’t help you, wouldn’t be enjoyable, etc. To pick an incredibly biased example, wanting to yell at the customer service representative when the cable company raised your bill. The representative wasn’t responsible, and has no power to change anything. You just want to yell to have someone to yell at.

    Wanting to be free of such desires doesn’t seem particularly irrational to me. This is not the same thing as wanting to be a straw vulcan*, which is a stupid and counterproductive desire. I don’t think Anima was talking about that though.


    I’m somewhat hoping this doesn’t work out for Al. It feels too arrogant for this story that after having just learned what Patrick’s head is like, she knows what is best for him.

    More importantly, if there was one lesson I was sure that Allison had learned, it was that punching something until it breaks never makes anything better. Granted, this seems to be the only way she can get herself and Feral out of this alive, but don’t pee on his boots and tell him its raining. Forcefully and simultaneously removing all coping mechanism from a survivor of homelessness and child abuse sounds like a recipe for a basket case.

    That is not to say that Patrick is doing all right as he is. His coping mechanisms are already breaking down, and they were limiting him pretty badly even before that. But they need to be replaced, not smashed.

    • masterofbones

      The moment she says “read a book” as her argument, you know that she is full of it. Nobody with anything intelligent to say ever does that.

  • bryan rasmussen

    See, that class with Gurwara was really useful!

  • Taylor Elnicki

    Don’t worry, I’ve figured out the next page:
    Alison scream sings, “TAKE A LOOK. IT’S IN A BOOK. READING RAINBOOOOW,” punctuating each line with a swing from her wrecking ball for dramatic effect.
    Lord Boy looks on through the dust as his city crumbles. Allison approaches, a steely look in her eyes. She wipes the grime from her face, spits. With cool control she begins to swing the wrecking ball over her head in circles. The view shifts to a close up of her sweat streaked face, her hair swirling in the wind. Quietly, sternly, she says, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”

    • Tylikcat

      Well, to be fair, she is channeling a supervillain in her statement.

      • Danygalw

        She what?

        • Tylikcat

          It’s a tagline of Handy’s the alter-ego of the The Human Ton from The Tick. I posted one instance of it below.

  • Chris K

    The past few strips have been some of my favorite strips, and some of my least favorite comment sections.

    • R Lex Eaton

      …Sorry? ^^;;

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Yeah, the comment sections have been pretty bad. Still not as bad as the bodily autonomy comment sections from way back when.

      • Floweramon

        What point of the story was that from, I forgot?

        • Sterling Ericsson

          Any of the pages dealing with the a-hole guy who could boost the powers of others.

  • Hey, Anima, I get it. Feelings are scary. You wouldn’t be the first boy to try to pretend they don’t exist so you don’t have to feel them so much. Though your mental powers might make it possible for you to take full control over them and stop them from ever touching your brain. . .no wait, that’s not what “mind reading” means. And we have established your powers don’t even work on yourself. You’ve built this city to manage the superhumanly large amount of things in your brain and it’s impressive work, but from your arguments it’s getting more and more clear its basic biological function is still human, and your problems are still rooted in deep emotional trauma that has led to self-destructive loathing for and disconnection from your emotions, and you may be lucky your powers allow for this quick and dirty form of therapy instead of spending years talking it through with professionals that may not even be more likely to be able to help you.

    And lucky to have a friend who’s deeply personally motivated to help you both because she loves you and because she doesn’t want you to kill her.

    • NotPatrick

      Yea, I really don’t get why it’s so hard for people in fiction to actually talk like this. “Hey, I get that you have reasons for doing/believing X, and that you think it will give you A,B and C. I also want A B and C. That being said, here’s why I think X isn’t likely to succeed. How about we do Y instead, which seems to have a better chance of working?”

    • By the way isn’t it funny whenever we see someone believing intellect and feeling are opposing forces and they have to have one ruling their body at the expense of the other, it’s always feelings that have to be stamped out in order to create a perfectly rational machine, but never the other way around? I guess it could be we’re so proud of our big brains no one would conceive of the idea that turning it off would improve your life, or it’s only people who’re scared of their emotions who get the idea the two are opposed rather than vital components of a healthy person.

      • masterofbones

        Emotions are a short-term solution to immediate problems.They use generalizations and mental shortcuts to get an immediate, action provoking response. Fantastic for life and death situations, etc

        Logic is a long term solution looking at as much of the relevant info as possible, and obtaining much more trustworthy results, at the cost of more mental effort and time.

        In modern times, the necessity of using emotional shortcuts is *vastly* reduced, thus how many stories focus on removing emotion – it isnt as useful, so it is put aside. But in survival stories, you *do* see examples of logic being thrown aside for pure emotion. Such characters become animalistic and wild, great at living in hostile environments, but worse at working with people.

        TL:DR – it doesn’t always go that way. You just only read one type of story

        • Zorae42

          “Animalistic and wild” ? That sounds pretty logical to me. Most animals don’t have emotions. They do what needs to be done to survive. Dealing with people is all about making sure you don’t hurt the other person’s feelings, it’s way less logical.

          • masterofbones

            Welp, pretty much every single part of that statement was blatantly false. Not just the sentences, but the phrases and clauses too.

            Animalistic and wild is logical – false

            Most animals dont have emotions – false

            They do what needs to be done to survive – they follow their instincts, very different

            Dealing with people is about avoiding hurting feelings – *hilariously* false

            Dealing with people is illogical – completely false

        • Happyroach

          That’s…not really how the mind works. All decisions, even the most logical, are informed by and ultimately subservient to emotion. Pure logic by itself is useless- it’s impossible to logic one’s way to a decision. Logic is useful for presenting alternatives and justifying emotional decisions, but even long-term emotions are fundamentally based on emotion.

          Not that I’m saying logic is inferior to emotion- it’s like trying to say whether the warp or weft is better. But it is a secondary to emotion in decision making.



          • masterofbones

            Your comment has no bearing on my statement.

            Logic is still better long term – just because humans are bad at following it doesn’t change that. Hell, that’s exactly why you have stories where people are trying to rid themselves of emotion – A purely logical being will be wrong less often(assuming it has enough time to come to a conclusion)

        • I was thinking more of deciding thoughts are detrimental to correct emotional processes and deliberately dedicating yourself to purging them from your/everyone’s mind.

          • masterofbones


            (its got a bunch of instrumental stuff in it, I think the actual lyrics come in around 3 min)

            Its a story of Dionysus and Apollo battling for worshipers. It covers exactly what you are talking about.

      • Chani

        Does “faith” count as an emotion? I’ve seen religion and spirituality get pretty badly anti-logic.

        And then there’s anime, but it has the excuse of being entertainment. 🙂

        • Noone

          Faith isn’t an emotion so much as it is loyalty to an idea, wether it be religion or an ideology or even what you think a person is like.
          Of course this makes it hard to remain logical, since even direct evidence that undermines these ideas about what should be or what the world is like does not convince people to give up these ideas as long as they have faith, because faith is very much like loyalty.

          • Tylikcat

            I’ve wondered for a while whether it is always appropriate to equate faith and belief. I mean, clearly, many people do – and they’re often people who annoy me. (I find this vaguely personally interesting because I find it a useful practice to work on not believing in things, as both a scientist and – to whatever extent I am a buddhist – a buddhist*. I’m not sure if I don’t have faith, though – though, it’s certainly not a theistic sort of faith as I’m not a theist, nor is it something I’ve exactly sought out. I suspect it’s more of a matter of brain chemistry. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ )

            * I’m a member a chan order and live in a zendo, so, it’s kind of a thing, but I don’t really identify as a buddhist?

          • Noone

            I don’t think I equated faith and belief in my post, but I agree with you that they are different. Faith implies a certain level of loyalty to me that is less reliant on evidence, while i think belief is an idea someone holds based on either the available evidence or what they want the world/a person/a structure to be like.
            Faith seems more resilient and detached from evidence while beliefs can be changed by evidence or originate from it, though not necessarily.
            This is however a more personal take from me and I’m sure people who are more versed in linguistics, psychology and religious studies would be able to point out some errors in it.

            Still, I can see why people would equate faith and belief, since they are (according to my beliefs (har har)) very similair except for one key difference. So it isn’t much of a surprise these terms would start to blend together.

          • Tylikcat

            Yeah, I think we’d just be quibbling over definitions, and since I’m not particularly attached to the definition, that would be silly. I am intrigued by the idea of faith without belief, but I’m not sure what I experience would count as faith to, um, well, that vast majority people who give a shit about such things. It’s the kind of conversation that might be interesting to non-theists, and the more liberal and inclusive sort of theists, but I rather suspect most theists would be all “What the fuck?” about it. And that’s fine.

            I mean, heck, it might just be a particularly constructive form of apathy 🙂

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Belief is a necessary component of faith, but is not sufficent to define it. For example, i love my girlfriend, i belive she loves me back, and i have faith that our love can overcome every future obstacle. The first one is a “fact”, strongly supported by the direct observation of my own feelings (of course, there is always the possibility for self-deception, but that is true for every observation), the second one is a belief, a reasonable hypotesis built on observation of her behavior, the third is a faith, a “logical” jump built upon the precendt fact and belief. If tomorrow my facts or my belief should change, probably my faith will change accordingly, but the reverse is not necessarly true: not necessarly a a different person, starting from the same conditions, shall arrive to the same conclusion. A different person, in my shoes, may not share my faith, and come to the radical different conclusion that no, our love wil crumble at the first sign of problem. And his conclusion won’t be wronger than mine… You have faith, or you don’t.
            I still prefer my conclusion, yet ;).

  • The discussions around whether Alison’s burn the city and salt the earth solution to Patrick’s mental health issue is reasonable or unreasonable seem to be missing an essential point.

    Alison is bleeding and Feral is unconscious

    The woman who can barely be injured and the woman who can heal any injury near instantaneously are in serious danger.

    I’m not a fan of Alison’s plan, but the option to stabilise Patrick and call for competent help never really existed. Patrick was already broadcasting before he turned up at Alison’s door, and his danger level towards those around him has become rapidly worse*. Alison is now in a survival situation, with Feral unconscious and dependent on her. It’s gone from the patient is a mess and needs someone more competent than me, to the patient is a mess, wearing a suicide belt, is holding me and my bestie hostage, and I am the only one able to do something.

    I still don’t like Alison’s plan, but times up.

    * If Patrick knew he was descending into a crisis, then it raises the interesting posibility that he deliberately got under Clevin’s skin in order to get the civilian out of the apartment.

    • Happyroach

      And I still think the whole situation may have been an attempt by Patrick, or rather Lord Boy to kill Allison. Come into her life in a state where she feels she HAS to help. Create a situation where it
      “naturally” occurs to her to go into his mind- where she’s vulnerable.

      • I think the problem with this scenario is that Lord Boy presents as a Defender personality. It’s his job to keep Patrick safe. While Lord Boy does see Alison as a threat, and is trying to kill her, he’s only been granted this opportunity by Patrick descending into a state of extreme vulnerability. Whiile he might take measures to kill Alison, he almost certainly wouldn’t voluntarily risk Patrick’s health and life in that way.

  • Dave M

    Every time Lord Boy is named, I keep seeing him as a silver age super hero (possibly with a backstory of being bitten by a radioactive nobleman), but then I realise that the powers of noblesse oblige & droit du seigneur limit the sort of stories you can tell. 🙂

  • Zorae42

    You know, maybe by destroying the buildings, Alison will also destroy their contents as well. And that may be also part of what Patrick needs (as well as the whole emotion thing).

    Like, why does he need to save the life story of a random dude that sat next to him once? How does making space for all that help him? Especially if he’s apparently drained all of the emotional responses from those memories. Maybe he needs this stuff torn out, emotions introduced, and then he can do a better job of reading and storing the memories. And do a better job of deciding what to keep and what to forget. It seems like all the really important stuff is stored elsewhere and this is the oldest part of his storage that’s become corrupted and needs to be cleared out.

  • kwerboom

    “Wanting your brain to exist without irrational desires is in and of itself and irrational desire!”

    Now there is the truth if I have ever seen it. Of course Patrick has surrounded himself with so many lies and built his own self image with so many lies, its no wonder he couldn’t recognize the truth even if it ran up and hit him in the face.

  • Richard Wolfe

    Wow, just Wow! I love your writing. I am constantly amazed at your insights. I love it.

  • Jordan Hiller

    I’m thinking of this attempt by Alison to be similar to an orthopaedic surgeon fixing an incorrectly healed leg. She’s gonna have to break it before she start to make it better.

    • Olivier Faure

      On the other hand, it’s not like Allison has any psychiatric / metaphorical-mindstate-smashing training. If you see someone with an incorrectly healed bone, smashing the bone with a hammer until you feel like it can properly heal again *might* do more harm than good.

      • Jordan Hiller

        That is a very real danger. She might end up causing some severe psychological damage, but to be honest, Patrick’s already got such severe psychological issues that I’m not sure there’s much she could do to make him too much worse than he already is.

        • Olivier Faure

          Um, he could plausibly end up catatonic or dead or get epilepsy crises every few hours?

          • Jordan Hiller

            Remember the part where he smashed his head against a wall until he passed out? He’s already at the point where he’d need to be restrained to keep him from hurting or even killing himself. Therapy and medication could help, but that’s difficult enough with people without super powers and given his mindset and abilities, I’m not sure that he’d let anyone help him. Alison’s methods are crude, but they very well might be the only way to get him to open up enough for someone more qualified to help him.

  • Incendax

    She’s proposing literal mind rape, annihilating the very foundations of his identity in the name of being his friend with only the conviction that she is doing the right thing, and the distant prayer that the final outcome will be a positive one for Patrick.

    And it will be positive. Because COMIC! 😀

    • Beroli

      1) “Literal mind rape” is logically incoherent. Mind rape is figurative by definition. Using “literal” as an amplifier does nothing but obstruct communication.
      2) He showed up at her door and (figuratively but with amplifier) dragged her into his mind, she can’t get back to the non-cognitive world from there, and the (implicit or explicit) suggestions of all the entities she’s communicated with here have consisted of:
      Menace: “DIE.”
      The Sentinel: “DIE.”
      Lord Boy: “DIE.”
      Anima: “Kill that part of me and put me in charge so that I can cleanse Patrick of irrational desires. No, I won’t go against Lord Boy.”
      The Record-Keeper: “Hang around and look at these specific memories! No, I won’t go against Menace, Anima, or Lord Boy.”
      Gurwara: “Come see what he doesn’t want you to see!”

      What are you suggesting she should do? Actively do; “not smash the city” would not answer the question. (“Die, because she’s outvoted” would answer the question but would not strike me as a compelling case for the moral superiority of that course of action.)

      • Incendax

        Your reply comes off as extremely hostile and belittling. Is that your intent?
        (It’s good to check before deciding how to frame my response)

  • Thomas S

    Panel 8.


    Makes me wonder who was rummaging around in Patricks mindscape then, If Guwura is a figment of Patricks mind from behind the wall (unlikely) and what is the controlling gestault today in comarison to then.

  • Tiago Quintana

    “I don’t like the way this [country] is run and I’m going to use superior force to change things to my liking.”
    How very American of her.

    • ObviousPuppetAccount

      How does that song go again?
      “For might makes right,
      and till they’ve seen the light,
      they’ve got to be protected,
      all their right respected,
      till somebody we like can be elected.”

  • Jared Rosenberg

    This has become my favorite diss: Read a book!!