SFP

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  • Fluffy Dragon

    professor?

    • Weatherheight

      Oh yessir, tis da professor…

    • Kid Chaos

      Argh, anyone but that! Alison is in no shape to handle his mind games, and they’re not close enough for her to confide in him. 🤐

      • eh it’s not going to be mind games, he’s going to be sympathetic. Now that she’s learned the lesson he was trying to teach.

        • Kid Chaos

          You mean, how anyone can be lead into contradicting themselves when you put them on the spot and use the Socratic Method? 😜

          • Weatherheight

            Heh.
            The snark is strong in this post…

    • Mouser

      Yes, but not HIM – he doesn’t use a cane.

  • Katielynn

    Shoot, I’m worried about this. Gurwara, whatever your intentions, just let Alison have a couple minutes to herself, to cry and think things through and regroup 🙁 she’s been through way too much in the last 24 hours. I’m worried she’s going to snap and really threaten him – any attempts he’d make at this point to disrupt her outlook might just be too painful. Pushing someone can be good, in the right circumstances – but it can also hurt them if you push too much, and in Alison’s case, could hurt other people too if she gets too upset. I hope he realizes that.

    • Izo

      She doesn’t deserve that. I hope he does push her. I hope she has a moment of actual “I have done something horrible and I should be punished for it and not think ‘it was for a good cause – I’m an evil person and need to do something to make up for it to the person whom I wronged – Max’ ‘” And if she does wind up hurting enough innocent people who do not have the excuse of being libertarian to excuse their being threatened and forced, I hope people finally say ‘hey, maybe she is evil after all and should be stopped.’

      From what I’m seeing, the only consequence for her actions at all has been feeling guilty. You know what cold have prevented her from feeling guilty? Not doing the bad, tyrannical thing in the first place. That’s a great way to not feel guilty. Publicly admitting to the world what she did and admitting she needs to be in prison? That’s a great way to, if not feeling guilty, at least feel that you are not a frickin’ hypocrite compared to all the villains she put away when she used to be a hero.

      • Eric Meyer

        You know why people feel guilty? Because they’ve done something that goes against their moral grain.

        You know what those people probably aren’t going to do? [i]More things that make them feel guilty like that.[/i]

        That’s what Guilt is. It’s like pain, but for your moral system. So far, Allison’s only real feelings of guilt have been the ‘Social Justice’ ones and those associated with the mistakes of others- the equivalent of sore muscles and papercuts. Now, she, herself, has actually done something that is damaging to her moral fiber, and is feeling a severe laceration or puncture or broken arm (metaphorically speaking) for the first time. She’s not going to want to repeat that, and is going to be leery of doing anything that might exacerbate that pain.

        • Izo

          “You know why people feel guilty? Because they’ve done something that goes against their moral grain.”

          Or because they realize they’re not perfect. The fact that she said to Max that she would do it again makes me not care about her pathetic ‘guilt’ when her ACTIONS show that she’s a horrible person.

          Actions trump guilt. I don’t care if a rapist feels guilty for raping a woman, or if a murderer feels guilty for killing his or her victim. The woman was still raped. The victim was still killed. His or her feeling guilty is only one step. Guilt without punishment is hollow. Otherwise, what if I break into your car, steal it, and sell it. I won’t give back the money that I get from selling your car, but I’m sure I’ll feel really guilty about it. I promise I’ll be wracked with depression that I needed to steal your stuff. Hope that comforts you as you walk to work, while I’m free and have my bills paid because of my wrongdoing.

          “You know what those people probably aren’t going to do? [i]More things that make them feel guilty like that.[/i]”

          1) And if, like Alison said to Max, I leave you a note saying I’ll steal your next car as well, and there’s nothing you can do about it?

          2) Lets say I’m so wracked with guilt that I don’t steal your next car. Do you know that? No. You’re condemned to a life of not knowing when I will steal your car again. Looking over your shoulder forever. Plus having absolutely NO closure from the crime that was perpetrated upon YOU.

          “Now, she, herself, has actually done something that is damaging to her moral fiber, and is feeling a severe laceration or puncture or broken arm (metaphorically speaking) for the first time. She’s not going to want to repeat that, and is going to be leery of doing anything that might exacerbate that pain.”

          Why not? EVERYTHING worked out for her, even though she feels guilty about it. And guilt is just temporary. She’ll get over it, and the next time she needs to damage her moral fiber, she’ll find the guilt is a bit less, because she’s gotten used to it.

          No, that’s not how human beings work psychologically. If they can get away with something with absolutely no negative repercussions on them or on their plan, and no way for them to get in trouble at all with any meaningful effect, they will keep doing the bad act. They’ll get used to it. People are remarkable at justifying their bad actions, as so many people have justified Alison’s bad actions.

          • Eric Meyer

            The guilt IS a negative repurcussion.

            And I’m not saying that what she did isn’t wrong, just because she feels bad about it. Guilt isn’t a moral ‘get out of jail free’ card- far from it, and those who use that thought as an excuse to do further horrible things are generally just as bad as those who do horrible things without feeling any guilt at all. A good fictional example would be Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

            And do people always avoid things that have hurt them in the past? No, because people aren’t logical like that. But they’re darn well going to be hesitant to run a red light if last time they got into a car crash, or might be quicker to get out of a corrosive relationship if they’ve experienced one before. But people do stupid, self hurtful things- and honestly, sometimes the ‘pain’ is what they want in the first place.

            Now, hopefully Allison isn’t the sort of person to actively want to create more pain for herself (or guilt)- her upbringing, and what’s been shown of her so far suggest that she isn’t. Does that mean that her Hero complex and tyrannical way of viewing morality will let her ignore situations like the one with Max in the future? Probably not. Does it mean she most likely won’t say “Screw it, I’ve done this much already” and become a Justice Lord? Probably.

            Actually, speaking of Justice Lords- consider Man of Steel and BvS- both of those movies have Superman do something he was shown to absolutely hate doing- kill. BvS even showed it being rather easier for him. However, both times, it was the LAST RESORT, and he very specifically didn’t go taking over the world in order to force his own moral compass on everyone else. This is what upbringing and guilt does- though guilt can also work the other way, promoting tyranny, as can be seen in the Injustice arc of the comics.

            This is why I don’t think Al is going to go Dr. Doom on everyone, and why it’s important that she is feeling so much guilt- her situation isn’t going to point her at ‘do it more’ as a way to relieve the guilt via ‘proof that it was the right thing to do’- even though in the small scale, that’s happened. She’s not going to have the people around her, her support network, who she loves and trusts and cares about, tell her ‘that was the right thing to do, and you should do it more’. Maybe if she didn’t have that support network, maybe if she wasn’t actively trying to repair/rebuild old friendships, and was instead making herself a Fortress of Solitude, I’d be more worried. But she isn’t, and I’m not.

            This is just an example of falling before you can get back up. She’s made a mistake, she’s dealing with the consequences. Hers just, since she’s invulnerable and publicly known, happen to be emotional and mental, rather than physical.

          • Izo

            “The guilt IS a negative repurcussion.”

            No, guilt alone is NOT a negative repercussion. I predicted that people would say stuff like this when she FIRST did what she did to Max. That people would bend over backwards to excuse what she did, and that if there was ANYTHING that happened, it would be something lame like ‘I feel guilty about what I did, but nothing bad happened and the plan went off perfectly, therefore it was justified’ – a horrible moral like that.

            Take it into real life. You steal from someone. You don’t get caught. You feel guilty but nothing bad happens to you. The GUILT alone is BS as far as repercussions go. Because the next time you steal, there’s going to be less guilt, and if you keep getting away with it, soon you won’t feel any guilt at all. Negative repercussions are things that actually teach you a lesson that what you did was wrong. She has no reason now to think what she did was wrong, because she can rationalize it as ‘it worked, everyone benefitted except MAx, and Max is a jerk so that doesn’t matter anyway, and I feel guilty but i’ll just emo my way through that and forget about the guilt as soon as my short attention span which let me forget my entire speech to Cleaver nullifies the guilt.’

            You rape a girl. And afterwards, you feel guilty about it. But you already did the crime. And if the girl is too scared to press charges, you will not have consequences for your action. The guilt alone is BS again. It does not provide closure for the victim.

            You murder a person during some sort of crime of passion. You feel really bad about having killed the person, and feel guilty, but you get away with it and cover your tracks. You’re wracked with guilt, but that’s it. It doesnt suddenly make the person you killed come back to life, and it doesnt show you any lesson other than that you can get away with murder.

            You are a person who beats his/her spouse regularly. Your spouse is too terrified of you to report it, and yoyu feel guilty about it AFTER every time you beat up your spouse. But you keep doing it anyway, because there’s no negative repercussion except that you feel guilty about it. Guilt = BS.

            Not guilty enough to turn yourself into the police though in any of these scenarios. No no no. That would be an actual negative consequence of your actions, and you’re not feeling THAT guilty.

            “And I’m not saying that what she did isn’t wrong, just because she feels bad about it. Guilt isn’t a moral ‘get out of jail free’ card- far from it, and those who use that thought as an excuse to do further horrible things are generally just as bad as those who do horrible things without feeling any guilt at all.”

            I agree with what you are saying here – but it’s conflicting with your first sentence. When I say ‘negative repercussions’ I’m talking about how if you don’t have negative repercussions, it’s essentially a ‘get out of moral jail free’ card, as you described. And guilt is not a get ouf of jail free card. The moral of the story to anyone reading it, and to the protagonist, is ‘this is an acceptable thing to do.’

            “Actually, speaking of Justice Lords- consider Man of Steel and BvS- both of those movies have Superman do something he was shown to absolutely hate doing- kill. BvS even showed it being rather easier for him. However, both times, it was the LAST RESORT, and he very specifically didn’t go taking over the world in order to force his own moral compass on everyone else.”

            Actually, in the Justice Lords scenario, Superman started finding it easier and easier to kill and remove liberties from the populace with each time he crossed that line. Same as in Injustice: Gods Among Us. To the point where he is doing things like killing Billy Batson in cold blood, probably the nicest person in the DC Universe, someone who was even FOLLOWING him out of hero worship, just for questioning him about a plan to destroy two cities worth of citizens to teach them a lesson about hiding the Batman.

            “This is just an example of falling before you can get back up. She’s made a mistake, she’s dealing with the consequences. Hers just, since she’s invulnerable and publicly known, happen to be emotional and mental, rather than physical.”

            But there ARE no consequences for her here. That’s my point. You’ve sort of already shown that you recognize that by the ‘get out of jail free’ paragraph that you wrote. Maybe it’s because of the types of jobs I’ve had in the past, or maybe it’s because I believe very strongly in personal liberty, but I don’t have sympathy for the victimizer. I have sympathy for the victim. And no amount of guilt by the victimizer after the fact helps the victim, or teaches a lesson to the victimizer which will result in them not victimizing another person in the future should they be at the same crossroads again.

          • Eric Meyer

            I think there may be something to your thought about the “jobs [you’ve] had…” thing- most of the arguments you’re giving sound like situations where there’s something external driving the person to do the ‘bad action’ in the first place (except the rape- rape’s pretty much never justifiable, to me at least).

            Theft? Material needs. Murder? You say so yourself- in the midst of a Crime of Passion, driven by emotions from a different source. Spouse beating? Probably driven by an addiction of some sort, or, again, emotional instability about something other than the spouse beating (if you’re feeling guilty about it- all these situations could come about due to amorality or twisted up pleasure responses, but you’d probably feel less than guilty in that case, so they’re not relevant to this discussion).

            You’re talking about people who’s lives have required them to do these things, and who’s lives will probably require them to do these things again- in which case, yes, the guilt will go away over time.

            Even in Injustice (and I was thinking more about BvS and Man of Steel’s portrayals of Supes, as those, I think, more closely match what Al is going through now), Superman has external forces urging him to do the things he does- both Wonder Woman and his other supporters (taken, in Als case, by the forms of Feral and those telling her “Whatever you did is great!”) urging him that tyranny is a good decision, and in the form of grief and anger from the inciting incident. He’s pushed to keep traveling down the slippery slope a lot more than Allison is. And it is a classic slippery slope, because he doesn’t do the more reprehensible things until much, much further down the line- he started very much as a grief-stricken idealist.

            But Allison was motivated to do [i]her[/i] ‘terrible thing’ BECAUSE OF guilt, and now she’s feeling the guilt of her action- so in this case, the guilt she’s currently feeling is directly in opposition to doing the same thing again.

            Might she oppress again? Yes, if her ‘guilt over the world’ or hero complex becomes too much again. But now it has something to directly compete against, and it takes a special kind of person to feel more guilty about abstaining from an action that doing an action.

          • Izo

            “I think there may be something to your thought about the “jobs [you’ve] had…” thing- most of the arguments you’re giving sound like situations where there’s something external driving the person to do the ‘bad action’ in the first place (except the rape- rape’s pretty much never justifiable, to me at least).”

            I’ve worked in a DA’s office before (for one year – I also worked in alternative dispute resolution for family courts). There’s sometimes external factors at play obviously (although yes, with rape I’ve yet to see a single example where it wasn’t that the person just had horrible impulse control and a delusional rationalization that the person wanted it, or that that person was ‘asking for it), but for a scary amount of the time, the crimes tended to be a matter of having poor impulse control or an idea that the world OWED the person something – and that somehow that meant they were justified in using force. Or sometimes because of upbringing, skewing their ideas of what is and is not acceptable (which I think of as horrible parenting akin to brainwashing an easily influenced child to make them into an awful human being). Alison does not have the excuse of poor upbringing – she had GREAT parents who tried to teach her right from wrong.

            “Theft? Material needs. Murder? You say so yourself- in the midst of a Crime of Passion, driven by emotions from a different source.”

            Crimes of Passion can be for all sorts of reasons – it usually doesnt require a lot of thought on the part of the perpetrator. What Alison did to Max was not a crime of passion though. She thought through the idea of using violence. She thought that through a whole lot more than she tried to think of any non-violent ways to convince him. And if non-violent ways don’t work, a normal, rational, MORAL human being does not then immediately progress to violence to force someone to do something against their will. It’s like saying ‘this woman won’t sleep with me, even though I’ve sweet talked her and bought her dinner. Oh well, guess the only way to have sex with her is to rape her.’ There’s a fundamental disconnect to rationality in that type of thinking, whether the end result is getting sex from the victim, getting money given to the perpetrator from the victim, or getting the victim to actively do anything else they do not want to do.

            “Spouse beating? Probably driven by an addiction of some sort, or, again, emotional instability about something other than the spouse beating (if you’re feeling guilty about it- all these situations could come about due to amorality or twisted up pleasure responses, but you’d probably feel less than guilty in that case, so they’re not relevant to this discussion).”

            I’ve found that a majority of the spousal abuse cases I’ve been involved in, both in family court ADR and in the DA’s office, had very little to do with addiction. Sometimes there was being drunk or high involved, but even in those cases, there were instances of abuse when the defendant was NOT high or drunk. Most of the time, it had to do with no impulse control, anger management issues, upbringing, and a self-entitled viewpoint that others should pander to the victimizer, and if they do not, then it’s obviously the victim’s fault and the victimizer is justified in whatever he (or she) does.

            “You’re talking about people who’s lives have required them to do these things, and who’s lives will probably require them to do these things again- in which case, yes, the guilt will go away over time”

            I’ve yet to ever see an example where a person’s life required them to rape another person, or murder another person (outside of war), or abuse another person (abuse being different than self-defense). ‘Desensitization is a word that’s often misused, to describe people watching violent TV and video games (which is stupid – video games and TV don’t cause violence, that’s false correlation without an actual cause and effect). What REALLY causes desensitization is doing a negative thing and not facing any punishment for it, where the end goal is totally met with no problems whatsoever. The more a person does something which is negative and evil, and does NOT face any negative repercussions, the more they become desensitized to the guilt afterwards, assuming they even feel guilty at all (which most people do, at least at first – unless they’re sociopaths or delusional in the rationalization their actions).

            “Even in Injustice (and I was thinking more about BvS and Man of Steel’s portrayals of Supes, as those, I think, more closely match what Al is going through now),”

            No, the breaking point for Superman was the Joker using some sort of fear toxin to get Superman to kill Lois and his unborn child, which made him kill the Joker. Then after he did that, he found it a lot easier to kill people – including people who were not evil, and even people who just disagreed with him.

            Max is not the Joker btw. He didn’t do anything even remotely on that level, and Alison is a weak willed and weak morals individual for letting ‘you’re selfish’ be her breaking point. She’s an awful example of a hero, or even of a decent human being, entirely because of what she did to Max. Not because of the flamethrower guy, which was justifiable. Not because of letting Moonshadow go, which was just being stupid and unable to turn in her friend. Not even because of not arresting Patrick, a mass murderer, because there’s at least the excuse that Patrick plays mind games and is GOOD at manipulating people.

            No, with Max, she did it because she’s just a bully and a tyrant, like Gurwara said. God I cringe every time I have to admit that Gurwara was right, but he was. Totally and completely right.

            “Superman has external forces urging him to do the things he does- both Wonder Woman and his other supporters (taken, in Als case, by the forms of Feral and those telling her “Whatever you did is great!”) urging him that tyranny is a good decision, and in the form of grief and anger from the inciting incident.”

            According to Batman, most people follow Superman either out of fear, or hero worship where they don’t think through what they’re following. A few, like Wonder Woman, follow him out of love and loyalty (Wonder Woman has often been portrayed as coming from a civilization for which this type of tyrannical thinking is a very short step away, honestly – even in mainstream Wonder Woman books and the Wonder Woman animated movie, not to mention the ‘Amazon Attacks’ storyline).

            “He’s pushed to keep traveling down the slippery slope a lot more than Allison is. And it is a classic slippery slope, because he doesn’t do the more reprehensible things until much, much further down the line- he started very much as a grief-stricken idealist.”

            Yes, he went down the slippery slope a lot more, but he also had a LOT more to push him as well. Alison had almost NOTHING needed to push her down it.

            But in both cases, the hero has become a villain and there’s nothing about Injustice Superman that I find remotely redeemable. I’m happy that Supergirl, in the new video game, is apparently on Batman’s side, not Superman’s.

            “Might she oppress again? Yes, if her ‘guilt over the world’ or hero complex becomes too much again.”

            This is honestly a horrifying prospect, and the reason why there needs to be an actual negative repercussion for her actions, or her actions need to fail and not be perfectly as planned when her planning stage was moronic and ill thought out at best.

            “But now it has something to directly compete against, and it takes a special kind of person to feel more guilty about abstaining from an action that doing an action”

            I don’t even think she feels guilty over what she did to Max. She feels guilty about what the action she did to Max means for HER. She’s self-centered.

            Her guilt didn’t stop her from doing this to Max (see the Professor Cohen story arc), and it won’t stop her in the future. If anything, it’ll get easier for her.

          • Eric Meyer

            You know, I think you’ve won this debate. I’m still optimistic that Al won’t travel down that slope (and I figure that the narrative causality of this particular webcomic won’t let her go that way) but I’m not seeing it as out-of-character as before.

            What you were saying about poor impulse control especially rings true, and is something I hadn’t considered (probably because of my own experiences). Maybe it’s just a weakness of the medium, but I do think you’re right about her not considering her other options more- perhaps Feral’s situation was weighing heavier on her than we saw, or there was something she knew (keeping track of organ waiting lists or something) that we didn’t, but those sorts of things weren’t shown, and so you’re right that it looks like she jumped to ‘violence is the answer’- possibly explained (but not excused!) by her past as a Superhero..

    • HanoverFist

      “she’s been through way too much in the last 24 hours”

      Yes, treating another person as an object to be used is so traumatic.

      • shink55

        Actually, barring some sort of dehumanization of the person or view of oneself as having the right to do so, it is. I’d argue she’s going through the five stages of grief right now, which don’t always have to come in order, also they can be skipped and revisited. We’ve got denial (happened right after, where she threatened to do it again if she felt like it), and depression so far. Gurwara gives her a pretty good person to bargain with as to the consequences of her actions. If I’m right, anger will be interesting.

    • Tylikcat

      I suppose I’m reading this as her going there specifically to meet Gurwara. I don’t see this as accidental, and I think her breaking down is in anticipation of the meeting – probably both dread and catharsis.

      I could be wrong, of course, but… under this hypothesis, Alison is a wreck, and she knows she’s a wreck (I think this is supported by her conversation with Clevin.) She’s probably been desperately trying to figure out what to do, and who to turn to. And if she has chosen to turn to Gurwara, that’s a really good thing. I mean, Rosenblum might have been nice about it. But everything she knows about Gurwara indicates that he isn’t going to pull punches, and he’s going to call her on her bullshit.

      I maintain a sneaking suspicion that he can be kind, but in this case, part of that might be knowing when not to be. I mean, the best thing that we know about Alison’s character is that she really cares about justice. She is pretty lost in the woods right now, and someone coming and telling her everything is okay is not what she’s looking for.

    • Jovial Contrarian

      “and in Alison’s case, could hurt
      other people too if she gets too upset. I hope he realizes that.”
      Quick, let’s coddle the Super Baby! We can’t let this adult person get too upset, or she will destroy us all!

  • Haven

    The professor is my second favorite character in this comic after Paladin, so I’m really glad to see him again.

  • Lucy

    I’m really excited for this confrontation! (or…commiseration???)

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I’m wary of the fact that this is the perfect setup for Alison to be in full anguish and him to be the level headed, relativistic “don’t worry torture is not that bad” one, for consolation and teaching purposes.
      Please let him be as merciless as he was before instead.

      • Arkone Axon

        Unless they do some MASSIVE character derailment (not only with Gurwara, but also Alison – since this’ll put her into full on Mary Sue territory), then I don’t think we have to worry about that. The whole point of ethics is to create a code of conduct where you DON’T do things like… torture and involuntary servitude.

        • cphoenix

          Ugh. “Mary Sue” is an idea that needs to die. To take one of many, many examples – if a woman had written the character of Honor Harrington, the books would never have been published. Harrington is smart, fast, rich, an excellent sword fighter, heroic, Commander and later Admiral of starships, and to top it all off she has a rare psychic pet/sidekick.

          No woman could write such a character without it being labeled Mary Sue. And that’s just not fair.

          • saysomethingclever

            Per Wikipedia “A Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment.[1] Sometimes the name is reserved only for women, and male Sues are called “Gary Stus” or “Marty Stus”; but more often the name is used for both sexes of offenders.[2][3]”

            This is basically what i understand as a Mary Sue ever since i first ran into the idea almost 20 years ago (as a critique of fan fiction writers mostly), and Honor Harrington fits the definition to a T.

            The idea that only women authors write Mary Sues is very recent. *All* amateur writers write Mary Sues. I don’t like how that connotation is growing.

          • cphoenix

            Heh. I’m… kind of amused, and a bit appalled, that you’d even imply David Weber is an amateur writer. His bibliography lists 78 books.

            It’s not just a connotation – “Mary Sue” is used to attack (not just criticize) any woman who writes a female character that’s remotely interesting. Some women have quite writing.

            If the idea could be somehow de-gendered, it would be useful. But at this point, it can’t. As a gendered idea, it needs to die.

          • Arkone Axon

            I haven’t read the Honor Harrington series – yet. I intend to, someday. What I’ve heard about her suggests that she IS the sort of character that I would admire, and who is not a Mary Sue. Or the male counterpart, which is EXACTLY THE SAME THING: A Marty Stu. Let’s just call them MSes for a nice gender-neutral term.

            Some examples of an MS: Marvel’s Wolverine, ever since the 90s. What was once a complex and interesting character has become “Stabbity McGee,” presented as being always in the right no matter what, is considered a loner despite being on multiple teams, and is constantly surrounded by beautiful women who want to play Beauty to his Beast. In the animated “Hulk versus” double feature we see him beat the same emerald goliath that had just beaten Thor. When “keen nose, extra fast healing, and metal claws” beats “thunder god,” there’s a problem there.

            Frank Miller’s All Star Batman. Violent, deranged, kidnapped newly orphaned kids and imprisoning them in the Batcave to eat rats – as one critic summed it up, “This is not Batman. This is Crazy Steve. This is clearly a mentally ill homeless man who stumbled into the Batcave and stole the suit.” Bonus points on the MS meter for stealing Green Lantern’s ring and making him whine and pout and completely forget that he can literally will the ring back to his finger with a thought.

            Anita Blake. Oi vey… a friend insisted I read the books to see her awesomeness… I finally had enough after the one where she goes to Las Vegas (MY hometown!). All the powers of a vampire AND every lycanthrope, none of their weaknesses (except for needing to have sex twice a day). Possibly the most self absorbed and selfish protagonist I have EVER seen, with the exception of the Boss from the Saints Row games. By the time I gave up on the series (which is why my friend is now annoyed when I bring it up, because I have LOTS of trivia to offer up as reasons why she’s so horrible), Anita had literally NO female friends who were not subordinate to her. She had a wererat bodyguard (who I found more interesting than Anita), she had a few other female underlings… that was it. Otherwise there were female characters who existed to be victims, and female characters who were strong and not Anita’s subordinate – and invariably evil and likely to be destroyed.

            Rayne from the webcomic “Least I Could Do.” You… you don’t even want to know.

            Mora from the webcomic “Las Lindas.” Her first defining act is to trick a guy into coming to her home and then using him as slave labor. From then on it will be repeatedly emphasized how he’s a horrible and terrible person, even though he ends up being the only person on the farm to have never stolen from, physically assaulted, or cheated another resident. Mora’s nemesis Alejandra Coldthorn objects to the Empress of the World literally descending to earth to award Mora first place in a contest Alejandra had won, only to be stripped naked and made a laughingstock. Later the authors decided to have Alejandra and Mora bury the hatchet and Mora… forgive… Alejandra.

            As I understand it, Honor Harrington is basically a genderswapped scifi homage to Admiral Horatio Nelson. She’s even an amputee; MSes generally do not suffer physically debilitating injuries that damage their appearance (beyond a mostly cosmetic scar or something). And she’s surrounded by intelligent and capable characters who are not outshined by her presence. Nobody is made to be an idiot or incompetent just to make her look good. That’s the big one, the primary aspect of an MS: they have to shine at the EXPENSE of other characters, rather than shine as part of an impressive ensemble cast.

          • Tylikcat

            Anita Blake was kind of fun in the first few books, when she was simply a vampire hunter with a only slightly unusual skillset. “I don’t vampire, I kill them.” I think was the last line of the first book.

            It, er, didn’t last.

          • cphoenix

            My point was a bit different. I was not saying that Honor Harrington was a MS. I was saying that, if she had been written by a woman, she would have been called an MS, and the author would have been attacked and denigrated for writing such a transparent wish fulfillment character.

            That’s why “Mary Sue” is an ugly idea – because it’s become gendered, and used to attack any woman who writes a remotely cool female character. Some women have stopped writing because of this. (Don’t blame them unless you’ve experienced a full-on Internet-bullying attack yourself.)

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, we’ve been pointing out that MS is a completely genderneutral concept – and it has nothing to do with the author. It’s all about the character. Frank Miller (“Crazy Steve), Joe Quesada (“Stabbity McGee”), Ryan Sohmer (“Least I Could Do” and Rayne) are all male. I THINK that Chalo (“Las Lindas” and Mora) is male, but I honestly don’t know. Or care. It’s completely irrelevant.

          • Izo

            And Steven Seagal! Lets not forget every Steven Seagal role 🙂

          • Arkone Axon

            Try as we might… @[email protected]

          • Izo

            I heard that Seagal cried and whined about how his character was killed in Executive Decision, because he honestly believes, and usually has in his employment contracts, that his characters are supposed to be godlike and perfect like he is.

            I’m not kidding. I wish I was kidding and making this up.

          • Izo

            However can you say that. Look at this man’s acting range! 🙂

            http://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/8165_700b.jpg

          • Kid Chaos

            I’m just going to reply on a few points…

            All Star “I’m the Goddamn” Batman: Agreed, especially on Green Lantern. You forgot to mention that while he was de-ringed, Robin took offense to something he said and almost crushed his trachea with one punch, forcing Batman to do emergency first aid and rush GL to the hospital. Now THAT’S crazy!

            Anita Blake: *sigh* I’m a fan, but she has gone off the rails (character-wise). “Affliction” was pretty good, but I stopped reading “Crimson Death” about 1/4 of the way through (not because of “MS”, but instead another pointless argument with a lover/minor character I don’t really care about).

            Honor Harrington: Minus an arm *and* an eye! (Cybernetics are a thing, though; never fear.) Not an MS, I think. The series is still interesting, since it has switched focus from Honor to other characters. But I hope Honor re-emerges from author-imposed exile soon. 😎

          • Izo

            Mary Sues happen in media all the time. It tends to be a sucky, derivative construction though. And you shouldn’t act like it’s just women. There are men who are Mary Sues as well. They’re called Gary Stu’s.

            For example….. every Steven Seagal movie ever made, except Executive Decision. EVERY OTHER ONE though…. pure Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

      • Tylikcat

        I have faith in his ethics and didactic methods.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          That’s generous of you. He’s still a rude drunkard with a bag of rocks the pedagogical concerns of which I’ve had constant examples and clashes with in university, to me.

          • Tylikcat

            I think we had a pretty involved discussion about just how my standards were possibly warped.

          • Tylikcat

            (Come to think of it, I always was more comfortable with his interactions with Alison than the rest of the class.)

      • Cyrano111

        Given that that would be the exact opposite of the lesson he was teaching earlier, it seems unlikely.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          It’s kind of pointless to have her go “I fucked up” if he’s just going to answer “why yes verily you did”

  • Werekat

    You know you’ve made a recognizable character when people catch who they are from their shoes and walking cane! Nicely done, authors. 🙂

    • Lysiuj

      Remember, that’s how he first appeared…

  • Cokely

    About time.

  • I’m hoping that he’s supportive.

    • SJ

      … And I’m hoping that he’s not. I’d like to see him give her the What The Hell, Hero? speech that she’s had coming for months now.

      • Weatherheight

        Is it too much to ask that he be capable of doing both (Yeah, probably, but bear with me)?

        I’m not sure Alison really needs the Short Sharp Shock™ usually associated with “What the Hell, Hero?” – the trope usually is associated with a hero blithely doing crappy things and not seeing those actions and their consequences as related things. I’m getting the feeling that Alison is getting that.

        The recrimination is probably needed though, to make sure Alison really is getting it. Where it goes from there will give us more insight into who Guwara really is (besides a professor with a bit of a base streak in him).
        Additionally, I hope the story of how Guwara’s body got trashed comes up – seriously, the dude appears to have been through a meat-grinder of a life at some point.

      • A speech would probably make a shut down and become defensive. However, making the same points in amongst providing emotional and moral support means that she is more likely to listen.

  • Lysiuj

    This feels a bit like her talk with Daniel…
    Like how he was so sure he had the world figured out, but when he allowed himself to think of the people he hurt he broke down. Al is in a similar moment right now.
    Now we have to wait and see if Gurwara will offer her consolation, or something else.
    [I mean, there’s even a chess set!]

    • Arkone Axon

      There’s a significant difference between Daniel and Alison, and their situations. Daniel was sending melodramatic texts and being passive-aggressive about his cries for emotional support because he was so despondent about the end of his comic book superhero team. Alison is sitting on a bench crying because she feels guilty about… committing multiple felonies. She doesn’t need a hug, she needs a butt-kicking. A verbal, psychological butt-kicking, but frankly that’s the best kind – especially in her case.

      • HanoverFist

        You’re thinking of Hector. Daniel is cleaver’s real name. I imagine sending texts would be pretty difficult for him.

        • Arkone Axon

          YES! Sorry, I’m terrible with names. Hector, sweet lovable little Hector who is hot for a teacher that’s clearly hot for him. I love Hector. ^.^

      • Lysiuj

        What Hanover said, though you are right about the difference between Hector and Al’s situations.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Well, the fact that it took him approximately five seconds to find her in a compromising situation so he can berate her and in the presence of a chess board is absolutely inconspicuous

    • Weatherheight

      I have to wonder – do they really leave chess pieces just lying about overnight in the parks in New York, or is this supposed to indicate that a rather significant time has passed in which Alison has been wandering around?

      Nice eye, by the way – I skipped right over that without thinking about the various implications.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        I guess it’s some more of the ol’ “visual medium can do away with a few internal consistencies”

        • Michael Ben Silva

          Or there was a super-powered teen who loved chess. Chessmaster made it her entire mission to keep every public board fully stocked, and instilled a terrible fear in any fool who would consider pocketing a piece.

      • Urthman

        Pretty sure there’s a meta whose power is invisibility who comes and plays chess against another meta whose power is telekinesis just for the fun of watching people’s reaction.

      • 3-I

        They’re just glued down. Specifically to fuck with people who play chess.

        • Weatherheight

          That never occurred to me. That sounds like something I would have done in my long-ago youth.

    • Markus

      If he goes and acts like a schmuck right now I want her to punch him so hard that the hydrogen in the blood in his chests fuses into deuterium.

      • …Reminds me of the Greatest Chemistry Joke. How’s your Spanish?

        Él era bella cual cianamida cálcica. Él era apuesto cual acetato cúprico. Se miraron y al igual que el tisol y la fenolftaelína se adoraron. Pero el padre ella, que además de metanol era un poco buteno, le dijo: “Dimestibamina, pimacona, si te vuelvo a ver con jóvenes monovalentes, te pego una potasa en el cloruro que te desalbuminoideo.”

        • Ptorq

          The best chemistry joke I know goes “Two atoms are walking down the street. One says to the other ‘I just lost an electron.’ The second one asks ‘Are you sure?’ and the first one says ‘Yes, I’m positive.'”

          Now, that relies on a double meaning of the word “positive” in English, so it might not be funny translated into some other language.

          I think that may also be the case here, because while my Spanish isn’t great, translated with Google Translate, this joke is not only not funny, it makes no sense. I mean, it’s not that I can’t understand the sentences, it’s that they’re actual nonsense. Does it rely on some kind of Spanish pun or idiom? “I’ll stick a potassium in the chloride?”

          • Mechwarrior

            Two chemistry professors walk into a bar. The first one says “I’ll have a glass of H2O.”
            The second one says “I’ll have a glass of H2O too.”

            The second guy died.

          • Urthman

            It’s better if it’s two students who came over to the Chemistry professor’s house and, thinking to impress him, said…

          • Ptorq

            This is another one that only works in English because of the too/two homophone; in German, for instance, the words would be “auch” and “zwei”, which don’t sound anything alike.

          • Elbadasso

            Seriously. Let’s do a moratorium on chem jokes. Officially. A cesium desist.

          • Izo

            Your post is proof positive that all the good chemistry jokes argon.

          • Izo

            Please stop the chemistry jokes. I’ve sulfured enough.

          • Mechwarrior

            How ionic.

          • David Nuttall

            I do not know of a bar that carries hydrogen peroxide as a drinkable. The tingle on the tongue when you take the first sip should tell you something is off. Go into the bar and as for Dihydrogen monoxide.

          • It’s mostly nonsense, and the chemistry is gobbledegook. It relies on the sounds of the words – “dimestibamina, pimacona (picarona = rascal), te pego una potasa (paliza = spanking) en el cloruro (culo = bum) que te desalbuminoideo (just sounds funny)”

        • Jac

          I’m getting tired of these chemistry jokes. I think we should Barium.

          • Izo

            Yeah, I’m with you on that. A friend of mine just asked if I wanted to hear a joke about sodium. I told him Na.

    • Cyrano111

      They aren’t in the presence of the chess board. She was walking away from it, and must be sitting on a different bench that is not even in sight in panel 2.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        As far as you know this may be four hours later.
        A wholetogether different park.
        Someone who robbed Gurwara’s shoes and cane.
        Not even Alison the blond figure we see from a distance!

    • Balthazar

      Oh, I hope they play chess Xavier vs Magneto style.

    • Zac Caslar

      Because Guwara _must_ berate her? Seems like an assumption of villainy before actually establishing the fact.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Villainy? I yearn for anyone to trumpslap Alison’s dumb face for thinking she could ever get away with coercion.

        • Zac Caslar

          Does sleepless Allison bawling on a public bench suggest to you that she’s “getting away with it”?
          And what should a prospective punishment be in the eyes of the law? If somehow what she’d done was actually legal would you still demand she be punished?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            “And if you weren’t the person you currently are and this webcomic didn’t actually exist the way it does would you still”

          • Zac Caslar

            Of course I would, and I’m surprised you’re dodging the question so ineptly.

            Answer it. Don’t Trump out now.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Only if you tell me the only good answer to the question would you find me more attractive if I was more attractive

          • Zac Caslar

            Of course I won’t because I’m voluntarily contrarian.

            I think you’re fine just as you are if you can be comfortable with it, and if you can’t you should change.

            You’re the speartip of this demand for backlash and I’m bored with it. That’s not what you actually want, but I think just ignoring you would be overkill. So let’s go around again ’til you finally say what you want or get too bored to continue.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            I tend to try to always give the most interesting answer I possibly can to any question. If you see me saying stupid stuff instead, I genuinely have nothing better. Would you be satisfied by a shrug?
            – Feeling sorry for herself is not enough
            – The appropriate narrative punishment would be her being lectured for three pages with absolute disdain
            – If torture was legal the pigs would fly

          • Zac Caslar

            A shrug? A little, so thanks for that. Sincerely. I prize honest indifference for at least it’s genuine content.

            I am a little surprised you’re fine with her just being chewed out. I see a lot more calls for her entirely world to be torn down than for her mental wounds to be generously salted.

            Personally I think Guwara is going to illustrate how perfectly she became a tyrant and how unavoidably necessary that kind of brutal action and resolve can end up being.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Nah, a lecture has always been this webcomic’s strongest offensive strategy.

          • Zac Caslar

            Of course, because that’s an effective way to engage the audience.

            I’d ask what his judgement of her is going to be, but I’m pretty sure he won’t bother to cast judgement at all.

          • Arkone Axon

            Feeling guilty about committing a crime isn’t the same thing as facing the consequences of that crime. There was a case some years ago where a woman hit a homeless guy with her car, then drove home and left him embedded in her windshield all weekend. She kept coming into the garage to apologize because she was VERY sorry… even as he kept begging her to call the hospital, to get him help, to do something, ANYTHING other than just leave him in her windshield to die slowly and in agony. Instead she just… kept apologizing, then going back into her house and leaving him there.

            She’s in jail now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Gregory_Glen_Biggs

          • Izo

            I remember that news story from when it happened!

          • Zac Caslar

            We can split the difference, but I don’t see her reflexively apologizing for driving along with him literally dying on the hood of her car to be about actual contrition. That’s more like a psychotic reaction for how outside conventional actions -even those involving calculated cruelty- that is.

            And guilt is a consequence of a behavior. That’s inescapable. You want a legal punishment and it looks very much there won’t be one.

          • Arkone Axon

            I could provide more personal examples… suffice to say I’ve known people who say they’re sorry, and they really do mean it… and yet they keep on doing the things they’re sorry for doing. They feel just awful about it… as they keep on doing it. And their guilt, their unhappiness, feeling so badly about what they’re doing… doesn’t do a thing to make it better for the people they’re doing it to.

          • Zac Caslar

            I hear you, I suspect I’ve even been that person. And in my case I think the problem wasn’t false contrition so much as it was that the guilt wasn’t as bad as not taking the action.

            It was an issue of consequences and reality is that Allison’s consequences are unknowable, but that she feels guilt matters. If you think it doesn’t spend a second on what a future with an Allison who operates completely untethered from remorse or empathy looks like.

            Her guilt does nothing to aid Max, but it does change the odds that she’ll do it again.

          • Arkone Axon

            We’ll see… now that we have Gurwara talking to her, that is a hopeful possibility.

          • Izo

            Yes, crying about something bad that you did, for which you were not punished, for which everything went the EXACT way you wanted, perfectly, without any problems or negative repercussions or outcomes to the plan, is ‘getting away with it.’

            You go rob a bank, and you get away with it, but you feel bad afterwards and cry about it. But you keep the money. Big whoop, you’re upset – for now. Guess what. You got away with it. You’re still a criminal and should be in jail, but you’re not. Because you got away with it.

        • Virgil Clemens

          For one, she’s gotten away with coercion plenty of times, so it’d be a rather limp wristed trumpslap. For two, I see no point in berating her if it doesn’t actually help; I care more about getting her to either get better at non-coercive persuasion & help her be less likely to go down any slippery slope so she only considers what she did as an option for circumstances such as Max+Feral (ideally both).

  • ALIBOT.THE.MURDEROUS.LESBORG

    YES
    THE.KISS.WAS.THAT.BAD

    • Zac Caslar

      In case the Collective is wondering I’m the one hinting that we should send Tara a Pandora’s Box giftcard for the holidays. 😀

      • 4LI50N.THE.STABCURIOUS.MACHINE

        that.would.do.i.guess

  • cphoenix

    So when Feral meets some of her fans on the street, people are all like “Maybe they’re not really fans! Maybe she’ll get abducted! Maybe then Alison will learn her lesson!”

    When Alison goes for a lonely walk and one particular nemesis finds her just as she starts her breakdown, no one says “How did he know where to find her? Who is giving him this information, and what is their purpose?”

    Because, you know, he’s likely to make Alison feel worse. And thus gratify the people who believe Alison must suffer soon and conspicuously or else the story must suck.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Uh, I did

      • cphoenix

        I was confused by your use of “inconspicuous” and the mention of the chess board (he didn’t control where Alison would sit).

    • Given that she’s in a park, who’s to say that he doesn’t always walk in the park at sunrise?

      • cphoenix

        Too much of a coincidence if she just happened to go to the same park. I’m pretty sure the authors are better storytellers than that.

        Either he’s stalking her himself, or he’s an agent of someone with surveillance on her.

        • MedinaSidonia

          Ask anyone who lives in New York City, and they’ll tell you that such coincidences happen all the time. I don’t see this as unlikely at all.

      • Oren Leifer

        Huh, when you put it like that, what’s to say that she’s not placed
        herself on his morning route, and then is breaking down out of
        stress/anxiety/guilt shortly before he arrives.

    • Zinc

      It might be possible that Alison contacted him (e.g. by email), and asked to meet him in the park? She’s going through a moral and ethical crisis. Seeking advice or counseling from a familiar expert on ethics is a pretty good course of action. Even if he comes off as a big jerk – maybe Alison herself thinks she deserves to be berated by a jerk at this point.

      Also I kind of find it weird to classify him as her nemesis. As far as we know, he’s not a supervillian, he’s not out to make the world worse or to stop Alison from making it better. He’s just one of her teachers.

      • thebombzen

        Especially since his big stunt about Allison or the other guy failing the class is just a stunt. Spend any amount of time in academia and you know that failing someone on the first day regardless of their performance in the class is something you can’t do. It’s called misconduct and can get you fired through tenure. If Allison had known that, she might not have overreacted on the first day.

        • ampg

          She almost certainly did know that, which is why he made a pointed reference to her getting the other professor fired. He wanted her to feel too guilty to do the same to him.

          • thebombzen

            Which is abusive behavior to be honest. The other professor should have been fired because he failed a student based on who she is and not based on the contents of her paper. If this guy had pulled the same trick he also should be fired.

          • I got the impression that he picks something to test the axiom that is proposed. It’s one thing when you’re talking about a hypothetical situation and another when you are faced with reality. Making the class think that there is something important to them at stake is a good way to highlight that point.

      • Dean

        Gurwara is far more interesting as a mentor than as a nemesis. Alison is one of the most powerful people on Earth, and Gurwara is fully aware of this. Teaching her may well be one of the most important things he ever does. What does Alison want? Why does she want these things? What will she do to get them? These are questions that Alison needs to have answers for.

      • cphoenix

        I had not thought of her contacting him. You’re right, that’s a third plausible alternative – if she could bring herself to do it. Maybe so – she’s got a lot of guts and really cares about doing what’s right.

        I considered him a self-made enemy of her, and he certainly managed to crush her – temporarily, but pretty effectively. In the modern meaning of “nemesis” he probably doesn’t qualify. But I just now looked it up, and the original meaning is more apt. From Wikipedia: “In the ancient Greek religion, Nemesis (/ˈnɛməsɪs/; Greek: Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia (“the goddess of Rhamnous”) was the goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods).”

      • cphoenix

        I remember writing an answer to this, but apparently it didn’t get posted.

        I hadn’t thought of Alison contacting him. You’re right, it’s a possibility. I wouldn’t have thought she would.

        I used “nemesis” loosely, because he certainly did crush her (at least temporarily). But after your comment I looked up the word, and the first sentence of the Wikipedia article makes my choice look somewhat apt:

        “In the ancient Greek religion, Nemesis (/ˈnɛməsɪs/; Greek: Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia (“the goddess of Rhamnous”) was the goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods).”

        (Edit: I’m not saying I was right – just that I think the original meaning is neat in this context.)

    • Lheticus Videre

      Actually, I believe someone called Clemens pretty much did, without actually SAYING as such but it was certainly heavily implied.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        The handsome devil!

        • Lheticus Videre

          More like handsome NINJA! You totally ninja’ed me! >_<

    • MedinaSidonia

      I haven’t been following the comments closely enough to say for sure, but I don’t have the sense that most people think she must suffer or else the story must suck. Speaking only for myself, the feelings are deeper and heavier than that.

      I’m about 6’2″. I’m fit and strong. I could easily kill most humans. Being inside my skull, I’m privy to my own fear and rage and anger and resentment and sadness. Every day I struggle not to let my darker bits manifest. One external factor that helps is the knowledge that a significant percentage of humans could kill *me* without breaking a sweat. So my own sense of ethics, together with such external factors, form a system of checks and balances. I am thankful for them. Because I know better than anyone what a monster I could be were those darker bits to roam free.

      Alison has little to no equivalent of those external factors. When I try to imagine what it must be like for her, the closest I can get is thinking of guys I’ve known who can deadlift 500 pounds. They could kill me as easily as I could kill a chicken. But then they would go to jail or die in a hail of bullets. So it’s not at all equivalent. Perhaps the closest equivalent would be a woman so rich and powerful that she’s above the law. When I think of people like that, and then think of a beautiful soul like Alison *becoming* something that dark, it twists me. Because I’m really thinking of myself, and what *I* could be were my better angels to lose.

      I don’t want Alison to suffer. I just don’t want her to lose that beautiful soul. I don’t want any of us to succumb to our darker bits.

      • cphoenix

        Right after she did it, there were several opinions forcefully and repeatedly expressed to that effect. Some people even told the authors what they needed to do with the story!

        It’s hard to tell, from a comment section, how most people feel and think. My impression was that a major portion of the feeling expressed in the comment section was “She should suffer, she probably won’t, if she doesn’t the story sucks.”

        • MedinaSidonia

          I wonder how many of those people honestly believed that a story must work like that. It seems self-evidently false to me. I suspect that most of those people were really feeling uncomfortable at the thought of her not being punished, and, as most people do, sublimated that feeling. “I’m not comfortable with this story!” morphed to “You shouldn’t tell a story like this!” In my experience, that’s just how people are wired. :-/

  • Weatherheight

    Ladies and Gentlemen…
    Molly and Brennan give you… consequences and a hard look in the mirror for Alison.
    Granted, it’s a very small mirror and made of gold, but still…

    Which would be worse for Alison, I wonder… a righteous “I warned you, but you wouldn’t listen…”, or a compassionate, “I tried to warn you; how can I help?”

    Soo excited a bout Tuesday’s page..

    Wonderful set-up, y’all – two pages of no actual dialogue for what I suspect will be many pages of challenging discussion.

    • Izo

      Still waiting for consequences that are more than ‘I feel guilty’ – because so far this isn’t negative consequence for her action.

      And she doesn’t deserve compassion. A person does not deserve compassion after they do something rapey and evil. She deserves a kick in the pants. She deserves actual punishment. At the very least, she deserves the realization that she DOES deserve actual punishment, and the impetus for her to actually let people know what she did, the scorn from the public and from her friends, her voluntary allowing herself to be punished, and some sort of compensation to Max. Especially since I’m really thinking nothing bad will have happened as a result of her negative actions, like I thought :/

      • Tylikcat

        I have a niggling suspicion that Gurwara might be a man who takes torture seriously.

        • Izo

          I have that feeling as well. Like he might be someone who’s been tortured and forced by a tyrant in his life, so knows the importance of freedom and autonomy and resisting tyrants.

      • Smithy

        Pish posh, almost everyone deserves compassion. Except those who would fan hatred for their own power and greed.
        If you look at Alison, you see a superhuman who is almost completely free of legal restraints and only has her own moral framework to ensure she always does the right thing, and through years of superheroing has somewhat miraculously used it very sparingly (mostly punching giant robots and other less altruistic superhumans).
        Now, let’s just dismiss the case of Max, who is a jerk. She did something unusual for her, quite brutal and even evil in and of itself, so she could save thousands of people, including one of her best friends.
        Is her doing this probably a bad thing, and could easily be the first step on a dark road? Quite possibly.
        Does she deserve some sort of punishment?
        Probably.
        Does she deserve hate and scorn for doing this? Being abandoned by her friends when she’s at her most vulnerable?
        I think there you’re just ensuring her reaching a breaking point and either making one of the most powerful forces of good in their world sink into depression or go full on tyrant.

        • shink55

          [Izo doesn’t really listen to reason on this regard. This argument and many many more have been thrown at him/her/they, but Izo’s train of “Alison must be punished”, continues full steam ahead. Just a warning, go back to the comment threads of the pages around Alison abducting Max to see what I mean.

          • Ordinary Tree

            Truly sad :/

          • Jovial Contrarian

            >Dude, don’t talk to him, he’s like, sooooooo stupid! You better listen to me, I’ll show you the ropes around here. The first and the only rule – don’t talk and try to understand people who you don’t get, just shun them and tell others to do the same!

          • Izo

            (her, not him) I’m fine with shink shunning me though 🙂

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Sorry, your username somehow grammatically defaults to ‘male’ for me, I’ll keep it in mind 😉

          • Izo

            It’s okay 🙂 I use the name because it was the last name of a character I used to play. Usually ‘Izo’ makes people think male, while Iza would probably have made people think female. But I’ve had the handle for too long to want to change it over a vowel 🙂

          • Izo

            “[Izo doesn’t really listen to reason on this regard.”

            I’ve yet to hear anything reasonable from you about why Alison should not be punished for her negative actions against an innocent person.

            “This argument and many many more have been thrown at him/her/they, but Izo’s train of “Alison must be punished”, continues full steam ahead”

            No, the argument of ‘she feels bad, so she’s suffered enough’ and utilitarian arguments are the only ones that have been thrown at me. Both of which are horribly flawed arguments which I’ve pretty much torn apart each time they’ve been presented.

        • Izo

          “Pish posh, almost everyone deserves compassion. Except those who would fan hatred for their own power and greed.”

          I will give you a point for saying pish posh, because that amused me. I will, however, say that not everyone deserves compassion. The person who stalked me for a year and forced me to have to move twice? That a-hole doesn’t deserve my compassion. A man who molests his 10 year old daughter, then an idiotic judge gives him a 45 day commuted sentence because, and I quote ‘he did not think it would help his daughter to be without her father’ does not deserve my compassion either.

          “If you look at Alison, you see a superhuman who is almost completely free of legal restraints and only has her own moral framework to ensure she always does the right thing, and through years of superheroing has somewhat miraculously used it very sparingly (mostly punching giant robots and other less altruistic superhumans).”

          Yes, and to use another superhero’s mantra, with great power comes great responsibility. Alison has abandoned that idea. And someone with great power over others and no responsibility when it comes to using that power is one of the most terrifying and horrible things I can comprehend, because it means they can do ANYTHING they want, and everyone else is an incidental pawn or puppet for their whims.

          “Now, let’s just dismiss the case of Max, who is a jerk.”

          1) Nothing Max actually said was being a jerk. He did make valid points.

          2) Lets say he is a jerk, mainly because of what he had said about Feral (which WAS jerky). Being a jerk does not mean you lose your autonomy. He used words. He did not force anyone to do anything. Including the gardeners btw. They could leave if they don’t want to be paid for the work they were contracted to do. They can’t force HIM to pay for a contract that they didn’t fulfill any more than he can force them to fulfill their contract without paying them.

          “She did something unusual for her, quite brutal and even evil in and of itself, so she could save thousands of people, including one of her best friends.”

          Her best friend never asked for that. And thousands were still going to be saved. And eventually, as Feral’s powers were NATURALLY advancing, she’d have gotten to the point of what Max sped up.

          It doesn’t mean you can take Max’s freedom away, any more than you could strap Feral to the table and MAKE her donate if she decided she wanted to stop donating organs. The only difference is you like Feral (because she’s adorable) and do not like Max (because he’s not adorable and has evil cheekbones).

          “Is her doing this probably a bad thing, and could easily be the first step on a dark road? Quite possibly.”

          Quite possibly if there’s nothing NEGATIVE that happens as a result. People behave based on the consequences of their actions. If nothing bad happens, the consequences are ‘this was worth doing – you should do it again.’

          “Does she deserve some sort of punishment? Probably.”

          I’d say definitely, but going to read on in your post 🙂

          “Does she deserve hate and scorn for doing this? Being abandoned by her friends when she’s at her most vulnerable? I think there you’re just ensuring her reaching a breaking point and either making one of the most powerful forces of good in their world sink into depression or go full on tyrant.”

          Maybe. Or maybe she’d realize that she needs to make things right to the person she wronged and be punished like she’d expect anyone else to be punished. Right now, she’s NOT a force of good. That’s the problem in the first place. She WAS a force for good. She’s fallen from that already. Coddling her and making everything go well for her after she did something evil will not make her think that evil is bad.

      • cphoenix

        The thought “____ deserves punishment” leads to a vicious cycle in the long run. Especially when applied to people with incompletely formed morality, like Alison.

        “Deserves to be locked up” (where they can’t continue to hurt people) is a more practical and reasonable suggestion for some wrongdoers, but in practice (which includes being over-applied) it seems to create more crime than it prevents overall – it turns first-time mild offenders into hardened career criminals.

        “Deserves to be rehabilitated” or “deserves to be let alone” applies to many of the people the US judicial system is currently “punishing” for their crimes (or alleged crimes, in some cases).

        Thinking “deserves to be punished” also directly creates a cycle of violence and coercion toward children. Violence and coercion – like what Alison did to Max.

        • Lucy

          Ooh! You reminded me of an Invisibilia episode: “The Personality Myth.” Or, how people’s personalities and behaviors can change fundamentally, or better or worse. The thing is? The factors that change people aren’t what we typically think they are. http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/482836315/the-personality-myth

        • Izo

          “Thinking “deserves to be punished” also directly creates a cycle of violence and coercion toward children. Violence and coercion – like what Alison did to Max.”

          No, it doesnt lead to a cycle of violence. It leads to closure for Max. And It leads to a lesson learned for Alison. Alison did something bad to Max. Max is now going to live his life in fear of Alison coming to do it again, knowing (by her own admission) that she can do it again whenever she wants, that no one can stop her, and that no one can punish her for her actions.

          If Alison is punished for her actions, that doesn’t mean that therefore she should then punish someone ELSE again. It means she should be punished, and that’s it. If your 10 year old is sent home from school because he beat up another kid, and you don’t punish him, the lesson learned is ‘I can beat up other kids at school if I want to and nothing bad will happen to me – in fact I get to leave school early!’

          Alison is the bully, and had the mentality of a 10 year old here.

          • cphoenix

            You’re presenting a false choice between “punish” and “do nothing.” If those are the only two choices in your world view, then… wow.

          • Izo

            Um…. no, punish is not a single choice. There are various levels of punishment. I have not given just two choices – since it’s not choices to say either ‘do nothing except her feel bad’ or ‘the myriad different types of punishments and levels of punishments available, not to mention trying to find a way to make it up to Max, as well as tell Feral (and others) the criminal element of what she did without disclosing Max’s identity.’

      • Elaine Lee

        You frighten me. No. Really. Frighten me to death. I had hoped that, since the force of all evil is now our president-elect, some of the commenters on this comic might begin to see that there are bigger fish to fry. But, no. Let’s just dwell on tiny infractions of every single individual’s personal moral code and rant about how they should be punished. In this life, we are all forced to do many things we don’t like, some for better, some for worse, and on a daily basis. Having to work two minimum wage jobs, just to keep yourself and your family alive is SO much worse than anything Alison did to that idiot Max. If something like that is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you are a lucky, lucky person. But, hey… let’s keep being babies here, while wars are started and the atmosphere catches fire. And, no, I’m not talking about the world of this comic. I’m talking about the real world. Finally, you might want to stop using the word “rape” about things that are not actually rape. If we’re going to use “rapey” about everything and that makes it cute and okay, I’ll have to say that your comments entering my brain give me a creepy ultra-rapey feeling.

        • Jovial Contrarian

          “the force of all evil is now our president-elect”
          Oh right, I forgot about that. How’s the promised ethnic cleansing going on in the New World? Any labour camps for illegal immigrants yet? Forced conversion therapy for homosexuals? There must be at least some form of genocide going on, right?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Wait wait wait do we have our first Nazi “alt-right” in the comments?
            Yay people, the audience is really far reaching!

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Excuse me, but I don’t identify with the alt-right movement, if with any movement at all. I’m just a contrarian asshole who likes to argue on the internet.

            But I would never expect anything less from a Stalinist “left-wing” person like you 😉

          • Izo

            Oh snap!

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            How about you use your contrariarity powers against the dumbest President your country has ever had instead of defending it

          • Jovial Contrarian

            >your country
            Not my country, tho. And there’s so many vocal people opposed to him, they’ll surely do without my low-quality ‘help’ :p

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Welp, that only makes it a million time more despicable and shameful of you to dismiss the worries of the people it actually concerns

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Yes, the democratic election of a president you do not approve of is literally the end of the civilised world, the man is the second coming of Hitler, and even implying that it might not be half as bad as you’re saying it cerainly will be is an outright dismissal of your worries, the highest crime possible, and I’m despicable for even thinking it.

            I don’t agree with the mental bubble of preemptive judgment you’ve put yourself in, but whatever helps you withstand the different opinions of unimportant strangers, I guess ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Non, no, you’re mistaken. Your dumb opinion is neither a crime nor particularly concerning.
            It’s just pathetic.

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Glad I helped you feel better about yourself and your opinions! 🙂

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Also I think it says much more about you considering people on the left are Stalinist than considering the alt-right are Nazis says about me.

          • Jovial Contrarian

            I don’t consider left-wing people as Stalinist outright, I was just charmed by the way you called me a Nazi without any evidence of me actually supporting the extermination of the Jews or something like that, and wanted to return the compliment somehow. No hard feelings :*

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Oooooh, I see.
            You have no idea what you’re talking about is what it is

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Well, you just called me a Nazi for no reason, and then ‘subtly’ tried to shame me for returning the favour, so yeah, I have no idea what’s your problem and what we’re talking about.

            But that’s okay, we can still be friends 😉

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”

          • Weatherheight

            To be fair – he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 😀

          • Jovial Contrarian

            The wonderful curse “May you live in interesting times!” is as actual as ever :v

          • cphoenix

            One of Trump’s people has already floated a trial balloon about camps for _suspected_ illegal immigrants. He spoke approvingly of the Japanese internment camps the US had in WWII.

          • Jovial Contrarian

            >a politician said a mind-bogglingly stupid thing
            >it must mean that his superiors are even worse than them!!!

            Welcome to the Politics 101, the topic for today is “Why sometimes you need to ally with complete idiots to get what you want, and how to get rid of them once they’re not needed anymore.”

            Are you sure that, if we were to look through Obama’s presidency, we wouldn’t find some Democrats saying some similarly stupid things, like, I don’t know, approving of pedophilia and zoophilia? Something that Obama’s opponents could take and scream “OBAMA’S GUNNA RAPE YOUR CHILDREN, AND YOUR LITTLE DOG TOO!”?

            I mean, I’m not going to argue about Trump’s various qualities (and the many more “qualities” of his court), and you have the right to be unhappy about him being elected, but the man wasn’t even inaugurated yet, tone down the hysteria a little bit :f

          • cphoenix

            You are acting like a bully and I invite you to stop it if you want an actual discussion.

          • Jovial Contrarian

            I’m sincerely sorry to make you feel this way. Tell me what exactly should I stop doing, and I’ll see what can be done about that. I’m always open for civil discourse 🙂

          • cphoenix

            You asked a question. I supplied a fact. You dismissed my contribution as hysterics.

            A reasonably respectful way to phrase it might have been,
            “I think you’re more worried by this than you need to be. I expect this was one of Trump’s idiot supporters that he’s going to dump as soon as he’s in office.”

            And then I would have replied,
            “A couple of days before this, Trump himself had said he wanted to detain a million or more suspected illegal immigrants and hold them while they were processed. I did the math and realized that this would require camps because there isn’t enough jail space to hold that many extra people. So I took the later statement about camps seriously.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/us/politics/japanese-internment-muslim-registry.html

            This article calls him not just a supporter, but a prominent surrogate.
            http://qz.com/839991/a-prominent-trump-surrogate-cited-japanese-internment-camps-as-precedent-for-a-muslim-registry/

            Also, this happened after the election, which makes it more likely to be a trial balloon than posturing.

            I certainly hope it won’t happen. But it still seems worth paying attention to.”

          • Jovial Contrarian

            Sorry for not phrasing myself respectfully, I’m more used to fast and loose “discussions” on the Internet, and being insensitive is just my default modus operandi :< Let me put up something more coherent:

            As someone with a somewhat shallow info on American politics, I don't dismiss all worry about Trump as histerics – he seems to be a pretty simple guy who's gonna bumble his way through presidency saying some silly things and throwing out even more awful ideas, hopefully quickly swept under the rug by the reasonable people around him. I don't know about a half of his biggest promises ("build the wall", resolve the situation with illegal immigrants somehow, ????), but whether you like them or not (and having the opinion that "people who passed the border illegally while ignoring the immigration laws should be deported, becuase why should they stay here we have these laws for a reason” does not automatically make you a Nazi scumsucker who deserves to die), the biggest issue will come out of how those promises will be implemented. In this case, I believe the country has every right to choose who they want to let in or not, and to deport people that broke its laws by getting through the borders illegally.

            “But he’s gonna put them in camps between investigating their cases and deporting them!”

            He’s going to put people being here illegally (so “criminals” – yes, normal people with jobs and families, and not just pimps and thugs and dope fiends, but from the standpoint of the law criminals nonetheless) in a some form of confinement, before reviewing their cases and proceeding with whatever result is got? That sounds… kind of standard, really. Unless there’s some kind of mass executions of the immigrants, inhuman living conditions, constant mistaking of legal immigrants with the illegal ones, I can’t see how we could jump straight to the “force of all evil” camp.

            tl;dr I think there’s a massive, hysterical notion, among the people and in the media, that Trump’s presidency is literally the end times (“force of all evil”, “atmosphere’s catching fire”, all that), and while surely it won’t hurt to observe Trump’s run closely, at this level it’s no less ridiculous than the posts and blogs from back in the day when Obama was supposed to be the Antichrist with a fake certificate of birth. Just… couldn’t you voice your opinion on him in a way that doesn’t make you seem like “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” crowd?

          • cphoenix

            Thanks for a well-expressed discussion.

            I’m not the one who wrote the “all evil” comment. That said…

            He’s putting Steve Bannon in the White House. That is not surrounding himself with reasonable people. Many of his other picks are extremists in one way or another.

            The Trump surrogate didn’t just propose locking up criminals – he proposed locking up suspected criminals. That is absolutely not OK. There is no way to make it OK. I don’t care what your politics are – if you are a thoughtful American who values the country’s legal infrastructure, locking up suspected criminals wholesale, on nothing more than suspicion that they’re in the country illegally, until they can be processed (whatever that means), is completely unacceptable. And yet, a major Trump surrogate accepts it and proposes it on network TV.

            If you take the mainstream (almost anywhere but the US) position that global warming is a major problem and we’re probably making it a lot worse, then Trump’s actions – surrounding himself with climate skeptics, the unusually intrusive questionnaire about who’s been doing climate science – look really bad.

            Stephen Harper, in Canada, caused the destruction of scientific data related to climate studies. Do you expect Trump to be less destructive than Harper? If not, then Trump could do literally irreversible damage to basic research about how the Earth works. Even if he doesn’t destroy data, Interrupting the collection of data makes it far less useful. And regardless of your position on climate change, breaking the data chain would be a massive loss.

            I could go on and on. None of this is paranoid. None of it is unreasonable. It’s all based on things that Trump and his people have said and done, or things that have already happened and could easily happen again.

            I’ve heard that Internet discussion cannot change the mind of anyone who’s taken a political position. Please consider taking effort to be an exception to this. What if Trump did cause destruction of basic earth science data? What if Trump did cause incarceration of tens of thousands of innocent people? One of these things has happened in the US, the other in Canada. Would you be OK with those things happening again?

          • Izo

            What did he say that was bullying? I’ve read over his post three times now. Telling you to tone down the hysteria isnt ‘bullying.’

          • cphoenix

            Do you mean you wouldn’t feel bad if someone responded to one of your posts saying “tone down the hysteria a little bit” when you hadn’t been at all hysterical? You wouldn’t feel a temptation to either defend your tone, or just stop talking?

            In combination with Contrarian’s previous post, it seemed he(?) was trying to dismiss and denigrate any opinions along the lines of “Trump plans to do some really bad stuff” – not just disagree, but shut down the discussion by making light of the people trying to disagree with him.

            Shutting people down by belittling them and dismissing their opinions is a form of bullying.

          • Izo

            I don’t think he was referring to YOU as being hysterical, but ‘Trump hysteria hype.’ I don’t think you were being hysterical. But he wasn’t bullying you.

        • Arkone Axon

          The Force of All Evil… wow. And here I thought that was Mum-Ra.

          Seriously, Donald Trump is like Tony Stark with twice the gut, half the IQ, and a taxidermy’d Rocket the Racoon on his head. I have never once claimed he was anything more than a moron who is good at bluffing – especially about things like “being good at business” – but before you call him a force of evil, maybe you should read up on what Nicholas Ceausceau did to Romania, or what the Khmere Rogue did to Cambodia…

          • Izo

            I’m pretty sure Stark is richer than Trump also.

        • Izo

          “You frighten me. No. Really. Frighten me to death.”

          Yeah, freedom from tyrants doing what they want to you with you having no say in the matter is sooooo frightening. Having consequences for ones actions is soooo frightening.

          “I had hoped that, since the force of all evil is now our president-elect, some of the commenters on this comic might begin to see that there are bigger fish to fry.”

          Not sure why you’re bringing up Trump but fine, lets make Trump analogies.

          If Trump decides that he should become Emperor Trump, then by using Alison logic, he should do it. Because hey…. he’s the one with the power right? Screw morality and screw the laws. When you defend what Alison did, you’re defending uncontrolled and unregulated power. Congratulations. Anything you say now about Trump, no matter how negative, whether true or not, is now something that you support, because you support what Alison did ‘for the greater good.’

          “But, no. Let’s just dwell on tiny infractions of every single individual’s personal moral code”

          Tiny infractions like…. kidnapping, beating someone up, and death threats? Forcing them to do something with their bodily functions that they do not want to do? Tiny infractions like that?

          “and rant about how they should be punished.”

          It’s not a rant. What you’re writing is a rant. What I wrote was a reasoned post, based on facts and on cause and effect and consequences for ones actions. The basis of law.

          “In this life, we are all forced to do many things we don’t like, some for better, some for worse, and on a daily basis.”

          Actually, in a free society, there are VERY few things that we are constitutionally forced to do. In fact, I can only think of two – take care of your children to a minimal standard and pay taxes. And with the former, you can put them up for adoption. With the latter, I think a forced progressive income tax actually runs counter to a free society, since it lets one person decide to raise a DIFFERENT person’s taxes, without it affecting them as well – for the majority of the country. Which is why I would not be against something like a flat tax or the fair tax instead.

          “Having to work two minimum wage jobs, just to keep yourself and your family alive is SO much worse than anything Alison did to that idiot Max.”

          No one’s forcing you to work, actually. You’re working because that’s how you get money. What did Max get? He got to not be killed by Alison. Period.

          “If something like that is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you are a lucky, lucky person.”

          No, I think if someone forced me to do something agianst my will, twisting my arm, causing me pain, kidnapping me to force me to do stuff with my bodily functions against my will, telling me if I don’t comply, they will kill me (when I know they’re perfectly capable of doing so and there’s no way to stop them), and then after the deed is done, telling me they can and will do it again if they decide it’s necessary…. I would not consider myself a lucky, lucky person.

          “But, hey… let’s keep being babies here, while wars are started and the atmosphere catches fire.”

          I must have missed the news where the atmosphere caught fire.

          “And, no, I’m not talking about the world of this comic. I’m talking about the real world.”

          Wait, did Trump set the air on fire? I think you’re confusing the real world for a Disney’s Gargoyles cartoon episode. The one where they broke the curse of Demona’s sleep spell by igniting the sky. I think that was ‘City of Stone Part III’.

          “Finally, you might want to stop using the word “rape” about things that are not actually rape.”

          Or on the other hand, I might not stop using the word ‘rape’ about things which have the same exact mentality as rape, since I keep saying the mentality of what Alison did and the mentality of a rapist are the same. The only difference is one uses power to force someone to use their body for sex, and one uses power to force someone to use their body for his powers. That’s the point of saying it’s an analogy

          “If we’re going to use “rapey” about everything and that makes it cute and okay,”

          There’s nothing cute about rape. There’s nothing cute about anything analagous to rape. And there was nothing cute about what Alison did to Max.

          “I’ll have to say that your comments entering my brain give me a creepy ultra-rapey feeling.”

          You don’t seem to understand what an analogy is at all. How exactly are my comments ‘ultra rapey?’ Have I used my power over you to force you to do something against your will? No? Hmmm…. Have I threatened you to get you to do something that you do not want to do? No? Hmmm. Have I removed your autonomy and sense of agency? No? Hmm….

          Maybe you just don’t understand the definition of an analogy.

          Analogy – a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

      • Weatherheight

        Everyone deserves compassion, even the worst offender. None of us really know the story of how that other person became a monster. But for the Grace of The Eternal, goes thou.
        What others may not deserve is forbearance.

        • Izo

          “Everyone deserves compassion, even the worst offender. None of us really know the story of how that other person became a monster. But for the Grace of The Eternal, goes thou.”

          No, everyone does not deserve compassion or forgiveness. You are not owed compassion. You are not owed forgiveness. If someone chooses to show you compassion, that is about THEM giving you something. It’s not NECESSARILY because you deserve it.

          I think Teal’c on Stargate SG-1 said it best:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia14Nx_6jQY

          There was also another episode where Teal’c was on trial for a murder that he committed while a Jaffa. Same deal there as well – even more on point.

          • Weatherheight

            Compassion and forgiveness and forbearance are not equivalent.

            Compassion is what preserves us from becoming the thing we hate. It is OUR struggle to understand the pain of another, without which we cannot adequately address that pain. EVERYONE deserves that, and no argument you make can sway me on this point – because without it, we may as well just start the massacre now and destroy ourselves and each other, because that will be the inevitable outcome anyway.

            Forgiveness is what helps that which we hate become that which we may love and celebrate, but giving forgiveness is no guarantee of that process. Granting forgiveness does not guarantee it will be accepted and taken to heart, and unless forgiveness is accepted, TRULY accepted, forbearance is destructive to all involved.

            Forbearance is that time granted for the monster to find its humanity and the withholding of the justice which the monster so richly deserves – but the monster must show that it wishes to find its humanity. If not, then we must take action to protect ourselves and others from the monster, ending forbearance. Abandoning forbearance is also the abandonment of hope, a big problem in and of itself. Forbearance is a huge gamble every time it is taken.

            Speaking as someone who feels he has earned neither compassion nor forgiveness nor forbearance for actions I’ve taken in my past, let me assure you I am very grateful for them being offered – not everyone does. Redemption is possible, but it is a hard road for those who walk it and those who show the way – it ain’t for the weak, the cowardly, or those lacking will. Anger, Blame, Judgment, and Retribution are much, much easier – that’s why they are nearly always our first impulses.

            I get that you feel Alison should pay for her crime – me too. But It’s becoming clear that she’s on the path of realizing that she need to make amends; the question is how. And her realizing that she’s becoming something horrible is far more important than any mere punishment. Without that realization, punishment will get interpreted into justification and resolution, taking her further down that path.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      “I was in desperate need of my new liver because of my deeply concerning alcoholism, thank God for tyranny”

  • okay it’s my own fault and stupidity that I didn’t fully expect this guy showing up

    • I mentioned a long time ago in the comments that we would have to see this happen before the episode was complete.

  • Manuel Simone

    Poor Alison, she’s so broken. She needs someone to encourage her and offer her compassion and understanding, not to berate and be mean with her. I hope that Gurwara (cause I have a feeling is him) will not make Alison feel even worse about herself.

    • Arkone Axon

      No, she needs the exact opposite. She needs to have it ground into her that you DO NOT DO THESE THINGS. She is the perpetrator, the victimizer, and crying about what she did does not change that fact. An attractive young woman crying does not become less of a violent thug just because she’s young, female, pretty, and crying about what she did.

      This is not a time to be pulling out the “women should be treated gently and given a pass for silly little picadillos” Chivalry playbook. She has too much power to be infantilized like that.

      • Manuel Simone

        I’m not saying what I said because she’s a woman or she victimized herself. I treat women the same as men, actually, they should have the same duties and responsibilities and they should bear the same consequences as men, no difference. But Alison didn’t do actually (almost) nothing wrong. She didn’t injured Max, she didn’t raped him (and yes, is possible for a woman to rape a man, under drugs or treats with violence), robbed him or killed him. She just tried to convince him to do what is right, but because he refused (being an egoistical jerk) she didn’t had any other choice but to use some little disturbing methods like kidnapping him and treating him (but it was for the good of Feral, maybe I’d have done the same for my best friend.

        • cphoenix

          She did exactly rob Max. More specifically, she mugged him.

          Here’s an example: You’re walking down the street and see a mugging in progress and a person trapped in a burning building. You have time to save one. Of course you save the one who’s about to burn to death. It’s both ethical and decent to make that choice.

          The next day, you’re walking down another street and you see another person trapped in a burning building, and a person hurrying by with a ladder who refuses to stop. Do you mug them for the ladder to save a life? Why or why not? Would it be ethical? Would it be decent?

          This was exactly Alison’s choice.

          • Manuel Simone

            Yes, I’d have robbed the person with ladder and use the ladder to save the person in the burning building because this is ethical and just (at least for me). A life is more important than an egoistical jerk’s possessions and anyway I can return back their possessions once I’m done with saving. Sorry, but this my way to see things, I’m way too into saving people than anything else.

          • MrSing

            So, what do you do when someone holds another person at gun point and demands for them to hand over all of their money. And when they resist a little they twist their arm until they comply.
            Only the robber is robbing the person because their family is starving. Do you help the person being robbed from not getting shot or do you call out the person getting robbed for not handing over the money voluntarily.
            Is that really saving a person?

          • Jovial Contrarian

            >This was exactly Alison’s choice.
            Alright, allow me to indulge myself into some shitty metaphore crafting:

            You’re walking down the street, and you can see a person in a burning buliding. They shout that they have went in here willingly, because they decided that the best use of their life would be to burn down to ashes to fertilize the fields and prevent starvation in their home town. They also add that, due to a wizard’s curse, they can’t actually die from burning, they’re just shedding lotsa ashes in a horribly painful way. But it’s okay, nothing to see here, please carry on.

            For the sake of a shitty metaphore, let’s assume that it’s perfectly reasonable and not just ramblings of a madman, and that the ashes produced this way will actually prevent the famine that threatens the town.

            And now you can see a stranger passing through the town, with a ladder and a truck of fertilizer. Is mugging him for the ladder and the fertilizer, and then rescuing the person against their wishes a good thing?

            Now *this* was exactly Alison’s choice.

          • Stephanie

            Yes, I would say that exchanging “a person being tortured forever to save some of the town” for “a person being mugged to save all of the town” is a good trade.

            Feral didn’t want to suffer every day forever. Her reaction when she found out she no longer needed to is testament to that. Suffering forever was just the price she accepted in order to help people. She is still helping people–many more people than before. She wasn’t “rescued against her wishes;” she was upfront from the beginning that if Alison found a better way for her to help people, she would do that instead.

          • Jovial Contrarian

            How about exchanging “a few more days of the person being tortured, but you’l get some sleep, think the situation through, talk to people smarter than you and convince the guy to borrow his lader and use his fertilizer, so everyone’s good” for “crime, violence, and unknown amount of trauma to a passing guy, because no time to explain you’re going with me headdesk incentive structure hurr durr”?

            Dang, am I mad at Alison for being stupid >:[

        • Jovial Contrarian

          Hitler didn’t do actually (almost) nothing wrong. He didn’t injured, raped, robbed or killed nobody, at least not personally. He cared for Germany and just wanted to get some Lebensraum for his people, but because everybody else refused (those egoistical jerks!) he didn’t had any other choice but to use some little disturbing methods, like poiltical murders and war and genocide (but it was for the good of Germany, maybe I’d have done the same for my country). At first I was disturbed by his choice, but now that I’ve read Mein Kampf, I find him perfectly motivated and I actually admire him (he’s doing everything he thinks is the best to protect/save people he cares for). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dd19de1de132e564c346ebda99ccf8881f716b1c47c263b755d4214b7a882a68.jpg

          • Izo

            Probably should put a /sarcasm in there. I know you’re being sarcastic but you would not believe how many people will not realize that.

    • Izo

      Poor little precious tyrannical megalomaniac. She NEEDS to feel bad about herself. She needs to confess to what she did, since apparently the whole world is being designed around her getting away with doing something evil. :/ She’s a victimizer. She’s like the abusive husband who feels bad about what he did, but it doesn’t actually mean he wont do it again, because he never was punished for doing it in the first place.

      • Manuel Simone

        Please, don’t compare Alison with an abusive husband. She did what was right for her poor friend and she should not feel bad about herself a second (she didn’t do that for power or because she was drunk or because she was a sadistic person). An abusive husband (and wife, because they’re also abusive wives too) are doing evil things to their mates because they like this way (the power they hold over their mates), they can’t control themselves or they’re just too drunk, too drugged to care.

        • Tylikcat

          No, that what she did was for a good reason doesn’t mean it want a bad thing. The badness doesn’t just vanish in a poof of fairy dust. (I debated about putting “good reason” in quotes, but hey, I’m pretty pleased with Tara getting a life.)

          And she’s going to run into these kinds of situations again. She already has.

          She needs help, and she needs accountability. And by all indications, she’s looking for it herself, which is one of the more positive character developments I’ve seen.

          • Manuel Simone

            Yes, you’re right, she needs help and the fact that she honestly regrets what she did makes her a good human being (a flawed human being but good anyway). But, if Max would have accepted to use his powers for good (I’d have accepted easy in his place, I always wanted superpowers/superskills to help/protect people) then she wouldn’t have to do what she did, but it was also his egoistical side who pushed her to do what she did. He has his own fault and I’d love to see a chapter with what he’s feeling after everything (if he really wants to change, to become a better man and help people or he’ll remain a jerk until he’ll die). That would be interesting.

          • Tylikcat

            One of the consequences of Alison’s actions is that she has created as situation where Max is much less likely to willingly work with anyone. I’d call it an indictment of punching for the greater good, myself.

        • Jovial Contrarian

          >Please, don’t compare Alison with an abusive husband.
          ahem
          “YOU COULD HAVE DUCKED
          WHY DIDN’T YOU DUCK
          IT’S YOUR FAULT FOR MAKING ME ANGRY ENOUGH TO HURT YOU AND THEN ACTUALLY GETTING HURT”
          ~fin~

          • Izo

            ‘Dammit Sheryl, why do you always make me have to hit you! I come home from a long day at work and you burned the roast! You know I don’t mean to hurt you right baby?’

        • Amati

          “don’t compare Alison with an abusive husband”
          have you noticed that every onscreen romantic relationship she’s had has ended with them getting in an argument, Alison getting pissed of, and her resolving the situation by using her physical superiority to intimidate, if not outright assault, her partner?

          nah, me neither. clearly she’s an angel. not like an abusive husband at all.

          • Tylikcat

            Okay, if we’re going to talk about Alison calling bullshit on Patrick and throwing a mug at him as abuse, I think we need to do that in the context of the relationship Alison and Patrick had been having (which was fucked up, but in which both of them accepted Patrick waltzing through Alison’s head all the time as just the way things were – which, okay, yeah, but it’s not like Patrick tried to exactly reset that power dynamic) and the massive lashing out and utter ball of crap that Patrick had just thrown at her.

            Do you really think physical abuse is the only kind of abuse? The worst kind of abuse?

            Do you really read through that whole thing about come out of it with the sense that

            a) Alison is a fuckhead?
            b) Alison was being abusive?

            Seriously?

            I mean, I think that was a pretty complicated situation, but my general take on it is that a) Patrick is a fuckwit. I mean, more about himself than anyone else, but darn, he can’t deal with his own feelings, and he fights dirty. b) Alison really shouldn’t have thrown the mug.

            I don’t think those two things are remotely equal.

          • Amati

            yeah, sure, Patrick was being a dick. (though given how his powers don’t turn off, i’m not sure how he could have changed the dynamic in the first place. but that’s besides the point.) she went further than ‘call him on his bullshit’ she blasted him off his feet with her new powers and talked about how she should kill him. you could tell from his expression that he was scared for his life. hell, she could have easily killed him with that mug by accident. i don’t care how dickish and manipulative your partner is, if your response to them is to commit or threaten physical violence, rather than walk away, you are just as abusive as they are.

            EDIT: i wasn’t really thinking of Patric when i mentioned assault. i was referring to the kidnaping incident. also, bear in mind that abuse often goes both ways. even if Patrick is equally abusive, it doesn’t make the abusive husband comparison any less apt.

          • Arkone Axon

            You’re right, Tylikcat. If you look at the pages of the mug throwing, and afterwards… he’s probably taken some pretty heavy damage. He may likely be disfigured as a result. Telling her something he knew would piss her off in order to push her away is not a felony; assault and the inflicting of disfiguring injuries are.

            Also, to say that Alison was Patrick’s victim is to do her such a huge disservice. He never defeated her. Ever. He quit, and allied with her, and befriended her… and then screwed it all up because he’s an emotionally immature young person no older than Alison, and did not know how to handle his feelings for her. By contrast, Alison has regularly faced violent confrontations, stressful life-or-death situations… she has literal blood on her hands, from both dangerous bad guys needing to be put down as well as innocent bystanders who became collateral damage; she has fought to come to terms with the fact that her favorite thing to do doesn’t actually help make the world a better place; and she has dealt with backstabbings and betrayals from friends and roommates who left her literally homeless in the rain.

            Claiming that Patrick’s attempt to piss her off is worse than her physical violence puts me in mind of the ending to Lord of the Rings (the books, not the movies). The bit where the hobbits return to the Shire… and find that Saruman and a bunch of human thugs have taken over. The human thugs attempt to bully and intimidate the newly returned little folk. The hobbits, having just spent the last few years dealing with orcs, cursed artifacts, a shockingly wide variety of assorted undead creatures, and an ancient giant spider so nasty that the only one who could kill her was herself… they’re not exactly fazed by the attempts to intimidate them with scary words.

        • Izo

          I will definitely compare Alison to an abusive husband (or an abusive wife, that’s a good point too) She wanted something from Max, she used force to get it. That’s abusive. And a lot of husbands (and wives) who are abusive are that way because they have tempers, not just being drunk or drugged up. And Alison has a temper.

          And afterward they always say ‘look what you made me do – why did you make me hit you – you know I hate when I have to hit you!’ – and act upset about it, and might even think they ARE upset over it. Doesn’t stop them from doing it again.

  • Lysiuj

    “You know, I wasn’t serious when I said you didn’t need to come to class anymore…”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Like he’s one to damn talk, he excused the whole freaking class for the entire semester safe for that one unlucky paperless guy.

      This brings back memories of that name on the board that wasn’t his. What’s up with that, narratively?
      I’m not saying he was just an homeless man with a dank fashion style who stumbled drunk and with a bag of rocks into a classroom –where the teacher was merely late– and with absolutely no desire to actually teach anybody anything, but…

      • Scott

        Dang…are we still mad at Mr. Gurwara for teaching one of the most deep and interesting, if unorthodox, philosophy classes ever?

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Well, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome also teaches that life is fundamentally unfair, I’m still mad at it

          • Scott

            Huh. Sorry, that doesn’t really make much sense to me. Being mad at SIDS is like being mad at the rain or being mad at an earthquake. It doesn’t really help anything. Maybe your anger moves you to action and you find a cause of SIDS and are able to help reduce its effect but simply raging against it won’t do any good.

            Honestly, Professor Gurwara has been my favorite character in this comic by far. I love his class exercise. It opens up so many discussions about the nature of morality and the obligation of an individual to society and vice versa. I only wish that one of my ethics classes had been half as profound.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            How… Stoical.

          • Scott

            I find your illogical and foolish emotions a constant irritant.

            Seriously, though, when something makes me angry it helps to ask why. What is it about Gurwara that makes you angry?

          • Seer of Trope

            I like the interesting discussion about a soon-to-be relevant ethic topic, but as a plot device, Guwara is up there with “God is not Dead” movie’s level of that-is-so-against-any-sane-regulation contrivance.

          • Scott

            Which part? The entire experiment or actually failing people due to the results?

          • Seer of Trope

            Actually failing people due to the results, yes.

          • Zac Caslar

            Assuming that actually happens.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            I struggle to see how that’s not covered by the comment you originally responded to.

          • Tylikcat

            First thought: But isn’t Alison a much better target for anger?

            Second thought: Huh. Maybe not.

            What a dark thought. However, two other artists of my acquaintance have just assured me that drawing butts is an endless source of comfort in these dark times, so maybe I will do that. It’s got to be slug mouths.

          • Weatherheight

            And with drawing butts, there’s a much lower chance of jail time.
            And if you’re lucky, someone will volunteer to model. 😀

          • Yeah, an ethics class that is by all accounts unethical.

          • Scott

            Unethical how?

          • Happyroach

            Bear in mind, I work at a university. so I have a different perspective.

            I’m assuming the syllabus for the course had a grading scale and requirements listed. Unless it said “I the professor will arbitrarily pass or fail students at any time”, he’s in violation of the promise he made to the university and the students. This is not a minor thing- a syllabus is a contract, and a student’s education is a paid, legal contract. It’s a payment for services rendered, and he has failed to deliver. (In addition, students may be there on government grants ad scholarships so there’s another element of contract law there.

            So basically, no, college courses are NOT “Professor gets to do whatever the fuck he wants” in class. Essentially, he has exposed the university to lawsuits from any and all of the students he allegedly “taught”, including the ones he passed. At the least, the dean of the college and the President of the University need to summon him immediately, and have a long, harsh talk to him about his teaching methods, followed by an email sent out to all students apologizing for the last class, and retracting the changes in grading policy. the university would also be entitled to bring in anther professor to teach that class immediately.

            Bottom line? He is a really shitty teacher, no matter how much his pedagogical methods open up discussions.

          • Scott

            All of the points you make are completely valid. Which is why I have never believed he was actually going to go through with the pass/fail part of the game. You did a better job than I ever did of explaining why that is impossible. However, the game would never have worked if the students had not believed they had something of real value at stake. Now, I’ll be honest. If Gurwara actually does stick to his pass/fail part of the game, I will take back most of the nice things I’ve said about him. That would be moronic. First, for all the reasons you’ve explained but also because it denies him the opportunity to re-engage with his students after they’ve had time to reflect.

            Still, I guess that’s the key difference between myself and all the people who hate him. I simply don’t believe that he ever intended to follow through on the pass/fail part of his game.

          • I thought the same thing. Even though I went to college in the early 90s with the GI Bill and Pell grants, with no family support whatsoever, I had to pay for much of my tuition out-of-pocket. If I had a professor pull some stunt like that on me, I would have been demanding a refund. Having to cough up that much money myself made me take my education very seriously.

          • 3-I

            Oh, come on, you must have read all the discussion about this from before.

            You’re not Socrates. Phrasing your disagreement as an innocent question isn’t helping.

          • Scott

            Never claimed I was. However, phrasing my disagreement as a question almost always helps. It softens my position, allowing others to feel comfortable actually engaging with me and it gives people an actual point to focus on instead of latching onto some random aspect of my post and using it to attack me. I think it helps more of my internet conversations stay civil and productive.

        • Roman Snow

          Your philosophy classes have been very different from mine.

          • Zac Caslar

            But not mine. Guwara’s methods are unusual, but as the approach works it’s very useful in a world of actual superbeings.

          • Roman Snow

            “as the approach works” …in what way? Up to this page, what has his bullying accomplished?

          • Zac Caslar

            Made a direct and applicable point about how people who aren’t transparently evil can still soberly elect to sabotage the common good in the name of their own interests?

            And once again “bullying” is invoked. I’m going to re-read that section as my current impression is not that intimidation and threats were used to coerce someone.

            And I’m still not seeing it. Guwara starts with humor and than asks for axioms. He prods the class by asking if anyone will share an axoim, remarks -in what’s obviously the spirit of humor given the tone he’s established- if they’re “mindless automatons”, and Allison jumps in to defend them from being “bullied.”

            Because being prodded to discuss the topic of the fucking class is “bullying.”

            Even The Invincible Girl needs a Safe Space, apparently.

            And from there we go into the Stone Demonstration wherein selfishness and miscommunication sabotage the Utopian outcome.

            But -here’s a surprise- on page

            https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-41-5/

            Guwara states that he’s not actually going to fail Allison for the result of the demonstration.

            So it was not actually played “for keeps.”

            And no one was “bullied.”

            *rings bell*

            Class is dismissed. Do your homework.

          • Roman Snow

            “*rings bell* Class is dismissed. Do your homework.” So glad you made the extra effort to condescend at the end there. There was no need to escalate the conversation that way.

            You say he say’s he’s not actually going to fail Alison, but the page you linked is the one wherein he explicitly states that he will. So here’s that link again: https://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-41-5/

            Panel 1: Gurwara concludes the lecture, and reminds the class their grades are “set in stone.”
            Panels 2 & 3: He tells Davenport he won’t fail him.
            Panel 4: He calls Alison over
            Panel 5: He says it was a “great discussion” etc.
            Panel 6: Alison “can appreciate that” etc.
            Panel 7: Gurwara reminds her that she really does have an automatic F for her choice in the “white and black stones” exercise, to her apparent shock. Presumably she thought, based on what he said to Davenport and his attitude during the “great discussion” comments, that he would not actually give her an arbitrary failing grade based on that one exercise.

            Also recall how the white stones mean instantly passing as well (issue 6, page 35 “If you put a white stone on your desk, you get an A in this course”), and note specifically what he says to Davenport in panel 2: “No automatic A though, yes?” Evidently, we have one student arbitrarily failed, most of the the class arbitrarily passing, and exactly one student who will be assessed normally.

            That’s incredibly irresponsible. Even if Gurwara turns out to be lying, he still let everyone leave thinking this is the case. That’s also very irresponsible.

            “And once again ‘bullying’ is invoked. I’m going to re-read that section as my current impression is not that intimidation and threats were used to coerce someone.” Alright, so you’re looking to contest that Gurwara bullied anyone and to do so you’re establishing the premise that bullying must be characterized by “intimidation and threats.” Well sorry, but I’m rejecting that premise.

            Or at least, I’m refusing to argue the semantics of whether his behavior should specifically be called “bullying”. The point stands that he’s terrible teacher in particular and a prick in general.

          • Zac Caslar

            So you just don’t like him.
            And he’s a bully, not that you actually characterize what a bully is or how a bully acts.
            You just don’t like him.
            Alright, that’s workable. Fair enough.
            And I did mix up Davenport and Allison, though I corrected that later.

          • Roman Snow

            “He arbitrarily failed one student and arbitrarily passed all but one of the other students.”

            “Oh, you just don’t like him. I’m going to say it twice just to be obnoxious: you just don’t like him.”

          • Zac Caslar

            I know I’m going to ignore you and that I’m not going to regret it.

            And you invite condescension. You’re repulsively weak. I’d suggest you do something about that, but I thank any responsible power at my lack of responsibility for that state.

          • Roman Snow

            http://i.imgur.com/ddlDtzv.png

            The comment appears to be gone so I cannot respond to it directly. You just made a personal attack on my character, and I would appreciate if you reflected on that.

            You’ve announced your intent to ignore me (although I had thought the conversation was already over), but I expect you’ll still read this even if you don’t reply. And I sincerely hope you don’t reply, because this has been stressful, but I still feel the need to analyze this and figure out what on earth just happened. Maybe my sensitivity is what makes me “repulsively weak?” I really don’t know.

            The relevant thread here begins with my response to a comment made by Scott, who referred to Gurwara’s lecture as “one of the most deep and interesting, if unorthodox, philosophy classes ever.”

            I said “Your philosophy classes have been very different from mine,” because I personally think the content of Gurwara’s lesson was very dull compared to actual ethics lessons I’ve seen. This was a civil and mild disagreement.

            Where you and I are concerned, you initiated the conversation when you replied “But not mine. Guwara’s methods are unusual, but as the approach works it’s very useful in a world of actual superbeings.”

            I responded “‘as the approach works’ …in what way? Up to this page, what has his bullying accomplished?” Up to this point I think our own conversation had been civil as well. But something about this, probably a pet peeve about the word “bullying” in particular, led you to launch into a lengthier, mean-spirited post. (And since I probably need to be a specific as possible, by mean-spirited I am referring to the condescension you tacitly admitted to in the linked image above; “inconsiderate and unsympathetic”).

            It was tempting to respond in turn, but instead I started my response by pointing out that you had been unnecessarily condescending and had escalated the situation. At the time, I sincerely believed this would elicit a more mild response and de-escalate the situation.

            The lynchpin of my post was proving that he was going to fail Alison, which you say was you confusing her situation with Davenport’s so I’m going to ignore this bit.

            “Bullying” in particular had clearly struck a nerve, and would frankly have immediately devolved into a semantic argument because you established premises for what qualified as “bullying” which I hadn’t agreed to. But the actual content of Gurwara’s character was the important topic, so I switched gears from “bully” to “terrible teacher in particular and a prick in general.” I won’t delve further because this post is too long already.

            So you ignored everything I’d said about his arbitrarily passing and failing of the class and told me I “just didn’t like him,” seemingly deliberately misrepresenting my argument from where I stood. You also appeared to think I was still calling him a bully, which is more understandable because I never explicitly stated I was retracting that claim. It was certainly still frustrating though.

            So I responded with this post: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-106-2/#comment-3058771496 Which I’m not going to deconstruct because I don’t see how I can add to it or further explain it.

            It apparently warranted announcing you would ignore me, and then personally attacking me, but not actually continuing the argument in any capacity. Just… insult and run.

            So this is a good place for an ironic comeback. I could say “I suggest you doing something about that,” echoing the milder part of your post (since echoing any of the rest of your post would probably get this post flagged). But that be childish.

            I don’t think you’re “repulsively weak” but I do think you’ve been very damn mean and I don’t understand why. I’ve seen some of your other posts and I think you can be extremely insightful.

            So please reflect on this and I sincerely hope it makes a positive difference, and please, please, please keep your promise of ignoring me because I’ll have a small heart attack if I get another notification that “Zac Caslar” resplied to me. (Exaggerating, but really please don’t respond).

        • Pyro

          People hold on to shit like that man.

        • LaGrange

          He didn’t teach a philosophy class, he was a philosophy class, which is a rather important distinction. Yes, he did open up an interesting discussion, but that can be said about most unethical — and usually wrong — people with power. They “open up interesting discussions”. That’s actually why a comparison to SIDS is fair — just like it, he taught you a valuable lesson, but you wouldn’t call it a teacher. The whole point of school is that you learn how to build a metaphorical bridge without causing a few metaphorical disasters in the process.

          Not only failing his class was unethical and in breach of contract, but the entire class was built on abuse of the students and intentionally causing distress to them. And while many subjects can be distressing, you manage that by preparing people to that distress, not by actually amplifying it.

          Also, the class was about as deep as a puddle.

          • Scott

            Okay, I feel like I’m going to have to post this over and over again, but crucial to my support of Gurwara is my belief that no one has actually passed or failed the class yet. As someone above points out, that would not be legally feasible within a university and Gurwara is certainly aware of that. My belief is that the entire game he created would not have worked unless the students were under the impression they had something real on the line.

            As far as the class being only as deep as a puddle, I also disagree. I think that Gurwara managed to make multiple points about the larger cause of much of the evil in the world (people who just don’t understand the decisions they are making, people who start from a disadvantaged position and then must rely on others, and people who make selfish choices but for reasons none of us would consider selfish) without having to open a single textbook. I think that if you look at the message behind not only the game itself but also the responses of the students, it become analogous to so much of history and even the issues we face today. I think that’s pretty deep.

          • Flimflamberge

            If he really wasn’t going to go through with his stated intent to give his students automatic pass/fails wouldn’t he have revealed that after they’d all made their decisions and before they all left? There’s no reason to let all those students go thinking there’s no reason for them to come back if he does actually want them back.

            The only way his actions make sense is if he’s got some ulterior motive specifically for messing with Alison and doesn’t care about his job at all.

          • LaGrange

            Okay, first things first, whether he actually failed is almost irrelevant (*again* – if you tried to pay attention to what’s written, maybe there would be less repeating) – he definitely made people *believe* he failed them, and that’s abuse of power enough that the guy should be kicked out from the job and everyone should make sure he never gets a position of authority again. People like him exist, and they caused brilliant students to drop out. Not only students, such behavior is rarely limited to the class.

            As for “making a case without opening a single textbook,” that’s not a good thing, you know? He’s not expected to be perfectly objective, but the class isn’t also a platform to expose his worldview *as if it were* an objective and complete overview. Those textbooks exist to provide context and view wider than one creepy, grandiose professor looking to shoot down a student.

            The conclusions are familiar to anyone who paid any attention in life. It’s about as relevant in a philosophy class as counting with match sticks in calculus III.

            Tl;dr: I’ve met teachers like this. I even got under the spell a few times. Final conclusion, from experience mine and many other people: run, don’t look back. Those are not people who have your good in mind.

          • Arkone Axon

            Regarding what you just said about the cause of the evil in the world… I believe this is a Jewish concept. The Yatzer Harah. The evil that springs forth from good intentions gone awry.

            (Basically, the Jewish belief as to why evil exists in the world is because humanity ate of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which gave us the power of Creation. Thus: everything we’ve created and developed. We have G-d’s powers of creation… but not His wisdom. Which makes us like a hybrid vehicle made with the engine of an F-1 racer, but the suspension, steering, and wheels of a Model T Ford. We’re prone to crashing. A lot.

            Much like Alison has been doing here. She has the power, but not the wisdom to use it properly. That’s what the whole comic is about – her search for the wisdom to know how to properly apply her power)

      • Arkone Axon

        Oh, wow… suddenly I’m thinking of something I already referenced in a response to another comment. Frank Miller’s “All Star Batman and Robin.” Or as a critic calls him, Crazy Steve. “This is not Batman. This is a mentally ill homeless man who wandered into the Batcave and stole the suit.”

        That… that would be awesome. A wandering homeless guy just stumbles his way into a university classroom and ends up being the best teacher the students have ever seen. (And without beating anyone up or setting them on fire, like Crazy Steve :p )

  • Margot

    Aaaaaaaah!

  • Bo Lindbergh

    “Thank you for helping me see that tyranny sometimes is the best option.”

    • Jovial Contrarian

      — said Alison, between the waves of guilt-puke.

    • Izo

      Response from Gurwara – “Again you show yourself to be intellectually challenged, and someone who should remove yourself from society completely and never burden society again with the danger that is you. I was pointing out that tyranny is NOT the best option, it’s the worst option, but often the first option for small minded idiots who should never have even a modicum of power, since they’re so prone to abuse it for whatever whim they think meets ‘the greater good.’ Hello, small minded idiot. Ask me how I got these scars or this limp some time. It was from another small minded idiot in a position of authority in the despotic country from which I escaped.”

  • Izo

    Still not feeling sorry for her until something bad happens beyond feeling guilty for doing something evil and tyrannical to an innocent person.

    • Philip Petrunak

      Innocent? You’re not innocent when you let people die because you’re unwilling to do something that saves THOUSANDS of lives because of spite. If I were her I would have broken every bone in his arms and legs, ripped out his tongue, gouged out his eyes and kept him in a basement to empower people who actual good in the world. Then I would have destroyed his mansion, and killed his whole family so no one connected to him could go after me or even be around to investigate.

      Then I would fly into congress and force them to pass universal healthcare.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        You must be happy with the new US President’s view about torture and the ol’ democratic process

      • Beroli

        Okay, scary. That’s the most compelling argument that Max was 100% in the right when he told her to get out that I’ve ever seen.

        (Not that it’s sufficiently compelling. Of course Max should have volunteered to help Feral, and was being petty and selfish when he said he wouldn’t because he didn’t want to. But this…)

      • Seer of Trope

        What you’re wanting there is a personal dictatorship. You would most likely destabilize the country instead.

      • Eric Meyer

        I think innocent in this instance is meant more in the “He did nothing to provoke her actions” rather than “He has never done anything wrong”.

        More situation specific, rather than biblical.

      • Jovial Contrarian

        Don’t cut yourself on that edge, you’re scaring the children!

      • Ian Osmond

        What you are arguing is that free will and self-determination isn’t all that important.

        In my opinion, most morality goes to human rights, and the most basic human right upon which all other rights are based is the right to be who you are. From that right flows the right to be treated fairly no matter your position, the right to speak your mind, the right to own your own stuff, the right to not be killed, and many other rights which we can argue about — is there a right to be healthy? And, if there is, what other rights does it outweigh? Can we argue that the right of many people to be healthy outweighs the right of one person to dump toxic waste into the water supply? Can we argue that the right of a person to be healthy outweighs the right of many people to control all of their money — what are taxes, what is it moral to use them for?

        You are taking an extreme position on this one — that the right of many people to be helped outweighs the right of a single person to refuse to help, and that you may violate that person’s right to freedom, self-determination, and bodily integrity to rectify it.

        I don’t think that’s a sustainable way to run a society.

        • Virgil Clemens

          It’s not an extreme position when the circumstance is itself is extreme. It’s not like this is killing one person to use their organs to save five people. It’s mild assault at the price of literally countless lives.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            The numbers don’t matter. The “mildness” of the assault doesn’t matter as long as it’s narratively framed as abuse of power.

          • Lucy

            That’s a really good point.

          • Virgil Clemens

            Context most certainly matters, otherwise why have there be a story that actually bothers to set up anything? The story would objectively and subjectively different if the motivation and actions were different, as would peoples’ approval/disapproval, and to think otherwise is just plain wrong.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Obviously context matters. Relevant context matters.
            Those two things aren’t relevant.

          • Virgil Clemens

            Those two things are the whole of the moral debate, so yes, they are certainly relevant. The crime, comparatively mild assault; and the reward, countless lives saved. The whole debate dramatically changes if the reward becomes “free dinner” or the crime becomes “kills a family, slowly” (or both).

          • Izo

            I’m disturbed that you have a numerical value for how much human lives are worth and how much freedom from tyranny is worth, like it can be put into some mathematical formula.

      • Lucy

        Um, I’m pretty sure Philip is being hyperbolic, right?

        Like, yeah, I have no idea if I would *actually* kill someone to save my best friend from possible eternal torture (plus, er, you know, the other people who she’s saving). But I would definitely *want* to. I’d probably say that I would, even if I wouldn’t.

        From an emotional (rather than logical) standpoint, I love Feral. Feral is my hands-down fave. Correlating to my life, Feral is much like my bff, as well as some other people I deeply admire. Anything that could save Feral would *feel* like it’s worth it, even if it wasn’t.

        It’s funny, because readers totally roll with this in a revenge story, like ‘Taken.’ To save a single person one loves, a tough guy has to murder his way through Paris, and we all root for him, and he wins in the end and it’s great.

        Obviously, SFP is a bit more morally complex than “Good guy kills the bad guys and saves the girl.” But while it might be intellectually lazy (who is Good? Who is Bad? Why killing?) it’s an incredibly resonant story, oft-repeated, because it gets at a core emotional truth.

        What’s interesting about this story, though, is that simply by tweaking it a little–for example, showing that good and evil are complicated, having Alison be wrong in her idealism, having her feel guilty for breaking her own moral code rather than celebrating like in a revenge movie, having the person “keeping” Feral in pain do so very indirectly (by inaction rather than action) and having her revenge have positive consequences beyond saving the person we like–suddenly the emotional experience is incredibly jarring.

        In some ways, it still feels like a revenge story. Because Max “caused” Feral’s torture since he could easily have prevented it and didn’t, Philip’s emotional response makes a lot of sense–Alison got the bad guy and saved the good girl, without killing no less! We know this story! Why aren’t we cheering her on?

        But then Izo’s reaction also makes sense. Because if this is a “idealism versus pragmatism” story, and bodily autonomy / non-violence is an ideal that is mandatory to uphold in a free society, then this story seems to come down on the side of pragmatism in an indelicate way. If “maintain bodily autonomy” and “do no violence” are the pillars of Good, then Alison is Evil (or at least did an evil thing). Ideals = Good, Pragmatics = Evil. It’s Good vs. Evil, so, why is anyone on Alison’s side? Ever?

        Sorry for the long comment. I just think neither commenter is being, er, scary or messed up; I think Izo and Philip are perhaps approaching this from different story arcs / patterns.

        Sorry if I’m misrepresenting your points of view, please correct me if I’m wrong. I think this is a pretty cool discussion; I’ll butt out now.

        • Izo

          Max did not ’cause’ Feral’s torture though. Not doing something is not the same as causing something. If ‘not doing something’ meant the same thing as ‘causing something’ then you are responsible for every bad thing that happens to anyone around you, if you had the chance to stop it. If a person is hitchhiking on the side of the road, and you do not pick him up, and that person then gets run over by a car later on, you’re responsible for his death. If you have a rare blood type, and don’t regularly donate, you are responsible for everyone who dies because they couldnt get a transfusion of the right type of blood. And in universe…. if Feral did NOT want to donate her organs, she would be responsible for millions of deaths, and it would be a good thing to forcibly strap her down and take her organs ignoring her protests. None of this is true though. Because inaction is only a negative action if you are 1) The one who caused the problem in the first place, or 2) if you prevent anyone else from trying to fix the problem in either the same or a different way. Autonomy is important.

      • Stephanie

        Jesus. I was with you for one sentence of that, and then it went off the rails. Brutally torturing Max and killing his family would have been completely unjustified, and it’s honestly a really sick thing to fantasize about.

        • Izo

          That’s unfortunately the slippery slope of saying that violence upon others to force them to do something, just because you’re stronger, for ‘the greater good’ is allowable and necessary.

          • Stephanie

            No, it absolutely is not. Holding a belief doesn’t require me to have the most extreme possible version of that belief. You know exactly what the limits of my utilitarianism are, because I’ve described them to you extensively. This dude’s torture fantasies are not the “slippery slope” of my beliefs; they are his and only his beliefs.

          • Izo

            Most people aren’t as morally absolute as you on where your limits are. And, playing devil’s advocate for a moment, you can never really know where your limits are until you reach them.

          • Stephanie

            I know where my limits are not. I have no desire to inflict unnecessary harm on anyone, not even people I think are awful.

          • Izo

            I find it unrealistic that you’d be able to know, with certainty, what your limits are if you’ve never reached your limit (ie, that there are NO limits upon which you’d inflict unnecessary harm, or any way to define what is and is not ‘necessary’). In past threads, I’ve already been able to give you situations where you’ve outright said that you could not answer the scenario.

          • Stephanie

            Yeah I’m done with this thread. I don’t need to continue justifying to you the fact that I know I would not be into horribly torturing a guy and murdering his entire family for no good reason. You can engage with my principles all you want, but I’m not interested in further debating whether I secretly have totally different ones.

          • Izo

            I’m just saying you can’t prove a negative.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t need to “prove” to you what’s going on in my own head. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time I’ve had to tell you that.

          • Izo

            If it’s a negative, it’s not going on in your head in the first place. That’s why it’s a negative.

          • Stephanie

            You’re being pedantic. I’m asking you, yet again, to respect that I know what my own beliefs are and that I’m not required to defend myself against your accusations that I secretly believe totally different things.

          • Izo

            I’m being logical. No one can prove a negative. You can’t. I can’t. It’s a logical fallacy that claims the truth of a premise based on the fact that it has not been proven false. Argumentum ad ignorantiam.

      • Izo

        “Innocent? You’re not innocent when you let people die because you’re unwilling to do something that saves THOUSANDS of lives because of spite.”

        So if I tell you ‘Start donating blood each week or I will shoot you dead’ – you think that’s justifiable? You think that you’re an evil person because you’re not donating blood regularly? You’re letting people die because you’re unwilling to do something that saves hundreds of lives.

        “If I were her I would have broken every bone in his arms and legs, ripped out his tongue, gouged out his eyes and kept him in a basement to empower people who actual good in the world. Then I would have destroyed his mansion, and killed his whole family so no one connected to him could go after me or even be around to investigate.”

        Well then, based on what you’ve said, the person who’d do that would obviously have the mentality of a monster who I hope never has more power than the power to ask me if I want fries with my order. I’d never want someone who thinks what you stated is a justifiable thing to have ANY sort of power over another person. Ever. If you have a child, and that child is a genius, but decides he or she wants to grow up to paint, instead of become a doctor, obviously from your well-reasoned (/sarcasm strong here) opinions, you should probably break his or her legs, lock the kid in a closet with nothing but medical books until he decides to choose the path which saves lives instead of the one which makes pretty pictures.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I don’t think you’re supposed to ever feel sorry for her for what she did.

      • Izo

        Apparently a frighteningly significant number of people reading this DO feel sorry for her, though. That’s the troubling thing I’m seeing here. Not just for the comic, but for real life it’s troubling.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Not that much, honesty. She’s gouging her eyes out with tears, something we’ve never seen her do before, and very few have spent their comments saying the equivalent of “awwww, poor Alison”

          Now a lot of them excuse her actions, but that’s not the same.

          • Izo

            Read Philip’s response, below.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Yeah no I’m not giving any credit to that one

  • Lostman

    It never stops for Alison, now does it?

    • Izo

      If only she didn’t do something like… say…. force someone against their will and use death threats. It wouldnt have even begun then.

      • cphoenix

        If you want to talk about beginnings, remember that she was turned into a child soldier. And she came through that experience with her human decency* not just intact but amplified.

        If you really think it _began_ for Alison with what she did to Max, then you are taking a seriously narrow view.

        * Saving Feral from unspeakable permanent agony was more decent than saving Max from an arm-twisting. Human decency is not the same as ethics, as Alison is finding out. The decent thing to do is to minimize harm. Ethics adds the question of who’s taking which actions. Arguably, the only reason we need ethics is that we naturally have overly narrow views, don’t see the proper balance of decency in the big picture, and so tend to make self-serving choices. So ethics is valuable, but it’s not the only value.

        • SJ

          If you want to talk about beginnings, remember that she was turned into a child soldier…

          What do you mean, “turned into”? Alison wasn’t conscripted; as far as we know, none of the Guardians were, but Alison and Hector definitely weren’t. They decided, on their own, to become superheroes, and then the government decided to subsidize them, in order to cover their own asses.

          • Basiorana

            She was a child. You think real life child soldiers are always conscripted?

          • SJ

            She was a child. You think real life child soldiers are always conscripted?

            What I think is that whether or not “real life” child soldiers are always conscripted doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that “child solider” was the path that Alison chose for herself, and that it’s disingenuous to try and frame an argument in a way that makes it sound like it was a burden that was put upon her.

          • Basiorana

            It doesn’t have to be forced on her to traumatize her.

            Not all trauma is “something bad happened to me that I hated.” Think of adult soldiers with PTSD.

            Whatever choice she made was irrelevant. She didn’t have the judgement to make an informed decision. She made foolish choices as a child that have caused her psychological trauma because her authority figures were unable and maybe unwilling to stop her.

          • Weatherheight

            As I recall, they were something like 13-14 years old. Having spent a rather large amount of time around kids that age, both in counseling mode and out, they are, as a general rule, pleasers – they tend to want to be liked by authority figures. The power dynamic is… rather unequal and there is an undue influence, in general, on their reasoning process thereby.

            And yes, not all kids fit this bill – that’s obvious. But in this case, I think we can reasonably suppose that those kids became the super-villains against whom the Guardians fought (or they opted out and tried to be independent to the best of a 13-14 year-old’s ability). But those kids are a definite minority, although the size of that minority is debatable.

          • SJ

            As I recall, they were something like 13-14 years old. Having spent a rather large amount of time around kids that age, both in counseling mode and out, they are, as a general rule, pleasers – they tend to want to be liked by authority figures. The power dynamic is… rather unequal and there is an undue influence, in general, on their reasoning process thereby.

            While that may true in real life, it’s not really true in the context of this webcomic. And, to the extent that it is, it doesn’t apply, anyway: The only undue influence on Alison Green’s decision to become a superhero was Hector Jiminez.

          • Weatherheight

            I agree with each point you make – Hector’s enthusiasm is more contagious than the common cold.

            The webcomic’s premise is really about “What would it be like if normal people got superpowers and how would that play out?” in a more realistic way. So I feel it’s fair to extrapolate the feelings of those kids in comic from similar kids in reality, lacking actual evidence to the contrary, provided the extrapolation isn’t wildly speculative. What I’ve found so far is that there is a lot of meaning that can be derived from the comic by doing this, giving it more layers and richer meaning than the obvious narrative.

            And, to be honest, if the governmental bodies “in comic” didn’t use every LEGAL power at their disposal to achieve parity with those kids who opted to become “villains”, including a certain degree of “undue influence”, then frankly they’d be taking a huge risk with public safety and infrastructure. I would call that nonfeasance at least, malfeasance at worst. Alison pretty much is every military leader’s Birthday Present in terms of being a Combat Asset. Again, given the desperate and sudden need for force parity, they really should have been trying to force her hand as much as they could (and, ironically, by using as little as needed) in order to gain her willing cooperation. What I find most interesting is that, insofar as canon goes, we’ve not seen “The Agency” attempting to get her to return to the fold or even actually contacting her – primarily because of lack of sufficiently powerful non-incarcerated living opponents, I suspect. Does Alison have an agreement with said “Agency” regarding in what circumstances they can request her assistance? Was the Agency federally funded, a multi-state cooperative agency, or funded by NYC? I have a lot of questions about that, given the impact that governmental bodies have on our daily lives here in the US, most of which goes utterly unnoticed (this is a good thing, most of the time).

            I seem to recall a flashback with Alison discussing this with her parents; I suspect that also had an influence. I have to wonder about those things unspoken by them – were they considered and nevertheless left unsaid, or did her parents not foresee the trauma she might be subject to? Were they left unsaid in order to protect her, simply not considered likely to occur, or did they consider Alison strong enough mentally and emotionally (I support this last, myself, but I agree based on no evidence).

            Problem of being a psych major and a counselor – you spend a lot of time thinking about people – including made-up ones. 😀

        • Izo

          “If you want to talk about beginnings, remember that she was turned into a child soldier. And she came through that experience with her human decency* not just intact but amplified.”

          1) She wasn’t turned into a child soldier. It was voluntary. She, and Pintsize, decided to become superheroes. Because they were 14, and teenagers can be incredibly stupid. And adults in government can be incredibly stupid as well to let children have government backing as superheroes.

          2) It wasn’t her experience as a superhero that made her a good human being. It was her upbringing by her parents. If anything, superheroing is what gave her a nervous breakdown when she realized that ‘people listen to her on important matters just because she can lift a car over her head’ and at the time, she realized that was an idiotic reason to have power over other people’s beliefs. Unfortunately she forgot that when it came to Max because, frankly, Alison is not a bright person and turned out to be a hypocrite.

          “Saving Feral from unspeakable permanent agony was more decent than saving Max from an arm-twisting. ”

          Guess what else saves Feral from an unspeakable permanent agony. Feral deciding to take breaks from what she’s doing. Or to quit doing it all together. Unless you are implying that the doctors should keep her strapped to the table and FORCE her even if she says no. Which, based on the defense of Alison, I’d expect you to say if you’re going to be consistent in your views.

          “The decent thing to do is to minimize harm. Ethics adds the question of who’s taking which actions.”

          No, you’re falling into that age old trap called utilitarianism, which has been used by every despot, tyrant, and fascist system to justify their actions, and even many terrible things done in even non-tyrannical countries. Both in fiction and in real life. Stalin. Hitler. Pol Pot. The Trail of Tears. Slavery (anywhere). People are great at justifying their wrongdoing, and the simplest way to justify wrongdoing is to say ‘well at least good came out of it for others – well…. not the people who were enslaved, killed, tortured, or made into second class citizens, but for others!) Utilitarianism is a flawed and awful concept because it tries to put a mathematical value on human suffering, human lives, and advancement for society, and it always depends on the person in power deciding that one thing is worth X human lives.

          “Arguably, the only reason we need ethics is that we naturally have overly narrow views, don’t see the proper balance of decency in the big picture, and so tend to make self-serving choices. So ethics is valuable, but it’s not the only value.”

          We can use ethics to explain a need to think of others. That doesn’t mean we can think of ‘one set of’ others (ie, Feral) by NOT thinking of ‘another set of’ others (ie, Max).

          “1) You’re walking down the street and see two crises – a person being mugged, and a person trapped in a burning building. You only have time to save one. The decent and ethical thing to do is to save the person who’s about to burn to death.”

          Why? What if you are afraid of fire? Does saving the person who is being mugged because you can beat up a mugger, but cannot beat up fire, mean that you are less ethical? No.

          Also, you’re using a trolley example, and the problem with trolley examples, which I’ve said many times, is it omits third and fourth and fifth options.

          For example…. call the fire department or call the police. You have time to do both. Or I’m pretty sure if you call 911, they’ll send police and the fire department for both things.

          Also, if you don’t jump in to save the person being mugged AND don’t run into the burning building, I’m not sure how THAT makes you unethical either, if you don’t want to risk your life. If you do risk your life, you’re a hero. But if you don’t risk your life, you’re not a villain.

          Unless you set the fire in the first place.

          “2) You see a person trapped in a burning building, and another person hurrying by with a ladder who refuses to stop. The decent thing to do is to mug them to save a life, but ethically it’s problematic – and more so if the trapped person is a friend of yours.”

          Not really ethically problematic.

          For one thing, not sure how the ladder is going to prevent you from being burned alive, but lets say you were in a fire retardant suit or something.

          If you grab the ladder from the man running by with it, and he then sees the person in the burning building, pretty sure he’d let you use the ladder. Worst case scenario, after you save your friend, you get arrested for robbing the man of his ladder.

          And again, it’s a trolley problem. You’re ignoring third and fourth options, and you’re ignoring what series of events brought you to this implausible choice. How high up is the person in the building that a single ladder that someone is running by with would be the thing that saves your friend’s life? Why does your friend not jump and you catch them? Or hang from the window then drop down…. and you, being a good friend, could catch them that way to cushion the fall.

          “My conclusion: The places where human decency and ethics differ are very interesting to explore, and probably shed a lot of light on the trolley problem and on Alison’s dilemma. And since the answers are so unclear, and since Alison clearly put some thought into choosing the right answer (and was afterward distressed by her choice), we cannot call her a monster.”

          Actually, Alison put NO thought into what she did. She went in five minutes from asking him to do something, to calling him a jerk and a whiner and trying to guilt him after dismissing him making a good point, to physically assaulting him and threatening to kill him. This does not scream ‘I put thought into this!’

          It does scream ‘I am a violent monster who will hurt you if I can’t convince you in five minutes and don’t spend more than a day thinking of ways to convince you or ways to do the same thing without having to rely on you.’

      • KatherineMW

        Then she would still be in a situation where a close friend was toryuring herself for the rest of her life, and tens of thousands of people were dying because of something she could prevent, and she had chosen to do nothing about it.

        Every choice has two sides.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Yeah she chose to disregard her own personal choice in the matter too!

          • Stephanie

            Do you mean Feral’s choice? Considering how happy Feral was to learn what her boosted abilities meant for her and the world, I don’t think Feral ever really “chose” 24/7 torture. She chose to help people as much as she possibly could, and 24/7 torture was the price she accepted for making that choice. That doesn’t mean she wanted to be tortured; she just wanted to help people more than she wanted not to be tortured.

            Alison didn’t take Feral’s choice away; she just boosted the impact of that choice beyond Feral’s wildest dreams, and removed the necessity of paying such a terrible price for it.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Look, Feral was narratively designed to be able to set up the hugest personal sacrifice. She wanted to take it all entirely on herself so that nobody else ever would. That includes Max. As delighted by the result —the difference it makes for others, not herself, I don’t think it matters much in her eyes how much free time she has— she may be, if she is not at least conflicted once she knows how it happened, that’s just inconsistent character.

          • Stephanie

            Yes, Feral is primarily happy about the fact that she’s helping more people. That was Alison’s gift to her. I’m not arguing that having more free time is what she’s happiest about; I’m saying that she isn’t unhappy about not being tortured 24/7. She didn’t actually want to be tortured 24/7–that wasn’t the choice, it was the price of her choice. Removing the necessity of Feral being tortured 24/7 did not take away her choice to help people, and in fact Feral is now able to enact her choice to help people to a much greater extent than before.

            I don’t actually know whether Feral would think involving Max invalidates the whole thing, but personally I don’t think she’s so much of a wilting lily that she’d be like “Oh no, one dude’s arm got twisted so I could save everyone who ever needs blood or organs for the rest of my life, everything is ruined.”

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            The wondrous that we might have discovered if only Alison was merely bothered to ask.

          • Izo

            If Alison really thinks Feral should be happy about this, then pray tell – why has Alison not told Feral what she did to Max to force him to augment her.

            Maybe Alison feels that Feral would think what Alison did was BAD?

          • Stephanie

            I have no idea what Feral would think of how Alison did it. I’m saying that Feral is, very clearly, happy with what Alison did for her.

            Personally, I have my doubts that Feral–who has literally killed people for no good reason and is trying to do better now, and who can therefore strongly relate to the idea that someone can do a bad thing and still not be ruined forever as a person, and who has again just been given the ability to help countless more people than she ever thought possible–would be pissy about Alison twisting Max’s arm to accomplish this. But I don’t actually know. What I do know is that Alison didn’t take Feral’s choice away, because Feral’s actual meaningful choice was to donate her organs, not to suffer 24/7 in the process.

          • Izo

            If Feral is truly altruistic, then Feral is not doing what she’s doing for personal redemption though. There is no reason for her to think she will ever receive personal redemption for the innocent people she’s killed. In fact, if her sacrifice was only because of personal redemption, then Max was right – she isn’t doing it for altruistic reasons and altruism is, in fact, a lie.

          • Stephanie

            Is doing it for altruistic reasons and with the hope of personal redemption not an option? In any case, this doesn’t really have anything to do with what I said–whether Feral thinks someone can be “redeemed” for past sins is beside the point. “Can someone be redeemed for their sins?” is a separate question than “Is a person who commits a sin a horrible monster deserving of scorn?”

            Let me put it this way: As someone who has committed much greater sins than Alison to achieve much less noble ends, it would be hypocritical of Feral to react with sanctimonious horror upon finding out how Alison enabled her to save millions of lives.

          • Izo

            “Is doing it for altruistic reasons and with the hope of personal redemption not an option?”

            If you are doing it for the hope of personal redemption, that is de facto NOT altruistic.

            “Is a person who commits a sin a horrible monster deserving of scorn?”

            Depends on the sin. If it involves intentionally hurting an innocent person? Yes. You better believe it’s deserving of scorn.

            “Let me put it this way: As someone who has committed much greater sins than Alison to achieve much less noble ends, it would be hypocritical of Feral to react with sanctimonious horror upon finding out how Alison enabled her to save millions of lives.”

            No it would not be. A person who has committed bad acts does not suddenly HAVE to accept when other people commit bad acts as well.

          • Stephanie

            They don’t have to, but they’re hypocritical if they don’t–specifically, they’re hypocritical if they think worse of the other person than they did of themselves. Feral did her best to make amends, but she clearly doesn’t think that she’s some kind of horrible irredeemable piece of garbage who doesn’t deserve happiness, or whatever it is you’re thinking she’ll think of Alison.

          • Izo

            “They don’t have to, but they’re hypocritical if they don’t–specifically, they’re hypocritical if they think worse of the other person than they did of themselves. ”

            No, they’d be hypocritical if they thought what THEY did was forgivable, while what Alison did is not. If they think both what they did and what Alison did is unforgivable, they’re the opposite of being hypocritical. They’re consistent.

            “Feral did her best to make amends, but she clearly doesn’t think that she’s some kind of horrible irredeemable piece of garbage who doesn’t deserve happiness, or whatever it is you’re thinking she’ll think of Alison.”

            Maybe she DOES think she’s an irredeemable piece of garbage for the innocent people she killed. She can do good for others at her OWN expense, not in order to be redeemed, but because it’s the least she can do. Alison, on the other hand, thinks what she did was justifiable, and boo hoo, poor her. Feral doesn’t seem to wallow in self-pity about it. She admits that she did something bad, and was trying to do something good without it necessarily being to redeem herself. If it WAS just to redeem herself? There goes all her altruistic motives. Because then she wasnt being altruistic at all.

            Again, I love this clip from Stargate: The Ark of Truth. Maybe you should watch it and take it to heart. It’s appropriate and relevant to the thread. When you do the type of evil that Feral did, or the type that Alison did, you should not expect personal redemption. You should not expect forgiveness. If you GET forgiveness, it’s not because you deserve it – it’s because the person whom you harmed chose to give it to you, because it offers THEM closure. It’s Max’s right to forgive or not forgive Alison. Alison should not expect any sort of coddling. Screw the fact that she feels upset. It doesn’t take away what she did.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia14Nx_6jQY

          • Stephanie

            Whatever you think is right or wrong, based on my reading of Feral’s character, I think it’s unlikely that she would be more angry at Alison for coercing Max than she is appreciative of Alison’s enabling her to save countless lives.

          • Izo

            I disagree, and think it would be more likely that she would be angry, or at the least more despondent, about what Alison did. In addition to all other reasons, Feral can see it as being something that SHE caused to happen through Alison. Alison literally made her an unwilling accomplice in torture just because Feral was trying to do something selfless that hurts no one except herself. And Alison ruined that selfless act.

        • Izo

          “Then she would still be in a situation where a close friend was toryuring herself for the rest of her life,”

          What Feral does is not up to Alison. Feral is in charge of what Feral does. Feral could stop what she’s doing any time Feral wanted to stop. If Alison was doing this for Feral’s sake, and not for Alison’s own selfish sake, then Alison would tell Feral the TRUTH about what she did.

          “and tens of thousands of people were dying because of something she could prevent, and she had chosen to do nothing about it.”

          How many times should I use the forced blood donations in real life example before people start seeing the flaw in the reasoning you just gave?

          • Stephanie

            No individual in real life is capable of saving tens of thousands of people via blood donation. The harm/benefit ratio of forcing baseline humans to donate blood is wildly different than the harm/benefit ratio of making Max boost Feral. There’s no comparison.

          • Izo

            Why are you fixated on the number of people saved? As if that matters. But fine, if you want to deal with numbers…. if a person can save hundreds of people with blood donations, and one of those people is someone who finds the cure for AIDS or cancer, then they save millions.

          • Stephanie

            I’m fixated on the number of people saved because it does matter. It’s pertinent to the cost-benefit ratio. I believe that every individual life matters, so it follows that I have to count all of the lives on either side of that ratio.

            The probability that Feral saves millions of people is enormously higher (almost a sure thing, based on the information available to us) than the probability that any given rando’s blood donation will save a person who goes on to save millions.

          • Izo

            So by your justification of cost-benefit ratio, if Dr. Josef Mengele’s horrific experiments on the jews resulted in some sort of cure for disease and life-extending/saving methods for a far larger amount of others, you’d consider the nazi doctor’s experimentation and torture of people to be worth it? Because that’s what happens when you try to quantify human suffering and death compared to possible, very subjective notions of ‘good’. You get inhuman monsters like Mengele. Because that’s what nazi apologists say about his experiments.

            Not to mention that using Max to augment Feral was NOT in any way guaranteed, any more than it would be guaranteed that a person who’s life you save with a rare blood type donation might cure AIDS or cancer, which he or she would not have done if not for your blood.

          • Stephanie

            “If a bad thing that happened in real life had instead happened a totally different way so that it was less bad, would you think it was less bad?”

          • Izo

            1) Why didnt you answer my question?
            2) How is the idea that a man tortured and killed innocent people for ‘scientific progress’ that worked out less bad than if he tortured and killed innocent people for ‘scientific progress’ that was wrong? Do the innocent people tortured and killed become magically less tortured and killed?
            3) Mengele’s horrific experiments ARE from real life.

          • Stephanie

            I know his experiments are from real life. They were also completely useless to anyone, so I’m not in favor of them.

            If you want to interrogate me about how I’d resolve hypothetical trolley scenarios, I’ll thank you to leave Godwin’s law out of it. I’m not going to say “Well, I’d support a thing Nazis did if they had instead done a totally different thing,” so that you can go “aha, utilitarianism means you support Nazis.” It doesn’t.

          • Izo

            “I know his experiments are from real life. They were also completely useless to anyone, so I’m not in favor of them.”

            There are people – especially nazi apologists – who claim that his experiments were used in dealing with rigors of space flight on the human body and medical experiments.

            “If you want to interrogate me about how I’d resolve hypothetical trolley scenarios, I’ll thank you to leave Godwin’s law out of it”

            Godwin’s law involves a comparison with Hitler as an ad hominem attack. When you’re making actual ‘ends justify the means based on a person’s subjective concept of good and bad’ arguments, a comparison with the nazis is extremely appropriate, and not Godwin’s Law.

            “”Well, I’d support a thing Nazis did if they had instead done a totally different thing,” so that you can go “aha, utilitarianism means you support Nazis.” It doesn’t.”

            I didn’t say that. I’m implying that the Nazis themselves believed in utilitarianism.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t care what nazi apologists claim. They’re wrong. Nazi experiments are useless because of their shit-tier methodology and documentation.

            I don’t care that shitty people have believed in utilitarianism. Shitty people have used every possible philosophy to justify their shitty behavior. There have been shitty deontologists. There have been shitty everything. You might as well say that eating sugar is wrong because Nazis ate sugar.

            A comparison with Nazis can be appropriate; a comparison with “Nazis, but if they did totally different things that didn’t happen in real life” almost never is. Hey, out of curiosity, would you agree with what the Nazis did if instead of committing mass genocide, they adopted lots of kittens and gave them good homes?

          • Izo

            “I don’t care what nazi apologists claim. They’re wrong. Nazi experiments are useless because of their shit-tier methodology and documentation. I am not responsible for the erroneous claims of nazi apologists, and I won’t answer for them.”

            I’m pointing out the inherent flaw in utilitarianism. It happens over and over again. The nazis were just one of many examples. The problem of basing violence on others on someone’s subjective notions of good is inherently flawed because you are relying on each person making the right choice. You can not guarantee that ever.

            “Putting aside the fact that I don’t think Nazis were actually utilitarians (using your logic, you could call pretty much anyone a utilitarian),”

            It’s part of the core philosophy in nazism, just as the core political ideology of nazism was socialism. My logic wouldnt call ‘anyone’ utilitarian.

            “I don’t care that shitty people have believed in utilitarianism. Shitty people have used every possible philosophy to justify their shitty behavior. There have been shitty deontologists. There have been shitty everything. You might as well say that eating sugar is wrong because Nazis ate sugar.”

            This is not an example of correlation over causation (ie, your nazi/sugar correlation). This is an example of actual causation. And it keeps on happening every single time people use utilitarianism and an overall justification, because you have to then use people’s subjective versions of good and evil to allow violence, and some people have pretty awful versions of what is subjectively good. And you cannot honestly say that your version is not subjective, since there are going to be others who disagree with you absolutely. I’ve been over the examples of this so many times over the past few months. Mostly with you.

            “A comparison with Nazis can be appropriate; a comparison with “Nazis, but if they did totally different things that didn’t happen in real life” almost never is.”

            Except they DID do that in real life, and nazi apologists DO make those very same excuses.

            “Hey, out of curiosity, would you agree with what the Nazis did if instead of committing mass genocide, they adopted lots of kittens and gave them good homes?”

            Adopting kittens and putting them in good homes does not cause harm to other innocent people.
            Committing mass genocide does. Obviously.

          • Izo

            “No individual in real life is capable of saving tens of thousands of people via blood donation.”

            So a person who can save hundreds should not be forced, but a person who can save thousands or tens of thousands should be? Still trying to figure out your metric on this. Is it raw numbers? What’s the cutoff? Is it 999 people saved – can’t force him, but 1000 people, you can? Also, since you’re putting value on freedom vs lives, is it worth it it if saves 1000 old people vs 100 young people? 1000 well-educated people vs 500 poorly educated ones? You seem to have some basis of deciding human life worth and how much freedom is worth in raw numbers if you’re a utilitarian.

            Or are you just eyeballing it and making up numbers which are worth it as you go along? How exactly do you come to your decisions? I would think in something as based on raw calculations as utilitarianism, you’d have definitive numbers. Or at least a good estimate and a rationale for that estimate beyond ‘it’s just how it should be.’

            What’s the correct number of people’s lives vs people’s freedom?

    • Cartheon

      Taking into account narrative structure, this is the point of the story where he will show another side and say something comforting or enlightening, rather than ripping her more. She is crying and is apparently at the bottom. Now it’s time to start her moving back up.

      • Cyrano111

        He never “ripped” her in the first place.He was calm, she was the one who lost control. He pointed out the dangers in her way of thinking – and was correct – but he did not do so in a mean-spirited way.

        • Cartheon

          A loss of temper is not required to tear someone. I have a few friends with enough dry humor and acerbic wit that they frequently turn people’s arguments to rubble without a single angry eyebrow.

          They point of my statement though was to show where in the narrative structure this scene lies, so a confrontation is unlikely. It wasn’t to ask for argument over semantics.

          • Cyrano111

            I’m not especially trying to argue semantics either. My point is that he was saying something enlightening last time too – she just didn’t get it. I agree a confrontation is unlikely, but more because Allison will have changed, not him.

        • cphoenix

          He deliberately manipulated her into losing control. This is a thing that happens with humans. Putting all the blame on the person who first gets upset, when getting them upset was the other person’s goal, is blaming the victim.

  • Walter

    A cane… looks like everyone’s favorite ethics teacher?

  • FlashNeko

    Hooboy.

    Anyone with any crisis counseling experience would be screaming that this is the 100% exact WRONG moment to give someone an “I told you so” lecture.

    Which, unless his character does a complete 180, I fully expect from Professor Jerkface here.

    I guess the lesson he’ll teach here is “Never oppose the Patriarchy for you will fail and/or will inevitably become the REAL monster when trying to do so.”

    • Mechwarrior

      If he starts with the I told you sos, I hope she punts his smug ass all the way to international waters.

      Off Japan.

      • Weatherheight

        After several days of consideration, I would prefer international waters off of China, rather than Japan.

        If only for the sake of more ambiguity in the comic. :3

    • cphoenix

      I gave you a +1 for the first two paragraphs, then read the last and wished I could give you another. I doubt that lesson will be delivered in this comic, but it happens far, far too often in far, far too many places.

    • Seer of Trope

      What does the patriarchy have do with anything that happens since his lecture?

      • FlashNeko

        The fact that everyone in this chapter who was in a position of power that has tried to activly shut down anything Alison tried to do (justifiably so or not) have been men seems a little too… consistent to not be part of the point.

        • Seer of Trope

          That’s literally 2 characters, and what they did had nothing to do with their sex. Guwara did it to impart a lesson, and Max did it because he was a hardcore, uncaring libertarian. Nothing would have changed if instead Guwara was a female professor and Max was a girl of a rich and powerful family.

          • FlashNeko

            There was also Brad.

            And the heckler at the biodynamic conference.

            Even Patrick’s check could be seen as an attempt to weaken the independence of Alison’s organization for his benefit.

            Again, it just seems a little too consistent to be mere coincidence.

          • Seer of Trope

            Again, nothing to do with their sex or the fact that Alison’s a girl. Brad didn’t want to promote having these people who needed help to be recruited for someone else’s cause. As for Patrick, it could be, but that’s still just a speculation, and it still has nothing to do with either one’s sex.

          • Lucy

            Okay, but the fact that the writers COULD have chosen to have women in power oppose Alison doesn’t change the fact that they chose to make these characters men. It’s likely an intentional choice. Especially when you consider that the other women in power we’ve seen (Lisa, the doctor woman) seem to support Alison’s goals, more or less.

            I think there is something to the idea that, collectively, the characters represent the Patriarchy, especially since Alison is explicitly a feminist. That’s way less of a reach than the chess board thing everyone’s talking about.

          • Izo

            I agree with Seer, but you did just make a good point so I have to give you kudos for that. I think it’s coincidental, though.

          • Seer of Trope

            The chess board thing is a joke and is not at all meant to be a serious conclusion. So yes, it is way less of a reach than that. What is also way less of a reach than that is that soon after Guwara’s lesson imply that Alison’s axiom of “cooperation is the greater good” will lead to tyranny, Alison coerces someone into cooperation for the greater good. That is not even not a coincidence; it’s very clear cut that’s what the writer intended

            Guwara has never said or implied that people will oppose her because of sex or gender. What he explicitly states is that these people who won’t cooperate will have done so either out of self-interest, self-preservation, or lack of faith. The problem with interpreting Guwara’s lesson, or the men who opposed Alison, being a powerplay of the patriarchy is that it ignores what motivates Alison’s opposition, which the writers clearly wrote for a purpose, and instead focuses on that they are men.

            The struggle all along been against men in power is not at all pertinent to Alison’s inner struggle. She’s struggling against the fact that the world will have countless people with different ideologies, some of whom in power, who simply doesn’t trust her with their cooperation. Including Moonshadow, who is a woman of power who does oppose Alison. Not including Brad, as a man of power, actually conceded moral grounds to Alison and sent her financial support for her project and gave her the intel that saves her friend. And finally Chris Mackey the Furnace, the person closest to being the champion of patriarchy, who was powerless against Alison, and who died soon after Moonshadow captured him with almost no effort.

            So yes, it probably is a coincidence.

          • Lucy

            Moonshadow doesn’t have any power, though. She has a *superpower*, but that doesn’t mean she has any structural power, not even the minimal power granted by law. She has no authority over anyone. She kills, and is an antagonist, but that doesn’t make her a person *in* power. Technically, almost anyone has the power to kill (see: one-punch homicide) but they don’t choose to exercise it. Moonshadow does, in part, because she has no legal or corporate recourse. (obviously, this doesn’t make her *not* a villain, it just means she doesn’t have structural power).

            Also, writers often have multiple layers to their stories. Like you said, the ethical question regarding Alison’s actions and tyranny is text, not subtext. That doesn’t mean there *isn’t* any subtext. Observing the feminist subtext and anti-patriarchy themes in the work doesn’t take away from the other political considerations of the story.

          • Seer of Trope

            I get where you’re coming from. Alison is trying to initiate the Valkyrie Project to protect women victims of domestic violence, the effects of patriarchy. She is also undoubtedly a feminist, so it wouldn’t be surprising if she went a bit further by being an advocate for social reforms if she wasn’t one already.

            I do not mean to imply that Alison isn’t fighting the patriarchy, but rather affirm that the source of Alison’s obstacles is not that she’s fighting the patriarchy; it’s that fundamentally she’s fighting for power. It wouldn’t matter if she was fighting against racism, jingoism, religious extremism, the wealth divide, or even disease or lack of vital organs. The problem isn’t that she’s fighting for women’s right or protection, but that her answer to his question “How will get you get all black stone?” is “I will be ready”, and not “We will be ready”. She assumes cooperation, she assumes that she speaks for everyone else, and if there isn’t cooperation, she has the means to enforce it.

            Yes, Alison is struggling against the patriarchy, that’s technically true. But that statement alone is misleading and too narrowing of what Guwara was trying to point out, and it does imply that Alison’s problem is that her cause is against the patriarchy (which hasn’t always been just against patriarchy, but also health care and for her friend), and that’s wrong.

  • Philip Petrunak

    Ugh…. Get over yourself Alison. You helped people by forcing a powerful asshole to do the right thing. Welcome to the world of taxation. I like this comic, but I really fucking hate her sometimes.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      You can opt out of taxations.
      You lose everything if you do, sure, every institution and infrastructure at human disposal in your country, but you can. Max couldn’t.

      • Basiorana

        Not really.

        Even people who live off grid need to pay property taxes and possibly sales tax. If you own nothing, no car or land, and you never buy anything and live as a hermit, you can be arrested for trespassing or poaching or illegal water collection. It is impossible in most modern states to opt out of taxes without somehow winding up in jail.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          That’s… part of what you lose. Choosing essentially to not be a part of society means you’re bound to be treated like a wild animal anywhere one should not be.

          • Basiorana

            Oh, okay. I generally consider “threat of jail” to be coercive , but are you saying only that you won’t be killed or maimed for opting out of taxes?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You might even be killed and maimed. I’m guessing you’re still treated as a human for ethical concerns but this world belongs to human civilization and that, well, means claiming a piece of land for yourself might mean engaging in a war you’re wont to lose. When you think about it for very little time you realize the protection and benefits of paying taxes are much, much better than the small amount of participation asked of you seems to indicate.

            And there is an out. That matters immensely. The most important basic human right is that of being left alone if desired. The desire to matter in the eyes of others, that is one you’ve got to earn.

          • Basiorana

            I mean, technically Max could have refused to help. He’d have been dumped into the ocean and might have died, but he could have refused. She forced him but only as much as the government forces you to pay taxes.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Well, that was what she said then but after that she was much more into arm ripping.

            So no those two have nothing in common

    • Stephanie

      I think she did the right thing, but I don’t think that means she isn’t allowed to feel bad about harming someone to make it happen.

  • MedinaSidonia

    I don’t think of myself as conspiracy-minded, so it seems strange that no one else seems to think Gurwara *must* be the tip of the iceberg. After all, another teacher got *fired* for… what was it?… basically upsetting Alison, yes? Gurwara would know about that. Seems to me that implies a *lot*. The most likely interpretation is that Gurwara represents larger forces at work behind the scenes. Other departments implement protocols for dealing with Dark Alison on a physical level, Gurwara’s department uses psychological tools. His job is to inject internal checks and balances into Alison, because given her power level that strategy may well be more effective than nukes, an army of cloned Cleavers and a Psi Division.

    Given previous comments, I suspect I’m thinking too hard. :-/

    • Lostman

      Alison is a big name person; it would possibly that her getting a teacher hired could be spread all over the web in a matter of minutes.

    • Cyrano111

      Possible, but not my guess. Even when he first appeared he made a veiled reference to her having caused another professor to be fired. I think he’s just a man of principles who does not want to pander to her, but also is not opposed to her.

    • Tylikcat

      I’ve wondered a bit about that. I mean, he seems somewhat unlikely to have appeared at this moment just by chance, though I suppose one could fall back into established narrative arcs of teacher / student relationships. In which case, they were both drawn together because it needed to happen.*

      As someone who is, for the time being at least, inclined to view him favorably, a few options come to mind, I wonder where they found him? Because, darn, the man has experience and backstory trailing behind him like an evening shadow.

      I can kind of imagine Dr. Rosenblum intuiting that there needed to be someone else in Alison’s life to serve as a mentor figure. And then the call went out to… where, exactly? Some mailing list of philosophy professors? Some UN committee? (<= can't you just see that? And then they drag him out of his retreat in… Spain, maybe, where he was working on a book.)

      * As someone who has had some pretty classical master / student relationships – I have been studying with my Chen master for nineteen years now (though I seriously owe her email explaining why I'm not getting back to the west coast this winter)… let me record my dubiosity about this. I mean, maybe? I suppose the (okay, relatively) bright faced kid I was at twenty-two would not have turned into cynical, embittered me without all those years in the computer industry, generally with no mentorship at all. I took on professional proteges before I got any mentorship, just because I couldn’t deal with putting other people through the same kind of crap I’d gone through.

      • Cyrano111

        “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

        • Tylikcat

          Indeed.

          I think this assumes an ordered universe. I see a universe that we can try to bring a little bit of order to, knowing that we will fail more often than not.

          Oh – a friend recently posted a poem on just this theme –

          Good Bones
          BY MAGGIE SMITH
          Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
          Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
          in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
          a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
          I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
          fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
          estimate, though I keep this from my children.
          For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
          For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
          sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
          is at least half terrible, and for every kind
          stranger, there is one who would break you,
          though I keep this from my children. I am trying
          to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
          walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
          about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
          right? You could make this place beautiful.

          • Cyrano111

            Nice poem, and I agree generally with the sentiments.

            I don’t think my quotation implies an ordered universe. At least on my interpretation, it is not suggesting some sort of “fate” at work. Rather, the point is that anyone has to be in the right frame of mind for learning in order to learn.

          • Tylikcat

            Well, it would seem to suggest that, to put it in the personal frame, those years when I felt desperately alone, isolated and really wanting some professional guidance in the computer industry, what was lacking was that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I rather suspect a dearth of mentors, then, as now, interested in taking young women under their wings had more to do with it (I am aware now, as I wasn’t then, of the research supporting this.) And at that, I, who grew up around a CS department, had a much easier time than most.

            Plenty of times the teachers just don’t appear. Some of us have had to make our way anyhow. (And in that lack, many don’t.)

          • Cyrano111

            Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have thought that choosing to put the worst spin on a comment and then being personally offended by a general observation is exactly the opposite approach to that espoused in the poem you posted.

            People don’t learn when they are not ready to learn. I didn’t suggest that when a person *is* ready to learn they are suddenly no longer in Aleppo, or whatever. Being ready to learn does not magically solve every other problem in a person’s life, I agree: but not being ready to learn means a person won’t.

            Sorry to hear you’ve had such an unpleasant life. I mean that, it is not passive aggressiveness.

          • Tylikcat

            Please look back to my original post on this thread. I covered all of this ground in a much less tedious and more understated way. A lot of my exasperation is because you seem to have ignored everything I said there.

            “I suppose one could fall back into established narrative arcs of teacher / student relationships…” was indeed to the whole idea that when a student is ready, a teacher will appear. (I can understand missing this allusion, I get a little overused to the communication conventions of some subcultures.) Then, in a footnote to that very first statement, I talked about a time in my own life where I could have used mentorship, and none was available to me. That part? Even if you didn’t quite catch that I was already talking about the quote (which you then went on to state, so you must have had some clue) I really would have expected you to take at least somewhat into consideration as you wrote up the rest. Not in a “Oh, am I going to hurt someone’s feelings?” sort of way, but in a, “Am I making a contention which is already in conflict with someone’s lived experience that has been brought up in this conversation?”

            This isn’t about whether it was miserable or not. This isn’t about whether I had a happy or sad life.* What it’s about is whether that makes sense. At least in terms of actual teachers. I mean, for me, the whole idea of a teacher – as in a teacher in the shape of a person – appearing when the student is ready is drifting into the kind of magical thinking as the kind of thing typified by people asserting “It’s better this way,” (to any eventuality) or “Everything happens for a reason,” (which I suppose is true, but often the reason is more random or stupid than most people want to face up to.) I think those narratives are comforting for people who are doing okay… and a lot of people just don’t think about how harmful they can be for people who had a lot of bad stuff happen to them. For reasons, apparently. Or had no teachers appear… obviously, because the student wasn’t worthy, right? It’s so easy to say these things. I’m mean, obviously, if you’re a good person, good stuff will just happen to you, amirite?

            (And I may have used the example of my early years in the software industry, but overall, in my life, I have been extremely blessed by my teachers. Enough to realize how much was fortune, and enough to realize how many of my brothers and sisters never made it this far down the road because they didn’t get the support I did.**)

            There is a reading of the saying that I think is probably pretty apt. When someone is ready to learn, they will learn from their environment. But I suspect that’s far less sunshine and flowers, and far darker and two-edged than man people want to think about.

            * As it happens, I’ve written quite a bit about my life on this forum. I don’t expect that you’ve read or remembered that, but while my life has tended towards the colorful, it has been rich, rewarding, and generally speaking, professional successful across a number of fields. (Okay, linked fields, but there you go.) It’s also had its dodgy moment, but how else? Even my early years in the computer industry… I mean, I was isolated, and wanting support, and at the same time, I kicked ass, triumphed, and felt great about it.
            ** Siblings being not entirely metaphorical, come to think of it.

          • Cyrano111

            I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “your original post on this thread”. MedinaSidonia made a comment, you replied to him, and I replied to that comment of yours. Before doing so, I did not go and check everything you had said somewhere else among the hundreds of comments posted in the forum today. So yes, I suppose I “ignored” everything you said in some other comment, but to be honest, there’s a pretty high chance that that sort of thing might happen again.

            That the quote I offered is apparently something you were also thinking about when you said something else somewhere else shows that we were thinking along the same lines, but that’s all (it is a pretty well-known quote, after all). I know I’ve seen your name in the forum and I have a vague sense of often being more or less in agreement with your views, but that’s about as much as I can say about you. I haven’t read your life story and – no offense – if I came across a post in which you or anyone else was offering their own biography, my eyes would be likely to quickly move down the page to the next post which is about the comic.

            For what it’s worth, I think “everything happens for a reason” is among the stupidest things it is possible for people to say. My point in dissociating myself from an “ordered universe” perspective was precisely to reject that sort of magical thinking. I’d say my explanation of “when the student is ready, the master appears” was the opposite of an ordered universe perspective in which all people get what they deserve (and don’t get what they don’t deserve), except that “opposite” implies more of a connection between those views than exists.

            From my perspective you have been offended by something not even remotely related to what I said, and which you had to stretch to try to find. No doubt there are things in your past which caused you to do that, and that’s why I suggested that if you want to take a positive view of things, one good way to do that is to take a positive view of things.

          • Izo

            Gurwara is particularly vexing to me. Because I truly hated the character. I thought he was a truly awful person for picking on Alison. Alison’s a good person, I argued! She was raised right! She would never be a tyrant and use her powers just to get what she wants, rather than do things through peaceful means! That was the whole point of her speech to Cleaver in the prison!

            And then Alison does exactly the opposite of everything I was saying to defend her against mean Gurwara. Now I can’t help but look back at everything Gurwara said and think ‘holy crap he was right about everything. He was a jerk about how he went about it, but he was right about everything and Alison totally deserves it if this is how she really is.’

            So vexing. I’m agreeing so much now with someone I initially hated so much.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      You’re thinking too small. The New York Postal Servive can send it’s shady instructions to anyone, anywhere.
      In Registered Mail!

  • MedinaSidonia

    Wait. The chess pieces… oh, this is rich. Brings me back to my high school English class, when we would endlessly pick apart stories for symbolism. I’m nearly 100% sure that what I’m about to say is not real, in the same way that all the literary devices I teased out of _Lord of the Flies_ were not real, but it’s fun to think about.

    So we have a full complement of chess pieces on the board, with no players to be seen. CHESS PIECES. WITH NO ONE DIRECTING THEM. Is this a sly way of saying that there are no hidden forces, no conspiracies, no black ops teams of the sort I was *just* hypothesizing? Is this a message that we readers can take the characters and situations at face value?

    • Oren Leifer

      My own theory is that the conspiratorial group, whoever they are, existed at around the mass empowerment era, and fell apart / stopped acting / otherwise dissolved less than five years after, so there’s nothing left to find. Either that, or it was a bunch of small groups, not a larger one. Meaning that Patrick’s search will ultimately lead to him realizing that he put all this effort into attempting to fit the superhero trope of shadowy conspiracy, and the antihero who struggles to find and fight it, only to reveal that there is nothing left for him to find, and it’s him that has become the shadowy director / problem now.

      • Stephanie Gertsch

        My bet is on Patrick being the leader of the conspiracy all along, via time travel. And he’s like, “Ohhhh snap, the reason I could never find this person is because I can’t read my own mind.”

        • Cyrano111

          I recall someone suggesting that long ago, when Allison had her confrontation with Patrick. Maybe it was you!

          In any event that has seemed like a very plausible theory to me since then.

          • Stephanie Gertsch

            Coulda been. 😉 it’s kind of a pet theory, so I keep coming back to it. I Especially like the irony that it was Allison’s outburst leading to his breakthrough.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Ooooh I like this.

        • Izo

          Okay…. I have to admit, that would be a really interesting twist.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Oh god, this is just what she needs right now. 🙁

    (Though if they want to make Professor Golden Cane a much more important character, this would be the time to have her confess her wrong doings in an emotional outburst.)

  • Kifre

    GURWARARED

  • Walter

    You know, nothing about Guwara’s first experience said he disapproved of tyranny. Like, he was trying to get her to see that that was where she was going if she was serious about her ethics, but he didn’t actually say that was a problem for him.

    If she tells him what she did, I bet he’s cool with it.

    • Lucy

      “nothing about Guwara’s first experience said he disapproved of tyranny.” <–exactly.

      I have no idea what he's going to to. Will he be cool with it? Will he be angry? Will he reveal that he's part of a nefarious plot? Maybe! I really like Guwara as a character, if, uh, not necessarily as a person.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        I dunno I kind of liked living in a world where I could assume with some amount of security that people I met stood against tyranny despite barely knowing them the same way I don’t often challenge my prejudice that it’s still my family members I wake up to everyday and not impostors cyborgs but then the election happened and well

        • ALIBOT.THE.MURDEROUS.LESBORG

          YOUR.DEADLY.MISTAKE

  • IE

    If you’re a reader of Batman comics, it has probably occurred to you that Batman’s vow to never take a life is, in a strange way, rather selfish, especially when it comes to the Joker. It is convenient for narrative purposes (if he just killed the Joker, there would be no more stories with that popular character), but in-universe his reasoning becomes self-serving. The Joker constantly escapes capture, and every time he does he ends up killing anywhere from one to several hundred people. This is a repeating pattern, practically a 100% guaranteed thing to happen. It’s not like THIS time the therapy at Arkham is going to take or the locks will hold. Every time Batman spares the Joker’s life, he is knowingly condemning other people to death and harm, like a PETA member refusing to shoot a rabid dog loose in a school playground.

    All because of the ‘line’ that he does. not. cross. His morals are more important than their lives. Maybe killing the Joker would tarnish his soul. Maybe it would make it that much harder for him not to take the ‘easy way out’ again. But maybe also, those costs are worth the innocent lives he would save.

    In the comic book world, the Joker goes free because the hero does not kill. In the real world, cops shoot men attacking others with knives at a distance, and kill them. In the real world, presidents drop bombs that kill hundreds of thousands of *innocent* people to end a war that could have killed millions. In the real world, a soldier may have to aim his gun at a child running towards him, may even have to shoot that child, because too many other children have been carrying bombs or grenades and he just does not know, can’t know and can’t risk the lives of his comrades if he’s wrong. In the real world violence is always wrong but sometimes it’s also the least wrong – or maybe it isn’t. We don’t always know.

    So to me, Allison twisting Max’s arm was Batman killing the Joker. (True, Max was ‘innocent’, but she also didn’t kill him, it’s a loose analogy.) It meant putting a stain on her own soul, setting her own morals on the sacrificial chopping block, for the good of others. In the Batman comics, Batman calls killing ‘the easy way out’, but I don’t think that’s true. The act itself may be easy, but the consequences to your sense of self, your conscience, and your resolve are not so easy to bear. I think Allison’s actions and the way she has dealt with the personal fallout afterwards make her a stronger, more real character. It makes me like her better, than if she had done nothing and let hundreds of thousands of people die because coercion is against her moral code.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙
      • IE

        So, that was a pretty interesting video, but I’m not sure it illustrates what you think it illustrates? He was kind of holding Joker up as the good guy, or at least the as-bad-as-batman-but-just-not-a-hypocrite-about-it-guy, which is interesting like I said but not… really relevant to the question of whether tyrannical actions can be justified by the results?

        I suppose another way to come at it would be the classic ‘workers on a rail line’ ethics question. Five guys on one track, one guy on another, train coming that none of them somehow notice, and you standing next to a lever too far away to shout a warning… do you pull the lever and switch the track so that the train kills one guy, or allow five to die through inaction? Most people would do the math (5>1) and pull the lever. From this view, Allison just pulled the lever. She feels really really crappy about that one guy (wouldn’t we all?) but does that make it wrong?

        Of course, one could turn that around. If killing one person is permissible for saving five, could a person with five healthy organs be ethically killed to save the lives of five sick people? Ethics is a pretty sticky topic, shaded not just in grays but in a whole colorful spectrum of what-ifs, consequences, and reactions. Maybe some actions can’t be classified as totally right or totally wrong, but exist somewhere on a sliding scale in between. In that case, it is my opinion that Allison’s actions were closer to the ‘good’ side of the scale. She a) hit a guy in the face, b) kidnapped him for about, let’s say, two hours at most, c) twisted his arm. All that is pretty bad, but I still think it’s < thousands of human lives. Oh and also preventing the 24/7 torture of one of her friends. Frankly, I'd do a lot more than that to someone just for the latter benefit, were it one of *my* buddies undergoing self-imposed vivisection for the good of humanity.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Hi, welcome to the SFP comment section new fella, we’ve been having this endless discussion for months and months now (and you can go look them up!) and you just happened to stumble upon the biggest critic of utilitarianism the site has to offer.

          You’ve got lots of catching up to do!

          • IE

            My argument isn’t really about utilitarianism, so much as it is that maybe people shouldn’t be so hard on Allison for being written like a real human being instead of a comic book character (even though that’s what she is, of course.) I don’t think any of the people who have commented wouldn’t do exactly what she did if the circumstances were right.

            I mean, I consider myself a peaceful person. I don’t look for fights, I don’t intentionally hurt people, I try to find compromise in disagreements. I can honestly say, I think it is morally wrong to physically assault someone. I truly believe that. And yet…

            If I had to choose between punching a guy in the face, taking him hostage for two hours, and twisting his arm a bit, OR my little sister dies and/or is tortured for the rest of her life, I’d be like “Sorry dude, guess I’m gonna punch you in the face.” I’d feel genuinely bad about it, but I would still do it.

            And hell, that’s just one person. If that makes me a monster, I think that means everyone is a monster, ‘cuz I can’t think of a single person of my acquaintance who wouldn’t do that or a whole lot more to save the life of someone they care about. I mean, be honest with yourself. Think of the face of a person whom you love enough that you’d stand in front of a gun for them. What wouldn’t you do? Where’s your line? Mine would probably be at killing, do be honest. Temporary pain and inconvenience aren’t even close.

            Most of us are lucky enough that we’re never going to face a situation where we have to choose between what we know is morally wrong (ie assault) and someone else’s life or safety. Batman faces that choice and picks the idealistic route; hundreds of people die, Batman makes a sad face, on to the next comic. Allison faces that choice and picks what most of us would, realistically, do, then deals with realistic feelings of doubt, regret, confusion, and guilt. I don’t think that makes her a monster. I think it makes her a well-written person, instead of a one-dimensional ideal.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            See again we come at this point where someone asks “what would you do in her place” and that’s not the best way to engage with fiction.
            “Her situation” was crafted by an author and its tenants stakes and conclusions encompass a message communicated to us. It’s not about whether or not we’d pull the lever because we’ll never be in a situation to pull any lever. The world is not that simple and it’s just too easy to come up with a scenario wherein my wife and husband (we are a triple marriage, that’s legal in my utopia) and kittens are going to die if I don’t push a button immediately that’ll kill someone I never knew.

            It’s about that message and what we think of it. “Here’s what I think about this subject, what do you think?”

            What I think is that people with more power than others will unavoidably abuse it and we can’t ever allow even some rules to be broken even sometimes lest a cycle of oppression we are already dealing with enough as it is remains.

          • IE

            Killing someone is wrong… unless perhaps they are in pain and want to die (assisted suicide) or are braindead (euthanasia)? Holding someone against their will is wrong… unless perhaps they are suspected of a crime and are a strong flight risk, or mentally unwell and need to be hospitalized for evaluation? Assaulting someone is wrong… unless perhaps they are threatening someone else, or about to hurt themselves? Abusing power is wrong….

            Context and intention cannot be separated from a discussion of morality. No action is 100% wrong 100% of the time to 100% of observers. We can certainly debate whether the wrongness of what Allison did outweighed the positive results, but if you take the position that some actions are wrong no matter what situation they take place in, you’re advocating a form of moral absolutism that is just as tyrannical as straight utilitarianism.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            People with power should be careful what they use it for. That’s my “moral absolutism”.

          • IE

            I agree with you on that score completely. It does feel a far cry from ‘we can’t ever allow even some rules to be broken even sometimes’ tho. ;3

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            For that to be tyranny, the rule of the powerful was necessarily implied.
            The fight against tyranny… This is where it gets interesting.

    • cphoenix

      This. Very much this.

      Do you mug someone with a ladder who refuses to stop and help someone trapped in a burning building? That’s exactly Alison’s choice (unless you think it matters that the trapped person is a friend of hers).

    • Jovial Contrarian

      Excuse me, but to totally derail your point here: why is it Batman that gets all the blame for not killing the Joker? Every single time he captures and delivers him to the law, and every time they go “Whelp, time to put him in the Arkham Asylum. The inescapable place, yep, that’s the one. Can’t do nuthin’, he’s sick in the head, ye see.”

      Is there absolutely not a single person in Gotham to think “Maybe it’s the right time to reconsider the capital punishment here”? Is there not even a single cop or orderly at Arkham that will allow the Joker to trip and fall on a knife a few dozen times while escorting him? Why the mentally unstable vigilante dressing up like a bat to fight crime needs to pull the trigger here?

      • IE

        All fair points, and I wouldn’t argue that they are any less to blame than Batman really. Thing is, that does happen from time to time in the comics – some cop or orderly gets it in their head that they’re gonna be the one to put an end to the reign of terror. Generally it ends with the Joker killing them, because comics and narrative and popular character trumps nameless redshirt every time.

        So, I would first off agree with you that the cops/judges/doctors are as much to blame as Batman, but that doesn’t make Batman blameless. If you and five friends murder a guy, you’re not each 1/6 a murderer. You’re just equally murderers, all of you. (Weird comparison I know, since I’m arguing FOR killing a dude in cold blood, but you get my point – sharing blame doesn’t diminish it.) Secondly, I’d point out that it’s the mentally unstable vigilante dressed as a bat who needs to pull the trigger *because he can*. He has the ability to end the Joker’s life and frequent opportunities to do so… completely legally too, since most of them would obviously pass as self-defense or defense of others, something none of the cops or orderlies in charge of a beaten, hand-cuffed Joker could claim.

        • Jovial Contrarian

          Sure, Batman isn’t blameless, no matter how you’re looking at it. But, as for the legality if Batman killing the Joker, he’s already an outlaw. There’s nothing legal in the way he operates, and the only reason he’s not getting hounded by the police (at least in most portrayals) is because a) they desperately need him, and b) both Batman and the police know there’s no way for them to stop him. I’m pretty sure that in some stories it was explicitly stated that Gordon won’t bother him about the vigilantism thing, but if he’ll kill anyone, he’s going down like anyone else. Batman chose himself to get the villains alive, and nothing more – we can’t demand from him to do a little extra work while he’s at it and brain the Joker with a brick. If anybody wanted to finish him with a self-defense claim, they’d just have to wait for Batman to drop him off to the nearest SWAT squad and shout “HE’S GOT A KNIFE!”. A hail of bullets, one dead body, no knives present, what an awful mistake, nothing to see here.

          • J4n1

            There’s a number of ways to look at Batmans refusal to kill.
            Here’s 3 big ones from top of my head.
            1. He is unstable, and knows it, no killing is a limiter to keep him from going to far, as once he starts, he might be unable to stop.
            2. He is not a judge nor jury, he will not take the place of the justice system, Gotham has death penalty, if the people want Joker dead, they can elect a judge who will sentence him after jury finds him guilty.

            3. Joker would not stay dead, he’d just come back from the dead as a crazier superpowered undead/demonic joker.

            Batman could kill Joker, and maybe he should, smae can be said for almost everyone else who is ever in a room with Joker.

          • Izo
          • Stephanie Gertsch

            That’s some top-notch writing and animation.

          • Izo

            Easily one of DC’s best animated movies.

      • Lucy

        Okay, that make me literally laugh out loud. Why has that never occurred to me? So many people could kill the Joker! Why be all hard on Batman?

        • Izo

          And that’s the Joker’s biggest fear, actually. That someone other than Batman would be the one to finally kill him.

          I introduce Joker’s most fearsome enemy. The only person who the Joker has been truly scared of……

          Charlie Collins.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8C4-SrlptE

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    All this stress, no sleep. Try to get your thoughts in order a little, Alison… Chances are this guy will rub it in.

    • Crow

      I doubt it. He seems like a genuine teacher who cares for his students, even if he makes a big splash to make an impactful point. People who see him as some sort of malicious antagonist might just have some struggles with accepting when people challenge their personal views. Pointing out fallacy in someone’s argument isn’t bullying them, but that’s how a lot of the community read their initial interaction.

  • Cyrano111

    I really don’t get the animosity toward Gurwara.

    He has shown nothing but concern for Allison, and has been perfectly respectful. He tried to show her the dangers inherent in her way of thinking about the world, and he has been proven correct. Nothing in his past behaviour would suggest that he is now likely to take a “nyah-nyah, told you so” attitude.

    True, he did not fawn over her before, but I imagine she gets enough of that. He treated her, honestly, probably better than she deserved. Yes, she might be mega-girl and the protagonist of this strip, but she was a student in his class who in anger said “fuck you” to him, lost control, and caused a scene. Most professors would have such a student ejected from the class: instead he carried on calmly at the time, using it as a teaching moment, then after the class was over specifically *thanked* her for her contribution.

    Gurwara is an excellent teacher. It’s a shame it took Allison too long to learn the lesson he tried to teach: “what I wish for you to see is what your beliefs are, and what they are when your buttons are pushed, and that many times there is a difference”.

    • FlashNeko

      And I, in turn, really don’t get where people are getting the idea he’s somehow being respectful or concerned in his actions when he engaged in what was pretty blatant emotional manipulation and dishonesty to keep moving the goalposts to his advantage.

      Like, what was Alison supposed to take from his “lesson” that seemed to be an exercise in the power of public humiliation more than anything?

      • Cyrano111

        She was supposed to get “you can’t *make* people want to work together, they have to want that for themselves or your axiom will fail”. She didn’t get that – then, anyway, but her anguish now is because she has realized that.

        • FlashNeko

          It could also be read as, “There is always self-serving jerk at the top of the food chain who will change the rules on the fly to suit his needs and his alone, so just stop trying now and accept that.”

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You mean, Alison?
            And the lesson given to all humans under her varying whims?

          • shink55

            Yeah, what Clemens said. The lesson of “there is always a self serving jerk on top” is flipped on it’s head when that self serving jerk is you, and in the case of Alison it could be no one else. Then of course he was proven right as the Max scenario played out, her buttons got pushed, and she made unconscionable decisions for the greater good. What makes all his actions justified is that he’s right, and now Alison, Max, Feral, and hundreds of thousands of people who get organ donations from Feral are living with the consequences of his accuracy. Given the scale of consequence Alison’s ego really is a lot less important then her understanding herself.

          • FlashNeko

            I guess I walked right into that one.

            I dunno, I still feel like that, if he does have to be given credit here, it’s less an intentional calling out and more an unintended side-effect of his own heavy-handed attempts to assert dominance via ridicule.

          • Stephanie

            Was it really “self-serving” when the explicit goal of her actions was to save an inconceivable number of strangers’ lives?

            “Feral, and hundreds of thousands of people who get organ donations from Feral are living with the consequences of his accuracy.”

            …Good? The consequences are that they’re not being eternally tortured and not dying in agony, respectively, so…good.

          • Philip Bourque

            Since her motives (wanting to help feral and satisfy her heroic ego) were selfish and ‘countless lives’ were just a side benefit? Yes, it was self-serving.

          • Stephanie

            Why do you assume that the countless lives were just a “side benefit?” It’s possible to want to save your friend’s life and the lives of many strangers. Nothing about Alison’s characterization throughout the comic suggests to me that she only cares about saving people she personally knows and likes.

          • Philip Bourque

            First, I assume it because while I don’t believe in humans being innately good or evil, I do believe in us being innately selfish. Second, this has always been about Feral. When we first saw her, Al did not like Feral and she was viewed by Al as a near villain, someone in deserving of being punched. Then Feral comes up with a way to use her powers to help people (to assuage her own guilt, but that’s another discussion), which in turn caused Al to realise how ‘little’ she was doing with her own power. Al’s feelings of guilt only increase from there. Whenever Feral comes up, Al displays strong emotional reactions, be it guilt or anger and she uses the whole ‘saving countless lives’ thing in order to try and guilt Max in to using his powers. She could have gotten him to augment any super to save lives, but she specifically chose Feral, someone she personally knew who was in constant pain and torture. All Al really cares about is ‘doing the right thing’. Emphasis on the ‘do’; she’s very much an action girl. Consequences (good or bad) aren’t things she gives much consideration to.

          • Cyrano111

            Perhaps I misunderstand your comment, but if you are suggesting that Gurwara changed the rules, I don’t see why. It is comics 36 and 37 in this chapter: he starts explaining the rules, someone sensibly asks “why would anyone play black”, and he says ‘why indeed” and explains the rest of the rules. Only then, after all the rules have been explained, and he asks whether everyone is ready, does he say “go”.

            It’s true, Allison objects afterward that some people didn’t think it through (in the way she wanted them to, anyway), and he agrees that not everyone understood as well as they might – but at no point did he change the rules to suit himself.

            And certainly *nothing* he did was on the fly – who shows up for an axiology class just happening to have a bag of go stones with him? This was obviously exactly the exercise he had planned to carry out from the start.

          • FlashNeko

            I kind of meant their overall conversation before the game itself came into play involved a lot of goalpost moving to make sure when the game did into play, the only possible outcome was the one he had engineered to make him “right”.

          • SJ

            Which goalposts did he move?

          • FlashNeko

            Y’know, I honestly tried to go back and reread the classroom scene to cite more specific examples and… I just couldn’t do it.

            I don’t know if I’m just burned out on this conversation or I’ve had too many bad personal experiences with teachers like Jerkface that too much prolonged contact just dredges up too much garbage for me to evaluate him fairly.

            Which is basically my long-winded way of apologizing for not being able to keep up this line of conversation anymore.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        “What are your axioms?”
        “Well—”
        “Also prove them or I’m going to make fun of you”
        “what”

        • Crow

          Pointing out flaws and making fun are pretty different. He may have been a bit smug for people’s liking, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t abusive or unfair. I think that hint of antagonism is what Alison needed to be invested in the learning moment instead of shrugging him off as ‘just some jerk professor trying to be a jerk to me’. He took what she said and responded critically. People’s issue with Gurwara remind me of people claiming that a fair criticism is slander, when really, its only slander if it isn’t true.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You’re too indulgent. Even “pointing out flaws” is insulting when the point of the exercise is to express a —deeply personal, by the way— principle whose flaws exist by very definition.

          • Arkone Axon

            There’s also the fact that, as the teacher, he didn’t even have to let her say a thing after initially answering his first question. She continued to speak up and monopolize the class time in order to continue to voice her opinions. That’s when a lot of teachers would simply say, “be silent so the class can move on to something else.” Instead, Gurwara decided to take advantage of the opportunity to teach the class. Yes, at her expense – but that is literally his teaching style. Instead of lecturing them, or even providing demonstrations for them to watch, he engaged them, argued with them, forced them to examine their own beliefs.

            Was it brutal? Extremely so – much like a martial arts class where you are privileged to spar with a much more highly skilled senior student or even the instructor. And I emphasize “privileged” and mean it. I once realized a sparring partner was holding back with me (mainly because I was doing well, and I knew he’d been an Olympic Taekwondo competitor), and after controlling my anger I asked him very quietly to never, ever hold back with me again. He… promptly beat the crap out of me. And did so again, and again, and again, for the next six months, until I was finally able to hold my own against him. And I was IMMEASURABLY improved as a result.

          • Stephanie

            After the Taekwondo guy handed you your ass, though, did he then say “anyway you fail Taekwondo forever, you can keep showing up to the class but don’t expect to earn any belts”? Of course not, right?

          • Arkone Axon

            No, he just kept handing me my ass for six months straight. Of course, if he HAD said something like that, he’d have gotten into a lot of trouble with the instructor. Unless, like Gurwara almost certainly was, he was simply joking.

            (Also, it was a Mui Thai class, but my sparring partner was an Olympic TKD competitor prior to taking said class. People do sometimes train in multiple styles)

          • Stephanie

            It would be great if Gurwara was joking, but that’s not the impression I got. He explicitly told Alison that she didn’t need to keep coming back to class because she has an F, and he didn’t tell her otherwise before she left–when she talks to Daniel later she’s still under the impression that she has an F. If it were a joke, I think he would have said “just kidding” after a few moments.

          • Arkone Axon

            She quite likely jumped to take offense and assumed incorrectly – she certainly wasn’t feeling too calm and rational by the time she left the class. But as has been noted by many other commentators here, if it wasn’t a joke then it was an open invitation to lose his job – he wouldn’t be the previous professor Alison got fired just by lodging a complaint.

          • Crow

            I feel like you miss the point. You cannot educate someone if teaching them the errors of their preconceptions is considered wrong or insulting. In a study of ethics and aesthetics, there have to be guiding principles and critical analysis. Otherwise, Alison and her classmates paid good money for a class that would just be the sharing of opinions. Just because an idea is personal or tenacious does not make it correct.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You are missing the point.

            Say Alison shut up for once and it turns out the other girl spoke up about her worldviews, you know, the one who chose to put down a white rock because she could not afford to fail this class. And she doesn’t mention something asinine like the power of being together the way out favorite Girl Scout does, but, I don’t know, that she believes in Natural Law, and that God is what embeds us with virtue.

            What was the plan to berate her then? What was the witty quip we would have gotten instead? “The axiom of a true bigot!”? And then spent the rest of the class doing a survey of the students to show reasoning isn’t common to all so she loses and fails the class alone because fuck you? Or would we also have had another little philosophy game with the versatile bag of rocks the losers of which would have failed the class?

            The question is to what lengths do you freaking needs to go and how much bettliting can you pack in a one hour lecture to prove that personal beliefs are actually not facts because it turns out in a shocking turn of events that that’s the fucking point of beliefs in the first place

          • Arkone Axon

            That’s actually what makes for a good philosophical debate, actually. “What are your beliefs? Defend them. Justify them. Explain them.”

            Read the Passover Haggadah (the little pamphlet for the ceremony you can get free every year at any supermarket, courtesy of a coffee distributor) and you’ll see a part dedicated specifically to four well respected Rabbis (A word that literally means “scholar,” not priest) who argue the specifics regarding the Book of Exodus. Whether or not the Seder (supper) should be held during the day or at night, and how many plagues were actually sent against the Egyptians.

            Beliefs SHOULD be questioned. They should be discussed. After all, bigotry IS a belief – a belief that some people are inherently inferior. That’s something that should be questioned, discussed, debated… some beliefs hold you back. Pessimism is another such belief. So is a mindset of helplessness to change the system. Belief drives action – beliefs can lead to terrorism, or to altruism.

            In the case of a belief in Natural Law versus Alison’s system… I don’t think Gurwara would have insulted the girl who couldn’t afford to fail the class (especially since that would indeed have been bullying… and the pages since this one have shown that he’s actually a very empathic and caring person); a belief that G-d embeds us with virtue is an interesting concept that can and should be discussed at length, where as a belief that everyone ought to work together and do the right thing is something that any philosophy teacher would immediately react to with “DANGER! DANGER! RED ALERT!” sirens blaring in their head… because that’s a belief that leads to a lot of suffering in the world. Notice how Alison’s failure to change her belief (“I am right and people WILL do what I want or I will MAKE them!”) has put her in a very bad position (and I’m not talking about the crying. I’m talking about the “victim with rich and influential parents and was just seriously violated by the invincible girl, and even if they don’t dare press charges they still clearly have a lot of options regarding retaliation” thing).

          • Stephanie

            I’d say that auto-passing almost everyone else and failing her to prove a point counts as “unfair.” His demonstration was valuable, but could have made the same demonstration for stakes of, e.g., “10 points on/off your final grade,” and gotten a similar outcome–maybe Alison wouldn’t have been the only person to put down black, but Gurwara only actually needed one person to put down white.

    • Seer of Trope

      I personally like Guwara and the ethical question he brings up tying into with Alison’s inner struggle, but even I will admit what he did, giving out A’s and F’s arbitrarily like that just to prove a point, will not fly by an academic administration for the same good reason that the professor from “God is not Dead” shouldn’t be able to challenge a student to prove that God is real or fail the class.

      • Cyrano111

        Yes, I’d concede there’s no way he could grade like that.

    • KatherineMW

      At the time of the class, I thought he was being overly harsh. If a philosophy professor acted like that to a regular student, I would still think he was being too harsh in telling them to reveal their personal beliefs just so he could tear them down. (And no university would let him get awat with that grading policy.)

      Having seen what Alluson’s done – even though I think that, on thw whole, the massive good it did justifies the small amount of harn – I now think Gurwara was right, because someone with Allison’s level of power needs to have her convictions challenged, because the power and lack of consequences she has when acting on those convictions are far greater than a regular person would have. She needs to be forced to grapple with them.

    • Stephanie

      I was sort of on board with him until he congratulated her for speaking up and getting the discussion going, then failed her anyway. That turned it from a harsh but valuable teaching moment into a completely unhelpful “fuck you.” His words said that it was good for her to put her principles out there to be challenged, but his actions said she should keep her mouth shut next time. Not a good lesson to teach philosophy students if you want them to ever engage with the material again.

    • scottfree

      I wonder where what he’ll think of Alison’s actions. Presumably he’ll keep his thoughts to himself, while pointing out that what she did was monstrous but also maximized happiness for the most people. Whether this is an acceptable outcome to him is anybody’s guess.

    • Happyroach

      As an education professional, I consider him an incredibly awful teacher, who’s in violation of his teaching contract, and who lied to the students when he made the syllabus for the class. He would be subject to immediate firing based on his actions, and made the university subject to lawsuits from any and all of the students in the class.

    • Philip Bourque

      A single lesson does not make an excellent teacher.

  • SJ

    ‘_’

  • Balthazar

    Suddenly a surprise Gurwara.

    • palmvos

      I thought it was:
      Suddenly a wild Gurwara appears.
      though what he’s like when he’s wild… I’d like to see someone else’s groundless speculation on this idea.

      • Weatherheight

        Heh.
        Great – now Alison can add another count of unlawful detention and kidnapping to the rap sheet.
        At least the Pokeball is comfortable, or so the software engineers would lead us to believe. 😀

  • Beroli

    The coincidence here is sufficiently implausible that I wonder if this is really Gurwara–or a sleep-deprivation hallucinatory Gurwara.

    • IE

      Eh, not that implausible. I used to run into my college professors on campus all the time.

      Narratively convenient yes, but not unbelievably so methinks.

    • Weatherheight

      I live in a fairly small city (approaching 90k) and have lived here for pretty much 30 years (it was about 35K back when I first moved here). It’s not often I see someone I unambiguously know – however, as I’ve been a GM for most of those same 30 years, it astonishes me at how often *I* am recognized and hailed by others. Even that infinitesimal level of “fame” translates into being more recognizable to others – somehow (Having had something like 200+ people pass through my various campaigns over the years may have an impact).

      Alison should stop traffic pretty often when wandering around town – like it or not, she’s a celebrity, and three or four years shouldn’t make her effectively incognito.

      In my Supers RPG, I stole a concept from a GM of mine we call Recognition and Reputation. Recognition always goes up as long as the character looks like the character; doing something spectacular may make it rise significantly. Reputation is how folks interpret what was done – and it can go up and down thereby. This gives the players a quick estimate of their hero’s public standing, if you will.

      I once had one player’s character gain 5 Recognition and 5 Reputation while another player’s character gained 5 Recognition and lost 5 Reputation from the same interaction. Character B was attacked by a telepath who was having a psychotic break. Character B was big and scary looking and when the telepathic attack set off his Berserk against said telepath, he attempted to attack the telepath with everything he had. Character A managed to stop the attack and keep the telepath alive, accidentally subduing Character B in the process.

      This all happened on live television during a parade in Chicago – and all of the telepath’s actions went utterly unnoticed. The cameras saw the superhero “monster” go crazy and attack a random dude in the crowd – and then saw its teammate not only save the dude’s life but also take out the “monster” in one impressive action.

      There was an inquiry that cleared the “monster”, but don’t think for one minute that the image of what happened got swayed much by that. The team had an NPC “handler” on hand from that point forward whenever Character B went out – just to placate the public (and hey, it worked, right? It never went berserk again!).

  • Cyrano111

    It feels as though some people don’t understand how fiction works. In an effort to be non-offensive I am not naming names, but probably that will not make the effort entirely successful.

    There are regular calls in the comments section for “consequences now!”, and the argument that this consequence needs to be more than realisation and regret on Allison’s part.

    Let me be very clear – I am absolutely, firmly, with those people who think she was unambiguously in the wrong to physically hurt Max in order to do what she wanted him to do, against his will. If this were the real world I would want Allison to face trial for assault and be convicted, though there’s room for a lot of argument about sentencing.

    But this is a story. It’s a work of fiction. In a work of fiction, the “real world satisfactory” result is not necessarily the narratively most interesting one. So yes, at one level it’s possible to argue that the consequence for Allison, whenever it arrives, ought to be something like a criminal prosecution and being shunned and abandoned by her friends when they find out what she did. If this were a medieval morality play, no doubt that is what would happen.

    But within the context of telling a story, a far more gripping possibility would be that something happens to Max, because Allison’s actions have led others to realise his power. Would that be fair? No, certainly not. Would it mean some sort of “justice” had been dealt out to Allison? Again, clearly no. But would that be a heart-wrenching and memorable story line? Absolutely.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      As far as I’m concerned, not speaking of anyone else, “consequences” can mean a lot of things, but at the very least an acknowledgement that she did something wrong. The same way 1984 can end with a victory for tyranny without the reader thinking the book endorses it.

      • Cyrano111

        Very nice example.

  • Anna

    Gurwara, you saddle shoed son of a bitch

  • A_Username

    Am I the only one that hopes Alison turns into a supervillain, or rather embraces her identity as one? I think Gurwara might have had a point when he said her ethics might be best suited for tyranny; and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! If you don’t believe me, just think about how much good her saving Feral brought into the world. I think embracing her villainy rather than trying to deny it would do her a boatload of good. Maybe that way she can finally chill a bit, and with the perspective of villainy added to her other ones, maybe she can come up with more leads on finding a way to save the world (more than she already has saved it, anyway).

    • No, I’m pretty sure that in today’s world, nihilism is a popular choice, so I doubt you’re the only one.

      • A_Username

        If I’m honest I think mostly want her to be a supervillain because it sounds narratively interesting, but there might be som nihilism ín me too somwhere.

      • cphoenix

        See my answer to A_Username just above.

    • cphoenix

      Alison has ethics better suited to a government than an individual. Even relatively good governments kill people all the time for the good of society. (This applies to every government which sent soldiers into Afghanistan to take out the Taliban in 2002, and every member of the Allies in WWII.)

      Alison has powers better suited to a government than an individual.

      Some superpowered people deal with this by walking away. That is nihilistic.

      Some deal with it by attaching themselves to a government, and becoming effectively police or soldiers.

      Some make their own choices. Effectively, they become vigilantes. Is a sufficiently powerful vigilante always a supervillain? I don’t think so. Government would like us to think so.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Governments are entities, not people. Ideally, not even the people who make it up are “the government”. It’s a set of rules and regulations, doctrines and guidelines striving to use the power it holds responsibly.
        People never use power responsibly on their own.

        • I’m not sure that I can agree to the assertion that people never use power responsibly on their own; I will agree, however, that people will fail more often than not in the long run- and that the entity of government is more likely to curb these failures than an idealistic (and anarchistic) belief that the individual is better suited to making broad, moral choices than a group of individuals guided by the wisdom of their predecessors and the strictures of the rules of society.

          All of which is a really long-winded way of saying that individuals are more likely to screw up through action than groups.

          I’m bad at making statements without qualifiers…

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            So, in essence…
            #NotAllPowerfulPeople?

  • JohnTomato

    Even monsters cry.

    • Stephanie

      I really don’t get the “monster” thing. People keep saying things like that and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

      Alison is human. She is very clearly written as a complex, imperfect human. Humans are flawed. Humans sometimes do the wrong thing. Humans sometimes hurt other people out of recklessness, or anger, or to save others.

      She’s not a “monster” because she isn’t a perfect paladin paragon. The act of harming Max didn’t erase her entire characterization and turn her into an amoral sociopath.

      • JohnTomato

        ” The word “monster” derives from Latin monstrum,
        meaning an aberrant occurrence, usually biological, that was taken as a
        sign that something was wrong within the natural order.”

        • Stephanie

          Are you claiming that that was how you meant it? “Aberrant occurrence” is not the colloquial meaning of “monster” as used to describe a person.

          • JohnTomato

            “meaning an aberrant occurrence, usually biological, that was taken as a sign that something was wrong within the natural order.”

          • Stephanie

            You’re not communicating clearly. Whatever you’re trying to say, it obviously didn’t get across the first time, so repeating it exactly the same words isn’t going to accomplish anything.

          • JohnTomato

            I am being clear. Alison simply is an aberration from the norm to the point where she is clearly no longer able of being a human being. Not so very long ago she would have been deemed a goddess. The masses of Ali’s reality use a different label but the reaction is the same.

          • Stephanie

            Then is your argument that Alison is a “monster” because all biodynamics are “monsters?” Because that didn’t come across at all in your original statement.

          • JohnTomato

            I will try to remember to use bold and underlined text in the future.

          • Stephanie

            That wouldn’t have helped. Try using more words instead. No reasonable person, seeing you use the term “monster,” is ever going to assume that you’re referring to the definition of the Latin word it evolved from, rather than its actual modern-day colloquial meaning.

          • JohnTomato

            Who, lately, does Ali connect with best? Projection Boy or the big scary pointy guy chained up in a cave?

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Hey! Don’t call sociopaths monsters.

        • Stephanie

          I didn’t say that all sociopaths are monsters. “Monster” typically implies a person incapable of empathy who also does terrible things.

  • Jac

    Dang, Gurwara, you have impeccable timing.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    I’m kind of hoping he just goes, “Yep, you did a shitty thing. You’re not the person you thought you were. Now what are you going to do about it?” The best teachers are the ones not afraid to ask questions they don’t know the answers to. (So far he hasn’t been the best teacher, sure. But a twist in tone at this point would be interesting.)

    • palmvos

      ::puts on a trench-coat:: now pray tell what shitty thing did she do and how do you know about it, Gurawa? any involvement with Templar industries? hmmmmm?

    • Weatherheight

      After, of course, a suitable number of pages of dialogue wherein Alison tells his what gives.

      I’d like to see him offer a kind word to a crying young woman – this would prove he’s not a complete ass (although I must admit, his assery [I made a new word.. maybe] is top drawer, although he’s no Gregory House.)

      • Stephanie Gertsch

        House cured dying people so I give him more of a pass.

  • Wikimancer

    I think that my biggest issue with this page is that panel 5 goes too
    far too abruptly. Maybe there should’ve been a panel between 4 & 5
    as she started crying. As it is, it looks like her face is a noisy
    sprinkler system. Sure, tears can come on suddenly, but it generally
    takes a moment for them to emerge in large volumes, and this isn’t
    conveyed well here.

    • palmvos

      I’ve been through some very stressful things and it really can work like that. part of it is that the person is ‘running’ keeping the mind busy to keep from letting it wander. but you have to stop and rest…. and then it catches you.
      also, Alison is aware of an expectation that she not let her situation ‘get to’ her. the feeling that she shouldn’t cry or feel because she is strong (bench press a loaded tanker car), invincible, and a leader too. all of these create a ‘my problems are nothing’ effect that suppresses her actual emotions. so she wanders alone… in a garden…
      ::puts up a sign- ‘reference to a famous stressful scene’::

      • Wikimancer

        I’m not saying that crying can’t happen suddenly, but the layout makes it seem like her tear ducts are literally like a faucet – under constant hydraulic pressure until the valve is opened, such that the water spews out at full tilt. It’s a sort of human-eyeballs-don’t-work-that-way problem, where it might cease to be a problem for some readers, depending on how they read 3 same-width same-spaced panels like that. To me, it looks more like someone turned on the crying animation, and feels silly, which hurts the pathos.
        Also, I don’t know your reference.

  • Wikimancer

    You know, guys, it could be any guy with beige saddle shoes, red pants, and a cane. It doesn’t *have* to be Gurawa.

    • palmvos

      in the real world, absolutely. in a narrative like this? would you like to put some money on the idea that its not Gurawa? I was trying to twist Chekhov’s gun into this but the concept is valid- the authors would be playing unnecessary mind games with us (and cluttering up the story) if it isn’t Gurawa.

      • Lysiuj

        The first time Gurwara appeared, when it was just feet and cane, I was sure it was Lisa. If this is her right now I’m gonna laugh my ass off next page.

        • palmvos

          lisa uses a reverse bow fake leg- she would look very different from this angle and her cane is not wood with metal tip. but yes if this is lisa somehow I suspect I will look idiotic… again…should we have an oxygen cylinder ready Tuesday? or is there someone who will bet that the authors will do something to drag out this reveal too?

          • Lysiuj

            Well I don’t really think it’s Lisa, but it would certainly upend expectations.
            Just in case it is Lisa, I propose about 150 comments debating her previous actions and what she’s likely to say to Alison. We’ve gotta prepare and theorise for any eventuality, like responsible commenters.

          • palmvos

            i think we need Izo for that…. I don’t know if we can find enough to argue about for 150 comments. but here goes- first does Lisa know what Alison did? its possible with those little floating balls of hers if not is Alison sufficiently softened up that she confesses in part? (god help us all is she admits what she knows about Patrick to Lisa- that’s a get-the-president-underground-moment)

          • Lysiuj

            Al seems about ready to confess to anyone she can trust, even if Lisa doesn’t know (which seems likely).
            If she asks Lisa for advice, then past experience tells me Lisa is likely to tell Alison to think rationally: focus on the pros and cons, consider what was gained and lost/sacrificed by the action; and by so doing, decide if it was worth it. And she’s likely to ignore Al’s emotions, or even tell Al to ignore her own emotions.

          • palmvos

            the bigger problem is Lisa probably will not allow Alison to tell the story and omit the the source for the info on Max, or how she knew certain things at certain steps. I suspect Alison would try to tell the story and realize just how big a can of worms shes about to unleash. that would make things very very bad. I’ve been friends with both halves of a pair of people who were permanently pissed off at one another. its not easy.

          • Izo

            My ears were burning.

            I doubt Lisa knows what Alison did. Based on Lisa’s comments about Menace, I don’t think Lisa would be at all supportive of Alison’s actions.

            I also don’t think that Alison is morally brave enough, after what she did to Max, to actually confess to what she did to someone who will condemn her for it, rather than to people who will support her for it.

          • palmvos

            thank you for coming. given that Lisa was talking about Patrick’s actions to her.. i wouldn’t leap to that conclusion quite yet. many people have very different opinions about what can be done to them and what can be done to others. also- what Patrick did to Lisa was legal and enforceable. that was part of the outrage.

          • Izo

            I think it’s more likely than not that Lisa would have a negative reaction if she knew what Alison did though. Because Menace actively thinks what he is doing is for the greater good as well, and Lisa was a victim of that. And she pointed out how a person who kills others and can read their mind is an even bigger monster, because they KNOW what the other person is thinking as they are hurting them. Alison knew as well, even if she wasn’t a mind-reader. There’s too big an analogy for me to ignore it 🙂

          • palmvos

            so the question is- is Lisa the type to consider the ends? because if her temper survives the revelation of Patrick, will the purpose to which she put max matter? do you think Alison could tell the story of max without a sharp mind getting hints that someone like Patrick is involved?

          • Izo

            I hope that Lisa is the type to consider the MEANS. I’d hope that she would be, given her history. It would be nice, in a superhero-based comic, for SOMEONE who isnt portrayed as a bad guy or antagonist to actually be concerned about the means in an ‘ends justifies the means’ moral question. Otherwise this is a horrible lesson, and I’d be really glad that people don’t know anything about my identity in real life because people who believes the ends justify the means are capable of doing any horrific thing if their subjective reality tells them that the ends are worth it. As if they have any clue about what the ends will be with no law of unintended consequences to mess things up.

          • palmvos

            ok, since you are stuck on this point. in a real sense we live in a world where the ends do justify the means. in the US we incarcerate people for any number of reasons. you will say but the government did it. that’s a cover. still the end is incarceration of the criminal. (if you say its for their reform- i hope you hear in real life a lot of derisive laughter, as there’s no real reform going on- see recidivism rate.) many states in the US have capital punishment… again the state is a cover the end is still the death of an individual. China supports the NK regime. there’s a lot of death, starvation, and other nasty things that go along with it. its hard to argue that that is anything but the ends justifying the means. in the UK we have the Official Secrets act. again, the state is a cover- its still an ends justifies the means. in fact the western idea of morals largely applies to western people not their governments or institutions. periodically we get a little moral outrage over something brought in our faces but very little happens to change anything.
            the point is- in this world absolute beliefs don’t go over and often don’t work well. you are holding to a very strong absolute that to my eye a vast number of people don’t care about. you can beat that drum all you want- the best you can hope for is the drum will break eventually. with people there is a balance i suspect this is why someone said ‘consistency is a defense for small minds.’
            and since people like ‘violence is the last refuge of the incompetent’, maybe the other Asimov quote from the same book might interest you:
            ‘never let your sense of morals interfere with doing the right thing.’

          • Izo

            “ok, since you are stuck on this point. in a real sense we live in a world where the ends do justify the means. ”

            Actually no, we do not live in a world where the ends justify the means. We live in a world where the means matter, except to people who want to do bad things for their own subjective version of right and wrong. Which is what people who are fascists and tyrants and despots use and their excuse, both in real life and in much of fiction (save for two dimensional captain planet villains).

            “in the US we incarcerate people for any number of reasons.”

            And yet we can’t put people in prison without first having a trial and a set of rules required in order to put them in prison. If the ends justified the means, it would be reasonable to fake the evidence, pay off the judge, and put them in prison after a sham trial, or no trial at all. Or hell, just shoot the defendant. No, that doesn’t happen, because it’s the MEANS which matter more than the ends. As Blackstone, one of the originators of modern jurispudence, said, “”It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – that’s why we have all these rules in place – to prevent the innocent from being incarcerated. If the ends justified the means, then we wouldnt care about innocent people being incarcerated, as long as guilty people were as well.

            “(if you say its for their reform- i hope you hear in real life a lot of derisive laughter, as there’s no real reform going on- see recidivism rate.)”

            Well, reform is one of five main reasons for incarceration. And probably the least useful one, actually. The others are Punishment, Deterrence, Protection of the Public, and Retribution for the victims. You can’t just focus on one and ignore the others.

            “many states in the US have capital punishment… again the state is a cover the end is still the death of an individual. ”

            And again, the ends do not justify the means. Which is why capital punishment is full of appeal after appeal, and only certain crimes are even able to be a capital punishment case in the first place, and only in certain states that allow it, and only if a very specific set of circumstances and requirements take place, and even then it’s possible to take years, assuming the jury convicts, and then a second jury convicts for the sentenceing phase.

            If the ends justified the means, the law wouldnt need to do all that. The means are what matters.

          • palmvos

            actually, given the funding and functionality of the public defenders office and the fact that the vast majority of cases never go to trial except capital cases and there the defense is still heavily underfunded. id say trials are a moral bikini on a 200+ year old Uncle Sam. (please no art) but you didn’t deal with the official secrets act or north korea, and also ‘do you think Alison could tell the story of max without a sharp mind (like lisa’s) getting hints that someone like Patrick is involved?’

          • Izo

            “actually, given the funding and functionality of the public defenders office and the fact that the vast majority of cases never go to trial except capital cases and there the defense is still heavily underfunded.”

            The fact that there IS a public defender is more proof that it’s the means that matter more than the ends. Think about it for a moment. If it’s the ends that matter, why bother having a public defender at all? Why bother having a system of laws at all?

            “id say trials are a moral bikini on a 200+ year old Uncle Sam.”

            I’d say you’re wrong, and that you’d want a trial if you’re accused of a crime that you don’t think you’ve committed. Or even if you did commit a crime, you’re going to want a trial rather than just being put in jail automatically.

            “but you didn’t deal with the official secrets act or north korea, and also ‘do you think Alison could tell the story of max without a sharp mind (like lisa’s) getting hints that someone like Patrick is involved?'”

            Yes, she can tell what happened without giving away Max’s identity. And maybe she SHOULD let Lisa know that Patrick was involved – because Lisa would then emphasize even more with Max, since Patrick endangered Max’s life and privacy by giving out the information to Alison.

      • Cyrano111

        I…I don’t think Wikimancer was being serious.

        • palmvos

          ::running sarcasm detector again::
          hmmmmmm…..
          ::deactivates political filter 2 aka infidel squirrel surge protector::
          ahhh…. i see. i’m sorry my inet access has been absolute crap for two weeks. my sarcasm detector was adjusted high to protect my phone from overload.
          you are likely correct.

      • Wikimancer

        Sorry, I forgot the tag at the end.

  • Basiorana

    Man, this thread is full of people who think that her physically coercing a man into doing something against his will- something that he can do without any personal sacrifice and that saves thousands of lives – is some kind of moral event horizon for her.

    Alison has LITERALLY KILLED PEOPLE. This is at it’s heart a comic about a person who is so strong, so powerful, that there can be no external punishment for her. She has only her own morality and ethics to control her. Who are we without the state and the strength of our neighbors to control us? How do we develop a moral code if it can never be imposed upon us?

    • Mechwarrior

      The difference was that when Alison killed people it was either heat-of-the-moment or in the process of trying to restrain them using less lethal means. What she did to Max was premeditated.

      • weedgoku

        Also most of the people she killed were presumably either attacking her, attacking someone else or were generally some kind of villain. Max was a civilian. He had no way to fight back. Did not try to fight back, he could not. He was powerless and she was the complete aggressor in the situation and did what she wanted regardless of his consent. If the genders were reversed people in the comment section would be calling for Allison’s head on a spike due to the connotations the scene had.

        • Mechwarrior

          That too.

        • Stephanie

          The guy she punched to death for flamethrowing Feral was not capable of posing a threat to anyone from the instant Alison became involved. It wasn’t necessary to kill him, and killing him wouldn’t make anything better. She killed him anyway because she was angry. That’s way worse than twisting Max’s arm to get him to save countless lives, IMO.

          • Lucy

            YES, okay, this is the scene I keep coming back to. She killed that guy, the flamethrower dude. He is dead. He tried to kill Feral, but she’s basically immortal and Alison *knows that*, which means her actions weren’t to save Feral, they were just a self-expression of rage– the kind that comes from absolute love but isn’t constructive or justifiable at all.

            And like, I thought at the time, is she going to learn anything from this? Her vengeance versus Feral’s self-sacrificing? And it seems like what she learned is that Feral is amazing, that the value of self-sacrifice is beautiful, and she would do anything to protect Feral while internalizing the element of sacrifice. She doesn’t feel bad about killing that guy, whose name we never learn.

            So what we see happen is, Max has the opposite value, selfishness. And Max is harming Feral (indirectly). And instead of killing Max like she killed flamethrower guy and feeling entirely justified, she wounds Max, after trying other options, and leaves him alive, saving Feral (and everyone else).

            So, she leveled-up, ethically. And, most importantly, she feels guilty. She didn’t feel any guilt killing Unnamed Flamethrower Dude, but now she does. She’s beginning to see the importance of things like this.

          • Izo

            Actually she killed the flamethrower guy who also DID kill 3 doctors, who were not immortal. And who would have killed more people. Actively killed more people.

          • Mechwarrior

            And as Alison has stated, her power set didn’t include superhuman precision. Her fists don’t have a “stun” setting. She could either hit with lethal force to immediately stop the threat to innocent lives or she try cherry tapping him until he was incapacitated, leaving him able to continue killing other people in the meantime.

          • Stephanie

            She literally could have just pinned his arms. “No superhuman accuracy” means that when she throws a giant robot into the horizon, she can’t guarantee it won’t land on someone’s husband. It doesn’t mean she’s incapable of nonlethally subduing a baseline human.

          • Mechwarrior

            She was in a situation where people were actively being murdered. She did not have time to stop and contemplate every possible move beforehand. She did not know if the attacker was working alone of if there were multiple attackers working together. Your suggestion only works if she had more knowledge of the situation and time to plan than she actually did, unlike what happened with Max where she made the conscious decision to break into his house and threaten him with grievous injury unless he cooperated well before she actually confronted him.

          • Izo

            Yep, hindsight is 20/20

          • Stephanie

            You don’t have to stop and contemplate every possible move to come up with “restrain this guy from continuing to flamethrow with my unstoppable physical strength.”

            Alison is a trained combatant. She was an active superhero for years. There is no reason she should need to stop and ponder about how to restrain someone who’s incapable of fighting back in any meaningful way.

          • IE

            Hindsight is 20/20. A guy with a flamethrower could easily also be a guy with a bomb – I mean, you don’t go into a hospital and start killing people without expecting the cops to respond in full force. That’s basically a suicide mission. Why not strap some C4 to your butt while you’re at it? Or heck, he could have been a super-powered guy himself, capable of not only surviving such a hit but also continuing to kill people…

            You can only say, ‘only ‘x’ amount of force would have been necessary’ afterwards when all factors are known.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t get the impression, from those pages, that Alison was making a calculated risk assessment and choosing to use lethal force to minimize the odds of a catastrophic outcome. She punched him to death because she was angry.

          • IE

            Which is it though? You just pointed out that she’s a ‘trained combatant’ who doesn’t need to ‘stop and ponder’ to come up with a suitable solution to a threat…. but now you’re saying some calculated risk assessment (stopping and pondering, I presume) is called for?

            Also, not sure ‘killing guy because he just killed several innocent people and may pose an even greater risk if carrying explosives/possessing super powers’ and ‘killing guy because he just killed several innocent people in front of you and that pissed you off’ need to be mutually exclusive. Couldn’t it be all of the above?

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think a calculated risk assessment was called for in that timeframe, I’m saying that you implied one was happening and I disagree that it was. What was called for was pinning the guy’s arms.

          • Mechwarrior

            And let me ask you something else: if Alison walks home after whatever this meeting in the park is and finds out that whoops, Max’s power boost wasn’t actually as effective as advertised and now Feral’s back to her pre-boost regeneration level, was Alison still justified? Would she be justified if she forced Max to come in and sit next to Feral day in and day out continually boosting her powers because there was a side effect that caused a boosted individual’s powers to start getting weaker after a while? Where’s the line where it stops being okay?

          • Stephanie

            Considering that the stakes are literally millions of lives–every single person who would otherwise die from lack of blood or donor organs for the rest of Feral’s life–I would say that line is drawn much, much farther down the path of committing harm than Alison actually went.

        • IE

          Y’know, it would be really lovely if folks would stop telling other people what they ‘would’ be saying if the genders are reversed. Frankly, you don’t know, and it’s pretty condescending to assume.

          • Stephanie

            Yep–as a vocal Alison stan, I can guarantee that I would have been exactly as much on Al’s side (which is like, 85%, to be specific) if the genders were reversed. I might have found it uncomfortable if the authors had written a scenario where it happened to be morally justifiable for a man to physically coerce a comparatively powerless woman, but my opinion on the ethics of their in-universe actions would be unchanged.

          • weedgoku

            And yet I do it anyway.

      • Stephanie

        I don’t see why it’s better for Alison to kill people “in the heat of the moment.” Someone as powerful as she is has a responsibility not to permit herself to give in to her emotions like that. I’ll take a premeditated decision to physically coerce someone into taking four hours out of their day to end all deaths from lack of donor organs or blood for the rest of Feral’s life, over needlessly murdering someone in anger, any day of the week.

        • Izo

          1) ‘in the heat of the moment’ = no premeditation, no action or malice aforethought. Murder in the first or second degree vs Murder in the third degree.

          2) The hospital situation was not the same – the flamethrower guy had just killed three people and was going to kill more and Alison reacted to stop that. Not to mention she was possibly in emotional shock from seeing it happen in front of her eyes after being berated by Feral’s friend about what Feral has decided to do with her life.

          • Stephanie

            Again, I don’t think that the act becomes more ethical because she did it out of “emotional shock,” and not because she actually thought it would make things better.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Stephanie the reason why punching a murderer arsonist through a wall didn’t trigger this much controversy isn’t because it’s more ethical but because especially in the case of a fit of rage nobody considers this was “the right choice” to start with. The webcomic didn’t ask us to ponder whether that life ought to be taken at the very moment it was, from a moral standpoint.
            Because of course not, duh.

          • Stephanie

            That’s a good explanation for why it didn’t generate as much controversy at the time, but what I don’t understand is why, now that people are talking about it, they are arguing that it was “less bad” than the Max incident because it was done out of anger.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Because it’s not premeditated. Premeditation is scarier.

          • Izo

            Stephanie, that’s the entire point of gradiations in the law for certain crimes, like murder. Because society has determined that crime with premeditation and crime with thought behind it, is worse than crime done in the heat of the moment without thinking about what you’re doing.

            Ethics is about thinking about your actions. In the heat of the moment, the point is you’re not thinking about your actions in the first place. And emotional shock IS a good excuse for why it’s different (not necesarily more or less ethical,but a situation where ethics don’t come into it as strongly in the first place) than something being done where you know that you’re doing something bad, since it removes the mens rea and leaves only the actus reus.

          • Stephanie

            I’m not really talking about the law here. Regardless of the law, I don’t think that murderously lashing out in anger is “less bad” than carrying out a comparatively minor harm for the express purpose of achieving a great good. Alison has no excuse for killing flamethrower guy, since she was capable of neutralizing him without killing him.

          • Izo

            When we’re talking about if differnet gradiations of crime, you better believe we’re talking about the law here.

            “Alison has no excuse for killing flamethrower guy, since she was capable of neutralizing him without killing him.”

            And if she had THOUGHT about it, then I’d agree – maybe. But it was a heat of the moment action – it would be considered, at most, 3rd degree murder, and Alison would have gotten off based on defense of others. You’re allowed to use deadly force to prevent someone from killing another person.

            “With respect to the legality argument, I want to point out although we have gradiations within certain crimes like murder, we also have gradiations between crimes.”

            What you said here makes absolutely no sense at all.

            “Alison’s premeditated crime, in this case, was not murder, whereas her “heat of the moment” crime was.”

            She was threatening to murder him if he did not comply. That’s five years. She actually caused him physical arm while in the process of threatening to kill him if he did not comply. She made a substantial step towards the commission of the crime when she laid her hands on him to cause him pain, and she intended to kill him if he did not comply – she outright stated she would, and given she’s killed other people in the past, is unstoppable, can not be punished by the police, and was fully capable of easily killing him, Max had no reason to think she’s bluffing.

            Plus she did this with planning. Mens Rea AND Actus Reus.

          • Stephanie

            You’re the one who brought up gradiations of crime. I was talking about ethics.

            I don’t think the fact that Alison didn’t think before ending someone’s life forever is better than the alternative.

            I think I was clear in what I said about Alison not actually committing murder here. She did not commit murder in this case. That is canon. I don’t care that she threatened it; threatening murder, if you want to talk legality, is not the same crime as committing it. It makes zero sense to say that coercing Max was worse than killing the guy because coercing Max was premeditated; it wasn’t premeditated murder, so it’s a lesser crime than killing flamethrower guy regardless of the mens rea situation.

          • Izo

            “You’re the one who brought up gradiations of crime. I was talking about ethics.”

            You’re trying to compare heat of the moment to a premeditated act. You outright have described gradiations of a crime as it RELATES to ethics. Don’t go and start saying you didn’t now. Look at your own posts.

            Also, mens rea IS important. You can’t just dismiss it. ESPECIALLY when it comes to ethics. Mens rea is the entire ethical component OF a crime.

          • Stephanie

            I was initially discussing ethics. You can call it “gradiations of sin” if you want. You brought up legality first, and since then I have occasionally engaged with that way of looking at it.

            I don’t think you understood what I was saying. Mens rea is important when comparing the same crime with and without mens rea. However, a lesser crime with mens rea is still a lesser crime than a murder without it. Mens rea doesn’t make a lesser crime worse than murder. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to say “coercing Max was worse than murdering flamethrower guy because mens rea.”

          • Izo

            Here’s what you said – “I don’t see why it’s better for Alison to kill people “in the heat of the moment.””

            I gave you an answer about why. Because of gradiations in crimes. Unless you don’t think killing people is ever a crime. Trying to differentiate between crimes (something that is specific) and sin (something unspecific) is not exactly a winning argument for you. Even at its loosest definition, you’d be equating sin as essentially a ‘crime’ (a crime against morality, which is not something you can easily argue.

            “I don’t think you understood what I was saying. Mens rea is important when comparing the same crime with and without mens rea.”

            And I don’t think you’re understanding what I’m saying. For ANY intentional crime, murder or otherwise, you need an actus reus and a mens rea. One has someone thinking they’re committing a crime, then commiting the crime. The other has someone who does not realize they’re committing a crime, or who did not intend to commit a crime. One is worse than the other. Including (in fact, especailly) from an ethical standpoint.

        • Mechwarrior

          Should women be allowed to get abortions, Stephanie?

          • Stephanie

            Yes, unless a woman is known to be carrying a magical baby that would end all deaths from lack of donor organs or blood. Since that’s not a thing that ever happens, I’m not sure what your point is.

          • Mechwarrior

            Because any given aborted fetus might grow up to be a doctor who discovers the cure for HIV or cancer or whatever and by your logic we should override the woman’s bodily autonomy for the hypothetical benefit. Making the world a better place one act of injustice at a time isn’t making the world a better place. It’s just selling your soul for the illusion of being in a better place.

          • Danygalw

            The benefit from Feral’s increased powers wasn’t hypothetical.

          • Mechwarrior

            Since we don’t actually know whether it’s a permanent boost or if there are any side effects yet, it actually is.

          • Danygalw

            Not “this one fetud has a miniscule chance of SAvinG THe woRRld!!1!”

          • Stephanie

            “By my logic?” You have badly misunderstood my logic, possibly by skipping over the part where I specified “is known to be carrying a magical baby.” There’s a distinction you’re missing between “there’s a pie-in-the-sky chance that this person might save millions,” vs “this person is known to be capable of saving millions, and actively wants to do that exact thing, and has ready access to the infrastructure necessary to do that exact thing.”

            To be clear: No, “my logic” does not requiring banning all abortions forever in case some random fetus turns out be a miraculous lifesaving individual by pure chance.

          • weedgoku

            So what if the baby wasn’t magical, but had a rare blood type? A whole lot of people can be saved by one kid donating blood every month or so. I assume the child doesn’t get autonomy in this situation.

          • Stephanie

            I wouldn’t be on board with forcing a woman to give birth just for that. I’m drawing a pretty clear parallel to Feral’s situation with my example.

          • weedgoku

            So, just so I’m clear. It has to be a magical baby? So you wouldn’t be okay with forcing a doctor to do work either?

            I mentioned it in another comment but the site ate it; I responded to your post saying you would be just as supportive of allison should the genders be reversed and I do respect people who are so consistent in their beliefs.

      • Basiorana

        Do we really know that she never used severe violence to get her way? I find it hard to picture she never intentionally maimed a criminal or violated normal guidelines for police on excessive force intentionally.

        • Mechwarrior

          We’re arguing Alison’s actions as actually presented in the comic, not any hypothetical fanfic scenario anyone can possibly imagine her doing.

          • Basiorana

            I had interpreted her talking to Daniel as basically saying “I have killed people as a superhero and the only difference is that the government can’t lock me up.” So I thought of it as either she has intentionally hurt people like Daniel did, or else she hasn’t and didn’t / doesn’t see the difference.

  • K. J. Hargan

    personally, I hope the first words out of Guwara’s mouth are: “Yes, there is a conspiracy to mess with Powered Types. I’m in it. We’ve been following you. Due to recent events we think you now understand our purpose. Join us.”

    • K. J. Hargan

      Of course this comic isn’t as splashy-action as it used to be. But Allison going around working for a conspiracy to vet, eliminate, or coerce Powered Types might make a good next chapter.

    • Weatherheight

      I think this is unlikely, based on the current narrative structure.

      But, as I responded before when someone brought this possibility up…

      As an Evil GM™, I approve this plot line.

      • palmvos

        now go have your players write the story! which of course means we will wander far far far away from the point.

        • Weatherheight

          I feel that.

          I have more unresolved plots in my game(s) than resolved (in some part, that’s my bad). But it’s just too fun to toss out a piece of local color and watch the PCs latch onto it and turn it into a plot point… somehow.

  • weedgoku

    I find it strange that so many people in the comments think of Guwara as the villain here when all he did was state the inevitable conclusion of Allison’s personality and moral ideals to her. He was proven right. He’s not the monster in this chapter. He’s not the villain. Nor is max. Neither of them invaded someone’s privacy, stole someone’s personal agency. Assaulted a civilian who couldn’t fight back.

    It’s Allison and unfortunately, feeling bad isn’t going to make up for being a shitty person. Feeling bad while you continue to do bad things, doesn’t make them any less bad. It doesn’t make you any less bad. Especially since Allison doesn’t seem to be showing any actual remorse for what she has done. Guwara was right, and the fact that people are still continually more sympathetic with her than anyone else hurt by her or caught in her path of destruction is just amazing.

    What shocks me most, however. Is the victim blaming that went on, and still goes on, in the comments. It’s been pointed out that the scene where she assaults Max is an unintentional allegory for sexual assault, and the artist got very upset on social media when this was pointed out, and seeing so many people dismiss what happened with “Well he should have just done it willingly!” or “It’s his fault!” is hilarious considering the outrage there would almost certainly have been over that scene if Max was a woman and Allison was a man.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Still a shit Professor.

      And cut it out with the sexual assault analogy. Among the very vast amount of reason you shouldn’t use it is the very salient one that you don’t need it.

      • weedgoku

        Unless they go back and edit the page so it doesn’t exist, I won’t. Not liking how the situation was framed doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Who said anything about not liking?

          And “it works” as a counterargument is the lamest defense one could try for that cringeworthy and oblivious opinion. That’s a analogy people establish only because they don’t know better, with quite mean words as to how it makes them sound like.

          • Cokely

            What would be the strongest defense that would make you reconsider that opinion as valid?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            The sexual assault to be explicit sexual assault, intended as such and unavoidably considered literally as such.
            Anything less muddles conversations and betrays the fundamental specifics of that crime and every connotation coming with it.

          • weedgoku

            Not really. Sexual assault is not a magical worse than anything crime that gets to be metaphor, simile, allegory or allusion proof just because you feel strongly about it. If it worked like that, we’d never be able to use cancer as a metaphor for something malignant that spreads and grows inside of something else when it works so well.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            It’s not “worse”. That’s a kind of quality judgment nobody cares about. It’s specific. Since there definitely exist people saying the analogy is wildly inappropriate despite your inability to understand why, why don’t you go with the benefit of the doubt and not be an insensitive assclown about it

          • weedgoku

            You are letting your personal feelings get in the way of artistic analysis. To remove something from artwork, to pretend it doesn’t exist, and deny it has impact on the piece and refuse to acknowledge any critique or analysis involving it because you, personally, find it distasteful is the antithesis of art bordering on censorship. Call me insensitive all you want, I don’t care. I’m not the one trying to shut down other people just because I don’t like their views and opinions that supposedly “nobody cares about”.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            I’m not trying to shut you down, I’m trying to educate. Here’s the lesson: assault is not an analogy for sexual assault. Thinking it is means you’re simply very unfamiliar with the latter and its stakes. That’s not insightful art criticism, that’s a viewpoint spoon-fed to you by a society who still doesn’t respect rape victims the day it should. That’s the archaic, obsolete and sexist opinion to have, not the challenging one. You’re not just insensitive, you’re expectably insensitive. And it’s so boring.

          • weedgoku

            “Here’s the lesson: assault is not an analogy for sexual assault.”
            And this is where you are. You are refusing to accept any viewpoint but the most basic and shallow one, that a visual thing is a visual thing and nothing else. You are plugging your ears and denying that an allusion can exist because you have decided that this one, specific thing is so important to you that it is special above all others. You go above and beyond that even, and jump to the absurd conclusion that anyone without your particular viewpoint;
            “That’s the archaic, obsolete and sexist opinion to have”
            Must be a bigot. That is not how discourse happens. You don’t get to shut down a discussion because you dislike the content of it. Especially not if you’re going to disregard what people are actually trying to say because you have decided you are the sole authority to judge and gate-keep the subject.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You wish you were a bigot. I’m indulgent, this is one I keep for idiots who actually can back up their heinous opinions instead of just the clueless type.
            Yes, this is how discourse happens. Welcome to the real world (with me? I’m surprised) where adults stop catering to your contemptible ignorance just because you raise your hand really really high to participate. Bye!

          • weedgoku

            “I’m indulgent, this is one I keep for idiots”
            And now you fall back to name calling when I refuse to fold and obey you. It’s amazing, really. If people don’t do what you want, don’t think how you want, you try classic bully tactics. The irony of this in light of the comic is fairly amusing.

            “Yes, this is how discourse happens.”
            Not really. In a discussion you don’t shout at someone to shut up and then try to insult them when they don’t. If you don’t like an opinion and have no intention to even listen to it in the first place, you are free to walk away and ignore it. Choosing to engage solely to disregard any actual discussion to sling mud isn’t a discussion. It’s a childish tantrum.

            ” where adults stop catering to your contemptible ignorance”
            Also the irony of calling others ignorant given how many times in this conversation alone you’ve made very crass assumptions about another person based solely on the fact that their opinions don’t align with yours and treated it like solid fact.

            “Bye!”
            You were free to stop responding at any point. Instead you choose to get defensive, offensive and personally invested over someone’s differing analysis of a web comic. There is no need to attempt a dramatic end to the conversation, there was never a need to start it since from the outset you didn’t intend to contribute anything or even challenge my view in any meaningful way.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            [For anyone brazen, bold and bored enough to read through this whole adventure, a fun game to play is to read it anew only imagining @weedgoku is fiercely defending his right to have the opinion that victims of sexual assault may behold some blame for “asking for it”. Not as explicit, not as harmful, but part of the same package. See how that makes the Righter-Than-Thou attitude sound]

          • weedgoku

            Except that’s not at all what I said, in fact that’s almost the literal opposite of what I said and it’s incredibly childish to straight up fictionalize a conversation like that to try and bend the truth to fit your incredibly narrow minded view that anyone who doesn’t personally agree with you must be a bigot.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Yeah well. Hopefully someday you’ll get the same reflexive reaction and outrage without need for an explanation against the shit you pulled in this thread

          • weedgoku

            I pulled no shit. I brought up the briefest mention of a metaphor and you went nuts over it based solely on your own conclusions which came from entirely internal assumptions drawn on imaginary sleights rather than fact.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            How are you not getting that “bringing up the briefest mention of a metaphor” is the problem, with no intermediaries?

          • weedgoku

            Because it isn’t one. You chose to make a problem out of it for no particular reason. Then doubled down and tried to claim you weren’t trying to silence other people while still continuing to do it. The issue is not what I said, the issue seems to be that you just get really bent out of shape when someone doesn’t line up with your personal views. Which, apparently, includes metaphors which are a completely asinine thing to get upset over.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            I get upset over the comment section I’m fond of being even slightly invested by stupid ideas that have no place being even considered as anything more than laughing stock. And I’m perfectly fine with raining down on your winning combo of dumb ideas and unearned ignorant pride to send the message to anyone listening that if you intend to introduce “unexpected” opinions here you *better* actually know what you’re talking about.

            Also it’s fun your line of thinking is wildly inconsistent, contradictory and goalpost moving and each time you address just one single thing of the dozens I address leading me to accept internally that you do admit I’m right back in your first response for instance after I said the analogy was not just offensive but also needless and unnecessary and you just focused on “offensive” because that’s what you do

          • weedgoku

            “I’m fond of being even slightly invested by stupid ideas that have no place being even considered as anything more than laughing stock.”
            You declare something you know literally nothing about, as I did not explain my take on it in any detail, as having no place or merit right off the bat. You had zero intention to engage in any kind of discussion, you simply wanted to stamp out any ideas or voices you don’t approve of in a very hamfisted way.

            People are not very complicated, when you engage someone and go straight to the offensive it generally doesn’t make someone want to listen to you. Especially when your next step is to insult and deride them for zero reason. Ultimately; who are you and why should I care? You seem to put a massive amount of weight on your own ego because you post in these comments a lot, and seem to think that gives you the right to control who gets to post here and which ideas are “allowed” which in turn means you think it’s okay to attack people just for having views you don’t like. That’s pretty messed up.

            Had you actually made an effort to engage with me, I might have been open to your views. Instead, you didn’t even bother to read what was posted, or seek a deeper explanation. You assumed the worst, pretended your assumptions were solid fact and decided that your fictionalized version of a person who you’ve never met was in fact, the real one. But by all means, please keep trying to tell me how I’m “wrong” when you have failed on every possible level to articulate why.

            ” And I’m perfectly fine with raining down on your winning combo of dumb ideas”
            Except you’ve done nothing of the sort. You just started crying that I compared one thing to another thing because. Question marks. You never explained anything, you never gave me any reasons, and when your emotional appeal failed you began to throw a tantrum and somehow assumed that meant you were a cool internet dude instead of an aggressor being pointlessly harassing when anyone else who didn’t like the post just ignored it.

            ” unearned ignorant pride”
            Pot calling the kettle black. You are trying to control an entire comment section by stamping out any artistic analysis that doesn’t line up with your personal take on the subject.

            “if you intend to introduce “unexpected” opinions here you *better* actually know what you’re talking about.”
            It’s a shame you never actually heard my opinion before you started throwing a fit over it. Or maybe not, given your posts it seems you made a preemptive decision about the whole matter.

            “Also it’s fun your line of thinking is wildly inconsistent, contradictory and goalpost moving and each time you address just one single thing of the dozens I address”
            Irony. You have not once actually addressed what I said in my original post and have gone so far as to completely try and fictionalize what I’ve said to make me look like a bigot. Instead you focused on one metaphor and ran with it. All I’ve done is respond to your inane complaints to try and make you stop raging about it and realize that not everyone on the internet has to play by your arbitrary rules. You are not the site owner, you do not set the law on what can and can’t go on in these comment sections. Even back when they still moderated the comments, something like I posted would have gone through because it has in the past. I know because I’ve posted similar opinions before.

            “leading me to accept internally that you do admit I’m right”
            About what? You haven’t had a single worthwhile contribution at hand. You haven’t even actually disagreed with me. You just threw a tantrum over a word I used. There’s nothing to be right or wrong about.

            “after I said the analogy was not just offensive but also needless and unnecessary and you just focused on “offensive” because that’s what you do”
            Because if it was unnecessary I wouldn’t have included it. It’s not an especially large leap of logic to think that I know more about my views and opinions than you do. You might even know why I chose to go with the rape analogy if you’d actually probed a bit rather than leaping straight to the worst conclusions and going on a full offensive about it, but hey. Why bother, right?

            I mean the fact that I’m still responding to you shows one thing, and now I will begin to stroke my own ego. Every post I’ve been waiting for you to actually try and prove me wrong, give me an objective reason why, without even hearing my reasoning, my opinion is wrong. But you haven’t. But, hey, at least I’ve been willing to hear you out. I didn’t just dismiss you as garbage and insult you. Because when I post in comment sections like this, I do it to hear what other people think. Even if it’s something I disagree with. There are some interesting people I really disagree with in other comment lines. But you’re probably the first person who just wants to shut down every view that isn’t theirs and decides before even posting what people are and aren’t worthwhile to have around. It is laughable that someone like you would try to call me out on ego and pride.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Do you… Have memory problems?

            Sexual assault is not a magical worse than anything crime that gets to be metaphor, simile, allegory or allusion proof just because you feel strongly about it.

            This is what you said. I did not invent this. I didn’t create it as a strawman in my mind. I didn’t fictionalize it. I didn’t assume it. And frankly there’s no need for you to elaborate, preventing you from saying even more moronic and harmful things is even making you a favor. Please instead keep telling us how mean I am, calling me an “internet tough guy” is miraculously still less cringeworthy to read than your opinions on fictional rape.

            This has no place or merit, and I have zero intention of thoughtfully engaging with it, and I’ve explained why enough.

          • weedgoku

            I remember what I said just fine and still stand by it. You have still failed to explain why it is beyond the reach of any possible metaphorical grasp other than because you say so. Especially since you still know nothing other than in that scene I choose to compare it to sexual assault, but you have zero actual context for what I mean.

            “And frankly there’s no need for you to elaborate”
            This right here is why you will never succeed in changing a mind on this matter. You have decided everything beforehand. You are not the sole arbiter of anything here, you don’t get to decided what is and is not correct nor do you get to decide what opinions are and are not valid. At best you get to try and change people’s minds, but you don’t even try. You simply want to demand people cater to your whims. Things don’t work like that.

            “saying even more moronic and harmful things”
            More personal attacks show how little point there is in further hearing you out. It’s like a broken record at this point. I event flatly say I want you to try and change my mind, you don’t even attempt to. I give you another chance to try and be a better person and you just lower yourself. It’s hilarious considering the context of this whole conversation and why you’re mad at me to begin with.

            “Please instead keep telling us how mean I am, calling me an “internet tough guy””
            Actually I have never said you were mean nor have I called you an internet tough guy. I have, repeatedly, likened your posts to a child throwing a tantrum that people don’t do as they say when they say and it still holds pretty true I find.

            “miraculously still less cringeworthy to read than your opinions on fictional rape.”
            Yet my opinion had nothing to actually do with rape. Which you would know if you had read what I said and thought for more than a second before pretending your most inane assumptions were correct. I likened one situation to sexual assault, and would have expanded on that if inclined. That says far more about my opinions on the situation in the comic than it does about my opinions on rape.

            “This has no place or merit, and I have zero intention of thoughtfully engaging with it, and I’ve explained why enough.”
            You’ve explained literally nothing. You just keep saying it has no merit without saying why. You keep calling me a bigot without context and patting yourself on the back for acting like a complete hypocrite.

          • Cokely

            Thank you for the clarification.

    • Stephanie

      I still don’t think the sexual assault comparison works. Coercion isn’t automatically analogous to sexual assault. If that scene was an allegory for sexual assault, then so is literally any other depiction of someone being physically coerced into doing something.

      • weedgoku

        It was all about the specific framing, body language and dialogue. Perhaps if she asked him to squeal like a pig rather than calling him sweetheart it would have been more on the nose. There are many, many ways of writing physical coercion. There are plenty of scenes involving people being violently slammed on a table surface with one arm behind their back. Very few of them manage to get multiple people to contact the artist or director to ask if it was supposed to seem like a sexual assault. This one did.

        • IE

          Wait, you think squealing like a pig is *less* sexual?

          • Stephanie

            I think they’re saying it would have been unambiguously an allegory for sexual assault, in that case.

  • Cokely

    I really like what they’re going for with the three-panel transition in the center of this page, but I think the execution is hindered by the bits of comic-shorthand throughout them. The small action lines, the breath of air, the “Guh-huh” of her sobbing – they belabor the point more than enhance it.

    I think maybe it’s the shift from the second panel of her exhalation with a sharp transition to the deep sobbing of the third panel that’s throwing me in particular, but that seems to be brought on by making the first panel the act of her sitting down. Perhaps if the one above had shown her in a seated position in the park at a distance it would have allowed for a smoother transition from exhaling to sobbing in the ones below.

    On an unrelated note, of the comic’s many sins, using a standard portrayal of a college professor with unorthodox teaching methods that are bad pedagogy in real life is clearly the worst. It’s also impossible that this will end up being a quiet moment of empathy between the two characters.

  • Pyro

    I WANT TO SCOOP AL UP IN MY ARMS AND JUST GIVE HER THE BIGGEST HUG

  • RainWall

    If this doesn’t lead to a discussion over a game of chess I’ll be severely disappointed.

    • palmvos

      Chekhov’s chess pieces!

  • Anna

    Gurwara, you saddle-shoe-ed son of a bitch.

    • Danygalw

      I recognised him from the cane.

  • Magma Sam

    Hello, long time reader (of both the discussion threads and the comic), first time poster. I strongly enjoy all of the philosophical debate that goes on and it’s ability to be kept on a peaceful level, despite that I get that Deontology and Utilitarianism will ‘never’ understand each other as anything other than abhorrent.

    One thing I’d like to comment on, is this.
    Izo: “No, you’re falling into that age old trap called utilitarianism, which has been used by every despot, tyrant, and fascist system to justify their actions, and even many terrible things done in even non-tyrannical countries. Both in fiction and in real life. Stalin. Hitler. Pol Pot. The Trail of Tears. Slavery (anywhere).”

    The statement here, in the context of the argument as a whole, implies that Deontological Ethics are somehow ‘better’ in this fashion. Deontology too has been used to justify all kinds of horrible wrongs.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Why should they be intrisically opposed? I’m famously and fervently of the opinion that utilitarianism is dumb and yet “deontology” absolutely isn’t what I stand for either, and in the context of the webcomic it has little use being even mentioned.

      • Magma Sam

        Deontology and Utilitarianism aren’t singular unified philosophies. They’re two umbrellas where many, many full theories of ethics branch out of, and are separated by the primary question “do you prioritize the Ends, or the Means”? There’s certainly versions of Utilitarianism that are nonsensical, but that diminishes as you get to more refined theorems.

        The reason they are intrinsically opposed is when you get two people whose arguments boil down to
        “You did a Bad Thing, and that’s Wrong! I don’t care how you justify it, that’s Wrong.”
        and
        “You only care about keeping your hands clean. The real people, dying and suffering, are literally inconsequential to you, as long as you can claim personal innocence.”

        You get two positions which ‘cannot’ reconcile, full stop, without one shifting to the other side.

  • Soqoma

    GUWARA! I sense a bracing-but-mature conversation with morally complex fairy godmother professor…

  • Stevonnie

    agh, its going to be that one butt hole-io, with some deep and frustrating advice.

  • masterofbones

    I like how everyone thinks Gurwara intends to *berate* her. Remember, he never said that being/thinking like a dictator was *bad*.

  • David Nuttall

    I am thinking the guy with the cane is some chicken-hawk seeing a young woman in distress, who would make a perfect victim of his persuasion. We then see the psychological version of Mugging the Monster. He could be in for a world of hurt, especially with Valkyrie around the corner.

  • Dawn Smashington

    There’s no way she’ll spill her guts to Guwara about about literally twisting an arm to make something good happen, but I feel like their conversation could go either way in the animosity department. Is Guwara ultimately a potential great mentor and friend, or is he gonna end up an actual villain of some kind? If it’s the latter, wouldn’t he still be nice to her right now to gain trust or whatever, and we just won’t know at all until much later?

    No matter what happens, I really like Guwara. He stood up to the most powerful being on the planet and gave her consequences. A failing grade is a small thing, but with Al’s limited experience with consequences and the specific nature of the fail, it becomes a much bigger thing, and Guwara orchestrated it. Even if he turns out to be a bad guy I kinda wanna high-five the dude.