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Seems suspicious. Dean When Gurwara got out the chips, he assumed it was the intermission and stepped out for a soda. Joe in Australia But how can he pay for it? Dean He put it on his bill. Incendax Maybe the Duck will circle back around while Alison debates with herself. That’s why she’s taking off the jacket, right? 🙂 Lysiuj And the prof taking out a snack cause he’s ready for the show 😛 Masala Nilsson Thank you sir, for speaking my mind. Gurwara be like *brings out the popcorn* Lysiuj The philosophy course was an acting workshop the whole time! Weatherheight I approve of and endorse this thread in every possible way. Ptorq That’s .. probably more logical than my first thought, which was that in the last panel Guwara has his head bowed in prayer: “O non-specific deities of philosophy and ethics, thank you for this impromptu strip tease that I am about to receive.” Weatherheight This is so wrong it’s right. Campor Ah yes, Chips brand chips. My favourite. Charles Moore I was just thinking the same thing. Grant So Randall Munroe clearly exists in this world, and has actually acted on some of his dreams. https://xkcd.com/993/ Mike Randall clearly never visited Australia: https://jjc807.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/home-brand-products.jpg Izo What the heck is a water cracker? MrSing It’s an instant cracker. Just add water. Izo The heck you say. What sorcery is this? MrSing Well, I didn’t say it was going to taste good. Isaac Burke It’s those bland, tasteless sort of crackers. Like cream crackers, only worse. They’re literally made out of flower and water, IIRC. Ian Osmond Hunh. I somehow missed that XKCD, which is interesting, because, when I was a kid, that’s how my local supermarket packaged their generics. It made it very obvious that you were a poor person buying the cheap alternative, but I didn’t care, because I thought it was so cool to have everything match like that, and I asked my parents to keep buying it even after we could afford real food. They refused because, back then, the generic stuff actually WAS worse than the brand name stuff — if it had been the same quality for both, the way it is today, they would have. Izo Clearly it’s a misprint. https://img.thrivemarket.com/store/full/8/6/862662000107-1.jpg?i10c=img.resize(width:566,height:566) Weatherheight I need to find this product and have some to eat – not a fan of living bugs but roast Mexican crickets were wonderfully and surprisingly tasty ( i was scolded by the hostess for scarfing them before the rest of the party attendees could have some – and thanked by several attendees for doing the same). Sea Salt can make anything better… Tylikcat Look under chirps chips – they are widely available. Back when I was a biochemist, I once got a wide assortment of different edible bugs and grubs (both in candied and savory form) for a labmate as a secret santa gift. The labmate in question often took care of a couple of children, who gleefully plunged into her store of goods, crunching away at crickets and arranging a couple of legs, artistically, on a plate, just when they knew grandma was going to walk into the kitchen. It was really the gift that kept on giving. (So much better than the Space Battleship Yamamoto model I gave someone else. I even printed out and included the old Starblazers lyrics, but they were utterly mystified.) Weatherheight I once had the VHS movie set for Yamato and intend to find it on BluRay once I get ahead of my current debt load. Loranna We’re off to outer space . . . We’re leaving Mother Earth . . . Gods, I miss that show ^_^ Loranna Tylikcat I watched a bit of it in, oh, my late teens, maybe? It left me with the impression that maybe I should just leave my good memories of it alone. (Though for heaven’s sake, see the Japanese version, which at least actually makes sense. I watched the American version before school as a kid, than the Japanese version with my cousins a few years later.) Loranna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gHORDBZuOA Their version of the opening theme song is better, too. But I’m a bit biased; I like Isao Sasaki’s voice. Loranna Tylikcat Ahaha! Oh, this is so great, and so perfect. (One of my EEPer friends – and we watched a bunch of Uchu Senkan Yamato together back in the day, though by then that was more of a nostalgia thing for me – was just giving me shit over a hair coloring mistake that has left me with plum colored hair. His argument is ‘Step One of Pretending To Not Be An Anime Character is “Do Not Let People See Your Anime Hair”‘ So this can be part of my comeback… but he has a wife who was also an EEPer, and a newly teenage son, both of whom are probably more sympathetic to me in the matter. Especially if it’s funny. So revenge will be mine.) Loranna Glad to be of help in your righteous revenge. . . . Though now I confess I can’t stop thinking about what Plum-Haired Tylikcat looks like 😛 Loranna Weatherheight Much like the blue-hair-tylikcat, I imagine… 😀 Tylikcat Hey, I guess it’s been a while since I changed icons. Though taking a snap when I have a headache probably isn’t the best plan. Weatherheight This is just utterly fanboy-cool. Thanks! Weatherheight If it says “Harmony Gold” or “A Sandy Frank Production” on the packaging, seriously consider putting it back on the shelf. What he did to Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, and Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross is just mind boggling… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmDBYEpnAcQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9ouRFvuHx0 I once spent 20 minutes watching a fan comparison of dialogue (Japanese translation versus HG rewrite) and plot points (Just what is Protoculture? HG hadn’t a clue, so they made up something). Both enlightening and depressing at the same time. For more fun, watch just about anything Kaiju based that HG has gotten ahold of and then track down a subtitled translation of the original – while still pretty cheesy, HG goes right past cheesy to “Eh?” every chance it gets. LISTEN TO MY SONG! Nexxo Sorry to butt in here, but you gave someone a _Space Battleship Yamato model_ AND included the Starblazer lyrics, and all they did was look at you quizzically?! Just get rid of them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Tylikcat It was hilarious. They read all of the lyrics aloud with an expression of complete confusion on their face. No clue what the connection was between the printed words and the model. And I had to keep from laughing myself sick and giving myself away. Kids these days. Sabe Jones http://steven-universe.wikia.com/wiki/Chaaaaps Seer of Trope On one hand, the details of Alison’s first side of the conversation being held off until now made it so that it wouldn’t be redundant when this current talk comes, and cemented why Alison wasn’t impressed with Max’s low self-esteem and insecurity. On the other, littler hand, I still wish we saw Alison’s full conversation first hand. But I’m kind of ok with assuming that all she basically said was Feral’s story and a proposal to boost her power to help her save thousands of lives without the cost of her life. Stephanie I think she might be referring to when she and Max talked about Feral earlier, before the events of that night. Zorae42 I don’t think so. That conversation was very short and she didn’t really explain what Feral was going through. Chani Maybe Alison doesn’t realise that? People can be really, really bad at explaining things. Zorae42 Here’s the conversation. She literally said two sentences. Doesn’t really seem like either were difficult to say either. And he didn’t react with boredom, just douchery. Alexander Closing his eyes and sighing at Americans calling them ‘Chips’ and not ‘Crisps’ as is proper. May not be canon but Gurwara is British in my head. Huttj509 In America you might be hard pressed to find a bag labeled crisps, regardless of your personal country of origin. Alexander Hence the look of sad resignation on his face in the last panel… Random832 Worse than that – “crisps” are a thing in America – the term is reserved for chips that aren’t made of proper potato slices. Like Pringles and Munchos. Debbie Jackson I actually quite like that – it demonstrates an awareness of the real content of the food around us and is technically more accurate (since UK-style chips are also fried potato slices, after all!). I just hate the term “fries”.. Shweta Narayan His speech patterns say he’s Indian, but hey, so do my parents’, and they’re (naturalized) brits who eyeroll over Americans calling crisps chips too 🙂 The Duck From p.112 Don’t feed chips to ducks, people. Rugains Fleuridor Your wisdoms are infinite, O Pato. Guilherme Carvalho P(l)ato klaxxon P(ot)ato Izo P(ot)(l)ato. Izo Ducks like these Chips. https://img.thrivemarket.com/store/full/8/6/862662000107-1.jpg?i10c=img.resize(width:566,height:566) Giacomo Bandini A little OT consideration: can you imagine how excited Gurwara must feel right now? He is actually contribuiting to shape the worldview of one of the persons who actually had the power to change it. It’s like Aristotle advising Alexander the Great, the wet dream of every philosophy teacher. He must be having a philosorgasm. Kenneth Mayer I love this idea! But I suspect the philosophers who still nurse the dream of having the power to change the world are in the publishing, tenured ranks of more rarified ivory towers. Gurwara clearly cares about his students and about making change through them, But he may be more excited about the flask in his pocket under the chips. MrSing The only thing that a great philosopher wants from people in power is for them to stop blocking their sunlight. Shepherd Kino’s Journey reference? MrSing Diogenes when Alexander the great told him he would give him any boon within his power. Some guy He’s mostly just super happy she fell for the whole two cents setup. David Gillon The alternative is he’s sitting there thinking “Oh, shit, I’d better not fuck this up.” Dwight Williams Or he’s having both reactions at the same time. Not outside the realm of possibility, at least that’s my hope. Nathanaël François Seems weird that Alison would say “But Jesus Christ, at least I’ve always cared”. Not only does she not seem like a religious person, but her worldview is highly correlated with people who take a dim view of basing your ethics on a 2000-year old religion. Huttj509 Eh, a LOT of that sort of exclamation gets picked up just as “what people say” while growing up, rather than an actual profane/religious swear. I grew up Jewish and find myself muttering “Jeeze” without realizing it, and I think I recall my mother rarely exclaiming similar. Nathanaël François I would argue “Jeez” is more removed from its religious origin than “Jesus Christ”. But I am not American, and English is not my first language, so it’s possible I’m still underestimating that effect. It’s true that Enlish has a disproportionate number of Christianity-related curses compared to (non-Canadian) French. interesting I am Dutch, raised with an atheïstic worldview, and I regularly curse saying ‘Jesus Christ’. Guess this is very much a cultural thing (and also decided by your personal circle of friends) Tylikcat I find this particularly interesting, as I was about to hypothesize that this might be in part an Americanism, considering the hyper-religiosity one tends to find here. Data point: My parents were both lapsed enough Catholics* that they never even managed to baptize me. I had my big break with Christianity when I was six, over sexism. I came of age in the pagan community and live in a zendo… but am not a theist. (Though when I use theistic therms for cursing, I do trying to curse by gods plural, as I find monotheism particularly stultifying.) Still, I not infrequently find myself saying things like “Fer Chrissakes!” (I’ve been trying to use more profanity that is not related to scatological terminology, sex, or religion. Which leads to things like calling someone “The veracity challenged offspring of an inefficient hedge-fund manager.”) * Okay, I’m still not 100% certain that my father was raised Catholic. Tylikcat Another data point, really tangenting here: Yesterday I attended a seminar about the phylogeny of dung beetles (ain’t biology grand). One of the amusing factoids mentioned was that many dung beetles are excellent parents, something one doesn’t see much of with insects. This, of course, brings up the amusing insult possibility of telling one’s parents that they don’t even meet the dung beetle standard. (Also, apparently importing dung beetles to deal with problems linked to an overabundance of agricultural mammal dung – one of the biggest problems was an over abundance of flies – was one of the few importations into Australia that has worked out really well. Every time you sit in an outdoor cafe or beer garden in Australia, give a toast to dung beetles! I’m a convert, dung beetles are awesome.) Weatherheight And they are also amazing bathroom philosophers… “Those who writes on bathroom walls…” Weatherheight I recommend the Sidney Scoville School of Swearing – while it does include scatology, there’s enough verbiage that you’re likely to find something you can use. Izo I doubt anyone here is a Seventh Dan level of swearing like Sydney is. Tylikcat But that doesn’t mean we can’t study! SpacelightIsWarm “The veracity challenged offspring of an inefficient hedge-fund manager.” This is amazing. Keep doing it until it’s a trend. Make insults smart again. Shweta Narayan I think it could still be an Americanism; back when I lived in the Netherlands a lot of the popular English-language media was American rather than/as well as UK, and a lot of Dutch folks’ English was influenced… well, by both, anyway, I dunno about proportions. and I’m p sure I’ve heard it more in US/influenced areas than UK/influenced areas, though I’m not sure how Aussie influence plays into the bigger picture. Illiterate Intellectual I’m working on making “Sweet zombie Jesus on a pogo stick” my default exclamation. Weatherheight I prefer, “Oh my god, FUCK BATMAN!” Profanity, blasphemy, and Batman for the win. Shweta Narayan I think you’re right about Jeez vs JC, but in some areas they’re both pretty removed from the overt religious context, and they have different connotations. Jeez would not be an appropriate thing for Al to say in that sentence, it’s too… trivial? in tone? Not sure that’s the right word. But JEEZ is what I’d expect to hear if she stepped in something smelly, not when she’s talking about something she sees as fundamental to her humanity. Akiva I’m Jewish and I say “Jesus Christ” with startling regularity, not to mention my extensive “Jeez” usage. So do my sisters. Other commenters below, from all over the world and all faiths and lacks thereof, seem to say it too, which supports the “weird Americanism” theory. That’s one problem with how Christianized Western secular culture is: other people are going to start taking your god’s* name in vain…. I also use “oy” and “oy gevalt” and other yiddishkeit, but people make fun of me for that, whereas no one bats an eye at JC. * I suspect this is a misphrasing of how Jesus relates to god, sorry. But let’s not go there, because I have no fucks to give. Frank As a devout atheist, I still do plenty of religious swearing. Saying “Jesus Christ” does not require a belief in gods. GreatWyrmGold “Devout atheist”? Not to come between someone else and their lack of faith, but as a fellow atheist, that seems kinda contradictory. Tylikcat Yeah, I mean, I’ve always felt the militant agnosticists really had something going for them – entertainment value if nothing else… Then again, devotion doesn’t have to be a theistic thing, I suppose? (But that starts seeming like people who “believe” in science. …I’m sure I have the antacids around somewhere.) Mechwarrior Devout atheist AKA gnostic atheist: an atheist who’s certain that there is no god due to the incoherence of the concept of god. Shweta Narayan :confused: a lot of our more abstract concepts are incredibly incoherent, but we still believe in the things? There must be something other than the concept being merely incoherent that you’re referring to, and I’m missing it… which is fine of course but if you do feel like clarifying I’d appreciate it 🙂 Mechwarrior Ask 20 people to define what “god” means and you’ll get 30 different answers, none of which jive with anything we can actually observe about the universe. Shweta Narayan or no answer at all, sure but this is true of most abstract categories, and says a lot about how human cognition works and very little about how those categories relate to reality. edit: whups saved without the actual question, which is, what makes god special in this case, and different from justice or gender or art? Mechwarrior When was the last time you saw someone blow up a bus in the name of cubism? Art, gender, and justice are all human concepts, they’re not regarded as anthropomorphic forces that dictate our lives, at least not by most people. People might do things because of “justice” but it isn’t because they think that there’s literally a blind woman with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other that’s telling them to do so. Shweta Narayan ok that …makes more sense than what you said before. So what you’re saying now is that it’s an incoherent category that does active harm, yes? Maybe with added anthropomorphization? Though I’m not entirely clear what you mean, there, and why you think an archaic literal lady with a blindfold yoinked from another culture for the intellectual associations …would be relevant? – But just for the record, yes, people do get killed over all the concepts I named above; and if you scratch the surface at all, religiously based violence is usually, possibly always, using religion as an excuse anyway. Gods are just the lurkers who support people in email. Granted in the case of art, it’s not often the artists doing the killing, but then, we can’t all be Caravaggio. Mechwarrior Art, justice, and gender are all human concepts that are subjective but being a human invention doesn’t make them false, it just means that there’s no justice molecule to observe. “God,” on the other hand, is supposed to be an objective physical thing (except for people who make meaningless statements like “god is love”) but nothing about observable reality supports that there’s anything of the sort unless you want to make the case that “god” is dark matter and that doesn’t actually jive with the concept. Shweta Narayan ok back to not getting it then. Do you… not think these are all subjective human concepts? Or are you saying that only God is *attributed* outside agency & thought of as objectively present? Mechwarrior “God” is supposed to be something that’s objective and not a human construct. There’s no bearded guy who kills kittens every time you touch yourself, your soul isn’t going to get weighed against a feather to determine if you get to go into the afterlife, thunder isn’t caused by Chris Helmsworth throwing a hammer at a frost giant, the planet wasn’t created so humans would have a place to live… nothing about what god supposedly is or does is real. This is different from, say, gender. Gender is a type of categorization based on how someone falls on the spectrum between male and female. “Gender” itself isn’t a physical thing but people are still male, female, gender-fluid, or something else. Shweta Narayan …but does anyone actually believe in beardy dude in the sky? Isn’t that just a strawman? Strawgod? I mean I tend to avoid scary fundamentalists of all religions cause I avoid scary people. So maybe they really do and I missed it? But it’s directly counter to the canon of every religion I know anything about *except* Christianity, and I’ve yet to meet a Christian who believed it either, so I kinda assumed it was in the same category as santa claus. Mechwarrior Nearly 40% of the US population believes that the world was created in its present form exactly as depicted in the Book of Genesis some time around 6000 years ago. A good percentage of Wiccans believe that there are a literal pair of deities that give them the power to cast magic spells. Many Hindus believe in Shiva, Kali, and all the other deities in their pantheon. There are a few places in the world where this isn’t widespread, like Scandinavia, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Shweta Narayan Nah, it’s that you’re conflating very different types of belief here. Which of course you’re welcome to do. Thanks for explaining your position 🙂 Frank By the numbers, then. A theist spends a few hours every week worshiping their god(s). Whereas I, an atheist, spend every moment of every day worshiping all the gods I believe in. Dave Noonan Here in Murica religious phrases are often a verbal tick. I’m an atheist who’s fond of “god damn it” and “lord knows”. They don’t mean the same thing when I say them as when a religious person says them. Karmik Yeah its just a general epithet for emphasis in America. In fact, its more common amongst the less devout since people that hold strong to Christian religion typically really hate it when people use “Jesus Christ” or “God Damn” as a swear. Lazarus19 i dont knw im from pakistan and grew up muslim i say Jesus Christ or just plain old Jesus all the time i dont think its necessarily a Christian thing Eva Smiljanić I say “oh my God” and “Jesus Christ” and I’m a stone cold atheist. JanetBird From what I’ve seen, people with less respect for religion tend to throw religious epithets around MORE, if anything. Ouri Maler Nothing weird about it. I’m an an Israeli atheist, and I use “Jesus Christ” like this all the time due to cultural osmosis. Tdoodle “For Pete’s sake” is also a popular idiom (possibly referring to Saint Peter), but you see people using it who may not even know a Pete. How dare? Weatherheight I have a good friend named Peter who always responds with “Yeah, think of my feelings first!” whenever someone uses that phrase. Tdoodle “You aren’t saying this for my sake at all, are you?” -Pete Shweta Narayan pls tell your friend I like him 😀 (or don’t if it would be too weird i guess. I aspire to be the correct amount of weird.) Weatherheight “It’s fun being weird It’s fun being weird It’s fun being weird You should try it sometime.” Cindy MacDougall You’ve got it backwards, I think. Those of us who are practising Christians generally don’t curse with the Lord’s name — it’s the lapsed, the agnostic, the atheist and the general non-believer who tend to, in my experience. I use the F word instead. Nice, all-purpose word that works as a noun, verb, pronoun and adverb! Chani More than that – you can insert it practically anywhere! I tend to say things like “un-fucking-believable” or even “un-be-fucking-lievable”. 🙂 Shweta Narayan Yeah linguists love it, cause it’s all parts of speech including the only real example of English having an infix (infix: like a prefix or suffix but inna middle) Weatherheight From my life experience, that’s kind of an East Coast / Big City thing in the US to use “Jesus Christ!” as an emphatic phrase. I spent the first 11 years of my life in Philadelphia, and that particular form of blasphemy wasn’t considered too horrible (at least, to my 11 year old sensibilities and point of view regarding how others reacted to it). Someone could get away with “Jesus!” or “Jesus Christ!” or “Christ!”, but “God damn it!” seemed to provoke a lot more shock. I’ve been a midwesterner since then, and variations on “God damn it!” are pretty common out here, but it’s been pretty rare for me to hear Christ’s name taken in vain. I think the swearing here is being used to emphasize, rather than staking out a belief system. She could just as easily used “Shit”, “Dammit”, or “For fuck’s sake”. Akiva I recently learned (possibly from a Backstory podcast episode?) that “God damn it” was the absolute height of foul cursing 100-200 years ago, because it was ordering god around or something like that. Oh, here it is! The “Curse Like A Sailor” section. http://backstoryradio.org/shows/politically-incorrect/ Weatherheight I shall listen with ‘bated breath once I have opportunity. Still trying to find time to watch “Swiss Army Man”, though. 😀 ::wiggles his ears humorously at Stephanie:: Stephanie That movie is so good! When you get around to it you should tell me what you think. Shweta Narayan West coast too in my experience. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is another way the coasts have one pattern and the inner land has another. Charles Moore Is this the start of a flashback? Shouldn’t there be wavy lines or something? Rugains Fleuridor I just think she’s gonna continue talking. Seer of Trope No, see, it’s No-Coat Alison that’s going to start talking. GreatWyrmGold Took her long enough. The comment section’s had to make her arguments for her for the past few weeks. At least. Karmik Is this the part where we learn about her “Uncle Ben” moment? Where her having an “I don’t have to care about your problems” attitude which would be completely understandable in a normal 14 year old comes back to bite her hard in the ass? That would make her anger with Max that much more relatable with her previous characterization. Seeing someone with that same “How is this my problem” attitude but in a social and economic position where they will never have to (or due to personality be completely unwilling to, jury is still out i suppose) reconcile that attitude with a tragedy they are personally responsible for would flip Alison’s switch. Weatherheight This is interesting. Thanks! Pythia …That… already happened. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-44/ http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-46/ Remember? “You hear that, Pintsize! That’s seven Templar for me!” I think people forget that Allison didn’t realize how generally lacking in self-awareness she was until that moment. She THOUGHT she cared when Patrick explained to her how pointless her actions were (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-1/page-19/ ) but she actually started caring, really caring, not just about “fixing the world” but about the exact consequences her actions have on the general surrounding area, when she realized she’d killed the professor’s husband. And that was cemented here http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-48/ . Walter Aw snap, it looks like Alison has learned the ‘coat on, coat off’ school of arguing. Take that, all those who wrote comments saying Guwara was a bad teacher! LitShips Still a bad teacher. Stephanie Gertsch Still not a fan of randomly failing students or creating an uncomfortable classroom environment where students are afraid of being mocked. But in spite of some self-indulgent cheesiness, he is actually listening to Allison and allowing her to work through her problem at her own pace. Who would have thought that the most important part of teaching is listening… melkur Speaking of coats, where did Gurwara’s go? Or was it just a metaphorical coat? Deliverance It disappeared back on page 113 after it had served its purpose. Presumably Gurwara either ate it or stuffed it into hammerspace while Alison wasn’t looking. Weatherheight I now declare it to be lying on the ground behind the bench, having slipped and fallen off while Arjun was in the throes of philosophical climax. Shweta Narayan excuse you, we humans mostly like to keep our philosophical climaxes private. This was more of a philosophical chocolate. LitShips Al’s wearing it. He put it around her shoulders. Weatherheight Possible, and yet… This page seems to indicate two coats… Although it also calls into question the nature of Alison’s shirt, which seems *much* rosier then than it does now. Tinged by the rising sun, perhaps? A Mood Tee™? An alien parasite disguised as a Tee Shirt that is now sated (it blushes as it feeds on… philosophy)? Incidentally, awesome handle… Like a Viking! MrSing It turned into dust by the devastating effects of time. We will soon follow its fate if this comic doesn’t get on with it pretty soon. zarawesome Gurwara: *continues flat stare* Alison: OK I CARED AT LEAST ONE OUT OF THREE TIMES. MrSing Making the mother of all omelettes here, Gurwara. Can’t fret over every egg. RainWall I’ll rid this world of pointless wars, Gurwara. MrSing Typical philosopher. Big promises, but all talk. “I don’t believe in rights”? What a load of bullshit! All you care about is eating your chips. GreatWyrmGold Anyone else think he might have been more moved if he wasn’t being forced to use his powers against his will? Stephanie Max was unmoved by Feral’s sacrifice long before he was ever forced to do anything. Not only was he unmoved by it the night of the incident (before the table slam), he was dismissive of it in his earlier conversation with Alison while they were still dating. (If you recall, this was when he tried to argue that Feral’s actions weren’t really selfless.) Lostman May I turn it around, and ask why Alison did the thing she did? Stephanie Which thing? Lostman Think about it, this goes all the back to the beginning when she learn of the black files, the first she did was pull her mask off on live TV and said the superhero thing was a fraud. In doing that revealed her secret identity to the world, and doing so stopping any possible chance of living a normal life. Afterwards; she tries to live a normal life, and go to collage. Which hasn’t been working out. She is still trying to take on the wait of the world while trying to be normal. So why try to take on the weight of the world? Stephanie I don’t understand what you’re getting at, can you explain? Lostman Look, while Feral’s actions weren’t selfless. There a argument to be made about that Alison’s were. Stephanie I don’t agree with Max that Feral’s actions weren’t selfless. I think they were selfless. Lostman Give me a second to fix that. Look, while Feral’s actions weren’t selfish. There a argument to be made about that Alison’s were. Stephanie Yes, that argument could be made. Lostman Alison has guilt over what happen to Feral, and the fact she taking the weight of the on her shoulders most likely caused what she did to Max. This leads to two questions: 1) Why does she want to save the world? 2) would of Alison done the same if it was someone she didn’t know? Stephanie Based on what she’s said in the past, I think she feels a responsibility to save the world because she has so much power. Lostman But why go to collage when everyone knows who you are? Why not just quietly slip into the shadows? There are other things she could of done with her powers. Stephanie I think she’s trying to gain perspective in order to figure out how to best use her powers for good. Living a normal life is part of that–though, as Mary pointed out, Alison will never really know what it’s like to be a powerless “ordinary” person. Lostman Why does Mary does what she? I many comments saying she been raped, but I don’t think that. The thing is while they have altruistic goals, you have to wonder if they are selfish motivations for doing so. Stephanie Mary heavily implied that she was a survivor of some kind of sexual assault. Lostman OK, so why go on the killing spree? This ties into the “why does Alison need to save the world”. Why take on that burden? My personal take on Alison motivations is that Alison (this goes back to soccer flashback) like succeeded, and going to when she finally captured Meace. Finding out what she did was was jack all was blow to her, so much so that she revealed her secret identity on live television, and set the events of this comic in motion. She feels guilty for all the wrong she done as a superhero, and wish relief her of it i.e professor comment about a priest. Then again, it always goes back to that moment when she revealed her secret identity. Yes she was young, but did more harm then good. By declaring that on live TV that whole superhero thing was not helping people, and that it’s pretty much ‘fake’. This erased any boundary she had between her normal, and superhero life. In other words; there is Alison, and Mega Girl anymore. It’s just Alison, everyone knows she invincible, and super-strong. There is no wall between who she was even thought she retired, and who she is now. With that in mind; her career as a superhero has left its mark. She expect people to put the group interest above own, she doesn’t understand why people are upset with her at the party, or when to straight her spine when she being token a vantage of. Zac Caslar I was going to be blunt as a lead in to pugnacious but I think I’ll settle for muting Lostman. Stephanie, if you can coax depth out of this mud puddle I applaud your patience cuz to me it sure looks like the same pallid, whimpering post-modern “takedown” crap that comes back over and over. Lostman What? Lostman What did you call me? Izo Zac just doesn’t know how to debate. Ignore what he said. It’s a point in your favor that he resorts to namecalling. Lostman I’ll keep that in mind. Lostman Wait, have you met this guy before? Stephanie I totally support muting people you find irritating, but I don’t think it was necessary for you to say such unkind things about Lostman where they can see it. I don’t think they have bad intentions or that they said anything that warrants that kind of reaction. It seems like they’re just someone who enjoys character analysis, which I can relate to. Lostman Thanks, next I’ll just get to the point. Zac Caslar You’re right, but it’s old ground. This irritates me, and I am easily uncivil. Problem is the questions go nowhere. Can we really understand Allison’s motivations? No. Hell, we don’t always understand our own and even that takes a conscious effort. It’s the same Randian crap about eroding someone’s reputation via implications; guilt by implication without evidence because of the implier’s own insecurities over their inaction. Maybe Allison is a secret narcissist with enough of a masochist’s streak to revel in the frustration of stymied ambitions and the constant possibility of self-sabotage with a moment’s public expression of anger? I say go play in a fookin’ blender. Go watch Batman v Superman again. It’s the Max Imprecation. Fuck Max. Lostman No, that ok. Your right that I dragging my heel, and I should explain myself better. Stephanie I think she does understand why people were upset with her at the party, she’s just disgusted with them for it. Lostman True, then again it was two people she didn’t know… here what I find so interesting about this arc versus the last one. Alison knew both Max and, Feral. Now while that seems small with common tropes of story telling, here it’s a big part as Alison had a personal stake in this world saving plan. If this scheme meant saving Feral as bring good to the world,every part of Alison couldn’t say no; she just had to do it. As for her guilt for what she did to Max; she dated him for a while thus knowing him a personal level. Smart move by the writers because it makes the choice harder (see all the comments for this arc). Now would it be easier if it was some random guy, hard to say. As much would mean if replaced Feral with some random person. Alison doesn’t that personal connection, and that what makes this so much more prefect then the last. Because as much it pained herself to do it, Alison could help herself: it’s everyone thinks it’s a trap by Patrick. Stephanie If anything I think Alison would have had a harder time coercing a random stranger than she did Max. She already disliked Max intensely, after all. Of course, I think 9 out of 10 random strangers would have readily agreed to save an astronomical number of lives, and not need to be coerced at all. Lostman True, if we go by the comments; a lot of people who agreed with Alison actions just there were people who disagreed with them. Then there the whole issue of what coming down the line for Alison, and that could for her. People seem to think this a trap, and for good reason. LitShips Or perhaps motivations don’t even exist and actions are the only thing that matters. Perhaps we should be asking “Did Al’s actions have a net positive result?” Lostman That all a matter of time, my answer: Yes for the loads people who need organs, no for Alison. LitShips Honestly, I don’t even really believe in “motivation”, because (1) it can’t be adequately measured, and (2) it changes nothing. Dead people are still dead regardless of motive, living people are still alive regardless of motive. The real issue is always actions and results. In this case, Al used violent and abusive means to a good end, so I would mark her actions as morally neutral. Lostman What the personal cost to Alison? LitShips What personal cost? Other than her own psychological ramifications, which honestly were already a mess, what personal sacrifice did she make? Lostman I have a feeling there a scheme here, someone is taking Alison out of play. LitShips Okay, but that is immaterial to the ethics of the situation. Lostman Karma is a creature of it’s own. LitShips Now you’re just being vague and pseudo-deep… If you’re trying to imply that there’s some sort of spiritual or metaphysical cost to her actions, I see no evidence that karma exists either in the real world or in the world of SFP, else why would such profoundly evil people like Max accrue such massive amounts of wealth and power without any real consequences? Do you have any point to make? Lostman Look, any action Alison may have done good, and she had to bad things to do it. However, when is thinking about taking a action. The question becomes “will this bite in the behind later”. Thing is, most people think she got away with it scot-free, I think other wise. Max could blow up in face very badly. The question is how, that going to be interesting part. Think of it like chess; is both the player, and a piece on the board. She only move if she still on the board, however unlike chess in real life there are many ways to get Alison off the board, or at least rendered unplayable for the rest of the game. LitShips Again, this has nothing to do with the ethics of the situation. Are we even discussing ethics here, or are you conjecturing about the future events of the story? Lostman Ok, while her morally neutral, does any event in the future change that? that my question to you. Lostman I’ll put like this, you said that she is morally neutral; is something happens down the line change that? If something bad happen to Feral that is under undo because of that power upgrade she got from Max, would that change your stance on Alison? Because as this situation matters, so does the next one and the next. MrSing If an immoral action has unintended good side effects, we can’t call this a moral action. In that way, we would start rewarding people who want to do ill for being incompetent at it. LitShips I agree with you., Mr. Sing. I contend that both the action AND the results have to be good in order for the action itself to be called a moral one. For example, killing an innocent is wrong. Even if that act saves 5 lives, the action itself is still wrong. Arklyte What will? Lostman There are two things I would like to say: 1) Max’s problem is that he never lived, and could be called a well-off NEET just from the implied fact that been living off his parents like a leech. 2) Alison has more issues then her rage, it’s a lot of them are connected to her rage. JohnTomato Al has more issues than National Geographic. KatherineMW This is the only time outside my work that I’ve seen someone use the term NEET. Do you work in labour stats/policy, or just interested in the subject? Lostman I seen the term being used in Youtube videos about otaku culture, and Japan. Danygalw A well-off National Entrance cum Eligibility Test? Lostman It stands for “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”. Danygalw Ah. JohnTomato OK…. this is going to take some time. Let’s break out the chips. Some guy Yeah, that’s like maybe 50% true Alison. Preacher John A great philospher once said “Always bring snacks. You will not be sorry you did. Unless there are bears. So maybe check that out first. Then adjust snack carry accordingly.” Zac Caslar Clean water, light snacks, a strong needle, and pain killers. Just in case. David Gillon Bell*, book**, candle*** and snacks. * To warn the bears ** For the boring bits *** For when it gets dark. Jubal DiGriz That was Aeschylus, right? Who oddly enough was killed by a falling turtle. MrSing It’s turtles all the way down. danima Okay, this has been bugging me — how did Max know what his power was? The way I figure, there must be at least one other Maximized (min-Maxed?) biodynamic out there besides Feral. Probably the one whose mind Patrick read to get the information in his file. Tylikcat He said he went in for testing. He found out he had the gene, and in the same breath is said what his power was. So it’s at least implied there’s testing? Lostman How do they have a test? Tylikcat Well, his mother is affiliated with the government. So, possibly so they would know whom to dispose of. Lostman Ok… because if they a ready to go… that raise some question. Weatherheight When you have tweens and early teens with both hormonally-compromised impulse control and powers that allow them to act as weapons of mass destruction AND they seem to keep popping out of the woodwork with no apparent pattern, you start looking for ways to get ahead of the problem as fast as you possibly can. Apparently, there found a way to do so relatively quickly (genetic testing of that birth cohort, I believe it was – and that’s not that great a stretch to my thinking as it’s rather a cliche in comics) and I’m guessing that public fear got ahead of public concerns for privacy and self-detemination. I’m also guessing a few of these kids died or killed others as part of their initial manifestation of their powers. Having a way to get a heads-up prior to manifestation of powers probably also saved a few kid’s lives and significantly reduced “initial power manifestation collateral consequences”. Okay just kidding – when has the public ever been so fearful as to be willing to sacrifice their privacy and rights of self-determination in order to protect themselves from a nebulous and unpredictable threat? That’s just crazy talk… 😀 AshlaBoga “When you have tweens and early teens with both hormonally-compromised impulse control and powers that allow them to act as weapons of mass destruction AND they seem to keep popping out of the woodwork with no apparent pattern, you start looking for ways to get ahead of the problem as fast as you possibly can.” Really, many of the people killed by the conspiracy could have been killed for good reason. The ability to manipulate bacteria with virtually no limitation? Easy human extinction. The ability to produce unlimited energy? Bye bye earth. Patrick assumes everyone with the power to “truly change the world” was killed. Maybe the actual criterion was truly change the world via destroying humanity. That would explain why this group is so hard to find, they’re not a shadow government, they’re a group of people who seek out and end threats to the survival of humanity. Tylikcat Maybe the two groups are largely identical? How much does the question come down to “How comfortable are you killing kids rather than taking a chance on educating them?” (Hm. Though if there’s a genetic marker, I wonder what it encodes? There might be a potential possibility for some kind of therapy to prevent expression, which could be kind of awesome, really – expression isn’t awesome for everyone.) AshlaBoga Well, the fact that they caught the kids so early on makes me think this group already had some biodynamic knowledge that nobody else did. And the superpowers that they considered dangerous? They weren’t just capable of overturning the status quo, they were capable of ending humanity. And so I think that the whole time Alison and Patrick have been interpreting their information the wrong way. Which is sort of funny, since Patrick thinks he truly understands people. But I think that he might be rather arrogant. palmvos tylikcat, you won’t like the answer to: “Though if there’s a genetic marker, I wonder what it encodes? ” if you go back to the issue where she met with her, doctor/handler. she commented that so and so was ‘the first chromosomal stable friend you’ve made.’ so its not a gene that encodes something they test for- its that their genetic code is changing as they live. this is probably what’s killing Daniel. that’s why the group is called bio-dynamic. Tylikcat Daniel already had cancer. His ability is partly wrapped up with his cancer (isn’t that a bucket of suck?) It was the comment about testing for a gene – Max might be using this as shorthand, but that makes it sound like there’s at least something in at least a specific location? (And seriously, just looking for genetic instability would be hard, and kind of expensive…) SmilingCorpse Biodynamics get access to government benefits. They would need to have a test or else anyone could claim to be low tier. danima Right, but… how does Max know *what* his power does? Everyone else seems to sort of discover their capabilities by stumbling into using them. If a test could predict the expression of a chromosomal instability, we wouldn’t have scenes of Alison’s doctor saying that they’ve finally made progress on how her anomaly works: they’re trying to get at the mechanism inductively, not deducing the expression from a known mechanism. Tylikcat It’s true that Max’s account is either leaving out some trial and error process, or inconsistent with what we know about testing (though hey, maybe Max’s mom knows people? Still that’s a lot of tech to keep under wraps for a while.) palmvos if you go back during the beginning of the feral arc (before the flamethrower guy) Patrick met some foreign agents and exchanged a file for a flash drive. its not explicitly stated. but based on Max’s story of what happened- that’s likely when Patrick got the info on max. Olivier Faure Probably not; foreign agents know about… huh… foreign things and stuff. Patrick probably got the intel directly from the American government, probably the same way he stole those files about all the earth-saving heroes before he resigned as Menace. palmvos if not then why show the event? – besides. according to Max the US records were edited to remove Max from the lists. the copies of the list that inevitability ended up in foreign hands were not edited I’m sure. also given what Patrick is trying to do here- find out who is behind the New York Postal Service, it makes sense he would be looking for other countries records of those events to see what was… left out of the US accounts. the Max file was likely a bonus and not the real target. Weatherheight I personally am voting that Patrick was the test subject for Max’s power. Patrick immediately realized what had happened and underreported the test results. Max’s mom immediately had him pulled from the testing and scared the bejeezus out of him with horror stories on what people would do to him to use his power, all to ensure his silence regarding the power and also to further undermine Max’s independence. I’m certain I’ll be disappointed. palmvos I like your theory. now- http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-4/page-29-2/ menace(Patrick) was powerful enough to have begun his crusade before the presidential announcement. so Menace was a menace (sorry) before the camps. that means Max had to be among the very first ones tested, before there was a program. this actually makes Max’s story easier- as what it becomes is a senator keeping her child out of a program as it starts rather than erasing his involvement after the fact. but still one big problem- that means someone in government knew Patrick was biodynamic, that would have made it much much harder to be Menace, as the first place they are going to look is at the list of all the known bios who are not involved in the guardians. but that leaves me with another question I’ve asked someone else, if what you say is true- what are the authors doing showing us this? http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-37-2/ Chekhov’s flash drive…. Whiskey Jack still one big problem- that means someone in government knew Patrick was biodynamic, that would have made it much much harder to be Menace …Isn’t that what murder is for? palmvos when i said ‘someone in government’ I implied that it would be written on a form somewhere secure. given that Patrick overrode a presidential announcement early in his campaign… every piece of paper then associated with or related to biodynamics would have been looked at. I’m spit-balling here but i think the US government would take interrupting the presidential address very seriously. Weatherheight As I said, I’m sure I’m wrong – but I secretly take my theory out and whisper “my precious” to it from time to time… palmvos ::a hobbit lad offers Weatherhight fish and chips by S. Gamgee:: to see if you can say no. ::palmvos is eating the fish and chips brought by the hobbit lass:: the camps are in the story- that’s how pintsize meets with Alison and they form the Guardians. yes that is a wonderful name for that group. note that we know they have met with Feral, and it didn’t go well. of course he can stand up straight… umm… my research into an unrelated topic but with relevance indicates that large stiff objects in that orifice make it much easier to keep you spine in a consistent orientation. and of course with enough money much can be tolerated. you are right that the flash drive may not have fired yet. but I will keep shaving with this razor by Occam until we hear otherwise. and Duval… as long as he does what Patrick wants him too. taking a fall is very very unlikely for all the reasons stated. Patrick is a walking talking asymmetric information incident. as far as connecting Patrick to menace I was thinking that the FBI or someone might try a brute force method. try to find points in time when we know where menace is active and check all known bio alibis. interns…. they have uses! but you are right that Patrick must be known by the New York Postal service. (really… can they show their faces, masks, body parts, whatever so we can have a better name!) which means he is known by the government. your scenarios trigger a thought.. what does Patrick’s file say about him? could he pull off a null power? (i.e just completely sandbag them) and given that he is running Templar like he is… shouldn’t somebody be asking some questions… wheres Colombo when we need him? Miss Marple? as far as Max amping Patrick… if he did Patrick couldn’t have been the only one. otherwise we wouldn’t be here at all as Max wouldn’t even know what his power was. also- its not hard to explain but given how bright Patrick must be to do some of what he’s doing. (seriously- if we gave forest gump Patrick’s ability would gump be able to try the time travel thing?) why didn’t Max’s name come up earlier? Weatherheight If I’m the GM behind “Patrick as NPC”, sand-bagging Max’s name only makes sense if Max was in fact linked to Patrick. If he can Max-imize Patrick’s powers, who’s to say Max can’t dismiss the effect whenever he wants? Uh-uh, no way, I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that link never surfaces and dedicating significant resources to making sure extant evidence vanishes. As NPC, he’s going out of his way to find a redacting telepath and making sure the icon/image of who got powered up vanishes from Max’s awareness. Hell, half of what I was doing as Menace was also about muddying that particular puddle. One could argue that giving up Max’s name and ability is a calculated risk on Patrick’s part, given the degree to which Alison has kept Patrick’s secrets thus far. It could also be a demonstration of how badly Patrick wants Alison and her approval, giving her something that could conceivably backfire in a major way (thinking love triangles here – Max & Patrick vying for Alison’s affection – Watched the first season of AKB0048 today so I’m in an Osaka State of Mind). The brute force method works best if (a) you have all the data and it’s correct, which in my scenario they have false data regarding Patrick and also false assumptions about the abilities of Menace (robotics expert), (b) someone isn’t actively jogging your arm (so to speak) and (c) the primary actor isn’t using proxies for nearly everything. And boy oh boy, do I want to know what Patrick’s file says. Thought – what if that meeting with the Harmony Council reps wasn’t about Patrick gaining documents – what if it was primarily about eliminating documentation on him and all the other stuff is just window dressing to distract from the actual point of the exercise? They think they are using Patrick/Duval to get information when in fact what Patrick truly cares about is getting someone else to conditionally find and eliminate information on him, allow a copy for themselves, then “trade” that for something he doesn’t give two plops about? Also, incidentally gathering all the data in a place where he can casually eliminate it later rather than waste his time looking all over the world for it. See – pure and utter speculation! palmvos still wanna know if you said yes or no to fish and chips by S. Gamgee. ::tests speculation like TV cops test drugs:: yep its the good stuff alright…. given that the harmony council is based in China where bureaucracy was invented (we should thank them for that) I doubt that anybody could get their files erased and definitely not one as interesting as Patrick’s. also, they thanked him (duval) for his discretion in this matter. that does not seem like they were doing a task for him. but, then with Patrick one has to worry about planetary wheel systems. quick thoughts before i go to work- as this threads going to wither soon and I’m liking this round of speculation. Weatherheight ::glances at the pile of fish sitting alone on the plate:: Never let ’em see you coming… ::wanders off whistling through his teeth and flicking his ears in time:: palmvos ::the hobbit children look sadly at palmvos:: ‘he said no…’ “yes kids.. that means..’ ::the hobbit children expertly pummel palmvos with fruit:: Arkone Axon Something occurred to me just now… Setting aside the fact that she’s so angry that he didn’t rush to share her agonized frustration over the person she personally knew and liked, but whom he had never met (and by extension, establishing that this was always about finding a way to save Feral, no matter the cost – including damning all the people Feral would have helped if Alison could have talked Feral out of getting on that slab), she just declared how nauseated she was over how he was empty. Bored. Unmoved. Remember this guy? http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-107/ The guy who murdered a LOT of people. The guy who has been tormenting Paladin through methods both legal, illegal, and extralegal, all her career. The guy who deliberately broke Alison’s heart because he’s so afraid of getting close to her or reciprocating her feelings. She had no problem watching cartoons with this guy. But Max is meriting of nothing more than a chokeslam and a snarled declaration of “you deserve zero empathy or sympathy and are the most horrible person I have ever met?” Mechwarrior You think it’s down to how much she wants into a given guy’s pants? Stephanie Not comparable. Let’s give Patrick a button to press that eliminates all death from lack of blood/organs, have him flatly refuse to press it, and then see how Alison reacts. Watching cartoons with someone isn’t the same as letting them casually condemn thousands of people to die. Arkone Axon He did have that button to push. It was labelled the “don’t murder thousands of innocent bystanders with giant robots” button. Remember that professor who hated Alison because his lover was killed by a giant robot thrown into his window? Who built that robot? Even if we go with the argument that the moment Max found out that he had these powers and that Feral existed he was 100% guilty of murdering every single person to die because of the lack of available organs (an EXTREMELY unreasonable assertion), his supposed death toll would still be far below that of Patrick’s. Refusing to do something potentially risky for someone you don’t like isn’t the same as casually slaughtering thousands of people and rationalizing it away. Stephanie Patrick isn’t currently murdering thousands of innocent bystanders, so there is nothing for Alison to intervene in. She did intervene back when he was doing that, just like she intervened when Max was going to let all of those people die. Arkone Axon Wow… that’s really your argument for why Max is worse than Patrick? “He’s not murdering innocent people NOW.” Like that matters to his victims and their loved ones? When did the time limit expire? It’s been five years since he last sent a giant robot rampaging through a city to murder people. Did he get a reboot on his karma-meter after five years, or did he get time off for good behavior after only four? Also, something else that occurred to me. There’s more than one way to accomplish any given task. Now look at Paladin. Look at her cybernetic limbs. We are only just now developing similar prosthetics for use in our own world. Why don’t we see any such cybernetic limbs being used by others, such as Gurwara? Why is he stuck with a cane? Answer: because Patrick, the guy who murdered all those people, also has been going after Paladin literally throughout her entire career. Because of this: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-153/ Which means that if Lisa were to patent her own prosthetic limbs that she designed and built herself, Templar could and would buy up the rights and ensure that no one ever got to have prosthetic limbs instead of wheelchairs and walkers. Now think about how quickly one can go from “prosthetic limb that communicates with the human neurosystem and doesn’t get rejected by the immune system” to “artificial organ that communicates with the human neurosystem and doesn’t get rejected by the immune system.” All those people that Feral got on the table to save? They could have been running around with artificial hearts, lungs, livers, eyes, etc, designed by Lisa… if Patrick hadn’t DELIBERATELY PREVENTED THAT. And he’s been doing that for years. Including the last five years where he wasn’t actively murdering people himself. So if Max is to blame for all the people who died of organ failure in the brief period after Alison informed him of Feral’s existence, then how is Patrick not even more to blame for all the people who have died in the past five years because he wanted to make Lisa into his pet engineer? Stephanie It is awful that he killed those people. However, since he’s not currently killing them, there’s nothing for Alison to intervene in. She intervened when it was happening. Now it’s not happening. What he did to Lisa is also terrible, but that’s not a problem Alison can punch into submission. Arkone Axon Actually, he has indeed been shown to have been continuously engaged in the killing… including the theoretical crime of “murder by refusal to help” from his persecution of Lisa. And she could easily intervene by… to mention one relatively minor action she could perform… TIPPING OFF THE AUTHORITIES. A lot of people would have received closure if their loved ones’ murderer were apprehended. For that matter, what he did to Lisa… technically she DID “punch” the problem into submission. Terrorized him into leaving Lisa alone and giving her back her company. (and before you compare that to what she did to Max, her actions with Patrick there amounted to stopping him from his ongoing persecution, not forcing him to take additional actions beyond that) Whiskey Jack I think you may be failing to take into account a crucial bit of the Alison-Patrick relationship in your rush to contrast it with the Alison-Max relationship: Alison also table-slammed Patrick. Okay, it wasn’t a literal table-slam, but it was pretty much the equivalent. And, yes, it took her longer to get to that point, but (at least in her mind), Patrick had already done his damage and any future damage he was going to do was not presently happening. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like the way Alison resolved this problem. I have consistently said that I think Alison’s actions were ill-considered and potentially as bad or worse than doing nothing (although it’s a stretch and not narratively supported). I don’t, however, believe that Alison’s motivations were inconsistent with what we’ve seen of her character. Zorae42 I don’t think anyone is arguing that Max is ‘worse’ than Patrick. We’re arguing that Patrick is more sympathetic than Max. Patrick was, by his own words, an ‘unhinged 14 year old’ that was doing what he thought would make the world a better place. He thought he could reform the world and do good things once he was in charge of it, he kept civilian casualties to a minimum. However, he realized that what he was doing wouldn’t fix the world and stopped to try and find out who the people were that were killing the useful biodynamics. He was a misguided CHILD. Yeah, his actions were bad enough he’d probably be tried as an adult, but his heart was, theoretically, in the right place. Max is an ADULT. And we never saw the part where she explained everything and asked him to help. I’m fairly sure she asked nicely there (there was no reason for her to not ask nicely yet). And she did beg/plead with him. Yeah she insulted him, but that’s because she’d just gotten done telling him about the heroic thing Feral was doing and he was like, ‘wah, my power isn’t cool :'(‘ … And he ultimately said that he was doing it out of spite, not fear (which he mentioned like one time ages after he said no, so it’s not really his driving motive). So yes. Patrick’s crimes were definitely worse than Max’s ‘crime’. But Patrick is a sympathetic character, and Max really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t deserve to have his face slammed into the table and forced to use his powers (although I do believe Alison did the right thing but that doesn’t mean he deserved it). But it’s understandable that she didn’t take the time to get to know him when he was being such an ass. Arkone Axon “We’re arguing that Patrick is more sympathetic than Max.” That’s kind of MY point, actually. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Are we to accept then that someone should be pardoned for one’s crimes because they’re sufficiently charismatic? Should we demand that the cops refrain from arresting someone, that the courts should not dare to put them on trial, that a jury passing a guilty conviction is committing a miscarriage of justice, because we LIKE that someone more than their victim? Never mind their intentions, never mind the age, never mind the rest. Patrick has murdered people. Patrick is STILL murdering people. Max isn’t murdering anyone, unless you resort to extremely twisted logic that claims he’s 100% responsible for not jumping to do what Alison wanted, while Patrick is blameless for denying the world the life-saving technologies that Lisa Bradley wants to share with it. Pythia This is why: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-104/ Patrick may be kind of a psycho, he may be a mass-murderer, he may have attempted a military coup and killed thousands in the process (though not that many, by his own admission, certainly not as many as Max’s inaction would have doomed after two or three years, by a long shot), but he works hard and he tried to do good. He “tried [his] best to limit civilian casualties, for ethical and logistical reasons” and he, very importantly, cared and took action. Max did nothing. And desired to continue to do nothing. When Patrick was given a power several orders of magnitude lesser than Max’s in terms of “ability-to-fix-the-world”, and which required far more effort and creativity to use in order to help the world*, he took on the challenge while Max refused the call to action. He chose to fight to eliminate what he saw as “one of the bloodiest governments in modern history”. And he did that as a mentally unstable 14-year-old. Max merely went “how is this my problem?” and did not care. The “treating people as things” thing has come up, and that is… kind of Max’s sin here. He treated those thousands of people who would die for his inaction as things he didn’t see value in saving. He, if you want to be Kantian, forgot to see them as ends in themselves. Patrick sees people as ends in themselves. He understands their humanity far more than anyone can. That he turns his back on them THEN, and not before, seems to be why Alison can stomach Patrick but not Max. You could argue Patrick’s crime is greater (choosing to kill someone out of ignorance versus choosing to kill someone with complete awareness of what exactly you are doing), but it is different, and Al has just stated she values the “caring” and “understanding” part a lot. *though hey… Why isn’t Patrick running some sort of Wikileaks equivalent? Arkone Axon Actually, Max went “I’m afraid of violent biodynamics kidnapping me and forcing me to use my powers against my will.” Then Alison insulted him even as she was “asking” for his help. That’s when he told her to get out. That’s when she confirmed all his worst fears. Treating people as things? That’s what Alison did to Max. She made him into a means to an end, rather than an end in himself. By contrast, Max’s only crime was refusing to jump out and act rashly because someone who couldn’t even ask nicely and made no attempt to hide her disdain for him wanted him to. Dave M Worth remembering that Patrick got his powers from the storm just like Alison. Now when the president made the speech acknowledging the existence of bio-dynamics, and “Menace” first appeared, Alison was around About 14, in all probability so was Patrick. This was a fourteen year old kid who could read minds and decided to rule the world. A kid who by this stage would have heard every hypocritical thought, every dark desire, every self serving thought of everyone around him to the point of making him unable to interact normally with others. He KNEW how the leaders and authority figures were often little better than greedy self serving liars and decided “I can do better than this, because no one can really lie to me”. In his shoes, I’d probably have done the same thing (provided I wasn’t driven crazy first). The really amazing thing is that he grew up, took off the mask and used his talents in less destructive ways. Still morally horrible ways, but better ways none the less. Zorae42 She watched cartoons with him before she found out about him tormenting Paladin and before he broke her heart. He murdered those people because he thought he could fix the world once he was in charge of it. His actions were ultimately, in his mind, for the greater good (his thought process was arrogant and shortsighted, but that was the reason for it). He stopped when he realized the flaws in his logic and changed his efforts to still try and do something that ultimately helped other people (that shadowy group wasn’t coming after him, no real personal reason for him to hunt them down). Arkone Axon She also watched those cartoons with him after being made very much aware that he was the one who’d killed thousands with his giant robots. She got people killed due to collateral damage… but that doesn’t make her nearly as much to blame as the guy she was trying to stop in the first place. (Not saying Patrick is beyond redemption, mind… I’m pointing out the huge double standard being applied to Max) Zorae42 ??? What double standard? She found Patrick to be redeemable because she understood his actions. Because they were fueled by the exact same desire she has: to make the world a better place. It’s just that his methods were deeply flawed. And she wanted to give him a chance to do it the right way. Her problem with Max was that he didn’t care about people other than himself. Something that Patrick never suffered from. Arkone Axon Yeah, every time people say “Max is selfish,” they’re cherry picking the things he said specifically to the person he truly did not like, exactly five seconds before she validated his sentiments by becoming the embodiment of everything he’s been afraid of all this time. But you’re right, she understood his actions – she took the time and effort to attempt to understand the motivations of someone who MURDERED THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. This isn’t like Max’s situation, where people were dying because he A: didn’t even know Feral existed until Alison told him about her, and B: was afraid of a biodynamic doing exactly what Alison did to him. With Patrick, it was “people were alive, and would have continued to live had he not specifically taken actions to cause their deaths.” Her problem with Max was that she never made the effort to try to understand him. It’s why she ended up apologizing to Hector… and Brad… and would have apologized to Mary if Mary hadn’t gone off the deep end. She was a terrible friend because she was the selfish one during her entire time with the team. She’s STILL working on that; old habits die hard. Stephanie Max displayed his selfishness repeatedly prior to The Max Incident, back when he still liked Alison and was presumably on his best behavior. Shweta Narayan It’s interesting to me that someone who wants to believe based on *zero* evidence that Max isn’t selfish to a toxic degree… accuses others of cherry-picking. sometimes, a person’s argment reveals a lot more about themself than the comic. Stephanie Yeah, I really don’t understand where they’re getting the idea that he’s not selfish. The “he’s been afraid of being used this whole time” thing, too–there’s zero evidence of that either. He alluded once to the risk that the reveal of his power might expose him to, but otherwise never displayed even the subtlest signs of this supposed lifelong fear. I mean, let’s be real–would this fanon version of Max, who’s supposedly spent his whole life in crippling fear that a powerful biodynamic would exploit him, realistically decide to date one of the strongest ones? Shouldn’t he have wanted to put as much distance as possible between them? Not to mention that he clearly wasn’t expecting Alison to coerce him until the moment she actually did it. Right up until the instant of the table slam, he was complimenting her “valiant effort” as if he expected her to just walk away. You’d think that someone who’s supposedly feared this exact scenario for years would be a tad more alert. I just don’t understand how anyone can read this same comic that we are reading, and come to the conclusion that Max is any kind of woobie. Shweta Narayan Fanon Max is entirely incoherent with what’s on the page. Kinda like Fanon Kylo Ren or Fanon (Insert Self-Centered White Boy Character Here) But actually. Um. t’s worse than that. I am now 100% convinced that AA is arguing in bad faith entirely, and cherry-picking like whoa. I read some backstory just now because I’m procrastinating on my own work >.> And I happened to see the bit whre Al and Patrick watch cartoons. Using that as an example of forgiving/bonding with Patrick/ignoring his actions is not just wrong, it’s got to be deliberately misleading because there is *no reasonable way to read it that way*. Because the context is, he doesn’t want to watch TV. But she really needs something to take her mind off having JUST LEARNED about both Feral’s tragedy and Cleaver’s. From him. ,,So she talks him into trying it and it turns out he does laugh and it’s a moment of humanity that makes him more sympathetic etc, but she’s *not* all buddy buddy watchin cartoons wiv him she’s struggling and needs to take her mind off horrors. But if you don’t see the specific pages, and only remember vaguely that the comics watching was a thing that happened at some point (as I did), it does sound damning, right? What a nice lil bit of manipulation. (tangentially, I seem to have entire threads where I have everyone but you blocked; are these actually enjoyable conversations for you? Cause you know, if you’re feeling stressed/unhappy it’s ok to block people, they don’t have to be like, bad people or something. I have nothing personal against a lot of the people I’ve blocked, I just don’t have the energy to interact with them and don’t enjoy doing so. So, just checking: are you ok?) Stephanie I’m fine, but I sincerely appreciate the concern! I have blocked one person who was really pissing me off, and I stop replying to threads if they get too antagonistic, but for the most part I enjoy the back and forth. I’m not sure what that says about me, haha. And that’s a good point about the cartoons–I really need to make a point of checking back to verify the context, instead of taking it for granted that the person referencing past events is representing them accurately. Shweta Narayan Yay! At one point before I found the block feature I was getting seriously stressed and unhappy about the comment thread here, so I just get a lil worried when it seems like that might be happening to anyone 🙂 Stephanie Yeah, thank god for the block feature. It’s a little ridiculous that the site was without one for so long. The one person I blocked, I’d basically said “either debate this with me in good faith or don’t debate with me at all,” and they were like “nuh uh, you can’t make me do either of those things!” I was so glad to have a way to immediately prove them wrong. I can put up with a lot of unpleasantness, but I won’t put up with being told that I don’t have a choice in whether or not the argument continues. Weatherheight Alternatively, he read Alison’s mind, realized how freaked out she was, and acquiesced because she’s the only person he’s allowed himself to care about, and it cost him nothing to sit and watch cartoons with her. And in the bonus category, she trusts him and likes him a bit more with minimum effort on his part. And thus was Patrick pleasantly surprised. 😀 Shweta Narayan I could see that too, yeah. In his place I’d have stopped earlier in the trauma infodump, before the strongest person in the world got *too* upset, but … Patrick’s high INT is not the same as high WIS Weatherheight My problem with Patrick is that, as a GM, nearly every thing he’s said can be taken at face value or read as an attempt at manipulation (worse, it appears to my take on it is that he’s planned to win regardless of the actions taken by Alison in response. If the latter, he’s quite deliberately mucking aboot with the mind of one of the (if not THE) most powerful and durable individuals on the world. And, if the latter, those motives aren’t pure. Granted, I’m also a *really* big fan of Al Pacino’s performance in The Devil’s Advocate, precisely because he’s always got a back-up plan. “Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.” Shweta Narayan 😀 Yeah, absolutely. I like characters like Patrick (have played some, have written some super unreliable narrators) but… it’s absolutely a Problem With Them. I like them cause it’s messed up 🙂 Weatherheight Never said I didn’t like him as a character – as an NPC, he’s clearly GM approved. ::holds up both front hooves in approval, blinks, then tumbles forwards:: Shweta Narayan eep *attempts to catch, falls over also* I… mayyyy have had a PC in a long-running game who was like this though >.> Generally a nice guy! Just not, uh, particularly invested in honesty, especially when he decided a lie was better for everyone. At one point (well after his group found out at least three major things he was lying about all along) he ran a real-time double cross so effective that I had to tell the other players about it months later. I swear I dropped hints but… <.< It was totes for their own good :earnest nodding: They were making a Bad Decision so he fixed it for them. Weatherheight “All I’m saying is that we don’t have to tell the paladin everything; he’ll sleep better, we’ll sleep better, and we all get to live longer and happier lives. Charging blindly into battle may be his style, but it’s going to get him and us killed sooner or later. I’m trying really hard for later.” That line has let me get away with more … problematic solutions in RPGs than I can believe. It is a truism that if you tell people what they want to be true or what they fear to be true,they more often than not will buy it and you can have them eating out of your hand in no time. Wizard’s First Rule, indeed. Shweta Narayan 😀 Mine was kinda the opposite: my character *was* the one with a conscience. Or at least, an understanding of consequences down the line. “Sooo you want to sell this incredibly dangerous magical artifact to the highest bidder suuure let’s just… make sure the people I trust with it are the ones who show up claiming to be said highest bidder….” Shweta Narayan And yeah I think post-Al Max might well *start* living in fear, and that change would be heartrending, I think, no matter how unsympathetic I find him to date. But if he had any major fears before the table slam, as opposed to claiming fear for arguments’ sake, he’d be a very poorly written character indeed, because even when the building was on fire he didn’t act like someone who knew what fear even was. And this comic doesn’t do poorly written characters. Max has been written as someone with a blithe confidence that things will always work out for him; so entitled that he thinks his superpower is the worst one ever, in a chapter where we spent time with Daniel, who’s dying, and a lot of biodynamics struggling to find ways to live with their changes (including the girl in a tank). And I think that’s all entirely deliberate. I struggle to write unsympathetic characters myself, and I think he’s been written brilliantly and am trying to learn from it, but I’m disheartened by how it seems like it doesn’t matter WHAT you write or how, some readers will always find a way to sympathize with the characters like Max & get very angry on their behalf. Stephanie Shiiiit, I hadn’t even thought about how infuriating it is that he’s so upset about his power when there are powers that actually make your life worse. I had been focusing entirely on how it’s obnoxious that he calls his power a waste when he’s the one wasting it by underutilizing the hell out of it, but you’ve added a whole new dimension of “what the fuck.” I bet it’s no coincidence that the creators placed that scene after the convention arc. I completely empathize with your frustration about people making excuses for unsympathetic characters. I feel the same way. Almost every fandom I’ve ever been in has a contingent of apologists for some complete asshole of a character. I’ve noticed it’s usually an attractive man, has that also been your experience? Shweta Narayan YEP that’s what I keep seeing. My own experience with it is only from reviews and editorial comments because I’m a very tiny writer with no fandom, but … they follow a painfully similar trajectory sometimes. (like, “why isn’t this story that responds to colonialism about the white guy”) Stephanie You’re a writer? That’s awesome! What do you write? Shweta Narayan aw, thank you 🙂 and ummmm I seem to be writing SFP meta instead of the thing i have a deadline for right now 😀 but I’m *supposed* to be working on a short story about a clockwork bird from the south of india, who tells stories & makes other clockwork people & messes with people. (everyone from alexander the great to the mughal emperors, in previous stories). in the current piece she’s kinda… hm, teaching her newest creations to mess with everyone too? in case that sounds fun (but no obligations at all!) have a couple linkies 🙂 http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/new-fiction/eyes-of-carven-emerald/ http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/podcasts/the-padishah-begums-reflections/ Stephanie Thank you so much for sharing these with me! I really liked Eyes of Carven Emerald. I thought I would just read part of it before I went to bed, but I read the whole thing. I loved the beautiful imagery with its emphasis on metals and gemstones, especially in Vaacha Devi’s design. The way the story about the king and Anaeet tied together at the end was perfect. The earlier part about how Anaeet might have preferred glass, too–that was a well-executed perspective whiplash, I was like “damn!” The king manipulating his captors with sweet Diplomacy checks was a lot of fun, too. I also loved the dynamic between Vaacha Devi and Alexandros. I got the sense of a mutual respect of sorts, or at least of the kind of appreciation one has for a unique gem. At the same time I always felt that Vaacha Devi had the upper hand in their interactions, which was great. Also, even though Alexandros is a human and therefore automatically less interesting than a mysterious mechanical bird woman, his unrelenting ambition made his perspective really enjoyable to read from. I always like stories best when the POV character is passionate about something, even with a goal as unsympathetic as conquering everything. I am up way too late but I will definitely read the second story tomorrow! Shweta Narayan oh my GOSH thankyouuu! You totally made my day, whichever day this is now… and extra yay that you got exactly the dynamic I intended between Those Two 🙂 Next story on the pile after the current one features a young man named Iskandar, hundreds of years later, who (unknown to him) the bird has a soft spot for cause he’s named after Alexandros 😀 But, uh, I need to learn a ton about 17th century Islam in India. Maybe two tons. Luckily for me, the internet is marvellous and holds all the things, including a nice person I met in an online RPG, who sent me his phd thesis. 😀 …. I should go to bed too 🙂 Stephanie Finished the second story! It was as wonderful as the first. I liked that it was set in India–the vibrancy of the setting stood out all the more after I’d first seen it only through Alexandros’s covetous imagination and Vaacha Devi’s descriptions. That new perspective on just what Vaacha Devi was protecting adds a whole new dimension to the first story. And I’m so happy that it once again contains powerful and skilled women characters! I love Jaharana’s insightfulness and poise so much. Have you ever read Mallory Ortberg’s “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series? You might like them. Like you, she addresses the tendency of traditional stories to treat women as prizes and their desires as irrelevant, although her approach to the subject is much bleaker. Shweta Narayan eeee thank you! This encourages me to keep going 🙂 (Right now I’m doing 20 mins of research per sentence and it’s a bit of a slog. Still, learning neat things about my own history.) Would you like to see Jahanara? I painted her. (And will never paint another pearl in my life I swear they all had to be done individually or they looked like plastic.) If you’d like to see, delete the * from the urls, I don’t know how else to put them in here without dumping my pictures into everyone’s space and being annoying because it puts them in automatically if I type in the real link. Anyway linkies for if you’d like to see! 🙂 https://vorpus.org/~shweta/Jahanara-bkg-final.*png https://vorpus.org/~shweta/Jahanara-for-artifact.*png Stephanie Gorgeous! The work you put into the pearls paid off! And I absolutely love the intricate designs on her hands, that’s my favorite part. Did Vaacha Devi intend Anaeet to be an oblique reference to Jahanara? I see a lot of similarities between them–being mechanical, being queen, valuing craftspeople, and now the green eyes in the portrait–and I can see that the stories-within-stories are at least partially allegorical. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like Jaharana would have married a dude. Shweta Narayan 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 *falls over* I actually did the pearls almost twice. Saved the file at the wrong resolution at one point, and by the time I’d realized I’d also saved over my backup. I had to lose a month’s work to revert to a file that was big enough. *would fall over again but there’s no more over to fall* Anaeet’s actually a not-oblique reference to an Armenian folk tale, Clever Anaeet, which I’ve loved since I was a kid. I made her a mechanical and changed his trade accordingly, and also changed the tone of it somewhat to fit the bird’s agenda (in the original, there’s no doubt that she’d rescue her husband). And she makes Jahanara in, hm, the 1640s if I’m remembering my dates right, so, long after Alexandros’ time. (Jahanara is based on a historical character who nearly died at one point; in my timeline she did die – sorry princess – and got replaced by the mechanical version. Real-Jahanara’s father is the same guy who nearly bankrupted the empire with the Taj Mahal after her mother died, so I figure nearly bankrupting the empire again to commission a mechanical…. is in character.) But the original Clever Anaeet probably influenced my characterization of Jahanara, which is probably the similarity you’re seeing 🙂 There were so few awesome women in the stories I read as a kid that the few I found were super influential. SPEAKING of which, I had no idea Mallory Ortberg had a children”s stories series, I definitely have to look that up! Thanks for the heads up. I expect to laugh and wince in about equal amounts. Stephanie I should warn you, it’ll likely be more wincing than laughter–she’s not joking when she says the stories have been “made horrific,” although generally she’s just laying bare the fucked-up implications of the original works rather than adding new awful stuff. Many of them are outright disturbing. Shweta Narayan It’ll be up my alley 😀 I have spent a lot of time marvelling at just how messed up fairy tales are, and every time I go back to other stories I read as a kid I’m left going O.O WHAT thE WHAT by the way, you might like the anthology “troll’s eye view” edited by windling/datlow; it’s middle grade if I remember right but it’s fairy tales from the villains’ points of view 🙂 Shweta Narayan i also write limericks about my stuffed hippopotamus, and in my role as srs poet and co-editor of a literary-speculative poetry zine, I got other people to do so too! (no, really 🙂 it was an april fool’s issue ) Zorae42 She took the time and effort to understand Daniel who has also murdered a bunch of people, which is what Guwara literally pointed out last comic. No, she literally just said that her problem with Max was that he didn’t give a shit about a person who was suffering a fate worse than death that he could save (and in the process save thousands upon thousands of lives) by taking a few hours from his day. And you can’t say, he was scared or that he didn’t like Alison. Her complaint was that he was bored and that it made her sick. Patrick wasn’t empty, Daniel wasn’t empty. She didn’t take the time to understand Max because “not my problem” is not a feeling she wants to understand. And you know what, when she took the time to get to know Patrick, he had stopped being a criminal and wasn’t actively hurting anyone (and was in fact actively trying to help people in a way that was much less… evil). When she got to know Daniel, he had stopped being a criminal (because he was locked up but there you go). This time she would’ve taken to put aside her dislike for Max? He still would’ve been allowing all those people to die. Arkone Axon Except that while she was getting to know Patrick, he was STILL BEING A CRIMINAL. First of all, he’s still a wanted fugitive responsible for the deaths of countless thousands – and unlike Max, who was simply too afraid (or if you insist on demonizing him, too selfish) to risk himself to act, Patrick was deliberately choosing to take those lives. He was also responsible for the actions of his company (even if he wasn’t still actively running his corporations, he was still responsible for the consequences of his own creations). And that’s not even touching on all the many many ways that he has hampered the creation of a better world by doing everything possible to prevent Lisa (i.e. a modern day Nicholas Tesla) from sharing her creations with the world. Lisa can’t even mass produce her own prosthetic limbs to share with people like Gurwara; imagine all those artificial organs that never got built because Templar would have bought up the rights to prevent anyone from benefiting from Lisa’s work. And yes, she literally just said that her problem was… her description of what she thought she saw in his expression. Patrick is the mind-reader, not Alison. She looked at Max’s eyes, decided she was seeing something she didn’t like, and acted accordingly. Try giving that description to a judge as a defendant. “Your Honor, I looked in his face and I saw that he was a horribly selfish person. So I dragged him down to the ATM machine and made him give his money to charity!” And Daniel… is in prison. He’s getting understanding, and friendship… but what he is NOT getting is a free pass for his crimes. He is still facing the consequences of his actions. His own pain and hardship do not absolve him of the pain he has inflicted upon others. Izo Did you miss where he said ‘I killed them because it amused me to do so?’ Redeemable? REALLY?! Zorae42 Did you miss the part where after that conversation she gave him a time limit to find those black files people and said she was going to turn him in afterwards? Izo So you’re not even going to respond to what I pointed out. How sad. You stated that ‘Patrick was REDEEMABLE because he wanted to make the world a better place.’ I then pointed out, in the link that you apparently hve not even bothered to read, since you are arguing out of pure ignorance, that he killed people ‘BECAUSE IT AMUSED HIM TO DO SO.’ How the hell is that redeemable? How does him being given a time limit before she takes him to jail make him ‘redeemable?’ I’m waiting for an answer, but I doubt you’ll give one that actually fits the question. Is he redeemable because he’s apparently a sadist? Because killing people because it amuses you to do so is the reasoning of a psychopathic sadist? Is he redeemeable because Alison sees herself as a psychopathic sadist as well? So are you saying that Max is NOT redeemable because he’s NOT A PSYCHOPATHIC SADIST? Seriously, give an answer to the questions asked instead of trying to go off on tangents. Zorae42 I didn’t respond because I thought it was obvious that that whole ‘redeemable’ was in the past. That as soon as he started saying shit like ‘I killed them because it amused me’ and that it became apparent that he he clearly had no real regard for other people, she said she was going to turn him in. He was redeemable in the PAST WHEN SHE DECIDED TO GIVE HIM A CHANCE. NOT IN THE FUTURE/PRESENT. And oh hey, when Patrick started to say he didn’t care about other people, she dumped him. Isn’t that similar to the world view Max currently has? Oh yes, it is! Man, it’s almost like when people decide to only care about themselves, she stops caring about them. What a double standard am I right kappa? Izo “I didn’t respond because I thought it was obvious that that whole ‘redeemable’ was in the past.” Even AFTER that admission, she did not take him in. Also, he killed a few THOUSAND people and was an international terrorist. How exactly is it ALISON’S decision whether he is redeemable or not, rather than the friends and families of those people who he murdered. And it’s murdered, not ‘killed.’ He actively murdered people. Alison knew for a fact that he murdered people, even before his admission. And even after that point, I will reiterate, SHE LET HIM GO. Alison tends to let people who actively murder other people go free if she likes them. “That as soon as he started saying shit like ‘I killed them because it amused me’ and that it became apparent that he he clearly had no real regard for other people, she said she was going to turn him in.” Which is why Patrick is now in jail. Oh wait, no, he’s not in jail. She let him go, claiming he’d need to turn himself in in 2 years. Because Alison is an idiot who thinks that he will redeem himself by uncovering the conspiracy. Ignore the mountains of families in mourning because of his ACTUAL ACTIONS, right? Nah, she needs to focus on Ayn Randites who are NOT being heroes but have never actively harmed a single person a lot more than fellow social justice pursuers who just happen to be psychopathic murderers who she knows for a fact will continue to kill. A lot of people keep bringing up ‘the trolley problem’ as part of this whole thing with Max. They also tend to leave out HALF of the trolley problem. They bring up the whole ‘push a lever so a trolley hits one person instead of five. They ignore, or are ignorant of, the second half of the thought experiment, which involves there being no lever at all, and the only way to save the five people is to push a guy onto the track so that the trolley will not hit the other five. While a disturbing lot of people tend to pull the lever under a simplistic ‘utilitarian’ view – a rationalization of ‘five lives is worth more than one life’, almost no one chooses to push the person onto the track actively – an emotional view of not wanting to commit murder even though it’s still ‘five lives is worth more than one life’ in the rationalization. There IS a group of people in the thought experiment, however, that DOES push the person onto the track just as readily as they pull a lever. Psychopaths. I’m not saying psychopaths in an insult way either. I’m talking the clinical definition of psychopaths. Psychopaths do not use an emotional response with a moral thought process of right and wrong – JUST a rationalization. Utilitarianism, left unchecked, leads to the same result as putting a psychopath in charge. Patrick is a psychopath. Max is not. Alison is straddling that fence, and I’d argue that she is one as well if not for the fact that she feels guilt about it. But the fact that she would do it anyway again makes me wonder how genuine that guilt is. She asks for forgiveness from a professor. But the only person who REALLY can confer forgiveness for this is the person she wronged – Max. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xHKxrc0PHg martynW What, all that philosophy AND a bag of chips? Hiram Okay, I’m calling it now. Guwara has superpowers. He is, the incredible. . . Pantry Man! Able to store any number of refreshments beneath his golden tie of snack holding! Shweta Narayan he was actually born around the same time as the other supers, but suffered an accident involving a kid with time travel powers Dean Each snack food item he summons in this way ages him a year. Shweta Narayan he’s too wise to be actually Al’s age, unless consuming the snack gives him the benefit of a year’s experience. Hm. Maybe he’s currently going “gah running out of ways to deal with this superpowered meltdown, better add a year” Hiram Gat dang it Alison, you’re supposed to take the Philosocoat off, THEN controvert yourself. Did watching Guwara teach you nothing? AshlaBoga Remember when you killed your first philosophy professor’s husband and didn’t even check for years? Remember when you threatened to kill the protestors and destroyed police property. Oh, remember when Patrick MURDERED THE PROTESTORS AND THE RECEPTIONIST? Yep, she didn’t care when he admitted to that. I found that confession very interesting since that implied he was angry. Why would he get so emotional? I’m betting because they hurt Alison. Stephanie This is tangential to your point, but Patrick didn’t murder the protesters. He murdered the people who organized the attack, and the receptionist for cooperating with them. As far as we know, the protesters (at least most of them) weren’t involved. Obviously, that doesn’t make what he did okay. David Gillon OTOH it’s equivalent to what Feral used to get up to, and we, and the state, have forgiven her. (With suitable payment in kind in the case of the state). Stephanie That’s true, but Feral regrets her actions and is making amends, whereas Patrick had those people killed fairly recently and practically bragged about it. Zachary Olivos Pretty much how I’m feeling in every political discussion I’ve had recently. Ian Nithmask let’s get to the true, you don’t relate cause he is rich, nothing else Stephanie Where are you getting that? Are you just assuming that Alison is straight-up lying when she says she can’t relate to him because he was unmoved by Feral’s sacrifice? What are you basing that on? What she’s saying here is one hundred percent consistent with her characterization up to this point. Arkone Axon Yes. She is straight up lying. Or to be more precise, she’s lying to herself. She tried to say at first that it was about the people that could be saved. And now, at this point, she’s admitting that it was always about Feral, about her friend. She’s mad at him for not saving ONE person, the one person she actually gave a crap about. Hence Gurwara’s use of arched eyebrows and the like. He’s goading her into admitting the truth. Stephanie So you don’t think she’s lying on this page, then. Because you think she’s currently, on this page, admitting the truth, right? But somehow also lying? “She’s straight-up lying by saying the thing I think was true all along!” ???? That doesn’t even make sense. Anyway. I was responding to someone who was claiming that the only reason she can’t relate to Patrick is that he’s rich. Do you think the only reason she couldn’t relate to Patrick is that he’s rich? If not, why are you arguing with me on this? Arkone Axon I’m saying that she’s been lying to herself and Gurwara is guiding her into admission of the truth, of the self-integrity required to take correct action. Gurwara is essentially doing to her what Sisko did to Gul Dukat in Star Trek DS9, with this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOCWDCuTWq8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q7FTuBVuSg (Granted, it turned out poorly with Dukat, but… still) First she claimed it was all about the thousands of innocent lives, that’s why she did it. Now she’s admitting that it was always about Feral, not those innocent people – but still trying to justify her actions by blaming the victim and calling him a selfish jerk. And starting to admit that she’s been selfish too. She’s not lying to Gurwara, she’s lying to herself – and he’s helping her to see it, to admit it, to accept it. It’s one of the more poignant and meaningful tropes out there: the Heel Realization. The realization that you were the bad guy there, that you made a huge mistake, that you’re not perfect. It’s also something that everyone should be familiar with in RL – because the refusal to accept such realizations is how fanaticism comes about, and the concept of the “Yetzer Harah.” Which, among other descriptions, can be described as “the evil that springs forth from good intentions gone awry.” Stephanie I think you’re reading a big revelation into this page that the author most likely didn’t intend. The comic has never actually made a big deal out of the distinction between “this is to save Feral” and “this is to save thousands.” What Alison’s saying here is framed as an illustrative example of the reason she can’t relate to Max (that being how he doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t affect him personally), not as an admission that she only cares about Feral. The problem she’s describing, the thing that made her feel nauseous and sick, isn’t that Max didn’t want to help her friend; it’s that he was completely unmoved by Feral’s sacrifice on an emotional level. But more importantly, what does any of that have to do with the assertion that the only reason Alison can’t relate to Max is because he’s rich? Arkone Axon Actually, there’s a pretty big deal between the two motivations. It’s bad enough for utilitarians to say “what is one life against the lives of thousands.” It’s quite another to say “what is one life against the life of one other?” Anyway, it has NOTHING to do with the original assertion. My comments were in response to your own comments about whether or not she was lying. Yes, yes she was. Because of something I realized some years ago. Nobody can commit an act of evil without lying to themselves about it first. They have to rationalize it, justify it. Which is why her claim that she “saw the truth” about his feelings about Feral, about him being completely unmoved by someone whom he’s never actually met, who he only knows about because someone he didn’t like said, “this is my friend and she is suffering,” is dubious at best. It reminds me of the time I tried to read that one chapter in “Atlas Shrugged” where the “hero” is thrown into a torture device that breaks and only he can fix it. Specifically the part where he looks at the head torturer and suddenly, completely, and with 100% accuracy psychoanalyzes him in perfect detail, finding him without exception to be a complete waste of a life and lacking in any redeeming qualities. …When you find yourself doing something that an Ayn Rand protagonist would do, that’s the time to reconsider your choices. Stephanie I didn’t say the distinction wasn’t important. I said that the comic wasn’t emphasizing it. I asked if she was lying on this page. Even you yourself have asserted that she is not. On a lighter note, that chapter is very ridiculous, but there are many equally hilarious moments in the rest of the book. I like the part where Rearden beats the charges for a crime he is objectively guilty of by giving an elaborate speech about how he refuses to defend himself, at the end of which everyone in the gallery wildly applauds and Albert Einstein probably gives him $100 (okay, that last bit didn’t happen but the applause did). Arkone Axon I never said that Alison was an Objectivist. I said that Alison was demonstrating the same “instant and total ability to psychoanalyze with 100% perfect accuracy” that Rand had her protagonists when establishing that a character was utterly without redeeming value and we should all cheer when they die horribly. In other words, the same “rush to judgement because I’m so damned smart and wise that I can tell everything I need to in a split second” that made Rand’s crap such… crap. As for whether or not Alison was lying – I specifically said that she’s lying to HERSELF. Which is how you justify evil. Hell… let’s look at Rand herself. She regularly relied on charity throughout her life, while scorning it in others. She had a long term affair with a man decades her junior, and told her spouse that it was only right and proper and logical that they should do so – but when her lover broke it off for another woman, she went as nuts-oh as that woman who wrote “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” when her husband came out of the closet. Also, it’s pretty obvious – to me at least – that Max is not an Objectivist, per se – but he’s been raised by Objectivists. As I’ve said, people always have to come up with a rationalization to justify their evil, and Objectivism is a great way for the rich and powerful to justify doing whatever it takes to hold onto power (including murdering children who develop biodynamic powers that make them too unbalancing to the existing order). Imagine being raised by someone like that. Who but an Objectivist would tell their own child, “your superpower sucks because it only benefits others?” Hell, even if you had a child who believed that at first, wouldn’t you encourage them to appreciate the gift they’ve been given? “My power sucks” is something he was TAUGHT by a psychologically abusive parent. One more reason why Alison dropped the ball here; she was being shown that the person she wanted something from has grown up in a “Mommy Dearest” situation, and couldn’t wait for him to finish talking about his unhappiness before adding to it in order to get what she wants. And yeah, I know that it’s ridiculous. I actually read through that chapter because I was hoping to plagiarize it – for a short story in which a CEO sitting on the electric chair mocks the prison guards for being unable to repair it… at which point Earl walks in. Earl, the janitor. Earl, who doesn’t need a CEO to micromanage him to know how to do his job, and his job involves repairing electrical devices that break down… :p Stephanie I understand the parallel you were making, but if you’re going to base an argument on drawing a parallel to an Atlas Shrugged and essentially saying “Alison is bad because she did something John Galt did,” you should be aware that that knife cuts both ways. Max is much more Galt-like than Alison is; like I said, his attempt to condemn thousands to die by inaction is an almost perfect parallel to the central plot of Atlas Shrugged. (On top of that, “the hero makes a snap judgment that someone is total garbage” is something that occurs in many stories, whereas Max’s “fuck you, I got mine, it’s time to let an enormous number of people die because I don’t owe them shit” attitude is more uniquely characteristic of Atlas Shrugged). So you should apply the same criticism to Max that you did to Alison, only more so: “When you find yourself doing something that an Ayn Rand protagonist would do, that’s the time to reconsider your choices.” I don’t really understand why you say that Max isn’t an Objectivist because those ideas were taught to him. I’m sure his upbringing did influence his worldview, but Max is a grown-ass adult, old enough to take responsibility for his own principles. If he walks like an Objectivist, and he talks like an Objectivist…I have to conclude that the guy is an Objectivist, regardless of where he got it from. Your AS satire sounds pretty funny! Though, Galt himself is not a CEO, but an engineer. Actually, although most of the other important characters are CEOs, a lot of the people in the “fuck everyone but us” enclave are actually tradespeople rather than industrialists–Galt appeared to choose people who were A. competent at their jobs and B. philosophically in line with him. They even had an actress, who apparently joined the strike because she kept being cast as villains for being “too beautiful” to play a heroine, which I’m pretty sure is not a real thing that happens. (Actually pretty much every major character is drop-dead gorgeous–Rand was really into the “good people are beautiful, bad people are ugly” thing.) Arkone Axon I’m saying that Max is far less of an Objectivist than… hell, than Alison herself. In terms of the utterly fanatical “if you disagree with me than you deserve death” attitude. Even Max, during their first (and much more successful) date, espoused the belief that it was possible to do good while also respecting individual freedoms. But again, you keep coming back to claiming that Max is evil and that he deliberately chose to murder people by his refusal to act. To which I keep pointing out that he specifically said no to Alison – to the person who couldn’t even conceal her contempt for him. And who utterly dismissed everything about him because “thousands of people are dying,” even though it’s confirmed that she only cared about Feral, not thousands. The case can be made that Alison was rushed because every second of delay was another moment of torture for Feral, but any further statements about the thousands of dying will be discounted – because Alison already did, the moment she attempted to dissuade Feral from getting on that table. That’s the point I’m making. That’s also the point that Gurwara is guiding Alison towards, I think (though in this case it’s more conjecture than factual, at least until tomorrow’s update). That Max wasn’t the selfish one. Alison was. Alison was ALWAYS the selfish one. She tried to stop Feral from saving thousands of innocent lives, would have condemned them rather than support her friend’s choice to act. She then assaulted and tortured someone unable to physically resist her in order to force him to do something for her friend. That is “protagonist centered morality” at its darkest, and the fact that the comic itself is refusing to give her a free pass is what separates Alison from the Marty Stus and Mary Sues of other, lesser webcomics. Stephanie “I’m saying that Max is far less of an Objectivist than… hell, than Alison herself.” Did you read any of what I wrote about why Alison’s actions here were absolutely anathema to Objectivism? Like, if Alison had actively set out to piss off Ayn Rand as much as possible, she couldn’t have done much better than what she did to Max. If Alison were an Objectivist, she would be the actual worst Objectivist who ever lived. Whereas Max outright uses Objectivist talking points in conversation and consistently acts in a manner completely in line with Objectivist principles. “In terms of the utterly fanatical “if you disagree with me than you deserve death” attitude.” Oh, I must have missed the part where she murdered Max. Wait, right, that never happened and you’re intentionally exaggerating. (Also, “fuck people who disagree with me” is not in any way an Objectivist-specific phenomenon.) “Max himself agrees that doing good for others is a good thing” I don’t remember the page where he apparently said that, but regardless, it’s certainly not reflected in his actions. Max actively does not give a shit about other people’s suffering if it does not personally affect him. He has demonstrated this time and again. “But again, you keep coming back to claiming that Max is evil and that he deliberately chose to murder people by his refusal to act. To which I keep pointing out that he specifically said no to Alison…who utterly dismissed everything about him because “thousands of people are dying,” even though it’s confirmed that she only cared about Feral, not thousands…any further statements about the thousands of dying will be discounted – because Alison already did” So, uh…I don’t actually agree that Alison doesn’t care at all about the lives, but let’s suppose for the moment that you’re right about that. Your logic, then, is “Max wasn’t choosing to condemn thousands to die, because Alison didn’t care about them?” So, what–if Alison’s top priority isn’t those thousands of people, they just stop existing and they’re not actually going to die? Look: Alison’s priorities here have jack shit to do with the question of whether Max, who was fully aware that those people would die without his intervention, chose to allow them to die. You’re erroneously conflating two completely unrelated issues. You can argue that Alison didn’t care about the thousands. I suppose you can argue that Max isn’t responsible for condemning the thousands, no matter how emphatically I disagree. But you cannot argue that Max isn’t responsible for condemning the thousands because Alison didn’t care about them. Surely you can see that that argument makes no logical sense? To be plain: Alison’s inner motives have nothing to do with whether or not Max was aware that his choice would condemn thousands to die. We saw Alison tell him, on-panel, that what she was asking him to do would save countless lives. He absolutely, undeniably, irrefutably, canonically knew. Intellectual honesty requires that you at least acknowledge that fact when you’re arguing that he’s somehow not a dick. “Max wasn’t the selfish one” Looooool okay. I guess it’s not selfish to try to let thousands of people die because you’re pissed off at your ex-girlfriend. And before you say “it was because he was scared” (even though it’s really clear from his words that his choice was mainly motivated by spite), prioritizing one’s own safety over thousands of lives is the very definition of selfish, whether you think it’s justified or not. ” She tried to stop Feral from saving thousands of innocent lives” I get that you’re really invested in this claim that Alison is an asshole and Max somehow isn’t, but do you not see the double standard here? You repeatedly give Max a free pass for trying to let thousands of people die, yet in almost the same breath you condemn Alison for initially trying to convince Feral to do the same. Yes, Alison was initially opposed to Feral’s sacrifice, and I disagreed with her on that. She ultimately backed off and respected Feral’s decision. You can’t reasonably argue that Alison’s actions in that case were somehow more worthy of condemnation than Max’s. You can’t have your cake and eat it too–if you’re going to condemn Alison, you have to condemn Max. “the fact that the comic itself is refusing to give her a free pass is what separates Alison from the Marty Stus and Mary Sues of other, lesser webcomics.” I agree with this. It’s good that Alison is examining her actions and the implications thereof. Arkone Axon Yes, she’s being more of an Objectivist. More specifically, she demonstrated more of the intolerant, fanatical, “you disagree with me therefore you are evil” attitude that Rand epitomized throughout her life. She screamed at him to do a “no brainer, base level, decent thing.” Which I’m going to point out – with emphasis as to the details – is the opposite of an action she attempted in a previous chapter. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-55-3/ Here is the exact page where Max states that it’s possible to both respect individual liberties while also caring about each other as part of an extended family, distant cousins descended from shared ancestors. It’s right before he makes a proposition to her, and then respects her decision when she politely declines. If you want to claim that he has repeatedly demonstrated a selfish disregard for whether others live or die… prove it. Provide a link to the page. Show me where he’s demonstrated any such thing. (The bit where he’s telling the insulting, dangerous, and violently aggressive flying brick doesn’t count for reasons I’ve already stated repeatedly. If your only example is “He said no in the scene when she confronted him and insulted him,” then you have NO examples) As to how Alison’s attempted actions and motivations were considerably worse than Max’s? Max was terrified of being found out. He stated as such. He emphasized the risks to himself. Even if you feel that he shouldn’t have been afraid, that doesn’t change the fact that he WAS afraid, stated that he was afraid (and was immediately proven to be justified in being afraid). He was nervous about the risks to himself; Alison was demanding he do something for these nameless, anonymous others (whom she didn’t even truly care about herself), while offering him no compensation in exchange for endangering himself. And again – he was indeed being endangered. His powers make him a tempting target. As she proved when she assaulted him and forced him to use them. By contrast, Alison didn’t simply fail to take action to save others. She attempted to stop Feral from saving them in the first place. She didn’t simply engage in a nonaction; she attempted to deliberately and willfully condemn others to death rather than watch Feral suffer for them. That is a huge difference, and the ONLY reason to give her a pass on it but not Max is if you insist on calling him selfish and unafraid and undeserving of empathy. And as I said, if you want to keep arguing that, then provide links that PROVE that. Regarding the “narrative” that I am supposedly invested in… I’m waiting for tonight’s update to make a fresh comment where I explain why all the condemnation of Max is intensely and shockingly hypocritical. As for cake and the eating thereof… I never did condemn Alison for being opposed to Feral’s sacrifice. I can hardly blame her for caring about her friend. She gave a crap about Feral’s pain, she cared about her as a person. That was noble and wonderful of her. Where she went wrong was when she failed to give a similar crap about Max’s pain. He literally opened up with his backstory and revealed a glimpse of his inner pain, of what it must be like to be the son of a member of the Harmony Group – and she slapped him down so hard and so nastily that she never even noticed she’d destroyed a potential lead into the Harmony Group. But I’m not condemning Alison, just as I’m not condemning Max. I’m simply pointing out that if you condemn Max for not jumping to take action at the behest of someone who can’t even conceal her contempt for him, then you MUST logically condemn her as well for attempting to take action that would have prevented anyone from being saved. (Which makes me wonder now that I type this out… how much of her anger at him is rooted in her anger at herself for trying to prevent those lives from being saved? How much of her loathing is projecting her own guilt onto him?) Stephanie Okay so you ignored literally everything I wrote about the Objectivism thing, that’s just great. Totally don’t feel like I wasted my time there. Apparently you have no idea what Objectivism actually is, or at least you prefer to cherrypick a single isolated incident from the books and pretend that that’s the philosophy in its entirety. I’m done trying to explain this. I mean, I’ve only won multiple prizes for literary analysis of Rand’s work, I must not know what I’m talking about. “Max was terrified of being found out” There is essentially zero evidence in the comic that Max was as scared as you keep claiming he was. He did not, at any point prior to Alison actually table-slamming him, behave like someone who was fearful. Why would someone so terrified of being exploited by a biodynamic try to date one? Why would someone who fearfully expected biodynamics to exploit his power be so utterly taken by surprise when it actually happened? It’s like you’ve invented this alternate-universe scared selfless woobie version of Max out of whole cloth, and are ignoring any canon evidence to the contrary. Also: Make up your damn mind. You keep flipping back and forth between “It was OK for Max to let all those people die because he was scared, it totally wasn’t to spite Alison” and “It was OK for Max to let all those people die because Alison was mean to him” and “It was OK for Max to let all those people die because Alison wasn’t compensating him for it.” So did Max refuse in order to protect himself, or in order to spite Alison, or because he wasn’t getting paid? Cause so far it seems like your answer is “whatever happens to be most convenient to Arkone’s argument in any given paragraph.” All of those reasons are selfish by definition, by the way–I really don’t know why I have to keep explaining this, it should not be controversial to state that prioritizing yourself over others is literally what selfishness is. “Here is the exact page…” The page you linked does not include Max saying what you claim he said in your last post. You claimed he “agrees that doing good for others is a good thing.” That didn’t happen, and it’s really messed up that you tried to pass it off as the truth. All that actually happened was that he first said that the most important principle to him was freedom, then halfheartedly conceded that it might be possible to also value other people as humans at the same time. And then he proceeded to demonstrate through his actions that he doesn’t. Max’s selfish disregard for others is blatantly apparent to anyone who isn’t willfully ignoring it, like you have been. It’s integral to his characterization; it’s the entire reason he and Alison are diametrically opposed in their principles. How about the entire thing with the gardeners? How about his reaction the first time Alison talked to him about Feral? How about condemning thousands of people to die because he wasn’t getting “compensated” for saving them, are you seriously still trying to tell me that’s not selfish? “Oh, the most overtly selfish thing he did happened while someone was being mean to him, so it ‘doesn’t count.'” Yeah, that’s real intellectually honest of you, broseph. I hope my sarcasm is apparent here. Letting thousands of people die because you want to stick it to one specific person you dislike is about as petty and selfish as it gets. I think you just want Max to be someone he’s clearly not. “He literally opened up with his backstory and revealed a glimpse of his inner pain” Yeah, truly Max’s tragic backstory is deserving of immense sympathy. Why, he got a superpower, one that didn’t even cause him hideous deformities or slowly kill him like so many other people’s did to them…but it wasn’t the coolest superpower! Poor Max! What a great reason for thousands of people to die! There is zero indication that Max has ever dealt with any actual adversity. Being disappointed about not getting his favorite superpower is not a valid reason to let thousands of people die. “As for cake and the eating thereof… I never did condemn Alison for being opposed to Feral’s sacrifice.” Except for the part where you keep bringing it up as an example of why she’s supposedly “more selfish than Max.” “I’m simply pointing out that if you condemn Max for not jumping to take action at the behest of someone who can’t even conceal her contempt for him, then you MUST logically condemn her as well for attempting to take action that would have prevented anyone from being saved.” I already told you that I disagreed with Alison when she was initially opposed to Feral’s sacrifice. This has zero bearing on the question of whether Max is a selfish piece of shit who tried to let people die out of spite. Arkone Axon One: you failed to provide any examples of him being selfish, therefore your only “evidence’ to support your claim that he is selfish or uncaring is your accusation. Which is not enough. Refusing to send the gardeners home was not an act of selfishness – not only were they working there by choice, but HE WASN’T EVEN THEIR EMPLOYER. They were employed by one of his father’s assistants. That would be like going to a restaurant and demanding your date send the waiter home to spend time with his family. The conversation regarding Feral… that was him trying to process it according to the inane ideological system his parents shoved down his throat. I’ve seen worse – I’ve read articles claiming that Jesus’ sacrifice was done “for the joy of it.” That he did so because the happiness of saving others outweighed the physical pain. I find that argument completely insane – but it’s still better than denying the sacrifice entirely. So no, that was not an example of him being selfish, that was an example of him trying to fit Feral’s actions into his preconceived notions. Stupid of him, but not selfish. And his refusing to help people… again, discounted, dismissed, not going to explain why in this post (waiting for the update to make a fresh comment). So no, you have no evidence. Two: I specifically referred less to the “selfishness is a virtue” ideology that Rand espoused than to her repeated declarations that anyone who did not agree with her 100% was wrong, stupid, and evil. To the point that anyone in her group who strayed from the path was literally brought in for “counseling sessions” not unlike that used by Scientologists when someone tries to leave the cult. It’s also a belief you seem to hold to. If I had Max’s powers i would gladly help. Of course, I’d still tell Alison, “I’ll help – but not you. You get the hell out of here and let me talk to someone who’ll treat me like a human being.” And if Alison genuinely cared about helping, she’d do so. Also of course… I’m not Max, I haven’t lived his life, and “if I were in his shoes” always includes the caveat “If I were in his position but still had all of my memories, knowledge, and views.” But while I would happily volunteer to help, I am completely opposed to conscription. I don’t want anyone helping me save the world, or even a single life, if they have to be forced into it. There’s a reason why all-volunteer militaries outperform conscripts. Three: see number One, because it bears repeating. You not only refuse to show any examples or evidence, you’re getting increasingly angry and vitriolic. Your emotions are not a substitute for facts. Repeating your arguments in a loud and angry fashion does not make them any less unsubstantiated. Four: I never once said that I believed that Alison was selfish for not wanting to see her friend be vivisected on a 24/7 basis for the sake of others. I simply stated an “If/Then” statement. IF you believe that Max is selfish for not wanting to risk himself (even if you insist that he was not at risk even though Alison’s actions fully established that the risk was very real), THEN you must accept that Alison was even more selfish. I don’t believe that Alison was selfish by not wanting Feral to sacrifice herself… and neither do I consider Max selfish. I DO believe that Alison was selfish by denying Max his humanity, refusing to acknowledge his rights, his fears, his pains, because she desired what he possessed. Five: Back to number One, because you have no evidence, only ranting and insults. I apologize again for mistaking your comments with that of that guy Zac Caslor; he’s the one who kept saying “Fuck Max.” But you’re doing the same thing here, now. I am fully in agreement that saving lives is a good thing. But you are literally the only one in this argument who keeps steering it back to that. By which I mean that even Alison is no longer arguing that it was about the lives Feral was saving. You’re the one who keeps going there. You’re the one who keeps saying that because the need was so great, that Max dignity, rights, and consent could and should be ignored. And that belief, that idea that it’s okay to not only stop treating people as people, but to blame THEM for not agreeing with your belief and your cause and your goals, that is what has caused more harm, more damage, more destruction than any other concept in history. Whether it’s burning Jews and Muslims at the stake because they dared to refuse conversion to Christianity, or sending dissidents to concentration camps, or killing everyone in Cambodia who had an education or wore glasses, that idea that once someone is proclaimed “a selfish piece of shit” for not agreeing with your goals that it’s okay to do whatever you want… that’s when things get bad. Stephanie “One: you failed to provide any examples of him being selfish,” Lol. You mean you’ve decide to ignore every example of him being selfish. You will find some tenuous excuse to give him a pass no matter what he does. I find it hilarious that you’re telling me my arguments are unsubstantiated, when yours have been incoherent from the start, outright ignoring the canon whenever it’s inconvenient for you and inventing character traits for Max with zero evidence. I have provided clear examples to back up my points. You just don’t want to hear it. “Two: I specifically referred less to the “selfishness is a virtue” ideology that Rand espoused than to her repeated declarations that anyone who did not agree with her 100% was wrong, stupid, and evil. To the point that anyone in her group who strayed from the path was literally brought in for “counseling sessions” not unlike that used by Scientologists when someone tries to leave the cult.” Oh, it’s also Scientologists, then? So this is not, actually, a trait unique to Objectivism? It’s literally just a characteristic of any extreme ideology? Making it ridiculous to claim that Alison is “acting like an Objectivist” when her actual principles–however much you disagree with them–are the polar opposite of Objectivism in every meaningful way? Sort of like I’ve explained, repeatedly, already? You realize that not everyone you dislike has to be an Objectivist, right? It’s not like your argument that Alison is a jerk relies on her being an Objectivist. Why are you choosing this hill to die on? Why distract from your actual points with such a weak and unnecessary argument? No one who knows the first thing about Objectivists would ever accuse Alison of being one. Call her a bully, call her a tyrant, but don’t call her an Objectivist and expect me to take that seriously. “If I had Max’s powers i would gladly help. Of course, I’d still tell Alison, “I’ll help – but not you. You get the hell out of here and let me talk to someone who’ll treat me like a human being.” Which would be fine, but you know that’s not what Max did. Max didn’t say “I will help, but I want to work with someone else while I do it.” Max said that he absolutely would not do it, that he could not be convinced otherwise, and that even if he wanted to do it he would still refuse just so that Alison wouldn’t get her way. Let me repeat: It is incontrovertible canon that he would let thousands of people die, just so that Alison wouldn’t get her way. And you’re still trying to tell me that this somehow isn’t an example of Max’s selfishness. Unbelievable. Arkone Axon Yes. Yes I am. I’m also pointing out your fanaticism. You provided three “examples” of selfishness, two of which have already been discounted repeatedly, and the third being him essentially shoving his foot in his mouth up to the knee – which is not the same as being selfish. Again: not saying she’s an Objectivist. You are continuously accusing me of calling her one. I am specifically referring to her fanaticism, and yours, as being equal to that of Rand dismissing anyone who dares to disagree. And you’re right, Alison is less a student of Ayn Rand than of Alberto Bayo. Who I have referenced in previous pages. Same fanaticism, however: “You do not support the cause. You are clearly an objectively terrible person and you deserve to have everything taken from you by force. No one ought to pity you because you are a horrible piece of scum for not supporting the cause.” See what “accomplishments’ Bayo’s students have achieved. And as I noted, I know that’s not what Max did. Because he was scared. Which you refuse to acknowledge. You keep ignoring his specific statements. And for that matter, simple logic – he’s literally a walking video game powerup. Numerous stories in comics, television shows, and video games, have brought up this very concept. In fact… let’s go back to Objectivism. Or to be more precise, Bioshock. It’s been ten years, so I don’t think I’m providing spoilers here. Remember the Little Sisters? The little girls who were a source of Adam, the energy that could enhance your plasmids? Remember the choice being given between harvesting them or freeing them? Let’s suppose that, instead of being there to kill Andrew Ryan, you were there to find the miracle cure that would save countless lives on the surface. And that if you freed the little girls, you wouldn’t get as much Adam, nor would anyone reward you for being noble. The only way to maximize your Adam and your chances of obtaining that miracle cure is to kill and harvest those little girls. Would you do it? And when one of those little girls tried to run away, when she tried to fight you, when she screamed for help, would you call her selfish for not wanting to give up her life? Would you insist that you’re any different than any of the other people who wants to kill her and take what she has that you desire? (Also, think you can answer that without resorting to insults? For crying out loud, you’re starting to sound like those nitwits over at the RHJunior forum, the ones who go nuts when you point out that hate crimes against LGBTs are a real thing) Stephanie “Again: not saying she’s an Objectivist. You are continuously accusing me of calling her one. ” You outright said she’s more of an Objectivist than Max, who is an actual Objectivist who espouses Objectivist principles and does Objectivist things. You’re backpedaling. “I know that’s not what Max did. Because he was scared.” What happened to “because Alison was mean to him”? And I’ll remind you again that he showed zero indication of this lifelong terror of having his power exploited that you keep pretending is a given. His actions have been completely inconsistent with that interpretation. I’ll also remind you that he explicitly said that he would refuse to help Alison even if he wanted to–i.e., even if fear or any other non-spite concern weren’t an issue–just so that she wouldn’t get her way. Those were his words. I’m not interested in your Bioshock hypothetical. This isn’t about Bioshock. You’re resorting to emotional manipulation in place of actual arguments. (And don’t try to tell me I’m doing the same thing by talking about the thousands of lives. I bring them up specifically as evidence of Max’s selfishness, and you know that. Prioritizing oneself over thousands of others = selfish. You don’t have to think it’s evil, but it amazes me that you continue to deny that it’s selfish.) “(Also, think you can answer that without resorting to insults? For crying out loud, you’re starting to sound like those nitwits” Pretty sure I didn’t actually insult you. My comments were directed at your arguments, not you as an individual. Pretty sure saying I sound like a nitwit does qualify as an insult, so there’s that. Also, pretty shitty of you to equate me with homophobes when you know I haven’t said anything remotely homophobic–that’s some “Hitler ate sugar” right there. You know, I could do the same thing. “I can’t believe you called me a nitwit. You sound exactly like a KKK member who calls people nitwits. Now, since we all obviously agree that KKK members are bad, you should feel bad for having even a single thing in common with one.” But that would be ridiculous and uncalled for. Anyway, you really want me to give you the full list? Since apparently you’re not willing to just reread the archives yourself and see what’s right in front of your eyes? You got it: 1. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-52-4/ Max doesn’t think “unlimited ice cream creation” is a good power because “you can’t possibly eat it all.” Unlike Alison, it doesn’t occur to him that it might be good for the power to benefit other people. When Alison describes various ways she could make the power useful, Max chides her for trying to find “the right answer” instead of just picking the power she wants. Max is drawing a contrast between himself and Alison here; Max himself would focus on what he wants, instead of what would be best for everyone. Pretty innocuous on its own; this exchange functions as foreshadowing. 2. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-55-3/ Max expresses that his highest-priority principle is freedom–to live the live you want and be the person you want to be. In fact, he says “that’s all anyone wants.” So not only does he think that takes precedence over other principles like cooperation and altruism (note that he says that any interference in individual freedom is unethical), he can’t even conceive that other people might want something other than to live their lives freely (e.g., that other people might care more about the welfare of humanity as a whole than they do about personally having total freedom). Max’s default worldview centers on self-interest. 3. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-66-3/ Max doesn’t even know who does the hedge sculptures at his family’s home. He is not interested in knowing anything about the people who have made possible the luxuries he enjoys. As far as he’s concerned, the luxuries are just there. 4. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-67-3/ Max is nonchalant about his family’s employees working late with no overtime pay. 5. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-68-3/ Max’s immediate response to “hey, it’s not cool to exploit these workers by making them work extra hours for free” is to get angry at Alison for telling him what to do. The problem that affects him–“I don’t like being told what to do”–takes immediate and total priority over the problem that affects others–“I’m working late hours for no pay because I lack other realistic options.” 6. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-69-3/ Max demonstrates a complete lack of empathy for the workers’ situation. As far as he’s concerned, as long as they aren’t being literally made to work at gunpoint, exploiting them is totally acceptable since it’s technically their choice. He gives no consideration to the difficult position they are in; he makes no attempt to understand why their choice isn’t as free as he imagines it to be. More to the point, he sees no reason for his family to pay them fairly for their work, as long as they can get away with stiffing them. Surely you see how this is selfish? The problem isn’t that he didn’t send them home. Sure, maybe he doesn’t have that authority. The problem is that he doesn’t even see a legitimate reason to either let them go home after a normal workday, or compensate them for their overtime. He doesn’t even consider that it might be more ethical or more compassionate for his family to make a miniscule sacrifice (of money or man-hours) to substantially improve their employees’ lives, instead of wringing them dry of everything they can get–because the welfare of the employees doesn’t matter to him. Max demonstrates a belief that people should always prioritize their own self-interest over the interests of others. I.e., selfishness. 5. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-70-3/ Max, a selfish person who would never consider doing something not in his own self-interest, can’t even conceive that someone else might act selflessly. He assumes that Feral must be getting something out of it. He is projecting his own selfishness onto Feral. 6. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-82/ Max refuses to save thousands of lives because he doesn’t “feel like it.” When asked why he doesn’t feel like it, he says it doesn’t matter. In Max’s mind, any reason, no matter how trivial, is enough for him to justify letting thousands of people die. Max selfishly prioritizes his own desires over the lives of thousands of people. Note that Alison has not insulted or coerced him yet. 7. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-83-2/ Max wants to “fucking die” because his power only lets him help other people. He selfishly sees no value in helping others for its own sake, therefore he considers his power a “waste.” He outright says that he would rather have no powers than have one that only benefits people other than himself. 8. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-85-2/ Max says he won’t help because of the risk to himself, selfishly prioritizing his own safety over the lives of thousands of people. 9. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-85-2/ Same page. Max won’t help, he will never help, and even if he wanted to help, he would selfishly refuse to help because he wants to watch Alison realize she’s not getting her way. I look forward to you finding some tenuous reason to dismiss every single one of these examples. At that point I think we’ll be done here. I genuinely don’t understand how you can have read the same pages I have, and still hold this unshakeable belief that the author was not intentionally portraying Max as a fundamentally self-interested person. Arkone Axon Mainly because you are now being EXACTLY like those homophobes. No, not because of any prejudices (clearly you are not homophobic), but because you are just as intolerant of those who disagree with you, and just as quick to resort to nasty attacks. I stated that you’re sounding like the nitwits – i.e. a comment directed at your arguments, as you say you were aiming at mine. And yes, you are sounding exactly like them – complete with your repeated refusal to acknowledge anything I’ve said. Refuting those examples you cite? The only one that I (and others) haven’t already refuted (repeatedly) is the one about the ice cream… and you’re actually jumping on his joking banter during a light hearted bit of casual conversation during a pleasant evening stroll and using that as “proof” of selfishness? You’re saying he’s selfish because… he thinks it would be an unpleasant power to produce unlimited ice cream from his NOSE? (and who would even want to eat ice cream covered in snot?) The page updated, btw. At this point Alison is no longer talking about the “thousands.” She has made it clear she did not care about the “thousands.” She cared about Feral being tortured. Which is noble of her, to care about a friend’s suffering. But she has now confirmed, the comic has now established as canonical, that Alison cared more about Feral than about the people Feral would have saved. I do not think she was being selfish for her opinions and values. But I am saying, point blank, and no amount of “we’re done heres” is going to take away from this incontrovertible point: IF you think that Max is selfish, then you must also accept that Alison is at least as selfish, if not more so. Stephanie “Mainly because you are now being EXACTLY like those homophobes.” Yeah, we’re done here. Arkone Axon …Yep. Pretty much exactly the same mindset, tactics, and insinuations as when I pointed out that hate crimes against LGBTs are a real thing. Yeah. (And I went to bed giggling at the idea of trying to feed starving people snot flavored ice cream while trying to convince them that it’s not horribly condescending and insulting to feed them a fattening yet nutritionally bankrupt dessert covered in someone’s snot…) Stephanie You are the very definition of the pigeon knocking over the chess pieces and then strutting around the board like it’s won. I think I’m just going to block you. Arklyte Being rich =/= being sociopathic autist. Stephanie It’s not cool to equate autism with being a selfish asshole. Autistic people are every bit as capable of compassion as neurotypical people are. Max isn’t autistic, he’s just a douche. Tylikcat Seriously. And let us consider that his social affect would seem to be pretty unusual for someone on the spectrum? This doesn’t even make sense. Debbie Jackson Agreed. He’s very, very unlikely to be written as autistic. Although now that it’s been brought up, there definitely is an interesting take on the Max character incorporating some sociopathic tendencies. Sociopathy doesn’t necessarily mean that the sociopath is entirely unaware of the motivations and desires of others. Many sociopaths are intelligent enough to fully disguise their condition by the mimickry of social cues which implies at least some awareness of the reason behind those cues’ existence and the increased manipulative potential that their use provides to manage others’ expectations. However they tend to see other humans as entertainment and manipulate those expectations based on what they want to get out of any particular interaction. Their personal reality is the only one that matters and they struggle to place themselves in someone else’s. This strongly reminds me of Max’s presumptiveness about the satisfaction of others and extreme lack of human empathy – as Alison says, it’s as if he’s simply unconcerned. He’s happy to author for himself whatever version of the world best suits his interests. Tylikcat …maybe? If he’s a sociopath, he’s sure a stompy pouty one. I kind of see him as immature and self-absorbed… (Though I still kind of wonder what it was he was looking for from Alison in the first place.*) I mean… oh, hell. I suppose I’m saying “If he were a sociopath, I would have expected better of him?” …which is a bad argument. I suppose I mean a smart sociopath. But again – lack of information. * There’s the terrible answer. A few of men have been drawn to be because I’m smart, or because I’m skilled at this or that, and AFAICT part of the attraction was a sense that they would own my smarts and skills once we were in a committed relationship. So instead of the fantasy where I make them look cool, there’s the reality where they are intimidated by actual me, because heavens knows, they can’t enjoy actual me and bring their own stuff to the table. (And I get super grouchy if they tried to get proprietary about my body, my ideas or my work.) Nnngh. I’ve gotten a lot better at spotting this and avoiding it. Debbie Jackson Well, in fairness, the term ‘sociopath’ is going out of fashion nowadays anyway and instead all similar conditions are starting to be described by the blanket definition of ‘antisocial personality disorder’. Yet ASPD doesn’t imply that the person in question is unable to feel their own emotions, or even respond to the demonstrated emotions of others; it simply makes them less bothered about these things, possessing a severe lack of empathy and conscience regarding the impact their actions (or lack of action) can have on other people. They can care *very* strongly about their own wants, needs and interests, and express those things as calmly or as violently as they see fit, but they are more likely to be cold and callous or simply apathetic to a situation that involves the needs of others (as opposed to regretful or overwhelmed, say). Quick summary of the condition here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder Potentially this partially exonerates Max insofar as he would then be the victim of a personality disorder skewing his opinion away from the altruistic. We cannot at all be sure that this diagnosis is accurate, and even if it were, he might genuinely be a self-absorbed and uncaring person even without the disorder in play, so I’m not trying to use this to excuse his actions or choices – but his motives might be less *consciously* callous and petty in that situation. But I find it to be an interesting examination of his personality and motives – someone who literally did not see the use in caring about what happened to other people outside anything that might impact on them, and who was so privileged and sheltered they didn’t understand how improving aspects of society advances quality of life for all, probably *would* choose to maintain their safety via inaction over the salvation of millions via a risky or coercible action they did not wish to take. They’d also be more comfortable with remorselessly causing another human deep pain and suffering because it suited them and they had a personal grudge Bear in mind also that those with a high enough level of intelligence and interpersonal awareness to completely conceal the disorder’s presence will logically go undiagnosed. Arklyte Being capable =/= actually being 100% of the time. Arklyte Plus you ignored “sociopathic” bit, Stephanie. Stephanie I have no idea why you think either of your responses were good counterarguments. This is really very simple: Don’t use “autistic” or “autist” as insults, and don’t equate lack of compassion with autism. It’s needlessly unkind to actual autistic people. If you consider yourself a decent person, you should stop doing that. Arklyte If you consider yourself a decent person, you will stop jumping to conclusions and read what people had written instead of “what they’ve meant” in your opinion. I equate lack of compassion with sociopathy(unlike you apparently). It’s needlessly f//cking unkind to other human being on other side who’re fed up with what people “assume”. All in all, I’m a massive a//hole, don’t waste your time, have a nice day. Goodbye. Debbie Jackson And as a corollary, being autistic doesn’t automatically make you a compassionate and concerned human being with divergent neurology hampering some of those efforts, either.. humans run the gamut on all axes. I think the term you were stretching for was simply “sociopathic” which already implies an inability to register or give value to the personal realities of other people. Debbie Jackson No, she doesn’t relate because she’s grown to a point where the idea of being entirely inured to and disaffected by others’ human suffering is inimical to her worldview. Whereas he’s been sheltered (although not entirely by choice) and living in immense privilege. Due to this and a massive lack of empathy Max’s personal needs and pain are as severe to him as anything he can imagine another human being might experience – should he ever make that cognitive effort at all. Wealth is not the same as a complete detachment from responsibility and the human condition. Tylikcat Aw, you’re cute. A chunk of my family (well, a couple of chunks of a large, ridiculous family) is quite wealthy. Some of them I like, some of them I don’t. Max does remind me a bit of my younger brother… except a) my younger brother is in his mid-thirties and far worse than Max from what I’ve seen and b) I at least have some really good memories of my younger brother. Max I mostly just find annoying. Hell, I actively liked my brother when he was twenty.* Yes, I think Alison shouldn’t have table flipped with Max. But this is less because I think Max deserves love and compassion – I mean, probably in some cosmic sense he does, but Alison only has so much time, and she gets to decide when someone sucks enough that she doesn’t want them in her life – than because Alison wanted something from him and I don’t think table flipping best served her long term goals. (I was disinherited, but then, I went into tech, was briefly a tech millionaire, and even though I’ve chosen research, am pretty comfortable. There’s also a great deal of satisfaction of having done it on my own. I might be tempted back into industry someday – we’ll see. Science policy also sings a siren song.) * Okay, there was the time when he tried to tell me that bisexuals didn’t exist. And sure, he’d just had a brief relationship with a bicurious boy who decided he was straight after all. But this is not something to try with your bi older sister, who paved the way for you to have a much easier coming out experience. Though… it was kind of hilarious. AshlaBoga “Science policy also sings a siren song.” Well, if you can prevent Trump from damaging it (presuming you live in the USA) I’d salute you for that. Tylikcat *snort* I wish. I’m an early career scientist. For what I’m thinking about, it would be a couple of years minimum before it would make sense for me to make that kind of career move – though I’m keeping my ears open. There are some interesting fellowships, though a lot of them are aimed at people substantially junior to me 🙂 (OTOH, I have no shame, so who knows?) palmvos ok… wait a minute. she cant relate to Max because he is rich? Alison has merchandise, dolls and the like that still sell. after getting kicked out of her roomate situation with no phone to call for help… she gets an apartment in New York to herself. is paying for starting Valkyrie out of her own money (I’ve watched someone try to start a 501c themselves and it isn’t cheap!) has been able to ignore a very large check for at least a few months if not a few years. (that’s what she finally went back to the guardian base for) and based on the conversations with her parents… she isn’t getting help from them. I think that Alison is in the .75% if not .5% by herself. zellgato …….THIS IS PROOF he planned this.WHy? cause… He keeps his chips in his suit jacket.. not his over coat! not really proof or anything. Just… a very odd habit all things considered. Shweta Narayan maybe he has both. or the superpower mentioned above. Mechwarrior Having the power to pull delicious snacks out of your jacket at will would be awesome. Jac Always remember to take snack breaks and drink water on your philosophical journeys!