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Arjun War Crime Story Time! This is going to be a long week or so (praying for walls of text…) Also, Frank called – that City doesn’t look like his City (kidding, always liked this style of art…) Dawn Smashington Al’s never gonna sleep again The Dread Pirate Steve #812 From how long this conversation is going with no end in sight, Al won’t be doing anything else ever again! Eric Schissel There’s only 2 episodes a week and a few panels an episode; conversations like this are rare at best in comics (that they’re not to everyone’s taste obviously goes without saying, so I’m not sure why I am saying it :)) They are also by nature expansive, usually. (_I’m_ enjoying it wonderfully, but, not surprising. (There were three degrees I considered concentrating in (“concentrating”, right) and one was after all Philosophy. (It’s not too surprising either, in all that I didn’t do so well with my actual major, either, but that’s neither here there penguin …)) Part of the reason was a good Moral Philosophy overview course I took my first semester of college- 1987, I think . (The textbook had mostly excerpts, unfortunately, from a wide range of authors from Plato & Aristotle to very recent authors including, I believe, some cognitive science contributions from the class professor, but for its kind of anthology I recall its being good. The preceptor/TA/whatever was _quite_ good.) Danygalw (so specific) Dawn Smashington We can’t see if he has scars yet in his reverie, and it looks like his nose at least is as yet unbroken. Definitely some kind of freedom fighting had to have happened after this. Part of me is still holding out for “villain” Guwara, just because I think he’d make an amazing adversary for Al; especially now he’s got a sympathetic story, he can get in her head in a way that Menace can’t, because Patrick isn’t creative enough to be the kind of philosopher that Guwara is. But then, as he’s demonstrating, reality doesn’t have a lot of patience for absolutes in ideology, no matter how pretty we think truth is or should be. Al may just have to come to terms with a frustratingly ambiguous world that resists things like justice, because justice isn’t an actual thing that exists. All we have are choices. Ugly, gross choices, like getting mushroom or plain cheese pizza. Nobody wants either of those things, but if you don’t choose, you starve. Hypothetically. I’m going to bed now. Marc Forrester The trick is to always have a little garlic pepper and hot sauce. Weatherheight Depends on the mushrooms. Or the cheese for that matter. And both beat going hungry. Heck – pizza bones. Just saying. Aubren Lewis But I know lots of people who want plain cheese pizza? I used to be one of those people? Roman Snow “In my past, I also forced someone to use their abilities to do the right thing.” Albeit in a much more plausible set of circumstances. Arkone Axon You realize the page ends with a bit of a cliffhanger there, right? There is a VERY good chance that the next page will involve Guwara realizing he’s done something very, very bad. It could be the doctor was a member of the same religion as his dying friend. Or he might have forced the doctor and terrorized him, only for his friend to die anyway. Or he might have squeezed the trigger by accident: boom, dead doctor, and no help for the dying friend. Roman Snow You realize that EVERY page ends in “a bit of a cliffhanger” in this medium, right? What happens on the next page isn’t going to change what comment I wanted to leave on this page with the information I had at the time. Arkone Axon I agree. And I apologize – I thought you were indeed assuming such. Or to be more precise, I thought you were one of the people who responded to my own post on this page, where I pointed out that Max is literally and truly innocent – neither good nor bad, neither saint nor demon, merely an overgrown child with ludicrously wealthy, criminally neglectful, and yet insanely overprotective parents. There are a lot of people commenting on these who all agree that Max is literally the worst person in the comic (“literally” as in, I am quoting their exact words) because he said “No, I choose not to risk becoming publicly known as a walking video game powerup in order to do something at the demand of a person who can’t even pretend to be polite long enough to make the demand.” (which they have claimed really means “I want to see innocent people die just to see the look on your face, because I’m in no danger whatsoever from the threat you’re about to prove is very real.”). I can already see people rushing to apply the same prejudgement towards the doctor who said “That man is supposed to have about five liters of blood in him; he presently has about one liter in him. This is not something I can fix with the resources currently at my disposal.” (Or as they’re already claiming, “I can’t be bothered to save this man because I am a doctor and therefore have the ability to miraculously fix any and all conditions if I only want to badly enough.”) Freemage The problem I have with the “Max is an innocent” narrative is that it’s no more true of him than it is of Alison, yet you’re granting him every benefit of the doubt, and her none. They’re peers, they’ve had their respective life experiences, but they’re also legally adults, capable of at least thinking about the consequences of their actions–and their inaction. Alison is at least making the effort; Max shows no interest in consequence whatsoever. His dismissal of Alison was made after she made it quite clear to him why she was asking for his help. He ignored Feral’s ongoing suffering. Maybe Alison should’ve just opted to follow the law. You know, by reporting Max’s congresswoman mother to the world at large for abusing her position to keep his identity secret, and his father for employing people illegally. The latter probably wouldn’t be a real issue, but with the scandal over his mother’s actions, every misdeed would simply be another avenue for attack by her political opponents. Hey, maybe once the family was disgraced and his parents doing jail time, Max could’ve found work as a day-laboring gardener. But instead, Alison did what she’d been trained to do for nearly a decade, by her own government–she took the law into her own hands, administering the closest thing she could see to ‘justice’ at that time. Again, ANY exemption based on youth and life-experience you want to give to Max’s self-absorption and pettiness must also be granted Alison’s violence. Arkone Axon Actually, Max was very interested in consequence. Specifically, the consequences of being outed. His situation was literally equivalent to that of a homosexual of a century ago, where being exposed meant arrest and incarceration as a “degenerate.” Max spent half his life (i.e. from the moment he discovered his powers) living in fear of biodynamics learning about his powers and then forcing him to serve them without his consent. He attempted to explain his life’s story to her, describing his fear to her. She then dismissed it in an incredibly rude fashion. That is when he told her to get out – which was perfectly justified of him. She literally could not be bothered to conceal her loathing of him long enough to ask for him to risk everything for the sake of someone he had never met. That is why I have not condemned Alison – because she herself agrees with the position I am presenting here. She herself has stated that her refusal to show empathy, her multiple felonies, all of it, was unconscionable no matter how righteous her motives (and she’s almost admitted that her motives weren’t even all that righteous; it was never about the thousands of innocents, just Feral). But yes, Alison could have opted to follow the law. Then she could have opened up a betting pool to see which biodynamic would be the first to kidnap Max or hold his loved ones hostage. Destroy his life completely, in what would be an undeniably sadistic and petty act. But yes, I am granting a similar amount of leeway to Alison: she’s not only young, but she’s a child-soldier suffering from the training and conditioning at the hands of a government that encouraged her to engage in mass destruction because she was a convenient distraction. The whole point of this story is Alison’s quest to find a more effective method of saving the world than just punching giant robots. The only reason I’m not giving her the same “she’s innocent” judgement as Max is that she DID do something: assault, torture, kidnapping, terroristic threats. The reason she hasn’t fallen into full-bore “supervillain” territory yet is that she acknowledges it, and now seeks to fix things. Much as she wanted to do with the playground. (Of course, the first step would be to learn to stop breaking the things in the first place, through her reckless “No time to waste, I must use violence at the earliest possible opportunity!” approach to problems) Zorae42 Max is not the literal worst person in the comic. But he is not innocent nor is he as sympathetic as you’re attempting to paint him. 1. You’ve made some assumptions about his parents. We have no indication that they’re neglectful (and even less that they’re criminally so, wtf where do you even get that?). Nor do we have any evidence that they’re somehow also overprotective. The only protective thing they’ve done is pull strings to not let him get registered, which is completely reasonable considering the nature of his power. 2. She DID ask him nicely. Off panel she explained everything to him (most likely in a polite way as he had not had a chance to say no yet), and then asked what he thought. Then she apologized for leaving him at dinner when he was being an ass. And then he said no. And he didn’t bring up “risk of being outed” until his second to last reason, not very high up on his list apparently. Which went: wah I don’t like my power then I’m scared and finally no because fuck you personally Alison (literally his reason). 3. She explained how he’d be in almost no risk of being outed and honestly telling someone who knows your secret ‘no’ to something very important to them is even riskier. If he was really ‘living in fear of being outed’, he certainly didn’t act that way (and if he was, why the heck did he even go out with her in the first place?). She didn’t even resort to force until he was like “It was a noble effort”. Like holy shit, I would’ve slammed his face too for saying such a fucking douchey thing (not that he ‘deserves’ what happened to him, but God I wanted to punch him at that point). Arkone Axon You’re… rather jumping around here. Your first point acknowledges that the nature of his power means that secrecy is about the only protection he has against having his life destroyed and everyone around him being put in danger from anyone who thinks that their need for his services justifies any possible action. And… I’m not going to say “if you were a parent,” because you don’t have to be a parent to understand this point: If you’re a DECENT PERSON, and you have a child who thinks their special ability (biodynamic power, artistic ability, intelligence, etc) is useless, then the proper thing to do is to encourage them to see the potential in their abilities, to discover their true potential. Telling your kid “you have a special gift, but it’s one we think is stupid and you are a loser and a failure,” that is what is generally regarded as PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE. Your second point claims that she asked him politely because of things he supposedly said off-panel, when her on-screen words were extremely rude, offensive, and hypocritical (which again, is something that Alison has acknowledged as of several pages ago and holy crap why do people still not get that the webcomic and even the character have now established that it is canonical fact that she was rude in the extreme?). Third point… you’re jumping back and forth again, first saying “almost no risk by helping… and if you don’t do what I want, then that’s even riskier.” That’s the kind of false reassurance a prizefighter gets from a mob boss who just asked them to take a dive. And honestly… your last statement sums it up. “He didn’t do anything wrong – but I think he’s a douchebag and so who can blame her for being violent?” I’ve been seeing so many tropes here in this comic… or to be more precise, in the comments section. This one would be “Ron the Deatheater.” http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RonTheDeathEater Zorae42 Those were his own words about his own power. Not something told to him by his parents. I have no idea how you got that into your head. Yeah she was rude. After he said no to her polite and reasonable request. Something you keep ignoring to try and paint him as more sympathetic. Still a valid point. If he was sooo motivated by fear as you’re attempting to claim, he would’ve been terrified of saying no to her. And would never have effectively told someone who knew his secret ‘screw you personally’. I can’t blame her for being violent. Although kidnapping and forcing him to use his power is much more than slamming his face for being an ass. He didn’t deserve to have that happen to him, although I find Alison’s actions sympathetic even though they were definitely wrong. I can throw tropes around too. The one you’re suffering from is “Draco in leather pants”. Arkone Axon Wow… literally every bit of that came around to “I will ignore every bit of logic and facts in order to justify what the character I like did to the character I do not like.” Props to completely dismissing the entire concept of psychological abuse (“someone who thinks poorly of themselves clearly must have come to that conclusion on their own, and their parents couldn’t possibly be responsible!”), as well as ignoring canonical facts established by the comic itself(Alison openly bemoaning how she was neither polite nor reasonable and how she could have sidestepped the entire conflict if she’d simply treated him as a person with valid fears, hopes, and issues of his own. While Guwara snacked on chips and a duck watched). Every thing you said in this reply, from the mocking claim that he wasn’t afraid, to the “but Imma keep on claiming she was only rude after he said no to her polite and reasonable request,” are things I’ve answered in previous comments elsewhere. Not going to bother arguing further because it’s just getting boring. Zorae42 I dismissed a theory you stated as a fact. Who knows, maybe his parents were abusive. But that hasn’t been explicitly shown to us. And to make statements like it has is terribly misleading. That nice that you have that headcannon, but you can’t bring it out and call it a fact to support your views. You are not one to talk about ignoring facts. You’re right, for some reason you’ve got this image in your head of Max being this poor downtrodden soul that Alison horribly mistreated for no reason other than that she could. And clearly arguing with you about it isn’t going to change your viewpoint even to acknowledge that he was kind of a dick (which still doesn’t mean he deserved what happened to him). I guess I’m done trying to have this discussion with you as well. Since it’s clearly pointless. Lostman It could easily end with his friend dying, even with doctors help. Elaine Lee That wouldn’t make it wrong to try and save a friend. It wouldn’t even make it wrong to force a doctor to help you save (or fail to save) the friend. There are only three reasons for the doctor to refuse to help: 1) Gurawa is correct and the doctor is a bigot, 2) the doctor is a coward, frightened that helping the man will backfire on him, or 3) he doesn’t want to be bothered. 1 and 3 are poor excuses. Forcing a doctor with those excuses doesn’t seem evil to me. Number 2 is a more valid excuse, as not only the doctor, but his family may be endangered in a wartime situation like this. However, holding the doctor at gunpoint would give him an out, if he were caught helping a member of a despised minority. “I couldn’t help it, Sir. They were holding me a gunpoint.” In this case, you’d actually be helping the doctor, as well. Vegetalss4 There are easily more than 3 possible reasons, say for instance: 4) the friend truly is beyond saving, and being in a war zone there is no shortage of other people the doctor could be treating instead, several of which could easily enter the “beyond saving” category if the doctor wastes his time and medicine on someone who will die anyway. Marc Forrester The human body can survive ridiculous injuries, wounds can be fatal or not by a single millimeter. That’s not a judgement you can make at a glance. It’s also really shitty bedside manner. Lysiuj Of course, the same extreme situation that might justify passing over a seemingly hopeless patient, might also justify forcing a doctor at gunpoint. Kevin B. They knocked on his door. He wasn’t out in the field or in a hospital or such; there was no triage situation. Also, doctors can’t actually see if someone is really beyond saving from just one look. Arkone Axon There was an article I read last year, about what it’s like to work in an E.R. One of the anecdotes was about a street gang bringing in the dead body of one of their own, and literally demanding they save him at gunpoint. “He dies, you die.” And the doctors had to pretend to work on a frickin’ CORPSE for a half hour, until they could resolve the situation. Dean They were at a small town doctor’s office, in a warzone, most likely in a Third World country. The doctor almost certainly wasn’t equipped to treat a serious injury. Max Michalik In order: It wouldn’t fit if he suddenly switched to black and white morality in his story after all that he has said before. For what it’s worth, I’d have done the same as Guwara. That would merely be a lesson to not use violence based on hunches and shaky evidence. So violence becomes better the surer you’re of the outcome. The lesson with the last one would be that Al should isolate herself from people because she might kill someone by accident. She *is* a living weapon. As I see it none of your hypothetical scenarios would prove “threaten a (potentially hostile) stranger for a realistic chance of saving a friend’s life” more or less wrong than it already is as it stands. Urthman I don’t think he’s using this story to justify Alison’s (or his) actions, merely to say he’s not going to tell people about what she did because he did something similar once. Arkone Axon I agree. It seems as if he’s trying to tell her, “I know EXACTLY where you’ve been, I know the guilt you’re feeling.” Arkone Axon “With no proof other than the counsel of my own heart.” I’m reminded of an incident where someone, a former friend, had let themselves be manipulated by a rather horrible person into believing the absolute worst of me. I challenged them to provide some example of something I’d actually done, and… they couldn’t. But then they said this one thing, this one line: “But I know in my heart that you’re a horribly selfish and manipulative person.” There was more to it after that, but that was the big thing that stuck with me. It’s part of why I’ve been so adamant about how everyone badmouthing Max and insisting how he’s a horribly awful and terrible person who completely deserved everything Alison did and more, how… they’ve got nothing to offer as proof. Absolutely nothing, unless you want to go with the triple card of race, gender, and economic status. Otherwise, you’re just trying to rationalize what Alison did because you want to defend her actions no matter what. Now I’m not saying that Max is a saint. He’s far from it – and far from a villain. He’s a sheltered rich kid who hasn’t done ANYTHING, good or bad, as far as we know. Any statements of “but look at all this stuff he’s probably done” is purely conjecture. He hasn’t even been employing migrant workers to toil at night – he specifically said they were working for one of his father’s aides; he’s just the guy living in the apartment where they were contracted to perform their services by someone else. He’s truly innocent – which is not the same thing as good, it just means “hasn’t done or experienced anything yet.” Olivier Faure I think you’re making a false dichotomy. There a wide range of confidence levels between “have no evidence at all” and “have absolute, easily demonstrated proof”. Right now we have fairly strong circumstantial evidence that Max is Kind Of a Prick, and selfish to the point of hurting others by inaction. juleslt He *did* refuse to lift a finger to save countless lives when he could very easily do so, with no excuse other than “I don’t want to”. That should be enough. Olivier Faure I know it’s petty of me, but I kinda wonder how much money (compared to what they make) the average “he didn’t want to save lives therefore he’s a monster” commenter gives to Against Malaria Foundation, or an equivalent QALY-saving charity. Vigil 25%. I know, I know – it should be more; and it will be. I’m working my way up while trying not to terrify my family with the amount. Of course, to increase that I need to reduce my discretionary spending, and reduce the size of the financial “safety cushion” I will have in the future. Both measures are probably fine, and should still keep me in decent well-being (and if they don’t I will cut back). So they are sacrifices I should, and will, make. But they are still sacrifices. All Max had to do to make thousands of times more of a difference was be taken flying in the moonlight by a superhero he was attracted to. I remain unimpressed. Kevin B. 5% of yearly income after taxes to Doctor without borders. Max Michalik Most of us sadly hide away from all the monetary life saving we can do around the world. But I’d say there’s a qualitative difference between not donating to a distant charity and not being willing to save a life when directly confronted with it. Because the (admittedly utilitarian) alternative is that someone who has donated enough to save a few lives but then walks past a dying man on the street without caring or doing anything is a better person than someone who tries to save that guy’s life but hasn’t given anything to charity. Vigil I’d like to clarify: Utilitarianism offers zero judgments or metrics about who might be a “good person”, or who might be a “better person”. It concerns itself solely with the effects of actions. You could build some artificial equation out of total good done, total potential to do good, opportunity cost for doing the good, etc., I suppose, trying to avoid obvious pitfalls like “Bill Gates who has donated 95% of his wealth and still has enough to live a comfortable life for thousands of years is better than someone struggling to make it by themselves who still manages to give a little of their money every month to those worse off than them”. But that is not something utilitarianism cares about – it cares only about the results. “Good person” is a useful heuristic for social animals like humans to use – e.g. in your example if someone was able to have a decent chance at saving someone’s life that they were walking past, and didn’t take it (high proximity, low opportunity cost, potentially high value results), I would interpret that as a terminal lack of empathy for other humans, and probably be unwilling to trust that person very far, no matter how much money they had donated to worthy causes (which I would at that point probably interpret as an attempt at moral licensing based on the other behaviour). But it doesn’t really have a meaning in utilitarianism other than possibly the cold calculation of “ally who I might be able to cooperate/reason with to do good”. Tylikcat I wonder how many of us who live in major cities can be really certain that we haven’t walked past people who were dying… rather than people who were merely homeless and passed out, or sleeping, or…? I am cautious about judging the trade-offs others have made. I am no longer an over-paid software engineer, and yet it wasn’t until after my first attempt at retirement* that I really was able to take hold of my values and finances in a way that suited me. And even then… I suppose I might do better for the world if I stayed in tech** and put most of my money towards good works. Or gone into more near term research. (Don’t get me wrong, I can and do give stirring impromptu presentations about why sea slug neurobiology is important. I am a menace.) Instead, when I decided to seek out meaningful work, I decided to more or less follow my nose, and define meaningful by my whims. I’m pretty focused on living a good life, but I am incredibly idiosyncratic about definitions 🙂 I live in a society that, while wealthy, sucks donkey balls at providing a safety net, and reliable medical care. I can understand why people fear. If I had a family, it would be much harder for me to make the decisions I have. I think most people feel pretty chronically helpless and disempowered. * And, to some extent, the dissolution of my marriage, but my husband was both very expensive and generally an element of chaos. Also, apparently I kind of such at retirement. ** Or not. No one is happy when I’m bored. Please believe me in this. (…it is possible that I could provide references.) David Gillon “over-paid software engineer” Ha, clearly you didn’t work for Evil Aerospace! “sea slug neurobiology is important” Particularly to sea slugs 😉 Tylikcat I have been entirely upfront about my employment, which meant that for most of my career (other than a brief stint in educational software) I worked for Microsoft – rather than Boeing, which was another local choice. Honestly, as was common in the mid to late nineties, my salary was never *that* great – because initial grant of stock options were substantial, and this covered the period where MSFT was splitting every year. So, indeed, no evil aerospace for me, though many of my friends went that route 🙂 …and it’s explaining why sea slug neurobiology is important to humans that takes a serious sales pitch. Though, it’s not that I’m actually so much into giving sales pitches at that I’m both outgoing and chronically enthused about my research. (One of my best neurobio friends and I are hoping to do a podcast in a few years, actually.) It is the zeal of complete sincerity. Sad! David Gillon Maybe my messages should be labelled: Warning, may contain British sense of humour 😉 That was more me cynically reflecting on UK/aerospace salaries than on you with MS (which I knew about) – UK salaries are substantially lower than US to start with, and the aerospace/defence companies paid less than average. But I made a deliberate decision to work in that field. (And ‘Evil Aerospace’ is because I’m legally bound not to talk about my employer by name as part of the legal settlement for why I don’t have a career any more). “chronically enthused” There are worse things to be! Tylikcat Oh, fear not. While it’s probably best to assume that there’s a degree of humor in, oh, 90% of my posts, I usually respond pretty straightforwardly, even when it confuses people that I do so. (It cuts down on the overall confusion of the text medium, while preserving my greater sense of absurdity.) David Gillon I’m all for a greater sense of absurdity 😉 Debbie Jackson I’m living on the most basic of basic incomes for our relatively wealthy nation – my husband makes enough to support 1.5 people at best, we live in the poorest and most heavily unemployed county/state of the continent, and I’m off work due to long, protracted illness and receiving no governmental support for that, only able to hang about on the internet due to the help and support of my parents helping us ensure we’ve somewhere stable to live. So I don’t give a *ton* to charity, but I do still help out when and where I can. Mostly I signal boost to other more well-off people. If I were in Max’s position I would very happily give away a massive chunk of what seems to be his messing-around money.. Pythia http://tab.gladly.io/?r=11141785 Add a little bit at a time… Debbie Jackson Although bear in mind my comments have certainly been on the moderate side of the ‘monster’ camp, at their wildest. Tylikcat I don’t think Max is a monster. Or at least, if he is, I don’t think I have the information to know that yet. From what I know – he’s not ripe yet. There are some worrisome tendencies. And yet, I think Alison treated him abhorrently (if understandably). Ethics is a complicated multidimensional space. Now, from what I saw of him prior to all of this, Max did not impress me and I wouldn’t want to hang out with him socially. This is an entirely different form of evaluation! There are an awful lot of people in the world, and I have very little time – twit in my personal evaluation doesn’t mean I want the wrath of god to rain down upon their heads. …I just would prefer not to interact with them on my own time. (Of course, as a forty-something, it’s likely our interactions would be different. Though I’ve had a string of interactions with older twenty-somethings recently that left me going, “Um, yo, I’m in my forties, we should be having a polite and formal interaction and you should definitely not be hitting on me.” Yikes. No, I’m definitely complaining.) (His current position would make him an interesting person to interact with in a professional capacity. Say, as a martial arts student, or perhaps in an academic context.) Insanenoodlyguy Allison’s actions are fare more likely to great a supervillian out of Max then a hero though. Not saying it’s going that way at all, for all I know well never see him again in the comic and “he got over it” is the canon in our artists mind, but trauma can birth monsters as easily as it can birth empathy. Tylikcat …though I am so tired about hearing about how trauma can birth monsters. a) First, there is all the prurient interest in monsters, which seems to be serving on the one hand an interest in entertainment and spectacle, and on the other reassuring ourselves that we would never ever turn into such creatures. b) Second, as I’ve said before the concept is just so terribly inflated. There is a statistical correlation. But that just means an increased likelihood. To look at a lot of the fictional tropes, you’d really think someone with my actual life history would have job prospects of prostitute and/or drug addict, or serial killer! When I’m really getting in a pissy mood (and I am about to bike down to the lab to take care of slugs, rather than take a nap I could really use) I kind of want to implore people to look at it from another standpoint – We’ve created a world that has broadly cut down on the experience of trauma for people in developed countries. (If you look at some of the accounts we have of common people’s lives, gosh, for much of human history, there tended to be more hard knocks distributed broadly.) I’m all for that. But it creates a kind of odd set of expectations that this is what being a normal human is – and seriously, this is about the only time I know of you can say this for. Living in a hothou- er, growing up in a fine sheltered glade isn’t innately superior. It’s just another way to live. Living in a higher pressure environment,* some people do poorly and others flourish. And those are just other ways to live as well. (Though I often prefer to have a few people who have been through shit at my back if things are getting weird, just because the hysterics quotient tends to be way lower.)** * Notice that I have veered away from forge metaphors! ** Ah, yes, there’s the unmitigated bitchiness. Insanenoodlyguy Prurient interest is valid here though. What’s more interesting to a story, assuming we see Max again? Max got over it, or… A. Max is broken now, and a traumatized wreck. or B. Max is broken now, and responds to having felt powerless by wanting to put that pain out of him and somewhere else? Tylikcat Those are pretty much the black and white extremes though, aren’t they? And yes, this is a comic, but it’s not Alan Moore (and let me say a prayer of thanks – we don’t need another one.) In fiction everyone either goes full on recovery and redemption, or trauma become the backstory that is supposed to make the terrible villain more interesting! …whereas usually people end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe they part-way get over it. Maybe they don’t get over it at all, but they have some kind of coping strategy that let’s them limp through. Likely, they partway get over it, and then express their not getting over it in some kind of totally lame and banal sort of way… because that’s most of what people do. He’s far more likely to be a total douche to future girlfriends than go supervillain. Aubren Lewis …Pine Ridge Rez? Debbie Jackson No, I’m British – just in the butt end of one of the countries that England is currently sucking dry while revoking our EU funding. Or do you mean that as a suggestion for charity? Aubren Lewis Sorry, you said state and continent so I made assumptions. (You’re…not on a continent?) I remembered that that area had an extremrly high poverty/unemployment rate, so I was guessing where you live. Google tells me it’s probably Cornwall if you live in England, though. I have no idea what you mean by suggesting charity unless you’re asking for a personal donation, which I’m way to poor to give. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Debbie Jackson Okay, I can see there’s a lot of confusion here, so let me clear things up! I was asking you whether you were trying to guess at my own location or whether you were asing me to personally give money to Pine Ridge Reservation, since those were the only words in your comment! I didn’t know what you were trying to say. So please don’t send me cash! While I don’t actually want to broadcast my exact home address on this site it would probably help if you had a working knowledge of the area under discussion so that you don’t leave with the impression of someone trying to overplay their situation in life (although as I say we’re actually very lucky compared to a lot of the people in our direct surroundings). So! No, I don’t live in England. I come from one of the four countries of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus several island chains. The South-East of England traditionally enjoys a lot of wealth and prosperity and Westminster tends to heap the bulk of our shared tax revenue onto that part of that one country while the rest of us struggle. Due to this there’s massive wealth inequality and a lot of net migration within the UK as people move away to an area that actually has employent opportunities, public services and most other elements that require a well-funded council to provide. On which note, Cornwall is also technically a seperate portion of the UK, being a sovereign power before it was incorporated. Along with the rest of us ‘conquered nations’ it receives far less focus than the areas around London and the South-East. Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish counties are often supported quite heavily by EU financial grants and handouts as despite devolved powers of government the London-centric focus of the UK budget usually means that we don’t have enough money to pay upkeep on our infrastructure let alone to actually revitalise failing areas. The upshot of all this is that the UK has one of the highest rich-poor wealth disparities in the entire world, both from person to person and from region to region. I said county/state simply because a surprising number of Americans don’t understand what we Brits mean when we describe our country as being effectively segmented into county jurisdictions. The closest thing to our setup that I’ve found for ease of explanation is the way states are seperated in the US – but on a severely smaller scale, of course, and without most of the localised regulations. It’s strange since if I recall correctly US States are also subdivided into counties, so the concept should translate, but apparently doesn’t more often than not. Additionally many UK states are the size of US municipalities and have similar levels of independent function (which is to say, fairly low). The UK is officially part and parcel of the European continent (despite being very slightly seperate, geographically, to the tune of 18 nautical miles). We consider ourselves culturally, geographically, economically and historically European. The recent ‘Brexit’ vote is about to shake some of that sentiment up a bit but even if we do depart the European Union we’ll remain European by categorisation; it will only end up affecting our economic trade area and potentially the freedom of movement across our borders. There are other island nations within the European group as well, such as Ireland, Malta, and Iceland, to name but a few. People tend to refer to specifically landlocked areas of Europe as “mainland Europe” for this reason. So when I say that my county and local area is one of the poorest and worst for unemployment on the continent, what I mean to say is that my underfunded Welsh county is one of the poorest counties *in the whole of Europe*. At the time of Brexit I believe it was actually last on the list although it may have been surpassed since. Greater London by contrast is the richest county *in the whole of Europe*. We don’t just have the greatest rich/poor divide in Europe.. we ARE the entire European wealth disparity. Joblessness is the status quo, here, even though most of the population of my town have at least a university degree. Food is at a premium as the mountains make long-distance deliveries expensive and troublesome. Housing is mainly owned by a few wealthy absent landowners and the majority of people rent substandard and often uninhabitable housing at peak rates from letting agents in a completely different country. Benefits are being completely slashed as well which further decreases the amount many local people have to fuel the economy with. The poverty of my area could be reversed, literally tomorrow, by our own sovereign powers and treasury. Instead they are pressing for us to lose our EU support because it costs the richer areas more than they receive back (oddly enough). You can understand why the nation is politically so divided! Here’s a map of the average economic strength per region across Europe to illustrate my point. Note the very dark purple on the western edge of Britain (the right-hand UK island). I hope this makes sense, and gives you a bit of insight into the frustrations of the UK political system. http://www.citymetric.com/business/most-britain-poorer-european-average-and-other-things-we-learned-map-2721 Aubren Lewis I was trying to guess at your location. I was trying to scare you a bit, having some weirdo stranger on the internet find out what exact state/county you live in based on the information you provided. But it didn’t work out. I’d tell you my state in solidarity, but I don’t think you need it! The British Isles aren’t really a It’s not really a part of the continent in a scientific sense, but I understand the cultural boundaries. It still weird to read “England is a part of the European continent”, though. Oh well. Thanks for the info, I guess. I definitely came across articles saying that the poorest counties in the UK were poorer than Poland. That explains it. So if I’m understanding correctly, the U.K skips states/provinces/territories and just goes straight to counties? Or that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England are those? You definitely have a grasp on how the states work. I will say that a part of the issue might be that Americans think that Scotland, England, and Wales are practicaly different countries from the U.K (and most people forget Northern Ireland). We tend to forget the political alliance, or at least undereatimate it. Then again, we do say thay the states are like seperate countries that speak the same language, so…hm. I can’t exactly hold our intelligence or education in highest regards, lol. Sorry guys. Somehow, mountain paths making the food cost more seems strange to me. Maybe it’s just because I see tourists and locals alike so eager to drive huge vehicles on tiny mountain paths that it seems strange they’d use it an “excuse” to bump up the cost. It makes a lot of sense, though. Driving truckloads of food on mountain roads is troublesome and risky. I understand clearly the financial disparity. The U.S has that too. Well, perhaps not on a continental level, but I don’t think Americans would be as scared by it as you are. The UK previously relied upon many countries on its continent for its financial status; whereas the U.S arrogantly feels like they *are* the continent, even if they know better. If a single county/state happened to be poorer then poorest ones in Canada and Mexico…then so what? Throw it on the news for a day, so sad, moving on. (I mean, we alrady have cities like Flint and the Rez’s we ignore.) When I lived in two certain states I felt like I was living in second world countries. In this third, I feel like I’m actually living in a first world country; what school taught me the U.S was. And yet, my tribe was at one point literally the richest people in the world. I live in legally unliveable housing in one of the richest states of the nation. And naturally the government which once urged me upwards now threatens to crash me financially into the dirt. All because the rich are greedy. You have my empathies. (Please, send cash xD) I’m not quite sure how to express my understanding to you in a way that’d make you satisfied, but…I understand the direness of your country’s situation, and how at least some of the issues are affecting it. It’s really bad. It’s terrible, it shouldn’t be happening at all, at yet it is because somehow the good voters didn’t do the turnout right and politicians are greedy to the point of stupidity. Debbie Jackson To answer your direct question, UK comprehensive schools (at least in my experience!) teach SEVEN continents. These are: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia (sometimes referred to as Oceania), Africa, and Antartica. Australia is both a country and a continent; the Australian Continent includes Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and others. Oceania also adds in New Zealand and the Micronesian and Polynesian islands but it is generally not considered a continent as it does not make up “a single continuous landmass.” I think the term “the Americas” is supposed to cover the totality of North and South America as well as Central America (which is usually described as part of S.A. continentally). Eurasia is just a portmanteau and a combination of Europe and Asia, based on the fact that we share a landmass, but this is something that we don’t tend to use in any real sense here in Europe. At least, not at primary-school levels of education! The traditionally accepted number of continents is seven. I’m interested in the idea of a “tribal children’s book” .. what does that mean? Stephanie I’m a “he didn’t want to save lives therefore he’s a monster” commenter, AMF is my preferred charity, and I donate about 5% of my pre-tax income there annually. Tylikcat I currently have budgeted 6.6% to all non-profits, in the form of recurring monthly donations. I try to keep to this (which is to say I to keep to down to it – the biggest case of trying to keep up with it is when I get a new bank card and I have to update everyone.) This does of course count groups like EFF aside, say, the Lifelong AIDS Alliance (formerly the Chicken Soup Brigade… that this one gets ranking is partly historical, I suppose? They tried to keep feeding people when a huge chunk of my community was dying in the eighties, and I was a teenager. As long as they still have work to do, I will give them money), and planned parenthood and MSF. It doesn’t count random one time donations, which come out of discretionary funds. (I live on a stipend, and try not to hit investments for anything other than emergencies. But I also own my home, and have some options.) Pythia http://tab.gladly.io/?r=11141785 Leaving this here. Again. Weatherheight For the record, I don’t hate Max but I do regret his limitations. My charitable giving dropped dramatically when I left “gainful employment” to take care of my parent with dementia. Strangely, even though I’m the least financially successful of all my siblings, I’ve ended up giving significant funds to each at some point without repayment (or expectation of same) and in a manner that has been relatively devastating to me personally (Not quite a year’s income – I would have no personal debt at all were those funds to suddenly appear in my bank account). On the other hand, I’ve always made enough to get by and set a little aside for the future and emergencies, my health is pretty good all things considered, I’ve only been homeless for a single six month period (and that was my own damned fault), and I have toys – lots of toys. I try to live my life in service to others, working jobs that help people in concrete ways (construction pun – sorry about that) and not worrying about how justly I’m being compensated (it’s worked out pretty well, all things considered). How well I’ve accomplished that goal.. well, not my place or within my capability to fairly judge, I feel. I’m hoping the butterfly effect is a thing… Matthew 6:19-21 is a code I try, with limited success, to live by – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.…” I try to avoid bringing up my faith bias – most people tend to stop listening to others when they feel preached at. But this verse suits the topic pretty well. Olivier Faure That… I don’t want to judge you, as a Stranger On the Internet, but that sounds a lot like you’re at the “light yourself on fire to keep others warm” end of the scale. Weatherheight It does sound that way. My friends would argue otherwise. There is a reason I chose a jack-ass as my avatar. 😀 cphoenix None of the things you list sound horrible to me. If you think they are horrible things to do, then I’d agree with Oliver about the “light yourself on fire” end of the scale. Would you feel the same way about those things if someone else did them? Weatherheight I’m basing the definition of “horrible” on two data points. a) immediate and continuing feedback from those I affected, and b) in the cases specified, my goal wasn’t to help those folks reach an epiphany – it was done because I was tired of the hassle of dealing with their shit and hurting them as badly as I possibly could seemed expedient, efficient, and effective. Furthermore, it was done quite intentionally and designed to destroy their self image and self esteem in the most damaging way possible to shame and humiliate them so they would avoid me – again, making my life more convenient at the expense of taking a real shot at destroying theirs. Getting older has changed my perspective. Thinking hard about how my actions impact others also has been significant. Talking things over with some of the people involved also helped. One thanks me for being an asshole, and every time I remind him that I wasn’t thinking about him at all at the time – it was all about me. I like to think I’m better than I was, but continuing evidence suggests I’m just finding new and different ways to be a jackass. On the plus side, the “Don’t do this deliberately” list is getting bigger. 😀 David Gillon I wouldn’t say petty so much as deeply problematical as it puts a monetary threshhold on being able to have an opinion. We worked out the property qualification for the franchise was a bad idea over a century ago. I imagine most people here are reasonably secure in their income, though with an American audience secure in their health care will be more doubtful, but some of us will be dealing with significant financial issues that will show charitable giving for what it is – a luxury. Lucy Merriman It is interesting. At what level of interpersonal closeness does it seem like a responsibility for the average person? Been on my mind lately, because many of my friends / acquaintances have done “GoFundMe”-type things to raise money, often for medical or dental expenses, or to be able to stay in school. In one case, in order to afford emergency housing and supplies when their house burned down. Rarely life-or-death, but generally quite serious. More important, for instance, than a lot of the things I purchase during the month–books or movies or concert tickets or nicer food than literally the cheapest groceries, etc. And they are my friends, right? I am by no means wealthy, or even middle class, although I am finally financially safe–in the forseeable future, I do not think I will have to worry acutely about not paying bills or groceries or co-pays on meds. Monthly, some of my income goes into savings and some also into donations (currently to Doctors Without Borders and the local Crisis Center, which is sort-of a homeless shelter but it has other resources, like counseling for abuse survivors and a suicide hotline). And like I said, I feel comfortable spending money on “stuff,” stuff that is really not a need, but a want. Yet, regarding the GoFundMe campaigns and other things where my friends need financial help, I only give them money sometimes. Other times I don’t. And it concerns me. I don’t know my own mind–why do I choose to help sometimes and others not? And why is it that, if a friend I do not give money to pesters me, or worse, asks about it in real life, I get pretty irritated at them? I feel like, “they’re being rude!” But, really, they’re the ones that need help. They need help more than I needed to, like, go see Lego Batman and then go out for dessert and drinks that same weekend. Like I think that one Saturday, between going to the movie, going out, hanging out downtown and impulse-buying comics, I dropped $45. But previously, I said I “couldn’t” donate to my friend’s GoFundMe. Then, bringing strangers into the equation is even more complicated. Because the money I donate to the Crisis Center and MSF all goes to strangers, and that seems like a good thing. And, you know, I’m all for taxes being used to help people. But other times I feel irritated just to be asked, and I get defensive even if I think I’m probably wrong. I don’t know, I’m not sure. Tylikcat I’ve made a pretty overt decision to be fickle. I tend to prefer organizations and people I have a personal connection with… but that can mean my friends who are having trouble keeping the power on, or MSF (for a bunch of reasons, actually, prior to my cousin working there, but I am so jealous! …they’re at least half the reason I still sometimes consider getting a clinical degree.*) An awful lot of my martial arts teaching is volunteering. (Heh. At one point one of my students, who was a non-profit coordinator, sat me down and gave me a talking to about not accepting donations and how I was depriving my students of a chance to contribute. I left with my eats singed! She’s amazing. So a basket sits discreetly in the atrium during those classes, now.) I try to work in the community I live in – partly because I’ve had trouble putting down roots here, and the counterbalance is good. I do think it’s useful to question why we make the decisions we do – because if we’re, say, structuring our help in ways that will further entrench system inequalities, it might be worth re-thinking that. But on the other hand, there’s a ton of work to be done, and grabbing a bit that we actually like and makes us happy so we don’t burn out and give up all together makes a ton of sense. …and that’s where the movies and comics and everything else comes in. I will refrain from pointing you to terribly earnest articles I wrote a few years back when there were a string of suicides among members of my community and generally a lot of despair (particularly libsec activists and people involved in some of the international revolutions.)** If you’re trying to do this hard work in any serious kind of way, there is always more to be done than there is time, money and soul. So, you either go 100% and flame out (and maybe find out what prosecutorial overreach looks like)… or you figure you’re in it for the long game and you learn to pace yourself. Maybe you know what you have capacity for? * And really, with my biochemistry, that’s probably not a great idea. ** And yes, I have awesome friends, and I’m a giant lamer who mostly lives in a zendo, teaches martial arts and studies neurobiology. I’m not saying I advocate retreat from the world, really, the zendo, at least, was kind of an accident. Eternal To be fair, what he refused to do was to help Alison, even if this help could help other people. This might be sheer pettiness, but this not necessarily unethical: he had wronged by Alison, and was showing reciprocity in their interactions. Being nice to people who have not wronged you and showing reciprocity to people who have is a moral standpoint that seems pretty fair. If this is his moral standpoint (I’m not saying it is, just that we can’t be sure it isn’t), the whole question of the consequences and of the lives that could be saved comes back to going against one’s moral principles or not, the end justifying the means or the means justifying the end. If he is a strict person who decided that the ends justify the means (and there are heroes like that, Watchmen readers may remember Rorschah’s “never compromise even in the face of Armageddon” stance), I don’t think he “deserve” anythings that happened to him. Call me the advocate of the devil, but I don’t like to ignore ignore the off-chance that a person was misunderstood. Insanenoodlyguy I completely understand Allisons actions and her reasons and suspect in her situation I would do the same. Now if, say, Max responded to what happened to him by hiring some supervillians and amping up their powers such that they could take a stab at Allison, I’d completely understand Max’s actions and his reasons and suspect in his situation I would do the same. Kevin B. Not doing anything is the same as condoning the status quo. If the status quo is something bad, you’re doing bad, not nothing. Walking past someone being harassed in the streets and not speaking up is doing something bad, not nothing. Driving past an accident and not stopping to help, is doing something bad, not nothing. Watching your parents exploiting immigrants and not speaking up is doing something bad, not nothing. Olivier Faure For the record, we have no proof *or any evidence at all* that the immigrants were being exploited. We don’t know what their contracts was. Maybe they worked on late shifts. Maybe they always stay very late, but are payed handsomely to compensate. We *don’t know*. Kevin B. Late shifts for gardening? okay. Dean Lotta night shift gardening in Westchester, man. Weatherheight As someone who has worked with folks like that on a regular basis in the past – it isn’t often a thing, but sometimes it is a thing. I have a buddy who does landscaping who had to work 6:00 pm to midnight for four months for a person who used his residence as his place of business and didn’t want loud noises during business hours. Started his day at 6:00 am, worked all day, closed up the shop and went to that job. Charged double time to the person and made a killing, and the customer apparently was very grateful for complying with their conditions. Threw a party for the crew the weekend after they finished. Been on way too many 4:00 am concrete pours because that was the only time to get concrete or the job had to start then to be finished by 2:00 pm that same day, myself. Once worked a 16 hour shift (4 am to 8 pm) at one job site watching a crew pouring 1400 cubic yards for a shipping depot on the day after Labor Day – And I wasn’t moving the mud, I was just taking test samples – same crew there the whole day. Mind you, all those guys got time-and-a half for 8 hours and got double time afterwards. Same place did a pour on July 5th at 5:00 am on about 1000 cubic yards – the job was way behind and the super was merciless. Those manual labor jobs, sometimes they gotta happen when they gotta happen and for damned weird reasons. Kevin B. Yes, I’m aware of that. 🙂 I work in the chemical industry, in a plant with 24/7/365 production. Lots of round the clock emergency repairs with mechanics/electricians/cleaners being called in in the middle of the night/their days off to work 12 hour shifts (longer isn’t legal) happen there. Every minute a plant/production line isn’t producing is costing money after all. They get payed a handsome amount of overtime for that though. The people in the comic were clipping hedges though. That’s not entirely the same. David Gillon No, we don’t. But the overwhelming balance of probabilities is they were being exploited. And that’s before we consider where narrative causality is taking us. Or just what role they were there to fulfil in the story. Random832 “Or just what role they were there to fulfil in the story.” – It still bothers me that Alison didn’t ask how much they were being paid (and what the average number of hours they ended up working for that rate was, not just that night). There are many fields of work where it is perfectly legal to require people to work long hours without being paid overtime – gardening just happens, by some accident of history, to not be one of them. David Gillon “There are many fields of work where it is perfectly legal to require people to work long hours without being paid overtime” My double take at that reminds me how pissed I’m going to be if the government uses Brexit to let it axe the Working Time Directive – it’s illegal in the EU to compel anyone to work more than 48 hours a week. Kevin B. “There are many fields of work where it is perfectly legal to require people to work long hours without being paid overtime – gardening just happens, by some accident of history, to not be one of them.” Legal does not equal moral. There’s also a difference between being required to work lots of unpaid overtime when you’re whitecollar making 200k a month compared to kitchen staff on minimum wage. Random832 I think the only sensible place to draw the moral line is on whether the average pay amounts to minimum wage plus time and a half for what would be overtime. If you get, say, $101.50 for twelve hours of work, does it really matter if it was structured as an hourly rate or not? And that is information we just don’t have here. ZBass I could probably write an extensive list of bad things that neither you nor I have done anything about. Does that make us both bad people? Even if we dedicated our lives to a cause, there’d still be atrocities for which we don’t do anything. After all, we only have so much time & energy. Inaction = condoning it sounds like a great guilt trip, but an impossible statement for anyone to live by. Kevin B. C’mon dude, this is cheap and lazy. I never said or implied anything like that. Not dropping anything and everything to move to Sudan to solve famine is not nearly the same thing as holding yourself, or at the least your parents responsible for the exploitation of the people who are working in the very fucking garden you’re having dinner in. Whitebread Beg your pardon, but you did say that. “Not doing anything is the same as condoning the status quo. If the status quo is something bad, you’re doing bad, not nothing.” While you followed it up with several examples that are not on the societal scale, your opening sentence contained a very broad statement that does included them. Forgive some of us for interpreting it that way, we had only what you had written to go on. Kevin B. Yes, and the examples provided context to the opening statement. Context matters. Next time go on *everything* I have written not only what fits you. Whitebread Well, I don’t really think the provided context did a terribly good job of dissuading that particular interpretation of what you said. You evidently agree that there is a spectrum to you’re original statement as you quickly and vehemently denied an interpretation of your comment that says otherwise. But your initial post starts off with a moral black and white statement and never does anything to dissuade the notion that that is your actual point. While the context may matter, it doesn’t do enough to alter your original statement to a point in which we can say you “never said or implied anything like that.” I will beg your pardon again as you seem to be very offended by this notion, but I’m afraid you did say that. Insanenoodlyguy But if Max does not believe those people are being exploited, and thus does not believe he is witnessing anything bad, does that have the same “bad” as if he does believe they are being exploited but does not care to do anything about it? Kevin B. If you don’t believe women are equal to men and thus not believe you are witnessing anything bad when a woman is being harassed in the streets it means you’re a good person right? Insanenoodlyguy Not an apt comparison. You talked about the status quo before. This is an example of direct antagonism. Beroli What is this special, sacred place you have reserved for inaction? Insanenoodlyguy That doesn’t really seem to be what I’d said in that post at all. Tylikcat What are you even going on about? I believe Cubs and White Sox fans are equal – but verbal abuse is still verbal abuse, and ignoring is doesn’t make me a good person. Nor does it make the person committing it any less of any asshole! Filthy Liar He’s not innocent though. If you know people are being exploited and allow it to continue, you’re not innocent. Insanenoodlyguy Only if you believe you are witnessing people being exploited. Also, carrying on this logic, is the battered wife who knows her abusive spouse is also abusing their child then as much a villain as she is a victim? If we take this as an absolute, she is now a monster herself, at least of the cowardly variety. Zac Caslar No, because agency matters. If the wife cannot act out of fear or out having no idea what to do she lacks agency and as such cannot be judged guilty for something she can’t do. Cannot and will not are worthwhile distinctions. Weatherheight The problem is, IMO, the human tendency to be uncomfortable with shades of grey. Max’s lack of action is still, technically, action – “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” He knew the consequences of his choosing not to act and chose not to act for a petty and selfish reason – to spite Alison He also chose not to act for a very good reason – self preservation. He also chose not to act for a very ambivalent reason – incalculable consequences. Our tendency to want to classify things as this or that comes out of our scientific cultural basis and a long history of applying that process to things that it doesn’t work so well against (thanks Aristotle…) To beat the poor dead horse, nobody does anything for a single reason, so quantifying any action in black and white terms is oversimplification – which I suspect is the point you’re trying to make. But a phrase like “He’s truly innocent” comes off as being woefully naive or intentionally inflammatory, and that really undercuts your point. And for the record, a lot of other commentators have the same “this/that” mentality going on as well (not all, but a lot – and I include myself from time to time). Different boat, same river. Olivier Faure Well, Guwara is probably editorializing it, but I think if I were in his place I’d probably be pissed and wave my gun around too. Come on, man you’re a doctor! We’ve spent the last few days crawling out from a war zone. Can’t you at least *try* something? If he’s still coughing blood, that means he’s not dead yet! At the very least you could apply bandages and painkillers. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 There’s an apocryphal latin idiom I’m fond of: “As long as the patient suffers, there’s hope.” But concerning Prof’s story, I understood it as “I have to take care of others, my time is better spent not treating the ones sure to be dead in less time than it’d take me to desarm you and go back inside.” Scott I’d been taught this anecdotal story that I’m having trouble finding evidence for. However, it essentially went that, during his campaigns, Napoleon’s military surgeons operated out of three tents. One tent was for people who would likely recover on their own with application of first aid. One was for those who could be saved with proper medical care. The third was the death tent. People sent there were deemed too injured to be saved and not worth the very scarce time or supplies needed for those in the second tent. M. Alan Thomas II Those are the three basic categories of triage. Whether they were applied in Napoleon’s time or not, or in that manner, I don’t know. telk Dum spiro, spero – for as long as I breathe, I hope. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 That’s right, but I read it wrong the first time I learned it in French where “souffler” (breathe) and “souffrir” (suffer)… kinda look alike? I have many dyslexic friends, stop judging me. And I much preferred my version, which I find more witty as these idioms tends to want to be. The original is just plain base and underwhelming by comparison. Tylikcat Your version has a wonderfully Zen sort of feel to it. (I mean, actual Zen, not commercial Zen. The kind that involves a lot of suffering!) Zale The root word of patience and patients means suffering. Philip Bourque I dunno. I might have asked the doc to end it quick in that case, if not end it myself. No need to waste bandages and painkillers. Weatherheight Triage is the bane of our existence. R Lex Eaton I’m not sure I like where all this is headed. Is Guwara trying to make the same point as the Joker? That people are only as good as circumstances allow? Elaine Lee No. Maybe that SOME people are only good as circumstances allow. Not all. And not all circumstances are equal. I might risk my own life to help someone, but might not risk the lives of my children. Almost everyone in this comment section is so “everything or nothing” about these story points. It doesn’t have to be. Maybe it’s just “In this particular circumstance, I held a gun to a doctor’s head and I feel good (or bad) about it.” R Lex Eaton I apologize if I sounded Manichean, but I’m actually more concerned about what all this could mean for Alison. Moral relativity and belief in the flesh of the weak being the food of the strong… how is this supposed to help build a better world? Because if a better world isn’t possible, then what can life be aside from a preposterous horror? There has to be a better way. People are better than that. Vigil “The flesh of the weak being the food of the strong” – surely this cuts both ways. The doctor in this story had power over the dying man, the power to heal him, which he refused because he hated him (assuming we trust Guwara as a narrator, which is a whole other discussion). The weak flesh of the dying man was the food of the powerful doctor who hated him. Guwara then turns it around on him. Arkone Axon Judging by the tone of Guwara’s words up to this point, I’d say it’s about to be twisted around. Guwara has already made it clear that he didn’t KNOW that the doctor was filled with hate, he merely assumed it because he was young, impulsive, and clouded by extreme emotions in a high-pressure situation. I think the next page or two will show him realizing the truth only when it’s too late to amend his hasty actions. Arkone Axon I think it’s more about Alison learning to temper her actions with wisdom, forethought, and empathy for others. She’s got the powers of Superman, but not the temperament. In a lot of ways she’s more like the Hulk – filled with rage, especially against those who harm the innocent (one of my biggest complaints with modern comics is how they’ve twisted once heroic characters into flawed jerks; Bruce Banner was literally a hero even before he became the Hulk, when he saved a boy from being killed and thusly exposed himself to the gamma radiation. Not to mention how the Hulk itself is the result of Multiple Personality Disorder born of Bruce’s childhood with a horribly abusive father). This is why, even though the Hulk is one of the most powerful individuals of his own universe, he’s not the most effective hero. It is noble and wonderful to want to act, to desire to help others. But that noble intention must be yoked to intelligent actions, lest you do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Noble intentions do not excuse horrible deeds… and I say that as someone who once thought they were doing the right thing, and still carries the guilt about it years later. Eric Schissel Incidentally I’m glad to read that this element of his “origin”/character/…(!) is still true of the Marvel Bruce-Banner-Hulk and didn’t disappear after Peter David left the title. Weatherheight Are you aware of recent developments in the Comic Book Universe regarding Dr. Banner? It’s a bit depressing… Urthman I think his only point is, “Alison, I will not share your secret because I did pretty much the same thing.” R Lex Eaton I’d like to think he’s going that direction, too. Stressing the difference between what is right and what might be necessary. Filthy Liar Guwara is simply the best. Going to find out how he got those scars pretty quick here I’d imagine. elizabethbells Wow, I love the artwork on this page. Pol Subanajouy I wonder if anyone smarter than I (which is nearly everyone) could place where the professors story take a place? Also, I like the observation of the speed of hate. Kes Guwara, based on name and appearance, is probably from the Indian subcontinent. He appears to be in the range of 50-60 years old to me. I would guess that 30 years or younger would be “much younger” to someone of that age range. So likely candidates for this experience to me would be Muslim/Hindu ethnic strife in either Pakistan, Bangladesh, or India in the 1980s or early 90s. The Bombay Riots of 1992 seem to fit both the scale of violence and the timeframe that seems most likely. (I’m assuming Guwara is Hindu and his friend is/was Muslim, which I don’t have any real reason to do.) Pol Subanajouy Hey, sounds as plausible as anything as I’d come up with. Thanks! Weatherheight I would have guessed Kashmir / Jammu region (as I recall, there was a lot of internecine and intertribal violence in the late 80’s/early 90’s), but this works too. If we assume Arjun is from the Indian subcontinent or environs, that leaves a broad religious palette with which to work. David Gillon 53 here, 30 was just a couple of days ago. But 20 now… There’s an awful lot of places it could be. Religious rather than ethnic strife probably rules out the Sri Lankan Civil War, but there’s a lot of internecine violence in India, Burma and Pakistan. Afghanistan would also be a possibility. But there’s no reason to limit it to Asia, the Indian diaspora is a definite thing. Plus assumptions based on surnames can be very off, there’s that famous French marshal and president MacMahon, not one, but two Russian Admirals called Thomas McKenzie, and another, who founded Odessa, by the name of Jose de Ribas, while a friend traces her Irish surname to an Austrian Count. And my own surname has three different ethnic origins that I’m aware of, possibly more (not quite sure where the Belgian Gillons came from). David Gillon And because it probably needs saying, there are mutiple possibilities for the aggressors to be Christian. Seer of Trope Someone else theorized months ago that Guwara was most likely a Sikh (since Gurdwara is the name for a Sikh place of worship, so it’s like being named Church) who was tortured during Operation Blue Star, a religious armed conflicts between Sikh militants and the Indian military. David Gillon If Gurwara were a Sikh, wouldn’t his surname be Singh? Wahahaha Singh is not the only surnames Sikhs have. It is a common one though. Wahahaha This seems to be the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which was 4 months after Operation Blue Star and a response to assassination of Indira Gandhi. Operation Blue Star didn’t have much violence erupt within cities whereas the riots did. Stephanie I’m interested to see how sympathetic/unsympathetic people find Gurwara’s actions, compared to Allison’s. Vigil It depends on what comes next. I find Alison’s actions entirely sympathetic, although the execution could perhaps have been better. Maybe Guwara is about to say “I was the one motivated by hatred, and I was wrong about the doctor – he was right about my friend”. If that happens, I still find it fairly sympathetic (high-stress situation, a life on the line, bad actions stemming from a basic desire to save a life). If that doesn’t happen, I find it entirely sympathetic. Josh Jasper Any doctor who’s actually concerned with saving lives would try to help that person, even if it’s unlikely that they’d survive. Plus diagnosing unavoidable death like that at a glance? So close to impossible it’s absurd. Arkone Axon Are you a medical doctor? I was only trained as an EMT-B, and even I can tell when someone is literally at death’s door due to soft tissue injuries (such as a bullet penetrating a lung and other internal organs, massive internal and external bleeding, and then being carried on foot for a prolonged period by rescuers who have no access to a faster mode of transportation). EMT training is all about the “golden hour.” Specifically, how the patient’s chances of survival are at their highest if you can get them to the E.R. within an hour of injury. And after that, it’s up to the doctors to A: keep up the flow of oxygenated blood to the patient’s brain, and B: fix whatever damage has been done to cause a loss of oxygenated blood to flow in the first place (or to simply wait for the body to repair the damage, as is the case with poison treatment. There’s no such thing as an antidote for most poisons, you just try to keep the brain alive until the body flushes it out like any other toxin). And all of that requires modern medical technology, which is not something available to a family practicioner working in the clinic of a small village. There’s a book that I own a physical copy of – but I was happy to find it available online. Let me link it here. It’s Hugh Coffee’s “Ditch Medicine,” all about providing emergency medical assistance in extreme conditions such as those found in a warzone. https://www.uscrow.org/downloads/Survival%20Public%20Domain/Paladin.Press,.Ditch.Medicine.Advanced.Field.Procedures.for.Emergencies.(1993).7.0-2.6.LotB.pdf pidgey I’m inclined to find Gurwara’s actions more sympathetic just because of the implied time crunch. Alison’s actions didn’t have a deadline on them like this. That said, I’m not actually very cool with either. Stephanie To be fair, there was certainly an equivalent time crunch. At the time that she coerced Max, there must have been least one individual in need of an organ transplant who was as close to the point of no return as Gurwara’s friend was. They just didn’t happen to be bleeding out in right in front of her. (I say “close to the point of no return” and not “close to death” because obviously just boosting Max didn’t instantly save everyone. But statistically there were people who would not have survived if Alison had delayed another day.) Weatherheight In a way, the equivalency is simultaneously direct and indirect. Arjun’s friend was a personal relationship whose distress was happening directly before him in an extremely urgent fashion. Comparing this to Alison’s situation is, at one level, a bit disingenuous. Alison’s depth of feeling for anyone waiting a transplant doesn’t appear to compare well (here we go comparing feelings again). On the other hand, Arjun’s friend does compare reasonably well to Tara in the “suffering horribly” point of view. The closeness of the relationship is reasonably equivalent, as well. Only the respective outcomes don’t compare. Composite the two and it’s a reasonable analogy Arjun is making. Stephanie In terms of the urgency to save transplant patients, I’m not talking about Alison’s feelings but about the objective stakes. I don’t think that’s a disingenuous comparison. Weatherheight The implication that Arjun makes in his story is clearly that his feelings were a major component of his decision. He is recognizing that Alison’s decision also had such a major component. You seem repeatedly to be hedging out her state of mind vis-a-vis the transplant patients and her state of mind as regards Tara as less important or irrelevant to her decision process and that she was only thinking about the overall benefit to the world. I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t interpret the text that way, and I suspect a lot of others would concede the same point – her decision had a multitude of factors and it appears to me that Tara’s situation as a significant influence on that decision should not be taken lightly. In short, Arjun is trying to connect on a personal and emotional level to show “he gets it”. Taking it out of that context diminishes the connection he is working to establish – and that reframing of the context to prove a point is, to my mind, a bit disingenuous. As is my own post – since I’m framing it in the context I wish to frame it for the sake of the point I’m trying to explore. This is not to imply you’re wrong; I happen to think you raise valid points worthy of consideration and contemplation. But I feel there are other ways to read the narrative that also give useful insight. Stephanie I’m not talking about their decision processes. I’m talking about the stakes that were objectively in play when they made those decisions. I understand that you are analyzing their decision processes and the emotional components thereof, but I was not. That’s why I object to your saying my comment was disingenuous. Weatherheight ::grins:: Read it again – I never said that was your argument. I said that Arjun’s situation in his story doesn’t line up well with Alison’s at one level, because the element of an overarching concern for anyone beside the immediate person before them isn’t part of Arjun’s narrative at all – at least up to this point. So a one-on-one comparison with Alison here isn’t really valid – in part because she does have that element. The part ARJUN is concentrating on is that direct relationship immediately before him – not how his action is going to benefit others affected by the conflict. Even my last line in the original post states that – explicitly. What Arjun chooses to concentrate on is telling both in how he heard Alison’s tale and what conclusions he has drawn about Alison’s motives and what he feels she needs to address. Indeed, his exclusion of that greater context implies that this is less of big deal for Alison than the intimate context that is Tara – and it is that context he wishes to address and offer her his context in a related situation. Which point, I will admit, might have been more clear. But you seem to be drawing a equivalency that Arjun’s story thus far doesn’t support. Stephanie I know what your arguments were. And yet, in the midst of them, you kept calling my statements “disingenuous.” They were not. I don’t have to draw exactly the same parallels that Gurwara does in order for my parallels to be sincere. Weatherheight I have offended you, and for that I apologize. That was never my intent. However, it seems to be something I keep doing, so I think it’s better for me to let this difference in opinion remain. Again, I was not intending to cause pain, and I’m sorry I did, Stephanie It’s cool. I know you didn’t mean to. pidgey That was very much NOT my point. I don’t find either set of behavior justifiable, but I do find Gurwara’s more excusable. And the reason why is because the emotional drive behind his actions had a deadline. Alison’s emotional drive was not the people she thought Feral could save, but rather wanting to save Feral herself. And that had no deadline attached. Stephanie Well, if you want to talk about emotional drive, most people would consider “My friend is about to be horribly tortured” a deadline. In Feral’s case, she was being horribly tortured and about to continue to be horribly tortured, both at the time of Alison’s decision and also every other moment of every day. David Gillon That’s not an equivalent time crunch, for several reasons. 1) It’s a theoretical equivalency, Gurwara’s friend is bleeding over his shoulder, that’s a lot more ‘real’ than someone somewhere who probabilistically needed a transplant right the folk now. 2) The infrastructure to handle Feral’s increased productivity isn’t in place. So that theoretical person? They’re dead. We might be able to save another theoretical person a couple of months down the line, but is that the same? 3) It’s not the reason Alison did it.She did it to save Tara, not to save everyone Tara will eventually save. She doesn’t get extra moral credit for fortuitous side-effects. Stephanie I said “point of no return” specifically to address point 2. A person who was going to die on that exact day is obviously dead anyway. There are still people who would have died later if there had been any further delay in starting the process of increasing transplant availability. I’m not making any claims about what motivated Alison here. Regardless of whether she was motivated by it, there was a time crunch ticking down to the deaths of those people. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 So fine with it. It’s all about the power dynamic. A machine gun skewers that balance sure, but we’re not made to understand he’s going to keep it his entire life to point at people he wants to have things done. (Well, yet. What are you hiding in your dragon cane, professor) Walter I expect…less sympathetic? Like, “don’t shoot doctors” is some baseline stuff, and we all know from gun safety class that if you point a gun at someone, you are ready to shoot them. Chani That implies “we all” have taken a gun safety class. Are they mandatory in US schools or something? Walter I live in Georgia… Chani oookay… that means absolutely nothing to me. Walter It’s the part of the USA that ‘Murica’ best describes. Guns, fast food, NASCAR, etc. We have a lot of guns. phantomreader42 If he’s refusing to provide medical care to a dying person and dooming that person to bleed to death out of bigotry (which Gurwara at least claims is what he’s doing), then he doesn’t qualify as a doctor anymore. Doing something like that breaks medical ethics and oaths beyond all hope of repair. David Gillon While I have some sympathy for that view, there is still the general societal utility of having a doctor about. Even if he’s a bigot, he’s still likely a life-saving bigot. Magma Sam I think that’s where the ‘doesn’t qualify as a doctor anymore’ part comes in. “He’s a life saving bigot, he’s just not saving OUR lives”. Really, I don’t mind Gurwara’s actions here. I’ve heard some acceptable justification for why the doctor couldn’t try to save Gurwara’s friend, but I feel like if those were to come into play it’d mess up the parallel between this and Alison’s story. He could at least do the courtesy of spending two “minutes” examining the patient instead of two “seconds”. David Gillon “gun safety class”? What is this gun safety class? Tylikcat Young Gurwara, or old Gurwara? Gurwara always conveyed the impression that he had gone through some major shit. This… seems pretty much in keeping with that? But going through shit is about going through, and coming out the other side, and learning from it. Or, I suppose, to put it another way, it’s never, for me, been about not finding Gurwara’s actions sympathetic. I’ve found Alison’s actions sympathetic. I’ve found Max at least intermittently sympathetic – heartbreakingly so regarding the bottom panel of page 87. This isn’t about who I can feel more sympathy for, or at least that can’t be the only means on which this is judge. That ends up turning it into a pretty narrow sort of popularity contest, doesn’t it, because you always feel more sympathy for the people you like? (Though that reverses, as well, as it’s easiest to like and feel sympathy for people whose actions you can understand and see yourself doing under similar circumstances.) Insanenoodlyguy We don’t know the end of the story yet. While I do not wish to complicate poor Gurwara life too much, I confess I’d love most to see the discussion that happens if the doctor tries to save his friend, fails, and is killed by Gurwara. David Gillon It’s not the actions that are important in this context, they’re clearly meant as parallels, so much as the lessons that are learned/the willingness to learn them. Clearly we’re being given a scenario the narrative expects us to see as a direct parallel to Alison and Max. And they are close, perhaps unreasonably so – I must use force to compel someone I hold myself morally superior to to help save my friend. I don’t put it beyond Gurwara to create a parallel parable from whole cloth for teaching purposes. I also don’t put it beyond him to have learned his wisdom the hard way. Gurwara seems to be setting himself up to make an unforgiveable mistake through violence, but in fact at this point he’s already done that, the question is whether he will compound that and take unforgiveable to the next level, and what lesson he expects Alison to learn from that. (And the other question is whose hatred he is talking about. I’m pretty certain it’s his own). There is one distinct and critical difference in the scenarios however. If Gurwara hesitates to consider the ethics for 24 hours, or even an hour, his friend likely dies. If Alison had hesitated to consider the ethics for 24 hours, or even a year, Tara would have survived (though at a cost of extreme pain). Stephanie To be honest I think we’ve all been underestimating how fucked it is that Tara was going through that degree of torture. As I said elsewhere in the thread, for most people, saving a friend from experiencing that kind of torture would be just as urgent as saving them from death, even if they were expected to survive the torture. Evidently we don’t find her torture as emotionally salient since it’s been going on for a while anyway, but is that really justified? An hour of torture is still an hour of torture, whether it’s 100% or 0.1% of the torture you’ve experienced in your life. cphoenix And many other people would have died for lack of organs, and Alison knew that. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 Hm… young Arjun Gurwara… The first iterations of Patrick’s profile, with shorter hair… In the future where Alison becomes the tyrant she is doomed to be… When have M16 been invented, again? And how old is Gurwara? Weatherheight According to Wikipedia, the M16 assault rifle entered use in the American military in 1964 (by which I assume they mean “was being used in the field by US/NATO troops.”) The weapon in question, based on the profile, doesn’t quite look like an M16 to me; the gas-venting bit on the end of the barrel seems overly large – that said, I’m not exactly a user of or expert on firearms. Some guy It’s probably an AR-15 variant, as accurate firearm depiction isn’t a big priority in this comic. There’s a few other things i could maybe be, buuuuut… I don’t imagine they would suddenly have done a bunch of research to have a historically accurate gun show up in the right area in the right era to usefully date this conflict. Weatherheight a) thank you! b) ah yes, the old “ambiguity of the firearm to prevent accurate dating of the timeframe of the narrative” trick…. and loving it! (Sorry about that, Chief). Eric Schissel Missed this by _that_ much… David Gillon Well, if we’re being gun nuts, the proportions (barrel length) look closer to an AR-10, which pushes dating back as early as 1954 😉 But being gun nuts in SFP would be seriously counterproductive. Zac Caslar Right, but what model is more likely to be exported? Stephanie Gertsch Do they look alike, a little? They have major differences in the line of the nose to the forehead, the shape of the chin, and the shape of the ears. They could be cousins, but the differences stand out too much to me to think they’re supposed to be the same person. ∫Clémens×ds 🐙 The ongoing fan theory that Gurwara is Patrick from the future is both immensely silly and wholeheartedly entertaining. Weatherheight I suddenly realize Alison has broken at least one habit. Pizza – not a Big Sandwich™. ::wiggles his ears conspiratorially at Loranna:: Loranna Pizza is better comfort food anyway 😛 Really loving the artwork here. Feels a touch like Cabinet of Doctor Caligari to me, though not quite as demented. Good fit, though, for retelling a traumatic tale. Loranna Weatherheight I went Frank Miller (showing my comic book nerd roots) but totally digging the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari reference. I watched the 1920 movie in my classic films club in high school – then saw the version by Robert Bloch/Roger Kay and got really, really, really confused for the first 15 minutes or so. Traumatic, I say, traumatic! Stephanie Gertsch Yeah, I thought this guy had a backstory. derekh I started cracking up at the first panel. “Let me tell you a story of violence to soothe your worries.” Wahahaha Given Gurwara’s age and probable Sikh background (his last name sounds Sikh) I’m guessing he is talking about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots across India. Could be wrong though. We’ve had a lot of violence over the years. Dominik Don’t Sikh always wear a dastaar? Maybe his injured friend was a Sikh. M. Alan Thomas II The silhouette of “young Guwara” doesn’t have a beard or moustache, but the silhouette of the doctor does. Not sure if this indicates that he’s fudging the story or that he’s emulated the doctor as penance ever since, or if it’s relatively meaningless. Insanenoodlyguy I think the answer is that neither of those apply? Lots of people have beards. The fact you have a beard does not need to mean you emulate a man that you knew with a beard long ago, all it means is that you have a beard. M. Alan Thomas II Well, yes, that’s why I added the possibility that “it’s relatively meaningless.” But this is the comments section; random speculation about why a particular detail appears in the comic is kind of what we do. a person Ah, tales of violence. I must admit, my favourite kind. Amanda I love this page and everything about it Ptorq I have no moralizing to do, I just want to say that I adore the line “Come, let me tell you a story of violence to soothe your worries.” Aubren Lewis Same. Darkoneko Hellsing Ooh flashaback FlashNeko And next page we find out the doctor was working on a child who’s bleeding out from the stumps where their legs used to be due to having stumbled on a landmine or something like that. And speaking as someone who’s worked in a hospital for many years, yeah, more than a few ER docs have talked about how sometimes they’ve had to pronounce people beyond saving with only a second long glance because someone critical-but-saveable was either ahead or right behind them. Thus intentional malice on the part of the doctor here is not a given. AshlaBoga “the doctor appeared some minutes later.” That did surprise me since it doesn’t take that long to answer your door unless you’re otherwise preoccupied. Aubren Lewis …Bathroom? AshlaBoga My father is a retired dentist. When he was working, he’d keep his cell phone on him so he could race downtown to the office if someone had an emergency (broken tooth, crown that came off etc). I once answered the house phone and told him it was a dental emergency and he ran out of the loo with his pants still down and grabbed the phone. If a dentist responds to a broken tooth like a bat out of hell, I think an MD should be at least as rapid. Beroli It was the middle of the night. The doctor was probably preoccupied with sleep. Eva Smiljanić “Let me tell you a story of violence to soothe your worries” I love this man Graeme Sutton What country did this occur in that the soldiers were using M-16s? AshlaBoga Anti-Sikh riots? BMPDynamite Oh. He does understand what Alison went through. …. (hugs the author, the artist, and the entire comment section) Bob “Come. Let me tell you a tale of violence to sooth your worries.” I love Gurwara. Aubren Lewis I know this entire discussion with Guwara is all about Alison’s angst over what she did to Max, but I’m kind of over it. Well, I mean I have more of an interest to be over it since I think Alison was at least 95% in the right, but still. Ya’ll have been putting your personal dilemmas into Alison/Max’s characterization/plotline for awhile now. When you gonna focus on the present part of the story? It’s Guwara’s turn now, at least until the page after next. RainWall Now, while Guwara is fairly justified here, I really don’t like the line “hatred can be difficult to be called by it’s true name until it’s too late,” because that sounds like a justification. I mean, is that the reason you would force the doctor to help your friend? Because you suspect he hates him? No, you’d force the doctor because of your love for your friend, not out of contempt for someone else’s hate. That line feels out of place, and like a rather forced and a little bit underhanded statement about topical events. We shouldn’t be fearing hate everywhere we go, nor do we have the right to base our actions towards other people because of that fear. Guwara should save his friend because he wants his friend to survive, not because he wants to punish hatred. Danygalw He thinks the doctor’s hatred blinded him to his friend actually being saveable. Weatherheight Excellent point and well said. But humans can have more than one motivation for any given act (this is me beating a drum – my apologies). As Tylikcat said (I think), it’s figuring out the weighting of the motivating factors that gets messy… Incendax That shadow looks like Patrick / Menace. Arklyte Like young person? Yes. But it has no connection beyound that. Arklyte The problem with AR family weapons compared to AK family is that they’re not as widespread and as such more distinctive. I can already smell him being accused of killing goverment soldier and taking their weapons among other things… IE Calling it now – Gurwara is the one who was wounded by the bullet. He’s telling the story from his friend’s perspective.