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The next mini story arc I’m expecting is seeing the small ball players trying to control the convention. Izo I have no idea what BNF means? Christophe2314 I’m getting “Bibliothèque Nationale de France.” Akiva Big Name Fan Mujaki Panel three: Civilized de-escalation by responsible moderators. I read too many a whole lot of web comics, and a few of them out there could probably use such a thing in their comments sections. Thankfully, some great discussions here. Keep it up, folks! Pol Subanajouy Little Miss Pollyanthromorph doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, now does it? Well, good to know that beligerent hecklers happen in all audiences, biodynamic or no. You know, this is a pretty faithful depiction of running a convention/meetup. Putting out fires. Chatting in the coffee room. Tapping a celebrity friend to speak who agrees because, hey, she totally is down for the cause and helping a friend and not quite realizing that you might have made a miscalculation. It’s also accurate in that it’s not even a total bust either. They’re seems to be differing opinions from various members of the audience. The closest thing I can relate it to from my personal experience is like when a straight ally speaker is the biggest name at a lgbt convention. Not a perfect metaphor, but it’s the one I got. Heck, the oddly ubiquitous carpet pattern you see at convention centers is all there. (Seriously, it’s ~always~ that sort of pattern.) If it stays true to form, Brad/Sonar should be utterly buzzed and exhausted by the end of the day after seeing to various things that have gone wrong. Side note regarding art: I know the cup isn’t for scale, but it can’t help but highlight for the size difference between the Al and the new character. Impressive. Is she a little larger than Dan/Cleaver? Humanoid Mimisippo The spikey lady is right – since Alison ditched the mask, it became as hard for her as for dynamorphs to fit in the society – since she was on the news across the world, EVERYBODY knows that she’s THE Mega Girl, and we saw how some people tend to treat her like a monster already. So yeah, apart from the mundane convenience (being able to buy normal-sized clothes and such), she’s kinda in the same shoes as the people Brad’ve gathered m n I… don’t think that’s necessarily true. We tend to judge people on their appearance, whether consciously or unconsciously, and I’d argue that Al is probably treated a LOT better than a lot of dynamorphs simply because people look at her and, in that first split second before they think of anything further, see “Real Human Person” instead of “Horrible Scary Nightmare Monster” or what have you. Al is a person with scary powers, but she’s a person first. For a lot of dynamorphs, that might not be the case. Humanoid Mimisippo It actually makes Alison fall into Uncanny Valley territory – she looks like a normal non-dynamic person, but everybody and their dog knows that she’s able to crush their skull, pulverize their body into bloody mist and suplex a house onto their remains without even trying – and the Uncanny Valley sometimes can be even more terrifying than evidently monstrous. Humanoid Mimisippo Actually, it makes Alison fall into “Uncanny Valley” category, which many people consider even SCARIER than “outright inhumane” or “monstrous”. Not everyone is able to keep their cool around a girl that can kill you on the spot without even trying. Mitchell Lord See “Giant colony of sentient spiders” comment above for an example. I mean, there’s a difference between “I can’t go anywhere without a paparazzi” and “I scare small children” and “Just by walking down the street I put people in danger”. Anon Pretty realistic take on how social justice meetings like these always dissolve into infighting and eating their own. John Smith Look bud, I don’t know how many fedoras you’ve been snorting, but I suggest you cut your intake to reduce the chances of addiction. -Dr. John Smith Rumble in the Tumble Can we finally agree on who’s wearing fedoras on the internet? Because at this point it’s bronies, male feminists, nice guys, atheists, and both political left and right :v chaosvii Quibble: The word “involve” would be a better choice of word than “dissolve,” as even the comic doesn’t depict a delving into the abyss but rather some straightforward deescalation. OoO! Does anybody know what Brad is talking about in the last panel? m n Sounds like they have a space or a panel for things related to gender, and there’s some friction between people with a fixed gender id (in this case, likely women and/or trans dynamorphs, given that a space for specifically male issues is probably unnecessary) and a dynamorph or dynamorphs whose anomaly alters their gender expression repeatedly (Controlled? Uncontrolled? Ahhh, I want to know more!) – for example, if the gender-varying dynamorph is a man AT THAT MOMENT, can they attend a closed panel intended specifically for women? They have the explicit and undeniable experience of being a woman, but they’re also a man right now and perhaps that is violating the feeling of a safe space for some of the attendees who are always women. I’m actually really interested in this whole conflict and would love to see it all fleshed out! But I expect we’re following Al as per usual, and not Brad into a quagmire of interesting gender expression. (Very interesting parallels to RL expressions of gender here! I have a personal interest.) ∫Clémens×ds I feel like the example you’re giving is substantial and interesting (and strangely enough I’m leaning toward no, in this instance the man shouldn’t be convinced to give up his participation) but I wanted to mention that this is a kind of complexity that already exists in real life, with genderfluid people and the like. The same problem can exist. What I was thinking about were really contrived and silly concerns that can only exist in a webcomic, with way much less nuance to dig into and explore but so much more fun. My dumb idea was dynamorphs whose gender expression depends on temperature, and Brad reflecting on the ethical dilemma of using the air conditioner or not for the panel considering the consequences it could have. ∫Clémens×ds I think(?) he’s going to try to solve a contention caused by bigots who aren’t super happy some biodynamics can change(?) their gender via their power. The debate about gender theory in a world where superpowers exists could only get more complicated, right? Christophe2314 I would assume people who can change their gender at will via superpowers. It’s basically the superhero version of transgender issues. insrtnmhre I would assume that some dynomorphic individuals are not binary gender, but may be either fluid or multi-gender depending on their particular changes. chaosvii Oh man it’s almost like jumping to conclusions and projecting meanings onto what others aren’t even saying is a pitiable hidrance to listening or something. Hope everyone has a better time at the conference than whatever has been going down for that guy and the guests that had to deal with whatever verbal abuse he’s apparently been slinging. Eric Meyer “…people whose identity is attached to expressions controlled by their anomaly…”- so this suggests some Whateley-style powers-induced genderbending? Or perhaps situations where ‘all harpies are female, therefore this dude that expresses as a harpy is now a chick’? Or maybe folks with fluid bodily forms that can show some traits of either/multiple genders either in or out of their control? Mechwarrior Or gender-fluid or intersex individuals that don’t physically conform to a specific sex. Ian Osmond “Pollyanthromorph.” Brilliant. ClockworkDawn It probably took him longer to describe the problem than it will to solve it. MisterTeatime Alison! Get the orange person’s name before they walk away… (and maybe their number :D) David Gillon Fairly certain Ms Orange isn’t Allison’s type, OTOH she could be useful for Valkyrie if she’s interested, not many people likely to argue with her if she’s escorting someone. KevlarNinja She reminds me of Horridus from Savage Dragon. JeffH You can think he has a point, or you can think he’s a jerk, but “Pollyannathromorph”(which is how I read it the first time) is pretty clever… ophidimancer Ooh, interesting, dynamorphic gender expressions. MisterTeatime Brad did screw that up, I think- much better for the first Guest of Honor presented to be someone who clearly belongs there than an outsider- but overall he seems like an excellent host. He’s clearly working hard on this- he’s got emergency signs, and almost certainly a schedule, and staff/volunteers who can be considerate and firm at the same time, and he’s still paying attention to lots of things at once to keep everything going smoothly. I really want to know about his problem here- “people whose identity is attached to expressions controlled by their anomaly”? My first thought is involuntary shapeshifting, but that shouldn’t determine one’s actual identity- if you think of yourself as a guy, then you’re still a guy regardless of what you look like. (I could certainly imagine someone who changes gender presentations involuntarily being a complicating factor in same-gender spaces, but that doesn’t match Brad’s description, and we know that he’s careful with his words.) So are we talking about dynamorphs who are systems of alters- multiple identities in one body, with an anomaly that controls which one is active? Or is this something else entirely? Mechwarrior Gender-fluid shapeshifters, most likely. Mitchell Lord Or people who don’t exactly fit in to the male/female thing. Herms, Agendered people, or giant collection of spiders. (The latter creates the new term ‘Selfsexual’) David Gillon Parsing out “identity is attached to expressions controlled by their anomaly” sounds like people whose gender identity actually fluctuates with its external manifestation (or a hidden characteristic). If that’s involuntary and random, then it’s going to be messy. chaosvii Perhaps the earlier page where he was posting over the misspelled sign was meant to foreshadow how swamped he is and thus that a few miscalculations here & there are to be expected? Akiva “My first thought is involuntary shapeshifting, but that shouldn’t determine one’s actual identity- if you think of yourself as a guy, then you’re still a guy regardless of what you look like.” I know this is the current Trans Plank, and I think there’s a lot of valuable and worthy stuff wrapped up in it, but I’d prefer we didn’t start pretending that *all* trans people would feel the same about our genders regardless of our embodiment. Shit is very, very complicated. (I can’t really talk about anyone’s experience but mine, but I’m pretty sure I’d be a different person if my body hadn’t been notably gender nonconforming from a young age. And I *totally* feel differently about my gender depending on how people are reading me; if my body actually shapeshifted it would probably get a lot more extreme.) MisterTeatime That’s an excellent point- variable identities are definitely valid. I was going for “your concept of your identity is the only one that matters”, but I didn’t state that well. I’m sorry, and I want to do better. Also, that provides a very interesting answer to my question. There are already individuals with fluid gender identities in our world- some independent of external factors, others not so much. Imagine the complexity that superhuman traits could add to that. Inay My english isn’t good enough, I don’t understand the last bubble of Brad. Could someone explain to me please ? Guest I’m guessing some sort of Captain Marvel schtick where some special phrase like “Shazam” transforms you into an alternate form, while maintaining your default form otherwise? I might be taking “expression” too literally though. Pol Subanajouy Basically it’s just that there are some people attending who aren’t comfortable with each other based off of gender identity and their status as being bio-dynamic and Brad is saying he’s the one responsible for addressing these problems. And because of that, he’s probably going to be busy and will not be able to hang out with Alison until after lunch time. Weatherheight I like the way that this page cuts across several current issues without directly mentioning any of them and by presenting them entirely in the context of biodynamic expression. Damn, y’all are good. Pol Subanajouy Little Miss Pollyanthromorph doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Well…nice to know habitual hecklers come in all types of audiences, biodynamic or not. Side note: Pol Subanajouy Well, I don’t know, do you find it morally questionable? What’s your perspective on the matter? SuddenFan He yelled before she said that. shink The levels of sensitivity in regards to allies not infrequently runs so high in the real world communities they are drawing parallel to right now that the mere fact that Alison isn’t one of them would disqualify her speech in some eyes. The level of oppression many dynomorphics would face from society would be on a scale beyond that of your average member of the above mentioned groups, as the very nature of their humanity would be called into question constantly, even by respected academics and liberal politicians. Izo He yelled ‘We’re not all superheroes’ before she said that, but he said the rest AFTER she said that. Zerilan It’s like the universe exists to make sure Allison immediately gets patted on the back anytime somewhere anywhere doesn’t like her. 3-I Shockingly, people who are members of an oppressed community tend to know relevant terms. You wouldn’t flip over an asexual person knowing the word “Allosexual.” The whole of the trans community uses “Cis,” even though the idea that there’s a word that means “not trans” doesn’t even occur to many. (Some even think it’s a slur.) Everybody knows what “homophobia” is now, even though sixty years ago, the thought of there being a word for it would have been laughable to most. Same with islamophobia. Same with LOTS of marginalized communities. “Anthromorph” could well be a common and useful term for people who don’t fit into that community. You’re judging it by “real world” standards instead of the standards of the universe. And as for “biodynamic,” imagine George Bush saying a word for any real-world oppressed community. Imagine him saying “transgender” or “homosexual” or “muslim.” Does that really seem that odd to you? Steele Except in the George Bush example, even many Biodynamic people didn’t KNOW they were biodynamic yet. They were 14 years old, so I highly doubt any of them came up with the word. Which means someone else had to have made it up, someone who likely wasn’t a member of that group. And I highly doubt it was George W. “Nu-kew-lar” Bush, which makes it really hard for me to think that he’d use the term (especially since he actually is a fairly intelligent person in real life, but always kept his “average joe” personae up in front of the cameras). Though Menace does lampshade Bush’s use of the term on the next page, so it evens out, I guess! David Gillon It’s a convention specifically for members of an oppressed minority, most of the attendees will either be activists or consciously aware of the politics. So ‘Pollyanthromorph doesn’t just seem clever, it sounds entirely appropriate. For that matter, I was at the inaugral meeting of Disabled People Against the Cuts, most of us there were invited specifically because we were activists, and we _all_ heckled the message that had been sent by the Minister Against Disabled People. I’ve lost count of how many of my disability activist friends have Disability Studies degrees, it keeps going up! And most of the rest of us have picked up a solid grounding along the way. Steele Yeah, but given how crass that dude was, I didn’t get the impression that he fit the mold of someone who’s socially or politically aware enough to know the vocabulary. I mean I’m probably totally wrong, I can’t speak to any experience in this sort of thing, and it’d be unrealistic for all members of a group to have the same opinions and disposition… but I’m not feeling the justified outrage of an intelligent person from Grumpy Lumpy, I’m just seeing a jerk who used a ten-dollar-word out of nowhere. Akiva Have you ever read the stuff teenage queer and trans kids write on tumblr? They are smart and they love big words (especially ones that you’d probably associate with college-level gender studies—the internet is magic) and they can be as crass about it as any teenager. Plus, they tend to approach queer theory with the fervor of new converts and slightly less experience with emotional regulation than most adults. Which is to say, Craggy is actually pretty average as far as activists who spend a lot of time writing on the internet go, and I immediately recognized him from every activist space I’ve ever been in. EveryZig Alison and Brad do kind of admit that he had a point about her being the first speaker, so I don’t think its entirely brushing it aside. Burke I read it as empathy for whatever put him in a mental place where he feels like he has to lash out at everyone. And/or, possibly, empathy for everyone who has had to put up with him. Pugsy This comic is so meta. Adam McKinney Souza Man, tumblr would have a field day with the post-anomaly world. So many new identities to explore! Kate Blackwell So dynamoprhic – people with powers in general, and biodynamic – subgroup of the first but those with visible mutations? Mitchell Lord …Yay! Transgender stuff + Superpowers! Need to tell Keilyn… Mitchell Lord There’s also a secondary, albeit minor, problem…namely, that a lot of Anti-Allison people are…jerks. Which means, in theory, we can ignore their argument…because they are jerks. (Though, the writer does an incredible job of NOT Pulling that card, and showing Allison still incorporates it into her world view.) Essentially, he uses the “Make the best argument you can” thing…and doesn’t acknowledge the antagonists as strawmen, even if they sometimes come across as ones. And, makes sure to give them a REASON. igor well, he is a dynomorphic individual(i hope i havent butchered that), so i dont think it is that weird, especially since those words have been in use constantly by the news and others to describe superpowered individuals, so i think such terms are general knowledge by now i have seen characters talk in such a way that it seems kinda unnatural for common people, but i only remember superheroes (or villain, wink) acting like that, and i think it is understandable, since as heroes they had to study and learn about several stuff in order to defeat the villains, more than a soldier or cop would. and most of it is stuff i would personnally say, though i do read a lot, what does make me a litlle different from the majority but at the same time, i dont really know what a graduate in woman’s and gender studies learns, so i probably just missed that : 3 ∫Clémens×ds I’m working with what the webcomic gives us. Are you familiar with the term using to define coming up for possible explanations for character’s actions and events based on assumptions outside of the text? The Game of Thrones community has once I enjoy, honeypotting. As it stands, it’s hard to pretend what’s presented to us is exactly the message I criticize in my comment above, intentionally or not. And people who’ve been prejudiced against all their life based on their appearance doing the same in return as a survival tactic? More likely than you’d realize. chaosvii Dude, I’m heckling you for making yet another joke at the writing’s expense knowing full well that the ribbing you’re putting forth is intentionally obnoxious & premature. By taking your joke at face value, I’m diffusing the repetitive humor you’re engaging in and noting that all the assumptions you’re working from don’t stand on their own. And yes, of course it’s commonplace, that’s why I said it was delicious, I happen to enjoy heckling people for being repetitively silly in predictable ways. As I would expect anyone to give me crap for engaging in it. I hope you’re not mistaking my mockery of behavior as damning people for being less than perfect in a way I fund funny. ∫Clémens×ds I think I’m leaning toward a Doylist explanation for that one, with the authors wanting to present that dilemma (which is why I’m upset it’s so easily tossed aside), it’s not the first time the in-universe consistency of what Alison’s knowledge should reasonably be is bent a tad for the sake of showcasing interesting situations, so Brad following the same pattern doesn’t confuse me so much. Which is a compromise I’m all for, plotholes are not such a sin as some depressing recent and trendy YouTube criticism would have you believe. Christophe2314 Plot holes are only a sin when they’re noticeable on first viewing/reading. Fact is, if you enjoyed the story, the plot holes don’t retroactively make it bad. Oren Leifer A really interesting (albeit mostly unexplored) version of this happens in the Animorphs series. There is a character who begins life as a male human (but feels uncomfortable as himself), at the beginning of puberty becomes a hawk full-time (implicitly deliberately), and even when becoming himself later feels uncomfortable, but turns into a girl his own age for a while and feels little or none of the dysmorphia of turning into his own human body. It’s not really explored, but an interesting example. Bryn Schut I used to love that series as a teen, but I must have missed that book. I always liked how they handled his shifts, and I’d love to look at that character again with gender identity in mind. Oren Leifer See my reply above, also the Animorphs series. Balthazar Pun intended? Either way *slow clap* Markus Pun definitely intended. Rumble in the Tumble This whole dynamorphic thing is interesting n stuff, but let me sell ya a REAL best seller: …dinomorphs! Kae Glad to see this is still up and running!! 😀 love the new panels. I found your webcomic via the printed book, and it’s fantastic! I got copies for 2 of my friends bc it was so great lol. keep up the great work <3 chaosvii Who’s dismissing the sentiments which motivate his strawmanning? ∫Clémens×ds The webcomic. The answer is the webcomic, whether you realize it or not. chaosvii Oh I see how it is. Thank you for telling me how to read and judge things for what is probably the second time so far. Tylikcat Huh. I guess it seems to me that it has a social justice bend more generally, and that feminism is just the tip of the iceberg. shink he had a gut emotional reaction to her very presence on the stage. That is a safe place, reserved for people like him to express their concerns. An ally speaking out and drawing attention to herself is making them into props, sideshows. Doubly true for Alison, whose very existence makes her the center of attention. Don’t draw attention to me and define me, let me define myself and draw my own attention. At least that’s my read on his motivations, based on interactions with and observations of people IRL who champion things like safe spaces and the rights of the oppressed. Christophe2314 There’s a whole lot of interesting scenarios there. Say you have a little boy who happens to gain the ability to change genders at will. What if that kid decides they prefer being female? That looks like it’s just Transgender 101, but it actually gets different in a key way: “science” arguments completely fall apart there. You’ve got a lot of bigots who’ll pull biology as the reason trans people aren’t really the gender they want to be, but that doesn’t work here, assuming superpowered gender changes aren’t just cosmetic. Now, obviously, the bigots are still going to have issues with it, but they can’t rely on their usual BS, meaning the resulting debate is likely to be far more honest. Opponents of those who can change their gender via superpowers (let’s call them “supertrans” for short) would basically just end up saying they hate them for no particular reason. themadengineer No, a heat based gender identity Pol Subanajouy It does? I don’t see how. And please, understand I’m not saying that with a sarcastic tone. “Biodynamic” strikes me as fairly dry, pseudo-scientific term. Could you tell me where are getting feminist connotations? Pol Subanajouy Ugh, for a while at least. I do not envy convention organizers one bit. It has to be a passion project, it simply has to be. Pol Subanajouy Okay. What are thoughts on the moral dimensions of Brad and Al in this? Akiva I mean, but do we have to give EVERY potential ally a full hearing and the full benefit of the doubt 100% of the time? Marginalized groups need time and space to focus on themselves and their own voices (/ourselves and our own voices), and I can totally understand how infuriating it would be to have that short and precious time wasted listening to an ally blather on for who knows how long. “Productive discourse” in this case might be educational for Al, but it would be a waste of time and energy for most of the dynamorphs in attendance. And at the same time, marginalized people can be abrasive, disruptive, and/or abusive within their (our) own communities, and we don’t really have good solutions for how to handle those situations…. chaosvii No, nobody is required to be cordial, rational, respectful, nor patient. However, choosing not to be these things gets in the way of appearing like you value the contributions of others and are at all welcoming to the people you’ve treated with disrespect. If you gotta voice your anger, then do so, but having a sound reason for being angry doesn’t wipe the slate clean of whatever disrespect you impose on others nor helps them connect what’s going on here with what needs to go down out in the wide world of social/political action. If in your anger, you fail to indicate why they’re wasting everyone’s time, then all you’ve done in inform everyone that you’re angry, which doesn’t amount to much in and of itself. I won’t rebuke anyone for being angry nor for being disruptive, but I am mystified when anyone acts like expressing anger amounts to anything other than an emotional expression. Expressing anger isn’t putting forth a point. Being disruptive is merely a beginning. If you don’t do anything with the attention you’ve demanded, then you’re not doing much with the time you’ve seized. Be angry, let everyone know, but don’t stop there and pretend like you’ve achieved much. That’s just putting the ball back in the court of whoever you’ve expressed anger towards. At what point is Alison expected to understand that she’s wasting time? Why is she wasting time by publicly informing everyone that she’s here to listen? If you’re not interested in giving others anything to work with, great! That goal has been achieved. The good solutions to those problems would presumably be whichever ones effectively help people prioritize respectful interactions and productive discussions. Something about rational argumentation, logical stucturing of premises & conclusions, and understanding that pathos is not the only tool at a person’s disposal when conversing or convincing. Not that this would be easy to structure, but by placing a priority on how to have a discussion worth having, people are given the tools to understand that abusive behavior is not only hurtful, but frequently a waste of time even if nobody was harmed. chaosvii That doesn’t follow, you’ve claimed that the narrative condones dismissing people for being jerks, I’m saying that one person, who isn’t a main character, has expressed their opinion which may not even be dismissing them, and the other two characters say things which condone and/or accept the behavior of that guy. And thus you have not supported your claim as to what the narrative is taking a position on very well. I haven’t claimed that the narrative depicts rather than condones, I’ve criticized your interpretation that it condones, and for that matter, brought into question if it even depicts what you claim it depicts in the first place. In addition, your example of what my words are supposedly similar to is less than analogous even if you weren’t wrong about what I was saying. A depiction of a physical action tends to be rather unambiguous when clearly presented in frame & focus, a depiction of a social interaction where the subject of conversation is not even present happens to be significantly more ambiguous and subject to interpretation as to every aspect of what has transpired socially. That is why the comparison is flawed, and wouldn’t be very good if it were applicable in the first place. And I suppose my overall position on this point of yours is that this is a webcomic that hasn’t been completed, so criticism that boils down to “well so far in this incomplete work a subject has been dropped” is inherently premature. But I won’t push this further as I imagine that position doesn’t move you. Ah, so it doesn’t matter, now does it?! I’d love to here how you figure that, seeing as patterns in the past tend to be the only thing that anyone in the universe has to reliably use in order to predict future events. I can understand an argument that my reasoning is inductive and therefore not proof of anything, but claiming that it doesn’t even matter is much more audacious, and so you have my attention (as usual). ∫Clémens×ds What you fail to understand among other things is that I don’t care if the issue is resolved later. It won’t change how I feel about the poor presentation we got of it now. It’d be better, sure, but that won’t mean the highly criticizable way it is shown here will be subvertly twisted into an insightful purpose we are missing as of yet. Even if the narrative catches up on itself falling into the stairs, we’re left with a page whose only contribution to the whole was to be corrected later. And my criticism of it is legitimate. And your criticism of my criticism that “it will be patched up later” (which, for the record, doesn’t seem likely) is dumb. agurk I love the new character! Big buff spiky puff! chaosvii Right, it merely makes the validity of those criticisms isolated to those individual pages alone. Except in the cases where the entire issue is competed and none of the other pages contextually change the meaning of the individual pages.