I didn’t know Mike knew The Stalk. Does that mean he’s a Freelancer?
Bet anyone who hears The Mike is on their trail wets themselves.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. If you start reading it, prepare to have feels. And then have those feels kicked in the feely bits, over and over. And over.
Good lord you have no idea. It got so bad i had to buy all 6 TP’s so i can find out what happens.
I’ve only read the first three, but yes, Saga is incredible.
Don’t know how to describe it, maybe Game of Thrones meets Star Wars meets Transmetropolitan, meets Romeo and Juliet, but it’s not really like any of those things, it’s like Saga.
Also, would anyone in the comments with access to a genetics lab please create a Lying Cat for me?
I loved Worm, so now I’m only even more intrigued.
How are we having a thread about Saga without mentioning Lying Cat?
Mike and Dorothy is the friendship this comic has been missing
Good twin, Evil twin
Vice president, CIA Director.
Perfect cinnamon bun, Taco Bell.
Arby’s, the bathroom 🙂
I met the director of the CIA, once. He was much more like Dorothy.
Who says Mike isn’t the VP?
Well, we have a VP-elect from Indiana named Mike.
goddamnit in all possible ways.
Well, arguably Mike pence IS whatever we don’t want him to be.
No, that’s Trump.
I’d rather have DoA Mike, even if he picked me personally for the periodic crotch-kicks, honestly.
One does not get to be head of the CIA by being a nice person. Just saying.
Actually, I’m pretty sure you do have to be a nice person to become CIA director. Selectively. As in, nice to people with the authority to promote you. And ruthlessly not-nice to…other people.
So that is what you named your buttocks.
Branding is all about consistency.
On that note, I’m surprised Carla hasn’t tried to get Mike to be her asshole Sensei
Wouldn’t work. Mike likes to be genuinely hurtful, which also runs counter to Carla’s personal brand.
Mostly because I really, really, really doubt that Carla actually wants to be a real asshole, much less the kind that Mike is.
Even if she did, I doubt shedbe willing to acknowledge another as superior.
Carla wants to be perceived as an asshole without having to actually do anything terribly assholish to people.
Unless they’re sweet pranks. She’d totally be down with doing those.
Carla is an asshole in part because she doesn’t want to get entangled in other people’s drama and in part because she doesn’t care, not because she wants to actively hurt others. Mike, on the other hand, seems to actually desire to hurt others.
She’s actually a lot like Sarah in that regard.
I still want Sarah and Carla to become bffs
More like bpwteof: best people who tolerate each other forever
I could make a long reply about why Carla’s acting like she does… But just search for the phrase “Comic Reactions:” and you’ll see Cerberus making a pretty detailed case for much of Carla’s behaviour.
I’ll just add what I said some dozen comics ago, that Carla does in fact care quite a lot about other people when they’re in real trouble, but she fights it every step of the way. And it’s a defense mechanism. Because starting to show her tendency to care outwardly is likely to put her in a vulnerable place. And certain people will use her show of caring against her somehow.* So she cannot allow herself to be shown as a caring person!
*I first wrote “might”, but then I realised how hopelessly naíve that was. There is no “might” about it, -of course- people like Mary will try and take advantage of that!
Mike usually helps through hurting, but he also never admits to it.
After some binge reading, it’s clear Willis has planned his every scheme so-far to correspond with something significant. When he tanked Joyce’s date with joe, it wasn’t for the face-punching, but to break a little of her naivety, tempt her into committing violence, which has served her well these last several months. Joyce probably never hit a person in anger, or even fathomed doing such a thing until her anger at Joe, cultivated intentionally by mike, let the genie out of the bottle. Fast forward to the party, she smashed a glass over Ryan’s face before something really bad could happen, on instinct. Since, she’s slugged toedad and kicked in a window frame. Clearly she’s becoming either a danger to society or a superhero, depending on weather on not she chooses to don a costume or not, and it’s all Mikes doing.
The pajama jeans presented t an inconvenient but not insurmountable dilemma in between Walky and Dorothy, planned days(read:forever in this comic) in advance. If they couldn’t resolve a fight over pants etiquette, they would have been proven terrible for each other there and then, saving the both the time that would have been wasted if things has turned out different. He also exposed their respective internalized issues in the same stroke, Dorothy’s internalized shame over the perceived social divide between the two of them, and Walky’s shaken faith in the dream-land he imagined his future to be. Girls weren’t yucky any more, which for Walky, was a huge hurdle to jump.
When he told Danny he was banging Dorothy before pulling the bat-and-switch with walky, it wasn’t just to humiliate him, it was to demonstrate, with Walky as an example, for fact and truth, that Dorothy didn’t choose her future over him, she just didn’t want him. Period. Without that galvanization, he would have remained hung up on her well into his thirties, knowing Danny. Once again, massive personal progress made possible by Mike being a dick. He’s an antihero’s antihero.
I kind of knew this already, in a generalized intuitive way, but you spelling it all out has crystallized it for me.
Mike is actually the mortal incarnation of Lucifer. And I mean more the post-modern, free-will iconoclast interpretation of the character, rather than the “avatar of all evil” traditional version. He makes those around him stronger and better people by putting them into painful and difficult situations from which they learn valuable lessons about themselves and the world around them which they could not learn any other way.
It’s also about getting the iron hot enough before you apply it.
Mike fluff also good fluff, whew.
“a friend named Doc Ock”
…. so Mike’s not siccing a spider on an arachnophobe.
Instead, Mike’s inflicting upon an arachnophobe something that requires a spider to get rid of.
….. that’s evil.
Of course. “Brilliantly evil” is pretty much Mike’s gimmick.
Okay but that is a LITTLE creepy
He just sort of materializes when needed. This isn’t even his floor.
then where was he when mary started getting snotty about ruth being in the hospital, could have used him then?
Billie had that situation on lockdown. Mike was not needed.
It is actually his floor. Not his wing, though. He’s across the hall in Beck Wing. There’s no doors or anything between the wings though – all he has to do to get to Clark wing is walk down the hall.
That seems really weird to me. I went to college in a conservative area, and the girls’ wings always had locks, and they had to use their key get in. I always assumed that, if someone complained about unequal treatment, they’d force the guys doors to have locks, too.
I remember it was totally different from the version I saw on TV, where there were all these coed showers and coed floors (and even some coed rooms). Heck, you had to be married to get a coed room, and only visitors of the same sex could be signed in to stay past curfew.
And, yes, this was a public college.
I don’t know about coed showers or rooms, that seems a bit much to me, but we had a similar arrangement to IU – girls floors and boys floors. Not sure about different wings of the same building. No locks for the floors – locks for your room obviously and locks for the building, though those were usually propped open.
No such thing as signing in visitors or even anyone being more than vaguely aware of visitors. And nothing like a curfew. How did the engineering students pass if they couldn’t pull all-nighters?
The boy’s wing is on one side, the girl’s wing is on the other. Different bathrooms, no coed rooms. Just also no door separating the wings. TBF, they also have shared half baths between two rooms where they only lock from the inside, basically guaranteeing the kids from the other room can walk in whenever they want, unless all four of you are cool with not getting to pee all year.
I went to uni and lived on an integrated floor, had three wings, with a washroom/shower facility in each wing. It was an older building, and was originally the male residence. We were supposed to use separate washrooms, but by the third week, we had decided the hell with it, we would just use the washrooms in our wings. Most of the guys wouldn’t use the urinals, however some did. Took a while before I got used to a girl singing in the shower stall beside me.
Great spreadsheet great responsibility etc
…oooooh, also, are those new skates or the old glued-up ones?
If they’re new, they’re identical to the old ones
aaah, geez. I do not like that strip.
Examine your vision! These skates, though portions of them share the color pink, are not the same design of skates!
😮 Hooray! Christmas came early!
oic. Should’ve actually opened the strip up full size instead of just looking at it from tag results
Hey willis, do you have any plans to do a chapter (kinda like walking with dina) focusing on roz and mary sharing a room? i’m actually really interested in seeing how that dynamic works and the lengths they go to stay civil toward echother.
I figure every day they don’t kill each other is a minor miracle.
Carla has rich, and apparently fairly attentive, parents. If she needed new skates, she’d get them.
Forget new skates! Word of Willis is that if Carla asked for a real life version of Johnny Five, it’d show up in the mail a few weeks later. Carla’s parents are rich, attentive, and spoil her rotten. XD
Wait, are you sure? It looks to me like these have blue where the old ones had red, unless those are holes or something.
I think those are her leggings poking through. The actual skates slip on over her sock/legging/shoe/whatever and she straps the red part around her shin.
Or those could be the blue, yes. Either way, new skates.
Yep, this is do-goofing control freak at the boss level.
*seems to recall a song from The Who about this matter*
THIS is why they invented…
Dorothy is going full Twilight Sparkle again, I see.
Does that make Amber Fluttershy?
…between the rage issues and being a secluded hermit, that’s actually perfect. Oh, and the yellow.
Joyce is Pinkie Pie, Sal is Apple Jack, and Rainbow Dash is… Carla, I guess?
No way, Sal is pure Rainbow Dash, Sarah’s big sister vibe would make her more Apple Jackish in my book.
So then who’s Rarity?
Heh, you beat me to it.
Billie… at least they share the social class and the fashion sense.
Dina is Spike.
*Dina holds 45 minute lecture on the difference between Dinosaurs and Dragons*
Fine. Dina is Maud.
Twilight Sparkle is Best Pony.
Because anypony can sparkle by the dawn’s early light.
It takes talent to sparkle at the twilight’s last gleaming.
Yup. The very special Shimmer in Sunset, that Sparkle in Twilight, that Glimmer in Starlight. It’s Great. It’s Amazing.
…I’m not sure where I’m going with this.
Deviant art: Yes you do. We’ve got you covered.
Really Mike? Scaring girls with spiders? You can do better than that.
Scaring boys with spiders is also an option if no one in this wing particularly hates them. Mike’s an equal opportunity asshole.
It’s cute that you think Mike has standards in his douchebaggery.
It’s not that he can’t do better, but that he doesn’t want a level so low he can’t sink to it.
Mike wasn’t even in the building a few seconds ago
When he wants to torment people he just teleports wherever he wants.
He’s like the Devil. Speak of something he can use to torture people, and he will appear.
Today’s strip has the punchline in the first panel.
mike and carla… only 3 panels apart….. i am blessed :,-)
My new head canon is that Carla, due to her position as the daughter of the creators of a tech giant, does actually have her own brand.
And also is an icon for trans and non binary kids but that’s a given.
Remove your hand this instant, Mike.
Essentially what I was going to say if nobody beat me to the punch. Good to know it’s covered.
Damn straight, alt-text, damn straight! 😀
I thought she was trans?
She could be trans and straight.
She’s not, but she could be.
Indeed, those are non-exclusive terms. She’s not, of course, Jocelyne might be, but yeah, Carla is homoromantic and ace.
New crack ship INCOMING
Di- OK I SHOULD STOP
“Crack ship”? Is that when someone makes a ship so counter to the characters that you’d have to be on crack to imagine it?
Or characters who have never interacted yeah.
Don’t forget characters who never could interact because they don’t even exist in the same setting.
Ehh, I could at least see someone making a reasonable, non-drugged case that two characters would have been a good match if they ever managed to exist in the same fictional universe.
For the Emperor of the Internet, you know surprisingly little of its slang. I suppose this is what a class-based Internet gets us.
That’s how you know he is the emperor, see? He is the one not covered in shit.
It does sort of fit perfectly into Mike’s evil scheme. He might piss off Danny two ways by seducing both Ethan and Dorothy.
Not sure if I’ve ever read a comic storyline like that.
I wonder what Carla’s ratio of appearances-in-which-she’s-flipping-someone-off to appearances-in-which-she’s-NOT-flipping-someone-off is. I bet it’s impressive.
She’s always flipping people off in her heart. <3
And that’s why we love her.
Answering what I presume to be a joke question with a serious answer:
Abut 6:73. She doesn’t actually flip folks off that much.
– Once when she and the rest of Sal’s gals were leaving the parking lot confrontation with Amazi-Girl.
– Once when Amazi-Girl burst out of her room during the Ding Dong Bandit escapade.
– Once when she nearly slammed into Danny when he was jumping off the stairs and Ethan caught him.
– Once when Sal was teasing her about her busted skates.
– Once when she completely owned Mary.
And just now.
Yay for the data answer!
Thank Cheese for DoA’s easily navigable archives.
And thank Crust for having someone willing to do the legwork even when made easy.
Yes, let us all thank Cheeses Crust, for They came to us to deliver us from sinfully bad pizzas with cheap cheese substitute mixed in with the real stuff!
Meh, someone has to find the solution to easily answerable questions. The archive is there, may as well be me.
Is Mike gonna release a tarantula in someone’s room? Cuz that’s what it sounds like.
How is it Mike threw such a softball and nobody is going for it? He’s got holes to fill…come on people! Will it cost a nickel to fill those holes? Where are these holes? Are mothers involved? Endless possibilities regarding these holes, and nobody’s taken the first plunge.
Was too obvious, we like a challenge.
I may have daydreamed about making a feelings-spreadsheet like that, too.
(Mostly because my memory is terrible but I’ll probably have a caseload of people someday, so it’s more a necessity thing, but still.)
My memory, on the other hand, is unsettlingly good. People tell me things about themselves in passing, likely expecting I’ll forget, and when I invariably don’t and reference it in conversation, they seem alarmed.
I’ve met someone once, gone months between seeing them, and asked them how that thing they told me about was going. They, on the other hand, don’t even remember my name. And I think that’s why it’s so alarming to them. They know basically nothing about me, and they expect the same of me. It’s kind of like a stranger just knowing something about you. They actively volunteered the information to me, but it probably doesn’t feel that way.
They also feel guilty for not remembering my name even though I remember theirs, I gather. But why would they remember mine? We met once months ago with no guarantee of ever seeing each other again. That names stick with me so well is the uncommon/unexpected result. (I think it’s from all that teaching and having to quickly learn 60 names and the faces associated with them.)
When Facebook gets full AI, I guess that’s how it will feel.
(my first post ever, it’s kind of weird).
NOT WEIRD ENOUGH
Spreadsheets are terribly unorganized as a means of data gathering. Surely Dorothy can do better using a relationship map, assigning the feelings to vectors between the people.
At the very least, she might use a mind map.
Every storyline needs some Carla.
Every PANEL needs more Carla.
…damn it willis why are all of your non-terrible characters so likable
we need like at least three strips run simultaneously every day just to include all the characters that every panel could use.
Sadly, there is not always enough Carla to go around. Some otherwise deserving storylines must go without.
Carla will probably flip you the bird for saying this.
But she will secretly dig that she’s acknowledged as the motherfucking goddess she is.
Mike would make a great First Lady
Or, whatever we wind up calling a male First Spouse.
Someday, we’ll find out.
Why not just go gender neutral and call them ALL First Spouses?
When I was younger I had an idea for a book, and one of the characters was someone who was almost robotic but wrote down everything about everyone in the school in a notebook in incredibly precise and tiny handwriting.
The bullies always wanted to get their hands on it, but they couldn’t because he could always predict when and where they would try to trap him.
Congratulations. You’ve basically recapped the plotline of “Harriet the Spy”.
Except for the part where they did get ahold of her notebook and everything blew up in her face…
So when does Mike get punched out for being garbage?
You forget the last thing about Mike: Punching him means he won.
It’s less about whether he’s won and more about whether he’s rendered temporarily silent.
If his ‘victories’ involve him in pain while someone experiences catharsis for punching him, I’m pretty sure the actual reaction of most folks would be to let him have as many as he wants.
Granted, he’s a hell of a masochist.
Punching Mike means he wins because he’s always made happier by being punched than you are by punching him.
Horrifying Citation: http://www.shortpacked.com/index.php?id=1167
You mean when he’s literally superhuman, punched by a mere mortal? Not buying its applicability in DoA!
Ungh, I frickin’ hate these kind of ideas, because they’re so often used to dismiss the actual goals of trolls and bullies, which are frequently to harass. It’s building into their narrative that any form of resistance or reaction to bullies or trolls, is somehow “fitting into their plans” and thus they “win” some secret and somehow meaningful competition, rather than them just needing to learn a valuable lesson about how to operate in a pluralistic society without low-grade attempting to make the lives of folks they don’t like miserable.
And it’s also because ignoring trolls and bullies so they don’t “win” has never once worked. What works is swift action from an authority that lets them know that they can’t get away with low-level harassment because “boys will be boys” or what not. They need to know that their actions aren’t part of a “game” with winners and losers, but ones that actually affect other people and can have real consequences to people’s lives.
Like, with Mike, we see that with Dorothy. Dorothy has always just ignored him best she can as he torments her, quietly fixing the damage he does to her without overtly reacting in any way. We’ve seen the same from Ethan. What have we seen for his response?
Those two are his most frequent targets.
Because he knows that he’ll be allowed to torment them with little to no pushback that matters. And that’s what the bully or troll wants. To be able to make people’s lives worse and get away with it and drive off people he doesn’t want in his sphere by any means necessary without the community turning on him and throwing him out. Mild dislike is fine, so long as it doesn’t come with actual ostracization and removal from the group*.
*See the long rants trolls go on when they are actually banned from forums or the claims of being the victim bullies make when their victims finally haul off and punch them, because they are both hoping that the system overall supports them and lets them whine out of consequences for their negative actions without reproach.
Sorry for the long reply, but that’s a worldview that bothers me a lot as a teacher, because it’s so wrongheaded to how bullies and trolls actually operate, but it’s been ingrained in our society as “common knowledge”.
Yeah, and it especially plays into bystanders keep being bystanders. “Just ignore them” is mighty easy to do if you are not their target, but that means the target is left without help.
Well shit, I think this is the first time Mike has committed any specific acts of dickery of which I’m guilty.
But arachnophobes are so fun to mess with.
I will never get the appeal of intentionally upsetting someone :/
Mostly to see the look on their face. Screaming is pretty great too.
Yeah, no, none of that sounds enjoyable to me.
To each their own.
^ Proof that Mike has a connection to the real world, right there.
No. You just admitted to some doing some absolutely horrible shit. Phobias produce the same reaction that waterboarding does: a panic attack.
Having had a panic attack (uncontrollable screaming for several minutes even as someone else tried to help and console me after waking up and realizing that I couldn’t move after surgery,) and having interacted with people who say they are afraid of spiders, I’m pretty sure most of them
do not actually have panic attacks every time they see a spider.
However, I don’t go inflicting spiders on them so I can’t say for absolute certain.
Phobias vary in severity. They can range from just regularish fear to full blown panic attacks.
Yeah, panic attacks aren’t funny.
Dude, stop doing that, for reals. That’s not actually a good thing to be doing and to be getting off on someone’s fear and distress in a nonconsensual manner just for some laughs is actually some really fucked up behavior.
Maybe you didn’t know, before, but I’m telling you now. Knock it off.
I figured it out a while ago, and since then I’ve made certain that it’s as close to consensual as possible and abstained if that’s not feasible.
Good. I’m really glad that’s the case. *hugs offered*
Er, just because this is super important–consensual is an all or nothing game, you can’t have “as close to consensual as possible”. Either it is, or it isn’t.
Me either. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t call it out here, when I got on “wacky Becky” for doing it to Joyce earlier.
(seems like years ago… actually, I think it was.)
Because you’re not an unempathetic asshole.
Dorothy’s system seems like a good way of giving the illusion of being social and a people person. She’ll definitely go far in politics.
it’s not necessarily an illusion.
There’d be the illusion that it came naturally to her, but her interest in other people seems genuine.
She’s not really hiding the fact that it doesn’t come naturally to her, so I’m not so sure about that part either.
I think by the time she’s old enough to run for any kind of public office she’ll have mastered that.
you suspect she cares to hide it, and I dont.
I think it is kind of an illusion. All these facts she’s collecting about people give the illusion of a wide circle of friends. In reality though she only has time for real genuine closeness with a handful of few and I think there is a difference between someone who keeps up with a collection of things they’ve written down about you and someone who cares about what’s going on with you by being actively in your life. It’s nice that Dorothy wants to have some idea of what’s going on with all her neighbors but her interest n Rachel is shallow compared to someone like Joyce who she has a real ongoing relationship with.
I guess this is more of a personal touch than Dorothy being facebook friends with everybody on her floor but there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference to me.
I do give her some credit in that when real shit goes down (like what Carla was apart of) I’m sure she makes an effort to follow up out of genuine concern.
Hmm, though I mean… you might have something with the illusion bit. Like, it’s not an illusion per se, because she genuinely cares and wants to reach out to people and help people. We’ve seen that a million times with her support of Walky and Joyce and the amount of times she’ll sublimate her own mental health needs in support of someone she cares about. And we’ve seen her reach out to others in a similar spirit.
So, she’s genuine, but she also doesn’t have a wealth of terrible life experiences to “get it” in quite the same way as maybe a Sal or a Carla or a Billie.
And I think that might be part of why Carla is so openly dismissive of her offer of support and reaching out, because it’s not coming from a place of shared experience or genuine understanding. And for a kid who’s been burned a lot in reaching out (cough cough Carla), that often signals to them that the person is going to be more effort to explain what they are going through than they’re likely to get in return supporting them.
And I see that all the time among the kids, where a new earnest teacher has a hard time connecting with the kids because they don’t inherently speak the language of depression or anxiety or surviving abuse and thus end up accidentally signaling themselves as not a trustworthy person to open up to or worse, accidentally stumble into a forest of triggers or horrible statements to someone dealing with trauma or mental health issues.
And it’s probably why I’m pretty good at earning a lot of kids’ trust, because I have that wealth of awful life experience to bring in to meet them where they actually are and speak their language. Asking “hangin’ in there?” rather than how they’re doing and responding to things like bullying with firm promises that in the future, they can let me know immediately when those things happen and I’ll shut it the fuck down. And always being quick with coping resources when I can lay them down.
What Dorothy offers Carla is a brief and standard emotional check-in using the wrong language after Carla just faced transphobic bullying (again), handled it herself (again), had to intervene to save a suicidal girl that was sort of thrown on her to take care of (not again, thankfully), and had all her business made public knowledge on the hall, so that people saw her as “victim of hate” Carla instead of “please fuck off and let me be me” Carla (and for Carla, she’s likely worrying folks are viewing her as the victim first, cause that can be dangerous when folks start seeing a trans woman as that).
And that’s the wrong response. A promise that shit will get stopped next time, a congratulations for what she did pushing back in a non-violent way with a dismay that it was allowed to decay to that point where she felt she needed to do that to get Mary off her back, a focusing of what Mary did as wrong… better approaches.
… damn today must be a teacher ranty sort of day. Sorry, y’all.
That’s a really interesting analysis, both of you, and I think you are right.
I really think what Dorothy is doing is “cultivating shallow relationships”, similar to facebook friends like you said, fillerusername, but with a slightly more personal touch. I think that’s a perfectly conscious choice factoring in that
– Dorothy is stressed for time
– Dorothy is kinda unused to social interactions outside her inner circle (we never hear anything about HER old friends except Joe and Danny (and aren’t those deep, meaningful friendships) do we), and sets up a system where she has control
– She wants to train herself in working the crowd as a politician and also wants the floors support in her bid for RA, or being voted for journalist of the year or whatever.
– She knows how little experience she has with the kind of shit people are in, but she still wants to help. This way she lowers the bar for people to come to her the next time shit goes down.
And honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It is a bit obnoxious but mostly harmless. She doesn’t make a secret of it and she doesn’t pry for people’s deep secret or gossip (Billie with her “lover spat” comment about Grace and Mandy is worse in that regard).
Dorothy is just a harmless little nerd with her spreadsheeting. Look how thorough she is! She will write it down! People know how shallow it is but… there kinda is a genuine interest behind it. This is standing by the water cooler and asking, “so how are things going? Uhu?” It’s a polite conversation opener, an invitation to talk but with the door left open to just keep it harmless chitchat. It’s not the prying for deeper secrets she do with Walky.
You are also completely right, Cerberus, that it is nothing near the REAL help Carla would actually benefit from. I think Carla has the exact reaction to Dorothy as Sal, and I think both of them are right. Dorothy’s help would be more trouble than it’s worth.
But I think that people like Rachel or Sierra or Agatha who are not in serious shit actually benefit from a friendly smile and a “how do you do” from their local wanna be politician.
That’s all really good points. Carla wouldn’t benefit from this type of reaching out, but the majority of the hall would, because it’s just enough of a check-in to say, yo, I’m doing the rounds and remember stuff about you, Vote for Keener.
I think it’s less “illusion” and more “she puts effort into being friendly and caring toward people, even the ones she doesn’t know well.”
It’s a technical truth that you just don’t have time to be really close to everyone, but that doesn’t mean she can’t try to be kind and caring to the people around her. (Even if she does express that desire by taking notes so she won’t forget.)
She wants to care, wants to help. But she can’t remember everything … so, spreadsheets.
Every story line needs more Carla.
If I’m biased, it’s only because Carla pretty much feels like the definition of my existence since 11/08…
She’s my second favorite. There will always be times when the universe needs to be reminded that it can go fuck itself, and Carla’s just doing her part.
Hahaha, because fucking around with people’s phobias is funny!
Holy shit, fuck you, Mike.
(Not that this isn’t the first time you’ve been an utter shitheel!)
/Not arachnophobic, but I’ve got some friends that are.
Well… it is.
It’s definitely assholish, and one should carefully consider whether the target can handle it first, but exploiting mild phobias for entertainment is pretty entrenched in the ‘socially acceptable dickery’ category. Something like claustrophobia would be fucked up, and possibly criminal, to deliberately trigger, but some phobias that are taken less seriously like spiders or clowns are still considered fair game in most social circles.
I would not be friends for long with someone who found it amusing to distress me.
^ yeah, this.
There is no such thing “socially acceptable dickery.” What you describe is people who are in a social situation where they don’t believe they can demand that you stop.
Mike is a sociopath. If you see any of yourself in him, that’s a sign you need to get checked out. It is detestable to find pleasure in the pain of other people who have done you no wrong.
What you are doing is absolutely horribly wrong. Full stop.
I thoroughly disagree with that first sentence. Just because something is utterly reprehensible doesn’t keep it from being socially acceptable.
When I do deliberately prey on others’ phobias for my own amusement, it’s only with people who I know can handle it without a panic attack or anything of that nature and are perfectly willing and able to tell me to knock it off. I don’t take things far in the first place – at most, posting images of spiders or skeletons where I know they’ll be found by people who’re unnerved by them. I’m well aware of how bad that sort of malicious humor can get, so I keep it pretty well reined in.
I’d have thought that self-comparison to Mike being cause for concern went without saying.
Oh, yes, we frequently socially accept bullies and put pressure on folks to put up with being bullied and see it as light-harded fun.
Doesn’t make your actions any less toxic to your friendships and make them any less hesitant to force themselves to spend time with you out of custom and habit and a feeling that they “should”.
If you want friends that matter, that you can be close to, that you can feel safe being vulnerable with when you need emotional support, you’re gonna need to start reigning in shit like that. I’m sorry to lay that out bluntly, dude, but it’s the truth and I really don’t want you to get burned down the line later on, because you thought stuff like that was all in good fun.
I myself enjoy scandalizing my friends the way Becky does to Joyce, as well as some playful shenanigans, but when I know about something one of my friends is insecure about or afraid of, that shit is off-limits.
If you’re targeting someone’s vulnerabilities for a joke, you’re not being playful, you’re being an jerk. Even if they shrug it off, at the very least you’re stressing them out and training them to never confide in you about anything personal, because it might be used against them.
I’m willing to believe you know your friends well enough to avoid going too far, but the kind of stuff Mike pulls demonstrates that he doesn’t care if he crosses the line between “playfully irritating” and “causing day-ruining levels of stress”, or even the one between that and “lasting emotional harm”. He told Amber she would turn into her abusive father. He helped shame Ethan back into the closet. He mocked Billie about her relationship with Ruth, knowing damn well how Walky cares about her.
Using that kind of personal knowledge against your own friends is just a colossal breach of trust. Even if you don’t do it to the monstrous degree Mike does, just the fact that you learned about something like that and chose to turn it into a joke can damage friendships, or at least keep them from becoming stronger ones.
Exploiting someone’s mental illness for your own amusement is ALWAYS fucked up and morally unacceptable the fact that our society is frequently extremely backwards in its stances regarding the mentally ill is not a defense anymore than its fucked up perspective on racism or homophobia make those morally permissible. “It’s socially acceptable” is meaningless because there was a time when owning another human being was socially acceptable.
That was sort of my point.
What’s your next trick, setting of fireworks outside the home of traumatized war vets? Oooh, maybe you’d find it funny to get a dog to chase someone who’d been mauled by one as a child!
Lets’s fuck with someone because they have an irrational, fearful reaction that they have no control over! It’s THEIR fault for their brain being wired that way, and, hell, they exist for your entertainment until they ask you to stop doing it, right? =D It’ll be HILARIOUS, right? =D
No, those are well over the line into ‘fucked up.’ I’m talking shit like running through a room with a sheet over my head going “OOOOOO.”
Dorothy’s being weird and a bit creepy in walking around with a notebook on people quite like this. But a journal in which I write stuff down does help a lot as a prosthetic social memory. Not “let me look you up right now” but reviewing it before I go meet someone. Especially for people I only saw weekly, at dance events, say, and wouldn’t remember easily naturally.
Louise Fitzhugh won an award for writing a kid’s book (in the 1960s) about a girl who did just that.
I’m guessing Dorothy is angling to be the new RA. RA in first year would look fantastic on her resume.
Except IU doesn’t allow freshmen to be RAs
In my head canon, Pudd’nhead Chloe sees Dorothy doing the job and doesn’t bother to care. It’s one less load off her shoulders.
Surreptitious notes can be the best. I have a very hidden post-it note in my desk that is just a list in code* of all the students I know or suspect of being abused by their parents or other family members. I use it mostly to check in with red flags and be able to intervene with other teachers who are about to make a bad situation worse with that student.
*I take no chances with someone accidentally stumbling on that shit.
I wish I had had a teacher like you when I was in school.
I’ve said it before, but I’m really happy you are a teacher.
I’d love to hear about the kind of code you use, but well as much as secrecy through obscurity is a terrible thing to rely on it does help quite a bit.
I want to comment, but practically everything I’d say would probably just make you feel even more like Carla.
So here, have this strip instead: http://www.dumbingofage.com/2016/comic/book-6/02-that-perfect-girl/win/
(I hope you like spite.)
Dammit, that was supposed to be a reply to Kay. Oh well, you don’t have to scroll up far to find it, at least.
1. Starting to actually worry about Dorothy here. She seems…kinda like she’s teetering on the edge of a burnout.
2. Yay for more Carla. Trying so hard to maintain the asshole brand after being all to helpful. Can’t hide that secret heart of gold from the people of the floor forever.
3. Jesus tap-dancing Christ when did Mike learn how to teleport directly into someone’s personal space?
DoA might have supposed to be an universe without superpowers, but Mike’s ability to be whatever you don’t want him to be, wherever you don’t want him to be and whenever you don’t want him to be transcend the multiverse.
He’s kind of done a shitty job at being genuinely effective at what he’s doing.
Not really, I don’t want Mike to be anywhere so his continued existence meets that criteria.
Yeah, I’ve been worrying about Dorothy for awhile now. Especially as she keeps minimizing and ignoring her own mental health needs in order to be the “good partner” and “best best friend” and be their main emotional supports during emotionally intense times.
Like, non-sustainable habits, Dorothy…
Dorothy’s dream of being president of the United States has been crushed, and this is how she compensates.
(Yes I know this comic was written months ago, still, America’s inevitable destruction at the tiny hands of Trump really messes with this comic’s continuity)
It’s only October 7th in-comic. We might be rid of President Cheezits before Dorothy sees election day, assuming America survives that long
I really don’t understand what’s going on with Dorothy. Is she trying to get the RA job?
There’s something I’ve been wondering for awhile concernin Carla, and I was waiting for her to show up again so there’d be a valid reason for me to ask.
Willis or Cerberus or anyone else who is knowledgeable, educate this ignorant boy: how is Carla fully, completely post-op?
Every time I look up MtF reassignment surgery, the person undergoing it has to be 18, and it takes a long time for the hormone treatments to take effect.
Unless I am severely overestimating how long the transition takes place, shouldn’t the 18-19ish Carla still be adjusting?
That’s kind of her own business, isn’t it?
*shuffles* Good point…
We get to know a lot of stuff about fictional characters that would be too personal to ask in real life. You think Carla wants us to know how she’s not actually an asshole? Heck, Carla has never to my knowledge even revealed she’s trans, but we know.
I’m not saying that the author has to tell us or anything. He can keep it private as much as he wants. But it’s not unreasonable to want to know this information, either.
On the one hand I agree and don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask about – for fictional characters, where we ask and speculate about many other things that would be uncool if they were real people.
On the other hand, it is something offensive that people often ask in real life when they really shouldn’t, so it’s good to push back against that, even if only by deliberately leaving it unanswered in the comic.
Carla DID flat out state she was trans to Ruth earlier. So either she knows Ruth knows (not impossible, she was the RA) or she is cool with just saying so.
I don’t recall any details of Carla’s transition being mentioned.
Which I (potential, huge insensitive mistake) assumed meant the process had long been finished.
It really just means she hasn’t talked about it on camera. Her plans could be literally anything, and at 19, with the typical requirement to have been on hormones for like, years, it’s unlikely (but a little less implausible given her family’s wealth) that she meets that. More than that, her plans could be any of a variety of things, and not include a full, or even partial, transitiion at all.
I agree with fillerusername about it being Carla’s business and not any of ours unless she at some point on panel shares her story.
That said, if only for general education, I will mention here that the age restriction is, in most of the US anyway, only on the surgery. One can start the process well before 18 with a solid therapist well versed in the needs of trans individuals and a supportive family. When considered with the costs, many of which will not be covered as yet by most health insurance in the US, it becomes rather obvious why most people don’t even begin transition this young. What we know of Carla’s family suggests she may well have had the right access to near fully transition before 18 and have had her SRS as soon as possible after reaching 18.
I knew a young trans man (early teens) who had had his potentially-excessive breasts removed already. (His family and his religious community were very supportive. Unprogrammed Quakers FTW!)
I know it’s not the same as “bottom surgery” but it does show that trans-related surgery can happen before 18.
The idea that bottom surgery is an inherent part of the transition is a misunderstanding. A whole lot of trans women never even have it at all. And top surgery is often (even usually?) unnecessary, especially if you start hormones early on.
She may not feel the process is worth it. Or she could be waiting. Or, yes, she could have already had it–she is old enough, and her parents have money.
The author clearly doesn’t think it’s important to her story, and that’s fine. Maybe even as a lesson of how unimportant it is in real life.
Since I was asked directly, here’s my response:
1) As others have noted, despite the cultural idea that being transgender and “the surgery” are always and forever linked, that actually has less of a monomaniacal focus within the trans community. Like, some people want them, some people don’t, some people have various barriers to getting them, and most importantly, there isn’t just “one surgery” that covers all the possible surgical interventions a person could do to potentially resolve dysphoria, many of which are the same as surgeries routinely done for cis folks for a variety of reasons both medical and cosmetic.
2) We don’t know the state of Carla’s surgical procedures or if she wants them and that’s okay. It’s not our business to know this and as folks noted, yeah, we never demand public knowledge of the exact states of cis folk’s genitals the same way we feel entitled to knowledge over Carla’s genital state.
Like, we don’t know if DoA Mike’s penis is circumcised or has a slight bend in a direction or how many testes he currently has. And it’s not our business to know unless we’re checking out a future Slipshine of him (and even then, it’s not so much our business, rather our interest).
And that has even more resonance for the simple fact that we actually have less of a right to know a trans person’s genital state than a cis person’s genital state, because that information is often weaponized against a trans person, intended as a means of denying one’s “real” womanhood or manhood until they’ve had a surgery they might not even see as important or beneficial to their health*.
*Current phalloplasty tends to be awful and I know a lot of trans guys who just say fuck no to that until the technology improves and vaginoplasty has been having a bad run of late because one of the most recommended doctors for the procedure is too old to still be performing surgeries and is starting to routinely fuck them up in deleterious ways, and can frequently be viewed as not really worth it for a lot of folks with all the dilation you have to do if you’re not having regular penetrative intercourse. And it’s also ignoring that the clitoris and the penis are essentially the same organs, so when you flood them with the other hormone for awhile, well… yeah, those aren’t the same genitals you’re imagining on a cis person, not by far.
3) Neither hormones or surgeries are required to be trans and it’s not something that is required to be recognized as the gender that you are, at least in any place decent. And the fears that people are exploiting that to “perv” on another gender massively underestimates a) just how much transphobia someone gets for even thinking they might be trans and b) how toxic masculinity operates and how the people most likely to think like that would also be the people most threatened by the even notion.
4) That all said, I’m willing to bet money down that Carla is probably on hormones at the very least and has likely been on them since at the very least, the moment she turned 18. I dunno, I might be reading too much of old kids I used to mentor into this, but that’s definitely the impression I get given her overall attitude, which is full of confidence she has openly admitted she hasn’t always had.
Oh, shoot, also there’s the fact that though it doesn’t really matter that we don’t know… she probably has not had more than an orchidectomy if she’s had any surgeries, because that has obliquely come up in comic.
Both with her initially interpreting a penis drawn on her door as a statement of hate before realizing it was just a general prank rather than a targeted message and with her intentionally showering at times no one else is up and avoiding being in the shower with others*.
*Not that it inherently means that, of course, as a trans person no matter their genital state tends to get harassed with targeted statements about genitals and people freaking out over them using any form of shared facility whether it be a shower room, a locker room, or a bathroom. See folks freaking on Laverne Cox about penises and “boys in the bathrooms” even though Laverne Cox has actually shown her labia on screen.
Thank you for explaining, and breaking it down in ways I could understand.
Fuck off, Mike. Fucking with phobias (as in actual phobias, not just ‘afraid of’) is not fucking funny.
My brother pulled shit like that the other week with zombies for me and I was livid. Knock it the fuck off.
Dorothy has a tendency to answer questions with deflection. “Am I spreadsheeting? Does Becky like waffles?” I don’t think it is to hide things about herself, like Becky and Walky sometimes does. I think she does it to get the other person to talk about herself. She is after all the self appointed busibody friend-psychologist and team mom!
But in this case it serves to hide the answer to Joyce’s real question. “Are you OK?”
…I THINK Dorothy is OK, but I think she starts to seriously stress out about all the horrible shit that happens to everyone on her watch. Dorothy will be the BEST acting RA.
Also, this is such a beautiful Dorothy and Joyce moment. Dorothy is spreadsheeting, Joyce is checking in on her. Best of friends <3
Deflection = practice for politics, too. For all the frustration people have with that sort of thing, it’s still better politics than defending one’s self. Not for other peoples’ viewing pleasure, but for the reaction of the opponent. To an opponent who really is your adversary, defending is actually an inducement to keep pressing the point.
It’s an important career skill for her to develop.
“Quick, what’s the shorthand for flipping the bird?”
“Sorry. Flipping the double bird.”
I will be impressed when Carla is shown flipping the elusive and rarely-seen “triple bird”.
“Emo kid is throwing a slo-mo dove at me, I guess that means that he just flipped me the bird.”
Nice, for those that haven’t had the pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsgWUq0fdKk
Contains a problematic gay stereotype joke near the end, though. Just so people know before clicking it.
I mean, I still like the video overall.
Personally I’m fond of the Double Deuce.
There is something very bizarre happening with Dorothy right now. I suspect that she’s compensating for or trying to distract herself from something.
No, Mike, her list won’t help you with anything. It’s a list of moods, not of likes and dislikes. Meanwhile, you can add to your list that Dorothy and Joyce are both made deeply uncomfortable by your own personal physical proximity; learn from that what you will.
She wants to make things better, and being attentive to others is how she thinks she can do it?
That would work if it were Sarah (as abundantly disturbing as it is). However, I’ve never really seen any indication that Dorothy was oblivious to others’ feelings or even sufficiently uncaring to require that she focus her attention at doing better at it.
No, this has the bizarre feel of a class project that Dorothy has either misinterpreted or is taking way too seriously.
It could be she’s trying to distract herself from Walky’s possible issues. Their relatonship was supposed to be “just for fun”, but it’s developing into something more than that. That’s a tie she would have to break to go on to the ivy league as she planned. He’s also starting to struggle academically and isn’t mature enough to do anything about it. Dorothy doesn’t seem to know this exactly, but she probably suspects something’s up now that he’s getting even more skittish about his responsibilities. (Or maybe the whole “he’s still like a kid who loves cartoons” schtick has worn out its welcome.)
Or maybe she’s cruising full throttle straight toward academic burnout of her own. Only The Willis knows, and he doesn’t say.
Distracting herself from Walky’s worries – or from going after Ryan.
On the other hand, IIRC in the last weeks she spend all her time studying or being with Walky, and probably feels she has to catch up on interacting with the rest of the world. Three weeks of neglect to catch up in one day. Impossible without spreadsheets and stuff.
Except it actually could be dangerous in Mike’s hands. He punches down, especially when his targets are already down.
Her spreadsheet isn’t useful for information for what to attack people with, but it’s very useful for information for when to attack them.
The more we see of Mike the more he feels like a particularly annoying class clown. “Oooooh, look at meeee, I’m an Asshole. Have I mentioned I am an asshole today?”
Kinda similar to Walky, Becky and Joe, but without their self deprecating humor.
“Ooooh, look at me, I’m sure goofy/lesbian/horny today, haha, isn’t it silly” says the other three. “Oooooh, look at me. I’m sure an asshole today, so you better look out,” says Mike
And the other three are acutely aware of what borders they shouldn’t cross. I have seen none of that with Mike. And that’s when the venn diagram of a Class Clown and a Bully is just a circle.
Mike is fully aware of what borders he should not cross. The difference with him is that he earnestly desires to ignore those borders. Knowing why it is so important to him that he be scientifically and openly vile (to the point where he explains what he is about to do to his potential victims in detail and asks them if they think it would be effective) is really weird. I’d love to know why he does it because he doesn’t seem to enjoy it; he just seems to act as if it is something that he has to do!
He’s a classic bully.
Like, maybe he got to be something else in the other universe, but in this universe, he’s just a bully, though maybe one who would be given the free pass designation of a “troll” and thus have people more likely to riff on his targets for responding humanly to his attempts at harassment.
Yup. He’s a bully. But I think a slightly larger part of his motivation is “attention” than I thought. Just like Joe enters the room and shouts “Penis” and Becky shouts “Lesbian”, Mike enters the room and shouts I’m an asshole.” All three of them immediately makes whatever is going on about themselves.
Compare and contrast Carla who says “I’m an asshole* in RESPONSE to other people’s attention (and in any case is pretty bad at being an asshole). She is much more similar to Sal who use her “too cool to school” persona in defense in a similar way. Carla is not a bully, and she is hardly even a clown. Mike is both.
Also, Mike, hands off. You are not friends with Dorothy and you make her uncomfortable.
I hate when people touch me (outside the boyfriend and my parents) but I can usually be okay with it when I see it coming and know it’s affectionate. Some asshole who I don’t know very well who takes every opportunity to fuck with my relationship and call me a slut? Yeah, that’d be a ‘Mike, you have two seconds to remove your hand from me or I will remove it myself in a manner of my choosing and shove it straight up your left nostril.’
Joe did the same thing and it immensely creeped me out there. That assumption of physical intimacy and desire for contact is such a goddamn red flag, because it presumes that someone’s boundaries or desires or not for sudden from behind body contact (which is rare, most people don’t like to be grabbed suddenly and unexpectedly from behind by people, even people they know) are immaterial and not even thought about.
And that’s made somewhat even more not okay when, as you note, Mike has gone out of his way to antagonize her, call her a slut, deface her social media account, attempt to low-key ruin her life, and run her through endless little pieces of harassment that she is socially expected to just shrug off.
I’m waiting for either Joe or Mike (or both) to try this shit and get an elbow in their kidneys for it.
And it sucks that both so thoroughly understand that someone fighting back against their invasion of personal space is much more likely to be cited than them for being all creepily bad at boundaries to begin with.
i’m hoping said girl will be someone like Sal, Marcie, Billie, Ruth, Carla, or Malaya, who wouldn’t really care too much if someone tried to cite them for it. Like no, fuck you, maybe this asshole shouldn’t be coming up from behind me and grabbing me.
i like carla’s outfit here, stands out a lot.
Yup Dotty is definitely gunning for the position of the Supervisor.
Sounds like Rachel is in either computer science or playwriting.
Given that, in the other universe, she’s Ultra Car’s mom, I’m betting on the former.
(Carla having creators who aren’t Rachel and Joe is still weird to me.)
Excellent deduction. I wonder if her DoA parents have a passing resemblance to Rachel and Joe.
I don’t understand being afraid of spiders.
Okay, once after picking berries I found one on me and freaked out and brushed it off, but I mean a spider that is just minding its own business crawling around on the walls or something. Better spiders than bugs, I say.
You can’t exactly reason with a phobia. That’s why it’s called an Unnatural Fear. Besides there are always rational reasons for it. Spiders in the north may be nice little spider bros who hunt flies but in the south they are tank-sized, extremely venomous little monsters. Just ask Australia. I think they even banned some series or episode showing how harmless a spider or some other creature was, but teaching kids that in Australia would be lethally dangerous to them.
Australians get the benefit of the doubt; I hear everything is poisonous down there, even the cut little flat-footed beaver-ducks.
You got that right; male Platypus venom won’t kill you generally, but it will make you wish it did; it’s liquid agony, and I’m told that not even opiates help.
And that’s before you even get to the special agent training and spy gear.
Let’s not even mention the dropbear. Australia is truly a land of fear.
England used to send folks there as a punishment for a reason. They most likely weren’t meant to survive.
I’ve always guessed it is the movement pattern. Instinctively we’re happier when we can guess what something is going to do, we’re safer that way, and we’re most at home reading human and mammalian movements. Things that have very different movement patterns seem to inspire a variable amount of paranoia in us.
That’s a great theory.
I wonder if people react differently to jumping spiders, regular orb weavers, and funnel spiders (if they were all shaped the same.)
I can’t exactly help being afraid, I wish I wasn’t and always try to find somebody to put the spider outside if I can because it’s not their fault I’m afraid to the point of panic attacks and sleepless nights. My sister trying shock therapy to fix it when i was a kid didn’t exactly help either. Everybody has irrational fears and they’re always gonna be hard to explain.
The entire point of phobias is that they are not rational. As in, that is part of the *literal definition* of a phobia. And a lot of people *with the phobias* realize that the phobias are not rational. That does not make the phobias go away.
There’s not necessarily any sense to be made, it’s just your brain being an *asshole.*
If I were to take a guess-(And please note: I am a PHYSICIST, not a PSYCHOLOGIST!) In reality, it’s probably that something, in the distant past of the person’s life, happened that set their brain to go “THAT! THAT IS A THREAT! INITIATE FIGHT OR FIGHT ANYTIME SOMETHING MATHCHES THAT PATTERN!”.
Think of it like an allergy attack for the brain. Sure, you’re immune system *shouldn’t* look at Gluten, or Galactose-Alpha (what makes people allergic to red meat), or peanuts, and go “THAT! THAT IS A THREAT! KILL IT! ACTIVATE ALL IMMUNE DEFENSES! BEGIN SWELLING!”, especially to the point of, in some cases, *killing the person*-but the immune system does it *anyways*.
I personally like the comparison with an allergy.
Partially because we have such a huge cultural baggage in thinking of thought process as something separate from the body that is hard to overcome. But here we are reminded that hey, the brain is a physical process happening… And it’s not a perfect process (it never is).
That’s a great metaphor!
I feel like this thread needs some pictures of cute spiders in defense of spider-kind.
But only for non-arachnophobes!
I shall play you the song of my people
This… This is what I needed in my life and never knew! Joyous day!
Oh my god
That’s so cute!
Today’s punchline may actually be my favourite in all of Dumbing of Age so far.
Dotty’s getting an early start on her Farley File.
Joyce is gonna break your face if you don’t move, Mike.
But you still have a second – because you are wise enough not to touch Joyce Thunderfist.
Mike makes my day
Dorothy seems… slightly shady here. I don’t like the interaction she has with Rachel. Particularly the “if not, it’s only a matter of time” before Rachel even has the chance to answer. Gives the impression she doesn’t actually carr about the problem but rather wants to check off the two most possibly variables for social interaction. She’s not interested in a conversation but wants credit for having one, and further info to update her spread sheet. It is similar Joe’s Do List or Mike’s Psychological Fuck With Em Files both of which are rightly derided in fandom and story.
Good intentions (what are her intentions tho?) don’t justify this shit.
Yeah, she’s reaching out, but doesn’t really understand how to do that in an earnest manner that invites genuine trust at the moment. Which is unfortunate, because she’s shown she knows how to do it with Joyce, but might just be running on autopilot at the moment because she’s burning the candle at both ends.
Yeah I reaaaaally didn’t like that either. Asking a question and not waiting for a response is so awkward 🙁
I think Dorothy is spreadsheeting more than usual because she’s stressed about a certain conversation she needs to have with Joyce soon.
I’m not sure if that’s the reason, but I think you’re right that it’s a stress coping mechanism for her. This is a thing Dorothy does. Charts and notes. Keeping things organized. She’s got a chart for rating sex, for fuck’s sake.
I pretty much agree with everything everyone’s said about her not really helping here – this definitely comes across as superficial and unreal. I don’t think it really is though. This is just how she copes with difficult things – take notes, get it down on paper, check the notes to make sure she’s keeping up with everything. Works better for class than relationships.
Panel 1: Hoo boy there’s a lot of pregnant meaning on this page, so let’s break it up.
a) This is humorous yes, but it’s also a thing that can happen after a big incident where people overperform their generalized well-wishing, concerns they didn’t bother to show before the incident, and it just feels like so much horse shit and actually just makes you feel like crap, like you’re being pitied and dismissed.
Like, no, this is everyday, this is all the time, this is my life and what I’m having to push through, this isn’t some singular special moment for me. I had that moment once when I was relating some casual transphobic harassment right out my school to a coworker and the coworker freaked out and had a cop talk to me about it and it was the most mortifying thing in my life, because that shit wasn’t something special and rare, it’s just the background radiation of my life and having it treated as something rare made me feel on the spot in a bad way.
b) And well, Dorothy is approaching this all wrong. Like, I have no doubt her heart is in the right place. We’ve seen that she genuinely does care about a lot of things and a lot of people and does go out of her way to be there for people. But as I noted up above, she doesn’t have a wealth of terrible life experiences to draw on to approach correctly, to approach in a manner that says, yeah, I’ve been there, I understand rather than “I (generically) am thinking positively in your direction”.
And with folks who have been burned repeatedly by folks promising to help them (see her comment to Ruth about being let down by authority figure after authority figure), providing a generic check-in that makes you feel put on the spot and highlights your experience as a victim rather than your fight against that shit, well…. That tends to feel very unsafe for those folks and like a red flag that opening up isn’t worth it.
c) Yeah, it’s counter to Carla’s personal brand. Like, her current safety strategy is to be seen as so much of a prickly porcupine that people leave her the fuck alone and stop harassing her. It’s entirely been about being tired of folks viewing her as just the victim all the time, so for Dorothy to center a question based on an interpretation of her as victim first, definitely rubs her the wrong way.
Cause she’s being honest here. She doesn’t want to be seen as having emotions that can be hurt, because if she’s seen as that, then Mary types see an opening to try and harass and break her for it while all the people “checking in on her” do nothing to stop it. This doesn’t just feel callous, it feels dangerous to her.
And my heart breaks for her, because a lot of young trans folks are taught by bullies at school and TERFs trying to get themselves to kill themselves online that they need to be made of iron to survive this world, rather than it being the world that needs to actively change so they can express their vulnerabilities without feeling they are painting a giant target on their back.
d) Interesting side note, Billie just told the hall everything that happened with Ruth and Mary… including Carla’s harassment at Mary’s hands. Which means Carla’s business got callously dumped out in front of everyone the same way Billie and Ruth’s business did. And in similar fashion, done so for the greater good (Carla outing Billie and Ruth to get Ruth some real psychological help and avoid a suicide attempt, Billie outing Carla’s harassment from Mary to defang Mary’s ability to harass anymore students or reopen her blackmail).
It’s a really nice parallel storyline and part of me is hoping that it ends with Carla and Billie developing a begrudging strong friendship.
I mentioned above the parallel to Sal not wanting to be Dorothy’s latest project, and I think Carla feels exactly the same thing. It’s not that they don’t see Dorothy’s concern for what it is, they might even take some sliver of comfort from the fact that her heart is in the right place, but they see NO reason at all to believe she would be of actual help for them.
They are most likely right.
d) Interesting parallel with Billie, and I too hope they will form a bond around being people who actually Gets It (and wish they didn’t).
However, I’m convinced that after Carla’s Laser show NO ONE in the dorm is unaware of what went down between her and Mary. (This is more of a headcanon from my side than annotated fact backed up by the comic, but I really can’t imagine Carla doing all that buildup, and doing her laser show, without there being an audience present).
Also, this might be your longest comment to date about a single panel! If I’m sad today about the fact that two of Becky’s storylines have been resolved and that we will most likely have less Becky for a little while, the fact that we open on a Cerberus annotated Dorothy+Joyce strip more than makes up for it.
Panel 2: … ugh Dorothy, I know you’re trying to keep things light, but holy fucking shit is that not the right response to that and sending a clear message that you do not actually care about getting entangled in anyone’s emotional situations or helping them in any concrete way and are just doing the standard politician thing of gladhanding your way through a meaningless crowd of constituents.
Like, it’s good political process, but it’s not going to make folks like Carla view you as anything other than dramatically unsafe. Like, fuck, she told you off and said to stop pitying her and you respond with “I’ll just write that down” in a cutesy manner? Like, fuck, do you understand how creepy and disingenuous that comes off and how much like a threat it comes off of for folks like trans folks who associate scrutiny with impending danger or violence?
Not cool, Dorothy, not cool. Also yay, Carla got new skates, again! Boo, that she’s been apparently been disingenuously well-wished to the point where she can’t even enjoy how awesome her new skates make her feel.
Panel 3: Mayhaps I think Joyce might be a little perturbed by Dorothy drifting into a bad habit of turning people into a dispassionate list of action items.
Panel 4: As Kater noted, Dorothy comes off shady here, because she’s front-loading the impression that she doesn’t care and that folks are just an action-item list to get through and that’s pretty not cool. Like, if you’re going to small-talk check-in with people, at least give the impression that you’d be willing to listen to a short bit and help someone if they are not okay.
Cause otherwise, all you’re doing is demanding someone who might be going through some shit to perform happiness for you and sell you an obvious lie about being “fine”. What she’s doing is basically what a boss running through a “check in ritual” might perform running through saying, “everything good?” with all the impression that saying “no” will be disastrous to your employment prospects.
And it’s a bad habit to break now, because even as a politician you want to at least project the feeling you care instead of front-loading a “I’m empathetic, but don’t you dare talk to me” attitude. And in some ways that would make her a worse RA than Ruth, because there’s a difference between genuine antipathy, and antipathy that hides itself in the trappings of empathy.
And Dorothy is coming off extremely fake here, which might be why Joyce compares her to Joe here.
Cause both are similarly dehumanizing and objectifying (though obviously in different ways and to different degrees*). And miss the point of their intended activities (having mutually consensually sexual encounters and checking in with the emotional well-being of her floormates respectively).
*Making it public for instance.
So I’m a fan of Dorothy but I don’t really get what shes trying to do here, is the list for herself, does she really think you can touch base and everything is ok, I don’t understand it and it seems quite pushy to me, like shes almost pushing through social niceties to get to the main point and then move on
Joyce is also the exact right person to deal with Dorothy now. Right now, hardly anyone knows from such direct experience how “good intentions” can turn out really badly the way she does (see Ethan). So when she’s starting to question if you’re really doing the right thing, then it’s probably time to listen.
Like I mentioned above I don’t think it’s THAT bad of an approach to scripting errors or the like, but for Carla… yeah, it’s the opposite of helpful. And it can VERY easy go from cutesy but harmless to deeply problematic. Good thing Joyce is there to call her out, like friends do.
Joyce is calling her on it (which is good, go Joyce) but is Dorothy listening?
Panel 5: Fuck you, Mike.
And I’m really tempted to just end it there, because well, it’s succinct and cuts to the point, but then I have a terminal addiction to verbosity, so…
And more importantly, I think it’s worth noting the type of awful DoA Mike is versus what he was in SP! and IW! Like, there, he could be a force of nature, but here… he’s eminently human.
And what he reminds me the most of is irony bullies. People who tend to get dismissed as “trolls” who should be “ignored”, because they drip themselves in a layer of “irony” as thick as armor to make their actions feel like a mosquito nuisance one is just supposed to “put up with”, because every time you react to them, they can claim that it all was a “joke” and the earnest hate they just poured out and worked in service to, was actually some big “social experiment” to “win” the “game” of making a person react like a human to being harassed.
And it’s a personality type that is rife on the internet and in real life and used to be recognized for what it is (bullying) before we decided to drop it into the catch-all term trolling. And that dropping has led to real social consequences, most alarmingly with the hate movement that sprung up over video games referencing reptiles and gates, development of hate groups who do nothing but try and find vulnerable trans or otherwise marginalized kids to try and bully into suicide, and the neo-nazi movement that is trying to rebrand itself as the “alt-right”.
Now, Mike does a good job of pretending he has no views in life, that his targets are varied and he is only motivated by the opportunity to be a bit of a prick.
But his actions put lie to that. The people he targets are invariably those with less social power than him and the means he uses to attack them tend to be ones where he is borrowing on social power to get away with or to lend meaning.
Like, hammering Sal and Dorothy for “being sluts”, taking post-coital shots of Dorothy without consent and putting those on her public feed in the hope of deliberately sabotaging her stated dream and ruining her life, hammering on Ethan for his fears about his life as a gay man, but in a way that actually encourages more fear and having to be on guard all the time, even planning to seduce him just so his first time with a guy will be in a “ha, I tricked you” sort of thing.
He’s dripping with misogynist intent in a lot of his dealings and openly views things like mental illness as a thing to exploit rather than support and openly works to make his “friends” lives worse. And let’s not even dive into the layers of wrong that Panel 5 implies with him clearly approaching from behind and grabbing Dorothy from behind over the shoulder and leaning over her.
Like… no. That’s never okay, especially from a stranger who has been openly antagonistic against you and has a stated desire to destroy your life and if I was Dorothy, I’d be squirming out of there and laying down the line or just refusing to be anywhere where he was ever again.
And even this action he undertakes is dripping with misogyny.
“Who in this wing hates spiders?” I.e. who among the girls hates spiders. He’s not asking who in the halls hates spiders or intending to give this to a guy who might punch him in response. No, he’s picking on girls, going out of his way to invade into their space, entirely to harass a woman, and “coincidentally” doing so in a manner that is heavily evocative of myths that women are more “scared” of critters than men (in my experience, folks with critter phobias tend to be of all genders and the gender breakdown isn’t all that significant despite deliberate socialization and I’ve actually encountered more girls who love spiders than boys who do).
And like, if called on it, he’d no likely claim its a coincidence that he’s following a 1950s cartoon stereotype of what bothers women and is doing some kindergarten level gendered bullying, that it’s all a “game”, man.
But that’s why shit like this needs to get shut down firmly and instantly when it pops up in schools, because it’s not cool, it’s not a game, and it’s happening against a real person not a cipher unwittingly press-ganged into whatever self-justification of “all in good fun” the bully is telling themselves.
This is immature, sexist, and a further sign that Mike needs to be shut down and isolated just as much as Mary does.
This Mike reminds me a lot of IW!Mike/early!SP!Mike, who I could not fucking stand, rather than later!SP!Mike, who grew up a little bit. Fuck this Mike. He’s rapidly getting irritating and I’m awaiting the take down I hope he gets.
Never like Mike and I never understood why people just go like “hes a force of nature” or something
I am liking whats happening with Joyce here though, I could easily see her at the start of the strip doing something similar to Dorothy, the slow improvements is gratifying to see, makes her seem more “real”
I liked Mike after he got some character development over in Shortpacked and we got to see him with people he liked, like Amber and Donna. He also seemed to soften his assholery just a bit as the strip went on.
‘terminal addiction to verbosity’
Said verbosity is filled with insight though, giving anyone who reads it a better understanding of something they might not have even considered or thought of. You possess that very rare ability of seeing underneath the underneath, and the eloquence and experience to put what you see in words most folk can understand after a few readthroughs.
Everything you just said. Also, I think it would be justly karmic if, as part of a character arc focused on personal growth, a reformed Joe or more matured Walky were the ones to put Mike in his place. How overcoming his own issues and misogynist views and going “No man, fuck you that’s not right” to Mike would be something beautiful in my mind. Or Joyce putting him in his place would work just as well if not better.
That would be amaaaaazing.~
The idea of reformed!Joe shutting Mike up is a fun one. I’d also love if one day Dorothy shut him down with a armour piercing question of some kind while he was trying to fuck with her.
Considering what Mike did to Joe I’d like to see Joe get some payback in kind although if I had to choose I’d rather see Ethan deal to Mike
Honestly, can we just get the everyone who knows Mike together and have them roast him? That’d be amazing.
Dorothy, you like to organize shit, chop chop!
Fudge you, Mike.
Arachnophobia, like Islamophobia is racism, Mike just wants to expose these bigots, truly Mike is the hero for the ages.
So, Dorothy, now that your Feelings Spreadsheet has joined the exclusive club of Joe’s Do List and Mike’s Torture List, does Joyce really need to answer whether she thinks you turning people into checkboxes is a good thing?
No? That’s what I thought.
(Just to break form: thank you, Mike. Dorothy wasn’t listening to Joyce’s concerns, but I’ll bet she’ll be damned if she consciously stays on your level.)
I’ve just noticed that Spike (I mean Mike) tends to be a rather enigmatic figure. He’s only on hand to gain information about people. When he’s not around, it’s like he effectively disappears from the plotline. Nobody talks about him, mentions him or speculates about his whereabouts. He could simply disappear and no one would care. (I know I wouldn’t. I’m thinking there is a hold somewhere he could fill.) Either he should get a little more backstory or get lost entirely.
no san diego comic-con, the sorries
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