Urge...to kill..rising

Postby NathanAlderman on Fri Mar 29, 2002 4:58 am

I found this message scrawled on a scrap of paper slipped under my door this morning:

"AS LOYAL BIZARRO ME TAKE GREAT ON-FENCE AT TITLE OF TODAY'S LOUSY KOMIKAL STRIP. BIZARRO SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY AM NOTHING LIKE DEPICTED-- IT TAKE PLACE IN NORTH, AND INVOLVE HOSPITAL. ME INSIST YOU NOT CHANGE HIGHLY ACCURATE PORTRAYAL OF BIZARRO CULTURE. AND KEEP UP BAD WORK!"

-- N.M.A.
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Postby SteveB on Fri Mar 29, 2002 6:03 am


As a sidenote, I'm not certain I understand what Jackie and Guth are thanking Kath for...


I'm not positive, but I suspect that what we missed between panels was that Kath used the device The General used on Shanna's mom to restore their minds.

I'm not sure, because I don't see her holding it in the panel, and we never saw The General give it to her, but I was certainly expecting that was the point of the convergence of the two incidents -- The General demonstrating a mind-restoration device just as two skiffies were having their thoughts eaten.

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Postby SKJAM! on Fri Mar 29, 2002 6:09 am

On 2002-03-29 04:41, Aris Katsaris wrote:
As a sidenote, I'm not certain I understand what Jackie and Guth are thanking Kath for...


Neither does Kath. Apparently, while their minds are rapidly recovering, they're not quite up to snuff yet. Thus they're assuming that Kath (who was specifically called to the scene) somehow arranged for everyone else to arrive.

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Postby SteveB on Fri Mar 29, 2002 6:50 am

On 2002-03-29 04:36, Shatteredtower wrote:
On 2002-03-29 03:38, Vitriol wrote:
I don't think that Stu is doing this knowingly to push buttons, just that he honestly believes that most people think in this way.


I can't agree. He is watching the others for their reactions, judging from the look in his eyes. There is no assumption on that face. The panel with him and Tim, sure - but not his follow-up comments.

Heck, that last panel of his screams "set-up" between the look on his face and the fact that he just happens to have turned his head away from Rikk when the punch is coming.


Frankly, I don't see this at all. If anything, I think the look on Stu's face shows that he knows what he's saying is horrifying the skiffies and he's completely baffled as to why.

He's a bit like Dave Sim. He seems intelligent in many ways, but then he comes out with something so hideously ignorant you think "He's got to be joking, or being provocative," but no, despite his apparent intelligence he really seems to think that way.

(If you don't know who Dave Sim is, you can get some idea by checking out my Cerebus page.)

Stu's a creep. But he's only a creep in some ways. He may be more of a creep than, say Tim (who certainly has his moments), but I don't think he's a one-dimensional redneck villain.

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Postby Shatteredtower on Fri Mar 29, 2002 6:50 am

What's going on will probably be interrupted by The General - but if it *weren't* for her Rikk would, I believe, immediately call for the vote to ban him.


You are making Rikk sound incredibly small, petty, and vindictive. Hating a man would not be enough reason for Rikk to vote to dismiss him.

Will, Rikk, Rumy, Guth and Jackie would definitely vote that...


The latter two, definitely - the others? I wouldn't lay money on it.

Meighan also probably, so the only problem would be if Kath vetoed the decision... Do you think she would, just because the guy threw that knife?


No, I think she'd hold off because there is more going on than she can see at the moment. Before the situation at the sanitarium, it was cut and dry for her - after, she's got other priorities. And that is not the time to be making changes in the line-up for personal reasons.
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Postby Khavren on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:10 am

Remember where Stu get's his fannish from, imagine a man whose built his understanding of the world purely on barbarian fantasy books and Bond style movies. The hero always gets girl, girl always dies, and everybody wants to be the hero. I don't think he's mature enough to have accepted the concept of love and caring. Incredibly self-centered, but not evil.
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Postby Aris Katsaris on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:11 am

You are making Rikk sound incredibly small, petty, and vindictive. Hating a man would not be enough reason for Rikk to vote to dismiss him.


This is a club membership we are talking about, it's not sending him to jail or exiling him to another country.

"Small", "petty" and "vindictive"? Do you think that the membership is some kind of privilege that Rikk would be denying him? If a group of people hates you with reason, then it's quite normal for them not to invite you to their gatherings or want you to hang around with them. He can go to some other club.
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Postby Khavren on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:16 am

Is it also beyond possibility that the General had some kind of effect to drive Stu to always say exactly what he's thinking at any given moment?



I think Jackie and Guth are thanking Kath for their intelligence back, mostly because of the way Jackie corrects herself midsentence.
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Postby Nullset on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:31 am

"Does Stu know what he's doing or not?" That is the question of the day. I reference the excellent Fourth Doctor Dr Who episode, "The City of Death".

The Doctor is trying to find out what's going on, so he acts like a total fool. The second in command bad guy comments, "He's not as stupid as he appears." To which her boss replies, "No one is _that_ stupid."

Stu's not stupid. We don't know what his "plans" are, if he has any at all. What we do know is that he _enjoys_ tormenting people. Note Guth and Jackie, specifically. He's doing what he always does, try to enjoy himself.

As for the General, oops, The General, she is waiting for a certain outcome of this complete gathering of the group. We just don't know what that outcome is, since we don't have her foreknowledge of how it went down in all the alternate realities. But I am certain that this meeting will not end before _the_ decision that turns the fate of the planet is made.
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Postby SteveB on Fri Mar 29, 2002 7:58 am

On 2002-03-29 07:11, Aris Katsaris wrote:
If a group of people hates you with reason, then it's quite normal for them not to invite you to their gatherings or want you to hang around with them. He can go to some other club.


Kicking someone out of the science fiction club is a big deal, because so many people who join it aren't the type that can "go to some other club," they're people that are outcasts elsewhere. This is becoming less true than it once was, partly because there are so many Stu's in the world -- people who aren't fans who enjoy some science fiction and/or fantasy. Still, how many clubs would embrace Tim as a member?

Now Stu, on the other hand, is a fraternity member -- was before he joined the skiffies. This is not his one chance for social companionship. He doesn't really seem to care that much about being a member -- he joined at first to try to get into Jackie's pants, and seems to be sticking around at least partly to annoy Guth. He probably wouldn't care all that much if they did kick him out.

But Rikk and the others may not even notice or consider that. For very good reason, they regard kicking someone out of the science fiction club as a Very Big Deal, something that is in fact not unlike sending them into exile. I don't think any of them would do it for frivolous reasons.

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Postby Czhorat on Fri Mar 29, 2002 8:37 am

You guys've said it pretty well so far, but I'll address a few quick, quick points.

Regarding Stu's being kicked out of the club: I do agree, in principal, that the Science Fiction Club shouldn't only be for people whom the officers like. It is nice to have a big open tent where everyone can feel welcome, be they a gamer, a costumer, a comic-reader, or even someone who just likes bad B SF movies and cheesecakey fantasy art. There does come a point, however, at which someone's behaviour is so blatantly offensive that he ruins the enjoyment of the gathering for everyone else. Stu has clearly crossed the line. I believe that even unpopular speech should be protected, but Stu just said - in very crude language - that Rikk is lucky that his wife is dying of an illness! This is anti-social, bordering on sociopathic behaviour. I would vote him out in a heartbeat.

Second, regarding the apparent "healing" of the minds party eaten by Branio: I'm sorry, but I just don't see any evidence of it yet. Yes, Will, Guth, and Jackie are verticle and coherent, but notice Jackie's speech. Does she have her fake British accent back? It doesn't seem as if she does. It might be that the ease with which she does it, along with Guth's amazing skill with numbers and Will's talent for roleplaying, is permanently diminished. Only time (and more pages!) will tell.
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Postby SteveB on Fri Mar 29, 2002 8:59 am

There does come a point, however, at which someone's behaviour is so blatantly offensive that he ruins the enjoyment of the gathering for everyone else. Stu has clearly crossed the line. I believe that even unpopular speech should be protected, but Stu just said - in very crude language - that Rikk is lucky that his wife is dying of an illness! This is anti-social, bordering on sociopathic behaviour. I would vote him out in a heartbeat.


Oh, I quite agree. I just was responding to the person who didn't think kicking him out was a big deal. It is a big deal, but he seems determined to be obnoxious enough to deserve it.

On the other hand, do you believe in the possibility of redemption? Stu is not all bad, and my guess is that the knife throw foreshadows a truly heroic moment coming from him.

Now, let's assume, just for the moment, that he does something heroic and survives. And let's further postulate that he doesn't change, doesn't reform, doesn't even show any awareness of the fact that he should be remorseful for this kind of behavior. But he's just saved someone's life, maybe several people's lives. Do you kick him out? Do you put up with him out of gratitude?

I don't know if this is where T is going, but you have the potential for some troubling issues with no easy answers here. There are, after all, obnoxious heroes. Does their obnoxiousness tarnish their heroism? Does their heroism excuse their obnoxiousness?

But as far as whether this incident, in and of itself, is just grounds for kicking him out, if the vote were held right now: you bet.

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Postby RabidWookiee on Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:01 am

Eh? Just wondering if I missed something, when, an how did Jackie and Guthrie get there? They were not in either of the cars, and I was under the impression this was some distance from the school. Hmm, in their stupified condition, they wouldn't be able to drive there (even if they did have a car). And may be they met another Katherine, an alternate timeline, one of her future children/grandchildren?
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Postby Czhorat on Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:22 am

SteveB:
The guy is a sociopath. If he can't behave better than this, he isn't fit for polite company. Anywhere. And he'll have a very, very hard time getting through life.

RabidWookie:
Guth DID apparently succeed in calling Kath on her cell phone. Presumably Kath and Stu could have fetched Guth and Jackie on their way to the disaster scene.
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Postby Nullset on Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:28 am

RabidWookie, T mentioned a little while back that this showdown was taking place outside of the building Guth and Jackie were in. He explained that after Brainio landed, it headed toward the school, and Rikk and the gang in their damaged vehicles limped after them. Before (or just as) they got there, Brainio began to feed. Then Rikk's group of Skifies attacked. At the end of the battle Alisin and Kath's respective groups caught up.

Kath either went in to get Guth and Jackie, or they stubbled out to her. They think she's responsible for them being safe (I'll not speculate on their state of mind) because she's who Guth called to for help.

Hope this helps. Not seeing any real terrain in the background does leave the scene rather loose.
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Postby Meganeguard on Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:34 am

Hmm, let me see, I believe was two parts of the same whole. I believe he said what he did because he actually believes it. I don't know if he thinks all should believe like he does, but for him it is a slice of heaven. Two, I think that Stu really just loves to annoty people to frazzle their nerves. We have all known people like that.

Should Stu be removed from the Scifi club? I think yes because of crude words toward the females of the group. I am not saying that the female characters are fragile flowers who can not handle themselves, but Stu's actions and words would make many uncomfortable.
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Postby KingLeon on Fri Mar 29, 2002 9:59 am

I think there's a bit missing here.
If Stu really doesn't care about staying in the club, and is doing all THIS to annoy the president so he gets kicked out...

Why the heck did he go with Kath somewhere in the first place?
It's been bothering me...
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Postby SteveB on Fri Mar 29, 2002 10:03 am

On 2002-03-29 09:22, Czhorat wrote:
SteveB:
The guy is a sociopath. If he can't behave better than this, he isn't fit for polite company. Anywhere. And he'll have a very, very hard time getting through life.


I don't disagree, but one can be a sociopath and also a hero. Indeed, based on several cops and soldiers I've known fairly closely (about half a dozen of each), I'd say a hero is just as likely to be a Stu as a Rikk. And in the fictional world, most action movie heroes are borderline sociopaths, though perhaps not in quite the same way Stu is.

Of course, he hasn't done anything really heroic yet, so this may all be moot. But I'm betting that knife throw wasn't just to show how good The General's reflexes are.

I believe this character is going to reveal depths before this is over, but it won't change the fact that he is, in some ways, a despicable little turd. Reconciling the various facets of his personality -- or at least dealing with an inability to reconciling them -- is going to justify T bringing in such obvious stereotype in the first place.

I'll be extremely disappointed if something like this -- not necessarily this, but something worthwhile -- isn't done with this character. As someone who grew up where the principal used to daily threaten to "Whup the far" out of me, I'm certainly hoping Stu reveals himself to be more than a bad hillbilly joke.

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Postby Gormenghastly on Fri Mar 29, 2002 5:23 pm

"Wonder, and its expression in poetry and arts, are among the most important things which seems to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons."
- Alan Watts, from The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Has Stu shown any signs of creativity or artistic expression at all? Has he displayed any sense of "wow!" at anything? I can't seem to recall any. Yet nearly all the other club members have shown outright creativity, and the ones who haven't have shown signs of it. Even Shanna, who works so hard to deny her imagination, is a writer for goodness sake.

My take on Stu is that he knows exactly what he's doing. Okay with his off-center pupils he almost always looks shifty, but the third to last panel he looks like he's trying to steal a glance at his "audience" to check for reaction. The second to last panel he has an expression reminiscent of someone whistling to project an air of false innocense.

Two things surprise me about this discussion. No speculation on whose eyes are in the last panel. No mention of the General's warning to Kath that what what looks like evil may not be.

On the eyes, it's clearly not anyone wearing glasses, so Kath, Fanboy, and Guth are out. Rikk's arm and Will's body are in the pupil shape, so they're out. That leaves (in roughly increasing order of likelihood) Shanna, Harry, Alisin, Tim Mitts, Meighan, Jackie, Stu, and The General. Seems slightly more likely to be The General because brows are visible in the last panel, and Stu seems to lack eyebrows.

As for The General's warning, could it apply to Stu's words? From the reactions here they certainly seem to qualify as evil. That begs the question though how they could not be evil...

I also have my doubts about The General's warning to Kath. It seemed to be more of a "Don't judge me" type warning than one aimed at someone else. But it may be enough to plant doubts in Kath's mind.
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Postby Grifter on Fri Mar 29, 2002 11:07 pm

The guy is a sociopath. If he can't behave better than this, he isn't fit for polite company. Anywhere. And he'll have a very, very hard time getting through life.

The best place for him to learn would be in the club. You think they should kick him out because he lacks social graces? I'm part of a sci-fi/fantasy club on my campus. You'd have to remove me, and several other members.

Should Stu be removed from the Scifi club? I think yes because of crude words toward the females of the group.

Don't forget to kick out Tim, too. And get rid of Will while you're at it. You know he's had inappropriate thoughts about Jackie. I have to quote Bart here.

"Let me get this straight. We're behind the rest of our class and we're going to catch up to them by going slower than they are?" - Bart Simpson, You Only Move Twice

Stu would have to have models to work off of in order to grow socially. (Stereotype incoming! Duck!) You want to leave him with nothing but fratboys?

On 2002-03-29 17:23, Gormenghastly wrote:
Has Stu shown any signs of creativity or artistic expression at all? Has he displayed any sense of "wow!" at anything? I can't seem to recall any. Yet nearly all the other club members have shown outright creativity, and the ones who haven't have shown signs of it. Even Shanna, who works so hard to deny her imagination, is a writer for goodness sake.

Since when were 'wow' expressions or creative outlets necessary for membership in the club? I'm a big time fan, but I don't do any of the above. The last time I marked out was the first time I saw the opening to Enterprise for the first time. When the warp ship took off I started clapping. That was it. I'm also not a creative person. I can't write, nor can I draw, paint, act or anything. This doesn't stop me from being a big fan of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. The title of the comic is 'Fans!'. It refers to the members of the club, and their appreciation for fantasy/sc-fi. Stu has the appreciation. He should be denied membership because he doesn't emote enough?

My call on Stu is as follows. Don't kick him out. Life is hard, people are jerks. Live with it. They can only improve by having examples of goodness. Show him that will gets Jackie by being creative, not through the liberal use of alcohol. He appreciates enough to get in the club, even if he's not a screaming fanboy. the club is meant to be open, not elitist.

Oh, and have him teach the other club members that knife trick. It would take a lot of skill to throw a switchblade, especially like that.
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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Grifter on 2002-03-29 23:08 ]</font>
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