But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:20 pm

Here's a prediction: Bennett will turn out to be a good guy after all, with the real antagonist someone less obvious (Patrick's shadowy former master is one such possibility).

Story-wise, Bennett is way too obvious a baddie and we all know Erin is not prone to indulging in that kind of blatant cliche or stereotyping. Erin's gone out of her way to make him look bad from other characters' perspectives, which points to a "how he's seen and who he is don't match" twist coming up. This is also indicated by how the people we've seen comment on him have a clear political bias, making them unreliable commentators on his character. I'm betting he has "good guy" traits like honesty, loyalty, and a strong commitment to family, none of which are inconsistent with his public persona. He probably also donates a lot to private charity (that's just based on his demographic). These are easy things to miss from outside observers.

Assuming he has a Being and earnestly believes in a set of principles (and isn't just pretending to like some real world politicians), I can think off the top of my head several reasons for him to get involved in the fight that might extend from the variations of a Conservative POV. If he has a strong belief in national security, he might see it as an effort to protect his loved ones or could be trying to bring those responsible for the Game to justice on his own. If he opposes slavery to the state and others (i.e. individual liberty), he might be engaging in the fight to try and win his Being their freedom. If he's more a social conservative, he may be playing because the Founding Fathers engaged in it, so to him it's an American tradition (this is based on the alternate history we've seen so far). He could be playing the Byronic hero, setting himself up as the bad guy so others might realize why the Being fights are wrong (like Claudius from the Roman Empire or Lelouch of Code Geass).

The twist would likely have a big effect on Sparrow, who seems to have the most rancor toward him (or more toward his views). It would shake up some of her preconceived notions and give her an avenue for character development. It'd also be in keeping with the overall theme developing concerning looking beyond the surface of things. And if Bennett's motivated by individual liberty Conservatism (regrettably unlikely given his public views), it'd setup a good comparison with Bianca's treatment of Patrick ("how different ideologies can reach the same conclusion") and contrast with Patrick's former master ("the abuse of power by the elite").

Bennett's "good guy reveal" would complete the team that seems to be forming: Sparrow, Bianca, Tim, and Miranda (with their respective Beings). BICP sentai team, go!

Sparrow = Green
Tim = Pink
Miranda = Yellow
Bianca = Purple
Bennett = Red (for obvious reasons)
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby SailorPtah on Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:02 pm

Xuanwu, your whole prediction is fascinating. I'm not saying how much of it is on target, and of course it's clearly filtered through your personal views, but it was a great read. Shows what parts of my foreshadowing (and of my misdirection) are working :D

If anyone else wants to post theories (or, of course, add to the Wild Mass Guessing trope page), I'd love to read them!

Xuanwu wrote:BICP sentai team, go!

Sparrow = Green
Tim = Pink
Miranda = Yellow
Bianca = Purple
Bennett = Red (for obvious reasons)


I would love for someone to draw sentai team fanart for the series -- with this arrangement or any other ^_^
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:38 pm

So I double checked the archives and, sure enough, we've never heard Bennett in his own words. We've only heard second-hand accounts of his positions from Sparrow. Given the New England tendency to paint non-liberals with broad derogatory strokes, that means we can safely reject her comments on him as unreliable. Just as happens in the real world, he could be the most upstanding statesman since George Washington and he'd get slammed by the left for being racist/closed minded/anti-kittens.

So, yeah, definitely looking more likely that Bennett is is actually a good guy getting smeared by those around them. Makes Dot's comment about how liberals are great at tolerating people all the more ironic (maybe that was the point of it?).

Also, turns out I missed the page where we saw Cybele's human form. Ah, I wish it was that congresswoman who resigned. But I'm sure she's being saved as a Big Bad down the road. Probably one of the, "I'm doing this for your own good!" kind of villains to contrast with Bianca's more hands-off self-determination method.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby SailorPtah on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:08 am

Xuanwu wrote:Given the New England tendency to paint non-liberals with broad derogatory strokes, that means we can safely reject her comments on him as unreliable. Just as happens in the real world, he could be the most upstanding statesman since George Washington and he'd get slammed by the left for being racist/closed minded/anti-kittens.

Yes, that definitely sounds like a moral I would write into a story! Considering all that pro-conservative stuff I write IRL, don'cha know. And it's not like I have reason to think of any conservative politicians as legitimately harmful to, say, women and/or queer people.

/sarcasm mode
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:35 pm

SailorPtah wrote:Yes, that definitely sounds like a moral I would write into a story! Considering all that pro-conservative stuff I write IRL, don'cha know. And it's not like I have reason to think of any conservative politicians as legitimately harmful to, say, women and/or queer people.

The interesting thing is that a politician who claimed to be a Conservative and then espoused policies harmful to women and gays would not be a very good Conservative by the definition of Conservatism. So all you do if you try to lampoon Conservatism is end up lampooning those who don't adhere to its values or those who are Neocons. (This is why Colbert is not actually satire of Conservatism so much as the GOP's tendency to fall short of being Conservative.)

Consider what happens if Bennett is just another Neocon parody (or a liberal deliberately pretending to be a Neocon). His authoritarianism (real or affected) puts him at odds with Bianca and makes him the "villain," but lacking any other voices on the opposite spectrum, it appears that his right-leaning qualities are somehow linked to this trait. This happens whether it's faked or real, since the core of the outward persona would be, "His adherence to a poorly defined cloud of GOP attributes makes him fear other people and want to hurt them." Sparrow's misconceptions about her political opposites are reinforced, so she learns nothing and isn't required to move from her comfy liberalism, making her a Mary Sue who's views starting out were "right all along." The reader is given a pat message that "Right-wing authoritarians are bad!" making the whole exercise a setup for yet another Bush joke. The result is hackneyed propaganda and on a level inferior from what I've come to expect from you.

I'm hoping you go for something deeper, like a compare and contrast between authoritarian vs. anti-authoritarian liberal. You've already got a bit of the latter in Bianca and the way she handles Patrick. Add the congresswoman (or someone else) as representing an authoritarian nanny state mindset and you can examine the differences in how far people will go to assert the concepts of positive liberty, with Bianca able to see the consequences of going too far in the cause of "helping." And then with Bennett, assuming he's an actual Conservative and not someone who's failing at being Conservative (Neocon, religious right) or a "liberal trying to teach other liberals to be less tolerant and jolly and swell folks because that's all liberals are," you add a third layer by contrasting her with someone on a different political spectrum but the same fundamental emphasis on individuality. Thus bringing in a nuanced and interesting comparison of positive vs. negative liberty as it relates to interactions with other sentient beings.

Sparrow learns not every liberal is a tolerant sort who wants to protect the little guy and that there are Conservatives who'll vigorously defend her right to bend her gender all she likes. This gives her a more well-informed position - note that she doesn't have to necessarily change that stance during this; rather, she grows by gaining a better perspective on what that stance truly is. The reader gets a more interesting look into the way having control over others can corrupt even with "best intentions" and given at least two options that are positive counterpoints, so they can choose for themselves. (And you can even throw in a Bush joke if you want by having a character draw the parallels in-story between nanny state liberals and police state Neocons.)

(There is also the possibility Bennett is something completely different that will end up steering things away from this kind of theme. But these are the two directions I see as possible right now given the current themes going on with the cast. And it doesn't have to be Bennett here; you could still do a "He's a liberal putting on an act!" twist and then - WHAM! - a real Conservative emerges as a good guy to make the cast go, "Wait, huh?" And regardless, an authoritarian vs. anti-authoritarian liberal showdown would be quite interesting since it's not commonly portrayed in comics. And your construct of Beings are great for that kind of exploration.)

tl;dr Bennett should be the second coming of Barry Goldwater and team up with Bianca and Sparrow to take down a mean nasty "I'm in your hospital stealing your meds" progressive. And then everyone is happy forever.

And for bonus points, do it all on MOTORCYCLES!
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby SailorPtah on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:10 pm

Okay, seriously, this is glorious. You are assuming so much about a character you haven't even heard speak yet, who for all you know is only getting included so I can file the serial numbers off of some of my character!Colbert fic and pass it off as BICP side stories later on.

The lines about "I've come to expect better from you than writing [plot twist I don't want to see]" are kind of obnoxious and head-patting, but the rest? Golden.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:43 pm

SailorPtah wrote:Okay, seriously, this is glorious. You are assuming so much about a character you haven't even heard speak yet, who for all you know is only getting included so I can file the serial numbers off of some of my character!Colbert fic and pass it off as BICP side stories later on.

Anime has trained me to assume everything has a purpose to the greater story and must be analyzed and thought about to fully tease out its greater significance, lest an important narrative theme go unnoticed.

There is plot significance here. I can FEEEEEL EEEEEEET.

The lines about "I've come to expect better from you than writing [plot twist I don't want to see]" are kind of obnoxious and head-patting, but the rest? Golden.

Yeah, sorry, I just get annoyed by the same cliches over and over. And the whole "zOMG people who aren't liberals are EEEEBIL!" thing is ooooold. I like your stories because you know how to avoid them.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby baobhansidhe on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:39 pm

-feels smart for being the first to figure out that Reseda is Timothy's Being-
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:29 am

Tim's back story taps into a theme of blind faith, as demonstrated by Emir and Alvah. I wonder if it ties into an overarching theme along these lines, meant to mirror the blind obedience of the Beings to their Masters.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Mrrout on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:31 am

baobhansidhe wrote:-feels smart for being the first to figure out that Reseda is Timothy's Being-


you seem to be right, lily's shadow's got a tail and pointy ears....meow!!!
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby baobhansidhe on Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:41 pm

-cackles wildly-
MUAHAHAHAHA!
Oh, and I know I'm right about Reseda, Erin confirmed she's Timothy's being on her dA.
I am also wildly cackling because I KNEW SHE WAS LILY! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH!
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:09 pm

Here's a question for the Being FAQ:

How would you rank the Beings we've seen so far by their skill at Go Fish?
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby SailorPtah on Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:03 pm

Xuanwu wrote:How would you rank the Beings we've seen so far by their skill at Go Fish?

Okay, new rule (or rather, old-but-unstated rule, now put into words).

Questions about the general properties and mechanics of Beings and Beinghood are fair game. Questions about individual Beings fall under the categories of plot points and character development, to which the answer will always be "read the story, and if it's important, you'll find out."
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:41 pm

SailorPtah wrote:Questions about the general properties and mechanics of Beings and Beinghood are fair game. Questions about individual Beings fall under the categories of plot points and character development, to which the answer will always be "read the story, and if it's important, you'll find out."

Okay! Then let me rephrase it:

Of now much import is the game of Go Fish to the culture and traditions of Beings?
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby BigKwell on Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:21 pm

Okay, I just wanted you to know that I've looked at 'But I'm A Cat Person'... and frankly, I like what I see! :D It's a good thing that, when 'Shine' runs it's final strip, at least I have something else to have my Erin fix!

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, ERIN!!!
Elwin "Blaine" Coldiron

"When I hear of Schrödinger's cat, I reach for my pistol."
Stephen W. Hawking
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby yamiangie on Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:39 pm

Reseda's still changeling doggies to fights i see.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:25 pm

I wonder if that duo of the muscular guy Being and dark haired kid will come back or if they're random.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Klobb on Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:39 pm

I like Xuanwu's theories, but I'm also perfectly willing to believe that the author might just want to portray a conservative as evil. (I'm not familiar with any of her previous work, so I don't really know what to expect from her) Not that there's anything really wrong with that: I don't read a work expecting the author not to have opinions. It doesn't keep me from enjoying the work as a whole if it happens to imply that my religious faith or political stance is made up entirely of heartless bigots. "Yes, I'm slightly offended that you put a live scorpion in my food, but you're such a wonderful cook, I'll eat it anyway." (Eventually I am going to hire someone to hit me with a hammer every time I start to use a metaphor. Until then...)

^Sorry, but my cynicism gets the best of me at times. I do love the comic so far, and I think if the author were actually trying to offend people, she could have done a much better job. And my words above were general: the story points thus far feel more like minor jabs at the right wing than a serious attack on it. And she has portrayed at least one Christian (I think... I'm not really clear on how the events affected his faith) character as a fairly decent person. Not kitten-eating evil, anyway.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:04 am

Klobb wrote:I like Xuanwu's theories, but I'm also perfectly willing to believe that the author might just want to portray a conservative as evil. (I'm not familiar with any of her previous work, so I don't really know what to expect from her) Not that there's anything really wrong with that: I don't read a work expecting the author not to have opinions. It doesn't keep me from enjoying the work as a whole if it happens to imply that my religious faith or political stance is made up entirely of heartless bigots. "Yes, I'm slightly offended that you put a live scorpion in my food, but you're such a wonderful cook, I'll eat it anyway." (Eventually I am going to hire someone to hit me with a hammer every time I start to use a metaphor. Until then...)

My point was more about the common mistake a lot of people make in confusing Conservatism with Authoritarianism. Portraying Authoritarianism as evil is pretty safe territory. But (modern American) Conservatism is based on Individualism - which is anti-authoritarian - so mixing them up is a huge philosophical gaffe, worthy of a stern lecturing. Your typical teenage activist who's been raised on nothing but MSM fluff and Hollywood films wouldn't know any better, for example (and what they write wouldn't be very interesting). A similar mistake is made by some on the right (Fox News pundits, for example) when they confuse forms of Liberalism with Authoritarianism, which is equally fallacious but gets called out on a much more frequent basis. Erin likes being self-aware of her own biases and correcting them, which is why I take the time to point them out.
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Re: But I'm A Cat Person - Discussion thread

Postby Xuanwu on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:27 pm

New theory on Bennett: he's a Being under the control of another, ordered to make the right look bad so others look good. The reason he appears to be such a poorly stated Conservative is because he's someone elses take on a Conservative (his master being someone who doesn't like or understand what a Conservative is, of course). Like spring water filtered through sewage or a game of telephone. It'd certainly match the foreshadowing in the first chapter with the TV announcement.
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