Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Comic Discussion => QUESTIONABLE CONTENT => Topic started by: stoutfiles on 09 May 2011, 20:48

Title: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: stoutfiles on 09 May 2011, 20:48
As a new user, I'm sure it's rude to introduce a controversial topic, but it's been bothering me lately.

Martin is the strip's everyman and therefore has to be the stable character, but I hate the fact that he just kinda loafs through the day with no real goals.  This is how I see Martin's life:

-Works at a library.  Probably makes minimum wage or close to it.  Makes no effort to find a new job or to better his position in life for the future.

When not working, Martin...

-goes to the bar with the group, with Steve, or even alone.
-goes to a coffee shop.  When unable to go to the shop, looks for a replacement for the coffee shop.
-loafs around the apartment

It's not like alcohol and coffee are cheap, so he's probably spending all his money on rent (city rent is not cheap) and alcohol/coffee, saving no money for his future, or for anything really.

I know how most topics are about "Who's going to date who in the circle of friends?" but I'd like to see some of the characters stop coasting through life, notably Martin and Faye.  Maybe it's just me though.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 09 May 2011, 21:41
Marten's fundamental character has been considered before (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,25554.0.html) in a few threads, and in several of the older weekly comic discussion threads (WCDT). 

But you raise a good point that hasn't been tossed about for a while, and I think part of it is that he is  the everyman character - as a stand-in for us, he can't really be much more than an observer, giving us the window into his world. 

But it is  annoying sometimes! 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 09 May 2011, 22:09
In the past he's shown enthusiasm for his guitars and band; but he's also said that he has no other goals. Jeph did mention recently somewhere that he might bring Deathmole up again at some point.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 09 May 2011, 22:29
Well, he kindasorta actively went to the library to fall into that job, after he was laid off from the job he was thinking about quitting anyway ... Oh, never mind.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: dragontart on 09 May 2011, 22:40
It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 09 May 2011, 23:09
Dammit, Dragontart makes sense!
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 09 May 2011, 23:27
Welcome, new person!

If Marten has a future, it's in music. He did get goal-oriented once in his life, going out to line up a drummer.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Kugai on 09 May 2011, 23:47
Marten will eventually meet Trent Lane - Both bands will merge becoming Death Spyral and go on to fame and fortune.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 10 May 2011, 06:15
It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?

The problem is that a life without a perceived purpose of some sort is a pretty sad one to live (whether it is a career, or relationships with loved ones, etc.).

I mean, yeah, someone mentioned the music aspect, but how passionate is Marten about that, really?

This would actually go a long way toward explaining why Marten is such a sad sack of shit all the time (when he's not suffering immediate "LOL, the universe is shitting on you!" scenarios, there have been comics when nothing terrible is happening to him at the moment and he's still an insufferable downer).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: stoutfiles on 10 May 2011, 07:16
It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?

That only works for so long.  He can only barely afford his own lifestyle, there's no way he could afford to ever start a family.  It's a wonder he could even afford to date Dora, so I assume she paid her way for most things.  Might help explain why Dora actively strived to end their relationship; other than being a nice guy, Marten doesn't have much going on.

Eventually his friends will move on, start their own families. Marten will still be that guy who works at the library and drinks at night.  Sounds fun...
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: rje on 10 May 2011, 07:16
I love this topic because I personally feel this is a defining question of Marten's journey - what the hell does he want to do with his life? I know it's a personal thing because I am very Goal Oriented and I can't fathom how Marten can really be happy just...hanging out all the time.

Seriously, that's like, all he ever does. He hangs out. He hangs out at home, at the coffee shop, at the bakery, at his job, hell ... I don't know if the band he was trying to start even did anything but hang out and talk about the kind of music they should try to play. Did they have any gigs? Did they write any songs? Did they even get together more than a handful of times? I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'  

Shit, he's in such a good position to take ahold of some kind of goal, if his life comfortable enough as it seems. Especially since the breakup, I just think it would be such an interesting journey for him to take, focusing on what he wants for once and going to get it. Or even discovering what it IS he wants. It doesn't seem he even thinks about that very much, y'know? What he really wants out of his life. He just kinda...hangs out in his own life, if you know what I mean lol.

Sorry for the wall of text, can you tell I've really thought a lot about this subject? XD

edit: I should add Marten's not the only character I want to grab and shake. There's a few more xD ...As a struggling artist, I want to shake Faye so hard omfg you have no idea you fucking got a commission for HOW MANY THOUSAND DOLLARS and you're content working as a fucking barista what is wrong with you arghhhh    
lol I sound like Penelope.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: dragontart on 10 May 2011, 09:58
I do know that many people can only appreciate things that caused them work and other fuss (also, girls who are easy to get are not worth it), and that for even more people the only way to feel happy/worthy is to reach a higher what is known as status in what is known as society. But I do not exactly know why it's hard to believe that that is not universally valid. And even if it was, why one has to be annoyed about people who don't feel a need to reach for such goals.
I wish I had no wishes.

I do agree that Marten doesn't seem to be exactly happy with his situation, never really thought about that. But can someone back up that loafing around/his job/not having much going on/no goals are the reasons? Didn't he once say something about wanting a better job than the library-thing?

Since it's a comic, I think one can surely argue whether Marten as a character is boring to follow when he does basically nothing (I think not, for me the interesting part is the characters kind of freaky relationships), but the argument here doesn't seem to be about that.

Also, libraries are pretty cool.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Thiefree on 10 May 2011, 10:19
I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'

I'm very different to you, I think. Not particularly driven, not particularly motivated. But even I have ambitions! and now that it's been raised, yes, Marten is just letting life happen to him. I don't really see how Jeph could change that at this point without radically changing Marten's character.

So, this is just how he is. I don't see him unveiling a secret desire to be a harbourmaster anytime soon.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 10 May 2011, 10:29
I do know that many people can only appreciate things that caused them work and other fuss (also, girls who are easy to get are not worth it), and that for even more people the only way to feel happy/worthy is to reach a higher what is known as status in what is known as society. But I do not exactly know why it's hard to believe that that is not universally valid.

Probably because you are being deliberately obtuse?

Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live. He is going day by day simply existing. He doesn't enjoy his life. That kind of life isn't worth living and if you don't understand why that bothers other readers of the comic you need to start asking some serious questions.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odal on 10 May 2011, 10:44
It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?
Yeah, I agree with this pretty much.  While there's nothing wrong with having goals, I think it's a good thing if someone can appreciate what they have.  Often times people look forward too much at what they could have and often take the things they do have for granted.  You can see examples of that just in this thread where people think Marten situation is worse than he probably thinks it is.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: dragontart on 10 May 2011, 10:56
Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in. I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 10 May 2011, 11:18
I don't know if the band he was trying to start even did anything but hang out and talk about the kind of music they should try to play. Did they have any gigs? Did they write any songs? Did they even get together more than a handful of times?
Gigs no, compositions yes. There were a bunch of instrumental pieces about unicorns.

Marten has comfort, but that's not the same as happiness. He's bored with the library job. He's missing out on what's been defined as the essence of happiness, the exercise of vital powers in pursuit of excellence.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 10 May 2011, 11:35
Actually, we have no idea whether or not Deathmøle is keeping Marten actively interested, or if he still writes his blog Yelling about Music (even though Jeph dropped it in real life).  The fact that Jeph is considering doing some strips on Deathmøle implies that the band is still going on in some form in the background.  Remember that we only get to see a very selectively edited part of Marten's (or any other character's) life; and a cartoon life, at that, with very different rules from real life in some areas (anthro-PCs; Vespabot; private space stations), so that any serious discussion is flawed from the outset by lack of information.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: ChicagoTed on 10 May 2011, 12:14
I know I wouldn't mind a life like Martin's right now.  I'm working my ass of in academia so that in the future I can work my ass off even more in academia.  I feel like it'd be nice to just coast for a year or two,  which I what I feel like Martin is doing (considering the QC timeline is about that long).  Sometimes its nice not to have any major goals.  And whether or not Martin is happy about it, well that ambiguity is what gives that aspect of his character depth, isn't it?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 10 May 2011, 12:42
Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in.

Not really, what with these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire.

Quote
I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.

Marten bitches almost incessantly about being unhappy when he isn't making hipster quips or being the butt of humor for Jeph.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 10 May 2011, 12:45
He's complained about Dora's behaviour (now resolved), and sighed about lack of ambition ("is this it?"), but I wouldn't call that bitching about being unhappy - it's more of a sort of neutral limbo state, I'd say.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 10 May 2011, 12:48
Here's another way of looking at it. What does Marten have to look forward to?

Even a modest goal, such as getting a gig for the band, would give him scope for hope and pleasurable anticipation.

Right now, he might as well have had Faye poke him five times (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=379).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: tomart on 10 May 2011, 14:07
I love this topic...  I know it's a personal thing because I am very Goal Oriented and I can't fathom how Marten can really be happy just...hanging out all the time.
Seriously, that's like, all he ever does. He hangs out. ... I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'  

Sounds like someone laid that whole horrible trip on you at an impressionable age. I'm sorry.

Shit, he's in such a good position to take ahold of some kind of goal, if his life comfortable enough as it seems.
 He just kinda...hangs out in his own life, if you know what I mean lol.
 I should add Marten's not the only character I want to grab and shake. There's a few more xD ...  
lol I sound like Penelope.

Yes, other than that attitude, I like Penny.  :lol:

This is a lightning-rod topic for me. I've struggled with it for 50 years, worked, started a family, failed & picked myself up again several times, started another family* and now find myself drifting much like our hero. I've developed harsh feelings about The American Dream, which I'll spare everyone, but maybe someday you'll realize why the Buddha is so important. The more attached you are to desires, things, others' opinions of you, the more you suffer.  The more I bought into that ambition thing, the more I was exploited and [I use the word intentionally] enslaved. Made all the worse by being self-imposed.

I would love to riff off of most of the intelligent, thoughtful posts above. Thanks, Dragontart! "I wish I had no wishes" is a great line!
There's more to life than the rat-race, or there SHOULD be.

Is it cold in here: "He's missing out on what's been defined as the essence of happiness, the exercise of vital powers in pursuit of excellence."
That sounds like Ayn Rand's definition.


* It's overrated; with kids, you have no more time, energy, or money.  :-o   ymmv, of course.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: stoutfiles on 10 May 2011, 14:21
Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in. I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.

Anyone could have Marten's career path if they wanted; it's not hard to achieve.  I highly doubt anyone here would, doing the same thing day after day, not preparing academically/financially for any sort of future.  The man has zero goals right now.  If that made him happy I'd understand, but it clearly doesn't.  There doesn't seem to be any end to this as well, he'll just keep going on this path until something happens to him and then go do something else.

I understand that different people have different goals.  The key is that they have goals!  Maybe someone taking a year off would want Marten's lifestyle, but that's their goal.  Marten's goal is not to continue this lifestyle...he doesn't want to be single, he doesn't want to work at the library, etc.  He doesn't do anything about it though.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: tomart on 10 May 2011, 14:32
just a reminder, Marten is not a real person.  Maybe it suits Jeph's style to have M hanging out and riffing with friends a lot.  What did we mostly see Seinfeld doing?  The Friends characters?  Maybe when Jeph pictures Marten pursuing something, it ...doesn't go well.  In fact, for our favorite universal punching bag, maybe he's LEARNED that life kicks him in the groin, so why even try when that'll happen anyway?*  Maybe the semi-random path to Deathmole "success" is paved with lulz, hilarious failures, absurd drama, and requires managers, record companies, and fans, any and all of whom can screw the best-laid plans.  Maybe like Nostradamus, Marten got a glimpse of that future, and was like, FUCK no!

*  There: my metaphysics in a nutshell.


<removed by moderator>   Maybe by now machines could be doing most of the work, and people could be, *OH GASP,THE HORROR*  enjoying life??

Odin:  "these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire." 

Oh, did I miss the memo?  Please, tell me, 50 years too late, "What Should I Be Doing With My Life?"  I'd like to know, really.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 10 May 2011, 15:33
The only time in the strip this question was raised by our protagonist was here (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1292).  And Tai pretty much quelched that, at least for a while. 

Aside from that, there have been a few sighs (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1328), but those may well have been for other reasons. 

Part of all this may well be that Marten is (was?), at least partially, a stand in for Jeph.  A man who started doing something online that he liked as a hobby, and wound up falling into a career.  Sure, he has goals - improving his art, especially - but as far as a career, he's admitted that he's as surprised as anyone at what he does for a living. 

People say that life just happens to Marten, and in some ways, Jeph's life "just happened" to him.  He's writing what he knows. 

And it's been working, too.  Look at us all...
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: tomart on 10 May 2011, 16:01
"Even if you and Dora didn't work out, you're still surrounded by people who care about you.  Hannelore, Tai, Faye, Steve... even Pintsize. In his own weird way. You've built a nice little life for yourself here, and that's not something to be taken for granted."    :Veronica, his mother, 1836


Perceptive, Carl.  

Maybe Jeph has an ambitious arc in store for Marten; maybe this is like ChicagoTed's year or two off after college, to "find himself", whatever.

Jeph IS good at surprising us; that's one of the things that keep us coming back.  
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 10 May 2011, 22:09
That sounds like Ayn Rand's definition.
Aristotle. Actually, now that I look it up it should be "along lines of excellence".
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: celticgeek on 10 May 2011, 22:22
Marten has music goals:  Marten band goals. (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1300)
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 10 May 2011, 23:53
Well spotted.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 11 May 2011, 03:31
<removed by moderator> Maybe by now machines could be doing most of the work, and people could be, *OH GASP,THE HORROR*  enjoying life??

Odin:  "these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire."  

Oh, did I miss the memo?  Please, tell me, 50 years too late, "What Should I Be Doing With My Life?"  I'd like to know, really.

<removed by moderator>

Marten is not Charlie Sheen's character in Office Space. He is not happy, he mopes around about how much his life sucks pretty much every time he's given the opportunity to do so (or any time he gets drunk and doesn't do something so patently stupid he gets the shit kicked out of him) and he takes zero initiative with regard to improving his level of happiness in life. The way that Marten has been written up until this point, if the world around him doesn't make him happy, oh well there is nothing he can do about it (which is complete bullshit).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 11 May 2011, 04:34
Please avoid getting personal in this forum, and please keep it civil even when not being personal; I have removed from a couple of posts above the phrases or paragraphs that went too far.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tergon on 11 May 2011, 05:06
Short Version:
I agree that Marten seems to have little motivation in his life, and no real goals for his future.  But I don't think that's made him stagnant.  I think he's shown tremendous growth.


Long Version:
I'd say that Marten's life seems like that of a person who once settled on good enough.  He moved across the country for a girl who broke up with him, had no friends or contacts or even a place of his own, and when push came to shove he did the best he could.  He got a job with a boss that he got along with okay, even if he didn't care for the job itself too much.  He made friends with Steve.  He got an apartment.  That's not a great life, sure, but for a guy with zero contacts, zero prospects, and hardly any self-confidence, it was a start.
So, however long ago it was, when he was in a bad state, he settled for his Office Bitch job.  He only had one friend that we know of, that being Steve, unless you also count Pintsize.  His apartment was small but servicable for just himself.  A shitty existence, but his only alternative at this point was running home to his parents, and he clearly didn't want to do that.

The important part here is that we don't know how long Marten remained in this state for.  He met his previous girlfriend Vicki in his last semester of college, and then a couple of months later he made the cross-country shift to be with her.  It could have been weeks or months after that when they finally broke up, and months or years between then and when QC started.  We have no timeline to work with here.  But the comic starts with Marten hating his job, only having one friend, and generally seeing his life as a never-ending crapstorm.
But then!
Look at what's happened to him over the course of the comic.  His circle of friends has expanded to a pretty large group.  He's started playing music again.  He's got a job he seems to like a lot better than being an Office Bitch.  He's more confident and assertive.  He got a new girlfriend, and while he did have a dark patch when they broke up, he's bounced back pretty damn well from it.

Now, yes, he hasn't given us much of what he wants in life, but the simple fact is that a lot of people honestly don't know what they want out of life.  Marten has vague dreams of being a musician, but that's about it.  But, while I agree that's not positive for him, I still think he's done pretty damn well over the course of QC.
Think of what we know about him from before the comic started - a confused, sad kid from a broken home with a worthless degree, zero self-confidence, a job he hated, no prospects, nothing.  Take that knowledge and really look at the character we met in Strip #1.  And then, compare that person to the Marten we know now, nearly 2000 strips later.

Marten Reed is no Superman.  He hasn't changed the world, nor is he going to.  But the important thing is that he has changed, and still is changing.  His character is still growing up in a lot of ways.  And, given the way the last 200 or so strips have gone for him, I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that our favourite Manatee on Codeine is eventually going to find himself a backbone and do something with his life.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 11 May 2011, 05:31
<removed by moderator>

The important part here is that we don't know how long Marten remained in this state for.  He met his previous girlfriend Vicki in his last semester of college, and then a couple of months later he made the cross-country shift to be with her.  It could have been weeks or months after that when they finally broke up, and months or years between then and when QC started.

Bit of context, but they broke up before he moved and he basically harassed her until she told him to fuck off (conveniently retold in the comic to paint her as the bad guy, but then, Marten is the one telling the story so of course he didn't actually do anything wrong in that situation).

Quote
We have no timeline to work with here.  But the comic starts with Marten hating his job, only having one friend, and generally seeing his life as a never-ending crapstorm.
But then!
Look at what's happened to him over the course of the comic.  His circle of friends has expanded to a pretty large group.

Marten has 3 friends (Faye, Hannelore and Steve), everyone else is someone that Marten occasionally interacts with and who is another character in the comic, but he isn't friends with them.

Quote
He's started playing music again.

Anyone have the last comic where Marten has actually acknowledged being in Deathmole or playing any sort of music himself? Hell, aside from a brief run of jokes about Hannelore being obsessed with drumming in the band, nobody in the comic has talked about it at all in a long while (since at least before shit really started to get miserable between Dora and Marten pre-breakup, which was also a toxic relationship to start with so that shouldn't be surprising).

Quote
He's got a job he seems to like a lot better than being an Office Bitch.  He's more confident and assertive.  He got a new girlfriend, and while he did have a dark patch when they broke up, he's bounced back pretty damn well from it.

Now, yes, he hasn't given us much of what he wants in life, but the simple fact is that a lot of people honestly don't know what they want out of life.  Marten has vague dreams of being a musician, but that's about it.  But, while I agree that's not positive for him, I still think he's done pretty damn well over the course of QC.
Think of what we know about him from before the comic started - a confused, sad kid from a broken home with a worthless degree, zero self-confidence, a job he hated, no prospects, nothing.  Take that knowledge and really look at the character we met in Strip #1.  And then, compare that person to the Marten we know now, nearly 2000 strips later.

Marten Reed is no Superman.  He hasn't changed the world, nor is he going to.  But the important thing is that he has changed, and still is changing.  His character is still growing up in a lot of ways.  And, given the way the last 200 or so strips have gone for him, I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that our favourite Manatee on Codeine is eventually going to find himself a backbone and do something with his life.

The only way this prediction has a chance of coming true is if Jeph gets tired of making Marten the whipping post for the comic (read: never going to happen).

Every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth. Marten himself, however, has been a one-note character for the entire run of the comic (moved from one scenario or situation to the next).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: rje on 11 May 2011, 06:09

Sounds like someone laid that whole horrible trip on you at an impressionable age. I'm sorry.

Weeeell...besides my parents - neither of whom attended college or finished high school - encouraging me to go as far as I could in my schooling, so I could have an easier life than they did (and what parent doesn't want that?) nobody really told me I -had- to do anything besides myself. I actually failed my first semester at college and they both told me it was okay to stop and wait until I was ready if I wanted to, or even do something else, if I wanted to. But I did want to get a degree and a career in what I love to do. I wanted to achieve my goals because that feels good. It made me feel good about myself to succeed. I hate failing, too..but that's -me-, of course. I just think Marten achieving something outside of himself would be good for him emotionally. And I also think it'd make an interesting story arc! I kind of look at QC as more than a relationship comedy, and arcs that show the cast growing and evolving and maturing are really interesting to me.

I think we can all agree that achievement and success are empowering things? It doesn't have to be big. Look at Hannelore - she's had her own business, she's taken active steps to try to control her OCD and gain experiences in things she otherwise couldn't do (her pretend-date with Sven), she's done things to grow and mature herself as an adult (standing up to her mother) -- she's actually grown the most over the course of the comic, she's pretty inspiring when you think about it.

So's Faye, and Dora, and all the others in their own ways.

But I'm not saying I don't like Marten D: I like him a lot! I can totally empathize with him too and I so understand the mindset of 'eh, good enough' - I'm just saying that I think if he looked around and said 'Hm...maybe this isn't good enough' it'd be pretty neat to see what he does about it. I'm not demanding Jeph do this, and if he never does it's not like I'd stop reading the comic.

And heck, some of it's jealousy, sure - cos man I wish I had a stress-free pretty awesome laid-back job like that, that paid the bills enough and a wide circle of friends and a nice town to live in where you could walk everywhere and nobody hung fake testicles from the back of their pick-up trucks!
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tergon on 11 May 2011, 07:35
Bit of context, but they broke up before he moved and he basically harassed her until she told him to fuck off (conveniently retold in the comic to paint her as the bad guy, but then, Marten is the one telling the story so of course he didn't actually do anything wrong in that situation).
Not quite.  Marten fully acknowledges that he was being clingy and awkward, and that he was basically an unemployed loser when he arrived with her.  But they most definitely did not break up until at least a while after he moved:  that's made very clear in Marten's story (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=257).  Which, while I do acknowledge might paint Marten more positively than another perspective might, seems fairly straightforward on his part.  It's not a "convenient retelling" of the story, it's the only canonical version of the story that exists.  I'm choosing to take it as written rather than use made-up speculation as to anything else that might have happened.

Marten has 3 friends (Faye, Hannelore and Steve), everyone else is someone that Marten occasionally interacts with and who is another character in the comic, but he isn't friends with them.
He seems to have a strong friendship with Angus considering the short time they've known each other.  They definitely get along very well, even outside of the "Friend of a friend" link that first got them together.  Likewise for Marigold, who Marten helped coax out of her shell in a big way.  He got along well with Raven before she departed, even better than with Penelope and Wil, who he's hung out with before.  He gets along great with Tai, even spending time with her outside of work casually.  He even seems to be on pretty good terms with Sven, who's a bit of a dark horse amongst the characters.  And I don't think it even needs to be said that he had an extremely strong relationship with Dora until the breakup.  Wherever they may be now, she was beyond question a good friend, and then a well-loved girlfriend beyond that.
I agree that Faye, Steve and Hannelore are his closest friends, sure.  But... all of the others are people whose company he enjoys, who get along with him well, and who he voluntarily hangs out with.  Unless there's some new definition of "friend" I've not heard of, I'm sticking with that one.

Anyone have the last comic where Marten has actually acknowledged being in Deathmole or playing any sort of music himself? Hell, aside from a brief run of jokes about Hannelore being obsessed with drumming in the band, nobody in the comic has talked about it at all in a long while (since at least before shit really started to get miserable between Dora and Marten pre-breakup, which was also a toxic relationship to start with so that shouldn't be surprising).
True.  But I used this as an example of him doing something he loves.  Remember how he sold his guitar to raise the money to move with Vicki?  And then how it was a big deal that he bought one again, and then started playing music?  I'm not saying that Deathmole are becoming a huge local hit or anything.  I'm just saying that the guy is once again pursuing a passion of his, and there's no universe in which that's not a positive move for him.
Also, I won't take the "toxic relationship" bait.  It's derailed too many threads before.  Suffice to say I disagree.

The only way this prediction has a chance of coming true is if Jeph gets tired of making Marten the whipping post for the comic (read: never going to happen).

Every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth. Marten himself, however, has been a one-note character for the entire run of the comic (moved from one scenario or situation to the next).
Forming a group of close friends when he previously had none, getting a better job than Office Bitch when that job went under, moving into a better apartment for himself and his closest friend, getting into a serious relationship, showing backbone to keep it going when it went sour, moving on and recovering in a healthy way when it ended... he's helped Faye overcome her issues until she was able to get into a relationship with Angus, he's helped Hannelore come out of her shell and become a real person, he's a big part of the reason that Marigold got a social life.  He's gone from a shy, depressed music nerd with one friend and a pet robot to become a major part of the lives of several people, and over the course of nearly two thousand strips he's become more confident, assertive, and better adjusted the entire way.  You say that every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth?  I say that he's the reason that all of them experienced it in the first place.
And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 11 May 2011, 08:02
Not quite.  Marten fully acknowledges that he was being clingy and awkward, and that he was basically an unemployed loser when he arrived with her.  But they most definitely did not break up until at least a while after he moved:  that's made very clear in Marten's story (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=257).  Which, while I do acknowledge might paint Marten more positively than another perspective might, seems fairly straightforward on his part.  It's not a "convenient retelling" of the story, it's the only canonical version of the story that exists.  I'm choosing to take it as written rather than use made-up speculation as to anything else that might have happened.

Marten tells the story as if they started dating again and then she mysteriously dumped him after getting frustrated after a week and a half of him calling every day. Now, granted, that kind of thing can happen, but be honest and recall what scenario happens far more often when a guy moves across country in pursuit of a girl that broke up with him before he moved.

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He seems to have a strong friendship with Angus considering the short time they've known each other.  They definitely get along very well, even outside of the "Friend of a friend" link that first got them together.  Likewise for Marigold, who Marten helped coax out of her shell in a big way.  He got along well with Raven before she departed, even better than with Penelope and Wil, who he's hung out with before.  He gets along great with Tai, even spending time with her outside of work casually.  He even seems to be on pretty good terms with Sven, who's a bit of a dark horse amongst the characters.  And I don't think it even needs to be said that he had an extremely strong relationship with Dora until the breakup.  Wherever they may be now, she was beyond question a good friend, and then a well-loved girlfriend beyond that.
I agree that Faye, Steve and Hannelore are his closest friends, sure.  But... all of the others are people whose company he enjoys, who get along with him well, and who he voluntarily hangs out with.  Unless there's some new definition of "friend" I've not heard of, I'm sticking with that one.

All of those relationships are based off of comics where Marten happens to run into them anyway while they are doing something else (usually an "Oh, hey, Marten! What's up?" occurs). He isn't actually going and hanging out with these other people unless he is already hanging out with one of the Big 3 first.

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True.  But I used this as an example of him doing something he loves.  Remember how he sold his guitar to raise the money to move with Vicki?  And then how it was a big deal that he bought one again, and then started playing music?  I'm not saying that Deathmole are becoming a huge local hit or anything.  I'm just saying that the guy is once again pursuing a passion of his, and there's no universe in which that's not a positive move for him.

That's kind of dancing around the point and ignoring it. There is no current evidence that he is still pursuing that passion at all (and plenty of evidence that he has dropped it altogether, not even a throwaway "Yeah, this angst is really helping me out during practice" lines or anything).

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Also, I won't take the "toxic relationship" bait.  It's derailed too many threads before.  Suffice to say I disagree.

It isn't bait, what with being pretty obvious given the circumstances of why they broke up.

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Forming a group of close friends when he previously had none,

Passively accompished, as Faye and others basically forced themselves into his life.

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getting a better job than Office Bitch when that job went under

He got fired, spent some time unemployed then took on the library job after it was offered to him.

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moving into a better apartment for himself and his closest friend

Did he do this on his own, or did Faye drive it?

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getting into a serious relationship

100% driven by Dora.

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showing backbone to keep it going when it went sour

It takes zero backbone to stay in a relationship where the other person just steamrolls you all the time whenever you have an opinion on something.

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moving on and recovering in a healthy way when it ended.

This has not happened yet.

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he's helped Faye overcome her issues until she was able to get into a relationship with Angus

Something he is still intensely bitter about.

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he's helped Hannelore come out of her shell and become a real person

Faye and Dora have done far more to help that than Marten has.

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he's a big part of the reason that Marigold got a social life

Haha, what? Even Hannelore is more useful to Marigold on this front than Marten is. I can't even recall an instance of Marten ever talking to her unless she said something to him first (and always in the company of Dora or Faye).

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He's gone from a shy, depressed music nerd with one friend and a pet robot to become a major part of the lives of several people, and over the course of nearly two thousand strips he's become more confident, assertive, and better adjusted the entire way.  You say that every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth?  I say that he's the reason that all of them experienced it in the first place.

Covered this above.

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And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?

Schadenfreude.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tergon on 11 May 2011, 09:07
Marten tells the story as if they started dating again and then she mysteriously dumped him after getting frustrated after a week and a half of him calling every day. Now, granted, that kind of thing can happen, but be honest and recall what scenario happens far more often when a guy moves across country in pursuit of a girl that broke up with him before he moved.
But she didn't break up with him before he moved.  They were a couple, admittedly having some difficulty with the upcoming separation, but Marten makes it very clear that they had not broken up.  He clearly states that her becoming harder to contact happened over time, and says that just before the breakup he left her about six messages in a week because he hadn't seen her, not calling her obsessively every day.  Again, I do grant that sometimes the clingy guy is worse than this; I also acknoweldge that some guys in that situation would twist the truth to make themselves look good.  But that's not what's happened here.  The main character of the comic, whose word we have no reason whatsoever to doubt, has laid out the story in a manner that certainly doesn't flatter himself.  The parts of the story that you're arguing are things that he very specifically states, which implies that you think Marten is outright lying when he tells the story.  With zero basis for that assumption, and absolutely nothing even suggesting that another version of the story might be the truth, I just don't see grounds for debate here.  The story as it stands is caonical for the QC Universe.


All of those relationships are based off of comics where Marten happens to run into them anyway while they are doing something else (usually an "Oh, hey, Marten! What's up?" occurs). He isn't actually going and hanging out with these other people unless he is already hanging out with one of the Big 3 first.
So... he has his three best friends, as we've established, and he likes hanging out with them.  Gotcha.  But how does that make the others not his friends?  He does spend time with them, he does like them, he does get along well with them.  There is no basis here at all for saying they're not his friends!  Hell, I've got people I consider good friends, but we almost always hang out in the company of others.  The friendship is no less because we don't spend hours alone having Deep & Meaningfuls.


That's kind of dancing around the point and ignoring it. There is no current evidence that he is still pursuing that passion at all (and plenty of evidence that he has dropped it altogether, not even a throwaway "Yeah, this angst is really helping me out during practice" lines or anything).
On the contrary, it's trying to re-direct the point to what I originally made, rather than having it changed on me.  ;)  I'm saying that Marten at the start of the comic was a depressed guy who was not pursuing a passion for music, and that part of the character growth he's shown is that he started playing again.  Yeah, we haven't seen Deathmole playing in a while, but so what?  That's irrelevant to the point I was making - that Marten pursuing something he loves was a positive move for him.  The fact that we haven't seen him actually playing the guitar in a while isn't evidence that he's stopped at all, it's just lack of recent evidence that he's playing much.  Whether or not he's doing so with Deathmole has nothing to do with why I brought his music up in the first place.


Several quick responses to lines cut from my wall o' text
Rather than do an exhaustive line-by-line quotestorm, I'll keep it simple.
Marten opened his home to Faye before he had any real shot at a romantic relationship with her, and kept living with her because they've become incredibly close friends.  Faye openly tells Marten that the only reason she's strong enough to be dating Angus is because Marten helped her come to terms with her issues.  Marten, for his part, is not only fully supportive of Faye's relationship, but he gets along very well with Angus and even has a sense of humour about them starting a physical relationship.  There's definitely nothing at all to say he's the slightest bit bitter about it.
When Dora made her move on him, it took Marten entirely by surprise - but he didn't turn her down.  And when Dora was having doubts about the relationship and whether Marten was just settling or not, he went to great lengths to try and make her understand that he wanted to be with her, and wanted to be an active part in the relationship.  He wasn't just settling or letting her bully him into the relationship.  Many, many comics were devoted to Marten trying to prove that point.  When they did break up, he showed deep depression, but he's recovered to the point where he approached Padma in a bar, was willing to face Dora again, can make jokes about the relationship, and has pretty much gotten over his depression.
Hannelore fixated on Marten more than anyone, and he's still the one she seeks out more than most of the others.  Their brother-sister relationship is one of my favourite parts of QC, and he's been there for her a lot to help coax her out of her shell.  Faye has definitely been a big part of it as well, but I still maintain that Marten's been the main part of that.  Certainly he spends more time with Hannelore than Dora does.
As for Marigold... well, there's the obvious fact that Marten was the one who introduced her into the comic (with a bit of AnthroPC Shenanigans thrown in there as well).  He's present at Marigold's first night out drinking when he teaches her about beer, he's present at the Anime convention when the girls dress him as a character to cheer Marigold up, even the night when she finds out about Faye and Angus is at his apartment.  Marten's clearly a big part of her social life, and without him there to introduce her to the gang, it's doubtful she'd have one at all.

He is a huge part of all of their lives, and his actions have changed them all.  Sometimes, yes, it's been passive on his part, but how does that change how important he is to them?  He's been a part of all their adventures, he's played a role the entire time, and he's changed their lives.


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And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?

Schadenfreude.
So, you read QC and debate it on the forums because you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.  You don't deny your contempt for the characters, or the storyline, or the writer, and you take every opportunity to decry all three of these things.  You are here, apparently, for no other reason than to mock them.
Just... wow.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 11 May 2011, 09:46
Never mud-wrestle with a pig. You both get all muddy and the pig likes it.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 11 May 2011, 10:20
The most recent comic I know of that mentioned the band was 1395, definitely a while back. Does anyone have a more recent one?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: stoutfiles on 11 May 2011, 10:42
I'm not doubting Marten has friends...he does.  I don't see how that changes the fact that he loafs through life, timidly hitting on girls he finds attractive.  Other than being a "Nice Guy", he's not much of a catch, is he?  No current hobbies, no aspirations...where would dating Marten take you?  To the bar and/or apartment?  A coffee shop perhaps?  I could start a whole topic about how girls don't like the "Nice Guy" mainly because they're just like Marten, kind of boring and living vicariously through their more interesting friends.

I'm on a phone so whoever referenced Seinfield and Friends...ALL of those characters had goals.  Not one of them just walked around doing the same thing everyday.  Some of them were losers, but for zany comical reasons.

Anyone who referenced Pintsize as a friend...come on now.  He is a computer.  Unless you think a guy with a bunch of A.I. friends and no others would be a healthy lifestyle.

Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Odin on 11 May 2011, 11:37
But she didn't break up with him before he moved.  They were a couple, admittedly having some difficulty with the upcoming separation, but Marten makes it very clear that they had not broken up.  He clearly states that her becoming harder to contact happened over time, and says that just before the breakup he left her about six messages in a week because he hadn't seen her, not calling her obsessively every day.  Again, I do grant that sometimes the clingy guy is worse than this; I also acknoweldge that some guys in that situation would twist the truth to make themselves look good.  But that's not what's happened here.  The main character of the comic, whose word we have no reason whatsoever to doubt, has laid out the story in a manner that certainly doesn't flatter himself.  The parts of the story that you're arguing are things that he very specifically states, which implies that you think Marten is outright lying when he tells the story.  With zero basis for that assumption, and absolutely nothing even suggesting that another version of the story might be the truth, I just don't see grounds for debate here.  The story as it stands is caonical for the QC Universe.

(http://i.imgur.com/3oA9P.png)

Hint: This would be where he was dumped, the next strip was the one where she left, then the next one was where he explained that he got the bright idea to up and follow her while drunk.

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So... he has his three best friends, as we've established, and he likes hanging out with them.  Gotcha.  But how does that make the others not his friends?  He does spend time with them, he does like them, he does get along well with them.  There is no basis here at all for saying they're not his friends!  Hell, I've got people I consider good friends, but we almost always hang out in the company of others.  The friendship is no less because we don't spend hours alone having Deep & Meaningfuls.

Because regular random encounters with acquaintances does not a friendship make. I shoot the shit with coworkers every day and we spend all of our working hours around each other and we get along just as well as any non-romantic characters in this comic, but none of us would call the other a friend. A bunch of generally friendly people living in the same community does not make them all friends with each other, to put it another way.


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On the contrary, it's trying to re-direct the point to what I originally made, rather than having it changed on me.  ;)  I'm saying that Marten at the start of the comic was a depressed guy who was not pursuing a passion for music, and that part of the character growth he's shown is that he started playing again.  Yeah, we haven't seen Deathmole playing in a while, but so what?  That's irrelevant to the point I was making - that Marten pursuing something he loves was a positive move for him.  The fact that we haven't seen him actually playing the guitar in a while isn't evidence that he's stopped at all, it's just lack of recent evidence that he's playing much.  Whether or not he's doing so with Deathmole has nothing to do with why I brought his music up in the first place.

I was talking more about it having been so long since it was even tangentially referenced in the comic that he hasn't been doing it, and since it wasn't a big enough deal for anyone to notice and comment on in-comic, he couldn't have been all that passionate about it, either.


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Rather than do an exhaustive line-by-line quotestorm, I'll keep it simple.
Marten opened his home to Faye before he had any real shot at a romantic relationship with her, and kept living with her because they've become incredibly close friends.  Faye openly tells Marten that the only reason she's strong enough to be dating Angus is because Marten helped her come to terms with her issues.  Marten, for his part, is not only fully supportive of Faye's relationship, but he gets along very well with Angus and even has a sense of humour about them starting a physical relationship.  There's definitely nothing at all to say he's the slightest bit bitter about it.

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1818

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When Dora made her move on him, it took Marten entirely by surprise - but he didn't turn her down.

This doesn't exactly go very far to any counter-point to the relationship being 100% Dora's initiative.

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And when Dora was having doubts about the relationship and whether Marten was just settling or not, he went to great lengths to try and make her understand that he wanted to be with her, and wanted to be an active part in the relationship.  He wasn't just settling or letting her bully him into the relationship.  Many, many comics were devoted to Marten trying to prove that point.

Depends on your perspective, because all of those situations other than the "are you settling for me?" thing were Marten backing down repeatedly before Dora's wrath (though that does go back to my point about the relationship being toxic--Dora didn't actually respect Marten, but since neither of them have that much self-respect to begin with it really isn't surprising).

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When they did break up, he showed deep depression, but he's recovered to the point where he approached Padma in a bar, was willing to face Dora again, can make jokes about the relationship, and has pretty much gotten over his depression.

Steve dragged him over to Padma and if anyone else makes jokes about his breakup with Dora they get the Death Glare. He isn't over it.

This is getting boring, though, so I'm skipping to the end.

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So, you read QC and debate it on the forums because you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.

Name one good thing that has happened to anyone in the QC Universe that wasn't shortly smashed to pieces later. The comic is totally about satisfying that schadenfreude itch.

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You don't deny your contempt for the characters, or the storyline, or the writer, and you take every opportunity to decry all three of these things.  You are here, apparently, for no other reason than to mock them.
Just... wow.

The only actual contempt I have on these forums is for the people that try to act like the story is ever meant to actually be something positive or uplifting. The most optimistic character in the series has crippling OCD issues and is completely and utterly incapable of enjoying a healthy romantic relationship, I really don't think I should have to say anything beyond that to prove that point.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jeph on 11 May 2011, 11:44
Wow Odin, going through your recent post history, you're kind of a jerk. You should cool off, maybe not post here anymore.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jeph on 11 May 2011, 11:48
To address the actual topic, Marten isn't really sure what his goals ARE. I'm pretty sure I've actually had him say something along these lines in the comic, actually.

 He'd like to have some, but life can be insidious in how you go day by day and suddenly it's been a year and you're still working at your crappy job and WTF happened to all that time.

I've always been a goal-oriented person, but I know lots of people in their 20s who are in Marten's situation.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jeph on 11 May 2011, 11:56
ps I banned Odin because goddamn that dude was kind of a dick I guess!
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: dragontart on 11 May 2011, 12:04
I learned something today. I'm not a girl. Shocking.

Also, hello Mr. J▓ and thanks for giving that insight into Marten's mind and situation.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Emperor Norton on 11 May 2011, 14:27
ps I banned Odin because goddamn that dude was kind of a dick I guess!

*slow clap*

Also, yeah, I totally understand the whole "not sure what his goals are" thing. I've known lots of people like that.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 11 May 2011, 14:55
For the record, I have removed a number of posts that were only discussion of moderation decisions; they added nothing to the topic, in my view.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jwhouk on 11 May 2011, 17:33
Never mud-wrestle with a pig. You both get all muddy and the pig likes it.

Best Cale Yarborough quote ever.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tergon on 11 May 2011, 22:09
Well, I guess that closes that part of the discussion, doesn't it?  Sorry for poking the bear, y'all.  It's a bad habit of mine.

Also thanks Jeph for the insight into Marten's character.  Always good to get it from the source!
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: tomart on 11 May 2011, 22:23
Yes, the source rules.     8-)
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 12 May 2011, 07:28
Yes, the source rules.     8-)

Been lurking for a while, finally registered and I don't know if this really applies but I'm from the school of "Authorial Intent = Intentional Fallacy" if the work contradicts what the author claims it is supposed to mean (which seems to be happening here)... mainly because the only time you can even apply authorial intent is if the author bothers to express it (most don't, and those that do like to troll their readers, like Stephen King off the top of my head) and there are some pretty convincing arguments out there that a work should stand on it's own with regard to interpretations of meaning, etc...

So I have a question, can I argue from that perspective on here as long as I'm not a dick about it like Odin was, or is that not allowed? Because after reading over his post history (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php?action=profile;u=5630;sa=showPosts) he has posted a few opinions I agree with and I just want to make sure this board isn't that heavily moderated when it comes to posting opinions of the comic itself and the characters in it.

EDIT: The opinions I'm referencing are more along the lines of "Character X exhibits some pretty screwed up behavior Y, so is this supposed to represent Z or....?" type discussions.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 12 May 2011, 07:53
Welcome.  There are few limits to discussion here; the rules are mainly about being civil (which is taken to include no politics or religion), and avoiding a few things that Jeph simply doesn't wish to tolerate on the forum he pays the bills for, e.g. mindless "shipping".

The two locked threads at the top of this forum give a summary (with links to the main rules), and a discussion of how moderation is applied - and these together should answer most questions.

If you wish to present views on the comic similar to Odin's, that will not in itself be unwelcome; just behave within the rules while standing up for your views, and you'll be fine.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: rje on 12 May 2011, 08:05
He'd like to have some, but life can be insidious in how you go day by day and suddenly it's been ten years and you're still working at some kind of crappy job, that is if you're not unemployed again and haven't managed to complete your degree for the effing FOURTH ATTEMPT and WTF happened to all that time.

Truer fuckin words man.
Truer f u c k i n' words.

hahahahaaaaa aw I made myself sad  :-(

But thank you for stopping by and adding your Word of God :D I'm even more excited to see where the comic goes now.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 12 May 2011, 08:13
To address the actual topic, Marten isn't really sure what his goals ARE. I'm pretty sure I've actually had him say something along these lines in the comic, actually.

 He'd like to have some, but life can be insidious in how you go day by day and suddenly it's been a year and you're still working at your crappy job and WTF happened to all that time.

I've always been a goal-oriented person, but I know lots of people in their 20s who are in Marten's situation.

So would you say that is a big contributing factor to how unhappy Marten is, or are you saying he isn't unhappy because of this and it is perfectly normal (and he's unhappy for other reasons)?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 12 May 2011, 09:29
I interpreted Jeph's answer as meaning Marten's aware he's dissatisfied but is not sure why ... Just has a vague sense there's something he oughta be doing. I found the whole Marten-meets-Dora's-folks arc (starts about 1030)  telling, in the contrast between DoraDad's catapulting himself into freelancery and Marten's "I dunno, guess I'd like to be a rock star or something ... " -- not a sentiment generally calculated to impress the father of your then-sweetie, but storywise it gave Jeph a chance to speak through DoraDad.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Welu on 17 May 2011, 02:38
http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1734 This is the comic I've been thinking of the whole time reading through this thread.

It's not directly relevant to Marten but I'd say it's the mentality of most of the QC cast. They're floating along, hoping for a bit better if it comes along but right now aren't actively going for it since they don't feel they need to do so. Sometimes good things fall into their lap (Dora coming on to Marten/Faye's commission for the Espressosaurus) or they have to work for it (Marigold coming out of her shell/Faye trying to get over her anxieties to try going out with Angus) but for now, the overall big picture is enough.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 17 May 2011, 03:12
(helloimnewhieverybody)

Yeah, but the same goes for most people.. right?

I like how Marten constantly gets by despite getting stuck in relationships that fail miserably. And if the comic was about a guy who succeeds perfectly at work, spends most of his time working his way up the career ladder and has a stable, strong relationship with his girlfriend, it wouldn't be very interesting and the I-recognize-myself-factor would be zero (on my part at least..).
But yeah, sooner or later something's gotta happen. He's gotta do something. But the comic won't go on forever, however we see it and we may never see that event.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 17 May 2011, 04:10
Yeah, but the same goes for most people.. right?

Not really, most people still have some sort of goal they're working toward. Even if they're failing horribly at attaining it, they still have some sort of "prize" they're trying to attain in Life ranging from "I'm going to be a(n) X" where "X" can be the career they're after, from astronaut to actor/ress to "I'm going to Y" where "Y" is some activity or action they want to do before they die, like scale Mt. Everest or travel around the world.

This is the problem with Marten that seems to have started the thread. He doesn't really have any discernible long-term goal that, even if it's on hiatus right now, people can point at and say "Yep, Marten has something he wants to do with his life, he's just at a low point right now/not working on it".

People brought up Deathmole, but the problem there is that band was someone else's dream and Marten walked into it and got to join for a while (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=486), he didn't actually start the band since it existed before he came along (though he did end up getting his current library job due to his participation in the band (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=658)). So, again, it wasn't a goal of his so much as something he got to join in on and enjoy for a while.

Quote
I like how Marten constantly gets by despite getting stuck in relationships that fail miserably. And if the comic was about a guy who succeeds perfectly at work, spends most of his time working his way up the career ladder and has a stable, strong relationship with his girlfriend, it wouldn't be very interesting and the I-recognize-myself-factor would be zero (on my part at least..).
But yeah, sooner or later something's gotta happen. He's gotta do something. But the comic won't go on forever, however we see it and we may never see that event.

I think the main complaint that started this thread is that Marten hasn't ever really set out on his own to accomplish anything without a lot of groundwork being laid for it by other people in his life first. Yes, a lot of people in real life are like that, but it is still slightly depressing to watch and I think that was the main thing the OP was asking to be proved wrong about before things got derailed a little bit.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 17 May 2011, 04:58
Oh, I don't know - my goals have never been any kind of individual thing, a prize, as you put it. 

I have a number of specific achievements (in my mind, if no one else's) under my belt, but none of them was ever a specific aim.  What I have had is a general urge to do stuff in certain areas, and at times I have been able to make some of this happen, with variable degrees of success.  I have not infrequently had the "what's this all about" or "isn't there more to life" feelings that Marten's had - but they pass, and I get on with whatever's to hand.  Marten's vague interest in doing more with his music, whether performing or blogging, is not much vaguer than my "goals" have been at various times, and yet forty years on from his age, I can look back and see the things that did  happen after all.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 17 May 2011, 05:37
You still took the initiative to do things, though, while the complaint here is that Marten only ever seems to do something new if someone else tells him to first.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 18 May 2011, 05:41
Well, I disagree that all or even most people have long-term goals. Most people I know just go with the flow. But let's leave this here..
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 18 May 2011, 06:56
I think most people have goals, but they're vague - "I want to be successful", "I want to be a (fill in the blank)", "I want to have a family", etc.   The steps we take aren't always clear, though, and some of it's like a chess game - the path to success isn't clear until a few moves are made by your opponent.  If something occurs that will make our goal more likely, and we can recognize it, most of us jump at the opportunity. 

Of course, there's a lot you  can do in chess that make your opponent's moves leave you a clearer path, and IRL there are a lot of things you can do to increase the opportunities that present themselves to you. 

There's an old joke my grandfather used to tell - forgive me, but it bears repeating.  Saul prayed every night, "God, let me win the lottery!" 

One night, Saul heard a voice answer...

"Saul!" 

"God, is that you?" 

"Yes.  Saul, you want to win the lottery?" 

"Yes God, please!" 

"Saul... you have to buy a ticket."



Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more jobs to apply for.  They're not just going to fall into my lap, after all! 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 19 May 2011, 06:40
I think my point is that there's a vast difference between goals and hopes and dreams.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 19 May 2011, 06:55
Even if that were true, Marten still wouldn't have either.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 19 May 2011, 11:14
Marten has dreams of being a rock star, but now that you shine a light on the subject, I think you're right that Marten doesn't have hopes. That may even be the root of his problems.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 20 May 2011, 15:11
Marten has dreams of being a rock star, but now that you shine a light on the subject, I think you're right that Marten doesn't have hopes. That may even be the root of his problems.

Actually, yeah, something like that.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: LoveJaneAusten on 20 May 2011, 21:25
Marten doesn't have any initiative whatsoever and is basically a roll-over-and-die-niceguy. Even some of the most free spirited hippies I've known have had goals and worked toward them, like "work on an alpaca farm" or "start a freeschool" or something. Marten actually has less Úlan vital than that. It's his defining characteristic.

And if the comic was about a guy who succeeds perfectly at work, spends most of his time working his way up the career ladder and has a stable, strong relationship with his girlfriend, it wouldn't be very interesting
Nah, I think it's entirely possible for a comic to be interesting/entertaining and feature a person who has, you know, a presence in the things that happen.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 20 May 2011, 22:24
Quote from: Theodore Roosevelt
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 21 May 2011, 05:26
Are you trying to make our point for us or arguing against it? Because Marten does not, by any stretch of the imagination, fit that quote.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 21 May 2011, 12:09
The quote is intended as an eloquent argument for what Marten is not doing.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Method of Madness on 22 May 2011, 21:42
The way I see it is Sven is a much luckier version of Marten.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 22 May 2011, 23:29
The way I see it is Sven is a much luckier version of Marten.
Now there's an interesting take, and worth more discussion.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 22 May 2011, 23:30
I'm not so sure it's luck, Sven appears to have at lease a bit of song-writing talent.  It's not as easy to write CW lyrics as it sounds! 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Deadlywonky on 22 May 2011, 23:53
Also, Marten has said (can't remember the strip) that he either can't write songs, or he's not very good.

Now, that is either confidence, or self awareness.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 23 May 2011, 00:24
I don't remember that one either.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Deadlywonky on 23 May 2011, 05:24
Found it: 1292 (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1292)

It looks like I misremembered his quote, not that he can't, but that he's not very good.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 23 May 2011, 07:10
Marten needs to start going to the coffee shops that serve this for inspiration:

(http://i.imgur.com/BOUQB.jpg)
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: TheEvilDog on 23 May 2011, 07:38
Its the Goddamn Coffee-man! :-o
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 23 May 2011, 12:45
And if the comic was about a guy who succeeds perfectly at work, spends most of his time working his way up the career ladder and has a stable, strong relationship with his girlfriend, it wouldn't be very interesting
Nah, I think it's entirely possible for a comic to be interesting/entertaining and feature a person who has, you know, a presence in the things that happen.

Well, fine, I agree. But on the top of my head, I can't think of a single one. One of the many things I like about QC is that the whole cast is basically a bunch of fucking losers in one way or another, much reminiscent of myself and the people I hang with. And who the hell do you think sits working at the 7-11 for 6 years in a row just because they don't think more of themselves than that, because they are afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, or because they're just plain lazy? They're people like you and me, I tell you. And they can still be interesting, fascinating even. They might have the greatest conversations with their friends, play guitar in the coolest bands, write amazing stuff on PostIt notes etc. It's like that Neil Gaiman quote, which I can't recall exactly but it went something like.. "every person, no matter how bland or grey they seem, has an inner universe of thoughts, emotions and imagination". This resonates very strongly with me. What the fuck are goals worth, anyway? And is that really Martens problem? Who says Marten has problems? What makes everyone so sure? He's an interesting character and really likeable, that's all I know.

Yikes, all that text and nothing makes sense.. don't take me too literally please.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 23 May 2011, 13:56
No, no, I think you've made an interesting point.  Every generation has its "lost" generation, becase everyone goes through something similar to this at about the same time.  Some "get over it" faster than others, but I think it hapens to a large nyumber of people, and if it's happening to the people you hang with at about the same time, it can really become a self-perpetuating kind of thing. 

It's also part of what makes the comic appealing - we all recognize a bit of ourselves in at least some of the characters - meek Marten, Brash Faye, loopy Hannelore - we all have seen the "WOW, I'm just like that" or "I have a friend who's just like that" posts in here. 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Method of Madness on 23 May 2011, 14:30
I'm not so sure it's luck, Sven appears to have at lease a bit of song-writing talent.  It's not as easy to write CW lyrics as it sounds! 
How is having talent different from being lucky?  You don't earn talent, it's just something you have.  If that's not luck, I don't know what is.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 23 May 2011, 19:52
Marten's dissatisfaction with his life goes back to strips 3 and 11.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Nick and Marla on 23 May 2011, 21:41
For the record, I have removed a number of posts that were only discussion of moderation decisions; they added nothing to the topic, in my view.
dictator dictator revolt revolt!
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Welu on 24 May 2011, 02:23
How is having talent different from being lucky?  You don't earn talent, it's just something you have.  If that's not luck, I don't know what is.
[/quote]

You do have to work at a talent to improve it or keep it sharp though, which Sven probably does with personal practice. Even if he had a natural knack for writing songs, he probably had to work to learn guitar and has to practice to stay good at and get gigs.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 24 May 2011, 06:06
Well, fine, I agree. But on the top of my head, I can't think of a single one. One of the many things I like about QC is that the whole cast is basically a bunch of fucking losers in one way or another, much reminiscent of myself and the people I hang with. And who the hell do you think sits working at the 7-11 for 6 years in a row just because they don't think more of themselves than that, because they are afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, or because they're just plain lazy? They're people like you and me, I tell you. And they can still be interesting, fascinating even. They might have the greatest conversations with their friends, play guitar in the coolest bands, write amazing stuff on PostIt notes etc. It's like that Neil Gaiman quote, which I can't recall exactly but it went something like.. "every person, no matter how bland or grey they seem, has an inner universe of thoughts, emotions and imagination". This resonates very strongly with me. What the fuck are goals worth, anyway? And is that really Martens problem? Who says Marten has problems? What makes everyone so sure? He's an interesting character and really likeable, that's all I know.

Yikes, all that text and nothing makes sense.. don't take me too literally please.

I'd like to know how you can reference Neil Gaiman while trying to counterpoint this specific discussion and come up with the "I can't think of a single one" sentence, there.  :psyduck:
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: ink slinger on 24 May 2011, 09:52
It's not like alcohol and coffee are cheap, so he's probably spending all his money on rent (city rent is not cheap) and alcohol/coffee, saving no money for his future, or for anything really.

For better or for worse, this describes most twentysomethings in North America. Whether we have goals or not, we're tend to drift and not really know how to achieve many of our more long-term goals. Men raised by women. Fight Club. Marten is Ed Norton.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Method of Madness on 24 May 2011, 13:08
You do have to work at a talent to improve it or keep it sharp though, which Sven probably does with personal practice. Even if he had a natural knack for writing songs, he probably had to work to learn guitar and has to practice to stay good at and get gigs.
Except he doesn't.  As far as I can tell, he writes whatever cheesy songs he can think of, and they sell like crazy, and Dora said that when he was younger, he'd just coast through school.  Am I faulting him?  No!  But I can hardly consider him not extremely lucky.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 24 May 2011, 13:11
You do have to work at a talent to improve it or keep it sharp though, which Sven probably does with personal practice. Even if he had a natural knack for writing songs, he probably had to work to learn guitar and has to practice to stay good at and get gigs.
Except he doesn't.  As far as I can tell, he writes whatever cheesy songs he can think of, and they sell like crazy, and Dora said that when he was younger, he'd just coast through school.  Am I faulting him?  No!  But I can hardly consider him not extremely lucky.

People usually are disparaging of talent they are jealous of, though. Sven must be a pretty decent stage performer on the small time gig scene, too, which is a point other people seem to be forgetting (given the few strips where reactions to one of Svens gigs were given).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 24 May 2011, 15:44
No, no, I think you've made an interesting point.  Every generation has its "lost" generation, becase everyone goes through something similar to this at about the same time.  Some "get over it" faster than others, but I think it hapens to a large nyumber of people, and if it's happening to the people you hang with at about the same time, it can really become a self-perpetuating kind of thing. 

It's also part of what makes the comic appealing - we all recognize a bit of ourselves in at least some of the characters - meek Marten, Brash Faye, loopy Hannelore - we all have seen the "WOW, I'm just like that" or "I have a friend who's just like that" posts in here. 

Thank you for understanding me, tell me how you did it..  :psyduck:
But yeah, that's my point. I recognize myself in Marten and the others for their inability to adapt to their inability to adapt to.. society/cult of the winner/capitalist greed/etc. You said it better than me though.

I'd like to know how you can reference Neil Gaiman while trying to counterpoint this specific discussion and come up with the "I can't think of a single one" sentence, there.  :psyduck:

With a two-by-four and a fish slapping dance. No really. What do you mean?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 24 May 2011, 18:38
I mean that every single thing Neil Gaiman has ever done is full of interesting, compelling characters with long term goals and aspirations with varying degrees of success at achieving them (and even if those goals and aspirations aren't crystal clear at the beginning, they still act with a definitive sense of purpose until you discover what they're after).

You should have went with somebody like, I don't know, Stephanie Meyer or something, if you were going for the "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations" argument.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 24 May 2011, 19:13
Having goals is not necessarily the same thing as having mainstream goals.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: themacnut on 24 May 2011, 20:10
One of the posters on this thread referenced the Faye/Angus comic where they were at dinner discussing their childhood goals and why they never achieved them. Quite frankly, achieving dreams and goals can be hard-too hard for some people.

For example, Angus mentioned wanting to become a comedy actor, and going to some auditions then quitting after getting no roles out of them. Meanwhile, think of your favorite movie/TV star, and their biography. It's most likely going to involve years of struggling in obscurity in minor, even uncredited roles, having to take a waiter job or something similarly low paid while waiting on a paid acting gig, and subsisting on Ramen during those years of struggle, until finally getting the role or roles that made their careers. Can you blame Angus for looking at this likely path and saying "forget this, I'm doing something else"? Especially since achieving stardom, or even just steady acting work, is by no means even close to guaranteed?

And even after you achieve your dream, then what? Assuming your able to hold on to it of course-how many famous entertainers have torpedoed their careers with drug and alcohol abuse and other stupid lifestyle choices? And how about the ones who stopped getting calls for gigs because they got too old, or fat, or something like that?

And you don't even have to be striving to be a famous entertainer to risk losing your dream-how many people in this recession seem to have achieved their American Dream of the rising career, house in the suburbs, marriage and family only to lose it all after being downsized? I believe a poster in this very thread has mentioned going through something like that. That happens to you, or maybe you're a young person growing up seeing that happen to your parents or friend's parents or other adult relatives, and you start to question whether the Dream is even worth trying.

Marten and those in his circle may end up as "cold timid souls" who haven't achieved much in life by many poster's standards, but then again they don't have much to lose either. Sometimes, just being able to support yourself, and maintain a small circle of friends, is enough. Tai said as much to Marten several strips ago, and the only difference between then and now is Marten doesn't have the girlfriend anymore. Which, considering the trouble romantic relationships can bring into one's life, might not be such a bad thing.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jwhouk on 24 May 2011, 21:20
That (kinda) was me that had referred to the "downsizing".

Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 25 May 2011, 03:37
I mean that every single thing Neil Gaiman has ever done is full of interesting, compelling characters with long term goals and aspirations with varying degrees of success at achieving them (and even if those goals and aspirations aren't crystal clear at the beginning, they still act with a definitive sense of purpose until you discover what they're after).

You should have went with somebody like, I don't know, Stephanie Meyer or something, if you were going for the "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations" argument.

But I fucking hate twilight!  :wink:

And I never said "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations". Don't put words in my mouth.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 25 May 2011, 03:52
I mean that every single thing Neil Gaiman has ever done is full of interesting, compelling characters with long term goals and aspirations with varying degrees of success at achieving them (and even if those goals and aspirations aren't crystal clear at the beginning, they still act with a definitive sense of purpose until you discover what they're after).

You should have went with somebody like, I don't know, Stephanie Meyer or something, if you were going for the "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations" argument.

But I fucking hate twilight!  :wink:

And I never said "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations". Don't put words in my mouth.

Yeah, sorry, you said "I can't think of a single one" in response to someone posting about how it is entirely possible for a comic to have a successful character that plays a meaningful role in things, then mention the author of the Sandman and Murder Mysteries and who is responsible for the creation of the Lucifer spin-off comics (all of which, especially that last one, feature some pretty motivated characters).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 25 May 2011, 06:38
idontunderstand also said,

Yikes, all that text and nothing makes sense.. don't take me too literally please.

So, there you have it. 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 25 May 2011, 07:39
idontunderstand also said,

Yikes, all that text and nothing makes sense.. don't take me too literally please.

So, there you have it. 

I was just pointing out what I thought was a funny line of argument to take, is all.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 25 May 2011, 12:31
My experience in life has been that pursuing something wholeheartedly pays off, sometimes in a completely unexpected way that has nothing to do with the original goal.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Method of Madness on 25 May 2011, 12:59
Kind of how Marten fled east for all the wrong reasons, but ended up with a decent life and plenty of good friends because of it?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Thiefree on 25 May 2011, 16:12
Most of the big things in my life have 'just happened', but I guess everybody knows how busy that can keep you!

I think something I'm glad you lot reminded me is that comic time works very differently. While I've been reading QC for years (and have actually known the main characters for longer than most of my current friends*), Marten hasn't actually been dragging his feet by the comic's timeline. In fact, considering the job change, and moving, and his relationship, and new friends, things are actually moving pretty fast for him.

* I cannot begin to tell you how weird this realisation feels.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: TheEvilDog on 25 May 2011, 16:27
When I was a kid, in one of the few moments when my grandfather had anything positive to say to me, he told me that a man should never plan out his life. Thats the worst thing anyone can do. Because once you start doing that, you start to worry about meeting those goals and you begin to miss out on the rest of your life. See life as a road, the destination is still in front of you, but if you concentrate on it too much, you'll miss the journey.

My grandfather served on one of the last commercial sailing ships, worked as a brickie and in a steel mill before he retired. He was one of the first property developers back in the 50s and built his own home, twice. He never set any goals for himself. He was also a throughly miserable git who didn't like me simply because I was very quiet, and to be honest, I didn't like him because he was a miserable git. That said, he gave me one of the three pieces of advice that has stuck with me for my entire life.  :wink:
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 25 May 2011, 18:06
When I was a kid, in one of the few moments when my grandfather had anything positive to say to me, he told me that a man should never plan out his life. Thats the worst thing anyone can do. Because once you start doing that, you start to worry about meeting those goals and you begin to miss out on the rest of your life. See life as a road, the destination is still in front of you, but if you concentrate on it too much, you'll miss the journey.

The problem with that analogy is that if you aren't looking at the road before you at all you're going to drive right off of it into a ditch (or fuck up and plow into somebody else also on the same road and ruin both of your lives).
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: TheEvilDog on 25 May 2011, 18:42
But doesn't that happen to everyone at one stage or another? Don't we all crash at sometime? We learn from the experience and move on.

The point is, do you want to look back on your life and think to yourself "I've accomplished X. But looking back, what have I missed?" One of the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism is that the cause of suffering in life comes from the desire to have and control things, such as one's own life. The real problem there is that you can't control life, the same way that you can't tell what will happen around the next bend, or what's coming.

I said earlier that my grandfather was on the last sailing ship built in the English isles, the Kathleen and May, a schooner. He signed on as one of the crew when he was 16, and spent two years sailing on her before the diesel fumes from the engines caused him to develop a severe ulcer (it would later require much of his stomach to be removed), and so when he was 18, as the Kathleen and May sailed into Cardiff, he was allowed to leave. There he apprenticed as a brick-layer and he met my grandmother, and began to buy old houses, fix them up, sell them and move on. Eventually he got a job with a large steel mill as one of the supervisors, simply because one of his old brickie mates knew some of the managers. Working there, he was able to build a home for his family, and he was able to retire in some comfort. My grandmother passed away when I was 13, from leukemia, and it was a harsh blow for him. He developed cancer when I was 15, and that required his left lung to be removed. He passed away one month short of my 18th birthday, from a reoccurance of the cancer.

A year before he died, he came over for a visit and in one of the few meaningful chats we ever had, he told me that life had dealt him some terrible blows, but had also shown him a great deal of kindness, he had been able to see he grandchildren grow up, and was able to meet his great grandson. He even admitted himself to be a simple man, no lofty ideals, no grand scheme in life. He was just a boy who signed onto a ship who didn't care what was on the horizon, only that there must have been something there.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: themacnut on 25 May 2011, 20:27

A year before he died, he came over for a visit and in one of the few meaningful chats we ever had, he told me that life had dealt him some terrible blows, but had also shown him a great deal of kindness, he had been able to see he grandchildren grow up, and was able to meet his great grandson. He even admitted himself to be a simple man, no lofty ideals, no grand scheme in life. He was just a boy who signed onto a ship who didn't care what was on the horizon, only that there must have been something there.

That may be what Marten is about. The problem is that he doesn't seem happy with that, that maybe he thinks he should want more, but is not sure what that "more" should be. Our fast-pased, consumerist society probably has a lot to do with that. We're encouraged, especially by the media, to always want more, more, more, to never be satisfied with "enough", to keep looking for that next horizon. That attitude is so pervasive that when we run into someone who's NOT like that, who is content to stay in place, we often think they're strange. Even such people themselves may wonder why they have no great ambition to say, conquer the corporate/business world or become the next entertainment sensation when they see some of their peers striving to do so.

It's no coincidence that Marten's social circle consists primarily of people who also lack any great ambition for their life (like Faye and Angus), as such easygoing people are fundamentally incompatible with people who feel driven to Accomplish Something in their life. Even Dora's not too different, she's accomplished her goal of being a business owner, and is now mainly driven to keep that business operating and solvent. She's not trying to make a chain of CoDs or turn it into a franchise, or even physically expand the shop. She's basically trying to stay in place-at most she'd probably like to hire someone reliable enough to run the place so she could actually take a vacation every now and then.

Slightly off-topic, but I also find it funny how success can come to those who aren't looking for it. Our esteemed QC creator wasn't looking to create a webcomic for a living, yet here he is doing just that. Meanwhile, many an aspiring webcomic creator trying to emulate the success of Jeph and the other creators living off their creations has failed miserably, or at least fallen short of that goal. Does this mean they should keep trying, or find another path? And what other path should they take? Difficult questions to answer, no wonder there are people like Marten out there wondering just what to do with their lives...
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: tomart on 25 May 2011, 23:48
Paraphrasing someone: Choosing your major & career in your teens is letting an ignorant young fool plan your life.  And as the Buddha and EvilDog pointed out, what about all you've given up to be locked into that "career," that "goal"?

Quote from: themacnut
We're encouraged, especially by the media, to always want more, more, more, to never be satisfied with "enough"

I recognize myself in Marten and the others for their inability to adapt to their inability to adapt to.. society/cult of the winner/capitalist greed/etc.

Would it be political to say I agree with this 100%?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 26 May 2011, 00:44
letting an ignorant young fool plan your life.

Worked for me?  Or not, depending on your view.

I decided at the age of twelve to become a doctor, and my schooling up to age eighteen was aimed at this.  Exam results forced a reassessment, and I went to university to study Physics (which I swapped for Engineering after a term).  At university I discovered pipe organs, sound recording, and computers (1966 - not trivial).  I attempted to become an organ builder - sorry, closed shop, apprenticeship at age sixteen only; bye-bye.  I decided that computers were fascinating as a hobby interest, but that computing would be a dull career - so, off to the BBC I went as a sound engineer.

What happened then?  Two years later, I moved into computing, which is the field that I have earned my living in ever since.  A decade later I got back into sound recording as a hobby, and ended up recording a number of commercial CDs on a freelance basis; I also make advanced surround recordings that have been used for demos at AES meetings.  Nearly all my computing jobs have been in a medical connection.  I have just built an organ console in my study, and connected my computer to it to play sample sets of pipe organs (I am even planning to make a sample set, if I can get permission).  So all the failed or discarded careers have come round again, because I was interested in them.

So what's the point?  Well, while doing all this I have also been visibly as indecisive as Marten; I have also at various times felt that I was going nowhere and achieving little.  Each of the actual plans I've made has failed.  But looking back, clearly it hasn't been too bad really.  So don't judge Marten - it's simply too soon in his life to worry like that.

If you want advice, away from the comic, I would suggest that the key is simply to be interested in things - something, anything.  Don't plan for that interest to solve your life problems, but just notice how in time interests get woven into the fabric of your life and make it seem fairly OK after all.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 26 May 2011, 01:36
I mean that every single thing Neil Gaiman has ever done is full of interesting, compelling characters with long term goals and aspirations with varying degrees of success at achieving them (and even if those goals and aspirations aren't crystal clear at the beginning, they still act with a definitive sense of purpose until you discover what they're after).

You should have went with somebody like, I don't know, Stephanie Meyer or something, if you were going for the "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations" argument.

But I fucking hate twilight!  :wink:

And I never said "I can't think of a single story with compelling characterizations". Don't put words in my mouth.

Yeah, sorry, you said "I can't think of a single one" in response to someone posting about how it is entirely possible for a comic to have a successful character that plays a meaningful role in things, then mention the author of the Sandman and Murder Mysteries and who is responsible for the creation of the Lucifer spin-off comics (all of which, especially that last one, feature some pretty motivated characters).

Sorry for beating dead horses but no, I never said that. I said I can't think of a single interesting comic with characters who are successful all the time. Which is true. I can't. It's just my opinion. "Plays a meaningful role in things", never said that, you're on a pretty high horse here, you know? Putting words in my mouth all the time.

And what's your logic anyway, that I can't quote Neil Gaiman if I don't take into account everything else he ever said and wrote? And that the quote doesn't stand on its own because you read something different into it?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 26 May 2011, 04:56
Nah, I think it's entirely possible for a comic to be interesting/entertaining and feature a person who has, you know, a presence in the things that happen.

Well, fine, I agree. But on the top of my head, I can't think of a single one.

This is what I was making a joke about you referencing Neil Gaiman later in your post about. You quoting him was irrelevant to the joke I made about the quote above and following it by quoting Neil Gaiman, who wrote many stories (and two pretty famous comics, and responsible for the creation of a third comic) featuring things you said you couldn't think of an example of.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: rje on 26 May 2011, 12:11
Errp I don't wanna keep goin on and on but I gotta address one thing:

The American Dream, as it's sold by Society and Media, is a bunch of bullshit, always has been, always will be and Marten would never be the kind of guy who thinks his only happiness is being a highly-paid Business Guy (TM KiTH) with a wife, 2.5 kids and a house in the suburbs. But having a passion for a specific thing (or things) and desiring personal success in that thing (or things) is not selling out to the corporate machine or being a greedy capitalist pig. Having ambition is not the same thing as being ambitious, even.

I can be completely honest and say that I found Angus and Faye's conversation during their date about 'good enough' quite sad (and not in a 'Oh god they're pathetic' way, let me make that clear); however, I believe fully that they both are happy (or in Faye's case, getting to that point) - feeling completely comfortable in the skin of their own lives. Which is awesome.

I posit that Marten may have the beginning inklings that his skin isn't fitting quite as well as he'd like. Now he may not know what that means, or what he wants to do about it, or even if he wants to do anything about it at all. But if he DOES do something, make a goal, plan a plan, dream a dream (lol wtf poetry) that does not mean he's succumbing to any kind of social pressure to Be the Big Dog and rape/pillage his way up the corporate ladder. It's not an inherently bad thing to want or wish.

You know who I love? Jimbo.
By all typical social standards he's a five time loser, but he did a thing that he loves doing, and it worked out well for him because he did it. But the thing is, I think even if he didn't sell a single of his masterpieces of fine, fine literature, he'd still be doing it, because it's his passion and it drives him. He's doing what he loves, and thus, is fulfilled. (extrapolation of course, he may not be, but I think he would be. Even if all he was doing was posting on HotGothicLiteratureSluts.com)

So in conclusion, um...Marten totally needs to start a band.  :mrgreen:
yesss that was my point, yesss

 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 26 May 2011, 13:39
Dear Marten,

The world is full of soup, but you have to go out and get it.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: idontunderstand on 26 May 2011, 16:07
Nah, I think it's entirely possible for a comic to be interesting/entertaining and feature a person who has, you know, a presence in the things that happen.

Well, fine, I agree. But on the top of my head, I can't think of a single one.

This is what I was making a joke about you referencing Neil Gaiman later in your post about. You quoting him was irrelevant to the joke I made about the quote above and following it by quoting Neil Gaiman, who wrote many stories (and two pretty famous comics, and responsible for the creation of a third comic) featuring things you said you couldn't think of an example of.

DERP
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: themacnut on 27 May 2011, 06:07

You know who I love? Jimbo.
By all typical social standards he's a five time loser, but he did a thing that he loves doing, and it worked out well for him because he did it. But the thing is, I think even if he didn't sell a single of his masterpieces of fine, fine literature, he'd still be doing it, because it's his passion and it drives him. He's doing what he loves, and thus, is fulfilled. (extrapolation of course, he may not be, but I think he would be. Even if all he was doing was posting on HotGothicLiteratureSluts.com)

 

Heh, and that gets me wondering something, kind of based off my previous post in this thread. Hey Jeph, if you won the lottery jackpot tomorrow (Powerball/Megamillions/whatever), and were flush with enough cash to never have to work another day in your life, would you still draw QC?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 27 May 2011, 06:40
I'd hazard a guess that he would (though probably after taking a good vacation and visiting all the really cool shit around the world that you never get to see unless you're that wealthy), like most people would do if they aren't completely insane with money management problems.

Me? I'd be happy to get a couple hundred grand to pay off mine and my parents debts (our respective mortgages, etc.) so we could just work to pay utilities and use the rest of the money we earn to do fun stuff.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: stoutfiles on 07 Jun 2011, 10:33
Marten realizes he's a townie whining about not being able to go to a coffee shop.

Will this wake him up from the funk he's been in his whole life? My guess is...no. 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Tiogyr on 07 Jun 2011, 11:04
He'll be in such denial over being a townie that he'll return to CoD so he can bitch about the people at tSB calling him one.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 07 Jun 2011, 11:30
He'll be in such denial over being a townie that he'll return to CoD so he can bitch about the people at tSB calling him one.

Which would be funny. Kind of like that epiphany we (and Angus) thought Marigold was going to have when Momo fried her computer.

Epiphanies are not good for our QC friends.

I mean, really ... Which character in the strip had a real, no-shit epiphany? Sara, way back when. And then the allosaurus got her.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Jun 2011, 11:37
Wait, what epiphany did we think Marigold was going to have?
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 07 Jun 2011, 11:56
http://www.questionablecontent.net/1475
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Blackjoker on 10 Jun 2011, 19:28
Martens goals mostly seem to be making enough money to live and enjoying time with his friends. Not exactly super ambitious goals but to some philosophies Marten would be seen as enlightened.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: DSL on 10 Jun 2011, 21:09
Martens goals mostly seem to be making enough money to live and enjoying time with his friends. Not exactly super ambitious goals but to some philosophies Marten would be seen as enlightened.

After 23 years being ambitious on someone else's behalf, I can't say that's an entirely unattractive philosophy.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: cyro on 11 Jun 2011, 06:15
I take it the Dora-Faye-Raven four way isn't one of Martens goals anymore...
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 11 Jun 2011, 06:33
It never was, actually, unless you're thinking of a different strip from me, which I doubt...
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 11 Jun 2011, 12:40
That was Steve's idea what Marten's goal should be (http://www.questionablecontent.net/1408)
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: pwhodges on 11 Jun 2011, 13:06
Ah; I had forgotten that one.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: jwhouk on 11 Jun 2011, 14:06
I'd take Eating the Moon for $100, Alex.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Cartilage Head on 19 Jun 2011, 23:15
 I am actually becoming interested in the comic again because of something I realized while reading today's strip. Marten is becoming interesting as a character again. I have always thought it interesting that Marten, despite being the main character of the strip, has remained relatively mysterious during the comic's run. We know more about other characters who have appeared in less or even half of the strips Marten has (Hannelore, Faye, even Marigold), that is, we are more aware of their quirks, how they respond emotionally to situations, and their flaws. Marten, on the other hand, is more complicated. Due to his characterization, we are only given brief glimpses of his feelings and the deeper realms of his character. Normally, he is the straight man of the strip, there to sum of the readers' thoughts on the wacky shenanigans that take place. A balanced, agreeable and nice guy, if somewhat of an underachiever. However, we occasionally see glimpses of a different Marten; very sensitive and a little emotionally vulnerable. A perfect example of a guy who keeps his feelings inside, only to let them out bluntly when he feels overwhelmed (such as in the strip where he lashes out at Faye after post-breakup drinking).

 Interestingly, I have found that Marten seems to be falling back into how he was in the beginning of the strip. More apathetic, more self-pitying, and often feeling alone and powerless. This is interesting when you consider that many of the other characters were the same way when they were first introduced, but are now mostly leading happy romantic and social lives, while Marten falls back into his old ways.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Carl-E on 20 Jun 2011, 00:29
We all have a tendancy to fall back to our "old ways" after suffering emotional stress.  Not  doing so is one of the greatest signs of growth and change.  As the most "balanced, agreeable and nice guy" in the strip, it's arguable that he had the least reason to change at all. 

But clearly something  needs to change. 
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Thiefree on 20 Jun 2011, 18:03
He's self-pitying for different reasons now. As someone who's done both "I have no friends; woe is me" AND "My friends cause me drama; woe is me," not to mention plenty of this (http://questionablecontent.net./view.php?comic=1100), I can relate to that.
Title: Re: Does Marten have goals?
Post by: Mr. Doctor on 21 Jun 2011, 02:53
I don't know what "goals" means to the creator of this thread or people in general. Just having a nice life, friends, a job that gives you enough money to live... I think that's way more than most of the people achieve in their lives sadly.

I do agree though that if he's not really satisfied then he shoyuld so something about it, otherwise... Meh, he's doing pretty ok in my book which like I said before it's way better than the average person in this planet. A few years ago I was very ambitious... way too much and was stressed pretty much 24/7. I do have some basic goals but not more specific than the average person who just want to have a nice life... I'm way more happy now.