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Author Topic: What is Tai's fundamental character?  (Read 12264 times)

IanClark

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What is Tai's fundamental character?
« on: 04 Nov 2010, 00:36 »

I know... I'm just SO CREATIVE WITH THIS TOPIC TITLE. Anyway, some people think this argument is sucking the life out of the forum, others want to resolve it. So now this whole conversation can go in this topic, meaning those who don't want to don't have to look at it and those who do want to can focus on it.

I think Tai takes a lot of shit she doesn't deserve, but I think I understand it. Tai seems very much not afraid to make herself the punchline of a joke. The fact that she hits on Dora all the time and has occasionally pushed this further (see: Hanners) makes it seem like she'd actually act on it, or worse, that she's actively trying now. However, the more I look at it, the more it seems evident that she's engaging in self-parody or possibly character humour. It's something we've all done, pretending to be hyperbolically flawed in some aspect for laughs. Hell, Stephen Colbert does it for a living. Sometimes you end up keeping the bit going for too long and people start to think you're serious. So the question is, is she serious?

First of all, Tai's been shown to have an extremely active and successful sex life, yet when she hits on Dora she comes across as extremely desperate and obvious. If this is, in fact, the way she goes about pursuing women she's interested in, one has to wonder how she's ever successfully pursued anyone.

Second, and related, is the fact that we've actually been given a brief glimpse into her real sex life. I decided to go archive diving and found that I couldn't find a single instance of her being manipulative, deceptive or sneaky for her own personal sexual gain. Now, in fairness, I did find one example of her doing it for sexual reasons at another person's request (here) but even so, her objective was to avoid hurting someone's feelings and not for further sexual exploits of her own.

Finally, it should be noted that when actually presented with a serious situation, Tai's been fairly consistently on Marten's side. For instance here, when she thinks for a split second that Marten's considering leaving Dora, instead of reacting with glee or trying to push him further, she immediately tells him to reconsider and actually seems mildly panicked.

I think Tai's self-absorbed and maybe a little bit less interested in helping out other people than she should be, but I think that there's absolutely no reason to call her manipulative, predatory or a rapist.
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AnAverageWriter

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #1 on: 04 Nov 2010, 02:29 »

Yeah, this topic opened a can of worms in the other thread...

I'm going to wait and see what this current "arc" accomplishes before I say anything more beyond what I've said.

Tai is at the moment, presented with a situation in which we can see what her "fundamental character" contains. That is, she is alone in the bedroom of a fragile, somewhat lonely, socially-awkward girl. A girl who very well may be attracted to her.

How Tai allows things to proceed, at this point, will tell us a lot about her character- certainly more than just the snippets we've seen.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #2 on: 04 Nov 2010, 03:17 »

So far, so god - the "not hurting feelings" thing is coming to the fore. 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #3 on: 04 Nov 2010, 04:53 »

Which is why I'm looking at the WCT as more of a train wreck than the situation in the comic strip at the moment.  Let's see how Jeph writes this one out.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #4 on: 04 Nov 2010, 08:14 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

Which is why I'm looking at the WCT as more of a train wreck than the situation in the comic strip at the moment.  Let's see how Jeph writes this one out.

The Weekly Comic Dick Talk Discussion Thread is much, much more trainwrecky than the strip. I look at my earlier posts and I want to take them back, because I've actually warmed a lot to this idea of Tai and Mari and the forbidden tongue tango. It's nice to see Tai be sweet and not-drunk and suave, rather than...weird, as she's sometimes been. Marigold seems to be bringing out the best in the young redhead of the tan-ish skin.

...out of curiousity, do we know Tai's ethnicity? Or is that just kinda indeterminate?

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #5 on: 04 Nov 2010, 08:17 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

...out of curiousity, do we know Tai's ethnicity? Or is that just kinda indeterminate?



Human of course
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #6 on: 04 Nov 2010, 08:19 »

The trick to taking it is never to smile.

...Dora.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #7 on: 04 Nov 2010, 08:24 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

...out of curiousity, do we know Tai's ethnicity? Or is that just kinda indeterminate?



Human of course

Well yes, that much is obvious--I mean, we can't completely rule out changeling or Deep One or Cylon or whatever, but she does a good job acting like Homo sapiens sapiens. I'm just wondering if her background's ever been elucidated, like how we know Faye is Southern, and Amir was presumably descended from folks from the Middle East.

EDIT: DERP, I COULD JUST CHECK THE WIKI HAHA

EDIT 2: Dang, we've never even learned her last name. The lady is a mystery.


The trick to taking it is never to smile.

...Dora.

But the smile is so cute...
« Last Edit: 04 Nov 2010, 08:35 by Dr. ROFLPWN »
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #8 on: 04 Nov 2010, 09:49 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

I may have just fallen in love with you.
Is this awkward?
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #9 on: 04 Nov 2010, 21:34 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

I may have just fallen in love with you.
Is this awkward?

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #10 on: 04 Nov 2010, 22:24 »

Marigold could lead to some personal growth for Tai.

If she doesn't strangle out MariBear first.   :-D
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #11 on: 05 Nov 2010, 04:39 »

Tai's fundamental character is that of a stone-cold pimp, a woman with hips of marble and a bust of steel. A woman who slaps people that are talking. Believe in her that believes in you; HERS IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE MARIGOLD HEAVENS!

I may have just fallen in love with you.
Is this awkward?

Nah, it'll only be awkward if you write description-less fanfiction about the two of us. Otherwise, totally fine.

So my magnum opus "Dr. ROFLPWN and Coco had sex and it was hot." isn't going to do it for you?
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #12 on: 05 Nov 2010, 11:43 »

Hedonistic at best.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #13 on: 05 Nov 2010, 12:07 »

For a moment, I thought you were responding to Riever's post...

But I see you're back on topic!  And I agree, to a certain extent.  Tai's hedonistic, yes, but that's not her "at best".  I think it's more "at least".  There's more to he5rthan unbridled hedonism - she's also a nerd at heart, and seems to take her work seriously.  She's a TA, and that comes through in her fanfic discussion with Marigold, although Mar-mar's probably more frustrating than most of her students...
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #14 on: 05 Nov 2010, 12:22 »

seems to take her work seriously. 
http://questionablecontent.net./view.php?comic=1279
Of course that may have been a one-off exception.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #15 on: 05 Nov 2010, 13:59 »

I actually meant her work as a TA, which deals with teaching freshmen first year students how to write.  And she reverted to that position with Marigold almost immediately. 

The Library's just to make ends meet - I worked at an NPR station while getting my degrees in math.  I was training board operators and making schedules - an "assistant manager" type position, but it wasn't my real  work...

But since my TA position barely covered tuition, books and housing, it kept food on the table! 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #16 on: 05 Nov 2010, 14:58 »

seems to take her work seriously. 
http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1279
Of course that may have been a one-off exception.

Not like when she threw a rave in the library.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #17 on: 05 Nov 2010, 22:55 »

Hedonistic but not as much as she wants to be- held back from it by being fundamentally nice and liking to help people,  although she doesn't suffer fools gladly.  We knew all of this before the current Marigold arc, but it's certainly providing a condensed example.  If Marigold wasn't in her social circle and she wasn't attracted to her, she would have deployed the sarcasm by now.  It might still happen, but I have a feeling that she'll manage to keep a lid on it while Marigold is right there... but wait until Tai next sees Marten and despairs at how f'n clueless Marigold is.
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AnAverageWriter

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #18 on: 06 Nov 2010, 01:58 »

held back from it by being fundamentally nice

No.

Just no.

We might not know a LOT about Tai, but "fundamentally nice" is not something she is.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #19 on: 06 Nov 2010, 02:59 »

held back from it by being fundamentally nice

No.

Just no.

We might not know a LOT about Tai, but "fundamentally nice" is not something she is.

Hmmm.  Tai has been immediately friendly with everyone we've seen her meet in the strip, from Marten to Jimbo and onwards.  Even in universe, we know that when she confessed her crush to one of her lesbian pals, said pal said she was a total sweetheart but just didn't feel that way about her.    She's just about the least negative person in the entire strip, her first reaction is always to be friends and to help.  Why wouldn't she be fundamentally nice?
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #20 on: 06 Nov 2010, 06:17 »

Because she apparently made a bad impression on AnAverageWriter? 

For example, he quoted 815 as an example of how horrible she is, while others tried to point out that it's just Tai trying to get out of a bad situation without hurting other's feelings.  But he's not buying any of it! 

So yeah, hater's gonna hate. 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #21 on: 06 Nov 2010, 12:00 »

Tai has been immediately friendly with everyone we've seen her meet in the strip

Being "immediately friendly" is a damn easy thing for just about anyone who isn't a complete monster to do (and sometimes, if the complete monster is adept enough, they're apt to do it anyway).

About the only ones we HAVEN'T seen be "immediately friendly" have been Vespavenger and... well, that's about the only examples I can think of. Maybe Yelling Bird.
But everyone else? Think about the first showing of Dora. Friendly. Faye? Platonically friendly. Hanners? Friendly. Being immediately friendly means nothing- anyone can be friendly and/or polite at a first meeting, unless an individual is completely antisocial.

But fundamentally nice?

There's a difference between being simply human and being "fundamentally nice". In fact, fundamentally nice people are about the rarest thing you will FIND in humanity, because to be fundamentally anything requires it to bypass the base part of human nature, which is the innate selfishness of human nature. Not wanting to hurt someone doesn't make a person nice on a fundamental level. Simply being friendly doesn't make someone nice on a fundamental level. Heck, one of the worst, most complete monsters present on television, Cartman, manages to act friendly (and get along) with the other characters in his work of fiction (with notable exceptions) the vast majority of the time. I'm NOT trying to say Tai is a Cartman, but what I am asserting is that merely being friendly, or even from time to time expressing concern, doesn't make a person "nice" on a fundamental level.

Another poster mentioned "Tai trying to get out of a bad situation without hurting other's feelings." Which is simply one interpretation of it. The full comic describes more than just "getting out of a bad situation"- she has clearly indicated that she is planning on maintaining a relationship with Ashley despite the fact that she, in her own words, doesn't see it lasting... and doing it because "the sex is good". Not because she has strong feelings, but "the sex is good".

To break up with someone to be with someone else sends a strong, strong message- that feelings exist enough for exclusivity. Tai was "keeping it on the down low", which is a clear indicator that she intends a relationship with Ashely, despite, and her own words have clearly stated it, that "she doesn't see it lasting". And why does she keep on with it? Because, again, in her own words, "the sex is good". A "fundamentally nice" character wouldn't string a person along in an emotionless relationship merely because "the sex is good", thus creating a much deeper level of heartache down the road than being honest in the first place- especially while smiling happily about it. Now I'm not using that example as "being a hater", or even using it to call her a BAD person at this point- my previous post is still what I stand by, in that I haven't seen enough of her innate character to determine whether she is GOOD or not. I'm not trying to "hate", I'm talking about fundamentals here.

Again, since this went on for pages last time, I'm not trying to say she's fundamentally "evil" or a predator here. There are many aspects of her character we don't know, given that she IS a hand-drawn cartoon character. But we cannot say she's "fundamentally nice", because that's just not what she is.

That's not being a "hater", that's simply speaking from the perspective of someone who's been reading the comic since originally-drawn Faye first walked by so long ago.

This is a topic about fundamental character- that is, the most basic level of character that exists, below the image we present to people, the most innate, deepest level that humans live within. Fundamentally typical humans are, by design, not "nice". We may show compassion, we may show selflessness on occasion even, but to be fundamentally nice requires a person to ignore at the most deep level the instinct, to go above and beyond. It requires conscious effort in many cases to be nice, and to be fundamentally nice means having it be a person's nature, which is very, very rare.

Which is why, in terms of this strip, I would make the assertion that there's only a single character who is "fundamentally nice", an individual who has shown more patience, more selflessness, more good humor, even in private situations, than I've seen in just about any other typical individual. The character I speak of IS "fundamentally nice", which I would assume is a result of conscious effort for Jeph to draw said person that way.

This is precisely why I wanted to wait and see where this story arc leads. As I have previously mentioned, Tai is at the moment, presented with a situation in which we can see what her "fundamental character" contains. That is, she is alone in the bedroom of a fragile, somewhat lonely, socially-awkward girl. A girl who very well may be attracted to her. How Tai allows things to proceed, at this point, will tell us a lot about her character- certainly more than just the snippets we've seen. We have the opportunity to see both how she deals with said character, but we also may get a chance to see an example of her writings- and as we all know, when we write, subconsciously we give away hints as to our true nature. Granted, slash fic about Harry Potter might not on the surface tell us quite a bit, but there is the chance we may see something beyond that, if Tai gives Marigold some more solid pieces to work with or study.

Granted, that method is not exactly the most solid way of determining her character, but it WILL give us an example of how she behaves mono-e-mono, so to speak, when presented with a situation that tests her character and her patience, along with the ability to examine on a more subliminal level the character that Tai possesses.

I think that may be the main issue I see here, and why I chose to hold off on really commenting deeply on what Tai's fundamental character is- that is, unlike many people in the Strip, Tai just really isn't IN it all that much, despite being someone who is around Martin (in a professional sense) quite a bit. It's difficult to assess what a fundamental aspect of a character is without knowing that person in a very, very deep way. Heck, sometimes even when you think you know what a person's fundamental character is, you might not- many people make a conscious effort to hide what their inner, base subconscious instincts might hold, leaving nothing but guesses to grasp onto unless you've really, really gotten to know a person. And we just don't know Tai well enough to make a strong determination about that.

At the moment.

Quite frankly, I think it's heartening that Jeph has created characters that CAN be thought of as even having fundamental characters, or at least ones that are depicted realistically. Works of fiction, in huge amounts- even ones that run for years- far too often never even approach giving their characters much more than anything beyond cliched stereotypes, the tired sitcom-level irritants that populate the vast landscape of "popular entertainment".

But QC, by and large, has given us a staple of characters that are WORTH looking deeper into- ones that aren't simply locked into one rut or another.

Which is why it's so difficult, after such a short period of screen time, to simply ascertain Tai's "fundamental", base character. A truly realistic character takes time to both develop and to get to know.

And would we want it any other way?
« Last Edit: 06 Nov 2010, 13:06 by AnAverageWriter »
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #22 on: 06 Nov 2010, 15:21 »

In fact, fundamentally nice people are about the rarest thing you will FIND in humanity, because to be fundamentally anything requires it to bypass the base part of human nature, which is the innate selfishness of human nature. Not wanting to hurt someone doesn't make a person nice on a fundamental level.

So young and yet so cynical...
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #23 on: 06 Nov 2010, 21:01 »

Being nice has to be taught. If "fundamentally" means "at the level of the id" as opposed to "the default setting for human interaction", then it's not cynicism to note that humans do not have nice ids.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #24 on: 06 Nov 2010, 22:44 »

While it's temptng to say TL;DR, I actually did  read your wall of text post, and I think you're digging well past the ore on 815.  Tai said she didn't see it lasting, but the sex was good and they got along OK.  Marten asks her, "Do you think she feels the same way?  She broke up your little threesome to date you exclusively."  And Tai responds that it was more a matter of physics than emotional attachment (on Ashley's part).  That's probably why she didn't see it lasting - the other party wasn't emotionally attached. which would also make it harder for her to be, as well. 

I'm not saying she's doing good things here - she's being a college student, learning a lot several of life's lessons along the way.  But her desire to keep from upsetting Serena, and her dissatisfaction with the poly lifestyle point to something more fundamental in her character.  It's too soon to call it goodness; as you point out, we really hardly know her.  But the more we find out, the more she seems to be trying to be a good person. 

And what is a good person, if not someone who tries to do the right thing, even though they may fail miserably at times? 
« Last Edit: 07 Nov 2010, 05:40 by Carl-E »
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #25 on: 06 Nov 2010, 23:21 »

And what is a good person, if not someone who tries to do the right thing, even though they may fail miserably at times?
Oh so very, very much. The best of us are thoroughly imperfect people, who know it, and keep trying to be better. It's why I believe one should never apply the description of "good person" to oneself.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #26 on: 07 Nov 2010, 11:05 »

And what is a good person, if not someone who tries to do the right thing, even though they may fail miserably at times? 
Quote Of The (some time period).
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #27 on: 07 Nov 2010, 15:26 »

And what is a good person, if not someone who tries to do the right thing, even though they may fail miserably at times? 

Well, sometimes it's a label for someone who's just made a complete shit of himself—"He's not always like that—deep down, he's a good person."

BTW, is old 'id' still alive? These days, I hear more about 'the reptilian brain' than I do that fellow.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #28 on: 07 Nov 2010, 16:25 »

Boy do I feel silly for not looking at this before posting my last post last week.

She's a REAL smart college girl. She knows what she doesn't want to be like, but doesn't quite know what she is like.

Everyone else (excluding Marigold and Hanners) have had their years of self doubt, screwed up relationships, and somewhat self discovery.

Or she's Raven minus boobs and klutziness.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #29 on: 07 Nov 2010, 16:37 »

Or she's Raven minus boobs and klutziness.

Doesn't leave much, really...

except a partcularly skewed (screwed?) sense of reality! 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #30 on: 07 Nov 2010, 17:29 »

Her sense of reality wasn't skewed, she used her genius to bend reality.

But in all honesty, Tai is mix of college version Raven and a touch of gay Faye.

Take Raven's:
casual attitude towards sex
ability to analyze information (even if by accident)
ability to befriend everyone they meet
open mind

Take Faye's:
ability to banter
fondness for the alcolol

Voilą!  Tai.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #31 on: 07 Nov 2010, 20:49 »

OMG!!

Tai is Faye and Raven''s secret love child!!!!!!!!
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Carl-E

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #32 on: 08 Nov 2010, 05:14 »

Genetically engineered by HannerDad. 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #33 on: 08 Nov 2010, 06:55 »

That's printed in tiny moles on Tai's right hand or forehead, right?
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #34 on: 08 Nov 2010, 08:18 »

The barcode is hidden within her tats
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #35 on: 08 Nov 2010, 08:56 »

Does she scan at the supermarket? 
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #36 on: 08 Nov 2010, 09:32 »

Only if she gets a job there after graduation.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #37 on: 08 Nov 2010, 15:46 »

...out of curiousity, do we know Tai's ethnicity? Or is that just kinda indeterminate?


Red hair, dark skin, affinity for women?
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #38 on: 11 Nov 2010, 14:00 »

So I was a having a really sloooooow day at the office (we work with the government, so government offices closed = I have nothing to do) and started archive trolling.

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=738
Evidence of Tai being very nice and supportive helping Marten sort out his Dora/Faye guilt early in their relationship.

And for those who dislike her for hitting on Dora all the time, I have their first meeting.
http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=776
That would be Dora begging to take Tai home because she is such an "adorable little butch girl." About two weeks too late I come up with the evidence that all flirtations are reciprocal and meant in jest. Such is life.
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #39 on: 11 Nov 2010, 16:55 »

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #40 on: 11 Nov 2010, 17:17 »

"Staircase Wit" is the more common, non-tropish term.
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AnAverageWriter

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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #41 on: 11 Nov 2010, 17:40 »

"Staircase Wit" is the more common, non-tropish term.

But then I wouldn't have had an excuse to post Calvin and Hobbes.  :wink:
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #42 on: 11 Nov 2010, 20:04 »

Wait, you need an excuse to post Calvin and Hobbes now?!

What the Hell?!
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Re: What is Tai's fundamental character?
« Reply #43 on: 11 Nov 2010, 20:27 »

"Staircase Wit" is the more common, non-tropish term.

The French call it l'esprit d'escalier, which is often translated as "the ghost on the stairs", but it's more like the spirit of inspiration on the staircase, striking when you're going up to bed and suddenly realize the exact retort you should have given earlier...

That's one of the things I love about the forums. 
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