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Author Topic: Marten's fundamental character  (Read 26480 times)

raoullefere

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #50 on: 14 Dec 2010, 06:21 »

I think I follow you but I'm not sure.

"The One syndrome" is different from monogamy in that it can happen even when there's no relationship? Or it's premature overcommitment?
It's more akin to tunnel-vision, but I suppose premature overcommitment comes close. The reason I don't like the term overcommitment is that to me it implies a level of fixation that's not there. Marten doesn't live, eat sleep and breathe each woman so much as he simply doesn't seriously consider others as possibilities. It's as though he won't allow himself to really 'see' them—to fully explore the idea of he and this girl as an item, if you will. He's involved with (on whatever level) who he's involved with, and that's that.

Note that Marten may well have been 'prematurely over-committed' to the girl (I can never recall her name) he followed East. That might explain why she dodn't want to continue the relationship in the first place. But he wasn't so with Faye—for example, Marten toyed with the idea of dating Sara early on, but never seriously considered it.

Yes, Carl, need to find that strip. I may look later, but my kettle's whistling.
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jwhouk

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #51 on: 14 Dec 2010, 06:22 »

Raoullefere, your posts astound me for the sheer volume of footnotes.  :laugh:

Marten has actually said in earlier strips when questioned about his relationship with Faye that he can't focus on more than one love interest at a time. That was how the whole Dora thing "blindsided" him at the time of her kiss on the rooftop.

EDIT: You're thinking of Vicky. She of the milk-stained sweater.

And AWESOME summary, Kaz.
« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 06:25 by jwhouk »
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raoullefere

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #52 on: 14 Dec 2010, 08:41 »

jwhouk, it's how I think. Two other thoughts are always crowding me while I wrestle with one. My brain runs both very quickly and horribly slowly at the same time, and often in too many directions. This plays merry hell with my own writing.

Can't find the comic Carl was talking about, but I did find this. I'm almost certain, just because of the length of that thread that someone brought this up in that massive Weekly when Dora dumped Marten, but I didn't see it*. Anyway, I guess Marten's batting a thousand.

I said a year or so back (maybe more) that Jeph is a helluva foreshadower. And got ridiculed for my pains. Suck it, my critics! (I think he knows what he's going to do before he does, if that makes any sense).

I also found this, where Marten expounds on his personal relationship theory. Oppose that to Sven, who never makes it out of the shrubbery, at least until recently.

*I got deathly ill—flu and a sinus infection—and stopped following it. By the time I got well enough to care about QC, much less the forums, reading it would've been like eating homemade pancakes that've been in the fridge for four days—slightly gelatinous and not worth the calories.

« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 08:43 by raoullefere »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #53 on: 14 Dec 2010, 10:36 »

Carl-E, are you thinking of the strip where Marten says he doesn't fantasize about any of the female cast members, until Dora asks about Raven?
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #54 on: 14 Dec 2010, 11:25 »

That's probably it... for some reason I thought he was talking to Tai in the Library, probably why I couldn't find it. 

Still can't, writing another exam...
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tomart

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #55 on: 14 Dec 2010, 16:42 »

Marten has actually said in earlier strips when questioned about his relationship with Faye that he can't focus on more than one love interest at a time. 

I can sure relate to that.  But "the One syndrome" reminds me of the (admittedly simplistic) generalization from a few generations ago: 

Hoggamous higgamous, men are polygamous
Higgamous hoggamous, women monogamous

Possibly (sticking my neck out here) part of Marten's relationship dynamics include not only acceding to womens' power, but even their monogamy...?  Not that there's anything wrong with that   :angel:  but it sure distinguishes him from the old Sven, and many other guys.
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Kazukagii

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #56 on: 14 Dec 2010, 19:24 »

Chapter Two: Farewell California, Hello Heartbreak

While details on Marten's early years are sparse, much more information is readily available on his high school and college years and we can infer much based on this information.

After his divorce, it is likely that Henry moved out of the household, however he seems to have not left for Florida until after Marten's move to Massachusetts. Despite this Marten most likely saw very little of his father during his teenage years, considering his mother's custody. For a young man going through puberty, lack of a father can become frustrating. Though we can be assured that Veronica had no qualms with explaining to Marten anything he wanted to know, asking such personal questions of an opposite sex parent becomes increasingly embarrassing as time goes on. Thus while Marten may have initially been open to sexually natured questions with his mother, he most likely pulled away from this later in life. It can even be considered that, since Veronica was so open about such matters, that Marten took steps to specifically cloak these details from her. This hypothesis will later be used to explain why Marten tried to hide his porn interests, and became so enraged when his partner Dora, whom he had before been very open with, went against his wishes.

Pulling back to his teenage years, puberty or not Marten would have become much closer with his mother, while not having much time to spend with his father. While he has been seen to be on good terms with both his parents, Veronica no doubt played a much greater role in shaping the Marten we know today. After all a dominatrix mother, even in character only, is a force to be reckoned with. While perhaps not to the point of smothering, Marten was no doubt openly controlled by his mother. Growing up in such an environment most likely taught Marten to recognize “when he's lost”, which might give rise to his acceptance of many unfavorable events over the course of the comic. When mother says no, it means no, and so Marten learned to understand when he has lost his say. It would have been very easy then for Marten to settle into a life of doing what his mother told him to do. With minimal need to think beyond passing his classes, Marten's teenage years involved little critical decision making, the first of the two part theory we will construct on why the Marten we know today is so indecisive in nature. In fact even the smallest disruption in Marten's life, such as being bullied at school, gave rise to his need for a "worry hat" to protect himself. Shielded by his mother, Marten not only became indecisive, but perhaps even fragile. Without making decisions, and with little to do outside of listen to his music, Marten was most likely your typical slacker child. Though at some point he did learn to play the guitar (no doubt a gift from his mother, or even perhaps from his father, in an attempt of bonding) this still played on what seemed to be the only thing even remotely important to Marten: music. Years passed and Marten eventually went to college, where again his major reflected his only apparent interest: music. Majoring in Music History and Critical Theory, Marten could very well have been the poster boy for the hipster, slacker generation he professed to belonging to.

Then in the last semester of college, Marten was introduced to Vicky What seems to have been Marten's first love, it was also the first time his mentality regarding relationships was tested, after the divorce of his parents. When Vicky wanted to move, and began to mope around Marten, he was stated to have “chalked it up to happy relationship paranoia.” We can translate this as: “Not all relationships are like my parents.” A combination of optimism and naivete on Marten's part, that so long as he did not repeat his father's mistakes, his relationships would not fail like his. However no matter how perfect the boyfriend he was, the girlfriend has just as much power to drop the bomb that ends the relationship, as Marten sadly learned. When Vicky, the woman Marten loved, said that she would be moving all the way across the country, Marten had come face to face with something: a life choice. For the first time, Marten was up to the challenge of picking his destination at a crossroads of his life. With the help of a little scotch, Marten finally made his first great choice: to move along with Vicky to Massachusetts Veronica and Henry “freaked” in Marten's own words. As any world-weary parent would realize, this was a choice doomed to fail. Not to mention that Marten was no usurping the control, however light, Veronica held over him. Marten was dictating the terms of his own life, for better of for worse. Unfortunately, it would turn out for the worse. Vicky abandoned him soon after his move, and Marten was left heartbroken, thousands of miles from the comfort of home. The results of this move are the framework for the second – and most critical – part of our theory on Marten's indecisiveness. The first was that he grew up in an environment where he had to make little, if any major decisions. The second came from the fact that the first time he made a choice, it ended in disaster. From Marten's point of view not only was he terrible at making choices, but things seemed to go better for him when he let others – like his mother – make them.

Marten would eventually emerge from the wreckage of the disaster, but not unscathed. Marten's love was gone, but he was not going back to California. After all the only thing worse than our failures, is having them rubbed in our faces. Deciding to start a new life, Marten struck out on his own. We can assume that it would be around this point that Marten would have purchased Pintsize (perhaps with some financial help from his certainly worried parents) in the search for companionship. Over time Marten would find both employment and an apartment, as well as develop a small circle of friends (Steve and Jimbo). Leaving Vicky, and all his trauma behind him, Marten looked to be close to a fresh start. However he still carried the past with him, and it was guaranteed to affect him down the road.

Next time: From Office Bitch to Dora's Bitch: The Marten We Knew Then

Believe it or not this is actually quite a bit of fun for me.
« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 19:28 by Kazukagii »
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Joax737

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #57 on: 14 Dec 2010, 21:05 »

did someone order this comic?

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=962

edit: didn't marten say his mom bought pintsize for him as a graduation gift
« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 21:15 by Joax737 »
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Carl-E

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #58 on: 14 Dec 2010, 21:10 »

That's half of it.  I'm pretty sure I was conflating this one with the one that Isitcoldinhere was mentioning.  The two together pretty well support Raoullefere's hypothesis, though. 

I gotta tell you, I had the same problem when I was out in the dating pool.  When I was with someone, I wouldn't have recognized a come-on if it bit me in the ass. 

Mind you, they never did.  Well, if they did I didn't notice... which is the whole point. 

And Kazukagii, is this a senior thesis or something?  If not, you really have wayyy  too much free time...
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Kazukagii

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #59 on: 14 Dec 2010, 22:13 »

Considering I have two days of no work or class and my dorm is pretty much abandoned at the moment, "wayyy too much free time" is a pretty good description.
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themacnut

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #60 on: 14 Dec 2010, 22:38 »

Don't feel bad about not noticing female come-ons, Carl. I didn't notice them either; in fact my wife had to be as aggressive as Dora to get my attention, that's how oblivious I was to her interest (didn't help that other women around me flirted just to flirt and denied everything when I tried to follow up-ah, college). Besides, female flirting is designed to be deniable. If you don't notice, no serious harm done. If they change their mind, then they were never flirting with you in the first place far as they're concerned ("Hey I was just being friendly").
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #61 on: 14 Dec 2010, 23:13 »

edit: didn't marten say his mom bought pintsize for him as a graduation gift
To the best of my knowledge, no.
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trclocke

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #62 on: 15 Dec 2010, 02:58 »

newbie with a comment on today's comic.  This thread seemed like a relevant place to say it.  I am immensely glad to see Marten show some sign of being fallible and human.  Thus far he's really been painted as sort of a saintlike protagonist.  He was long overdue for some form of fuckup, and I think this one was very appropriate.  Bravo.
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cyro

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #63 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:09 »

newbie with a comment on today's comic.  This thread seemed like a relevant place to say it.  I am immensely glad to see Marten show some sign of being fallible and human.  Thus far he's really been painted as sort of a saintlike protagonist.  He was long overdue for some form of fuckup, and I think this one was very appropriate.  Bravo.

Marten's messed up plenty, but usually it's as a result of his "nice guy" nature (or façade?) not contrary to it. So in that sense you're right and adds to him as a character. For better or worse is yet to be determined.
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raoullefere

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #64 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:17 »

The first part of your bio seemed pretty solid, Kazukagii, but this part is shaking in the breeze getting a tad speculative. We've still got no solid evidence Veronica controlled Marten. She could just as well have tried to overcompensate for things not working out with Henry and tried to be so supportive while she considered Marten a child (I suspect this changed once Marten reached his majority) that Marten never really had to try to do anything. A ton of single mothers do this, and when the kid leaves the nest, he has simply no idea how to fend for himself. Marten's not that bad, but I think a case could be made for him showing some of the signs. For one, he never seems to be that worried about lacking—or at least hasn't up until now (not to be confused with thinking something's missing—more on that in a sec). And I think a dominated child would respond either more submisively or in an absolute rage to Faye—one of the two.

Yeah, I know 's-mothering' is another form of controlling, but it doesn't produce this 'lost his say' thingy Kazukagii's cobbled up. To me, that's a backdoor into 'spineless Marten, and I haven't and don't buy that. Marten has a spine and has gotten it up several times. He hasn't, however, been extreme* about it—perhaps because he never had to be, since everything would eventually work out.

Only it hasn't with his relationships. I wonder if Marten doesn't resent that as much as he resents Dora dumping him on 'false charges.' Hence the rage, and hence tonight's lil' episode.

*Another footnote. I may be twitching my patella here, but every time I see someone try to label Marten as 'spineless' what I really see are people conditioned by pop culture—in quite a few of those shit-eating sit-coms Carl was referencing in the Weekly, not to mention quite a few films—to perceive any character who doesn't make an extreme gesture when their 'rights' are trodden on as 'spineless.' By the same token, when Marten more or less flipped his shit on Dora (admittedly, she was egging him to do so—how else was she going to bring things to an end? Welcome to Self-destruction 101, folks), here came all the glad cries of "Woot! He got a spine! Don't lose it, dude."

Oy.

I think Marten seems to be a mostly well-adjusted guy with, like all of us, some problems in his approach to life. Some of the things he's doing aren't working, and he's finally gotten upset about this, because, as I've said, people hate changing—and boy-oh-boy, I mean pretty nearly everyone when I say that (even down to the 'perpetual motion' freaks who get upset if things aren't constantly changing).

Marten is going to have to wake up, pick himself up, take stock, and make some alterations—or he's probably going to keep on having the same thing (moar crazee girlfriends, Marty?) keep happening. Everybody, from the bum on the corner to the wall street sneak-thief worth two gazillion on paper, goes through this and makes the choice, either doing something about it or going on as they have been. John Mellencamp wrote a song about some people deciding making change is the way to go—"The Real Life." Sooner or later, I suspect, everybody wants one, and you'd be amazed at how their definitions vary.

Welcome to Humanity 101.

Marty's been coming at this, I suspect, from several angles (in fact because that seems to be the one commonality all Jeph's characters have. That's why he likes Hanners—she's come up against it, made the choice, and is trying like hell ever day to see it through). It's already hit  the 'where I am going' nerve. Now it's banging him in the relationship plexus. The more I think about it, the more I think that's what's going on with Marten.

If you want to hear Mellencamp's tune, this is the best I could find—a concert vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_igpr-Cpnc4

Edit: trying like hell EVERY day. And the damned strike-through. I think I get over-heated, like a teapot. Only in my head.
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010, 08:01 by raoullefere »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #65 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:18 »

newbie with a comment on today's comic.  This thread seemed like a relevant place to say it.  I am immensely glad to see Marten show some sign of being fallible and human.  Thus far he's really been painted as sort of a saintlike protagonist.  He was long overdue for some form of fuckup, and I think this one was very appropriate.  Bravo.

Eh, I don't think anyone has seriously espoused the whole 'hipster jesus' idea for quite some time. If anything, he's gotten a lot of flack for not being stronger willed and more in control of his life.

But I do think today's comic does offer a little window into Marten's thoughts.

He's bitter. We knew that. But apparently Dora isn't the only person he's bitter about. Faye, Sven, and Angus all got some pretty harsh condemnation, and I can sort of see why. Marten definitely wouldn't talk about it, or even really think about it sober, but he's aware that Sven and Angus got to be with Faye when he didn't, and while he does seem to genuinely like Angus at least, there's a reason for it.

I think there might even be a little bit of Nice Guy Syndrome floating around in his head from the complicatedness of their social circle, but if there is he's probably felt guilty over it, since even if he didn't get 'the' girl, he got a pretty, nice girl, who was very into him.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #66 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:35 »

Eh, I don't think anyone has seriously espoused the whole 'hipster jesus' idea for quite some time. If anything, he's gotten a lot of flack for not being stronger willed and more in control of his life.
That makes sense, now that I think about it.  You could say he's flawed in that he lacks assertiveness, motivation.  He could display more confidence.  Until now, though, he's just seemed so laid back, so utterly without any real problems in his life.  Even the whole thing with faye and The Talk was handled very gracefully.  It's nice to know that although he doesn't feel inclined to bitch about it, he does have feelings of resentment and all that.  Makes him more real in my opinion.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #67 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:36 »

Remember also his chat with Tai when he complained about his life being aimless.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #68 on: 15 Dec 2010, 06:25 »

The strip where he mentions his One-itis is right here: http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=447
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raoullefere

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #69 on: 15 Dec 2010, 07:56 »

By jove, THAT'S IT! :laugh:

Seriously, thanks!

Edit: stupid scroll interfered with my browsing pleasure. Or something like that.
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010, 10:35 by raoullefere »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #70 on: 15 Dec 2010, 10:08 »

Is Marten over-controlled?

He's been walking around with these resentments inside all along. Would it have been healthier if he'd had an "it hurts but I want you to be happy" talk with Faye, as Faye did with him when the Dora relationship began?
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raoullefere

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #71 on: 15 Dec 2010, 10:48 »

I don't know if he's been walking around with these resentments, or has noticed that, by golly, this is one way of looking at it, and it jolly well should be resented. 'Cause that's what I see—a whole heapin' case of the shoulds. Dora should have stayed with Marten, but she didn't; she should have believed he was over Faye (and I really think he is, sot-talk notwithstanding), but she didn't; Faye should have given him a chance so he could have had evidence he and Faye had tried and failed, but she didn't; and so on. Because, if you notice, Marten is really making this about him losing Dora. At the worst, the narrative I see is: "I did everything as right as I could, and now you have someone and I'm alone. It's not fair, and it shouldn't be that way—make it up to me." Not "You never gave me a chance. I love you" or any variation thereof.

They don't call 'em the 'terrible shoulds' for nothing. They hurt, man, if you let them, which Marten is.

In other words, it's Dora who Marten resents, or the situation she left him in, not Faye. Faye's simply handy. Also, Marten wants to use her (apparently in the traditional sense) to feel better, which is a helluva thing to do to a friend. Like I said in the weekly, he actually deserves that punch.
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010, 10:51 by raoullefere »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #72 on: 15 Dec 2010, 11:17 »

A lot of this is the bourbon talking, too.  It's simplified his outlook and view of the situation, 'cause face it, you can't analyse anything complex when inebriated.  Drunken epiphanies are garbage in the sober light of day. 

I can actually hear his slurring of "Commere an' gimme a..."  (Why do "stinkin" drunks seem to always wanna kiss someone?)

In some ways it's unfortunate that he probably won't remember this.  Because Faye will. 

Always. 

Sorry, this isn't shedding much light on Marten's fundamental character, but it's more along the lines that what we're seeing in 1818 isn't really his fundamental character - it's a proto-Marten, like a laptop running in "Safe" mode - severely impaired at best. 

That's a helluva lot of bourbon for a skinny kid, even counting Hanner's glass (which he probably finished off after she left). 
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #73 on: 15 Dec 2010, 12:20 »

Faye will remember it, but she seems like the type who is violent in the moment, is satisfied by that, and doesn't hold a grudge.

This was all prefigured, too:
Quote from: a very early comic
PANEL 2 / Pintsize: Fay is nice. Is she going to be your girlfriend now? / Marten: Heh. No, she said she wasn't interested.
PANEL 3 / Pintsize: I'm sorry. You look disappointed. / Marten: Yeah, I guess I am. Which is fucked up, because I should be happy to at least have made a new friend.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #74 on: 15 Dec 2010, 17:02 »

I don't know if he's been walking around with these resentments, or has noticed that, by golly, this is one way of looking at it, and it jolly well should be resented. 'Cause that's what I see—a whole heapin' case of the shoulds. Dora should have stayed with Marten, but she didn't; she should have believed he was over Faye (and I really think he is, sot-talk notwithstanding), but she didn't; Faye should have given him a chance so he could have had evidence he and Faye had tried and failed, but she didn't; and so on. Because, if you notice, Marten is really making this about him losing Dora. At the worst, the narrative I see is: "I did everything as right as I could, and now you have someone and I'm alone. It's not fair, and it shouldn't be that way—make it up to me." Not "You never gave me a chance. I love you" or any variation thereof.

They don't call 'em the 'terrible shoulds' for nothing. They hurt, man, if you let them, which Marten is.

In other words, it's Dora who Marten resents, or the situation she left him in, not Faye. Faye's simply handy. Also, Marten wants to use her (apparently in the traditional sense) to feel better, which is a helluva thing to do to a friend. Like I said in the weekly, he actually deserves that punch.

Knowing the way jeph writes, I'm quite sure you're right.  I think innate feelings for Faye would make for a large interesting amount of drama, and I'm a sucker for a good love triangle, but I have a feeling jeph would consider that sort of thing to be contrived, derivative, all that.  If it's crossed his mind, he'd immediately go "nah, too obvious".

Time will tell, I guess.
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maxis

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #75 on: 15 Dec 2010, 18:10 »

i can relate to the way Marten deals with stuff, make others happy=you happy(either morally or actually). he does have a little bit of a right to go off, seeing as it WAS him who befriended her when she was new, dealt with her attitude problems, helped her get over her emotional problems, and what did he get? rejected. not saying he did it right, the bourbon saw to that, but he helped her/liked her and she went with others. and Dora? same thing. he dealt with her crazy over the top emotion problems. he did all he could to prove that he was over Faye, and yet she still broke it off and he finally snapped. you can only use that type of problem-dealing system for so long before you just snap.     
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Olymander

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #76 on: 16 Dec 2010, 08:57 »

*Another footnote. I may be twitching my patella here, but every time I see someone try to label Marten as 'spineless' what I really see are people conditioned by pop culture—in quite a few of those shit-eating sit-coms Carl was referencing in the Weekly, not to mention quite a few films—to perceive any character who doesn't make an extreme gesture when their 'rights' are trodden on as 'spineless.' By the same token, when Marten more or less flipped his shit on Dora (admittedly, she was egging him to do so—how else was she going to bring things to an end? Welcome to Self-destruction 101, folks), here came all the glad cries of "Woot! He got a spine! Don't lose it, dude."

Twitching your knee?  Just don't bang it into anything!  As a digression, I don't know that I'd say it's conditioning by pop culture, to me it seems more like what I tend to call the American idea of the "cult of individuality", perhaps best espoused by the mantra of "be loud, be proud, be yourself", with the implication being that if you're not "loud and proud", you're a repressed do-nothing.  Thus, the sudden attraction to Marten speaking out; he was "loud and proud" and expressed his individuality all over... by trampling on someone else.  After all, what greater expression of individuality is there, than by expressing his own desires and wants over someone (everyone) else's?  Consider it a further extension of the "Me generation" paradigm.
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Boomslang

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #77 on: 16 Dec 2010, 17:26 »

Twitching your knee?  Just don't bang it into anything!  As a digression, I don't know that I'd say it's conditioning by pop culture, to me it seems more like what I tend to call the American idea of the "cult of individuality", perhaps best espoused by the mantra of "be loud, be proud, be yourself", with the implication being that if you're not "loud and proud", you're a repressed do-nothing.  Thus, the sudden attraction to Marten speaking out; he was "loud and proud" and expressed his individuality all over... by trampling on someone else.  After all, what greater expression of individuality is there, than by expressing his own desires and wants over someone (everyone) else's?  Consider it a further extension of the "Me generation" paradigm.

To quote the comic, 'Bitter much?'

Marten is clearly suffering for his lack of assertiveness. His work life, music career, romance with Dora, etc. have all become depressing parodies of themselves, in ways that stem from his apparent inability to do anything other than simply 'go with the flow', whatever that flow may be. In the sea of life, everyone's affected by the weather, but unless you set a course and tack into the wind when you have to, any destination you have in mind will never appear on the horizon.

People were rejoicing because it initially seemed that Marten had decided to take responsibility for what happened in his own life rather than let it be dictated by the whims of others. Maybe it was a step in that direction, it's hard to know.

But the path Marten was on is only going to lead to his own happiness through the kindness of others, he can't take any credit for the good things in his life if he didn't put the effort into achieving them. And I think that he deserves better.
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Carl-E

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #78 on: 16 Dec 2010, 22:45 »

Oh, goodie, more nautical metaphors! 

Seriously, you both make good points.  While there's a lot to be said for individualism, and taking control of your own life, pop culture has made it a goal beyond reason.  One life is not more worthy than another because that person struck out on their own and forged their llife from nothing rather than taking a more sedate, corporate path, "shilling for the man".  As for the Me generation, take it from someone who lived through it, it wreaked a lot of havoc, and left an indelible stain on the generations that followed, especially the entertainment industry. 

Just remember, individualism can manifest in different aspects of the same life - I give you the example of a good friend of mine, a corporate accountant (because he can, and the money's good), but also one helluva musician - the director of  two choirs, a bell choir, and an organist and music director for two churches and a synagogue.  At work, he's just another grey suit, near the bottom of the totem pole.  But to those of us in one of his groups, he's the supportive leader who brings out our best. 

Yes, Marten's been coasting, sailing with neither map nor compass, if you will.  But that doesn't mean he's not the center of his little social circle, the anchor, supporting his friends, doing good by being that nice guy that he's so good at being. 

Not every ship is meant to cross the ocean, discover new lands, or win a regatta. 

Some are just out for a nice sail. 
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Boomslang

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #79 on: 16 Dec 2010, 23:24 »

Oh, goodie, more nautical metaphors! 

And now that I'm not actually sailing around, I won't get decked (sorry) for using them.
 
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Not every ship is meant to cross the ocean, discover new lands, or win a regatta. 

Some are just out for a nice sail. 

"...A three hour tour.

A three hour tour!"

Please don't tell me I have to explain that reference.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #80 on: 17 Dec 2010, 01:04 »

I'm about twice your age,  so I grew up with that show. 

So no, please don't feel obliged to explain ancient cultural references.  Remember, some of us really are  grumpy old men. 

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #81 on: 17 Dec 2010, 01:39 »

And some of us are even older and grumpier!
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #82 on: 17 Dec 2010, 02:08 »

And some of us didn't have cable in the '80s and had to get by on re-runs on the local independent UHF station. (remember those?)

I lived near Atlanta where you could get TBS over the air. Good ol' channel 17.
« Last Edit: 17 Dec 2010, 03:03 by akronnick »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #83 on: 17 Dec 2010, 02:34 »

Dear old TBS. It and WGN were the first hint of what was to come in the 'cable explosion'—namely that for every decent show you had to sit through several hours of reruns of The Andy Griffeth ShowGood Times, and, god help us all when they syndicated this shit cake, Mamma's Family.
Not every ship is meant to cross the ocean, discover new lands, or win a regatta. 

Some are just out for a nice sail. 
Yes, although Marten, at least, has shown a few signs he wants to install an engine—or maybe at least strap on an Evinrude. Still, I don't think he really wants to change in the cut of his jib, (you know, his, ah, FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTER). Just the speed at which he's making his travels, and maybe a slight adjustment to the rigging.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #84 on: 17 Dec 2010, 03:05 »

Twitching your knee?  Just don't bang it into anything!  As a digression, I don't know that I'd say it's conditioning by pop culture, to me it seems more like what I tend to call the American idea of the "cult of individuality", perhaps best espoused by the mantra of "be loud, be proud, be yourself", with the implication being that if you're not "loud and proud", you're a repressed do-nothing.  Thus, the sudden attraction to Marten speaking out; he was "loud and proud" and expressed his individuality all over... by trampling on someone else.  After all, what greater expression of individuality is there, than by expressing his own desires and wants over someone (everyone) else's?  Consider it a further extension of the "Me generation" paradigm.

To quote the comic, 'Bitter much?'

If that was directed at me, then no, I'm not really bitter about it.  I'm foreign born (Asian), immigrated to the states while fairly young (5 years old), but was rather introverted, and thus most of my upbringing was more in the classic Asian sense than the American.  I generally have no problems with those that are assertive and know exactly where they're going, although I do have issues with the fact that that often seems to have led to the current "entitlement" generation and the "screw you if you don't agree with me" attitude that so many people slightly younger than me (and even slightly older sometimes) seems to have (I'm... *counts* 31 right now, which means I fall slightly between the popular generations).  Anyway, enough about me!

Marten is clearly suffering for his lack of assertiveness. His work life, music career, romance with Dora, etc. have all become depressing parodies of themselves, in ways that stem from his apparent inability to do anything other than simply 'go with the flow', whatever that flow may be. In the sea of life, everyone's affected by the weather, but unless you set a course and tack into the wind when you have to, any destination you have in mind will never appear on the horizon.

I don't know that he was really suffering, though.  He admittedly would get twinges that this wasn't enough (I can't find it right now, I think it was a conversation with Tai?), but I don't know if he was "suffering", per se.  Some people can actually be content with living like that, although I don't know if we ever learn for sure if Marten might be one of those.  It is possible to wonder "if there's something more" without actually being dissatisfied.  Admittedly, that way lies stasis, and I think someone else mentioned that Jeph is against stasis in his characters.

People were rejoicing because it initially seemed that Marten had decided to take responsibility for what happened in his own life rather than let it be dictated by the whims of others. Maybe it was a step in that direction, it's hard to know.

Was he actually taking responsibility, though?  It just seemed like he was getting angry that a line that he thought he'd put down had been crossed.  While that shows "a spine", I disagree that it shows that he's taking responsibility, at least not as it was presented.  I really think everyone was rejoicing just because they were thinking "Yay!  Marten isn't a pushover!  He's actually capable of getting angry and being a selfish bastard!"  This to me seems more like people were happy that he wasn't "the perfect doormat", and that he was being brought down to a more, call it understandable level.

But the path Marten was on is only going to lead to his own happiness through the kindness of others, he can't take any credit for the good things in his life if he didn't put the effort into achieving them. And I think that he deserves better.

Well, in a general sense, everyone deserves better.  Unfortunately, life "is", and until karma (in this world) is proven, what one deserves and what one gets rarely coincide (apart from fiction or the efforts of others to make it so).  I wonder if Marten perhaps has what you might call a "philanthropist" character, basically a person who derives joy in making other people happy.  In what might be called an extension of your point of "gaining happiness from the kindness of others", he instead actually "gains happiness in making other people happy".  This won't preclude occasional bouts of self-doubt (like his little drunken rampage with Faye), but I wonder if that might not be his fundamental character.  This could also, I suppose, feed into that "Nice Guy" image that everyone else complains about, although I think that would depend more on the root of why he has such a character.  After all, he may be more of a "Mother Theresa" type that genuinely believes in trying to make other people happy as opposed to doing it out of a lack of a sense of self-worth.
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O8h7w

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #85 on: 17 Dec 2010, 05:26 »

Since everyone have been hunting for a certain comic page, I finally hunted it down...  :police:

1292

And it turns out he never actually said "aimless", and that may very well be the reason we couldn't find it. Now that I have wasted a whole lot of time on something like this, I think I have to do something a little more productive. I happen to have goals in my life, although small ones - it's what education does to you.
« Last Edit: 17 Dec 2010, 05:28 by O8h7w »
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Boomslang

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #86 on: 17 Dec 2010, 06:41 »

If that was directed at me, then no, I'm not really bitter about it.  I'm foreign born (Asian), immigrated to the states while fairly young (5 years old), but was rather introverted, and thus most of my upbringing was more in the classic Asian sense than the American.  I generally have no problems with those that are assertive and know exactly where they're going, although I do have issues with the fact that that often seems to have led to the current "entitlement" generation and the "screw you if you don't agree with me" attitude that so many people slightly younger than me (and even slightly older sometimes) seems to have (I'm... *counts* 31 right now, which means I fall slightly between the popular generations).  Anyway, enough about me!

That does explain much of your position, although I do think it's led you to be isolated from those of us in my generation who aren't suffering from entitlement issues or narcissism. It's not a universal trait by any means.

We're just keeping our heads down and hoping the world doesn't explode or collapse before we get a chance to do something about it.

Quote
I don't know that he was really suffering, though.  He admittedly would get twinges that this wasn't enough (I can't find it right now, I think it was a conversation with Tai?), but I don't know if he was "suffering", per se.  Some people can actually be content with living like that, although I don't know if we ever learn for sure if Marten might be one of those.  It is possible to wonder "if there's something more" without actually being dissatisfied.  Admittedly, that way lies stasis, and I think someone else mentioned that Jeph is against stasis in his characters.

Well, if the downing of an entire bottle of bourbon isn't a clear indication the guy is in emotional pain, I'm not sure what to tell you. I never meant to imply the suffering was constant, but it's acute right now. And Marten has very little to actually hope for right now, unless he makes a change. His relationship with Dora is over, and that void is going to remain there until he does something about it.

Quote
Was he actually taking responsibility, though?  It just seemed like he was getting angry that a line that he thought he'd put down had been crossed.  While that shows "a spine", I disagree that it shows that he's taking responsibility, at least not as it was presented.  I really think everyone was rejoicing just because they were thinking "Yay!  Marten isn't a pushover!  He's actually capable of getting angry and being a selfish bastard!"  This to me seems more like people were happy that he wasn't "the perfect doormat", and that he was being brought down to a more, call it understandable level.

Please keep in mind that I was clearly talking about what I believed other people felt like, attempting to understand their position. Do you really believe you're stating their positions accurately? Because it seems you want to paint them as villains and rail against them rather than learn why they hold a position that doesn't make sense to you.

Quote
Well, in a general sense, everyone deserves better.  Unfortunately, life "is", and until karma (in this world) is proven, what one deserves and what one gets rarely coincide (apart from fiction or the efforts of others to make it so).  I wonder if Marten perhaps has what you might call a "philanthropist" character, basically a person who derives joy in making other people happy.  In what might be called an extension of your point of "gaining happiness from the kindness of others", he instead actually "gains happiness in making other people happy".  This won't preclude occasional bouts of self-doubt (like his little drunken rampage with Faye), but I wonder if that might not be his fundamental character.  This could also, I suppose, feed into that "Nice Guy" image that everyone else complains about, although I think that would depend more on the root of why he has such a character.  After all, he may be more of a "Mother Theresa" type that genuinely believes in trying to make other people happy as opposed to doing it out of a lack of a sense of self-worth.

Marten isn't a philanthropist, though. He'll help people when the opportunity falls into his lap, but he hasn't sought out chances to help people that he's not already friends with.

The characterization you've made might be accurate, but it really changes nothing, as he's still not making a conscious decision to do the things that would improve his happiness beyond what simply appears at his feet.
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jwhouk

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #87 on: 17 Dec 2010, 06:43 »

"Selling out" does not equal "aimless", this is true.

More like "surrender."
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Olymander

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #88 on: 17 Dec 2010, 12:56 »

That does explain much of your position, although I do think it's led you to be isolated from those of us in my generation who aren't suffering from entitlement issues or narcissism. It's not a universal trait by any means.

Oh, I hadn't meant to imply that it was a universal trait.  I think I'm still suffering a bit from all of the people that seemed to espouse that trait that came out in the locked thread of a few weeks back, which is, in the end, a bit of what this entire topic is all about (or at least sparked from).

I don't know that he was really suffering, though.  He admittedly would get twinges that this wasn't enough (I can't find it right now, I think it was a conversation with Tai?), but I don't know if he was "suffering", per se.  Some people can actually be content with living like that, although I don't know if we ever learn for sure if Marten might be one of those.  It is possible to wonder "if there's something more" without actually being dissatisfied.  Admittedly, that way lies stasis, and I think someone else mentioned that Jeph is against stasis in his characters.

Well, if the downing of an entire bottle of bourbon isn't a clear indication the guy is in emotional pain, I'm not sure what to tell you. I never meant to imply the suffering was constant, but it's acute right now. And Marten has very little to actually hope for right now, unless he makes a change. His relationship with Dora is over, and that void is going to remain there until he does something about it.

I'd agree that he's suffering right now, but I was referring more to the entire process up to this point, since I'd been thinking about comic #1292 (thanks, 08h7w!), which happened much earlier than the present story arc, and your mention of his work life and music career had me thinking more about his previous life as expressed by that comic than his current circumstances.

Was he actually taking responsibility, though?  It just seemed like he was getting angry that a line that he thought he'd put down had been crossed.  While that shows "a spine", I disagree that it shows that he's taking responsibility, at least not as it was presented.  I really think everyone was rejoicing just because they were thinking "Yay!  Marten isn't a pushover!  He's actually capable of getting angry and being a selfish bastard!"  This to me seems more like people were happy that he wasn't "the perfect doormat", and that he was being brought down to a more, call it understandable level.

Please keep in mind that I was clearly talking about what I believed other people felt like, attempting to understand their position. Do you really believe you're stating their positions accurately? Because it seems you want to paint them as villains and rail against them rather than learn why they hold a position that doesn't make sense to you.

Ah, I'm afraid that wasn't clear to me (that you were talking about what you believed other people felt like).  And I do think that for the ones that I do remember from previous locked thread, that is pretty much what they thought, mostly because they'd follow up their statements with something along the lines of "now be a man and dump that bitch!" as well as the comments about "Wow, Marten isn't a saint anymore.  Thank god.  He was just too perfect at letting people walk all over him."  As for painting them as villains, I don't think that was my actual intent (subconscious aside), I think I was more trying to point out the way that they sounded to me, or the tone that they (to me) were putting across.

I wonder if Marten perhaps has what you might call a "philanthropist" character, basically a person who derives joy in making other people happy.  In what might be called an extension of your point of "gaining happiness from the kindness of others", he instead actually "gains happiness in making other people happy".  This won't preclude occasional bouts of self-doubt (like his little drunken rampage with Faye), but I wonder if that might not be his fundamental character.  This could also, I suppose, feed into that "Nice Guy" image that everyone else complains about, although I think that would depend more on the root of why he has such a character.  After all, he may be more of a "Mother Theresa" type that genuinely believes in trying to make other people happy as opposed to doing it out of a lack of a sense of self-worth.

Marten isn't a philanthropist, though. He'll help people when the opportunity falls into his lap, but he hasn't sought out chances to help people that he's not already friends with.

The characterization you've made might be accurate, but it really changes nothing, as he's still not making a conscious decision to do the things that would improve his happiness beyond what simply appears at his feet.

Not an active philanthropist, no.  Although we have no idea if he might donate, or volunteer somewhere in his off time.  My characterization was more to point out that if that is his motivation, then he _is_ improving his happiness by helping out his friends and making them happier, hence the "gains happiness by making other people happy."  By that token, him helping people that he isn't already friends with doesn't help him as much; he may not be able to see how much change he's making in their lives.  Take Faye for example.  Yes, in his drunken state he complained that he got her over her problems just in time to have her go to somebody else, but maybe that's really "the thing he does", helps people that he knows to improve their own lives and thus derive joy from doing so.  Hanners is probably a better example of this, apart from the early weirdness of the way she was introduced, see how happy Marten is that she's been coming along with her OCD, and expanding her horizons, trying "normal" things, and just in general "growing up", so to speak.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #89 on: 24 Dec 2010, 16:21 »

Is Marten depressed?

Emotional overcontrol goes with treatment-resistant depression, and a case of depression would fit his lack of initiative.

His social life, however, is way better than you'd expect of a depressive.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #90 on: 11 Jan 2011, 11:29 »

Marten doesn't live, eat sleep and breathe each woman so much as he simply doesn't seriously consider others as possibilities. It's as though he won't allow himself to really 'see' them—to fully explore the idea of he and this girl as an item, if you will. He's involved with (on whatever level) who he's involved with, and that's that.

Yeah, he's monogamous.  But now he's free again.

Many are saying (in another thread) that Marten should wait a while before getting serious again.  But look, he's got about the perfect job for meeting dateable women; one asked him out already.  

Perhaps the new dating drama in QC could be Marten not noticing/ fending off/ running from groups of hungry Smiffens who are smitten with the skinny indie boy, while he's trying to process and learn from the Dora disaster.
« Last Edit: 11 Jan 2011, 11:31 by tomart »
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #91 on: 11 Jan 2011, 20:40 »

Unfortuneately, Marten will no longer be emitting the 'in a relationship' pheremone, and will therefore not be quite as attractive to the unattached ladies.
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #92 on: 11 Jan 2011, 21:27 »

I actually hope Jeph touches on this in a future strip...
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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #93 on: 11 Jan 2011, 23:49 »

@Olymander

I was one of the ones who was glad that Marten had stood up for himself with the whole thing with Dora. Not because he was, as you put it, 'being a selfish bastard.' I was glad because Marten frequently was the one who had to apologize when he did nothing wrong. He had to put up with a lot from Dora and when he set a reasonable boundary, and said clearly that he didn't want to discuss it, she ignored him and when she looked at it her tone was annoyed that it wasn't anything 'extreme' as if the purpose of the exercise was to find something to humiliate Marten with. He was angry, rightfully, because she ignored a boundary he had, one of very few boundaries, and this was after her constantly thinking he was unfaithful. I call what Marten did showing a spine because there is such a thing as personal boundaries, and when you ignore those that's kind of a big deal. Marten wasn't 'trampling' Dora in doing that, and was justified in being angry.
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Olymander

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #94 on: 12 Jan 2011, 09:16 »

@Blackjoker

I agreed that Marten standing up for himself was showing a spine, the disagreement was in that his standing up for himself meant that he was taking responsibility for his life (as Boomslang was suggesting was the reason that other people were happy).  My annoyance was in, as you might recall, all the people that immediately took his standing up for himself into "Alright, Marten, now that you've laid down the line, go punish that bitch (meaning Dora)!"  Basically all the people that seemed intent on turning Marten into one of those "Alpha Goths" that Dora used to date ( I think... Solusar? is perhaps the better example of what bothered me about the whole thing).
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Blackjoker

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #95 on: 12 Jan 2011, 13:13 »

@Blackjoker

I agreed that Marten standing up for himself was showing a spine, the disagreement was in that his standing up for himself meant that he was taking responsibility for his life (as Boomslang was suggesting was the reason that other people were happy).  My annoyance was in, as you might recall, all the people that immediately took his standing up for himself into "Alright, Marten, now that you've laid down the line, go punish that bitch (meaning Dora)!"  Basically all the people that seemed intent on turning Marten into one of those "Alpha Goths" that Dora used to date ( I think... Solusar? is perhaps the better example of what bothered me about the whole thing).

Ah, ok, sorry for the misinterpretation then.
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Is it cold in here?

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Re: Marten's fundamental character
« Reply #96 on: 18 Jan 2011, 20:46 »

Over on Formspring Jeph has put a stake in the heart of the idea that Marten is a depressive.
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