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This week on QC...

Now departing the USS MartenClaire *bell rings*
- 122 (56.7%)
Jephizba trolls us all, hallowed be the trollmaster's name.
- 32 (14.9%)
Spatheham and Clairemom Pancakes
- 7 (3.3%)
A solid week of Steve eating cereal
- 9 (4.2%)
Martenmom and Clairemom team up and fight crime/meddle in their children's personal lives
- 45 (20.9%)

Total Members Voted: 203

Voting closed: 09 Oct 2014, 22:04


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Author Topic: WCDT: 2806-2810 (6th - 10th October 2014) Weekly Comic Discussion Thread  (Read 155083 times)

pwhodges

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Awesome

Thank you, ZoeB, for taking the time.
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
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ZoeB

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Boy brain or girl brain is bullshit. And the science agrees.
Actually science disagrees with you. Popsci is not a valid scientific source.

There are male and female patterns meaning that there are patterns found more often in a gender than the other. The development of body parts is influenced by chemical signals like hormones since inside uterus and the brain is a body part.

There are studies based on girls who have been exposed to androgens before birth (due to some hormonal disfunction) and they are more likely to have male-typical interests.

http://psych.colorado.edu/~carey/pdffiles/cah_berenbaum01.pdf

Don't forget that humans are animals and that the brain is a body part like any other.

Your reply suggests belief in such a thing as male-centric interests rather than the patriarchy suggesting which interests are acceptable based on biology.  What that study so condescendingly calls male-typical play is actively suppressed in the female half of the population. Boys will be boys vs don't you want to be a good girl? You're ignoring how early and strongly cultural training starts and how deeply its ingrained not to mention how changeable it has been over the years.

I think as a reference you should use Cordelia Fine's excellent sceptical work on the subject. It shows just how much observer bias has historically existed regarding the sexual dimorphism of the brain, and the consequences therefrom.

The two extreme positions are:

* The Biologically Deterministic one. This observes (and historically manufactures from very little evidence) that the brain is sexually dimorphic, and then uses that to argue that females are inferior because biology, that all gendered behaviour is hard-wired, and in general a whole load of other paternalistic arrogant misogynist and nauseating pseudo-scientific drivel.

*The Social Constructionist one. This observes the awful, oppressive effects of the first, then reasons that the brain cannot be sexually dimorphic because that supports gender fascism and the dehumanisation of women, so ignores any evidence for it no matter how sound, and attacks anyone observing it, deeming them to be cruel oppressors trying to fool the public into going along with their nauseating and male chauvinist policies.

Of the two, the Social Constructionist one, despite its PoMo anti-scientific basis, is actually closer to reality than the first. 80% right. The second is 20% right. Both are significantly wrong, distorting any truth so it becomes useless.

Examples:

    Boys and girls behave in different ways and one of the stereotypical behavioral differences between them, that has often been said to be forced upon them by upbringing and social environment, is their behavior in play. Boys prefer to play with cars and balls, whereas girls prefer dolls. This sex difference in toy preference is present very early in life (3–8 months of age) [1]. The idea that it is not society that forces these choices upon children but a sex difference in the early development of their brains and behavior is also supported by monkey behavioral studies. Alexander and Hines [2], who offered dolls, toy cars and balls to green Vervet monkeys found the female monkeys consistently chose the dolls and examined these ano-genitally, whereas the male monkeys were more interested in playing with the toy cars and with the ball....


“Prenatal hormones versus postnatal socialization by parents as determinants of male-typical toy play in girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia”
Pasterski VL, Geffner ME, Brain C, Hindmarsh P, Brook C, Hines M Child Dev 76(1):264-78 2005
    Data show that increased male-typical toy play by girls with CAH cannot be explained by parental encouragement of male-typical toy play. Although parents encourage sex-appropriate behavior, their encouragement appears to be insufficient to override the interest of girls with CAH in cross-sexed toys.

I don't know about you, but the phrase "sex-appropriate behavior" sets my teeth on edge. It reminds me of the days when I was a child, when girls were supposed to be secretaries, not secretaries of state, beauticians not bankers, and all the rest of that infuriating Patriarchal BS.

However.... biology plays a role. Instincts exist.

If I can quote myself: http://aebrain.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/how-many-sexes.html

Let's start with the idea that there are male and female brains. They differ anatomically, and these differences correspond to different stereotyped behaviours, regardless of upbringing. This is most obvious in girls who have CAH, masculinised brains, and a male preference in play patterns, even though they have a normal female upbringing.

Now that we've established that idea, that it's objectively observable.. we have to tear it down. It's just the first step in Wittgenstein's ladder.

The brain is a complex structure, not a simple one. Any particular individual can have a more masculine anatomy in one area, a more feminine anatomy in others. The sexually dimorphic features have considerable overlap. Within any one area, few are unambiguously male or unambiguously female. The difference is statistical. Moreover, in the higher brain, hormonal balance plays a role in changing the brain's physical anatomy. Treat a male with female hormones, some of his brain structures will feminise. The brain is plastic in many areas, experiences and social environment causes physical changes, and much of what we call "gendered behaviour" is as the result of arbitrary socially constructed factors.

OK, understood that? Now discard it, it's the second step on the ladder.

The brain is not homogenous; different parts have different effects, and while some parts are plastic, others are not. While much "gendered behaviour" is a social construct, some is not, and is remarkably resistant to change. This is most obvious in Transsexual people, whose neuro-anatomy is female in some areas, male in others, and corresponds to neither in yet others. When the Lymbic nucleus is feminised, typically feminine emotional patterns are found, and these lead to a feminine gender identity. When the Superior Parietal Lobule (SPL) is feminised as well - as it often is - the "body map" is for female primary and secondary sex characteristics - breasts, vagina etc - and any mismatch with reality causes immense distress.

This also explains such observed phenomena as "phantom limb syndrome", and the widely variable emotional response to hysterectomy or mastectomy. Also too the variable response to any natural masculinisation of a female-at-birth body due to 5ARD or 17BHSD syndromes, which can cause a superficial "natural sex change".

What this means is that a binary model of sex and gender is merely a rough approximation. A better one is a trinary one, with male, female, and bigendered (approximately 1/3 in each category). But that still doesn't capture the multi-variance and fuzziness of the situation adequately. A small percentage won't fit either model, or indeed, any such gross over-simplification.

References (to substantiate my assertions):

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.

White matter microstructure in female to male transsexuals before cross-sex hormonal treatment. A diffusion tensor imaging study. - Rametti et al, J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Jun 8.

Prenatal hormones versus postnatal socialization by parents as determinants of male-typical toy play in girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia” Pasterski VL, Geffner ME, Brain C, Hindmarsh P, Brook C, Hines M Child Dev 76(1):264-78 2005

Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure by Pol et al, Europ Jnl Endocrinology, Vol 155, suppl_1, S107-S114 2006

Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?” M.Diamond Sex Roles (2006) 55:589–600

Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency. Cohen-Kettenis PT. Arch Sex Behav. 2005 Aug;34(4):399-410.
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Fig

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That post (and the first one) should be like put in a seperate topic and  stickied or something.  Simple, straight-up education is awesome and losing it in the inevitable change in the WCDT would suck.
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I wouldn't be surprised if all of that information was already in the trans thread.
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mystere9

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It's actually really easy to understand. Think about someone you're attracted to. It doesn't have to be your One True Love or anything like that. What goes through your mind? Their laugh? Their smile? Perhaps they have a personality quirk you find endearing. A couple of times you fall asleep in each others arms; you feel warm, content and happy.

The universe then smiles on you and the two of you start dating. Life couldn't be better. One night the two of you decide to make love for the first time - but there's a problem. Your genitals are too big/too small for your partner and making love is not as straightforward as it normally is. Your partner is upset and afraid. Are you suddenly going to say to them "Your stuff isn't what I usually want in a partner - it's over between us." Are you suddenly and magically going to turn those feelings of warmth and attraction off? Or do you find a way to make things work?
Man, this really puts things in perspective. I should probably break up with my girlfriend now.
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ZoeB

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I'm really sorry for being ignorant, but what does it mean that Claire is trans?

There's a number of different answers to that, some of astounding complexity.
If you don't mind, I'll give you the simplest one I know of that still captures the essentials.

Claire was born looking more like a boy than a girl. This made her very uncomfortable as she grew up, so she had it corrected.
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Angelus_Primus

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I think veggie burgers are a gray area. They approximate the experience of eating a (ham)burger, but really, why should beef have a monopoly on a patty between two pieces of bread? I have a dynamite lentil-mushroom burger I got from vegan/ultrarunner Scott Jurek, if you're interested.

Because words have meaning, and people thinking they can just use a word any way they want to refer to things they are not are going to be the downfall of civilization.  Burger is short for hamburger, a hamburger is a patty of ground beef on a sandwich.

Mind you, your lentil-mushroom sandwich sounds pretty tasty, but it is not in any way a burger. 

Warning - while you were reading 12 new replies have been posted. You may wish to review your post.

Seriously?  In the time it takes me to rant about words?

If burger meant hamburger by default, it wouldn't require the prefix. Unless you're a hardcore prescriptivist, I don't see any way around the argument that burger, in modern common usage, denotes malleable foodstuffs molded into a patty that is then cooked.


 Ham is not a prefix. Hamburger isn't a combination of ham (pork product) and burger (ground patty) it comes from a Hamburger steak. As in Steak done Hamburg stile. The name comes from a German city of Hamburg. Traditional Hamburg steaks are hammered beef patties, but when price of beef went really high, German-Jewish immigrants in New York started making their traditional meal with ground beef which was cheaper.
 Cheeseburger is shortened form of cheese hamburger. Its not prefix cheese replacing prefix ham, its portmanteau.
 
 That said, burger did become a word in itself in past years. It simply means a type of a sandwich which has a patty (and not, for example lunchmeats) between the bread. So calling a vegetarian version veggieburger is fine. Calling it a veggie hamburger, that's wrong.
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snubnose

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Grr now I'm hungry and its all your fault !  :-D
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I've been thinking about ways in which Marten and Claire counterbalance each other.  Claire is passionate and goal-oriented but hasn't lived independently or dated; Marten has plenty of adult life experience but is still drifting along without knowing what he wants to be when he grows up.  Claire is high-strung, socially awkward, and has panic attacks, but she's brave about taking initiative and facing change; Marten is passive, a bit of a chicken, and hates change, but he's comfortable around people and is generally very even-tempered and laid back.

Put all this together, and you might have a relationship in which neither person is the dominant one.  That could be a good learning experience for both of them.  It'd be a comfortable space for Claire to grow into dating: if she fell for someone more Type A, she might just get swept along and not learn as much about herself and her needs and desires, but if she had a relationship in which she wound up leading too much, she might be torn apart by anxieties.  For Marten, well, he's been a bit overshadowed and sometimes dominated by the women in his life, and he might develop more of his manhood if he spends time with someone who, while not a doormat, isn't three times as assertive as he is.

I like your analysis of the situation. Nice job.
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Angelus_Primus

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Grr now I'm hungry and its all your fault !  :-D
Come over, I have some flank steaks I could hammer and throw on a grill. We can have original German hamburger steaks :D
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ZoeB

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It seems out of character to suddenly jump into relationship with a transgender person because we have no previous examples of him expressing interest in the male sex.

Head, meet desk.

OK, now we have a very fundamental failure of understanding here. Instead of my usual gasbagging about neuroanatomy, genetics, scientifoc papers etc, at the risk of being seen as "talking down" to you - not my intent - perhaps this very basic misunderstanding can be corrected first, by reaching out not to your intellect, but to your emotions. The intellectual stuff comes later, it obviously isn't overcoming the emotional barrier.

So....

Here is a Trans Man. He was born looking superficially female, but got that fixed.



Here is a Trans Woman. She was born looking superficially male, but had that fixed.



You are correct when you say that Marten has no previous examples of expressing an interest in the male sex - such as the Trans man.

But Claire is not a Trans Man. She's a Trans Woman. There is a difference. Not all Transgender people are male.

Any questions?
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Forgotten Felix

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Welcome, Forgotten Felix (for clarity's sake we'll have to call you Felix II: Electric Boogaloo), and thank you for wanting to understand it all!


I haven't posted anything on the WCDTs about this, usually because there's been 15 responses every minute and it's getting impossible to keep track of what's going on.

But I'm going to say this. I identify as a (mostly)straight cisgendered male, and right now I am dating someone who is trans. Their genitalia doesn't matter to me. The fact that they're trans doesn't matter to me. They are a person. I am attracted to them as a person (And a fucking awesome one at that.) This is the same as what Marten is feeling right now.
Thanks for the warm welcome! And just to clarify, I get everything you said, I'd feel the same.
But the thing is, I don't know anyone who're trans, and having lurked a bit I realize it's an entirely different world, so to speak, and I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I've only stated to learn about all this stuff in the month I've been lurking, so I'm still a bit wary of saying something stupid. Also, I may just be a bit paranoid after reading the now-locked trans* dating/prejudice thread :psyduck:

Edit: And for the name dealie, just abbreviate me to FF. I think that's easier ;)
« Last Edit: 08 Oct 2014, 07:00 by Forgotten Felix »
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Thedrd0nna

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"Well, I could support you and what you stand for, but I don't like your tone."  That's... not a great message to give.

Great, good thing that wasn't at all what I was trying to say. But I see how this shit always goes. Try to extend the olive branch and get thorns thrown back at you. Point out that you're just trying to help/understand and get MORE hate. Fuck it. I'll just go back to not caring on way or the other. Nothing I say can be right, so I'm just going to stop saying things. Enjoy your little victory, brave crusaders. You've driven away another infidel today...
Dude, you literally started off by comparing trans identities to a false idol. That really makes it hard to assume you're acting in any kind of good faith.
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NilsO

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Not gonna lie, I am really horrified by the amount of people who seem to have joined up with the sole purpose of asking about Claire's hypothetical genitals.
I agree that many of the posts are not good. Still, Jeph must have had a purpose when introducing Claire. Perhaps breaking down some taboos, or as a spokesperson for the transgender people and their challenges.

Jeph must have known a shitstorm was brewing when he introduced the SS MartenClaire. Even the most tolerant of us will be thinking forbidden thoughts. There is a big elephant in the room that is impossible to ignore.

Apostate

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Welcome, Forgotten Felix (for clarity's sake we'll have to call you Felix II: Electric Boogaloo), and thank you for wanting to understand it all!


I haven't posted anything on the WCDTs about this, usually because there's been 15 responses every minute and it's getting impossible to keep track of what's going on.

But I'm going to say this. I identify as a (mostly)straight cisgendered male, and right now I am dating someone who is trans. Their genitalia doesn't matter to me. The fact that they're trans doesn't matter to me. They are a person. I am attracted to them as a person (And a fucking awesome one at that.) This is the same as what Marten is feeling right now.
Thanks for the warm welcome! And just to clarify, I get everything you said, I'd feel the same.
But the thing is, I don't know anyone who're trans, and having lurked a bit I realize it's an entirely different world, so to speak, and I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I've only stated to learn about all this stuff in the month I've been lurking, so I'm still a bit wary of saying something stupid. Also, I may just be a bit paranoid after reading the now-locked trans* dating/prejudice thread :psyduck:
If you're asking questions honestly, it's okay.  You won't be stepping on any toes by asking questions if you honestly don't know better.  I'd be perfectly willing to clear up any misconceptions about people like me.
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MooskiNet

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Any questions?

But... but... 'you're awesome' isn't a question.
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In real life people's personal life isn't my business  especially when it comes to genitalia but when I am being told a story I feel it's my right to ask questions as it provides context and insight into what is happening and how I feel about characters.

Agreed. When dealing with living, feeling people it's none of my business. When dealing with fictional characters in a fictional story it is sometimes relevant information. Up until now it was not relevant but now I think it is. I understand the rules and I wont be asking the question because I don't want to get baned but I will continue to be curious about it until it is answered or until it no longer becomes  relevant, i.e. the relationship ends.

Let's be honest, if Jeph did not want us to at least be curious about it then he should not have put the main character in the situation in the first place. To put this scenario in front of us and then to get mad at us for asking the question in a respectful manner is kind of a dick move and I would like to think that he is not that kind of guy.
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Head, meet desk.

Don't discount the possibility that some people still think "transgender" is just another flavour of "transvestite" because they've simply never come across it before.

And thank you, Zoe, for your patience and willingness to educate us. I know a transgender woman (I didn't know it when we first met) and have read up a fair amount about it on the web, but your postings have filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge and understanding.

But... but... 'you're awesome' isn't a question.

Quite so...
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So, what for Thursday/Friday? I've offered two suggestions but, to save everyone time from having to sort through lots of posts, I'll summarise here:
  • We get the beginning of a new arc, a Yelling Bird or some other kind of filler;
  • We follow Marten and Claire to work (presuming that this is a work day); they encounter a spontaneous congratulatory party at the library because Dora has leaked the big news to Tai after they visit CoD.
« Last Edit: 08 Oct 2014, 07:19 by BenRG »
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MooskiNet

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To put this scenario in front of us and then to get mad at us for asking the question in a respectful manner is kind of a dick move and I would like to think that he is not that kind of guy.

I think this is a misstatement of the situation.  Nobody's getting mad at anyone for asking; they're responding patiently that the results of discussing this particular topic go uniformly badly, and are therefore not allowed.  I think where the anger comes in is when someone, having been told this, goes on to say 'BUT I WANNA TALK ABOUT IT!  IF YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO TALK ABOUT IT WHY'D YOU MENTION IT?', etc., etc.

Subject is verboten, for reasons stated.  Can you just be okay with  that?
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So, what for Thursday/Friday? I've offered two suggestions but, to save everyone time from having to sort through lots of posts, I'll summarise here:
  • We get the beginning of a new arc, a Yelling Bird or some other kind of filler;
  • We follow Marten and Claire to work (presuming that this is a work day); they encounter a spontaneous congratulatory party at the library because Dora has leaked the big news to Tai after  they visit CoD.

3: Clinton overreacts.
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rschill

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When I signed up here I read this whole thread.  It helped me not make people repeat and repeat and repeat the same answers to the same questions, then the same questions again, and then the same questions once more. 

ZoeB has incredible patience along with an incredible mind and knowledge base.  I admire the hell out of her. 

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anahata

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And another thing...

Marten's Dad recently married ANOTHER MAN!
How come we didn't get all this "below the belt" speculation about the "difficulties they might face" in their relationship?

I know they are not mainstream characters, but if they were, or there was another gay couple* centre stage in the cast, I don't think lots of readers would be demanding anatomical details for "context and insight" reasons to do with understanding their relationship.

*Oh! I've just remembered about Tai and Dora... well, we didn't have all that discussion and controversy about what they did between the sheets, did we?

I rest my case. Double standards.
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Keep in mind that transpersons (transpeople?) have to face attacks on their gender identities ALL THE TIME, and should not have to do so when discussing a webcomic. So a bit of extra sensitivity from the rest of us really isn't much to ask, is it?

I agree.
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eschaton

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Sorry guys, this is an aside, but looking over Claire from the introduction, has anyone noticed that Jeph has slowly made her more appealing?

I mean, physically speaking, she's gotten shorter, more feminine looking, and more attractive.  This transition was mostly done by the wedding arc (no homeliness left but the buck teeth), but even looking back at the lake house arc, she still kinda looked like a drowned rat.  And in terms of her personality, she originally would go on these long-winded speeches, along with tease people mercilessly.  She's mellowed over time.  Still loves puns, but doesn't quite put out zingers any longer.  She doesn't seem as anxious any longer either, although that may be because she's gotten more comfortable around Marten.   

Of course, there are many cases where Jeph has changed the fundamental direction of characters.  Hannelore took awhile to become her present self.  Steve degenerated from a fairly well-rounded guy (remember the Meena arc?) to a nice but broish dope who seems to have nothing in common with Marten (hard to imagine that Animal Collective is one of his favorite bands any longer).  And Marigold started out just repulsive, but had her edges softened enough to make her merely irritating. 

My favorite strips lately are the ones with May. Mostly because she's kind of a dick. She's the only one around who seems capable of rolling her eyes and calling people out on their pithy bullshit. I know everyone else likes that the strip has this lovey-dovey kindness and acceptance group therapy thing going on, but I feel like if things get any more saccharine I'm going to get diabetes. It just feels fake. Like QC is suddenly 7th Heaven with facial piercings. Life isn't like this. Hell, the earlier arcs had some unrealistic stuff, but at least it was funny. Remember when Faye would attack people outright and the rest of the cast would chuckle? Now it seems like it would become Yet Another Big Damn Deal.

I can relate to this.  QC used to make me laugh all the time back in the day.  It can be witty these days, but not really that funny.  Part of it is we never see much of Pintsize anymore - his non sequiturs were part of what gave the drama of the human characters proper balance.  May in't actually funny, but she fills some of the void from another perspective. 

Your response, though, makes me wonder  because I hadn't considered that Marten is basically doing a repeat of the Dora situation, where he gets into a relationship with someone who has a huge crush on him, and who he liked well enough but likely would not necessarily have pursued. If Delilah had given him her number, I think Marten would have tried dating her. I'm not trying to say Marten is settling for Claire. I think he genuinely likes her and maybe the night out and seeing her with her hair down made him realize he was attracted to her. But I do sort of wonder if we'll ever see Marten in a relationship with someone for whom he has feelings similar to those he had with Faye - he was upfront about his attraction, willing to pursue, and bummed when it didn't happen.

Yeah.  I get the idea that Marten has been attracted to Claire, and likes her as a friend, but he's not really swooning over her.  He's more thinking "Well, I'll give this a shot, why not?"

Honestly, this would make for a great mini-arc, where Faye kind of does a "WTF" about Marten not having shown interest in Claire before, and Marten then having to justify it.  If Faye saw that Marten was interested, I think she would have hinted it to Claire in the bar the other night. 
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hedgie

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Thanks for the warm welcome! And just to clarify, I get everything you said, I'd feel the same.
But the thing is, I don't know anyone who're trans,
That you know of.  It's quite possible that you have met any number of trans* people who "pass" (goddess, how I hate that word in this context) easily.  And don't feel bad, many of us know few or any openly trans* people in real life, at least closely, so ignorance is common.  Fuck, I'm still ignorant, even after reading and interacting on these fora for a bit over a year now.  When someone I used to work with came out to me near the start of his transition, I was awkward, stumbling over words, and didn't know what to think.  It didn't help that we were both heading in different directions, and the encounter was brief.  At least, thanks to both the people here who gave out information that they didn't have to, as well as research on my own, I was able to ask such questions as "Oh, what should I call you? (both name and pronouns), and actually hang out.  Believe it or not, once you see someone as the person they are, instead of *what* they are, it feels perfectly normal.

Quote
and having lurked a bit I realize it's an entirely different world, so to speak, and I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I've only stated to learn about all this stuff in the month I've been lurking, so I'm still a bit wary of saying something stupid. Also, I may just be a bit paranoid after reading the now-locked trans* dating/prejudice thread
This thread is really long, but is a good resource.  And I'd worry less about saying something stupid, since plenty of people here have done so, and not just on this topic, but in general.  I know I have, usually after too much drink, or because the meds are treating me funny.  Main thing is just don't be an arsehole.
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Dang, Ben, you could write some freakin' awesome fanfiction.

Yeah, the problem is that, like Marten, I'm fundamentally lazy. Big plans, big ideas but rarely the discipline to see them through!

Now, onto a different subject. Who'd like a funny story arc of a Mom-bar-crawl? Beatrice, Veronica and Mrs A all run into each other in CoD (all there for their own reasons) and find a weird kind of kinship from the fact their children are all wrapped up in each other's lives. They go to a bar to discuss abnormal child development/family dynamics and end up getting trashed and trashing a few bars.

Cut to next morning and Marten, Hannelore and Claire are bailing them out. They look pretty worse for the wear; Mrs A has a piercing that she doesn't remember having before and Beatrice is sure that she didn't have a "My Daughter is a Metal Goddess" tattoo on the small of her back before. Jimbo is in the next-door lock-up and tells Marten that he thinks he is in love.

Word cannot express how much I love this idea!
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Apostate

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Sorry guys, this is an aside, but looking over Claire from the introduction, has anyone noticed that Jeph has slowly made her more appealing?

I mean, physically speaking, she's gotten shorter, more feminine looking, and more attractive.  This transition was mostly done by the wedding arc (no homeliness left but the buck teeth), but even looking back at the lake house arc, she still kinda looked like a drowned rat.  And in terms of her personality, she originally would go on these long-winded speeches, along with tease people mercilessly.  She's mellowed over time.  Still loves puns, but doesn't quite put out zingers any longer.  She doesn't seem as anxious any longer either, although that may be because she's gotten more comfortable around Marten.   

Of course, there are many cases where Jeph has changed the fundamental direction of characters.  Hannelore took awhile to become her present self.  Steve degenerated from a fairly well-rounded guy (remember the Meena arc?) to a nice but broish dope who seems to have nothing in common with Marten (hard to imagine that Animal Collective is one of his favorite bands any longer).  And Marigold started out just repulsive, but had her edges softened enough to make her merely irritating. 

My favorite strips lately are the ones with May. Mostly because she's kind of a dick. She's the only one around who seems capable of rolling her eyes and calling people out on their pithy bullshit. I know everyone else likes that the strip has this lovey-dovey kindness and acceptance group therapy thing going on, but I feel like if things get any more saccharine I'm going to get diabetes. It just feels fake. Like QC is suddenly 7th Heaven with facial piercings. Life isn't like this. Hell, the earlier arcs had some unrealistic stuff, but at least it was funny. Remember when Faye would attack people outright and the rest of the cast would chuckle? Now it seems like it would become Yet Another Big Damn Deal.

I can relate to this.  QC used to make me laugh all the time back in the day.  It can be witty these days, but not really that funny.  Part of it is we never see much of Pintsize anymore - his non sequiturs were part of what gave the drama of the human characters proper balance.  May in't actually funny, but she fills some of the void from another perspective. 

Your response, though, makes me wonder  because I hadn't considered that Marten is basically doing a repeat of the Dora situation, where he gets into a relationship with someone who has a huge crush on him, and who he liked well enough but likely would not necessarily have pursued. If Delilah had given him her number, I think Marten would have tried dating her. I'm not trying to say Marten is settling for Claire. I think he genuinely likes her and maybe the night out and seeing her with her hair down made him realize he was attracted to her. But I do sort of wonder if we'll ever see Marten in a relationship with someone for whom he has feelings similar to those he had with Faye - he was upfront about his attraction, willing to pursue, and bummed when it didn't happen.

Yeah.  I get the idea that Marten has been attracted to Claire, and likes her as a friend, but he's not really swooning over her.  He's more thinking "Well, I'll give this a shot, why not?"

Honestly, this would make for a great mini-arc, where Faye kind of does a "WTF" about Marten not having shown interest in Claire before, and Marten then having to justify it.  If Faye saw that Marten was interested, I think she would have hinted it to Claire in the bar the other night.

Couple things.  HRT does change people over time- curves become a thing, skin gets softer, etc.  Speaking from personal experience there.  Shorter, okay, that doesn't happen as far as I know but art does shift.  Personalities also change as people get more comfortable with the people they're around, so that's those concerns taken care of.

I'm interested to see how the rest of the cast reacts to recent events.
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That's why I feel it is important to shed some light on what Marten is really thinking and feeling.
Hasn't today's comic? He's feeling that whatever happens, he's willing to work through it. Isn't that good enough for an answer?

Actually yes. I am happy with it. It lets me get into his head and helps me with the story. Thats all I ever wanted really.
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BenRG

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Sorry guys, this is an aside, but looking over Claire from the introduction, has anyone noticed that Jeph has slowly made her more appealing?

This was briefly addressed in last week's thread, IIRC. I wondered if there might be a 'POV' element to it and Jeph is letting us see how she's beginning to change in Marten's eyes.

However, don't forget that people can and do change as they build life experience. Claire strikes me as one of those people (that always seem to gravitate to Marten's social circle) who haven't had much in the way of socialisation or proper friends previously. I'm wondering if at least a part of Claire's physical and behavioural changes comes from actually having people whose opinion she cares about giving her feedback. She's noticed that people don't react well to her behavioural rough edges; she's not been around Clinton in-strip recently so we haven't seen that wonderful fratricidal love they share displayed much and, most importantly, she's had people telling her when she does and does not look good - people whose opinion she respects like Marten, Tai and possibly other main characters (not just in 'hot/not' forms as well; it's possible that she's tidied up her hair because Tai, as her manager, has had to formally warn her about her dress and grooming as an employee of the College). All of this is combining to make her develop and alter her behaviour to be a better part of this social group. All humans do this (at least ones who are socially successful). She's also had bad examples (grumpy!Faye, cuckoo!Emily and asocial!Marigold) to learn to avoid copying.

Of course, I'm pretty sure she's openly flirted with Marten on occasions, the blue dress being the most recent example. If, even on a subconscious level, she is trying to impress him, then she'll take more care with her appearance.

[edit]
Oh, and, of course, Jeph's art style is always evolving. Even though I know from his Livestreams that he tries to use past references to avoid making characters change too much, as he develops the character in his own mind, the way he portrays her will change accordingly. Yes, in Claire's case, that may have included changing from another baby sister surrogate (amongst the many others Marten has) to a potential romantic match-up.
« Last Edit: 08 Oct 2014, 07:44 by BenRG »
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bhtooefr

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I really think Claire's height, or at least how it appeared, was just Jeph figuring things out, and art style.

Then again, her eyes are at Marten's mouth level in 2203, her first appearance... and they're still at his mouth level in 2807, yesterday's strip.
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rschill

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I wouldn't read too much into the smaller details.  Jeph has has an ever-shifting, ever developing style.  it is interesting to kinda skim from the beginning and look at every tenth or twentieth page and watch him develop. 
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ZoeB

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Marten's Dad recently married ANOTHER MAN!
How come we didn't get all this "below the belt" speculation about the "difficulties they might face" in their relationship?

I know they are not mainstream characters, but if they were, or there was another gay couple* centre stage in the cast, I don't think lots of readers would be demanding anatomical details for "context and insight" reasons to do with understanding their relationship.

*Oh! I've just remembered about Tai and Dora... well, we didn't have all that discussion and controversy about what they did between the sheets, did we?

I rest my case. Double standards.
+1 Insightful
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Ok, this is pretty much the most amazing thing to happen to anyone in a comic ever. Sure it ain't going to be easy (would it be a good story if it was?), but as neither Marten or Claire care about that neither do I.

I know it's not normal to put gifs on here, but I thought this one was highly appropriate. Well done Mr. Jacques, you are fantastic and if I wore a hat I would doff it to you.
(click to show/hide)
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jwhouk

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Did Marten ever did something to deserve all the crap he got? There doesn't need to be a reason to why things don't work out for some people. She liked someone but this someone ends up with her friend.

He decided to become the lead character in a webcomic featuring coffee houses and little robots. ;)
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If you're asking questions honestly, it's okay.  You won't be stepping on any toes by asking questions if you honestly don't know better.  I'd be perfectly willing to clear up any misconceptions about people like me.

I appreciate the encouragement, but the thing is, I feel I DO know better, at least compared to before. I've been lurking and reading old threads (the trans* threads, the WCDT when Claire came out, and sort everything ZoeB posted come to mind). But part of me has not 'adjusted', for the lack of a better word.

Speaking of which, this:
Head, meet desk.

Don't discount the possibility that some people still think "transgender" is just another flavour of "transvestite" because they've simply never come across it before.

And thank you, Zoe, for your patience and willingness to educate us. I know a transgender woman (I didn't know it when we first met) and have read up a fair amount about it on the web, but your postings have filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge and understanding.

But... but... 'you're awesome' isn't a question.

Quite so...

I agree with all of this.

So, what for Thursday/Friday? I've offered two suggestions but, to save everyone time from having to sort through lots of posts, I'll summarise here:
  • We get the beginning of a new arc, a Yelling Bird or some other kind of filler;
  • We follow Marten and Claire to work (presuming that this is a work day); they encounter a spontaneous congratulatory party at the library because Dora has leaked the big news to Tai after they visit CoD.
Let's not forget Clinton. He could easily fill up the rest of the week.

Warning - while you were typing 10 new replies have been posted, and Clinton have been mentioned. You may wish to review your post.

Dammit. That's what I get for responding to multiple persons.

Warning - while you were typing 5 new replies have been posted. You may wish to review your post.

Oh come on!
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TieDyeKat

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Can we go back to discussing pancakes?

Sure. These are true greasy spoon diner pancakes.



Warning - while you were typing a new pancake has been flipped. You may wish to renew your syrup.
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Welcome, Forgotten Felix (for clarity's sake we'll have to call you Felix II: Electric Boogaloo), and thank you for wanting to understand it all!


I haven't posted anything on the WCDTs about this, usually because there's been 15 responses every minute and it's getting impossible to keep track of what's going on.

But I'm going to say this. I identify as a (mostly)straight cisgendered male, and right now I am dating someone who is trans. Their genitalia doesn't matter to me. The fact that they're trans doesn't matter to me. They are a person. I am attracted to them as a person (And a fucking awesome one at that.) This is the same as what Marten is feeling right now.

This post made me smile. Thank you for sharing.
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marsman57

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Not enough posts about how Clinton is going to flip his **** when he finds out.
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Tub

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discussing a character's motivations shouldn't be off-limits, and I don't really see how we can discuss Marten's motivations without discussing how he feels about the dreaded subject. It's not a question about what Claire has, but about what Marten feels about what Claire has.
Nothing about that is said in the comic, and it's unlikely that jeph intends to address this. So it wouldn't really be a "discussion" but just "wild speculation".

If anything, we can go meta and assess that Jeph wouldn't hurt his LGBT readers by allowing her trans status to ruin the relationship, and from there we can extrapolate that what Marten said in today's comic is his honest opinion and trans-related issues are not going to stop him.

In this thread, we've had people who clearly couldn't believe that it wouldn't be a problem, and we've had people sharing personal experiences where it clearly wasn't. Which just says that people are different, there's a whole spectrum of opinions. Feel free to examine your own opinions on the matter, in private. Not much good has come out of discussing it in public, though.

Let's be honest, if Jeph did not want us to at least be curious about it then he should not have put the main character in the situation in the first place.
In other words, if Jeph didn't want disrespectful discussions in his forums, he shouldn't have allowed a trans character in his comic to start a relationship? Is that what you're saying? :-o

Sorry guys, this is an aside, but looking over Claire from the introduction, has anyone noticed that Jeph has slowly made her more appealing?
The art style changes. For all characters. Compare Marten and Faye from their first comics, or even from the comics a couple months ago. I wouldn't give such observations too much weight unless the characters address it.
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Thedrd0nna

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I know it's not normal to put gifs on here, but I thought this one was highly appropriate. Well done Mr. Jacques, you are fantastic and if I wore a hat I would doff it to you.
(click to show/hide)

I keep a special doffing cap on hand for occasions just such as this.
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Quote
To put this scenario in front of us and then to get mad at us for asking the question in a respectful manner is kind of a dick move and I would like to think that he is not that kind of guy.

I think this is a misstatement of the situation.  Nobody's getting mad at anyone for asking; they're responding patiently that the results of discussing this particular topic go uniformly badly, and are therefore not allowed.  I think where the anger comes in is when someone, having been told this, goes on to say 'BUT I WANNA TALK ABOUT IT!  IF YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO TALK ABOUT IT WHY'D YOU MENTION IT?', etc., etc.

Subject is verboten, for reasons stated.  Can you just be okay with  that?

Not really, no. Not for the reasons you are thinking though. I may not be "Okay" with it but that's my problem.  :-D
I may not like it but I can respect it.
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BenRG

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Not enough posts about how Clinton is going to flip his **** when he finds out.

He already gave Marten the "hurt my sister and I hurt you" speech back at the Lake Party. I can see him reluctantly tolerating this, mostly because he probably knows from taking to Claire and their mother that she's got a super-size crush on Marten. However, I think he's going to restate that he will hurt Marten if he's just toying with her.

Then they shake hands like gentlemen should...

MARTEN: "You know, I really thought you'd use your robotic hand to try to crush mine or something."

CLINTON: "There are hard-coded force limiters in the servos. I can only impart a certain level of grip force before it reaches the limit and won't tighten any further!"

MARTEN: "You mean... they gave you a robot hand and you can't use it to crush people's skulls like eggshells and stuff? Man, it sucks to be you!"

CLINTON: "Tell me about it."
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MooskiNet

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Quote
Then they shake hands like gentlemen should...

No, then they put on Victorian gloves and top hats and depart the awkward zone like gentlemen should. :)

You really should write more of this stuff; you're good at it.
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TieDyeKat

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Grr now I'm hungry and its all your fault !  :-D

I get that a LOT.
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Fig

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I dunno, Clinton's robot hand does have a Murder Mode
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BenRG

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I dunno, Clinton's robot hand does have a Murder Mode

I think that "murder mode" is just Clinton's excuse for being a nasty *&%$ sometimes and hitting people with the titanium-aluminium alloy fist. Besides, the next strip, he cools down; I just think he was super-worried that Marten forced himself on her or something.
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Let's be honest, if Jeph did not want us to at least be curious about it then he should not have put the main character in the situation in the first place.
In other words, if Jeph didn't want disrespectful discussions in his forums, he shouldn't have allowed a trans character in his comic to start a relationship? Is that what you're saying? :-o

No. I meant what I said. I never said anything about "disrespectful discussions in his forums" or "shouldn't have allowed a trans character in his comic to start a relationship". If the relationship itself is going to be one of the focal points people are going to have questions. Thats it. I like the development and hope that the fact that She is Trans has little impact on the future. The only point I am trying to get across with my previous statement is that by putting main character in this situation(maybe scenario would be a better word) it is going to make people think of questions that respectful people would not ask. Thoughts are nether good or bad, its the actions we take that make them good or bad.
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DrBear

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I wouldn't worry about Clinton's hand. Faye's already made sure it knows who is boss.



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Honkytonk

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I know it's not normal to put gifs on here, but I thought this one was highly appropriate. Well done Mr. Jacques, you are fantastic and if I wore a hat I would doff it to you.
(click to show/hide)

I keep a special doffing cap on hand for occasions just such as this.

Whilst I don't smoke and never have, I do actually keep a pipe on my desk for looking smug/gesturing/putting in my mouth to help me think when I'm writing. I should get a doffing cap.
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