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Author Topic: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?  (Read 6120 times)

AprilArcus

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"All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« on: 19 Feb 2015, 16:53 »

April, I love that post on Marten's evolution as an LGBT ally, but I can never find it when I want to.  I suppose I should just bookmark it, but might I suggest you post it in its own discussion page?  That way, it won't get lost in the archives so easily, and we can discuss/add to it as the story progresses.

Marten's transformation from zero to hero pretty much coincides with Tai joining the inner circle. If you watch the interaction, Tai is almost Marten's Obi-wan. She's nearly as chill as Dale.

Marten's exposure to Tai's relaxed attitudes toward social incest and gender identity has certainly coincided with the queering of his cultural baseline.

Before he meets her, he's already a good ally — he loves and accepts his dad and supports Pintsize through a sexuality crisis. But he's also defensive about his heterosexuality, has a somewhat faulty narrative about his dad's orientation, an unexamined gender-essentialist outlook on his mom's social circle, and a slightly prudish attitude toward his own sex life.

On two occasions, Dora tries to rile him with a trans joke. The first time (before he meets Tai), he takes the bait:

Quote
Dora: So I guess this would be a bad time to tell you I used to be a man.
Marten: No, see, the way my life works is you'd wait until after we had sex to tell me that. You know, let me get the full afterglow going before you shatter my mind.

The second time (after having worked with Tai for most of a year), he is utterly unflappable:

Quote
Dora: Maybe you realized you didn't love me. Or you wanted a girl with a penis.
Marten: Is that seriously something you worry about?

So I'm totally comfortable with the notion that it was through Tai's influence that Marten became the kind of person who would be able to listen to Claire's story without prying, process a drunken cuddle without outing her, and ultimately be the kind of person who could start a relationship with her and not even bring up the gender stuff until she did first. And it's also plausible that it was through exposure to Tai's own casually polyamorous fuck-knot that the idea of his close friend dating his ex came to feel normal to him — enough for him to feel real compersion.

Quote
Compersion (n.) A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.

So while I'm comfortable asserting that Marten learned his cultural queerness from Tai, I don't know if I'm ready to say that's where he got his chill-ness from. It seems to me like whenever he talks to her about his relationship with Dora, she's either generically encouraging, or graphically jocular. And Tai is not precisely chill herself, at first. It seems to me that she slowly mellows out in parallel with Marten's reactive disillusionment at Dora's distemperate passion.

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #1 on: 19 Feb 2015, 17:14 »

Glad you posted this!  I was afraid my suggestion might've been lost in the shuffle on the other thread.  And I didn't mean to imply that the first half of your original post wasn't also worth preserving, but I suppose a Dora & Marten vs. Dora & Tai analysis might be worth a page on its own, especially if Jeph starts to explore the fallout of Faye's firing (alliteration!) on Dora, both in her role as boss and friend as well as her relationship with casual-pot-user Tai.  As if you're not busy enough already with the timeline thread...
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #2 on: 19 Feb 2015, 17:15 »

I didn't go through all your bookmarks, but I'd suggest that from what we learned right off the bat from Marten's mom, he may have had prolonged exposure to all manner of sexual identity while growing up. Yeah, it was a throwaway comment by his mom, but still.

EDIT: Yeah, you did have that down.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #3 on: 19 Feb 2015, 17:41 »

One thing that doesn't get mentioned often enough is Marten's answer on Tai's sexuality survey.  I don't think that part of the timeline has been tackled yet and I'm not sure how long he and Tai have known each other at that point, so I'm not sure how well it fits into your analysis.  But, for me at least, 1024 serves as evidence that Marten isn't completely straight--that is, his sexuality is fluid enough that he's not completely opposed to dating someone who isn't a cisgender woman, and although he may have had reservations in the beginning of the comic, but he's certainly matured since then and learned more about himself and others.  So it never seemed strange to me that he could pursue Claire romantically without spending several days' worth of strips trying to rationalize to himself whether or not he's actually comfortable dating her.  He likes Claire, Claire likes him, they want to try a relationship together, and that was always good enough for me.

Edit, because I'm worried I may have said something wrong: When I say that Marten might not be "completely straight," I really just mean that he's not of the straight-and-narrow (as the kids might say) variety.  Plenty of straight people, especially straight men, when asked if they've ever been attracted to someone of their own gender, would answer with a resounding "NO!"; Marten didn't.  Furthermore, plenty of straight men out there wouldn't consider a trans woman to be a "real" woman and wouldn't consider dating them; Marten's actions since 2800 say otherwise.  As passive as he is, if he wasn't comfortable with Claire, he wouldn't have shown up for pancakes the next morning and asked her out.

I'm still worried that I've said something wrong, so someone should reassure me.  :psyduck:
« Last Edit: 19 Feb 2015, 19:05 by Gladstone »
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #4 on: 19 Feb 2015, 18:52 »

I think it was SubaruStephen who said "Marten is straight but not narrow". Magnificent turn of phrase.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #5 on: 19 Feb 2015, 19:22 »

Honestly, I was paraphrasing a bumper sticker, but it applied to Marten so well I just had to quote it.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #6 on: 19 Feb 2015, 20:24 »

Vell, Marten's just ziz guy, you know?!
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #7 on: 20 Feb 2015, 00:00 »

And Wikipedia has had a userbox for several years now that says "This user is straight but not narrow." I don't know if they were quoting a bumpersticker or the bumpersticker was quoting them...
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #8 on: 20 Feb 2015, 08:29 »

Pretty safe to say that they were quoting the bumper sticker. I think I first saw the expression on a Don't Panic! shirt back in the early 90's, definitely pre-Wikipedia.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #9 on: 20 Feb 2015, 18:01 »

Pretty safe to say that they were quoting the bumper sticker. I think I first saw the expression on a Don't Panic! shirt back in the early 90's, definitely pre-Wikipedia.

Which is based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #10 on: 20 Feb 2015, 18:16 »

The "Don't Panic", or Wikipedia itself?
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #11 on: 20 Feb 2015, 18:20 »

Pretty safe to say that they were quoting the bumper sticker. I think I first saw the expression on a Don't Panic! shirt back in the early 90's, definitely pre-Wikipedia.

Which is based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...

No, I'm talking about a store in the West Village (on or near Christopher Street -- don't remember exactly where 'cause it's been a while) that was there in the late 80's and closed probably in the late 90's/early '00's (I think).

ETA: Hedgie, I think he's referring to the "Don't Panic," though I'd heard somewhere that Wikipedia was inspired by the H2G2.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #12 on: 22 Feb 2015, 13:38 »

I've been using the phrase since college in the 80's, don't recall where I heard it or if I had a particularly clever moment and came up with it independently...

It sort of comes up naturally when you have a lot of LGBTQ friends. 
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #13 on: 22 Feb 2015, 14:37 »

Our comment in the 80's was "We're DOOMED!  And that's the good news."
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #14 on: 23 Feb 2015, 09:43 »

I thought it was "Save the Lemming" or was that just me?  :psyduck:
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #15 on: 31 Mar 2015, 17:26 »


Before he meets her, he's already a good ally — he loves and accepts his dad and supports Pintsize through a sexuality crisis. But he's also defensive about his heterosexuality, has a somewhat faulty narrative about his dad's orientation, an unexamined gender-essentialist outlook on his mom's social circle, and a slightly prudish attitude toward his own sex life.

On two occasions, Dora tries to rile him with a trans joke. The first time (before he meets Tai), he takes the bait:

Quote
Dora: So I guess this would be a bad time to tell you I used to be a man.
Marten: No, see, the way my life works is you'd wait until after we had sex to tell me that. You know, let me get the full afterglow going before you shatter my mind.

The second time (after having worked with Tai for most of a year), he is utterly unflappable:

Quote
Dora: Maybe you realized you didn't love me. Or you wanted a girl with a penis.
Marten: Is that seriously something you worry about?

So I'm totally comfortable with the notion that it was through Tai's influence that Marten became the kind of person who would be able to listen to Claire's story without prying, process a drunken cuddle without outing her, and ultimately be the kind of person who could start a relationship with her and not even bring up the gender stuff until she did first. And it's also plausible that it was through exposure to Tai's own casually polyamorous fuck-knot that the idea of his close friend dating his ex came to feel normal to him — enough for him to feel real compersion.

So while I'm comfortable asserting that Marten learned his cultural queerness from Tai

I dunno, I would say he was already pretty comfortable with it, having been around them all his life.  His mother establishes in a strip that a lot of the "aunts" he had growing up were actually drag queens, so I don't think it took Tai to make him be comfortable with Clarie's story of her trans,nature.   He's never shown any problem with people's sexuality in general, but when the conversations about his own sexuality have come up, yes he's more private than the other characters, except Faye.   That's not a sign of being uncomfortable about the subject, so much as feeling that he should be allowed to have his private life if he wishes, which is why he was so pissed at Dora for casually invading his privacy when he specifically asked her not to.    If a person wants to share their personal nature with me, about their gender identity, or sexual orientation, I don't have a problem with it personally, and in fact have reacted pretty much as casually as Marten did with Claire when I've had similar situations in real life.   But discussing my own sex life is another matter, just because someone else shared their story with me, doesn't mean I have to share with them.    I also don't think it would require being around a person like Tai to make Marten be the kind of person who wouldn't "out" somebody for a drunken cuddle or other type situations.  That just seems like a jerk move by itself, and Marten isn't the kind of guy to go around being a jerk to people, even if he has a legit reason to do so.  He just doesn't judge people based on who they are.

As to his Zen-ness, I'd say it's just a part of who he is.   Where it comes from? Who knows, maybe from his dad some, as the times we've seen him, he's seemed to be a pretty laid back kind of guy.   But I would warrant that it's just the core nature of Marten.  He's not phased by much in the long term.  Sure things might sneak up and shock him in the immediate, but for the most part, he's cool with whoever doing whatever, and doesn't really worry about it.     I think it's because he knows who he is.  He might not know what he wants, but as far as who he is, he's got that sorted out already, and so things don't flap him very much.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #16 on: 02 Apr 2015, 04:44 »

About the "dudes looking at other dudes while they pee" strip, Jeph states in the info-box at the bottom that he ALSO hates that, so that's more just his own foibles coming into play. And I don't think it's really being "defensive about heterosexuality" to get weirded out by someone staring at you while you pee. His remark about Dora's "revelation" of being a man shattering his mind is more of a gag than something transphobic, too. I mean, no matter HOW open you were to people on that particular spectrum, that would pretty much be a mind-blowing revelation. And yeah, "no poo poo on the pee pee" isn't really being prudish- he just says he doesn't like anal sex.

I agree that Marten's always seemed pretty open about stuff like that- he's largely unflappable right from the beginning of Tai describing her Poly lifestyle to him if I recall correctly.
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AprilArcus

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #17 on: 05 Apr 2015, 12:32 »

His mother establishes in a strip that a lot of the "aunts" he had growing up were actually drag queens, so I don't think it took Tai to make him be comfortable with Clarie's story of her trans,nature.

In context, it seems clear to me that some of Veronica's cabaret friends were drag queens, and some of them were trans women, and that neither Veronica nor Marten really understood the difference. "Actually dudes" is not a kind thing to say about either a trans woman or a drag queen, and Marten has an undisguised disgust reaction when the topic comes up. If that were how he currently related to Claire's gender, she wouldn't be dating him, and that's why I cited strip 457 as an example of the growing up that Marten did between spring '04 and summer '05.
« Last Edit: 05 Apr 2015, 12:38 by AprilArcus »
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #18 on: 05 Apr 2015, 21:24 »

and some of them were trans women, and that neither Veronica nor Marten really understood the difference.

Or knows the difference all to well.  One makes a statement declaring themselves a transwoman and the other does not. Considering any other factor is verbotten and do keep in mind all would be preforming in a drag show, thus if none made the statement to Veronica she'd have no reason to make the distinction. You're not suggesting she call someone a transwoman who hasn't first, to her knowledge, self-applied that label?
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #19 on: 06 Apr 2015, 20:22 »

His mother establishes in a strip that a lot of the "aunts" he had growing up were actually drag queens, so I don't think it took Tai to make him be comfortable with Clarie's story of her trans,nature.

In context, it seems clear to me that some of Veronica's cabaret friends were drag queens, and some of them were trans women, and that neither Veronica nor Marten really understood the difference. "Actually dudes" is not a kind thing to say about either a trans woman or a drag queen, and Marten has an undisguised disgust reaction when the topic comes up. If that were how he currently related to Claire's gender, she wouldn't be dating him, and that's why I cited strip 457 as an example of the growing up that Marten did between spring '04 and summer '05.

Oh I agree that he's grown up, I don't agree with your statement that the only reason he didn't out Claire, or basically act like a jerk when she revealed her secret to him was because he hung out with Tai.    Marten has been the "shoulder to cry on" and counselor for a lot of people.  He's the relaxed guy who doesn't judge people because of who they are.  That's why Faye was able to tell her story about her father to him.   He didn't out Faye's story to other people, not because of any personal interaction with someone similar, but because he's just a decent guy.   Same thing applies for Claire.   
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rschill

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #20 on: 07 Apr 2015, 02:06 »

Perhaps off-screen he read a few articles and books about trans* issues.  Maybe he read a thread or two in an online forum?

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #21 on: 07 Apr 2015, 02:34 »

Marten is fundamentally a decent man. He may not have started out particularly sympathetic to trans* persons or trans* issues. The point is that there is a huge gulf between no particular empathy and the level of casual malice that would make him 'out' someone without their specific consent.
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AprilArcus

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #22 on: 07 Apr 2015, 22:13 »

Marten and Vicky thought nothing of disclosing the trans* status of her friends to Faye in a jokey, cavalier way. Why would he hesitate to do the same vis a vis Claire (in a situation that involved him much more directly and presently) unless he had substantially rethought his position?

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #23 on: 07 Apr 2015, 22:23 »

Source please ApirlArcus



Or any other Archive-Fu Master
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #24 on: 07 Apr 2015, 22:38 »

Marten and Vicky thought nothing of disclosing the trans* status of her friends to Faye in a jokey, cavalier way. Why would he hesitate to do the same vis a vis Claire (in a situation that involved him much more directly and presently) unless he had substantially rethought his position?

Marten said that several of his mom's friends were trans*.  He didn't name names, Faye doesn't know any of them, and I doubt Faye will be thinking "I wonder if this is one of the trans* friends Marten mentioned" if the occasion happens where she does end up meeting someone from Vicky's social circle.  It's not good behavior, but it's thoughtless rather than malicious.
Claire is someone highly connected to Faye's social circle through Marten.  Faye knows her, and if Marten disclosed her status, there's no ambiguity.  Claire could easily end up getting hurt by this, which takes it from "maybe that wasn't the best thing to do" to "that was a jackass move, Marten".

There's no real evidence for this one, but given Vicky's social circle, it's likely that her trans* friends told people readily.  Claire has asked Marten not to volunteer that information.  Very different level of openness about it, neither being wrong, but having an impact on whether you should talk about it if something brings it up.

Marten can do thoughtless things sometimes.  But he doesn't intentionally pull jackass moves.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #26 on: 08 Apr 2015, 05:02 »

Wait, drag queens count as trans*?
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #27 on: 08 Apr 2015, 05:22 »

Wait, drag queens count as trans*?

I believe that true transvestism is considered to be on the trans spectrum, yes. This should be differentiated from male performers who dress female for their act and only for their act. However, from what Veronica says, these people were true transvestites who habitually dressed and some perhaps even identified as female.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #28 on: 08 Apr 2015, 06:03 »

Ah, alright. Thank you for the clarification.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #29 on: 08 Apr 2015, 15:15 »

Marten and Vicky thought nothing of disclosing the trans* status of her friends to Faye in a jokey, cavalier way. Why would he hesitate to do the same vis a vis Claire (in a situation that involved him much more directly and presently) unless he had substantially rethought his position?

Because discussing people who are already out (in this case the drag queens from Marten's past), is different from someone who is obviously telling you a very close kept secret (in this case Claire).  It's the abstract issue of saying "a lot of the girls I thought I was hanging out with were actually my mom's drag queen friends"  and "hey, did you know that Claire, the specific individual person is trans?"  They are not equivalent things in the realm of information given.  Marten didn't name any of those men specifically, he just commented that a lot of them happened to be men.  And the fact that he was sort of weird about that, doesn't mean he was anti-trans, or unsympathetic to trans issues.   It just means that he was awkward trying to flirt with someone who he thought might be female, because he is apparently attracted to women, and then finding out they were actually men in disguise.  Being uncomfortable about that surprise revelation is totally different from being anti-trans.   

And since you have previously cited that strip where Dora jokingly suggests she's actually a guy, just to mess with Marten's head, you could easily say that she's just as anti-trans as you think Marten used to be.   Her statement implies (in theory at least, I'm playing devil's advocate here), that there is something wrong with that revelation, and she knows it, otherwise she wouldn't have used it as a way to try and get a dig into Marten.  Jokingly or not.   Also, when she beat Faye over the head for potentially "scaring Marten over to the gay side", implying there is something wrong with that.   Those statements were made for comedic value, and don't necessarily suggest that someone is anti-anything.   

If I was dating a woman, and had already been in an intimate relationship with her, and she came out and said "Oh yeah, by the way, I was born a guy but I had surgery/treatments to swap genders"  It would shatter my mind too.  And guess what, I'm totally fine with transgender people.  It would be a shock that would have to be dealt with.  The sudden revelation about something that was kept from you, possibly feeling betrayed that they didn't tell you before anything got far in the relationship, how that impacts who you are and who you see yourself as.  To say that it would fuck with your head, as Marten said, is a perfectly natural response, to the scenario that Dora presented.   It doesn't mean that he has any issues with trans people.  Besides, I'm pretty sure that Tai doesn't know that Claire is trans anyway, so I don't see how hanging out with her would make Marten be more Pro-trans than before.  If you are implying it's because of her lesbian nature, well he grew up around gay people all the time, and hung out with them.  So I would say it's still not because of Tai, and still say it's because Marten is actually just a good guy, who isn't the kind of guy who would "out" anyone about anything they confessed to him in a trusting way.   It doesn't have anything to do with being around anyone, it's just how he is.

Marten was made aware of Claire's nature as a trans when they were still just friends, and so the development of his feelings for her from the start, were coming from a place of understanding about who she is.  Which (I think), is why he isn't worried about it.  It was a soap opera-esque drama bomb, laid in his lap mid relationship (cue dramatic organ music, and fade to commercial), it was simply stating a fact up front.   He accepted it like he does everything else about his friends, with an open mind, and no judgement.  The attraction came after because of that honesty, not because he works with a free-spirited lesbian.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #30 on: 11 Apr 2015, 05:46 »

His mother establishes in a strip that a lot of the "aunts" he had growing up were actually drag queens, so I don't think it took Tai to make him be comfortable with Clarie's story of her trans,nature.

In context, it seems clear to me that some of Veronica's cabaret friends were drag queens, and some of them were trans women, and that neither Veronica nor Marten really understood the difference. "Actually dudes" is not a kind thing to say about either a trans woman or a drag queen, and Marten has an undisguised disgust reaction when the topic comes up. If that were how he currently related to Claire's gender, she wouldn't be dating him, and that's why I cited strip 457 as an example of the growing up that Marten did between spring '04 and summer '05.
Honest question: I can get why it's impolite to describe a trans-woman that way, but why a drag queen? Using "young male parlance" (which Marten & Steve both actively speak), anyone who's a male is a "dude", so it seems like Marten's just describing the situation (I knew a couple of drag queens a few years ago, and they both described themselves as gay men pretty freely). And yeah, he's clearly not interested by the idea of men flirting with him, which is pretty understandable for the heterosexual male that he is/was. Especially because he was a teen at the time. And most of the guys I know would have found that absolutely TRAUMATIC at that age, such is the homophobia of youth- Marten's reaction is pretty normal and subdued.

And obviously, the strip was written QUITE a few years ago (before "The Talk", even), and to be honest, the "proper public dialogue" of terms for the LGBTQ spectrum has changed so rapidly over the years that it's nearly-impossible to keep track, especially for the trans portion of it- even now it's highly-complex and full of "oh wait I hope that's not offensive" mistakes (I've read blog posts where someone posted a sexy picture of themselves, and a random watcher said "wow, you're an attractive woman/I like women like you" or something like that, and the target came up with "well thanks, but I actually identify as an ____ ____ ____" with a bunch of different terms... I mean, how would he know without a scorecard, right?).

Jeph, who I am fairly certain was never anti-trans or LGBTQ in any way, probably had no idea what the "proper" terms were either, given the time that comic was posted, and especially in the early days, tended to have Marten express his views about certain things.
« Last Edit: 11 Apr 2015, 06:29 by Jab »
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AprilArcus

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #31 on: 12 Apr 2015, 10:44 »

Honest question: I can get why it's impolite to describe a trans-woman that way, but why a drag queen?

Good question, with a few answers.

1. "Dude" isn't an unloaded term for a man, it is a term for a masculine man engaged in dude culture. I know plenty of men who are definitely 100% men but who would bristle at being described as "dude" or "bro". While it's possible for me to imagine a drag queen who has a "dudely" affect off stage, that is at odds with the kind of drag queen who would go to a friend's house party en femme.

2. Contrasting drag from what would have been called "transsexual" identities in the '90s and what is now known as "transgender", sensu stricto: drag is gender-based, highly sexualized performance art in a public context, and can be done by cis men or trans women (or any other gender). Being a trans woman is a pervasive, 24/7 lived experience independent of performance or sexuality. The fact that Veronica's so-called "very convincing drag queen" friends would attend a private house party en femme indicates that their feminine identification extends into their private lives and that they might also be trans women.

3. If a quarter of Veronica's burlesque friends were so "convincing" that young Marten had no inkling after their trans* status, they might very likely have been medically transitioned trans women on hormones. It's possible (and would be in character) for Veronica to be oblivious to this shibboleth.

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Using "young male parlance" (which Marten & Steve both actively speak), anyone who's a male is a "dude"

Marten doesn't use "young male parlance" anymore, and that change corresponds roughly to the introduction of Tai to the cast. Steve still does. This is part of the broader point I'm making about Marten's evolution.

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And most of the guys I know would have found that absolutely TRAUMATIC at that age, such is the homophobia of youth- Marten's reaction is pretty normal and subdued.

There is nothing normal about being a homophobic youth. Homophobia isn't a natural stage we pass through on the way to enlightenment, it's just the product of unquestioningly absorbing the messaging of a homophobic cultural background. Young Marten gets no pats on the back from me, but present-day Marten certainly deserves credit for unpacking, re-examining, and abandoning that cultural baggage.
« Last Edit: 12 Apr 2015, 21:47 by AprilArcus »
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #32 on: 12 Apr 2015, 23:18 »

1. "Dude" isn't an unloaded term for a man, it is a term for a masculine man engaged in dude culture. I know plenty of men who are definitely 100% men but who would bristle at being described as "dude" or "bro". While it's possible for me to imagine a drag queen who has a "dudely" affect off stage, that is at odds with the kind of drag queen who would go to a friend's house party en femme.

2. Contrasting drag from what would have been called "transsexual" identities in the '90s and what is now known as "transgender", sensu stricto: drag is gender-based, highly sexualized performance art in a public context, and can be done by cis men or trans women (or any other gender). Being a trans woman is a pervasive, 24/7 lived experience independent of performance or sexuality. The fact that Veronica's so-called "very convincing drag queen" friends would attend a private house party en femme indicates that their feminine identification extends into their private lives and that they might also be trans women.

3. If a quarter of Veronica's burlesque friends were so "convincing" that young Marten had no inkling after their trans* status, they might very likely have been medically transitioned trans women on hormones. It's possible (and would be in character) for Veronica to be oblivious to this shibboleth.
Ah, OK- cool! Thanks. The "going to a friend's house en femme thing is a bit I hadn't considered. It DOES make me wonder if Veronica knew the difference. Or Jeph (there's a good chance he didn't. I mean, it was obvious that "they were VERY convincing drag queens" was a punchline more than anything meant to be taken apart and read into).

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Marten doesn't use "young male parlance" anymore, and that change corresponds roughly to the introduction of Tai to the cast. Steve still does. This is part of the broader point I'm making about Marten's evolution.
Well, Marten still uses "dude" I think, but Steve has become much more of a "bro" over time. I think this isn't so much about Tai's introduction to Marten changing how he speaks and reacts about things, and more about Jeph the writer including Tai as part of his attempts at diversity/inclusion. I don't think Marten was taken aback by any of her descriptions of the poly lifestyle at Smif, for example.

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There is nothing normal about being a homophobic youth. Homophobia isn't a natural stage we pass through on the way to enlightenment, it's just the product of unquestioningly absorbing the messaging of a homophobic cultural background. Young Marten gets no pats on the back from me, but present-day Marten certainly deserves credit for unpacking, re-examining, and abandoning that cultural baggage.
I think it's quite common for teenage boys to be a lot more defensive about their heterosexuality than they would be as adults- in this case, literally phobic of homosexuals. Anything out of the ordinary or unknown to you can be quite disconcerting at that age, and the clique-ish nature of kids makes that even worse ("OMG- they're DIFFERENT!"). Pretty much everyone I've ever met was more of an ass at that age. I certainly was.

I think that's why anti-gay bullying in High School is so much of a thing- I don't think that keeps up to such levels into adulthood, once people have matured a bit. Obviously it still does for SOME folks, as we all unfortunately know of many examples, but I think a lot of people mellow out.

Good example: You wouldn't have caught me dead hanging out with drag queens or going to a gay bar in High School- I wasn't ANTI-gay, but there was just no way I would go. Only a couple years later, I was going to one with my bisexual girlfriend at the time, and talking with her drag queen friends (both gay males).
« Last Edit: 13 Apr 2015, 00:22 by Jab »
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valkygrrl

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #33 on: 13 Apr 2015, 07:02 »


1. "Dude" isn't an unloaded term for a man, it is a term for a masculine man engaged in dude culture. I know plenty of men who are definitely 100% men but who would bristle at being described as "dude" or "bro".

But that's in your circles, not everyone lives immersed in post-modernist queer culture. In my circles and probably jab's since the question was asked, it is an unloaded term for man, it is not an identity. In most of the united states saying that Tyrion and Varys are 'a pair of dudes on a road sea trip' is perfectly acceptable, Varys is hardly a dudebro. You're attributing extra meaning to Marten's words which is fine for analyzing greater cultural trends but not for parsing individual intent. Marten _meant_ man and that's how we're expected to read it.

While it's possible for me to imagine a drag queen who has a "dudely" affect off stage, that is at odds with the kind of drag queen who would go to a friend's house party en femme.

Really? That term is used unironically outside of the tri-ess crowd now? Awful, reducing womanhood to an aesthetic, almost as bad as the infantilizing "girl mode." Not even the transsexual menace used to.... *sigh* I'm getting old.

  might also be trans women.

And you're hinging your whole argument about outting transwoman on a 'might.'  A 'might based on an aesthetic choice, not a lived experience (no evidence) or even an identity (no evidence) that you're describing so how does that extend beyond a vague well there's a chance of something the characters don't know therefore they were kind of jerks especially when....

It's possible (and would be in character) for Veronica to be oblivious to this shibboleth.

And this is why that 'might' is so bothersome. Why would it be in character? Veronica did/does _fetish porn_. Corsets and high heels are guaranteed to lead to a huge trans following, it's only the fact that she's not a lesbian that keeps her from hitting the trifecta. She's not supposed to know anything about her audience? She's going to be unaware about the attitudes of her fans, clients and co-workers? Someone she works with isn't going to tell her? Why not? It isn't going to break stealth when drag queens are already assumed to be gay men.


Marten doesn't use "young male parlance" anymore, and that change corresponds roughly to the introduction of Tai to the cast. Steve still does. This is part of the broader point I'm making about Marten's evolution.

Which is valid except on the matter of outting. Nothing in that past strip or his past behavior indicates he or Veronica would have done something as shitty as outting someone else. General douchieness doesn't necessarily or even probably extend to breaking a confidence. Like I said, someone who performs as a drag queen is assumed to be male, so all of this hinges on Veronica being told otherwise and then disregarding it. Something we have no evidence for.

There is nothing normal about being a homophobic youth. Homophobia isn't a natural stage we pass through on the way to enlightenment, it's just the product of unquestioningly absorbing the messaging of a homophobic cultural background. Young Marten gets no pats on the back from me, but present-day Marten certainly deserves credit for unpacking, re-examining, and abandoning that cultural baggage.

On that at least we can agree.
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AprilArcus

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #34 on: 13 Apr 2015, 09:05 »

Awful, reducing womanhood to an aesthetic, almost as bad as the infantilizing "girl mode." Not even the transsexual menace used to....

womanhood-as-aesthetic is an appropriate lens for discussing drag-as-performance art.

public drag acts, private crossdressing, and transitioning are not "better" or "worse" ways of being transgender (sensu latto), they are just different modes of self-expression qualified by a hostile, transphobic world. Transitioning is currently the most socially acceptable of the three but at different times and in different cultures this hasn't been true, or even possible.

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Why would it be in character?

Because on other occasions Veronica has demonstrated bad boundaries and a willingness to insult people for the sake of a joke.

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #35 on: 13 Apr 2015, 09:42 »

Awful, reducing womanhood to an aesthetic, almost as bad as the infantilizing "girl mode." Not even the transsexual menace used to....

womanhood-as-aesthetic is an appropriate lens for discussing drag-as-performance art.

But not the concept of gender identity

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public drag acts, private crossdressing, and transitioning are not "better" or "worse" ways of being transgender (sensu latto), they are just different modes of self-expression qualified by a hostile, transphobic world. Transitioning is currently the most socially acceptable of the three but at different times and in different cultures this hasn't been true, or even possible.

I maintain that if the distinction between trans and homosexual is not made then it is homophobia.

Of those three only the last could be used as an indication of identity since it would logically follow but even then under queer theory (Which as you know I don't hold to, I use dysphoria as the standard) none of the three are necessary, only holding an identity is, and that can't be known until stated. And as far as it goes, identity isn't required for any of the three, the acts alone could have any motivation.

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Why would it be in character?

Because on other occasions Veronica has demonstrated bad boundaries and a willingness to insult people for the sake of a joke.

Delightfully transgressive doesn't equate to 'to the pain' she just likes to see people squirm. We're talking about what would be a particularity malicious act. Outting transwomen is what CB (initials to avoid her google alerts, we're in the  public part of the forum and she's a nasty piece of work) does. She would _have_ to know how bad it is, she couldn't do the work she does and be oblivious.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #36 on: 13 Apr 2015, 14:44 »

Given that she told her son about the preferences of the client who's a Senator, breaking the most important imaginable professional confidence, it's fair to question her ethics.

What is "tri-ess", please?
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AprilArcus

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #38 on: 13 Apr 2015, 17:42 »

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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #39 on: 13 Apr 2015, 18:53 »

Come to think of it, an adult performer flirting with a high school boy could be creepy.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #40 on: 13 Apr 2015, 18:59 »

Come to think of it, an adult performer flirting with a high school boy could be creepy.

Have you spent any time around drag queens?

Edit: By the way yes creepy but there are different kinds of creepy and this would be the "since it was always expected to be taken as a joke it didn't occur to me that it was creepy thank you for explaning" as opposed to the "what the hell are you doing you creep" kind of creepy.
« Last Edit: 13 Apr 2015, 19:52 by valkygrrl »
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #41 on: 13 Apr 2015, 19:18 »

I seem to remember Marten saying something about his 13th birthday.  I can't find it, though.

And that *is* creepy.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #42 on: 13 Apr 2015, 19:23 »

Can't find it either, but that was in response to Emily's question about how many girls he's kissed.  It was a rather high number (27?) compared to the number of girlfriends he's had, the reason being that his 13th birthday party was very weird.  No mention of any of his mother's friends being involved, though.  Probably just lots of games of Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven.  People still play those, right?
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #43 on: 13 Apr 2015, 19:31 »

I seem to remember Marten saying something about his 13th birthday.  I can't find it, though.

 Here you go: 2569.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #44 on: 13 Apr 2015, 19:54 »

Come to think of it, an adult performer flirting with a high school boy could be creepy.

Have you spent any time around drag queens?

Edit: By the way yes creepy but there are different kinds of creepy and this would be the "since it was always expected to be taken as a joke it didn't occur to me that it was creepy thank you for explaning" as opposed to the "what the hell are you doing you creep" kind of creepy.

No, I haven't. Would that be a typical thing for them to do?
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #45 on: 13 Apr 2015, 20:23 »


No, I haven't. Would that be a typical thing for them to do?

Eh... people are individuals of course but there are cultural... memes? Saying something just to see a straight boy squirm isn't unheard of.

Probably better to let April talk about that one though, my experience is very peripheral, having spent time socially with individuals in friend of a friend type situation, only enough to get a feel not a deep understanding. My own meatspace trans friends are all post-ops (now) so that's the trans faction whose attitudes and history I know best, having made my first trans (that I know of) friend in 1997. Add in some volunteer work with Lambda Legal in the early oughties (Sodomy then some marriage equity were the main focus at the time with some HIV related stuff and the ever present employment discrimination-adoption-child custody trifecta) and you get a gradient across queer culture of this I've been in the middle of, this I know well, this I know some, this I've been exposed to, this just plain perplexes me. Drag comes between know some and been exposed too and falls closer to the exposed side.
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #46 on: 13 Apr 2015, 21:46 »

Vell, Marten's just zis guy, you know
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #47 on: 14 Apr 2015, 14:19 »

Honest question: I can get why it's impolite to describe a trans-woman that way, but why a drag queen?

Good question, with a few answers.

1. "Dude" isn't an unloaded term for a man, it is a term for a masculine man engaged in dude culture. I know plenty of men who are definitely 100% men but who would bristle at being described as "dude" or "bro". While it's possible for me to imagine a drag queen who has a "dudely" affect off stage, that is at odds with the kind of drag queen who would go to a friend's house party en femme.

It used to be pretty close to masculine/neutral for a while.  15 years ago the younger women around my social circles were calling each other that.  Before that, it seemed to have more of a stoner connotation. 
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #48 on: 14 Apr 2015, 17:00 »

Honest question: I can get why it's impolite to describe a trans-woman that way, but why a drag queen?

Good question, with a few answers.

1. "Dude" isn't an unloaded term for a man, it is a term for a masculine man engaged in dude culture. I know plenty of men who are definitely 100% men but who would bristle at being described as "dude" or "bro". While it's possible for me to imagine a drag queen who has a "dudely" affect off stage, that is at odds with the kind of drag queen who would go to a friend's house party en femme.



It might be a loaded term for men in your circle of interaction, but you aren't representative of the entire human condition.  The followers of Dudeism would find your definition of the word highly incorrect, and probably offensive.  The fact that the nerd culture has created the term "dudebro", and attached a negative connotation to it, doesn't exclude the fact that plenty of people use it in a neutral way.  Words mean different things to different people.   
"The Dude abides."
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Re: "All Zen-Contented": Who is Marten Reed?
« Reply #49 on: 14 Apr 2015, 17:09 »

Yes, April, shame on you for not considering the feelings of fans of The Big Lebowski.
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