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Pest Control

We won’t see Alex again for some period, so this is an opportune time to review my intentions behind him. With that said, this is NOT an “In Memoriam,” so rest assured he’s not dead. Spare me the hate mail. 

Alex Green "Pervin' it since 2009" Pervin it since 2009 Concept: When I was in high school, and several years afterword (the dumbass age,) every girl I knew that had a complete self-involved assclown for a boyfriend was named Alex. The name for me is stigmatized. Is EVERY Alex an assclown? Obviously not. If you’re reading this and are named Alex, I don’t consider you an assclown. I consider you very cool and encourage you to keep reading. I’ll also throw the name “Seth” in there for good measure. Every Seth I’ve ever employed when in management was completely worthless, rude, and socially nuclear. So if you can gather what I mean from this, the concept is on par with anyone who ever said “Oh I’m never dating a “Justin” again because of such and such.” Or I’m never friending another “Kimberly.” Silly? Maybe. But this is why his name is Alex. Fantasyland Background/Personality: Hmm.. I don't think we've ever discussed fanservice in the comments yet... =P I had cut some strips that elaborated on his state of origin, but he hails from Illinois. He comes from a family that’s of means (not ultra rich, but well off.) This was originally something he touted. How he’s Mr. Big City in a town of moderate size. I do intend to delve into his character more in the distant future, so it’s something I’ll save. What Alex was attending school for was not art. It’s something that will be of importance later. Art was more his side-interest. In the beginning, many readers associated Alex as my own self insertion into the strip. If that were true, that would be some self loathing of epic proportions. I hate his character. If his drawing came to life I would smash it on the table. All too often, because the creators of visual media are artists themselves, they portray their creative characters in an overly  cheery, docile, inquisitive light. The gentle dreamer. I really wanted to break from this. There is actually a tremendous amount of ego involved in art. If you ever feel inclined to get into a pissing match for pissing sake, find an artist. Pick a subject, watch ‘em go. Ever read an artist’s blog/twitter when they’re talking about social issues? The government? Religion? Yeah... wow. You ended up taken aback about how extremist they were on a certain matter? Alex encompasses that. Alex is also narcissistic (like many of the characters still are at this point.) Alex is a loaner to some degree. Alex is highly opinionated. Alex has spent much of his life learning from, consulting with, and mutually agreeing with, people that already share his world view. Alex is not wrong, and will spend hours of his own time researching counter arguments to any evidence you have that he IS wrong. He will do said research ..preemptively. He’s ready in waiting for the chance to put some “close-minded, backwards hillbilly” in their place. The hot word right now is “millennials” right? For our current young adults? I call them Generation Omega, since by the time I’m 60, they will bring about the fall of mankind. If they don’t, their kids sure will. It’s not the fact they’re atheist or religious. Conservative... liberal... whatever. What side of the argument anyone’s on isn’t the core of the issue. What Alex epitomizes is the new “Screw the last billiondy years of human interaction, belief system, moral compass, what-have-you... I know the truth. I learned it all by myself. I’ve got it all figured out right here. BEHOLD MY WISDOM” We’ve all been like this. It’s the bullheaded, self enlightened part of life. It’s a bridge we all get to. Just less people are seeming to get off anymore. This is a topic I could easily get REALLY into talking about, but then I’d be on my soapbox. And referring back to what I said about creative folk, right? Ha. Importance to Social Decay: “If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”   -Paraphrased from whoever. Very true. But the flip side of that quote is another quote: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”   -A Plumber Learn from history history’s mistakes. But learn history’s successes too. What has worked? What brought us to this point? The old guard DOES NOT ALWAYS offend if he’s safely gotten us thus far. What Alex doesn’t get, is not everything needs to be broken, then subsequently refashioned. Alex is susceptible to treating people as such ‘things’ as well. I wanted to make a point with his character early on, which may have led readers into think my own mindset was aligned with his. That was the following: Evangelical Crap Rest assured I don’t agree with every character. On either side of the aisle. What I want is for multiple voices to be represented. There are plenty of Alexs out there in the world. There are plenty of Quinns and Ellies as well. These characters can’t always agree with me. They can’t parrot out every thought in my head about MY personal views on life. Have you ever read a comic and said to yourself “Ok, yeah... this is totally the artist cramming his viewpoint down my throat.” Me too. It drives me nuts. It’s the most off-putting thing in comics. Anyone read a comic where one character is advocating other characters to vote for certain candidates in elections? 2008 anyone??? Me too. Get off it already. Just draw your friggin cartoon. Media is inherently liberal. This comic is not. Nor is it the opposite. It only IS what these characters make it to be. Some are extreme, some aren’t. That’s life. This is my life hurled through a blender and rendered into pixels. While it’s MY life, I am only ONE person involved in it. I can’t listen to my own voice all the time. There are plenty of other voices I listen to daily that don’t agree with me, so my comic won’t always either. Nor you. It’s my way of making it as genuine as I can. Shotgun Shuffle is about many things, some real, some absurd. But the underlying guiding force is the breakdown of social interaction. Right now it’s among peers. The climax is on a more grandiose scale. There were a lot of folks that identified with Alex initially. Liked his character and so on. But then I made him out to be a creepy perv. That was the intention. He’s an opportunist that puts up a fake front. He has some entitlement in his DNA. Why stay with Quinn when Ellie’s better? Or assumedly so. He’s not about trophy wives or girlfriends alone. He’s about trophy people in his life. Everything is an extension of himself. If you were in his life, you’re a mere platform to something better. Quinn dumped his ass when she starting seeing herself in him. When I described him as a loaner, it’s more to a mental degree. He’ll call someone close-minded, but won’t open his own to other views. He’s socially awkward, but he won’t avoid the social scene. He’s special. He’s gifted. He has something to offer others he thinks they desire or need. Whether they know it or not. He’s never learned to be ‘critically’ introspective. Which is imperative to normal human function. He’ll think about what he’s doing. Yes. Certainly. But only about how great it is. After all, he’s got it all figured out. And will surround himself with those that think likewise. In Conclusion: Is he redeemable? I got asked that several times. Would I redeem him, and when. I’ve learned my fair share of hard lessons in life. I’ve lost friendships I never wanted to. Some I was responsible for, some I was not. I’ve gone down in flames trying to salvage relationships in the past. And to be honest, if you haven’t learned it yet, I’m telling you now: Not everyone in life can be redeemed. Some people don’t truly forgive others. Some people like to hold grudges. Some never get over their own narcissism. Some repeat their own mistakes over and over to a degree of sheer insanity. Some never stop listening to themselves. And THAT, is the real killer. I’ve given you two decent quotes. Now I’ll give you the worst one ever uttered: “Do whatever makes you happy.” That single quote is the root driving force of all bad advice. You want someone to leave misery and shattered lives in their wake for their own shallow satisfaction? Tell them that. Give someone complete moral indiscretion? Tell them that. When Alex learns the personal ruin he reaps from that mentality, maybe. Maybe I’ll redeem him. *Puts away soapbox that wasn’t supposed to be used.* Design: On a lighter, more artistic note.. there wasn't much concern on my part over his appearance.  Some who gets up and goes "Whatever." But to him, 'whatever' looks good. And so does his facial hair. I made sure when his glasses were off, his eyes weren’t beady/squinty. I wore glasses as a child, and I hated seeing that when I watched cartoons. Like people who wore glasses were a race of souless molemen. Ridiculous. That and the whole “I can’t see without my glasses.” Come on with that already. Blergh. Alex is a composite character from people I’ve met, but his red hair and general color scheme do reflect someone specific (not of any importance though.) The following are some transitions of Alex as I nailed down his appearance. Alex Art Progression or lack thereof Cast Page Alex

138 thoughts on “Pest Control

  1. Ha! Karma is seriously taking him to town. I love KK’s response to Tommy. I think I want to use that next time someone asks me the point of something.

      1. KK’s response to Tommy was “The point is shutup.” Did you just say that this is “hipster racism”? If so, could you please explain why? I just don’t see any racial connection there. It looks like a generic shutdown, similar to “Because reasons.”

        P.S. One that my friends and I used to use: “The point is IN YOUR EYE.”

        1. I think “hey” is referring to the line “You’re acting like an angry black woman again.” I guess it’s like calling something “gay” when you mean that it is stupid – you aren’t homophobic (racist in this case), and what you are saying is technically offensive, but the majority of people do not care and will not take offense.

        2. Well, my take on the first panel is that Tommy said “Oh uh-uh KK!” and the rest of his dialog while affecting voice intonations like a black woman (probably falsetto), and KK was telling him to cut it out.

          Other things Tommy could have said: “Oh snap!” “Oh no you di’n’t!” “Talk to the hand!” etc.

          Remember, Tommy was described as “an HR nightmare” and he makes a habit of doing things that are unacceptably rude. And KK was his manager until the day they all got fired, and she’s used to slapping him down when he needs it.

          If that’s how we were supposed to take it, then possibly this joke might have worked better for “hey” if KK had said something like “If an actual black woman were here listening to you talk like that, she’d kick your butt.” But that seems kind of long and unwieldy.

        3. Possible alternate script…

          Tommy: Oh uh uh Kay Kay (etc etc)

          KK: I already told you not to do that “angry black woman” voice!

          Tommy: Talk to the hand. You’re not the boss of me!

          I’m not sure it’s funnier, but I do kind of like working in the “You’re not the boss of me” line. Because, she was the boss of him until about ten minutes ago.

      2. Hipsters are a race? Here I was hoping they weren’t breeding. Are they at least chock full of recessive genes so that one non-hipster making a mistake will help filter them out of the gene pool?

        1. Not racism against hipsters but racism by hipsters. Basically, where hipsters thinks it’s okay to say racist things because no one could possibly believe they are racist. I’ve seen various commentary on this, but never actually witnessed it.

        2. I’m cuban-american and I have a particular talent for swimming and eating cheese, especially if it’s on a burger. Let’s go watch some baseball.

          Yes, I’m a tiny bit racist. Do I care? No… not really. Racist jokes can be funny and I’m not willing to not laugh just to appeal to sensibilities of people who I don’t know and don’t care about. You have no idea how many times I’ve made the “black people like fried chicken” joke around black friends. They make it too. Seriously, it’s alright. Just don’t make jokes around Germans; jokes that they hear decay and die almost immediately. (I’m on a roll!)

      3. Anyone that would take offense over that in public needs to reassess their life. My white friends would tell me to shut up before any of my black friends would even care.

    1. Also are Tommy’s eyebrows drawn like most of the girls to accentuate his orientation or does he actually use eyeliner?

        1. I suspected as much but I like understanding the little touches. One of these days I’ll apply what I’ve learned to my own webernet comic =)

        2. Going up to check how you drew his eyebrows, I have to ask, is the neckline in the second panel the same intention (not technically cleavage, but from the ‘more feminine’ perspective…)

        3. The popped collar works for him. Also I have to ask, where in the world does he keep that pack of cigarettes? It wouldn’t fit into a pocket, obviously isn’t going to roll into a shirt sleeve, back pack? Semi-sentient luggage? (I’m hoping for the last one to be honest.)

    1. That sounds like an interview process where you’d want to only hire people who don’t call back excited about if they got the job.

  2. In all seriousness, payback’s a bitch. Alex is so full of himself he doesn’t realize KK is aware of all the crap he pulled on her. So has no problem asking her for help.

    BTW Rusche, I love KK’s new look (who should be on the cast page IMHO). Makes up for Quinn’s new hairstyle.

  3. Ooh… I must be tired, because I didn’t figure it out at first. Ellie wasn’t Alex’s first ‘imaginative’ drawing. I guess that kind of thing could get one kicked out of a school.

  4. I remember working at Gamestop and telling people that we didn’t have any openings and weren’t looking to hire, just to have them ask if they could still drop off an application. One women even called here kids directly after to tell them she got the job.

      1. yeah – I hate people – people suck

        customer service would be such an easier, more satisfying job if it wasn’t for all the people

        1. But working with people gives you the best stories. Take this one for example.

          I was still relatively new in my fast food career and the naive desire to actually help people hadn’t been stomped out yet (but this event was one of the ones that really started to put the fire out). So it’s mid afternoon, I’m running the front counter and we’re slowly climbing towards the peak of the after school rush. A woman in her mid to late 40’s, dressed a notch or two above business casual finishes her to-go order and starts to walk away before turning back to me. “I need my food right away,” she says. Had this happened a year later I’m sure I would have brushed her off with some non-commital comment but nope, I was still full of pep, team spirit and eager to help so I dive into this with both feet.

          “We always do our best to serve our customers as quickly as possible.” Thinking that was a sufficient response I start to take the next persons order when she cuts me off.

          “You don’t understand, I need my food before these other people,” she declares, indicating the probably fifteen or so people already waiting to get their food. There is a line of people building up at my register so I am trying to get her to move along but now she’s got my curiosity.

          “Why?”

          She looks at me like I’m insane, with the raised eyebrow and everything that would seem to indicate it’s obvious why she needs special treatment and I’m dim for missing it. “My mother has Alzheimers and can’t be left alone in the car for very long.”

          So I look at her. I look back at the line of people ahead of her waiting for food. I look out at the parking lot, probably hoping to catch a glimpse of a confused looking old woman tearing out of the parking lot with no idea where she is or where she’s going, and I look back at this woman again, forcing myself to not laugh at her. “Ma’am, why didn’t you use the drive through?”

          One would think that she would have appreciated this lifehack I had just presented her with and thanked me for letting her know this option was available for her next visit where she left her mom locked in a car in the parking lot. But no, instead I got the death glare and she stormed off to flag down my manager. She ended up waiting in line like everyone else for her food though she did make sure I noticed when she left jingling her car keys and glaring alternately between myself and her watch.

          I smiled and waved.

          I can’t say I liked incidents like that but being exposed to how bat shit crazy people really are is a valuable life lesson.

        2. The web site Not Always Right is full of stories similar to this one.

          http://notalwaysright.com/

          Your story reminded me of this one:

          http://notalwaysright.com/driving-miss-crazy/1805

          That last question just floors me. Yes, I would say it really is so much to ask. What would make a person even think that way? (I guess the answer is: severe narcissism.)

          P.S. Here’s one with a happy ending:

          http://notalwaysright.com/every-bad-crowd-has-a-silver-lining/2429

    1. KK should have invited Ellie to join them she needs to be there to mourn the passing of a fastfood place but remember that they were there for the birth of the new master race! So long Alex see you in a few years. I’ll kind of miss him, in the same way I missed the Frank Burns character when Larry Linville left M.A.S.H.

      1. I decided to divide it up, showing Ellie with the high school crowd (albeit there was only Ashliii) and the over 18’s eating breakfast. This is where the story splits. I actually have some panels drawn of Ellie showing up, but it’s redundant to show her eating at a table twice since her birthday thing is coming up.

      2. What with Frank Burns going nuts and jumping into a hot tub to chase who he thought was “Hot Lips” pretty much wrote him out of the rest of the show. Especially when Hawkeye got too pissed off with what Frank got. However, with the end of the series, Margaret was too far grown for Frank.

        Perhaps Quinn = early Margaret, and we’ll get to see her mature.

  5. I get Alex needed to come from somewhere but Illinois? I can’t believe I at one time shared a state with this (fictional) d-bag. Blugh…

    1. I’m from Ohio, but ended up living in the Boston area for a few years. By the time I left, I felt kinda’ bad for the western two-thirds to three quarters of Massachusetts for the fact that people equated people from Boston with people from Massachusetts (“Masshole” was a common description I heard).

      1. I would like Illinois much better if Chicago were to become its own state.

        Or a walled off prison state like a modern day “Escape from New York” type thing.

        1. Not yet, I still have “driving on lower wacker” on my list of things to do.

          I will not call that a bucket list. He types while looking at his “The Blues Brothers” dvd sitting on the stack next to his table.

        2. Lower Wacker is unique I’ll give it that. And it’s a good time to visit, Chicago just got the coveted “murder capital of the country” designation. After all those years of being number three the dedicated mismanagement of resources and strict adherence to the most restrictive gun ownership laws in the country have finally paid off. Suck it New York and Detroit!

        3. Now, I just have to get covert transport of my urban based zombie battle wagon, and I’ll be all ready for Lower Wacker drive.

          *hint* it’s covered with automatic tennis rackets.

  6. I love that, even while losing her job, KK still has the presence of mind to not miss an opportunity inflict some instant karma on Alex.

    I think I love her…

    1. KK is probably my favorite supporting character. I almost clarified “after McFatFat” but that’s ridiculous.

      Everyone knows he’s a main character.

    2. Meh, what with the karma already, KK was bugged to all death almost because of his constant pestering.

      She’s paid him back for all of the assploded phone calls.

  7. To summarize: Alex has sociopathic tendencies.

    Also, who was the a-hole from last night that reported them? A stranger? Or someone we already know? Could it have been… Tired Guy? Perhaps retaliating after his recent facepunch? Hurting BG by going after the people he cares about? That being Ellie in this case, as she is now unemployed, unable to pay rent, and Quinn will have to kick her out, which will cost her the apartment? It’s quite an elaborate strategy?

    In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that he’s not even tired… at all!
    *yanks Tired Guy’s chair out from under him, causing him to stand*
    *everyone gasps*

    1. I bet that’s not even an oxygen tank either! What’re you betting nitrous oxide? Concentrated modelling glue fumes?

  8. See, I have a hard time believing there would have been hate mail over Alex choking his sad little lungs out on the floor of the O’Jacks, with perhaps a ratch or two a-nibblin’ on his patchouli-flavored carcass. Boy, that’s oddly specific…

    1. I would absolutely complain about the years of nightmares Rusche would give me if the ratches got a hold of Alex’s DNA for their next round of mutation. Some things are too far.

        1. No… no no no no no… NO! ToG and pat, we do *~not~* need to have the Raches assimilate with Alex, creating a Hipster Rache (we were pests, *~before~* it bugged the humans) variant. Just… no.

          Anyway. I’m happy to see that pest (Alex) is getting his just deserts… in such an ironic and funny way.

        2. Web cartoonist who has been around quite a while. (Roomies, It’s Walky, Joyce and Walky, Shortpacked and Dumbing of Age.) Of those only the last two are still going, DoA being a reimaging of his universe in a different setting. He’s obssessed with Transformers and Batman. I used to enjoy Shortpacked but IMO it’s slowly collapsing under the weight of its ever increasing cast, the last few additions haven’t really been needed but I will give him props for not being afraid to change things up and he does have characters who change and develop. I do reccomend DoA, it’s not required to have knowledge of his previous works to enjoy and I suspect the fact he’s updating it seven days a week is contributing to Shortpackeds quality drop.

        3. He is someone who I feel fits Chris’ description to the proverbial “T” and I don’t feel like giving him the business. Especially if he is able to generate any internet ad revenue from my unique web visit.

          I used to pay for his work, and while it may….

          Not needed to go into that. His characters are self servants of the author and the author’s exclusive viewpoints. Ergo, just mouthpieces that do nothing than explore the demented little world of his.

          Chris on the other hand, has characters that are able to be picked up out of the webstrip and dropped on Main Street USA, all “Pleasantville” like and able to draw individuals into the action that concerns their interaction with the environment. Because those characters are speaking, not Chris. Now, this would just delve into a philosophical discussion on the diatribe of characters and their inherent attribution to their creator and how much of them are the creator and how much of them is an autonomous extension of a denial of self.

          Willis blurred the line after he ignored by stepping over it and dragging his baggage with him. Chris, has used his artistic license to drive respectfully with the trust that the audience gives him in their willful suspension of disbelief.

  9. Loved that rant. Wish I’d written it. I could start citing examples myself but this post would end up just as long and I’d have spittle all over my screen. Suffice to say that I have many artist friends and I swear half of them seem to go *out of their way* to find things to be angry about. I knew one artist who hated George Bush so he would deliberately make fun of another artist for no other reason than that other artist came from Texas. There’s a word for that, and it is a word that can apply to both sides of the spectrum.

    1. Well, I see Captain Planet, however, Ghostbuster and E.X.O. Squad, The Savage Dragon and X-Men: Evolution redeem thou and feel vanquished that TBS was halted from well, I dunno.

      What’s it like to be a professional in cartoons?

  10. Ah, it is so beautiful to see a creep get some grief. The fact that he thought to apply there when KK was the manager does show some of his narcissistic side, as most guys would be smart enough to realize she probably wouldn’t be too pleased to see him. I would feel bad for him, but he totally deserved it.

    On another note, KK looks good with her hair down.

    1. She has the stressed-out hair wispie similar to Ellie’s.

      One your first point, this would mean Alex had a sense of shame, and up to this point, I don’t think he does, honestly.

  11. Rusche, none of the characters jump out as “I bet that’s Rusche personifying himself” but if you announced one of them was, Alex would never have been my guess. Also, so far this comic has seemed to tell a story as opposed to attempting to preach a point. So mark at least one data point for interpretation that way.

    So if you meet someone named Alex who’s worth a damn, are you going to give them a choice if you call them Zander or Lex, or just pick one?

      1. We even got to mention an Alex webcomic “art – tist” in some of the recent comments sections. That individual was and more than likely is still full of himself.

        And possibly a hipster with no shame.

  12. Why does Alex ask if it is Sunday? Is this something to do with everyone being in church on Sunday morning? The only time I have ever seen a fast food joint that empty is when it is closed.

    1. You’ve never been so confuzzled by current events to not even know what day it is? I have to deal with that several different times throughout a month.

  13. 13 minutes at current traffic information from O’Jacks to International Pancakes!!! Damn, you guys suck down there. I would love International Pancakes. And I’d hop to it.

    I think that the last time I got to eat at one was in New Orleans.

  14. Good comic. Has some nice character moments, a ?villain? gets his comeuppance, and we get more ratch humor. Yup, all win here. Good comic.

  15. No commentary on fanservice yet? Why, we should have some! :)

    Thanks for the insight into your thought process on Alex. It must have taken a while to write, but it was as entertaining as the comic (which I also enjoyed immensely. Although, when I first saw all the different shots of Alex, I thought you might have replaced all of our gravitars again, this time with different versions of Alex.

    I also agree with your point on media being inherently liberal. Without passing value judgments on either side, I find that the skills that lead to success in various media industries match up closely with liberal values.

    1. I don’t think Media is inherently liberal, I think it was liberal for two major chunks of time that affected most of us. Certainly Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine were liberal media folks, and sometime around the 40s or 50s, the idea of “impartial journalism,” intended to work for the good of man, instead of profit, took root in schools, leading to a generation or two of liberal minded, hard hitting journalists.
      On the other hand, both today, and in the Hearst generation, media was inherently conservative, being captured by the very corporate interests they were intended to police.
      When a paper or a TV channel stops to consider the effect of a story on their advertising revenue, they have become conservative.

  16. So Alex lost his loved one (close enough), lost his school and lost his money, is rejected by society (given a bogus applicaiton) and is now being hit with strange chemicals in an area already full of evil rat/roaches mutants that face-impregnate people…..

    If Alex doesn’t become a super villain I will be SO MAD. I can already see here him monologing about how he will destroy his enemies and then cackling.

  17. “Media is inherently liberal”. OK, now that is something I would like elaborated on because that fascinates me. From my point of view it is inherently neutral with specific demographics and media groups being selective.

    Is it because of the (percieved and bogus) fact that liberals use more tech than conservatives and thus use more media?
    Is it because as liberals say “reality has a liberal bias”?
    Is what the media presents as the average American as more liberal than the real average American?
    Is the media more willing to explore new ideas (liberals will argue that the media likes to stick to the status quo and loves to use gay/women/race tropes)?
    Heck, does this statement apply to media in more liberal countries like Canada and Germany, and likewise, more conservative countries like Iran and Russia? I assume we are going by the domestic American version of liberalism rather than the international definition of liberalism.

    1. Well, there is the real concept that the two major centers of media in it’s varied forms (New York and Los Angeles) are much more liberal than main stream. But in the end, it’s more about dollars than anything.

    2. I’ve heard various different arguments, but my view is that journalism tends to be more attractive as a career to people with a liberal mindset than a conservative mindset, so even if a specific effort was made to hire more conservative people, they’d still be the minority. We all have our internal biases that we can’t even notice, as they’re simply part of our perception of the world around us. Add onto that, there’s a psychological “echo chamber” effect where we build our idea of consensus based upon the people we know and talk to, which is what leads to things like both sides of an arbitrary issue completely convinced that everyone agrees with them and they’ll win when it’s closer to a 50/50 split.

      If all my above suppositions are correct (which I believe them to be, though I could certainly be wrong), then a certain amount of honest and unintentional liberal bias will be present in the media.

      Now granted, there’s definitely bias in the media today that’s quite intentional, and I can think of it tracking in both liberal and conservative directions. Though to be honest, that tends to be either more properly described as propaganda or sensationalism. Neither of those are new, we’re just in a period where they’re fairly blatant and shameless about them and there are more avenues of information via the Internet that unmasks more of them.

      1. Note this is a U.S. perspective. I have no idea regarding perspectives in other countries/cultures and have no idea which suppositions would hold or be different.

  18. I missed the “Media is inherently liberal” line, and when others highlighted it here, I… cringed, badly. When subjected to any sort of analysis, it falls, hard, to the truth that media is inherently opportunistic, preferring a ‘balance’ that involves both sides being treated equally, no matter how absurd one side is, because then you generate controversy, and controversy draws eyeballs.

    I’ve occasionally imagined what a liberal-biased media would be like. Trust me, it would be nigh-unrecognizeable compared to the current big media.

    Also, I think you’re being a bit unfair on the subject of politically-oriented characters in comics. I don’t think YOU need to do this, mind you; but if it’s part of the creator’s desires, I think it’s reasonable for them to take that route. Some do it well; others poorly. Obviously, it’s going to turn off a segment of the audience, but that’s acceptable to them; so long as the creator isn’t also whining about how ‘the evil conservatives/liberals’ out there aren’t reading their stuff, then there’s no problem.

    tl;dr: Including political views isn’t ‘wrong’–it just means accepting that a portion of the audience won’t stick around.

    1. I didn’t say it was “wrong” but it can certainly be off putting. And I don’t accept losing a portion of my audience. The examples I’m referring to that I personally have seen were snarky vile and blatantly callous. I wish I had some bookmarked, because they’re ridiculous.

      I’d love to expound but I don’t have the time atm. It will certainly be covered in the comic later.

    2. Freemage, I’m going to keep this very short, as this is a web comic and not a debate page. However, I disagree with you completely. The mainstream media in the USA is tremendously biased in favor of “liberal” politics.

      This web page shows eight ways the media can bias reporting, with numerous examples of each one.

      http://archive.mrc.org/books/identifybias.asp

        1. If an “obviously and explicitly biased organization” tells you that water is wet, does that change the truth or lack thereof in the statement? Water is either wet, or it isn’t.

          Frankly, I don’t know anything about that organization; I just linked a page Google found for me. The things discussed on that page are things I have seen for myself over the years.

          Do you dispute any of the arguments or examples on the page I linked?

          P.S. Politically I am not a “conservative” or a “liberal”. I have disagreements with both sides.

        2. “Much of the time the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Half way between truth and a lie, is still a lie.”

        3. I prefer science over reported truth or even interpreted truth. At least when two people can get the same results, and then have 200 times that many people get the same results, you know you’re onto something.

          However, to take a look at something as volatile as a riot, and say that the ratches rose up and invaded, is biased.

          To be able to look at both sides of the story, and then come to the conclusion, once distilled, as the truth of the matter, is something that the people of this nation have forgot to do, since we’ve becomed used to having our noses pulled on by popular people.

          “You don’t know what’s its like to be friends with any of the people that I know.”

    3. I agree with you that the media is opportunistic and does whatever will draw eyeballs. To quote Rita Skeeter: “The Prophet [a newspaper] exists to sell itself.” I disagree that balance is somehow the model that would bring in the most eyeballs. In fact, I remember in a recent conservative commentators decrying the lack of balance in the media. Mainstream media outlets and commentators complained that give them the balance they were asking for, the MSM would have to cover climate change deniers and creationists, a situation they likened to having to interview the KKK in order to have a story about civil rights.

      I hesitate to expound much further on this, given a) the fact that I recently overposted on a different topic and b) the fact that Rusche has said he doesn’t want to alienate his readers.

      Rusche, I don’t currently see a place in the forums for political discussion. Is there a place where we could dive into this issue further without bothering readers who don’t want to take part?

      In the meantime, I’ll simply end with a respectful disagreement with the 2nd paragraph of Freemage’s post.

    4. Funny, even Jake Tapper recently admitted that the media slants left. And despite his reputation today, I remember when he used to write some of the foulest hit pieces back around 2000 regarding gun-control.

      Those who can’t see how slanted the media is are usually people who also think the NYT falls right into the center of the spectrum of American politics.

    5. Freemage – Longer explanation in a comment above, but in short from what I’ve seen people who track in a more liberal direction seem to be attracted to working in the media, and that will create a small perceptual bias in a liberal direction. Nothing grandiose or deliberate as you’re talking about, but present and noticeable if you look for it (especially if your background is somewhat different).

      I don’t argue about attempts to seed a controversy to gain more viewers, nor do I argue about suppressing stories to avoid losing a big sponsor’s advertising dollars. Those sorts of commercial considerations are an unfortunate consequence of commercial news organizations. But any form of sponsorship for news will lead to some form of negative (state-sponsored will be careful about the state, as Al Jazeera is with Qatar and Russia Times is with Russia; member/listener/viewer-sponsored is dependent upon the engagement and value of their members/listeners/viewers which will lead to low budgets, some degree of catering to what people want as opposed to the searching for “truth”, and possibly government funding leading to similar dilemmas for state-sponsoring).

  19. I found your comment on the “I am always right” artist types interesting, because as a statistician, I have sometimes crippling indecision. Trying to run through all those probabilities and outcomes can get difficult, especially when you try working the actual math.
    I wonder if there is a certain of discipline defining your personality that people know, but aren’t entirely comfortable accepting.
    Like, as an artist, you have to define your style, your voice. Sink or swim, you can’t keep changing it (drastically, at least) if you hope to develop a following. Does this lead to feelings of “This is what I think, and that is final”? Of course, some people handle these things better than others, but that’s the general idea.
    Also explains the Rock Star Diva concept.

  20. As always, your analyses are critical and thought provoking. I’d like to make a detailed response, but quite frankly, I’m still mulling it all over.

    Since I can’t say something witty, I’ll settle for saying this- In panel 2, for some reason, when I look at Tommy, he looks like a vampire. And now that I’m looking at them… Kaz looks like Igor… KK, though, looks slightly older without her ribbons. Kind of like a… mother almost. Does anyone else just see that, or is it just me? She looks like a down on her luck woman, though she seems to be taking things in stride, doesn’t she? I suppose she’s one of the most mature characters in the series so far, barring Mr. Stevens.

    1. I think it’s a bit too early to tell if Mr. Stevens deserves the title of “mature character.” He did track down where Ellie lives and punch Tired Guy. I’m not going to call that an obvious disqualification, but definitely need more evidence.

  21. I was reading your overview of his personality… and suddenly realized that perfectly describes the Alex my cousin married. ><; don't know about the pervy part but…

    oh the other hand, the Alex at my work is extremely gentlemanly and nice. so I guess your experience is 50/50 for me.

  22. the point is revenge is sweet……and lets hope he doesn’t become the omega ratches king after being exposed to all that lol

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