A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    I recall #757 as perhaps the only time I felt annoyed by a punchline on this series. Because, unlike Malak's project, in #757 the woman being brutalized is actually the punchline of the comic. I've done volunteer working with organizations who help battered women, so that's quite a sensitive subject for me.

    But I did not a big fluss about it. Because, hey, even the best scribe makes a blot here and there. And, also, I don't usually complain about free stuff. If I don't like it, I just quit.
    I have to admit, this was my exact thought (and strong enough that I shifted from long-term lurking to registering to make it...).

    This comic has triggering content all over the place. I also have relatives affected by the event in question, and I shared with the OP the sense that this was a direct reference (although my second thought was that it also might have been the more direct reference to the Aztecs as well...). I felt shocked and pulled up by the reference - but that has happened previously in the strip, in reference to other atrocities (we've had a character on the team of the good guys commit a genocidal act!!), and in reference to Tarquin's treatment of his wives, etc.

    These triggering elements often are punchlines, as well, or used in punchlines: it's the nature of the beast, and doesn't make the author a "hack" at all - although it does make the comic one that often juxtaposes genres and light/dark content in a way that, I think at least, actually regularly forces its readers to take a fairly raw look at forms of horrific conduct that we can actually sometimes protect ourselves from through conventional forms of reverence about the horror.

    I'm not exactly comfortable with this strip. But I'm not offended by it, and I don't think this kind of reference should be off the table.

    I'm also, of course, not surprised that people would strongly object as well. But I don't think the objection is intrinsically generated by a personal connection to a particular historical event. There are different ways of navigating, and believing other people should navigate, these sorts of issues.
    Last edited by Kepler; 2013-03-01 at 09:03 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    {{scrubbed}}
    Last edited by LibraryOgre; 2013-03-03 at 09:44 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Simple. Cut the "special chamber" part, replace it with something else. Just these two words, and it's not a reference to a real life atrocity anymore. Even calling it a "special measure" would work.
    Now see that might work for you but you can't tell me noone would be getting offended by it.
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Just because a possible reference to a recent instatiation of an atrocity didn't come with a handkerchief and a shoulder-squeeze for those with connection to said instantiation does not mean that it was done trivially.
    Last edited by SaintRidley; 2013-03-01 at 09:23 PM.
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    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
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    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    When I made the reference, I was more considering post-apocalyptic science fiction like Soylent Green用eople killed in mass numbers to serve as food (which would literally be the case here, since Malack feeds on humans). If I was referencing any aspect of real life at all, it was factory farming, where humans have special chambers built to slaughter millions of cows and pigs each year all in the name of efficiency. I'm a vegetarian.

    I will not pretend that it never occurred to me that anyone could take it any other way, but it was not my intent. Ultimately, I felt that the differences between the reference and the historical event were enough that it would not be necessarily seen that way葉he inclusion of a religious/sacrificial angle and the fact that Malack literally will eat the people killed seemed, at the time, to push it well into the realm of a fantasy event.

    I'm not going to bother responding to the other charges about how I trivialized the Holocaust, because I don't feel that I did. I wrote a line with one specific thing in mind, and I did not properly gauge how other people would take that line. That's a mistake on my part, not an intentional transgression.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by skim172 View Post
    Insulting.
    This is NOT a case of people not caring about the Holocaust. This is a case of people disagreeing with the premise that the comic is a reference to the Holocaust at all.
    While I must admit that there are a few people, such as yourself, who have claimed it wasn't a Holocaust reference, I really can't see how how such a claim makes any sense.
    Of course Rich was talking about the Holocaust. Even if the fact-pattern happens to also fit the Aztecs or whomever, referencing the Aztecs wouldn't serve the narrative purpose here, which was to quickly and definitively establish Malack as EVIL (a topic on which there was still spirited debate among his readership). The Aztecs may or may not have been evil, but the average reader is unlikely to have strong opinions about them.
    So yes, Rich was obliquely referring to the Holocaust as a shorthand way of establishing a character as EVIL. It's not like he hasn't used Nazi's for a similar purpose before (and the phrase "kilonazis," at least, was undoubtedly a joke).

    Where I differ from the original poster is that I don't think that using a Holocaust-analogue as a brief shorthand for Evil trivializes the Holocaust, its victims, or its perpetrators. If Rich intends even the briefest tangental reference to the gas chambers to shock people out of their belief that Malack might not be Evil, then that means that he considers it very significant indeed.

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by allenw View Post
    While I must admit that there are a few people, such as yourself, who have claimed it wasn't a Holocaust reference, I really can't see how how such a claim makes any sense.
    Of course Rich was talking about the Holocaust. Even if the fact-pattern happens to also fit the Aztecs or whomever, referencing the Aztecs wouldn't serve the narrative purpose here, which was to quickly and definitively establish Malack as EVIL (a topic on which there was still spirited debate among his readership). The Aztecs may or may not have been evil, but the average reader is unlikely to have strong opinions about them.
    So yes, Rich was obliquely referring to the Holocaust as a shorthand way of establishing a character as EVIL. It's not like he hasn't used Nazi's for a similar purpose before (and the phrase "kilonazis," at least, was undoubtedly a joke).

    Where I differ from the original poster is that I don't think that using a Holocaust-analogue as a brief shorthand for Evil trivializes the Holocaust, its victims, or its perpetrators. If Rich intends even the briefest tangental reference to the gas chambers to shock people out of their belief that Malack might not be Evil, then that means that he considers it very significant indeed.
    You appear to have the very unfortunate timing of being ninja'd by the Giant contradicting you.
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    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    Just because a possible reference to a recent instatiation of an atrocity didn't come with a handkerchief and a shoulder-squeeze for those with connection to said instantiation does not mean that it was not done trivially.
    I think you have one too many "not"s in there. The last one, specifically.
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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    If I was referencing any aspect of real life at all, it was factory farming, where humans have special chambers built to slaughter millions of cows and pigs each year all in the name of efficiency. I'm a vegetarian.
    Dang. Well if Malack plans to sacrifice people in any way similar to factory farms, he's really REALLY evil.

    But then not many of us have a right to condemn him for it except "Animals aren't as sapient" (This too RL-y?)
    Last edited by Zmeoaice; 2013-03-01 at 09:14 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPGuru1331 View Post
    To the Aztecs, sacrifice was a grand rite that was done in public, not in small chambers, and certainly not 'efficiently'.
    He never said the chamber was small or that it wouldnt be in public. And the Aztecs had alot of spectacle to it sure but the actual process was as efficient as a culture of their tech level could make it. They cut out the heart dump the body cut out the heart dump the body. Not fast but not inefficient.

    And if we're going to nitpick, Malack isnt even close to emulating the holocaust. He's not picking on one race or the sick or a few other races or the gay. He's not lying to his populace to keep them under control. No 'work' camps or trains to take them there. All you have is 'chamber'! A word that has a multitude of meanings.
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  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Some of you guys are still arguing about authorial intent... you might want to slow down just a sec because The Giant answered this question above.
    "And yet, will we ever come to an end of discussion and talk if we think we must always reply to replies? For replies come from those who either cannot understand what is said to them, or are so stubborn and contentious that they refuse to give in even if they do understand." - St. Augustine

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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    I appreciate the word from the Giant himself. I hadn't considered that Malack was going to eat them, but that makes sense.

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  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    I don't feel any lines were crossed here. Malack is evil, and so there you have it out there. It has highlighted that fact, and nothing more.
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  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    When I made the reference, I was more considering post-apocalyptic science fiction like Soylent Green用eople killed in mass numbers to serve as food (which would literally be the case here, since Malack feeds on humans). If I was referencing any aspect of real life at all, it was factory farming, where humans have special chambers built to slaughter millions of cows and pigs each year all in the name of efficiency. I'm a vegetarian.

    I will not pretend that it never occurred to me that anyone could take it any other way, but it was not my intent. Ultimately, I felt that the differences between the reference and the historical event were enough that it would not be necessarily seen that way葉he inclusion of a religious/sacrificial angle and the fact that Malack literally will eat the people killed seemed, at the time, to push it well into the realm of a fantasy event.

    I'm not going to bother responding to the other charges about how I trivialized the Holocaust, because I don't feel that I did. I wrote a line with one specific thing in mind, and I did not properly gauge how other people would take that line. That's a mistake on my part, not an intentional transgression.
    I accept this explanation. I'd just like to point out that people who live in different places are bound to take certain matters differently - what's a thing of the past in one area can still be a pressing matter for many people in another.

    Thanks for giving an official stance on this.
    Last edited by Tengu_temp; 2013-03-01 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Typos.

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  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Edit: On second thought, probably better to drop it.

    Although I do want to go on record as standing by my previous position that if the Giant was making a reference to the Holocaust, it does not automatically make him a "hack", nor does it justify showing up solely to complain about that (and only that).
    Last edited by ti'esar; 2013-03-01 at 09:22 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Thanks for taking the time to give an explanation, Rich. I'm sure that will help everyone feel better about it. It certainly addresses any concern I may have had.

    And thanks for today's comic, as always.

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    When I made the reference, I was more considering post-apocalyptic science fiction like Soylent Green用eople killed in mass numbers to serve as food (which would literally be the case here, since Malack feeds on humans). If I was referencing any aspect of real life at all, it was factory farming, where humans have special chambers built to slaughter millions of cows and pigs each year all in the name of efficiency. I'm a vegetarian.

    I will not pretend that it never occurred to me that anyone could take it any other way, but it was not my intent. Ultimately, I felt that the differences between the reference and the historical event were enough that it would not be necessarily seen that way葉he inclusion of a religious/sacrificial angle and the fact that Malack literally will eat the people killed seemed, at the time, to push it well into the realm of a fantasy event.

    I'm not going to bother responding to the other charges about how I trivialized the Holocaust, because I don't feel that I did. I wrote a line with one specific thing in mind, and I did not properly gauge how other people would take that line. That's a mistake on my part, not an intentional transgression.
    Okay, that would also make sense. And for the record, I figured there was another meaning behind the line and it got misinterpreted. But man, there's no way Malack could eat a thousand people a day unless he was in some sort of contest with the Empress of Blood. Which is a...darkly gruesome and yet slightly humorous thought.

    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many. I personally instantly made the other connection because when you have it taught to you in Hebrew school every single year, and then have it taught at public school with nearly as much frequency, certain verbal connections are stuck in your mind. Thank you for your explanation though, Rich. I really do appreciate it.
    Last edited by CoffeeIncluded; 2013-03-01 at 09:23 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    Come to think of it, you're also implying that if the Giant had meant it as a reference to the Holocaust and had not used that specific word choice, you wouldn't have complained in the first place.
    See im not sure if this is a winning point or not. The issue here seemed largely to be effect not Rich's intent. So if he used a different word choice that had less impact but the same intent it probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue.

    But it kind of should've been? I dunno.
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  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeIncluded View Post
    Okay, that would also make sense. And for the record, I figured there was another meaning behind the line and it got misinterpreted. But man, there's no way Malack could eat a thousand people a day unless he was in some sort of contest with the Empress of Blood. Which is a...darkly gruesome and yet slightly humorous thought.

    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many.
    If his decision to make more children was not a Belkar-exclusive thought, that might not end up being quite as much of a problem, potentially??
    I think I just failed a Spot check.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Definitely, my post had bad timing. Though at least I was only partially contradicted.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Ultimately, I felt that the differences between the reference and the historical event were enough that it would not be necessarily seen that way葉he inclusion of a religious/sacrificial angle and the fact that Malack literally will eat the people killed seemed, at the time, to push it well into the realm of a fantasy event.
    See, I didn't get any sense that Malack would eat the people being "efficiently" killed. He's already explictly stated that he can't drink all the blood from those that are killed "inefficiently". Your intended parallel would have worked for me better if he had been talking about people more as cattle.

  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    I'm european, and half of the history lessons I received at school were about the world wars. Very boring. I'm living in China now, and I have astonishingly little knowledge of their cultural history. That's something that should have been learned during my childhood.

    Despite World War history being continually hammered into my brain at school, when Malack referenced a 'special chamber' to make *sacrifices*, I actually thought of the mayans, not the nazis.

    Evil is evil, and there's no problem with the reference. The comic is very lighthearted, but still makes concealed references to politically sensitive issues. I think the OP is one of those few people who understands the reference (if that was even the writer's intention), but feels offended by it.

    Perhaps the word 'chamber' was simpy ill-chosen, because it's an uncommon word, and seems to allude to 'gas chamber'.
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeIncluded View Post
    Okay, that would also make sense. And for the record, I figured there was another meaning behind the line and it got misinterpreted. But man, there's no way Malack could eat a thousand people a day unless he was in some sort of contest with the Empress of Blood. Which is a...darkly gruesome and yet slightly humorous thought.

    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many.
    It does. Thank you Mr. Burlew. Now go write 777!

    I think it was actually mentioned when the semantics of the word "chamber" were being argued. Not sure.
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    I think you have one too many "not"s in there. The last one, specifically.
    Thanks. Fixed.
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    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeIncluded View Post
    Okay, that would also make sense. And for the record, I figured there was another meaning behind the line and it got misinterpreted. But man, there's no way Malack could eat a thousand people a day unless he was in some sort of contest with the Empress of Blood. Which is a...darkly gruesome and yet slightly humorous thought.

    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many.
    From the first time I read the strip, I had interpreted it as once Malack gets into power, there will be lots more vampires around, some of whom would be his children. I don't think Malack would be eating them on his own. He talks about a unified civilization of Nergal-worship.
    "And yet, will we ever come to an end of discussion and talk if we think we must always reply to replies? For replies come from those who either cannot understand what is said to them, or are so stubborn and contentious that they refuse to give in even if they do understand." - St. Augustine

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  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeIncluded View Post
    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many.
    My thinking is by that point, he would have created a vampire ruling class serving his god. I just didn't want to derail the whole strip explaining it.

    EDIT: Also, I considered using "facility" instead of "chamber." I chose the latter because it strongly implied no spectators, to draw a contrast to Tarquin's method.
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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl45DM! View Post
    See im not sure if this is a winning point or not. The issue here seemed largely to be effect not Rich's intent. So if he used a different word choice that had less impact but the same intent it probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue.

    But it kind of should've been? I dunno.
    Like I said when I edited my post, it's probably better to drop it, but yes, that was my point: it's pretty silly to make word choice a bigger issue than Rich's actual intent.

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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeIncluded View Post
    I think that might have been part of the reason it didn't occur to people that Malack would be eating them though, because there's just so many. I personally instantly made the other connection because when you have it taught to you in Hebrew school every single year, and then have it taught at public school with nearly as much frequency, certain verbal connections are stuck in your mind. Thank you for your explanation though, Rich. I really do appreciate it.
    Then again, him turning the continent into his own personal buffet makes a lot of sense when #872 is re-read right before this -- he's already doing a smaller version right now, and there's a lot of waste.
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    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coineineagh View Post
    Evil is evil, and there's no problem with the reference.
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  29. - Top - End - #149
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ThePhantasm's Avatar

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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutant Sheep View Post
    It does. Thank you Mr. Burlew. Now go write 777!
    Been there, done that.
    "And yet, will we ever come to an end of discussion and talk if we think we must always reply to replies? For replies come from those who either cannot understand what is said to them, or are so stubborn and contentious that they refuse to give in even if they do understand." - St. Augustine

    The Index of the Giant's Comments | Thanks, Bradakhan, for the avatar!

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

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    Default Re: Triggering content in #875

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    My thinking is by that point, he would have created a vampire ruling class serving his god. I just didn't want to derail the whole strip explaining it.
    Okay, that also makes sense. Thank you.

    EDIT: Also, I considered using "facility" instead of "chamber." I chose the latter because it strongly implied no spectators, to draw a contrast to Tarquin's method.
    EDIT: I personally feel "facility" might have been a better choice because it removes the horrible connotations and historical baggage of that specific word, but "chamber" was also a valid choice and of course it's not my decision. Again, I just kinda want to make it clear that I'm not angry at you or anything.
    Last edited by CoffeeIncluded; 2013-03-01 at 09:30 PM.

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