I mean, really, you've got to wonder what everyone else in the bar is doing right now. Is anyone still watching the stage?
Cameos! Previously seen in Book Three, saving Patrick's ass, it's Michel A. You can't blame him for not recognizing Patrick whose hair is no longer on fire, but really, Patrick is a giant dick for not recognizing him. Also, my old friend Ellie.
Two things to get off my chest. First, jealousy might be a natural emotion, but it is still horrible and shouldn't be indulged by anyone. Violence performed as a result of it is repugnant. Watching people defend that kind of behaviour makes my heart sink. Jealousy makes us do stupid things, think irrational, unfair thoughts, and treat like dirt the people we're supposed to love. Jealousy is selfishness, we should not only fight it within ourselves with all we have, but also feel shame whenever we lose that fight. Jealousy is a harmful, destructive emotion. It should never be respected. It should never be accepted. We shouldn't allow it in ourselves, and we should never accommodate it in others. Jealousy is a bad thing. It is a bad thing that only hurts, it never helps.
Greatly enjoying this story line and the comments. Congratulations to Gibson for writing characters with such complication and depth that they're interesting to both read about and argue about. Lauren, Sam, Michelle, Mulligan, Peter, Christo, and so many of the other characters have points of view that I can easily identify with, even when they conflict with each other, and even (especially) when I recognize that they're wrong. Good stuff!
I am going to get myself (verbally) hurt for this, but I disagree with you, albeit only slightly, and perhaps even only in wording. I do not think that jealousy in and of itself is a horrible emotion. I agree 100% that defending violence because the simple fact of jealousy makes it suddenly acceptable is wrong and shouldn't be done, though it sadly often is. I also agree that, when we let it rule our actions, people do tend to do stupid/unfair/selfish things and seem to think they're okay. However, I think that jealousy itself can't be blamed for that. For most people, jealousy should serve as a warning either that they're not as secure in their relationship as they thought they were, or that there's something wrong with the way the relationship is working. I even believe that jealousy can be a constructive emotion if the person affected by it responds in a calm manner and actually brings it up to their partner before letting it turn into the kind of scene we have here with Lauren and Sam.
That said, as to your second point, I'm fairly certain the only acceptable response is applause.
Complete non sequitur, while I am not surprised by the animosity, is there back story I have to go back through the archives for (again, they make good reading on insomniac nights and even better reading on nights off with a pint of Jameson), or are the insults themselves new to everyone else too?
“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Gibson on jealousy.
While i agree that jealousy is not a constructive or positive emotion i dont think Sam takes all responsability for their lack of communication. As a matter of course people are flawed, and will feel jealousy in some situations. While i agree that person should not act out violently, the jealousy needs to be addressed, not just waved off as "you are just being jealous."
I just think Sam and Lauren needed to talk this out, and NEITHER of them was willing to do that. I think both are to blame for their problems with their relationship. Meanwhile Sam is the ONLY person to blame for the punch.
I do think Rick is still a underhanded person, and is causing a lot of these problems intentionally.
I think its admirable, but ultimately misguided, that the friends stuck up for Sam.
And thats my piece.
@Mierin: That logic, while not unsound, is the same logic that says pain can be a good thing because it tells us we are being harmed. Jealousy is not an effect of being harmed, it is an effect of proprietary impulse and insecurity, which are internal. It can be a sign that we need to act, I agree, but I don't believe jealousy is an emotion that tells us we're in a relationship we shouldn't be as much as it should tell us we aren't emotionally capable of a mature relationship.
In the best case scenario, it should tell us we're involved with someone we don't trust, and then our response should be to evaluate why we don't trust them. Most of the time, it seems people just assume it's because the other person is wrong, but is it always the case? Certainly it isn't.
If anything, jealousy should be a sign that we need to better ourselves, but more often, as so many recent comments attest, it is seen as a problem for the other person to fix. This is, among many things, a psychology that abusive partners use to justify or excuse their actions, making it the other person's fault.
Feeling jealous is normal and common, but as are things like lust, we are neither free nor excused to act upon it in any way we see fit. As with everything, we alone are responsible for how we behave, we choose the things we do. It is weakness to lay our actions on the shoulders of others.
I am truly sorry if my previous comments implied I was condoning violence, jealousy, or caused any discomfort. When I look back at the previous page, and now your comments MrTwist, I can see how I may have come off as pretty shallow.
Jealousy is terrible, which I can attest to first hand. Insecurities along with anger that can come out of nowhere, somehow finding this false foundation that disguises itself as "thinking clearly". As we witnessed, it led Sam to violence. Would it have been better for both characters if Sam would have had the self control to stand up to Rick's manipulation by being confident and possibly just walking away? I think it would have, most definitely. However, in my mind I was siding with Sam because I saw a bit of myself, some years back, with a similar situation. I wish I would have had the foresight and the knowledge I obtained later in life to have calmed myself down and left that certain situation entirely.
My fault was not giving the possible pain and angst that Lauren could have been dealing with internally enough credit. Not just in my comments, but while getting involved in the characters, I was empathizing with Sam's turmoil, and did not give Lauren's perspective a fair chance.
If it's not meant to be, let it ride. It took me years after those "college days" to realize that. When all is said and done, these kids are young and figuring life out. I am stepping back from the judgemental soap box I created and will just watch this awesome story unfold =)
@OceanTides: You know, I truly think the most admirable human behaviour is the ability to take a step back and reassess ourselves, regardless of whether we come to the same conclusion. It's a rare jewel in the human treasure chest, seen too often as weakness. For my money, it's one of our greatest strengths. Cheers to you.
I agree that respect is earned, as long as there is a clause stating that there is a "base level" of it that everyone is entitled to by default. Otherwise we would literally walk around being dicks 24/7. Just like any other level of respect, that default level can be raised or lowered of course. But it should exist, otherwise you run the risk of appearing to be conceited. Or worse, you actually are.
i agree that no one must accept jealousy, but i would feel weird if i didn't feel at least a bit suspicious of someone i knew who was trying to steal my boy away especially if they were doing it right in front of my face and i didn't do anything about it
not that i would punch anyone in the face but i would definitely have to do something about it
As someone who used to be an extraordinarily jealous person, now recovered, I feel obliged to speak on this topic a bit.
On the one hand, I agree that indulgence of jealousy is an incredibly poor choice. On the other hand, it's worthwhile to reassure your partner and work with them to take baby steps towards eliminating that jealousy. That means that both partners have to make concessions. Any problem in a relationship is faced in a similar way. Partners have to make an effort to understand and forgive each other, while helping each other mature and grow.
For example, in this scenario, there are a few ways it could have gone differently. Lauren could have asked Sam if he would feel more comfortable with Rick if the three of them hung out doing something Sam enjoyed as well (I dunno, go bowling or hit up a movie or something). That's one possible concession. Another concession could be that she stated early on and clearly to Rick that she wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship with him (my memory fails me; did she do this?). But Lauren absolutely couldn't be the only one making an effort, or it falls under the title of 'indulgence'. Sam would also need to take steps to reduce his jealous behavior and actions, and take steps that demonstrated trust in Lauren (such as making an active effort to get to know Rick and refraining from insulting him to Lauren, instead focusing on talking about his own feelings).
Like any kind of problem in a relationship (finances, housework, sex), jealousy is something that can be remedied, but it takes some time. It also requires communication and honesty about the feelings underneath the surface. The jealous partner must be willing to acknowledge their insecurity and also be willing to overcome it, and the SO of that person must have a little patience as s/he works towards recovery.
You may note the word choice; "recovery." I choose that word because jealousy is indeed a disease, but not an incurable one. It falls in the same realm as many addictions, such as alcoholism, and requires many similar steps.
Today, my jealousy is far below even average-person levels, thanks to a husband who never gave up on me. In fact, we came through jealousy to the other side: we're both polyamorous now, and yet closer and more in love with each other than ever. Jealousy still comes up now and again, but we get through it by recognizing and respecting each other's feelings and talking it out. No indulgence necessary.
On respect being earned vs. owed
I think respect can be both earned and owed at the same time, since respect can be tied to other emotions, such as love. Can one truly love someone if one doesn't respect them? Obviously not. As love is earned, can one say respect is earned as well? I think so. Once that respect is earned, can the people who have supposedly earned it expect it to be shown to them, especially through difficult times? Absolutely. That this expectation is interpreted as being something owed may seem a negative thing, but I don't think it is.
That said, I feel that the main people involved here, i.e. Sam, Lauren and Rick, have failed to show one or both other parties the amount of respect any person should have.
Sam failed to show Lauren respect as he didn't follow through from their earlier talk in which he claimed he could trust her. In Lauren's eyes, that claim probably rings very hollow right now. Furthermore, Sam acted out verbally towards her, as well as verbally and physically towards a man that, in her eyes, did nothing wrong. Obviously, this is cause for alarm. I'm certain anyone can relate to that.
Rick failed to show Sam respect by simply ignoring him in front of the woman he cares about. In Sam's eyes, Rick didn't recognize or chose to ignore his feelings toward Lauren. In essence, Sam is an inconvenience at best, and a non-entity at worst. This, in my opinion, is much worse than Rick simply being where Lauren is.
Lauren failed to show Sam respect as she didn't acknowledge Rick's own disrespect toward Sam, instead accusing him of "acting up" and "being jealous". From what I can see, all Sam was asking for was acknowledgement from Rick; some basic recognition of his existence. When that didn't happen and he brought it up immediately, Lauren got defensive.
That being said, there are much better ways to express ones issues than through being verbally and/or physically aggressive. Sam dropped the ball here, that's for sure, and Lauren's increasing anger at him is intrinsically tied with Sam's increasing inability to control himself.
Should Sam have recognized his own emotions and acted in a cooler manner? Of course, but then the narrative would've taken a very different turn, and I don't think Mr. Twist is going for a "Super Happy Fun Land" vibe here. However, could Lauren also have taken a step back and asked herself why her boyfriend, who's normally as calm as a coma about things, was suddenly so up in arms? Of course.
Obviously, both of these things done by each character would've defused this whole fiasco. When they had their initial talk, way back, about Rick, I thought that would be that, but it got out of hand with Christo having Sam's ear about with own opinions regarding Rick, fueling the flames, and Lauren's complete lack of understanding as to why Sam would feel like crap as Rick failed to show him even the most modest courtesy.
First, to address the respect earned vs. owed thing - I feel that so many people in today's world excuse negative emotions with "It's human" and "Nobody could actually be asked to act differently." Yes, yes they could, in fact. Respect is one of those things that it's okay to say it has to be earned so that we don't have to give respect to anyone. While there's no gun to our heads forcing us to respect someone we don't even know, we should strive to be the kind of people who respect everyone first and allow people the chance to earn the continuance of that respect and prove why you've given it to them. I believe that's a true healthy cycle - I respect you from the beginning, you return that respect, we continue doing things to prove we respect each other whenever it comes up. If we've lost someone's respect, we seek out opportunities to earn it back.
Rick was disrespectful of Sam from the beginning, never even acknowledging his presence. However, Sam's response was also disrespectful. If he'd butted in to say, "Hi, I'm Sam. We're headed to the cafe later, care to join us?" then it's on Rick to be respectful or disrespectful. He should have given Rick the chance that perhaps his lack of respect was out of intimidation or fear of being socially inappropriate. Whatever effort Sam made to make Rick feel comforted, respected, and welcome was not good enough.
Second, to address the idea that saying jealousy being good is like pain being good because it lets us know we're being harmed - I might just be strange, but I do use pain for positive purposes. Maybe it's because I've dealt with chronic pain since being a teenager, but I see physical pain, and emotional pain, as a signal and nothing more. Not specifically positive, but what you do with it can be positive. Pain when I exercise allows me to know how far I can push my body. Pain when I stretch my hips every morning lets me know that my muscles are finally relaxing so I can get on with my day. Emotional pain is the same way. If something someone says hurts, I can evaluate why it did to overcome weakness and become a better person.
And on to jealousy itself. It's a pretty terrible thing, and I admit that while I'm possibly the least jealous person in the world, I do have fault in accepting it in so many other people. I understand that others experience jealousy and allow them to be what I won't tolerate in myself. I'm the type of person who used to informally break up with my boyfriend to set him up with another girl because I would rather see him happy. When I felt jealousy, it caught me off-guard. The girl was a personal friend I'd had for a long time and introduced him to because I felt they were each other's type. He drove off with her after our little group hung out, and I broke down and cried! So I called him the next day, found out the date had gone badly, and told him that it was time to make a choice. He did, no hard feelings, I'm married to someone else, we're still great friends. That jealousy was my signal, my indication that my heart wasn't where I want to be. I wanted more with him or I needed to move on. Continuing the way things were would have been negative. It's not a positive thing in and of itself, but something that can give us guidance.
To give in to jealousy is reprehensible indeed. We must respond to jealousy by seeking understanding and reaching out to those who cause our jealousy. Sure, Sam doesn't have to go talk to Rick about his jealousy (though chatting with him might help him learn some things about Rick's feelings toward him). But he did need to discuss it with Lauren. "I'm acting jealous and that's not good, so I want to resolve this with you." The answer shouldn't just be "You need to stop hanging out with him so I'm not jealous" - Not good enough, Sam. That doesn't resolve your negative feelings without creating some for her. The actual answer underneath is different for each couple, but it needs to be something that eliminates jealousy while showing respect for others involved. That's of course only because he let it get so far as to create jealousy because there wasn't respect between the two men.
Lauren contributed to that lack of respect by allowing Rick to walk up and focus on her without acknowledging her boyfriend. If she had brought Sam into the conversation, he and Rick might have had that chance to give each other respect. She's partially responsible for the jealousy that's culminated in this night, and her lack of willingness to move in this situation is creating reason for them to continue disrespecting each other and developing jealousy and pain for all.
Also, I dare say that I love this comic because the readers and writer are the type of people who care to strive for better in themselves. It's really a blessing to see. Just yesterday I was so heartbroken at the mean people in the world who get each other's backs to say that it's okay to be less, to be hurtful, to be cruel because "nobody could be asked to deal with that". You all can. I love you! Please reproduce, all of you! :)
If I can recall correctly, Sam was trying to be pleasant the first time he met Rick, and Rick responded curtly--first impressions, man, they matter. Rick has done nothing to earn anyone's respect (apart from Lauren, who apparently is super great friends with him).
As far as Sam and Lauren, this is the first time I've seen either of them disrespect one another as much as they've done in this book. What the hell. I'm pissed at all of these characters because they are being RIDICULOUS. Rick, for being an instigator, regardless of his motives. Sam, for just handling this SOOO wrongly (chill out, dude) and Lauren, for completely being oblivious to her boyfriend's feelings (or knowing, and not caring).
This could all be solved by a simple "let's just sit down and discuss this." but that won't happen, I'm not a writer, but I feel like that would be a bit too anti-climactic. And... alas, a lot of good being pissed at a fictional character will do you.
edit: Having been in Lauren's situation before--well... I can't help but feel just as hopeless in this whole scenario. I guess I'm just a pessimist.
@Jeffco, haven't always agreed with prior statements, but nailed that one. Nicely said.
Everyone should be walking around with a minimum level respect that you can lose or enhance by your behavior towards others.
Rick never even came close, and Lauren is perpetuating it, and Sam chose to be an idiot about it.... but NOBODY is earning it at this point. (Except Peter, who's turn over the right leaf... caveman and all)
Well, Mr Twist, I have a question for you: what is your definition of Jealously? The way the scene in the bar played out, I see more outrage in Sam's action as opposed to jealousy, as I understand the term. Rick was being rude and disrespectful of Sam on a basic human level. You don't walk up to people and only talk to one person in that group without at least giving a head nod of acknowledgement. I would have felt disrespected as well. Did Rick give some acknowledgement of Sam and I missed it? Why would you deliberately be rude to someone in that manner unless you were trying to provoke a response? Even people that I don't like, get at least a head nod or a "hey everybody" if they are in a group of people that I am going to interact with. Either Rick is one of the dumbest people in Canada, utterly arrogant and intelligent to the point that he views most people beneath him, a racist, or he is deliberately engaging in a campaign designed to provoke Sam, and drive a wedge between Sam and Lauren. The last scenario seems to be the most likely, (essentially Christo's take on the matter.) I guess my point is, that to me, it seems that Sam punched Rick out of anger, rather than jealously. Almost as if Sam had said, "You rude bastard, how dare you say that to me after treating me like that." Your mileage may vary.
@Guest: Actually, people talk to only a single person in a group of people all the time, especially at bars and parties, and more frequently when one doesn't particularly know or care for the other people. It happens all the time, and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply not paying attention. I would bet flat cash that every person reading this comic has done it at least once. Honestly, I am bewildered by the logic that someone not saying hello to you is a horrible transgression that warrants making a scene that ends in a fistfight.
Also, it bears mentioning that Sam didn't say hello to Rick either, he just started yelling. No one seems to think he was rude for that.
Mr Twist, Ok, maybe I'm just old, and not in the bar or party scene anymore, and the social norms have changed. I understand that people do only seek an individual out of a group in bars or other social settings, but I was a bouncer in college. I essentially got paid to watch people interact, and most of the time, there was some form of acknowledgement given when somebody approached another group. I never said that not saying hello to someone or acknowledging their presence was a punch worthy offense. I also never said that Sam was in the right, nor that he should have hit Rick. As others have pointed out more eloquently than I, no one, not Sam, Lauren, Rick, Christo, etc have handled this entire situation well at all. I just think that it is rude not to at least nod, especially when you know the name of the person that you are ignoring, and you are the one entering the scene. But hey it is your nickel, you call it how you see it.
@Gibson Twist: I agree with the best case scenario, though I think maybe it's not as uncommon as it seems. As with most other things, those times when we react in a mature, thoughtful manner to our emotions are so much harder to see than when we react in negative and violent manners. I also completely agree with your point about personal responsibility.
And I have to say it again, I absolutely love this story and your writing. I also appreciate that you take the time expound on your opinions in a thoughtful manner; a comment which should be extended to most of your readers. This is one of the only things I read on the internet where I bother to even look at the reader comments anymore and for the most part I find myself heartened to see that there are people out there on the internet who remember how to have civil conversations even on sensitive topics.
@Jeffko: Hah, that was one of the most insightful analysis of this situation that I've read since this particular thread started. Thank you!
Incidentally, Christo simmered down a lot about Rick after his talk with Lauren (the one that Sam walked in on and then blew his top when realizing it was about Rick - Christo even tried to stop him). In this situation, he even is the responsible one out of the group, by holding back Sam and helping to remove him from the scene. Who would have thought ;)
I have to say that so far, the girls (Kara, Melanie and Michelle) are doing fine. They've witnessed the situation from the start, they know what this is about, they've tried to advice Lauren on why this situation is difficult on Sam. But whether they like Rick or not, think Lauren's friendship with him is a good or bad idea, they do not pick sides. Something that can't be said of the boys, who knew nothing of the situation when they rushed to Sam's defense.
@Gibson Twist: No one has said that Sam's punch was warranted in any way. We may have understood or have our own interpretations as to why it lead up to that, as 'Guest' mentioned, but we never condoned it. I'm sorry to say this, Mr. Twist, but you're putting words in our mouths here.
Furthermore, I think everyone agrees that Sam handled this entire situation poorly. I believe we're all on the same page saying that while Rick was being disrespectful, Sam was also being disrespectful in return. The entire escalation to the punch was pretty much Sam losing control.
Throughout the comments, people have unanimously condemned Sam, but also recognized Lauren and Rick's part in this melodrama; not to excuse Sam's actions, but to provide some insight on what lead up to his fucking up.
@Jeffko: I'm afraid I don't see the unanimity of people condemning Sam. I see many, many comments of the flavour that Sam shouldn't have hit him, but he was still justified in doing so, and even some that suggest Sam was perfectly in the right. That doesn't read as condemnation to me.
My feelings on the subject are less about the interpretation about these fictional characters' actions, because I know a lot more about what's going on than the readers do so far, but the real-life view that aggressive action borne out of jealousy is just. Those comments are definitely there.
I will say, though, about the story, people seem to have forgotten my name.
@Gibson Twist: Clearly, personal interpretation plays a lot in how we absorb other people's words. Where you see approval (tacit or otherwise) of Sam's actions, I see understanding of Sam's feelings, combined with disappointment in his actions. I'm of the opinion that one can comprehend the motivations another may have, while disapproving of how those motivations are handled.
That being said, the fact that many initially expressed contentment when Sam threw that punch certainly goes a long way in reflecting people's inner emotions and thoughts on the rightness of such an action. Saying "Hell yes!" then "Ok, not cool" is surely cause for confusion, with the initial reaction naturally taking precedence. Interestingly, I think it mirrors Sam's behaviour, in that while he immediately regretted that punch, it doesn't change the fact that he threw it.
I have to agree with Mulligan... I'm not a Lauren fan LOL.
I don't condone all of Sam's actions but while Lauren was playing all wounded and mad because Sam was jealous she wasn't doing too great a job seeing his side of things especially with the Exhibit pressure hanging over his head... just my 2 cents