4.13 Driven Home 31

April 8th, 2013, 1:00 am

Author Comments:

Gibson Twist, April 8th, 2013, 12:54 am

I'm posting this page a little late so that I can also share something on the News page regarding the growing tone of the comments section over the last year. I truly hope everyone will take a moment and read it, as it is very important to me, and to many of our readers. Please, take the time before you post on this page, or any other. Find it here: http://picturesofyou.smackjeeves.com/news-archive/posts/123023/the-state-of-the-union/ or simply navigate to the News page from the left-side menu.

User Comments:

TCGC (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 1:12 am

"I pride myself that the Pictures of You audience stands above the immaturity and regressive litter box that is most of the internet, but lately, that level has dipped."

Haha, you don't say. :P

I've also started seeing some jd_singer-length comments here as well. It's like everyone suddenly has an opinion when there's confrontation in the comic.

Xasswuwe (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 1:13 am

First comment! I have to say, I'm dumbfounded that the first thing Sam would say to Lauren is anything about Rick. What the hell is he thinking?

Teenlink, April 8th, 2013, 1:42 am

@Xasswuwe: Actually, the first thing he says is that she's home, which I think he is legitimately surprised about.

Teenlink, April 8th, 2013, 1:44 am

I find it just a little funny that panels four and five sum up Mr. Twist's news post perfectly.

EliteNinja, April 8th, 2013, 1:59 am

After reading Gibsons State of the Union i decided to evaluate my thoughts on the current story arc, so as to take the advice he gave about examining our own opinions. I agree with Mr. Twist that the tone and content of many of the comments during this arc have been disturbing to say the least.

That said, I have been irritated by things Lauren has done during this arc, without really realizing why. In fact, in reviewing my own comments i find i am guilty of the very things Gibson has admonished us of. I was selectivly editing or remembering the story arc the way that fit my opinion.

Now as part of Mr.Twists SOTU he expressed that he was expecting comments that tried to deny anny sort of anti-woman/misogynistic tendencies or rhetoric. Thats why i won't deny it on my part.

I believe the reasons i was "against" Lauren from the start of this arc is that i colored my opinions because of characters i already liked. I like Christo and Sam. In fact they are the two characters i identify most with in this comic. So when i percieved Rick as some sort of attack on my favorite characters, i took it personally.

Now, i don't believe any of the comments i left were directly mean, or misogynistic. However i agreed with people, mostly privately, who had said some such things. (none of the violent kind).

I may not have started it but i silently perpetuated it, and i was wrong. Mr.Twist is correct. We should be better than that. I should be better than that.

jodie (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 2:05 am

call me feeble minded but i'll have to read that post again to get a better gist of it

applause though for you mr twist

Maritza (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 2:14 am

I Will only say: thank you, Mr. Twist. It's just apalling how deeply ingrained certain notions can be in our culture. Lauren refuses to play nice and be an obedient little female, even when she's doing nothing wrong. Therefore she's a bitch, a terrible girlfriend and human being, and deserves anything that happens to her.
I have to admit as a character I like Sam better than either Lauren or Rick, but I think she's in the right this time. I would be terribly offended too at the Notion she Will be inevitably seduced by whoever wants to get into her pants unless she refrains from speaking to unapproved members of the opposite sex.

DemonicMRX11, April 8th, 2013, 2:39 am

Especially after reading the front page, I've hit the reset button on my view of this conflict (I'm focusing only on the triangle of Lauren, Sam, and Rick here, as they are the ones in the relationship and acting as the main "agitator" respectively ). I re-read "The Saga of Rick," from first appearance through now, and I find my opinion on Rick improved, Sam lessened, and Lauren about the same, at least until the fight.

Post fight, Sam has seriously fucked up, but is remorseful, as he should be. Rick is realizing how much of an impact he has made, and also wishes his actions were better. Lauren is pissed off, and she deserves to be. Although I'll admit I flinched when she said she fully intended to fight, and it didn't sound like "for" her relationship.

I can't fully go after her for that, since I didn't really go after Sam much at all. But it seems while Sam and Rick are seeing the errors of their ways and ascending, Lauren is descending to their former level. Maybe she's reached her breaking point, but she's always been the one to talk things out without letting her feelings get in the way.

I just hope by the end of this, everyone gets their healthy, growth-inducing bite of humble pie. Because no one has handled this well, they'd do well to admit that in the end.

yayness (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 3:03 am

Thanks so much for the front-page comment Mr. Twist. I've never liked the whole when-Harry-met-Sally bullshit.

Falkner (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 3:08 am

Gibson - "I didn't want to guide the reader through the story or colour interpretation of the audience."

The exact reason I didn't think it was proper to comment on the subject of a topic of controversy when we have had many others in the past, and there will likely be many more. For some reason by doing so you've made this case "special". Kinda feel like you shouldnt have. You so much as mentioned its your job as the author to tell the story and us to interpret it. And then....

Gibson = "But now, whatever, fuck it."

The exact moment I lost some respect for you.

Gibson Twist, April 8th, 2013, 3:28 am

@Falkner: I would rather have my conscience than your respect.

Kagan (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 4:23 am

Oh, what did you do Cristo? Oh, you don't remember? And yes, Sam doesn't get to tell Lauren what to do. I kinda feel weird for talking 'to' an actual comic character but this web series is immensely captivating.
I must say I rarely post on things like this(web comics boards, forums...), but the bad attitude towards Lauren/Rick( 'The stealer of women', 'Rapist', 'Guy with the punch-able face' etc.) women in general and some downright misogyny made me participate a bit(though the reason is unfortunate).
I admire your post MrTwist.

Nina H (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 4:41 am

THANK YOU, mr. Twist! I used to comment in the past, but I've all but stopped when the general consensus seemed to become as hateful as it was. I've been downright baffled by the violence-happy and misogynistic comments here (though I hadn't realized the full depth that you outline in your post), enough so that I've mostly quit reading the comments for several months now.

So thanks for taking a stand on the issue! Your voice holds a weight that most other rational voices didn't seem to get in this discussion (I do wish I'd participated, but sometimes you just get so tired from fighting this fight so often).

You did design a story meant to play on the reader's sympathies, so emotional reactions were to be expected; and shrouding Rick's personality in mystery allowed for a lot personal interpretation and fill-in-the-blanks. So I'm not surprised at the strong emotional reactions. I am however surprised by the misogynistic, violent bias.

Hopefully, now that both you and the story have corrected the worst of it, things will pick up again.

The Mad Mailman (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 4:49 am

to be fair
I rarely comment on anything online, but, I feel the need to do so now.

Well done, Mr. Twist.

You've turned what was once easily the most fair, balanced, and respectful community on the internet into chaos. You've gotten almost everyone out of their shells and into bile-spitting mayhem. You've created a warzone.

And I applaud you.

You've made people react, you've made people come out of their shelles and take and give haymaking shots like no tomorrow. You are getting an unadulterated, unfiltered reaction from a live audience in volume and intensity rarely rivaled.

Well done. This is the kind of thing many others live for.

I don't think you should apologize for this, or feel the need to justify yourself, because the very fact you are creating so pure a reaction, unpleasant as it may be, is a testament to your abilities as a storyteller. Congratulations, Sir. This is the reason I have been reading this story for six years, and hope to do be able to do so for many more.

Thank you for giving us this this gift, regardless of how we choose to react to it.

That said, I feel ti is unfair to not voice my own opinions on the story for others to see ans respond to, should they see fit.

I side with Sam, but I have been in his position, and had good friends in his position, so I am massively unbiased.

I don't like Rick, but I think he;s a genius. His plan is perfect, if I interpret his end-goal rightly. If all he wants is a fair, platonic friendship with Lauren, then I am wrong, but if it isn't, then he is playing his hand to perfection.

I don't think it is right to describe Sam or Christo as misogynistic. It is, in my belief, a man's duty to provide for and protect his woman. And if you want to complain about 'caveman' tendencies, I have to ask, will you still complain when I pay hold a door for you, get out the truck first to open your door for you, walk on the street side so cars don't splash you when they go through puddles, or refuse to let you pay for half of the dinner at a restaurant?

Regardless of how I feel, Mr. Twist has done a wonderful job of storytelling. This is not a pretty part of the story. It is messy and confusing and it has brought us down into the mess with it.

Congratulations, Mr. Twist. You've made this story real to your readers, the good parts and the bad.

Keep up the great work.

meander (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 4:50 am

Concerning this page...
I am one of those harmony-crazy people and I really just wish them to be happy again. Damn you Lauren for being understandably furious and not trying to make it all work out right now!
And for all I know (or gather from what I've read), I won't get my wish granted in the near future... >.<

meander (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 4:56 am

@The Mad Mailman: Yes, I would complain. Not if you were just trying to be nice (the sidewalk and the car door thing are over-the-top, though), but very much if you were doing this because of that notion of providing for "your woman". If you are in love, you care and provide for each other (after caring and providing for yourself), and that is just fine, but it should never be one-sided because of a strange role model.

Kalis (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 5:20 am

I'm a girl and I think that Lauren needs to calm down as it seems she is sporting for a fight. I don't mean she shouldn't be angry, I just mean she should take some time out to think about it rather than stay in fight mode.
I think that their whole relationship needs more communication. Sam is insecure and Lauren is quick to anger. Both of them need to sit down and calmly talk it out without all the drama. If they can't do that, then what is the point of the relationship?

Lleyn (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 5:54 am

@Falkner: I think a differentiation has to be made between Mr. Twist trying to influence our interpretation of the story, and him being concerned about the tone and general direction of the comments.

So far, he hasn't told us how to perceive any of the characters, we've done that on our own accord. But what he and many others have noticed, was a growing tendency to discredit / bash Rick and Lauren for their behavior, and sanctify Sam's behavior at the same time.

That, I think, he felt the need to finally speak out against, since the comments have slowly been deteriorating into rants with different factions trying to prove each others' opinions based on things in the comic that weren't there.

So, you losing respect for him only because he finally chose to voice his concern about the comments, is a bit harsh. Even more so since it seemed to me that a lot of the readers weren't interpreting the story based on what Mr. Twist was giving us, but based on their own experiences and perceptions.

BlinkyTheRed, April 8th, 2013, 5:59 am

... aaaand that's just another reason I love you! :D

Guest, April 8th, 2013, 6:21 am

I think I'm just as surprised as Sam that Lauren came home

T. (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 6:49 am

... three beautiful point made there:

i. it is without doubt an amazing feat to reach out and touch people in their everyday lives - by means of an astonishing yet fictional piece of art.
the depth and level of reaction your comic generates is praise and honour in itself.

ii. it is a fictional piece after all - so we are bound by the laws and principles the allmighty creator of this universe, Mr. G. himself has set. as with any other story, the storytellr gets to decide. we as humble recipients can merely choose to stay behind or follow along - eve if it sometimes implies the willing suspension of disbelieve (which in this very case would still be sad).
thank you Xasswuwe for this point!

iii. everyone of us somehow needs to face herself in the mirror each morning - so everyone of us is on a very primitive level able to live with herself and needs to keep it like that. Mr. G. first & foremost needs to live with his work, not with a single one of us. if we really cannot cope with what we see or what he is telling us, we all found our way here, we all know how to leave ...

... apart from that thank you all for making this experience to enjoyable and thank you Mr. G. for enabling it in the first place.

highest, humblest & best
T. =)

ParadoxDeity, April 8th, 2013, 7:47 am

A few things.

1) The blog post was amazing. As a relatively new Feminist myself (keeping in mind that I am, in fact, male), I must say that this was a great rant and something that I shared among other circles.

B) I have personally felt that both parties - Sam and Lauren - were at fault in this little situation. Sam for being completely irrational and insecure (despite Rick being a swooper and possible date-and-dog-rapist[note that the second part is merely speculation on my part and has never, EVER been implied by Gibson Twist, the story line, or anything else beyond the other readers of PoY]) as well as a bit of an abusive asshole (something that hits close to home for me), and Lauren for not taking Sam's feelings about Rick as seriously to begin with.

In my experiences, when two people fight, the subject of the argument is rarely, if ever, what the fight is really about. It's just the catalyst that allows both parties to start spewing forth their real emotions about whatever the real issue is, only now they have a mask so they are a bit more... I dunno.... swallowable? Is that a good way to term it? Regardless, it's rarely the thing that is really causing the problems. Both parties are to blame for not having better communication with each other. Had Sam and Laura properly communicated about Rick in the beginning, I'm certain that the date-dog-rapist (again, my own speculation) would have been a regular part of the crew.

And that was my two cents' worth. You can keep the change.

ParadoxDeity, April 8th, 2013, 7:50 am

@The Mad Mailman: If you were unbiased, you'd have no sides on the issue. Instead, you are massively biased.

Kendall (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 8:16 am

I'll admit, for a little while after reading all the comments throughout this arc, I acutely felt the misogyny and sexism directed towards Lauren and the rest of the female characters, and for awhile, I felt that you, Mr. Twist, sided with these commenters. It made me feel very uncomfortable that a comic I've chosen to read for a few years of my life would actually go in this direction and be colored by so many accusatory and hateful comments by readers. After the "feminazi" comment by Mulligan, and after reading comments that supported his truly misogynistic actions, I thought I might decide not to continue even reading this at all. Nonetheless, I decided to stick it out towards the end of the arc, just to see what you have in store.

That being said, I was truly and irrevocably uplifted by your new page post. My faith in you and your storytelling abilities has been restored. I'm actually glad you came out of your fortress of impartiality to comment, because you addressed many of the issues that I've lately found made this webcomic unbearable to read. All I can really say is thank you. You don't know how much it means to me to have you post this state of the union, or whatever it will be called, and come forward to express the disgust with some of the comments made and help me feel that I am not alone. You don't know how much it means to me to know that misogyny and sexism do not go uncalled for in your eyes. Really, thank you.

Hornet (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 8:30 am

Guess Sam must have had a much better reply than mine. Cause mine would have been: "You know you're right, I don't need this either, bye."

Jeffko, April 8th, 2013, 8:32 am

@Kalis: In a way, this is evolution on both Lauren and Sam's part. Both were seen as relatively quiet, laid-back people, who were in the background of the band and their shenanigans. In fact, the only strong reaction I can recall on their part before this story arc is when they encountered Nelson after Devon beat up Melanie.

We are now seeing how these normally calm people deal with turmoil. Sam is letting some jealous/possessive insecurities surface and now knows what losing control feels like, feeling justifiably shitty about it. Lauren is also expressing herself more. She was usually the one who would try to defuse situations and see the bright side, but now she's clearly expressing how she feels and letting her own needs and opinions be known.

To be honest, while I made much of respect in my comments, and flinched when Lauren claimed she would continue the fight when she got back home, I feel that this is what needs to happen. At the end of the day, it's better to air one's grievances so that there's no misunderstanding than to bottle everything up inside for the sake of 'harmony'. Shit went down, so shit needs to be talked about. That's all there is to it. I also flinched when Sam brought up Rick. Rick is not the issue right now. Lauren is pissed at Sam (and also Christo). She is pissed by a lack of trust, so bringing up Rick every time he sees her is definitely not helping.

Frankie D. (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 9:12 am

Talking about her boyfriends feelings with him is being controled by him? That's pretty fucked up...

Gibson Twist, April 8th, 2013, 9:15 am

@The Mad Mailman: It feels weird to be replying to one comment out of these many, but something you've said hits the gong, a sentiment I've heard a lot and have even used in my much younger years.

"I have to ask, will you still complain when I pay hold a door for you, get out the truck first to open your door for you, walk on the street side so cars don't splash you when they go through puddles, or refuse to let you pay for half of the dinner at a restaurant?"

These are issues of human kindness, thoughtful acts that people do and should do more for each other, be they lovers or friends. These should never be obligations of one gender over another, nor should women be beholden to them. If you see these things as responsibilities for men, you must also see women as creatures who need these things done for them.

In addition, it isn't a man's duty to provide for and protect his partner, it is everyone's duty to provide for and protect their partners. To say that men alone must do this for women is an outdated concept dictating that women can neither provide for or protect themselves, nor are they capable of figuring out how. This is how parents treat children. It's an old, tired, irrelevant concept that should be put to sleep and buried.

The part about the truck, though, that's pretty demeaning. People can open their own car doors, come on.

Ed (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 9:36 am

I'm a relatively new reader, only just finding the comic and keeping up with it for the last couple of years, and I must say this dissonance with reader opinion and story message is striking. Even I found myself cheering when Sam punched Rick, but why? Was my view of the situation skewed? Why?

In the past we had Melanie's boyfriend who was a total and obvious douche, then Patrick's short-term beau with the subtle hints and accumulating to the inevitable betrayal. Maybe even the comments swayed my opinions some, a fault that is mine. Off the bat it was obvious that Rick liked Lauren, but Lauren didn't emit any vibes beyond being friendly towards Rick and Sam seemed mellow at it all--at least outwardly. So why the shift? If any character could be blamed, than possibly Cristo.

Cristo seemed to instigate Sam's later opinion on Rick. Either that or bring out his insecurities, which I think may be the overall point. We all have insecurities, and the ability to become jealous, it's just how we handle those feelings when they come up that define our abilities to grow. And in honesty, I don't think Sam, Lauren, and Rick handled this situation as well as they could have. Sam let his insecurities get the better of him (possibly due to Cristo's influence coupled with the stress of the gallery showing), Lauren kept passing off Sam's worries by saying he has nothing to worry about and should trust her, and Rick let his want to be a good friend with his words about Sam that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the end it broke down trust on all sides.

I don't know if this is the intended message or not, but to me it seems the message could be to not to let our insecurities get the better of us, and don't just hand-wave those insecurities as nonsense when someone wants to talk about it. We see these characters as more than that, and because of that we've invested and projected ourselves onto them (for better or worse). We created lines where there shouldn't be, and that is our folly as people, ourselves and the Pictures of You cast alike.

Gentle Reader (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 10:17 am

It makes me happy to see that so many of my favorite webcomic artists are so vocal in their defense of total equality, whether it be on gender, sexuality, or other social stuffs. Happier still to see you, Gibson, take your own stand against shitty outdated and hateful viewpoints in society.
Falkner is a dick. You gained respect from me that you would put aside your code for artistic integrity for the sake of promoting your integrity as a human being. Thank you for making that sacrifice. I know how hard something like that can be.

On another note, Christo had better get the fuck out of that room. That tense situation does not need his complications all up in it.

Bummed (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 11:05 am

I have to say, I'm disappointed.

Reading your blog post today, I agree, especially as a woman myself: misogyny bad, grr. But your post about being sick of the anti-women comments reveals a bit more of the story you are trying to tell, and I'm dismayed by it.

I guess I had been kind of hoping that this was just a story of young friends, all of whom mess up in varying degrees. That in this particular conflict, Sam made some mistakes, Lauren made some mistakes, cue "more you know" graphic. But if this is a story, as your blog post implies, about a young woman standing up for herself against a controlling boyfriend and his womanizing friend, then your racial casting of those two roles being the ONLY minority male characters means this is just one more trotting out of old racial stereotypes.

I'm particularly bummed because I came to this comic long ago specifically because it was one of the rare webcomics that actually had minority characters. To learn that they are merely there to portray the old hack of the out-of-control, jealous Othello and the skirt chasing, backwards Brown womanizer is really sad.

Again, as a woman, thanks for being pro-woman, dude. I appreciate it. But I don't think I'm going to keep reading your comic. I think you have a few issues you might want to look at.

j (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 11:13 am

The recent hard-boiled misogyny in the comments is one reason I stopped coming by here as often, even with the more frequent updates. I also thought, erroneously, that it was a sentiment possibly held by Mr. Twist. With beloved and spotlighted characters like Mulligan and Christo, I felt this was the sentiment of the comic. I loved the art and the stories, but was beginning to feel like it wasn't a safe space. There were moments I felt like maybe I was mistaken. The fact that stripping was something Michelle does, not something she IS or that there's a sex scene involving two men just as there's been other sexual scenes involving men and women made me hope that this was a comic that covered a large landscape of people. You have your Mulligans. You have your Michelles. You have your Peters. You have your Karas. They've all been portrayed particularly well and faithfully.
I am really happy and relieved that Mr. Twist did his SOTU. It's important that author's express their intentions behind their work and the ideas that inspired them to continue. This space feels a whole lot more inviting. I feel like I can trust these people will continue to evolve and I can interact with those stories. Much props and respect! Thank you for your support and eloquence, Mr. Twist!

Sandra (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 11:43 am

I was expecting more of a fight. Lauren who just the previous page said that she would intend to fight with Sam, here just seems lost for words and still lost in anger. Maybe she should've cooled down a bit so she could say witty things like:" Stop being all Othello like Sam!"

By the way, where are all the people who go, "If Sam was so insecure, why didn't he himself make more of an effort to get to know Rick?"
Because I was going: "Why should it be Laurens job to sooth the insecurities of her boyfriend just to be friends with a boy? It's his own damn problem, let him deal with it instead of just telling her that he doesn't like it."

@the mad mailman, I will complain if you do hold the door open for me if I do not ask for help. I would not care if cars splash me, it would be my own damn fault, and if you refuse to let me pay half the bill, I would probably dump you as fast as lightening. I have had so much dislike for (in my experience mostly) guys with this "I want to be a knight in shining armor!" complexes that we could probably not even be friends, if you would not respect my own capability to do stuff for myself. For me that sort of stuff is demeaning and mostly done so the guy himself will feel great about himself, instead of making the partner feel great or helping the partner... Sometimes being helpful is not helpful at all.

Tamara (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 11:43 am

Like many here, I am a newer reader to the series. I discovered PoY about 2 months ago and have kept up on it since. I have never commented. Until now, I've either felt that someone had already expressed my opinion or that my opinion was probably skewed and i didn't want to provoke any response by posting something that others might not agree with.

I agree with Mr.Twist that many of the comments i have read in the last couple months have been even more riot inciting than the comic itself.
I have seen sexism on both sides of the table and strange, unfounded accusations and opinions.
Personally I have had an ever shifting view on the situation as more characters react to it and things are said and done.
Just in my own opinion:
At first I sided with Sam in many ways. Who was this person to come in and be friends with the other half of his life and ignore him and his attempts to open a dialogue and possible acquaintanceship (if not friendship)? In that moment (see dildo pages) I never really saw Christo as instigating or rude, I perceived his comments as joking and genuine ammusment at the odd names of towns he was just provided.
To me, Christo has never really conformed to the "social norm" for his standards on interacting with new people, he's more of a "if you're a friend of my friend, then you must be my friend too and i'm gonna rib on ya just like them"
As the story progresses, many things I read Rick saying and doing lead me to believe that he is in the game for a slow play. To gradually build that seed of doubt and distrust in the back of Lauren's mind. As much as she loves Sam and is faithful to him, as long as there is someone perceiving their relationship as unhealthy, then the resulting uncertainty in it will eventually become a self fulfilling prophecy.
I believe that Sam at first is only worried that Lauren and rick seem to have no regard for his interest in this new person in Lauren's life, and with Christo's prodding, becomes jealous and distrustful of Rick. Instead of discussing things with Sam and explaining any possible social anxieties Rick might have about talking to new people or feeling like he's stepping on toes if he gets too friendly with Sam (possible, but never presented by Mr.Twist, excuses for his rude attitude towards Sam's attempts at conversation), Lauren instead goes on the defensive, saying only that Sam should back off and that he should trust her (when his trust of HER was never the issue to begin with). If i were in that possition and someone just told me to trust them, i would unfortunately tend towards the opposite, as Sam does.

After this point Things seem to dissolve into a spiral of accusation and defense as opposed to any kind of communication to clear the air. All parties are in the wrong on this front. Ricks continued antagonistic refusal to acknowledge Sam, Sam's growing aggression towards Rick's antics, Lauren ignoring the fact that there IS an issue that needs to be dealt with and apparent belief that everyone should just get along to make her happy, and then back to Rick who (in my own opinion) in the guise of a caring friend, continues to plant and nurture little seeds of doubt and anger towards Sam in Lauren's mind, and finally Christo who just seems to antagonize Everyone.

Sam never should have hit Rick, and never should have let outside stress and Christo's negative opinions fuel his jealousy and result in taking it out on Lauren and Rick, just as there is some story driving decision that each of them should have been smart enough to avoid.

Rick's conversation with Lauren still leaves me doubtful but hopeful that he really IS OK with just being Lauren's friend. Though I often subscribe to the belief that unless you have been friends with someone for a VERY long time, it can be very difficult to be both single and have a purely platonic relationship if either party is attracted to the other. I'm not saying impossible, as I have Many platonic friends of the opposite sex, but I DO know that many of them would probably sleep with any of their "platonic" female friends if given the opportunity.

I find Lauren's Combative nature in the last few pages to be a little unreasonable. Her desire to fight against her partner instead of FOR whatever is left of their relationship. In my mind, Sam's question about Rick, probably ended with something like "-- walk you home?"
Yes, Sam DOESN'T get to tell her what to do, but my own interpretation of this page is that Sam probably thought she was going to stay with a friend (or in the darker doubts, Rick)and is legitimately surprised and hopeful of the fact that she IS home.
Christo I think, is still oblivious to his own negative attitude and view changing comments over the last weeks (comic time) and probably needs someone to set him straight.
EDIT: As I re-read, Christo is actually a dink to Rick right from the first second. Intentionally damaging or not? Dunno, but that's how it turns out.

When it all comes down to it:
Christo needs to go take a long walk off a short pier until this all comes to a head or blows over. Sam needs to get over himself and apologize, and Lauren needs to LET him.
I think ParadoxDeity is correct in that there are other issues here that are causing negative emotions and view points and are using the "rick thing" to be a catalyst and excuse for it all.

I don't know what of this matches with Mr. Twist's idea for how the story has progressed, or any other reader's in fact. But I've found it hard to sympathize with ANY of the characters (until Sam on this page trying to just talk and being shot down) involved in this turmoil because they ALL need to pull their heads out of their asses.

I'm not going to comment on the other apparent sexist issues that have come up (as Mr.Twist mentioned Mulligan, Andy and such) Because i've already rambled all over the page.

I hope in the future that i might comment again on something that has had less agnst behind it.

At the moment I'm over Sam, Rick and Lauren and their highschool drama.
Instead I have a gnawing dread in the pit of my stomach worrying more and more for Wiley. *sigh*

Sorry if I've made no sense. Monday mornings will do that.

On a positive note, I just wanted to say Thank You to Mr.Twist for creating this comic. I think it is so realistic and hits home for so many people. Obviously All of us find it compelling and have become attached to the people within, otherwise we wouldn't be here. But it still merits saying that I hope this comic makes it through to the end, unlike so many that i have seen fizzle and die.
Please keep on writing! <3

CrimsonStar, April 8th, 2013, 11:49 am

@Tamara: Tamara's wall of text inflicts 9001 damage!!!

Gibson Twist, April 8th, 2013, 11:58 am

@Gentle Reader: Thank you for the words of support. Please, though, be respectful of other commenters, even when you disagree with them. There's no need for name-calling.

@Bummed: It's been a while since someone called me a racist. I don't agree with that assessment, not even with the premise. I don't write Sam as a black character, just a character who is black, and I don't hold with the notion that portraying negative character traits or actions in minority characters is inherently racist. I don't write my characters to be emblematic of their culture cluster, but if you feel I should do, then perhaps it's best for you if you stop following the story. Also, Christo isn't brown, merely dark-complected.

Cathryn (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 12:25 pm

@The Mad Mailman:
" ...or refuse to let you pay for half of the dinner at a restaurant?"

Assuming a platonic relationship? Actually yes, I would protest. On general principle, I WILL insist on paying my share at a restaurant. Far too many men believe that the price of a meal at a restaurant entitles them to sex. Please note, I am not saying YOU specifically would do this. However, a great enough percentage of men out there seem to believe this that I find it necessary to advocate for myself and lay down some basic ground rules.

Just to be fair I have a few times run into this same attitude from women. They get no further with it than men.

Regarding the rest of the actions you mentioned, no I would not complain, as long as you did not complain if I returned the courtesy. If it is motivated by some medieval belief that women are helpless, incapable of providing for themselves, and must be protected, or used as some way to diminish or control me, then we will have problems.

If it truly is a courtesy, then I will be happy to accept it in the spirit it is intended.

@Gibson Twist: I haven't previously commented much, and that one was pretty short and blunt, I admit.

I was originally sympathetic to Rick surprisingly, until the first comment he made about Sam being a potential abuser. After that, I lost almost all sympathy for Rick. I don't know how things are in Canada, but here south of the border in Los Estados not-so Unidos, things can be pretty bad where accusations of abuse are concerned. Here the authorities and well meaning idiots (hard to tell the difference) have created an environment where everything other than hearts and flowers, sunshine and puppies is seen as a "sign of a potential abuser". What with denial often cited as the first symptom of someone being an abuse victim, it has become a catch-22 for anyone and everyone involved, especially with mandatory arrests, mandatory sentencing, court-MANDATED divorces, and the like all being used by vindictive in-laws, acquaintances, neighbors for the purpouse of starting trouble. In the current environment, a whisper is an accusation, an accusation is a conviction, and a conviction might as well be a life sentence.
So when Rick started raising that particular specter, I was put off and lost sympathy for him as a character, as I have seen good people end up with their lives and relationships ruined by that same tactic.

I was somewhat sympathetic to Sam and Lauren both. The inability of either one to communicate meaningfully about the real issues though, has really turned me off.
Sam has been a jerk.
So has Lauren. I no longer have sympathy for them. Sam punching Rick was stupid and unforgivable. Lauren slapping Sam was stupid and unforgivable, also a definite proof that Lauren is an abuser.

Note I am talking about these characters and their failings as people, not gender roles.

Mulligan and the rest of the bunch are being equally ass-hatted at the moment. All of them are currently very hard to sympathise with.
Please note, I'm not claiming to be perfect or more evolved, it's just that some of the thought patterns and behavior patterns displayed herein are quite alien to me.

In any event, I applaud you for writing and telling a thought provoking story, and compelling story even if I may currently dislike many of the characters.

I also admire you for telling the story the way you want to tell it. I may even disagree with your message, although I am adopting a wait and see attitude on that.

Sorry for rambling on so long.

G (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 12:37 pm

I honestly can't believe how much controversy this has spawned. Throughout the story, I just figured Lauren was just genuinely unable to perceive Rick's interest in her. He wasn't very blunt, and she came across as more naive than anything to his advances.

As far as things with Sam go, if you notice, he really didn't get his dander up about Rick until Christo prodded him about it. All Sam had to do was place a little faith in Lauren that she was the type of person who would remain faithful to who she was with, not jump into bed with anyone who showed interest.

That being said, when Sam did voice his opinions about Rick, Lauren didn't do anything that might help put Sam at ease. She went on the defensive, and many a fight ensued. She could have just as easily instead decided to hang out with Sam AND Rick, getting them to socialize with one another, and maybe putting Sam at ease while showing Rick that he's a decent guy.

This chapter has been filled with bad decisions by the characters involved. But if the rest of us will stop and think for a minute, they're all in their early 20's. Think of all the dumb shit you did/do/will do at that age. Those years are filled with rash choices and poor decisions. This is just as much a "coming of age" story as it is anything else. People are gonna screw stuff up. Things are going to change. Decent people will act like jerks. Jerks will become decent people. It's how characters find personal growth.

So many people seem to forget how this whole comic started... Peter looking over a box of photos, and obviously things had fallen apart with so many of the characters we've come to know so far. You don't "just" decide to lose a friendship for no reason. Obviously from the tone of regret set in the first chapter, mistakes were made all around. And don't forget the party when we see Future Lauren and Future Sam (with hair!) together, and Peter musing that there was a time when he thought they'd never be back together. From that line alone, one can only assume that something big would eventually drive them apart, but that they both grew enough to overcome it and return to one another.

I, for one, look forward to that part of the story, and everything else that is yet to come. Keep up the good work, Gibson.

Jeffko, April 8th, 2013, 12:49 pm

@Bummed: I'm confused about your claims of racism with regards to this story and its characters. Pretty much everyone has acted in questionable or even very bad ways at some point or another throughout the books. Furthermore, some folks, like Mulligan and Michelle, have aggressive character traits that define a large part of who they are. In fact, Mulligan, a white male, exhibits very clear opinions with regards to gender roles.

In spite of this, each and every character, with the exception of a few antagonists, have also shown positive traits that not only balances them out, but also makes them more believable and relatable, thereby enhancing the story.

In my opinion, limiting the scope of a person's potential emotions or behaviour in an effort to be more PC would ultimately impede the narrative. Besides, this story features two interracial relationships: Sam and Lauren, and Peter and Kara. Why would a supposed racist create such relationships? Furthermore, knowing what we know from the intro (that Sam and Lauren eventually settle their differences), your viewpoint on the casting of Sam seems out of place. They both grow and learn from this, eventually staying happily together. This goes beyond what they are racially and deals with who they are as young human beings dealing with issues.

Riverl (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 1:09 pm

I'm realize that in other posts I may have sounded one sided. I'm not too into radicals, if somebody post something slightly harmless, I really pay no mind, but if someone is extreme, and starts name calling, I generally try to argue the other side. That said, everyone directly involved in this situation, asides from Lauren has been wrong. Chirsto has his own problems that he projected onto Sam's life, Sam had the lack of sense to believe something that was said by someone extremely damaged when it comes to love life. Rick was only slightly wrong by not talking to Sam, but no guy wants to talk to a guy who looks at him like he's the enemy. It has escalated to an unreasonable point, I don't think Lauren would be not justified in leaving. The only other time a guy has gotten punched in this story, is after he abused Meline for months, all Rick tried to do was be her friend, and maybe more. It's not insulting for a guy to like your girl, the fact of the matter is that she choose you and she can dump you too, do what ever the hell she wants. But Sam should be thankful that Lauren loves him, she still lives with him. I've had the same thing happen with the girl I love, and if you don't like the guy, the WORST you should do is not talk to him, certainly not punch him in the face. This is a society, in which we've criticized even threatened to kill a young girl who was raped, because her offenders were male and on a football team. I try to see both sides of a situation, but I also recognize that as a male I cannot understand the difficulties females go through. The comments on here, prove that they are many, and somewhat appalling. A few pages back I mentioned that women should not hate on men so much, and had a big debate about that, I apologize to any who that offended, or if it sounded in anyway pig-headed. Again, extremists view are hard to stomach. I also send sympathy to Gibson Twist, it's got to be hard spending so much time on an amazing comic, and see the discussion go in an appalling direction. I hope that some sort of level thinking comes back to the comments.

Riverl (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 1:14 pm

One More Thing
There is not racism here, you'd have to be projecting your own racism on to Sam if you think the way he is depicted is racist.

Gibson Twist, April 8th, 2013, 1:30 pm

Apologies to @New Here Too: for deleting a comment in response to a deleted conversation. The unrelated part of their comment was "Gibson Twist, your SOTUS put me at ease, after also being disturbed with some of the comments in earlier pages. Like, guys, seriously? Y'all better than that."

Rhem (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 2:01 pm

I've been reading this comic almost since day one- I remember discovering it maybe the third day it ever had a post. I don't think I commented until their road trip, but I was lurking. Just to establish a bit of perspective. Anyways.
I'm done commenting. Tbh, I doubt I'll keep reading this comic. I'm sick of Twist's attitude, both towards relationships and towards common decency and common sense. Let's just say I'm glad the world works how it does, and not how Twist apparently thinks it should. I'd say see you elsewhere, but I doubt we have any other common grounds. Bye.

Tamara (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 2:12 pm

@CrimsonStar: Keep your snide remarks to yourself. This is an open thread, and belittling other peoples heartfelt opinions is counter intuitive to everything Mr Twist CLAIMS he supports here.

Maritza (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 2:55 pm

"Let's just say I'm glad the world works how it does"

NEWSFLASH! It doesn't. It doesn't work. It needs to change.

Murohshei, April 8th, 2013, 3:33 pm

Wow. She is acting extremely immature. I'm really disappointed in you Lauren. :( I've been trying really really hard to stay on Lauren's side and for most of this arc I have. But now...I just can't here. I can't. I like Lauren. I liked her previous to this actually. But even I can see when a character I like is acting like a fool, but I guess that just makes her more human. I hope after she calms down she gets some deep thought into this situation and realizes she's at fault too.

T (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 3:55 pm

@Rhem: *thumbs up*

DemonicMRX11, April 8th, 2013, 4:23 pm

Lol, I just realized this instance of SOTU has a duality:
Sick Of/So Over This Ugliness.

James (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 5:47 pm

I've held off on commenting, simply because I didn't want to be a part of the turbulence that arose out of this. But I feel like I can make a comment now. Rick is, in a single word; poison. I've been around those kinds of people and from what I've seen, he has no reason to call sam an abuser without talking to him or at least trying to get to know him, other than to provoke him. Sam is scared, for a lot of reasons. He's in uncharted territory and doesn't know how to proceed. Christo at least treats everone equally and isn't afraid to show wether or not he likes someone. To me, that's honesty, no games.

And now Lauren has all this doubt and uncertainty swimming through her mind, thanks to Rick. So now we have two scared people in a relationship. If something doesn't happen, or someone tries to step in to calm the now-strengthening storm, bad things could happen.

Lola (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 5:59 pm

@Gibson Twist: Yes, this. Thank you so much for speaking up for Lauren, and for your female readers. You are rad.

Pandaman (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 6:55 pm

@Gibson Twist: Eh, his respect aside, you'd still have your conscious whether or not you posted. It's not, or at least shouldn't, be something that you gain by showing to the masses, which is partly what I think he's on about.

Deveren (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 7:05 pm

@Gibson Twist: I don't think many people see them as responsibilities for men, but more like obligations. I did a small study (only around 500 or so people) and a large number of women, feel like men are obligated to do these things, which is why many of us feel like we should do it. It's not at the point where folks do it out of kindness, it's done because it's the norm, it's expected of them. It doesn't matter if you think they should never be obligations, because the reality is that they are and it's extremely rare for any objection to it be taken outside into a large forum.

Jigglebilly (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 7:11 pm

Ouch...this is one of those moments where Sam should really being picking up the vibe. Prolly best to let her vent and man up to your mistakes. Also, something about the "Wait! Come here!" bugs me. Probably because I can't quite figure out the tone. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think it's a demand, but the exclamation points make it seem like it's not just a request. Really hope he wasn't trying to be demanding there...cause if so, just a bad move Sam.

SaT (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 8:44 pm

@Jigglebilly: Based on his expression I'm not getting demanding, he looks more concerned than anything. Christo just looks like he just wants to make a run for it.

I guess I was supposed to be reading this thinking that Sam was being abusive but I guess that one just flew right over my head. Unreasonable at times, yes, but abusive? No more than Lauren has been??? She's been both verbally and physically abusive, and I don't want to hear that she has every right to be that way:

YES YES YES YES YES she has a right to be angry, but the slapping and the yelling and the swearing, it's kind of where I draw the line.

I'd be SUPER pissed if I was in Lauren's shoes but I guess I just deal with anger differently, I'm more passive aggressive when it comes to stuff like this, rather than... aggressive. But whatever...Lauren didn't deserve any of that, being stuck in the middle, being seen as an object (though I'm still not getting that vibe from Sam, again, must be my problem) but she sure as hell isn't handling this well. No one gets off scott free in situations like this, and no one is blameless for this downward spiral, not at this point.

EtB (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 9:12 pm

@Gibson Twist: For your comment to Falkner, bravo. For your newspost, thank you.

I would comment to those leaving, and their claims that I must admit to a failure to comprehend in any measure, but they probably won't read it.

As for the characters, well. I don't think anyone's right here. I don't think there's any right to be had. I admit to not noticing Mulligan's rudeness, because Mulligan being rude, crass, or otherwise obnoxious is a bit like the sky being blue. After a while, you cease to attach any importance to it.

Christo...well, Christo is a little like Mulligan Lite, if occasionally with some small measure of dignity or restraint.

Sam is stressed and not thinking clearly; I expect irrational behavior from him at this point.

There's a lot of things that could or should have been done differently; I still think Rick was rude, not that he deserved a punch in the face. BUt then, not returning rudeness in the face of rudeness is really, really hard.

I'm enjoying the story. I'm enjoying being mistaken in my character interpretations. I am glad you took a stand against something you felt needed it, Mr. Twist.

All in all, I have no complaints, and a great many compliments.

New Here Too (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 9:17 pm

@Gibson Twist: It's cool :D but for a second I thought I was being gaslighted.

@SaT: I don't think Sam is written as abusive or as objectifying Lauren. I'm seeing this line of thinking in the comments, that because of the SOTU we're supposed to side with Lauren and demonize Sam.

They're just characters, we're allowed to like or dislike or basically think whatever we want about each one of them. But a lot of people were jumping to conclusions and seeing them as ultimate representatives of their gender (or their races...wtf, Bummed...) rather than as the individual, flawed and fictional characters that they are. I think this is part of what was bothering Twist.

@Deveren: If a woman expects a dude to open her door just because she is a woman, she is at least a little bit sexist. I would like to see what part of the population you sampled in your study...

me (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 10:31 pm

Please put the comments in a forum or add the option to hide them all Mr Twist. They're detracting from the story I think.

TZW (Guest), April 8th, 2013, 10:42 pm

Sam's "Come Here" sounded way too much like he was talking to his pet dog than his SO.
Am surprised, shocked actually, by that approach. Guess we hadn't seen that side of him yet, stressed or not.

Mr Twist's SOTU isn't surprising given the conflicting emotions he is stirring up, but will admit (raised hand) to being guilty of siding way too far on one side of the fence
and being imbalanced in my view. So Mr Twist,
if nothing else, I thank you for at least cogently airing another side of the situation and making at least this reader take stock of my mental direction.

Freef (Guest), April 9th, 2013, 1:50 am

The thing I've been waiting for an answer for is what does Sam think this shit is all about. At the end of diagonal blindness christo says, "this isnt only about trust" and Sam says, "and I'm going to trust her to figure that out." To me this suggests that Sam (and christo too)believed the conflict goes deeper than simple jealousy but all the somewhat legitimate issues I could think of (like Sam feeling like an afterthought or feeling disrespected or wronged in some way) have been dismissed by the events that have unfolded since.
I have a hard time understanding what Sam thinks he's fighting for. Hopefully I'll get an answer soon.

(Also Sam feeling slighted is, in my mind, a real issue. in relationships people sometimes have to overcome problems that are only imagined. No one is rational all the time, Especially when they are in love. However Sam's failure to reach out to Lauren suggests that he feels wronged in some other way. )

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