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The Sixth Questionable Content thread: attractive robots and hipsters only!

DrFaustus

Humanistic Infernalist
Validated User
Maybe, but too early to say for sure.

I personally don't think its fair to call it cheating when he was up front that he doesn't do committed relationships.

I think they're both to blame. Sven knew it would hurt her, but she knew the stove was hot before she touched it.
I feel that its disingenuous in the extreme to equate intentionally causing someone pain with foolishly hoping someone will not intentionally cause you pain.

JUst becasue you hurt someone doesn't make you Hitler. After all this is resorts to violence at the drop of a hat Faye, so she's not exactly some delicate angel in all this.
No one has called Sven Hitler or even called him evil. They've just called him an asshole. Which he is.
 

Ivy

it's not easy being easy
Validated User
Sven and Faye should both have known the relationship was a bad idea, but saying it's Sven's fault Faye got hurt is unfair to him and pretty patronizing to her. She's a grown woman who can make her own decisions, and it's really not Sven's responsibility to overrule her for her own good.
 

DrFaustus

Humanistic Infernalist
Validated User
Sven and Faye should both have known the relationship was a bad idea, but saying it's Sven's fault Faye got hurt is unfair to him and pretty patronizing to her. She's a grown woman who can make her own decisions, and it's really not Sven's responsibility to overrule her for her own good.
Faye told him that if he was going to sleep around, the relationship was over. He continued the relationship, knowing that he intended to sleep around. I'm really not sure why you think its unreasonable for Faye, and others, to read that as Sven implicitly (and falsely) agreeing to respect the boundary she had established.

Like, yes, the communication there is garbage all around, Faye should have demanded an affirmative, direct answer and acted on it, but Sven took advantage of her unwillingness to do so to maintain access to her body, and he knew full well that's what he was doing.
 

HDimagination

Building something out of Scrap
Validated User
Maybe, but too early to say for sure.

I personally don't think its fair to call it cheating when he was up front that he doesn't do committed relationships.

I think they're both to blame. Sven knew it would hurt her, but she knew the stove was hot before she touched it.
A stove can't choose not to be Hot.

JUst becasue you hurt someone doesn't make you Hitler. After all this is resorts to violence at the drop of a hat Faye, so she's not exactly some delicate angel in all this.
Faye witnessed her own father shoot himself in the head. Shortly before the comic started she drove her own car into a tree in something that she admits she doesn't know was a suicide attempt or not. That's not to mention that at this point she was an alcoholic that had not yet climbed on the wagon. Physically she's not a delicate Angel (although much of her 'violence' was from an earlier period of the comic where things were far more stylised and prone to slapstick) but psychologically she definitely is. Sven knew all this as well.

It's also worth noting that Faye did nothing to Sven other than walk out. I mean, it was the first sexual relationship that we saw Faye in over the course of the comic. It was a big deal for her, and again he knew that. It's also clear from Dora that this is not the first time that he's done something like this (slept around without thinking about the consequences) to one of her friends. It was a fucked up situation, for sure, and all parties could have handled it better. On an intellectual level, sure Faye should have expected this. But sometimes when sex is involved, people can't help but get emotionally invested whether they know they should or not.

FYI I've seen this play out in real life several times (especially in my twenties) when a more sexually active individual becomes involved with some one who is less sexually active/confident for 'no strings attached fun' and then the less active/confident person becomes more emotionally invested than the Sexually active partner. If anything, the terms of the relationship in QC where far better communicated than they ever were in real life, but It's always a road crash. I have to say that if you're going to sleep around allot, especially if you have multiple partners on the go at once, you have to accept the risk that you may end up hurting some-one whether you're open about your intentions or not. YMMV on that last point I know.
 

Solarn

Registered User
Validated User
Uh, so what was Sven's big jerk behavior he's supposed to be moving away from?
Not caring about his partners, including saying whatever he needed to get in their pants, cheating on them or dumping them for another woman who wanted to have sex with him. Like, he was never shown to be actively jerkish towards women, but he had a habit of, instead of just having casual sex, getting into relationships and then just treating them like casual flings, regardless of what the other person thought about it.

Did he, though? Everyone acted like he cheated on Faye, but he explicitly told her right from the start that he wasn't going to be monogamous. I kind of assumed it was a similar thing with that other girl who was briefly mad at him. I don't recall it ever being shown that he lied about his intentions with any of the various girls he was hooking up. It just seemed like everyone despised him for being slutty, really.
It's not that he actively lied to anyone he was with, it's just that he didn't care enough not to impulsively get with another woman if the opportunity presented itself. That was basically his entire characterization, someone who was so used to getting everything he wanted without effort that he never had to develop a work ethic or think about the effects of his actions. In his professional life, he could just shit out vapid pop lyrics and get paid well, so he never really grew to understand the value of money. In his personal life, he was handsome and charismatic and could usually easily find the right things to say to get a woman to like him, so he never really grew to think of relationships as representing a particular emotional closeness, needing work to maintain, leaving you alone and hurt when they end, or even as something particularly distinct from a casual hookup.

JUst becasue you hurt someone doesn't make you Hitler. After all this is resorts to violence at the drop of a hat Faye, so she's not exactly some delicate angel in all this.
That's a really gross thing you just wrote there. It doesn't matter who the person you hurt is, or whether they have a tendency to hurt others. That does not give you a free pass.
 

WistfulD

Registered User
Validated User
Uh, so what was Sven's big jerk behavior he's supposed to be moving away from?
Did he, though
The portrayal of Sven is inherently problematic because Jeph kind of wrote two characters into one (or, in another light, had an intensely complex character in his mind, and only expressed part of it in the strips the rest of us got to see). On some level, it seems that Sven is supposed to be a jerk, but not all of the pieces that support that got to press.

Instead, what we got is a guy who believes in casual sex, believes he’s in a casual sex situation, is told that if he sleeps with anyone else that that situation is going to dry up, sleeps with someone else (knowing the consequence), and then finds that he wishes he hadn’t. A straight-through read of that doesn’t show a specific unacceptable act, so much as simply one that they later regret. One has to bring in ideas like ‘he should have known,’ or ‘Faye, given her state…’ that are problematic in their own right (in particular in infantilizing or invalidating the decisions made by an adult woman). I know, having had a pretty rocky relationship history in my 20s, in no small part because of PTSD and SUD problems, I’d be pretty mad if everyone acted like I hadn’t chosen (with genuine autonomy in my decision-making process) to get into said messed-up relationships and been able to have made better choices. I made those choices. I could have made better ones. If one of my relationships had said that it was casual, I said ‘okay, but sleep with anyone else, and it’s over,’ and they did (and acknowledged it), then it’s over, but they did nothing wrong. And, again, technically speaking, that’s exactly what happened in the strip. It just doesn’t feel 100% right because, imo, Jeph telegraphed some badness about Sven that he didn’t fully show.

In the end, the Sven-Faye relationship came off as a pretty decent storyline about two damaged people in stages of arrested development realizing that they really liked each other, but didn’t know how to be good for each other. It’s only the characterization of Sven that felt a little discordant. Actually most particularly in how Dora treated him…

It's not that he actively lied to anyone he was with, it's just that he didn't care enough not to impulsively get with another woman if the opportunity presented itself. That was basically his entire characterization, someone who was so used to getting everything he wanted without effort that he never had to develop a work ethic or think about the effects of his actions. In his professional life, he could just shit out vapid pop lyrics and get paid well, so he never really grew to understand the value of money. In his personal life, he was handsome and charismatic and could usually easily find the right things to say to get a woman to like him, so he never really grew to think of relationships as representing a particular emotional closeness, needing work to maintain, leaving you alone and hurt when they end, or even as something particularly distinct from a casual hookup.
And that’s really the thing. This seems a little bit like Jeph channeling his inner Nice Guy, creating an alpha male who gets everything handed to him, including the attention of all the women said Nice Guy wished like him instead. It seems like Jeph wanted Sven to be actually-more-complex (or wishing to be, and failing at it) than that for the Faye storyline, but not more complex for his relationship with his sister. David Willis has a similar character, Joe, who also serves as both foil for others and manslut-with-hidden-depths. I think, by making him a main character, Willis has been able to give the character enough screen-time to make the various interpretations/presentations gel better, while Sven it feels more like trying to shoehorn multiple characters into the same space.
 

Solarn

Registered User
Validated User
And that’s really the thing. This seems a little bit like Jeph channeling his inner Nice Guy, creating an alpha male who gets everything handed to him, including the attention of all the women said Nice Guy wished like him instead. It seems like Jeph wanted Sven to be actually-more-complex (or wishing to be, and failing at it) than that for the Faye storyline, but not more complex for his relationship with his sister. David Willis has a similar character, Joe, who also serves as both foil for others and manslut-with-hidden-depths. I think, by making him a main character, Willis has been able to give the character enough screen-time to make the various interpretations/presentations gel better, while Sven it feels more like trying to shoehorn multiple characters into the same space.
That's an astonishingly uncharitable interpretation, and frankly an insult to Jeph. Can you show even one page of the comic where the Nice Guy mentality you claim is on display? Because I can't remember a single instance where Sven's behaviour is presented with jealousy or it's insinuated that the problem is that he's getting attention from women that others should have. The only jealousy presented towards Sven is by Dora, who envies his professional success for work that's much lower quality than what Dora does for much less money.
 

Laminator_X

Registered User
Validated User
I'll say this: Sven, while somewhat self-absorbed and feckless, was far more honest with Faye than Faye was with Sven (or with herself).
 

Menocchio

Eccentric Thousandaire
Validated User
Sven's in an odd place on this comic because he's somewhat cast as a villain, at least in that main characters are hurt by his actions without him getting approximately equal time and redeeming qualities. And he's one of the only recurring characters in the setting to be treated like that. It's flawed but entirely sympathetic people like Faye, then Sven, and then outright cartoonishly evil beings like Hannelore's mother and Corpse Witch.
 

WistfulD

Registered User
Validated User
That's an astonishingly uncharitable interpretation, and frankly an insult to Jeph. Can you show even one page of the comic where the Nice Guy mentality you claim is on display? Because I can't remember a single instance where Sven's behaviour is presented with jealousy or it's insinuated that the problem is that he's getting attention from women that others should have. The only jealousy presented towards Sven is by Dora, who envies his professional success for work that's much lower quality than what Dora does for much less money.
In the interests of diplomacy, I will clarify, however honestly I don't know how you can find my response astonishingly anything, because it is virtually the same as yours, barring some word choice (and I'm guessing Nice Guy is the hangup).--I think Sven, particularly when used in relation to Dora, rather than Faye, is used much like a traditional coming-of-age-movie 'Jock'. The kind that has everything handed to them, things go right for them, life is just plain easier for them. Oftentimes, they are shown to also be jerks*, although sometimes as a subversion we see some hidden depths. In the movies I grew up with in the late-70s-early 90s, they were often the people that were getting the success/getting with romantic lead/going to win the competition that the movie protagonist was eventually going to get. In recent years, we've realized that, sometimes it was never shown why the protagonist really was the more deserving candidate for whatever success the particular narrative used. I think Jeph is channeling that narrative trope and making Sven the 'Jock.' He's a foil for Dora and representative of a kind of individual movies have trained us to hate just for being. And that is a bit of a problem with the Sven portrayal, as it relates to Dora -- he's done nothing wrong (again, to Dora), he's just succeeded, yet he has been colored to look like a villain, but without enough supporting villainy.
*although sometimes the screen-writer kinda forgets to connect the dots, since as a trope, we kinda already know who the role they are supposed to play.
 
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