Tag: 01 – Flyin’ to the Red

Influences

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I’m way too angry to do this point form, so we’re breaking out the old panel by panel analysis!

Panel One: I know I’ve been saying it out loud for about a week or so now, but I’m still amazed she just out and said it’s about Sal making them look like bad parents. Because you two sure had nothing to do with your own bargain basement bin low quality parenting, did you, Linda? Charles also doesn’t really seem all that concerned where she was or what she was doing, so I’m giving that a point too. I won’t give him one for being concerned she’s smoking though. That’s reasonable. Fuck you, Walkerton Parents Count: 3

Panel Two: And we all know what she means by that too. I wonder if Marcie would be a ‘bad influence’ if she were middle class and her parents were documented immigrants? Actually, nah, I think Linda’d still have ‘a bad feeling’ anyways. Regardless, I’m giving that a count because fuck off, Marcie’s stable and came out of her childhood, so far as we’ve seen, with considerably fewer issues than Sal has. Fuck you count: 4.

Panel 3: I love Sal. So much. Calling out her mom on her hypocrisy (yeah, I know, she SHOULD be worried her preteen/young teen is smoking so young, but she hasn’t said shit about her age, just that she smokes, so I’m calling hypocrite) and pointing out where that influence came from. I’m also appreciating that piece of info that Marcie did not in fact smoke yet. Interesting. I wonder when she took that up? Fuck you count: 5 for hypocrisy.

Panel 4: Fuck off. Marcie hasn’t done anything wrong so far as we can tell and Linda has no good reason to ban her from seeing Marcie except Marcie is poor and brown and Sal’s finally having enough of her mother’s bullshit so Linda’s blaming her friend. Count: 8 because all three of those reasons piss me off.

And you go, baby Sal for defending your friend.

Panel 5: Linda, this might shock you, but even if Marcie’s parents ARE shit, she cannot help that. She doesn’t get to decide where they live either because she is 12-13. And yeah, she probably hangs around with kids who live in her low income area, so clearly she’s co-signing everything they say and do even though we know she objects when her friends do things that make her uncomfortable or upset or she thinks are wrong.

And frankly? I’m not convinced her parents are shit. Bare minimum, they took her side when she was being bullied (even though they couldn’t help her much). More than you did, you fucking hellbeast. Better parents than YOU is the dictionary definition of damning with faint praise though, so I won’t waste too much time insulting the Diazes, you piece of shit.

Also, even if the kids in her neighbourhood ARE awful, Marcie pretty clearly prefers Sal. So I dunno what Linda’s Wannabe Perfect Upper Middle Class Suburban Americana ass is whining about. Fuck you count: 13.

Panel 6: Again, I’m so so proud of Sal here. She deserved better parents. Yeah, I see you there not saying anything about the bullshit your wife’s spewing, Charles, so I’m giving you a count too. Fuck you count: 14.

Panel 7: And yeah, totally dismissing Sal’s concerns about how she’s treated and belittling/ignoring her. Who wants to bet she’s done this before? Fuck you count: 15.

Holy fucking shit, I hate these two and I really wish Sal had better fucking parents.

Dumbing of Age

Asher

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So many notes!

– Sal, Marcie’s known you since you were five. She knows where this is going – straight off a cliff.

– It’s sweet Marcie doesn’t seem to blame Sal for what happened, although she seems to have more realistic expectations for her situation (and as such may not appreciate those comments – or, at least, not believe them).

– Sal’s face in that last panel. She’s BREAKING ME guys.

– Sal’s still clinging to that hope of this being temporary. Thanks a LOT, Charles.

– Shit. Sal’s smoking already? Oww. That can seriously mess you up. It can take up to 15 years to reverse damage done by cigarettes. I found that out googling health benefits for quitting for a story (and kinda felt pretty good about making my parents quit 18 years ago).

– I’m not quite sure what Marcie would mean. That Sal doesn’t smoke and Marcie wouldn’t approve? If so, why did Marcie take up smoking? Does it mean she already smokes? Did she meant Sal doesn’t chill?

– This Asher kid worries me. Sal’s said before she and Marcie have bad taste in people, other than each other, so I’m worrying we’re going to see this.

*clapping meme* Let. Sal. Have. Friends.

Just. Not. This. One.

Dumbing of Age

Alphabet

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Do you want to support me on Patreon but don’t like Patreon and wish you could support me in some other-but-similar way, possibly a way that currently has fewer features and perks than Patreon and is still in beta?  Then I have a Drip!  Drip is like Patreon, but by the Kickstarter folks!  And there’s just two days (one?) left to join my Drip and be forever labeled a “Founding Member.”  What does being a Founding Member entail?  I don’t know!  I think it’s just a title to make you feel special.

I’m really good at selling this, you guys, you have no idea of the level of my craft!

Dumbing of Age

Value

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To me, the issue with Walky’s joke/honestly I actually read it as him sincerely asking her for money was that Sal was clearly concerned at the time. Note here that Sal DOESN’T buy it because she feels so guilty (and probably feels guilty about thinking of spending money on Frivolous Things when Marcie Needs Her, which is its own brand of ‘kiddo NO.’)

Walky wasn’t displaying any concern for Marcie at all – hell, he came off as asking ‘if you only get $250 can we spend it on snacks since it won’t cover the bills anyway?’ Walky never mentions Marcie at all. That’s pretty insensitive given she’s Sal’s best friend. Not surprising given Walky and their supremely fucked sibling relationship, but still insensitive as hell.

That said, while Walky was being pretty bratty, the people I really blame for this are the elder Walkertons, for all the reasons outlined yesterday and upthread. This burden should never have fallen on the 12-year-old. The Walkertons have extremely influential contacts who could be convinced to raise this money with a very small amount of PR spin. The Walkertons could help contribute to the ambulance bill and it would almost certainly strain their finances less than it would the Diazes. The Walkertons could, at the very least, spearhead a town fundraiser on Marcie’s behalf and almost certainly raise more than $250 in the process. They are not. And if they aren’t willing to help, then Charles telling Sal exactly how much the ambulance costs contributes nothing to the situation except piling on more guilt for Sal.

If the Diazes had told Sal that information, it wouldn’t be great (again, way more than any 12-year-old can do anything about or emotionally handle,) but at least they would be doing so because their daughter is hurt, they can’t pay for her expenses, and people do not always react well under that stress. (The GoFundMe amount probably did come from them, but without knowing anything about Marcie’s parents but a lot about Sal, my guess is Sal was insisting on helping raise the money and they agreed to the crowdfunding because it can’t hurt and might help the clearly traumatized kid feel less powerless. We also don’t know who set the page up, for that matter – the way Walky phrased things last strip made me think Sal, but it’s at least as likely to be the Diazes and Sal just latched onto it. In which case, being frank about what they need on the page is totally the right call and they’re NOT expecting Sal to shoulder all this.)

But the Walkertons are supposed to be on their daughter’s side. They’re supposed to be looking out for Sal. And part of that is not letting a kid take so much on her shoulders, and keeping her from blaming herself, and telling her the best thing she can do for Marcie isn’t to worry about money or medical treatments, it’s to be there and be her friend and do nice things for each other while she’s going through something tough. They did not do any of this. Charles actively made the situation worse. So yeah, they suck.

Dumbing of Age

Gofundme

I grew up with fraternal triplets as cousins. There is one they consider the “baby”, and there’s one who’s widely treated as the oldest, even though they were born literally less than two full minutes apart (emergency C-section). I also had two friends who were identical twins, and another two who were fraternal twins. Neither set of twins had an “older” kid except as a joke when we were little. When they were 8, the girl of the set of fraternal twins developed T1 diabetes. After that, her brother started calling himself her “big bro” and taking on more of a caretaker role.

From my experience, it seems to depend a lot on whether the parents treat one kid as younger or otherwise baby one kid over the others, and also on whether one kid has a health issue. In both cases where a “baby” developed, the “baby” had a health issue (CP and spina bifida in one case, diabetes in the other), but also, in the fraternal twins, the kid with CP and spina bifida wasn’t the only kid with health issues, just the one who got babied for it. If the parents treat one kid as younger, the kids will pick up on it and respond accordingly (which seems to be what Walky is taking advantage of here), even if they don’t register it consciously.

Side note: In every family that plays favorites that I’ve encountered, the kid(s) who’s not the favorite always knows who the favorite is. The kid who is the favorite almost always thinks they’re treated fairly. If that aint a great metaphor for privilege dynamics in society, I don’t know what is.

Dumbing of Age

Station

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I really liked the strip where she was talking about how being trans doesn’t mean she needs to buy into the forever sweet and passive BS version of femininity and that she CAN be a female, trans AND an asshole.

It’s so HARD to reject that BS even when you recognise how harmful it can be. I can only imagine that it’s even harder for trans women, who (a) apparently STILL need to perform hyper-femininity to get taken seriously by professionals and access medical services to physically transition, (b) thanks to our awful society have even more reason than most women to at least sometimes want to blur silently into the background, (c) have spent some portion of their lives being told that they are not female, which must build extra internal pressure to embrace all aspects which can be spun as being female, even the cruddier ones. And she’s what, 19? She has her head more together than a lot of people twice her age.

So yeah, she’s being an asshole. It’s delaying plot from happening. It’s irritating. If she doesn’t knock it off soon it’ll cross over into bullying territory and that really isn’t OK.

But it’s still kinda awesome that she’s comfortable being such an asshole.

Dumbing of Age

Healing

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Well, it’s not the worst superpower ever, but is “having nicknames ready to go for everyone” the lamest superpower ever?

I’m trying to remember the nicknames she bestowed, but this is one of those searches for which tags aren’t particularly effective. These are what I’ve been able to recall/find:

Danny: Wonderbread
Joyce: Blue Eyes
Jason: Bow Tie

Others?

Dumbing of Age

Growth

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I maintain that the only problem is we didn’t enforce the “Well-Regulated Militia”. in my dream world, where money is no object, firearm ownership and purchase of ammunition requires maintained certification:yearly training, marksmanship expectations, examinations on proper maintenance and current state and federal ordinances. These courses would be held twice monthly, and attendance of the training course would count as civil service like jury duty so your work can’t punish you for missing a shift or three. The initiate course would drive out every Hollywood misconception about firearms, and there would be a seperate refresher course for returning applicants.

If you fail, your weapons would be sealed in a case as “Collector’s Items” until such time as you pass.

Dumbing of Age

Subterfuge

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In a presidential election, 40-some years from now:

Candidate Adolf Shitstain McHannibalLecter may have committed a little tax fraud, money laundering, grand theft auto, methamphetamine dealing, first-degree serial murder, genocide, and treason, he might have blown up the entire state of Delaware as a science project, and he might have built a doomsday device and held the Earth ransom for one million dollars, but shrug, boys will be boys, amirite?

But what’s this? Candidate Dorothy once assisted in hiding an illegal iguana! IGUANAGATE! IGUANAGATE! LOCK HER UP!

Dumbing of Age

Smoochy

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The first of September’s Patreon bonus strips is up, and y’all voted for Jocelyne!  (it was up a few days ago actually, but this space was busy promoting my CXC2018 table)  Any Patron can go log on to the Dumbing of Age Patreon and go check out her strip.  There’s also a cat!

also i have a drip now, which is like a patreon but run by kickstarter, and it’s still in beta so it’s not quite up to patreon functionality at the mo’, but if you want a way to support me that isn’t patreon now i have one thank you

Dumbing of Age

Grants

Yeah, this is fair, but considering A: everything Regalli said, and also B: that, on top of all her other corner-cutting, she broke up with Walky in order to be less distracted, it feels remarkable to me that she’d so casually give time to Joyce. I mean, I’m always glad to see them interact, it’s just surprising.

(Also thank you for compliment!)

Dumbing of Age

Capture

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Hey, if you’re willing to shell out thirty to fifty bucks for a peripheral…

(I am, in fact, THAT MUCH of a sucker for both Mew and overpriced pieces of Nintendo-themed plastic, but I still have trouble justifying it to myself.)

(Don’t have one in Go, though. Still grinding out that Gyarados. But I went to a Toys R Us event back in 2007 or so* to get one in distribution when you still needed to trade them and the Mythical distribution back in 2016 was super-helpful.)

* Which entailed, because we were traveling out of state that weekend and had scheduled appointments, dragging my mom to a Toys R Us in a different state early in the morning after weeks of obsessing because MEW. Worth it though.

Dumbing of Age

Nut

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I think when someone close to her comes out (either Jocelyne or Carla disclosing,) she’s going to be more primed to handle it well this time.

There’ll be a lot of questions, but I think Joyce has had a lot of growth and that will help – her religion is already straining to a near-breaking point, she’s definitely siding with ‘I love you and will support you even if I don’t Get It yet,’ and the knowledge that it’s her one sibling who’s supported her and Becky so thoroughly/the cool girl who helps her just because she can is going to mean Joyce picks a side very quickly.

(That said, it’ll go way better if it’s private, particularly in Jocelyne’s case. A really basic explanation and then Joyce asking questions is going to help in the moment, and that is definitely not gonna happen if Carol’s there.)

(I tend to think it’ll be Jocelyne first, but Joyce knowing about Carla will speed things up dramatically and if it does come down to Joyce finding out with the parents then that’ll help. I tend to think that story’s going to be someday when we get to the holidays? Joyce is definitely not inclined to visit home again any time soon, so Jocelyne won’t show up unless she visits IU.)

Dumbing of Age

Uninvolved

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I lost an entire lengthy comment, but: Normally I would say yes, seeing each other as equals is a fantastic and necessary part of a relationship.

The problem is that Walky and Amber both have massive self-esteem issues and see themselves as equally GARBAGE, and their relationship currently has them reinforcing to each other that yep, we are both terrible people instead of ‘There is at least one person who doesn’t think you’re terrible and maybe we can try and feel less terrible together’.

(This dynamic is also present in Ruth/Billie, though lessening on Ruth’s part. It is EXTREMELY WORRYING there, too. I actively worry about Billie because she is definitely Not Okay and not seeking help.)

I really think in another time, Amber and Walky could be great together. But not with this massive web of secrets of Amber’s hanging over them, and not unless they start feeling like maybe they could be Less Garbage.

Dumbing of Age

Propriety

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Even Lucy’s light hearted iteration has more stink to it then you think, cause it means Amber would be a rebound. FOR DORTHY.

But I think Billie has a point. Just, she thinks she has MORE of one then she actually does. He came to her because, well, she’s right. Other folks would tell him to wait. Which might be a pretty smart Idea. But I DON’T think that instantly translates into no connection to Amber, and she’s some revenge plot. Device.

Walky isn’t a knight in shining armor, or perfect, but that doesn’t mean he’s as spite filled as Billie is.

I feel, Billie, that if we REALLY want to be real here… your relationship started to get better when the spite was toned DOWN. So, stop this highschool gossip game and worry about your OWN relationship

Dumbing of Age

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