34 thoughts on “Chapter 5: Lit, page 75.”

  1. I think what Mesmer may be getting at is that rich parents tend to buy clothes for their kids that look very conventional and try to get them in the habit of dressing conventionally. Kids in upper-middle-income neighborhoods and schools dress to fit in; nothing like the folks in Templar.

  2. So what signals is Ben giving off that he’s not aware of that mark him as Rich Kid? An expectation he’ll be listened to? Not being cagey? Denying said privilege exists?

    1. Well, Ben’s pretty much a wet dishrag. If he wasn’t from rich background, he wouldn’t have ANYTHING, and he seems to be doing ok nevertheless. He’s not tough like a poor kid who’s left home would be, nor is he a member of a gang/cult/ideology.

  3. “Woman, I DENY you”

    God, Mesmer’s only been there for a few pages and I’ve already fallen in love with some of his statements

  4. Not to be picky, but Mesmer’s eyebrow bugs me in the last panel. Doesn’t really match up with the eye scrunchies.

    Heh. eye scrunchies.

    I concur with loving Mesmer otherwise.

    1. The eye scrunchies is the one thing that consistently bugs me about this comic… I always feel like you can really tell how the skin itself is moving, but the eyebrow-hair doesn’t seem to move with it… I always feel like I want to move the eyebrow down so that its inner edge is touching the eye itself. It’s weird because the rest of the comic is so perfectly drawn that I almost feel I could be wrong about this.

  5. Um, yeah, Mez is starting to lose his lustre for me in a big hurry. He needs to be backed into a situation where he actually has to DO something instead of just sit there and harsh on everyone else. A dose of humility dumped into his Alternate-Universe-Starbucks might be just the thing for him.

  6. Yes! I admit it! My parents had professional jobs which provided them with a middle class income. They then used said income to raise a kid who otherwise might not have had a family or secure childhood. ZOMFG I AM SO ASHAMED!!!! (Shut the fuck up, Mesmer. There is nothing immoral about living over the poverty line.)

    1. Wow. He never said it was immoral? He was just stating it as a fact (independent of value judgments). I guess it was a little personal for you, huh?

      1. Huh, I can see how that might have read as overemotional.

        Just to clarify: The part in parenthesis was me. ‘Cause Mesmer is being superior and annoying. The screaming part was what I imagine Ben’s inner dialogue to be. I think the inside of Ben’s head probably gets hysterical on a regular basis.

    2. Thanks! Rings true with me. I always get middle class white guilt, all the worse for my parents trying to shake it out of me. That’s the best refutation I’ve ever seen!

      Pyano’s just feeling a little snippy today, aren’t we, sweets?

    3. I don’t think Stormy’s wrong in the least. It’s just that pyano’s also right when they say that we can’t infer that’s what Mesmer meant based soley on what he’s said so far. Give it a page.

    4. I don’t think Mesmer is attacking anyone, nor accusing anyone, He’s just stating a fact in his Mesmerizing way; emphatically.

  7. “Woman, I deny you” is one of the best things Mesmer’s said so far. I can just imagine him saying it in an entirely serious tone, like something a pastor (not a Nile one, mind you XD) might say in church when reading the scripture.

  8. Well duh. Look at Ben. Wearin’ clothes that are all normal and with normal looking hair.
    Then again, if Mesmer grew up on a commune sans TV, etc, his idea of “rich” might be pretty loose. It might define “Has enough money to buy milk at the store instead of chasing down the goat yourself.”

  9. Mary has a point. Mesmer’s background may be influencing his idea of ‘rich’. Back in my teens, my family lived for about a year and a half in a subsistence fishing village in the Alaskan Bush. The kids in our school had their Chigago Bulls jerseys, their brand new Air Jordans each fall, their cold-weather gear was Carhartt Thinsulate, so they were nice and warm tooling around on the snowmobiles. My brothers and I did our best with kmart jeans, second hand boots, and surplus store peacoats. Yet somehow by the standards of this community, we were the rich kids. Why? Our dad was the new cop in that village. Part of his benefits package was housing on the city tab. We were placed in the housing area with the teachers, and so we had running water in our home. For us, a shower didn’t involve a public stall at the laundromat. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night didn’t involve boots and coats and flashlights. ‘Rich’ can be defined by more than a fat bank account.

  10. Mesmer may be right, but man, he is an absolute dick. A charming dick but a dick none-the-less. Ben may come from a cushy lifestyle but he doesn’t go out of his way to wear Shiner or talk about how he has “low friends.” Whatever crimes Ben’s committed, rubbing his privilege in other people’s faces isn’t one of them.

    Ha ha, I hope Mesmer somehow ends up dating Curio. They would be an awful couple but ever so entertaining to watch. He’d whine about her being rich while gazing at her silicon boobs, she would promise to do better while being dazzled by his “street sensibilities” and girly choice of dress, and then he’d ask her to pay for dinner because, oops! Forgot his wallet!

    Oh God, I wrote a fanfiction.

    1. Being able to run off to a commune and have enough capital to finance an organic nut butter company is hella privilege. Mez is sounding like one of those Reaganites demanding food stamps be abolished because “look at those people. these so called poor people have color televisions in their homes! Some of them even have cellular phones!” and acing like it’s a scandal that anybody trying to get by has anything they can get pleasure from.

    2. Yeah, I’m going to need that link when you’ve posted it. ;) There’s nothing more entertaining than an awful couple, made of awful but entertaining people. Can I still make ;)s or is that lame now?

      I can’t say if I like Mesmer and his methods or not, having just “met” him, but it’s probably not a terrible truth for Ben to be learning at this point. ‘Sides, 3 in 4 characters in this strip are rude as sin, no denying that.

  11. Actually… his mother running a peanut butter company doesn’t sound very poor to me. Even if they lived in a commune. And them not owning a TV was clearly not because of poverty. Mesmer may have had quite a cushy (if strange) lifestyle himself as a kid.

  12. Wow. You guys have just projected a truckload of personal history and assumptions onto this exchange without illuminating the actual characters in the slightest. Mesmer is doing *nothing* to Flannery that Ray wouldn’t agree with: If she expects to keep a job at this kind of freakshow she NEEDS to find her spine and start handling such inevitably routine shit on her own, whatever that takes. Would Ray be any gentler in this regard?

    And observing the obviousness of Ben’s background is no more antagonistic than notifying a card player that he seems to be showing the whole table his hand: In a predatory poker game like TAZ such criticism is almost certainly constructive and well-intended, however delivered. At least he’s not offering to keep Ben in a hamster cage. :D (LOVED THAT) What makes this great is that Ben doesn’t care about the hand he’s showing; he seems to have bigger things to conceal.

    Which is also what gives him away: A lack of apparent hustle, subterfuge, urgency, desperation, defensive facade. He dresses and acts like he has nothing to prove, no desperate history to conceal, and is in dire need of nothing (that the other characters are aware of). This is a perennial theme of the comfortably privileged, however you or the characters may define “rich”.

  13. See, I wouldn’t like Mesmer if this was anyone else but Ben. And please, someone, someone just slap the hell out of Ben, just someone. I mean, just a vicious backhand that knocks him off the chair, just something to put the spark of life into his mortal coil.

  14. Mesmer is eerily similar in attitude to my crazy aunt. I can’t help but hate him because of it.

    It’s not much of a complement, but kudos to you on designing a character that can evoke such a profound feeling.

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