Webcomics:Something Positive 2012-08-27
I'm not really a huge fan of Something Positive. On the scale from cynical to idealist, I usually tend closer to the Robert-Downey-Jr.-Iron Man point on the scale, and S*P is a heck of a lot blacker than that.
But I have to admit that Randall Milholland is brilliant. And today's comic shows why.
Let me try to work out all the layers going on here, as the story of Davan conversation with Celie intersects Pythagorean's confrontation with Andre Laroy. Via Davan tripping Laroy.
Now, the surface joke is that while Celie talks about how Davan needs to be less of a jerk, Davan does a stereotypically jerkish thing for a righteous cause. But what makes it brilliant is that Celie's reason for saying "Maybe if you were nicer to people this wouldn't be a problem" is a absolute nutter named Ollie -- and while Celie is wrong, obviously wrong, and obviously just regurgitating Standard Aesop #4 (seriously, it's literally in Aesop) and trying to force it to fit a situation it clearly doesn't...
...the way Davan trips Laroy, and the way Davan reacts to Celie's criticism of him for it, pretty much encapsulates why Ollie is a problem for Davan. Ollie only cares about appearances, and Davan doesn't care about appearances.
Let me recap.
Davan met Ollie when he was trying to audition for a play that Ollie was directing. Accidentally -- through the intervention of one of the investors, Lawrence Sanderson, whose motives even Davan did not understand -- Davan ended up replacing Ollie as a director, bumping him over to producer. From which point Davan spent three months trying to make the play work out well in spite of constant interference from Ollie, up until the point when it was revealed that Ollie hadn't ever secured the rights to the play.
On meeting Ollie again, Davan discovered a very different interpretation of events: in Ollie's mind, Davan stole his play from him, thwarted his every attempt to gain credit for its creation, and then stopped it from ever opening. And by doing so prevented Ollie from making his name in the theater community. And apparently Ollie wants to destroy him for this.
Jump back to Laroy. Davan tripping Laroy was a good thing -- he'd just seen the Pythagorean running away from the guy, and so he knew that Laroy was somehow dangerous -- but none of this is obvious to Celie, who was caught up in telling him to be nicer to people. (Which, actually, is hilarious in and of itself given how Davan was the guy Celie went to when she needed someone to go with her to the abortion clinic. He is absolutely sarcastic, but he's glad to go out of his way to help people. Where was I? Oh, right, Davan tripping Laroy.) Celie immediately castigates him -- "I'm trying to explain to you the benefits of helping people and you trip some poor guy?" -- but look at his reaction: it's not, "Hey, you don't understand, I'm helping the Pythagorean", it's "Muscle spasm. Also, what if tripping him helps someone else?" And then when Celie gets incredulous, he goes straight to irreverent humor.
Because Davan doesn't care if he's justified in Celie's eyes any more than he cares if he's justified in Ollie's eyes. Looking good is a lower priority for him than being funny, and now that doing good is taken care of, his obligations are discharged and he's allowed to relax.
Davan's a good guy, and he doesn't care who knows it. And he doesn't care who doesn't.
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