Episode 837: Justification

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: In a Way, I’m the Victim in All of This

Bad guys, and not just in zombie stories, aren’t supposed to be evil just for the sake of it. That’s bad writing. People simply don’t act like that. The things we do, say, and believe are all based on something. Most of the time, we do a pretty good job of processing our histories and perspectives in such a way that our actions are more or less reasonable. But some people simply aren’t built that way. Their experiences or the way they fundamentally understand the world is skewed in such a way that their actions are bizarre or even destructive. A horribly traumatic event, like – say – a zombie apocalypse, can trigger them to take these reactions to horrible extremes.

About this Episode:

Another half-assed bit of artistry for me here. I want Ned to be trying very hard to portray strength to both Murphy and you, the reader. He does what any tin-pot dictator does: speak in large, exaggerated caricatures while prominently displaying his capacity for violence nearby. In this case, that violence is represented by Bill and the rifle he is so clearly desperate to use in anger.

Discussion Question: Embrace Your Inner Villain

The end is here. The zombie outbreak cannot be contained and society is in its death throes. You manage to survive, and soon enough, realize that you can thrive in this new dangerous and violent reality. But, being a real human being and not a character from a children’s cartoon, you can’t just go from being a normal member of society to complete villain without some sort of transformation. So what do you suppose it would take for you (or a hypothetical third party if the idea of being a zombie story bad guy is disgusting to you) to start doing really nasty stuff in order to get ahead, build your strength, and truly live large at the end of the world?

21 thoughts on “Episode 837: Justification”

  1. Typo alert:

    “do, say, an believe” an–>and

    Only one for today, not bad, Dave! 😀

    • No, not bad at all!

  2. So, Dave has finally defined Ned as a tin-pot dictator. It seems to fit him pretty well so far! 😀

    I still would like a backstory on Ned and his group. I don’t care if it’s now, before the ending, or later, when Dave gets a sudden urge to write it up after he’s had a break from ending the comic! 😀

    • You know, a Q&A after the end of the comic might be kind of fun.

      • I was thinking epilogue rolling over into a backstory. But take a break first, let the comic end, and then consider it if you get the time to do so. 😀

  3. I also kind of get his argument but I still don’t see how or why it justifies his “join us or be shot dead” attitude. Dictator or not, he could simply not care about those who don’t want to join his group, I don’t think he wants to be a Cyberman that deletes anyone who is incompatible with their conversion process, to put it one way. 😀

    • “I also kind of get his argument”
      Oh, this is cool. I was hoping a couple people would see this. Basically, understanding his thought process, but not agreeing with him.

    • He actually doesn’t have much of an argument. For short term population survival you need about 500 people–for long term you need 50,000! Otherwise you lack the genetic diversity to keep producing healthy babies.

      NO ONE has a skill set that makes them “strong” for every scenario. It’s like the myth of the Alpha male. You’re only dominate in certain situations and as they chance your advantage dissipates. You never get to decide when what piece of info you or someone else has might be useful when in your life. That’s why we’re taught so much as kids “that I’ll never use!” because we might. (Still havn’t ever used matrix multiplications, quadratic equations, or all my state capitals, but it’s there!)

  4. Regarding Dave’s attempt at portraying strength from Ned, I focused mostly on the gestures his hands and arms were making – or trying to make – whilst he was monologuing. He seemed capable of expressive gestures, so to say. 😀

    • I didn’t think of Bill’s rifle as anything other than guarding the group Ned was the leader of. He is, after all, only a trained defender for situations such as zombies that may randomly wander into range.

      • That’s fair. I do try to work a lot with their hands to convey various non-verbal messages. The lack of total flexibility makes this difficult though.

        • It could be worse, you could have found a Friends figure to subvert and those minifigs have only one degree of articulation in their hands. The same amount of articulation as the Battle Droids from the Star Wars sets in fact! 😀

  5. There are just to many answers to the question so I will boil it down to this. You must first see others as less than human to treat them that way. While there are many in today’s world who can easily do this the zeds will push many more over the edge. Once you have to start killing zeds and watching your group members die you can easily start to see all others as not human and not deserving of survival.

    It does always worry me about those who can’t wait for the zeds to come so they can start killing everyone non-stop. Wonder what is holding them back right now.

    • Very interesting. So your argument is that simply surviving in such horrible conditions and seeing this awful violence will cause some people to completely devalue the lives of others?

      • Not exactly. People have many different reactions to terrible situations. Once they choose a way to adapt to those situations they tend to stick with it. Many a story has the plot where the “people” have just accepted the situation and then the Hero comes in and saves them by convincing them to do things differently. I see our hero here trying to get Ned to change and not have to kill him and his group and those maybe becoming like them.

  6. “The strongest must survive. Luckily, I’m pretty strong. Not like you.”

    Funny how for guys like Ned it’s always someone else who has to step aside.

  7. Alright let us go Very Dark then. This timing would either have to be at the very start of an Outbreak when no one, but that “one crazy” knows anything or very deep in.

    At start – Kid get bitten, start attacking you “for no reason”. As all great villains start they get their hands on a signature weapon and kill the kid right in front of a very random 3rd party. BOOM! Instant villain
    You could avoid that trope trap if you were the “one crazy” or the kid(s) attacked the other adults, esp if they ate/tore apart the P.T.A. meeting the others were having about the recent behavioral problems.

    Late game – one time parent/found lost kid or baby that would get you killed, or ran into a group of feral people breeding and leaving “offerings to the divine ones”. You couldn’t leave the kids behind from the teachings of the feral group, the kid didn’t keep up / the baby didn’t shh at right time or get a place to go, you lost your kid in a way that others saw as preventable and now it is your own grief and the grief that is given to you.

  8. For my villain transformation, I see the deranged hero as my trope. I’d become someone who still thinks they’re doing good when they do something god awful.

    Ned would be my target for the current group. Assuming I can pull off things with my knowledge base (a decent amount but not supra-genius), I’d have all the baddies tied up with Ned in the center, his arms splayed out on a table. I’d then talk to him about the importance of being a good human being when others are weak because we all are eventually weak. And it doesn’t make you strong when you harm others weaker than you.

    I’d then chop off Ted’s hands leaving him with stumps. I’d take the time to sew them up, making sure he could live, before telling him that he’s now weak and has to spend everyday for the rest of his life depending on the kindness of others.

    Finally I’d place a knife (double sided blade) in one of the other baddies hands to cut the rope off and get free (also to give me time to get away) as Ted screams threats and insults at me…making sure he can see my peaceful smile all the while as I walk backwards out of the room I’ve held them in…

    …at least that’s how I see me as a villain…and whom it’d take to push me over the edge…

  9. It is evolution in a nutshell.
    The reason many people might agree because in todays world society everyone could thrive, and that the definition of weak and strong changed.

    In the end this guy will also need ‘the weak’ because at some point a society will be established and you will need people with other qualities than survival-qualities.
    What exactly is ‘strong’… I’m guessing this guy also has ‘weak’ people within his group who are protected by the stronger ones. Will he kill the ones in his group that are weak too? No… the weak serve a purpose a practical or emotional purpose to the ‘strong’ members of the group. Thinking like that… the argument falls flat and comes down to; ‘your group threatens my group — I don’t trust you are weak at all — so you have to be dealt with.’ This guy doesn’t think the group of Murphy is weak… he is afraid the group of Murphy is a threat…. in the end, the weak vs strong argument fails.

    • This was a reply to:
      June 20th, 2018
      “I also kind of get his argument”
      Oh, this is cool. I was hoping a couple people would see this. Basically, understanding his thought process, but not agreeing with him.

  10. Heh, looks like your blog software decided to replace your avatar with your self portrait. I think you look okay, would like to see a larger photo though! 😀

    I guess this is one side-effect of the BCN closing. But this comic progresses, regardless! 😀