Near/far away

Near/far away

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I do tend to overthink things in both life, and games. While it sometimes serves me well in games, it rarely does in life. As for thinking too much about Shia LaBeouf, I make no apologies.

This comic comes from a long conversation I had with a good friend about gender differences. The crux of the conversation was that, after so many years of dealing with men, they can still surprise and frustrate by, well, by acting like men. I could but apologise for my gender, while at the same time wonder if I could use the conversation for a comic. Which probably warrants another apology.

My first instinct on the comic was no. A ‘men are from Carcassonne, women are from Catan’ scenario immediately feels lazy, clichéd, and at worst, inappropriate. But I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and whether I could justify using it.

Ultimately, what made my mind up was Community. At least 6 years late to the party, we have only just started watching it. I think so many people had so many good things to say about it for so long, that we felt it was being shoved down our throats, so resisted it. Joke’s on us, I guess, as it deserves every line of praise it has ever gotten.

What it does really well is a running line of commentary that deconstructs and makes fun of sitcom tropes and clichés. At the same time, it will use a lot of typical sitcom structures, characters and devices in its episodes, and do great things with them. It won’t even try to be ironic or subversive in its use of these devices, but elsewhere, will do a perfectly good job of skewering them. Does subverting a cliché make it ok to use a cliché? If done well, then yes, I think so.

Here, the first three panels are just the lead in, merely the bait in a bait and switch gag. They are not meant to suggest that the stereotype is true, or even true in the instance of myself and Aileen. Hence being clearly labelled as ‘stereotype’. They are merely there to show the reader one thing, before pulling back the curtain and revealing another. Ultimately, like so many of our comics, the joke is on me, not Aileen. Making fun of other people has never really felt as comfortable as making fun of myself. I know myself well enough to do it well, and I know I can take the joke.

The big question though, is who ‘they’ are, and why ‘they’ would ever want to make a Tiny Wooden Pieces movie.

5 Comments on Near/far away
  • Ben Thorp

    Would that be actual human cannibal Shia LaBeouf?

    • The ever-fascinating, multi-faceted, mysterious, unguessable, human experiment in art that is Shia LeBeouf? The very same.

  • wr00t

    I’m a man and i tend to overthink things just like Aileen did here in the first part of a comic 😀 When in reality people don’t take that seriously things i’ve said or did. So, maybe this stereotype is not so prevalent, or at least there are some exceptions 🙂

    • Exceptions make the rule. They are also, generally speaking, what makes life interesting.

  • Senno

    Clearly men are from Carcasonne and women are from Catan! Men are builders, women are hoarders. Don’t ever apologise for being a man. Apologise for acting like a dickhead or something – but you aren’t in control over what other men do or do not do and you don’t have to answer for them. There are differences between the genders, physically, of course, but also emotionally and in how we do things. For instance – one of the best arguments and views on this is a female vs male survivor television show – where it showed the men thrived while the women bickered and could not come to a consensus. Men seem to gravitate towards what works best for them while women seem to require the validation from others that they are doing things right.

    Yet these too are stereotypes. But as Avenue Q taught us – ethnic jokes may be uncouth but you laugh because they’re based on truth. The same can be said for gender stereotypes. There is a kernel of truth to stereotyping. You can always be self-deprecating in your creations – it is easier, and it’s also more interesting for the audience to find a comic and an author that pokes fun at themselves. It’s certainly better than the alternative than one that pushes back and insults the audience. It’s almost humbling, in that sense.

    Theres been many a written word about what the opposite sex is thinking – and this comes up more and more in board games as well. How do you reconcile the player actions with their train of thought? How far ahead are they actually thinking?

    Its fun to think about, but it ultimately gets you nowhere. You can only make educated guesses.