Over the years I’ve gotten shit for all kinds of things. Run the list of typical topics of outrage & I’ve gotten called out for all of it at least once. It almost always comes in the first section of the comic since I’ve left comments on in the archives. People get some random number of pages in and then find a page where their particular sacred cow gets slaughtered and they write the comic off forever, after leaving a comment about how terrible I am and how I should kill myself, or some such thing. By far and away the most passive aggressive comments come from fat people, or people defending them. I’ve been fat for almost my entire life & I’m always aggravated by how precious other fatties are about their body image. They assume that since someone makes some snide comment about someone’s weight that I must be a skinny bastard who wants to oppress them. When in reality I’m one of them who thinks maybe fatties need to accept that being overweight isn’t all the fault of other people. I fucking KNOW what it’s like to get shit for being fat. I know how our entire culture is built around making it incredibly easy to eat constantly & terribly. That said, no one has forced me to eat when I didn’t want to since I was a kid. (making kids eat when they don’t want to is a whole other thing…) In any event some people just can’t withhold their outrage long enough to see where the story is going. If every character was perfect the comic would be incredibly boring. Reggie in particular is a bit of an edgelord. He likes messing with people, is vindictive, & has a streak of cruelty in him. He’s growing up. Even though he’s in his 20’s he’s still learning to be a decent person. I know people who are in their 70s who never get there. Some people don’t.
The point Reggie is making here is something that people have a hard time understanding; the idea that you can say mean things but not mean them. Or maybe you only mean them for a specific person, or in a specific situation. The interconnectedness of everything now has thrown this whole concept out of whack in all human interaction. As soon as someone says something that doesn’t align with whatever narrative for good behavior we’ve passively agreed upon it’s open season on them. Vast numbers of people vindictively set out to destroy that person with no regard for context or anything else. Social media, constant news availability, the internet, all of this stuff has amplified the tribal nature of humans in a way we haven’t had to deal with since we were a much smaller group. I don’t think that’s bad overall, I just think it will take a while before we learn to adjust to this constant interconnectedness as a species. In the end the good outweighs the bad, but the bad is really bad when you become the target of the entire rest of humanity.
Words don’t always mean what they mean. Sometimes they only mean what they mean for a little while. It’s important to try and understand what someone else means when they mean it and how they mean it, but also to let them change their mind if they want. In my experience, if you take an adversarial tone with someone who disagrees with you they will always double down. Whereas if you approach with a tone of wanting to understand their motivations you’re more likely to find common ground & possibly change minds. Don’t be too quick to bring the hammer down on someone else, because you might find yourself dressed as a nail someday too.
The long and short of all of this is that I’m going somewhere with this story, and Reggie acting this way is part of his arc. Enjoy the ride. You might learn something if you stick with it. For most of you I don’t need to say this at all, but I know this next section is going to bring out a lot of crankiness. Buckle up, motherfuckers.