“Torch”– part III, page 36

Posted on September 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm in FINDER as part of TorchTorch - Part Three, « TorchTorch - Part Three, . Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses

  1. Oneiros says:

    Hah! I suppose Coward is right… it is possible to break one with beatings, though, and that’s not entirely good, but I don’t think Jack is the kind to break.

  2. brandi says:

    “I suppose Coward is right … but I don’t think Jack is the kind to break.” – Oneiros


    Perhaps good fighters are broken.

    Is that not the theory of armies everywhere?

  3. Lethe says:


    Depends: who is Coward hoping Jack will fight? :)

  4. Oneiros says:

    brandi, I’ve put some thought to your question. That IS the theory behind armies. That’s how a good soldier is made. And that’s how a horse becomes domesticated. But Jack is not an ordinary soldier. Soldiers hold to a certain standard of conformism. But what makes Jack different needs to be preserved, in order for him to find the Ascian way to the Net. As far as we know, Jack is the only renegade geek scout of Coward’s tribe. His particular passion is what is needed to help the tribe find their way. Jack, with the beating, needs to know that Coward won’t let him get to the Net the Anvard way. Jack needs to find his own way, and he needs to break through unknown territory to get there. And broken things don’t make good pioneers (though one broken aspect of them is what sets them off to the quest in the first place – why quest if you’re complete?). Horses are broken so they don’t jump the fences. A good beating is one that lets you know where the boundaries are, “Don’t cross here.” A bad beating is one that leaves you with no fight left. I’m sure Jack will get the good kind.

    - Chris

  5. K.L. Droscha says:

    This…has nothing to do with the current string of conversation, but I really don’t care. When I first saw the current page, I could only think of one thing: will a TV-weed start to grow out of Chief Coward’s head? Look at pages 5-6…the bug looks about the same. And for that matter, are we to assume that Chief Coward is Jack’s great-grandfather? Or is that another old Ascian…?

  6. reptangle says:

    “A good Fighter” doesn’t necessarily mean a warrior, Jack could fight for a cause, such as finding ways to combat the insane, over-the-top commercial technology of Anvard. That is a possible meaning of the last panel there.

  7. Oneiros says:

    KL, I wondered the same thing. Can it land on Cowards’s head and start growing there? Could it have landed on Jack’s shoulder and start growing there? Or does it only land and germinate on concrete?

    The TV-weed-firefly is in all the panels of this page but one. It seems significant somehow. I wonder if it in some ways represents us, the readers, floating along, resting our attention here or there. Every now and then, Carla frames a single simple sentence into one panel, as she has done in the last panel here, giving that sentence extra focus and emphasis. The firefly draws our attention to Coward and his head and his words.

    The firefly, when it lands, turns into a plant of TV screens, each screen tuning into one channel of news or maybe entertainment. We are, the readers here on site, each such a TV screen, commenting on the Finder story. I had commented to Carla in email during The Rescuers storyline that the more control is exercised (and attention gathered), as the Baron and Baronness had done for their estate, the more TV-weed-kudzu is produced, as shown how it festered over the estate gates and fences. Such is the case with celebrities. How much gossip do celebrities garner?

    - Chris

  8. Bryan says:

    On the next page, Coward is converted into a Tele-Tubby!


    I’ll need a beating, next.

  9. reptangle says:

    The tv weeds only grow when they find and hook onto a suitable power line.

  10. brandi says:

    “A good beating is one that lets you know where the boundaries are … I’m sure Jack will get the good kind.” – Chris/Oneiros

    I was not, of course, endorsing the practice of armies. Even if Coward’s idea is a different one, why suppose that he is right, or that his plan will benefit Jack?

    Now, compare learning not to put your hand in the fire [1] by getting burned & [2] by being beaten for merely trying to put your hand in the fire. In the first case, you learn something about the nature of fire, in the second case you just learn what will provoke violence.

    The violence shows you what is forbidden, but that goes no way toward justifying the violence; for the justification to get any purchase, it has to be right to forbid the action, no? And that remains to be shown.

    Put another way, a boundary is not a barrier. If a barrier (in this case a beating) is erected to mark a boundary, it’ll show you where the boundary is (perhaps), but not that the boundary ought not to be crossed.

    If I beat you for masturbation, homosexuality, or wishing me a happy Chanukah, the boundary is wrong, and the beating doesn’t stand a chance of being right.




  11. Oneiros says:

    Some things to think about. Thanks, Brandi. :)

    My father did use corporal punishment when I was a child. I’ve been a major opponent against anger ever since. But to be against that, I’m also against one form of power in me. And to be against war is also to wage a kind of war. In the gospel of Thomas, Jesus is quoted as saying something like “What you do not bring forth from yourself will destroy you.” To me, that means that if I suppress something like anger, anger from outside will hurt me. Or if I suppress the option of using force to do things, force will hurt me.

    I am not for violence as the first means to exert one’s will, but I am open to the possibility of using violence as a last resort.

    Carla gets me thinking.

    And I have the feeling that her point is also that it was the beatings (in a pretty disciplined fashion, making them at least somewhat useful) that Jaeger received as a child that in part made him the good fighter that he is “today”.

    Thanks for the love, m. Back atcha. ;)

    - Chris

  12. reptangle says:

    Jack isn’t being reprimanded for things he wants to do, I don’t think.
    Other than spouting off in a disrespectful manner, he hasn’t done anything wrong! He was just explaining some things he had learned to the Chief, and asking permission to try things. He was dutifully following the previous mission the Chief had assigned to the kids, explore and learn about Anvard.
    But NOW he has a clear boundary to think about crossing.

  13. reptangle says:

    Jaegar’s father never hit him, did he? I took that to mean that parental inaction was the ultimate abuse; not even caring enough to belt the kid .

  14. Oneiros says:

    Yes, Jaeger’s (or is that “Jaegar” as you spelled it?) father did hit Jaeger. Didn’t beat him up, but beat him as discipline. It was never shown, but described in the text, in Fight Scene, I believe? I’ll have to check again.

  15. reptangle says:

    I remember something about Jaeger ( I pr’olly mispelled it) wishing that his father HAD hit him… and a panel of his dad about to smack him, then saying something like .. “oh, what’s the use!” – but maybe that was only one incident.

  16. Oneiros says:

    Yeah, I think that was the one incident. Probably the last time his dad considered hitting him. “What’s the use!” kinda suggests that after all the previous beatings, Jaeger still hadn’t learned or something. Maybe Jaeger wished his dad had beaten him THAT time? Have to look back.

  17. Hmpf says:

    Jaeger makes contradictory statements about his father beating him, in – I think – Sin-eater and in Fight Scene. In the former he claims his father never beat him; in the latter it becomes clear that he did. Jaeger offers as explanation that he has his own definition of ‘beating’. (The exact phrasing was different, I think, I’m just quoting/describing from memory.)

  18. brandi says:

    “Jesus is quoted as saying something like “What you do not bring forth from yourself will destroy you.” To me, that means that if I suppress something like anger, anger from outside will hurt me. … And I have the feeling that her point is also that it was the beatings (in a pretty disciplined fashion, making them at least somewhat useful) …” – Chris/Oneiros

    Dear Chris,

    Isn’t the idea attributed to Jesus (though it sounds kinda Freudian to me) that anger contained will hurt you from the inside? That is, that it is your own repressed anger that will hurt you. Expression of the anger needn’t be in an attack on the person or thing angering you (your boss, say), of course, you may redirect the anger (e.g. by punching the wall or kicking the dog/kids/husband) or you may divert the energy of the anger to another end (i.e. sublimation, e.g. you climb K2). I don’t say this model of the mind is correct, but …

    To say that if you contain your anger, the universe will conspire to have you struck down by another’s anger seems the merest superstition.

    Now, by ‘beating’ you have in mind striking someone violently or forcefully and repeatedly, yes? I’m less clear about what you mean by a ‘disciplined beating’: that the beating is rule-governed? that it is severe or harsh (i.e. rigorous)?

    How does its being disciplined guarantee a beating’s being useful? In some circumstances, a beating will do no good, no matter how harsh or systematic. (And, no, I’m not going to try to list circumstances in which a harsh beating will be useful to someone, whether agent, patient, or third party.)

    Is the idea that if it seems impersonal, rather than an uncontrolled expression of anger, it will have some value?

    I’m not trying to attack what you mean to say, just to draw it out.

    I think it is safe to say that Jaeger’s body does not respond to a beating in the way that any actual human’s does, and that this might affect his psychological attitude to being on the receiving end of violence. After all, aren’t we to believe that getting the shit kicked out of him is necessary to his health? What’s sauce for the goose, ain’t necessarily sauce for the gander.



  19. Oneiros says:

    Hi, m/brandi. :)

    Wow. What to say? I do love a good discussion. I could have drawn out some of what I was trying to say, but in the interest of avoiding anything like a monopoly and other things, I refrained.

    Yes, ultimately, it’s the anger inside that destroys a person, not the anger outside. And I never meant to imply that the universe CONSPIRES to have me struck down by anger if I choose to suppress it. However, there is everything in the universe all around me – every emotion. Whatever I do, I will encounter anger sometime in my life, whether from someone else or myself. At some point, when I encounter it, if I have chosen to suppress anger in myself, the anger I encounter that’s outside of me will bother me, because I have judged it as something bad, and that person expressing it “shouldn’t” act that way. I’ll feel anger at the person’s anger, but not express it because I’ve chosen to suppress it. So then I’ll feel the pain of the withheld anger. So it’ll seem like the outside anger is the source, when, yes, it’s my choice to suppress the anger that hurts me.

    In terms of physical violence, instead of anger, if I have made a commitment not to use physical violence, and if by chance the time comes when I encounter physical violence coming at me, and I keep my commitment, I’ll certainly get hurt by the physical violence coming at me because I’ll not use physical violence to defend myself (that is, if I haven’t or can’t run away).

    And I’d say that disciplined beatings – that is, a beating that is deliberate, not done emotionally, with the reason for the beating clear and reasonable – are certainly more useful than terrible violent rages, as far as being a teaching tool. I’m not saying it’s necessarily the best way to teach, but I’m just saying it has more value than undisciplined discipline. One who is disciplined in teaching and in physical striking is certainly more trustworthy than one who is not. And when the message is clear, then it’s also clear that the discipline is for teaching, not for some kind of venting.

    And I assume – and it’s important that I know that I’m assuming – that Carla writes her characters as human. I know, Jaeger’s a comic book character, but I think Carla is basing how they act, generally, on humans. Jaeger might heal better than most characters even in the story, but he still gets hurt. He’s admitted that.

    Jaeger is half Ascian (and Carla has told me in email that his lineage on his father’s side has connections to Ascians that are “particular and profound”), so I think there is some similarity with him and Jack and Coward. So it’s reasonable to draw some similarity as regards to physical violence, between the three.

    You saw as Jaeger responded to Jack’s shooting him with a water gun allegedly filled with bleach. Did you feel Jaeger was out of line to respond the way he did, throwing Jack to the ground? How did you feel about it? And Jack seemed just fine afterwards. He took it just fine. Maybe like a good Ascian. And if Coward seems to think that beatings are just a part of the natural part of growing up in an Ascian tribe, maybe it is. You seem to be judging the beating as an outsider, without considering what is par for the course in the Ascian world.

    Thanks for drawing me out. I’m definitely draw-out-able. :)

    Best back to ya,

  20. Oneiros says:

    And I say this with the caveat that what I’m trying describe isn’t the easiest thing to describe with words, so my attempt will certainly fall short of a perfect description.

  21. Oneiros says:

    And I don’t think the universe conspires to do anything. But we as individuals do indeed conspire for various things, such as avoid violence. But someone said that sometimes it’s on the road to avoid our destiny that we meet it.

  22. Oneiros says:

    I also thought of a quote from Gandhi. I had to look it up online to get it right. Gandhi had once said: ‘I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor’. He had also said: ‘I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully’.

    I am in general a pacifist. But I do recognize the importance of using responsible force when called for.

  23. brandi says:

    “I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence …” – Mohandas G.

    “You seem to be judging the beating as an outsider, without considering what is par for the course in the Ascian world.” – Chris/Oneiros

    Dear Chris,

    Just a quick one.

    How macho Gandhi’s quote sounds. Violence is better than ‘ignoble fear’ when one’s honour (yes, I’m British) is at stake? Not in my book. I’m on the Brechtian side of the issue of honour & fine feelings, “Sink down in the slime, embrace the butcher, but change the world; it needs it.”

    I don’t recall advocating non-violence, but perhaps I delude myself. I do think the stories people tell themselves to justify their actions are often pretty poor justifications. That’s to say nothing about whether the actions are right/justifiable.

    That something is a cultural norm is no justification, IMO. How would such a justification run? (Cultural relativism masks ultra-conservatism.)

    Jaeger’s part-Ascian, but that doesn’t mean that everything exceptional about him is shared with the (other) Ascians, now, does it?

    Peace (and a sneaky punch in the kidneys),



  24. Oneiros says:


    Love you. Peace. ;)

    - Chris

  25. Oneiros says:

    Argh. You and your sneak punches do not make a good discussion. Blah. Not nice. Hmph. ;)

    I could have left my response the way it was, but what’s the fun in that?

    I didn’t say that cultural norm is justification. I am saying that cultural norm is relevant. You do seem to believe in some kind of absolute morality, though. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ;) Actually, I’m very open minded, but deep down, I’m quite conservative. There. No more mask. *rolls eyes* ;) I am aware enough to have a sense of my own subjectivity, and recognize them as just the way _I_ see things. I don’t have all the answers, though many times in my life I felt I did.

    What you gonna do? Have Carla write you into the story so you can right the wrongs? Tell them how to run things? Or are you the kind of person to shout at a movie screen as the movie’s playing?

    And I didn’t say that EVERYTHING about Jaeger would be shared by other Ascians. I was just saying that there’s enough shared so that it’s reasonable to conclude that some parallel is justified. But you knew that already, didn’t you? That’s what made it a sneak kidney punch. Sheesh.

    And I do admit that I wasn’t very good at trying to keep this discussion focused on what was really this issue – the morality (or something like that) of corporal discipline in Coward’s tribe. But I have a fuzzy everything-connected kind of way of thinking. And stories have always had that place in my life. And that’s one of the things Finder does for me that I like – gets me thinking in other ways than I’d done before.

    After this discussion, I ought to marry you or something. ;)

    Peace and love,

  26. reptangle says:

    Jeese, it is getting steamy in there!
    I might remind everyone that this is a comic book story, they tend to be violent. This one is much tamer than most!

  27. Oneiros says:

    Yes, reptangle. I know this. But thanks for saying what I was hesitant to say. It’s “just” a story, but it’s a pretty special story to me. It’s my favorite comic book, and it’s the only one that I follow these days. My first favorite, in high school, was Spider-man. Then it was Sandman, in college. And now I don’t go to the comic book store anymore. So I’m glad I can follow Finder online.

    Yes, there is a long history of violence in comic books, with so many focused on superheroes. Carla puts the violence in the context of a rich cultural history, and doesn’t give it so much of the foreground focus as the superhero books did.

    Interestingly, with the direction that the discussion took, I ended up trying to defend a stance I don’t exactly hold. It was just one I was musing upon. I wonder how different the discussion would have been had I been more precise in my words and said first-off “MAYBE Coward is right… hm…”? Coward’s statement prompted me to re-consider the place of corporal punishment in my own life.

    - Chris

  28. reptangle says:

    Oh yes, this comic it very special.
    I am DELIGHTED that this is becoming a forum where I can discuss my favorite comic with such intelligent, knowledgeable people! ( There have been some parts of Finder I didn’t understand. I look forward to this sort of ongoing discussion as a way to sort out what is going on in cases like that!)
    Corporal punishment doesn’t bother me in the context of this story. It makes perfect sense. The offhand way Grumpy Glasses Man said it suggests to me that it is the proper behavior of a responsible Ascian parent. Coward didn’t tell Glasses to do it.
    It is interesting that in one sentence Glasses tries to explain Jack’s behavior by saying “he’s young” and in the next panel that he’s too old. So Jack is in that awkward in between stage… How old is Jack?

  29. Oneiros says:

    I’d guess 16 years old. But yeah, good point. I hadn’t seen that. Too old for corporal punishment to do much good, and young enough to spout off at tribal authority.

    I relate to Jack a lot. And Glasses reminds me of my dad. My dad’s a stickler for rules.

    And, brandy/m? Thanks for opposing corporal punishment as a tool for raising kids. If you’d done that passionately in my defense when I was a kid, you would have been my hero.

    - Chris

  30. brandi says:

    Dear Chris,

    My last word, I promise.

    Nothing I said was meant as a personal attack on you.

    I have no problem with Speed’s depicting a world in which kids get beaten. Depicting something isn’t endorsing it. Nor do I think she has to editorialize: “this is what happened, but of course it is wrong” – yuck!

    (Indeed, as a kid, I was a big fan of Action — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_%28comic%29 –; anyone remember the fuss about that?)


    matthew brandi

  31. Oneiros says:

    Hi, Matthew.

    I feel just a tad silly now. Not entirely. Just a tad. I did think “brandi” meant you were a woman. Thanks for the clarification. Some of the energy behind my words were playful flirtation. And some of it was just some rather personal views. So while I knew all along you meant none of your words to be a personal attack, there was personal energy in what I said. Now I have no idea what the point of your perspective/argument was. Seems you were just being contrary. Which is contrary to your professed preference for sinking into the “slime”. I suppose NOW you sink into the slime? ;)

    I do hope that when you say this is your last word, you only mean your last word on this particular thread, and not in this forum. I’d miss your thoughts if it were the latter.

    I’m not familiar with the British Action comics, sorry.

    Best back to ya,

  32. Oneiros says:


    I haven’t heard from you in a week. I hope you’ll post again. I like your thoughts. I just get the feeling you were trying to change me, as Brecht tried to change the world. Was I the slime? Was I the butcher? Were you trying to change me with words of love and peace, and a verbal kidney punch thrown in? If you really want to change me, try to love me, and not just with glib words. And before you try to love me, come to know me. And if you want to change the world, I’d suggest the same process with the world. Maybe in that process, you’ll see not as much change is needed as you thought. Sometimes our misperceptions are part of the problem.

    I do appreciate the Brechtian philosophy. It has its place and season in the way of revolution, as does anger and violence, as does acceptance and nonviolence.

    I was both having fun with you, and being personal, at the same time. I thought you could take it. I hope you can see that. I hope to see your posts again. This forum is for all Finder fans. I’d hate to think that anything I said keeps you from posting again. Maybe I was too rude in my American way for your British sensibilities. :)

    Take care. Be well.

    - Chris

  33. Oneiros says:

    And, by the way, I am familiar with the Judge Dredd comic that was part of the British Action comics. I read a few issues, and saw the (very American) movie.

  34. Oneiros says:

    Still no Matthew. I know I multiplied at least times ten the “kidney punch” you gave me. I know I was vicious with my humor. I dunno what else to say to help free you from whatever keeps you from posting here again. If you need an apology, then I’m sorry for verbally beating on you so much in response to your quick post. You’re certainly free to post or not post. I just don’t want to be the reason why you don’t.

    I think you sort of met my inner Jaeger, who didn’t always know why he’d get into fights. I felt like maybe you were like Jack, with the lemon-piss squirt gun, and I responded the way Jaeger did when Jack pulled the trigger.

    Anyway, I still hope to see you post. I promise I won’t beat on you. At least, too much. ;)


    - Chris

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