Saturday, December 02, 2006

Channeling one's inner loser

Not a week goes by that I don't check my inbox and see a variation of the following question: "Mr. Bell/Darrin/Moron, how do you get the characters in 'Candorville' to seem so three-dimensional? I want to work long hours for 1970's wages as a cartoonist someday, but my characters seem so flat and lifeless."

Here's how you do it, kids: stay in school, read as much literature as you can get your hands on, and always cross at the crosswalk (I don't know what that has to do with learning about character development, but it's a good idea anyway).

Other tricks: Pay attention to the people around you, and create backstories for them in your head. See a homeless person? Create a story about how he ended up that way. Not only will you be on the road toward developing three dimensional characters, but focusing on the plight of another human being helps you develop your "compassion muscle." Unless, of course, you come up with some calvinist backstory about how the guy's homeless because he deserves to be, which would be a pretty boring, two-dimensional story.

Or you can take the easy way out, and simply channel your inner loser. Be critical of yourself. Have you done anything stupid that you wish nobody would ever know about? Don't repress it deep in your subconscious, where it'll fester until it eats some choice part of your soul. Don't live in denial. Confess your loserness to the world. Not only will it keep your soul from being eaten, it'll give you some quality character development.

Case in point:

Of course, for this strip I used option A. I would never do something like this in real life.


Tiffany said...

Option A. Suuuuuuure... ;-p

k.C. said...

Lemont and that twelve year-old from Reseda seemsto be on every forum I've ever visited.

Doug said...


I have been Lemont.


Zirconia Wolf said...

Gotta agree with K.C. on this! That little punk sure gets around!

Actually Darrin, I don't think this "syndrom" has as much to do with channeling your inner loser as it does with the very nature of The Internet itself.

The Internet is- most certainly- the one great equallizer on this planet. Seriously now, just think about it for a moment.....

Are you a 12 year old Dyslexic with a sever case of Lyme Disease who also stutters and is in a wheel chair because of a freak boating accident when you were 5?
Do you think that Unicorns with long pink fluffy hair are the silliest things on the planet? If so then you have offten stated this opinion (forcefully) in public- with no ill effects- because:

A) Your parents niavely belive that you are somehow better than anyone else on this planet and therefore refuse to teach you basic social skills and manners, and

B) The people who listen to your ranting don't want to be labeled as total jerks for arguing with a messed-up kid in a wheel chair, since THEY were all raised by parents who thaught them basic social skills and manners.

So, feeling your oats, you are cruising around cyber space one fatefull day (with no parental instructions as to on-line manners ethier, of coarse) bouncing from one message board to the next, leaving your standard MESSAGE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS with lots of random LOL/ROTFL and tons of those @#$! "smiley face" things, when you stumble across it.

"It" is a site (with a link to it's message board) entittled The Unicorns With Long Pink And Fluffy Hair Fanatics Forum. It is frequented by Posters with names like 2pink4u, Fluffy_Filly and Unilover42, all of whom not only post about the virtues of the "Pinkies" (as they call them) but are also deeply involved in somekind of on-line role playing game involing unicorn "alter-egos" that they each created themselves, in strict accordence with the guidelines set forth in the Offical Pink-n-Fluffy Haired Unicorn Role Playing Guidebook.

Almost gleefully, you sign-up as a member (lying about the "I'm over 13" part) with the name UnicornsRdum and spring into action, posting a long, rambeling rant (in all CAPS of coarse) explaining why everyone on this site is stupid (execpt you, of corse) and that they should join a REAL site (like the Fox News Fan Group that you are the sole member of) and you make sure to blast the most frequent Posters by name, right before your closing line of GETT A LIFE U LOOZZERS!!!

You smile to yourself as you go back to that same site the next day (fully expecting it to be shut down) and it is then that you learn two painfull truths.

One is that The Internet doesn't care one way or the other about your age or social/personal problems. Here all people are judged soley by their posts, without any of the usual "modifiers" (age, sex, race appearance, etc.) that take over durning face-to-face meetings.

The other is that Unicorn fans are amoung some of the most loyal (and venomous) on the 'net.

Not only is the site site up and running, but after your post is an even LONGER one by Fluffy_Filly that starts off with a point-by-point listing of why each of the arguments you made were completely wrong (with liks to back each point up) and turns into a bitting satire of you and the "opinions" that you so clumsily stated. (At least you THINK that's what is is, as you really don't understand all the various Literary and Pop-culture references she uses. Also, you're not used to reading complete sentences and upper/lowercase letters.)

UniLover42 has the next post, congradulating Fluffy_Filly on her "Way cool smack-down of that little punk" that goes on to attack your personal hygine practices and your parents genetic make-up.

After several more "Fluffy_Filly rocks" post, you see the last post is by 2pink4u, who's name you made LOTS of fun of in your post.

Turns out that HE (not she, like you had asumed in your post) is the moderator.

After a token "you guys really shouldn't have bothered replying to that idiot" (although he agrees with everything Fluffy_Filly had posted, and makes somekind of inside joke/remark to UniLover42 about your mother's species) he bluntly informs you that you've been banned from the site. ("Goodbye, Troll" are the words he uses, but you are to dumb to know exactly what that means. All you know is that you can't log onto the site and your ISP address has obviously been banned as your attempts to log in by creating a different user-name are all blocked.)

Unicorn Lovers = 56
12 Year Old Punk = 0

I'm not arguing the "right/wrong" or "mature/immature" thing here, just pointing out that when it come to the Internet it's a no-holds-barred, post-at-your-own-risk world out there. In a way, it's actually rather nice that there really IS a true level playing field out there for anyone who wants to play on it.

Just don't provoke the Unicorn fans..... :)


Paul said...

You nailed it (again), Mr. Bell. It's amazing how much time can get sucked out of one's life on those boards. And nothing much changes - not opinions, not increase in knowledge, certainly not the art of discourse.

I think many of our politicians, staffers and commentators jump from posting on those boards to posting their scripts for their next session in front of the tv cameras.

I saw Sen Obama on Leno last week - this was a topic he mentioned. After listening to him I can see why there's such interest.

Tiffany said...

Ha! ZW, that's so painfully funny. You must be a writer. Either that or you moderate a unicorn discussion forum and didn't tell us.

Anonymous said...

Good one! that strip is exactly why i stopped going to The forums. every discussion led to people trying to one up each other as if you get a prize at the end! I love the part about researching for a good counter-argument!

Samantha said...

Love the strip, hate forums. And that strip points out why.

Jocelyn said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I feel you, dude., I mean...I would never do something like that in real life. Research requires actual work.

Anonymous said...

ZW may be a writer... Darrin is a writer as well. If I wanted to say, anyone who adds to this is a writer, but that's going too far.

I am a writer, or should I say "Aspiring Writer". My book effort is coming along, but I still have a ways to go. I have a writer in the family, as well. So, Writers Unite!
(Sorry, Darrin, I couldn't resist! :))

Anyone want to buy a horse?