Revenge of Ask T Questions

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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Freemage » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:47 pm

TCampbell wrote:Let's not forget that Penny and Stan, at least, were making repeated efforts to stop Cyndi, or at least curtail her effectiveness, and they were mostly failing at it. Aggie underestimated the danger she represented after the Popsicle War, for reasons more to do with Aggie's own idealism than anything else. But as direct and reactive as she normally is, I can't see her beating Cyndi in a battle of wits either.

This was actually one of Charlotte's chief motivations: "The smartest people I know have tried to stop your headgames any way they can, and you giggle at their efforts, like they're animals you've crippled."

I'm not going to pretend that I don't want to engineer certain responses in my audience. But the answer to virtually any question that begins, "So, do you want us to think...?" is "It's more complicated than that."



Oh, I'm not saying those three characters, as they were in the strip, would've been able to stop Cyndi. Rather, I'm saying that there were ways for them to be--smarter, more effective, less blinded by other issues and idealism--that would've been effective in exposing Cyndi to her parent's scrutiny sooner. They tended to be too sure that Cyndi would fold quickly when confronted, rather than re-group and attack again. My point isn't that Charlotte didn't accomplish something good with her madness--merely that Charlotte's approach was not the only one that could beat her.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Trefle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:40 am

I think it'd be good to consider the fact that um, sociopathic high school student are not exactly common around...or if they do, they are charismatic enough to create barriers like Cyndi. :|

And well, Cyndi ain't Karen.
Even Penny and Stan's efforts were done in a (mostly) highschool context...which, it will stop her until when? :| Popularity doesn't seem to be her main intention-- it helps a lot that she had that weapon in her arsenal, but if it was taken, I think she'll just find another way. 'being fallen' won't bring her down-- I think she can (and may) ingratiate with other cliques. She''d be practically a hero.

sun tzu raises a fine point; it was the FBI who cracked her diary, who found out her intentions; and her parents who institutionalized her. Charlotte was an indirect agent by her insanity and her issues--not even Charlotte -alone- can bring her down. Worse, without the FBI, she will go as an innocent victim-- or if she survived, remember what she said afterwards?

Freemage :
This was probably (in that time and age) the only way to 'fight' Cyndi as insane and messed up as Charlotte's action was.
Trying to bypass her wits >> having to go direct or having to be even more subtler and smarter.
It requires an extensive knowledge of what ticks people in general and personally, an understanding of which button was being pushed, which barrier was broken / raised.... along with the willingness to use it and the etiquette and manners to avoid being hurt by the consequences. and equal / more cunning than Cyndi to use those knowledge in an effective way. -AND- still protecting one's idealism.

I'm not saying Charlotte's innocent in any way...but I guess I'm mistaken in my word choice that doing the rest of humanity some good deeds at the expense of oneself = martyrdom?
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby TCampbell » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:00 am

Exposing Cyndi to her parents was a lot harder than Penny and her parents really understood. Nobody really wants to admit that the child they raised, the little being who once looked up at them and said "Ma-ma, da-da," is in fact a soulless monster. How much easier it would be to believe that she's being persecuted and bullied by other teens, jealous of her beauty or frustrated that they can't have her. And Cyndi had been cultivating their denial for years. Only the revelation of the laptop's diary forced them to realize and face the truth, and they might still have bought Cyndi's line about "horror fiction" (albeit with some reluctance) if the diary hadn't been independently confirmed by Penny and Lynda's efforts.

Penny, Aggie and their gang didn't even know the diary existed, and none of them have especially impressive computer skills, so their chances of exposing it were practically nonexistent.

All that said, yeah, what really made "Cyndi vs. Belleville" an uneven contest was that the group wasn't capable of a sustained, coordinated effort. Which makes it more like my high school. "Out Front" saw the group's unity fall apart in the face of Cyndi's individually targeted seductions, even when they were supposed to know better. Ironically, it was only the friendship of Stan and Jack that kept Cyndi's partial triumph there from being a full one. "Her Private Chambers" was Stan's best effort at forming an alliance with Penny, and they just had too many issues with each other to ever work as a team.

A group like, say, Buffy's high school entourage would still be in trouble if targeted by a Cyndi (they were too used to overt physical threats, and in high school they definitely had plenty of buttons to press. Cyndi would probably realize Willow was lesbian before she did). But they'd at least have a fighting chance, because they're more focused on opposing evil, and more diligent about monitoring each other's mental and emotional health. The Cyndis of the world get as far as they do because when the Michelles suffer from their psychological poisons, most of us look at Michelle and say, "Hmm, she looks a little pale... well, I'm sure she's fine." Or else we're too busy tweeting, or obsessing about the guy from gym, to notice at all.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Trefle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:59 am

TCampbell wrote:the diary hadn't been independently confirmed by Penny and Lynda's efforts.

Eh?
All that said, yeah, what really made "Cyndi vs. Belleville" an uneven contest was that the group wasn't capable of a sustained, coordinated effort.

Yeah; and they still had their own conscience. It's hard to be really effective without breaking the team dynamics.
They can engage in a long scale war with Cyndi, but that wouldn't go well with Katy-Ann (and maybe Jack, by extension) not only for what they might do, but what they might become.
Isolation won't go well with Lisa (and depending on how they are presented, Aggie) in retrospect, and this is assuming before we know Cyndi was a sociopath.
That's not even going to what or how Cyndi will react. :| Not only Stan and Penny, I think quite a lot of the alliance inside the entire group aren't exactly strong within all sides..Maybe Aggie or Katy-Ann probably got very close with everyone, but the rest may or may not be as strong. (case : Fred and Daphne)
And as far as I know, a pulled punch is another weapon for these sorts of people.

A group like, say, Buffy's high school entourage would still be in trouble if targeted by a Cyndi (they were too used to overt physical threats, and in high school they definitely had plenty of buttons to press. Cyndi would probably realize Willow was lesbian before she did). But they'd at least have a fighting chance, because they're more focused on opposing evil, and more diligent about monitoring each other's mental and emotional health. The Cyndis of the world get as far as they do because when the Michelles suffer from their psychological poisons, most of us look at Michelle and say, "Hmm, she looks a little pale... well, I'm sure she's fine." Or else we're too busy tweeting, or obsessing about the guy from gym, to notice at all.

.......aw T, now you're making me looking at MY high school in a more sinister light.. And that's wonderful.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Alice Macher » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:11 am

In sum, it seems to me that if Charlotte hadn't kidnapped Cyndi, and if Cyndi hadn't confided her darkest desires in her diary (the former having been necessary for the latter to be discovered), Cyndi simply never would've been exposed, no matter how many people would go on to die as a result of her manipulations. Not as long as, in the end, her targets died by their own hands, and without her supplying any tangible equipment (pills, weapons or whatever).

The only other way I could see Cyndi eventually being brought to justice would be if she eventually got bored with nudging people into suicide because it had become too easy, and decided that out-and-out murder would provide a new and greater challenge. She could, to be sure, still get away with at least one murder. However, there are differences between playing mind games to push people toward an emotional brink, and actually killing them yourself. First, the former isn't a criminal offence; the latter is.

Second, "pool-pushing" mind games, at least the way we've seen Cyndi play them, are verbal and oral in nature, and thus don't leave a trail of evidence. Most murder methods, unless you hire a hitman who knows what they're doing and who never tells a soul you hired them,* do leave a trail that, if you don't know exactly how to cover it up--making it look like a suicide or accident, or framing someone else--will lead back to you. Especially with today's advanced police forensics, tracking databases and such. Also, in many cases, as with other crimes, getting away with murder can be a matter of sheer luck. Just one thing happening in a way you didn't expect, can make all the difference.

So with each murder Cyndi committed, she'd be increasing the risk of getting caught. And if she's caught, then even without a diary, if there's enough evidence connecting her to the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, she's going down.



*And I can't see Cyndi going that route, because she wouldn't consider it enough of a challenge. Anyone with the right amount of cash, and who knows the right sort of people to ask, can hire someone to do a drive-by. Cyndi prides herself on not being just anyone, in terms of intelligence.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby svenman » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:33 am

Hexr wrote:Wehrmacht [I'm probably misspelling that too]

No, actually, you're good.

And now I'm half tempted to go back and re-read "Missing Person" as an allegory on WW II. Might be funny how many historical parallels you can actually cram in there if you're really determined. Penny as Winston Churchill, now there's a thought...
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby TCampbell » Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:30 pm

Alice Macher wrote:In sum, it seems to me that if Charlotte hadn't kidnapped Cyndi, and if Cyndi hadn't confided her darkest desires in her diary (the former having been necessary for the latter to be discovered), Cyndi simply never would've been exposed, no matter how many people would go on to die as a result of her manipulations. Not as long as, in the end, her targets died by their own hands, and without her supplying any tangible equipment (pills, weapons or whatever).

The only other way I could see Cyndi eventually being brought to justice would be if she eventually got bored with nudging people into suicide because it had become too easy, and decided that out-and-out murder would provide a new and greater challenge. She could, to be sure, still get away with at least one murder. However, there are differences between playing mind games to push people toward an emotional brink, and actually killing them yourself. First, the former isn't a criminal offence; the latter is.

Second, "pool-pushing" mind games, at least the way we've seen Cyndi play them, are verbal and oral in nature, and thus don't leave a trail of evidence. Most murder methods, unless you hire a hitman who knows what they're doing and who never tells a soul you hired them,* do leave a trail that, if you don't know exactly how to cover it up--making it look like a suicide or accident, or framing someone else--will lead back to you. Especially with today's advanced police forensics, tracking databases and such. Also, in many cases, as with other crimes, getting away with murder can be a matter of sheer luck. Just one thing happening in a way you didn't expect, can make all the difference.

So with each murder Cyndi committed, she'd be increasing the risk of getting caught. And if she's caught, then even without a diary, if there's enough evidence connecting her to the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, she's going down.



*And I can't see Cyndi going that route, because she wouldn't consider it enough of a challenge. Anyone with the right amount of cash, and who knows the right sort of people to ask, can hire someone to do a drive-by. Cyndi prides herself on not being just anyone, in terms of intelligence.


Pretty much. Cyndi's need for a challenge, awful as that is, was the closest thing she had to a fatal flaw. It's why she couldn't simply leave the PennAggies alone and find easier targets even after they got somewhat wise to her. It's possible that at some point in her life, her boredom might've overcome her intelligence and driven her to start killing with her hands, or otherwise getting sloppy. But that would've been a whole lot of suicides and ruined lives later.

Trefle wrote:
TCampbell wrote:the diary hadn't been independently confirmed by Penny and Lynda's efforts.


Eh?


Penny and Lynda both did their best, independently of one another, to alert the Kristoffers to what Cyndi was. The Kristoffers dismissed these efforts but they hadn't quite forgotten about them, and then the diary came along.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Fen » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:28 pm

Freemage wrote:
sun tzu wrote:
Hexr wrote:
sun tzu wrote:
Mr. Brightside wrote:
sun tzu wrote:See, one of the things I find so disturbing about the Cyndi storyline is that a murderous monster was only possible to stop because Charlotte did something so insanely wrong.


More disturbing to me is that I feel like I'm supposed to view her as a hero for bludgeoning a schoolgirl within an inch of her life, tying her up (albeit ineffectually), and almost going to town on her with the contents of a garden shed, not even to stop anything in particular, but simply because she was "evil." I can't help but think of some of the traditional martyrs (say, St. George), canonized because their sacrifices came to help Christians expand their foothold by the sword. I still wish she'd died out in that field.

See, I don't think we're supposed to view Charlotte as a hero. We're supposed, IMHO, to see what she did as an insane act of an unstable young woman.
The thing is, I don't see what, in the context of the story, short of such an insane and criminal act could have stopped Cyndi's career as a serial killer. Hence why I feel so disturbed.

Sorry, but... I don't see what the problem is. Sometimes stuff just happens, and two "evils" collide, and something good comes out of it. I trust this board so much I dare to give a Hitler example. See, without him (well, without Wehrmacht [I'm probably misspelling that too], but the guy functions as an avatar) Stalin (the Red Army, but the avatar thing works here, too) would have conquered my country (have I remembered to mention I'm Finnish yet? :P). Yet, the people here (well, the sane part of it) don't view him as a hero. (Sorry for all the parentheses, I'm medicated and can't think straight.)

But Stalin could have been stopped by a non-Nazi guy leading Germany to a financial recovery and arming it in preparation for a possible war with the USSR.

A smarter set of opponents--ones who had Charlotte's insight into Cyndi's nature, but lacking her willingness to go as far as she did, could have brought Cyndi down much sooner. So the other characters (notably Stan, but also the titular ladies) could've shut Cyndi down.


I take your eerily appropiate Hitler-Charlotte reference and substitute it with my own. Because there was a Hitler(more importantly than a Hitler, an image strong enough to drive other important people to collaborate with one evil to defeat the other), Stalin was given a free chance at taking over my country. Yet, the people here completely disregard Hitler as the anti-hero. The fact that the double-evil collision ended up helping one place does not mean that good things usually happen when the collission occurs.
Or, in a Charlotte-Cindy analogy... If things would have gone according to plan then Charlotte would have been given a free moral pass to unleash her own inner evil. Not only that, but due to the graveness of her actions, Cindy's will be instantly forgotten. Also, What if Charlotte liked it? :wink:
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby TCampbell » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:31 pm

Honestly, I don't even know if this is addressed to me any more, but I have a very difficult time believing that self-loathing like Charlotte's would not intensify after she murdered Cyndi. She's not like Cyndi at all in that regard. Cyndi felt good when she did bad things, Charlotte felt bad when she did them and still couldn't stop. The best-case scenario there is probably Duane talking her out of suicide, but she'd still have to be institutionalized and the courts would not be merciful.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Fen » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:53 pm

Sooo, absolutely not a chance that after killing Cindy and realizing that her self-hatred can bring good to the world she would become obsessed with the idea of being a martyr and would start cleansing the school of its filth like this? The more she hated herself, the more the world was getting better, for scum like her was only good for doing the dirty work?
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:46 pm

New topic question (so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle): In "The Last Summer of Youth: August," Lucy promises Sara that although she can't be more than a friend to her, Sara will at least never lose her as a friend. Have they in fact both managed to keep in touch since then?
Last edited by Alice Macher on Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Trefle » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:18 pm

So while we're at it (FOrgive me T, Forgive me!);
What happened to Mrs. Simms? Did she ever forgive her daughter for all her actions? Did they ever make any contact afterwards?

And Cyndi; Charlotte...

Helen.
I wonder, did Helen ever know about what happened to Cyndi and Charlotte? Did it have any effect to her mentality; knowing that at least some people who treated her like trash -are- insane, to say the least? (although I guess timeline-wise, she'd probably still struggled with a missing wallet and a fake application. So..)

And I don't know if this has been asked or not...and especially due to where she is now,
but what did she learn during her life in the Boston / S*P world? From what we'd seen, some of the viciousness have clung on her... that would also imply a certain directness and a certain willingness to speak her own mind. Are there any other (significant) things she learned during her time there?
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby Alice Macher » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:44 pm

Trefle wrote:And I don't know if this has been asked or not...and especially due to where she is now,
but what did she learn during her life in the Boston / S*P world? From what we'd seen, some of the viciousness have clung on her... that would also imply a certain directness and a certain willingness to speak her own mind. Are there any other (significant) things she learned during her time there?


Pardon my jumping in here: T has said before that he's leaving what happens to Helen while in Boston entirely up to Randy Milholland. And those of us who've been following Something Positive know that Randy still has a lot of her misadventures to tell, whenever he chooses to do so. So I wouldn't be surprised if T himself has no idea what Randy specifically has planned for her. Randy even strongly implied, in a tweet in reply to me, that he doesn't even feel bound by Helen's apparently happy ending in "Six Septembers Later." Take that as you will. :twisted:
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby TCampbell » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:46 pm

Fen wrote:Sooo, absolutely not a chance that after killing Cindy and realizing that her self-hatred can bring good to the world she would become obsessed with the idea of being a martyr and would start cleansing the school of its filth like this? The more she hated herself, the more the world was getting better, for scum like her was only good for doing the dirty work?


You saw a different version of Charlotte in "Fan Glam No. 21" who was fairly similar to the person you describe in some ways: she was so far gone that she did see herself only as an agent of holy cleansing. But even the Charlotte of "Pod People" was screaming at herself for her own sinful vendettas, and the Charlotte of "Cyndi and Charlotte" was more aware of right and wrong than "Pod People"'s Charlotte, not less. I suppose there's a small chance she could crack completely after killing Cyndi and become like "Fan Glam"'s Charlotte, but without magical powers she wouldn't get much further without being caught. As she herself pointed out, it was pretty lucky that she'd gotten as far as she had.
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Re: Revenge of Ask T Questions

Postby TCampbell » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:47 pm

Alice Macher wrote:New topic question (so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle): In "The Last Summer of Youth: August," Lucy promises Sara that although she can't be more than a friend to her, Sara will at least never lose her as a friend. Have they in fact both managed to keep in touch since then?


Yes.
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