57 Responses to 686 – White Smoke Mountain • 54

  1. Goodness gracious me!

    From the time I was deprived of commenting on the comic, Bunker suffered a Heroic BSOD and emerged with a brand new set of BALLS! Not to mention that he apparently embraced his Fighter-ness (a shame, since I’d like him to return to his Pally roots, or at least to reclaim what’s rightfully his).

    And no, I don’t feel any bad for Enkidu. Someone needs to be the butt of all jokes, and he offered to the task since day one.

  2. I find it sad, in a way.

    Like bunker says, he tried to get fine with people, to have relations based at least on mutual respect. Yet it didn’t work, because, for that to work, you need to be 2.
    I find it sad that he had to ressort to violence and (well, in a way, it is) dictatorship because people took his willingness to try to get along and be nice for weakness. In that way, enkidu reminds me of the little crooks we have here.
    I find it a sad mirror of what can sometimes happen in real life, and why there’ll always be stupid conflicts between human.

    That being said, it’s good to see enkidu being taken out that way. Maybe he’ll learn something in the process.

    • That is some interesting social commentary, much better that what I thought about it.

      I admit when I looked at this comic I thought “I guess Bunker took ‘Improved Unarmed Strike’ at some point.”

    • I wonder when Obama and some other world “leaders” will understand that truth. Maybe Kevin should send his comic to the White House?

      • Interpersonal relationships do not work like international politics and diplomacy.

        Unless you can persuade national leaders to move into a Big Brother container and every friday is fight night where those that cannot get along can beat the shit out of each other. In which case Putin’d probably win.

        Joke aside, you cannot map human interaction onto international politics one-to-one, because scale is important. Relationships between individuums and within small groups (<150-200 people) work on principles that behavioral biology, anthropologyand population mathematics have studied extensively.
        See Game Theory, also Dunbar's Number. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

        Beyond a certain size, societies need emergent social structures like laws and police to remain cohesive and to punish wrong-doers. The larger a group, the bigger the influence of gossip, lying and reputation becomes because the various members of a group do not meet each other face to face on a regular basis or never at all.
        Game Theory has come up with various models about behavioral strategies that individuums adopt in their dealings with others. (Keep in mind that individuums are not robots and can adopt different strategies and switch between them depending on who they're dealing with.) Basically, for a certain behavioral strategy (such as repiprocal altruism) to be evolutionary stable, it needs a minimum number of members who adopt it among themselves so that they can gain the advantages. If you're a "nice" person but surrounded by asshats all day long, and you rarely or never meet another nice person, it is no longer useful to adopt that strategy for the time being. On the other hand, a single selfish individuum in a larger group of "nice" (lawful, altruistic etc) people has no stable strategy because his behaviour will get him punished and ostracized. (Which is why it is important that a society, being a group organism, punishes selfishness unless it wants that strategy to take over.) Not to mention that some strategies are stable when they reach 100% (such as repiprocal altruism) but are vulnerable to single "cheaters" that fly under the radar, while parasitic strategies such as selfishness collapse if all members adopt it.

        Then there is the age-old human problem of “in-group loyalty/out-group hostility”, when members of tight-knit communities act lawful towards each other, but hostile and xenophobic towards everyone else. Which is why people who follow the morals and laws of their own society at home and consider themselves moral and virtuous can at the same time commit atrocities against other human beings without so much a twinge of guilt because “they” are not part of “us”.

    • That is a very well-considered commentary. I’d take my hat off to you if I could actually find one that fit right.

    • I don’t think the unexpected and unprescedented plume of methane gas HAS an ass…but if you really want to know the root cause of the problem, look no further than all the NIMBY folks who won’t let anyone drill CLOSER to shore where the water isn’t as deep.

      Yeah, there was negligence and a whole lot of idiotic impatience and ignoring of “Hey there’s something wrong here” on the part of BP (Ignoring Halliburton’s warnings that they should wait until the concrete was completely set before drilling, for example), but if every attempt to drill for oil in shallow water or on land wasn’t being blocked at every turn, then risky deep water wells wouldn’t be necessary, would they?

    • Oh, he seems to be kicking, feebly, but kicking. I wonder when he’ll grow enough of a spine to take Putin’s cock out of his mouth and stop “exchanging” spies freely.
      He should’ve at least punished that Anna Chapman chick for all to see. Punished her real good, mmm…
      Somehow the scene from The Holy Grail’s Castle Anthrax comes to mind.

      But really, exchanging a tad aggressive president with one who has no backbone doesn’t say much for the USA these days.
      I’m waiting for him to do the Chamberlain joke before he’s out of office, you know, the one that starts with “peace in out lifetime”. 😀

      • Acting (Vice-)President Cheney was merely “a tad agressive”??? Obama has no backbone? *eyeroll* I love republican talking points.

        Those Russian spies were a joke at their job. Basically, they had already become Americans. It’s common practice for nations to quietly exchange foreign spies whose cover has been blown behind the scenes. This current “crisis” stinks of someone wanting to give the breathless American public some blood in the water.

        • Not an American, and I think the Democrats are more up my alley, but why did it come to Demo’s being seen as peace-loving pacifists and Repub’s as war-mongering Christians? I seem to recall some history notes about Demo’s presidents being quite fierce when the need arose.

          I wonder, what would the world media say if a bunch of Israeli spies were caught in the USA(and we’ll ignore the dozens of them and their lackeys “caught” every time some Arab ruler breaks wind)? I already saw what happens when the Mossad is accused of using Irish, German(?) etc. passports for killing a known terrorist who was staying conveniently and in the open in a supposedly lawful, civilized country(still not convinced it was Mossad work, it reeks of amateurs).

          This isn’t about “behind the scene spy exchange”, this is about some countries, say, Russia, catching no heat no matter what. Nobody talks about Chechnya, all the mysterious deaths of former agents, poisonings of presidential nominees or the sudden crashing of airplanes containing half the damn Polish government on Russian soil.
          Isn’t Obama all about truth and change?

          • Democrats have become known as peaceful because not wanting to kill someone is seen as weakness here, (politically, anyway) and Republicans have been very successful at controlling the message. The truth is they’re both (R&D) about the same.

            If we found Israeli spies (which we do all the time) they would either simply be watched or quietly returned.

            It is useful to ignore concepts like “truth” and “change” when dealing with politicians. They all say they are for that, and none of them are. You just try and find the guy who the most closely aligned with you in general philosophy and hope for the best.

  3. Hmmm. I wonder how the party dynamic will change with Bunker in this new mindset. … I am trying very hard not to hope out loud that Enkidu won’t survive this change of regime. … I wonder whether Martin, Freya and Zobbie will find Bunker even more attractive with his new attitude — or less. I also wonder whether H.O.L.E. will become more effective “under new management”, and whether Arabax will be very surprised when he meets Bunker again. =_= All things considered, I hope that horse gets a bad shock.

    On a sidenote, Bunker isn’t looking so old and weary anymore. Who knew being cradled between a half-Troll woman’s breasts and receiving some sharp insights would be so energizing?

    • Trolls have regenerative powers, you know. Maybe he got more than a quick fondle out of those breasts, and Kevin thankfully spared us the sight.

      And of course Martin will love him even more- he likes it tough.

        • What have you got against green, warty, large-sized humanoids anyway? Roiling stomach aside, of course.

          • I dunno. Their legendary tendency to eat medium- and small-sized people probably doesn’t apply. I think what triggered my ‘ew’ in this case was the concept of the lactation fetish.

            • Yea, I get where that fetish might come from, but can’t get into it myself. I don’t even like cow milk.

              • I’m fine with cow milk, but I wouldn’t like to suck it from the udder myself. The fetish in question has no appeal for me, either.

  4. Aww the glorious “Smash Diplomacy” used by Barbarians for centuries, quick, effective, and no long drawn out speeches.

  5. Now i wonder how Bunker got the hankie and if he hid it on his person the whole time….. 😉

  6. Yikes, Bunker looks mean in the last panel. 😕
    Violence seems to be the only language Enkidu understands. That’s why I don’t feel bad for Enkidu, but for Bunker.
    At least Bunker stopped whining.

    • I don’t think he looks very different from usual in that panel. He’s definitely smiled like that before.

      A memory just popped up in my head. Bunker’s capacity for being mean shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise; he’s already sicced an assassin on an enemy of H.O.L.E. before.

    • I think I see the difference between our views then. It saddens you to see Bunker “resort” and “stoop” to violence in order to fix the situation, while it makes me happy to see him finally realize what needs to be done.

        • Not really. Strangely enough , what little I’ve managed to play outside of a computer I’m more at home in NN(True Neutral) ones, maybe because they go both ways. 😉
          Though I have a weakness for NG-LG clerics.

          Now I’m guessing you took my support of violence when necessary(and I tend to think it’s way more appropriate than some people think, though violence has many degrees and forms for all manner of applications) to mean I’m somehow CE at heart, which I don’t understand.
          When was the last time your goody-goody paladin sheathed his sword and went to have a nice chat with the evil brigands/goblins/goblin brigands instead of just charging at them and “smiting evil”?
          Or lets leave the stereotypically dumb paladin and pick instead the intelligent and cool-headed wizard.
          When has he stopped chugging fireballs at every target in sight and wanted to work things out in non-violent ways?

          I know, I know, there are some situations when players actually talk instead(or before) they shoot, but how come those are rare and violence seems to be what they do most of the time? Even when not dealing with stupid monsters whose whole world-view is to chew them.

          There’s no shame in smacking Enkidu there, because that’s how such people are made to stay in line, to the benefit of everyone.

  7. Kevin, fix the stupid filter on this page. It’s blocking everything, no matter how many times I edit out elipses and stuff.

    • It’s links that set it off. If you’ve posted too many double link posts in the past, I think that it starts watching you for any kind of what it thinks might be suspicious activity. Ellipses have nothing to do with it. I am not really certain how to “clean” you once it’s put it’s eye on you, but I’ll go back and look. Hopefully there’s a whitelist or something.

      Although it’s an occasional pain, if it weren’t for that filter I would be completely unable to run this site. On a slow day it stops over a hundred spam posts, but occasionally when some malicious spider finds us it catches upwards of 10,000 posts in a single day.

      I will try and fix it though.

  8. The mucles in the second panel remind me of Zimmermans work.
    Don’t Google unless your at home, his stuff isn’t exactly Safe for Work.

    • If you meant Julius Zimmerman i agree with the “isn’t exactly Safe for Work”-statement.
      He does have a thing for voluptuous ladies and the occational bondage, hasn’t he? :mrgreen:

      • Yes, that’s precisely who I meant. And voluptuous would be putting it mildly. He starts at Jessica Rabbit and gets bigger. But the strong, clean, pencil outline and the way the muscles were delineated strongly reminded me of how how he portrays musculature on his male, shall we say, participants.

        • Yes, his drawings are VERY clear on body lines. 😉 And i agree with you on the artwork.

          • Well… thanks! That may be the first time anyone has ever said something nice about the artwork. Any time I hear about it it’s “his nose is too big… his penis isn’t big enough… she doesn’t have a head…”.

            It’s cool to hear something positive. (I promise not to let it go to my head.)