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 Post subject: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Now, I have a couple of discussion points that I'd like to talk about concerning the characters of Watchmen that'd always confused me.

1. Rorschach's contradictions in that he admires President Truman (who killed millions of innocents via bomb on Hiroshima as a deterrent to Japan's attack) and his father (a man he never knew and left his mother, making him as bad as her), yet follows an uncompromising moral code (says so himself, willing to expose Veidt's actions, would prefer suicide by Dr. Manhattan than compromise). Why is this?

2. What's the reason for Rorschach's speech pattern? Is it simply to differentiate himself from Walter Kovacs? But wouldn't the deepened voice (perhaps a homage to Batman?) be enough? Zack Snyder changed this in the film to have Walter Kovacs talk in his gruff Rorschach voice 24/7.

3. I don't wish to get into this field again, so let's try to keep it to just one topic, but why do so many people think that Rorschach was against homosexuality? Throughout the book, I don't recall him having any negative feeling towards homosexuality, just an aversion to sex in general, contributing to, IMO, his repressed sexual ambiguity. When he voiced his suspicions about Veidt's homosexuality and wanting to investigate further, I always imagined that he was an obsessive investigator who would try to compile an entire profile of a subject, tracking down any loose ends. Also, he may disapprove of Veidt keeping that part of his private life secret from the public, in favour of prostituting himself and the other costumed crimefighters in other ways. Maybe his exposure as a homosexual would be his "just deserts".

4. Shouldn't the Comedian have gotten some kind of backstory? I believe the only thing we knew about his past life was that his father told him, "The world's tough, but you gotta be tougher." What exactly shaped his sadism and nihilism? I mean, at 16, he tried to rape the 18-year-old Silk Spectre. Or do you think backstory is unimportant and it's him as a representative symbol that matters, akin to the faceless yet iconic "V" in V for Vendetta?

5. Isn't it somewhat strange that Sally Jupiter actually wanted her daughter, Laurie, to risk death fighting dangerous criminals, in a costume arguably even more revealing their own? I know that she was trying to live through Laurie and regain the glory years that she'd presumably lost by having a child, but it always struck me as odd. Daniel, Laurie and Mason really do seem to be the only "normal" main characters in the book.

6. Also, she seemed to stutter a lot when she was asked in that interview if superhero costuming was a "sex thing", which may imply that for her, it actually was a "sex thing", rather than a "money thing" like she claims (or maybe it was both sexual and for money, and/or one of them was prevalent). We know that she was a former burlesque dancer and, due to her appearance and costume, she became something of a sex symbol and, in contrast to Laurie's disgust, was flattered by her objectification in the Tijuana bible an old fan sent her. The Comedian even touched upon this before he tried to rape, saying, "Come on, you must have some reason for dressing up in an outfit like that." This is likely the reason that Rorschach saw her as a "bloated, ageing whore", and, in light of that and excusing the Comedian's "moral lapse" due to his admiration for his outlook on life, he may've even believed that she was "asking for it".

7. Why did Sally Jupiter love the Comedian, even bearing his children? Perhaps, secretly, she actually liked the Comedian almost raping her? We don't know much more about their relationship than them being presumably close friends in the Minutemen, yet they somehow retained contact over the years and had a possible one-night stand, culminating in Laurie's conception.


Last edited by Prophet of Doom on Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:08 pm 
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1. Does Rorschach follow an uncompromising moral code?
His sense of morality towards other people is brutal: beatings, killings, breaking the fingers of people who don't seem to have actually committed a crime just so he can take lazy shortcuts in his investigations... his intention of reporting his landlady cheating on welfare, to track down and no doubt terrorise mere street punks/boys for spraying graffiti on an abandoned building.
But the fact is he doesn't hold himself up to the same light. Adulation of those who are arguably undeserving of such idolised praise is one example; on another level, Rorschach simply takes what he wants/needs with impunity. He breaks into Dan's apartment more than once, takes his beans, his sugar cubes, his cologne without permission. Dan is his friend yet he doesn't ask or apologise; that his actions amount to theft - a crime that he would be all too quick to brutally punish others for - simply doesn't matter to Rorschach.
Why? Because Rorschach is batshit crazy. We know that he will compromise his own morality for a can of cold beans but that he won't do it for the fate of all mankind. He's totally mindfucked.

2. Rorschach's voice is only described in the comic as being a "...horrible montone" and "...expressionless", not deep. There would appear to be differences in tone as evidenced in the differing styles of speech bubble used for Rorschach in costume and Walter Kovacs in prison, probably to demonstrate the effect of speaking through a double layer of breathable latex.
As for Rorschach's unique syntax? Dr. Long sums it up best: The cops don't like him; the underworld doesn't like him; nobody likes him. I've never met anyone quite so alienated. Since his complete mental collapse working the Blair Roche case, Rorschach has totally withdrawn from humanity and has had no social contact with other people for a full decade before the story starts. No wonder the conventions and niceties of normal language, both spoken and written, are absent in his voice and his demented journal entries.

3. I don't think Rorschach is specifically against homosexuality. This is a man for whom any sexuality - gay or straight - is evil because he only sees sexuality in the context of vice and violence. If he were unable to suppress his sexuality, it seems entirely plausible that Kovacs would have become just the same sort of scum he hated and slew. Rorschach lacks the intellect necessary to subordinate his emotional and sexual identity or to compartmentalise an abusive experience in such a way as to appreciate healthy love/sex.
In the supplementary material of Chap. VI, we read young Walter's account of a dream experienced at age thirteen.
He dreamed of a strange man fornicating with his mother. It is important to note that he has always seen sex as an attack, never bothering to consider that it was consensual. He sees it as a form of violence. He entered the scene thinking his mother to be in trouble and hoping to help her, but he reports that, "I had feelings when I woke up. Dirty feelings, thoughts and stuff. The dream it sort of upset me, physically. I couldn't help it. I feel bad just talking about it."
This is the moment of Walter's sexual awakening... and subsequent suppression. This was a wet dream for Walter who, at thirteen, was slamming into the puberty train with baggage well in excess of the suggested limit.
The result is Rorschach's complete asexuality. But, I would imagine that Walter remained haunted by dreams that he no longer wrote about and that many of the stains on that stinking old mattress of his were the result of his own haunted nightmares.

4. Surely the question of The Comedian's backstory - or lack thereof, as you perceive - was a matter for the creators at the time? Does the character need more of a backstory? Will it make him any more memorable or successful a creation?

5. Did Sally Jupiter ever really spend her costumed career risking death fighting dangerous criminals? Were any of the Minutemen really ever faced with that level of risk... or was it largely a case of a bunch of stylised theatrical goodies versus similarly stylised theatrical baddies? All rather cosy and fun, if the truth be told? If so, then it's understandable that Sally would not have had any significant concerns about her daughter following in her footsteps and so actively encouraged it. It was, after all, a seemingly much more innocent time back in Sal's day, with the greatest dangers arguably coming from within their own little band...

6. No question here to answer.

7. Ah, human love. Who understands - and can therefore provide an answer - for that?


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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
1. Does Rorschach follow an uncompromising moral code?
His sense of morality towards other people is brutal: beatings, killings, breaking the fingers of people who don't seem to have actually committed a crime just so he can take lazy shortcuts in his investigations... his intention of reporting his landlady cheating on welfare, to track down and no doubt terrorise mere street punks/boys for spraying graffiti on an abandoned building.
But the fact is he doesn't hold himself up to the same light. Adulation of those who are arguably undeserving of such idolised praise is one example; on another level, Rorschach simply takes what he wants/needs with impunity. He breaks into Dan's apartment more than once, takes his beans, his sugar cubes, his cologne without permission. Dan is his friend yet he doesn't ask or apologise; that his actions amount to theft - a crime that he would be all too quick to brutally punish others for - simply doesn't matter to Rorschach.
Why? Because Rorschach is batshit crazy. We know that he will compromise his own morality for a can of cold beans but that he won't do it for the fate of all mankind. He's totally mindfucked.


That, and/or maybe the difference was that Truman was killing foreigners; Japanese civilians, rather than American civilians, to which Rorschach would presumably be biased in favour of. He seems to be somewhat patriotic, admiring the Comedian because he “fought for his country” and we know that the Comedian was generally portrayed by the media as an American hero, as well as that line: “Was offered Swedish love and French love…but not American love. Like coke in green glass bottles…they don’t make them anymore.”

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
2. Rorschach's voice is only described in the comic as being a "...horrible montone" and "...expressionless", not deep. There would appear to be differences in tone as evidenced in the differing styles of speech bubble used for Rorschach in costume and Walter Kovacs in prison, probably to demonstrate the effect of speaking through a double layer of breathable latex.
As for Rorschach's unique syntax? Dr. Long sums it up best: The cops don't like him; the underworld doesn't like him; nobody likes him. I've never met anyone quite so alienated. Since his complete mental collapse working the Blair Roche case, Rorschach has totally withdrawn from humanity and has had no social contact with other people for a full decade before the story starts. No wonder the conventions and niceties of normal language, both spoken and written, are absent in his voice and his demented journal entries.


Yeah, that makes sense. I guess I always assumed that Rorschach had a deep voice after the Blair Roche case because of the wobbly aspect of his speech bubbles, which I felt was supported by the film. But I know the film changed a bunch of things from the source material anyway.

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
3. I don't think Rorschach is specifically against homosexuality. This is a man for whom any sexuality - gay or straight - is evil because he only sees sexuality in the context of vice and violence. If he were unable to suppress his sexuality, it seems entirely plausible that Kovacs would have become just the same sort of scum he hated and slew. Rorschach lacks the intellect necessary to subordinate his emotional and sexual identity or to compartmentalise an abusive experience in such a way as to appreciate healthy love/sex.
In the supplementary material of Chap. VI, we read young Walter's account of a dream experienced at age thirteen.
He dreamed of a strange man fornicating with his mother. It is important to note that he has always seen sex as an attack, never bothering to consider that it was consensual. He sees it as a form of violence. He entered the scene thinking his mother to be in trouble and hoping to help her, but he reports that, "I had feelings when I woke up. Dirty feelings, thoughts and stuff. The dream it sort of upset me, physically. I couldn't help it. I feel bad just talking about it."
This is the moment of Walter's sexual awakening... and subsequent suppression. This was a wet dream for Walter who, at thirteen, was slamming into the puberty train with baggage well in excess of the suggested limit.
The result is Rorschach's complete asexuality. But, I would imagine that Walter remained haunted by dreams that he no longer wrote about and that many of the stains on that stinking old mattress of his were the result of his own haunted nightmares.


Yeah, I'd agree with that. I personally believe that Rorschach is less asexual, more a man of repressed sexual ambiguity which he never explored due to his negative and violent experiences of sex from an early age, social ineptitude and his "job" as a crimefighter taking up most of his time.

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
4. Surely the question of The Comedian's backstory - or lack thereof, as you perceive - was a matter for the creators at the time? Does the character need more of a backstory? Will it make him any more memorable or successful a creation?


Perhaps. It might give us more insight into his character, as to, like I said, what exactly shaped his sadism and nihilism? People aren't just born sadistic bastards like him. Even my aforementioned example of "V" in V for Vendetta had some backstory that contributed to his anarchistic personality (e.g. his imprisonment, experiments, Valerie's letter).

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
5. Did Sally Jupiter ever really spend her costumed career risking death fighting dangerous criminals? Were any of the Minutemen really ever faced with that level of risk... or was it largely a case of a bunch of stylised theatrical goodies versus similarly stylised theatrical baddies? All rather cosy and fun, if the truth be told? If so, then it's understandable that Sally would not have had any significant concerns about her daughter following in her footsteps and so actively encouraged it. It was, after all, a seemingly much more innocent time back in Sal's day, with the greatest dangers arguably coming from within their own little band...


That's true. I think she mentioned in that interview something like, "What else would she be? A housewife? I wanted something better and meaningful for my daughter." But yeah, I guess there isn't that much evidence that Sally herself had much in the way of martial arts expertise. She said herself that it was a money thing (although I think it was both a money thing and a sex thing), but I think people like Hooded Justice (alleged to be Rolf Muller, that strongman), Captain Metropolis and the first Nite Owl (he mentioned a left hook that took out Captain Axis) took it remotely seriously, although maybe it was more innocent "back in the day", even though the threat of war was surrounding them.

But even so, that costume...did she not realize how slutty it'd make her 16-year-old, not-even-legal daughter look? Or perhaps it's just the same projection of herself that failed beauty pageantist/model mothers do to their children who they mould as child beauty pageantists.

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
6. No question here to answer.


Yeah, I guess I just kind of trailed off from the fifth question into my own thoughts. Do you agree?

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
7. Ah, human love. Who understands - and can therefore provide an answer - for that?


Mm, suppose so. I guess we'd have to know more about their relationships to even reach remote understanding of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:19 pm 
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I'm certain that many readers of WATCHMEN over the years have been able to rationalise and justify the reality of Truman's decision to bomb Japan, whilst at the same time equally condemning Veidt's fictional attack on NYC.
I guess it comes down to the whole question of legitimacy borne out of popular mandate: Truman was elected to office by the will of the people, chosen and entrusted to act on their behalf and in their nation's best common interests.
Veidt, on the other hand, is an unelected self-promotionist who has somewhat arrogantly taken it upon himself to save the world as he alone sees fit. From where does the democratic legitimacy of his actions come?

Whichever point of view you the reader subscribe to, Alan Moore was making his own abundantly clear: Who watches the watchmen indeed, whether those 'watchmen' and thus our so-called guardians be officials determined through recognised due process or self-appointed vigilantes? After all, do any of society's supposed leaders/protectors in reality truly look out for us... or just themselves? As an anarchist, Mr. Moore would posit they do not.
In Rorschach's case, he has romanticised his father so as to come to terms with his absence; if he believes him to have been an ardent supporter of Truman and a good man, then by defintion Truman himself can therefore also do no wrong. That, and he simply does not like Veidt and naturally objects to his actions.


On Rorschach's voice: I forgot that we see him talking in 'normal' speech whilst also in costume, at that Crimebusters meeting of '66. His speech bubbles only take on that peculiar quality post the Roche case of '75. I still don't think that this necessarily reflects the tone of his voice but rather underlines the change in Rorschach's personality from that point onward in the wake of his full mental collapse having discovered the poor girl's fate. After this, Rorschach goes on to develop his own personal communicative shorthand in which the use of conventional linguistic niceties such as personal pronouns, articles, and other such facets of speech become wholly redundant to him as he becomes ever more distant from regular social contact with others.


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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:23 am 
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Minuteman

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Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
I'm certain that many readers of WATCHMEN over the years have been able to rationalise and justify the reality of Truman's decision to bomb Japan, whilst at the same time equally condemning Veidt's fictional attack on NYC.
I guess it comes down to the whole question of legitimacy borne out of popular mandate: Truman was elected to office by the will of the people, chosen and entrusted to act on their behalf and in their nation's best common interests.
Veidt, on the other hand, is an unelected self-promotionist who has somewhat arrogantly taken it upon himself to save the world as he alone sees fit. From where does the democratic legitimacy of his actions come?

Whichever point of view you the reader subscribe to, Alan Moore was making his own abundantly clear: Who watches the watchmen indeed, whether those 'watchmen' and thus our so-called guardians be officials determined through recognised due process or self-appointed vigilantes? After all, do any of society's supposed leaders/protectors in reality truly look out for us... or just themselves? As an anarchist, Mr. Moore would posit they do not.
In Rorschach's case, he has romanticised his father so as to come to terms with his absence; if he believes him to have been an ardent supporter of Truman and a good man, then by defintion Truman himself can therefore also do no wrong. That, and he simply does not like Veidt and naturally objects to his actions.


Yeah, that seems about right. I've always found that strange, as Rorschach typically looks up to no-one but himself and the Comedian because he admired his outlook on life, but here's a man who he never knew and would've presumably only had his mother (whom he hated)'s word on it, yet even after growing up into adulthood and his transformation from Kovacs to Rorschach, he still held onto that belief of his man without acknowledging the possibility that his mother was simply bullshitting to keep him quiet.

Writer Of Wrongs wrote:
On Rorschach's voice: I forgot that we see him talking in 'normal' speech whilst also in costume, at that Crimebusters meeting of '66. His speech bubbles only take on that peculiar quality post the Roche case of '75. I still don't think that this necessarily reflects the tone of his voice but rather underlines the change in Rorschach's personality from that point onward in the wake of his full mental collapse having discovered the poor girl's fate. After this, Rorschach goes on to develop his own personal communicative shorthand in which the use of conventional linguistic niceties such as personal pronouns, articles, and other such facets of speech become wholly redundant to him as he becomes ever more distant from regular social contact with others.


Indeed. That's a good insight.


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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:18 am 
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Why did Dr. Manhattan kill Rorschach? Even Rorschach had returned to America in an attempt to expose Veidt's plan, 1) he's a fugitive and 2) no-one would believe him, moreso due to his mental instability?

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 Post subject: Re: Watchmen confusions
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:52 am 
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pinkpenthar wrote:
Why did Dr. Manhattan kill Rorschach? Even Rorschach had returned to America in an attempt to expose Veidt's plan, 1) he's a fugitive and 2) no-one would believe him, moreso due to his mental instability?

I think Veidt realizes that it is possible that nobody will believe Rorschach, but I think he has enough interesting evidence that some may look into it and begin questioning it. Veidt has built a peace on a very fragile house of cards, and any chance that it can be brought down, he's going to eliminate that chance.

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