Farmer's Dilemma
November 14, 2012 12:33 AM   Subscribe

"Farmer's Dilemma" is a short, sad and beautiful comic about family and acceptance. From Sam Alden's art blog, GINGERLAND.
posted by teraflop (13 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Can anyone explain this to me a little more clearly? At first I thought it might be about gay acceptance, then vegetarian, now at the end I'm just confused. Maybe it's because I'm tired.
posted by Malice at 1:46 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the fox (was it a fox?) was adopted or something? At least that was my read on it before I got confused.
posted by marble at 2:04 AM on November 14, 2012

synergically, today's xkcd
posted by fredludd at 2:12 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

That was sad. I'm really sad now.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:43 AM on November 14, 2012

That's was very affecting.

It's built on a famous logic puzzle.

[Spoiler: link has puzzle and solution on same page]

I don't think this is about adoption, being gay, eating meat, being a fox or anything.

It's about being a father. And being a son. And being a mother.

As the little fox says: "It's ... complicated."
posted by chavenet at 3:36 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was moved, and the art/narrative story telling was gorgeous.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:19 AM on November 14, 2012

What's this piece of cigarette ash in my eye?
posted by infini at 5:10 AM on November 14, 2012

Yeah, I liked it. It reminded me a bit of my relationship with my father, who, although I think he always wanted the best for me, our views of what was best diverged so dramatically that we always has serious friction between us. Sigh. Heck, he managed to piss me off at his funeral, which was, I suppose, his way of trying to give me (and other members of my family) one last lesson, toxic as it was.

To be fair, I never had to admit to him that I was a cannibal, so there is that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:15 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

this was unexpectedly beautiful.
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 AM on November 14, 2012

Mother Hen sees the photo on the wall of Leigh disdaining cabbage even as a child, and realizes that she has been oblivious to the obvious for a very long time.

While this is a new revelation to her, the comic suggests that Father Rooster is not actually as shocked by his adopted son's proclivities as he pretends to be. His glassy stare, unfilled pupils and refusal to connect with the gaze of either his wife or son suggest that he saw his son was a carnivore long ago, and chose denial over acceptance.

The line he says when forced to publicly acknowledge the truth -- "How can we ever trust you again?" -- is just more grand pretense, attempting to shame and blame Leigh, rather than do the uncomfortable work of admitting to himself how long he has known, or the role his lack of acceptance played in forcing Leigh to pretend to be something he wasn't. It's not coincidence that those three panels depict Dad with closed eyes, still refusing to see.

Mom is only now, in that second-to-last panel, realizing some deeper truths about both of these people she loves. While she is struggling to embrace this clearer view of the world, she sees her husband sitting on the veranda, drinking, detaching himself even further.

I think the conceptual conceit of making meat-eating a metaphor for homosexuality is brilliant here. It elicits a kind of sympathetic horror in the reader that probably maps quite well onto what devout, fundamentalist religious families experience as they try to cope with loving someone their religion tells them is immoral, or evil.

Although the logic-puzzle may have inspired this comic, it's really not important to understanding it and, IMO, detracts from the impact. It's a better comic without that last panel. Still wonderful either way.
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 7:42 AM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

fredludd: yep, I actually ran across this comic a few weeks ago, but today's XKCD is what jogged my memory and inspired me to post it.
posted by teraflop at 8:02 AM on November 14, 2012

That was awesome. Whenever I spot a person holding three things clumsily and trying to walk (before I help them of course), I usually say "oh, first you take the chicken across, then you take the cabbage..." #dadjokes
posted by mathowie at 8:15 AM on November 14, 2012

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