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Chapter 16 Page 3

October 18th, 2017

Chapter 16 Page 3

Vivienne reassures Alays. Who seems… reluctantly on board with this. And Jassart is passing notes in class. Naughty man. See what Vivienne does next when you vote for Snow by Night on Top Web Comics! Please support us on Patreon! We’d love to have your support!

Like the gun? It’s been hanging around in the background for a while.

When I wrote this page months ago, I wasn’t thinking about Harvey Weinstein. With recent events, I can’t unsee it here. Patronage has come in many forms through history. Weinstein’s version is particularly odious, but it can manifest through soft power as well. Viv gives Alays a class promotion, now Alays is pretty much obligated to do Viv favors. Whether it’s a “good ol’ boy” network, calling on fraternity/sorority contacts, or even using relationships made by parents, we see patronage at work in our society today. Ever wonder why children of famous actors become famous actors? Or children of professional coaches become professional coaches? Even George Washington joined the Freemasons because that was what you did to make contacts and get ahead in his day. It’s an element of classism that ensures that the rich and powerful stay that way. While Weinstein’s actions are beyond the pale and should land him in prison, I’m not sure how you can remove patronage in its entirety without destroying all interpersonal relationships.




    Regarding patronage, In Spain we have a say: “quien no tiene padrino no se bautiza” ( who does not have a godfather, doesn´t get baptized). Enchufismo (favoritism) is sadly a big deal here.


    Oh and Alays? I’ve got you this nice red shirt to wear…


    Patronage is not necessarily a bad thing, and it does not always indicate corruption or a method of obstructing one’s path to “success”, whatever that concept may be to a person. In a class-based society, where personal freedoms are categorically limited, that may be true, but in a truly free society, such as the US’s representative republic, upward mobility is always possible. True, insular communities, such as Hollywood, governmental bodies, and prestigious academic institutions are very difficult to join without “having an in”, but generally speaking, where there is a will, there is a way. Just because a group of people insist on you adhering to their corruption doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Sadly, some people would rather compromise their principles to attain a goal than be true themselves, which usually leads to problems further down the road. It doesn’t excuse the actions of perverted miscreants like Weinstein (who should suffer proportionally for the harm that he has done for the remainder of his miserable life, or be executed to save taxpayer money, so far as I’m concerned), and they should always be held accountable for their actions, but that usually requires the cooperation of the very group harboring them, so the best bet is to just avoid them altogether and find another way. All that being said, and more on-topic, I hope that my impression of Vivienne is correct, and that she is using her new ‘spy’ for the benefit of the people and not just herself personally. :)


    Patronage is an interesting issue. Suppose I need to hire someone for a job. I have a friend who I know can do this job well enough for my needs. I trust him to do it, not to abuse the position etc. (because he’s my friend). I also know he needs a job, so he would appreciate me giving it to him, and in fact would take offence if I go anywhere else. Under those conditions, why would I go through the trouble to maybe find someone who might do the job better, but whom I do not yet trust, on account of not yet knowing him?
    There’s more: suppose I’m looking for a babysitter. Who should I entrust my child to: the girl I’ve never met before, who comes with a dozen recommendations, or the girl who’s my cousin’s friend and has been babysitting her kids, and my cousin can vouch for her?
    See the problem?

    Govert Flinck

    One of the things a good commander does is hand-pick their own staff. Manoeuvring loyalties around is what patronage is about, but if it has the side-effect that capable people end up in the right positions, that’s a win.

    Of course, if instead the whole system ends up filled to the brim with idiot nincompoops, it’s not. (This difference is a bit of a background plot point in at least two military science fiction space opera series.)

    We have currently an outwardly egalitarian meritocracy-preaching upper crust, but if you look at how the jobs are actually passed around, then it’s much more another aristocracy belying the upward mobility narrative. I’m in the EU so it’s not just the US. I’m not sure open patronage is necessarily worse.

    Though I am kind-of miffed that we have large groups of (descendants of) imported people who run on patronage entirely to the point of shutting out the natives, as thanks for getting all sorts of “affirmative action”-like legs up they didn’t do squat in return for.

    Anyway, like so often there’s grades and degrees. I haven’t followed the scandals but while we frown on sexual favours in exchange for advancement, there’s also this thing called “networking” that’s pretty much required to get anything done, and few have a problem with it.

    Introverted Chaos

    I find myself agreeing with Viv’s defenders. I don’t feel like she’s done anything sinister here or abusing her power in any way. Viv has been cut out of the loop for this campaign–a campaign she should be at the forefront of–and this is her means of getting back into the loop to some degree. Alays is an honest young woman and would make a terrible spy–Vivienne knows this. But what Alays is good at is listening, observing. She’ll most likely be passing along news, status updates, and even gossip, rather than battle plans and secrets.

    Effective leadership involves putting the right people in the right positions, and that’s exactly what our girl Viv is doing here. I like Viv and feel like she’s a smart, effective leader. The only thing I question about her is her taste in boyfriends.


      I’m always surprised to see how many People here seem to see Viv in a positive light. I wonder what induces that sympathy, beside her being a cute redhead and recently having been beaten at the game of intrigue and politics by another selfish noblewoman. I can’t recall to have seen any evidence that Viv has any real ideals and is seeking anything else than personal power and glory, but we have frequently seen her use people like chess pieces – including Jassart. She may enjoy fucking him as a bonus, but I very much doubt she is genuinely in love with him.

        Introverted Chaos

        I sincerely hope Viv’s not genuinely in love with Jassart. I like to think that they both know they’re playing each other and that their relationship is an extended mind game between two consummate manipulators. From a literary standpoint, I find this possibility far more interesting than some standard ‘ladies love outlaws’ romance.

        That being said, manipulativeness isn’t necessarily a negative quality, we’re just used to seeing it in selfish and villainous characters. I tend to read Viv as an intelligent leader preparing for a war with a powerful opponent. We know from her meeting with Jassart in chapter 10 that this is a war she *does not expect to win*. She openly admits that the enemy colonies are larger with bigger armies and that “war will go poorly for us.” I’m disinclined to view this as a speech from someone who’s focused on personal glory.

        I’ve never really gotten a sense that Vivienne is anything less than passionate about protecting her people. At worst, I can see her becoming like Kuvira from The Legend of Korra, where she goes too far in her ideals and ends up causing harm that way (ie, building dangerous magical super-weapons).

        But that’s simply my take on her character based on what we’ve read so far. And we know from past readings that our beloved creative team is very good at creating characters that can be read in multiple lights by different people.


        Well, for my part, what makes me like her is exactly the part where she’s a selfish noble who’s given to intrigue (but not always adept at it, as seen in one of her own vignettes). It makes her interesting to watch, it makes her make interesting moves that push the plot forward. It doesn’t necessarily make me want to meet someone like her IRL, but luckily, this one’s inside a comic and nothing she does can affect me negatively, so I can relax and just be entertained.


    Patronage is only problem when you reverse it and instead of picking someone who you know can do good job and only needs little help you pick someone who is failure just so he will be more willing to pay you back for your help.

    Like … if father picks babysitter not because she’s good with children but because he knows she will have sex with him. The problem is not the sexual flavors by itself (unless he blackmails her or force in other way, which I suspect happened multiple times in Weinstein case), the problem is that it has nothing to do with her job.

      Critical Theory Critic

      I’ve read an argument (that I can’t find presently) that the movie industry is all about intimacy, even if it’s fake and played on the big screen. Relationships on set have also happened, and have even been milked for the publicity value. So movie bosses wanting to “sample the wares” could even be seen as simply enjoying a perk of the job. Please note that I’m not arguing in favour of seeing it this way –I’m generally in favour of keeping it in your pants when on the job, moreso when chains of command and similar power structures are involved–, only noting that one might see it this way, and that the field lends itself well to that.

      Moreover, the ruckus isn’t really about what he’s actually done. It’s a thing in a larger context of lading guild on the white male, the eternal slaver and suppressor of everyone and everything else, making other people do his biding, taking from other people what he wants without recourse. This shall not stand and must be punished by any means available. Again please note I’m neither exonerating nor condemning him. I am saying that it is and has been virtually impossible for him to say anything for himself at all. What he did do or not do, therefore, is hardly the point of the discussion. Insofar as it is a discussion.

      Given the man’s liberal activist standing, the witchhunt against him must be especially galling. Maybe the allegations are spot on, maybe they’re made up and baseless, but do note that he got publicly called out, shamed, shunned, and booted out of his own company. He did not get a fair trial in court. Nor could any trial still be fair at this point, but that doesn’t change the point. His case is very much a thing in contemporary identity politics.

      If we ignore all that for a moment and simply look at the mechanics of patronage, then maybe someguy above too might see why, in a fantasy world, in a society obviously laden with patronage anyway, as is the one where our story at hand plays out, not playing the game is a lot less smart than playing the game. And there is a certain satisfaction into seeing the game being played well, whether you agree with it or not.

      Anyway, I think our dear author need not mix contemporary politics with a fantasy story. Yes, the happenings here and the happenings there could be said to be remotely connected in a certain way. What of it? Do you feel you have anything to prove to this world, perhaps? A statement to make, or a virtue to signal? Do you suppose this is important to your readership? If you do choose to make this an issue, you might as well come clean with the answers to the questions it brings up. Or, you know, not make an issue out of it. But whatever you choose to do, it’s up to you.

    The Shadow

    I’m just wondering when Jassart developed such elegant handwriting.

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