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Conflicts of Interest

Well, somebody should tell me when my sense of timing is off. My wife won’t do it and I’ve done a bad job of it, myself. Of course, this is the second week of Mark’s adventure, so my Saturday commentary about what to expect is pure bunk, as usual. I reckon I should spending more time looking before I leap. So, apologies for the sloppy timekeeping on my part.

The madcap adventure drones on. In spite of the dubious “sacrifice” of the other fishing boat to allow Mark and Diana to escape, it appears that these so-called anti-pirate hoses are pretty wimpy deals. They look more like flat, yellow straps. And there is already one of them on Mark’s (or Diana’s?) boat! I reckon that their runabout is more of a floatabout, given they haven’t moved very far. Or have they?

Recall that Saturday’s strip shows that these two were a good bit further away than we see above. In fact, they seem to be moving in the opposite direction from the cargo ship than they are today. Clearly, there is something odd in continuity. Perhaps they have fallen victim to the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum, first discovered by Kurt Vonnegut. This is where time and space tend to coalesce, allowing a person stuck in this situation to experience multiple timeframes (past, present, future). Perhaps that is not what Rivera had in mind, however.

I suppose we must overlook these visual flubs and focus on what are the important points:

  1. The conflict between Mark’s moral sense honor and Diana’s moral sense of opportunity and self-interest.
  2. The dilemma of “doing the right thing” in a situation where you may not be able to make the correct choice.

From a broader perspective, I see that both Mark’s and Cherry’s storylines have converged on these same moral points. Do the right thing or do the convenient thing. And like Cherry, Mark may be in a situation where his sense of right is irrelevant.

Critics would point out that part of what made the original Mark Trail appealing was his moral certainty and unshakable resolve. His actions were almost automatic when it came to responding to danger or seeing another person in danger. The expression “moral uncertainty” was not in his dictionary. Now, I don’t think we can write off this Mark Trail as a moral relativist. At a certain point, Mark’s sense of duty rises to the surface and demands a response. Perhaps the Yeti story our former Mark Trail experienced is similar in regard to Mark’s conflict with Harvey, the expedition leader. For most part, Mark was simply an observer reacting to Harvey’s decisions. While Mark knew his position was correct, there was nothing he could do to resolve the situation except to walk away from it, so to speak. But the outcome was out of his hands.


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