32

I do not have the book with me now so I cannot get the direct quote but when Laurie Juspeczyk confirms that The Comedian sexually assaulted Sally Jupiter, Rorschach dismisses the incident saying that he won't speculate on the temporary moral lapse of a man in service to his country.

It is obvious that Rorschach is not bothered by some excess in the cause of fighting the "bad guys", and so it makes sense that he could overlook The Comedian's brutality on the job.

However, Rorschach seems to maintain a pretty uncompromising moral standard about good and bad, given that Sally Jupiter was not a "bad guy" and sexually assaulting her was not for the cause of justice, why was Rorschach willing to forgive The Comedian for the assault?

  • 2
    He looked at him and said, "Yes...he could take me." Also, there's the fact that the crime happened many years before Rorschach emerged, and he could plainly see (or discover) evidence that the Comedian has changed/grown/repented. – Jeff Jul 29 '13 at 21:17
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    @Jeff, I am not quite sure I understand your comment. Are you suggesting that Rorschach wouldn't take on someone he considered more powerful? His encounter with Dr. Manhattan doesn't really support that. Also, I do think that The Comedian felt remorse over his assault on Sally but to say that he had "grown" is pretty charitable. – DQdlM Jul 29 '13 at 23:49
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    Rorschach wouldn't throw himself headlong against someone more powerful without a better reason than a single (though terrible) crime in the distant past. Besides, he was a useful ally. – Jeff Jul 30 '13 at 1:24
  • Prepare to have your mind blown, read my answer. – J. M. Becker Jun 16 at 5:08
  • @Jeff That logic doesn't pair well with Rorschach's "never compromise" position. – Misha R Jun 16 at 14:35
33

Rorschach also stated in both the comic book and in the movie that he thought the original Silk Specter (Sally Jupiter) was a bloated whore. Knowing what we know of Rorschach's past, whose own mother was a whore, he probably feels either ambivalent, or he doesn't actually see it as a crime. Remember that Rorschach walked the streets of New York where hookers and whores were 'displaying their wares' and did nothing. Perhaps, in his mind, neither is a crime or, better yet, they're getting what they deserve without his involvement.

It is a good question. He did execute a rapist and leave his dead body on a police station front porch. Why not the Comedian, who was if not as bad, than worse than some other criminals? Perhaps Rorschach also had some professional 'respect' for the Comedian, whom he saw as something close to an equal. Remember that Rorschach acknowledged that he himself isn't a good person either; he's a monster just like everyone else.

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    Presumably the woman who was raped was not a whore (in reality or in his opinion) unlike Sally (who was a whore in his opinion). – Jeff Dec 11 '13 at 20:54
  • My impression has always been that Rorschach was treating this as an ambiguous "he said, she said" situation where the truth might be very different from whatever Sally Jupiter said had happened. In other words, he didn't want to believe her side of it . . . so he didn't. I could certainly see why Laurie a) believed her own mother's testimony, and b) regarded Rorschach's dismissal of the subject as a good reason to think he was a useless jerk instead of a "responsible hero." – Lorendiac Jun 16 at 5:09
22

Despite it often being claimed that Rorschach's moral world is seen only in terms of Black and White (His mask being the manifestation of this), it cold actually be observed that he only operates in relative Grays. Remember also, those black and white areas are constantly shifting their boundaries, in endless flux.

For what is a fundamentally psychotic character, the idea that the world can only be gauged on such an extreme spectrum is actually a type of cover, a way for Rorschach to enable his own behavior through a supposed ethical structure (however warped such a structure may be).

As Jersey pointed out,

Remember that Rorschach walked the streets of New York where hookers and whores were 'displaying their wares' and did nothing. Perhaps, in his mind, neither is a crime or [...]

The man isn't exactly a law dispenser; he is relatively literate of the law, but not to the extent of a professional enforcer, nor does he seem to be litigious himself. So, as you've noted yourself, his 'good-bad' spectrum is something entirely subjective, and is defined by his own code of behavior: which is both autonomous of and distinctly separate to the norms of society.

Given his mother's occupation, his total disenfranchisement, his penchant for masculine violence (if such a thing is so readily accepted) and his psychosis itself, is it any wonder he holds such little regard for a 'Bloated whore'.

Rorschach, as a Darkened Mirror to Dr Manhattan, seems to perceive and organize his experiences of reality in a lateral, dispassionate way. The violation of a human body is, as he himself notes, a 'moral lapse', but considering the Hallowed nature of The Comedians many achievement (not to mention a certain amount of sympathy for his philosophy) would perhaps allow him to dismiss the incident as trivial.

  • Good point - Rorschach's morale might even be considered blue and orange (warning, tvtropes link) – Zommuter Apr 19 '17 at 7:23
4

Rorschach probably felt that the Hooded Justice had already administered a suitable punishment. The fact that Sally later had a relationship with the man who had tried to rape her would make it difficult to feel too much moral outrage.

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    Did Rorschach know that The Comedian was Laurie's father? I thought the "relationship" was pretty secret. – DQdlM Jul 29 '13 at 15:16
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    Of course - he's Rorschach! Actually I have no idea, good point. – TheMathemagician Jul 29 '13 at 15:19
  • It's unlikely, although Rorschach was obviously present at the Crime Buster's meeting; the one in which the Comedian is confronted by an emotional Silk Spectre I, after talking to Laurie. It's also widely known, thanks to Hollis Mason's book, that The Comedian raped Silk Spectre and it's implied by the comedian that the event led to a further relationship. Perhaps he could figured it out from extrapolating this information. – John Smith Optional Jul 29 '13 at 17:03
1

Simply: Rorschach is insane and his agenda constantly shifts based on what is happening. He doesn't see black and white unless it suits his need to kill. Many times in the book, he makes contradictory statements about one thing or another once you read it a few times.

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    Thanks for your insights and welcome to the site. Your answer would be a lot stronger (and earn more up-votes) if you cited and described examples of some of the times you felt me made contradictory statements. – DQdlM Dec 11 '13 at 20:17
0

Everyone has talked about how insane Rorschach was, but did it never occur to them that he knew something deeper about the Comedian? We know Rorschach respected the Comedian, and why was that? Is it because he was a macho badass? I argue no, that is not the primary reason....

I believe that the reason Rorschach fundamentally respected the Comedian is because he knew that when push came to shove, only the Comedian could possibly do the right thing. The story begins with Ozymandias killing the Comedian, and why was that again? The Comedian was the only hero, excluding Rorschach of course, who would have stopped his sick plan of murdering millions of innocent people for no legitimate reason.

So when the Comedian did something kinda crappy, like raping a grown women... not a little girl, a women of the world .... he didn't like it, but he felt the right thing to do was to look the other way. If the world was perfect, then non-rapists would stand up to megalomaniacal narcissist elitists who plan on murdering millions of innocent people, but the world is far from perfect.

  • Unfortunately, this isn't true at all. The other heroes realized that Veidt had saved the world, and that nuclear war was too high a price to pay to bring him to justice. Rorschach knew he couldn't live with that and Dr. Manhattan killed him. The Comedian, on the other hand was the only 'hero' who didn't even try to stop Veidt. – richardb Jun 16 at 9:54
  • @richardb, nonsense, the other villains were weak cowards, excluding Manhattan who didn't really even care.... but apparently enough to kill Walter. Silk specter cared more about her own pleasure than opposing Ozymandias, Night Owl was too cowardly. Why the hell would you unquestingly accept Ozymandias's bad faith logic, when it was neither true and ultimately doomed. If the Truth was going to be revealed either way, because it always will be, then why would you stand up for the guy who literally gets off to killing and did everything for power? – J. M. Becker Jun 16 at 13:32
  • @richardb, What do you mean didn't even try to stop Veidt? The story begins with the Comedian being killed by Veidt for opposing his scheme. – J. M. Becker Jun 16 at 14:36
  • He's killed at the start of the story because he knows too much. However (at least if we believe Moloch), he was drunk and begging for forgiveness a week earlier. Even if we don't trust Veidt's explanation, it's hard to believe that he was actually trying to stop Veidt. – richardb Jun 16 at 15:25
  • @richardb, Knowing too much shouldn't have been a problem for a hardened black ops rambo, yet somehow it was... The comedian would have stopped Viedt if he wasn't killed, and even Veidt knew it, which is why he killed him. I mean, beyond the fact that Veidt gets sexually aroused from murdering people. – J. M. Becker Jun 16 at 16:20

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