Blowback_toon

Blowback

A clean, well-lit place to vent

Please feel free to contribute to this frequently-updated forum, which posts selected commentary on our favorite comic strip. If you’d like your critique to be posted, please note that civility, if not approbation, counts. Click here to submit a comment.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Evan | Seattle, WA | November 21, 2012

Loving the strip. But since Mike and Kim are living here in the Pacific Northwest (aka Seattle), it's not fair that their weather should be sunny and cloudless all the time.

COMMUNITY
Don Poole | Youngsville, NC | November 21, 2012

This "reality based community" seems rather lightly populated. Sure would like to increase its numbers. Thanks for reminding us it's there, though.

THE SUPERMARKET CASHIER
Terry Loeppky | Victoria, CANADA | November 19, 2012

I have reached an age where I have difficulty remembering lots of things, but I do remember Studs Terkel's piece on the art of the supermarket cashier, in his fine book Working.

SWINGING
Dave | Abington, PA | November 19, 2012

...and Doonesbury comes out swinging, standing tall for reason, intelligence, and common sense. Thanks, Garry!

HOPING
Fivegreys | Eddyville, KY | November 19, 2012

Just when I thought Doonesbury couldn't possibly get any better following the wonderful strip with B.D. and Toggle last week, you go and give us the "math and science victory lap"! Hoping for many more victories for the math and science team.

MARK SPITZ
A.D.H. | New York, NY | November 19, 2012

Re MENTION: I think Mark Spitz was Zonker's bete noir because Spitz showed what self-discipline and ambition can do -- and that is the part of reality Zonker does not want to even acknowledge, much less admit. (Sorry, Z. We do love you!)

21 YEARS AGO
Lostin67 | LA, CA | November 18, 2012

Today's is possibly the best strip I have ever read. I still remember the day, 21 years ago, when I became just too old for a store employee to look at me "that way." Ah, nostalgia...

ROBOTS
Molly Larson Cook | Seattle, WA | November 18, 2012

Today's "checkout" strip was right on the money and gave me a chuckle. Fortunately, even at the big local chain market where I shop, the cashiers are friendly, but at other kinds of chain stores, not so much. I occasionally stop talking until the cashier, usually a young woman like this one, makes eye contact. They may behave like robots, but I'm not gonna. They might also not "see" anybody over 50, but we're bold! We're old! Get used to it.

SCRIPT
Joel | Santa Cruz, CA | November 18, 2012

Today's strip brings to mind the time a local chain grocery store installed an edict that all cashiers would conduct each check-out strictly by script. There was a cashier who'd been working there 20 years, and handled each customer conversationally like it was an art form; any kind of person walked away from this woman's register feeling better than when they walked in. The cashier wouldn't do the script that she knew most of her customers would regard as insulting (not to mention how she was supposed to explain the awkward transition without sounding like she was ripping her employer), so the store put her on notice for insubordination. Whether she was actually suspended, I don't recall. What was memorable was the customers starting a petition in the neighborhood, complaining to the store about the policy and their treatment of what should have been a prized employee.

WONDER BREAD
Dennis B. Swaney | Oroville, CA | November 18, 2012

How appropriate that today's Flashback strip shows Mike and Bernie buying what looks like a loaf of Wonder Bread! That bread is also now apparently no longer "visible" in the stores.

GOOD FOR ZIPPER!
Stephen M. | Westminster, MD | November 17, 2012

Good for Zipper! I always thought there was a little more going on up there than he let on, and today's strip affirms that. But if my daughter brought him home from college, I'd still have to kick his worthless ass!

MULLING
J.G. | New York, NY | November 15, 2012

I've been mulling over last Sunday's strip all week (way to make me cry, BTW). See, he's the vet, and I'm the one with PTSD. I struggle, often, with doubts about my worthiness; he is undeniably the kindest and most honorable man I've ever met. In the four years we've been together, the scariest thing he ever said to me was, "I trust you," as he paid for my education. I live with TBI and don't entirely trust myself. I know it sounds silly to get inspiration from a comic strip, but I do. Thanks for some of the finest characters to spring from a pen, and thanks for showing me, again, that I'm not alone and I'm not crazy.

MENTION
Maryhelen Posey | Calgary, CANADA | November 15, 2012

I would just like to mention that I am totally baffled by Zonker's night terrors about Mark Spitz?

EARNED IT
Ela H. | SLC, UT | November 14, 2012

Re FRESHMAN. You jump, despite a lack of explosions, because you put your life on the line so the rest of us could have our safe little bubbles to live in. We screwed you up a bit to maintain our standards, and we know it. You risked not only your life but your mental stability for us, and so we owe you. You are entitled. You jump, therefore you are entitled. Even if one day you realize you can stifle the jump (because we all know you are tough enough to get there), you are still entitled. You earned it.

QUALIFIED
Rick V. | New York, NY | November 14, 2012

Re NEVER AGAIN. One of the most qualified people ever elected President had served in the Congress, the Senate, and been Secretary of State, was ambassador to Russia and Britain, and turned down a seat on the Supreme Court. That was James Buchanan, the 15th president. When he left office the country was in a civil war. The next guy after him was by far the most unqualified person ever to hold office. Self-educated, some minor terms in the Illinois legislature, one term in the U.S. Congress, had lost his Senate race. He is regarded today as perhaps our greatest President.

FAMILY
Eric Ahlsen | Cape Elizabeth, ME | November 14, 2012

Re MY DAD. Been there. Please don't give up on him. He needs all the love you can possibly spare. When you've been through hell there's nowhere to turn for support but from family.

FRESHMAN
John N. | Charleston, SC | November 14, 2012

I am a 51 year old military retiree. I served 30 years total, with two tours in OIF. In January, I will be a college freshman, studying Music and Literature. The post-9/11 GI Bill picks up the tab and supplements my retirement check. I keep waiting for the police to come and arrest me for embezzlement. Am I worthy of this benefit? To this day, there are still certain sounds that make me jump. It's been four years since anything has exploded nearby, but I still jump ("jump" being a euphemism for "choking down rage"). The lady at the Education Center told me to stop arguing, that I am entitled. I still don't feel worthy of it but F' it, might as well. Use it or lose it.

NEVER AGAIN
Bernard | Washington, D.C. | November 14, 2012

This is to tell you that I will never again read Doonesbury. By my count, Obama has been mentioned three times in the strip since November 2011, and all three were set-ups to take a swipe at Romney. (I have no idea how long Obama was absent from the strip before then; that was just when I noticed.) In a comparable time span, you frequently ripped the face off George W. Bush. Your contempt of any conservative person, program, policy, or ideal is about as subtle as a slap in the face. But for Obama or any liberal? Nothin' but love. Nothin' but softballs and kid gloves. Meanwhile, we elected the least-qualified president in U.S. history in 2008, and then re-elected him last Tuesday! This has been a long time building, but your rigidly one-sided strip has finally gotten on my last nerve. You have lost a long-time reader.

UNWORTHINESS
Richard | Olympia, WA | November 14, 2012

Sometimes the Blowback is more prolific and concise than the strip. I admit I struggled with 'unworthiness,' causing myself and my family many stressful moments. I thought it was just me, my FoO, and my issue. I didn't buy a house until our first child arrived. Our second, now 21 (I am sixty five now) was accidental (FWIW: turned out great!) and evolved our faith -- not opinion, belief -- in our abilities as parents. We became 'worthy' because it was demanded of us. Big picture? Worth, or unworth, we have another stage to go through.

I see the guys on skid row, the 99%, who have served, borne the injury, borne the suffering, and still bear up today. I wish I could change that. I can't. I've tried, but until the person confronts the issue, it's never questioned, never answered, so it's, technically, not there. I can kind of understand, this derelict thinking. It's easier to blame yourself than admit to involvement in some nightmarish engine of destruction. It's neither good nor right, but it is a way of handling things. Why in the world do our best and brightest repeatedly blunder us into these hopeless causes? Then leave us to blame ourselves for the damages done? Are we less worthy than the ones who sent us headlong into this mess? I am so glad you can show successful, if severely adapted, coping strategies. Brought a tear to my eye. Yes, yes it did.

THIS HAPPENS
Dan Duffy | Durham, NC | November 14, 2012

Hey, this happens. My roommate's cousin was left an income "until he finished school," and as far as I know he is still accumulating bachelor's degrees at Boulder. And in a case I read about, a man had married and was raising a family on his job earning undergraduate degrees. Faculty adored him. Who doesn't want a grownup taking your subject seriously?