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.
Watching Joanie be fooled by Jeff takes it out of the realm of comedy for me, and into the too-depressing reality I see with several of my friends. I wish there was a comic-strip solution to their problem: immature, selfish, self-centered semi-adults who refuse to take any responsibility for anything and blame their parents for everything. One friend finally (finally!) showed her offspring the door and six months later, everyone is doing better. But mothers hold out hope, even until the last, that they will be able to save their babies. It makes my heart ache to see it.
Jeff's parents know him well enough to know that he isn't going to do anything useful. They aren't ready to lay down the law or throw him out on the street. That's part of how he got to be the way he is.
Joanie's error was to overlook the necessity for accountability. Right now, Jeff doesn't have to show his work and he's in breach of his agreement -- and, for now, getting away with it. He still lives in a fantasy world where he just bumbles along, ducking and weaving, evading responsibility, indulging his appetites, postponing his work and rationalizing his actions with easy self-deception. Every instance of "de-entitlement" he has undergone so far has only been a temporary setback. He always reverts to type. Me, I'd throw him out, but that's probably not an effective means to satire.
You'd think Jeff's parents would want to see what he produces, given his track record with them.
If I were Jeff, I would have negotiated a better deal in terms of scheduling: chores in the morning and then writing in the afternoon or evening. Preferably in the kitchen or living room, with everyone seeing him doing the writing from his laptop so that there is no fear that he might be shirking his part of the deal.
Re OPPONENT: Jeff's job, as with any feckless lad, is to fantasize. But, as GBT renders him, he is clever enough to pop up ahead of the idlers in the daydream department and so manages to get it down in writing for editors to put into communicable shape. That's something, I'll grant you. But still, he has yet to prove himself of any real human worth, that is, to actively care about and care for people other than himself. Then maybe he could write something substantial.
It's a big problem for the culture, for art, for literature, for Hollywood: How can a writer, a producer, a director, portray circumstances where people act within the real range of human potential, do extraordinary things while possessed of the same capabilities, the same vulnerabilities as us human beings, and maybe show what is real hero's work involving real sacrifice, without the crutch of fantasy powers -- and still make a buck? Superheroes are a safer bet. We'll pay to float upon the dream of being thus endowed, hardly challenged to imagine what might be our own real potential in difficult circumstances. It is harder to sell or engage art of substance, art that's challenging.
Meanwhile Rick, as he is given to us, has to engage and decipher the complexities of the real world and make sense of it, render it in intelligent perspective, and, perhaps, in so far as his blog would survive, give his readers insight. That's real work. The father/son psychology here is so interesting: Rick -- too much into the world; Jeff -- too far out of it.
Well, let's be fair: Jeff's job is harder than Rick's. Jeff has to invent his stories, Rick only reports and discusses what is actually happening. Of course, this also means that Rick has to compete with a lot of others. Jeff's only opponent is himself. And, looking at the success he had, that is a formidable one.
I just want to thank you for the Sandbox portion of this site. Both sons were in Iraq at the same time and one also served in Afghanistan. He tells me that in 72 more years he'll be able to tell me what he was doing. I truly appreciate these little windows of enlightenment that get posted -- sometimes through tears, sometimes laughing right out loud.
I'm reporting a continuity error in today's strip: Joanie tells Zipper that he must wait until noon, which implies that Zipper is up and about before noon. Impossible.
Re LAST PAIR: Don't hold your breath. Eighteen years ago my husband said, "This is the last car we'll buy." We're on our third since then.
I believe that the motion, and the search for new ideas, is more important than the clothes. In this Mike Doonesbury is still ahead. For shoes, I would recommend buying Redwing boots and shoes, made in Redwing, Minnesota. The footwear is so comfortable it will make you pray to God. For clothes, I recommend WalMart.
My husband liked shopping at truck stops. Great Hawaiian shirts and fishing tackle in the same aisle. Also some Indian reservation tobacco stores in upstate NY are now carrying clothes in age-appropriate colors and sizes, along with gifts for the wife and kids. That was his idea of a convenience store.
Gas station underwear! I thought my husband, buying a $4.99 sweatshirt at the local drug store, was the only non-clothing-store shopper. And I wonder when Mike will reach the point my I-hate-shopping-for-clothes husband has as he settles into his 'sunset' years: "This is the last pair of shoes I'll have to buy."
And we appear to have missed Jeff's birthday. The Red Rascal turned 30. I look forward to the downward spiral continuing.
It’s 1983 and I’m a high school art student with one more project to complete a portfolio for honors. My teacher, being the lenient sort, allowed me an absurd amount of leeway and I, being young and eccentric (as opposed to old and eccentric which I am now) decided that a set of life-sized Doonesbury characters would be the perfect capstone. I created these figures out of 3’x3’ sheets of corrugated cardboard and painted them brightly with tempera. The Doonesbury clique included Zonker, Zeke, Mike, Mark, B.D., and (coming in last but not least at 5’ thanks to remaining cardboard scrap) Duke. Over the three weeks I had them on display they appeared in various nooks and ways -- the library, the halls, behind doors -- and much to my surprise they did not take any damage. In fact I was shocked that my peers, the well known and well liked, came to me, the art student outcast, asking for my creations at the end of the exhibit. I did give them all away, all except for Zeke, who I kept fondly for many years on the back of my bedroom door. Many decades have passed, but I owe a ‘thank you’ to GBT for the use of his characters. Also for the random and surprising discovery of The Doonesbury Chronicles in my public library in 1980 (next to Amphigorey, and collections by Charles Adams.) I repeatedly checked this volume out and mystified my friends with exclamations of “Heeeewack!” from time to time. Doonesbury was a formative part of my youth, and continues to help keep my mind suitably flexible as I meander on into old age. Keep ‘em coming, bro. I’m counting on you.
I am the mother of a disabled veteran of OIF. On behalf of thousands of military families, I want to thank you for never forgetting us. You keep our stories in the eyes and minds of a nation that would rather sweep us under the rug, or glorify what our loved ones have been through in order to perpetuate the same lies that led us into Iraq in the first place. You walk the walk, in the way suited to you. In doing so, you do us all a great service. I only wish even more people would read your strip. Perhaps it would help them to understand the challenges we face every day.
As an atheist who is also my family's celebrator-in-chief of Christmas (and the other holidays of our family's protestant/colonial tradition), I relish the irony of the current War on Christmas series. Most of my family are ecumenical Christians, and I see no reason to deprive them of the comfort, or myself of the joy, of Christmas. Having reached the status (somewhat uncomfortably, to be sure) of materfamilias, I will gladly hang the lights, decorate the tree, cook the turkey, and automate my aged mother's Christmas card list. Whyever not? If this is hypocrisy, then I accept the label. It seems to me that it would be ungenerous to force my unbelief on my family. I'm pretty sure that I'm in the majority here.
"Have you ever had to kill one?" Pitch perfect.
One of my lifetime best friends is a "Zonker." Laid back, the antithesis of mercenary, quick to help anyone in need, and not the least bit concerned about accumulating money. Like Zonker, he takes what life offers, smiles and moves on.
Roland's like Dorian Gray -- but every now and then we get a look at the picture in the attic.