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.

VACUOUSNESS
Lee Horwich | Okpo, SOUTH KOREA | September 15, 2015

I just love the SayWhat? and Mudline reports from those deep thinkers such as Trump and Palin, increasing the depths of human knowledge and understanding, wondering when the carnival is going to end and hoping it does before too much damage is done. In the meantime the entertainment and the sheer vacuousness of their rhetoric (and amazement that the voting/general public has let it go on so long) continues to amaze.

B.D. AND TOGGLE
Bren Finan | Dublin, IRELAND | September 10, 2015

It's been really fascinating to read the parallel stories in the Flashbacks section from five and ten years ago, with B.D. struggling to cope with his PTSD in the latter, and helping Toggle cope with his own in the former. Doonesbury's always had incisive political commentary, but it's the growth of the characters over decades that really sets it apart.

TEACHING
Deborah | Out West, USA | September 08, 2015

Thank you for highlighting fact that teaching ability and qualifications mean nothing to school administrators. One comic strip won't change anything, but it certainly was nice to see the issue made front and center for a few moments.

THE NORM?
Melinda Capozza | Huntington, IN | September 07, 2015

It's been a while since I was in college, so I'm not up to date on all sorts of stuff. But is the practice depicted in the Sunday, September 6th strip the norm nowadays? My husband was an attorney, specializing in appellate and civil rights cases; he did pro bono work occasionally, but he certainly didn't expect people to work for him without pay, or at a reduced rate.

Editor's Note:

 There are links to recent stories and editorials about the plight of the adjunct professor here, here, and here. Doonesbury has addressed the subject before, as demonstrated in this new FAQ.

TRAP
Terry D. McGee | Sydney, AUSTRALIA | September 07, 2015

People have fallen into Trudeau's trap on Sunday's strip. The "Dean" in "Dean just arrived" is not "the Dean", but "Dean" (as in James) -- an Assistant Extras Casting Agent for a movie (or commercial) being shot on Walden campus. This is why he only cares that they "look smart enough." The reveal is in the last panel when he says "I also need a professor-type for a student film!" Don't feel bad if you were tricked -- an Oxford University Phd with honours friend of mine was also misled by Trudeau, and started to analyse what's wrong with Higher Ed in 2015 until I told him that "Dean" himself was also only hired by the day; that's how business has gone. In the end everything becomes like a movie set.

TRYING TO DECIDE
Linda Welling | Victoria, CANADA | September 07, 2015

Re Sunday's strip, I'm trying to decide what to make of the hiring of two middle-aged males for the positions. I wonder if "looking smart enough" to be professors still means being male. Or if more males than females are adjuncts. Or maybe it's too much to address more than one issue at a time...

CAST ASIDE
Cameron Russell | Norfolk, VA | September 07, 2015

Thank you for illustrating the plight of adjuncts today. With reduced enrollment around the nation, many adjuncts are being "cast aside" when, in the case of our community college, they made up over 60% of our teaching faculty two years ago. Our community college is now concentrating on efficiency (number of students per instructor), and it is trying to institute a corporate model like the for-profit schools. College is supposed to be about learning, not numbers (except in math classes).

MEATHEADS
David Ferrier | Edmonton, CANADA | September 07, 2015

Thanks for Sunday's adjunct professor strip. It describes the way I was treated as a computer professional with 30 years experience while working as a "contractor." Bad hours, bad offices, bad ambience. The old story of management by meatheads.

ADJUNCT PROFESSORS
Melissa G. | Charlotte, NC | September 06, 2015

Thanks so much for the spot-on comic today. I couldn't stop laughing because sadly, you nailed it. Adjunct professors today are the corner migrants of yesterday.

FAR TOO TRUE
Dan O'Rourke | Wooster, OH | September 06, 2015

Mr. Trudeau, I thoroughly, sadly, enjoyed your Sunday September 6th cartoon. It is far too true and very much the situation at the University where I am employed. Thank you for bringing the issue to the attention of others so humorously.

TRUE TO LIFE
Big Guy | New York, NY | September 06, 2015

Today's strip is true to life about how adjuncts are treated. Thank you. Here in NYC, CUNY pays the most; NYU and Columbia the least. The more prestigious the school, the less the pay. In fact, NYU and Columbia Law and Business schools "strongly encourage" their adjuncts to donate their pay back to the schools.

CLUE
Lobo Bielich | Key Biscayne, FL | September 04, 2015

The August 31 strip, a Classic from 1985, may give us a clue to the origin of Jeff's fantasy world. If Rick had no time for him, it is no wonder the kid had to create a parallel universe...

WORLD OF DOONESBURY
Don Kuzenko | Eagle Lake, CANADA | September 03, 2015

Does there exist, or will there exist, an archive of all the strips? I would like to begin at the beginning and explore the entire World of Doonesbury.

Editor's Note:

 Indeed there is, and yes you can. Bon voyage. Start here.

EASTER EGGS
Sandra M. | Indianapolis, IN | September 02, 2015

More GBT "Easter eggs" in today's Classic strip; In Rick's wastebasket it's panda, panda, panda, bunny!

SAM
Steve Lang | Concord, MA | August 30, 2015

I enjoyed the taking-a-look-back-at-the-commune-days strip, though I had the impression that Sam was conceived when Boopsie and B.D. were living out in Malibu. Then again my memories are often wrong. Or maybe Boopsie's mythologized her past.

FLASHBACK STRIP
Andy | Cambridge, UK | August 27, 2015

I am stunned to realize that Kim is forty. She had just started talking in today's 40-years-ago Flashback strip.

BILLYGATE
Shooshie | Dallas, TX | August 24, 2015

In the August 23 35-years-ago Flashback strip from... let's see... 1980, a Carter Administration official is testifying to the senate subcommittee about the Billy Carter affair known as "Billygate." After assuring the committee that there was no unethical connection between the president and his brother in regard to the affair, the witness turns on the committee and says frankly, "Frankly, Mr. Chairman, we're a little embarrassed for you. With all the problems this country is facing, a lot of people are wondering why nine US Senators have been devoting their full energies to such a trivial affair." The Senators realize the spotlight is on them, and make excuses.

It was funny then. Isn't it amazing how much can change in 35 years? Now, we'd be surprised if nine senators ever got together with the idea of doing something non-trivial. That investigation was just a premonition of a sea-change in congressional method and discourse. Now the norm is to obfuscate, delay, distract, and prevent any meaningful governmental processes from taking place, unless it happens to be a vote on a bill that dismantles significant constitutional protections or guarantees. In 2015, the joke would have fallen flat. But now it serves as a reminder of when this all began, who was doing it, and that once upon a time such congressional stupidity and shenanigans was not considered respectable politics.

Now, 35 years later, it's considered respectable to put an anti-science tea-bagger (Ted Cruz) in charge of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness where he controls funding for organizations like NASA, or to call a bill to put logging roads and loggers in a national forest to clearcut the trees beyond sight of tourist highways a "forest preservation bill." (Bush era) What has gone wrong with America to tolerate this insanity? Has the average American decided that politics is simply not their thing? Has it really become just a dog and pony show? Is anyone paying attention? Sorry, I have no comic relief with which to end this rant. Sometimes there's just no punch line... Trudeau always finds that strand of humanity where it appears all hope is lost, but I'm simply wondering where we're going. It's like one party got stuck at Billygate, and they haven't really moved on. And by the way... regarding last Sunday's Texas strip; the majority of thinking Texans are appalled at what has happened to our state. The voting districts have been drawn so that we can't fully express our dismay at the polls. 

SUNDAY'S STRIP
Hanna | Casselberry, FL | August 22, 2015

God bless you, Garry Trudeau, for last Sunday's strip. You were able to say with the needle of humor something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

RELEVANT
Ralph | Houston, TX | August 16, 2015

Textbooks are only relevant if a school buys them, a teacher uses them, and the student reads them. Also, if the textbook is the primary teaching method in high school, the student is not getting the best education anyway. Modern teaching is driven by assessment, and the resources used must go beyond the textbook, in history to primary sources as shown in the comic. This is why conservatives were so freaked out about the AP US History exam.

OUR FUTURE
Jifster | Carlisle, IN | August 16, 2015

Re OUR PAST: All attempts to improve our future will continue to fail until we truly understand and face the truth of our past.