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.
I wonder how long Mr. Trudeau will be writing the strip. It will take Jeff at least twenty years to grow up at the rate he's going. It would be easier to kill him. That shouldn't be hard. I have some really good ideas.
Jeff takes some pretty hard hits on this forum, but in a larger sense, he has done what we always hope for our children: that they surpass their parents. So what if it's based on a fiction, and that in only a few cycles Jeff will be back playing video games at home?
Jeff has all the humanity of a ferret. Regardless of his noble fantasies, he is, in practice, just a self-serving animal. But as much as I'd like to see him flop on his belly and crawl into a hole, he just may be succeeding. There are quite a few actual people, some well-known in the arts, who, like Jeff, lack emotional depth and complexity, functional human compassion, breadth of experience and understanding, who nonetheless manage to secure a gold pile by their singular wits, certain luck, and a bold sense that their most infantile fantasies may be shamelessly articulated. Others, likewise regressed but not so bold, will identify with them, with those dreams, and pay good money to share in the glow. And God help the woman who should fall for such a load!
It's a little mind-blowing to see how much emotion and empathy is invested in these fictional characters. Having said that, I find myself feeling very sad for the toxic build-up that is Rick's and Jeff's relationship. I've seen that father/son dynamic way too much -- there's no real communication there, just a poisonous, passive-aggressive competition that, while depicted with a wicked wit, is damn near tragic. This whole story arc depresses the hell out of me. (Alex and Leo, on the other hand, I cannot get enough of! Please can we have some more?)
Wake up, Rick. Your grown son wants to spend time with you doing something that you both love, together. Put aside the mutual condescension. When your young man says "Hey Dad, wanna hang out and write?" the answer is "Yes, Son."
Jeff turns his Sorkh Razil fantasy into a paying proposition? Fine. Why not? Accept it as justification for blind, fatuous arrogance? Gedoutahere!
Many of the responses to Jeff's financial success are founded in a desire to see "good" rewarded and "bad" punished. Where justice is discussed, a judgement is usually made. I prefer to take the stance of Clint Eastwood's character in "The Unforgiven." He is about to gun down the bad sherriff, who pleads "I dont deserve to die!" Clint's response: "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
I believe Jeff has been redeemed in today's strip, as someone with a grasp of reality, quite capable of ironic self-reflection. I remember well the quiet pride we felt when our daughter (a bit older than Jeff, but in the same demographic) received an A in nose-blowing ("uses handkerchief appropriately") when she was in kindergarten.
Please don't crush Jeff completely. Get him a girlfriend (maybe that helicopter mechanic?), to ground him before he implodes.
The Red Rascal makes me think of Marwencol. I wonder if Jeff is working out some demons.
Am I the only one who is genuinely pulling for Jeff's success here? It was the great Samuel Johnson who once said, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money," and in this respect, the younger Redfern comes out the better this week. Jeff's obviously inherited his family's verbal DNA, so why begrudge him the opportunity to make a living from what he does well? Hey, one man's "war porn" is another man's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
I see Sorkh Razil as a young Theseus type, who engages in dramatic battles against exotic enemies for the amusement of others: a pretty popular literary device these days. I hope that, in 20 years, Jeff Redfern will astound critics with a heart-wrenching tour de force novel about a middle-aged man trying to reach out to his dying father with whom he never managed to see eye to eye. I'm thinking Pulitzer, or maybe even Nobel. Or better still, it will be the namesake of the prestigious Redfern Award for Outstanding Literary Awesomeness Beyond Comprehension.
I actually find the contrast between Rick and Jeff to be quite poignant. Rick represents the old media/journalism, with a dedication to credibility and accountability, but trying to maintain its relevance in a changing media. Jeff represents new media/journalism, with a focus on sensationalism, exaggeration and often pure fiction, with it's dedication to financial success and celebrity.
Rick's correct answer to Jeff at this point is, "Get out. Or I'm calling the police to have you removed as an unwanted person in my home." Jeff is now so far over the line that it has ceased to be funny, or even amusing. He needs to know that he is not welcome in his parents' home.
Neither Rick nor Joanie have failed; it is not a reflection on them. I have never personally met someone who is narcissistic to the point of psychotic delusion, although I have met some pretty narcissistic people. Jeff is there, and Rick and Joanie need to put him out on a permanent basis. It won't help Jeff, but it will help them.
How ironic. Rick has dissed and dismissed the kid for years and now he wants some of the bread? "'Who will help me grind the grain?' said the Little Red Hen." Methinks the one who made it rightly enjoys the dough.
I'm anticipating the time when "stately homeowner" Jeff discovers what an "advance against sales" really means to an author. It's a loan that comes due. No way he'll be able to afford that place. Rick should have brought this up to him by now.
Re THE QUESTION: Lacey didn't teach Joanie's knees how to jerk. Joanie has never (used advisedly -- I'm an old, old timer) expected people to live up to her, or society's, expectations. She takes us (and herself) as we come. Lacey just knew a real diamond when she saw one.
People have pointed out some parallels/opposites between Jeff and Alex, and Jeff and Toggle, as comments on the world today. But I've just seen like a lightning burst -- finally seen! -- that Jeff and Rick are being contrasted as representatives of new and old media. And whatever his moral qualities, Jeff as the new media star is in the ascendant.
So Jeff’s passion has become rewarding? Not such a shock, given that he has shown a propensity for science and imaginative fiction -- not the first time that formula’s worked for someone. Perhaps he could mentor his more-intelligent journalist father in creating fact-based prose -- perchance composing captions for a politically satirical comic strip?
Every time Jeff says "stately home" I hear The Kinks in my head. Can't wait to watch him, sipping a beer on a sunny afternoon, like the slacker in the song, blocking out all the problems that are going to be inevitable for him. I predict his fall will be as spectacular as his rise.
The Red Rascal setting up a foundation to pay out of work journalists to blog would be pretty satirical.