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I love today's strip about Rick telling Jeff to adopt a "reality-based lifestyle" because I can identify with both. I was never quite as deluded as Jeff, but I had my share of fantasies that took me nowhere fast. My parents were about as supportive as they could be, but they were also realistic, and I now understand Rick's point of view really well.
As the manipulator Jeff was settling into the mansion and life of his dreams, his poor honest, hardworking father has been suffering through HuffPost blogging. I couldn't help wondering when Jeff would get his! Karma is -- well, karma. Not to say everything couldn't flip again in an instant. Thanks for keeping us guessing!
I see an opportunity for some real personal growth on the part of both Redferns. Jeff needs a new book; Rick needs a job and knows how to write. Can't they collaborate on a project? Jeff's first book fell out of his pen unbidden. He cannot hope for lightning to strike twice. He can, however, create another the old fashioned way, with outlines and research, if his father shows him how it's done. Enough with the cross-generational sniping. Lets see how to work together and create new art.
Congratulations, Mr. Trudeau! Apparently today is the 42nd anniversary of the syndication launch of Doonesbury. Here's to 42 more, if you're up to it! Thanks so much for a lot of laughs, a few tears -- and some of the most intelligent social/political commentary around.
I wonder when Jeff will call on his inner rascal and go and get the money necessary for his new lifestyle. He is, after all, a mercenary. In a world at war with itself, there must be job openings.
Living in fantasy, showing arrogance, cynicism and contempt, most of Jeff's foibles were founded in Rick's neglectful emotional distance, Rick's own veiled contempt, slipping here as a laugh. Long before Rick's own career flopped and Jeff's soared, the son had devolved into a putz, shaped in great part by his inability to gain the attention of a distracted, unloving, self-involved father. Such psychology may ruin Jeff, but many celebrated, awful people have raised themselves up, motivated in a compensatory way by these very means. Likely, Jeff will rise again, but will there be some redemption for him and his father? Or will they proceed in their respective warps, occasionally banging heads?
At least Jeff earned the money he squandered. How many lottery winners have wound up in the spot he is in now? Jeff is the author of a best seller. He could write another, and (if his present circumstances have taught him anything) use the money from his second book more wisely.
p.s. Like the poster of FIRST STOP, below, I try to read Doonesbury every day. But it's the last thing I read before I head out the door for work -- I save it for dessert.
The quality of GT's work is reflected by the comments on the Blowback page. In just four panels and around 40 words per day, he manages to create a whole world of precise characterisations that obviously lots of posters identify with as much as with soap opera characters on a 30-minute TV show. I wonder what GT is planning for Jeff.
Even with as much empathy as I can muster for Jeff, as an Austinite, hometown of Lance Armstrong, this past week that (my name here) has been experiencing such deep humiliation, my feeling is, "It could be much worse."
I have a horrible feeling that the IRS has yet one more horrible surprise in store for Jeff.
Rick did try to warn Jeff, and Jeff's reaction to that was rude and dismissive. Rick deserves to enjoy the moment!
Jeff completely deserves his karmic retribution , but sadly I suspect he won't learn a thing from it. No Southpark-esque "I've learnt something today." Solipsism incarnate. I've zero sympathy for him, particularly after the bad grace and manners he showed when he first met Toggle with Alex. He's hitting 30? God help him. As we say in Clare, "He's in for an awful landing."
Your Flashback of 15 years ago with Lacey talking to Dick is beautiful. Their relationship is one of the gems of the Doonesbury Series. I find their continuing dialog profoundly moving.
Jeff Redfern's financial failure is mirrored in real life by many. His father Rick's reaction, though understandable given Jeff's previous smugness, seems inordinately cruel. When I was in a similar situation (no mansion, but job loss) my father didn't laugh, he growled out a speech on the virtues of self-reliance and almost didn't let me back into the house (my mother filibustered on my behalf). Now that some years have passed, and both my parents are gone, I am somewhat wistful reading Jeff's plight. On one hand, I almost (almost!) wish Jeff would have made his literary fantasies a success. On the other, I take a moment of schadenfreude in watching him come down to earth. Could Jeff have "made it"? Maybe. J.K. Rowling struck literary gold, as have others. Jeff's big mistake was thinking (I can't be sure, but I'll bet it was something like this) "if she can do it, so can I." Wrong. It's not that easy; otherwise everyone would do it.
I'm losing (even more) respect for Rick with his reaction to Jeff's downfall. His reaction to his son's success was petty, his reaction to this latest turn is mean-spirited. No emotional support, no wisdom -- the kind of reaction you'd expect in response to an enemy's success and failure, not one's son.
I have to admit, this week's series has truly made my month complete. After months of watching that self-absorbed git fall into success after success and rubbing it in the face of his father, now he's finding what it's like on the way down. And I'm only mildly surprised by all the people jeering Rick about his attitude. I'm guessing those are liberals incensed over reality invading their fantasies.
It's interesting to watch Jeff's travails, but it's more interesting to wonder if it's a treatise on our societal inadequacies in parenting. We keep hearing that children are maturing at an earlier age, and that children should be allowed to "expand their horizons." But that has led to our children seeing the world through rose-colored glasses while the world burns around them. Parenting going awry has happened before, and every time ends in a dark age followed by a period of reasoning and then a golden era. We are a habitual species, claiming to be "moving forward," but the circle just gets tighter and tighter. And in the end, chaos rules.
Rick will be laughing out of the other side of his mouth when a major Hollywood producer options The Red Rascal for a trilogy of summer blockbusters.
Jeff, you're turning 30 in a couple of months. Consider this a fresh start.
I don't think Jeff ever had success. Like the rest of his life, what Jeff had was fantasy. Abroad he was Sorkh Razil, at home he was a great author. And like all fools living a fantasy, he showed arrogance and contempt to those who were trudging through life, actually paying their dues, including his own parents whom he sponged off of for years.
Rick's laughter is understandable. It's what a fool deserves when he falls from his perch but eludes wisdom by still failing to take responsibility for his own downfall -- although he expects everyone else too. It mirrors the pent-up anger at those who treat the rational and wise as idiots, while being idiots and pretending to be wise and deserving. Rick's laughter is reality's cry of triumph as up is once again up and down returns to being down.