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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.

MAJOR EVENT
Rev. Dr. Bob Faser | Victoria, AUSTRALIA | June 20, 2011

Chester's experience in Sunday's strip echoes a major event in 19th Century religious history. In upstate New York, a popular preacher named William Miller predicted the Second Coming would happen in 1844. His followers (in many places in North America) sold their homes, farms, and possessions and waited for the event. When it didn't happen, some went off to other sects while others stayed by Miller, assuming he just had his math wrong. Church historians have called the aftermath of Miller's prediction "the Great Disappointment."

IRREPARABLE HARM
James Garner | North Little Rock, AR | June 20, 2011

Re: BOTH WAYS. The suicide rate among veterans speaks to the irreparable harm being done to our servicemembers, our children. I offer another quote on war and chiildren: "Let us study debate and detente, so our children may study industry and agriculture, so our children's children may study music and the arts." To me the most scary part of our current war is that we are at war with a 'nation' that seems to teach their children, "Our anger, our revenge and our wars are for generations."

POSSIBILITIES
Al | Eastham, MA | June 20, 2011

I wonder what would happen if Melissa had Ray for a first sergeant. The possibilities are endless and mostly good.

CHESTER
Bill Purkayastha | Shillong, INDIA | June 20, 2011

If Chester was so sure he was going to be Raptured, I wonder why he sold his house. It's not as though he'd actually have been able to "do" anything with the money in Heaven...

RAPTURED
Freewheelin Franklin | Freedom, CA | June 19, 2011

Chester! Some folks would consider having quit your job, given away all your stuff, and having to live in your car (a Mercedes no less), as actually having been raptured up to heaven.

MELISSA
Eileen | Salt Lake City, UT | June 19, 2011

I thought the rerun of Leo's even speech to gunslingers in coffee shops was a warning that you were resting up after the masterpieces you've been putting out, and preparation for bringing back the bad days of Melissa. I wish you had chosen something else to rerun, because Melissa has gone beyond her ugly experience, and is now more concerned with other people's pain, since hers is well on the way to becoming just a nasty memory. She's wobbly, maybe, but back in the human race.

BOTH WAYS
Dave-O | Washington, D.C. | June 17, 2011

A lot of the sexual assault problems with the military come from the fact that you're training men and women to embrace a very animalistic fierceness that can lead to some very unpleasant places with certain personalities. I'm not sure if we can have it both ways -- namely, humane soldiers. I think Sherman said: "War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." The human character is only so elastic.

DISCIPLINE AND ORDER
Bryan | Yuba City, CA | June 17, 2011

Are we looking at Mel falling into another situation here? I agree that both sides should maintain good discipline and order. I'm not sure we are sending the right message here to our youth and our troops in the field. It's good to be friends but not good to allow the crude jokes, and lurid stares, not to mention the five dates her groupie claims to have.

UPSET
H. Dodds | MINNESOTA | June 17, 2011

I think it's interesting that the author of NOTICED BY MEN is upset that a fictional woman is being "spoiled" by the military by receiving male attention and, oh the injustice, eating meals. Especially one that was a victim of command rape. Yes, there are many gold-digging, manipulative women in the world, but I don't know that they have any bearing on this storyline.

FIRST THOUGHT
Laura Welch | Port Townsend, WA | June 17, 2011

In NOTICED BY MEN a reader poses the question, "Where, pray tell, is the correlative series of panels satiring cooly materialistic and manipulative females taking advantage of gullible decent men?"  My first thought: JJ and Mike!

REALLY?
Seven | Alexandria, VA | June 16, 2011

Bravo! What Mel said today is what we have been saying forever and I said it again yesterday when a senior NCO alluded that if women were not assigned as closely to men, acts of sexual assault and rape would decrease. Really? Why don't those predators act like decent men and think about their sisters, moms, wives, and daughters? (You go, Mel!) And yes, props to those that do "maintain good order and discipline." One can only hope that in the real world they work on making "on the spot corrections." Thank you for keeping it real.

NOTICED BY MEN
D. McKinlay | Tucson, AZ | June 16, 2011

Your strip is the best thing in print. However, even as a 'good' liberal, I find the constant pandering to poor defenseless women to be tiresome. God forbid that the most excruciatingly horrible thing to happen to a woman is to be in a pampered military base, three good meals a day, with internet, movies, whatever, and to be noticed by men. Give me a break. Where, pray tell, is the correlative series of panels satiring cooly materialistic and manipulative females taking advantage of gullible decent men? Have yet to see any of those. A little equal time in this currently completely emasculated U.S. culture might be appropriate. Perhaps it's because you haven't been on the market in decades?

GI CHARACTERS
Kenneth Dale | West Linn, OR | June 15, 2011

As a veteran of the cold war ( a SAC combat crew commander) in the Vietnam era, I have to tell you how much I appreciate Toggle (Leo) as well as your other GI characters. Neither condescension nor artificial elevation -- just reality. I was cheering him on when he found his voice. You know the difference between a war and a warrior.

NAIVETE
La Vonne Miller | Long Beach, CA | June 12, 2011

Leo's naivete is poignant. But his heart's in the right place.

PROUD OF OUR TROOPS
Polly | Muskegon, MI | June 12, 2011

Today's strip made me feel proud of our troops for what they do for us. We as citizens of the USA take a lot for granted. It also brought tears to my eyes for of all the struggles our troops have when they return home with the traumas of war. One of your best!

THE RIGHT TO CARRY
Greg Laskowski | Bradenton, FL | June 12, 2011

I protected your right of free speech with a gun. Don't dis the right to carry.

TODAY'S STRIP
Bryan Lavender | WYOMING | June 12, 2011

Today's strip perfectly captures the feelings of this veteran. Thank you.

AN ISSUE
Caroline Frazier | San Francisco, CA | June 12, 2011

I'd like to bring Doonesbury readers' attention to an issue that affects thousands of military women who have been the victims of sexual assault. In 2008, Security Gates changed the questionnaire for national security clearances (the SF86), excluding counseling for combat trauma from the question regarding whether or not you have seen a mental health professional in the past years. However, counseling for sexual assault is not excluded from this question.

The reason this is important is that every officer has to have a "secret" clearance, which must be renewed every 10 years. An NCO who wants to advance in his or her career field needs a "secret" clearance. Further, those that get more senior or want to specialize need to apply for a top secret clearance, which again requires filling out this form.

I've spoken with military victims of sexual assault who refuse to get counseling because they are afraid of having to disclose it on their security clearance questionnaire. Again, for certain jobs, no clearance = no job. Though the DoD tries to assure us by saying we will get the clearance "eventually," they miss the point of having to disclose a deeply private, deeply personal detail on a form that is processed through a servicemember's chain of command.

Further, once that form is submitted, an Office of Personnel Management investigator comes and questions the servicemember on "red flags," ie going to get counseling for a mental health issue. This is a degrading and deeply embarassing process. Though I've written the military several times on this topic, I get empty responses that they are "working on it." How long will we let our servicewomen (and some servicemen) suffer in silence?

The only way the military seems to change these days is when they are embarassed by some high-profile incident in the media. I am writing to help generate public support for a change that would help thousands of women and men who are fighting and serving their country with distinction. You can read a Military Times article about the subject here.

IN THE SANDBOX
Ron Shirtz | Portland, OR | June 12, 2011

Aside from the issue of carrying guns in public, I hope Leo was either being sarcastic or speaking tongue in cheek about spending two years in The Sandbox to defend the freedom to pack a gun -- or the rest of our freedoms, for that matter. I understand the need to give respect for our troops, but none of our freedoms are being preserved. In actuality they are being destroyed. Leo and his girlfriend need to go through a TSA screening, to discover firsthand how little his service overseas has preserved our "freedoms."

PLACE OF HONOR
S. Carson | Stone Mountain, GA | June 12, 2011

I read a lot of comics and am generally annoyed by the whole "order a framed print of this comic!" thing that's on every cartoonist's web page. I just don't get why anyone would put a cartoon anywhere besides the fridge, or pinned to the wall of their cubicle. Or rather, I didn't get it until today. There's so much to love in the plot, characters, dialogue and artwork of today's strip  (I especially love Alex's "What?!"), that I can easily imagine it in a place of honor on someone's wall.