A clean, well-lit place to vent
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As a Vietnam War veteran, I had the same feeling as B.D. when I got home on last year's Black Friday and pulled my new wireless printer/copier/scanner from its packaging. It was being sold at a very, very low price and I was delighted -- until I read "Made in Vietnam" on its side. For this, more than 50,000 American soldiers died!
Growing up in Fairfield, CT back in the seventies, my uncle, who worked at Yale, turned me and my cousin on to this odd strip in the Yale Daily News. I have been reading it ever since. I am not going to sprinkle holy water upon your entire oeuvre because that is tedious (though you may not agree). And, when you get down to it, any idiot who hasn't even read the shit can do that. But I write for a living and I know that good writing -- which Doonesbury is, believe it -- is always specific. I want to thank you for two things in particular.
First, thank you for the dignity and humor you have used to portray Iraq war and Afghanistan war vets. Every one of them chose to go over there because they thought it was the right thing to do, and I am not going to second guess their decision to do so, no matter how tempting that may be. For that reason, and for the way they conducted themselves in our names under hideously difficult circumstances, they deserve to be recognized as the best of us. Not cardboard characters; flesh and blood (?!) characters trying to get through with some dignity.
And more specifically, I would like to thank you for a fairly recent strip where B.D. ponders whether he is a worthy husband and is reminded he probably is not, but there he is. I have struggled with depression and addiction for years, but every morning I get to wake up next to grace made flesh in the person of Adriana. I am not worthy. It is not even a close call. But there I am. You spoke the truth, and it still grips me when I think about it. It makes me want to get through another day and wake up next to her again tomorrow. Thanks.
So GBT is forsaking the daily strip for Alpha House, and the strip is being reduced to Sundays-only, like Prince Valiant. Another one jumping off the print journalism platform... If this proves to be an easing into the retirement years, good for him. He's earned it. As the great-grandson of someone famous, he could have coasted his whole life, and he didn't.
Another Brit wanting to say a very large thanks for Mr Trudeau's opus, which has seen me through four decades and has been the only comic strip worth reading since I was 12 and reading Mad Magazine.
Thanks so much for today's video! After seeing too many Russian dashboard cam videos showing horrifically bad driving, it was a welcome change. Forwarding the link to friends, I titled the e-mail "From Russia with love."
Ok, let's get the details out of the way first: 1) I really do like Alpha House. 2) I'm sad, borderline morose, that the daily Doonesbury has come to an end for now. 3) I wish there could be two Garry Trudeaus, or at least an immortal one (...yet I'm very appreciative that there was even one). But...if taking off from the daily strips means that we get smashing strips like today's ("He would've related; we turned the city into a parking lot."), then I say it's a fine day, Mr. Trudeau, and take all the time you want! That's as good as anything you've done since "Guilty, guilty, guilty!" And while maybe it's more subtle, less slapstick than the early days, it hits harder than ever. Once again, thank you.
Sorry to hear about the extended break in new strips. I hope GBT returns with fresh, witty strips soon, but I do understand the need to do something different occasionally and, of course, to juggle responsibilities. In the meantime I think I will enjoy a trip in the Wayback Machine to refresh my memory on how everyone got to where they are now. It will be good for new followers, too. As long as this strip has been around, there's a lot of material.
We have to say that, having been dedicated Doonesbury addicts since it first appeared in the Guardian in 1982 (or thereabouts), and having bought every collection, old and new, which we can get our hands on, we are very sad to be losing our daily "fix." Plaudits for Alpha House are all very well, but what about those of us Brits who do not have an iPad to stream it onto, and now have the choice between acquiring yet more unwanted technology or hoping against hope that Garry will suffer withdrawal effects himself and make the hiatus a short one? We suspect he will not, and should be glad that at least we still have the Sunday strips. Forty-three years is no short period to be grateful for anyway, even if the hiatus has no end, and though there have been longer-lived strips, I do not know of any which have maintained the variation and freshness which Garry has achieved -- most simply repeat previous strips with (very) minor variations.
For those who are complaining about GBT's move into new areas and the open-ended break for the daily strip, creative people having been doing this throughout history -- accepting new challenges and (at times) ceasing to do things they're still doing very well. I'm actually looking forward to seeing some vintage Doonesbury strips on the website.
As a Brit in the UK working for American companies over many years, Doonesbury has been the little link to America that provided a common base for conversation with my American colleagues. Where am I going to find such pithy, informed comment neatly wrapped up in four frames a day?
The daily Doonesbury has been my smile de jour since the beginning (well, not the Yale years) and I will miss it. But, I'll continue to read on Sundays and I wish Garry Trudeau all the best for whatever way he wants to use his wonderful brain. Thanks for all the years.
As a lifelong fan, I would much rather have daily Doonesbury strips than Alpha House episodes, but now that I've got that out of the way... Thank you, Garry, from the bottom of my heart, for a lifetime of laughs and thoughtful commentary. One could make a convincing case that the Doonesbury corpus is the Great American Novel. I will miss the dailies terribly, but life will go on -- at least I hope so. Go where your heart calls you, and may you be successful in all your endeavors. Thank you, for everything.
I have been a fan of Doonesbury since it started, and while I will miss the daily strip I couldn't be more happy for GBT. How many of us get the chance to take our talents in a different direction at this stage in life? I am so glad Alpha House did well. It is hilarious, and I look forward to a new season of it.
You and the cartoon gang have been a part of my entire life. Thank you for all the days you turned tears into laughter, sometimes vice versa. I will remain faithful in looking forward to reading the Flashback dailies and the new Sunday toons -- and will salivate over the prospect of a new season of Alpha House.
I am sorry but I've had it. Flashbacks again! I read the strip since the beginning and needless to say I am a big fan. However it seems clear that Mr. Trudeau now has made it obvious that the strip is not his first priority anymore. Like a scorned lover I will turn my back on the strip and will not read it anymore. I can only hope that if enough people make a like statement, Mr. Trudeau will realize that his readers are maybe more important to him than he thinks.
An open-ended hiatus?!? I feel bereaved.
I just read your news. Thanks for the great work to date. It's going to be a lot harder to peek at Alpha House while sitting at my desk at the start of the day...
Alpha House marches on! As does the Sunday strip. But the dailies will take a break, beginning -- well, technically, two days ago. Read the details, and an interview with GBT, in Michael Cavna's Washington Post column. Upside: during the open-ended hiatus the Flashbacks will go deep, way back into the strip's early-years archive, for a "Best of Doonesbury" journey.
A previous comment suggested that the new and stronger pot "leads often to aggression, paranoia and cannabis-induced psychosis." I didn't believe the reefer-madness propaganda when I saw the movie, and I don't believe it now. Let's clear this up: Pot won't bring on a zombie apocalypse. It's more likely to bring a sunshine daydream with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. (Mmm, marmalade.)
Wow, drugs in the strip cause people to work up a head of steam. I'm not sure Duke's foreign policy shenanigans get so much critical Blowback. They should.