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.

Tony Phillips | Chicago, IL | October 09, 2014

What's interesting is just how it was that "mellow" ballooned out of its tiny place in the dictionary and became a cool word to use, and that was by its indelible association with mind-expanding and relaxing drugs: pot, acid, etc., the elixirs of an age. Once rendered mellow, the mind might take a fancy to Apollo, but just as well might revel with Dionysus. However, when the word thereafter became culturally generalized, it quickly dissolved from use, considered smarmy by the hip, and thereafter, in its death throws, was used sardonically to describe a "slacker" -- a Zonker, a Zipper, or a Zeke. I now can't remember when I last heard the word used in conversation. And whatever happened to "far out" ? Funny how the word "cool" manages to sustain its expanded use decade after decade.

Shooshie | Dallas, TX | October 07, 2014

Classic Doonesbury indeed. I'd nearly forgotten these eras. Fellowship at the California Institute for the Mellow? A mellow fellow? Only in California, of course. Trudeau kept his finger on the pulse of both coasts, and most of what happened in between. But anyone with a pulse at that time was aware of Esalen, Tassajara, and the many retreats, communes and institutes of California, which influenced businesses like The Whole Earth Catalog, or even Apple Computer, which started out a very barefoot organization and is now the most successful company on earth. Later, the birth of global communities such as The Well on the fledgling internet were influenced by the same concepts, places and people.

I enjoyed the various takes in the comics that were already poking fun at them. At one extreme, you had the dark view from Zap Comics, but in the newspapers there was Doonesbury, whose passing characters were always deadpan stereotypes of their respective ages. Anyone researching how the cultural revolution of the 60s led people to California in the 1970s, the Me Generation of the 1980s, and the Internet of the 1990s, would be missing a great resource if they overlooked Trudeau's grand satire. History books tell us something like press releases from the entities of the time. Doonesbury told how we thought about them. One's not complete without the other.

Mark Miller | THE NETHERLANDS | October 07, 2014

I used to hate hate hate mellow, then I learned to relax about it. Love the series though. Once I start reading a Classic strip I can always remember the punchline. How cool is that?

Don Albertson | Spring Mills, PA | October 07, 2014

I'm not sure I know what mellow is, but I do recall a time when I asked someone at a food co-op about some basic (to me anyway) notions of freshness and hygiene and someone said "Maybe you aren't mellow enough for this co-op." I conclude that while I may be somewhat mellow, I'll never get to be a Mellow Doctor.

Benjamin Smeall | WISCONSIN / BOLIVIA | October 07, 2014

I do remember "mellow." It was, and still is, a very important concept. In fact, is it a reiteration of the worship of Apollo, god of medicine and music. It's an affirmation that balance and moderation are desirable qualities in life. Nothing new. The worship of the god Apollo became the basis for Christianity. It was rediscovered in the Enlightenment of the 18th century that also provided the intellectual justification for the American Revolution, the beginnings of the United States as we now know it.

Ray Lampe | Templeton, MA | October 05, 2014

Today's ten-years-ago flashback strip once again strongly moved me as part of the B.D. wounded warrior story arc. This almost documentary storytelling is unlike anything I know of in this medium. Great praise is due GBT for the artistry and compassion he exhibits in this and all the other non-comic stories he creates, which may be the best presentation of the passing scene available to the segment of world population that absorbs Doonesbury regularly. Moreover, B.D., Melissa, and Toggle are ongoing reminders that we have a continuing obligation of support for our veterans, especially the combat and abuse wounded, in hospitals and living among us.

David Ferrier | Edmonton, CANADA | October 05, 2014

I love how the 10, 20, and 25-years-ago strips on today's Flashbacks page offer a B.D. retrospective. Semi-loquacious to laconic. Before/after helmetectomy. Crass to insightful. Thanks.

Brian Harvey | Berkeley, CA | September 29, 2014

I wonder why we got a Classic yesterday instead of a new Sunday comic...

Editor's Note:

 Even while writing the political sitcom "Alpha House" GBT occasionally needs a vacation. (Filming on Season Two of the show wrapped recently, and all ten episodes will be released on October 24th.) When such vacations occur (as was the case this past Sunday, and will be again next Sunday) the syndicate sends out a fairlly-recently-published "Flashback" strip -- as it has for decades. To clarify, the daily "Classic" series, is an ongoing tour through Doonesbury's past, featuring four weeks of daily strips from each year of the strip's run. The series began in March with the first strips, from 1970, and as of today we are up to 1978.

Jahn Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | September 29, 2014

GBT is a half-generation older than me, but close enough to really bring me back. Arafat was not merely a bad dresser -- a detail which escaped me when, as a 15-yr-old in current affairs class, I read in Time that he had addressed the UN General Assembly wearing an empty holster.

Tiger 69 | Silverton, CO | September 26, 2014

"To do is to be."
         -- Sartre

"To be is to do."
          -- Camus

"Do be do be do."
          -- Sinatra

John Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | September 26, 2014

Only today did I learn that Old Blue Eyes had a hit with "Strangers." I "blame" my mom who played (and played and played) a John Davidson album on which he covered that song.

Maryhelen Posey | Calgary, CANADA | September 26, 2014

I remember the "Strangers in the Night" strip vividly -- I was surprised that Boopsie thought quickly enough, and then grasped the importance of not "enlightening" the other pilgrim. And that made me spend some time kicking myself about superficial judgment of Boopsie, and realizing that I generally leapfrog all the steps that make it possible to keep my mouth shut at the right time. And I regret to say the strip has exactly the same effect on me today. Well, a second try may be more effective. Thanks!

Rev. Dr. Bob Faser | Hobart, AUSTRALIA | September 26, 2014

I'm glad that Boopsie showed compassion to the lady from Perth who showed some confusion over the identities of "The King" and "The Chairman of the Board." But, after all, there were some uncanny similarities, including the fact that Elvis did an absolutely killer cover version of "My Way."

Mary McKim | Portugal Cove, CANADA | September 26, 2014

Thanks for running the "Strangers in the Night" strip. It has always been a sentimental favourite of mine. It really embodies the concept that music is very personal. No one, not even the person who wrote the song, can give a definitive statement of what that song means. What is trivial and laughable to you might be life-changing to me. Such is the power and truth of music.

John Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | September 23, 2014

Boopsie draws the line on swatches of Elvis' sweat-stained stage scarves. Glad to see our gal has standards. Wonder what Tom Jones did with all of his sweaty stage "souvenirs"?

Jason Thorn | Phoenix, AZ | September 22, 2014

Time to brush up on your intel, Rascal. The Taliban were pussycats compared to ISIS, and even Hamas thinks they are too extreme. Get your head back in the game.

J.B. | ABQ, NEW MEXICO | September 21, 2014

The highest point in the Maldives is +2.4 m AMSL. Either the mountains are hallucinations, or our hero is really in Papeete... or Diego Garcia undergoing drug-based debriefing.

Donanon | Sausalito, CA | September 17, 2014

Time shift disorientation! The seeming random synchronicities among the Flashbacks page and current Classics -- Joanie, Lacey and George all currently making double appearances, from then and later (or before!) -- are making me dizzy. Loving it!

Jahn Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | September 15, 2014

Part of what makes Doonesbury so fun is that GBT eschews subtlety for his objects-of-satire. Even so, he mostly seems to avoid playing the scold – except when it comes to tobacco. There he mostly pillories tobacco’s attempts to lure kids, so perhaps to scold is suitable. But tobacco scolds largely trot out the “addiction model” of tobacco use. Tobacco is likely the most addictive commonly-available pleasure drug – 30% of all who smoke become addicted. This leaves the remaining 70%, who can “take it or leave it” and smoke simply because they like it.

Shelley | Meota, CANADA | September 15, 2014

Seeing joanie graduate the first time was especially moving. Seeing it again should remind us just how far we've come. You go girl...again.