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The fact that people are belittling and deriding Jeff for living in a fantasy or virtual world is deeply ironic, considering they're getting so upset with and wasting so much hatred and bile on an imaginary character in a comic strip.
I just want to say: sometimes a good joke -- perfect set-up to a zinger punchline -- is just a good joke. Today the timing alone made me laugh, and it was cool to go back and notice exactly what Alex was doing throughout the strip. Applause, man!
Today's strip reminds me of my daughter's complaint about inheriting my big feet.
Watching Jeff is like watching a busy street covered in black ice. I keep looking away in horror only to sneak a look back to see the wreckage.
Seriously, did Mike deserve this? Where would Alex be without the parent that cared enough to stick by her, while her feminist, independent mother abandoned and walked out on her? It would have been nice to have Kim stand up for him and tell Alex that in some cultures a man's sexual prowess is judged by his nose.
Given GBT's history of audience participation (cf. allowing readers to vote on where Alex would go to college -- MIT), I wonder if the success of Jeff's book might depend upon the success of, um, "Jeff's book" (aka Red Rascal's War).
Jeff has always seemed to me to be Garry Trudeau's symbol for 'the youth of today' -- living more in a virtual/fantasy world than a real one. (Alex Doonesbury is like the other end of this spectrum; an achiever, but she is still very hooked into that world.) And this new plot line, I'm hoping, will be about Jeff and the world (including Rick eventually, perhaps) figuring out that there are honorable livings to be made out of the imagination and make-believe worlds -- as a writer, for example.
This Redfern kid needs a swift one in the pants. Having ruined everything he has touched, he proudly writes a book about himself that lacks even a veneer of reality. I only hope that GBT graces him with a media flack that is a real Gulf War vet. Poetic justice.
Please, please, please send female fans to Jeff's room, the sort of women who also have a neurotic need to live in a fantasy.
Jeff's success represents a double shock to Rick: first to his ego, simply by being outdone by his own son, and second to his idealism, because Jeff is finding success in a way Rick thinks shouldn't be possible. If Rick can overcome the ego shock, he might learn a thing or two from his son about how the world actually works.
If Jeff's on-the-road publicist has to be a man, then Zipper is the obvious choice for the job. He and Jeff need to have a chance to bond together again, after the horrific events over Berzerki air space.
I find the revulsion for Alex and Jeff a bit surprising. my memory is that Mike, Mark, B.D., Rick and Joanie could all be quite self-centered and obnoxious in their own ways back in the day. And Duke? Nggggg. I've been with the strip for a good thirty-five years, and have gone back and read it from the time of its inception. GBT has never, in my opinion, written saints: he's written marvelous, lumpy, flawed characters. I mean, think about B.D. and Boopsie; the original nightmares, and only time and spine grew them out of a knee-jerk sport-obsessed warhawk and his arm-candy into two of the most admirable and adult characters in the entire entourage. In comparison, Alex and Jeff are already miles ahead, with plenty of flaws but plenty of strengths to build on. Give the kids time -- and pray GBT hangs in there long enough for us to see his "babies" grow.
Jeff's publicist? I'm guessing Trip Trippler.
We know who Becca is going to appoint as publicist, I think. A fairly large guy with a moustache.
Regarding the new Straw Poll about the holidays, I offer this quote from Harlan Ellison: "Christmas is an awfulness that compares favorably with the great London plague and fire of 1665. No one escapes the feelings of mortal dejection, inadequacy, frustration, loneliness, guilt and pity. No one escapes feeling used by society, by religion, by friends and relatives, by the utterly artificial responsibilities of extending false greetings, sending banal cards, reciprocating unsolicited gifts, going to dull parties, putting up with acquaintances and family one avoids all the rest of the year; in short, of being brutalized by a 'holiday' that has lost virtually all of its original meanings and become a merchandising ploy for color TV set manufacturers and ravagers of the woodlands."
As a professional writer with teenagers who are writing their own novels, I couldn't be prouder of them. At the same time, I was a lot like Jeff as a kid (though my dad was much better than Rick). My hope is that this will kick Rick into gear and he will write the book he should have written a long time ago.
I'm afraid I want Jeff to get a swift and unequivocal dose of reality on the Red Rascal front. For cryin' out loud, the dang kid is still living with his parents! He will have earned the right to feel superior when he has a real job and pays his own rent. Rick is being crabby about it all, and he has fallen from the heights, but then he had somewhere to fall from.
I don't think Rick is trying to punish Jeff or puncture his dream. To me, he's just trying to inject some reality into the situation. In real life, of course, a journalist like Rick would probably have a few books of his own under his belt and know whereof he speaks.
I think there are two ways of interpreting the Rick/Jeff interaction. One, Jeff's way, is to see his father's remarks as belittling his success. The other possible interpretation is that Rick is trying to stop Jeff getting carried away with his success before he is actually successful -- a parental effort to protect a child from pain if things don't turn out as well as he is expecting, particularly in a situation where success cannot be taken for granted. Jeff does have a track record of Fiasco!
The generational division between Jeff and his parents in terms of how they regard success is quite interesting and glaring. Both Joanie and Rick are hard-working professionals and devoted parents. Jeff represents an element in society that believes that success can be achieved by faking it, and does not involve a lot of hard work. His slacker ethos and hapless adventures for the CIA and their mercenaries (and even there he's not highly regarded) have been the source of much mirth.