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.

Noc | Sun Prairie, WI | January 27, 2011

Given Shuler's accuracy record with a football, the thought of him possessing and using a pistol of any sort (even a Nerf) ought to be argument enough to ban concealed and open carry.

B.J. | Denver, CO | January 26, 2011

I had an experience recently that made me wish with all my being to have a loaded handgun on my belt. I was moving out of a literally psychotic landlord's property, when the landlord's friend (someone riding a Harley, all dressed up in leather) threatened me with a gun. Gosh for all the rhetoric, the handgun would have been comforting, since the county's finest Sheriff's Department refused the civil standby. The biker could certainly have killed me, if he chose, since he was armed and I was not. In the end, I would rather have it and not need it than the reverse, just to escape the boredom of becoming a nightly news special.

Larry S. | Delaware, OH | January 26, 2011

I'm enjoying the Congressman's juvenile fantasies about shooting the gun from an assailant's hand with one well-placed shot and dropping an overhead chandelier on him with another. I am impressed -- impressed to learn that the grocery stores in Tuscon have chandeliers. Notwithstanding that I support personal gun ownership and the use of guns for personal protection, I note with no little amusement that Mythbusters has already established that: 1) shooting a gun out of someone's hand is possible but dangerous to bystanders because bullet fragments will fly unpredictably if you hit it, and 2) cutting a rope by shooting at it is also possible but difficult. It would seem that if it's necessary to use a gun stop a shooting rampage, the best way is to shoot the shooter. It's not nearly as flashy, but it's much more practical.

L. B. | COLORADO | January 26, 2011

In the current SP, I'm one of the gun owners who voted No Damn Way. I own two handguns: the 22-caliber my deceased ex-husband used to teach my daughter to shoot, and the .45 that he used to blow his brains out. I'm not opposed to regulated gun ownership, but concealed carry permits are obscenities. Sports firearms should be required by law to be carried in public only when enclosed in day-glow orange labeled cases, and removed from cases only on private property with the permission of the owner, at licensed shooting ranges, and, when also carrying a valid hunting license, in designated public wilderness areas. Any non-compliant usage should be a felony. Concealed carry by non-professionals is right out. Ownership of weapons not classified as sport firearms, such as military artifacts, should require a collector's license issued only with an extensive background check, and proper storage and transport of such weapons must also be stringently regulated. No firearm usage within the peacetime social contract is precluded by these rules, nor is a prudent armed citizenry (in case those rules ever are suspended) thereby prevented.

Maryhelen Posey | Alberta, CANADA | January 26, 2011

The current STRAW POLL raises, in the first option, an opinion I hear frequently -- that if there had been armed citizens at the mall in Tucson, the gunman could/would have been cut down before doing as much damage as he did. Not only was there an armed citizen present who almost shot the wrong guy (as is pointed out in the third option), but the man who restrained the gunman until police arrived was armed and says that it never occurred to him to draw his weapon. He doesn't tell us why, though I like to think that it's because he had the good sense to know that shooting in a crowd is a bad idea, rather than just because he's not used to drawing a weapon on a real person in an ordinary place. But both of those are very likely responses: this was Arizona, people. Almost certainly at least 25% of the adults present were armed, possibly as many as 50%, and none of them but the mad gunman shot anyone. Which is a good thing, no?

Jodi Gabert | MICHIGAN | January 26, 2011

I ran for the Michigan State House in 2010. Living in a rural area, guns and the 2nd Amendment were major. Yesterday's strip took me back to an August primary forum. Sitting next to one of my Republican opponents, I listened as she said the following: "If you see me, I want you to be afraid. I want you to wonder if I'm packing." She didn't win, but to hear her almost verbatim in your strip makes me more convinced than ever that somewhere there's a volume titled The Big Book of Republican Cliches: Things Every GOP Candidate and Elected Official Must Say.  (Not to mention that I'm a bit unnerved at the memory).

Melissa Jane | Blue, MA | January 25, 2011

You can't lay J.J.'s issues at her mother's door because Joanie didn't raise her? I think being abandoned by one's mother might have an effect on one's development.

Wayne | SF Bay Area, CA | January 25, 2011

Congresspeople packing heat -- are we now a banana republic?

Martin Snapp | Berkeley, CA | January 25, 2011

It's hardly a new phenomenon for readers to think of fictional characters as real people. Dickens used to write his novels in serial form, and when the ship arrived in New York harbor carrying the last chapter of The Old Curiosity Shop, the wharf was crowded with hundred of people yelling to the sailors on board, "Did Little Nell die?" Spoiler alert: She did.

Jim Gordon | LA, CA | January 25, 2011

Armed Congressman refusing to say if they are packing heat. And secret political groups refusing to say where they get their funding. How is GBT going to satirize what is already bizzare?

Jim Milstein | New Uraniborg, CO | January 25, 2011

Quiz after lecture won't work. One student will be designated the "listener" and will live-blog the answers to the quiz. Resistance is futile.

Walter Stillman | Point Arena, CA | January 25, 2011

What fascinaties me is how folks who write in regard the characters as real people. There seems to be a phenomenon that could be called "vested attention" that has transformational power. Take the fiction of money for example, or the myths of any major culture. It seems to be a combination of the genius of GBT and the love from millions that has allowed Alex, Leo and others to walk off the page and into our lives.

Erik Lund | Vancouver, CANADA | January 25, 2011

I don't think Toggle is as dumb as some people are making him out to be. He's certainly ill-served by his family background, and I'd love to see a visit to his old schools. In spite of that, he is a music nerd with a blooming interest in music's technical aspects. He probably has the same kind of analytical, numbers-oriented mind as Alex. Different on the surface, but very similar in the way they think: this could be a very successful relationship -- personal and business. I certainly hope so.

Rick | Columbus, OH | January 25, 2011

"Doors in every university and college will have this strip posted." How are they going to hang computer monitors?

Robert Ashcroft | Las Vegas, NV | January 25, 2011

In Joanie's defense ("raised two real winners...") J.J. was not raised by her mother. So while we can lay some of Jeff Redfern's, uh, idiosyncracies at Joanie's door, she's presumably less responsible for what happened to Joan, Jr. However, given that Jeff is indeed Alex's half-uncle, getting them together would be, well, really icky.

Fred Waiss | Prairie du Chien, WI | January 23, 2011

As a former teacher pre-tech, I'd suggest you lecture for 60-70% of class time, then give a written quiz on what you just presented. Make those quizzes a high percentage of the final grade and I think texting, etc, would decline.

Deb C. | Saskatoon, CANADA | January 23, 2011

Jeff and Alex should get together? Isn't he her uncle? I believe that Alex's mother is Joanie's daugher from her first marriage, so Jeff is J.J.'s half-brother. (Yes, I've been reading Doonesbury for a long time.) I was thinking about that the other day -- Joanie, lovely lady though she is, raised two real winners...

Marv | OREGON | January 23, 2011

I agree. It's also unfair to assume that Leo is not intelligent just because of his "blue collar" background: there are plenty of intelligent people who have never set foot on University grounds. We don't really know Leo that well, and he could be hiding a lot of depth behind that stutter -- he manages to keep up with Alex's twists and turns just fine!

Lee Mays | Madrid, SPAIN | January 23, 2011

Our daughter is Alex. I wish I'd had Michael and Kim's script two years ago as coaching on how to deal with the "wrong boyfriend" (in our, the parents', interested, objective opinion).

G. Richard | Hamilton, CANADA | January 23, 2011

Alex is not at the top of my favourite character list. She doesn't seem much more narcissistic than many young people, but maybe I'm not paying attention. I like GBT because he treats highly intelligent people as people with their own challenges based on their unusual capabilities and situations, which includes letting their powerful imaginations run away with them. She is self-questioning and is capable of growth. Her life is awkward because she has to interpret her feelings through intellect. Unlike J.J., she seems to care about other people and to be self-questioning. She admires and wants Toggle to succeed.

As for them as a couple, intelligent persons are often surprisingly insecure and like being with someone "other than intellectual," and more grounded. Toggle and she share interests in music. It's amusing that people seem almost angry at GBT for his opinions about his own fictional creations. Speaking of Dickens, both he and GBT create(d) a cast of characters of a range of social backgrounds and viewpoints, which makes both appealing and relevant to a wide range of readers. Not Shakestoor but still (Bored of the Rings ref.)