Blowback_toon

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.

THE VIETNAM ERA
Ina Lee | Leesville, LA | November 23, 2010

During the Vietnam era, GIs would go to bars and drink beer and play pinball games to "get away from it all." Now the infinite ways you can access video games results in a virtual non-stop "get away from it all" playing field. I continue to be amazed at the gamers who put these "video games" a priority in their everyday lives! I call them "game zombies." They choose to close out real life and live in that "play" world. Video games are a good healthy pastime, but, as other things in life, do not over-do it!

THE GI PSYCHE
Jane Neuharth | Olympia, WA | November 22, 2010

I couldn't believe the strip today. Hilarious. I am just back from National Guard training in Yakima, Washington where the Soldiers were all playing Black Ops with the hot Nazi Zombie action in the MWR lounge, while I tried to keep up with homework on the barely functioning wifi connection. You must have a direct line into the GI psyche.

ABOUT THE U.S.
Bill McCarthy | Dublin, IRELAND | November 22, 2010

All I need to know about the U.S. in a daily strip. Pure magic.

THE HUMBLE BEDBUG
Bob Faser | Victoria, AUSTRALIA | November 19, 2010

Here in Oz, we're also dealing with the humble bedbug (also with ants, cockroaches, and the occasional plague of locusts). Like everyone else, we're about evenly divided between those who (like Mrs. Doonesbury the elder) regard insect and rodent pests, as a sign of poor domestic hygiene, and those more sensible types who see these uninvited visitors as a necessary fact of life for many people, depending on the climate and geography of the place where you happen to live. Very perceptive, GBT, as always!

RE "OFFENSIVE"
J. Sea | Dharmasala, INDIA | November 19, 2010

If you check out the past 20-30 years of rocker fashion culture, you'll notice that the crucifix was long ago co-opted, especially by Heavy Metal. From hair bands of the 70s to Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, to even non-metal musicians like Madonna all the way up to the current entertainment product known as Lady GaGa -- all use crosses as a jewelry accessory. Ragging on GT about the reflective aspect of his riffing on reportage unfortunately begs for a bit more of an expanded and, can we say, Christian, attitude. As one swami in my neighborhood in India says, "Hey, it's the Kali Yuga (Age of Darkness and Ignorance). What did you expect?" What we focus our attention on grows. War on Drugs = more drug-related problems. War on Teen Pregnancy = more teen pregnancy. War on Terrorism = you do the math. Let's focus on peace and love, in our hearts, in the home, and in the rest of the world, and see some more of that grow. Thanks to GT for this lifetime of art and humor!

YESTERDAY
Bernard | Washington, D.C. | November 18, 2010

Forty years, huh? Seems like just yesterday I was a cute little Spec. 4 stationed in Germany, buying the Europe Stars & Stripes at the messhall and enjoying Doonesbury on the comics page with my breakfast. Over the years, Doonesbury has changed and improved, but never grew up -- just like me! Keep up the good work! (But please, no more talking bugs. If I want a comic strip with anthropomorphic animals, I'll read Garfield or Get Fuzzy. I read Doonesbury for cutting-edge cultural satire, not talking animals.)

MANY, MANY MORE
Carolin Colorado | Colorado Springs, CO | November 18, 2010

What a great 40 years it's been -- and may there be many, many more. I read you in The Boston Globe for years, but now I have to get my daily fix from the web site, 'cause our local daily is too Libertarian to carry Doonesbury. (Go figure). Thanks for all the great stuff, and for the treasures in the archive!

WHATEVER THEY DID
Sarabird | Seattle, WA | November 16, 2010

40 years really? Amazing and wonderful, thanks to your parents for whatever they did to let you be you! Bedbugs -- folks, get some diatomaceous earth and quit whining already. At least they aren't Black Mambas.

CBS SUNDAY MORNING
Carol | Merritt Island, FL | November 16, 2010

Congratulations on 40 years. I saw your interview on "CBS Sunday Morning." It reminded me of why I started reading Doonesbury in the first place -- in 1972 when I was 12. Our paper put Doonesbury on the editorial page instead of with the other comics. I'm not sure I would have been reading the strip all this time if they hadn't.

CHRONICLE OF OUR TIMES
Carl Stein | San Francisco, CA | November 16, 2010

Doonesbury has been an important part of my life since the early 1970s, longer than almost everyone I know. As a high-school student, I wrote letters to the editor of the newspaper in Midland, MI, to support Doonesbury and Trudeau when others were writing to criticize and to request that the newspaper drop the comic because they called it offensive to local morals. I'm glad that while I lived in Midland, the newspaper continued to print Doonesbury. I've read every Doonesbury strip for years and look forward to reading it every morning. Thank you for the ongoing chronicle of our times.

ACK!
Kelly | Edmonton, CANADA | November 16, 2010

Ack! Please, no bedbug stuff. People are so freakin' paranoid these days. Every time they see a fly or beetle or insect, they scream "Bed bug!" Please leave the sensationalist junk to the MSM.

SEEING MIKE SUFFER
John Narofsky | Aurora, IL | November 15, 2010

I laughed at today's strip and then I laughed at myself. How silly is it that I'm looking forward to seeing Mike suffer with bed bugs? Doonesbury is my preferred reality TV, I guess.

WHILE A GRUNT IN VIETNAM
Marcus Nevacoff | St. Augustine Beach, FL | November 14, 2010

Thanks, Garry. I have been reading you since I first ran into you while a Grunt in Vietnam in the late 60s early 70s. B.D. and Phred were my favorites. You have helped me and so many other Vets understand what is happening to us, talking about things the government denies. Your nightmare strip the other day was so real two of my ex-wives contacted me to say they understood now. I am at about at the end of my run now. And I wanted to thank you for your work.

OFFENSIVE
Val | Pleasant Hill, CA | November 13, 2010

I found it very offensive that when "ma" came home yesterday and there was the discussion about her staying out all night and the morality issues (or lack thereof) that it involved, you felt it necessary to put a necklace with a cross on it around her neck. While I suppose it was a comment regarding the hypocrisy of some who claim to be Christians, it was offensive to those of us who are.

CELEBRATING
Elias Waters | Bisbourne, NEW ZEALAND | November 13, 2010

Congratulations on 40 years! I myself am celebrating by going right back to strip number one and reading every single one since. That may well take another 40 years to do.

FLASHBACKS
John | Brooklyn, NY | November 13, 2010

I love the strip. It is a daily pilgrimage. As is the Flashbacks section, which gives fascinating insight into how Mr Trudeau's style and outlook have evolved.

APHASIA
Ellayne S. Ganzfried | New York, NY | November 12, 2010

I see that Doonesbury has featured the word "aphasia" again . On behalf of the National Aphasia Association (NAA), I would like to thank Garry Trudeau for raising awareness of aphasia in his comic strip.  Not many people know about aphasia until they or someone they love is devastated by this condition -- the sudden inability to communicate, speak, read, write or understand language, usually as a result of stroke or traumatic brain injury. Few realize that aphasia is more common than cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spinal cord injuries.

More than 1 million Americans have aphasia and there are over 200,000 new cases each year. This number is predicted to continue growing as our population ages and Iraq veterans return home forever changed due to traumatic brain injuries, as depicted in Doonesbury.

As Mr. Trudeau correctly points out, aphasia does not affect intellect.  However, because people with aphasia have a difficult time expressing themselves and understanding what is said, others often mistake this communication challenge as a loss of intellect.  As a result, people with aphasia are treated differently, sometimes ignored, which leads to isolation and depression, which is devastating. An NAA study found that 70 percent of aphasics felt people avoided contact with them because of their difficulty communicating. 90 percent felt isolated, left out, ignored and lonely.

There is no cure for aphasia, but speech-language therapy and constant social interaction is critical for recovery and maintaining a meaningful life. Family, friends and society must help people with aphasia reconnect with their communities and life.  All it takes is understanding, patience and a few commonsense strategies to improve communication.

1)    Have the person's attention before you speak.
2)    Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
3)    Keep your own voice at a normal level. 
4)    Keep communication simple, but adult.
5)    Give them time to speak; resist the urge to finish sentences for them or offer words.
6)    Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expressions. 
7)    Confirm that you are communicating successfully with "yes" and "no" questions. 
8)    Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors.
9)    Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
10)    Encourage independence, avoid being overprotective.

NAA is a consumer-focused, not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1987 as the first national organization dedicated to advocating for persons with aphasia and their families.  Free resources, advice and support groups can be found by calling our hotline (800-822-4622) or visiting our Web site

HAPPY VETERANS DAY
Treva Obbard | Albany, CA | November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day to Toggle, B.D., Elias, Jason, Kurt, and Dex, George, Phred, and the officer B.D. had a fling with that one time on the ship. And to everyone who will be a veteran as soon as they come home: Melissa, Roz, Captain Seabrooke, Ray, Agent Havoc, possibly Jeff, and all the "wrench wenches" on Mel's crew. And, of course, to all the non-fictional soldiers, veteran or serving, who defend(ed) our rights and upheld/are upholding the country's honor in tough times. Thank you, whoever you are, from all of us back on the homefront.

WARNING SHOTS
Ron Shirtz | Rensselaer Falls, NY | November 10, 2010

So Alex, who self-righteously confronted gun-carrying customers at Starbucks, and took away the gun her boyfriend kept in his car, now gives him advice on dealing with his nightmare by firing "warning shots" at the phantom insurgents in his dreams? Of course, innocent Alex cannot comprehend
that shooting warning shots or otherwise with the .50 caliber machine gun that her boyfriend most likely handled as a Humvee gunner could result in collateral damage to innocent civilians. Or that warning shots would allow the bad guys to fire back. Perhaps a better suggestion by Alex would be that her boyfriend should go AWOL in his dreams, or become a conscientious objector. Now that would take real guts -- to refuse to fight in a unjust and unnecessary war! And to encourage all his buddies to do the same. It seems hypocritical for her to suggest maintaining the violence quo by advocating "warning shots."

MY YEARLY TRADITION
Lisa | Austin, TX | November 10, 2010

I'm coming up on my yearly tradition of T-giving at Mom and Dad's place, where I park in "Daddy's chair" for the better part of a day and read through all his Doonesbury anthologies -- he's got 'em all. Let's hear it for another 40 years!