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This week's storyline seems to be moving to the point where B.D. finally accepts that Ray needs help, not just his ongoing friendship, and today's punchline is an absolute cracker! I was wondering when B.D. would force himself to act, and it was when he saw how he frightened his daughter that he made his move. Now he sees she has been alarmed, but has taken things in her stride presumably because she knows that she is safe with B.D. and Ray. But she has underlined the similarity between the men -- "Ssshh...he has nightmares like you" -- in a way that surely leaves B.D. having to do something. I love the idea of leaving her prized doll to comfort Ray, and then the antidote to any sentimentality: "Re-load, America!", that kind of call to arms of which non-soldiers are so proud,
On December 8, 1970, the man I still love returned from his year in Vietnam. He died in a VA Hospital in April of 2008 after struggling with PTSD and drug and alcohol addiction for 37 years. During the last months of his life, he was unable to speak because of a brainstem stroke but was able to write until the last month of his life, during which time he communicated using thumbs up or thumbs down. His last communication to me, a week before he died, was thumbs up. Everything you have written over the recent years about veterans and those who love them rings clear and true. Thanks so much for bringing this into the light.
In recent Flashbacks strips, we've seen B.D. trying to come to grips with his personal reality and his reactions to VA counseling (which I am not faulting, please) and now we have Ray headed for the same path (at least we hope so). Problem is, I'm going to have to ask my therapist if this constitutes a flashback. (Actually, no need to ask, been there, still there.) Thanks for keeping it real and also keeping it funny. It's a neat piece of juggling.
I have been a fan of your lambasting, political analysis, comments -- in short, of your strip -- for years. Not only for the strip itself but also for the worldview from a US viewpoint, which at times I must admit is a bit alien to my own culture. It is clear, concise, and allows me to better understand the sometimes baffling, sometimes frustrating reactions of a country I learned to love when I first travelled there 20 odd years ago. Thank you.
B.D. and Harrison Ford are looking more and more alike as they age. Maybe B.D. should get an earring too.
Garry, please don't let Ray fall through the cracks. We live with the real suffering from our overseas adventures daily, those of us who haven't gotten bored or distracted, anyway. Ray's story arc through the decades has been at times painful, inspirational, and, of course, always breathtakingly funny. Back to Dick Davenport's unexpected and heartbreaking demise from the strip, we've come to appreciate the human aspect you inject into our denizen's lives, up to and including B.D.'s maiming in Iraq and his long journey towards recovery. Right now, the ugly adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya have cost us dearly emotionally. Please let Ray finally find his way home. I hope you'll let a beloved character have a win.
Ah, the complete disconnect between combat veterans and civilians. Some things never really change.
Welcome home, Ray. I know B.D. will be there for you, as will Walden Pond and the rest of the group.
Boy, GBT, I am a longtime devotee of Doonesbury, but Ray asking Sam "Are you into weed yet?" makes me really uncomfortable. My father was a B-29 jock during WWII, so I'm familiar with PTSD. But I hope Sam stays clean.
The July 3 strip in the recruiting office was brilliant! That captures Army recruiting perfectly. Having been in that world and had that exact same scenario happen numerous times, it is gratifying to see that the recruiter's pain is understood by someone in the civilian world. SGT Truman needs to make another appearance, where he is interviewing a wanna-be GI Joe from the PS3 generation who knows all about war from his gaming console, wants to do all the high-speed, hooah-hooah stuff -- but doesn't want to deploy. I loved those kids! From a long time reader from the days of Nixon, kudos, and thanks for the continued hard work.
The inclusion of the word "yet" in Ray's question to Sam was today's 'chuckle point'. In the words of another cartoon character, Homer Simpson: 'It's funny because it's true.'
Wow! Talk about "everything old is new again"! 30 years ago, the folks voted in with the mandate of "getting government off our backs" spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get the government into the examination room with a woman and her doctor. Nothing new under the sun, huh?
In the wake of Newsweek's recent creepy and exploitative resurrection of Diana, I come across the charming, loving, and exquisitely nuanced reprisal of Lacey Davenport in today's 10-year Flashback. Tina Brown, take note: it's possible to pay homage to the dead -- real or fictional -- with affection and grace. Thanks, GBT!
Am I allowed to like Jim? Does this make me a bad person? I don't know what it must be like to have a billion dollars. The pressure must be huge. Or a million. Or a...
The recent BLOWBACK posts remind me of something I learned at college. Don't let your classes get in the way of your education!
Re. CLINGING. It's a mistake to lump "trade schools" with inferior educational institutions. It's true that many people do not need to go to college; there are only so many "intellectuals" an economy can support. There are, however, many skilled jobs that need filling. Carpentry, mechanics, electricians, and plumbers are just a few examples. The problem is not "anti-intellectualism" (although the vitriol spewed against said intellectuals in this country is rather frightening). That vitriol is a symptom of the ignorance, bloated individual self-interest, and sense of entitlement many current voters seem to embody, especially the economically privileged. That is why the U.S. is an embarrassingly ungovernable mess.
Why go to college? So you can understand Doonesbury.
Re. WHY GO TO COLLEGE? There are institutions and students still clinging to the principles and ideals expressed by this hopeful respondent. They're underfunded and marginalized bits of flotsam on the vast polluted sea of diploma mills and trade schools that constitutes higher education in this country. Do indeed Google the question! The top hit I got was from Yahoo's "Answers" and was posted by someone who had turned to the Internet to get the answer to an essay question. Anyone who did get an education will recognize these plaints as being of great antiquity. The novelty is the degree to which anti-intellectualism has come to dominate, and reduce our nation to an ungovernable level of stupidity.