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.

BUT
C. Hexham | Traverse City, MI | June 28, 2014

...but of course ratification of the US Constitution didn't stipulate either assembly or bearing arms. That didn't happen for two more years.

THE CONSTITUTION
Brian Harvey | Berkeley, CA | June 28, 2014

I think even back then nobody would have said "Now we truly have liberty" about the Constitution. Even the pro-Constitution people saw it as a desirable compromise of liberty for security and economic growth. That's why they put in the Bill of Rights as a promise that the strengthened central government would preserve rights that people had under the separate state governments.

IMPLAUSIBLE
K.E.W. | South Miami, FL | June 26, 2014

Today's scenario is perhaps a mite implausible for Massachusetts, but the cartoon went straight up on my university office door  nonetheless.

YOGI BERRA
Dennis B. Swaney | Oroville, CA | June 26, 2014

As Yogi Berra would say, last week's fall of Saigon flashback strips are "Deja vu all over again," especially given the Iraq situation. In 1973, we cut and ran from our promise to to help the Republic of Vietnam; two years later the RVN was conquered by North Vietnam. In 2011, we cut and ran from our promise to help the Republic of Iraq; three years later it looks like the same result will happen there. And in 2015 we are scheduled to cut and run from our promise to help the Republic of Afghanistan. Yep, deja vu all over again!

THE HUNDRED HEARTS
William Kowalski | Erie, PA | June 26, 2014

Because your strip has spent a lot of time chronicling the lives of vets, I thought your readers might want to hear about my novel The Hundred Hearts, which is about the plight of a young veteran of Afghanistan dealing with PTSD and physical injuries. It was recently nominated for the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Until July 4, I am donating all the proceeds of the e-pub version of my book to two military charities, Fisher House Foundation (which your Wounded Warrior and Sandbox books raise money for) and Homes For Our Troops, both of which are rated as four stars by CharityNavigator.Org.

DOCUMENTATION
Roger Webb | Little Rock, AR | June 25, 2014

The difficulties that Mark is having getting married in the 15-years-ago Flashbacks provide a great documentation of how far we have come. Today, the Rev would not be worrying about eternal damnation for performing a gay wedding, but falling all over himself to do it. It is my contention that you could write a social history of America over the last 40 years using Doonesbury as the sole source and improve on the standard texts.

GIFT
Clara McKenna | Colorado Springs, CO | June 24, 2014

The timeliness of the early strips in today's world blows me away, and I love seeing them as we did the first time, one a day. What a great gift -- thank you!

A MOMENT
Jim A. | Dallas, TX | June 24, 2014

The evacuation of Saigon is a moment that should be replayed every year, just after coverage of the D-Day invasion. Our proudest moment followed by a lesson in the dangers of hubris , one that we seem to have totally forgotten.

MY LOST YEARS
A.M. | Washington State | June 24, 2014

 

The time between 1975 and 1987 was my lost years -- age 25 to 37. I don't remember exactly why, but I stopped reading Doonesbury during those years. This is the first time I have seen the image of B.D. after the fall of Saigon. What I do know is that I started reading Doonesbury again around the time B.D. returned once again from war. Somewhere I have the strip where he and Boopsie are talking in a car, right after he returned. I related to that scene and started reading Doonesbury again. Seeing these old strips that I missed is filling in all sorts of blanks. Had no idea about Kim until now. In recent years, Toggle and Alex are most dear to me, along with the new twins, and they all give me hope. Thank you for everything.

 

HEAD IN HIS HANDS
Virginia | Milwaukee, WI | June 22, 2014

BD's head in his hands as Saigon is evacuated could not be more prescient, and heart-breaking, today as Iraq falls apart. I am grateful every day for GBT's offering of insights and smiles, but especially today. Turns out this hiatus benefits all of us with invaluable historical perspective. But we have to keep paying attention. I extend thanks and good wishes to all our vets!

TEARS FOR AMERICA
Ray Lampe | Templeton, MD | June 21, 2014

I just have to say that the historic arc of the strips on the 6-21-14 Flashback page brought me to tears for America. Where is the humanity of our "leaders"?

OUR MISSION
Herb | Littleton, CO | June 21, 2014

I served two tours in Vietnam. We never lost as a fighting force. Our mission was never their mission and when we left they caved. Kind of looks like what's going to happen in Iraq. Either commit to win or stand back and watch the blood roll.

REMINDER
S. Mikkelson | Meota, CANADA | June 20, 2014

So much history is being paraded before us. We think that the problems of today are the worst, but it's just distance and time that makes the difference. There is still a war, people are still dying, just in different countries this generation. You think we would learn from our past... Thank you for the reminder.

VIETNAM
Grant H. | Hamilton, CANADA | June 20, 2014

It is very interesting seeing Vietnam-War-era strips at a time when so many seem to have learned nothing from that sad, unjustified, and destructive affair, from whose effects Vietnamese still suffer. And your recent "Say What?" quotes make clear you realize the immense irony of anyone saying that Iraq was made free by the deaths of 4,500 Americans (and many more, I believe, in non-combatant roles). Hussein held that fractious nation together. By deliberately disbanding the army and police force, and firing all Baath party members, the US clearly created the present chaotic environment. Anyone with a government job had to join the Baath party -- just as modern US political candidates must claim to be Christian or otherwise religious. As needs reiteration, Saddam committed his foulest crimes when the US considered him an ally and supported him with arms and immense funding. He was only taken down, like Noriega (another US puppet), when he showed some independence. Keep up the good work.

QUESTION
John Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | June 19, 2014

I'll be the kid in class who asks the question that others have too (raising hand): "Professor, what does P.R.G. mean?"

Editor's Note:

 The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam was formed in 1969 by the Viet Cong and other groups opposed to the government of then-president Thieu. It assumed control after the fall of South Vienam in 1975, and in 1976 merged with North Vietnam. You can hear the P.R.G. anthem here.

THAT KIM?
Don Albertson | Spring Mills, | June 18, 2014

Kim? That Kim? Forty years ago? Talk about foreshadowing. My 10th grade English teacher would have loved this.

MISSED THIS
Tim Morton | Leicester, UK | June 18, 2014

Lil Kim! I too missed this the first time round, and on Monday wondered if we were being introduced to Kim or Honey. It's really good to see these old strips -- some familiar favourites, and others, such as this week, new to me.

MAY I SUGGEST
Dennis Swaney | Ororville, CA | June 18, 2014

Regarding the BLOWBACK comment about missing several years of Doonesbury, may I suggest getting 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective? While it doesn't have every strip from the 40 years it covers, it would have a lot of what was missed, with a focus on the relationships among the characters. 

PRESCIENCE
Shooshie | Dallas, TX | June 17, 2014

Having grown up during the golden age of newspaper comics, I was a seasoned comic aficionado when Doonesbury hit the newsstands, and it was an instant "fit" for me. Then I went through a period during which I had to shield myself from newspapers and TV, because their brand of propaganda is subtle and insidious, and I had to find truth through my own research, not through their rapidly polarizing jingoism. Our country had been through a coup, and the Vietnam War was the first public casualty of this new government-by-talking-heads. I would have to seek out facts, not depend on what I was told.

Unfortunately, that meant I missed several critical years of Doonesbury. The first I knew of Kim, she was Mike's new girlfriend, and Mike's first wife was going through some feminist rebellion to ventilate her anger. I never knew where Kim came from, who she was, or how she came to know and love Mike Doonesbury. Fast forward to present day. My own son chose his mate some 12 years ago, a beautiful and brilliant girl born to Vietnamese refugees in the US. She is now a scientist with a Ph.D., and is one of my most favorite people in the world. I have often thought she reminded me of Kim in Doonesbury. How delightful to find out that my instincts and Trudeau's portrayal of Kim were so spot-on. I am grateful for the re-runs that are now revealing to me some of what I missed.

Up to now, they were old and familiar strips. This one of baby Kim in the airplane is completely new to me, and it reveals a prescience in Trudeau's narratives that strikes close to home. Anyone enamored of the facts can tell things as they are, but choosing which things to tell, which things will have meaning and affect our lives in the future, requires the G word: it's simply genius. Seeing these old strips reminds me daily of how lucky we've been to have Trudeau chronicling the tender and harrowing events of metamorphosis in the post-coup USA.

GEORGIA WISE
Tom Loughlin, Jr. | Utica, NY | June 16, 2014

Today's strip reminded me of Georgia Wise, the last WAC out of Vietnam, who was aboard the flight with Vietnamese refugee children which crashed on takeoff. She saved many kids. I do not think she is still on active duty, but she was stationed at Randolph AFB in Texas, and helped my WWII Air Transport Command veteran father get his discharge papers and WW II medals, back in the early 2000s. That kid looking out the window is luckier than she could ever know.