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.

OBJECTS-OF-SATIRE
Jahn Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | September 15, 2014

Part of what makes Doonesbury so fun is that GBT eschews subtlety for his objects-of-satire. Even so, he mostly seems to avoid playing the scold – except when it comes to tobacco. There he mostly pillories tobacco’s attempts to lure kids, so perhaps to scold is suitable. But tobacco scolds largely trot out the “addiction model” of tobacco use. Tobacco is likely the most addictive commonly-available pleasure drug – 30% of all who smoke become addicted. This leaves the remaining 70%, who can “take it or leave it” and smoke simply because they like it.

YOU GO GIRL
Shelley | Meota, CANADA | September 15, 2014

Seeing joanie graduate the first time was especially moving. Seeing it again should remind us just how far we've come. You go girl...again.

LONGTIME READER
Lyndon | Winnipeg, CANADA | September 15, 2014

I'm a longtime reader, and I wonder why we never see any pets.

FLASHBACK
Ray Lampe | Templeton, MA | September 10, 2014

Whoa! Today's 35 year Flashback strip is a real grabber. Joanie, Jr.? I wonder where she came from, and where she went? I missed some of the early years of Doonesbury, but in hundreds and hundreds of strips I don't think I've seen this person before!

Editor's Note:

 What we have here is merely a failure to recognize. The young lady dropping in on Joanie and Rick is none other than J.J. -- now Mike's ex-wife, and Alex's mom.  A successful artist and the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, J.J. lives in Seattle with her husband Zeke. You can read her bio here.

ROLAND
Arnaud | Paris, FRANCE | September 08, 2014

I must have missed something, as I thought that Roland was a married man. But he's never short to join the latest trend -- like adultery, for instance. Of course I'd fully understand if his wife left him. He's Roland after all.

WHY?
Tom McCarter | San Jose, CA | September 06, 2014

Why am I only seeing strips from the 70s in my local paper, the San Jose Mercury News?

Editor's Note:

 GBT has put the daily strip on hiatus in order to write the second season of his Amazon Studios political sitcom Alpha House, while continuing to create new Sunday strips. On March 3rd Doonesbury began a retrospective journey through the strip's history with the very first strip, originally published on October 26, 1970. Since then we have been moving forward at the rate of four weeks of strips from each year of Doonesbury's run, and as of today are up to 1977. A few papers have opted not to run these Classic dailies, but most are on board and readers seem to be enjoying the ride. GBT discusses the project on PBS Newshour here, and you can view the first episodes for free here.

HONEY
Fiona M.K. | Melbourne, AUSTRALIA | September 04, 2014

I love Honey. Really. I could do with one in my life...

HISTORY LESSON
Ray Lampe | Templeton, MA | September 03, 2014

I concur, and applaud the previous post for a very good history lesson. My memory of that era is personal. In 1974 I was working in Korea, and there was a feeling of new opportunity in the air. Newly-installed President Ford came for a state visit and was warmly welcomed, despite the almost continuous student demonstrations against US dominance. During Ford's visit, a US helicopter strayed near the Blue House presidential residence and was shot down. In that same year an assassination attempt on president Pak missed him but killed his wife. During the bicentennial the following year, I was there when President Ford helicoptered in to honor Patriots' Day at Concord's North Bridge -- "The shot heard round the world."  It was a momentous couple of years.

LEMONADE
Shooshie Roberts | Dallas, TX | September 02, 2014

The Flashbacks page today has a wordless strip from 40 years ago, showing the demolition of the wall around the White House with the sun dawning over it. Though it was metaphorical, Trudeau style, that really was what it felt like. We'd been through so much. Assassinations, Vietnam, loss of trust in our government, student riots, Kent State, an embattled president, election campaign hijinx, and, at last, a fall guy; Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. But the fallen wall and the dawn were short lived, for at that point we were saddled with the nation's first unelected president. Jerry Ford had not been Nixon's running mate, but replaced him when it became apparent that this was how things would play out. (At least, that's how it looked to some of us.) I never knew anyone who believed that Ford was anything more than an errand boy, there to protect the party and its agendas.

That brings us to the cartoon. Usually, I'd say "Has it really been 40 years?" but in this case it seems like an eternity ago. Bad news lingers. Bad politics seems to stand still in time. You just want it to get behind you, and yet it doesn't seem to end. And the coup remains. Yes, we've had two Democrat presidents for a total of three terms since Ford, but the 60s/70s Republican legacy seems to have continued almost unabated. Many great things have happened in this country since then, and there is much to be grateful for, but almost none of it came from our government — although Al Gore really did help the public acquire the Internet, despite Dick Armey's ridicule. With leaders who make us dread the news, thank goodness for cartoonists who can turn lemons into lemonade. So, thanks for the smile.

MOTIVATOR
John | Haiku, HI | September 01, 2014

I love Sunday's comic. I remember a fairly successful artist telling me the advice given him on how to become a successful artist: "Get a mortgage." The thought of changing your parents' diapers can be a great motivator. Still got it, dude!

PSYCH JOB
Ray Lampe | Templeton, MA | August 31, 2014

I don't know, maybe it's just me as a senior citizen, but today's strip is a genuine LOL. I couldn't stop chuckling for several minutes thinking about how successful Rick and Joanie's obvious psych job was in jarring Jeff out of his lethargy. Before the shock wears off he may write another book or even get a job. Ha ha ha ha ha.

WAKE-UP CALL
Artemis | Clark, MO | August 31, 2014

  Today's strip is a wake-up call to all millennials who think their parents are immortal. Have fun with the catheters and diapers, Jeff.

JEFF'S REACTION
Karen L. Hale | San Diego, CA | August 31, 2014

I laughed out loud at today's strip. Having lived that reality with my own parents, I know how tough it is. Jeff's reaction to his parents is great. My hubby, who is quite a bit younger than me, has already warned my daughters that when the time comes he is shipping me off to them.

HIS KID
Bill | Pittsburgh, PA | August 29, 2014

I don't remember Jimmy Thudpucker becoming a dad. I wonder what happened to his kid -- probably a dubstep producer now, I'd wager. Or a contestant on The Voice or American Idol.

DON'T REMEMBER
Sue | Oakland, CA | August 27, 2014

I don't remember today's 40-years-ago Flashback cartoon, and I was definitely reading Doonesbury back then. I'd just graduated from high school and was getting ready to start college that fall. I can't imagine how I missed this cartoon, but I would absolutely have remembered Joanie yelling at one of her professors for making inappropriate comments about what another woman was wearing. I'd have taken it to heart, too. Who knows, maybe a couple of years later, I'd have had the nerve to yell at the speech professor who commented about my appearance in class.

ROCKS
Zayin | Sydney, AUSTRALIA | August 26, 2014

Doonesbury rocks. Thanks to your strip I am able to name some American Presidents and their foibles. But I wonder what happened to Honey Huan.

INDULGENT
Gil | Paarl, SOUTH AFRICA | August 26, 2014

Durban? Ha! I was a Doonesbury fan living in Paarl in the late seventies. There was no newspaper syndication back then so I had to rely on buying every Doonesbury compilation I could lay my hands on. Now my morning online dose of retro strip feels positively indulgent, but as addictive as ever!

MEMORIES
Anne | Cambria, CA | August 25, 2014

GBT has discovered the fountain of youth! I was a teeny pup when these strips first ran, and it's a blast to see beloved characters, now middle-aged or elderly (or even dead) reliving their youth. "And the kid goes for broke" is one of the best lines ever -- obviously, since it was also the title of the collection of strips from that period. Thanks for the memories.

RICK'S PLACE
George E. Clark | Cambridge, MA | August 25, 2014

Re the August 22nd Classic strip showing Rick's place: When this originally ran, back in 1976, a reporter could still afford a house.

STRIP
Toelle Hovan | Port Orange, FL | August 25, 2014

This is just to tell you I love your strip -- you are my hero!