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.

Paul Hawkins | Wooster, OH | April 20, 2014

Mike and Kim are as different as newspaper and tablet. Fortunately, Doonesbury is available in both formats, regardless of which side of the coffee cup your generation gappiness happens to fall!

Nora | Sausalito, CA | April 19, 2014

When I was born, a friend of my parents copied the "It's a baby woman!" panel for my birth announcement. I'm not sure if that makes me hip or nerdy from the start, but thanks for the memories.

Don Bump | Ashland, NH | April 19, 2014

Since I did not like seeing Flashbacks that were't that old I stopped checking and just read the Sunday strips. Now I discover you are back to 1972, which I never saw -- I never read the paper, and have only been reading the comic on the internet. Keep them coming; these are good as new to me.

Carol | Rutland, VT | April 19, 2014

Today's is by far my favorite Doonesbury strip. When I was in college in the 70s I worked at the campus day care center and seriously related to Joanie's trials and tribulations. And even today, whenever a baby girl is born, I always say "It's a baby woman!"

Ray Kimball | Scottsdale, AZ | April 19, 2014

Seeing today's 10-year Flashback strip was a gut punch. I'm an Iraq vet from the 2003 invasion, and I remember when the strip first aired. At first it was painful to read, but as it played out over the next few days, I really appreciated how GBT laid it out without commentary or extra layers; just one man's fight for life and his unit dealing with it. Reading it all over again brought back a mix of emotions -- but thanks.

John Brennand | Langley, CANADA | April 18, 2014

Déjà vu all over again? How fitting that this week's Classics story comes right after we hear about the pay equity gap for women. Lucky coincidence, or careful forethought?

Marcus Ettling | Hamburg, GERMANY | April 18, 2014

Oh my god, I don´t believe it. Today's strip was one of the first Doonesbury cartoons I read, many years ago in a Doonesbury collection, translated into German. It must have been in the mid-eighties and of course the strips were completely outdated. But I immediately felt that they were something special and I've been a Doonesbury fan ever since. And I can say that what I know about the U.S.  of the 70s I learned from those strips. Before the internet I had to order books from Britain or the U.S. to read my favorite strip. Today I read online or buy from Amazon. The times, they're a-changing. But the humor of Doonesbury never changed, and the old strips are as good as they were all those years ago. Thanks, G.B., for all the laughs and insights.

Nick | Halifax, CANADA | April 18, 2014

I'm sad that Mr. Trudeau has gone on a "long-term and open-ended hiatus" from writing daily strips. I have read Doonesbury without break for decades, but I find the reposting of his earlier strips to be much less interesting, and I've stopped reading them. I am most attracted by Doonesbury's daily commentary on current life, politics, etc. -- just as I was back when the archived strips were the daily strips. Now it all seems less interesting. I can appreciate Mr. Doonesbury's desire to create a TV program, with the much larger scope that it offers, but I certainly miss fresh and insightful comic strips.

Brian Charles | Conway, NH | April 18, 2014

As a junior Boomer, I love reliving the beginning stories which, while in my memory, had become vague and unclear. Having the Sunday "live" strips enhances the feeling that we're being guided through this retrospective by a benevolent curator/creator.

Rosie's Nana | Orlando, FL | April 18, 2014

I miss the new stuff, but the old stuff certainly makes me think of where I was and what I was doing when I read it the first time, and all my plans to "change the world." Of course, I found out it was not as easy as I expected it would be to encourage change in our world. I'm still fighting some of the battles today that I was fighting then, but sadly, I find I get tired much more quickly. Thanks for reminding me of how it all started.

John Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | April 18, 2014

In my 30-year career as a consultant and owner's rep, by far the most pleasurable work has been project management which involves close interaction with construction contractors. In all that time not a single woman has been in management (for the contractor -- I've known some no-nonsense PM's as consultants). It seems that even today women "don't wanna be (contractors)" -- not even Joanie.

Thomas N. | Austin, TX | April 17, 2014

It's nice to see these older strips getting people just as exercised as they no doubt did back when they were originally published. Thinking and discourse (okay, of varying quality) never go out of style.

David Huntington | Katy, TX | April 16, 2014

I am puzzled by the comments concerning Joanie Caucus "abandoning" her daughter J.J. and that suggestion that she, by not being there, is to blame for her daughter's flaws. Apparently these people do not see that the father has a role in child rearing. As far as Joanie's "justification" for escaping from a life of marital serfdom, she didn't need one.

Margaret Delgatty | Vancouver, CANADA | April 14, 2014

Ooh - that "how much?" frame is such a stunning conceptualization of so many things at so many levels, I don't even know where to start listing them. Let it be enough that it's equally effective in the context of the historic strip and from today's perspective -- and I know I will keep thinking of more ways it's relevant.

Larry S. | Hilliard, OH | April 14, 2014

Yes, it's true! Everybody knows that if one's child turns out to be a reprobate like J.J., it must be the mother's fault! All blame always attaches to the mother. It could never be the father's fault and it can never be due to any innate defect of the child's character, independent of the parent's qualities or lack of same. Okay, sarcasm mode off, now. That's just the sort of inbuilt assumption that not only lingers on today, but was one of many taken as almost unshakable truths back in 1974, the same set of cultural assumptions that was suffocating Joan to death. Even as a not particularly enlightened 18-year-old at the time, I still perceived that something wasn't quite right, and Joanie's rebellion at massively being taken for granted and taken advantage of was understandable, even to the likes of me.

JOANIE | Key West, FL | April 14, 2014

I am amazed at my ability to whitewash the past. For years I believed that Joanie fled an abusive husband, even though I've read every strip since it hit the mainstream papers. But then, I did that in my own past as well. It does explain why J.J. turned out to be so self-pitying and entitled. Hopefully it has not spread to Alex. She does have a great dad!

T.J. Martin | Denver, CO | April 12, 2014

Well, you've gone and done it. All this trip down memory lane stuff, revisiting the good ole days and especially Zonker's adventures, gives me no choice but to purchase Dude.

Bonnie Nestor | Oak Ridge, TN | April 11, 2014

The "I broke his nose" strip is one of my all-time favorites (I've been quoting it for years). So nice to have this blast from the past!

Jesse Baker | Pound, VA | April 11, 2014
I don't sympathize with Joanie and her story about abandoning her family and punching her husband. We know for a fact that she abandoned her daughter J.J., and that her self-righteous egomania/selfishness effectively turned J.J. into the monster mom she ultimately became -- a woman so selfish that she abandoned Alex as well. God help Toggle and the twins if Alex decides to be like Grandma and assaults her disabled husband over a joke, and abandons the twins to the wolves with zero regard to what happens to them, so she can shack up with a younger version of her dad and his closeted best friend in some hippie commune.
L. Lapp | West Chester, PA | April 10, 2014

Today's "I broke his nose" Classic Doonesbury strip has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in September 1972. Whenever I see current-day Joanie as grandmother and legislative aide, I see her against that background memory of her sitting at the diner counter explaining what inspired her to leave her husband. A note to younger readers: This particular strip was a riff on a then-controversial, offensively sexist TV commercial for Geritol. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia's Geritol entry, which recounts the memory well:

Geritol is famous for a controversial 1972 television commercial tag line, "My wife, I think I'll keep her." This line, brought out during the height of the Women's Liberation Movement, was not appreciated by some women and was lambasted by media and comedy shows alike. Comedian Robert Klein was early to scoff at this on his 1972 album Child of the Fifties: "Where does he get the nerve?... She has to keep begging him, 'Will you keep me one more day?' 'All right, one more day: now, get back to the kitchen!'"