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.

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!'"

Cathy | Bloomington, IN | April 10, 2014

I love your old strips! Joanie is introduced, and that brings me joy. I used her in a paper I wrote for a feminist class, "back in the day." Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Mark Walmsley | Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS | April 09, 2014

Today's strip was fascinating for two reasons. Mark and Mike met-cute with soon-to-be-a-principal Joanie, but they also introduced the recurrent mode of humor whereby a grandiose vision in the third frame is reduced to the quotidian in the fourth. One can play a game of rewriting these strips in GBT's mature style, where instead of simply reacting Mike would close the scene with a deadpan, "We could take 94 north."

Susan Davis | Fort Lauderdale, FL | April 09, 2014

I love the Flashback strips. I am reliving my youth right along with the characters. I don't want you to stop!!!!

Andy Paige | New York, NY | April 09, 2014

In Sunday's fabulous Doonesbury strip Alex made mention of a product very much like the one I have invented and hold three patents on. The GirlyGoGarter(R), is a sexy, safe, comfortable hands-free purse that adheres to the upper thigh with patented GentleFlex(TM) Grippers and discretely holds up to three pounds of a lady's essentials. The GirlyGoGarter(R) was launched into the market place in August 2013 and with just eight months of sales we are in 1,000 retailers in five countries.

S. Chapman | Chicago, IL | April 09, 2014

Hard to believe that Joanie is a great-grandmother now that Alex has had the twins, but after all, today's strip is 42 years old.

Lenox Napier | Mojacar, SPAIN | April 09, 2014

Hi, just to say thanks for all the laughs. I have two early books of yours, Greatest Hits and Chronicles, bought while visiting the USA in my twenties. I'm a Brit and live in Spain. Un saludo!

Bill Hansen | Yola, NIGERIA | April 09, 2014

In today's strip Joanie doesn't look at all like someone who would become one of the Beltway's slickest political operatives, working for the likes of Lacey Davenport and Elizabeth Warren. I wonder if Mike had an inkling, there by the side of the road looking at a map and talking about Cleveland, that he was talking to his future mother-in-law.

Maryhelen Posey | Calgary, CANADA | April 08, 2014

I don't recall whether I've said this before, but as you wind down The Sandbox, it's worth repeating if I have. Thank you for creating this milblog. It was a huge source of personal education as these wars plodded, struggled, bounced, and screeched on their way. Our news media in Canada kept us a bit better in touch with what our troops were doing and how they were doing (smaller country, higher reporters-to-troops ratio, I think), but I never did find a milblog that kept me more aware of the world they lived in than The Sandbox. To all the contributors, a huge thank you, and all my hope for your well-being as we move away from these wars in an uncertain world. I assume that the contents of the Sandbox will be archived and available -- I certainly hope so.

Editor's Note:

 The Sandbox will remain in place as an archive. The final post will introduce future visitors to the wealth of content it contains: almost 800 posts by around 150 contributors. The first post went up in October 2006.

Paul Parsons | Montpelier, VT | April 08, 2014

Nothing like a Beemer and a side car for a cross-country road trip! My brother had this on his door when he first got his R75/5 as an example on how cool it was to own a BMW.

Jahn Ghalt | Anchorage, AK | April 07, 2014

Love, love, love that a case of Schiltz can be used as a diplomatic olive branch. Love it almost as much as loving that B.D. is a "sweet drunk."