Borders, Books

In likening himself to Hemingway , Les leaves out a key element of Papa’s quote: “You throw them your book, they throw you the money. Then you jump into your car and drive like hell back the way you came.” Although in this case, instead of money, Hollywood would throw the book back. After using it for asswipe.


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  1. Jeffcoat Wayne

    I assume the point of Les’s quote is akin to this article regarding Hollywood adaptations of Hemingway’s books? Either way, Les is overlooking the idea that filmgoers will often seek out the source novel if they enjoyed the movie. Furthermore, I don’t think there’s ever been a 100% faithful screen adaptation of any literary work. The real advantage, I suspect, is getting paid twice for the same piece of work. You hear that deafening silence? That’s the sound of J.K. Rowling complaining about Hollywood’s treatment of her books. Man up, Les — it’s fluke enough you sold this book in the first place.

    So… is Les referencing Ernest Hemingway as an author who inspired him, or one who he thinks he’s better than?

  2. sourbelly

    “After using it for asswipe.” Is that what they call toilet paper in your neck of the woods, TH? I like it. A lot.

    (@sourbelly: I got that term from a Rolling Stone article years back; Tommy Chong was talking about the treatment Cheech and Chong got from a record company: “They used our contract for asswipe.” –TFH)

    Clearly, Les has never encountered a situation in which he couldn’t find something to whine about. How many would-be authors would kill to have their work published, let alone get optioned by “Hollwood”? Here’s hoping that Les follows Hemingway’s chosen form of demise, the sooner the better.

  3. Confuzzled by Funky

    Ah well, it’s Thursday and I am left wondering, what’s the point? What joy and interest I had in story arc is now sapped. I mean let’s be real you go to a park to talk to your dead wife while living people are there to turn to. Mmm, can we say someone needs a heavy dose of one on one counseling. P3 interpretation of Lisa’s smirk is as follows “Les you have the spine of a jellyfish. This is what I was married to? Mmph Cayla you can have him and the limp noodle. By the way Les change your shirt you smell like day old lovin’!”

  4. John

    Les: *whimpers, again* “You just don’t understand, Lisa. See, Hollywood is a homogenized whole. The option buyer, man. I just KNOW they’re evil, flaky Hollywood folk who hate good writing. Just like I know my writing is good writing. Because I wrote a book about how awful your dying made me feel. Only a Wise Author can write about being depressed! By the way, Ernest Hemingway is someone who existed. Just thought I’d throw that in.”

    Lisa: “Well, um, thanks.”

    Les: “The more I think about it, the more upset it makes me! Offering me MONEY! Trying to make a movie! Huff. HUFF! PUFF! They’re stupid and evil, because they JUST ARE!”

    Lisa: “Les, you don’t even know -who- they are.”

    Les: “What does THAT have to do with anything, WOMAN?!?”

    Lisa: “Well, supposedly, the book is about me, the love of your life.”

    Les: “No! Try to see it from MY view point! The only thing here that matters is how it’ll affect me! Your death was ABOUT ME!”

    Lisa: “….*….”

    Les: “Anyway, to reiterate, EVIL HOLLYWOOD. Hemingway exists. I’m pouting.”

  5. Either way, Les is overlooking the idea that filmgoers will often seek out the source novel if they enjoyed the movie.

    Actually, I think he’s pretty safe in overlooking that (alleged) possibility. I’m going with Leslie on this one. Just this once.

  6. Charlene


    Then somebody else write a book about it!

  7. S.P. Charles

    Yeah, Charlene, but with our luck it’ll be Batiuk.

  8. Sgt Saunders

    How are we supposed to miss Lisa if she won’t go away? Criminey, the bitch is stone cold dead and she gets more airtime than The CW and Kahn combined. And Les, Oy! What is that, his special fap bench? Whatever, I’m just sick of it. This latest Leese N’ Les storyline makes me want to hurl.

  9. Epicus Doomus

    Poor, poor beleaguered Les, he just cannot deal with those obnoxious Hollywood phonies hell-bent on making a mockery out of his treasured book…even though his entire interaction with “Hollywood” thus far has consisted of a two minute conversation with his agent. Now the Great Author (of exactly two non-fiction books so far, one of which was apparently never even published although that appears to be subject to change at any given time) knows how Hemingway felt. Uh, yeah, Les, you’re JUST LIKE him, except for the numerous classic works, the interesting life, the worldwide fame and heavyweight literary stature, that is. Hemingway also committed suicide (hint, hint). Les: if you do decide to drive to California, please keep going until you hit water, please. Try to find a pier and drive off that. Also fill the back seat of your car with as many bricks as possible and roll the windows down. And put a dry cleaning bag over your head, too, just to hedge your bets.

    Panel three may just feature the most obnoxiously grating Les face to date and that’s saying something. He pulled Lisa away from her airframe inspection duties to watch him pout, whine and be smug AND profound at the same time? As if she hasn’t seen that before. If Hemingway was alive and walked past that bench I have no doubt that he’d beat the living hell out of Les on general principle alone. The “eternal tribulations of a true artist” routine is Les at his most annoying.

    The “Hollywood is stupid and evil” bit is really irritating too. Yeah, “Hollywood” has never explored the possibility of having an invisible buddy only you can talk to and see (ahem, Great Gazoo). Nor has “Hollywood” ever explored death and “the afterlife”. This strip has delivered lame, hackneyed, cliched story arcs that can match any drivel the movie business has to offer. TV, too. Give it a rest already.

  10. Jeffcoat Wayne

    KarMann: “Actually, I think he’s pretty safe in overlooking that (alleged) possibility. I’m going with Leslie on this one. Just this once.”

    I usually do, just because I’m always fascinated by the differences between the two forms. Sure, a good book can be turned into a bad movie (it took three tries to get Hammett’s “Maltese Falcon” right), and I suppose it’s possible that a bad book can become a good movie. But I just can’t see Les’s book working in either format. Maybe if they change the title to something less amateurish.

  11. Epicus Doomus

    Another thing: Lisa has been spared from much of the snarkery this week, but seriously, is there any less entertaining character in the strip? She doesn’t do anything but sit there with that tiny nose and that ultra-compassionate and adoring look on her face, occasionally offering Les some dopey platitudes disguised as “advice”. Never a terrible pun, smirky wisecrack or somewhat dated semi-topical remark with her, oh no. Always serious, serious business when Lisa’s around. It was Lisa that started the ruination of the strip in the first place and as hard as it is to believe, she’s even less funny now.

  12. Jeffcoat Wayne

    I’ll tell you what — I’d kind of like a wisecracking spirit. Sort of like the interactions between Woody allen and bogart in “Play It Again Sam”. Instead, Lisa has spent this week looking she can barely tolerate Les either, almost like she was glad to be dead.

  13. David O

    How about if the movie is of Les reading his catbox of a book aloud for 6 hours!? Would that make him happy?

  14. I know Ernest Hemingway and Les, you are no Ernest Hemingway!

  15. billytheskink

    Hemingway also once said:
    “Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it – don’t cheat with it.”

  16. Oh, I’m sure that Batiuk looked up the Hemingway quote and knows what it really says…he just figured that his readers wouldn’t bother to look it up for themselves, and would accept his distortion.

    Hemingway’s message regarding Hollywood adaptations wasn’t “Have nothing to do with them,” it was “Take the money and run.” An infinitely more practical stance.

    I’m trying to remember the name of another author with a pragmatic attitude towards adaptations…when somebody asked him about Hollywood “ruining” his books, he replied “They’re not ruined. They’re still right there on the shelf.” Who said that?

  17. Miskatonic Sophomore

    “The Long Pompous Life of Lester Moore,” NOT by Ernest Hemingway.

    Now if only Les and Cayla would go on safari…

  18. Dr. D.

    Well, as to the question of whether Hemingway “had it right” or not, Zombie Lisa should just ask him!

  19. Professor Fate

    Oh shut you pathetic human being. You sad sad little book “My wife is dead and I has a sad” could use some 3-d aliens. Film being a visual medium and all that. “my wife is dying and the Martians are in Barberstown.” Now we’re talking hit.

  20. redbird

    TFH: Today’s entry should be the QOTW!

    Erich: According to some web sites, the quote is by Raymond Chandler.

  21. smartjock

    Lisa should tell Les to get an mp3 player, put the Steve Miller Band on it, listen to their song “Take the Money and Run” and then DO IT! Hey Les, then you wouldn’t have to lower yourself to work at the pizza joint anymore. Did you even think about that???

  22. Jimmy

    Keeping with today’s apparent theme:

    Lisa: “Les, either shit or get off the pot!”

  23. billytheskink

    May 20, 2011 – Just west of Ehrenberg, Arizona.

    Roy: “Sure is a lot of litter out along the road today, Fred.”

    Fred: “Yes indeed, Roy. A lot of thoughtless people out there, but that’s why we adopted this highway.”

    Roy: “Say, what’s this? A book? That’s odd. Looks to be brand new too.”

    Fred: “Lisa’s Story: How Someone Else’s Cancer Makes Me Better Than You by Les Moore, foreward by Le Chat Bleu.”

    Roy: “Hmm… Lot of litter out along the road today, Fred.”

  24. Jeez, Les, could you at least SPEAK to this amorphous “Hollywood” entity before you turn them down? All of his misgivings are based solely on his own imagined scenarios, not on anything that the option buyer has actually said.

  25. redbird

    Erich: Finally found it at Slate:
    “…Except, of course, it was supposed to be exactly that. Comics writer Alan Moore, whose dislike for adaptations of his books has been widely documented, is fond of telling a story about Raymond Chandler. When asked if he worried about Hollywood ruining his books, Chandler replied, “They’re not ruined. They’re right there on the shelf.” But if Gerber’s story illustrates anything, it’s that Hollywood casts a long and lasting shadow….”

  26. A HREF

    How come it is that the only dead person we see is Lisa. We know dead Lisa is not a figment of Les’ imagination cause she can use the white courtesy phone and make bomb threats. How about John Darling’s ghost? Dead of cancer coach (not going to look his name up)’s ghost? Does Lisa get to come back because she’s good or bad?

    God, I used to like this strip when Funky had hair, Les had a machine gun, the computer attended Trek conventions and Lisa was ugly as hell. Maybe not ugly but definitely mousy.

    Maybe dead Lisa is a hint. Batuik died right after Act I and the artist taking over is trying to see if we catch on. And we haven’t after 20 years so he’s making it more obvious.

    Or maybe Batuik had a Waterson/Larsen moment and realized that he was running out of material so he decided to quit but wanted to see how long and how bad he could make the comic before it got cancelled.

    One of those has to be it. Okay Tom (or his hers) I figured it out. What did I win?


  27. O.B. Dan

    Les the author is a throwback to Les the high school nerd.

    Nerd Les saw danger around every corridor corner, and always imagined the worst – and the only person in the world who would listen with any degree of patience (Funky, before he became chunky) always looked like he wished it would stop.

    Now, Author Les sees all things negative in his suddenly-brightened future, and the only person willing to listen to him lives in a netherworld, and, like Chunky before her, looks like she wishes it would stop.

  28. portrait of a brilliant, selflessly-suffering, visionary ar-teest refusing to “sell out”: you’re doing it wrong.

  29. Sgt Saunders

    I’m thinking the next big disaster in Westview will be Les’ mental illness. Here he sits with two fantasies going at once – the ongoing Dead Wife/Succubus /Imaginary Friend Lisa and now these two Hollyweird-o’s, additional figments of Les’ increasingly vivid imagination, are giving Les down the road over changes their “film” will make to his sacrosanct book, all appearing, talking and acting in Les’ mind as Les sits quietly on his bench. I don’t buy into the whole Pan-Dimensional Telekinetic Lisa bit. The airport bit was the work of a sicko. No, this is all in Les’ fevered brain. If Les’ brain were in a jar, it would be labeled Abby-something. Abby-normal.

  30. Dr. D.

    Sgt Saunders: I’m thinking the next big disaster in Westview will be Les’ mental illness.

    “Why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Harken! and observe how healthily — how calmly — I can tell you the whole story.”

  31. TFHackett

    Very ap-pro-POE, Dr. D.

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