Half in the Bag

Link to today’s strip.

There are some things that Tom Batiuk is quite good at drawing.  Everyone knows about the bricks, and our own TFH likes the way he draws the back of the ear.  He’s also really, really good at drawing bored people, especially in groups.  The expressions in panel one make up a nice image gallery of people who are bored out of their skulls.  Some of them are practically melting in their desire to escape, but there’s no mistaking the dreary ennui etched in their faces.  (Les and Linda in panel two are excellent examples of faces drawn in such a way that you want to punch them…so that might be another thing he’s good at drawing.)

Earlier I questioned whether there had to be a face-to-face meeting with parents to discuss the senior trip, and today the answer is clearly “No, it’s not necessary at all.  A one-page printout would do perfectly, and not inconvenience everyone to attend an after-hours meeting.  However, Les has some ‘jokes’ to deliver and he can’t do that in a printed sheet, so a meeting there will be.”

And not just one meeting.  Even a cursory glance shows that the crowd in panel one has been replaced by a completely different set of parents in panel two.  Meaning that apparently one crowd goes in to get smirked at by Les, and then they leave and another bunch comes in…I have this horrible idea this goes on for hours, long into the night, with Les delivering his idiotic quips over and over, each time with the idea that maybe this time someone will be smart enough to appreciate him and let out a hearty laugh.  What a sad, delusional, detestable man.

I have no idea why Linda is there.  Is she supervising?  Is she going to be speaking next?  If some parent stands, yells “For God’s sake, doesn’t this guy ever shut up?” and starts wailing on Les with a folding chair, is she there to try and stop it?  (Bad Linda!  Les will never learn if you interfere!)

One entirely plausible scenario is that Principal Nate called Linda into his office and said, “I want you to go to the meeting and smirk at his ‘jokes.’  You’ll know when he makes them–there’ll be a long pause and a smirk.  I’m not asking you to laugh, I’m not that cruel.  But last year I had two damned days of Les whining about how no one appreciated him because no one laughed at his–”  Principal Nate waves his hand in a dismissive gesture.  “–jokes.”  Long pause, and Principal Nate’s face hardens, his stare intensifies.  “I’m not going through that again.”

Principal Nate is lucky.  He can choose that path.  Everyone else…not so lucky.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Half in the Bag

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Classic Dick Facey, condescendingly talking down to his student’s parents like they’re all too poor, stupid and/or lowbrow to have ever traveled before. That titly-headed “do you poor addled–brained low-class slobs understand what I am saying here?” smirk of his is homicidal rage-inducing. As is Linda’s all-knowing and ever-contemptuous smirk, as we know she genuinely hates her job and her students just like Les does.

    And of course, the big bus trip to Washington consists entirely of characters talking about the big bus trip to Washington. The fact that the main character in question is the dick with ears takes what would have been a typically mundane piece of crap and turns it into an insidiously grating assault on FW readers. If I was ever elected dictator for life my very first act would be to immediately ban any and all renderings of Les Moore and make it illegal to ever mention him again, punishable by immediate execution. And I’d still feel that I hadn’t done nearly enough.

  2. billytheskink

    The school signboard we saw yesterday should have read:


  3. Why the devil have this meeting in the first place? Cripes, these are high school seniors going to D.C., not first graders. Of course, Les is talking to their parents as if they were first graders.

    And Linda looks much less Hispanic than usual, check out her picture at funkywinkerbean.com.

  4. The question of, “Would Les be as much of an insufferable asshole if he were lecturing adults instead of teenagers?” has been answered pretty much in the way anybody would expect.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Are we to assume that the citizens of Westview have never travelled by any means other than private car? Anyone who’s taken a bus, a plane or Amtrak knows that luggage has to have identification on it. This is even more of a requirement since 9/11.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    It’s like he’s working for Youth and Family Services, tutoring a room full of parents deemed unfit by the state. Waving his hand around, titling his head for effect, making idiotic jokes while that monster Linda snidely smirks her approval, it’s an overload of the human body’s annoyance receptors. Look at the way his eyebrows are angled, you cannot physically resist the urge to kill him right there. At least I can’t. Batiuk has engineered his Les character into the most annoying thing there is. Not just fictional character, but thing. Stare at that second panel for ten full seconds and tell me I’m wrong. These Les strips should really come with a warning.

  7. Here. we have accidental racism as Dick Facey is depicted as going out of his way to condescend to the black people. On the other side, Starbuck Jones gets involved in Rose’s being an evil, crazy old woman who will ruin everything by never admitting that she should BURN IN HELL for being mean to children and never grovelling for forgiveness.

  8. @Paul Jones: what makes you think Les’s racism is accidental?

    Linda’s stifling a smile because she knows this is the night that will finally, at long last, rid Westview High–and with any luck, the entire town–of its Resident Smirking Douchebag, and with him the Curse of Failure and Cancer that has plagued their town since this beast was spawned.

  9. HeyItsDave





    That awful moment when you realize you are not at a Parents Teachers conference and instead are witnessing the act of the world’s worst stand-up comedian.

  11. ComicBookHarriet

    Metaphorical Puppy Kicking! Cancer! Death! Child Abuse! Now available on the comics pages, courtesy of Crankshaft.

  12. Of course, the fun thing is that Les has no self-awareness and thus doesn’t realize that he comes across as being a condescending jackass. It’s like how as a kid, he was too stupid to realize that his parents feared that he would be living in their basement forever.

  13. bayoustu

    @ComicBookHarriet-and don’t forget: Crankshaft is the “lighter” corner of The Funkyverse! Lighter like a black hole, maybe!

  14. @HeyItsDave – I believe the proper term is not parents but ‘rents.

  15. Epicus Doomus

    I couldn’t resist taking a gander at Crankshaft today…and now I know for a fact that Batiuk is beyond insane. He actually features someone murdering a f*cking comic book today. Either get help or graciously step aside, you lunatic, enough is enough. These are the demented scribblings of a total madman.

  16. Krankenschaaften: Defacing the holy comic scriptures? No wonder Batiuk killed her off…

  17. @HeyItsDave I just love how visceral it is to see her stab a comic book so her son could have the most emotionally scarring and traumatic reaction… She couldn’t have just torn it in half or set it on fire — No, she had to send a message…

  18. ComicBookHarriet

    I posited a few days ago that there must be a Law of Conservation of Misery in the Funkyverse. Notice that ever since the Dying Rose storyline has started Funky has been nothing but gags.

    Meaning terrible jokes that make you want to gag.

  19. Professor Fate

    I am confused – didn’t these kids just get back from a trip – where they almost got blown up? Wouldn’t at least one Parent be a bit worried about putting their kids back into the same folks hands? Just wondering.
    And per Crankshaft – is, or actually was, the author going through therapy or something when he wrote this? because dear me there are more issues on display over the last few strips then are dreamt of in a comic book store. It’s disturbing. like watching grown man sitting on bus suddenly burst out into hysterical Sobbing.

  20. @HeyItsDave, @hitorque: (shrug)… seems to me that stabbing a comic/coloring book is a uniquely ineffective way of rendering it unusable. If she was truly up to Funkyverse standards of sadism, she’d have shoved it through a wood chipper.

    Maybe that’s why she was killed off, in the end: insufficiently mean-spirited to be kept around.

  21. Epicus Doomus

    I never read CS but I just had to see this one, as I thought the stabbing panel above was one of Dave’s masterpieces and certainly not real. Just unbelievable. Every single character in his fantasy universe had their entire being shaped and molded by f*cking comic books. Their fondest memories and deepest traumas all center around comic books. His vision of a deep childhood trauma involves a mother stabbing a comic book. It’s totally deranged.

  22. Why on earth would a modern newspaper continue to carry either strip? This shit is abysmal. I know from working at one in the past that they can not only refuse to run strips they feel would offend their readers, they are not locked into multi year contracts (but that may have changed, admittedly, after all the mergers of the past decade or so). I recall how when I was on the editorial staff of the Charlotte weekly paper Creative Loafing, we decided to drop Lynda Barry’s strip because it, uh, started to really suck… not funny, not poignant, not even relevant in any fashion. Just the random bipolar rantings of a once talented observer of life who had clearly lost her mojo, and we didn’t feel like we had an obligation to continue as an enabler, much less subject our readers to her tripe.

  23. Epicus Doomus

    Fred Blurt: Seriously, if CK isn’t reconsidering “Crankshaft” after this debacle they obviously never will. I mean he spends a week on an old lady dying of cancer and follows it up by having that old lady viciously stabbing a comic book? Time to retire that strip if you ask me. Wasting decades at a time on plodding fluff is one thing but come on, this stuff is demented.