Every time a character says something exceptionally stupid–and Mason here is a shining example–I have to remind myself that, despite Tom Batiuk’s repeated assertions, this strip has nothing to do with the real world. There’s no quarter-inch between there and here.
What this strip is, is a Wish Fulfillment World. This world is how Tom Batiuk believes the world should work. Here, the highest form of art, and the most valuable commodity, is the comic book. Second most valuable is the comic book’s consort, the movie based on a comic book. Here, Mason’s idiocy makes perfect sense.
Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a Wish Fulfillment World. Some of them can be quite entertaining. At the risk of ticking people off, I’d put JRR Tolkien’s works in this category. But Tolkien made sure that his world was consistent, and that there were rules that governed his world, and those rules were not to be ignored or bypassed for convenience. Consistency is PRIMARY if you’re going to go down this path. Because of you ignore consistency, you end up with Funky Crankshaft Island.
To wit: Here, the greatest comic book of them all, Starbuck Jones, is both extraordinary evocative to its hordes of fans, who treasure every moment it gave them, and yet it sold so poorly that it put its creators out of business. Here, a peck on the cheek drives the internet into a frenzy, and drives a young actress toward suicide. Here, said actress is simultaneously a naif making her first film and a hot property that can boost a film’s stature into white heat. Here, an actor whose main credit is “Dino Deer” lives like royalty, bathed in luxury. Here, a loathsome prick can make his mark on the entire world by writing about his dead wife, yet he toils in obscurity in a small Ohio town. I could go on; there are thousands of such…Funky Crankshaft Island rides.
And movies are an art form, not a commercial product.
Now don’t get me wrong–movies can be art, and as such can be very enlightening. I have thoroughly enjoyed every Ingmar Bergman movie I’ve ever seen. And most of those made by David Lynch. But every movie ever made by a film studio has one primary goal: to make money. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the real world.
Which this strip does splendidly.
PS: I’d agree that most awards are stupid and entirely ignorable. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Cary Grant never won Oscars? I’m thinking, though, that Pulitzer nomination letter must really burn right now.