Deafinitely Dumb

Hey, remember when this story arc was about Bull?
Today’s strip sure doesn’t.

Look, I’m just going to gloss over the fact that Dinkle was actually introduced well over a year into this strip’s existence and just give TB credit for remembering that Funky Winkerbean itself is 47 (and a half) years old… And with that out of the way I’ll go right into wondering what the heck this has to do with Bull, his condition, his life, or anything. I guess if you twist your neck 117 degrees and squint until you experience sharp pain in your temples it appears the notoriously egotistical Dinkle (or is that Buck?) is paying Bull a compliment by saying they were equals despite his long and incessant history of considering all things inferior to himself and his marching band. But really this is just TB repackaging his biggest hit.

Dinkle is the only thing about this strip that has ever moved merchandise. His “football fields are for band practice!” bit covers books and t-shirts, and even serves as his character’s introductory line in the stage play Funky Winkerbean’s Homecoming. Dinkle’s shtick has sold band posters (“Dinkle wants your horn to twinkle”) and shoes, and no less than 9 Dinkle-specific collections of FW strips have been published! No, seriously, there have been 4 Lisa books and 9 Dinkle books.

Football Fields are for Band Practice!
Sunday Concert
Harry L. Dinkle Live at Carnegie Hall
I Never Promised You a Rose Parade
Gone with The Woodwinds
Would the Ushers Please Lock the Doors!
Attack of the Band Moms
The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Football Field
Music is Worth it… Music is Worth it… Music is…

This is nothing more than TB pushing his most-recognized character/cash cow into a story the New York Times inexplicably gave him ink for. Ugh!

43 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Deafinitely Dumb

  1. William Thompson

    Oh, fuck, Lefty? What the fuck does she have to do with anything? And Hairy Fucking Dingle could keep the football team off the field? No wonder the Scapegoats sucked! No practice because that deafeatist peckerwood wouldn’t move his ego off the field? Why does Batiuk wait until now to reveal how that obnoxious fart-horn ruined the potential careers of Bull and other players? And as for Butt Fuck, the only field he should share with Bull is the one he’s walking on.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Well, in fairness they did work with Bull for a few centuries, so I’d expect them to be there. But sharing a few normal or pleasant Bull memories might have been nice, seeing how Batiuk brutally killed him off and all. So far it’s all “duh, Bull so stupid”, which we sadly already knew. Worst funeral of all time.

  2. CRM114

    It’s like a parade of the Who’s Who of the Hated.

    • billytheskink

      IF TB is looking to change the name of this strip, he could do a lot worse than The Who’s Who Of The Hated.

  3. We’ve replaced Buck Futt with Harry Dinkle in Panel Two. Let’s see if anyone notices!

    • I almost didn’t notice and definitely do not care.

    • Epicus Doomus

      This baffled me too, as I genuinely thought it was that asshole Buck again. I wonder if we’ll ever see Buck again? I’m guessing that no, we will not.

      • Oops, my bad, I didn’t honestly see that Becky and Dinkle had replaced Linda and Buck. I, get this, seriously thought there was an art error…rather than a pretty basic storytelling error. Not sure how I could have fallen for that!

      • Charles

        I think we’ll see Buck again whenever Batiuk wants to celebrate and remind us of the ground-breaking “Bull commits suicide” sequence he wrote.

        Actually, since this is Funky Winkerbean, it’ll be lamer than that. Also, you know Buck’s gonna die soon too so he can go back to the “CTE is a serious problem that we should take seriously sometime, really” story.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Uh, yeah, the football field. I guess this is supposed to be a profound metaphor about the brotherhood of football fields or something but the general rule of thumb is that if you need to take time to ponder it and figure it out it probably would have benefited from some editing. Like “into the circular file” kind of editing.

    Again, after working together at WHS for a million years you’d think the cretinous Dinkle might have a real Bull memory to share but nope, it’s just more crass buffoonery referencing those long-ago gags BanTom abandoned when he GOT SERIOUS back ion ’84 or whenever it was. “Remember the time the marching band football field exploding baton humiliating loss? Yep, those were the good old days all right”.

  5. spacemanspiff85

    I’m honestly shocked the bottom half of the first panel isn’t just a text box that reads; “Football Fields Are For Band Practice is available now wherever books are sold!”.
    Also, dialogue doesn’t start with “but”. I would love to know what came before that. “Bull was a real asshole, I’m glad he’s dead along with my wife who you think would be with me here, but Bull and I really did share the same field.”.

  6. William Thompson

    Huh? That hideous creature with Lefty is Hairy Dangle? And he shows up right after Buck Futt leaves the scene? Is this more of Batiuk’s comic-book horseshit? Which one is Superego and which one is vile-mannered Stan Stupor? Either way, did Harry Tinkle get that smirk out of Lefty by sticking his paw in her puppet-hole?

  7. Not to spoil anything, but my Funky sense tells me this more or less wraps up the highly touted CTE “prestige arc” (and just wait until you see where TB is circling back to next week). The storyteller Batiuk this year has attempted a few drawn out, highly touted arcs: Butter Brinkel, Ruby Lith, and this one…all of which he teased on his blog and showed off all his research. Yet the result has been one underwhelming payoff after another.

    And “forty-seven years ago,” huh? This beady-eyed nitpicker remembers that when the Second Time Jump took place twelve years ago this month, Bull was 46. If he was playing high school football “forty-seven years ago,” he and his classmates would now be anywhere between 60 and 65. This adds to the timeline confusion but at least explains the decrepit appearance of everyone in the gang except Cindy.

    • Charles

      If he was playing high school football “forty-seven years ago,” he and his classmates would now be anywhere between 60 and 65.

      Damn it, man! Everyone should just stop posting when I’m writing something!

      That’s quite a tableau of Bull. Massively overweight, there’s smug Bull, angry Bull and befuddled Bull. That just about wraps him the heck up right there.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Underwhelming to say the least. In fact, I would advise him that going forward he shouldn’t do any research on anything at all, as it’s clearly not helping and that time might be better spent on staring out the window in order to develop new story arcs for 2020, which is right around the corner.

      For all of his crowing and braying it’s kind of pathetic how the Courageous Blazer Of Funny Page Trails didn’t have the stones to actually just have Bull commit suicide but instead took the most meandering, ambiguous and stupid route possible to avoid the (remote) possibility of “offending” anyone. I guess we’re supposed to assume that perhaps Bull tinkered with the brakes or something, but he didn’t even use the brakes so what difference it would have made remains unclear at best. Otherwise all the reader knows is that the idiot drove off a cliff.

      • spacemanspiff85

        Yeah, I mean based on everything in this storyline, especially this week’s reminiscing, the point sure seems to be “haha, that Bull, he always was the kind of dumb to drive off a cliff by accident!”. I really do think Batiuk spoiled this storyline because otherwise nobody would’ve ever thought it was suicide. Would anyone here have? I think about the only thing you can draw from the strip itself is “Linda hides the keys, Bull gets angry about the keys, finds them because Linda didn’t hide them well at all, Linda doesn’t notice that Bull’s not in the house anymore, but somehow knows he’s not in the house anymore because she called his phone instead of yelling for him, Bull drives off a cliff and it turns out he’d been messing with the car, so given his mental condition he probably screwed something up”.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Yeah, the more you think about it the more you realize that this story REQUIRED spoilers to understand. If Bat Yap hadn’t brayed and crowed about the Big Upcoming Suicide all we’d know for sure is that Bull hit the gas around Fat Man’s Curve and that he may have tinkered with the car somehow, which might signal some sort of suicidal intent or maybe nothing at all. It’d be baffling on even more levels than it already is now, which is really saying something.

          • Gerard Plourde

            Exactly. The strange thing is that something seems to be going on beyond his usual inattention to detail. While the Butter Brinkel arc was contradictory in its storytelling, this one’s stated plot line, focusing on CTE, is peripheral to what’s actually going on here. The main purpose that comes across very clearly is the opportunity to kill off and malign Bull.

  8. Gerard Plourde

    I’m going to engage in some beefy-eyed nit-picking here and ask why Becky isn’t attending the funeral accompanied by her husband, DSH AKA John. I know he has a comic book store to run, but I’m sure closing for a couple of hours on a weekday isn’t going to destroy his bottom line. Or is he attending with Crazy Harry and we’ll see a strip with them dissing Bull later in the arc?

    And did TomBa forget that there’s a Mrs. Dinkle who would probably be attending as well?

  9. Charles

    I like how every single character has segregated themselves into their own little groups. There’s no mixing at all. Cindy and Mason are paired up with Les. Summer’s paired up with Keisha, with Les and Cayla standing in the background. Les is paired up with Cayla. Linda’s paired up with Buck and now Dinkle is paired up with Becky.

    And they’re all away from the gravesite despite the fact that this is ostensibly Bull’s burial and it’s raining, which would suggest they stick together next to the grave. I’d be weirded out if I attended one of these and while the ceremony is still nominally preceding, everyone pairs off in groups to go stand among the other gravestones 50 feet away.

    There’s nothing these shitheads can’t make about themselves.

    Anyway, Bull’s in the picture “forty seven years ago”, which means he was in high school at the time. So Batiuk’s retconned the class again so they’re now in their mid-60s. I thought Crazy turned 51 about 6 years ago.

    • Epicus Doomus

      BatGab has always had that weird tendency toward pairing every character up with someone, just in general. There are hardly any single Westviewians and even the few single ones have sidekicks, like Summer/Keisha and Cody/Owen. Even Frankie has Lenny. It might even be a rule, as Susan Smith was banished in shame after failing to ensnare Les.

      As indicated elsewhere in this thread you’d think Dinkle and Becky would want to attend these services with their spouses, like how normal people do. And the constant rain is a nice touch, it really adds to the throwaway dismal-ity of the whole thing.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like how every single character has segregated themselves into their own little groups. There’s no mixing at all.

      That’s a great point. Imagine Dinkle telling a band story about Bull to Linda instead of the current band director. Isn’t that immediately better?

      Because this is what really happens at a funeral: you spend a lot of time talking to people you don’t know. Some of my strongest memories of lost loved ones are things that complete strangers (to me) said about them at their funeral. When you’ve just lost someone, it’s nice to hear new things about them, even if they’re just goofy little stories. It’s comforting. It affirms that the person lived a rich life and had many friends.

      Les’ jerkassery aside, these minor reminiscences about Bull aren’t terribly out of place, but they’re being told to the wrong people. (Seriously, Summer, those other girls were right next to you when Bull said that.)

      The problem is, there’s no context. Nothing meaningful has been said about Bull’s life that would put these little anecdotes into perspective. And some of them, like Dinkle’s, are so shallow that it’s like they’re damning Bull with faint praise.

      • Charles

        Some of my strongest memories of lost loved ones are things that complete strangers (to me) said about them at their funeral. When you’ve just lost someone, it’s nice to hear new things about them, even if they’re just goofy little stories.

        Exactly. At my father’s funeral I remember his firm’s chauffeur coming up to me and telling me about how much he liked my father, who never treated him like “the help” despite the fact that their only interactions involved this man taking him to the airport for business trips. It’s something I’ll always remember and it was not something I was aware of prior to the funeral. It’s just one of those little moments that you might not even think about except in situations like this.

        So it’s telling that for all these shitheads, the only stories about Bull that they can tell are the same stories we’ve already heard time and again. Hell, Dinkle’s “story” has been happening again and again for forty seven years. Batiuk literally cannot imagine a fuller life for any of his characters.

  10. ComicTrek

    Yeah, the Bat is totally NOT bragging about the characters he’s killed and/or physically damaged by grouping them all into the same strip. And a pretty irrelevant one at that.

  11. spacemanspiff85

    “Dinkle wants your horn to twinkle” is going to haunt my dreams for a while.

  12. Paul Jones

    And here we are, watching the self-important popinjay never realize that his band’s function was to support the team, not supplant it. The closest he’s come is “We’re the same because his ‘performance’ is rained out and sparsely attended too.”

  13. Professor Fate

    One constant with FW characters, no matter what happens, they always make it about THEM. It’s what makes them so eminently hateabile and utterly loathsome.

  14. Cabbage Jack

    Truth be told, I’ve always assumed Harry L. Dinkle was nothing more than a rip-off of Vonnegut’s George M. Helmholtz, from his 1950s short stories. It would be most Batiuk for his only quality creation to be someone else’s.

  15. Suicide note? More like suicide not, amirite?

    sooasid not

    Deer wif,

    I cant goe on lik this no mor. Taking the car. Mayb my fut wil slip. Hom soon if it dont.

    Lets hav piza.

    Lov,

    Bul

    PS: Say hi to Algernon.