Lestember: Earth, Wind, and Fire

When he came up with today’s strip one year ago, not even Tom Batiuk’s febrile, I mean fertile, imagination could have conceived what we’d be calling “the new normal” today. Unless BatAyers diverge from their famous, self-imposed 12-month lead time, expect Covid to rear its ugly head in Westview sometime in early spring.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Lestember: Earth, Wind, and Fire

  1. I’m sure Batiuk thinks this is deep and profound and, of course, deserving of an award. He can’t see that it’s trite and obvious, because to him those are virtues.

    • William Thompson

      You forgot “despair.” Batiuk refuses to think anything can be better. Batty, the whole world doesn’t have to be like your writing “skills!”

    • Charles

      I posted about a month ago about how I thought Batiuk’s occasional forays into climate change was little more than an attempt to address “contemporary issues”. But now I don’t think that quite captures it.

      There’s misanthropy too. It gives him an opportunity to talk about how stupid he thinks humanity is.

      Also, Les has rarely deserved a punch in his stupid goddamn nose more than he does in panel 2. Oh, if only people were as wise as him! It exhausts him, really.

      Also, why the fuck did Mason leave it to him to comfort his wife while they’re sifting though the rubble of their home? This is a shared trauma between Mason and Cindy that Les has little business being involved in, and yet there’s Les trying and failing to comfort Cindy while her stupid husband stands moping off to the side by himself. Mason hasn’t even said one thing to her. It’s as if they’re both unaware of each other’s feelings, and it’s so bad that he’s subletting his intimacy with his wife to the giantest, most ill-equipped douche in the world.

      • Count of Tower Grove

        Remember that Masone Jarrre is bipolar, and when this Lust for Lisa redux began he appeared quite manic. No doubt his recent, foolhardy exertions has precipitated this hitherto unseen depressive phase. Good luck with those bent nails!

      • Mela

        Spot on, Charles.

        Sigh, Les could only manage four words of comfort before going back to being his usual smug self. If he insisted on bringing that up, he should at least said it with a more somber expression.

        Mason-go put your arms around your wife, she needs you right now. No wonder Cindy appears to be hugging herself. Go comfort each other.

        Will the contemporary issue of global warming have any effect on Les? Will he have any other epiphany besides “I should let Marianne watch the tapes”? He almost died in a wildfire, he’s lost whatever belongings he brought with him, and his friends’ house burned to the ground. Will any of this make him more appreciative of his family? His life? His friends? Will he go back to Ohio and write another book or start an environmental initiative? Because here’s the thing-any complaining or anxiety about the Lisa movie after all of this will make him look even more self-absorbed and clueless than he already. Based on what we’ve seen so far though, I think we’re in for more of the same old Les.

  2. William Thompson

    “Now that we’ve destroyed the planet, we can return to zeta Reticuli and plot our next conquest.”

  3. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    “The future will be different from the present.” Prophetic.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    This one reads like he wrote it from a template.

    “If we don’t….

    Stop destroying the planet
    Educate teens about birth control
    Prevent underage drinking
    Ban football
    Stop irradiating the planet…”.

    Real profound stuff there, but as we all remember, golf started this fire. So his attempt at proufoundity here falls pretty flat.

  5. none

    Apparently, Cindy standing there looking completely helplessly pathetic with her arms crossed over her chest is the new normal. The new normal. The new normal. The new normal. The new normal.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Seeing the cliche “The new normal” in FW is proof that this these words are empty, meaningless, and overused.

  6. Barnaby Scones

    At least if the planet is destroyed, we can hope that includes Les.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    To quote Lt. Sulu from the “Wolf in the Fold” episode of TOS – “He sure talks gloomy.”

  8. J.J. O'Malley

    I ask you, fellow readers, who did it better:

    “He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature–and, because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can’t be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection, they find only death, fire, loss, disillusionment–the end of everything that’s gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can’t be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself.” Peter Graves, “It Conquered the World” (1956)

    “No, now that we’ve destroyed the planet…what’s yet to come will the new normal.” Les Moore, “Funky Winkerbean” (2020)

    Unseen Panel Three: Les tries to cheer everyone up by asking, “So, who’s up for watching the Lisa DVDs? That woman who lives in my house should have sent them out here by now!”

  9. billytheskink

    One could swap out “fires” for “plots” and “planet” for “Funky Winkerbean” and actually be even more correct…

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    This story is like one of the silly movies that was nominated for Best Picture at the end of the last Naked Gun. “Mary Lou Retton, Fatal Affair, One woman’s ordeal to overcome the death of her cat, set against the Hindenberg disaster. Shannon Doherty, Basic Analysis, one woman’s struggle against a yeast infection during the 1991 Buffalo Bills season.”

    “Les Moore, Lisa’s Story II: one man’s brave decision to let other people view DVDs of his dead wife, while a Gene Autry serial rescues an imaginary child from a global warming-induced wildfire.”

  11. comicbookharriet

    I’m picturing this strip replaying much the same after nuclear holocaust and the rapture. Batiuk has no sense of history and no sense of scale. Blaming a single wildfire started by golf on global climate change, is the modern equivalence of blaming a solar eclipse on the gods being angry at a lack of sacrifices. Both are mankind pretending that they can control nature through morality.

  12. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    WTF is Less saying? It’s just gobbledygook. Do I need to have few more drinks to understand him, or have I already had too many because I think FW might make sense under any conditions?
    Isn’t everything that’s yet to come going to be the new normal?

    • William Thompson

      What is Least saying?

      “I will make this arc relevant by mentioning global warming. Will this win me a Pulitzer? No? Then I will write a very special arc where we denounce AGW as a hoax. Maybe that will work. Whatever it takes!”

  13. SeaCountry

    So now Batiuk wants to loop in that environmental/global warming message. I’m all for that, usually, but this is hamfisted and delivered to a hurting individual. Plus there are a lot of other individuals who are hurting much worse in that city. (Good thing L*s doesn’t know any of them.) And if the world’s just going to hell anyway, why should L*s waste his time in LA trying to get a movie made and waiting for the Lisa DVDs? Doesn’t he have better things to do?

  14. DreadedCandiru2

    Walt Kelly did it better. Then again, Walt Kelly wasn’t stupid. He didn’t blame things on big, vague things and put the blame on average slobs.

  15. Tim Batiock

    Wow. It’s amazing how much hell poor Les has survived. This honorable man just keeps going. It’s been inspiring watching his happy-go-lucky personality persist over these last weeks.

    Funky Winkerbean is the really most brilliant strip ever created.

    If you can’t appreciate it for its———-


  16. Count of Tower Grove

    There’s three duffers that are still out there!

  17. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    This is some really scary shit!
    “…the fires I’d seen were just a few of the hundreds sparked all over northern California by freak thunderstorms that weekend, in which 10,800 lightning strikes ignited 367 fires. Soon, hundreds of the small fires converged into bigger and bigger ones, so fast and so vast that Cal Fire didn’t even give names to the largest ones as it usually does…”

  18. Rusty Shackleford

    Batiuk said. “You can’t expect to go through life without being offended. [Cartoonists] want to do more substantial work and are challenging readers to go along with that.”

    Hmm, now I understand where Batty is coming from. His strip offends me more and more each day. I continue to read it in the hopes that it will challenge Batty to do something interesting.

  19. Banana Jr. 6000

    You know what would have made this environmental message more effective? The story being about the environment in any way whatsoever. Even Captain Planet had some strawman corporate polluter villains. And when you compare unfavorably to Captain Planet, you are not winning any Environmental Media Awards.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Batty says a lot without saying anything at all, but hey, it pads out the story for another week.

      Personally, I blame Lisa for all of this. I think it was a sign she doesn’t want this movie to be made. ( Ghost Lisa gives thumbs up)

    • Gerard Plourde

      But there was an environmental message. “Don’t play golf during a drought on poorly maintained courses using metal headed clubs that can cause random sparks.”

      Too subtle?

  20. Hitorque

    1. Don’t you dare fuckin’ lecture us on the “new normal” when Funky sees machines come to life during his daily jog, Cindye refuses to look her age and old sci-fi fanboy weirdos are getting saved from certain death by imaginary underground queens and an army of robots…

    2. Wow… If only these three high profile public figures could lead by example and use their platforms to educate the public about climate change? Nah, Cindye gets too much of an ego boost reminding everyone back in Westview that she and Masone get to fly a private Gulfstream 650 everywhere… And exactly why the hell does she need a big honkin’ luxury SUV in the first place? What does she even need to carry around?

  21. comicbookharriet

    What was the carbon footprint of TWO HOUSES?

    • SeaCountry

      Not even two houses in different cities, but different parts of the same metropolitan area?!

    • Charles

      And the private jet that you take from Los Angeles to Cleveland to watch a movie serial made for children, which you could watch from anywhere.

      And then a trip to New York City on a whim to find an actor who you’ve never spoken to.

  22. Meanwhile, Marianne is handing out bottled water and blankets at the local elementary school gym/emergency crisis shelter, because as an A-list actor who happens to have been raised with Good Down Home American Values, she understands the importance of good P.R. and helping to protect the common good.

    Meanwhile, the families of the producer and the director of “Lisa’s Story” are at the morgue, identifying the remains of their loved ones. Because for all we know they died when the flames that were in the parking lot of the studio made it up to the building. Nobody has seen the lady who was chatting with Les at the food truck for days…

    Meanwhile, Jeff is telling the story of Murania for the fifth time. Pete continues to be unreasonably enthralled. Mindy is using the opportunity to bang out the next five issues of Wayback Wendy using the Notes app on her phone. I hope that Ruby Lith can draw one hell of a wildfire! (And that the lady who started the Great Chicago Fire doesn’t have any living family members who will sue them.)

    Meanwhile, Cayla and Ghost Lisa are into Week 3 of the argument they’ve been having over the TV since Les left. Long story short: Cayla feels that the TV is hers because she’s the one who’s currently alive, but Lisa is stubbornly insisting that she needs to finish recording things onto all 500 of the VHS tapes she bought on eBay back in 1998(?) On the bright side, they both agree that Les should just unclench his sphincter and let Mason watch a few episodes of “Don’t Forget We Have a Daughter and that She Needs Food to Live.”