Tone It Down

I wonder if the school still pays the cost for Dinkle to attend the OMEA. Oh wait, in today’s strip it’s just “Music Educators Conference”. I wonder if the OMEA didn’t pay enough to be featured on a sign every day this week. Or maybe Batiuk thought it would be nobody would know “OMEA” was a music thing, and they wouldn’t be able to appreciate the hilarity without knowing that.
Apart from the weirdness of the sign, just the format itself of today’s strip confuses me so much. Batiuk does this regularly, where one character makes a “joke” and another character reacts with fury to tell them it’s not a joke. I don’t understand it at all, because it doesn’t add a thing to it. The only thing I see as a possibility is maybe that Batiuk does it to portray anyone who doesn’t appreciate “wordplay” as a jackass? Because I can guarantee he doesn’t have a problem with puns, since 99% of the content in Crankshaft is Crankshaft getting words confused.
I’d also like to know the set up of this joke-did Harry just randomly walk up to someone he saw talking and tell him this?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

22 responses to “Tone It Down

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I never really understood this either. I assume that he thinks the fact that the puns all suck IS the funny part. He must be a real hoot at parties.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    Battyuk’s probably deluded himself into thinking that no one remembers how this “person makes what they think is witty wordplay, only to have the recipient of their verbal quip berate them for it” made up about 80 percent of the last two weeks’ “Funky at the Eye Doctor” saga (Ahh, me, such simple, bygone times).

  3. Tom Batiuk certainly believes that puns are the highest form of intelligence, so clearly we’re to regard this bearded weirdo with disdain. Yet, I’d like to see said beardo land a well-placed punch on Dinkle’s face, hopefully sending him into an unconscious state! Or at least insensate enough to cease rendering wordplay.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    I like Spiff’s interpretation. Batiuk probably was aiming for “Anyone who doesn’t appreciate puns is a smug, unlikeable jackass”, but he hit “people don’t appreciate being used for lame, unfunny jokes” instead. Two wrongs make a right, I guess?

    I do enjoy seeing Dinkle getting the negative feedback he deserves for once. Piss off, Dinkle. You’re not a music educator anymore. You haven’t been one for ten years. You’re supposed to be retired. You’re supposed to be deaf. You have nothing meaningful to say. And above all else: You. Are. Not. Funny.

    • Jimmy

      If the time jump is still a thing, didn’t he retire about a 1/4 century from reality ago?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yes, but the problem is Linda and Bull’s retirement. They canonically graduated from Westview High School in 1988, and retired from teaching there in or before 2019. That makes them late-40s at retirement, or late-50s if you work in the time skip. Maybe WHS has a really generous retirement program.

        Dinkle could have easily retired at the same age. If his teaching career dates back to 1972, then he can’t have been born after 1950. That age would make him 70 now, or 80 with the extra ten years. Subtract 25 from that and he’s close to the same retirement age as Bull and Linda were.

        Or more likely, two narrative errors cancelled each other out.

  5. billytheskink

    “And I can see you are a band director too… because this is a conference specifically for band directors.”

    “Actually, I retired from band directing decades ago.”

    “Then… I’m sorry, I’m sorry, then why on earth are you here?”

    “Oh, I still hang around with the girl who replaced me and give her daily unsolicited advice.”

    *mutters* “… the hell?”

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “Well, I have to be there to lend her a hand…she only has one arm!”

      “Again with the puns!?”

    • Mr. A

      “I can see you’re a band director because you speak in measured tones.”

      “Actually, I’m a choir director.”

      “What! When did they start letting choir directors into the OMEA?!?”

      “Well, let me check the website on my phone here…1932.”

  6. ComicBookHarriet

    Why do I feel this is some kind of personal attack?

    • Aurora Snorealis

      Indeed yes. You can bet someone said this to Batiuk at a party in 1984 and he’s been stewing over it several times a day since.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It very much has the tone of Batiuk’s usual complaints “the name Funky Winkerbean prevents me from doing serious work” and “people don’t want to see serious stories in the comics,” doesn’t it?

      In Batiuk’s mind, any rejection of Funky Winkerbean or its characters must be because people are closed-minded about certain kinds of comedy. It can’t be because Dinkle is being obnoxious to this random person, or because Batiuk’s “prestige arcs” are horrible and nobody wants to see any more of them.

  7. Jimmy

    It’s appropriate that the top tweet right now in the sidebar features terrible wordplay.

  8. Don

    Why do I have a feeling the response was targeted at somebody in particular? I didn’t mention any names, Stephan Pastis…

  9. Mr. A

    Now that we’ve arrived at the source of the masthead quote, I notice that someone edited “You’ve probably deluded yourself…” to “I’ve probably deluded myself…”

  10. Gerard Plourde

    I agree with the observations above that this most likely reflects an actual interchange that TomBa has had. What’s amazing is that he seems to think that his readers would feel sorry for Dinkle.

  11. Count of Tower Grove

    Sorry that Dinkle wasn’t around yesterday when Becky need a hand.

  12. newagepalimpsest

    It’s starting to look like Dinkle needs a 47-page waiver before they take him on a field trip.

    Actually, I wonder if there’ll be any point to the students being present at all. Will they make asses of themselves? Will they discover that they truly love music after attending the trombone seminar? Will someone sneak some Lucky Lager into the motel and get Westview High banned from the conference forever?