The Gorge Rises

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, so yesterday Dinkle said he might be “selected” to be one of 300. Today, I guess all you have to do is claim a spot? Might want to work on your “consistency” there, Batiuk. And while you’re at it, do something about “continuity.”

Ha! I slay me.

Anyway, in today’s strip, the dialogue could have said that the 257 “have already been chosen,” which would put it right back into the “might be selected” camp and add a bit of an edge to panel three’s situation. Will Harry be selected or won’t he? Of course he will, that’s a foregone conclusion, but at least Batiuk could try to have a bit of suspense, something that will keep a reader interested. Cos it sure ain’t the characters or dialogue that’s gonna do it.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

44 responses to “The Gorge Rises

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I can’t believe I never noticed this before but the lines on his garage door are supposed to be like sheet music. Was it always like that? I thought I remembered the treble clef being in the middle of the garage door, although honestly I wasn’t paying enough attention to really be sure.

    Anyhow yeah, so when exactly did Dinkle “step away” from band directing? He’s CONSTANTLY band directing, all the time, non-stop. The gazebo orchestra, the Bedside Manorisms, the St. Spires choir, Becky…the guy does nothing BUT band direct. So this gag sort of falls flat, one could say.

  2. none

    You spent that two second edge on trying to get your alleged new official name entered and talking about it after it was rejected, you absolute jackass.

  3. Mr. A


    Ahem…sorry about the yelling.

    I have to say, this must be a pretty sophisticated website if it gives you a real-time update on how many slots are left. Pretty sure even Ticketmaster doesn’t do that for you.

  4. Sourbelly

    So, the first 300 that click Submit get a spot in this BAND DIRECTORS march? Am I interpreting this correctly? I mean, I can’t tell whether Tombat is keeping me suspended or not.

    Oh, and my mind doesn’t exactly “boggle” at the idea of a bunch of BAND DIRECTORS marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade. My mind snores.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Dinkle strips make a lot more sense if you interpret everything Harriet says as sarcasm.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, the strip seems to be conflating “only X will be chosen” and “only X can apply.”

  5. louder

    I must admit I’m mystified by the story line here. You just can’t have 300 people march in the Rose Parade, doing nothing but sauntering down Colorado Blvd. And there’s no way 300 people can be turned into a marching band, when are they going to practice? So the real life, believability of this whole endeavor is in the tank, if fact, it’s broken the tank and is spreading like some kind of ooze, a stinky ooze at that. This is a dumb story even by BatHack standards.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Apparently someone is actually going to try (and they’ve gotten the parade to go along with the idea). This much is real.

    • Mela

      Oh yes, it’s a real thing. And 300 band directors marching in a group can definitely be done. Any music parts can be sent ahead of time to practice. There’s a whole schedule for participants which will include some rehearsal time and planning. And remember-these ladies/gentlemen are band directors so parades should be pretty familiar territory for them. Totally doable.

      As a former band kid & band mom, I think the real event is actually a pretty cool idea, especially after watching COVID wipe out entire marching band and athletic seasons in schools over the past year. Band directors who can foster a love of music, who can take individual kids who have never played a note before and by the end of the year have them playing in ensembles, and who can teach kids to march, play and work together as a team/band to perfect a show every year deserve recognition. Now, whether Dinkle has imparted any of that to his former students has been and will no doubt continue to be debated throughout this arc. And I wouldn’t mind so much about Dinkle wanting to be a part of this if he didn’t come off as obnoxious most of the time. I liked him in Act I. He was a little unhinged, but he was still funny.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Right, considering that band directors are actively involved with music performance, this should be easy. I suspect they will arrive a couple days ahead of time and will have a few intense rehearsals.

        The music program at my old high school definitely left an impression on many students and a lot went on to become educators and performers. I was offered a scholarship to study percussion ( I did not accept), but others did and one went on to become a percussionist with a major symphony.

        Batty’s not the only one who can hype Akron bands…enjoy this!

        • Rusty Shackleford

          By the way, when I was a student at UA, I took a summer workshop and built a bass pan and learned how to play it. Fun stuff!

      • Hitorque

        I still want to know which band instrument Dinkle even knows how to play…

    • saturnino

      “believability of this whole endeavor is in the tank”

      No, see that’s the thing. They get 300 of the WORST band directors and have them march and then get run down by the tanks (made up of flowers, of course) that follow them. Hilarity ensues.

  6. Mr. A

    Slightly off-topic: are we sure it was a good idea to retweet this all-caps guy? I’m not sure what he means when he says that the recent Dinkle arcs “illuminate stalkers”.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Uh, yeah, look at his other tweets. His job seems to be driving around L.A. looking for Illuminati messages in license plate frames.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    I know it’s really not worth bringing up, but…

    If memory serves me right, Harry L. Dinkle TWGBD took his high school ensemble to Pasadena on New Year’s Day at least once, maybe twice (with one time being a backwards march), back in the day. And he’s been
    “retired” for a decade or so. With all this in mind, did it ever ONCE occur to him that Westview’s CURRENT band director, a young woman who took over for him and has had to overcome a certain amount of adversity in her life, might be interested in taking part in the parade? At the very least, did he ever consider seeing if Becky wanted to join him in a joint Tournament of Roses pilgrimage?

    The answer, not surprisingly, is no, of course not. Why have an active band director take part when a deaf, out-to-pasture octogenarian can get the chance to reclaim the glory he drained from his students? Boy, good thing there’s no big religious holiday in late December where St. Spires might need their choir director/organist.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Becky is just a chew toy used to generate more misery and melodrama into the strip. Most of the readers of this strip probably couldn’t even remember her name.

      Dinkle came up at time when this strip was funny and playful and so the idea of a dictator like band director fit perfectly. He, like Crankshaft, is instantly recognizable.

      But over the years, Batty has destroyed all of his characters and none of them are likable.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        What happened to Becky is a revealing window in Tom Batiuk’s sick, rotten little soul. It’s almost like he keeps her around just to torture her.

        And what was Becky’s original sin? She wanted to leave Westview. At age 18. That’s it. She had musical talent and was accepted to a prestigious college to study it. She wasn’t arrogant, obsessive, demanding, lazy, or unreasonable about it. She had a path in life that didn’t include Westview High School, Kent State, or Montoni’s. Which she had every right to pursue. And Tom Batiuk said “oh, no, you don’t.”

        He not only mutilated Becky, he did it in a way that took away her God-given talent. He couldn’t even be bothered to make a “one mistake can ruin your life” anti-drunk driving story out of it. It was a stupid, utterly pointless event that happened just because it did. Yes, sometimes stupid and pointless things happen in life, but the story didn’t treat it that way either. It was treated as a non-event, with implications that Becky deserved it somehow. When she was the passenger!

        Becky got no medical treatment, no disability benefits, no physical therapy, no emotional support, no out-of-court settlement, no nothing. She had no parents to fight on her behalf. This was never treated as an injustice, a disgrace, a horrible tragedy, or even anything someone should be held responsible for. The perpetrator, Wally, got off scot free like some minor Kennedy cousin. Or maybe it was Cory; I don’t remember, and what’s the difference anyway? Batiuk just chopped her arm off and dumped her back in the street, like the Saudi Arabian criminal justice system.

        Now, you may find it admirable that Becky became a music teacher despite this setback. But she didn’t actually do that, did she? The position was assigned to her. She never had to learn how to do things with one arm. Her handicap is never addressed even once, when it should be the central part of her personal arc. Which is what happens whenever someone in Funky Winkerbean ever has to deal with a real problem: it is magically solved offscreen.

        And after Becky’s arm was lost, her free will went with it. All discussion of her going away to college immediately stopped. Because, as we all know, a disabled person cannot possibly enroll at a university! Or even move to another town! Becky had no choice but to go straight back to Westview and begin preparing for her assigned role as Dinkle’s underling. And she’d better be grateful for that, because she still has three limbs left.

        Becky can’t fight the power, but she puts up a passive-aggressive resistance. Every time Dinkle shows up to waste her time, or Batiuk shows off her stump (which he does almost every shot she’s in), she’s snarky, sarcastic and backhanded. And she never complains, as if she’s vowed she’s not going to give her captors any pleasure.

        I like to think that someday, the residents of Westview and Centerville will revolt against their sick creator, and Becky will lead the revolution. After the Comic Book riots happen, the Lisa monuments are destroyed, Harry Dinkle is roasted on a spit, and Tom Batiuk is prepared for beheading, he’ll take one last look up to see who did it to him. And he’ll see that missing arm one last time.

        • The Duck of Death

          Honest to Jesus, I hope someday you write the foreword to “The Collected Funky Winkerbean, Acts II and III.” This may be the definitive essay on the laziness of Tom Batiuk and his basic hatred of most of his own characters.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Thank you, I’m very flattered by that, I think there is a great criticism of Funky Winkerbean waiting to be written, but it’s hard to know where to start. (And I think academia is way overdue to tackle the subject.) The strip is offensive and awful in ways that are difficult to quickly describe. It’s one of the most tasteless, hateful things in all of media, and yet it manages to stay completely under the radar. I’m almost fascinated by it.

        • Hitorque

          There wasn’t even a jail sentence for Wally or Cory?? Or did the judge give them one of those old-school “You can either go to prison for 28 months or go enlist in the Army” – type of deals??

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Not that I recall, but I may not remember correctly.

          • The Duck of Death

            Oh, it’s so much worse than that. I was just looking through the archives because I’m a glutton for punishment, and found an Oct 2010 arc where Rachel, who has just started dating the unwilling Wally, meets with One-Armed Becky to talk about him. She asks Becky whether Wally was always a tortured alcoholic, or whether he just became that way after his wartime experiences. Becky, with a thought balloon picturing the accident that cost her her arm, says basically that Wally’s always had his torments and alcoholism, and she feels so bad for all the things he has to live with. The tenor of the arc is that Wally is such a sad case and these two sweet women just grieve so much for his struggles. But Becky is glad to see Rachel dating him and obviously hopes he’ll be very happy with her!

            Not only is this a typical flaming failure of the Bechdel Test — obviously, the only thing two women could have to discuss is the loser alkie they both have dating history with — but it totally violates all laws of storytelling and human psychology. Not only does Becky not mind one bit that Wally’s drinking caused a horrific accident that severed her left arm, her education, and her bright future as a musician — she’s actually gutted by how much poor Wally has had to suffer in his life.

            I would dearly love to see Rachel throttle Batty with her one good arm.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            @Duck of Death Great find. And that’s another Funky Winkerbean trope that makes me wanna puke: the “troubled nice guy” narrative it tries to spin about its objectively shitty male characters. And how the women in their lives just worry so much about their pwecious widdwe feewings and pay no mind to their own basic needs. Anybody heard from Cayla lately?

  8. Hitorque

    Like I asked yesterday, hasn’t Dinkle done the Rose Bowl parade at least twice already?? Isn’t this old hat to him by now?

    And I refuse to believe there are enough hours in the day for all of Dinkle’s little musical side hustles… I’m I the only one who remembers he’s also got at least two ongoing book projects as well??

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      More importantly, isn’t HE old hat to THEM? We’ve seen Dinkle show up in Pasadena twice, and pull two stupid stunts that disrupted the parade. Either one of which should have gotten him ejected from it, and blacklisted from future events. A parade can’t have people just showing up and doing whatever they want, especially after 9/11. Never mind how staggeringly rude it is to everyone else in the parade.

      But, uh-oh, it’s that wacky Harry Dinkle again! He’s the World’s Greatest Band Director! And he’s just got to hijack this live, national broadcast from 100,000 other performers and 299 other band directors to tell you how great he is! On what planet does Tom Batiuk think this is charming?

      • J.J. O'Malley

        “A parade can’t have people just showing up and doing whatever they want…” Not to stray off topic, but that was one of the more annoying things to me (among several) in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” This Germanic/Slavic musical troupe gets their float and performance hijacked by Ferris, and everyone just starts singing and dancing to “Twist and Shout” like it’s something they rehearsed. But hey, they’re just colorful ethnics there to enhance the enjoyment of the cute, suburban, white heroes.

        Now that I think about it, Bueller would have made a good FW character…although in Battyuk’s version the Ferrari would have crashed right where Bull Bushka died, Cameron would have lost an arm, and Ferris would have gotten off scot free.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          True, but that was a 1980s teen fantasy movie we weren’t supposed to take that seriously. We all know how many inches from reality Funky Winkerbean is!

        • The Duck of Death

          True story: Back in the 80s, my father and his close friend happened upon a Pulaski Day parade, with the usual folk in ethnic dress holding banners, musicians playing polkas, etc. My dad and his friend were both in their mid-70s, white-haired and distinguished-looking, and they were both giant hams with a naughty streak. They both stepped right into a gap in the parade, and began marching and waving. Since they were wearing suits and looked the part, people smiled and waved back, figuring they were some local Polish dignitaries. They marched for several blocks before disappearing back into the crowd.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Ha, sounds like something my Polish uncles would do!

            Reminds me of a Memorial Day parade. We were watching the parade and in between two groups was an old lady driving a car. The car had no banners and she was not waving. We figured she was on her way to the store and got waved into the parade.

          • Charles

            Memories of Rat Pfink a Boo Boo.

            Want a parade in your movie but don’t have the cash to put one together? No problem for Ray Dennis Steckler! Just hijack a real one!

  9. hitorque

    I swear to Christ if we have to deal with another door-to-door fundraising story just because Dinkle is too cheap to pay his own way out to Pasadena, I’m done with this strip for good.

  10. batgirl

    Is Becky the only one of Harry’s students ever who went on to a career in music? Heck, Bull Bushka has a better success rate than Dinkle.
    Thought: was Becky punished for potentially having more fame and success than her soi-disant mentor? Or for being more focussed on her music than on his ego?

    • Mela

      Could be. Maybe that’s why she’s doomed to walk around the music conventions with Dinkle instead of actually directing and chaperoning the students she brought to play there.

      • Westview Radiology

        And if that isn’t bad enough she ends up being married to rancid smelling Batman T-shirt dead skunk and John.

  11. Lord Flatulence

    I’m thinking about signing up to possibly be selected to allegedly march in a so-called band comprised of at most 300 wanna-be band directors at the supposed Tournament of Roses Parade.