Link to today’s strip.

Speaking of “obfuscation,” isn’t it interesting that some nobody we’ve never seen before gets several weeks of funeral planning, so that his service can be just the way he wanted it?

Contrast this with Bull Bushka, who I’m surprised didn’t just get dumped in the town landfill. And whose death led immediately, and I mean immediately, to a long discussion of Lisa’s Legacy and how awesome Les is.

Batiuk really has no shame, has he?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Obfuscation

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “A traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service? I don’t know, I’m not sure I can pull off a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service.”

    “I’m betting that you can put together a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service, Harry. Because if the Lord wants you to put together a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service, then a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service is what you shall put together!”

    “It’s more of that God trickery! Damn Him and his manipulative ways! Why, Lord, why must I put together a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service??? I don’t even know anything ABOUT traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral services!!!”

    “But I don’t know anything about putting together a ___” is one of my least favorite tropes and I like it even less when Batty does it. Every regular FW reader knows exactly where this is going and I’m just as sick about it as you are. He’s testing us and trying one more last-ditch effort to bore us away before the big 50th anniversary strip next March, but I’m not backing down no matter what he throws at us from here on out. So do your worst, you tedious bastard.

    • TimP

      It’s been a long day. Time to go to sleep. But, maybe I’ll check in on that one comics blog.

      … Sees it funning on a Second Line …

      This was not the relaxing trip to the internet I thought it would be. Time to check my social media method of choice and then go to sleep without any hope for tomorrow.

  2. William Thompson

    Dingle is probably right that he can’t handle that New Orleans action. Give him a lyre and toga instead; Nero is definitely his style!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I saw “The Sign of the Cross” this past Saturday, in which Charles Laughton played Nero, the musical emperor. In the movie, he’s less important than his wife, the Empress Poppaea, played by Claudette Colbert.

      Since this was a pre-Code film, we get to see Poppaea bathing in a pool of asses’s milk.

      You could get a good supply of asses’s milk from the characters in this strip.

      “Sending out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille..”

  3. Sourbelly

    A Major Writer like Batdick knows the word “obfuscation” because he always has Roget’s Thesaurus at the ready. But, like, how is this obfuscation? Nameless Preacher-Type Guy has specified quite clearly what he wants from Dinkhole. I…I feel like I keep saying this over and over this week: “I don’t get it!”

    • Epicus Doomus

      I believe he’s angry at “The Lord”, apparently for not giving him a clear, easy path toward putting together a traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service. Even though Dinkle himself only heard about it mere seconds ago. I mean, I think that’s what he was going for here, but really, who knows?

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        “The Lord” did not save a fervent follower in Mary Renault’s 1958 novel *The King Must Die.*

  4. billytheskink

    I like to imagine the minister’s first choice was the guy on the Zatarain’s box.

  5. Mr. A

    Have we seen Dinkle panic before? This is new to me.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    Now that I think about it, “Obfuscation Winkerbean” would be a good alternate title for this strip.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    “The Lord is deliberately obfuscating me!” says the guy who gets everything he wants in life just handed to him. And who never faces any repercussions for his own egotism and abusiveness.

    Have you noticed that the biggest complainers in Westview are the people with the least to complain about? And vice versa. If anybody should be taking His name in vain, it should be Lisa. She had a Dickensian childhood, became a rape victim, got cancer for no reason, and died because her useless slug of a husband was more concerned with leveraging it into his own writing career.

    Or Becky, who lost an arm and a music career at age 18 because of someone else’s drunk driving. Or Wally, who was that drunk driver, but didn’t deserve to be a POW for 10 years because of a stupid clerical error either. Really, even if he was one day short of his commitment, the military couldn’t sit him at a desk for a day? They sent him straight to the front line? You can’t even get from the induction center to the front line in a day, much less get sent on a dangerous assignment and get captured!

    Tom Batiuk is a cruel, capricious god.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      “As flies to wanton Batiuks are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”

      A tip of the Anonymous Sparrow’s wing to William Shakespeare’s *King Lear*!

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    Here’s my question about this New Orleans-style jazz funeral: why doesn’t the family of the deceased already know someone who can do it?

    From what I’ve read, the recipients of such funerals are usually musicians themselves. Or, they’re people connected to the local music scene, or to related organizations. I’ve lived in Tampa, and the Gasparilla “krewes” are a big deal locally. They wouldn’t bat an eye at such a request. Or at least they’d know a local brass band you could hire.

    The family of the deceased should be arranging this part of the ceremony with the deceased’s friends, not with a bunch of strangers who have no expertise in it. And shouldn’t the friends of the deceased be the ones playing anyway? They’re the ones to whom it would mean the most. Going to a funeral is one thing, but actively participating in it hits you in a totally different way.

    But this whole situation exists only to glorify Dinkle, in advance of his history-altering appearance in the friggin’ Rose Parade. We’ll probably never even see the deceased or their family, just like we never saw the gay prom teens, or any of Bull Bushka’s children when he died.

  9. hitorque

    1. I don’t get it… A family can request literally any genre of music they want for a funeral service and the pastor has to make good on it no matter the talent level or resources of the church musicians?? That’s a new one to me…

    1a. And I’m not in the best of moods today so I’m going to ignore the Big Dink’s mildly blasphemous and wholly immature retort… He could just as easily say this half-assed musical request is a non-starter and suggest the reverend hire some professionals… But Batiuk needs the Big Dink to be “volunteered” into this job so he keeps his halo and while playing up his “innocent selfless victim of tragic circumstance” -role that every Westview denizen knows so well…

    2. Oh, and a hearty ‘FUCK YOU’ to the self-proclaimed “Greatest Band Director/Music Teacher/Music Historian Who Ever Lived”, Harold LeRoy I-wear-my-Belgian-Order-of-Leopold-Medal-around-my-neck-every-damn-day Dinkle and his incessant bitching and moaning over an unorthodox but certainly doable music request… You’re in what I presume to be a House of God and there’s only supposed to be **ONE** person on the fucking cross, Dink…

    3. It would really be nice if the decedent’s widow or children could appear and explain to everyone just why a New Orleans sendoff means so much to them, but we can’t have some dead guy or some weeping relatives take even five seconds of the spotlight away from the Big Dink, can we??

    3a. Extra credit for nobody seeming to give a solitary shit about one of their own church members dying, especially that dopey grinning pastor who is already thinking about the viral potential on St. Spires’ Instagram account.

    3b. I guess that cat that made everyone famous from earlier in the year died or ran away or something?

    4. It’s funny because Batiuk wants us all to forget the Big Dink is the agent/producer/arranger for a Dixieland Jazz band over at the nursing home…

    4a. But we all know where this storyline is headed — Big Dink will get his choir members some elementary proficiency in the essential brass and woodwinds and the choir will sound 1% better than rank amateurs and everyone will proclaim it a great success and bow to the Big Dink’s musical genius once again…

    • I think it’s more likely that Dinkle will drag the “Bedside Manorisms” or whatever the nursing home band is called, out to the church to do a proper traditional New Orleans jazz-style funeral service. That’s the only conclusion I can come up with, but then what do I know, I thought for sure that Cory was the Pizza Box Monster.

  10. be ware of eve hill

    Is it common for the church choir to perform at funeral services?

    I don’t attend many funerals. I usually prefer to attend the visitation hours because I have a better chance to talk with the family of the deceased.

    My Mom had her funeral service at the church where she was a member for fifty years. The funeral service was on a Saturday morning. The folks attending the funeral sang Mom’s favorite hymn, directed by the minister. An organist played, but there was no choir.

    Dad, unfortunately, passed away during the pandemic, and we had to settle for a video ceremony. The service was attended by immediate friends and family, the minister and the funeral home staff. The service was posted on the funeral home’s website. No choir, no organist, no hymns.

    Is this funeral taking place immediately after the Sunday service? If not, it seems like it would be an imposition on the choir members if they weren’t very close to the decedent. Too bad if you had any plans for ​Saturday. If the service is on a weekday evening, hurry home from work, so you can get to the funeral on time. If the service is on a weekday morning/afternoon, are they required to call off work? The clergyman has a salary and will receive a fee for performing the funeral service. Dinkle draws a salary as the choir director/organist. The choir members are all volunteers. What’s their motivation?

    It kind of bugs me that Reverend Lovejoy butters up the choir on the way up the choir loft stairs but has barely even glanced at them while talking to Dinkle. Dinkle and the Rev shouldn’t be the sole deciders. Will the choir just follow whatever Dinkle wants to do?
    Choir member #1: We must perform at the funeral service because it is the will of Dinkle.
    Choir member #2: Harry decides for us because we have no names or identities. All hail Dinkle, the world’s greatest choir director!

    Of course, Dinkle will completely nail it, and the choir will all be good troopers and follow Harry’s direction without fail. 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

    • be ware of eve hill

      Batiuk made a big whoop-de-do about Lillian crossing over from Crankshaft earlier this year. Being relegated to the background is a fate her character richly deserves.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      I cannot recall ever going to a funeral service where the church choir was singing.

      I am occasionally hired to play bagpipes at funerals/memorial services/celebrations of life (too many terms for the same thing), sometimes in a church, sometimes at the funeral home, sometimes at the graveside. If you want me to show up for a quick “Amazing Grace,” you will be asked to fork over at least $150. You want a “special” tune (one outside the normal repertoire), it’s more like $200-250, and the choice of tunes is to be settled at least a month before the service.

      Battocks seems to live in this fantasy world where all musicians are amateurs, playing solely for the joy of making music, and definitely not to be soiled by earthly concerns like payment for services.

      • The Duck of Death

        How about “Maple Leaf Rag” arranged for bagpipe, to be played this Saturday afternoon for a bunch of grieving strangers, for the princely sum of “The Joy of Making Music”?

    • Maxine of Arc

      If it’s a whole mass, maybe, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest that these are hardcore hymns-and-incense Catholics or Anglicans. Not at a graveside service for sure.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    So now we know Batty took a trip to New Orleans last year…

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Nah, he just binge-watched “NCIS: New Orleans.” Seems to me he’s smack in the middle of CBS’s target demographic for that show. (Technically, so am I, but I gave up on “NCIS: NOLA” after the first season or two, when it stopped being about solving crimes and became all about Captain Archer—I mean, Dwayne Pride—single-handedly cleaning up N’Awlins.)

  12. The Duck of Death

    The funny thing is that when jazz singers try to sing rock, or opera singers try to sing pop, they usually sound off no matter how proficient they are.

    I wouldn’t expect Batty to understand this, but music — most especially New Orleans jazz — is more about feel than about hitting the correct notes. And that’s something that really can’t be taught, at least not in the few days they have before the funeral.

    Is there nothing on this planet that Batiuk doesn’t totally misunderstand and misconstrue? And then brag about on his blog?

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    When he mentioned in his blog that he didn’t read the Bible, I hope he was just implying that he doesn’t read it for religious reasons. But as a supposedly college educated person he SHOULD have read it as literature.

    Personally, I think he just says stuff in order to sound like a deep thinker. Of course it falls apart because it is not genuine. I learned this writing essays during my freshman year. One of my professors asked me to rewrite one of my papers and write about MY thoughts, not copying someone else’s thoughts.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yeah, that was weird. Especially with his church-centric plot lines. I’ve been under the impression that he is at least a desultory Christian, but with his misunderstanding of Ecclesiastes — a book even an atheist like me finds beautiful (in the KJV) and profound — I’m starting to wonder.

      What a strange flex on his blog — “I don’t read the bible, probably should, but I don’t…” It suggests that he’s a Christian, but not enough of one to be bothered with Christianity. In other words, it suggests to me that he half-asses religion the way he half-asses everything else. He certainly has shown zero understanding of the way choirs, churches, or funerals work.

      (Or saints. “St. Spires”? Saints are not named after features of churches, Tom — oh, forget it. Why do I try? Let’s give Tom his own religion. Let’s say St. Spires of Akron was martyred by wrecking ball and canonized by Pope Kasich.)

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        But who was devil’s advocate? Was it a joint effort from DC’s Blue Devil and Marvel’s Daredevil? (Both Catholics, by the way.)

        With a little help from that horny little devil Daryl Van Horne?

        If you haven’t seen “The Witches of Eastwick,” here’s Alexandra Medford’s view of Daryl Van Horne:

        I think… no, I am positive… that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we’ve been together, you have demonstrated EVERY loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you’re morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Definitely weird since he’s appeared in a video adventure of a Christian superhero (The Cardinal). His appearance shows up around 5;11 minutes in.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I have to give him credit; he’s not the worst actor in that.

        • Well, he’s a better actor than he is a writer, but it kind of begs the question–his niece has disappeared and he’s kind of like, “Yeah, she’s disappeared, which is kind of a bummer. I mean, today’s when the new issue of The Flash hits the stands, and I wanted it to be what makes the day special.”

        • Mr. A

          A low-budget, student-film-level Christian superhero YouTube series…based on a Christian superhero comic strip…guest-starring Tom Batiuk…with a line of dialogue about how Les, Cayla, Summer, and Keisha exist in this universe?!

          I love it. How did you find this?