Thanks for Making Us All March in the Rain

Thanks to BillytheSkink for guiding us through “Wild Mort’s Love Life, Chapter XVIII”. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but seeing Dinkle in a strip on a Monday is the worst thing to me, since you know you’re getting (at least) another week of him. At least with Les there’s more to make fun of, and something might actually happen. With Dinkle all you get now is “isn’t Dinkle awesome?”, basically. And know you have the horror of Mort and Lillian popping up at any moment.
One of the weirdest things with how Dinkle is written is how he’s simultaneously portrayed as a maniac and borderline-fascist band director that everyone hated but also a beloved figured who improved the lives of everyone he touched. It seems like the majority of the actual band directing we see him do involves making people walk in hurricanes and risk their lives, so I’m not really sure why there’s a box of envelopes that’s stacked so high there’s no way anyone could have carried it. (Speaking of carrying, I’m very confused about how exactly Becky was handling that box, based on the arrangement in the first panel).
Oh, and Becky was one of Dinkle’s students and then became a band director. That’s the punchline for today’s strip.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “Thanks for Making Us All March in the Rain

  1. William Thompson

    Lefty wrote Dinkle a love note? Is this the first time she’s done anything as a band director without Dinkle’s supervision?

  2. Who the heck is the other woman?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I don’t know, but Batiuk was thoughtful enough to write the exposition on her jacket.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Her name is “Woman Who Only Exists Because Somebody Realized Becky Probably Couldn’t Carry a Box That Size By Herself”.

    • Charles

      She’s got Roberta’s hairstyle, but not the color. I would not be shocked to find it’s a screwup.

      Which makes sense, since Becky looks nothing like her usual self. How many hornets stung her to make her face look like that?

      • Epicus Doomus

        It does sort of look like Roberta, I think, which would be huge, as she hasn’t been seen or heard from since she was abandoned on that scissor lift all those years ago. Then again, it might just be some anonymous one-off nobody and there’s really no way of knowing. He always makes everything so stupid and difficult.

        And I have to agree, that’s a really slipshod Becky, especially in panel one. It’s not even especially close, either. If not for the missing arm I’d have struggled to identify her. Then again, that’s been true for years now, so there you go.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Who’s holding the box? Or is it just a really tall box? It looks like it’s just floating there between the band woman and the one-armed one. Anyhow, the day longtime FW readers have long dreaded is at long last here…Dinkle is marching in the stupid Rose Bowl parade, along with some other, lesser band directors. He’s been building up to this for what seems like years, so it’ll probably be over by Wednesday, followed by a few days of talking about it and capped off with some ghastly wordplay-based gag about Dinkle’s nauseating sexual appetites. If we’re lucky.

  4. Jeff M.

    So she’s saying that if Dinkle improved the life of, say, a stay-at-home mom, or an auto mechanic, or some guy pushing a broom to put food on the family table – fuck those losers? Or she at least they made sure those schmucks’ letters are at the bottom of the bag?

    • The Duck of Death

      Yep, I caught that right away. “These are worthwhile people who wrote these letters! People whose opinions matter! Successful people! Important people! Not people like plumbers, or salesmen, or even pizzeria workers or comic book store clerks, God forbid! Who would care if those people praised Dinkle?”

      How utterly condescending. And even if there are many doctors who took band at Westview, how does that make Dinkle somehow responsible for their success? It’s more likely that they were taking band because they were driven and motivated in the first place, not that taking band caused them to be driven and motivated.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        If anything, ambitious kids would avoid band, because they’d know it’s a gigantic time suck with no payoff. Dinkle would have a reputation.

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s comic strip pisses me off for so many reasons:

    1. Dinkle isn’t Mr. Chips or Jamie Escalante. Nor is he the demanding teacher you come to appreciate when you grow up. He’s an abusive, demanding, condescending, egomaniac bully who never taught anyone anything. And his endless door-to-door fundraising is an annoyance to the entire town.

    2. Dinkle has already been in the Rose Parade. Twice. It’s not such a big deal that he’s going a third time.

    3. Dinkle’s selection wasn’t based on merit. The strip didn’t tell us why he was chosen over the other applicants, or what he had to do besides fill out the form (which was enough of a challenge for him). The real life foundation website explicitly says it chooses participants to have the right combination of instruments for the marching band, and to represent all 50 states with as wide a variety of people as possible. Dinkle didn’t get into Juilliard here.

    4. Cards and letters? Really? This isn’t the Soupy Sales show. The internet exists, no matter how hard Tom Batiuk tries to act like it doesn’t. If anybody was going to tip their hat to Dinkle over this non-achievement, 98% of them would be doing it via social media.

    5. Doctors and professionals? Really? Name one. Name one of the oodles of high school students we’ve ever seen in FW, from Livinia to Thatsnot Hewmore, who grew up and became a doctor or professional. The only places we ever see anybody work are WHS itself, Montoni’s, Toxic Taco, and Atomik Komix for the well-connected few. The kids who had the makeup to become successful adults, like Barry Balderman and Becky, had life-shattering breakdowns because of this strip’s insatiable need to inflict misery on its characters.

    6. Teachers? There are some of those, but why are we supposed to be impressed by this, compared to doctors? And why are we supposed to think Dinkle deserves any credit for it? He’s a textbook example of how not to nurture young people.

    7. Look! It’s Becky’s pinned-up missing arm sleeve! We never get to see that!

    8. Dinkle’s phony surprise in panel one.

    9. Becky’s backpfeifengesicht in panel two.

    10. The box of cards and letters includes one from Becky, who is mighty proud of herself for that. Dinkle is Becky’s career-long mentor, her substitute replacement when she is out, and goes with her on road trips every year. And all she has for him was a card, among dozens of others? How banal and half-assed. But Westview runs on banal and half-assed. Canceled checks are offered as proof of lifelong fiendship, rising from the dead is met with reminiscing about comic books, and Funderoos are formal wedding attire.

    • Charles

      That’s a nice list. I’d add one more:

      The two women are finishing each others’ sentences. For some reason that pisses me off way more than I would have thought it would. It’s such lazy dialogue writing.

    • Sourbelly

      Intent: We’re all supposed to love Hairy Dinkhole unconditionally, because he is Hairy Dinkhole, Patron Saint of all American Band Directors, by Lord Batdick’s decree.

      Problem: We all hate Hairy Dinkhole, because of the reasons posted by Banana Jr. 6K above.

      Solution: Have Lefty and some rando band booster deliver a box only half large enough to contain all the fulsome thank you letters from the upper crust of Westview society, proving that we are wrong for thinking that he is a talent-free blowhard sadist who should just get out of our sight forever.

      Conclusion: Hairy commandeering the Official Tournament of Roses March of the Marching Band Directors Marching Band!!!

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Re item 3: I haven’t looked at the STABD website since Thanksgiving, but back then, when one would expect them to be out of the “application/selection” phase and well into actually planning the event (consider the cost and hassle of making busy-holiday-season travel arrangements on short notice during a pandemic), they were still actively soliciting applications. This led me to suspect they hadn’t received 300 applications yet.

      In a proper world, Dinkle would be stuck in the middle of the band somewhere, on second triangle or something else befitting his demonstrated skill. In the Funkyverse, he will probably end up leading the parade.

      I am still not curious enough to actually tune into the Rose Parade to see how this fictional character* will be “honored” by the real world.

      *if you have nothing else to be thankful for today, be thankful that Harry Dinkle is in fact a fictional character.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        According to the foundation website, they have “approximately 280” marchers from 48 states, not 300 from 50. Even though that piece in the Pasadena newspaper said 50.

        They also have a GoFundMe which barely raised 10% of its $125,000 goal:–o-o12RvE7Gl0CNUfOWvrMhDZ4Sk75huV8zEQ

        Then there’s this vainglorious bit of propaganda: “Ask almost any person who has been led by a band director and you will hear that their life was positively changed by a motivational leader who taught, inspired and mentored them, not only in music, but in life itself.”

        Well, I was led by two band directors. I found scholastic band to be a pointless, expensive, gigantic waste of time that destroyed whatever enthusiasm I once had for music, and taught me nothing about life. My band directors were more obsessed with winning than the football coaches were. They constantly reminded us that our school band always got perfect scores all the time in everything, and anything less than that was unacceptable. That claim was obviously bullshit, but you don’t have the wherewithal to know that when you’re 12 years old. Because this wasn’t even high school; it was middle school! And they beat us over the head with that! Nothing we did was ever good enough. When I got to high school, I switched to theater and the school newspaper, which really did teach me a few things about life.

        And if being a band director is such a noble profession, why in the name of hell did you align yourselves with Funky Winkerbean? Dinkle is supposed to be a BAD band director. That’s why the character became popular. Dinkle’s obsessiveness, pettiness, and willingness to abuse his charges resonated with people who had real band directors like that. He’s a parody of all your worst qualities, and you adopted him as a mascot! I would say you’ve missed the point, but Tom Batiuk is so desperate to cling to the one good character he’s ever created in his career, that he’s redefined Dinkle into the all-beloved conquering hero you idiots think he is.

        If I seem unduly harsh, listen to the “why I’m marching” videos at It’s all me me me I I I. Only a couple of them even mention their students, or anything but themselves. They all sound exactly like Dinkle, full of ego and phony humility. Congratulations, you’ve become your false idol. I hope all 270 of you are swallowed by a manhole cover, George Carlin style.

        • The Duck of Death

          That sums it all up, BJr6k. Brilliant.

        • The Duck of Death

          Interesting… that pathetic GoFundMe, aka “Bandigogo” or whatever cockamamie name TB used in his recent strips… I don’t see Tom Batiuk’s name in the contributor list. He couldn’t even pony up ten bucks for his pet project. #SAD

        • be ware of eve hill

          The website map claimed all 50 states back in August 2021. They’re down to 48 states now? Are the marchers fleeing like rats from a sinking ship? Covid issues?

          BTW, I never realized Mexico was a state.

          I appreciate my home state’s complete indifference to the project by volunteering exactly one participant.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Great post. When I was in junior high (in my town that was grades 7 through 9) I had to choose an elective so I picked music. We practiced, played, did Xmas concerts and etc. and I was genuinely enjoying it. Then I moved on to high school, where it was all about marching band. I, however, wanted no part of that. I just wanted to play music, not march around in an ill-fitting and quite stupid costume and I most certainly didn’t want to waste half the summer toiling at “band camp” like some sort of sporto. But they basically forced you to participate in marching band, so of course I quit.

          So the short version is that a “band director” took it upon himself to ruin something I was genuinely enjoying, which is why I hope Dinkle and company get hit by lightning out in Pasadena.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Hey, I thought the numbered list shtick was @Hitorque’s. I didn’t even realize it was you until I read @Sourbelly’s reply.

      Loved the list. * Chef’s kiss *😘

  6. Y. Knott

    All those unopened letters contain nothing but Dinkle tributes? Really? Not one of his former charges decided to get a little revenge with, say, an envelope filled with powdered anthrax?

    And wouldn’t a very special anthrax arc get Batiuk some sweet, sweet NYTImes coverage?

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    More teacher and band director butt kissing. Batty will earn another invite to the OMEA convention. It’s coming up soon!

  8. The Duck of Death

    I think Batiuk’s going for a “Miracle on 34th St”-style barrage of moral support here. Where else would he get the idea of snail-mail letters all arriving at once? Naturally, he misses every bit of why the bags of letters are so effective in the movie. He skips the buildup, the drama, the high stakes, and goes right to: Hey, lots of letters means exciting! So here’s lots of letters!

  9. Gerard Plourde

    In his effort to get praise from the Michael D. Sewell Foundation (“We teach music. We teach life”) with the deluge of letters from “successful people” for Dinkle, I find it interesting that TomBa didn’t think to include any from actual musicians. DId DInkle’s overbearing bullying not produce any members of symphony orchestras, pit orchestra musicians for musicals, studio musicians, jazz musicians, or rock musicians? Was Becky the only student in his decades long career to want to pursue music as a career? Or doesn’t TomBa think it’s a “real job”?

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      It’s been long established that in the world of TB, “writer” is the only “real job.” Though, as a friend of mine who’s been both (one best-selling business book and thousands of unpaid essays) points out, anybody who writes is a “writer”; the correct term for somebody who writes for a living (or at least for money) is “author.” The fact that TB prefers to call himself a “writer” leads to the question many of us have asked ourselves after reading an FW strip: “is he actually being PAID for this?”

    • Professor Fate

      Yes – this and as noted elsewhere, we, the reader have NOT seen ANY OF THESE PEOPLE whose life’s Harry Dinkle touched and improved. None nada, zippo. It’s like Les Moore’s legacy – not a single student came away from his clutches improved or gifted with a love of literature or learning. it’s a mark of how little Dinkel has meant to the folks in the strip that the Author had do tons of letters from strangers to show how beloved he is.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s the same thing with Precious Saint Dead Lisa. We never saw her inspire anyone. Or do anything besides mope, die, and co-opt things for her own benefit. But everybody shows up at that stupid Legacy run every single year.

        • The Duck of Death

          Hey, what about that guy on death row with his sob story? Lisa saved him with her — what’s that you say? Oh. Right. Nevermind.

    • batgirl

      I’m guessing Dinkle ‘inspired’ these former students to stay the heck away from musical careers and possible to get as far as possible from Westview, a place that allowed him to abuse generations of students and beat any love of music out of them.

  10. Hannibal’s Lectern

    “Including one band director… me!”

    Sorry, Lefty, but you are not, have never been, and will never be anything more than Dinkle’s assistant band director (on those days when he chooses to grace Worstview High with his presence), or his un-respected substitute (on those days when he is off accepting the adulation due him as World’s Greatest ™ Band Director).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Now that would be funny. Even better, the entire Rose Parade entry is a sting to arrest Dinkle for decades of child abuse, and more recently, elder abuse. Turns out a lot of former band members have grown up to become police officers, judges, and one particularly bitter state prosecutor.

  11. Hannibal's Lectern

    “Best wishes and thanks from your former band students (stifled laughter)…”

    Yeah, right. I’m betting these are all the “you’re being sued” legal notices from abused former students that Dinkle’s been dodging for years. Lefty’s the cleverest process server in history.

    • Charles

      I love how poorly Batiuk blocks and realizes the artwork in these things. He has Becky acknowledge a heartfelt compliment to Dinkle, so the guy immediately turns away and talks over his shoulder at her.

      Might as well gone full asshole and had the response be “Thanks, I find myself to be an inspiration as well.” and/or “I think I’m pretty great too!”

  12. zulu

    I had a Russian professor who was a little girl when Stalin died. She said she remembers how everyone cried. “We loved him,” she said, “even if we feared him, too.”

    • The Duck of Death

      More to the point, Soviet citizens knew better than not to be seen crying. You never know when an NKVD agent is watching your insufficient sorrow. Similar to the situation in today’s North Korea, where citizens are forbidden to laugh for 11 days, while the anniversary of Kim Jong-Il’s death is observed.

      • The Duck of Death

        ^^^ Meant to add; I imagine Westview as a vaguely North Korea-ish place where all must be seen worshipping comics, Lisa, and Dinkle, though not necessarily in that order. Ever notice how few citizens Westview seems to have? Perhaps most have been banished, or made to…. “disappear”… for their incorrect thoughts.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I think Westview is more like a small, unfriendly southern town that “doesn’t like your kind” without ever clarifying what that means. And all the jobs in town are tied to two or three people. So when you realize you’re not on their approved list, you take the hint and leave on your own.

          This is what I think happened to characters like Chien, who disappeared from the strip without explanation. She was far too likable and independent-minded to ever fit in in Westview. Even Chullo and Owen seem to have moved on. Khan and Rana both supposedly “went back to Afghanistan”, but I think they just went somewhere in America that doesn’t suck. The guy was a friggin’ Afghan warlord! A failing deli isn’t going to defeat him.

          The counterexample is Adeela, who embraced everything that Westview is, and is accepted for it. She wears the hijab because it’s the only way you can tell her apart from the rest of the lame white people in town.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          But it was good that you did that, Dinkle!

    • Jeff M.

      Reminds me of the anecdote Robert Conquest recounts in his biography of Stalin: a 1930s Party meeting at which a toast to Stalin was given. The audience of course leapt to their feet to applaud…and no one was willing to be the first to stop applauding, lest they be branded as insufficiently loyal. On and on the applause went. Eventually one very old man couldn’t stand any longer and had to sit down. The next day he was arrested. That’s what we are expected to do for Dinkle.