A Flock of Egos

This strip actually does kind of amuse me a little, because it does actually seem to be poking fun at Dinkle’s self-image for once. Since I’ve started reading this strip, it seems like every time Dinkle is called the world’s greatest band director it’s meant to be totally accurate and sincere, which is just crazy.
I am amazed that Dinkle is apparently the only person in this entire band not wearing the uniform they’re supposed to. I’m sure the main reason is because Batiuk thinks the uniform is iconic like Superman’s cape and nobody would recognize Dinkle without it (even though he’s referring to himself by name). I just think it’s kind of funny that in this even honoring band directors you have this jerk who decided to just do his own thing and not listen to direction (and somehow wasn’t kicked out).

30 Comments

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30 responses to “A Flock of Egos

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This is the thing that Harry Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director, has dreamed of doing for his entire life. It’s basically the pinnacle of his entire stupid career. But, in typical downbeat Batom fashion, it turns out that Dinkle’s dream isn’t that special at all and he’s merely one band director in a sea of them, all with the same hopes, dreams, fears and wishes. Way to spoil the moment AND finish out the year on a dreary, lifeless note there, BatYam. He’s been building up to this for months and this was the best he could do?

  2. William Thompson

    It’s so appropriate that wind instruments are played by each and every one of these blowhards.

  3. billytheskink

    Dinkle has evolved into a hive mind. First Pasadena will fall, then the world…

    It was inevitable, I suppose.

  4. Sourbelly

    Did Batdick actually write this? It actually seems to be poking very gentle fun at Hairy Dinkhole! Since when was that allowed?

    All I can figure is that all the other band directors are just repeating the mantra that Dinkhole is “The World’s Greatest Band Director.” Otherwise I don’t know what to make of this.

  5. Hitorque

    As others have mentioned, isn’t this The Big Dink’s **THIRD** time marching in the Rose Bowl?? Shouldn’t he be used to this by now? Or at least be thinking something very different? I mean let’s get serious here — Dink already thought he was the world’s finest long before he flew out to Pasadena…

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    WTF is wrong with these people? Do you know anyone who, even in jest, is seriously invested in the idea that they’re the “world’s greatest” something or other? Much less an entire profession that is?

    I don’t know what’s worse: that Tom Batiuk doesn’t know he’s insulting band directors, or that band directors don’t know they’re being insulted. TB has told us up one side and down the other for thirty years that FW is “quarter inch from reality”, so how are we supposed to interpret this?

    • Epicus Doomus

      Maybe the gag here is that ALL band directors are egomaniacal lunatics who think they’re the best band directors in the world and that only one kind of person can ever become a great band director, that being the kind of person who seriously believes they’re the best band director in the world. Sounds too complex and layered for FW, though.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        But-but-but Tom Batiuk doesn’t do gags anymore! He’s moved on to a more mature form of storytelling!

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Well that won’t win him any friends at the OMEA convention. It’s coming up in February and this year it is in Cleveland, so Batty is sure to be there around the clock peddling his books.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Just checked the event guide and KSU has a booth. I’m sure it will stuffed with Lisa’s Cancer Trilogy and assorted Dinkle strips.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    But you’re NOT a band director, Harry! You RETIRED years ago! Didn’t you notice that nearly everybody else in the music teachers’ salute ensemble is at least 10 to 20 years younger than you? Did you ever talk to the CURRENT Westview High band director about going out to Pasadena, or were you afraid of competition? Why can’t you just be happy being The World’s Greatest Choir Director, of the World’s Great Nursing Home Band Director?

    The most aggravating part is that we all know how 2022 will begin: more Dinkle.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Dinkle: “Lefty? Eh, I got no use for her. To be honest, I don’t even remember her name. I try to avoid addressing her directly as now this is just embarrassing.”

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    Also, Dinkle retired because he lost his hearing. Remember that?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yes, but it didn’t bring home a Pulitzer so that gimmick can be forgotten now. On the other hand, just think of what ailments Dinkle would have gotten if that first gimmick did bring home an award.

  9. Dood

    This is how Dinkle views his world and his peers that occupy it.

    Or, the band is bubbily playing a tune called “The World’s Greatest Band Director.”

    As others have mentioned, how the eff does he get a pass on wearing the required uniform attire?

    What a way to go out for 2021.

  10. Gerard Plourde

    Once again, TomBa provides us with a “What was he thinking?” strip. As billytheskink and Epicus Doomus have alternately proposed, either Dinkle is controlling the hive mind of the band, making them all acknowledge his greatness, or the entire band is composed of egomaniacal directors as repulsive as Dinkle. Neither alternative is a flattering portrayal of the real-life participants in the Sewell tribute.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Sewell, who the heck cares about him? This is all about Batty, er, I mean Dinkle.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It really is. Batiuk apparently needs THREE identical parade banners to praise himself and Dinkle. Does anyone ever tell this man “no”?

        And yet Batiuk couldn’t even be bothered to write a story for this week (or apparently next week). There’s no plot, no conflict, no rising action, nothing. Dinkle got into the parade because that’s what he wanted. He never learned anything, overcame anything, had to work with other people, or anything else. He doesn’t even have to wear the uniform everyone else is. And the real-life band director who was screaming at teenagers over God knows what, is perfectly okay with this. The strip barely even shows Dinkle in the parade!

        Funky Winkerbean is doing what it always does: talking in circles about itself. It never actually does anything. It’s like an endless TV promo for a show that doesn’t exist. “In this week’s FW, Dinkle is the world’s greatest band director!” Then you read the strips and it’s just Dinkle proclaiming himself the world’s greatest band director. He never actually does anything great, And every other character lines up to indulge him in this snotty, delusional, arrogant, rudely expressed belief. Even though today’s strip betrays that the others all think of themselves as that too.

        I’m still rooting for the open manhole.

        • The Duck of Death

          I love that the banners have to say “We celebrate and honor 50 years of Tom Batiuk’s FUNKY WINKERBEAN featuring HARRY L. DINKLE ‘The World’s Greatest Band Director.”

          Just celebrating it wasn’t enough. It had to be celebrated and honored. On three different banners, no less.

          It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but isn’t Dinkle a sort of Gary Stu for Batiuk, like Les and Batton Thomas?

          He succeeds at everything instantly, without even trying, and is adored by everybody for no reason that’s ever specified. We even saw a hovering stack of hundreds of envelopes, but didn’t get to read a single word of the praise they contained. Now that Harry is at the peak of his pomp, marching past TV cameras broadcasting to millions, his only thought is, “Here I am in the Rose Parade.”

          Harry is empty. It’s almost wrong to call him an egomaniac; he is so hollow he barely has an ego. He puffs himself up a lot, but even in his glory, his only internal monologue is, “Here I am, doing this thing.”

          I envision TB’s internal monologue — if he has one — as something similar. “I’ll write a strip that shows Harry at the Rose Parade.” TB sits down at table. TB writes strip showing Harry in parade, with thought balloon saying, “I’m at the Rose Parade.” TB sends draft to Ayers, thinks, “Job well done by The World’s Greatest Cartoonist.” TB sits down to read latest Flash.

          • Hannibal's Lectern

            The only remaining question is, which of those three self-congratulatory “banners” will be the Sideways Sunday strip in two days. You know it’s got to be one of them.

  11. Hannibal’s Lectern

    Apparently Dinkle didn’t get the memo about how members of the STABD band were supposed to dress as professional educators.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Right. Here are the instructions from the Sewell Foundation:

      “There are three events at which your official parade uniform—blue blazer, white shirt, red tie, gray slacks, black socks and shoes—must be worn: Bandfest, float judging and the Rose Parade itself.”

      But, judging from the gray blazers in this week’s strips, it looks like the inker didn’t either.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    I was a grade school washout on clarinet but even I know not to puff your cheeks when playing a woodwind instrument.

    Behold Dinkle, the alleged musical marvel, puffing his cheeks.

    He’s a fake!

  13. The Duck of Death

    Nothing says “World’s Greatest Band Director” quite like refusing to wear the same uniform as the rest of the marching band, thus destroying the visual cohsion of the unit and completely spoiling the effect for spectators.

    That’s our Harry L. Dinkle, World’s Greatest Band Director!

  14. Don

    Or perhaps, everyone else’s “first panel thought balloon” has a word that Dinkle’s doesn’t: “with,” as in, “Here I am marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade _with_ Harry L. Dinkle…the World’s Greatest Band Director”

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, it’s totally ambiguous, and I doubt the ambiguity was intentional.

      Isn’t it remarkable that after all this preening lead-up, both in the blog and in the strip, this is the best, most exciting effort Tom can muster?

      Tom doesn’t show us excitement, or a sense of the scope of the event, or the TV cameras broadcasting it to the entire country, or Harry’s sense of pride and accomplishment as he thinks back on the career that brought him here.

      Instead, he resorts to the flat, “Here I am marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade.” Something nobody has ever said to themselves while marching.

      What might you think if you were an egotistical band director marching? “That Sousaphone missed a note a few seconds ago! These other band leaders aren’t up to my standards!”
      “I hope they’re all watching this on TV back in Westview!”
      “Take, that, Mrs Mellinger, my 2nd grade music teacher! Never amount to anything, you said? Well, look at me now!”

      But instead, at this moment, the pomp and circumstance that is the culmination of Dinkle’s career, all we get is a thought balloon stating where he is and an ambiguous “joke”(?).

      #SAD

      • Gerard Plourde

        It also ignores the fact that, according to the in-strip history, the Westview Band (and presumably, Dinkle) made appearances in the parade before.

        • Y. Knott

          This seems like a Batiuk trademark. SOME parts of the FW holy text, no matter how tiny and inconsequential (“Football fields are for band practice!!”), are supposed to be remembered verbatim 40 years later, so that a delicious long-brewing punchline can pay off.

          OTHER parts of FW history (Dinkle’s deafness; Dinkle having marched in the Rose Parade twice before; Morton’s cognitive decline, etc.) are completely ignored, forgotten, or retconned if inconvenient — and you’re a cretin for noticing.

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    I like to think those are not comic-strip thought balloons over the band members, but actual helium balloons, with “The World’s Greatest Band Director!” scribbled on them in magic marker, tied to the musicians’ instruments. They are at once a subtle dig from the parade organizers, and the only souvenir any of the participants gets for the money, time and effort put into this fiasco.

    Perhaps Sunday’s strip will include Dinkle hanging his up over the mantelpiece.