Link to today’s strip.

Yeah, what’s the point of doing anything unless you’re going to get an award for it?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Atrophy

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Great title, BC! Every time Ohio Music Educator’s Conference (or whatever) week rolls around I think “f*ck me, already? Wasn’t that just like three or four weeks ago?”, but then it turns out it’s actually been a year. While it’s going on, it seems like it’s ALWAYS been going on, doesn’t it? It’s only Tuesday and I’m already begging for it to end. I mean, it’s really nice of him to toss a few of his Ohioian band director pals into the strip once a year and I’m sure they all get quite a kick out of it (that guy on the far right in panel two is too specific not to be based on someone), but where does that leave his tens of other readers, eh?

  2. Y. Knott

    Proof Harry is still deaf: he keeps right on talking, blissfully never even hearing the audience loudly demanding refunds while roundly booing him.

    • Y. Knott

      Wait, did I say “deaf”? Sorry. I meant “psychotically self-absorbed”.

      • Epicus Doomus

        The gag always was that Dinkle was a psychotic, megalomaniacal dick. Then he became an “endearing” psychotic, megalomaniacal dick. But those things just don’t go together, as proven by every single Act III Dinkle appearance. Either be a dick or be endearing, just pick one.

        • spacemanspiff85

          Batiuk really seems to have lost track of how his characters are supposed to be perceived. In the parade storyline you had Dinkle portrayed both as a beloved mentor and a deranged out of touch asshole.
          And having the “world’s greatest band director” flat out say all he cares about is awards in a storyline that’s supposed to be honoring an actual music educators association is pretty strange.

          • Epicus Doomus

            Exactly. He ruined the character a long time ago, yet he can’t fully let that old Dinkle persona go, so he hides it behind his “endearing” elderly facade, like being old makes it cute. Come to think of it, that’s kind of an ongoing theme in the strip. See: Morton. He’s wrong, though, as it’s really just more annoying than anything else.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I don’t think Tom Batiuk ever knew, or cared. He thinks his characters can act however they want, and he can just instruct the reader on how they’re supposed to feel about it. It’s also disturbing how far Batiuk’s characters deviate from likeable or sympathetic, yet are always presented as if they’re supposed to be these things.

          • spacemanspiff85

            He does this kind of thing all the time with Crankshaft. 90% of that strip is Ed gleefully leaving kids behind on his bus route, running over his friend’s mailbox, or just generally being a jerk, but then randomly he’ll have a storyline where Ed’s depicted as this kindly old man, and it’s just jarring. You can pick up on that just in how every in FW refers to him as “that kooky old bus driver” rather than “that maniac who made us miss school constantly and stole everyone’s lunches on field trips”.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          He ruined Dinkle during his misery porn stage, but then realized he had to keep him around as Lisa and all the rest just weren’t memorable enough.

          • He retired Dinkle due to deafness, and brought in Becky to replace him, but then he did nothing to develop Becky as a character, other than to act as a straight man for Dinkle.

  3. Sourbelly

    When I first saw panel 2, I thought the person on the far right was a guy with a gray mustache, extremely pregnant with quintuplets. wearing a teal grass skirt.

    But no. It’s just some bored OMEA loser, pretending to listen to Dinkhole being a raging asshole, as usual.

    As I said yesterday, “Deep Hurting.”

  4. be ware of eve hill

    Have we ever seen Dinkle actually win a band contest? Aside from the medal from the Belgian chocolate company, I don’t remember seeing Dinkle awarded anything.

    What are the trophies actually for? The greatest ego? The cruelest band director? The band director who killed or maimed the most students? The most despised band director? The band director who got the most kids to quit band class? The most talkative band director? The most boring band director? The band director with the largest head? The band director most likely to be found dead in a dark alley?

    I suspect most of the trophies were awarded in one particular manner.
    Band Award Committee Member: If we give you this trophy, will you shut the hell up and go away?

    …and the winner of the ‘Shut the Hell Up and Go Away’ award for the 30th year in a row, Harry L. Dinkle!!

  5. be ware of eve hill

    YaY! A Winkerbean strip of Dinkle being an insufferable self-indulgent blowhard. /s

    Can we please go back to the shitty music puns?

  6. Jeff M

    Is that the guy from “Daddy Daze” on the right in the first panel?!

    • erdmann

      He has a very specific hearing disorder. He hears his infant son speak in complete sentences but only hears “Ba Ba Ba” when Dinkle talks. He is the world’s most fortunate man.

  7. billytheskink

    That’s about the size of crowd I would expect… but where are the torches and pitchforks?

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    “Remember folks, the longer you stick around doing nothing, the more meaningless participation awards you’re given for simply sticking around longer than anyone else. Keep it up for fifty years and it’s easy to fill a wall.”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      The great film director Billy Wilder said he was the subject of so many tributes in his last years because of an attitude he defined as “quick-before-he-croaks.” (No one heard him when he insisted that if he had no more home runs in him, he did have doubles and triples…he never directed again after 1981, though he lived until 2002.)

      The six phases of a construction project are:

      Panic and Hysteria;
      Search for the Guilty;
      Punishment of the Innocent; and
      Praise and Honor for the Non-Participants

      A trophy’s a trophy, though, right, Harry? (Do I hear the spectral voice of Coach Jack Strapp saying a win by forfeit is still a win?)

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    “…and band directing certainly isn’t about those children playing the instruments and marching in front of you. They’re interchangeable pieces in a machine that gets updated after couple of years. Heck, the one-armed young lad over here is the only band alum I talk to, and that’s only because she’s temporarily filling in for me at Westview High. After all, what are we supposed to be doing…educating them?”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      With strips like this, you wonder why the profession holds Dinkle in such regard. Batiuk doesn’t realize it, but this strip is a brilliant The Reason You Suck Speech for the entire institution of scholastic band. I’d rather my child play on a sports team. They’re far less abusive and winning-obsessed.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        And become sportos? Lisa would be sad.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Lisa is worm food.

          • William R Thompson

            No wonder we never see any worms in this strip–or are you saying Les is a cannibal?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Les might as well be a cannibal. He’s consumed Lisa in every other possible way.

            To answer your question, I missed Rusty’s sarcasm at first, and went for the meanest “I don’t care what Lisa wants” response I could think of.

      • The reason the profession holds Dinkle in such regard is the same reason people will occasionally show up here and say they like Funky Winkerbean: nostalgia. They haven’t read the strip (or seen Dinkle) in decades, but they remember when both were amusing.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Even when Dinkle was a funny character, and the strip’s tone was a lot more lighthearted, it still should have been obvious that Dinkle wasn’t someone to admire. He was a satire of everything that was bad about the profession. And it unironically embraced him as one of their own. And never stopped, no matter how bad his behavior gets. It’s almost like they’re admitting what they are.

      • hitorque

        It says so much that not one of the Big Dink’s thousands of former students has ever thanked him or praised the influence he had on their musical lives… Not even one of the readers of the what, dozen books he’s published so far? (Am I the only one who remembers that in addition to his seven current jobs, Dinkle is also writing multiple biographies of historical music figures in addition to his own autobiography??

        It’s funny because Dinkle’s supposed fame, accomplishments and prestige stem solely from the fact that he repeats incessantly how famous and accomplished he is in every conversation. It’s almost like he’s talked it into reality? It’s George Constanza’s infamous “It isn’t a lie if YOU believe it!” playing out in real life…

        • The Duck of Death

          Yes, that really stood out when he got that giant hover-box full of testimonial letters. Couldn’t Batiuk have had him open one, just one, so we could see how one of his thousands of students was helped? “Mr Dinkle, you taught me to persevere through trials” or some glurge like that?

          No, all we heard was the awestruck comment that (IIRC) some of the letters were from doctors and professionals! Because obviously nobody would care what plumbers, mechanics, or waiters have to say about anything. But these — these were professionals!

  10. Hitorque

    Well fuck me… Yesterday I asked why the Big Dink wasn’t hosting any of his own seminars and today I get my answer…

  11. robertodobbs

    So doing this all just for the trophies is “managing the madness?”

  12. Dood

    Cease and desist from Suggs and friends incoming.

    How does this retired a-hole martinet merit leading a session at the Oh-my-ah conference?

  13. Green Luthor

    “What’s the point of doing anything if you’re not going to get an award for it?” Luckily, Batiuk has all those Pulitzers so he doesn’t have to worry about answering that.

  14. Y. Knott

    Not sure where else to put this, so I’ll put it here. The Act III recap page is a little out of whack. Here are my notes on the corrections that need to be made:

    – The merry frolic of “At Home With The Winkerbeans Week” did indeed last through the 16th. Then on the 17th came the riveting “Batton Thomas drops by Komix Korner to yak about how buying comics was better in the past.” That kept us on the edge of our seat through the 22nd.

    – The 23rd was a Sunday extravaganza in which we learn Harry mutes his students when giving them lessons via Zoom.

    – Then, on the 24th, we went on an emotional rollercoaster ride with “Les thought Ghost Lisa was feeding the birds, but, oh well, actually, it just turned out to be a neighbour. Don’t worry, Summer will never tell!” That mixture of mystery and mischievousness took us through the 29th.

    – And of course, starting on the 30th of January, we strapped ourselves in for the thrilling “Harry and Becky visit OMEA again and the wordplay just won’t stop!” But I can well understand that this one hasn’t been posted yet, due to the excitement of still being in the middle of it!