Link to the exciting conclusion to Batiuk tackling racism in 2022!
Yup. Batiuk doesn’t even have the decency to end this on a Sunday Strip. And has instead given us six panels of pointless nonsense. It’s like ending a contentious divorce arbitration with a pie in the face.
So let’s ignore it, and move on down memory lane.
Just a reminder, as we continue the saga of Jefferson Jacks.
I already have a retraction to print!
Cuban League professional baseball was definitely a thing. Up through the abolition of professional sports in Cuba in 1961. Since it was played in the winter, American players, black and white, often participated. It was one of the first baseball leagues to be completely integrated. There were usually four or five teams, including, Almendares Alacranes ‘Scorpions’, Petroleros de Cienfuegos ‘Oilers’, Habana Leones ‘Red Lions‘, Tigres de Marianao ‘Tigers‘, and the Havana Sugar Kings.
I wasn’t able to find any evidence that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara paid the Havana Reds to play against them in a sugar cane field in the early 50’s though. Maybe I was searching the wrong sources.
Following the Jefferson vs the communists story, we next see Jefferson Jacks in June 2010. Crankshaft and various other former Toledo Mud Hens are invited to play an exhibition game at a Mud Hens reunion.
Cute right? Or Schmaltzy? Depends on how jaded you’re feeling or how manipulative vs genuine you feel the writer’s intentions were. While it seems Jacks decided to help Bushka around the bases after seeing how frail his old tormenter had become, a few months later, in August 2010, we’re given a little more depth into their détente.
I’ll just re-repeat my comment from the last two threads: “Cayla’s whole presence in this arc seems to be adding up to, ‘Yeah kids, but whaddaya gonna do, right?’” (This time with better punctuation.)Sourbelly
Cayla says, earlier this week, “Frankly, I don’t know how we’re going to change things.” She says this to two young kids who had baited a confrontation with a woman they didn’t know because they didn’t like how they were treated different for looking different.
And I just want to slap Cayla.
Because there are dozens of avenues to change. Some less contentious than others.
And one of those roads is the road of forgiveness. Not silent forgiveness, but an open hand presented. Offering a human connection to someone on ‘the other side’ and hoping that the relationship can be the key that releases them from their cage of prejudice.
It’s a more contentious road than you’d think. There are so many who see the weight of ignorance and hate as a burden that people deserve to be crushed by, because they willingly chose to carry that hate. They want to shut those spiteful people away in the dark prison of their own malice, and throw away the key. Because hateful people have not earned our efforts. Because they have not yet received back the pain they’ve inflicted.
And to withhold forgiveness is their right. No one should force the wronged to reach out.
But I feel that pure, healing change comes from batting away the fingers that pry into scars and want to hold open wounds. The past is prologue, but it is also a mirage we can’t visit, and revenge is an illusion because it destroys to pay for something already gone. What matters is now, and the future, and what will make things better there, whether it be punishment or mercy.
Sometimes change can’t be so kind. But when we can, isn’t better to convince people that the change we want makes things better for everyone? To convince people that the world you’d like to see has a place for them too?
And someone at their back to protect them, who will help push them home.
Spaceman Spiff takes over tomorrow.
*climbs off soapbox and drags it away*
28 responses to “Homeward Bound”
Joe Mansion? Is that supposed to be Joe Manchin? And is Shack = Shaq? That seems likely, but then why is it Katie Holmes and not Katie Homes? Is TB afraid the readers aren’t literate enough to get the homophones?
I almost hesitate to add more nerdiness to today’s utter inanity, but his name is “Jabba the Hutt” with two t’s. On a more positive not, kudos to you, CBH, for your tireless work in giving us the background into the week’s storyline that Batiuk never would. Truly, if there was a Cooperstown for deep dive comic strip research, your plaque would be hanging on the wall.
Batiuk and racism
Does he handle it with skill?
You are the best judge.
CBH, your shift
Is over all too quickly
We all shall miss you.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
We’ve already inked her to an extension, and we have her DNA on file in case she decides to make a break for it. And she signed a non-compete clause, so she can’t be lured over to some fly-by-night Crankshaft blog or anything. So she’ll be back.
You are the man!!!
But brace yourself — what if she decides to invoke the “kill fee”?
I got that reference! Also know that Lisa would have liked that.
Dang fly-by-night Crankshaft bloggers! It’d be poetic justice if someone ran over their mailboxes!
Jokes on you! I’m going to start a Crankshaft blog all by myself! A cool one with blackjack and hookers!
Then you will have the money to make that Jabba the Hutt prisoner poster!
Make sure you set up a Dale Evans jukebox with all of Ed’s favorites from The Doodletown Pipers.
The MaryWorthAndMe blog has some nice tunes on their jukebox.
“Low hanging fruit if there ever was any.”
To paraphrase Kevin O’Leary, “How long are you visiting Earth, Batdick?”
Am I parsing this right?
– A throwaway panel.
– Four panels of fairly moronic banter by two guys about celebrities or fictional characters with names that remind one of housing options. (We can assume these guys have never heard of Marie Kondo, because that would require Tom Batiuk to have some kind of interest in — or knowledge about — anything that happened this century.)
– One panel of “You’re just a dumb girl, you couldn’t possibly aspire to ape the complex wit we’ve been displaying. Go away, dumb girl.”
And what about Nicholas Cage? It’s like Bathack decided to join in the sort of punning that bored commenters make when he isn’t doing anything interesting.
This might not be a case of “Go away, dumb girl.” They may be embarrassed about the silliness of their conversation. I would be.
Yeah, seriously, I mean what the f*ck is this shit? This is the kind of crappy throwaway Sunday strip you use on a long holiday weekend or something, not right after a prestige arc. There’s just no logic to the Sunday strips at all, no patterns, no trends. They’re always just totally random.
I hope today’s strip isn’t just something Batiuk gave us because it was easier than doing a Sunday strip about this racism arc. Just let that arc be over.
I see now that Jefferson Jacks story was better than I gave it credit for. Bushka should have seen this coming, since a lot of black players went to Cuba at the time because it was more welcoming to them. Still, a good and realistic twist.
I could complain about that incredibly condescending final panel… but I’m kind of impressed to see Crazy (or Funky) reference former Grambling and LA Rams quarterback James “Shack” Harris.
Unless he actually intended to be referring to Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal.
Well, what do ya know? This week had something to do with race after all!
James Harris was the NFL’s first black quarterback of note, and later became one of its first black executives. There’s a good story about his life at https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sporting-scene/footballs-quiet-farewell-to-james-harris
Once again the commentary written by the contributors brings meaningful discourse to the blog. Thanks, CBH, for giving us all a helpful and hopeful counterpoint to TomBa’s ham-fisted and clueless contribution.
The Jefferson Jacks arc itself is a strong rebuttal to this month’s terrible Funky Winkerbean story. It’s only 12 years old – after Lisa’s death, and well into Act III – but there’s a lot to like about it. It’s well-researched (yes, I said that), has emotional weight, and actually illustrates a way forward. It’s the answer to Cayla’s question of how things are ever going to improve. Which she somehow doesn’t know, despite her own father having been a professional baseball player, having met Ed Crankshaft, and having played women’s college sports – a world that isn’t devoid of bigotry itself.
I want to show Tom Batiuk this and say “this is what you published just 12 years ago. And now you’re saying racism can’t change, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it?”
That’s why I decided to go through most of it, albeit abridged. Because it’s just so much better. It’s not perfect, but at least it doesn’t throw it’s hands up going ‘whatcha gonna do?’
It’s curious how Cayla’s character has regressed into defeatism. Racism exists, why bother trying to make change.
It kind of reminds me of someone… the Dead St. Lisa. We all know how Lisa took the news when her cancer recurred. She didn’t fight the cancer, and she didn’t seek restitution for a clear-cut case of medical malpractice.
What do these two ladies have in common? Marriage to Les Moore. Can we call it “The Les Moore effect?”
CBH, it’s been another excellent two week stint. While I love reading your lengthy blogs, it will be nice to have time for my mind-cleansing lunch break walks again.
Spaceman Spiff, may you not get stuck with an Atomik Komix arc. Perhaps the further adventures of the Eliminator helmet?
1. “Shack”? Are you fucking kidding me?!
1a. No two people talk like this, ever…
1b. Once again the most popular pizza joint in town has zero fucking customers…
2. I have no idea whatsoever why Jacks would protect Bushka of all people in a fight against an angry mob that he had nothing to do with instead of letting Bushka just take his beatdown? Note that it’s the black man putting his ass on the line to finally earn the respect and admiration of a racist… I mean FFS Bushka didn’t even learn anything.
Well done again, CBH! Another history lesson along with well written, thoughtful commentary!