Hari Don’t Care-i

I’m surprised it took until today’s strip for the word zeppelins to arrive… but one has docked right at Crazy’s mouth and is unloading such a tremendous volume of technobabble that it threatens to lift the roof right off the porch of the Taj Moore-hal! In explaining the concept of recording Lisa’s advice on video, Crazy somehow spits out 60% more words than Les did in the original take on this story back in 2007. It is almost enough to make you pity Lisa, who apparently had to listen to this verbal assault twice.

Hey, I said almost

I’m not a big Isaac Asimov guy or a sci-fi reader in general, I’ve always been very much a non-fiction reader when it comes to things that aren’t comics, so I cannot tell you how accurate or apt or idiotic or unnecessary Crazy’s rambling is (I can tell you it makes for miserable comic strip reading, but that should go without saying). I suspect we have some folks much better suited to that than me in our comments section, so I will now turn this over to my fellow SOSFers.

56 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

56 responses to “Hari Don’t Care-i

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is like watching Butt-Head get an idea.

    • I also love the ones where Butthead’s idea bulb is a flickering Christmas light that shatters instantly. OK, so basically, I love everything B&B does.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        They kind of get the right idea sometimes. But their implementation is 100% wrong, and they’re 100% committed to it. That’s where a lot of the show’s best moments come from.

        I remember a newer episode where they wanted to become vampires, because they heard chicks like Twilight or something. They end up getting bitten by a homeless guy who gives them hepatitis, and say things like “The transformation has begun. Huh-huh.” They’re blind to their own stupidness, and we get to watch it unfold. It really is a genius show, for as stupid as it is.

  2. William Thompson

    Hari Seldon created a science that Asimov called psychohistory, which could mathematically predict the most probable course of future events. Seldon’s calculations revealed that the Galactic Empire was about to collapse into a barbarism that would last thirty thousand years. Seldon created the Foundation, a scientific and engineering colony which would help the Galaxy return to civilization in only one thousand years.

    Seldon recorded his messages to be played at critical moments in the calculated future history, to advise the Foundation’s leaders on how to cope with them. Unfortunately his calculations were based on probabilities and couldn’t cover wild-card events. One of these events was the Mule, a man with the ability to control minds through telepathy and a burning ambition to be the most important man in the Galaxy–sort of a futuristic Les Moore, but nicer and more handsome. When the Mule appeared, Seldon’s calculations became irrelevant and his recordings sounded like gibberish, throwing everyone into confusion, despair and paralysis. Which sounds exactly like the Dead Lis tapes.

    • William Thompson

      TL, DR? Hari Selden got outsmarted by events, Even better, most of his recordings weren’t all that informative, and some of them weren’t even watched by the Foundation’s leaders.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      And once again Batiuk completely misses the point. In Asimov’s original novels, the Hari Selden holograms were a red herring, an intentional distraction. The First Foundation, out at the edge of the galaxy, was carrying out what they thought was Selden’s plan, getting occasional advice from the holograms… while a secret Second Foundation, “at the other end of the galaxy,” was constantly updating the plan to deal with unexpected events like the Mule, and actually in charge.

      Leave it to BatHack to miss this point. Unless there is in fact a secret Dead St. Lisa at the other end of Worstview, and she’s the one actually in charge of this shitshow.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      Long as I’m geeking out on Asimov, let me tell another story. Late in his life, the master decided he needed to reconcile an apparent conflict in his many books and stories. His “Robot” stories (“I, Robot,” “Caves of Steel,” “Naked Sun,” etc.) took place before his “Empire” stories (the “Foundation” trilogy), but the latter stories had no robots (because most of them were written earlier). He set about reconciling this conflict in a couple additions, “Robots and Empire” (in which the robots render the earth uninhabitable so that humans will be forced to populate the entire galaxy) and “Foundation and Earth” (in which we learn that robots went into hiding so that humans would not become over-dependent on them, and were charged with carrying out Selden’s plan). It is a lesson in how to reconcile a conflict in your fictional universe without the kind of ham-fisted retconning we constantly see in the Funkyverse. It is a thing that Batiuk would have benefitted from studying carefully. It’s even… writing, as opposed to something that’s just “called writing.” I wonder if Batiuk has actually read much Asimov, or is just throwing the references in because he saw them in a comic book.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        This.

        All of this.

        This is why I love this place.

        Funky Winkerbean isn’t so much a train wreck we watch. A train wreck would be too interesting. Funky Winkerbean is a train that has derailed just enough that it is slowly, screechingly, grinding to a halt. And we’re a tiny crowd of weirdos using the nearly stationary scene of failure as a jumping off point to discuss the science of track design, the history of railroads, and the etymology of trains.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        He has read Asimov, the proof is on his blog. But he learned nothing and the proof of that is this strip.

        I get the feeling he likes what he thinks he is _supposed_ to like based on who he is trying to impress.

  3. Y. Knott

    How big a word zeppelin? It forced “Batiuk & Ayres” to be abbreviated to “B&A”!

  4. Batdick creates these double-blimp word balloons without any embarrassment whatsoever? He’s completely incapable of self-editing on any level? I guess he doesn’t care. No editor is going to look at it, clearly.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s like an M.C. Escher painting of four-dimensional recursive pointlessness. It’s a flashback to a verbatim repeat of an overwordy explanation to a long-dead person about how to use a simple consumer product to defeat her own purpose. And create a plot object that’s already been the centerpiece of a multi-year story to hand-deliver an Oscar to Gary Stu. Thirdly, it’s also another forced Tom Batiuk product placement, where he jams something he likes into the strip for no good narrative purpose.

      I’m just shocked at how far this goes to be self-indulgent, and how stubborn it is about it. 85 characters appeared in this strip last year, there are tons of unresolved stories, and this is what it wants to do with its time: parade undead zombie Lisa around some more.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        “It’s like an M.C. Escher painting of four-dimensional recursive pointlessness. ”

        This is great. Did you steal this from someone?

        I’m stealing this from you.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Steal away. It’s original as far as I know. I was trying to make an Inception joke that wouldn’t form, so I banged that out in two seconds just to get the point across.

          • sorialpromise

            “It’s like an M.C. Escher painting of four-dimensional recursive pointlessness.”
            Because of BJ6000 and CBH, I looked up MC Escher. Wow! I love dimensional art. From Dali to Kandinsky to Rothko. It rocks my world.
            “This is why I love this place!”

            Icosahedron
            Myriagon
            Rhombicosidodecahedron

  5. billytheskink

    “Most Harrys are!” The key word here being “most”… the list that includes Truman, Houdini, and Gant does not include Klinghorn and Dinkle.

    Anyways, what’s with Crazy’s imaginary castanet in the first panel?

  6. Gerard Plourde

    It was mentioned before, but Lisa’s decision to spend hours and to deplete her impaired energy on making advice videos which might be totally irrelevant instead of precious time with Summer while she could is one of the most bone-headed choices I can imagine.

    • Green Luthor

      Of course, she married Les, so… it’s not like the advice videos were the worst decision she ever made…

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    And so it came to pass that Baituk took another of Lester’s moments in the Dead St. Lisa Videotapes Saga and, for no apparent reason, retconned it to Crazy Harry. Does he think this will somehow engage readers who never saw the 2000s strips, or that longtime fans (there must be some) will have forgotten the original series of events? What purpose are these flashback comics serving other than TB trying to remind folks that he covered breast cancer and dying in a storyline once and got publicity for it?

    • Y. Knott

      Or is Batiuk now only dimly aware of any story element more than a few months old — and completely lacking a memory that there already was a back story explaining the “Match to Flame” moment that led to the Dead St. Lisa tapes?

      Remember, Maggie Thompson, who had most likely never heard of FW before writing the ComicCon puff piece, became someone whose “knowledge of all things Funky seemed to exceed (Batiuk’s) own at times.” This may have more to do with a failing memory on Batiuk’s part than of any amazing research prowess of Thompson’s….

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Imagine if the 2001 Steven Spielberg movie A.I. had a plot point about needing a nuclear reaction to generate 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. Without a single nod or wink to Back To The Future, or any character commenting on that phrase’s pop-culture meaning. We’d be wondering about the man’s mental state.

        (I know BTTF isn’t exactly a Spielberg movie, but it’s the best analogy I can think of.)

        I wish somebody would ask Tom “Do you remember you did this exact series of events in 2007, with a different character?” It’s not like he rehashed a joke. This is a very specific explanation of a very specific story element, with enough details changed to know it’s not a flashback or callback. It very much feels like he forgot he did this already. To say nothing of the complete lack of any narrative reason to revisit it. Or that the 2007 version was done better, and by a more appropriate character.

        I’m not on the “Batiuk has dementia” train, but I’m starting to approach the ticket window.

  8. KMD

    Were Les and Harry close in Act I? Were Lisa and Harry ever close? Was Harry a reader in high school? Did both Les and Harry read the Foundation Trilogy on their own and compare notes? Was it assigned to them by….can’t remember her name. Did she assign the Foundation Trilogy in class as opposed to Romeo and Juliet, Scarlet Letter, more standard high school reading? The more you think about this, the less sense it makes. TB did not need yet another minor retcon that hurts his plot and characters more than it helps.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Les and Harry, yes.
      Lisa and Harry, no, not in high school. But close enough in Act II, once she married Les.
      Harry, a reader, no. Les, a reader, yes.

      • KMD

        Thanks. I always discount Act I Les as reader thanks to the time he plagiarized Hemingway. You clearly know the material. I stand in line.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Harry made up for it later, though, with his collection of Tarzan books which he had to sell. (Sob!)

  9. Bad wolf

    The curious part for me is that he keeps talking about Summer still going to have events in her life while he’s obviously spent years avoiding any such developments—college graduation, career, marriage, kids. I guess the tapes ended with her high-school graduation, it looks like that’s the last thing that’s going to involve her!

    Oh and i finally read the Foundation Trilogy a year or two back—vastly overrated. It beat Lord of the Rings for a ‘best series of all time’ award? There’s no accounting for taste.

    • Charles

      Yeah, if he feels he must bring back the Lisa tapes, he could, you know, have an event happen that a Lisa tape tried to address, but for some reason, this awkward, useless retcon is his preferred option. He’d rather have nothing happen than something. He’d rather alter the past than have anything happen in the present.

      And it just underscores how he doesn’t have anything any more for the Summer character. He only brings her up now out of some sense of obligation, or because he needed someone for Les or Crazy or Cayla to talk to and none of his preferred characters would work.

      I’d hate to see him, but this week would be marginally more interesting if Crazy came over and saw Les, prompting this flashback, but I think the idea that any sequence is supposed to have any greater meaning than only its most immediate relevance is not something Batiuk can or wants to address.

      I’ve said before, the greatest meaning he could mine from the Lisa tapes is by showing Lisa wrong about something, about her making an assumption about how her daughter’s or her widower’s life turned out that was completely off, and having Summer or Les reckon with that. (“She expected me to be married by now.” “She thought I’d have graduated from college by now.” “She thought I’d win a Pulitzer from her story, rather than be given an Oscar for it.”) But again, I don’t think a story where Lisa isn’t the most sagacious person in the world even occurs to Batiuk. It’s just awkward retcons or messages so divorced from specifics that they’re useless.

      (Although it would be marginally amusing for him to have a Lisa tape address something very specific and very accurate: “So here’s a tape for “when you’re 28 years old and you haven’t grown at all as a person since the age of 15.” “Wow! She knew everything!” “And look! Here’s one for when you need to move on from that ghastly hairstyle but you’re too afraid to.” “Not quite as prescient as the ‘you’d better not be sitting on the porch swing when you’re around 30 waiting for Les’ dumb friends to come around and talk to you!'”)

      • Dood

        There was a very specific tape for the next companion (Cayla), which was deeply disturbing on several levels, including the passionate crying-out of names. Uhm, yeah.

        • Charles

          That’s not what I meant by specific though. I suppose Lisa could reasonably conceive of a future where Les remarries, and decided she needed to tell that woman things like “love Les and forgive him for loving me more than you and treat Summer like your own child” because she’s a God damn sociopath.

          I was thinking more like “So, you started dating a black woman and want her to be less ‘black’ before you marry her.”

          • William Thompson

            I’m trying to imagine a tape where Lisa shows some self-awareness: “So you found another spineless woman and you want to mold her into your next handmaid . . . hey, wait a minute . . . “

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        He’s not even altering the past, he’s just revisiting it. He’s going through the same story with a different character giving the forced, unnecessary explanation about Foundation Trilogy. And actually doing it worse: Les’ explanation in 2007 was more natural and concise.

        • Charles

          My feeling is that he’s retconning this so Crazy had some responsibility for Lisa deciding to devote the rest of her life to make tapes for her surviving relatives. It’s not much, but it’s something.

          Either way, it’s just adding details to a story that happened in 2007 rather than having anything happen in the present.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        “I’ve said before, the greatest meaning he could mine from the Lisa tapes is by showing Lisa wrong about something, about her making an assumption about how her daughter’s or her widower’s life turned out that was completely off, and having Summer or Les reckon with that.”
        The only strip I can think of like that was this one where Lisa’s idea of a pretty girly grown up Summer is juxtaposed with grungy jock Summer reality.
        https://nuless.org/comics/2009.05.10/Funky%20Winkerbean-2009.05.10

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batiuk can never let any of his pet characters be wrong, even for a silly or perfectly understandable reason. Especially not Les or Lisa.

  10. Asimov’s Foundation series (at least the original three books) was pretty good, but like all of Asimov’s fiction–and this is probably why it appeals to Batiuk–it consists largely of people holding discussions.

    • William Thompson

      I wonder how he felt about Bayta Darrel shooting Ebling Mis. Decisive action taken by a mere girl? He was probably as shocked when he read it as some fans were when it was published in the late Forties.

  11. louder

    Why can’t BatHack have Crazy Harry say: “There’s a book I read where the main dude left video massages after he died.” Explains everything, and it took me all of five seconds to come up with that, without the useless name-dropping either!

  12. Dood

    Who the hell is the person in the nameplate? Joan Blunderson?

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is like Whose Line Is It Anyway‘s worst game of “Film, Theater and TV Styles.” Imagine Drew Carey’s instructions:

    “Okay, Colin Mochrie, you’re dying of cancer. Ryan Styles, you’re a Funky Winkerbean character who tells Colin to shoot a video of himself like Hari Seldon did in the Foundation Trilogy. Go.”

    “Okay, stop. Colin, you’re dying of cancer. Ryan Styles, you’re a slightly different Funky Winkerbean character who tells Colin to shoot a video of himself like Hari Seldon did in the Foundation Trilogy. Go.”

    Except Ryan and Colin would actually make this funny.

  14. Epicus Doomus

    Of course he had to work his love of sci-fi in there, no matter how clumsy and oafish it is. What a debacle.

  15. hitorque

    What the fuck does Asimov has to do with something like this?

    WHAT is so wrong with just saying something much more believable, like: “Didja ever see that movie when Michael Keaton was dying of cancer so he created a videotape archive to leave for his unborn son? You might think about doing something like that, y’know!”

    Oh, right… Batiuk needs us all to think that he’s a highbrow intellectual or something.

  16. William Thompson

    “Hey, remember that Star Trek ep where Kirk left a message for Spock and McCoy, about how to get along if he died?”