Shovel Off to Bull-fellow

If you are reading this and your name is not Thomas Martin Batiuk, you read Funky Winkerbean not for its  depiction of “contemporary issues affecting young adults in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner” (because all that ended with Act II). You don’t seek real-life situations, believable dialogue, likable characters, or coherent plotting. You likely were a true fan of this comic back in the days when it did have these characteristics, in abundance. Perhaps you’ve continued reading faithfully ever since, or, perhaps you picked up the funny pages after a lengthy absence, decided to check in on ol’ Funky and his pals, and wondered what the hell happened.

But if you’re reading this blog, you share a very special perspective on the Funkiverse. You keep coming back either to see how incoherent, tone deaf, and awful it can get…or…you cast aside whatever passes for narrative around here, and inject your own. In which case, today’s installment could be right out of a Coen brothers film: repressed midwestern matron Linda gleefully looking on as strapping Buck marches docile Bull out to dig his own cold, lonely grave.

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El Toro Loco

And you thought Batiuk’s handling of PTSD was bad. This is appalling. Not only is the “punchline” offensive, Batiuk has to reverse-engineer the setup, which typically would be “If anyone told me blah blah blah, I’d tell him he was crazy!” You’d think that having to go to such lengths for a gag would make TB pause to think it over. Instead, he doubles down. Buck: “You’re crazy!” Bull: “And forgetful, too! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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Enfee-Bull-ment

Let us address Bull’s “CTE diagnosis:” From Wikipedia:

Currently, [Chronic traumatic encephalopathy] can only be definitively diagnosed by direct tissue examination after death…

…though according to my light research, this past fall it was reported that a diagnosis had been made in the case of a still-living, since deceased, unidentified “old baller.” Naturally, Batiuk couldn’t have known this when he wrote this strip a year ago, so we still get to call “Bull” -shit.

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Gentleman Baller

So, how’s Bull doing?” How rude to have Bull’s wife discuss his condition with Buck literally right behind his back. And how cruel of Batiuk to go through the trouble of rehabilitating bully Bull’s Act I persona, only to set him on a track to a sad, addled existence: first suggesting that Bull’s high school abuse of Les was staged (it wasn’t), and having him serve as trainer to Summer following her knee injury, and to Les as he prepared to climb Kilimanjaro. Thankfully his health is still good, so he’ll have plenty of time to sit in the basement and savor his “victory.”

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Dewey Defeats Truman

Yours truly is fighting a nasty cold, and by the time I dragged myself to the computer to update the placeholder post for today’s strip, y’all had done my work for me.

spacemanspiff85: “…I know, I can have a frame taken out of that decades old video tape someone shot from the stands of a high school football game and have it printed on a giant fake newspaper for him!”

I’ll just add my 2¢ here to point out a retcon of a retcon: the picture on the fake sports page has Bull reaching to extend the ball over the goal line; it’s debatable, whether or not his knees were down, if this counts as a TD. In panel 1, his head, shoulders, and the football are over the line as he is tackled. Hard to see how this is not a score, even if the defenders subsequently dragged him back out of the endzone.

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Every Day the Paperboy Brings More

And I recommend that you
Stop watching the news
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn’t your own

Morrissey, “Spent the Day in Bed

So Funky’s rationale for staying sober is that, even if he drank all the alcohol in the world…in the whole world…that the “insanity” of life would continue. Isn’t that setting the bar (no pun intended) a little high (still no pun intended)? Couldn’t he just drink enough to stay drunk and not care so much about the world? If he finds the news each day to be so upsetting, why doesn’t Funky just stop watching the news each day? Once again Batiuk attempts to tackle a serious subject and buries himself and the rest of us under “the weight of substantial ideas.”

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Extinction Tourism

PharmDawg
January 3, 2018 at 11:22 pm
If this was an AA meeting, somebody would have stopped Funky mid-sentence by saying, “In keeping with our singleness of purpose and our Third Tradition which states that ‘The only requirement for A.A. membership
is a desire to stop drinking,’ we ask that all who participate confine their discussion to their problems with
alcohol.”

Comment of the week right there, folks. Of course, what we’re seeing is not an AA meeting, but what Batiuk thinks an AA meeting is like. Hence, we see people drinking coffee (which does happen) and smoking cigarettes (which is not allowed indoors in most places, including Ohio).

Of course, no list by Batiuk of What Ails the World would be complete without a mention of climate change, and everyone’s complicity in same: “We’re sending cruise ships…” Watching glaciers melt, or grass grow, or paint dry would be far more interesting than wading through a week of this dreck.

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