Tom Batiuk’s got a decade-plus on me, but I reckon my high school experience had more in common with his than with that of today’s high school student. In my days, the only “device” a student might carry would be some kind of orthodontic implement. Any phone calls a student made would have to be from the principal’s office or the corner malt shop. Logan Church and her peers are never without their cellphones, and thus, are never without access to all the world’s knowledge. No wonder the unpleasant Jim hates teaching a class. When Logan correctly answers a physics question, Jim’s initial surprised reaction immediately shifts to narrow-eyed suspicion. She couldn’t have known this answer without Googling it, because Jim believes, as does Les, that these students never even open their textbooks. The thought that he has actually taught a student something brings Jim to actual tears. Unless that teardrop in the corner of his eye is a prison tattoo.
Tag Archives: clueless students
Thanks to our glorious leader TF Hackett, who brought up yesterday that “Mr. Whole Note.” is, in fact, a song/training exercise for learning piano students. The excerpt he posted of ‘The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 2.’ is simultaneously infuriating and fascinating. So, I’ll let you all expertly dissect Dinkle’s non-joke in the comments, and look forward to your hilarious analysis. I’m going off on a tangent again.
Like a lot of mouth breathing nerds, I am a huge Tolkien fan. Like, I’ve read The Silmarillion more than ONCE kind of Tolkien fan. If you really start digging into his work, you find out that the man was a persnickety and easily distracted procrastinator who created reams and reams of unfinished material that his son, Christopher, carefully collated and annotated into multiple volumes. The famous Silmarillion is just the tip of the iceberg.
Reading through something like “The History of Middle Earth” series, and seeing his son deconstruct the evolution of his father’s work in parallel to his father’s life is to get a window into the creative process of a man. The single world that Tolkien invented is so complex, with thousands of years of history and dozens, if not hundreds, of complete stories and sagas he never thought finished enough to release. And his son spent his whole life studying and writing about his father’s work, carefully breaking down the evolution of concepts and characters. I feel like all the weird asides, and life commentary, written in the margins of The Complete Funky Winkerbean attempt to achieve the same thing for Batiuk’s massive world.
But, unlike Tolkien, who hid his unfinished material away, and really didn’t like the idea of psychoanalyzing authors to find parallels in their own work, Batiuk is compelled to write the deconstruction himself. He has to be the one to break apart and explain this weird, paper-paste, universe he’s spent his life creating, and tie it together with his own experiences. Writing paragraphs on his musical education and family life with serious self-importance, probably because there is no one out there obsessed enough to do it for him.
It’s really kind of sad. Tolkien was a deeply religious man, assured of his own immortality and humble in his act of subcreation. Even if you don’t share his belief, you can tell how his faith comforted him. His only self psychoanalysis of his work is a wonderful short story, ‘Leaf by Niggle.’ In it he writes a parable of painter that ends with the realization that even if the massive work of art he was trying to create was never finished, and never appreciated, and ultimately never remembered by anyone on this Earth, that somehow it would exist forever and finally be perfected in the world to come.
Tom Batiuk, meanwhile, has the Kent State University Press printing out an entire Midrash of Funky Winkerbean, trying to scrape together enough interest and importance for a hint of earthly immortality. And, it seems, the only ones who care enough to spend any time at all engaging with his world are a tiny cabal of beady-eyed nitpickers who he disdains.
Kids don’t read newspapers or newspaper comics these days… Boo hoo, so sad, this generation is killing the papers and the cartoonists, blah blah blah yackity smackity… Sorry, don’t care. I’ve heard it all before, and in better comic strips to boot.
Today’s strip is bland, rote filler in a dumb, overplayed story arc, but… that second panel. Chuck Ayers artwork since taking over duties in Funky a couple years ago has taken a good step back from the solid work he did for many years in Crankshaft I would argue, but the second panel in today’s strip is a genuinely excellent piece of cartooning. The beady eyes, the nonplussed expressions, the unrealistic density of students packed into every millimeter of the panel… you can practically hear the crickets chirping in background of this non-reaction. It is an extremely rare and truly good thing to see in Funky Winkerbean. What a pity it isn’t in the service of a better joke.
Oh look, someone let Les put the message on the school sign in today’s strip. Or maybe Kablichnick put that up. Or Linda. Among the Westview High faculty, the possibilities are endless…
So, I’ve been assuming this is Logan Church, who was introduced in early 2016 as a white girl with an ABC News-endorsed business blog, and I stand by it. A change in ethnicity? That’s an established common occurrence in the Batiukverse. A successful business blogger who suddenly dresses like an extra from the opening scene of Austin Powers and jokes about not knowing basic high school geography? Wouldn’t be the first time.
And with that, I hand the keys back over to the governor himself: TFHackett. After this week’s clip show, one can only assume we will back to regularly scheduled programming. Good luck… you’re gonna need it.
It is comics like today’s strip that remind me how good I have it. I’m not taking high school English from Les Moore. I never had to take high school English from Les Moore. It is as if he is intentionally trying to be the opposite of the teacher that successful people so often cite as the inspiration that got them to make something of their life. What a miserable experience in every single way this strip is.
Les’ senior students did poorly on their quiz last Monday and now his freshman students have done poorly on theirs… I see a common denominator here. I bet these students would too if Westview High had a math teacher.
If I had told you a year ago that today’s strip was going to be the second in as many days to revolve around Bernie Silver’s forehead acne, you probably would have said “yeah, that sounds like something Tom Batiuk would write about.”
What a pompous and verbose response to a reasonable question. Does Bernie look at Les a role model? Because strips like this make it seem that he does. It almost makes you forget that Bernie is trying to use a pimple to justify an absence from school, a trope that became trite decades ago when the 7 billionth fictional teenager got a pimple on school picture day or prom night and sulked about it.
The traveling green shirt, meanwhile, lives up to its name and finds itself being worn by a third different student in as many days.
Today’s strip gives us a good indication of why Bernie has been a freshman for two years, he apparently plays hooky when the slightest blemish appears on his face.
Bernie might not be learning much of the three Rs in high school, but he’s getting Westview’s trademark tone-deafness down pat. Griping about your “bad forehead day” in front of a 15-year-old cursed with Peyton Manning’s forehead and a 15-year-old cursed with Ron Howard’s hairline while wearing bangs that cover 95% of your own forehead… that is cold-blooded, Bernie. Les would be proud if he didn’t despise you and every other student who walks the halls of Westview High.
Today’s strip is a dramatic improvement over yesterday’s, for obvious reasons.
It is not, of course, without its issues:
– First and foremost, what does Not-Monroe expect the school to do about his lunch complaint? Bus kids out for lunch? They’re freshman, they couldn’t leave campus for lunch even if they had a car. They’re 14-15 years old and don’t have drivers licenses. Unless, of course, they were held back, which is certainly possible. Bernie was a freshman last year too…
– Second, the only place that the seniors with cars could go out for lunch and get back in time for class is Montoni’s. The freshmen stuck eating cafeteria food are undoubtedly coming out ahead from that angle.
– Third, who is this “they” that Bernie speaks of? The seniors? The faculty? Wall Street? I enjoy a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, Bernie, but it is not interesting if you are not specific about who is trying to keep you down.
Hello SOSFers, billytheskink here to ponder the ponderous ponderings of this comic strip with you all for the next couple weeks.
Why does Garfield hate Mondays? He’s a cat, he doesn’t have a job. His owner doesn’t have a job that keeps him from making lasagna on Mondays (or a job at all, even… is Jon still supposed to be a cartoonist?). I guess Mondays are when Nermal shows up, but that happens on rare occasions and Nermal always sticks around for at least a week anyways, making whole weeks terrible.
I have just now realized that Garfield hates Mondays because he read today’s strip, and it is hard to blame him. I think I hate Mondays now too.
We have seen Les berate his students before (including just under a month ago, in fact), but this time he has decided to leave the classroom door wide open so passers by can hear him humiliate every single student he has been charged with teaching. You know, maybe this is TB’s attempt to bring a balanced perspective to this strip. He’s done an anti-bullying story arc, why not a pro-bullying one?