Tag Archives: clueless students

Fortune Dweller

Uh… Cayla, had you met your husband before today’s strip?! Good feeling… ha! You’d get a “ha ha” if that was genuinely funny.

THIS, by the way, is why Les is (rightfully) not allowed to speak at graduations…

Where were you when Lisa was recording, Marge’s significant other?
Note: Barry Balderman didn’t leave WHS because he was bullied or ignored, he left because he was obsessed with being valedictorian and had a nervous breakdown after he overheard Principal Fred Fairgood say that Cindy had the highest GPA in the class. What he did not overhear was that Fred was making a dumb joke that GPA stood for “Greatest Popularity of All”. Les earned those boos and then some.

Lest you think that WHS might make the mistake of letting Les speak at graduation again because everyone who was in the administration when he was a student is retired… They aren’t.

I’m half certain that (then vice-) principal Nate has committed to work at the high school until he (or Les) dies in order to make sure that Les never steps in front of a graduation ceremony microphone ever again.

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Dick and Mortar

Our own newagepalimpsest called it yesterday… but we can’t be assigning blame for the reappearance of him. For one thing, we all know TB works a year in advance (note the reference to a graduation ceremony from “two years ago” in today’s strip). For another, reading this strip always carries a risk of appearances by him or Dinkle, regardless of the context.

I know we were all hoping he was not out loathing people on a book tour or a Hollywood something… but nope, he‘s loathing people here at the graduation ceremony. At least he‘s observing rather than participating (as the faculty often do), so I guess it could be worse.

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Operation Over-bored

Did you know Linda teaches history at Westview HS? No? Well, then you you’ll learn something from today’s strip. It is, apparently, more than any of Linda’s students can say they’ve learned in several years now.

Yeah, well, she was supposed to be retired by now and she’s only in it for the pension anyways… Plus, the last time I think we saw her actually teach anything she was teaching the “Family Living Course” back when we were still meeting the Owen&Cody generation of kids.

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Run the Joules

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.

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Mr. Whole Note Takes a Week.

Link To Today’s Strip

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.

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Meeting the Four Hundred

Les just continues to mock Batton in today’s strip. Sheesh, whadda jerk! Apparently newspaper cartoonists were the original social distancing champions, which you probably would be seeing memes about if you were Facebook friends with one. Unfortunately, gags this terrible are not a rare sight in Funky Winkerbean

Emily or, uh Amelia… whichever one wears pink and doesn’t act like what TB imagines a Hot Topic shopper to be, asks a perfectly reasonable question for a “kids these days” kid. Seriously, it is a good question and it demonstrates a knowledge of what a comic strip is, how it is distributed, and its primary measure of success. Batton, of course spins this perfectly fine question into a self-pitying humblebrag so deftly that even Les seems impressed. Newspapers may be dying, but his comic strip is in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the ones that remain! What’re you gonna accomplish in your life, Blondie?

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The Thousand Panel Stare

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.

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Cana-duh

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.

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Quiz Bowel

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.

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How about a Fresco?

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.

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