Tag Archives: smirk

What’s Black-and-White and Dreaded All Over?

Honestly, I kinda dig the newspaper montage in the throwaway panel of today’s strip… such famous banners as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald (known as the Herald-Express in the 40s), San Francisco Call (known as the Call-Bulletin in the 40s), and… uh, the Oxnard Daily Courier (known as the Press-Courier in the 40s). The “His Famous Smile Is Gone” headline is actually a pretty upper-middle shelf bit of stupidly maudlin 1940s newspapering. What I like ends there, though…

WILSON BELLOWS INKPOT?! Are you kidding me, Batiuk?! “Butter Brickle” was too silly a name, had to be changed to the essentially nonexistent surname “Brinkel”… but some William Randolph Hearst-Snidely Whiplash mash-up robber barron (oh, there’s a 1940s trope, not an 1890s one… no sir!) named “Bellows” AND “Inkpot” is kosher?

Why, that’s almost as asinine as Jessica, who was in the same high school class as her husband Durwood (born in 1986) comparing yellow newspaper journalism with modern online sensationalism as if she didn’t grow up with supermarket tabloids and Les Moore writing a book about her vapid TV host father’s murder. Almost…

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A Butter Pie?

“How dare you?” is usually asked rhetorically, but in Battywood, it gets answered with a pie in the face. Comedy gold.

The draughtsmanship in today’s strip is nothing special. “Butter” Brinkel looks like a pre-dementia Bull Bushka, while his leading lady has a very contemporary look for an “old movie serial” actress. The film reel sprocket hole borders are a nice change from the usual photo album corners.
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Change for the Worst

Today’s strip:

August 3, 2018:

Today’s strip and this week’s arc continue to practically mirror those of last August. Again, for those of you who’ve recently started reading Funky Winkerbean:  even given FW’s elastic, nonsensical reckoning of time, Darin Fairgood has got to be at least forty years old, which many would consider “young” (certainly younger than me). But it’s unlikely that his presence at a postal counter would raise any eyebrows. What the hell’s with the 72-year-old Batiuk’s contempt for old people, the post office, and old people at the post office? Anyway, I happen to think that “a wallet that has a change purse” sounds pretty cool, and clearly, Darin thinks so too.

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Like I Care

Having satisfied her simian sexual appetites, as well as getting in a “bonding moment” with her child, Jessica has hastened back to L.A.—the world must not be made to wait any longer for that very important Butter Brinkel documentary! She’s probably been back in town barely long enough to unpack her suitcase; long enough to compel Darin to show his “caring” by sending her a package. Rather, “one of” his packages, which suggests this is a thing with him. Batiuk persists in depicting Darin and Jessica as these two starry eyed, young sweethearts, tragically kept apart by their respective, oh-so-important careers.

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Readers React

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, today’s thing is actually kind of funny, in a “Family Circus” kind of way…by which, it isn’t actually funny but you can at least see that a joke was intended.

And who among us here has not said the dialogue in panel one, after reading Funky Winkerbean or Crankshaft?

 

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Textbook Case of the Smirks.

Link to today’s strip

There is barely any continuity of which people are in the tables in front of Nate, as pointed out yesterday by Gerard Plourde and Eldon of Galt. (Who, when mentioned together, sound like some kind of awesome adventuring duo from a fantasy novel.) Linda has become Klabichnik, and the tables have completely changed orientation between panels.

Also in the background, right under Nate’s nose, is a teacher I don’t think we’ve seen before: The Invisible Man. I know that Batiuk has toned down a lot of the more whimsical elements of his strip since the early days, but we are still in a universe with a sentient 1970’s era computer, so I guess a see-through man isn’t out of the realms of possibility. Must have been a diversity hire.

Final textbook tallies? Wat. I mean, I guess that the teachers would have to check to make sure all the students had turned in their textbooks by the end of the year, but Nate wants all of these tallies turned in to him directly? Is he going to stay up late into the night, pouring over the numbers, checking and rechecking to make sure every single battered tome has been returned to him? Does he have a name for each one, put it in it’s little nook for the summer, then sit on the floor then gaze up at them, whispering softly at his ‘friends’. That is very unlike the lassiez-faire attitude Nate has displayed previously.

But laughing about an art error, and trying to go off on some kind of wild tangent about a crazed Nate having a secret obsessive, possessive, text-book hoarding alter-ego that only comes out when he’s alone in the dark, are literally the only ways I can make this milquetoast strip amusing, even to myself.

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Bell Pepper Curve.

Link to today’s strip

First of all, there is an absolute horror show of a human in the background. A literal dickhead emerging from a shirt made of pubes. The guy is smug as shit too. No doubt having just eaten an entire plate of the grilled processed meat tubes that he has descended from in some kind of twisted Westviewian evolution.

Does Westview grade on the curve? That’s a horrific thought. Because while some teacher claim that pretending that the smartest kid’s 85% correct on the test is the new 100% is ‘grading on the curve’, what it really means is the draconian application of the bell curve to the entire class. Every student ranked, in direct competition with the other students for the limited number of A’s, 40% of students doomed to C’s regardless of what actual percentage of the material they got correct. All your A or B tells you is that in Mrs. McGiggins 2005 Fall semester of Pre-Calculus you did better than 15 other people.

My junior year of high school, the calculus teacher was gone the entire year on maternity leave. For the first semester, they gave the advanced math students taking precalc and calc a teacher they had previously relegated to teaching remedial general math because she was so inept, despite the fact she was technically qualified. Because of her I never learned the difference between cosine and cosign.

When the most gifted kids in the school started struggling and complaining to their parents, the principal had the audacity to come to the class, pull out a bell curve and try to explain to us that, really, most of us SHOULD be getting C’s in the class.

I shot my hand right up and explained to the class that ‘the bell curve’ was both old-fashioned and unfair. We were supposed to be graded on the percentage of the material we got right, not in competition with other students for limited number of A’s. The fact that most of us were getting C’s meant that, as a class, we were understanding barely half of what we were being tested on. He fumbled around for a bit, but didn’t really have a good response. He was talking to the smartest kids in the school, and our GPA’s, and thus our college prospects, were on the line.

They pulled an old math teacher out of retirement for the next semester.

I remember the impotent frustration, the despair, and the eventual fatalistic resignation that we, as a class, felt that semester. So many of us just gave up trying. There was no reason to attempt to succeed on our own, because that would only hurt our classmates by driving up expectations. So most of us sat through every day of math class that semester, silent, sullen, and unresponsive.

What I’m saying is, I’m guessing that Westview grades on a curve.

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