Link to today’s strip
Well, this is the most blatantly, problematically sexist strip I have seen Tom Batiuk put out since “What Women’s Lib doesn’t know won’t hurt them”. He has his newest nebbish highschool avatar say that it took him til the tenth grade to have girls for friends, and flat out say that he considers wimmin-folk a separate class from himself.
Bernie has been hanging out with Logan for at least three years now, and he didn’t consider her a friend? Instead he saw her as an ‘other.’ And not only as from a different group, but a group outright opposing his own.
The wording of this has a darker potential double meaning. Because it could indicate that there are in fact two camps on each side of these opposing groups. A male opposing camp and a female opposing camp. And how else is Logan different from Bernie? So we’ve got textual sexism on top of sub-liminal racism. I’m revoking Bernie’s ‘woke’ card.
For years I’ve been defending Tom Batiuk against claims of overt sexism. I honestly believed he just had a hard time writing and relating to women. But this one strip has me rethinking everything.
Link to today’s strip
“Americans used to roar like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security.”
― Norman Vincent Peale
It’s interesting how the force of this protest has waned over the last three days. On Tuesday we were ‘urging action to stop’, yesterday we were ‘urging action to prevent’ and now we’re not ‘urging action’ at all anymore, just ‘voicing concerns about’ tomorrow we’ll just be ‘drawing attention to guns,’ and the slow march of passivity will continue on.
I wondered if there was ‘much to show for’ school shooting legislation from last year to this year. Because I don’t trust Tom Batiuk one bit to do any real research on what he’s claiming. There has been quite a bit.. At least on the gun control side. Maybe Bernie is one of those who argues a gun control is more a mental health issue. Oh, wait, no, there’s been significant movement on that front too. This article even mentions the students March for Our Lives having an effect.
Of course, you could make the argument that a lot of these proposed laws haven’t been finalized yet, or that all of this isn’t enough. But that isn’t what Bernie here is saying. What he’s really saying is, school shootings are bad enough to protest but not serious enough to research.
I look forward to the senior trip to DC, where the students will protest the lack of a WWII memorial while standing in it’s fountain.
Link to today’s strip
What is going on with Les’ face in panel two today? I can only guess that Ayers saw the word vomit in the speech bubble and decided to give Les an expression to match. It’s a pretty apt depiction since Les is just regurgitating yesterday’s substance.
And good old principal Nate today, distilling into one word the thing most perniciously wrong with Funky Winkerbean. Les presents him with something potentially contentious, and Nate agrees.
No argument about the students’ obligation to be in school, the potential debasing of non-violent rule breaking as a tool of last resort, or the use of the school’s own vehicle of propaganda to take a position on a divisive issue where the student body is likely not unified in viewpoint. Nate agrees. All ‘good’ people agree. Everyone seen is in agreement. The potential opponents are an unseen undefined ‘badness’ that must not be personified.
This is worse storytelling than the Big Gay Prom arc, because at least in that we had a strawwoman in opposition. She was about as nuanced as a shrieking harpy ruining everyone’s lunch, but she was there. Opposition leads to drama. It resists the goal of the protagonists, making them work for what they want. And, most importantly to Batiuk’s goals, it gives what they’re fighting for weight. Debate lets the characters themselves tell the audience why: Why is a walkout the best way for these students to protest school shootings? Does anyone think there is a better way? Is there any specific legislation or legislators these kids are targeting? We’ll probably never know, because so far no one asked.
If Les and Bernie had to convince the Principal to allow the editorial, if they had to explain themselves to parents or disagreeing students, or if they had to potentially sacrifice something to stage this protest, then the ‘protest’ might seem like something more than what it is: hollow, passionless, consequence free virtue-signaling.
Link to today’s strip
Wow. That is one unwieldy sentence in panel one. Look, I get it, writing is really hard. I always find some real nasty clunkers anytime I go back and reread something I’ve written. But panel one’s sentence is atrocious.
“So you want to marshal our students to walk out of school on the anniversary of last year’s national walkout urging action to stop gun violence?”
The worst part of the sentence is the ‘urging action’ ending, because it adds a new verb into the sentence. It functions as a new ‘clause’ and my brain did a little hiccup trying to tie that verb to any of the previous nouns. Also ‘verb-noun verbing verbtion to verb noun noun-with-implied-action’ has no less than five ‘active’ words in it: (walk, urge, action, stop violence,)yet comes across limp and passive. I am years and years away from the single high school grammar class I took, so I can’t completely diagram this sentence and it’s awfulness. But it does not scan.
I get that the anemic attempt at a ‘joke’ is dependent on Les restating the plan in order to build up the expectation that he will not go along with it, but that doesn’t make the sentence any better. And the ‘joke’ is a trope so tired that Dawn of the Dead 2004 used it.
CJ: Not to s**t on anyone’s riff here, but lemme just see if I grasp this concept, OK? You’re suggesting that we take some f**king parking shuttles, and reinforce them with some aluminum siding, and then just head on over to the gun store and watch our good friend Andy play some cowboy movie jump-on-the-covered-wagon bulls**t. Then, we’re gonna drive across a ruined city, through a welcome committee of a few hundred thousand dead cannibals, all so that we can sail off into the sunset on this f**king a**hole’s boat? And head for some island that for all we know doesn’t even exist?
Tucker: Pretty much, yeah.
CJ: OK. …I’m in.
Link to Monday’s strip
Comic Book Harriet back again! And really wishing I had something more to look forward to than a stupid mopey prestige arc where everyone will act ‘super serious’ which to Tom Batiuk is completely indistinguishable from ‘super bored’
Like today’s strip. Lets imagine, for a moment, that we haven’t been warned about the nature of this week’s strips. Lets imagine that Bernie has passed Les a detailed editorial on comic book death matches. Lets imagine that every line is dripping with so much dry sarcasm they might as well be airing this strip on the BBC. Lets imagine anything at all, except for what we will be getting, it’s the only way we’ll enjoy today for what it is.
What’s my opinion, Bernie? How about this: next time the school levy fails to pass, my opinion is that the school could save some budget by doing away with “The Bleat.” I’d also recommend giving the boot to clueless, ineffectual teachers like Mr. Moore and Mrs. Bushka, but sadly, they’re tenured in. “Tenure” must also explain why past-their-prime, mirthless franchises such as Funky Winkerbean (and Crankshaft) continue to occupy the ever shrinking amount of real estate allotted to newspaper comics.
It’s been my honor to share the FW misery with you these past couple weeks. Though I am loathe to give away spoilers, TB has already teased in his blog about next week’s “prestige” arc, ripped from last year’s headlines, and comicbookharriet will break it all down for you starting tomorrow.
Today’s strip shows the extremely jaundiced Linda speaking to Cayla in the main office about this week’s storyline. Even though yesterday’s strip said that Les was the faculty advisor of The Bleat, Linda today suggests that she’s the faculty advisor, even though unlike Les, we’ve never in fact seen her in that position. Guess Linda’s just one of those busybody teachers who has her hand in literally everything at the school.
Anyway, you have to love the claim that what’s happened this week is an example of those kids “thinking independently”. It just so happens that their “thinking independently” constitutes bullying the principal on behalf of their loathsome faculty advisor over a subject that none of those kids could actually care about. Yes, Batiuk, I’m sure that all these kids, upon seeing Les’ tantrum, would be persuaded that publicly supporting him would be the proper thing to do, potentially slandering the principal in the process.
And it’s not surprising. If you were to view Batiuk’s work in total, his idea of a child thinking independently and admirably would be one who agrees with everything he, or his author avatar, believes. Otherwise they’re just foolish and intellectually vapid. (Seriously, he had Owen not knowing what glass is) Batiuk may think that Cayla’s comment is a joke, but his entire oeuvre shows that she ought to be completely serious.
Anyway, Linda really ought to get to a doctor to deal with her jaundice. Jesus.