Tag Archives: The Bleat

Marshal Arts

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?

Kenneth: Yeah.

Tucker: Pretty much, yeah.

CJ: OK. …I’m in.

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Willful Denial

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.

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You Got the Silver

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.

 

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Don’t be yellow

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.

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No

Today’s strip shows the unbelievably named Maris Rogers giving an unbelievable impromptu news cast about the unbelievably petty problem of Les blowing through his monthly copier privileges. But what’s most unbelievable about it is that any student who goes to Westview High would actually be willing to defend this jackass. Les, on the rare occasions  when he’s actually shown teaching, is an extraordinary asshole to his students. It simply wrecks my suspension of disbelief that the three students on the Bleat would go up against their principal, in such an inflammatory fashion, to defend this insulting prick. Perhaps that’s why the diminutive Bernie Silver is conspicuously missing.

Btw, I find it instructive that in order to find a sequence of Les actually teaching a class rather than insulting his students over parental permission for a Washington D.C. trip or simply grandstanding, I had to go back nearly five years.

Anyway, if the copier limitations that Les so strenuously protests were so draconian, you’d think the improbably named Maris Rogers (was Ruth Babe too obvious?) would find a more sympathetic teacher than the one who’s been throwing a massive hissy all week before no doubt going back to insult his students yet again.

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Missed open layup

Today’s strip shows Les continuing to chase Nate around to berate him over his copier use. And not surprisingly, he’s wrong. He’s not being penalized. He’s simply not getting credit for it. He’s not allotted fewer copies than his fellow teachers. He gets just as many, but since he decided to go double sided, he used half as many pages. It’s not Nate’s fault, or the fault of the other teachers that Les was sloppy when heeding the rules.

But I’m more annoyed by the punchline. Batiuk uses a legal term, “don’t make a federal case out of it”, but rather than bringing the Legal Society students in, he brings in the kids in the journalism club (media club, or whatever the hell it is). Wouldn’t a better punchline be “don’t turn this into a front page story”? Or “don’t make a national story of this”? You know, something to reflect the fact that these kids are specifically in the school’s media news activity?

But I don’t know why I’m annoyed. To mix my metaphors, flubbing an open layup like this is par for the course as far as Batiuk’s concerned.

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The Long Goodbye…

starts today, as Westview High School’s CCTV news program announces Bull’s retirement to the student body. I don’t know what to call it anymore, though, because apparently either Tom or his Sunday Artist Intern is spelling  the title “The Bleet” nowadays. So, what do you think? Is T-Bats slipping in mistakes like this intentionally to screw around with the snark community, or is he just going a little soft in the noggin?

Since we’re talking about The Bleat/Bleet, say hello to Bernie Silver who seems to have inherited the anchor’s chair from Owen. And since he reports that the official retirement sendoff will be on Friday, we can probably expect the entirety of next week to depict =- or at least talk about – said ceremony.

So, we’ve got Bull’s retirement, a new anchor, and a stupid typo. Other than that, this is pretty much your typical mediocre Sunday throw-away, just like last week with Funky’s leafy hairline. I can’t help thinking, though, that Tom is setting Bull up for a fall. Look at Les in panel three. That filthy, squint-eyed, lifted-eyebrow smirk. He knows something, that smug fuccboi. I’m starting to hate Dick Facey as much as Epicus Doomus does.

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