Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Ducking the Call.

Link to today’s strip

Les finally stopped grilling hot dogs. I’m guessing so his depressed resigned expression could be seen by all the people who refused to take over the responsibility Les was attempting to relinquish. And they’re just smirking at him. They probably refused because they hate him, not because they don’t want to go to DC with a bunch of high schoolers.

yellowskyGuys, I’m starting to worry about Cayla. She hasn’t smiled once in two weeks of being in the strips. Either she’s in the midst of a major depression, or she’s become the audience avatar: bored, depressed, and tired.

I’m depressed because the sky in the strip has been colored oppressively yellow all week, and I don’t know why.


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No Conflict of Interest.

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.


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Contempt of Continuity

Gerard Plourde
December 1, 2016 at 8:29 am
I wonder where he’s going with this. Does Cliff defect to the USSR and end up in the Gulag until 1992?

December 1, 2016 at 1:39 am
“How would you characterize your shipmates, Mr. Anger? Were they communists? Were they virile? Strapping? Did they have tattoos?”

These questions and many more will sadly go unanswered as today Cliff wraps up his story. And your genial host must, unlike Cindy Summers and Tom Batiuk, do at least a modicum of research to come up with something to say about this plodding plot. While I could find no actors from that era who were sent to jail, I did find a Wikipedia entry about the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters and directors who refused to cooperate with McCarthy’s HUAC and who were indeed blacklisted, fined, and sentenced to prison terms of up to one year.

November 23, 2016 at 2:49 am
Oh, hell. He’s going to ruin Trumbo.

Yep, Dalton Trumbo was one of The Ten, and I’ve put his words from a 1976 interview into Cliff’s mouth here,to lend a little eloquence.


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Leningrad Steamer

Tailgunner Joe clearly has got some kind of a hard on for Cliff Anger and his commie pals, and he continues to press his case against this hostile witness. Query this, though: if Cliff had to find work in the summer of 1940, let’s figure his age at the time had to be at least, oh, sixteen. Which would make him 92 today. It’s not totally implausible that he could be spry enough to travel to Hollywood, resume acting, and even pitch woo with his former costar, but it is kind of a stretch. Of course, in the Funkiverse, age and even time itself is fluid and elastic. Cliff looks hardly older than the ostensibly late-fiftyish Crazy Harry, and Harry’s contemporary Cindy has the face and body of a millennial.


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Clifford the Big Red

November 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm
Does Batiuk think that any of his readers actually care about Cliff? Because there’s not even at attempt at humor here. Just sticking it to a senator who’s been dead for sixty years, which is weird and bizarre and totally par for the course for Batiuk.

What’s even more annoying and boring than Cliff Anger “trifling with” Sen. McCarthy by cracking wise? It’s Cliff, for the second day in a row, responding to another direct question by sanctimoniously spouting his views. Voting “several times for candidates of various political parties“? Hoo boy! What a rebel. And I’m pretty sure that definition makes most of us Communists. This arc is the comic strip equivalent of “eat your brussel sprouts.” Colorless, musty, verbose brussel sprouts.


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