Tag Archives: Westview High School

The Right to Hug Arms

Link to today’s strip

The internet has been a wonderful breeding ground for all kinds of new dialectical terminology. Whereas before we had things like Ockham’s Razor or Pascal’s Wager. Now we’ve got Godwin’s Law, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The Bechdel Test, “Whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.” And Poe’s Law, “Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied views.”

Here we have an inverse Poe’s Law. A sincere expression of a view so obviously exaggerated it is indistinguishable from parody.

Also. Is this all of the students who walked out? That must have been some editorial.

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Did someone break the windows?

Link to today’s strip

No Les, for either one of them to be jokes, they would have to be funny. And kudos to all the commenters who wondered if Batiuk would remember far enough back to reference the machine gun. Turns out it was cardboard. What is funny is that bringing a fake gun to school these days is likely good enough to get you suspended. Ah, the good old days, when Batiuk still had the balls to use guns for humor.

There is something funny in this strip though. That kid carrying the ‘We’re Still Here” sign looks like an immigrant from another strip entirely. I’m guessing Archie. He’s either got freckles, acne, stubble, or a tiny tattoo of a flock of migrating geese on his cheek. That coat looks like he murdered Chewbacca to wear his pelt, and the orange scarf isn’t so much a fashion accessory as some terrible noose he’s broken free. He’s got a nose high and sharp enough to use as a can opener, pointy ears. And all of this with a receding hairline hiding under cowlick reminiscent of the infamous scene in “There’s Something About Mary.”

Forget everyone else in this strip. We should make it all about Cowlick from now on.

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Bleat for Security

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.

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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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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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Clock Him NOW!

Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include…cognitive impairment…

from The Mayo Clinic page on CTE

Not only may Batiuk have finally succeeded in making me feel empathy for Bull…I think I’m experiencing a little “cognitive impairment” myself. Or maybe TB is the one who’s losing it. Back in 2011 he spent a week crafting a retcon in which Bull had only been pretending to physically abuse Les so that the other bullies would leave him alone. I think Les may have done Bull’s homework for him, or tutored him, or some shit, in return…I really don’t remember or care. Neither can I remember (help me out here, billytheskink) if Linda was part of the gang in Act I, or did she not show up until they all were adults in Act II. She didn’t know Bull and Les in high school? All the confusion even has Les scratching his head.

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