Sosfdavido here, barely to update after a long power outage in the Santa Cruz mountains! Here’s a post for today from my cell phone but HTML doesn’t show up from my phone.
Tag Archives: Westview HS Band
Are we being led to believe that the events of this week’s FW– John’s posting the plot synopsis to the web, Pete’s discovery of same, alerting the studio and identifying and tracking down the skunk-headed culprit – have all transpired in one day of strip time? “Hard to tell” indeed! John (like fellow comics nerd Pete Rudomanski) always, always is seen wearing the same shirt. But Crazy Harry’s still rockin’ that blue shortsleeve we saw him in on Monday…and we know it ain’t a postal uniform.
Well, now that we’ve enjoyed a week of nothing at all, it looks like we’re seeing some actual hazing! But no, just turns out to be a glimpse of something that happened to that Ol’ Punching Bag Himself, Wally Winkerbean, many years ago.
Odd, isn’t it, that Becky’s example has to be something that happened twenty or thirty-odd years ago, and she’s only just this year put a stop to it. I mean, we couldn’t have used someone slightly more contemporary, like Owen, to make Becky look a little less uncaring and incompetent. But one suspects that when Owen graduated, his model sheets were thrown into the fire so that Tom Batiuk wouldn’t be tempted to take the focus away from Dinkle and Les.
The last panel does, on the face of it, constitute a “punchline” and it would ordinarily be a pretty good one. But given the slant of this strip, my first thought was “This store is going to go out of business.” Odd again that the store seems to sell nothing but plastic wrap (and lottery tickets) again indicating that this prank has been going on so long local merchants are dependent on it for economic survival–but only now is Becky addressing it. The town will probably dry up and become abandoned, and the band camp will be relocated to Camp Crystal Lake (at least Jason would be easy to draw). An interesting view of Chesterton’s Fence. I guess I’m defending hazing! Funky Winkerbean has made me a terrible person now.
I guess also that this tosses a glitch into the Batiukian Theory that men are the only ones who can act; that the sole function of a woman is to supply cookies and milk to a comic-book reading session. Turns out women can utterly destroy things. Here’s to equality!
(Wikipedia: A humidor is any kind of box or room with constant humidity that is used to store cigars, cigarettes, or pipe tobacco. Just so you folks don’t have to look it up.)
This is definitely a “What?” strip. As in, “What kind of thought process arrives at this end?”
Is this in reference to yesterday’s strip, about freshmen in the lake? Now they use bottles for water, instead of a lake? If that’s the case, I can’t even. I mean, the lake thing was just last night, and now everything’s awesome?
Has The Odious Dinkle’s blathering on about himself actually solved the problem of band camp hazing?
Or is this another example of hazing–these girls are forced to drink bottles of water, because hazing? If that’s the case, why isn’t Becky stopping it, if she’s so goldurn concerned?
Sigh. I know the answer. Tom Batiuk saw the word “hydrating” and noticed that both it and “hazing” begin with an “h” and have a couple of vowels in common. But this isn’t a pun, or even amusing in any way. It’s not even a malapropism.
If Crankshaft thought of this, even he would not say it.
Credit where it’s due: a nice touch in today’s strip is the kid with the trombone. He was in yesterday’s strip as well, walking roughly in the same place, so it’s a very good way to show that time has not passed between yesterday’s strip and today’s. In other words, despite taking a week in real-time, only a few minutes have gone by in strip-time. It would be better if he had the same color shirt as yesterday, but I’ll be generous and put that down to an error by the syndicate.
However, I find The Odious Dinkle’s dialogue in panel one to be pretty damned off-putting. What exactly does he mean? Becky mentioned problems with hazing, and that was only a few minutes ago–so, no, she hasn’t had the time to do anything, so, yeah, the problems with hazing probably are still ongoing.
What I find off-putting about this is the idea that The Odious Dinkle has been treating everything Becky says as an opportunity to blather on about himself, and now that he’s blathered on for a while, he’s surprised that his blather hasn’t solved every problem Becky has. Why, I’ve just told you I have problems, how dare you claim to have them as well. It’s this kind of total self-absorption, this hermetically sealed worldview, that makes The Odious Dinkle so odious. It makes one long for a replay of the Becky on the scissors-lift scene, only substituting The Odious Dinkle for Roberta, and including the payoff.
What I really don’t get is The Odious Dinkle’s reaction. “Old uniforms?” What does that mean? I have this horrible feeling that these are uniforms from his tenure as band leader, and as such should be treated as sacred relics. Which quite frankly makes good my point about his raging egoism, and thus makes me loathe him all the more.
Let’s hope someone hides his oxygen bottle.
So, more of this crap. My God this stuff is boring; it makes me want to smother myself. It looks like I’m not alone; given the crowd that takes up most of panel two, I’m starting to think ol’ Tom Batiuk is starting to bore himself.
Well, at least with today’s episode, we get an actual
instance mention of an act of hazing, though hiding someone’s oxygen bottle seems like it might have fatal consequences. Here, The Odious Dinkle tosses it off as a grim reminder that nothing ever changes, but Becky appears to be chuckling to herself. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do to John. I can hardly wait.
Neither can we, Becky. Neither can we.
I’ve never been to band camp, but it sure looks like everyone has just been milling around aimlessly while The Odious Dinkle blathers away. And now that he and Becky are both leaving, more aimless milling. Aren’t there supposed to be rehearsals and marching routines and things like that? This seems like a waste of time for everyone–which makes it a perfect mirror for Funky Winkerbean.
This is a good example of what I mentioned yesterday–the majority of “stories” in this strip are people complaining about something without being specific in their complaints. “X stinks, man.” “Yeah, X sure stinks.” “Good, we agree that X stinks. See you tomorrow.” “Not if I’m lucky, you won’t!” (smirk) (smirk)
If you look at the dialogue in this strip (sorry to make you read it again) you could replace the word “hazing” with anything, and nothing would change. Smoking. Drinking. Farting. Reading comic books. Reading Funky Winkerbean. Try it; it actually makes the strip enjoyable. Is Tom Batiuk crediting his readers with already knowing what “hazing” is, or does he just not care?
Well, let’s see, here’s a strip with Becky and Dinkle chatting. I left it blank what they’re chatting about…time to turn on the news! Say, this story about hazing sounds good!
Today, Dinkle throws out “Stockholm Syndrome” with no clarification and again, it could be that Tom Batiuk credits his readers with enough intelligence to know what Stockholm Syndrome is…or it could just be the case that he threw it in, knowing it would make him sound smart.
It doesn’t really seem appropriate for a
story vague chat about “hazing” though–while there have been some recent horrible stories about hazing, in those cases the hazee didn’t immediately turn around and defend those who had wronged him. Nope, in the case I heard about, police and the courts got involved and the ending was not pretty.
I would say that particular incident might have started as hazing, but quickly turned into abuse, and abuse is another matter entirely that I don’t think anyone would find defensible (or funny). I should note that I’ve never experienced hazing from either end, but from what I understand it’s supposed to be a good-natured trial by fire endured to enter some club or another. You would never know what hazing is if you relied on this strip. Or Stockholm Syndrome for that matter.
We could see the effects of this hazing on a student (in a conversation with Becky), or actually see the hazing in question. But I’m going to put my money on “No, we won’t.” The rest of the week will be like today:
Two people having a nothing conversation. Has Tom Batiuk been held prisoner by the forces of mediocrity so long that he now believes them to be his only friends, his guiding lights?
Art-wise, it’s eerie how Becky almost morphs into the gal in the second panel. Same height, nearly same expression, just further left in the pane. It’s such an odd thing to look at that it has to be deliberate. I assume that he just doesn’t scribble stuff down and be done for the day, but I may be mistaken!