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CSotD: It’s Friday Funnies and So What?

A bit of cautionary wisdom from Arlo for anyone who hasn’t noticed that whatever crazy was out there to start with has really flourished in the current crisis.

Someone the other day was making excuses for Costco Ken, that belligerent fellow who was threatening an old lady who wanted him to wear a mask, stepping up to her and the video-taker with her, puffing out his chest and offering a physical beating.

They suggested that he might have been having a bad day and shouldn’t have lost his job at a local insurance agency where he had been one of their top producers.

Which might make more sense if he’d been a bolt-tightener on an assembly line where your personality is not central to your performance.

A better example is the loudmouth in California who began berating an Asian family at another table with a racist tirade and demanding they go back to where they came from.

Later, he apologized, saying, “I was taught to respect people of all races.”

But nobody suddenly shouts “Horses can fly!” or “I ate the moon!”

That explosion of racism came out of somewhere, pal.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine wrote, and what was true in that moment of crisis is true in this one.

We think of “trying” in the sense of stressing, as in “don’t try my patience,” but Paine’s quote makes more sense when “trying” is defined as analyzing the quality of an ore sample.

Our souls indeed are being tried, and the result shows the percentage of gold versus dross.

Janis may be more aware of the craziness around her than she was in less stressful times.

But she’s not wrong.

 

The so-what being this: Pros and Cons not withstanding, you do have some obligation to suck it up and keep on keepin’ on.

Don’t deny it, but, rather, emulate MacDuff and dispute it like a man but also feel it like a man.

The brilliance of that passage being that Shakespeare first cites the meaning of “man” as macho and brave, then, in the next sentence, switches to “man” as human and vulnerable.

A lot of people have been citing MLK’s quote, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” but let’s not forget that Dr. King didn’t sit around waiting for that arc to bend itself.

 

Though, speaking of things which don’t preclude one another, it’s possible to work hard and care deeply and still take time to fling a few cream pies.

I’m with Eno. If you’re going to watch something stupid, watch something that is purposefully, intentionally stupid.

Friend-of-the-Blog Brian Fies has pointed out that, while the original Star Trek was based on Roddenbury’s experiences in the Navy, the subsequent iterations of the series were based on Star Trek.

If you remember the old days of analog media, when you copied a tape, the result was a little less sharp, and if you copied that tape, the next was degraded a bit more.

Similarly, the Godfather opened up an inside view of the mob, but the more times it was imitated, the more the results became a reflection of movies about the mob, until the plots became as comfortable as fairy tales, with traditional tropes and characters and dialog we expect.

Point being that, while Three Stooges movies mostly end in pie fights, we know we’re watching something stupid, while sci-fi or mob films or thrillers or whatever are pale imitation of pale imitations, just as silly and predictable as the Three Stooges, but without the frank, stupid honesty.

 

And so f’rinstance, as Niels Vergouwen points out, medieval movies take place in a drab, colorless world of mud, not because it’s authentic but because we think that’s what authenticity should look like.

Fact is, there are all sorts of natural dyes that produce lovely colors, and ancient spinners and weavers knew how to use things like onion skins, cochineal and turmeric. I don’t know when logwood came into use — it may be entirely a New World product — but that’s what was used to dye these skeins, which I spotted at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.

But authenticity be damned. Audiences expect the Middle Ages to be grim and muddy and full of ignorance and violence, and, if you’re read this blog for long, you’ll know that I have a particular dislike for the same prejudice in Western films, most of which are set in desert climates but have everyone shin-deep in mud.

And then there’s this:

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals has some fun with what every parent reading aloud to their children discovers spontaneously.

If nothing else, it shows the futility of taking a straight road and expecting things to stay that way.

 

And now for something completely different

Mr. Boffo gave me more of a sigh than a laugh, because it reminded me of a late night long ago when one of my dogs got out and came home an hour later, whimpering and favoring his shoulder.

I called my vet, but got the answering service who then called another vet with whom he shared being on call. I was instructed to take my dog to her office.

She turned out to be a tiny sparrow of a woman, so incredibly shy that she could barely talk to me, but she gently examined my badly-bruised-but-not-broken dog and called him “Pookie” and was so sweet and kind to him that I switched over and made her our vet.

Granted, she didn’t quite establish the level of dialogue seen in this strip, but she had a phenomenal thing for communicating with animals and caring about them and I didn’t mind that it took a couple of years for the two of us to establish a relationship where we could chat beyond basic veterinary information.

The dogs, of course, adored her.

 

I even recommended her to my sister, who I’m pretty sure didn’t mind sharing a name with Paul McCartney’s dog.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Brent J. Nordquist
July/10/2020
@ 10:34 am

Someone recently pointed me to this upscaled version of the famous 1890s era moving picture “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RYNThid23g

The upscaling means it’s an approximation of reality. But what struck me is what it revealed about my mental assumptions that the world of 100 years ago was fuzzy and sepia-toned, and people moved at a hyper pace. Seeing this helps me visualize it more like I would have if I’d been there; yes, they are normal people, nicely dressed.

#2 John Baker
July/10/2020
@ 1:30 pm

Even more striking than the queer men in The Wizard of Oz is the orgy in Peter Pan. From the end of chapter 6:

“Peter kept watch outside with drawn sword, for the pirates could be heard carousing far away and the wolves were on the prowl. The little house looked so cosy and safe in the darkness, with a bright light showing through its blinds, and the chimney smoking beautifully, and Peter standing on guard. After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy. Any of the other boys obstructing the fairy path at night they would have mischiefed, but they just tweaked Peter’s nose and passed on.

#3 Mark Jackson
July/11/2020
@ 9:09 am

If that’s the one illustrated by Wally Wood then Peter’s story about sleeping through it is suspect.

#4 Kip Williams
July/11/2020
@ 9:32 am

A friend once mentioned in his fanzine that he was reading a Hopalong Cassidy book in which Hoppy and a friend went hunting, and then spent most of the next day “jerking their meat over the fire.”

“Men were really men in those days,” concludes said friend.

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