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CSotD: Friday Funnies Strike Again!

While we avoid politics on Friday, the term “funnies” doesn’t preclude serious commentary, of which this Non Sequitur (AMS) is a good example.

There are all sorts of comics about masks and social distancing, and some are silly, which is fine, since escapism is a good thing as long as it doesn’t lapse into denial.

And we’re set for a good, fatal bout of denial, since there seems to be a sense that having developed a vaccine is the same as having made, distributed and administered a kabillion doses of the stuff, twice.

While, as a nurse in that article says

The piece that is so hard to describe is that you literally go through hell taking care of these patients . . . and then you leave work and your friends are talking about going to a wedding the next weekend.

Wiley touches on an old comic standard, in which the speaker withstands a barrage, then relaxes and get smashed by one more unexpected hazard.

The tiny “tink” in the third panel is typical of the bathos in those gags.

 

Which brings us to this related Joy of Tech (Ind) strip, which is focused on the promises of the vaccine, and got a laugh out of me because I remember when mono was the big concern on college campuses, though I once had a recently-former GF call me with a warning about an outbreak of thrush among her friends.

And in seeking that explanatory link, I expected to have to wade through a flock of birds to get to thrush-the-infection, but that baby popped right up on the top, so I guess it’s not as outdated a reference as I thought.

But it’s still more of an annoyance than an emergency, albeit an annoyance you have to treat.

Mononucleosis, “The Kissing Disease,” takes me back to a more innocent time, when there was nothing a few doses of an antibiotic wouldn’t clear up, which makes me think of Jim Bouton’s remark in “Ball Four,” that the hardest part of road trips was explaining to your wife why she needed to take penicillin for your kidney infection.

But mono was something cheerleaders got, an STD for people who don’t have S.

 

If you had any questions about Brad and Toni’s relationship in Luann (AMS), we have now established that they not only have sex, but great, abundant, phenomenal sex.

Less an issue of STDs than of TMI.

They’re not the only sexually active couple in the comics. Arlo and Janis clearly have a robust and pleasant sex life, and Pajama Diaries touched on sex from time to time, the difference, I think, being that those strips were more based on analyzing relationships in some depth, while Luann maintains a kind of Archie/Freckles teenage ethos, in which the most recent storyline involved bookish Bernice reading a romance novel and then having a dream about being a mermaid in which no bodices were ripped.

That makes references to sexual intercourse between the characters a bit jarring, though not nearly so jarring as watching a young married couple disagree over the “I want kids, just not yet” factor, upon which a whole lot of marriages have struck the rocks.

As when Mike Patterson was building a career in journalism in “For Better or For Worse,” until his wife blew up the “not yet” part of their understanding.

(Feb 11, 2002)

Mike seemed to accept the explanation, but Liz’s college friends had more cynical reactions.

(Feb 18, 2002)

Lynn Johnston also took the opportunity of this topic to foreshadow Liz’s susceptibility to bad relationships.

(Feb 21, 2002)

So Toni and Brad aren’t breaking new ground by discussing their sex life or by differing on whether and when to start a family.

But those are topics to be approached with caution. We’ll see how this goes.

 

Wumo (AMS) broaches a topic that also needs to be approached with caution, and is perhaps an indication that the strip originates in Denmark, where comics are not so commonly viewed as being for children.

It’s a serious matter, but I’d suggest that a kid old enough to read it is old enough to have sorted out the Santa Claus issue. I don’t remember when the veil fell from my eyes, but I do recall that, in fourth grade, we had a classmate who still believed, and we all thought it was pretty bizarre but nobody wanted to be the one who ruined it for her.

My folks answered Santa questions with “Well, what do you think?” which wasn’t a lie but allowed for fantasy. I don’t think it’s necessary to kill all make believe, but I also think it’s valid for kids to know when their families have to sacrifice to give them any kind of Christmas at all.

And I think parents who expand the fantasy into the elaborate lies of Elf on the Shelf should be brought before a tribunal.

 

You don’t necessarily have to be as frank as this parent in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (Ind), mind you.

 

After all, as Could Be Worse (Ind) points out, scientific advancement can be the basis of some entirely new fantasies.

This has sparked new fantasies for me, not in the form of fire-breathing geese, but because, although I’ve long known dinosaurs had feathers, and have even referred to the tiny beasties at my feeder as “feathered dinosaurs,” for some reason I’ve taken the news as meaning dinosaurs had “some” feathers.

A few. As if they had mange.

The idea that dinosaurs might have been completely covered with feathers is a game changer. Generations of kids have grown up imagining bald dinosaurs tramping across a prehistoric landscape.

Museum dioramas are going to require mass quantities of glue and feathers for their updates. And really enormous feathers, not just borrowed from donor chickens.

My only request is that, when Disney re-shoots the Rites of Spring segment of Fantasia, they do it with hand-drawn cells, not that cheap overseas sweatshop animation or cheesy CGI.

Meanwhile, I don’t think I can picture this guy as a giant goose:

 

Community Comments

#1 Brad Walker
December/4/2020
@ 10:49 am

I once read a story in Fantasy & Science Fiction, a takeoff on Wells’ Time Machine, where the protagonist was a sentient saurian with a fine head of feathers.

A lesser known work from Allan Sherman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxl1Vbr6blA

No goose, but will you settle for a rabbit?

#2 Andy Gaus
December/4/2020
@ 6:52 pm

Stan Freberg was my boyhood idol along with Tom Lehrer. I swear, OOPS, I affirm, their comedy has never been surpassed.

#3 Dennis Bradt
December/4/2020
@ 7:29 pm

Between Stan Freiburg and “Chicken man” are two of the absolute best in radio comedy.

#4 James Cotton
December/4/2020
@ 8:28 pm

It seems to me that you have missed the point of the Wumo cartoon entirely. It appears to me that it is dealing with the extreme wealth gap between the wealthy and the rest of us.

#5 Mike Peterson
December/5/2020
@ 5:42 am

James — If a child believes in Santa Claus, rather than parents, as the source of gifts, and that Santa rewards good behavior and punishes bad, what did I miss??

#6 phil von neupert
December/5/2020
@ 6:45 am

I agree with James on this one. The cartoon portrays the fallacy that the wealthy are inherently better than the rest of us, and are therefore more deserving. Santa Clause is just a vehicle, in this case. The joke, I guess, is the portrayal of St. Nick as the embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism.

#7 Mike Peterson
December/5/2020
@ 8:17 am

Then you both agree with me. That’s a good thing.

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