CSotD: In lieu of paying attention

I’m pretty much aligned with the grandfather in Barney & Clyde (WPWG) these days.

It’s getting good in that we’ve nearly passed the “Oh, god, what’s he done this time?” factor, though CPAC provided a warning that we shouldn’t turn our backs entirely.

But I don’t feel I have to tend the news constantly anymore. I watched Andrew Cuomo squirm and try to explain himself yesterday, but I didn’t feel compelled to watch hours of people yapping about him.

And apparently, while Biden is wrong to continue, at the lowest level possible, the war we’ve already got in Iraq, he’s clearly wrong to have not started up a brand new one in Saudi Arabia. Got it.

Even turning off the TV isn’t enough. It leaves me plowing through mountains of work in which cartoonists prove that (A) they haven’t bothered to actually learn what happened with the Seuss books and (B) they are incapable of writing poetry that scans.

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled, and turn to the funny pages.


Yes, the funny pages, where the conversation continues unabated in Between Friends (KFS), and this in a timeless world beyond covid, which lets Susan and her friends focus on the insults of impending old age without those other complications.


And while Susan asked an innocent question in that former strip, here she knows her friend is retiring, but still manages to turn a celebration into a dirge.

While these two episodes appeared nearly a week apart, they offer a look at the truly trapped Gisele versus the trapped-by-herself Susan, both in contrast to Tina, who has hit a happy, well-planned retirement.

I don’t worry about the 30-somethings or even early 40s in this crashing, changing economy. Those who have the will to survive are going to re-invent themselves and the others would have floundered anyway.

The Giseles have my pity, however: Trapped in reasonable lives that should have played out well, they have little time left for course corrections.

But, goodness, Susan, focus a bit: You’ve raised and launched a daughter, your car will run nearly another decade and your furniture is just fine. Sell the old house and downsize into a cheaper place with a good roof.

Though I realize that, if Susan ever learned to get out of her own way, there’d be no strip.

And that, if we didn’t all contain a little dose of Susan, we wouldn’t keep reading it.


Meanwhile, in the universe that does contain covid, Pearls Before Swine (AMS) contemplates the changes it has wrought.

Having worked at home through the last decade of my career, there’s a sense of “Welcome to my world,” though thank god I was able to connect through regular emails and occasional phone calls and only very, very rarely had to endure a video conference.

But I did have to confront the sweats issue, yes.

They’re like blue jeans: You have “good sweats” and “comfy sweats,” and you have to think twice before you go somewhere in the comfy ones. Especially because you never wash them.

I had a job where the dress code banned “dungarees.” I assumed that meant no “good jeans.”

It sure as hell meant no “good sweats.”

But I guess they needed rules there. They tried a “Casual Fridays” program and people showed up looking like they were about to go change the oil in their cars.

Or perhaps just had.


However, this part of things never occurred to me, and continues to puzzle me.

I gave up on caring about hair about half a century ago and only get it cut for major events, but, yes, I understand that getting a haircut has at times in the pandemic been impossible and remains a pain to work out.

But I do hope other elements of personal hygiene are not dependent on whether you are leaving the house or not.

Even my dog has some expectations of me.

And on a related issue, it’s nice that you don’t have to wait for a two-week vacation to start that beard, but either grow it or don’t.

Ari Melber seems determined to bring back the Don Johnson look, and I’m waiting for him to start wearing aqua, open-necked shirts and unstructured white jackets.


Though Agnes (Creators) provides a reminder that, if you’re watching Ari Melber, you haven’t hit rock bottom quite yet.

You can always claim you were watching Nicolle Wallace and didn’t notice the program had changed.

However, when the network news ends, they scream “Wheel of Fortune” and you can’t pretend to have missed that.


Juxtaposition of Wait, what?

(Dark Side of the Horse – AMS)

(The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee — KFS)

While Susan frets over replacing her roof in Between Friends, these strips have decided they don’t need a fourth wall at all.

Technically, I’m not sure it’s just the fourth wall, since neither addresses the audience; Dark Horse plays with a cartooning convention while Edison Lee questions comic strip reality.

My response is that, while I won’t be afraid to go out in the rain because it might turn out to be darts or quills or something, I may start wearing a hat to avoid getting tomato sauce in my hair.


Compare that to 1961, when strips like Rip Kirby (KFS Vintage) were starkly realistic, except when ancient pre-Columbian statues began listening in on suspicious conversations.

Meanwhile in the Vintage universe, fans of classic strips experienced a different sort of reality when King Features lost a week of 1978 Judge Parker strips right as Sam was about to spring a trap on the would-be jewel thieves.


Despair not, Rusty. Nothing is ever truly lost these days:


Finally, for those who come here for intellectual stimulation and whatnot, Existential Comics has a lovely bit of Marxist humor of which this is only a taste.

Go there and read the rest, both as a reminder that Marx did not reject Adam Smith so much as build upon him, and also as a nice antidote to all the people screaming about socialism and communism and understanding neither.



2 thoughts on “CSotD: In lieu of paying attention

  1. “Joe, are you pretending to watch the TV, even though it’s not on?” “Yep.” –“Joe Blow” by R. Crumb

    I solved the haircut problem with a pair of scissors and experimentation, looking for online advice and talking to people as well. I came up with a method of my own for reducing hair mass without leaving straight scissor marks across everything, and learned that women cut bangs by pointing the scissors up into them, not shearing right across, and using the same principle. Now I hover over areas, snipping mechanically until it seems I’ve removed enough and move on. (The best tip was from me: IT DOESN’T MATTER. If I made it bad enough, I’d go for help or just cut it all off. Anything short of that doesn’t matter because nobody in the entire world actually cares what I look like, except me. Sometimes.)

    As to the fourth wall in comic strips, I always call it the fifth panel border. Just follow me around for a few years and you’ll see. Be sure and compliment my haircut.

    I’m stealing that panel from Judge Parker for out-of-context uses. Bug off or Bugs Bunny!

  2. The first comic reminds me of a Lily Tomlin sketch that was on her Broadway show LP, which Perfesser Google says was Lily Tomlin, on Stage. (Yes, I’m of a certain age, too. Do I dare to eat a peach?) This time she was Glenna, child of the sixties, which involved a fair amount of ingested substances.

    “TV is soooooo heavvvvyyyyy. No man, don’t turn it on!”

    And as for parting my hair behind, I’ve gotten it cut once in the past year. Maybe it’s time again. Beard? Next month marks forty years since I’ve shaved.

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