Today’s Barney and Clyde (WPWG) does a nice job of encapsulating the gap between what we say and what we are actually willing to do.
I’ve got to admire Barney for sticking to his guns in the face of a non-binding opportunity to appear decent, but I suppose he wouldn’t have amassed his fortune and trophy wife and all that if he weren’t a bit blind to other values in life. The premise of the cartoon — two boyhood friends, one who became a millionaire, the other an enhomelessed person — is purposefully exaggerated to make moments like this possible.
More subtle efforts can go unnoticed.
“Leave it to Beaver” often explored the topic of privilege from lesser heights, with the Cleaver parents openly acknowledging their advantages but frequently having to explain it to the boys because it wasn’t always obvious. June had a wealthy aunt and had gone to a fancy boarding school, while Ward, a farmer’s son and WWII vet, worked his way up to a comfortable position, but Wally and Beaver only had their own lives as perspective.
Wealth and privilege were more often simply mocked on TV, in Chatsworth Osbourne Jr. on Dobie Gillis, or Sonny Drysdale on the Beverly Hillbillies.
Barney’s daughter is a far more observant child who, like Clyde, brings her father to heel with regularity.
Between Friends (KFS) offers a more middleclass view of ambition, and I find it particularly interesting because, first of all, Susan and Harvey have a comfortable, if not opulent, and happy life, which perches their response on a teetering balance between realism and cynicism.
After all, Savreen never mentioned wealth, and it’s entirely possible that her life plan will play out as expected, the question being, if it does, will that be what she and her boyfriend really wanted?
I was just discussing “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” with a dog-walking friend, and we agreed that, while the book and movie are markedly different, we liked them both, separately.
The story centers on the Prague Spring, and the choices people make in the name of freedom, the sad ending for Sabina being that, as a Czech ex-pat, she has total freedom but no roots, while Tomáš chooses to live under Soviet domination because being in love and in his homeland offers a deeper joy.
My own take being that, if you like where you’re at, you ought not to despise the road that brought you there, and, if you don’t like where you find yourself, you should change things up.
I never faced the kind of massive decisions Sabrina and Tomáš were forced to confront, but I am old enough to remember when staying at a Motel 6 was part of not caring about money and consequently not having much of it.
The joke in this Moderately Confused (AMS) being that there is no Motel 7, to which I would add that it’s been a long, long time since Motel 6 lived up to its original name, which hinged on that being the cost of a night in a clean room with no phone or TV.
Ah well, We kind of knew it was too good to last, though I found an inflation calculator that says $6 in 1962, the year Motel 6 began, is $53 today, so some of these current Motel 6’s aren’t so far from the original intent.
And, BTW, Super 8 didn’t hold their original price long, either.
Tom Heintjes ran this 1955 “Out Our Way” over at Hogan’s Alley, and it brought back a sharp memory, because I remember being at the barber shop just a few years later and one of the old fellows complaining almost exactly so.
His complaint was more sweeping than just about suspenders or the details of the Little Bighorn. He objected to the way the cavalry in westerns was always depicted in matching uniforms, and, specifically, in blue pants with a yellow stripe down the leg.
I suppose he was old enough to have ridden with them at the turn of the century, and he said they wore whatever they had and they never matched, much less looked very sharp.
It didn’t upset my life plan, largely because, at that age, I didn’t have one. But, having a far greater affinity for Rin-Tin-Tin than for Lassie, I did have a fantasy of having my own horse and cavalry uniform.
I guess the moral of the story, to the extent there is one, is that childish fantasies often get adjusted and your life plan shouldn’t be one.
But enough profundity.
As long as we’re digging around in the past, today’s Vintage King of the Royal Mounted (KFS), which is from 1948, caught my eye for a fine bit of writing.
That’s worth noting, because I only follow the strip for its camp amusement value. In this adventure, Burly and Sugar are a pair of bank robbers who have taken refuge in the north, and are now (almost) escaping in a stolen canoe.
What got my attention was that Burly refers to losing the “oar,” when canoes don’t have oars, which are fixed in oarlocks, but paddles, wielded by hand. Then I realized that the writer had signaled this by having King use the term “paddlin'” in the first panel, then using “oar” to emphasize that Burly is a city guy with no business in a canoe at all.
Not so much “foreshadowing” as tipping a wink to the reader, and nicely done.
Coming back to the present, Dave Whamond also deserves credit for the gender-based differentiation in this Reality Check (UFS), though the gag reverses the facts.
In most hunter/gatherer cultures, women –the gatherers — are awfully powerful, and while those civilizations are only sometimes matriarchal, they seem to be almost universally matrilinear, with boys raised less by their fathers than by their clan-linked maternal uncles.
Even in societies that are not formally matriarchal, the women approve a whole lot of whatever happens.
Whamond’s squirrel declares it “a cave man’s world” but it certainly wasn’t, and all those dragging-her-by-the-hair cartoons are incel fantasies.
F-Minus (UFS) confirms that things haven’t changed all that much.
Finally, here’s a little tune in which both Cavalry and Hunter/Gatherers are treated with the utmost authenticity and respect: