CSotD: Points of Personal Privilege

While everyone over in the political/editorial sector is waxing hostilic, I’ll take a break and indulge in some personal responses to the comics page.

This Loose Parts (AMS), for instance, is funny on its own, but 30-some years ago, I was putting together a short roundup piece about changes at the local mall and referred to “the redundantly named ‘Corn Dog On A Stick.'”

Granted, it was a bit of flippancy that didn’t really belong in a news piece, and it wouldn’t have surprised me if an editor had snipped it out, but nobody did.

What did surprise me was that I got a call from the mall’s marketing director the next day chastising me for it, and she seemed as surprised to be making the phone call as I was to be receiving it, but I gather the manager of the redundantly named “Corn Dog on a Stick” had stormed into her office and demanded I be flogged.

My defense being that, unless they were selling them with two sticks, the name was, in fact, redundant.

She and I got through the process without giggling, which is good, because journalism is serious business.

As are corn dogs.


Continuing on the theme of frivolity in writing, Zits (KFS) has the potential to do some solid work this coming year, since they’ve declared Jeremy a senior.

My theory is based in part on the indisputable fact that the best “Leave It To Beaver” episodes were based on Wally, Eddie and Lumpy’s senior year adventures, and in part on my feeling that we’ve had enough messy room and smelly sneaker jokes in Zits and that this will give Scott and Borgman a chance to freshen and tighten up the strip.

I went off on the topic of Advanced Placement courses the other day, and here I am being triggered by talk of college essays and helicopter parents.

In this case, I don’t even remember if I had to write an essay as part of my college application, but what I do recall is that neither of my boys required any help with theirs.

Having two professional journalists as parents and a stepdad with several books on the market, they wouldn’t have had to look far, but, having grown up in that verbally-rich environment, they did fine on their own.

Both their essays widened my eyes to parts of their lives I hadn’t known, and neither of them came from a list of Suggested Topics For Successful Essays nor had either college requested an essay ghost-written by their parents.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for admissions officers to have to plow through the pre-digested, extruded claptrap that guidance counselors and parents cobble together, or why they bother to even ask for these things.

Though, if I were more cynical, I’d say it was a test to see if the kid could write whatever a prof wanted to hear rather than what the kid actually thinks.

Thank god I’m not more cynical.


Pros and Cons (KFS) really touched a sensitive spot with this one, because I worked for several years with a woman who had the habit of finishing my sentences for me, which might have been okay except that she was never, ever right.

Even if she had been, that thing about compatible couples finishing each other’s sentences doesn’t usually mean actually interrupting each other. It means being able to seamlessly extend and expand the thought in the next sentence, not the current one.

It sure doesn’t mean changing the topic midstream, or demonstrating that you weren’t actually listening.

Oddly enough, I really liked her.

I just couldn’t stand talking to her.


On the other hand, I have no idea how I could ever have a conversation with Carol Lay (AMS), not because she’d annoy me but just the opposite: She clearly shares my tendency to overthink anything and to wander off far afield from what we’re supposed to be thinking about.

Mostly, I suspect that nobody would want to watch a TV show they cared very much about with the two of us in the room.

Or possibly with either of us in the room.

We’d keep bringing up irrelevancies.

Fascinating irrelevancies.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Free Range — Creators)


(The Other Coast — Creators)

Steinberg’s classic New Yorker cover was a prime example of “Many a truth spoken in jest” and Bill Whitehead plays on the concept.

It’s not as funny when city folks are serious asking, “Why should these people have a voice in government?” though I’m willing to concede that Wyoming and California having the same number of Senators is illogical.

It’s just that I blame California for being so full of people, not Wyoming for having elbow room. Plus, y’know, tyranny of the majority and whatever.

But at least city people still provide, in the Mikado’s words, “a source of innocent merriment” by going out to Yellowstone and annoying the bison from time to time. In case you thought all the half-wits were in Deliverance.

Interaction with wild animals is a serious problem, but it does have its ludicrous side.

Growing up country, we rarely had problems with bears, since we weren’t encroaching on their territory all that much, except that, before everybody got all environmental and stuff, we used to go out to the dump in the evening when the bears would come to browse and we’d toss them marshmallows from the cars.

Now I live in a small city (13,803 population), and, since a drought has lowered the wild nuts-and-berries yield, the bears are coming into town to raid birdfeeders and garbage cans.

But, hey, blackies are just big raccoons.

Really big, really powerful raccoons.


We deal as best we can.


Real Life Adventures (AMS) demonstrates the degradation of Jeopardy, a victim of both Google and Tivo, as well as a its own mission drift.

I failed the final cut, back in the Good Old Days, and — in lieu of a musical selection — will leave you with a second example of wiseassery in reporting, with the explanation that the people named at the start were newscasters on WPTZ, the local station that airs Jeopardy.

And that Jeopardy is easier to play in your livingroom.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Points of Personal Privilege

  1. I don’t think the characters played by Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale ever dated, but in the 1930s movies, the same characters played by Warren William and Claire Dodd (or Genevieve Tobin) did. In one of the movies, it was strongly implied that Della had finally “hooked” Perry.

  2. I thought the first time the bear started down the tree it was coming down for a little snack.

  3. In the books, Perry suggested several times (how seriously, I am not sure) that he and Della get married, but she always declined because she did not want to stay home and be a housewife.

    Apparently, Earle Stanley Gardner could not think of any other possibilities.

  4. @Mark Good point — I missed that. But it is striking how visually similar the two are.

    I’d always thought Steinberg was probably aware of McCutcheon’s drawing. But I find he was only 8yo in 1922 and wasn’t in the U.S. until much later.

    I wonder if this meme had survived in other works in the interim. Or if it was included in a collection of McCutcheon’s cartoons.

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