Mary Worth, 6/19/16
So, to recap: there’s absolutely nothing untoward about sexually charged relationships between professors and students, and if you just hunker down and wait for bullying to pass, it probably will! It’s a good thing that the dialogue in this strip is incredibly stilted and unnatural, because otherwise some young person might actually perceive it as good advice.
The Lockhorns, 6/19/16
Maybe it’s the fact that the background of Lockhorns panels always seem to be strangely empty, like the set of Waiting For Godot, but there’s something profound and universal about the characters’ suffering. The strip is always ready to show us how their very specific grievances (being locked in loveless marriage) are just a hair’s breadth away from terrifyingly universal truths (we’re all locked in a meaningless existence in which nobody truly knows anybody else).
One of the fun things about the United States is that most people learn some fairly specific aspects of very local history when they’re in elementary school that only later do you find out are not globally important facts. Growing up in Western New York, we made Iroquois longhouses out of papier-mâché, whereas our counterparts in California were building Spanish missions. When covering the War of 1812, our teachers described in vivid detail the way the British had cruelly burned down Buffalo, mentioned only in passing that they would go on to do the same to Washington, D.C., and did not at all discuss that the Americans had done it to Toronto first. My wife, who grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania, got the Whiskey Rebellion, so I’m always charmed to see it get a shout-out in print, which doesn’t happen enough for my taste. It even got cut from the Hamilton musical! Anyway, I guess the point here is that Loretta saw the American Revolution as being just the first step towards knitting together a unified political and economic power out of disparate colonies, whereas Leroy saw many of the British taxes and other measures that sparked the revolution as being evil in and of themselves, not just because they were enacted without the colonists’ consent, and also he’s an embarrassing drunk.
Pluggers will never, ever get healthier. They will just get sicker and sicker until they blessedly die.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/25/16
The novel I finished last year, The Enthusiast, is about, among other things, surreptitious marketing — marketing that doesn’t look like marketing, things that come together behind the scenes, things that look like coincidences but are secretly orchestrated by cunning agents working to push their clients’ wares. So, for instance, in the world of The Enthusiast, the fact that a beloved soap opera strip character is suddenly selling her book right around the time that I’m trying to sell my book, which has an entire plot about soap opera comic strips, would be no accident, but would’ve been carefully orchestrated in secret. In real life, of course, it’s a total coincidence. Do you think we’d be talking about Sarah’s dumb horsey book and not neighborhood pinhead Franco Wallace if I had that kind of pull? Come on now.
But, since the topic has been presented to us, I might as well talk a little about book marketing. Namely, my book was funded by a Kickstarter and I don’t really have a marketing team! Sarah and Dolly Pierpont don’t have a traditional marketing team either, of course, just a network of thuggish mob enforcers wandering into museums everywhere and noting idly that this new horsey book is available and would be real good seller if it were displayed prominently in the gift shop and it would be a shame if someone accidentally soaked all those Dutch Masters hanging in the east wing in kerosene and set them on fire. My only mob enforcers are you, my faithful readers, and I implore you to spread the word about The Enthusiast not with violence, but with enthusiasm! Tell your book club! Post the link on your Facebook wall! Have me on your podcast, or radio show, or daytime television program! I promise I’m pretty funny and personable. And come to my book tour, if you’re in Washington, D.C., (tomorrow!) or Baltimore (Thursday!) or New York City (next Monday!) or Buffalo (next Wednesday!), and bring a friend or three! Let’s show these gangsters the right (i.e., significantly less profitable) way to market a book.
The Lockhorns, 4/25/16
Oh, don’t worry, Loretta, he meant it in a weird “alone together in a featureless void where time has no meaning and your very corporeal form begins to bleed into nothingness around the edges but your soul remains eternally locked in a hateful relationship with your spouse who you can never leave or avoid or be apart from for a single moment” way!