Herb and Jamaal
Herb and Jamaal, 11/23/13
Don’t you just wish you were a dog, sometimes? Don’t you wish that all your intellectual human knowledge about sanitation, and all that ingrained human near-instinctive revulsion at dirt and contamination would just vanish in an instant, so you’d be free? Free of shame, free of rules, just able to eat anything you want whenever you want, to roll around on your kitchen floor and come up with a faceful of ketchup dribblings, then lie there and lazily lick it off your chin? Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s here. You can do it. You can do it right now. You’re free. You’re free.
Speaking of things people wouldn’t normally eat, people will eat things they wouldn’t normally eat, when they’re poor and desperate and hungry! Don’t look so smug there, turtle, you too are for the most part edible and no cultural taboo is that strong.
Oh, hey, were you wondering about the Halloween fantasies of Marvin, a gross pre-verbal infant? Well, it turns out that Marvin is fantasizing about having a baby head on a muscular adult body, and also about wearing a diaper that is on the outside of his tights and yet still suspiciously full and saggy. Halloween horror just arrived a few days early, everybody.
Herb and Jamaal, 10/28/13
Guys, I … I’m pretty sure Herb has either killed or is about to kill his mother-in-law.
Beetle Bailey, 9/25/13
Probably you were hoping that Spec. Gizmo’s sex robot would a be a shameful, one-off joke that would never reappear in the comics pages or on the Internet again. Well, too bad, because you don’t live in your perfect world! You live in this world of unrelenting horror, with the rest of us. Anyway, panel one reveals all sorts of unfortunate things. For instance, when Gizmo’s robot was first unveiled, nobody had bothered to drape human clothes over its square metallic chassis, yet now it appears to be wearing some kind of exaggeratedly girly dress with a crinoline skirt, further gendering the fembot and making it a slightly more acceptable target of Chip’s sexual lusts. The mere act of clothing it can be seen as akin to teaching it a shame-based code of sexual morality, much like the one Adam and Eve learned abruptly after eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The fembot’s rudimentary ethics may be limited to sexual matters, as it seems more than willing to use its inhuman strength to work violence against humans, though perhaps this is a sign that its advanced circuitry understands the concept of consent and believes that attempts to violate its structural integrity may legitimately be met with self-defense.
Anyway, I was going to do a close reading of panel two along these same lines, but then I read “He has to turn off the work switch and press the love button” and so I went and lied down for an hour instead.
Mary Worth, 9/25/13
OK, Mary Worth: I enjoy making endless jokes about Wilbur’s sandwich obsession as much as the next person who blogs about newspaper comic strips, but I like to do it on my terms. Frankly, if you’re going to include an entire panel of the sort of filthy talk that you might expect to hear when you dial 1-900-HOT-SANDWICH, I’m going to feel a little bit baited.
Herb and Jamaal, 9/25/13
I genuinely enjoy how insanely excited our nameless white-collar drone/Heart and Soul customer looks in the first couple of panels as he sets up his joke about how meetings make you doze off, ha ha, amiright people. He’s really going the extra mile here, and I appreciate it when people put effort into their sarcasm.
“Except for a period from the 1870s, when European powers began the wars of conquest referred to as the ‘Scramble for Africa,’ until the process of decolonization really took hold in the 1960s! I mean, the British, man! I couldn’t leave a skull mark on the chins of the entire British Empire, you know what I’m saying?”
Pluggers remember a time, now thankfully in the distant past, when they had to engage in brief bouts of physical movement every half hour or so.
B.C. and Herb and Jamaal, 9/20/13
Well, congratulations, B.C., you have done the impossible! You have created a strip that made a technology joke in Herb and Jamaal look hip and with-it by comparison. Sure, Jamaal, still adds a weird, awkward “and tons of other means” to his list of social media services in panel one; but at least that list consists entirely of real, actual websites that exist and are popular right now, on the day the strip was published. And the punchline to the joke actually reflects a reasonable observation about how social media affects our day-to-day relationships with other humans! Another way that social media affects us is of course that sometimes we find it so overwhelming that we fly into a panic and then write a cartoon in which a bunch of ants spout gibberish at one another.
The entire plot of Crankshaft for the past two weeks has been that there is a new bus driver who is a lady, and who is nice, and who actually cares about being good at her job and nice to her co-workers and to the children who ride her bus. Naturally, she’s viewed with suspicion and loathing by the monstrous assholes who are the ostensible protagonists of this strip. Today their long national nightmare is about to come to end, though, because Crankshaft is clearly relishing the thought of murdering her by running her over with his bus.
Herb and Jamaal, 9/13/13
OK, everybody, here’s the thing: when multiple negatives are strung together in a sentence the way that our faceless gumbo aficionado has strung them together in panel one, with the intent to intensify the negative sentiment rather than to have the negatives cancel each other out, that’s called negative concord. While this isn’t an accepted feature of high-status standard English today, it was common in old and middle English (and was extensively used by Chaucer), and is a feature of the high-status literary varieties of a number of other languages, including Portugese, Russian, Persian, and ancient Greek.
Now, arbitrary distinctions between dialects are made in every language ever spoken, so I’m not going on some quixotic quest to get negative concord back into standard English or anything, but I do have a gripe with people who pretend that dialectical uses of it are difficult or impossible to parse. People love to smugly point out that “I don’t got no money” logically means “I do have some money” — according to formal mathematical logic, which is very different from the logic that defines the grammar of naturally occurring spoken languages. But I would be very, very surprised if any competent native English speaker ever heared someone say “I don’t got no money” and genuinely believed that the speaker was claiming to have some money.
But (and here is my point) if you are going to go down this pedantic, narrow-minded, wrong-headed road, at least get your pedantry right. A double negative resolves to a positive. A triple negative resolves to a negative. You’re making yourself look dumb, Herb.
Gil Thorp, 9/13/13
Considering that some years the Milford bonfire is restricted to single glorious panel, I’m pretty excited about this fall’s installment being spread over multiple days! Even better is that this extra strip time gives us an opportunity to hear some Milford High students wax rhapsodically about the delightful smell of burning human flesh.
I’d give Dagwood a free sandwich if he showed up in that mask, wouldn’t you? I’d give him whatever he wanted. That thing is fucking terrifying.
Sally Forth, 8/8/13
Aw — seems like just yesterday she was a cute little fifth-grader, and here she is ruining her first summer romance with a pointless, self-destructive neurotic meltdown. Little Hilary, all grown up!
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/8/13
Wait! Tell us more about this “Charlie” player, cutting a wide swath through the maidens of Hootin’ Holler with his smooth talk, fancy ring, and bait-and-switch mating strategy. Is he unaware of the role played by firearms in his community’s courtship rituals?
Or perhaps Hootin’ Holler’s ancestral wimminfolk cobbled together their own ritual from scraps of Sadie Hawkins Day and Musical Chairs, in which eligible wimmin pass the ring down from one to another as one by one they wed, until at last the final maiden is doomed to wear it as she weds the Final Feller — the Feller No One Wants.
Yes, that must be it, judging from the look of shock, horror, and despair on Ginny’s face — it’s exactly how Loweezy looked wearing the ring at her own weddin’ a generation ago.
Mary Worth, 8/8/13
Swimming! Hiking! Stretching! A life of petty intrusiveness requires constant discipline. Not for the weak!
Herb and Jamaal, 8/8/13
Jamaal lives every day as though it were his last, and reeks so bad everyone around him wishes it were theirs.
– Uncle Lumpy