Main content:


Hope I die before I get old

Doonesbury, 8/4/04

Baby boomers! Who doesn’t love ‘em? Well, their parents probably didn’t like it when they rose up and rejected age-old values like unquestioning patriotism, tie-wearing, and regular baths. And we who are their kids got pretty annoyed by their endless nattering on about how they changed the world and invented free love and took drugs and blah blah blah and, oh yeah, you shouldn’t be doing any of that stuff, so go do your homework.

Maybe their grandkids will have a little distance from the whole thing.

But boy howdy, baby boomers sure do love baby boomers. When you read the boomer-drawn Doonesbury, especially in the long term, you’ll notice that it’s the boomers who are inevitably the viewpoint characters. Now, I’ve always loved this strip; I’ve used old anthologies as my primary source about what young people thought about politics and popular culture during the Nixon administration. But future generations will use today’s strips to find out what middle-aged people think about the Iraq war, which, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, is a wee bit less exciting.

Today’s strip is a good example. In both 1974 and 2004, you have parent-child arguments in Doonesbury. But back then it was the parents who were old, out of touch, reactionary, unable to appreciate good music, and hostile towards issues that really mattered; now, it’s the kids who are young, ignorant, unable to appreciate good music, and willfully apathetic towards issues that really matter.

Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it, Gary?

8 responses to “Hope I die before I get old”

  1. Honey
    December 17th, 2004 at 7:32 am [Reply]

    Very good point..

  2. Donna Rowe
    January 1st, 2005 at 7:48 pm [Reply]

    Nothing Changes

    Hate our music
    Hate our clothes
    Hate everything young.
    “If we acted like that…”
    Man, remember when you were in our shoes?
    When you were young
    Did your parents approve
    Of your music, clothes, everything young,
    Or were they like you?
    Guess in a few years,
    We’ll be like that, too.

    This is the only poem I ever wrote that I can quote by heart. :) Did the 17-year-old me call it or what? LOL

  3. Charlie
    January 12th, 2005 at 2:14 pm [Reply]

    You’re probably right, but by the same tack, one of the things I kind of like about Doonesbury is that it’s never tried to be anything more than the ongoing story of this single set of characters, tied to a particular generation, as they grow up… and that’s what makes this discrepancy kind of cool: yeah, the strip’s focal point has changed, because people of that generation have grown up too… it’s kind of like in “Scarface” when Tony Montana’s character spouts that anti-communist diatribe at the beginning, and by the end is spouting anti-capitalist diatribes… you can see how his attitudes have changed and reared back on themselves by observing the continuous whole of the movie… likewise, if you stick with Doonesbury long enough, you get to see how they start off with the attitudes they had when they were young in the 60s and 70s, and then watch those attitudes change over time, like when Mike finally went Republican, or in the strip you’re referring to, when the main characters of the strip have BECOME the grownups, and now the alien attitude is the younger generation, rather than the older one… I just think it’s nice, because it’s not one of those strips where the attitudes or characteristics of the main characters remain solidly consistent…

  4. Debt On Comics by Scott Morris - www.debt-on.com - (c) 2004-2006 Scott J. Morris
    July 19th, 2006 at 4:28 am [Reply]

    [...] 19 Jul 2006 Looking through the archives over at the Comics Curmugeon, I found an article where he talked about the problems with Doonesbury’s handling of young people. His was quite a bit more insightful than the paragraph I recently wrote on the same subject. The Curmudgeon is a great site that everybody should be checking out anyway. It’s like reading the comics page, except with real jokes. Take today’s edition, first he points out how poorly the Middle Eastern set Crock has coped with its setting being the center of world events. Until now, I thought that Beetle Bailey had the most oddly out of place setting, as Beetle loafed around in boot camp and none of his buddies ever got sent to Iraq. (Come to think of it, he did the same thing during Vietnam…) Posted by Scott Morris @ 02:27 am Main | Comics | Essays | Photos | Gallery | Links | About/Contact All content is &copy 2004-2006 Scott J. Morris unless otherwise noted or clear. [...]

  5. Debt On »
    January 30th, 2007 at 3:05 pm [Reply]

    [...] Looking through the archives over at the Comics Curmugeon, I found an article where he talked about the problems with Doonesbury’s handling of young people. His was quite a bit more insightful than the paragraph I recently wrote on the same subject. [...]

  6. granpagrumpy
    October 20th, 2007 at 1:00 pm [Reply]

    Ha! Before we get the young people’s POV they should start to LEARN ritin’n’rawin comics. I mean, reading ‘n’ riting at all.
    The despise is much deserved :-D

  7. pere fubu
    December 14th, 2007 at 2:01 am [Reply]

    @granpagrumpy: You’re a choad. (Forgive me if I spelled “choad” wrong, though.)

  8. Child of a Boomer
    May 28th, 2013 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    I know it has been years, but I just cannot resist …

    @ granpagrumpy,

    Uh, glasses houses and all, fella. “Despise” is a verb, not a noun. Your sentence would read much more like it was written by someone who is himself literate (and, therefore, not someone who is both a hypocrite and blithering idiot) if you’d written something such as “The contempt is much deserved.”

    But you know, “the kids these days ain’t worth nothin’,” ha, ha, zzzzzz.

Comments are closed for this post.