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Blondie, 8/9/04

Ziggy, 8/9/04

If we know one thing about Dagwood Bumstead, it’s that he likes to eat. I just never thought he’d get to the point where he’d eat his own pet. One wonders if he’s going at least have a go at becoming emotionally attached to the new member of the family before he boils it alive and eats its flesh. I’ll bet Daisy will work extra hard at being entertaining after that!

In an excellent book on the history of languages called The Power of Babel, linguist John McWhorter goes into an interesting discursus on Charlie Brown’s head. In the 1950s, he says, baldness was a universally understood shorthand for general dopiness; this meaning soon vanished from the popular mindset, and Peanuts got modern in many ways (with black people and jokes about the metric system and such), but Charlie Brown’s anomalous bald head persisted. Blondie has been around since the days of Prohibition, so perhaps there is some fascinating and forgotten cultural significance to Dagwood’s bizarre get-up — the bow tie, the single enormous button just below his sternum, the long, outwardly flowing locks of hair above each ear. Mostly I just think he looks like a freak.

Anyway, it was with the troubling image of the Bumstead family feasting on its pets in mind that I read Ziggy. This is no doubt why my first thought was that the friendly Eskimo-gram at the door was actually holding several pounds of exposed and neatly cubed whale blubber; and not only would such a thing be environmentally problematic, but would make a mess of Ziggy’s doorstop as well (click here to see what I mean, assuming you haven’t eaten lately). Sadly (or, well, maybe happily), the colored version of the comic demonstrates conclusively that our Inuit deliveryman is in fact holding a neatly wrapped parcel, so Ziggy will be able to put down some newspaper before opening his big box o’ blubber. My endangered-species objections still stand, though.