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Judge Parker, 3/21/05

“But seriously, Josh,” I hear you asking, “What’s been happening in Judge Parker for the past month?” Well, I’ll tell you: a whole lot of nothing (or, as they say in the strip’s current south-of-the-border locale, nada). Sam has arrived in Mexico, spoken with Gloria, and gone back with this priest to his church. That’s taken something like five weeks. It makes Mary Worth look like a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. The strip is so parched for excitement that an entirely gratuitous exclamation point has been added to the first panel’s exposition in an attempt to make the “short drive out of town” sound like some kind of adrenaline-fueled car chase sequence.

That being said, I’m kind of intrigued by the underlying religio-cultural tensions in today’s dialog between Sam and Father David. To that end, I’d like to introduce what could (if I feel like it) become the first installment of an occasional feature: What They Say and What They Mean.

What he says What he means
Sam “What a beautiful church … and in such good shape!” I didn’t think you filthy Mexicans were capable of keeping anything clean for more than hour, let alone maintain actual non-shanty buildings.
David “Thanks! Its first mass was performed in 1522!” That’s only three years after Cortez got here! We sure didn’t waste any time with that whole elimination of native cultures routine.
Sam “If only these walls could talk!” You’ve probably got some kind of animatronic talking saint diorama set up to bilk your feeble-minded papist parishioners, eh Padre?
David “They do! Follow me … the mission house is in the back!” That’s where I do all my altar-boy-cornholing. Watch your back, gringo!

Um … OK, so that was in poor taste. Watch this space for a future installment of What They Say and What They Mean, assuming I’m not fleeing for my life from the combined forces of the Jesuits and the federales.