Herb and Jamaal, 8/23/10
For years I have criticized Herb and Jamaal for being hilarious and ludicrously non-specific, but perhaps all this time I’ve been on the wrong track. Perhaps the strip is lousy with overlong descriptions of items and concepts not because of a horror of the concrete, but because of an aversion to brevity, with the author suffering from some strange compulsion to write each sentence in as many words as possible. Thus, Herb can’t just say “I hate the way women gossip”; he has to bump it up to “I hate the way this show typifies the way women gossip,” even though doing so makes it seem that Herb is really upset about misogynist representations of women’s communication styles in mass media, thus making him an inappropriate target for his wife’s righteous ire. I notice that there’s actually room for another line of text in that first-panel word balloon, so I’m surprised we didn’t take things out to another level of abstraction. Maybe we could have gotten into some metacognition, like “I’m really surprised by how strong my hateful reaction is to the way this show typifies the way women gossip” or something.
“Yes, nothing makes our evil dog hunger for human souls more than the mention of his greatest enemy, God. But since God is all-creating, He created Marmaduke; doesn’t this make Him unworthy of our worship?”