You have to respect the absolute dedication that went into the production of today’s Shoe. For instance, someone at the syndicate presumably informed whoever thought up the joke that, no, society has not degraded so much that we can just print “cover your ass” in our talking bird funny-strip in mainstream newspapers. Did that deter them from soldiering on, even though the bowdlerized version of the phrase isn’t in common use at all? No, no it did not. Then, presumably, there came a point where the artist realized that, due to the long-established character design and the viewing angle chosen for the second panel of the strip, Shoe and the Perfesser’s tail feathers would be clearly visible. Now, you’re probably asking yourself: are the tail feathers themselves the analogue to the “ass” (or “rear”) of the common phrase, or do they themselves do the work of covering one’s ass/rear (which in this interpretation is the cloaca, I guess)? An interesting philosophical question, to be sure, but either answer renders the whole joke completely and obviously pointless. And yet, nevertheless, the Shoe creative team persisted. I for one think that’s beautiful, in its own way.
Family Circus, 3/21/21
One of the fundamental problems with long-running franchises and “cinematic universes” is that each new individual story adds a layer of canon that must be taken into account by future stories, and while I like to argue about Star Trek chronology and uniform design as much as the next nerd, I have come to sympathize with how this restricts the freedom of storytellers to produce an engaging narrative. That said, there are some lines that I feel strongly should not be crossed, no matter how entertaining the result. For instance, if there’s one thing we know from reading the Family Circus for decades, it’s that Jeffy does not understand the concept of object permanence.