Archive: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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Mary Worth, 5/21/17

Oh, wow, Derek is absolutely furious here and I love it. “We left the States to get some peace… only to get this! My wife was briefly unable to open a bathroom door, which is definitely the worst thing to ever happen to an American overseas! Fuck foreign countries, man! I’m going home and running for Congress on a ‘Build A Protective Dome Around America Which Neither Heat Nor Light Can Penetrate’ platform!

Blondie, 5/21/17

I’m giving you the whole comic for context, but mostly I’m posting this so you can understand why the phrase “WOO-HOO! BABY CAMEL GONNA CHUG SOME H₂0” will be haunting my nightmares — and, presumably, yours — for years to come.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/21/17

But … Barney, you’re wearing a bowler cap and a vest and white gloves and you’re riding a horse and … oh, God, he doesn’t know, he can recognize that others are trapped forever in time like a fly in a spider’s web but can’t recognize that he’s in the same prison, this is a nightmare

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Gil Thorp, 5/15/17

OK, finally, after much dramatic wheel-spinning, we have this spring’s Gil Thorp storyline coming into shape: everyone loves muckraking investigative journalist Dafne when her reporting is bringing down fat-cat school board members, but when she starts nosing around the past of transfer student/rage maniac Ryan van Auken, she’s going to find out that her fellow teens aren’t that jazzed about a free and independent press after all! The last couple weeks have mostly been about a couple of boys’ track team members engaging in some extremely mild flirting with Dafne and one of her softball friends, so that will presumably work its way into the drama somehow, though honestly I’d rather it didn’t because it was frankly pretty boring.

Also, Dafne jokes about phone conversations being totally ’90s, but note that she’s apparently switched to her cell phone in mid-conversation, because landlines, ew, gross.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/15/17

I stand by my assertion from last week that Snuffy Smith’s depiction of the rural poor is fundamentally inauthentic, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t reveal interesting things about the mainstream society that creates and consumes it! For instance, in today’s strip an inhabitant of this isolated, impoverished hamlet discovers that his environment has been strewn with mass-manufactured garbage, and we’re expected to believe that he’d be ecstatic about it because he can extract a few pennies of marginal value from picking through the scrap.

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/10/17

Snuffy Smith and Pluggers might, broadly speaking, both be lumped together as depicting non-coastal, lower-to-lower-middle-class “real American” experiences that most media neglects. However, there are big differences between the two projects that reveal this categorization to be superficial. The most obvious is that Pluggers is inhabited by chimeric beast-people, while Snuffy Smith presents us with human beings, albeit lumpy, potato-nosed ones. But more importantly, Pluggers is created based on suggestions actually from the ordinary non-elite folk it depicts, whereas Snuffy Smith has always been an exercise in rural poverty caricature, ever since the day the Barney Google creative team decided to get in on the Depression-era vogue for hillbilly jokes and never look back.

Anyway, the strip’s essentially inauthentic origin story, combined with its trapped-in-amber quality, results in characters that didn’t showcase rural poor people with much fidelity in the ’30s and certainly doesn’t depict anything even vaguely resembling their lives today. I realize that, as a coastal elitist living a mere 10-minute drive (without traffic) from Hollywood itself (8 minutes, if you count East Hollywood), I may not be the person most equipped to make that judgement, but I’m pretty sure it’s spot on. I do think I’m the right person to comment on what I guess is supposed to be some smug city slicker who’s wandered into Hootin’ Holler and can’t understand why sushi isn’t sold in every store, as it is in his beloved metropolis. Here’s my take on this chinbearded, cuff-jeaned (?), “G”-hat-wearing (???) Japanese cuisine aficionado: he’s bad. Finally, equal time in this strip for unrecognizable urban stereotypes!

Blondie, 5/10/17

There is probably no sadder person in the world than Guy Who Corrects Current Writers Of A Longrunning Legacy Strip About Their Strip’s Own Continuity, and yet I am compelled to say: it is well known that Dagwood sleeps every weekday morning until the last possible minute, dashing out to the door and barely making his carpool, often trampling his poor mailman in the process. It therefore makes no sense that he has time for a leisurely and apparently daily breakfast at Lou’s! He’s barely making it to work as it is! Although I guess it adds a meta-layer to this strip: like Lou, the Blondie creative team been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tell this joke, and will jump at any chance to do so.

Six Chix, 5/10/17

Ha ha, it’s funny because normally a horse would be giving you a ride, not the other way around! Also, horses are incredibly bad planners. How did you think you were getting home when you left for work this morning, horse? How did you get here in the first place? Just wearing glasses doesn’t make you smart!

Hi and Lois, 5/10/17

Trixie, of course, hasn’t grown at all since this strip debuted 63 years ago. This is one of the saddest punchlines I’ve ever seen!