Archive: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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The Lockhorns, 7/31/21

A fascinating thing about longstanding legacy comics is that many of their running jokes are built on cliches pulled from the broader culture at large, and then they keep on using those cliches for decades, even as they completely lose all real-world relevance. For instance, The Lockhorns posits a world where opera still holds a place in the cultural sphere that leads downwardly mobile middle-class suburbanites like Leroy and Loretta to occasionally attend, even if enjoyment of the form is strongly gendered for joke purposes. Maybe this was true in 1968 when this strip debuted, or maybe adults in 1968 had memories that this was true for their parents’ generation, but I would strongly disagree with anyone claiming this is true in the year 2021. Opera today is very niche, and I think its shrinking modern audience is probably a fairly specific slice of intellectual urbanites, and older ones at that, whereas Leroy and Loretta are are somewhere in the 30-50 range (that’s right, folks: with each passing day, Leroy and Loretta are more and more likely to be millennials).

Now, you could probably do a more realistic version of these jokes with “the philharmonic” rather than opera, but, you know what? The Lockhorns has been doing opera jokes for more than 50 years and it’s not going to stop now just because “no real-life version of Leroy or Loretta today would ever be caught dead at the opera” or whatever! And they’re not going to dumb it down for you, either! Did you know that Nabucco was a Verdi opera? I definitely did not! I definitely had to look it up! Is there any other way you would know that it’s opera specifically that Leroy is griping about in this panel, if you didn’t know that off the top of your head? Not as near as I can tell! They could’ve thrown us a bone and used Aida or The Ring Cycle or something ore obvious, but no, if you’re not intellectual enough to “get” this Lockhorns panel or do the research to bring yourself up to speed, then that’s your problem, friend.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/31/21

“Ha ha! Overswept! But seriously, a child under our care has collapsed into exhausted unconsciousness because she’s done too much manual labor. That seems … not great?”

Beetle Bailey, 7/31/21

Sadly, that night an enemy unit was able to ambush the sleeping soldiers of Camp Swampy, killing most and capturing the rest. RIP Beetle Bailey, 1950-2021.

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/26/21

Remember Bizzy Buzz Buzz, the Snuffy Smith character who was named after a popular (?) 1960s toy and whose whole deal is that she likes to obsessively clean things? Well, she’s back. This lovable unaccompanied minor who just can’t get enough of doing unpaid labor for her kinfolk is back! She will be returning every 3-5 years to this strip whether you like it or not, so you might as well grit your teeth and fall in love with her, it’ll be easier that way.

Funky Winkerbean, 7/26/21

Ah, well, it seems like Phil’s death-faking may have been a bit less involved than I had anticipated, and really the only people possibly facing any legal consequences would be the lawyers who straight-up lied to Darrin about why they were sending those covers to him, but what’s a little light lying for a client, who it’s been established was sort of cheated out of a lot revenue for his comics creations and probably couldn’t pay you very much in the first place? Anyway, it turns out Phil mostly faked his death because he didn’t like attention, but then after a few years he realized that in fact maybe he was wrong about that, so he revealed that he was alive in an extremely dramatic fashion at a packed comics convention, so everyone could pay attention to him and his insane life choices.

Dustin, 7/26/21

We all love the comic strip Dustin, because it’s brought balance to the Generation Wars by proving that everyone, whether they’re a Silent or a Boomer or a Gen Xer or a Millennial or a Zoomer, is basically unlikeable. But have you been waiting for the strip to take on a bold new frontier by getting unpleasantly horny? Well, good news!

Pluggers, 7/26/21

Say, did you know there’s a French phrase for this very phenomenon? It’s l’esprit de l’escalier, which literally means “the spirit of the staircase,” the idea being that you think of the perfect bon mot as you’re walking up the stairs to your apartment after you’ve left the party. In related news, I thought of the phrase that’s mostly likely to trigger a plugger into a violent rage, and it’s “Say, did you know there’s a French phrase for this very phenomenon?”

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/17/21

YOU, A SIMPLE CLOD: “Wow, this joke doesn’t work at all. It’s a real stretch for something that’s not even funny.”

ME, A COMICS-ANALYZING INTELLECTUAL: [paralyzed by the choice between posting a map of the pin-pen merger in order to narrow down Hootin’ Holler’s location and writing up a rant about how Silas is the most educated person in Hootin’ Holler and the least likely to misspell a simple word like “tint”]

Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/17/21

Hey, remember Kyle’s terrible case of writer’s block, which set this whole plotline in motion? Well, it got solved, off-panel, somehow. Bet that takes a real load off your mind, huh?

Blondie, 7/17/21

“No, my husband just flings food around the kitchen. Look at this shit! You think anything vaguely palatable is going to come out of this process?”