A clean, well-lit place to vent
Please feel free to contribute to this frequently-updated forum, which posts selected commentary on our favorite comic strip. If you’d like your critique to be posted, please note that civility, if not approbation, counts. Click here to submit a comment.
To the extent that Boomers are considered to have been born post-WWII, it may technically be unfair to that generation to attribute to it Abbie Hoffman's and Jerry Rubin's behavior. Hoffman was born in 1936 and Rubin in 1938.
I'm amused that people are giving GBT a hard time about the "clowns" comment. So far citizen X hasn't shined, so I'll give his words due respect. But even Zonker makes a good point once in a while, so I wouldn't be surprised if GBT uses this character we're poking fun at to poke a little fun of his own. I think OWS is great, but it's not above reproach.
I went to camp with a kid who wore a sack on his head. Best leader I ever knew.
Yesterday's comment about the ego-driven Sixties radicals was fantastic. As a reporter for the U. of Chicago student newspaper, I was at Grant Park on the day of the Democratic Convention rally/riot, and listening to Eldridge, Abbie, Mailer, etc, I got the ego message loud and clear, all afternoon. So did the two middle class N. Chicago women sitting next to me, the kind of people that the movement needed if it was to effect any change. We all went home and watched the catastrophe on TV. Actually, when I got home I found that my house had been broken into!
I think "clowns" is an inaccurate term for the leaders of many Boomer-era protests (e.g., Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin), just as I think it is inappropriate for Michael Moore (who does not appear to be genetically capable of not slipping in a product reference to a previous or upcoming book or film in every single interview he does). These people are who the clowns elevate to leadership status. In that regard, the Boomers excel at shooting themselves in the foot. As the OWS movement winds down, let us all thank the Boomers for showing us the way to failure: Don't have a plan. Don't learn from your enemy. Don't actually do anything. Scream like hell if you don't get everything you want.
I watch with frustration as the have-nots try to be heard by occupying various cities with varying degrees of success, but I am not sure what they have accomplished. I watch the haves bicker amongst themselves, in their grey suits and red ties, over how much of their obscene wealth we should be allowed to pry from their greedy hands, as we "lefties" try to restore some measure of decency and social justice to this country. In the morning, when I get my daily DB fix, I am just grateful that Mike, Alex, B.D., Toggle, Joanie, and all the other lovely "people" that GBT has given me in the past 40 years remind me that, even though they are cartoon characters, those thoughts popping up over their heads that pop into my head too are coming from somewhere, so I can't be the only one who sees the world just a bit off kilter.
And the "leader" is -- just another white guy. Not to be all PC, but there are a lot of women and people of color out there occupying Wall Street and other locations across the US. I don't expect a black, lesbian amputee or anything, but would it have killed the bit to show a woman or maybe silhouette the last panel? Though, come to think of it, he does look a bit like Scott Thomas Olsen, the Iraq war vet injured by cops in Oakland. Carry on.
It is sad that Citizen X was not aware of Marvelous Mark's previous career as student activist Megaphone Mark, otherwise he might have tread more carefully when commenting on the character of yesteryear's protesters. Why I bet Citizen X has never even heard of Rev. Scot Sloan, the fighting priest! On a related note, it is good to know that GBT has not gotten tired of covering and making some jokes about protest movements, even after 40 years of doing so.
I'm not sure how I feel about the kid with the paper bag (except it's a bit funny), and I'm a real supporter of OWS, though not in a position to be living in a park in NYC or anywhere else at present (have other major responsibilities right now). But I do not think any human social movement can exist long without a semblance of a leader, not because the movement will fail, but because human group dynamics tend to produce leaders naturally. It's like a box of rocks -- you shake it and the little ones settle to the bottom, leaving the bigger ones on top. (What? Human Beings are like a box of rocks? Ummm, yeah, sometimes.)
As one of the last members of the baby boom generation, I accept the "clown" appellation on behalf of myself and my peers. It happened Abbie Hoffman and I had the same parole officer, at the same time and within 15 miles of each other. My parole officer and others in the region found the man to have an overblown sense of ego and self-importance. I'll also note that my generation is the one that introduced the concept of "greed is good," and went about trashing both our children's upbringing and their national inheritance. Sorry, kids. If you have me cremated and flush the cremains, I'll only feel bad for jamming up your toilet.
I'm enjoying the strips on OWS. Occupy London seems to be far more mysterious than anything in the US. Here the movement is camped out at St Paul's cathederal which has had to close to the public for alleged health and safety reasons until the camp is disbanded. Now accusations are arising that very few of the occupy movement are actually on site overnight and that most are going home rather than camp on concrete. The occupiers are alleging that the thermal imaging evidence of empty tents is made up. It's turning into a conspiracy theorist's dream and the original reason is totally forgotten. We Brits -- can't even organise a decent protest!
Whoa, there, GBT. I resent the baby boomers as much as anyone else of my Generation ("Generation X"). But "clowns" is harsh. I don't think people like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and so forth were "clowns," although they were certainly power-tripping egotists. Honestly, as I've gotten older I've come to understand the Boomers better and to resent them less: they were trying to make the changes they felt were necessary in the world, by the means they felt they had available. They were trying to brighten the corner where they were, so to speak, much like the OWS folks. They did what they felt was right, given the data they had and the situation they were in -- just like the OWS folks. My biggest issue with the OWS folks is actually the media treatment -- particularly the patronizing "too cool for school" snark of the newspapers and news websites.
What? Doonesbury has revealed a leader to the Leaderless OWS and thus anointed him! It will be a lot of weight on his shoulders, Garry. Will he be rejected at Occupy for this? I fear the worst.
You are so right! No one wants to be Leader of OWS because we have all seen what happens to Leaders that the US government doesn't like. Here is an idea for OWS. Take a Nobody, like myself, with average intelligence and speaking ability, and above-average naivete. Give him a new name and make some changes to his physical appearance. Let him lead. Then, when Fox News finally figures out who he is, find a new Nobody to lead. It could work.
Marvelous Mark seems to be showing his age much more so than his contemporaries, like Mike and B.D. I hope he's not ill.
I've been a fan of GBT's use of icons for a few decades now, but his use of a paper bag for the (non)leader of OWS? Iconic icon!
One of the most exciting movements to arise in years, giving cause for optimism, and GBT represents Occupy with a guy wearing a bag over his head? Not funny.
Toggle is not the only one who has to deal with his PTSD. I expect to see him in Elias' support group soon, but living with a trauma survivor is tough on those who love them. I recommend that Alex have a talk with Boopsie, the savvy, experienced Army wife.
J.J. you were ahead of your time.