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.


    John | Brooklyn, NY | November 13, 2010

    I love the strip. It is a daily pilgrimage. As is the Flashbacks section, which gives fascinating insight into how Mr Trudeau's style and outlook have evolved.


    Ellayne S. Ganzfried | New York, NY | November 12, 2010

    I see that Doonesbury has featured the word "aphasia" again . On behalf of the National Aphasia Association (NAA), I would like to thank Garry Trudeau for raising awareness of aphasia in his comic strip.  Not many people know about aphasia until they or someone they love is devastated by this condition -- the sudden inability to communicate, speak, read, write or understand language, usually as a result of stroke or traumatic brain injury. Few realize that aphasia is more common than cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spinal cord injuries.

    More than 1 million Americans have aphasia and there are over 200,000 new cases each year. This number is predicted to continue growing as our population ages and Iraq veterans return home forever changed due to traumatic brain injuries, as depicted in Doonesbury.

    As Mr. Trudeau correctly points out, aphasia does not affect intellect.  However, because people with aphasia have a difficult time expressing themselves and understanding what is said, others often mistake this communication challenge as a loss of intellect.  As a result, people with aphasia are treated differently, sometimes ignored, which leads to isolation and depression, which is devastating. An NAA study found that 70 percent of aphasics felt people avoided contact with them because of their difficulty communicating. 90 percent felt isolated, left out, ignored and lonely.

    There is no cure for aphasia, but speech-language therapy and constant social interaction is critical for recovery and maintaining a meaningful life. Family, friends and society must help people with aphasia reconnect with their communities and life.  All it takes is understanding, patience and a few commonsense strategies to improve communication.

    1)    Have the person's attention before you speak.
    2)    Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
    3)    Keep your own voice at a normal level. 
    4)    Keep communication simple, but adult.
    5)    Give them time to speak; resist the urge to finish sentences for them or offer words.
    6)    Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expressions. 
    7)    Confirm that you are communicating successfully with "yes" and "no" questions. 
    8)    Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors.
    9)    Engage in normal activities whenever possible.
    10)    Encourage independence, avoid being overprotective.

    NAA is a consumer-focused, not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1987 as the first national organization dedicated to advocating for persons with aphasia and their families.  Free resources, advice and support groups can be found by calling our hotline (800-822-4622) or visiting our Web site


    Treva Obbard | Albany, CA | November 11, 2010

    Happy Veterans Day to Toggle, B.D., Elias, Jason, Kurt, and Dex, George, Phred, and the officer B.D. had a fling with that one time on the ship. And to everyone who will be a veteran as soon as they come home: Melissa, Roz, Captain Seabrooke, Ray, Agent Havoc, possibly Jeff, and all the "wrench wenches" on Mel's crew. And, of course, to all the non-fictional soldiers, veteran or serving, who defend(ed) our rights and upheld/are upholding the country's honor in tough times. Thank you, whoever you are, from all of us back on the homefront.


    Ron Shirtz | Rensselaer Falls, NY | November 10, 2010

    So Alex, who self-righteously confronted gun-carrying customers at Starbucks, and took away the gun her boyfriend kept in his car, now gives him advice on dealing with his nightmare by firing "warning shots" at the phantom insurgents in his dreams? Of course, innocent Alex cannot comprehend
    that shooting warning shots or otherwise with the .50 caliber machine gun that her boyfriend most likely handled as a Humvee gunner could result in collateral damage to innocent civilians. Or that warning shots would allow the bad guys to fire back. Perhaps a better suggestion by Alex would be that her boyfriend should go AWOL in his dreams, or become a conscientious objector. Now that would take real guts -- to refuse to fight in a unjust and unnecessary war! And to encourage all his buddies to do the same. It seems hypocritical for her to suggest maintaining the violence quo by advocating "warning shots."


    Lisa | Austin, TX | November 10, 2010

    I'm coming up on my yearly tradition of T-giving at Mom and Dad's place, where I park in "Daddy's chair" for the better part of a day and read through all his Doonesbury anthologies -- he's got 'em all. Let's hear it for another 40 years!


    Richard | Olympia, WA | November 09, 2010

    Great portrayal of the nightmare sequence. Good call on the "they might scatter" remark. I know, trying to influence a nightmare, the barest bit, can start you out of it. Did anyone else notice Toggle's first thought was for the loved one's safety, not his own? I wonder why the nightmare keeps looping.


    A.H. | PENNSYLVANIA | November 08, 2010

    The military no longer considers Post-Traumatic Stress a "disorder." Thanks for whatever part you played in that. It's not funny. But you nailed it today.

  • PTSD

    Michael J. McCarthy PA-C | Port Huron, MI | November 08, 2010

    Thank you again, this week of Veteran's Day, for featuring the ongoing problem of PTSD that plagues war veterans, present and past. I've been following this since serving as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and seeing the personal destruction wrought in the lives young people, bringing the wounds and memories of their battlefields home. No one should be asked to fight unnecessary wars...Peace, in these troubled hopeful times.


    Wayne Carpenter | Belton, TX | November 07, 2010

    Thanks for 40 great years! Please stay with it. I need my daily dose.


    Mark LaMure | Corydon, INDIANA | November 07, 2010

    Years ago, probably when I was in my late twenties or early thirties, I gave up on reading one of my favorite comic strips, Doonesbury, because it had become incredibly biased and harsh against anyone or anything with conservative values. Occasionally I would give it a retry just to see if it had gotten any fairer, only to find that it had just gotten worse and more shrill, especially during the George W. Bush presidency. And of course none of it was backed up with any facts, only the talking points of the liberal media. Well, here in the last year I have begun to read Doonesbury again. It is funnier than I ever remember it being; the way that it so obviously avoids the pathetic failings of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid administration cracks me up...



    Spike McKinley | Vancouver, CANADA | November 07, 2010

    My kids were raised with Doonesbury as a cultural reference that was far more relevant than any religious tome available today. Thank you G.B., thank you.


    Larry S. | Delaware, OH | November 06, 2010

    Wow! Could it be that 43 was really as astute as portrayed in Roland's interview, that he anticipated that Americans would "remember" TARP as Democratic initiative? According to a Pew Research poll, a large percentage of Americans actually believe it was.


    Elmer | TEXAS | November 05, 2010

    I picked up Still a Few Bugs in the System at a friend's house in the 70s, read it while sitting there and was hooked. I have all but two of the entire series (thank you, eBay), and am a devoted reader. Thank you, Garry, for all the years, and especially for your support of Fisher House. It's true what I heard a long time ago; "If you just read Doonesbury, you don't need to read the newspaper."


    Doug Moffat | Toronto, CANADA | November 05, 2010

    I have a copy of Doonesbury Dossier: The Reagan Years, which has cartoons from the early 80s. The thing that is fascinating (and appalling) is that most of the political characters and issues are the same as during the last Bush era. Rumsfield, Cheney, the NRA, war with Iran etc. All the same. After 25 years!


    William Foster | Sandy, UT | November 05, 2010

    I've been on board since the newspapers in Dallas and Fort Worth started carrying DB in the early 70s. I was a less-than-zealous student in college, with the transcripts to prove it. Zonker's job interview in the "Dressed for Failure" series was eerily similar to one of my Med School interviews. But I got in anyway. Go figure.


    Kelly McCauley | Edmonton, CANADA | November 04, 2010

    For sixteen years I had a lab named Doonesbury. I had wanted to call him Zonker, but this dog seemed so much more like a "well meaning fool" I knew he had to be a Doonesbury. Thanks for 40 years, Garry -- and your part in the best dog that ever lived.


    Timothy E. | Lexington, KY | November 04, 2010

    As an Airman stationed in Germany in 1978 I began reading the Yale strips that my roommate had saved (his father was an engineer there). I was soon clamoring to find all the past strips and read Doonesbury daily. A career in electronics changed to a career as a political scientist and years in state government and activism. Whether or not that was such a good idea is still debated by my family. Doonesbury however has been a constant since then. Thank you GB and Happy 40th Doonesbury!


    Bob Faser | Victoria, AUSTRALIA | November 04, 2010

    Re Roland's comment to GWB about "praising an arsonist for bringing his own fire under control" -- this was actually an issue here in Oz following the catatrophic bushfires of 2009. There were reliable reports of some of the most destructive fires having been lit deliberately by people who then engaged in major heroics to combat them. It does happen. (Allegedly, at least.)


    Pete | Hillsdale, NJ | November 04, 2010

    I believe the sequence when Zonker Harris's parent separated ("You're never too old for nuts and berries...") was about my entry point; approximate age twelve. I had Zonker ironed onto a t-shirt, via The Daily News. I confess to forging both a Zonker sketch and a GBT autograph in my copy of The Doonesbury Chronicles. I thought Doonesbury (and Aja) fandom would be enough to win a certain woman's heart in college. Women really do mature faster than boys. Saw the musical. Replaced old t-shirt with one drawn for World Hunger Year. Ran fast to buy The Long Road Home. Read strip online. Every. Day. Thank you.


    Andrew Goldie | London, UK | November 04, 2010

    Life has truly imitated art. Does Roland know about this?