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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Sometimes urge to snark is too tempting.

   
Author Topic: Sometimes urge to snark is too tempting.
Puffy Treat
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Such as today.

Where to begin?

1. April Patterson and her long-term on again, off again First Childhood Love (tm) Gerald turned 17 this year. They are both juniors in high school. This has not been retconned. So...how would Gerald going on a tour Becky -this- summer affect him going to university? He can easily do both, as he has another year of high school. It's been so long since I've lived in Canada...is there something vital education-wise he'd miss by spending his Junior year summer vacation touring?

2. Once again, Lynn Johnston derides a character who wants to focus on creative, artistic pursuits. Since she's made a career out of being a cartoonist, this seems strange to say the least. Conflicted feelings from her own checkered youth being projected into the strip, perhaps. It's out of character for April though, who dearly loves her music.

3. April's Patterson genes finally overpower her strong sense of personal morality. Responding to someone confessing their dreams by turning away from them, looking over the shoulder with a holier-than-thou look and saying something snotty is just a lousy thing to do. And yet, Lynn has the female members of the Patterson clan do it often. This, more than anything else probably contributes to my desire to snark. When the "good" characters of the strip act jerks far more often than the "bad", it amuses me in a way opposite of how Lynn intended it. [Smile]

Edit: Thread title corrected. (I should never post while listening to a book on tape. My brain can't do it properly.)

[ April 19, 2008, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Puffy Treat ]

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BlackBlade
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With the way you worded the title of this thread doesn't that mean the desire to not snark was too great? I assume you were going for, "Sometimes to snark is too tempting to resist." Even then I'd word it differently but I was trying to stick to your words rather then change the tenses.
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Orincoro
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I always found "For Better Or For Worse" to be sanctimonious, or if not that, then often kitchy and cloying.

It's kind of like how "The family circus," sometimes presents subtly objectionable moral and societal observations that seem wrong for the lightness of the medium. I do find it funny how comic strips, unlike most media, can in their attempts to be lighthearted or relateable, reveal some very deeply flawed thinking.

It's almost exactly the feeling I always had about "Sex in the City:" that in the midst of the comic moments and the drama, the characters were making awful decisions. But more than simply bad choices or comic foibles, the characters of that show expressed some really disturbing personality issues. I used to wonder that so many women enjoyed that show, and were surprised to hear that I found it to be deeply insulting to both men and women- mainly because it was presented as if it portrayed typical people and not borderline personalities and terminal narcissists.

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It's kind of like how "The family circus," sometimes presents subtly objectionable moral and societal observations that seem wrong for the lightness of the medium.

Every Family Circus cartoon I've ever seen has exactly one observation: "Look at the cute kid being cute."

Unlike Johnston, Bil Keane's never actively pursued doing "message" cartoons, that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples?

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Dagonee
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quote:
Once again, Lynn Johnston derides a character who wants to focus on creative, artistic pursuits.
Where has she derided this character? She had one character disagreeing with another one. Why do you assume you know which one is her opinion?
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Puffy Treat
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Where has she derided this character?

Lynn has had April (and other members of the band 4-Evah) put Gerald's artistic ambitions down as "silly" and "stoopid" over the past couple years.

She had one character disagreeing with another one. Why do you assume you know which one is her opinion?

Because this fits the other strips she's done over the past couple years putting Gerald's dreams down, and the final panel's snippy comment over the shoulder device is something she's used to make her feelings clear many times in the past 8 years...about the time the Pattersons started to shift from "flawed, and they admit it" to "better than YOU." [Smile]

[ April 20, 2008, 12:26 PM: Message edited by: Puffy Treat ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It's kind of like how "The family circus," sometimes presents subtly objectionable moral and societal observations that seem wrong for the lightness of the medium.

Every Family Circus cartoon I've ever seen has exactly one observation: "Look at the cute kid being cute."

Unlike Johnston, Bil Keane's never actively pursued doing "message" cartoons, that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples?

I can't think of any off-hand actually. I think what I mean by objectionable may be subjective to my viewpoint. I don't agree with the religious tone of the cartoon, and there have been instances where the kids and parents have presented some disturbing social problems as solvable through simple belief or specifically through Christian beliefs. I can't think of specifics, but the holiday season has the most of this kind of thing.

I seem to recall the overall scene being: "gee daddy, why can't everyone just believe in Jesus and be happy?" And there is a knowing nod. I could be conflating it with some other image though...

There's also something kind of sickly about the way the kids formulate reality in the Family Circus- their thinking is never convincing, and I never relate to it.

Edit: As an example: March 22, 2008, A man in a robe and slippers holds a sign saying: "The world will end tomorrow" The boy turns to the girl and says: "He's wrong, it's already tomorrow in Australia."

It strikes me as an odd piece of "family" humor to present first the idea of Armageddon, a religious extremist, and a little boy confident enough to poke fun with his sister, standing right in front of the guy, no parents in sight. It's kind of odd that at other times, the children are terribly naive and impressionable, and yet here, arbitrarily, they are wise and witty and worldly on the subject of the end of the world. a) It feels weird, and b) it's just not that funny, it raises more objections than chuckles in my head.

Further edit: It's also interesting to see how in the 60's, Family Circus's father was a much older and portlier man with a grim face and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He seems to be usually at or returning from work, and one cartoon features a naive observation by his children of "the soda" he keeps hidden in his pocket.

[ April 21, 2008, 07:03 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:

Unlike Johnston, Bil Keane's never actively pursued doing "message" cartoons, that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples?

Just take a head count of all the depictions of Christian religious symbols in that cartoon and tell me if there is no message. One recent cartoon is nothing but a church as a background for a smiling snowman.
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scifibum
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quote:
Further edit: It's also interesting to see how in the 60's, Family Circus's father was a much older and portlier man with a grim face and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He seems to be usually at or returning from work, and one cartoon features a naive observation by his children of "the soda" he keeps hidden in his pocket.
Sounds like he was trying to make the cartoon actually FUNNY back then.
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aspectre
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"...Keane's never actively pursued doing "message" cartoons, that I'm aware of. Do you have any examples?"

Sure do.

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Teshi
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quote:
It's been so long since I've lived in Canada...is there something vital education-wise he'd miss by spending his Junior year summer vacation touring?
He's not talking about this, they're talking about university. She says "What's it going to be like at University?" and he says "I'm not gonna go." Which is a pretty big statement for someone for whom university was expected.

The band thing is just the next section of that, it's a hope that if he's going touring this summer, maybe he can do this as a career.

Also, without context, April comes off as being deliberately portrayed as snotty and that being a problem, and the guy is the sympathetic character, wearing an expression of bemusement at her comment.

Do the female characters have to realise they're flawed in order to not be the 'good' characters. Is it possible that April is simply intended demonstrating a flaw here? Without context, that is the assumed statement.

quote:
Edit: As an example: March 22, 2008, A man in a robe and slippers holds a sign saying: "The world will end tomorrow" The boy turns to the girl and says: "He's wrong, it's already tomorrow in Australia."
Is the comic specifically for all ages? I've always been under the impression that it was for adults. That comic is actually a pretty funny one; it is a child applying simple logic to a ludicrous statement and thus destroying it in a humorous way. Whether it's realistic or not is beside the question; it's not supposed to be a reflection of reality. Comics rarely are.

quote:
Just take a head count of all the depictions of Christian religious symbols in that cartoon and tell me if there is no message. One recent cartoon is nothing but a church as a background for a smiling snowman.
Comics have always walked the line between humour and message. Some comics poke light fun, other comics are motivated by anger. Comic artists may change their motivations as all artists do. It's upsetting that a comic you may have liked in the past takes a different route, but that doesn't mean they're inherently bad.
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zgator
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Isn't Gerald the on-again-off-again boyfriend? Maybe she's being snotty because she had an idea they would be going to University together and he's changing the plan. In her mind, he's choosing the music over her.
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The Rabbit
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After reading Monday's Comic, It ought to be pretty clear that April was never intended to be a sympathetic character is this exchange.

Unless of course its common for Canadian's to sympathize with those who insult their friends.

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