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Blowback

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.

PLANTS
Stephan Early | Eagle Rock, CA | January 12, 2014

"The Intelligent Plant," Michael Pollan's recent New Yorker piece, suggests that Zonker is on to something. His stoner's time sense aided him in communication. Plants, it seems, are working on a different time continuum.

LEFT VS RIGHT
Jimmy Hart | London, ENGLAND | January 12, 2014

Re: The new Jim Crow laws. The old left vs. right paradigm is dead or nearly dead and is being replaced by a new one. Today you are either with the programme or you are not. Voter ID is all part of the new social order being created today. There are people on the left and the right who oppose it and also those who support it. Left vs. right, like the American Dream, has been done to death by the Third Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the Machines. So specifically blaming the GOP for this state of affairs is misguided.

SEX DISCRIMINATION
Lynne Lynch | Avon Lake, OH | January 12, 2014

I just finished reading today's strip. I'm shocked and disappointed that Trudeau didn't include women in his list of groups that the GOP is trying to disenfranchise. Are we still that invisible to even someone as liberal as Trudeau? Is he aware that in Texas they are preventing women from voting with a law that throws into question which name they are registered under? This has caused problems for women because, through marriage, so many change their names. Perry is hoping he can prevent women from voting for Wendy Davis. He will probably get away with it since sex discrimination still takes a backseat to race discrimination, even in Doonesbury.

THANK YOU
Sheila Robinson | Cork, IRELAND | January 12, 2014

A big thank you to you Garry Trudeau! I've been reading Doonesbury almost since I learned to read, as it was the only comic strip in The Irish Times. Even though I was too young to get the politics, and hated Mr. Butts, I quite liked Dan Quayle by the time he came along (when I was 8!). I remember Sam and Alex being born, can imagine myself being friends with Alex (who got married just as I was heading on honeymoon), and once brought in a picture of Kim to show my hairdresser what haircut I wanted! As a speech and language therapist, I am particularly delighted to see a character with aphasia in the strip. My husband bought me the wonderful 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective book for Christmas, so I'm going to have even more fun. Keep up the good work!

THAT SHRUG
Allie | Gettsyburg, PA | January 12, 2014

I clicked the link in the WHATEVER comment. I know that shrug! Only too well. But I'da called it "The New York Commuter Shrug." Methinks a certain sense of resigned powerlessness might be a universal trait.

ROLAND HEDLEY
Perry | Boston, MA | January 11, 2014

Is Roland Hedley evolving? Twice now he's asked relevant questions, first about the male sensitivity trainer, then about our troops in Afghanistan. What's happening?

MEL
Margaret Hollis | Iqaluit, CANADA | January 11, 2014

What a wonderful surprise to find "Purple Heart" in the five-years-ago-today Flashback. Favourite. Strip. Ever. And flashforward to Mel today; strong and confident enough to ask the big questions. GT, you are a master.

THE MILITARY CULTURE
Jenny Kiratli | Palo Alto, CA | January 11, 2014

I have followed Doonesbury from the beginning of the strip, and am a huge and loyal fan. Having worked at a VA SCI Center for 20+ years, just down the hall from a Polytrauma Center, I just want to say that everything you've done on the military culture is fabulous, especially the portrayal of head injury and the  Leo/Toggle character, as well as sexual harassment and the Mel character. Thanks for your amazing insights and truly effective representation of these super important issues!

OVERMEDICATION
Dennis Morrigan McDonough | Fort Collins, CO | January 11, 2014

It was informative and saddening to read Mikey Piro's SANDBOX story of overmedication and dumbing-down by doctors working to treat his PTSD. However, we should try to remember that, for some, cognitive therapy and "living right" are not enough. Some people will need medication. PTSD can do more than cause anxiety, depression and anger. It can also trigger or exacerbate more organic types of mental illness, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. While wise living and therapy help some vets with those illnesses, it's sad but undeniable fact that most people with those conditions will need medication, sometimes more than one, possibly for life.

ECHOES
Benjamin Smeall | Green Bay, WI and Cochabamba, BOLIVIA | January 11, 2014

It appears that the Gallic Shrug is about the same as the South American "Que se arruinen" Shrug; an expression that Satan exists.

But what about Mel? Echoes of the patriotism that founded the United States, and echoes of Vietnam. My compliments to Garry Trudeau for initiating this discussion.

ANSWERS
Alan Scally | Portland, OR | January 11, 2014

The 65-year old man who works as the weekend manager in my apartment building sat quietly at the desk as I walked by. He raised his head and asked,"Alan, if I had died in Vietnam, what would I have died for?" Any answers for that or any war? I have none. My brother earned a Silver Star in Vietnam and has no answer.

MY GIRL MEL
Seven | Alexandria, VA | January 10, 2014

Thrilled to see my girl Mel back! As a Veteran I can empathize with her feelings of "abandonment," though the war was a bad idea from the start and why are we still there? Much of the military joined after Iraq and A-stan began, so they knew the job sucked when they signed up! However, when I go to college online and 25% of my class is deployed to A-stan and they go out to eat at TGI Fridays I have little sympathy for them.

PERFECTION
John A. Broussard | Kamuela, HI | January 10, 2014

David Suchet, the Hercule Poirot actor, has the Gallic Shrug down to perfection. It includes an ever-so-slight rolling up of the eyes.

WHATEVER
Rev. Dr. Bob Faser | Hobart, AUSTRALIA | January 10, 2014

Yes, ladies, I must agree. But surely both the "Army Shrug" and the classic Gen Y "Whatever?" are lineal descendants of the granddaddy of them all, the "Gallic Shrug." (I say this having no French ancestry of which I am aware, but having the two bodacious "French connections" of growing up in Bayonne, NJ, and doing my undergraduate study at Lafayette.)

SERVING
Glenn Gordon | Kenosha, WI | January 08, 2014

I'll tell you exactly what Mel's serving: the world's fear and anger industry.

SERVING
Bill | Charlottesville, VA | January 08, 2014

"I'll be here. Serving."  Serving what? Whom? America? Karzai? A government war agenda? The military-industrial complex? A need for purpose and a bonding experience? (Try one that's not so destructive, Mel.) The lack of a clear, justifiable answer to that question is probably why Afghanistan has dropped off the radar for most of us. It's like that when the shame/threat ratio is rather high.

TICKETING SUVS
David Ferrier | Edmonton, CANADA | January 08, 2014

I'm really enjoying the 10-years-ago-today Flashback story arc about ticketing SUVs. I urge similar "ticketing" of car owners with no common courtesy/common sense who take up two parking spaces, block mall driveways instead of using the parking lot, etc.

REMINDER
Allie | Gettysburg, PA | January 08, 2014

Thank you for today's reminder. I would dearly love to see us talking about this instead of the weather.

HUGE LAUGH
Piper | Portland, OR | January 07, 2014

The Straw Poll gave a huge laugh this morning -- I wonder if you deliberately designed it so that the results would resemble "the finger." Quite appropriate, given the context.

A DEEP CHORD
Laurel Pollard | Tucson, AZ | January 06, 2014

Today's strip about Mel struck a deep chord for me. Many thanks for keeping people's awareness on servicewomen, along with the men.