With all due respect to Peanuts (widely considered the benchmark for comic strip exceptionalism), I think that Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip of all time.
Not only was it drawn in a style that flawlessly conveyed the energy of the strip, Bill Watterson created stories that are a master class in economy of words and images. I marvel at what he managed to accomplish within the constraints of a daily strip. His is a skill that has been sorely missed, and I keep hoping that he'll do another strip one day... even if it's limited in scope or duration. Anything Watterson does would be incredibly interesting to see.
I have re-read my The Complete Calvin & Hobbes set cover-to-cover many times, but that doesn't stop me from reading the daily online strips.
Today's strip is this...
Yet another triumph by Watterson.
But getting back to my marveling over his mastery of economy of words and images... look what happens when you get rid of the last panel...
Without the punchline, it is a much more ruthless skewering of today's "I'm Special and Deserve Full Credit for a Lackluster Job!" culture. It is what makes Miss Wormwood's response of drinking Maalox straight out of the bottle so funny.
And then look what happens when we remove the first panel...
Without the setup to soften the impending joke... Calvin objecting to his C-grade... the strip is considerably more vicious in nature. Calvin's demands are more of a direct attack. And if the words weren't accompanied by drawings of a cute kid, I'm note sure they would hit as funny, even though the concept of being recognized as "exceptional" for less-than-exceptional work could be seen as funny in any context.
Which brings us to the meat of the strip, which is this panel right here...
Now, to me, all of a sudden the strip (when stripped down to this single panel) is hilarious. All context has fallen away, so this becomes a scathing comedic commentary on government and industry. Congress excels at demanding exceptional recognition for doing a minimal, mediocre, crappy job. They run their re-elections on it! I look at this one panel so beautifully putting into perspective as to why our culture has been built around "American Exceptionalism," and here we are... it flows from the top. Congress demands exceptional recognition for less-than-exceptional work... people see this... people vote on this... and suddenly we're all about being "the best in the world" at everything, even though we're getting our ass handed to us by other countries in SO many areas.
Education being at the top of the list.
Forever moving the goalposts so we can be the greatest in everything is the real American Way.
It's a lot less work than putting in the actual work.
I am going to do something I rarely do here at Blogography.
Post a comic created by somebody other than myself.
But I just can't help myself. This is such a brilliant, fully-realized piece of work that it must be posted here. Hat-tip to Levni Yilmaz for his genius. If you want to support his work, visit his website here or sponsor his animation project over at Patreon.
I've always pictured our current situation in this country as more of a train wreck, but... pretty much nailed it, yeah.
There is no way I could come up with a Fourth of July post better than the one I came up with last year.
And this year it's more appropriately Murican than ever, so I'm just going to dump it all here again.
Celebrate safely, my fellow Americans!
Truth! Justice! Captain America!
You're a Wonder, Wonder Woman!
REAGAN, bitches! Trickle-Down America!
Jessiqa Pace... Land That I Love
Too... Much... America...
I Pledge Allegiance to America...
'MURICA! from USA News First!
Fuck the Pepsi Challenge... take The America Challenge!
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, COMMIES! And God Bless Holly Fisher
American Jesus (the ONLY Jesus)... Artist Unknown
America... One Nation Under God by McNaughton
BOSTON RED SOX AMERICA!... by Matt West, Boston Herald
AMERICA PIE TASTES LIKE FREEDOM by Max Faulkner, DFW.com
Stephen T. Colbert... The Spirit of America
"American Pride" (with Waffles the Cat) by Justin Schwab
Jordan Carver... God Bless America
So. Much. America.
Yes. Yes indeed...
My obsession with Elizabeth Hurley is well documented.
Which is why I was chuffed to bits too get a personal non-apology apology from her and Newcastle over the idiotic reaction to their truly funny "If We Had Won" campaign that surfaced when moronic "patriots" couldn't take a fucking joke. I mean, seriously, if obviously tongue-and-cheek ads by a BEER COMPANY from one of this country's strongest allies is offending you, maybe it's time to pull the flag pole out of your ass and just throw yourself off a cliff you miserable bastards.
Or just have a beer and relax maybe.
Anyway, here is Elizabeth Hurley in all her brutally hot glory...
And, in case you hadn't seen the original "terribly offensive ads," here's an example...
ZOMFG! SO OFFENSIVE! BUT NOT AS OFFENSIVE AS THIS!!!...
And, be still my heart, Elizabeth Hurley getting filthy...
The whole campaign can be found here.
Geez. Now I could really use a Newcastle.
If Americans want a real reason to get mad at the Brits, HERE IT IS...
HOW CAN HOT TAMALES MAKE YOU SAD? What a complete wanker!
It must be Sunday... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Paws. It won't be easy to watch... but if you care about our furry feline friends, you'll want to see The Paws Project, now available to stream on Netflix. It documents the horrifying effect of declawing cats, which is far worse than taking off a nail on a human. It's more like taking off the finger-tips down to the first knuckle on a human...
Declawing is just awful. And yet there are still veterinary hospitals that promote it because it's profitable... even though there are far more humane alternatives. Hopefully this barbaric practice will be outlawed nation-wide if enough people start speaking up about it.
• Pledge. I have no idea where this photo comes from. But it's genius, and every time I run across it I love it even more. Because: 'MURICA!
I've finally decided to blog it so I can look it up easily every time I need a laugh.
• Silence! As if this video wasn't already freaky as hell with the sound...
Of course, anything featuring Jagger and Bowie is bound to be freaky as hell.
• Kare! As a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of Susan Kare's work, I was thrilled when Foodiddy sent me this link...
I wish she would have had time to go a bit deeper into her creative process, but this is a must-watch video for anybody interested in graphic design.
• Cozy My Ass. Of all the "Hitler Dubs" floating around out there, THIS is by far my favorite: Hitler tries to rent an apartment in San Francisco...
• Perry! I've grown so accustomed to Texas Governor Rick Perry being a raging douche that the insane shit he says doesn't phase me any more. Comparing homosexuality to alcoholism... while repugnant, ignorant an fucking stupid... is a relatively mild offense for him. I'd argue his pathetic attempt to write that off as a mistake after doubling down on it is even more ridiculous. Regardless, Funny or Die has a brilliant commentary on this particular bit of Rick Perry idiocy...
Can you believe the piece of shit is probably going to run for president again in 2016?
And... that clicking sound you here is me out of bullets in my blog-based six-shooter. Until next week...