Friday, May 29, 2009

Tomorrow, We All Crawl Back into the Swamp

From this day forward, when I am weeping my way through the comics page and trying to decide whether Crock or Hagar the Horrible is a greater affront to my gender, I shall have a standard against which to compare them. I shall simply turn to today's Mary Worth and attempt to discover whether these comics are as condescendingly, arrogantly, nauseatingly sexist as the two panels below. If they aren't, I may be able to forgive them.* If they are, Armageddon may be just around the corner.

For the last three hundred years,** Jeff's daughter Adrian has been head-over-heels in love with a con man named Ted. Adrian, please note, is a doctor and therefore not a stupid woman; her brains did not stop her from advancing Ted a wad of cash and helplessly bewailing her fate when he subsequently tried to skip town. Luckily, big strong Detective Scott Hewlett came to her rescue. She was wary about trusting him at first, but now that her father has spent seven freaking strips in a row*** gushing about how he knew and adored Scott's father, Adrian seems to have decided that it's okay to fall for the guy. Today, she time-travels back to the 1950s, or possibly the 1350s, as Scott gallantly pays for her meal and sweeps her off her feet with his manly refusal to let her think for herself.

The medieval aspects of the comic are pretty clear. The first, of course, is the fact that a bloody goddamned doctor is apparently incapable of doing anything for herself without her father's approval or the help of her current lover. The only bit of the strip that doesn't fit is the fact that Adrian is a doctor.**** Otherwise, we may as well be back in the days when men were men and women were treated like right idiots.

My latest theory is that newspaper comics are, in fact, a time machine for our brains. Slowly, irrevocably, they are dragging us back into the past, simply by attempting to convince us that nothing has changed since the late fourteenth century. When everybody stops using forks and bathing, we'll know what's going on.



P.S.: "Madrian" is ginger treated with lye, as well as possibly an amusing name for Saint Adrian. I have appropriated it.

*Well, no, but I could possibly refrain from stabbing them for a minute or two.
**Or, in Mary Worth time, ten minutes.
***Or, in Mary Worth time, ten seconds.
****I am sure, however, that when she marries Scott, she will give up odious work and start doing what women do best: nagging, putting on weight, popping out babies, and ending up bitter and emotionally isolated.

58 comments:

john said...

You know, most times when I see someone complaining about offensive material in the comics, I think "oh, they're over-reacting, it's just a comic strip, for God's sake." But this storyline...Jesus Christ, this is the most appallingly retrograde thing since the end of FOOB.

Even the much-derided Mark Trail storyline about domestic abuse was more just a case of the strip's insanely naive outlook clashing violently with a misguided attempt at serious storytelling, like if Fred Basset tried to do Schindler's List, but I just cannot see any way for this to have been unintentional. It's the entire damn point of the storyline, how can it not be the intended message?

I've actually been wondering when you were going to get around to this, but I think today's strip is such a particularly good summation of the storyline that I don't think you could have picked a better day to do it.

Angry Kem said...

I was waiting for the right moment. This was most definitely the right moment.

The problem with a lot of the previous strips was that they were only appalling in context, not as stand-alone entities. This one is appalling all by itself.

CrackerLilo said...

You're right, that needs absolutely no context whatsoever. Ick! It definitely proves the point of your blog, too. It would be much more forgivable in Middle English.

I wouldn't want Adrian treating me or someone I cared about, that's for sure.

As for Hagar the Horrible and Crock, those are affronts to the entire homo sapiens species, not just the female half of it.

Angry Kem said...

Oh, look:

http://www.timesunion.com/comics/?feature_id=Mary_Worth

...Saturday's Mary Worth is making me almost as liable to bite through my own tongue as is Friday's.

john said...

My God. It just keeps coming, doesn't it? I imagine there will be some choice words in the CC comments tomorrow morning. (Mine included.)

Fintano said...

Why would you treat ginger with lye?

Angry Kem said...

Certain types of lye are used to cure certain types of food. These are not the same types of lye that are used to unclog drains.

Randy said...

Yes, three cheers for lutefisk*!

As I was reading your comment #2, I was thinking, yeah, the right moment, until you see tomorrow's strip.... But I guess it's a bit late for that now.

And, your last footnote inspired me to wonder: For which of the misogynistic-married-comic-couples out there would Adrian and Scott be an origins story? The Lockhorns? Blondie and Dagwood? Hagar and Helga? The Keanes?

* Demon Wikipedia, yadda yadda yadda.

Angry Kem said...

Randy: Nah. I think yesterday's strip is a better candidate for medievalisation than today's. Today's makes me very angry, but it doesn't actually show the putrid, infuriating interactions between the Manly Man and Little Miss Helpless.

Mmm...lutefisk. I had a chance to try it once, and I turned that chance down. I can't imagine why I did. Wait...yes, I can.

xy said...

gone once again i see.

dmontag said...

The last time Angry Kem left us for an extended "vacation", she told us why, and for how long. Not this time. I'm sad.

Angry Kem said...

Sorry, dudes. I am yet again a bad, bad person. I'm in the middle of 1) putting on a play, 2) trying to finish authoring an online course WHILE putting on a play, 3) desperately scribbling out a comic every two days, 4) organising two courses I have never taught before for September, and 5) panicking. It's the panicking that is really becoming a problem. I WILL be back, but likely not until after the play ends its run on August 8.

I am also, by the way, in Calgary rather than Toronto, so everything is sort of new and busy and headache-inducing. We just had our tech rehearsal tonight, and I want to throw myself upon my bed and cry.

dmontag said...

Break a leg! (Does it make sense to say that for the producer/director?)

Angry Kem said...

Well, I'm also the pianist, so it's all good. And I'm actually the co-writer/composer/music director, not the director per se.

xy said...

sounds like you need to cut down on the amount of stuff you do. or stop sleeping, i find that with that 4-8 hours i can really get things done.

dmontag said...

Kem, come back. We miss you.

dmontag said...

I send an E-Mail message to our beloved Angry Kem, asking her if/when she would be back to writing "Japes", and here is her reply:

Hi, Drew. I'm really sorry I've been delinquent for so long. In the summer, I got into the habit of not japing, and now I just haven't been able to get myself restarted. I do plan to return at some point, but I'm going to have to wait at least until I've finished writing the online course I've been designing; there's a pretty solid deadline coming up in a few weeks, and I don't have nearly enough time to do everything I need to do.

However, I do think about Japes a lot, and I do want to get back to it. I don't think it's gone forever. Eventually, I shall find a way of loading the relevant font onto my new computer (which has Vista and is EVIL and won't let me load the damned font at the moment, for some reason), and I'll force myself to read _The Family Circus_, and everything will be back to normal. I'm simply overwhelmed with other stuff at the moment. Every time I think I may have earned myself a bit of free time, another deadline appears. I hate deadlines.

Thanks for your loyalty. I do really, really want to come back.

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志源 said...

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每個人生命中都可能遇到貴人,這些貴人不一定真的尊貴,他可能是陌生人,也可能是你的敵人。........................................

玄雨 said...

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dmontag said...

We mourn the passing of a wonderful blog.

It has been over a year now (5/29/2009 was the last post), and things don't look very promising.

韋成 said...

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NedaD承蓁 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。...........................................................................

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溫淑芬 said...

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江婷 said...

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Drive carefully. It is not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.............................................................

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你不能改變容貌~~但你可以展現笑容.................................................................