Scan of Li'l Abner venereal disease comic strip

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82 Responses to “Scan of Li'l Abner venereal disease comic strip”

  1. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Rackinfrackin, chill. This argument you’re having is going nowhere. Do something else for a while, then check back to see whether you still care.

  2. rackinfrackin says:

    I don’t agree. Two obvious examples should suffice:

    Strangelove is as much a satire of Adlai Stevenson, the ineffectual (and pacifist) model for Pres. Merkin Muffley, as it is of Werner Von Braun and Curtis LeMay.

    And Duck Soup clearly ridicules the “war fever” mentality of a complicit public – especially in a central production number where the Marx brothers sing “All God’s Chillun Got Guns” (in a hilarious spoof of Negro sprituals. Blacks were hardly a “power” class in 1933.)

    Goodness, does this mean we’re not allowed to enjoy the Marx Brothers anymore? Or should I ask the permission of the nearest politically correct authority, and see if the satire is still “okay”?

  3. buddy66 says:

    !#23 MikeFontanelli:

    ”Capp was one of history’s most brilliant satirists. In that regard, it’s easy to see what he was really driving at. The subtext of this particular parody is crystal clear.”

    What does it parody? ‘The Wizard of Oil,’ for instance, parodies ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ What does ‘The Lips…’ parody? I missed it.

  4. rackinfrackin says:

    [...the Gilbert and Sullivan is still odd man out, of course, because nobody ever knows what to do with them...]

    You might try appreciating them, that’ll do for starters. Your snarky sarcasm would make a lot more sense if Gilbert hadn’t been a creative genius.

    [Just because I've got a nasty mouth and am a quick-draw opinionist is no reason to write me off as an uneducated moron]

    Okay, I’m listening…

    [I don't think you want to play dueling creds with me.... Satire, for my purposes, is what I say it is. As Alice learned with the Red Queen, ''A word means what I say it means.'']

    Absurd. And by the way, if you’re referring to “Through The Looking Glass”, the character you have in mind is Humpty Dumpty, NOT the Red Queen. While you’re busy patting yourself on the back for your literary “creds”, you might at least try to get the reference right.
    You didn’t also teach a course on Lewis Carroll, one hopes?

    [When I ''shouted'' in exasperation ''Use your ....... heads,'' I was impolitely saying, ''Think about it.'']

    There would’ve been no objection from me if you had. But of course, as we both know – that’s NOT what you “shouted”.
    I appreciate your clarifying it now, however.

    [There is no satire about Auschwitz, for instance. The Holocaust is not be mocked]

    As if anyone suggested otherwise. Keep hitting that “straw man”, though. This is fascinating…

    [... although I once mocked 'Hogan's Heroes' and the network by suggesting a family/situation comedy set at Dachau, called 'The Little Barracks In The Forest.']

    A despicable “joke”, if that’s what it was. I’m not laughing, and you just upended your own self-righteous rant.

    [The great graphic novel MAUS is not a satire, it is a heartbreaking memoir, despite the eccentric (and brilliant) use of little animals. There are some things that the heart rejects as unfit for laughter. To satirize the weak is an act of despicable cowardice.]

    I’ll be damned if I could guess what any of this has to do with “Li’l Abner”! But the important thing is, you get to pat yourself on the back.

    Congratulations, er, I guess…

  5. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    Why is “attempted adultery” and a “sexual proposition” worthy of concerning ourselves with? If Wikipedia listed everyone who was guilty of that kind of behavior at one time or another in their lives, there wouldn’t be much room for actual worthwhile information. It seems to me that Capp’s work is more important than whether or not he enjoyed the company of women.

    By the way, Li’l Abner is about stupid hillbillies. Kissing girls isn’t what made them stupid. They was “borned” that way.

  6. Takuan says:

    conspicuous lack of constructive discourse; Advantage: Buddy.

    (trading insults – or hurling them – is only fun if people are friends.)

  7. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Mike Fontanelli, I’d feel better about this comment thread if you and Rackinfrackin weren’t posting from the same IP address.

  8. JDspeeder1 says:

    I think the Archive got Boinged.

  9. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Also, what Buddy’s saying about the nature of satire matches every authoritative source I’ve ever heard on the subject, from my high school English teachers to John M. Ford, by way of huge heaps of litcrit.

  10. rackinfrackin says:

    Hmmm…

    Okay, fair enough. Here’s a cleaned-up version of a previously censored comment. The original point, which I think is an important one, still stands:

    Buddy66 appears to be, perhaps, shall we say – less than aware – of the time-honored literary tradition of dystopian satire, as well as being apparently unaware of the following:

    CATCH-22 (a satire about war and death)
    DR. STRANGELOVE (a satire about nuclear annihilation)
    THE MIKADO (a satire about torturers and tyrants)
    CANDIDE (a satire about injustice and brutality)
    DUCK SOUP (a satire of war and tyranny)
    THE GREAT DICTATOR (a satire of tyranny and oppression)
    KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (a satire about serial murder)
    etc, etc…

    In view of this, his point about “witless horse****” appears to be less than valid.
    Love to all,
    r.

  11. buddy66 says:

    Al Capp was the funniest guy in the world before he became a cranky old reactionary. This often happens with people who outlive their gods. Capp’s was communism, so he did a 180 into the arms of the right wing proselytizers. We understood his ‘Schmoo’ to be an essay on socialism and its enemies. ‘It’s not that I’m old fashioned,’ said pork mogul Hogback McFatt, ‘It’s just that I hate anything new.’

  12. rackinfrackin says:

    ny mn wh htd hpps nd Yk n cn’t b ll bd. d, nd I’m a registered democrat!

    Hrry fr fr xprssn – n mttr hw mch t bgs th trndnks nd th p.c. crwd, nd hurray for LI’L ABNER and Al Capp!

  13. Surfer Joe says:

    Couldn’t agree more with that. The fifties were noted as a time of tyrannical oppression for irreverence, because- following the war- our society was so satisfied with itself- and understandably so. That’s always been another reason I admire Capp’s work- he kept on punching during those days.

  14. Takuan says:

    hmmm, I suspect the root of this apparent disagreement might be the definition of “satire” as held by Buddy. When and if he chooses to reply, might I suggest you ask him about that?

  15. Oren Beck says:

    Satire is as subjective as an Orgasm.

    The conflict between legit health protective intent and other social dynamics seems foredoomed. Even if it’s “Sex alone Vs Reality” you invoke energies colliding. Replicative of cat,buttered toast and duct tape thought experiments. Algebraic substitution here could be considered.

    Let Cat=Sex,Toast=health, Social Forces as Duct Tape. Yep- the scene models on track to me.

    So Our humble artiste Mr Capp was handed a grenade 2 seconds into the count.

    The qualitative wedge to me is if you discern Satire Vs Sarcasm as distinct forms or congruent. Though either side of that divide can arguably label the Capp work being discussed here. Nonetheless however we label it…

    It generates a few laughs from those that “get it”
    Puzzlement from the ones that do not. And a whole lot of quirky attempts to dissect things. Instead of just enjoying them and accepting them for what they were for and are to be held as.

  16. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Oren Beck, I’m glad the model’s on track for you, because I can’t figure out what you’re getting at.

  17. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Stephen @12: Thanks for weighing in. As usual, your comments are astute and mirthful.

  18. Antinous says:

    I’m more interested in whether Al Capp influenced Tom of Finland. Li’l Abner himself certainly looks like the inspiration for several decades worth of gay erotic drawings.

  19. CommieNeko says:

    I can’t think of anyone who was funnier, when he was on top of his game, than Al Capp. His stuff from the 30s to the 50s is comic genius. For me the strip lost a lot when Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae go married. While there were still excellent episodes, a lot of the time he seemed, to me anyway, to be just turning the crank.

    I had grown up reading the strip and was in high school when he retired. By that time I had largely stopped reading the strip. It wasn’t until I went to college and discovered the newspaper microfilm archives that I had a chance to read the old stuff. For the better part of a year I spent a couple of evenings a week reading comics from the late thirties to the early fifties, mainly focusing on Li’l Abner and Terry and the Pirates. As you might guess, the Li’l Abner/Steve Cantor cross over was always a favorite of mine.

    I guess I was about seven or eight when the Marcia Perkins strip ran. Any subtext would have been completely lost on me at the time. But the humor would have appealed to me. “The Doctor’s Verdic: Fried Brain!” What’s not to like?

    I haven’t read the MP story in years and don’t remember all the details, but I don’t know that I buy the notion that the story is a parable about VD. MP’s condition seems to be congenital, and is not acquired due to perceived misbehavior on her part. If so, then the moral of the story seems to be that having promiscuous sex (or at least kissing) the right people cures VD or at least LTD (Lip Temperature Disorder)…

  20. buddy66 says:

    dn’t knw wht t d wth ths snt. H’s rlly gt hrd-n fr m…

    t lst y’v stppd scrmng. Bt hv n s fr yr snrng.

    G blw yr ns.

    • Antinous says:

      Buddy,

      Vicodin and keyboards are a bad combination. I know from experience.

      rackinfrackin,

      I’ve got your number.

  21. buddy66 says:

    #16 Marble River.

    I think there’s some confusion with another episode. When Paul Krassner was a guest, Pyne mentioned his acne, asking, ‘Do You have trouble getting a girl because of your complexion?’ Krassner replied by asking, ‘Does your wooden leg interfere with YOUR love life?’ Pyne had an artificial leg. I think perhaps the confusion about Pyne-Zappa-Capp (sounds like a fraternity) is because of the artificial leg thing, and two separate episodes were conflated, although I don’t recall Capp ever being on the show. In fact it seems unlikely, since both were right-wingers; where’s the contrast and conflict? In fact, they had too much in common. Pyne’s show was nothing if not confrontational.

    I saw neither the Zappa nor the Krassner shows, but I did coincidentally meet Paul a week before I was scheduled to be on the Joe Pyne Show myself. When I asked him if he had any advice about how to deal with Pyne, he said, ‘When he asks you a question, reply with a question—and if he gets dirty, go for the wooden leg.’ Sure enough, knowing that I was a Korean War veteran, he asked me which side I had been on. I replied that since he was a former WWII Marine, he must have lost his leg in combat, or was the story true that he had gotten drunk and rolled a Jeep on himself?

    During commercial time-outs, he attempted to chat amiably about radio broadcasting, knowing that a few years earlier I parodied him at times on my co-hosted show at KPFK with a faux call-in show called ‘The Swine Line.’ He regretted, he said, that he had never listened to it. I’ll bet.

  22. MikeFontanelli says:

    [I knew a woman who was at Madison, Wisconsin when Kapp [sic] ran afoul of the laws concerning adultery — for Christ’s sake!— and she said he was set up. SDS and other radicals were pissed off at him for his shots at ”youth culture” and its icons; and knowing of his behavior at other campus ”lectures,” and his reputation for ”campus cruising,” (that he shared with many popular culture lecturers), they set him up and nailed his ass. I believe her.]

    This has been long suspected – but never actually proven.

    If true, the woman in question should come forward and tell her story. I’m sure Denis Kitchen, who is Capp’s unofficial historian and is involved with the estate, would be interested. So would Capp’s granddaughter, documentary filmmaker Caitlin Manning.

    If possible, please put her in touch with the Archive – and we’ll take it from there.

  23. CommieNeko says:

    @20

    I would join the Pyne-Zappa-Capp fraternity. Just think what hte mixers would have been like…

  24. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Takuan’s right. There’s no way to sort this out until Buddy gets back.

    If I’d said something like what Buddy said to you there, I would have meant that good satire needs to be motivated by moral indignation, and thus requires a sufficiently large target. Making fun of the sorrows of the powerless isn’t satire.

    Rackinfracking’s list of satires confuses the settings and stage props with the targets of the satires. Catch-22 is a satire of war and the military mind. Dr. Strangelove satirizes nuclear war enthusiasts and the loonier right-wingers of the day. The Mikado satirizes various things, most notably love and marriage. Candide satirizes a great many things. Duck Soup pokes fun at those in power; also at war, diplomacy, and Margaret Dumont. The Great Dictator satirizes Fascism and its leaders. Kind Hearts and Coronets is not a satire about serial murder. It’s about class, money, genteel bigotry, and having lots of dodgy relatives.

    I don’t know whether that makes things any clearer.

  25. buddy66 says:

    MIKEFONTANELLI,

    I have no hope of remembering the young woman’s name. I met her at an SDS party (or what was left of SDS) some time in 1974. The only friend I have from that period who might remember her, draws a blank; but he does remember hearing the same story around that time, and thinks it might have come from her. He’s gone so far — ah, friendship! — as to contact a loathed ex-wife to see if she remembers the girl from Madison and the story of Capp’s entrapment. Examining my dim memory of the account, it did not seem to be an SDS caper, but more like an action from one of the feminist ”consciousness raising” groups of that period. Whatever, she did make it clear that it was a set-up, however real his ”proposition.” And he walked right into it.

  26. Lauren O says:

    I didn’t read it as a warning against VD but rather as a totally misogynistic slam on female sexuality: Girls who kiss boys are the ones at fault for the stupidity of boys.

    But it’s not like I’ve read anything else of Capp’s (though I’ve obviously heard of him). Maybe he is actually satirizing that view?

  27. rackinfrackin says:

    [Mike Fontanelli, I'd feel better about this comment thread if you and Rackinfrackin weren't posting from the same IP address]

    He’s my chauffeur. What’s your point?

  28. buddy66 says:

    Oren, to quote Mark Twain, your point is ”Too many for me;” but the curious surrealistic image of cat-buttered toast-duct tape will probably be with me for a long time, cuss my luck.

  29. lilbjorn says:

    If you think this is about VD, you need to get off my lawn. You don’t understand the world in which Capp lived and wrote.

  30. buddy66 says:

    MIKEFONTANELLI,

    You imply in your comment of 25 July that I pretend to ”authoritative knowledge” about Al Capp, his life, and his works. I pretend to no such goddamn thing. I nowhere make claims to authority, but I do admit to holding opinions — some strong, some weak, some perhaps ill-informed — which is, after all, expected of a boing boing commenter. If only authorities were allowed opinions, this would be a very different and less interesting place. One of the reasons I visit this exceptional site is to read and take part in opinion-swapping with other opinionated people. I’ve learned a lot this way, and since I am no shrinking violet, I readily advance opinions, even at the risk of being slapped down by genuine authorities such as yourself; for that is what you are, are you not?

    Some of the commenters on this thread admitted to an unfamiliarity with the material — those, for instance, who felt Capp’s work displayed sexist attitudes. You rightly noted that ”it was another time and place,” and that every artist’s work should be considered in the context of its milieu and should not be held accountable in ours. You concluded that it was ill-advised, even downright dangerous, to judge satirists on unfamiliar grounds. Aristophanes, for instance, is a foreign country; and we need guides to travel there, We need experts, and authorities.

    Although no Capp scholar, I am not unfamiliar with his world and his work. I was born a few years before L’il Abner and I grew up with him. I feel safe having opinions about how the strip was received and considered during its long run. I was 46 years old when it was retired, and I remember thinking that L’il Abner was like a big dumb brother, and that I would miss him. I remember how the Dogpatch saga was viewed over the years by friends, family members, neighbors, classmates, comrades, co-workers, colleagues, and students. My opinions come from memories of those times, and not from what I read in a book. If my memories are wrong, then fault them (as I do), but do not disrespect them out of hand.

  31. buddy66 says:

    MIKEFONTANELLI wrote:

    Capp was one of history’s most brilliant satirists. In that regard, it’s easy to see what he was really driving at. The subtext of this particular parody is crystal clear.

    I asked this question earlier: What is the crystal-clear ”subtext” of this strip? I’m not trying to be funny, I really don’t know. It’s embarrassing to have to ask, since I’ve frequently been called a satirist myself.

    It seems to be about sexual intercourse and its challenges, especially among the young. It also seems to satirize anti-VD campaigns, government health workers, medical doctors, and, of course, his default target, hillbillies (Tiny makes L’il Abner look like a sophisticate). If it is a parody, as you describe it, it is a parody of…what?

  32. Surfer Joe says:

    Glad to finally see a little humor in this thread. Begging everyone’s pardon, this had been seeming like a strangely dire and self-important place for Li’l Abner to visit.

    I’ve finally figured out in recent years what sexism is: it’s any depiction of a traditionally sexy woman who is not also an action-hero. People who find Capp’s work sexist must not have seen his other female characters- Mammy Yokum, Joan L. Sullivan, Boomchik, Wolf Gal, Moonbeam McSwine (along with many others)- all rich, three-dimensional characters who defied stereotypes in various aspects of their personas and personalities.

    Like all storytellers- and more so than most- Capp dealt in a combination of three-dimensional characters and types. A good writer is doing well to create even one truly original and memorable character. Capp created scores of fresh, unforgettable, subsequently archetypal characters, of both sexes (and neither). He also used types. Marcia Perkins is a type. Her beauty and innocence are necessary comic devices to contrast with her hidden danger. A vamp, or a 1990s female action hero wouldn’t have worked in the role. And we don’t learn more about her because we don’t need to. Maybe she burns her bra and becomes a folk singer later, I don’t know.

    Interestingly, Capp was one of a relatively few storyellers who made women funny, and gave them a real libido in those days.

    Geez, now you all have got me doing it! I quit…

  33. MikeFontanelli says:

    I’m sorry, but I also had a problem with some of Buddy66′s statements – especially the one highlighted in post #30 above. (I won’t repeat it here. It’s been repeated too many times already.)

    I’m not sure what Buddy66′s “point” had to do with the topic, anyway.
    The Lower Slobbovia stories, which is what he cites and what he apparently is referring to, usually revolved around that backward country being caught in the crosshairs of a political power struggle – and its natives used as pawns by either Senator Phogbound (Capp’s satirical portrait of the anti-New Deal Southern Dixiecrats) or General Bullmoose (Capp’s over-the-top caricature of corporate greed, modeled after Charlie O. Wilson of General Motors.)

    Surely they’re perfectly viable targets for satire, I would think. And even if you don’t agree, it was another time and place. It’s very dangerous to smugly second-guess a satirists intentions decades after the fact. (That’s how Huckleberry Finn got completely misread and branded as “racist”, and subsequently banned from half the public schools in America.)

    I’m sorry to say that many of the strongest opinions expressed here on “Li’l Abner” are simply uninformed, and reveal a basic unfamiliarity with the strip itself.
    This is surely not the fault of the commenters, since the strip has been unavailable for decades. But then – why the pretense of authoritative knowledge?

  34. buddy66 says:

    MY FAVORITE REMEMBERED AL CAPP MOMENT

    Lonesome Polecat and a few of his (now politically incorrect) tribesmen go to New York to reclaim Manhattan Island, although exactly what their connection is to the extinct Manahatta tribe is unclear. Naturally they take the subway.

    Upon exiting the train, whooping their war cries, they find themselves in the Bowery … at dawn. The only person on the street is is a bum literally on the street , flat on his back with his head resting against the curb.

    Lonesome Polecat goes up to him, brandishing a tomahawk, and announces,

    ”White man, we have come to take New York back from you!”

    The bum opens one eye, yawns, and says, ”Easy come, easy go.”

  35. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    Al Capp never lost it. He was capable of hitting the ball out of the park until the day he died. In case you didn’t notice it Buddy66, “The Lips of Marcia Perkins” is from 1967.

    Capp was a satirist. Satirists usually don’t grow old gracefully. They continue to poke sticks in any and all blowhards even when their audiences have grown up to become blowhards themselves. It doesn’t represent any sort of betrayal of ideology for Capp to point out hypocrisy on the other side of the fence. It’s just identifying a new object worthy of ridicule. A juicy target is a juicy target. Everyone is fair game.

  36. buddy66 says:

    While I agree that Capp’s satire was often inspired, especially ”The Schmoo,” it grew to become quite cranky. But the worse thing that can happen to a satirist finally happened: he became boring. I think this was because he felt the kids were having all the fun and leaving him out of it. So he almost started to rant. His ”Lower Slobbovia” is a crueller place than poor old Dogpatch, and it just isn’t very funny. And satirizing Joan Baez as ”Joanie Phony” was as off-target as it gets, because if there is one thing Baez isn’t, is a phony. Go satirize Mother Theresa.
    I love the comments that insist ”anything” is a target for satire! Wht wtlss hrssht! You don’t satirize the pain or grief or torture of others. s yr fckng hds!

    I knew a woman who was at Madison, Wisconsin when Kapp ran afoul of the laws concerning adultery — for Christ’s sake!— and she said he was set up. SDS and other radicals were pissed off at him for his shots at ”youth culture” and its icons; and knowing of his behavior at other campus ”lectures,” and his reputation for ”campus cruising,” (that he shared with many popular culture lecturers), they set him up and nailed his ass. I believe her.

    In a way, the funniest thing about his work Isn’t the story lines — dumb hilbillies and hypocrites — but all the sideline comments. A few weeks ago BB posted about MAD Magazine’s Bill Elder’s passing without much comment about how he raided, hell, looted, Capp’s oeuvre. It’s hard to imagine Elder without Capp. Harvey Kurtzman mentioned Elder’s talent for the sideline stuff, which became almost his trademark; he got it from Capp, as any fool can plainly see.

    As far as his being a draftsman, Capp drew the same pretty girl over and over, merely changing her hair and attire. The rest were stock expressions and grotesques; pretty simple stuff.

    Was he the best comic strip satirist of the 30s and 40s? Yes. 50s and 60s? No; Walt Kelly was. By the 60s he was going down hill. I don’t really know what the Marcia Perkins thing is all about, but I know what it is not: It is not very funny, cuss the luck.

  37. MikeFontanelli says:

    Poor Marcia has to wear a sign that says “Don’t Kiss This Girl – by order of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare”.

    Capp was one of history’s most brilliant satirists. In that regard, it’s easy to see what he was really driving at. The subtext of this particular parody is crystal clear.

  38. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Rackinfrackin @68: And I am Marie of Rumania.

  39. MikeFontanelli says:

    Buddy, the comment I left on July 25 was NOT in fact directed at you, but at a couple of earlier posts that suggested the Marcia Perkins story was misogynistic. (I could see how someone would assume as much from only reading the above scan, but suggested they wouldn’t have been so certain had they read the actual story – and gave my reasons why.)

    In actuality, and on second glance, one of them actually DID admit to unfamiliarity with the material. Please consider the remark withdrawn.

    I hope that’s cleared up. I appreciate your interest.

    Mike Fontanelli

  40. Takuan says:

    Your Highness!

  41. MikeFontanelli says:

    (Gasp!) And I thought you’d died in 1938!

  42. buddy66 says:

    ”…Vicodin and keyboards are a bad combination.”

    Now you tell me … I’ve pissed off the ENTIRE Dogpatch fan club!

    Picked up a new stuff scrip the other day; should go easier…

  43. Takuan says:

    best thing for back strain is two dozen beer and violent sex. gets things back in line.

  44. buddy66 says:

    Mike,

    Good luck with the Capp project. It’s well worth doing.

  45. MikeFontanelli says:

    [I'm with Lauren O. It's basic ordinary sexism on Capps part. Does it rise to the level of misogynistic? Maybe.]

    This is simply not true. Neither WEGERJE nor LAUREN O apparently clicked on the link, went to the site and read the actual story.
    If they had, instead of just pretending that they did, they couldn’t possibly have missed the fact that Marcia Perkins is completely sympathetic throughout, that she is in fact the protagonist of the story.
    Nor could they have missed the fact that Mammy is the nominal authority figure of the tale (and, incidentally, Capp’s personal favorite of all his creations) or that it’s left up to Daisy Mae to solve the riddle at the end.

    This essay on Al Capp is the fourth of a series. In an upcoming post (called “CAPP-TIVATING WOMEN”), we’ll be examining the complex role of women in LI’L ABNER. Please keep your eyes peeled for it.

    In the meantime, here’s a teaser excerpt:

    “…In a majority of the stories, women have the upper hand and are clearly the dominant gender. The annual Sadie Hawkins Day race typifies the reverse roles of the sexes in Capp’s bucolic universe. Dogpatch’s defiantly carnal sirens – the Amazonian Wolf Gal, the flagrant (and fragrant) Moonbeam McSwine, the walking aphrodisiac known as Stupefyin’ Jones – are all “power” figures. Under pre-Feminist society leader Mammy Yokum, Dogpatch is decidedly a matriarchy!”

  46. Takuan says:

    We faked in in ’61 peasant! Now kneel and show some proper respect!

  47. buddy66 says:

    NO! That’s how I got in this shape.

    I lied about painting the fence….

  48. Oren Beck says:

    The intent of my comments was to explain a conceptual affect. Cross Impacts. The interaction of a time in history with social forces getting whacked over the head by ideas beyond that time’s “comfort zones” Thus- my admittedly archetypical similie truly approaches a reality match.

    And there’s one more layer of my borrowed model.
    If the model does NOT come apart -the force releases are potentially world wrecking. Oh wait- such things as satirical cartoons DO make many feel their world is going to be wrecked by the ‘toon…

  49. MikeFontanelli says:

    Why do I get the feeling someone’s channeling Margaret Dumont?

  50. JDspeeder1 says:

    I feel the need to shamelessly point out that Al Capp is a distant, by-marriage, reverse-subspace-anomaly relation of mine (my great-grandmother’s cousin [or possibly aunt] married him).

    When my Nana became a high school theater teacher and put on a production of the Li’l Abner musical, our family-tree imploded.

    And no, I don’t agree with his politics either.

  51. buddy66 says:

    I know, I know; but when I was an adolescent in largely pre-porn America, Capp’s women, with the exception of Mammy and some monstrosity with a kid stuck under each arm, figured hugely in my erotic imagination. Daisy Mae was the model for Marilyn Monroe. She played a yukelele in some like it hot, Daisy did. Of course Daisy Mae was modelled on Jean Harlowe, and she was based on….

    Popular art critics!

  52. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    I’m not a fan of Capp’s politics, but he was a brilliant satirist and everything I’ve seen by him is excellent. (And, even though Frazetta drew a lot of the strips, at least Capp had the good taste to hire the best in the business.)

  53. Marble River says:

    Can anyone verify/refute these two age-old rumors/sub-urban legends:

    Residents of Al Capp’s summer home in Seabrook, New Hampshire were the inspiration for the Dogpatch regulars.

    When Capp appeared with Frank Zappa on the Joe Pine Show in the late ’60s the following (non-verbatim) dialog took place:

    Capp (to Zappa): With that long hair, I think you might be a girl.

    Zappa: Well, you have a wooden leg, but I don’t think you’re a table.

    I live near Seabrook and the “Brookers” are indeed an odd bunch.

    I was also a regular Joe Pine viewer back then, and I did see a show where Zappa was the guest. Pine, a raving conservative, was actually very sympathetic to Zappa’s view of America and it’s rampant commercialism.

    MR

  54. rackinfrackin says:

    [ lv th cmmnts tht nsst ''nythng'' s trgt fr str! Wht wtlss hrssht! Y dn't strz th pn r grf r trtr f thrs. s yr fckng hds!]

    mzng. Ths s sttmnt f sch stggrng gnrnc tht t’s hrd t blv n dlt ctlly md t.
    The poster would appear to be completely ignorant of the literary tradition of dystopian satire, as well as being ignorant of the following:

    CATCH-22 (a satire about war and death)
    DR. STRANGELOVE (a satire about nuclear annihilation)
    THE MIKADO (a satire about torturers and tyrants)
    CANDIDE (a satire about injustice and brutality)
    DUCK SOUP (a satire of war and tyranny)
    THE GREAT DICTATOR (a satire of tyranny and oppression)
    KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (a satire about serial murder)
    etc, etc…

    n vw f ths, t’s hrdly srprsng tht h dsn’t sm t ndrstnd L’l bnr.
    Bddy66′s cmmnt ddn’t dsrv rspns – bt n vw f hs mnnrs, h gt n nywy.

    • Antinous says:

      rackinfrackin,

      You seem to be having a very challenging time understanding the concept of civility. Please don’t scream insults at the other commenters.

  55. eustace says:

    Thank you, Mark, for this dose of Capp goodness. He was an amazing artist, with no equal today since Watterson stopped doing C&H.

  56. Takuan says:

    You just wait! I shall have Mr. Rufus T. Firefly deal with you!

    (oh, and if you were sockpuppeting now is the gracious time to come clean, apologize and never have to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder)

  57. rackinfrackin says:

    Nope, he really IS my chauffeur. But I’ll take back the car keys (and my laptop) tomorrow.

  58. Takuan says:

    oooh! how stimulating! Does he have an exciting uniform? Patent leather perhaps?

  59. rackinfrackin says:

    Sorry? There’s something wrong with the connection…

    Fading… fading….

    [Click!]

  60. Takuan says:

    ah well, I have the video anyway….

  61. Takuan says:

    Someone please tell a joke,any joke so long as it is reasonably funny. Then we can all take it apart together here and see if indeed all humour derives from suffering.

  62. Surfer Joe says:

    “I’ve pissed off the ENTIRE Dogpatch fan club!”

    No more so than Don Quixote pissed off the windmill.

    Thanks to Boing Boing for posting this wonderful material!

  63. rackinfrackin says:

    ANTINOUS, you seem to have a challenging time understanding the concept of fairness. Please explain why the following comment, by BUDDY66, is okay in your world:

    [“Go satirize Mother Theresa. I love the comments that insist ”anything” is a target for satire! What witless horseshit! You don’t satirize the pain or grief or torture of others. Use your fucking heads!”}

    • Antinous says:

      Fine. But you might want to consider writing something occasionally that isn’t a candidate for disemvowelment. Three out of your four total comments were rude. Your comment bank balance is in the negative numbers.

  64. buddy66 says:

    Fellow Mutants,

    Any messages for me while I was out?

    It’s always great to be back in Boingtown. I love to play this room. Small crowds but very nice.

    Where to begin . . .

    I am accused by one RACKINFRACKIN, a person unknown to me (and apparently everybody else) of being ”…less than aware of the time-honored literary tradition of dystopian satire … and unaware of the following…” and goes on to list two novels, four movies, and a comic opera. That’s a pretty short literary tradition, but a decent beginning for a cinematic one; and the Gilbert and Sullivan is still odd man out, of course, because nobody ever knows what to do with them.

    Now I am indeed aware of all that. I know from dystopias (I live in what is rapidly becoming one), and I know from satire, and I know from literary traditions. Hell I’ve taughtboth of the books listed, and more than once. Just because I’ve got a nasty mouth and am a quick-draw opinionist is no reason to write me off as an uneducated moron. I don’t think you want to play dueling creds with me.

    Satire, for my purposes, is what I say it is. As Alice learned with the Red Queen, ”A word means what I say it means.”

    Satire is making fun of people and things that have got it coming; the bigger the better. It can be cruel or gentle, hot or cold, hard or soft; that’s up to the satirist.

    A dystopia is a bad place to live. Somalia is such a place. So is Lower Slobbovia. It can be set in any age and any place, but it is usually thought of as a failed state gone over to tyranny.

    I say we shouldn’t make fun of what people can’t help. A few years ago I edited a satire rag that had the following policy:

    [We] do not make fun of what a person can’t help — i.e. his or her looks, race, age, infirmities, or disgusting sexual orientation. We are instead concerned with behavior that is inspired by, among other things, vanity, greed, ignorance, and silliness — behavior that can be changed or modified in all but the hopelessly dull or insane.
    It is our vanity, furthermore, to

  65. Takuan says:

    fairness test: click on Buddy66′s name and read his posts. All of them. Then click on Rackinfrackin’s name and read all those posts. All of them. Stop. Consider. Not a perfect test, no test is, but an indicator perhaps?

  66. Takuan says:

    so, you apply a value judgment to true,correct “good” satire? That it do no evil?

  67. rackinfrackin says:

    Thanks for not answering my perfectly reasonable question.

  68. buddy66 says:

    It is our vanity, furthermore, to

  69. Vanwall says:

    Ah, the “Hal Rapp” – “Mary Worm” fued!

  70. buddy66 says:

    Excuse my stutter…

    It is our vanity, furthermore, to

  71. Takuan says:

    cut that out!

  72. Takuan says:

    oh dear, I must admit that now I feel you are being deliberately rude when I was trying to be reasonable and conciliatory. Please, we hardly know each other, best to be overly polite initially. Shall we both apologize and start again? I’ll begin: I’m sorry if I have inadvertently offended you in trying to answer your question.

  73. wegerje says:

    I’m with Lauren O. It’s basic ordinary sexism on Capps part. Does it rise to the level of misogynistic? Maybe.

    So I went to Wikipedia to bone up on Capp (yes wikipedia is a minimalist source):

    In 1971, Capp became involved in a scandal after allegedly propositioning a married student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Capp’s Eau Claire hotel room. After being charged in the incident, Capp pleaded nolo contendere to “attempted adultery” (Adultery was, and still is considered a felony in Wisconsin) and was fined $500. [8] The resulting publicity led to hundreds of papers dropping his comic strip[9], and Capp, already in failing health, withdrew from public speaking.

    Years later, on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Goldie Hawn said that Capp had sexually propositioned her during her auditions for the 1964 New York World’s Fair; other actresses who have made similar allegations include Grace Kelly (unsubstantiated) and Edie Adams.[citation needed]

    As for going from being a communist to a fascist or whatever that too is overblown. He was a populist anti-corporate. But he was also an ageist. The kids of the 60′s were whipper-snappers. He was likely more critical of them than their politics.

  74. buddy66 says:

    I reject the notion that ANYTHING is open to satire. I think such an idea is monstrous. When I ”shouted” in exasperation ”Use your ……. heads,” I was impolitely saying, ”Think about it.”

    There is no satire about Auschwitz, for instance. The Holocaust is not be mocked, although I once mocked ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ and the network by suggesting a family/situation comedy set at Dachau, called ‘The Little Barracks In The Forest.’ The great graphic novel MAUS is not a satire, it is a heartbreaking memoir, despite the eccentric (and brilliant) use of little animals. There are some things that the heart rejects as unfit for laughter.

    To satirize the weak is an act of despicable cowardice.

  75. Surfer Joe says:

    The irony of Capp being at odds with the sixties counterculture is that he had been the living epitome of what the sixties came to worship: ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT. He just got on the hippies’ tails a little too soon. He should have waited for Altamont and Manson.

    To me, Capp’s central message (certainly not his only one) was that the way people run this crazy world makes no sense- similar to Walt Kelly’s subtext, but with a much harder and more unforgiving edge- and that leaders (even Mammy Yokum) or movements are not to be trusted. Having had the guts to say that consistently through two wars and the fifties in general, he should have spent the sixties riding on the shoulders of the baby boomers and catching roses in his teeth.

    That he chose instead to fight them in the streets is just an indicator of the complicated man he was. And the fact that he supported the Viet Nam war- and he was wrong on that- is just proof that he- like other artists- can’t (and shouldn’t) be oversimplified or put in a box.

    Unfortunately, it’s human nature to put things in a box, especially if they confuse us.

    Capp’s humor was dark and sometimes bitter, underneath a thick layer of charm (especially at his best). In this way he reminds me a lot of Billy Wilder. As with Wilder, when he finally started to tumble back down the mountain, his critics were waiting for him with long knives. His recent greatness was held bitterly against him. It still is.

  76. rackinfrackin says:

    [ ddn't rd t s wrnng gnst VD bt rthr s ttlly msgynstc slm n fml sxlty]

    Y mst b LTS f fn t prts, h Lrn?
    Myb y shld stck wth CTHY nd SLLY FRTH.

    [Bt t's nt lk 'v rd nythng ls f Cpp's]

    N! Srsly?? Y sr hd m fld.

    [Myb h s ctlly strzng tht vw?]

    Myb y shld lk p th wrd “rny” n dctnry. Tht wld d fr strtrs…

  77. Takuan says:

    nah, just an act of the young in experience.

  78. rackinfrackin says:

    [what Buddy's saying about the nature of satire matches every authoritative source I've ever heard on the subject, from my high school English teachers to John M. Ford, by way of huge heaps of litcrit]

    You missed the point. I was questioning the relevance of his rant to the discussion of “Li’l Abner”.

    Had we been discussing another satirist – Charlie Chaplin, for instance – I wouldn’t expect the conversation to veer off into a harangue against using the plight of the homeless as comic fodder – which he sometimes did. (He also satirized elements of upper and middle class society.) You’d almost have to, to make a point about the social “status quo”.

    Capp’s main target was human nature itself. However, much of “Li’l Abner” – and “Pogo” as well – was pure, unadulterated lowbrow burlesque comedy. It wasn’t all “shmoo” and “Simple J. Malarky” allegory. Capp (and Kelly) had the command of many comic tools to choose from, one of which was social contrast, which Capp used very effectively.

    Perhaps the reason American comic strips are no longer relevant, no longer widely read and no longer very funny, is due to the disastrous modern tendency to over-analyze every aspect of comedy and declare it “correct” or “incorrect”.

    A real, no-holds-barred satirist (like Swift, for instance) had better be prepared to take no prisoners. Reading “Gulliver’s Travels” in 2008 will make some people very uncomfortable. It seems to me, if you’re doing subversive satire, it’s often “incorrect”, and correctly so!

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