Tom the Dancing Bug: Nate in "Risky Management"

nate1.png Enjoy this week's Tom the Dancing Bug! The full strip follows after the jump.




  1. ehhh…

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but anyone like subtlety or wit with their satire?….

    1. Tom delivers laffs in lots of different regular segments. If the “Nate” corner isn’t your thing, there might be something else in his repertoire that tickles your funny bone.

      1. Really– just for expressing an opinion? Then the dearth of subtlety in public discourse is far greater than I had feared. And be careful, O strange friend, of overexposing your memes, lest they lose their power.

      2. Strangefriend, using an in-joke to insult another commenter still counts as insulting another commenter.

    1. Nah. If it were aiming to be unsubtle, the last panel would have had Nate on board a yacht, saying he finally got his life back.

  2. I get the gist of this, you know, run your family like a corporation. I like that more and more people are questioning the conventional wisdoms that dominate our country and have influenced our direction (for good and bad).

    This reminds me of the message packaged by Republicans that says corporations are to be envied and copied, as they are beacons of capitalism. Unlike the freedom-killing, or depending on the time period, clueless, inefficient government that must be squashed into submission.

    My guess is that a lot of people my age, who grew up hearing about the bad welfare queens and the good businessmen, are getting more vocal. When the hypocrisy is so blatant, it’s hard not to speak up, and boy, are there ways to speak today!

    1. I’ve done a great deal of work in both the public and the private sector. And you know what? It’s the same thing. Government is just a specially privileged corporation with some unique monopolies.

      Organizations are evil. They may be a necessary evil, but any group containing more than ten people is evil.

  3. The subtlety is how well he draws the logical conclusions from the vapid dogma of the Nates of this world and the wit is in the fact that the joke is on us because we let these obviously insane people spout such nonsense in the public sphere.

  4. In the words of the excellent Scott Miller, I’ve tried subtlety before but I will not anymore.

  5. Being subtle in just nine panels is pretty tough to do. The political satire genre isn’t known for it’s nuances, and haiku doesn’t quite have the bite.

    Quarterly results
    Eager shareholders demand
    Shrimp and birds slimed black

    Early morning dew
    Disappear in sun’s hot rays
    Like 401K

  6. Ah yes, the good’ol “Magic of the Marketplace”! Too bad “The Market” is a retarded giant who makes exactly the same predictable mistakes over and over and over again. The cartoon is a perfect example of why nothing upon which people’s lives depend (medical care, water supplies…) should ever be privatised. “The Market” has only one single solitary means of corrective feedback: the eventual (barring monopolies) destruction of systems that don’t work out. Given that most businessmen are dazed sheep this means that they all do the same thing at the same time so that total destruction of the infrastructure is achieved before a new one is dreamed of.

    It’s one thing if some or even all of the suitcase manufacturers, go out of business because say, as was the case with Samsonite Luggage they try and fail to use computers in their business; it’s another if all or any of your medical care or water supply craps out.

  7. It reads kind of like one of those political cartoons from the early 20th century. “Horsefeathers that you deign to counsel your betters!”

  8. Sorry, try again.

    Government is not answerable to shareholders and its sole motivation is not greed and profit.

    Corporations are not owned by the people and are not granted authority by the people.

    1. If you think the government is owned by or answerable to to the people then the joke’s on you.

    2. Government is not answerable to shareholders and its sole motivation is not greed and profit.

      Around here, government is only answerable to itself, and its primary motivation is preservation of power, because of the material wealth and sexual privilege that power entails.

      Corporations are not owned by the people and are not granted authority by the people.

      Here on planet Earth (motto: At least We have Parsley) corporations are owned by people and are granted authority and existence by governments, some of which are composed of people.

      How do they do it on your planet? Are corporations owned only by domestic quadrupeds? Do people serve as government officials because they like the abuse?

      1. It’s pretty clear “the people” means the people as a whole. Yes, corporations are created and owned by some people, but that doesn’t mean they answer to everyone they affect. The government is supposed to be answerable to the people, to the extent we have a working democracy, which sadly is not very much – in no small part thanks to people who’d rather corporations act on their own.

      2. The government is the mailman, the librarian, the garbageman, and so on; the politicians are a part of it as well, but it is important to remember that the government performs vital services and is more than the parasitic political class we all love to hate.

  9. What I like most is that Nate is doing what he is supposed to. He’s not callous or inhuman, he’s doing what he gets paid to–answer to stockholders.

    A corporation is nothing more than a collective of people making decisions like this that all add up to chaos for HUMAN lives, profits for corporate (institutional) lives.

  10. Excellent strip, as usual. Is Nate a recurring TTDB character? There’s family right-sizing and outsourcing to be addressed, and I’d like to see how he handles sharing of his family’s IP.

    1. Nate the Neo-conservative is a recurring character. I don’t remember seeing this family before, though, and I don’t expect to see them again. :(

  11. I miss the smell of burning leaves in the autumn – one of those pleasures of childhood that’s basically not possible any more.

    1. Well, at least until you find out there was poison ivy in that yard waste. Burning poison ivy can kill you quickly!

  12. I actually think this was pretty good. “Nate the Neo-Conservative” series is a poke in the eye of certain neo-conservatives who always wrong but somehow it doesn’t only not affect their point of view, but don’t even realize the disaster that they have foisted. (cough! Bill Krystol! cough!). Nate is a walking disaster area whose actions ruin the lives of everyone around him.

    This time, Nate is a take off of a CEO who somehow makes all the wrong moves, completely destroys the company they’re at, and after crashing and burning, walks away and continues onward with nary a scratch.

    You can talk about Robert Nardelli of Home Depot and later Chrysler who was paid almost 500 million to leave Home Depot and never seemed to know what to do at Chrysler except get a paycheck. or Carly Fiorina whose disastrous performance at Compaq (where she was given a 7 million dollar performance bonus and a 21 million dollar total severance package when she was fired).

    I now see many of the very same people who were brokering deals killed their banks while earning them millions in commissions still at it in new positions.

  13. Ito, you make me laugh hard and cringe at the same time. Wanna be friends?

    Knox, back in the day when autumn leaves and yard waste were burned, before there were antihistamines, my dad inhaled a lot of smoke from a fire full of poison ivy. Spent a lot of time in the hospital. We, me n’ my sibs, were taught to ID “Rhus radicans” or “Toxicodendron radicans” or “Rhus toxicodendron” or whatever you call it, in every stage of growth, from first sprout to bare winter vines (look very hairy).

    On top of it all, I am one of the few allergic to antihistamines. Antihistamines give me a histamine reaction. Go figure. If I were ever to enter a beauty pageant, that would be my special talent. But oh, that ship has sailed and I didn’t even bother to stand on the dock and wave goodbye.

    And I love parsley, use it in my pesto instead of basil. Love love love it.

  14. I think the into would play better if he’d start with “nonsense, I run our corporation like a family“.

  15. I know a lot of families that operate just like this. Basically, whatever they or their kids do is okay, and if you don’t like it, you call the cops or call a lawyer.

  16. Nate vs. Lucky Ducky parallel alternative universe crossover? Oh please oh please oh please…

  17. Ah, Ruben, I know I’m late to the party but I just LOVE this one.

    However, I think maybe you missed one thing in the last panel. I suspect that Nate’s going to start a new family because he thinks he’s now earned a trophy wife thanks to the outstanding way he navigated all the crises in his entry-level family!

  18. That you, Ruben, for this over the top send up, because really, it is so true that what is good on a corporate level for the very powerful, is a blatant, obvious crime, when done by one individual to another.

    Oh, I forget, corporations are individuals too.

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