In his nearly-eponymous strip, Harry Bliss raises an issue that has been on my mind for a very long time but happened to surface recently.
There are all kinds of issues to sort out within the context of having children later in life.
The financial ones are kind of weird to me, because I've never much felt that finances and human life had very many points of tangency, still less should they be permitted to overlap.
I'm perfectly willing to concede that life was more affordable 40 years ago when I was having kids, but that's not enough of an overwhelming factor to turn procreation into a budget item.
Besides, babies are a cheap source of fun. We'll get into that in a minute.
But, look, you can't afford to send the kid to college, no matter how long you put off the start date. In fact, having crappy figures to plug into the financial aid form can actually help you, because they're gonna want whatever you've got. Moreover, being empty-nested at 45 with everyone graduated before I was 50 allowed an economic restart.
So forget the economics argument: Kids aren't beans to be counted.
The focus on "prolonged adolescence" is more interesting anyway, and that was what came up in conversation at a family gathering recently.
I observed that, when my kids were little, I wasn't much older, and I could get down on the floor and play and still disappear into their world, where the patterns on the oriental carpet were roads. Flying a kite was something I wanted to do and they were the pals who came along.
And I did really stupid, immature things, like hitching up the dogs to the wagon, putting them in it and racing down the alley, or the time we went to the park and found all the sprinklers on and decided that was just fine.
I can still pretend to pretend, but I didn't have to, back then. There's a lot to be said for prolonging your adolescence long enough to play hockey on the front porch with your kids.
Which brings us to:
Today's Hi and Lois provides a sort of "juxtaposition of the day" because it's the same topic in slightly different garb.
The issue of roughhousing with young children is within the very narrow scope of where I concede that cries of "political correctness" are sometimes more than a stubborn insistence on exhibiting bad manners.
It can be very awkward to stand up to the increasingly common view that babies should not be subjected to that sort of thing. Even though they like it and it's good for them.
This article has what I think is a sensible view of the value as well as the limitations of roughhousing.
As it also notes, responsible rough play includes being "a supervising adult, not a dominant, power-hungry bully," which in turn requires that you know your child well enough to be able to tell when it's time to cool down the game and switch into giggling recovery mode.
Still, it requires a modicum of immaturity to do it right.
So here's to prolonged adolescence: The good kind.
In the words of Charles Foster Kane, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying."
Behind the scenes:
Jimmy Johnson deals with change at Arlo & Janis, a strip that has no particular compunction about shattering the fourth wall when it seems warranted.
I think he's fretting over nothing, but I'm not the artist. He could start thinning Arlo's hair if he wanted to; it's his call. Still, cartoon characters look like what they look like and it's not as if the strip were just being colored for the first time this month.
But here's one that is just being colored for the first time this month, and the results, I'm sorry, are not pretty:
Leaving blanks in the anatomy of your characters becomes a whole other thing once the colorizers have struck.
And, by the way, we can pull out Orson Welles for a second shot here, because he was said to have objected to Turner Broadcasting System adding color to black-and-white films and specifically feared for the fate of Citizen Kane: "Keep Ted Turner and his goddamned Crayolas away from my movie."
Peanuts is also being colorized in reruns and I wish it weren't.
I note that web-only, GoComics "classic" strips are presented as their creators made'em, which suggests that there is an active attempt to keep Doonesbury in print. Which makes me wonder if Trudeau will ever actually say, "Okay, I'm not coming back" or if he'll just leave the tap open for whatever continues to trickle out.
Betty with a less specifically comics-related bit of storytelling tech-talk that fits in with what I had to say about analysis versus intent the other day.
It also reminds me of watching "The Deer Hunter" thirty years or so ago with my then-wife, who was surprised by a particularly harsh and meaningless vulgarity the characters used which, up until then, she had assumed my high school friends and I had simply invented.
(Man, the Internet truly contains everything!)
And this reminder:
This is such a totally, spectacularly absurd plot resolution that I'm giving Edison Lee extra credit for da noive.
But, since young Edison Lee will not, in fact, be inventing a time machine after all, that means you should not delay in getting over to Indiegogo and supporting the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning.
Even beyond the value of the festival for the future of syndicated strips, supporting it is a good way to pick up some signed collections of good comics.
Time's a wastin', or, to put it another way