I used to see the strip in one of the Chicago papers -- the Trib or the Sun, I forget which -- but only read it because it was on the page. Like Mary Worth, it was pure soap opera, and I didn't find the talking-head format engaging.
It wasn't offensive. It just wasn't of interest to me.
But it sure was of interest to the merchants of snark.
Spurgeon notes that "there was a devoted fanbase that liked to make fun of its stiffness and oddities. How much the creators, particularly (writer Margaret) Shulock, played to this kind of presentation I've seen debated by grown people with college degrees."
Perhaps. But, as a grown person with a college degree, I've got to say that a little of that goes a long, long way.
Judging from the ongoing snarkfest in the current comments section of that strip, I guess we haven't.
It makes me think of the nerdish kid who tries to laugh along with the bullies in hopes that it will get them to stop picking on him, only it just makes them sneer and pick on him some more.
The analogy doesn't end there, either: Sometimes it's obvious why a kid is targeted. He's got a disability, he's defensive, he wears cheap, unstylish clothes, he answers too eagerly in class.
Other times, it's hard to figure out why a quiet, inoffensive kid suddenly becomes an object of sadistic fascination for the in-crowd. But once the crosshairs are on him, it doesn't matter why, or if there even was a reason at all.
Well, no mystery about why certain strips are targeted for this treatment: It goes back to the City Paper in Baltimore, where a group of hipster bullies were given a column in which they made fun of the strips in the Sun that didn't come up to their exacting standards, and it became popular on line, putting the "merchants" in "merchants of snark."
Tough luck for those particular strips, because, like the picked-on kid in school, most of their current tormentors have no reason to bully them except that it's been proclaimed cool, and they want to be cool.
I might respect them if they found new strips to ridicule, or if they ever let up on the strips that have, since those days, changed hands and improved. But they are neither inventive enough or bright enough to bring anything new and interesting to the game.
Anyway, the quiet, slightly odd kid was never doing me any harm, and neither was Apt. 3G or Mary Worth or any of the other strips with the sad misfortune to run in the Baltimore Sun.
Hence the Prime Directive.
Because I never particularly liked Apartment 3-G, but I've always hated assholes.
By contrast, for instance:
A year ago August, I noted that the Vintage Mandrake Sunday strips were facing some lead-time issues, given that the war had just started and Falk did long, extended stories that could run into problems depending on how things went in the real world.
At that point, he wrapped up a relatively (for him) brief story about fighting them dirty Japs, and then launched into the one that is now running and I rather think neither Tojo nor Hitler nor Douglas MacArthur were likely to do anything that might disrupt this adventure.
Today's is from August, 1943 and I'd try to explain it but, while I can tell you that their plane has been captured and immobilized by a group of people who live up in the clouds and travel around suspended in chairs attached to flocks of birds, well ...
It would be very easy to unleash the snark, but it would also be redundant. This makes the Aldo Kelrast storyline look like Eugene O'Neill, and I say that, not with sarcasm but in wondering stupefaction.
As I said in that previously linked posting, I mostly read Mandrake for the camp value to begin with, but I can't wait for Sundays lately, to catch up with King Ozon, Princess Aera and the happenings in the land of Aar.
As close to politics as I'm getting
Brewster Rockit had the funny one, and it was really funny.
(Hey, the Prime Directive says we don't single out comics for snark. I didn't single out anybody.)
Okay, a little more politics, for the holidays