Archive | April, 2011

The Saturday Comics: Alley Oop Ripped Me Off!

30 Apr

April 30, 2011

Before I get to the strip, allow me to reprint a bit of The Tepid Ride from October of 2010:

The 2010 Prime Time Lineup- As It Should Be.

CAVEMAN ASTRONAUT
This one hour drama follows Oog the caveman, a Neanderthal ahead of his time. Not content to hunt for food, avoid mammoths, and just survive, Oog looked to the stars. While no smarter than the average caveman, Oog built the first working spacecraft, all the way back in 10,000 B.C.

Through a freak mishap, Oog found himself propelled forward to our time, where he now works as a consultant for NASA.

Now consider this recent installment of the long-running Alley Oop comic strip:

That’s my Caveman Astronaut! Alley Oop is a caveman ahead of his time, somehow moved into the future, building a spacecraft and about to go into space.

I demand reparations! A credit below the title! A cut of the profits! Alley Oop ripped me off! And its lettering is too small.

The Royal Wedding

29 Apr
April 29, 2011
 
I’ve been a bit loathe, somewhat reticent, to embark on an article about the Royal Wedding. You see, the cause of my reluctance is that I simply don’t care.
 
Any why should I? The British Monarchy is the last impotent dreg of a European system of inbred familial rule that truly died with World War I and gasped its last fetid breath on the battlefields of World War II. WWI was caused not by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, a guy no one really cared about, but a centuries-old system of treaties, alliances, and familial ties that no one really cared about anymore either but were more or less honor-bound to follow in the days following the Archduke’s death. Anyone who saw The King’s Speech saw the last gasp of the European monarchial system which was about to be supplanted, and more or less already had been.
 
The British Royal Family are figureheads, and many polls show that a large percentage of English citizens would happily dump the lot of them. True, the Queen herself is beloved, but it is for her past, not any particular contributions she has made to modern England. Her son, Prince Charles, rates somewhere above poison mushrooms but below Ant and Dec in the hearts of most Brits. His sons are more popular than he is, mostly due to the fact that their mother, Princess Diana, was the most beloved woman in the world. Except by her cheating husband, of course. And perhaps the only person less liked than Prince Charles is his second wife, Camilla.

The Middleton Coat of Arms. There's no history here, it was made up last week.

 
So what do we have? We have useless and largely unlikable members of the elite in a modern world where “royalty” in England really means “taxpayer supported.” the question is, must be, why all the excitement?
 
I have to limit this question to America, of course. The English grew up with the Monarchy. It is their culture. It isn’t ours. And despite what the news tells us, Americans largely don’t care. I am going to quote liberally from Richard Huff’s New York Daily News column of April 26th.
 
This was Monday, mere days from the royal wedding, and Sharon Carpenter was on WPIX/Ch. 11 interviewing a tarot card reader about the nuptials, adding yet more to an event we regular folks have been oversold now for weeks.
 
“There is only one way to find the answers we all are dying to know,” Carpenter said with a straight face.
 
Dying to know? Really? Is that what people are fretting over these days?
 
Ask yourself this question. Aside from what you may see on the news or read in the paper, how many people who you know are keeping up a blow-by-blow account of the preparations for the Royal Wedding? Likely few to none. In fact, the prevailing sentiment is that most people don’t care. You can check this for yourself. 
 
Pointing to the King of Cups, tarot card reader Sasha Graham told Carpenter that Kate Middleton’s dress would be “big and rolling” and “incredibly regal.”
 
“This is going to be a top fashion house,” Graham added.
 
It’s a safe bet that anyone could walk into a kindergarten class right now and find a dozen kids without silly cards who would guess Middleton’s dress would be “incredibly regal.”
 
Local stations, in a seemingly never-ending struggle to remain relevant to viewers, have gone overboard trying to capture a piece of the wedding, which, at least anecdotally appears to resonate with viewers the same way a super sale on sour milk does.
 
Is this what it has come down to? News reports about a tarot card reader’s predictions? While the Royal Wedding is a legitimate news story, where do we draw the line? Should we use Ouija boards to contact past monarchs and get their views on Kate Middleton’s hair?
 
Sure, the wedding is a worthy event happening at a time when so much news on an international scale is bad. But, it’s not the kind of story local stations should be spending big money on – the kind involving sending anchors and reporters abroad.
 
That’s especially true when it appears that finding a connection to folks here has been a stretch.
 
Working fantasy into a newscast to offset terrible news is not a bad thing, but force-feeding it is. As for the tarot-card readers, how about using them to predict when gas prices will fall below $3 a gallon?
 
Now that’s a fairy-tale that viewers might find of interest.
 
The news industry does this all the time. It finds a story, latches on to it like a dog on a bone, shoves it down our throats, and follows their agenda until they find another bone to replace it. It doesn’t matter if the viewers care or not, somebody decided we care and that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if it is the President’s basketball picks or something Snookie did, somehow the media decides that is the story they are going to run with.
 
All this over-saturation is doing is increasing the negative sentiment. When a reporter for channel 7 stated that the wedding would be “simple and unpretentious” she failed to add that it was in comparison to other Royal Weddings, not to the average New Yorker’s wedding. They are not getting married by a judge at City Hall. And this is, of course, at a time of some economic trouble.
 
And that is part of the answer. Obviously some people care. This is fantasy, a departure from their daily grind. This is the same reason people gossip about Brad and Angelina, the same reason Paris Hilton makes news.
 
I don’t get any of that either.
 
Kate Middleton might be nice and sweet and attractive and so what? I will wake up on Monday and have the same troubles I had today. Gas will be nearing five dollars, teachers and police are getting laid off, crime is up, pay is down. I don’t have any time to spare for the pomp and circumstance of over-privileged elites who are only by dint of birth “royalty.” 

I wonder what the Prince sees in her?

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