Alcohol

I Say We Give the Blues Brothers One More Chance

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Bruce Tinsley, creator of Mallard Fillmore—the only syndicated comic strip ever to quote me by name, which is almost enough for me to forgive it for never being funny—was charged with DUI earlier this month. Which wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the mugshot that appeared alongside the story in the Indianapolis Star:

tinsley

Mr. Tinsley, I'd like you to meet Khalid Sheikh Mohammad:

khalid

How did they catch us? We were on a mission from God!

NEXT: Treatment House

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  1. “which is almost enough for me to forgive it for never being funny”

    Jesse honestly, do you think it is not funny because it isn’t or because it offends your liberal sensibilities. I think parts of it are funny. It is pretty good sometimes when he has the typical liberal news editor. Its not exactly Bloom County but it has its moments. I would say only a really humorless liberal could honestly say that it is “never funny”.

  2. It’s a very shrill and hate-filled comic strip. Jesse was being kind.

  3. Hey, is that Belushi’s autopsy photo?

  4. John: I would say only a really humorless liberal could honestly say that it is “never funny”.

    Dan T.: It’s a very shrill and hate-filled comic strip. Jesse was being kind.

    Damn. Good call, John.

  5. Yeah,

    Dan T is always around to confirm everyone’s worst suspicions about liberals. He is good like that.

  6. Dunno ’bout the hate, but the strip sure is shrill.

  7. I love the “hate filled” Dan T. That is a nice touch. I don’t know why that guy bothered to take the time to parody you, you pretty much do it yourself.

  8. “Dunno ’bout the hate, but the strip sure is shrill.”

    What is up Jesse, seriously? I think of libertarianism as being a rough and tumble screw both sides think for yourself kind of mentality. Reason still is like that when it is say South Park picking on evangelicals. But, Mallard Fillmore is too “shrill” for you? To me that just sounds like you whining that the strip is making fun of people and things you like. What is wrong with it being shrill?

  9. The only funny thing about this comic strip was the parody in that Daily Show: America book a couple of years ago, and Tinsley’s idiotic response to it: “Jon Stewart was purposely trying to mislead my fans!”

  10. No, no, and no. You left out the mugshot of the Godfather of Soul. Do you seeeee the light?

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammad: “How much for the women?” Yep, it works.

  11. When did Ron Jeremy join the Blues Brothers?

  12. Cox and Forkum is the only conservitive comic that I can read without wincing, even though I disagree with about 100% of their forigen beliefs. Fillmore is just whiney.

  13. “…do you think it is not funny because it isn’t or because it offends your liberal sensibilities.”

    Sigh. Expanding your hard on for Weigel-baiting to Jesse? Stupid libertarians and their liberal loving liberalness.

    Cheelate, yo.

    What exactly is the Army paying you to do?

  14. Mallard Fillmore goes beyond merely “unfunny” and into the realm of “tragic.” Maybe the guy had a sense of humor once upon a time, but once you spend too much time in a permanent snit it wrecks your sense of humor, same way your leg will cramp up if you hold it in an awkward position for too long.

  15. My main complaint with Mallard Fillmore is not its conservative slant. It that itis as boringly predictable and unoriginal as your typical Garfield strip. “See the silly liberals say or do silly things!” “Gosh, isn’t the liberal media stupid?” etc. etc. ad nauseum…

    Garfield eats too much?! Liberal intellectuals wear bow ties and glasses?! Now that’s funny stuff…

    BTW – anyone notice how much this guy looks like Dan Akroyd – especially the eyes?

  16. John, it should be simple to disprove. Find me a funny one. Just one.

    http://jewishworldreview.com/strips/mallard/2000/mallardarchives.asp

  17. HEY, WALKER!!! YOU’RE A LIBERAL!!! YOU SUCK!!!

    (Heh heh heh. Let me pat myself on the back for that comment. Comedy gold, I tell you. Comedy fucking gold. If you disagree that only goes to show your liberal bias.)

    WALKER LIVES IN BALTIMOORE!

    (Note the extra “o” in “Baltimore.” It’s like “Michael Moore,” get it? Because Walker’s a liberal just like Michael Moore? Ha ha ha! Walker sucks.)

  18. btw – that comment re akroyd was meant to state the obvious – like the Mallard Fillmore strip.
    (In case that wasn’t obvious and unfunny and tedious – like the Mallard Fillmore strip)

    Now that’s funny!

  19. In the arena of politically-oriented comic-strip waterfowl, I’m not sure which one is more irksome, Mallard Fillmore or Berkeley Breathed’s Opus. I only see MF sporadically, since I don’t read a paper that carries it, but the NY Daily News carries the Sundays-only Opus. Breathed’s new Opus is the type of strip to make everybody — aside from snide, elitist, condescending liberals — think that all liberals are snide, elitist and condescending. (Kind of like a Frank Rich column with off-kilter color separation.)

  20. I tried to like Mallard Fillmore. Really, I did. It’s like all the bad parts of Doonesbury and Bloom County (with different politics). Aack!

  21. Is Mallard Fillmore supposed to funny?

    I always thought it was like Spiderman or Brenda Starr.

    Now, calling Jesse Walker a liberal – THAT’S funny.

  22. “We should always be greatful that we don’t have a government that stifles desent, that is an Ivy League College’s job”

    “News from the future; Restauranteur appeals conviction for selling fatty foods to a minor.”

    I never claimed that the thing was brilliant, only that it had its moments and to say that it was never funny was a bit much. More importantly to whine that it is “shrill” is rediculous. So what? I gaurentee you, if the next Mallard strip had someone taking a shit on the cross in the name of stem cell research a lot of the people who on here claiming it stinks would be talking about how brilliant it is. Shrill only seems to bother the Reasonites when it makes points you don’t like. And yes I will continue the futile exercise of pulling the allegedly non partisian Reason’s staff’s lipps off of the Democratic Party’s ass.

  23. I will continue the futile exercise of pulling the allegedly non partisian Reason’s staff’s lipps off of the Democratic Party’s ass.

    So John is, what? The bizarro-world clone of Dan T?

  24. What makes you think I never agree with Mallard Filmore, John? It’s not like, say, Day by Day, which is both painfully unfunny and consistently on the wrong side of the issues. I’ve seen several Mallard Filmores that went after targets I dislike. They weren’t funny either.

  25. Okay, that was funny. (I probably laughed because Pelosi is my Rep.)

  26. Jessee,

    I wouldn’t read Day by Day at gunpoint. It is awful. I just don’t think Mallard is that bad. It is not great, but it is not Day by Day unfunny. But name a strip today that is funny?

  27. Pearls Before Swine and Get Fuzzy are pretty good. And I’m a big fan of Tom the Dancing Bug, though you need to pick up an alt-weekly to see that one.

  28. I loved the Get Fuzzy where a bunch of cats were planning global domination but were defeated by that dreaded condition, the cat nap.

  29. But name a strip today that is funny?

    Pearls Before Swine.
    Get Fuzzy.

  30. Damn, Jesse – slow down.

  31. I gaurentee you, if the next Mallard strip had someone taking a shit on the cross in the name of stem cell research a lot of the people who on here claiming it stinks would be talking about how brilliant it is.

    No, I’d still say that was unfunny even if I agreed with the basic idea it espouses. Stop projecting your partisanship onto the rest of us. I can laugh at a funny takedown of what I believe in, but Mallard Fillmore doesn’t do that. (Same way I agree with Al Franken that Rush is a big fat idiot, but the book with that title is painfully unfunny.)

  32. Never heard of “Day by Day” until this thread, so I checked out the creator’s website. Based on a casual reading of this month’s strips, I was immediately reminded of the Onion article about the campus cartoonist who wrote supposedly hard-hitting cartoons no one could figure out. Seems like a poor man’s Doonesbury, except Doonesbury actually makes sense and arrives at a point. Seriously, I’d get more meaningful insight out of “Apartment 3-G” than DBD, regardless of political bent.

  33. It’s not funny because it’s basically a duck delivering short rants, acting as a mouthpiece for the cartoonist. If Doonesbury consisted of little more than Zonker Harris making liberal observations, it wouldn’t be funny either. Actually, it isn’t all that funny, but at least it has characters with some semblance of an inner life who do more than just complain about everything.

    Certainly Mallard Fillmore is better drawn than Doonesbury or a lot of other cartoons. But if you want a strip that’s funny, well-drawn and political without being only about politics, you’re stuck with Pogo. Which is a pretty good strip to get stuck with.

  34. Are famous people required to wear white T-shirts in mugshots? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one wearing anything else.

    As for the comic strip… Guys, I hate to tell you this, but conservatives aren’t funny. There are exceptions (P.J. O’Rourke, Ben Stein, Christopher Buckley), and Tinsley has certainly made some good points in his strip in the past, but Tinsley has never made me actually laugh. When conservatives do try to be funny, they often come off as too shrill (witness Laura Ingram or the last six years of Dennis Miller).

  35. “There’s nothing funnier than a duck reading John Stossel transcripts.” (stolen from some liberal blogger)

  36. you’re stuck with Pogo. Which is a pretty good strip to get stuck with.

    Agreed. best.strip.ever.

    Notice Pogo also had a duck whose name was “Mallard De Mer”. Even his name was funnier.

  37. Also, note that the last good conservative comic strip was Everett True and that was a looong time ago.

  38. Doonesbury funny? It was funny when I was in high school. Christ, I haven’t even bothered to read it in years. Pointless self-parody by a man who hasn’t bothered to re-evaluate his belief system in 30 years.

    And while Dilbert is getting long in the tooth, still funny now and then.

  39. Pogo was great, but unfortunately its creator died 33 years ago. I assume that John wanted an example of a strip that’s funny now

  40. Jesse, you crazy liberal, you know you love Ted Rall’s comic. just admit it!

  41. Even though I disagree with the cartoonist’s views more often than not, Tom the Dancing Bug is often hilarious. In one strip, Scalia was a superhero saving Disney characters from the villain public domain. By the way, it appears in the Friday weekend section of the WP.

  42. Mallard Fillmore is unfunny. But Day by Day is the Platonic form of unfunny.

  43. GEt Fuzzy is pretty funny and so is Zits. Neither one of them are classics but they are pretty good and at least worth the time to read. I think Mallard is sometimes funny but pretty non-descript one way or another. The only really funny thing about it is how liberals like Dan T get their underwear in a knot over it. Also, I have to respect the guy who writes it for having the balls to be the one overtly conservative cartoonist in daily papers, even if he isn’t exactly Charles Shultz.

  44. John,

    I often find “Maakies” funny. And even when it is not funny, I like Millionaire’s art.

    http://www.maakies.com/frames/index.html

    Check out #421, one of my faves.

  45. You wanna know what’s really funny? John’s OCD obsession with people supposed partisan biases. That shit cracks me up!

    There’s nothin’ better than diverting a comment thread towards the supposed partisan bias of libertarians in like the 2rd or 3rd comment.

  46. “Politics” and “funny comic strip” do not belong in the same sentence.

    Doonesbury was never funny. Bloom County sucked whenever it tried to be political. Mallard Fillmore is beyond bad. Pogo was a polemic disguised as a comic strip and certainly not funny.

    Perhaps the funniest political comics of all were Herblock’s works. And the funny thing is that he wasn’t trying to be funny. They were just so overwrought and unsubtle that you couldn’t help but laugh.

  47. Speaking of diverting threads, I wonder if Balko knows whether his work on SWAT raids has been Digg’d alot lately, and that a page (apparently) from his book on SWAT raids that is linked back to Reason servers is currently #1 at Digg?

  48. I don’t think I’d ever read Mallard until Maurkov’s link. I’ll double his challenge: Find me a funny one. Just one.

  49. Perhaps the funniest political comics of all were Herblock’s works. And the funny thing is that he wasn’t trying to be funny. They were just so overwrought and unsubtle that you couldn’t help but laugh.

    Bingo!

    I remember reading a collection of his when I was about 7 at my grandmother’s house and I can recall being so mad at the people in his cartoons! When I turned 8, I wondered what I was so mad about.

    Good to see Toles picking up where Herblock left off.

  50. Actually, I’ve seen some funny Mallard Fillmore’s, but they were notably and rarely apolitical.

    Mallard’s reading the paper. “A recent study has shown that eating” something or other “can improve cardiac function in obese mice.”

    “Now we just need a study to explain why we’re the only country in the world with obese mice.”

    Not exactly Chris Rock, but worth a chortle.

  51. Shoe may have lost a bit since Jeff MacNelly died, but his wife and crew can still make me smile and even raise a chuckle.

    cut and paste or just click on my name.

    http://www.comicspage.com/comicspage/main.jsp?file=20061205cssho-a-p.jpg&refresh_content=1&component_id=3&custid=69&catid=1160&dir=%2Fshoe

  52. Pogo was pretty pathetic towards the end when old Walt was railing against the hippies. It is a lot like Trudeau in the last ten years or so railing against young people for not being liberal enough. I suppose there was a time when Pogo was funny just like Doonesbury was funny in the 60s and 70s, but both strips lingered on long past that point.

  53. Funny is a relative thing. If you read Mutts (the worst drawn strip and most unfunny waste of newsprint ever!) and then read Mallard Fillmore, you might gain an appreciation for Tinsley’s work.

  54. I never heard of Day By Day, so I googled and read several years worth. This one made me smile big time:

    http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2002/12/06/

    cut and paste or click on my name

  55. And what libertarian couldn’t laugh himself blue in the face over this one?

    http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2002/12/08/

  56. Shoe was a funny strip by a conservative, but it had a saving grace. Jeff MacNelly also had a separate political panel to do every day, so when he wanted to grind an ax, he didn’t have to do it on the funny pages. His work earned him a brace each of Pulitzers and Reubens.

    An interesting example was L’il Abner. In its early days, Al Capp was the liberals’ darling. By the end of his career, his work was derided as the voice of the establishment. Politics aside, Capp did some funny stuff. Besides his Dick Tracy parody, “Fearless Fosdick”, he had such classic sequences as “Zoot Suit Yoakum” and the Schmoos. Also, like Segar’s Thimble Theatre, Abner was a continuity strip with humor. Readers really cared about what happened to the characters.

    I often bemoan the death of the adventure story strip, but the comedic story strip has taken a huge hit, too. Don’t newspaper editors realize that while gag-a-day can be funny, continuity keeps readers coming back for their daily dose?

    I mentioned Chet Gould’s Tracy above. Nobody toed the conservative line more than he did, unless it was Harold Gray on Little Orphan Annie. `Course, those weren’t “funny” funnies, at least not intentionally.

    Kevin

  57. John: You’re confusing Pogo with Li’l Abner. Walt Kelly never railed against hippies.

  58. I recall that Mallard described himself as a libertarian in a strip several months ago.
    But I really miss Dave Barry. He was a real
    libertarian humor columnist (“trained” by
    Sheldon Richman, as I recall.)

  59. Pogo was pretty pathetic towards the end when old Walt was railing against the hippies.

    Yeah, but classic Pogo, from the early-to-mid ’50s, was one of the best comic strips ever. Try looking on eBay for the graphic-novel sized compilations (almost adaptations, really); they’re not very expensive. My mom has a complete set up to around 1958 or so from when she was a kid, and I’ve read most of them. Alternately, there’s a condensed and annotated overview called “Ten Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo” that covers the same ground (but abbreviated). This you can still buy new, I think.

    What made Pogo a great comic (at least in the early days) is that it could be funny without being political. It also was broad, light satire, poking fun at our political process and national quirks without ranting about some despised interest group.

    But that’s also why Doonesbury and Bloom County still manage(d) to be funny at times. Sometimes the politics is unfunny and overbearing, but the strips don’t usually take the form of, say, Opus delivering a four-frame anti-conservative rant. Trudeau and Breathed actually seem to find a source of amusement in conservative politics and organizations. From what little I’ve read of Mallard Fillmore, Tinsley appears to spend all of his time feeling persecuted and oppressed by those evil liberals.

    And it is possible to be shrill and funny at the same time. I find Matt Taibbi’s writing for Rolling Stone hilarious, even when I don’t agree with his viewpoint, and he’s about as shrill as they get. He does not, however, take himself or the people he’s writing about too seriously. (Except for the articles on Putin, which scared the crap out of me.)

    I second the mention of Get Fuzzy as a truly funny strip. It’s what Garfield would be if it didn’t suck horribly.

  60. What’s up with that daybyday strip? I read back through a few days and in one strip the guy is talking to the girl and shes on her knees in nothing but panties with her back facing the reader. Back a few days more and the same girl is in a bra and panties and they are babbling about a camera. I’m not complaining about gratuitous TnA, but it is somewhat odd.

  61. You people still read static dead tree comics? I thought they went extinct when Flash based talkies like Foamy the Squirrel came into existence. How quaint.

  62. Brewster Rockit. It’s juvenile and stupid. I love it.

  63. Oh yes, Pogo. I defy anyone to read some of Howland Owl’s “explanations” of science in G.O. Fizzicle Pogo without serious side-stiches.

    Definitely get Ten Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo. Walt’s essays at the beginning of each section are worth the price of admission alone.

    And Walt skewered everybody–the communists, the rightists–polluters–everybody.

  64. Even when I was a middleschool-age, National Review reading, Rush Limbaugh listening Junior Republican I thought Mallard Fillmore sucked.

    Day by Day has never been outright hysterical, but it does have its moments.

    For my money, I’ll take the undiluted snark of Randy Milholland’s Something Positive any day.

  65. Okay, I saw a couple of Mallard strips that were funny.

    Hurricanes are racist…you never see one strike Idaho.

    Not a direct quote from Jesse Jackson but……

    Oh Media, that SP strip is fargin sick. Thanks for making me spit coffee all over the monitor. Luv’d it. Don’t think I had ever seen it before.

  66. I used to have a Mallard Fillmore strip magneted to the ‘fridge.One of the funniest comics I’d seen since The Far Side quit. Of course it had nothing to do with politics.The duck was having a holiday nightmare about recipes using canned cream of mushroom soup.It was a knee-slapping gut buster.Never failed to amuse.

  67. I have to go with the consensis here: Mallard Fillmore is about as funny as a sack full of dead puppies. Of course, as brainless, right-wing cartoon screeds goes it can always be worse.

    After all, it could B.C..

  68. EDIT: it could be B.C..

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