On 23 June 2019, Garry Trudeau returned to a topic that has woven its way through Doonesbury since the earliest days of the strip: marijuana. Zonker asks Zipper to sweep out the drying shed at their (now quasi-legal) marijuana grow-op, Z&Z Bud. Zipper resents having to do menial work when he could be focusing on … Continue reading “It Sure Is Against the Law.” Marijuana, Part One: Zonker’s Bust and Box Brown’s Cannabis.
On 7 April 2019 Doonesbury drew attention to an issue that largely goes unmentioned in the media, but is, if we zoom out a little bit, closely related to one of the biggest (non-Trump-related) stories of 2019. The issue is student homelessness, and while it may not be on the public radar, thinking about young … Continue reading This Week in Doonesbury: Student Poverty and a Brief History of Walden House
America’s disengagement from a brutal, unpopular, and ultimately failed war in Vietnam began in 1969 with Richard Nixon’s announcement of his policy of “Vietnamization.” The 1973 Paris Peace Accords marked the end of America’s formal commitment to fighting in Vietnam; the war finally ended on 30 April 1975 with the fall of Saigon to North … Continue reading Vietnam, the Aftermath. Part IV: “Explain My Wound to Me.”
A common trope in the popular memory of the American experience of the Vietnam war is that when American soldiers returned home, they were scorned by the anti-war generation for being “baby-killers” complicit in mass atrocity. As one Vietnam veteran writes: “Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. We were not honored, but were … Continue reading Vietnam, the Aftermath. Part III: Skip and the Myth of the “Baby-Killing” Vietnam Vet
(Note: This was actually last week in Doonesbury, but a nasty bike crash has slowed me down a bit.) This year, I reviewed two comics that told women’s stories as they experienced gender transition: Julia Kaye’s Super Late Bloomer, and Sabrina Symington’s First Year Out. Both books provide intimate and nuanced accounts of the triumphs … Continue reading This Week in Doonesbury: “What’s Gender-Fluid?”
Welcome back. Last time out, I began writing about how Garry Trudeau addressed the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam war, looking at the experience of Kim and other refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia. The second part of that series is going to look at the ways in which two soldiers, Phred and B.D., adjusted to … Continue reading Doonesbury Goes to War, Part IV: Phred, B.D. and the Heartless Air Pirates.
In a previous post, I discussed how the 1971 arrival of Nicole as a semi-regular cast member signaled an important shift in Garry Trudeau’s approach to writing about women. Before Nicole joined the cast, women in Doonesbury were either sexpots who existed solely to fulfill adolescent sexual fantasies or pathetic figures to be ridiculed because … Continue reading “Just Some Silly Dame”: Boopsie Takes a Stand.
My last three “Long Strange Trip” posts have looked at how Doonesbury treated the Vietnam War during the first few years of its run, starting with B.D’s experience in ROTC through his decision to enlist and his encounter with Phred the Vietcong terrorist. Though B.D. was sent home as part of Richard Nixon’s policy of … Continue reading He’s Black, He’s Beautiful, and by Gosh, He’s Angry: Race in the Early Doonesbury Strips, Part I.
In previous posts, I’ve written about how Garry Trudeau framed the Vietnam war and American militarism more generally in the early years of Doonesbury, culminating in B.D.’s decision to enlist and fight in Vietnam. In those posts, I noted a shift in how GBT wrote about war and the military in the strip’s early years, … Continue reading Doonesbury Goes to War, Part III: Phred.
On Sunday, March 4, Garry Trudeau began a storyline that brings together three themes that have been central to Doonesbury for many years: feminism and the political empowerment of women; the challenges facing American soldiers and veterans; and electoral politics. Melissa Wheeler, a former army helicopter mechanic, asks Joanie Caucus for help with her political … Continue reading This Week in Doonesbury: #MeToo Runs for Office.