Last week marked the 52nd anniversary of the Kent State massacre. Garry Trudeau’s strips about the tragedy (which happened about six months before Doonesbury debuted) marked an important step in his early development as a cartoonist. For the first time, Trudeau engaged in a style of activist cartooning that was explicitly political, intentionally devoid of … Continue reading “Have a Nice Day, John Mitchell”: Kent State and the Cartoon Activism of Garry Trudeau
In my introduction to this series of posts about Uncle Duke, I argued that Garry Trudeau’s caricature of Hunter S. Thompson revealed the “excess, racism, greed, self-interest, and ground ethos of amorality” that defined much of American culture as the nation emerged from the failed revolutions of the 1960s.In these next two posts, I’m going … Continue reading “I Bring You Greetings from President McKinley”: Duke in American Samoa. (The Gonzo Chronicles, Part Two)
My last three Doonesbury-related posts examined Garry Trudeau’s chronicle of the legal, economic and social changes surrounding marijuana in the United States over the last fifty years, mostly told through the experiences of veteran stoner Zonker Harris. In the 1970s, Zonker faced the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence over a trumped-up possession charge; in … Continue reading How Do You Smoke A Weed?: A Review of a Comics Guide to a Responsible High.
(This is the third of a three-part series on marijuana in Doonesbury. Part One, which includes a review of Box Brown’s Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America focuses mostly on marijuana prohibition; Part Two looks at medical marijuana in the era of the AIDS epidemic.) Zonker Harris pointed out a huge irony on the … Continue reading The American Dream in Action: Zonker and the Business of Legal Weed
In my last post, I looked at how Garry Trudeau wrote about marijuana in the 1970s and reviewed Box Brown’s comics history of marijuana prohibition, ending with Brown’s chronicle of the gradual legalization of cannabis in some American states as activists promoting the medical benefits of cannabis used the courts to undermine the state’s attempts … Continue reading Marijuana in Doonesbury, Part II: Medical Cannabis, AIDS and the Law
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
Recently, I watched Studio 54, a documentary film by Matt Tyrnauer that chronicles the rise and fall of the famed Manhattan discotheque that was the hottest spot in New York City in the 1970s. In its heyday from 1977 – 1979, the club, owned by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, attracted crowds that included A-list … Continue reading “Where a Man is Judged by His Moves”: Doonesbury Goes Disco
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
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.