DTWOF episode #517

December 11th, 2007 | Strip Archive

517 detail
It’s the longest night of the year…

180 Responses to “DTWOF episode #517”

  1. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    OMG! Stuart’s just becoming more of a sanctimonious ass and I love him for it! Sparrow seems pretty cool with it too in the last panel.

  2. kate the kid says:

    i like the point that sydney made…what fun. Glad to see Raffi and i love the ear-hoodie!!

  3. Melissa says:

    Raffi and Clarice listening to each other’s ipods…awww. And JR’s little bear costume is adorable. I love the details.

  4. laura says:

    Mmm, great strip. Ginger and Clarice, Raffi showing affection to Clarice, Janis and Raffi listening to each other’s ipod, Mo and Sidney looking fine together (but it’s the second time, I love them together, but what will happen?), Sparrow receiving a phone call during the solstice ritual (I doubt she heard what Sidney said). Feels like there’s more to come….

  5. gatheringwater says:

    The darkness, the candlelit faces…what a pretty strip!

    I think we should give prehistorical people a little more credit. They may not have had a heliocentric model of the solar system, but they must have had plain old memories of winters that ended and springs that came again. Why should we think they believed the sun is never coming back? (Especially when it doesn’t every entirely go away in the first place.) I’ve sat through a lot of Stuart-like speeches at solstice and I’ve always wondered…

  6. spoil sport says:

    Dec. 12, 2000? Do I need to dig up old strips, or is she saying she has been dealing wiyh depression for a long time?

    Love the strip, I love all the cold weather clothes, the touching and sharing.

  7. BlueShoes says:

    I am joining Sydney on the dark side. I’m pretty sure we can get drinks there.

  8. jen in california says:

    beautiful use of cross-hatching and blanket-y night sky!

    The void is truly closing in.

    I love the little circle. I feel both derision and affection for Stuart. Everyone finds the ritual circle so cheesy, you can see it on their faces. But they all huddle closer together and something is created in there.

    Even Sydney’s truth can’t destroy it.

    I’ve been known to sing “here comes the sun” with the “do do do do do” in there. Those things just happen.

  9. Juliet says:

    12.12.00 – the day George W. was ruled president by whatever random judicial process he was ruled president (I don’t know, I’m British, we just appoint people Prime Minister without bothering to vote for them). If I remember rightly, for Clarice that December involved not getting out of bed very much…

    Love it that everyone’s together again in this strip. Especially glad to see some public displays of affection; it’s been a while.

    Juliet x

  10. tylik says:

    gatheringwater — I agree, but I’m not sure that’s even the point. It’s not whether we think we know it’s going to get better, it’s what we can do to make it through the current darkness, because sometimes it’s really dark.

    For a dumb example, I’ve been through some extended power outages. And we were very well set up for them — a nice wood burning oven, plenty of oil lamps, plenty of food… and yet, after a few days of that, even as comfortable as we were, the dark would just start to get to me. Even a lot of oil lamps don’t really do the job for reading without eye strain. Everything seemed so much *smaller*. And I’d get to hating not being able to see the dinner dishes when I washed them.

    And then I try to imagine months of that. Sure, yeah, it’s going to get better in a season or so. Not soon enough!!!

    (Don’t get me wrong. It was kind of fun too. Well, except the time I had the flu.)

  11. Lydia says:

    “Bataillean”…wow

  12. spoil sport says:

    Juilet- Thanks for the heads up. I voted for Nader that year, I also lived in Montana. Now I am in Ohio and I live in the swingiest of swing communities.

  13. QKelly says:

    I’m so used to reading this strip down to the minute-est of minutiae, so perhaps I’ve gone to the dark side of over-analysis, but it strikes me that several of the arms-across-the-shoulders are slightly off in visual terms. Raffi’s arm in the second panel and Sparrow’s in the final one don’t seem quite Anatomically Accurate, which is A-typical of AB (how’s that for A-lliteration?) In panel four, Sydney’s arm seems used more as a chokehold than a gesture of affection. The circle of light can’t hide the social fissures — So the darkness is still pervasive; the little flickering candles can’t do much. And of course, we have Raffi and Janis as dark-colored doppelgangers in the final panel, which is pretty much bifurcated into light and dark sides. . .with Mo’s head directly in line with the split. . .hmm. . .she’s the one always wearing black/white stripes. . .a sort of deconstruction of the light-dark binary? Mo as unstable third term? So what does this mean — Mo will be our savior? Mo-misery is the way to go? Mo and Sydney will never manage to cross the huge white/blank space separating them in the last panel, a space so blank it seems under erasure? Is Stuart’s light a version of the white whale? What does Bataille say about *that*, hmmmm?

  14. chriso says:

    Raffi and Janis listening to each others iPods (or iPuds to be DTWOF exact) in the last panel is SO cute! I love it. I also love the detailing on Sydney’s coat and Jaoi Razzel’s scowl in the bottom left panel.

  15. Aunt Soozie says:

    I like how Sydney is snuggling Mo from behind. Her arms are lower than choke hold level however… when I looked at Raffi hanging on to Clarice like that I thought, wow…that’s exactly how my ten year old sort of takes me over sometimes. It’s this kind of affectionate “you’re mine and don’t you forget it” kind of thing where you can’t fully breathe because the kid forgets she isn’t as tiny as she once was and thinks she can still hang all of her weight on your neck and you hope the intentions of the semi-strangulation are mostly good.

  16. Jude says:

    Wow. Stuart saying all the things that Mo used to say, only being even MORE annoying. I’m a little boggled at the fact that our little dyke community is gathered around a man who doomfully invalidates and silences something a woman says!

    I’m sure Sydney would’ve been appalled to realize how second-wave feminist she was being by speaking out and pointing out his logical (ph)fallacies!

    I also like how dubious neocon chick (whose name escapes me at the moment because I keep wanting to call her “Thea”) looks as Stuart is babbling on.

  17. jayinchicago says:

    wow. i’ve also been clinically depressed since 12.12.2000. hmm.

  18. Dr. Empirical says:

    For m, the key to this strip is that nobody is buying the ritual concept, not even Sparrow. They’re all going about their business, waiting for it to be over. Only Sydney is impolite enough to actually speak up.

    At the same time, they all came out to support Stewart. That’s community. Or maybe they’re all looking forward to the moist orange cake that will no doubt be served afterwards.

  19. QKelly says:

    “Her arms are lower than choke hold level however”

    Not in Panel 4, I don’t think, Auntie S.

    (Maybe I see Sydney as strangling because I kinda want her to split with Mo. I don’t like Sydney, probably because she reminds me in some ways of the theoretical-academic side of myself, which sometimes I like and sometimes I get impatient with. Theory is useful only insofar as it illuminates, and often, as I read and write stuff that seems to belong in Mo’s imagined “Journal of Jejune Jargon,” I think that theoretic academic analysis is about as useful as Stuart’s little candles in the wind. Judith Butler can *say* that her impenetrable prose is a political act, but sometimes impenetrable prose is just impenetrable prose. If you’ll excuse the phallic overtones of the metaphor.)

  20. NLC says:

    As an old-timey astronomy geek, I just gotta ask:

    Is that really Cassiopeia (and friends) up behind folk’s heads in the third-from-last panel (and in the “teaser” frame”)?

    Good grief. You’ve really outdone yourself this time…

  21. LJR says:

    Sparrow’s been more and more checked-out… and Stuart doesn’t seem in the least aware. Her facial expressions throughout this are so… um, expressive. (I need a new vocabulary.) She only appears to settle into the ritual after that phone call… and now I *really* want to know who she was talking to!

  22. Alissa says:

    Way to go Mo. She deserves to finally have the upper hand with Sydney. (Or maybe I just cynical)

  23. JenK says:

    I am in countdown to the Solstice right now…

    Today in Seattle we have, barely, 8.5 hours of daylight. Tomorrow we slip under 8.5 until January 1st. Granted we don’t get down to 8 hours, we don’t even get down to 8.4, but it’s still DARK ALL THE TIME. Wah.

    Of course come June I will be complaining about having to use my sleep mask to get some sleep. πŸ™‚

    FYI, here’s a couple niftys way to check your sunlight: http://www.daylightmap.com/ and timeanddate.com

  24. JenK says:

    And doesn’t http://www.daylightmap.com show how “Global North” all the winter solstice imagery is? It’s SUNNY down south!

  25. JenK says:

    And now I have “Here Comes The Sun” stuck in my head πŸ™‚

  26. Kahuna Burger says:

    I love the solstice as a turning point and new year celebration, but I don’t know that I’d want to have the ritual meshed with political ranting, even if it was a political rant I would agree with in another context.

    Raffi came but not Toni. Probably for the best.

  27. mulieribus says:

    I love it when people have those coats where the coat moves and the plaid doesn’t. I mean it. I wish someone could project some plaid around that would land on my coat in that way.

  28. Xena Fan says:

    The strip has gotten more darker, sadder, etc. over the years. Will a change in political administration improve things? Or are the ladies set on this dark path?

    I miss the old days when a punchline was Mo wanting to lick pancake syrup off a waitress’s fingers or Lois flashing the readers….

  29. Mabel says:

    This strip is a classic.

  30. Anonymous says:

    please make clarice and ginger rekindle their affair!
    Barbara UK

  31. Aunt Soozie says:

    You’re right QKelly. I missed that.

  32. byrdie says:

    Xena Fan: I dunno. Watching a strip end with Mo and Sydney celebrating the harvest in a less than childsafe manner seemed pretty perky to me.

    I did notice that Ginger and Samia weren’t particularly close together at the ritual. I’d expect them to be standing together, Cynthia to one side and and Clarice on another, with Raffice on the other side of Clarice. I hope that living together — or living with Cynthia — isn’t screwing up Ginger and Samia.

  33. kellan says:

    I love the “yeah, Mo finally laid down the law. I think it kinda turned Sydney on.” So true, I bet.

  34. laura says:

    JenK you are right: it is one solstice in the northern emisphere and the opposite solstice in the southern one. which doesn’t make it any less dark, bleak, and cold. The southern emisphere is far, far away. and here, it really feels like darkness is swallowing all. time to rest, to stay home, to save your energies and brave for the worst times that are going to come–blizzards, crystal clear skies and biting cold, the central month of winter with its fevers, then spring, a period where exausted bodies can find very little, if anything, to be nourished, and then, further away, for the ones lucky enough to have survived, summer, when it’s time again to go on with agricultural work under the sun and the heat

  35. Suz says:

    Here Comes the Sun?

    I know the Beatles are supposed to universal, but here we’ve got Stuart singing something some other guy wrote and sang. Yeah, thanks, nice to hear women’s voices, Stu.

  36. (Sir Real) says:

    Whew, I thought for a moment that Raffi was passing a flask in the bottom left panel. Nope, just exchanging mp3 stimulii.

  37. Jetto says:

    Except that Raffi isn’t Ipod exchanging with Clarice. Not sure who it is though…anyone?

  38. The Cat Pimp says:

    I think J.R. is going to wind up looking perpetually cross. I liked Raffi’s open affection with Clarice and his iPud sharing with Janis. Totally loved the plaid/checkered coat on Sydney. Reminds me of Los Bros Hernandez. The one who draws Hopey and Maggie does that with his plaids pretty often.

    I think everyone was checked out on Stuart during the ritual, but they all value each other’s company. Its like all those atheist church ladies who get together once a week pretending its about church when its really about the coffee and cake afterwards.

  39. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Isn’t it great to contemplate the fact that whatever happens in 2008, at least Bush won’t be President anymore? He can choke to death on a pork chop on his ranch and we won’t even have to say boo.

  40. JenK says:

    Jetto, I assumed Raffi was switching MP3 with Janis.

    Laura, the “global north” comment was as an afterthought to a comment that is “pending moderation” about why I am counting down to the Solstice right now – Seattle is below 8.5 hours of sunlight now and dropping. Thank God we’ll be back to 9 hours by January 20.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Hey Jetto: kinda embarrassing to ask a question which has already been answered 4 times…

  42. chriso says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if all of Stuart’s self-righteous ranting wasn’t leading up to a climax or confrontation of sorts. I kind of can’t wait for it – I have a feeling it’ll be a doozy!

  43. ladiesbane says:

    NLC — good point. Anyone else think Cassiopeia looks like an upside-down “W”? A bas Georges! (Bush, not Bataille.)

    And as much as I’m saddened by the fact that a straight male is the only one who seems to keep the circle unbroken (anyone remember Clarice and Toni’s wedding ceremony?) I do love seeing everyone together, even if I only get a glimpse of the Lois Cowlick, and Harriet is MIA. Seeing Janis and Raffi was soothing. I do hope that, at some point, Rafe twigs to the fact that Janis is stunning. Has there been any confirmation of Raffi’s orientation, anyway?

  44. Feminista says:

    In defense of solstices–I happen to enjoy them,and have never attended one which was self-righteous; nor do I think Stuart was being out of line,except for staying outside. However,all I went to were held indoors: the best was put on by a group called Living Earth,led by a woman,and involved singing,dancing,poetry reading,great food and socializing.

    The others were in Unitarian churches in N.Calif.,Portland,and E.Lansing,MI; they invoked the 4 directions and had good food and company. In MI we went out briefly to see the stars and returned for hot cider. All 4 of these provided a sense of community and a respite from commercial madness.

    I think Sparrow is talking to someone from the NARAL Pro-Choice campaign. And I liked seeing our gang being affectionate. And Cynthia will have some inteesting things to tell her parents during Winter break!

  45. NLC, you put me to shame. No, sadly. Any resemblance to actual constellations living or dead is purely coincidental.

  46. I posted this episode this morning in Pennsylvania. And now after only ten short hours of driving through rain, sleet, slush, and snow, I’m posting THIS in Vermont. Isn’t that amazing?

    Oh. My cat’s in fine fettle, but still no sign of the dental floss. Perhaps she didn’t eat it after all, but hid it up her sleeve.

  47. Nickel Joey says:

    “Fettle”? What a great word — or phrase, I guess. I’ve never encountered it before.

    It’s always a joy to stumble across a gem like that (or “Bataillean”) here. That just may turn around my mood tonight.

    Thanks, Alison. Glad that the kitty is well. Here’s to feline legerdemain. πŸ˜€

  48. procrastinating law student says:

    not to keep wailing on the Sydney plaid, but I like how she wears it a lot–she has checkered PJ pants too, I believe. Good (intentional?) expression of her hyper-analytical, linear character.

  49. ready2agitate says:

    and by that token Sparrow’s poofy down jacket (which I also love for the detailing) matches her fluffy but also utterly practical nature…. (Hee!)

  50. Janine says:

    My two cents:

    I dunno, I imagine by the point that Sydney speaks up, arguments about the validity of her point notwithstanding, Stu is feeling more than a bit like he’s being patronized to about this whole solstice deal.

    It’s a bit of role reversal, for sure, but no less frustrating for Stuart for being in that position.

  51. ready2agitate says:

    ps I was, like, who’s the new hot dyke with her arm around Clarice’s shoulder? (Oop!) πŸ˜‰

  52. The Cat Pimp says:

    Well, Raffi could be a lesbian cleverly disguised as a teenaged boy….

    Glad to hear the kitty is still doing well, despite her misadventure with the dental floss.

  53. Twilight says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Stuart even when he’s on his soapbox. Mo’s rants always made me love her more even when they got annoying.

    Toni’s absense in this little circle really brings home the fact that her and Clarice are splitsville. Which is really sad to me because I think that means no couple from the beginning has stayed together. Sure most relationships seem to split up but there always seems to be some couples that do stay together.

    Or maybe the bookstore owner and her girlfriend are still together? Can’t remember her name offhand but I would love it if she made a return appearance. I miss MadWimmen’s bookstore. Somehow this strip got me all nostalgic.

  54. Aranea says:

    Twilight – that’d be Jezanna and the gorgeous Audrey.

    Alison, to chime in with everyone else : this is indeed another classic. Loved the pun in first panel, the wordless exchange between Raffi and Janis going on in the background, Jiao Raizel’s teddy-bear-ears, everyone’s facial expressions, and yes, Sydney’s plaid coat. Alison, you rock!

  55. towheedork says:

    ladiesbane–“Anyone else think Cassiopeia looks like an upside-down β€œW”? A bas Georges!”–oui. Had a similar thought as I was flipping through astronomy books and feeling too too hopelessly unsophisticated to deserve to read DTWOF, between that and Bataille (mistakenly parsed at first by my illiterate self as bataillean-bellicose-fightin’). The end of W’s reign is written in the stars anyway as DeLandDeLakes sez, praise whatever good powers there be.

  56. Nele says:

    Hehehe, I do love Sidney!

  57. Juliet says:

    I love the daylight map! Look: there you all are in the US of A twinkling away at night with your lights on; and over here it’s tomorrow already….hello from the future! *waves*

  58. Yasmin says:

    OMG OMG OMG Did you se this?
    http://lovegodsway.org/GayBands
    Do you think this is a tribute to AB?!
    Oh this is TOO funny

  59. mysticriver says:

    Gorgeous strip, your line detail is insanely beautiful, as always. The first panel is just a delight to look at. Am I seeing a Mad influence?

    Love the conversation between Ginger & Clarice…just these little side conversations are so nice, it’s so reminiscent of older (pre-W, naturally) episodes. It’s great to see the whole gang together. Yeah, yeah, Toni’s not there, but she traded in her urban alternative community lifestyle for suburban American conformity a long time ago. She and Gloria are probably enjoying an evening shopping at Pottery Barn. (Harriet, I assume, is watching Isobel play a lobster in the school play or something and couldn’t make it.)

    The Cat Pimp: Jaime Hernandez! (He draws/writes Maggie & Hopey, Beto authors Palomar)

  60. woodstock says:

    I’m with blueshoes: we can definitely get drinks on the dark side.

    Like all the DTWOF strips, packed with both visual and narrative detail (and I love the fact that even though I don’t like her as a character Sydney always makes me exercise my brain). I also love the fact that in the third to last panel they all seem to be looking at Sydney as if to say “don’t make this go on any longer than it has to.” ‘course, the fact that we’re only seeing people from the chest up makes me wonder how committed to his utili-kilt Stuart really is πŸ˜‰

  61. K. says:

    Haven’t read all the posts carefully, but I think it’s Raffi and Janis on the ipods, right?

    Also–casual but really nice (and reassuring) physical affection between Stuart & Sparrow, Mo & Sydney, Clarice & Raffi–hi stance is perfect, by the way. My 17-y.o. brother slings his arm around me and his mom in the same exact way.

  62. Tone says:

    Yasmin, I can’t believe that link is for real! It is too hilarious!!! To be a true parent-rebelling teenager, Raffi would have to work hard to find someone NOT on that list.

  63. shadocat says:

    Yasmin; I can’t that (according to that list anyway) teens are listening to Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra…

  64. straight european says:

    I remember similar celebrations before the Christmas midnight mass. The contrast between the fire and the cold, dark night is very beautiful.
    I also love the way Ginger and Clarice try to be nice to each other after Clarice’s “I can’t imagine why you moved out”. And AB should hire someone to check that no periods are forgotten at the end of sentences :-).

  65. shadocat says:

    OK, insert “believe”

  66. Kelli says:

    Cole Porter wasn’t exactly straight, anyway.

  67. Dianne says:

    1. Janis and Raffi…hmm…Actually, I think that they’d be perfect for each other’s adolescent crushes.
    2. Stuart and Sydney both have points. I don’t see Stuart as silencing Sydney, more the other way around. Be that as it may, if the light triumphed over darkness in June, the earth would become too hot to live on and humanity and all other life on earth would be destroyed. (Don’t think too hard about the astronomical implications of the light “triumphing” and days getting longer instead of shorter–there’s no way to make it work in a heliocentric model.) Is the “dark” side of humanity, the one that causes wars, etc, also necessary? Maybe, but does it have to lead to wars? Couldn’t we just sublimate into nasty football rituals or something?
    3. How did they manage to drag Cynthia to this and what do she and Sydney have to say to each other? Would they be like minded friends and sympathize with each other about the clueless liberals or would it be hate/rivalry at first sight?

  68. Dianne says:

    And another thing…When are we going to see Mo rant about something again? Snide comments from Stuart are all good and well, but I’d like to see Mo rant again.

  69. TD says:

    QKelly: As a fellow academic–in discourse analysis, no less–I want to say this to you with the utmost of kindness and urgency: just enjoy the strip and stop grandstanding.

    There’s a time and a place….

  70. Alex the Bold says:

    I think it’s kind of interesting as a metaphor.

    Stuart gets up, goes to all the trouble of organizing an event and basically, himself, states that “This is what people did, way back in the day, before they knew a fact that is so staggeringly well-known that we cannot fathom how people COULDN’T know it: the sun doesn’t ‘disappear.’ It comes back every year.” Grand. Will we be churning butter next? How about someone dying from polio?

    Sydney then points out that Stuart’s basic premise “Light triumphs” isn’t valid if you take a deeper look. Light triumphs until Dark re-triumphs. Then Light re-triumphs. Etc. Conclusion for one and two? The ritual is obsolete, and even when it wasn’t obsolete, it wasn’t correct, because even back in the day, people could have turned to each other and said, “Say, come to think of it, if the sun had NEVER come back in the past, we wouldn’t be around right now. So it seems like it’s a yearly thing that just happens, like how the plants always grow in the spring.”

    Meanwhile, everyone’s just sort of waiting for Stuart’s little floor show to conclude (maybe because it’s warmer outside than in the house). There’s very little participation. Sparrow’s on the phone, apparently doing something that matters more to her. Seeing as how quick the phone call was, it’s probably that she simply didn’t want to listen to a Stuart-rant about how her milk production is being cut into by her job.

    The others, when they aren’t doing other-things, are mostly just staring into space like a herd of cows.

    Sure reminds me of how the Democratic leadership has failed to get the party mobilized or enthused. (This could explain why Cynthia has no lines at all!) They’re too busy trying to get us all to celebrate the Solstice to bother with forcing a universal health care system into being or getting the soldiers out of Iraq or improving the educational system or stopping the penal system from just grinding up lives uselessly, etc.

  71. shadocat says:

    Kelli; I know Cole Porter was gay—it’s just that I doubt that the youth of today are listening to his stuff on their I-pods…

  72. Jeffster83 says:

    Does anyone know of any studies that show if there is any correlation between in-vitro conception and sexuality? Or having been raised in a lesbian household and the same? Raffi has both. Of course, he’ll turn out however AB decides to write his story, but I would find it interesting to have a hint beforehand.

  73. TeratoMarty says:

    Maybe it’s just me (and the type of people I hang out with) but no-one I know has ever attended a religious ceremony of any kind without feeling slightly silly for being there. However, you’ve still got to do them, because of the way they build some sort of order out of the chaos of human experience. Personally, I like Solstice rituals, because even though I know intellectually that it will eventually be warmer again in a few months, sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.

    As to JR’s expression- I think it would be hilarious if she grew up to be a hellion. Partially because I’m a terrible human being, and partially because I suspect that Stuart’s idea of appropriate discipline for a misbehaving toddler is to explain to her, gently but firmly, that doing X will hurt someone’s feelings (hah!), I want to see her grow up into a real brat. Acquisitive, selfish, contrary, and obsessed with emulating Barbie in every possible way.

  74. Dianne says:

    Jeffster: I don’t know about IVF, but studies looking for a correlation between being raised by gay or lesbian parents and sexuality have found it to be nonexistent. That is, a child raised by gay or lesbian parents has essentially the same chance of being gay or lesbian as a child raised by straight parents.

  75. Aunt Soozie says:

    I don’t know, just to be on the safe side I’m not letting my kid listen to any Frank Sinatra or Cole Porter. I bet they are queer lovers.
    uhm…shado…pssst…read on…that website’s pulling your leg…

    Jeffster:I’m not up on all of the literature but last I heard kids who grow up with lesbian parents are no more or less likely to be glbt than kids with hetero parents. however, the last study I read about said they did tend to experiment more sexually at a younger age. I think there may have been something about them being more open to considering alternative sexualities (not in those words) or something like that…? I could go try to find the article.

    I can’t imagine there being any correlation between the method used for one’s conception and one’s sexuality?? Also, wasn’t Raffi an AI baby? not an IVF baby?

    Artificial insem is just placing semen into the ‘gina with a vehicle other than a penis. in-vitro fertilization involves giving a woman lots of hormones so a whole flock of eggs mature at once, instead of typical ovulation where usually only one egg matures, harvesting the eggs from the ovaries (a surgical procedure) inseminating the ova in a lab, and then implanting the ova that do become fertilized into a woman’s uterus and then waiting to see if they implant.

  76. Aunt Soozie says:

    artificial insemination you can do in the comfort of your own home…
    in-vitro requires a bit more medical intervention

  77. Anonymous says:

    De-lurking for the first time just to say…

    Cyndi Lauper on the “safe” (meaning, apparently, straight and homophobic) list????

    Cyndi’s rendition of “When you were mine” rocked my little 9 year old mind, leading me to ponder gayness for probably the first time, and look where it led… Now I’m not saying her version was gayer than Prince’s, but she took a big gay song, and kept it good and gay. I don’t know if Cyndia is lesbian or not, but she is queer as hell.

    That said, that list was hilarious, and now I want to check out the big gay musicians I’ve never heard of before.

    Now I’ll let you all go back to analyzing the Dykes. That’s not my game. But for the record, I can’t stand Stuart, and adore Clarice and Sydney.

  78. Aunt Soozie says:

    The study I was referring to above was published by Susan Golombo and Fiona Tasker and there is a brief summary of it here http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/glb/orientat.html

    psst… anon… see my comment to shado above… it’s meant to be funny…
    thankfully… phew…

  79. jk says:

    It’s comforting to see everyone gathered together somehow, after so many months of discord and painful stuff. And Stewart has a point, even if he’s a pompous ass.

  80. Maggie Jochild says:

    As a lesbian parent (in multiple configurations for over 30 years), I have my hands on all kinds of data about kids raised in lesbian/gay households. For a look at 66 studies, check out the American Psychiatric Association’s website Empirical Studies Specifically Related to Lesbian & Gay Parents & Their Children. Short version: Kids raised in lesbian/gay households are no more likely to be queer, maladjusted, or have gender identity issues than kids in heterosexual households. There is also no difference in development between kids conceived with a known donor vs. kids conceived with unknown donors or with AI.

    However, the misperceptions aimed at them from courts, other family members, and the public are often problematic. Balancing that out is the repeated finding that lesbian households are MUCH more likely to offer an egalitarian approach to parenting and housekeeping tasks than in heterosexual households, with a positive effect on stability and development for children of any gender. Also, most interesting, the best long-term study (by Nan Gartrell, et al) is finding that children raised in lesbian households experience significantly less physical and sexual abuse than national norms. This likely reflects the fact that 98% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males who identify as heterosexual in addition to the core values of masculinity which values authority and externalizing difficulty over empathy and nurturing.

    Here are a few statements of findings from these reports:
    “In social and psychological development, the children were comparable to children raised in heterosexual families. Children of unknown donors were indistinguishable from those with known donors in psychological adjustment.”

    “Lesbian couples exhibited more parenting awareness skills than did heterosexual couples.”
    “Although both lesbian and heterosexual couples reported relatively equal divisions of paid employment and of household and decision-making tasks, lesbian biological and nonbiological mothers shared child-care tasks more equally than did heterosexual parents. ”

    “Although those from lesbian families were more likely to explore same-sex relationships, particularly if their childhood family environment was characterized by an openness and acceptance of lesbian and gay relationships, the large majority of children who grew up in lesbian families identified as heterosexual.”

    “The two groups (children from lesbian households vs. children from single-parent heterosexual households) did not differ in terms of their gender identity, sex-role behavior, or sexual orientation. Also, they did not differ on most measures of emotions, behavior, and relationships, although there was some indication of more frequent psychiatric problems in the single-parent group.”

    “No differences were identified between families headed by lesbian and single heterosexual mothers, except for greater mother-child interaction in lesbian mother families.”

    “Subjects’ gender development was not identifiably different in the two groups (those raised by lesbian mothers vs. those who were raised by heterosexual mothers).”

    “Results revealed gay parenting couples demonstrate significantly more equitable arrangements of parenting tasks and roles and significantly greater satisfaction with those arrangements than the heterosexual parenting couples.”

    “Results reveal a less affluent socioeconomic setting for the children of lesbian mothers. A strong child-development orientation was found among lesbian mothers, undermining the stereotype of lesbians as aloof from children. Lesbian mothers tended to assume a principal role in child-care responsibility regardless of whether the caregiver and breadwinner roles were shared with a live-in partner.”

    “The commonly held assumption that lesbian mothers will have lesbian daughters and gay sons was not supported. ”

    “Unlike fathers in heterosexual families, the lesbian social mother is as much involved in child activities as is the biological mother. “

  81. Duncan says:

    Of course, while we have to keep tactical power in mind (and hence the question of how best to fight bigots who want to take kids away from their queer parents, regardless of the validity of the arguments involved), suppose that kids of queer parents *were* more likely to be queer. Would that mean we were bad parents? Not to me, it wouldn’t. If straight parents are allowed and indeed expected to produce straight children, then queer parents should be allowed and indeed expected to produce queer children. (If it were “genetic,” wouldn’t queer parents be more likely to produce queer kids just on biological grounds?) What I found most chilling in Edward Stein’s The Mismeasure of Desire was a study he cited that showed almost no queer parents wanted their kids to grow up gay. How can you raise children well if you hate yourself that much? It’s like requiring Jews to say that they don’t want their kids to grow up Jewish. If anything, (and playing the Devil’s Advocate to some extent) it could be argued that we *aren’t* good parents if our kids aren’t more likely to be queer.

    There was a documentary about lesbian mothers made in the 70s, “In the Best Interests in the Children,” and I was very pleased by the one woman who said that while she hoped her daughter would grow up to be whatever she wanted, she was still damn well going to be sure that she knew that loving women was a possibility for her; after all, her daughter was going to be deluged with heterosexual propaganda all her life, so she need to know that heterosexuality is not the only form love takes.

  82. NLC says:

    This is pretty radically off-topic, but since “Anonymous” mentioned Cyndi Lauper above, I had to send this along:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQyNjN_yKY0

    (CL doing “Time After Time”, accompanying herself on dulcimer[!]. And on Martha Stewart, no less…)

  83. oceans 111 says:

    Er, where’s the joke part about the gay bands page? I looked through a bunch of the links and it looks like the guy really is a “reformed” gay guy. Or was there another joke that I missed?

  84. Aunt Soozie says:

    I interpret the study I mentioned as saying our kids are more likely to be queer… if you interpret queer as being more fluid in defining the parameters of one’s sexual attractions and not adhering to conventional rules of engagement. I hear what you’re saying Duncan, we don’t want the uglies to use that against us. It’s something to admire in our children.

    I hope the study you cite is an old one. I hate to think the new wave of glbt baby makers are raising kids in that homophobic environment. I don’t know many queer people who wish to be straight or queer parents who would regret their kids growing up queer but then that’s not a statistically relevant group… just my personal peeps.

  85. Aunt Soozie says:

    oceans111
    click on the link posted here and then click on the Donnie Davies link. Watch the “mtv banned this” you tube video and then watch the music video “god hates fags”. I’m not endorsing this or testifying to the quality of the humor but I strongly believe the intention is humor. Sick and politically incorrect as it may be to admit it, I did find the music video amusing.

  86. M. says:

    oceans 111, I think at least part of what’s funny about the gay bands page is the heading:
    Bands to Watch Out For
    (Anyone wanna do a spoof of DTWOF starring Cole Porter and Sinatra?!)

  87. Marj says:

    Ready to Agitate – I mistook Raffi for a new hot dyke at first too! Oops.

    To all the Sydney-haters: I love (and am profoundly jealous of) the relationship between Syd and Mo. They constantly spark off and stimulate each other, physically and intellectually. Never a dull moment… a girl can dream.

  88. Ian says:

    This strip is the metaphorical sound of things falling back into its normal routine.

    I like that people agree that it’s probably best that Toni wasn’t there. Toni showed how she felt about Clarice’s friends pretty clearly when they moved to conformo-suburb-banalityville in Split-Level.

    Which reminds me – what’s that wonderful, if cheesy film where Toby Maguire and his sister find themselves trapped in a black and white 50s town that starts getting colourful when all the conformity and repression breaks down?

  89. Deena in OR says:

    Ian-

    Pleasantville. Truly a cool movie. Reminded me a bit somehow of “The Truman Show”. Remember that one?

  90. Ellen O. says:

    Regarding “lovegodsway”…

    Now that Donnie Davies has found Jesus, he needs to meet the apostrophe.

  91. andrewo says:

    How did Raffi get so tall so fast?

  92. cally chef says:

    Loved the strip. It was nice to see Lois and Jasmine. I miss Lois. When she does show up, it’s usually as a side story to Janis. Lois went from the “Don Juan” of the cast to suddenly monogamous for years now. We didn’t get see any of the romance develope between Lois and Jasmine and we don’t ever see their relationship now. I miss Lois as a main character. It seems like she has grown up and has the potential to be a deeper, more complex person and it would be interesting to watch her now and take a closer look at her “family” life with Jasmine and Jonus.

  93. mk says:

    Marj, I too love the Mo-Syd relationship. Sydney was a breath of fresh air in the strip when she arrived in the mid 90s.

    Ian, I never thought there was anything wrong with Toni & Clarice’s home though. I always thought Clarice’s issues with the move were related to her fear of commitment and change, and Toni wanted the house for practical reasons. After all, apartment living can be a drag with a child if you have no washer on premises and you find out at 9pm your child has lice. If I had a child and could afford a house, I’d buy the house.

  94. Feminista says:

    Cally chef–Well,you can’t expect Lois,to paraphrase Mo,to be wearing a flat-top and chasing after college students into her forties.And she must be in her mid-40s now. I think our Dona Juana has sown her wild millet and wants a family on her own terms.

    Yep,Raffi’s a growing boy,and will continue to consume large quantities of kasha,tuna,and the occasional fruit bat for a number of years to come. My nephew is 20,consumes close to 3000 calories/day,and grows vertically but not horizontally.

  95. Deena in OR says:

    Naah, Feminista-

    At our age we just look appreciatively upon the college women, enjoy the scenery, and try not to look like the dirty old woman in the corner πŸ˜‰

  96. cally chef says:

    Oops- I meant to say I’d like to take a look at Lois’s “family” Jasmine and Janis(not Jonas).

  97. shadocat says:

    Cally—I miss Lois too; I don’t care who (or if) she’s chasing. It seem that Sydney is the one now who has taken on Lois’ old role as the “Lothario” so there’s really not a need for the Lois character anymore. She’s pretty much in “comic limbo” now…

  98. Jeffster83 says:

    Thank you, Dianne, Aunt Soozie and Maggie Jochild for all the information on children of lesbian families. I had heard something about the part that children are no more likely to be gay when raised by lesbian mothers, and now you’ve given me the links and the quotes. I was less sure about IVF or AI. I read somewhere else that the time of the cycle in which a baby is conceived can make a difference in gender (I think it was the later in the cycle, the greater chance of a boy), and who knows what effect all the chemicals used in IVF can do? Thanks again!

  99. Ian says:

    Thanks for that Deena – I could’ve used Google but that would’ve been waaayyy too much effort! It is a lovely film, helped by the fact I have a minor celeb crush on Tobey Maguire.

    Jeffster – it depends on why you think people are gay in the first place: nature, nurture, or as I think – a combination of both and that I think it’s a fact that it’s all part of a plan we don’t know about but is slowly unfolding. I believe we’re gay, not just ‘cos we are, but ‘cos we’re [i]meant[/i] to be …

  100. Janine says:

    “Sure reminds me of how the Democratic leadership has failed to get the party mobilized or enthused. (This could explain why Cynthia has no lines at all!) They’re too busy trying to get us all to celebrate the Solstice to bother with forcing a universal health care system into being or getting the soldiers out of Iraq or improving the educational system or stopping the penal system from just grinding up lives uselessly, etc.”

    Alex, I think it could be argued that it’s more because the Democrats and Republicans form a nicely homogeneous but ultimately useless blob. Gotta love a one-party system.

  101. ladiesbane says:

    Ah, Terato: Janis may have Barbie sewn up, and become a glamorous aunt to JR. I like JR’s future as hellion, hoping that she takes after non-blood-family-member Lois. Lois is underrated, because she is carnally oriented; no one recalls the intertextual gourmand singing Edith Piaf to baby Rafael. Decadence is not synonymous with ignorance, even if theory does give her hives. (Someday I will bore the world with my “Calvin and Hobbes” theory of philosophy represented by D2WO4 character.)

    And Towheedork: mais certes, mon amie! Parsing is the fun part of the whole thing, non?

  102. Yasmin says:

    Ditto on missing Lois. She was one of my fav characters… now she’s close to gone. Remember that strip where there’s a big electrician Butch coming to fix something in the house, and then shows up in Lois’s room? I think it had something to do with Ginger’s dissertation… Anyway – I loved the way Lois operated on that one.

    And yes the joke was really about the choise of words in the phrase Bands to Watch Out For… I didn’t really browse the whole site… ex-gays are so boring.

  103. Josiah says:

    Stuart’s monologuing makes me feel better about my decision to stop posting here as much as I did a few months back. Because we guys can be domineering pricks even when our intentions are good.

  104. Alex the Bold says:

    Just an aside on the lesbians raising gay children question.

    You can fiddle with the percentages, but I’m going on the assumption that 1/10 of the population is gay.

    If hetero couples have a 90% “success” rate at raising hetero children.

    And, if gay couples also have a 90% success rate at raising hetero children (using the conclusions raised in previous posts).

    And, if out of all the couples, only about 5% are gay couples raising children, doesn’t that mean that a gay couple is 18 times better at raising “good, traditional” children than those hetero couples who are putting the fundamental, bedrock institution of marriage at risk by pumping out all their gay kids?

    Was that the sound of Mitt Romney’s head exploding?

  105. iara says:

    To be fair, people who “put their family first” are often found guilty of preaching and eliciting groans for their corny rituals. Maybe it is the mind-crushing routine of running a household, which comes with extras, like being responsible for upholding family or community traditions. I’ve tried it, and let me tell you, it can turn anyone into a monster of self-righteousness… and a familiar caricature from Hollywood movies. I like how AB gives us her uniquely subtle, intelligent, and infinitely more nuanced version of this scenario. Imagine the alternative: Stuart could be dying a terrible death and then his friends would realize that, yes, they would miss his stupid solstice ritual for what it did to bring them together.

  106. coolmama says:

    Last time I was fascinated by the hostility expressed towards Stuart, now I’m fascinated by the hostility expressed towards Toni. Yes, she moved to the suburbs. Does this make her a “conformist”? It seems to me she was always on the front lines in places like schools, summer camps — places where a huge amount of homophobic socialization takes place, and where none of the other characters ever lifted a finger. And she did it under the judgmental noses of other characters, who made exactly the same accusation: the mere fact of being in the suburbs marked her as a sell-out. I admire her for having had her own set of priorities, and following up on them even if that meant breaking from the crowd.

  107. gatheringwater says:

    Ian writes:
    “I believe we’re gay, not just β€˜cos we are, but β€˜cos we’re *meant* to be…”

    This is a new idea to me. Could you explain why you believe this? The idea that gay people are “meant to be” implies some purpose. What do you think that purpose is?

    Janine disheartened me by writing shortly before the Iowa caucuses:
    “I think it could be argued…the Democrats and Republicans form a nicely homogeneous but ultimately useless blob. Gotta love a one-party system.”

    I’ve had my share of political disappointments, too, but I’m pretty sure Al Gore wouldn’t have led America into the Iraq fiasco the way President Bush has. If there really is a dark side, I think it is where people feel so disenfranchised they start to think their votes don’t make a difference. Come back, Janine!

  108. an australian in london says:

    Jen K. I have been counting down to solstice to. Ugh. We do celebrate it in the southern hemisphere too, as it does get rather dark ‘down’ there at 40 degrees south in June. Obviously not quite as dark and cold as ‘up’ here at 50 degrees North in December, but I’m sure it gets very chilly in Chile. Anyway, when I’ve been to solstice bonfires in Melbourne nobody was saying how southern hemisphere centric it all was. We were just enjoying the pretty fire and rather pleased it wasn’t going to be so dark any more.

  109. oceans 111 says:

    Alex the Bold: percentages of a small group means the total _numbers_ of gay vs. straight children would be different, but the “success” rate is identical to that of the larger group. So in order for gay parents to be considered better at producing hetero-kids, the percent would have to be different.

    I’ll bet if researchers looked for “happy with whatever sexual identity they ended up with,” they’d find a higher success rate (no quotes on that one because it really is a good thing) in kids of gay parents.

  110. ready2agitate says:

    Ah Josiah, you are a breath of fresh air.

    It’s snowing heavily in Boston today. Gorgeous. Kitten in lap (I think she regularly fishes my dental floss from the trash and eats it, although I haven’t seen high or nigh of it in the litterbox…?), and time to catch up with the D2WOF blogosphere, my virtual feminist chat-group.

  111. anna says:

    OT: To the Cyndi Lauper fans… she’s not a lesbian, but is friends and family and an advocate. She just finished up a tour in support of GLBTQ(did I forget any letters?) rights.

  112. JenK says:

    Thanks, australian in london. πŸ™‚ You’re even darker than we are! (London is 51 degrees; Seattle is 47; Bangor, Maine, is 45… )

    I just find it a bit mindblowing that something that seems as universal as the solstice … isn’t. Yes, Australia has seasons too – but then there’s Singapore (1 degree) and others near the Equator. Fun, huh?

    Btw, I looked all this up when I reposted a version of this on my internal-to-my-company blog. Our offices are in London, New York, Seattle, and Singapore. So I wrote “Of course, London is below 8 hours of daylight already; New York doesn’t get below 9 hours; Singapore’s wondering what I’m talking about. πŸ™‚ ”

    And I posted to this strip, too πŸ™‚

  113. sweetpottoo says:

    In my Pagan micro-congregation, we had six people for our last Samhain ritual. We all spoke, and the second grader spoke last. He spoke for ten minutes about how school was going, other Pagan kids in his class, how much he enjoyed football at recess, and then concluded the whole ritual with the words “banana slug”. I loved it.

    Maybe Stuart could hand the next ritual over to JR and Raffi for a little hellraising.

    As for celebrating the Solstice, we Pagans really do understand that the sun will come back, scientifically. I’ve always felt Solstice was about trying to accept and learn from the dark months, to come to terms with the Crone. Much more about changing oneself than magically hauling a recalcitrant star back to the zenith of the heavens.

    On a different topic, I really enjoyed QKelly’s light-and-shadow spatial/symbolic analysis. I hadn’t noticed the light/dark pairs, or the erased space between Mo and Sydney, in the last panel, so I had an aha moment.

    I will say, as a visual artist, that arm foreshortening is bloody difficult, and worse when the subject is wearing puffy winter garments.

  114. calamityJ says:

    Josiah, own beloved dyketyke, it’s always good to hear from you!!

  115. shadocat says:

    Yeah, Josiah, we miss you on the MOC too!

  116. Erica says:

    I will just add my voice to the “We want more Lois!” chorus. Maybe if I had a biweekly Lois fix, I would transcend my swift-descending SAD and not need any solstice rituals…

  117. j.b.t. says:

    Yes, please! More Lois! And I really liked the warmth of the solstice ritual – here in MN (land of cruel weather) we need a reminder that the sun will come back and warmth will return.

    Thank you, as always, AB, for the strip.

    J.

  118. wondering says:

    There’s a few Lois looking characters in Fun Home…wondered about that a bit. Can’t say I’m a DTWOF researcher like the rest here. Just a casual reader.

  119. Emily says:

    I wonder if Alison doesn’t hate all this endless analyzing and snarking….

  120. Juliet says:

    Here in Birmingham, UK, we’re lucky to get 8 hours of daylight at the moment, as JenK pointed out. It’s miserable when the light starts to fade at 3pm. ugh.

    On a brighter note, a member of my friend-clan had a baby last night. The moon was a beautiful, perfect crescent. I was cycling home watching it and thought I’d take a photo so Nina would know what the moon looked like when she was born. By the time I got home all I got was photos of the dark clouds, which I guess if you’re born in the UK is at least authentic…

    New moon, new life, new year. πŸ™‚

  121. Alex K says:

    It was a beautiful moon, wasn’t it? Thanks for letting me see it one more time before that memory slips away.

    Even if all it shone on was our Sainsbury’s and the stands along the football pitch, it still was lovely.

  122. dzieger says:

    re: Cyndi Lauper: you’d think she’d be on the Christiban shit list just for “She Bop.”

  123. Virginia Burton says:

    QKelly and others~that’s not Sparrow’s hand in the final panel; it’s Stuart’s. He’s snapping his fingers to keep time.

  124. judybusy says:

    Hey all, as another Minnesotan, I have never bothered to count the daylit hours this time of year. Denial can be pretty useful, if used in moderation! Also, I think the last two eps have been just incredible for moving along the story line, which had lately seemed to be as slow as rush hour traffic on 35W South.

  125. Alex the Bold says:

    oceans 111,

    I’m not talking about the percentages or about “success” rates, per se. I’m talking about how ridiculous the whole claim of non-hetero marriage being a threat to hetero marriages.

    Say there’s only 1000 couples in the world. 100 of them are not hetero. 900 of them are hetero.

    Each couple produces 3 children.

    Children from non-hetero couples: 300.
    Children from hetero couples: 2700.

    Now, if 10 percent of each group’s children are non-hetero, that means that non-hetero couples produced 30 non-hetero children. The hetero couples produced 180 non-hetero children.

    Those children, of course, will have children of their own, and the same rules will apply. Each time, hetero couples will produce far more non-hetero children than non-hetero couples will produce.

    Therefore, any politician who talks about “threats” to hetero marriage ought to point out that the biggest source of non-hetero children (numberwise) is hetero couples.

    In order to save marriage, it became necessary to destroy it.

  126. oceans 111 says:

    Alex the BOld,

    I see what you’re getting at. Not that math (or any other logic) ever persuaded a right-wing nut to change its mind. The swing people, who’ve never really thought about it, might be amenable.

  127. ksbel6 says:

    I just think it is funny that politicians like to point to the gay population as a possible chain in the destruction of marriage. Marriage was started as a form of slavery and what has destroyed marriage is the liberation of women. Gays and lesbians didn’t/don’t have anything to do with it. It turns out that women don’t like to be treated as property and as soon as they have the fiscal power to make it on their own, they do.

  128. The Cat Pimp says:

    While I can kind of understand why Lois has settled in with her new little family (she had a whole story arc about prozac and depression and what it did to her libido – she was clearly at a crossroads in her life and it involved her love life), I’d like to see some light shed on her current life and how she has changed from the rakish woman she once was into a wonderful parental figure for Janis. Also, its time for her to get a new hairstyle. =8-)

  129. Alex the Bold says:

    I just realized. In the only panel in which we see Lois’ face, she looks like hell.

    Alison, am I misjudging? Is she just supposed to look like she’s a little bored and tired? Or does she really look like she’s about to sit down and burst into tears?

  130. mlk says:

    Alex the Bold,

    looks to me like Lois is just tired and/or bored. I expect she started zoning out a few sentences into Stuart’s ritual and was completely gone by the time Sydney spoke up.

    maybe that’s why she isn’t shown shooting daggers at Sydney in the lower left panel . . .

  131. ready2agitate says:

    Where’s Samia?

    Also, doesn’t Janis look pretty pudgy the first time we see her in this episode? She looks …slimmer? (and more like Janis) later on. At first I thought AB is adjusting for what MTF hormones can do vis-a-vis weight gain, and then I thought it was just a moment, uh, not-so-aptly drawn.

    I also thought Lois looked bored, kind of stuck there – Ginger has the same expression. I miss Lois, too, btw.

  132. corybant says:

    Samia is under Ginger’s speech balloon in the first panel.

  133. Montrealais says:

    BTW, with reference to the Global North comment, you’re absolutely right — and that’s why neopagans in the southern hemisphere celebrate their festivals with six months to those in the northern hemisphere, so they celebrate midsummer in December and midwinter in June, as is appropriate!

  134. Aulton Smith (real name) says:

    Bataillean? Talk about making us work for it! Thanks, I’m a student of surrealism, but somehow missed Bataille.

  135. Lauren Zito says:

    Love extra deep cross hatching! Very Crumb! Nice episode. Nice to see people still coming together in spite of problems. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  136. Ellen O. says:

    I am sending out my very last 1990 Alison Bechdel Solstice Greetings card to a smart, hot, dyke artist down the block.

    Called “Too Many Cooks,” it features four women in a small kitchen: one is chopping vegetables, another punches dough, a third forages in the fridge (whisk in back pocket), while a forth opens the oven to plumes of smoke. Plus there’s a dog licking up a raw egg from the floor.

    That pretty much sums up my ideal for the holidays.

  137. Bella says:

    I’m thinking: Samia+Ginger+ Clarice = Threesome?

    (Aw, I’ve just been watching too much Tila Tequila.)

  138. Ally says:

    I just want to say to you all who are critiquing AB’s drawing, remember how happy we are to have strips every two weeks!!

  139. Emily says:

    I love these strips – and most of the time, I really enjoy what you guys have to say even though I don’t post very often. But my god, someone has to say it…you guys are totally over analyzing these strips. Especially the last two. Everyone’s college psych 101 take on everything Stewart said downward spiraling into an attack on those two poor mothers and how they dressed there children (by the way – maybe their boys like rugby jerseys and their girl likes flower dresses. As a liberal lesbian, I’m all for letting kids be healthy – even if they are gender bending, but doesn’t that mean letting them stay true to themselves even if they are taking on traditional gender roles??) was bad enough. Now you guys are critiquing AB’s talents…going so far as to imply that she is getting sloppy with her drawings. Give me a break. Some of you have a lot to offer this discussion board. Others of you, pardon me, but you should really get a life.

  140. Alex K says:

    Two small items –

    1) “the longest night of the year”. Standing in the cold, listening to Stuart witter on about, well, Stuart-y concerns. Long indeed.

    2) Sparrow’s little smile as Stuart begins to sing. Whatever we all may think of him, she likes him. Is he goofy? Yes. (Look at Cynthia’s eyebrows and the twist of her mouth!) But Sparrow likes him. As Ng said, “She’s cool with it.”

    Let’s just all roll our eyes and head inside for some mulled wine, eh?

  141. Jaibe says:

    I like that people are together but distancing themselves with gossip. People talk about technology distancing people (see Sparrow on the cell phone) but the last panel makes the point that it isn’t about technology. And I think the whole strip makes the point that to be together sometimes requires allowing mental distance.

    Interesting that this a fairly atheist strip. People still seek closeness, but the one person trying to be spiritual is being ignored largely. Sydney pays Stuart a compliment by at least critiquing him, like when Cindy was the only one paying attention to Ginger in lecture.

  142. Cynthia-Symp says:

    Ellen O.,

    Glad someone still has (or had until this weekend) a vintage AB solstice greeting card. I thought I had one left, too, but alas I guess it is gone!

  143. Fatigues says:

    Oh, That winter darkness!

    Here in Norway it’s almost no daylight at all, and people who have gone to North-Norway have actually lost it because of the weather, since it’s nearly impossible to aclimate to.
    So, winter depression is common in here, it’s something I’ve had to learn to deal with every year in order to do anything at all. But still, in the beginning of the winter I get depressed and fall asleep in the middle of the day or actually break down and cry.

    So I can understand how they feel when they take to these rituals.

    A very well composed strip. Love it.

  144. markmaker says:

    Alex the Bold’s math is toooo funny. I’m going to have to memorize this so I can drop it on somebody at some crucial moment…

    As for the validity of the ritual… I think it is valid. I think them all standing around outside listening to somebody talk about larger connections in life (regardless of said persons genitals) and looking a little bored or chilly or distracted… that’s what it is! That, for me, has always been part of what it was about. A hyper-real moment. Not a moment when we are somehow other or better than our usual selves, but an intense clarity of our real selves and our real lifes, revisited slowly over the course of a year. 8 times, 8 weather patterns, 8 moments of standing outside for 10 to 70 minutes and being exactly who we are, exactly where we are. It’s a lovely stitching together of the slow revolutions of time.

    If I had one photo from each holiday ritual I’ve been to over the years, I’d have a delightful record of my life as it slowly rolls forward. The seasons would be the constants, and certain people would stand out as stable, and others would be more ephemeral, though not necessarily less cherished. Some of my attempts at self improvement would be noticeable, others… not so much.

    Love to you all! Have a wonderful end of the year (if it is the end of your year)

  145. Andrew B says:

    Jaibe, I like what you said about Sydney being the only one to take Stuart seriously by arguing with him. It’s specifically a recovering Catholic strip, don’t you think? Some people get together to listen to somebody blather on about spiritual verities, but everybody knows that what really matters is that they’ve gathered to participate in the ritual. What’s being said is irrelevant, as is individual assent or dissent. The hero is the person who insists on the importance of her individual understanding, and thus insists on taking the others seriously, whether they like it or not.

    That is, Alison is Martin Luther. Can you see why I’d empathize with someone who insists on taking everything too seriously?

    I still like the way Alison identifies Sydney with the dark, and identifies the dark with youth and possibility — look at Raffi’s and Janis’s jackets in the last panel. Mo is lucky to hang onto her.

    And I like the way Alison satirizes the spiritual blather while still acknowledging that it does bring people together, and the value of coming together like that.

  146. rosazamozny says:

    I’ve been reading this strip since I was fifteen and closeted… I remember when Clarice went into that depression over bush…and feeling the exact same way. This strip was my suplimental education on all things lesbian.

    I’m a huge fan of Lois throughout this particular entry. The subtle detail of her charecter is wonderful.

  147. Gwen says:

    Is it too late for me to add my two cents? I’d love to see more of Lois and Janis.

  148. Anonymous says:

    Wow…
    I kind of feel more than a little dissed over everyone making fun of the pagan ritual, since it isn’t too different from what I do. The winter solstice ritual I hold is on of the only things that keeps me going after having moved very far north, and it is partly about a celebration of the light coming back after this horrific descent into darkness which brings on massive depression for me, and partly a metaphor for reminding myself and those who come that no matter how dark things get, there is always a point at which it will turn around. I don’t see Stu being preachy at all during this. In fact if the people who came to mine were as rude as the people who came to his, I would find it hard not to have afit even though as a hostess I should not do such things. If they don’t want to be there, why are they there?

  149. shadocat says:

    Because they’re his friends,and they want to be supportive (even though he acts like a jerk sometimes!)

  150. liza says:

    I’m waiting for the gang to give Stuart the smackdown he deserves. By my count, eight women, three kids, and the only man in the group is the one monopolizing the ritual. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than participate in any ritual, so I’m no expert, but shouldn’t it be just a tad more participatory?

    Good for Sydney for challenging him, but really, why they don’t all walk away and go inside to chat is beyond me.

  151. Ellen O. says:

    As always, conflict creates story.

    We don’t know if Stuart has been monopolizing the whole time (if you want to imagine a “before” and “after” here) or if, theoretically, others have spoken before him or will speak after the last panel. But I get the impression that everyone’s here for socializing and is putting up with Stuart’s 15 minutes because he is part of the gang.

    Unrelated, I heard that historian Allan BΓ©rubΓ© died last week. His 1990 book, __Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two__ had a big impact on queer politics and social change. Here is a link: http://gaynewsbits.com/2007/12/15/scholars-praise-allan-berube-gay-pioneer/

  152. Duncan says:

    Anonymous, I make fun of all religious rituals. And non-religious but quasi- rituals too, like Masonic stuff. I also make fun of silly fellow atheists. And of myself, when I have time. It’s a busy life. So, don’t expect special privileges of not getting dissed because you’re a pagan, okay? It’s still a religion, and religions should be mocked, dissed, pointed at and rude noises made, just to keep them from getting above themselves.

    love,
    Duncan

  153. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ellen, thanks for the news about Allan. I didn’t know he had died. I knew him in SF; his niece and my daughter were close. He did his original work scrupulously, without funding or establishment support (but the undying admiration of his community), even as his lover was dying of AIDS. A gentle, smart, service-oriented, genuinely feminist man.

  154. geogeek says:

    Fresh Air re-broadcast a short interview with Berube from several years back this week. He had some interesting things to say, particularly when the interviewer asked him how he had gotten interested in military social history after being a conciencious (ack! a word I have never been able to spell)objector.

  155. byrdie says:

    Waaaay back, around the time that Digger was put down, I remember that a small group of the characters were discussing how they’d lapsed a bit politically. One asked if anyone had gone to Pride that year, and everyone said no … except Stuart.

    Sometimes I think that Stuart’s perceived domination of the DTWOF community isn’t power-mad as much as it is picking up what he perceives as slack. In trying to fit in, he may have taken the stance of attempting to out-dyke the dykes. Does anyone remember that conversation that he and Ginger had about whether or not he’s a “butch dyke” or a “soft butch” inside?

    Yes, Stuart does need some social skills training, but I think his heart is in the right place. I really wish that someone would take him to task, though. I’ve noticed that often in this strip we see very contrasting viewpoints, but we don’t often see comfortable compromise.

    Then again, as someone here may have pointed out earlier, without conflict there really isn’t much of a story.

  156. ready2agitate says:

    Geogeek,

    Conscientious has a word looks kinda like “science” in the middle of it, but with ‘tious at the end (like facetious). ‘Least that’s how I ‘member it. πŸ™‚ ~spellgeek

  157. Jeffa says:

    Liza – They are all adults, after all, aren’t they? Can you think of any group of women anywhere, real or fictional, who would be LESS inclined to let some man monopolize their solstice ritual than the DTWOF? He is a member of their community with, for all intents and purposes, equal status, and it seems as though he was the one who planned and organized the ritual for everyone. Not one person around that bonfire looked disgruntled to me – I actually got the impression that most of them were amused at Stuart’s efforts to impart a sense of ceremony to the proceedings, while at the same time still being somewhat interested in what he was saying, despite themselves. Did you also notice that when one woman did open her mouth and throw her two cents in, the other women did most definitely not raise their voices in collective support for the lone dissenter? Frankly, they all looked quite peeved at the interruption. As for going inside and chatting, I’m sure they all did that after the ritual was over, Stuart included – that’s usually what people do AFTER rituals, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Pagan, whatever. Do you really expect our dykes to be so incredibly rude as to accept an invitation to a ritual, obviously with a fairly clear understanding as to what that ritual entailed, and then just walk away from their host right in the middle of the ritual to go inside and chat? Just because the ringleader happens to be a man? My goodness – that whole picture just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I wouldn’t even expect it of Sydney. I thought that the strip was one of the warmest of recent months, as far as a community connection among our beloved characters – were we reading the same strip?

  158. liza says:

    Not because just because he’s a man, but also because they seem bored out of their minds. I’m not sure that excusing themselves is less polite than standing around chatting, talking on the cellphone or listening to ipods and generally ignoring the ritual.

    Seems like Sydney was the only one truly paying attention.

  159. Kahuna Burger says:

    If you accept an invite to a ritual, you respect that ritual. If you are bored out of your mind, annoyed by intellectual inconsistency or feeling politically put upon, you bitch about it in your lj the next day and don’t accept the next invite. Honestly, it seems sexist to me that some people here think that Stu should be given less respect as a host because he’s a man. He did exactly the right thing in simply ignoring Sydney’s rude interjection (wonder what sort of sarcastic comments she made at her father’s second wedding when the vows weren’t intellectually rigorous).

    I have to work an overnight shift this solstice, so it will be my first year in a while without some sort of observance. On the other hand, I’ll be in the (artificial) light for the whole night, so that’s something in itself.

  160. ready2agitate says:

    Light is returning
    Even though this is the darkest hour
    No one can hold back the dawn.

    Let’s keep it burning
    Let’s keep the light of hope alive
    Grandmother is calling her children home.

    That’s one version of a popular Pagan Solstice song. It probably makes some D2WOF bloggers squirm, some sneer, other roll their eyes, some feel a sense of hope & belonging, some a familiar sense of home, and others a combination of all of the above.

    Doesn’t really seem like anyone in our crowd on-panel is singing this one, but it’d interesting to poll our collective reactions to such a “poem.”

  161. bean says:

    as far as the gang being sexist towards stewart, i finally agree that it’s high time that someone educated those ignorant and oppressive women. and stewart needs some kind of empowerment training; maybe there are books he can read, robert bly or something, to help him get his strength back, help him get more in touch with his rights as a man, so that no group of lesbians can ever oppress him again. does anyone know of any resources available to men who are victims of blatant sexist attacks such as this one? maybe he can form a consciousness raising group with the guys to discuss the ways in which the women are keeping them down. they can do it on monday nights during the commercials. maybe a men-against-female-sexism movement can get started, change the world. men can burn their ties and jock straps. the possibilities for men gaining (even more) economic, political and social power are endless!

  162. hetero genus says:

    Emily, thank you: You very succinctly clarified a point i was unable to express clearly. Though there is something to be said for the virual reams of self expression continuing communication. Happy Holidays, all of them, to one and all.

  163. hetero genus says:

    Checked out your link, Yasmin, that is quite funny. Tom Waits and Ravi Shankar are honorary gay bands, i suppose. Though they did include other categories (in parenthese), like the Grateful Dead for (drugs), the Doors, presumably for the same reason, and George Michaels, for being (from Texas), which proves they are trying to warn and protect us from a variety of influences. Had we only heeded that last one. (apologies to those hailing from the lone start state)

  164. Maggie Jochild says:

    Good one, bean.

    Those who can’t bear to think (or read about) power dynamics on an institutional level can stay tuned in to the morning TV shows, where everything remains comfortingly circa 1958.

    And ready2agitate, thanks for the solstice song. A wonderful tonic during this campaign era of Onward Christian Soldiers.

  165. liza says:

    Let’s start a new movement. No more speaking directly or honestly to our friends when we think they are out of line. No more uppity dykes oppressing the nice men who are only trying to educate us about pagan rituals or our food choices. They’re only doing it for our own good, after all, and we wouldn’t want to oppress them. Or worse, be rude to them with our annoying comments.

    Charge up your iPods, folks. We’ve got massive amounts of ignoring to do.

  166. ready2agitate says:

    Bean, Hee! Actch, I think there’s lots of the groups you describe out there. The problem they seek to address? Women are emasculating men! – march on Washington!

    OK, snarking aside, we can still sometimes talk about gender bias/prejudice toward men, even though we (women) are the ones oppressed under patriarchy & sexism.

  167. Emily says:

    Hetero, thanks for understanding what I was getting at. I think the debate that goes on here is great. And as a piece of art, I think any of AB’s panels are open for critique – lest we forget that AB makes a living off of these strips by selling them to periodicals and selling them as books. Yet, she is providing them to us essentially free of charge.
    I just think in the midst of scrutinizing every last word that is said by our beloved characters, someone, anyone, might take the opportunity to ask _AB_ what _she_ meant. Because, really, I think we can all agree that the buck stops there. And I also feel that the generous nature by which we receive our bi-monthly fix, it’s really bold of anyone to imply that ABs drawing talents are not up to par – an accusation for which I, personally, see no basis. Lastly, these are comic strips – so whatever amount of conflict or politics (gender or otherwise) AB injects into these strips, she creates them for the enjoyment of the community who reads them – and some of you spend so much time scrutinizing every last line drawn and pronoun written that you can really suck the enjoyment right out of it. Which, again, is why I don’t post very often. I just felt it needed to be said. Take it or leave it.

  168. ready2agitate says:

    Awwww Emily, cut us some slack. This is all in fun. I think AB knows what an intense and often neurotic bunch we all are. She herself has said that she does not always know what her characters will do and think and become. I assume she takes everything on her blog with a very large grain of salt. We adore her. We adore the strip. We adore debating one another. We adore our community. We missed it terribly when the strip went to once a month, but we adored reminiscing over the old ones.

    I guess I was the one who questioned why Janis looked pudgy in the first panel and then much thinner by the end of the episode, so your comment is directed to me. It’s just something I noticed. I well know that Alison’s artwork and her comic narratives are stellar and perhaps the best in her field. The whole world has now acknowledged this. She is a gift to the universe and I have said so. I have been reading the strip for 20 years. I am Alison’s (& the D2WO4 crew’s) peer by age. I have friends who went to Oberlin with Alison. I have seen her speak several times over the decades. I did NOT mean to diss her. I think she can take my comment for what its worth (snarky or simply observational). But I am sorry if it offended you.

    As for “get a life” – I find your comment hurtful if not hostile. I will avoid making a similar comeback. This is a kind of leisure for me. My life is full of pains and pleasures and is in fact quite full. But I am currently in a job search, so I have the time to hang out on the blog, as a break from the daily stress of job-hunting. I love many of the different voices who post here. If it is irksome to you to read all of the comments (and yes, some can be inane), then just skip them — like you say: take it or leave it. But don’t put us down. Let it roll off your back like a duck. It’s no sweat off your brow to let us have our fun and be who we are: Ever-adoring D2WO4-spawned bloggers.

    Respectfully,

    Ready2

  169. Ellen O. says:

    Ready2 —

    Sometimes when I catch my profile in a photo or a mirror, my face looks huge. So much cheek. This might be part of the “pudgy” issue with that first pic of Janis. Also, the fur collar is a little lower here than in the other pic.

    (Gosh, this feels like a “Can you spot six differences between these two pictures?” game.)

    I’m another long-time reader. The first Dykes collection was the first queer book I read after coming out. That, then Beebo Brinker, both of which I’d found at Beebo’s Books, a now defunct used bookstore in Louisville Colorado, owned by a very helpful lesbian.

    Long live Dykes and Happy Solstice everyone…

  170. Andrew B says:

    Emily, I’m sorry to hear that excessive analysis makes the strips less enjoyable for you. Given that I’m probably one of the guilty parties, I want to say (1) believe it or not, I edit myself fairly heavily and (2) please, skip my posts. Nothing I have to say is interesting enough to be worth ruining the pleasures of the strip.

    Regarding how Alison makes a living, there is a Paypal link on the home page. There is also a page that suggests a one dollar donation per strip, or $26/year. (Click on “Support this Site” on the home page.) Some peoples’ finances are very tight, but I feel those who read the strip here regularly and can afford it ought to donate.

    Incidentally, Alison, Katie, somebody, you need to update the “Support this Site” page to reflect the return to a biweekly schedule.

  171. Andrew B says:

    And I meant to say to all you upside down Southern Hemisphere type people, Happy Midsummer! (One of these days I hope one of you will explain how you keep from falling off.)

  172. morris da kat says:

    Gosh, and I just finished reading “The Solar Anus”

  173. Emily says:

    Ready2,

    This is really my last post on the topic, but I did want to apologize for the get a life comment. It was completely directed towards those posters who are so intensely scrutinizing Stewart’s comments and then threatening anyone who disagrees with them of being part of the patriarchal machine. I just think if AB is trying to prove a point, her characters are a means to an end. If it weren’t for the conflict of the story lines, the story wouldn’t move in the fashion that so many of us Dyke fans love. But you are correct. It was an inappropriate statement, and I am completely willing to agree with that and apologize.

  174. Anonymous says:

    Greetings from sunny northern CA,to which I have temporarily escaped from rainy Portland,OR. I’m celebrating the holidays with my sister and her family. We had our own homemade Solstice ceremony at the house last night,and included the Solstice song posted above. More singing and reading out loud in front of the Yule tree,with not a single eye role or snarky remark,made for a special night. The only thing missing was hot mulled cider,but we were too tired to make it.

  175. Flossy says:

    I wonder who has phoned Sparrow, and is it a clue for later? I mean since the action is right in the center where we can’t help but notice.

  176. Greg says:

    This strip made my day, largely because Syndey says “Bataillean.”

  177. (Sir Real) says:

    My own winter solstice ritual, inspired by a passage in Joanna Russ’s 1970 SF opus _The Female Man_, is to go out and holler “Sun! Come back! Please!” A recent addition, “Kthxbai”. Not at all community-building, I guess, but then I am a misanthropist as well as a free-lance pagan.

    I recall one dedications page by AB in an early DTWOF collection, wherein she thanked her friends for indulging her passion for endlessly psychoanalyzing the DTWOF characters. I’d like to think that this comment section continues that activity. (However I suppose that custom may’ve rendered that pleasure stale, by now!)

  178. Fatigues says:

    HAHA Liza, i’m totally with you! πŸ™‚

  179. SKA says:

    “Here comes the sun, doo do do do…” hehe are you a Unitarian?

  180. Sora RYu says:

    love this strip…can’t wait til u start again