DTWOF episode #519

January 8th, 2008 | Strip Archive

519 detail

What’s a pro-war lesbian to do? Cynthia throws her hat in the ring…then immediately withdraws it.

172 Responses to “DTWOF episode #519”

  1. ShelleyAlb says:

    Oh, I can’t believe I’m the first to read this episode (now I feel the excitement)!

    Having experienced some of very interesting versions of coitus interuptus lately (critters, service people, house guests, burning pressure cookers, etc.), I empathize with the girls. I say do it in front of the housemate (that could be projection on my part…)!!

  2. Cadence says:

    Poor Cynthia. When is she gonna come towards the light? If only so she can get laid?

  3. 123Go says:

    It’s so nice to be back to the two-week rhythm – the storytelling is really great when it can focus on fewer people / events in each strip – I feel reconnected to the characters!

  4. lion's paw says:

    Love the “Fun Couch”. Heaven knows where you must get your creative inspiration!

  5. JenOnt says:

    Cynthia is so (wonderfully) aggravating! Who flees a party because someone they talk to disagrees with them?! As a poli sci student isn’t she used to arguing her case with anyone (and likely everyone lately). Mind you, I’ve been the schlumpy third wheel house mate so I’m probably projecting aggro along with ShellyAlb…

  6. HB says:

    Rudy 2008? You’ve got to try a little harder with your “straw women,” I don’t think even any republicans really take Rudy seriously anymore…

  7. Karen says:

    Never heard that one before. Recharge my ferret. LOL!

    I have to say that Cynthia is one of my all-time favourite characters in the strip. She’s so full of conflicts… I like that. (In a character, anyway… not so much in a real person, especially if I have to rely on them in some way.) It makes for so many ironies, mini-tragedies, and dramatic possibilities. She’s like a reality check, too… every American, and even every American lesbian, is not a granola-munching lefty, and it was mature and ballsy of Alison to personalize that fact in the form of a fully-developed character.

    You’re always wondering, also… will she ever see the light? And hoping she will. Similar with Sydney; is it possible that she’ll stop being a cad?

    They won’t, of course. Alison is wise and knows people don’t generally change… besides, that’d be the end of that source of dramatic tension.

    Still, I’d love to be surprised. Hope springs eternal…

    Love & peace,
    Karen

  8. nycreb says:

    love, love love the upside down science news, and the obscure reference to venus flytrap turgidity, LOL.

  9. fiona biswaps says:

    Ummm, what does recharge my ferret mean? Is it some kind of gay slang that me and the wife aren’t aware of? Please enlighten….

  10. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Good question, Fiona. I just figured that the ferret reference was some ironic reference to smelly hippie stereotypes, but I guess that doesn’t explain the bit about recharging it.

  11. jayinchicago says:

    AB should hook me up with the dude in the background of panel 6.

  12. Cynthia-Symp says:

    I adore Cynthia and her willingness to speak truth to potential partner. Jill, Mass Communications, needs to learn to mass up her communications–we have to stop restricting our conversations to people we agree with (or assume we’ll agree with).

    Doesn’t her university have a Homeland Security department (more and more colleges do)? She might find a nice right-thinking girl a great rack there.

  13. Cynthia-Symp says:

    She might find a nice right-thinking girl WITH a great rack there.

    that is.

  14. Jana C.H. says:

    I love Samia’s expression–and hair!–in the final panel. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen Samia not being in total control of herself. It’s comforting to know that hot Syrian lesbians get frazzled, too!

    Cynthia supports Rudy? Wouldn’t Huckabee be more her style? No, Rudy makes sense. Cynthia is in a bind: all the religious Repubs are seriously anti-gay. Rudy is the only one left for her. Or maybe Ron Paul. For Cynthia, gayness trumps religion, through it’s not easy on her. She will probably be the most interesting character in the strip to follow through the 2008 elections.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith JcH: If I can’t have Big Al, gimme Little John!

  15. 'Ff'lo says:

    I had to look up “acronymous.” 🙂

  16. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Although I don’t lerrrrve Cynthia, I do like the way she’s able to point out the little hypocrisies of PC culture (yes, it IS a problem that Iran is executing queer people and that many Islamic governments would happily do the same… No, that does NOT mean we oughta invade them.) AB should draw her carrying some spoonerised version of Irshad Manji’s “The Trouble With Islam Today”.

  17. Mer says:

    Oh GAHD. I am totally in agreement with the zeitgeist that Cynthia just needs to get laid, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll help much. She’s a virgin, so she won’t know her ass from her elbow, and chances are her chosen belusted will be be a college kid, which is almost as bad. Their sex shall be lame, and Cynthia will immediately be thrown into existential crisis over the whole thing and start questioning her choices and her sexuality because she thinks she has to.

    Unless she is somehow seduced by a tallented older lady, there is absolutely no way for her first time to end well. Poor girl.

  18. Cynthia-Symp says:

    Hmm, maybe in a few months’ time a presidential candidate will appear on campus and Cynthia will lock eyes with someone in the Secret Service detail. If I think Secret Service agents are haut, you know Cynthia will!

  19. Aranea says:

    What does the A stand for in LGBTQA – Alternative? Asexual? (surely not Abstinent?)

  20. JenK says:

    You know, I can SO see Mo ragging against so-called progressives who Demonize Bush and tiptoe around Islamic fundamentalism. And Cynthia doesn’t come out FOR invasion per se – although I will concede that “taking a hard line” can imply that.

    That said, I could see Cynthia staying at the party. But the looks on Ginger and Samia’s faces tells me /why/ Cynthia had to leave … 😉

  21. ksbel6 says:

    Just for the record Mer, some people have wonderful sex in college, it is the high school years that are awkward 😉

  22. jayinchicago says:

    A is for allies.

  23. Jana C.H. says:

    I dunno, Mer. First-time sex doesn’t have to be inept. Some of us learn well from books. I seem to remember my first sweetie thinking I was impressive, for a beginner.

    As my grandmother said, if you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle

  24. Jaibe says:

    There must be more than one dyke conservative, even at grad school. Maybe Cynthia should really put her money where her mouth is and join the military. (For that matter, how is the CIA?)

  25. Blushing Girl says:

    Here in Northern California it’s LGBTQQI (the usual, plus queer, questioning, and inter-sex). What, pray tell, does the “A” represent? It is really “Allies”?

    p.s. The thumb in the ninth panel threw me… I kept thinking it was a nipple. That was kind of hot for the moment. Then I figured out it was her thumb and she was still wearing her turtleneck. But hey, clothed frottage can definitely be hot too.

  26. Kate L says:

    Back in the late 70’s, I actually sent a job application in to the Central Intelligence Agency. I promptly forgot all about it, until one evening weeks later, when I received a phone call at home from a CIA recruiter. He wanted me to drive 80 miles to where he happened to be, so he could interview me. I realized that would place my CIA job interview right around midnight, and I turned him down. It would have been just too weird. I eventually took a job as a petroleum geologist with a major international oil company, but I only stayed with them a few years. They are the only major oil company with their headquarters in San Francisco, but that’s not where I was.

  27. lurking DTWOF fan says:

    I just love how the nametags give them an excuse to stare at each others’ chests.

  28. K.B. says:

    You could recharge the battery in one of these ferrets, I’m sure:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferret_armoured_car

  29. April says:

    My guess would be A for Ally, yes. Any other options? Applesauce? Agency? Androgynous?

  30. Feminista says:

    I like the way Cynthia’s Rudy button is obscured when she first meets Jill. This was also a clever device to bring up the primaries,which there are a record number of this year.What does Cynthia think that’s all about? Or what do y’all think?

    I admit I was puzzled but amused at “recharge my ferrets.” Maybe she meant to say feed my ferrets or recharge my cellphone,but got flustered. On the other hand,they could have gotten in a huge argument which ended by Cynthia getting kicked out for throwing pizza at the wall and/or Jill…

    Regarding Islamic fundamentalists’ homophobia: I think many progressives are aware of that. However,as is the case in the U.S.,we need to separate the people of a country from its government.

    Yes,the A stands for Allies. I’m one of ’em.

  31. LondonBoy says:

    lurking DTWOF fan: “I just love how the nametags give them an excuse to stare at each others’ chests.”
    LondonBoy: (collapses into a fit of giggles)

    Oh I love this strip. What I most love is how Samia and Ginger are turning into Clarice and Toni in the early days. I can remember when C and T would have been playing around like that. Perhaps, though, remembering their last appearance, they may yet do so again…

    As usual, also loving every moment with Cynthia. I just want to teach her all I’ve learnt about being gay and right-wing. It can be done, but you’ve got to be a little less overt about it. She reminds me of me when I was her age.

    Finally, has anyone else here noticed that our Ng Yi-Sheng is probably *THE* Ng Yi-Sheng ( the poet ) ? Take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8jMS-Eqjzw
    He’s cute, too.

  32. jayinchicago says:

    This LGBTA/etc discussion is kind of interesting. Do allies really belong in the acronym?…because they don’t get enough recognition in the larger world? because they’d feel left out otherwise? actually, it’s not an acronym strictly, but an initialism. acronyms are pronounced as words–NATO, LASER, you get the point.
    Um, and I mistook that thumb for a nipple as well. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how she got her shirt back on so quickly.

  33. Melisende says:

    I’m soooooo glad the strip is again bi-weekly!
    The ferret reference is Alison’s gentle way of reminding us that Rudy went off on a ferret owner during his radio call-in show while he was mayor. Rudy told the ferret owner that he was mentally disturbed and urged him to get professional help, but said it in a non-serious, snarky and sarcastic way.

  34. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Mer-

    Maybe Cynthia can have a threesome with Mary Cheney and Heather Poe! They’re older, experienced, and share Cynthia’s love for warmongering lunatic politicians!

    Something tells me lil’ miss Giuliani cheerleader is going to be very disappointed after the Florida primary.

  35. Silvio Soprani says:

    Whoa! Between the several hundred of us we can figure out any reference!

    Melisende, that is very interesting about the ferret. You’re probably right. I am embarassed to say that I thought “recharging the ferret” was a sarcastic reference to her state-of-the-art “self-massager…” oops.

    And London Boy, good find! “Our Ng Yi-Sheng” is not only cute, but a kick-ass performer!

  36. Grisha says:

    Com’on AB. Cynthia needs to find someone. Actually I think an FBI Agent would be great. They’re more upright, but less uptight, than the agency folks.

  37. LondonBoy says:

    How about giving Cynthia a nice girl from north London? I have someone perfect in mind: she’s (slightly lapsed) jewish, maternal in a young-Harriet sort of way, is a demon on the dance-floor, and is just completing a master’s in criminology. All we need is a machine capable of converting flesh-and-blood into paper-and-ink and the problem is solved.

    Of course, if we had such a machine, there might be a queue to use it…

  38. Lee says:

    “Then I figured out it was her thumb and she was still wearing her turtleneck.”

    Actually, I think it’s Samia’s pinky. No matter whose finger it is; it’s on a nice place.

  39. Ellen O. says:

    I thought “recharge my ferret” was akin to “go walk my dog” or “go feed my cat,” an excuse to leave the situation. I found it funny, in an oddball way, even if I didn’t know the background.

    Here in Boulder, A is for Allies. Sometimes these allies (or, perhaps, in these primary times, “Undecideds”) are parents, siblings or friends of queer folks. Depending upon the purpose of the gathering, Allies can benefit educationally, socially, or economically.

    Also, I think Alison is just having fun with the bevy of letters.

  40. Andrew B says:

    I like “cosmogenic”. It sounds like it ought to mean tending to create new universes. I looked it up, and reality is of course more prosaic. Still, it turns out Samia isolates rare radioisotopes that allow her to give a precise date to very ancient events. There’s a kind of poetry to that.

    I also like the little heart between Ginger and Anubis in panel 4.

  41. martinet says:

    “My guess would be A for Ally, yes. Any other options? Applesauce? Agency? Androgynous?”

    I suspect that “Allies” is right, but my first guess was “Answering”–to go with “Questioning.” Made sense to me, and I liked the balance of it.

    Add me to the nipple camp, also–I didn’t re-interpret it as a finger/nail, though; I thought it was the stone of a ring on the hand that was flat against the sofa.

  42. Jana C.H. says:

    Andrew B.– “Samia isolates rare radioisotopes that allow her to give a precise date to very ancient events.”

    I was just reading about that sort of thing fifteen minutes ago in a book about hydrothermal vents. It’s a popularization, so the author has to start out with the entire history of the study of plate tectonics, including how to date rocks. (“Well, how about Saturday, then?”)

    I need to re-subscribe to Science News.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Will Cuppy: I forget exactly why Rome fell. It was probably just one of those things.

  43. JenOnt says:

    Wha’? I think it’s Samias pinkie finger–there’s only three fingers and a thumb… the spacing between the ring and pinkie though, to me, indicates that those wanting nipple involvement in this frame shouldn’t be disappointed!

  44. iara says:

    My two cents for Cynthia’s cause: how about a girlfriend who is a computer geek: she aspires to work for the FBI, but not because she is right wing, or cares anything about law enforcement, but because she is really into computer forensics. Though mildly liberal in a shallow sense, she does not care enough about politics to mind Cynthia’s views, and Cynthia is ok with that except for occasionally wishing she could have a real conversation. So, even though things are going pretty well, she is reluctant to move out of Ginger and Samia’s…

  45. d/f/ says:

    little twerp! had i been ginger, i’da said ‘fuck it’, quite literally, n’ kept on goin’ —

    samia’s job in this situation was to holler out something like ‘hold up there, we’re busy’

    now *that’s* what i call preserve and protect.

    (i showed up once at friends’ place, had the key, was supposed to crash, only to come and hear giggling and said they were ‘uh… cleaning’ (i think it was) at the moment.

    it was clear i should wait outside. (in fact, i think one of ’em reads this blog) (hi J).

    which i was all too happy to do.

    if cynthia doesn’t understand, then at least she’d begin her education (about time). i mean, who’s frickin’ house is it anyway?

    on the education tip / her getting herself seduced by an older lady: as an older-ish femme, i’ve started getting energy from younger femmes… a little new … anyone else experience this?

  46. Academic says:

    Here on campus, every group ends in an “A” for “Alliance.” Thus, LGBTQA. That’s my guess, as we try to fathom the mind of our Brilliant Bechdel!

  47. Jaya says:

    Has anybody seen this great video by Ferrets Against Guiliani?
    http://guerillawomentn.blogspot.com/2007/05/ferrets-against-rudy-giuliani-video.html

    As an apparently psychotic Fuzzle owner myself, I can assure you the manic little bastards never require recharging. 🙂

  48. DaneGreat says:

    Love Samia’s little double entendre in the last panel – and the pillow over Ginger’s lap!

  49. Feminista says:

    Also like how the title The Fundamental Things comes from the song As Time Goes By from the film Casablanca. Ah,Bogey and Bergman…

    I think Rudy and the Ferrets would be a great name for an alt-rock band. **grin**

  50. thai tea says:

    The road to community is not smooth for all. I’m enjoying Cynthia’s struggle, though not in a sadistic way. I strongly disagree with her politics, but find her situation interesting. Why does she need to find a girlfriend so instantly? I thought we were all about ‘process’.
    Poor G & S!
    I once had a fight with my lover who ended it by saying “I have to go wash my socks.” Brilliant.

  51. Deena in OR says:

    Thai tea-I don’t know about a girlfriend, but some initial experiences might be a good idea. (Hummmph. Long time readers of this blog know that I don’t have a lot of room to talk, unfortunately.)

    Ahem, changing the subject…when is Vermont’s primary, Alison?

  52. Luka says:

    “A”could also mean asexual. Or association.

  53. Jana C.H. says:

    Just checked out the video of our Ng Yi-Sheng–

    Hey, it’s a patter song! With meter and rhyme! In a real, live perfermance instead of dull, free-verse chanting!

    And an ending straight out of the “Nightmare Song.” I love it.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith WSG: The night has been long, ditto-ditto my song, and thank goodness they’re both of them over!

  54. Michelle says:

    OH no!!! NOt again! LOLOLOLOL

  55. nom says:

    In the bottom left panel, if Ginger’s sweater is on, why can I see her nipple? NOT that I’m complaining. Those two are my favorite couple right now, good to see them again.

  56. nom says:

    Never mind, I have read the Samia’s pinky theory and can believe it.

  57. ready2agitate says:

    When Ginger walks in, she looks like she’s 23 again (except for the tiny bag under her right eye). Anyone else feel like this? Catch yourself in the mirror. You’re wearing jeans and your physiq

  58. ready2agitate says:

    ue is the same, roughly, as 20 years ago, but your face has aged? I love how AB captures shtuff like that.

    Also, Anubis! A new canine love in Ginger’s life – hooray!

    Lastly, love the person at the GLBTQQIA gathering whose pants are riding low, across from the person pulling cheese off the piece of pizza. The drawing is just so stellar.

    Oh, and I saw Samia’s fingers the whole time. And I thought “ferret” was a fun reference to our ubiquitous cellphones. I didn’t even know that ferrets had organized against Rudy – where was I?

  59. Blushing Girl says:

    Oh my gawsh, if there’s only three fingers and a thumb, does that mean Walt Disney is standing in for AB?

  60. van says:

    Hahahaha! Almost busted. Samia should read books about socks and doorknobs! lol

    Jill of Mass Comm’s face in the Excuse me panel is so hilariously drawn. I love it.

    Awesome details in all.

  61. Alex K says:

    @JenOnt: Flee the party because of disagreement? Maybe not. Who knows what Cynthia fetishises? Perhaps she can’t abide the underslung – and no one there but Jill had an overbite that would let her eat popcorn out of the neck of a jug, to quote Annie Proulx.

    Let’s show a picture of Betsey Gilhooley to Cynthia and see if her eyes light up.

  62. Suz says:

    I don’t see fleeing the party, I see fleeing Cynthia. Cynthia’s being blown off and Jill is either offended enough or rude enough to make it obvious.

  63. Straight Ally says:

    In my neck of the woods (in DC), the A stands for allies (rather than Alliance)–like me. Its inclusion in the acronym always seemed a little odd to me, but it’s in use, so I went with it. (The “Straight” in my handle is redundant, but I didn’t want people to think that “Ally” was pronounced “Allie.”)

    Anubis isn’t a new character, ready2agitate; Anubis was instrumental in launching Ginger and Samia’s romance.

    Thank you, AB, for making the fundamental things apply so well!

  64. corybant says:

    So AB, how long have you been waiting to juxtapose acronymous and acrimonious in the same sentence?

  65. Anonny Mouse says:

    >>>>it IS a problem that Iran is executing queer people and that many Islamic governments would happily do the same… No, that does NOT mean we oughta invade them

    If that WAS touted as a significant reason to invade them, the current “war effort” might disappear like >snap

  66. Trix says:

    Well, chalk me up as one person who had excellent first-time lesbo sex in high school. By university, I was *busy* (and ended up dropping out because of it. Oops.) I must also say (even more TMI alert) that my experience of religious young ladies (if they managed to somehow avoid guilt) has been entirely positive. 3 ministers’ daughters, and encompassing Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Mormons, Church of Christ and Open Brethren. I wonder what it says about me, being entirely irreligious. Or them, since nearly all of them were *goers*.

    Also, really nice composition in that second-to-last panel. I love the perspective going on there!

  67. Dr. Empirical says:

    I fail to see how gays in Iran will benefit from having bombs dropped on them.

  68. Ally says:

    (as opposed to straight ally, I am actually short for allison, but there’s enough of those around here)

    i love how there is no shortage of spikey hair in the LGBTQA grad mixer. we dykes are always far ahead of the fashion curve (sometimes so far ahead the rest of society can’t see around that corner) oh well.

  69. Anonny Mouse says:

    Hey, what happened to the rest of my post? Oh well.

    To reiterate: If that [Islamic fundamentalist persecution of gays] WAS touted as a significant reason to invade them, the current “war effort” might disappear like *snap* that. Which is, you know, pretty depressing in and of itself…

    There was more, but it wasn’t any more profound than the first part.

    >>>I fail to see how gays in Iran will benefit from having bombs dropped on them.

    Maybe Cynthia thinks that when the bombs fall, they’ll be standing off to one side…

  70. Anonny Mouse says:

    BTW, Fourth Row, Left Panel, why is Anubis just standing there with his eyes closed? He wants to watch yet at the same time doesn’t want to watch? He’s experiencing a vicarious orgasm? He’s doing that thing that dogs do where they get so happy because their humans are so happy? What? I know it means SOMETHING, or Allison wouldn’t have drawn him like that.

  71. Alex the Bold says:

    Two things:

    1. I think Alison has touched a good nerve-topic: Cynthia is right; the U.S. does tip-toe around the topic of “our friends” in the Islamic world who commit human rights violations. And the U.S. should take a hard line. That does not mean that we have to bomb anyone or invade them. But it does mean we have to stop being such hypocrites (e.g., having our leaders showing up for hand-holding photo-ops with the leaders of those countries).

    2. I think that Cynthia’s “Mass Communication” friend is a great example of a big problem that exists within “librul Dem” circles. (NOTE: This isn’t to say ALL LibDems do this): MC starts the discussion, then walks away when she realizes, “Oh, wait, it’s going to be tough. She’s just handed me a real response that takes some actual discussion.”

    Certainly Cynthia’s response merits consideration. It isn’t like she pulled a Bible out of her, um, Venus flytrap, and started screaming about the Book of Revelation and how we ought to nuke all the unbelievers and let God sort ’em out.

    But I don’t see a lot of dialogue between the sides, and regrettably, a lot more of the dialogue on “THIS” side is poorly evaluated. In the strip, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the most awful example of this is Stuart, who has good ideas but just executes them terribly and ineffectively.

    Now, off my soap box.

  72. Jude says:

    I thought that the “recharge my ferret” line was a typical Bechdel alternative to “flossing my cat”.

    I think Cynthia is too well-read to support Ron Paul while living with a pair of women of color.

  73. --MC says:

    MC starts the discussion, then walks away when she realizes, “Oh, wait, it’s going to be tough. She’s just handed me a real response that takes some actual discussion.”

    I did what now?
    Seriously, the mixer is supposed to be a social gathering, and Cynthia nails Jill with a blast of realpolitik right out of the gate. Buzzkill. I’d stay and argue, myself, but that’s just me. When Cynthia finds somebody who takes the trouble to refute her .. then she’ll have found her true love.

  74. Mabel says:

    Reading these comments has come close to ruining a great strip. In future I’ll know better.

  75. exnyc says:

    I’d like to delurk for the first time to note that Giuliani and ferrets have along and shadowy history:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9800EFD8103FF931A15755C0A9649C8B63

  76. June says:

    Check out this fantastic animation of Rudy’s ferret meltdown:
    http://www.slatev.com/player.html?id=823483162

  77. Blushing Girl says:

    Okay… now I that understand the “A”, with Northern California’s “I”, that’s two vowels: LGBTQQAI. It would make one hell of a Scrabble hand, wouldn’t it?

  78. Lisa (Calico) says:

    I hope BNL won’t get mad at me for posting these lyrics. I would hate to make Steve, Ed, and the other boys upset.

    A is for angry, which is what you are at me
    A is for adult, which is what I’ll never be
    A is for applesauce, my favorite meal
    A is for Adam, which is how I sometimes feel;
    Like Im the only man on earth, and I’ve forgotten what that’s worth
    A is for Arthur, hes a lovable drunk
    A m & azing, like Thelonius Monk
    A is for argument, a is for apparent
    A is for antagonism that’s not even there and
    It’s just you begging for attention or something I won’t even mention

    Chorus:
    And I don’t even know why you keep on trying
    Like I don’t even know why I keep on lying
    There are millions of people in worlds of their own
    And two of them can’t let go

    A is for algebra, I learned it in school
    A is what Fonzie said, cause he was very cool
    A is for adversary, a is for affection
    A is arousal, you are giving me an erection
    C’mon Im trying to show affection for longer than a half an hour

    Chorus

    I met a woman I used to know
    Long before you, long ago
    All I could say, after hello
    Was, are you still single?
    A is for attitude I can’t help but wield
    A is for arrogance; emotional shield
    A is for acting, a is for abhorrently
    A is for asshole, which is what I am, how rude of me.
    I owe you an apology I’m sorry.

  79. tea says:

    any other grad students out there wish their queer mixers had that many people?

    love the upside down mag in the last panel, btw.

  80. Kahuna Burger says:

    “MC starts the discussion, then walks away when she realizes, “Oh, wait, it’s going to be tough. She’s just handed me a real response that takes some actual discussion.””

    If a strawman wrapped in a dismissal of my political leanings as having any merit was what passed for a “real response”, I’d skip the actual discussion and walk away too, esp at a social gathering. The same old bull that not wanting to invade someone is tiptoeing around them or that “you progressives” weren’t concerned about islmaic fundementalism when Cynthia’s idols were hailing them as saviors against communists and drug growers is not anything I waste my time with these days, and “Jill” prolly has better things to do as well.

    (sore spot, here, as a feminist, I’m sick of people who had never heard of the Taliban when I was first concerned about them telling me I’m “soft” on islamic fundemenatlism because I don’t agree with their “give’em martyrs and make it worse” strategy.)

  81. Hammerwoman says:

    But “LGBTA” *is* an acronym. . . it’s pronounced “legbiter.”

  82. Hammerwoman says:

    And thank you for that, Kahuna B. I’m a nurse, and spend waay too much time dealing with human suffering to want to waste a family gathering. . . how, after so many centuries of war, do we still feel that it answers anything? Sure beats me, but I’m not up for discussing death over pizza, when there are doubtless other women to chat up.

  83. Maria says:

    Where is Lois? I miss Lois!!

  84. Alex the Bold says:

    Kahuna,

    I’ve apparently hit a sore spot. Sorry.

    I don’t know why it’s a strawman wrapped in a dismissal of political leanings, etc. Perhaps Cynthia, who was first on the receiving end of blanket dismissal (“So, I suppose you think it’s a good idea to invade Iran, too” really can’t be taken as anything other than rudely telling Cynthia in slightly coded language, “I am not the least interested in listening to what you have to say, I just want to dismiss your opinion, and I want you to understand that right from the start.”) decided she doesn’t like being made to feel like crap for being honest about her opinions.

    To response in Mo-like fashion and actually give a response that could trigger a discussion is not only brave, it’s appropriate, and the only thing that is ever going to get the two sides of these issues to understand each other.

    Mass Comm starts it, then gets bored/uncomfortable/whatever, is insulting to boot with another thinly coded “Now, I’m going to insult you again with an excuse that makes no sense” and Cynthia gets blamed for being the one who wrecks a social interaction.

    She might have been forceful, but she certainly didn’t come close to Mass Comm’s insensitivity and intolerance. And Mass Comm could have actually told Cynthia why she (Mass Comm) thought her (Cynthia’s) argument was fallacious, strawman, ridiculous, whatever.

  85. Dr. Empirical says:

    “MC starts the discussion, then walks away when she realizes, “Oh, wait, it’s going to be tough. She’s just handed me a real response that takes some actual discussion.”

    I think it’s more likely she realized “Shit. This isn’t gonna get me laid.”

  86. Scotia says:

    Poor Cynthia… She really is emblematic of the crisis in the Republican party. Among the GOP candidates, only Giuliani is not an active threat to the well-being of LGBT people, and his campaign appears to be sinking like a stone. And ironically, the socially paleolithic Huckabee actually favors scaling back the war effort and does believe government has a responsibility to address poverty issues (he’s taking flack from the right on these issues). The univocal right-wing line that Cynthia represented, which Karl Rove & co. spun so well in the first half of this decade has unraveled, and her isolation demonstrates this. I see an identity crisis in her future.

  87. Ellen O. says:

    I gotta go with Dr. Empirical on this one!

    Also, Jill could be catching the tone of Cynthia’s voice*, which might be a turn-off, along with the phrase “so-called progressive.” Or she might have spotted a friend or more interesting prospect across the way.

    Since we can’t hear the tone of Cynthia’s voice, of course, I’m injecting my imagination here. Without direct narration on the part of Alison, I have to bring in my own experience.

    Which brings up the question of how cartoonists compensate for or work with the lack of audio within dialogue. I understand how one designates anger and emphasis (bold letters, capital letters, exclamation marks) but how does one connote sarcasm, self-righteousness, trepidation, etc., without the classic problem of showing vs. telling? Body language, gestures, facial expression?

  88. ksbel6 says:

    I’m pretty sure the “rechargable ferret” is a timing gun/light mechanics use for belts and what not on cars. Wow, what a jump that would be. Jill is a polysci/lesbian/mechanic that works constantly so needs to have that Ferret ready at a moment’s notice 🙂

  89. Anonymous says:

    Oh why would the US invade another country for its homophobia, even if it IS executing gay people? It’s not like the whole (or even most) of the US is gay friendly. Our “executions” just come in the form of hate crimes that are often not called “hate crimes” or in the form of emotional, psychological, and political terrorism. And I have no doubt that GWB wouldn’t mind if a few of us homos were unceremoniously shot by some gov’t rep.

  90. Hammerwoman says:

    “Jill is a polysci/lesbian/mechanic that works constantly so needs to have that Ferret ready at a moment’s notice”

    Wow, better let Sarah Lyons know. . .Jill could be in next year’s Female Mechanics Calendar (which hangs in our kitchen, oh yes!).

  91. Jacquie says:

    She likes Rudy?!?

  92. Jeffster83 says:

    Actually, the gays in Iran probably would be standing safely to one side. A US bombing campaign would target military installations and those government offices that have to do with the military. How many gays do you think the Iranian government allows into such places?

    Gays, women, children, and other innocents can remain safe from US bombing if they attend schools, visit nightclubs, ride on commuter trains, or work in office buildings in the financial district. The only thing to worry about in those places is being the target of a Muslim bombing campaign.

  93. Maggie Jochild says:

    Hammerwoman, how thrilling to see the Sarah Lyon reference! I got turned onto her by Kat (also a commenter her) and wound up posting about her at Meta Watershed, search the Labels for which one.

    I agree with Alex the Bold that communication across the political divide is the only thing that’s gonna make us a healthy nation again. The acrimony/ridicule/secrecy that was deliberately introduced by Reagan and mastered by Rove, et al, is threatening our very survival. It will take big gulps and unpleasant encounters from all sides to clean it up — think Israeli/Palestinian, and you’re on target.

    But I also agree with Hammerwoman that a social mixer over pizza may be a hard place to do it. Although if you are mature (which Cynthia definitely is not) and possess self-insight plus a sense of humor (poor Cynthia, 0 for 3), you could say a sentence or two that would engage and make a difference, without beginning a formal peace negotiation.

    The progressives I know (well, we call ourselves radicals or revolutionaries, liberals at the very least) don’t tiptoe around radical Islamic fundamentalism. We recognize woman-hating and oppose in all its guises. But the biggest threat to world peace posed by fundamentalism is not coming from Islam, it’s from our own goverment — hence, our focus. It’s where we can have the most effect. And it’s abundantly clear at this point that almost everything our goverment has said and done for seven years has only made Islamic fundamentalism stronger.

  94. Duncan says:

    Me, I’d be pleased to see some political debate take place in DTWOF again. Even within the limits of the strip, Alison has done some nice work where the discussion doesn’t stop with the opening salvos.

    Jeffster83, what makes you think that there are a lot of openly gay Iranians? Even if there were, which is highly unlikely given the political climate there, they’d only be the tip of the iceberg, with plenty of closeted folk scattered invisibly through the military installations, etc. But maybe you think that such closeted people wouldn’t be “innocent”, and therefore would be acceptable targets for a Christian bombing campaign?

    Turn it around: I could bomb a US military installation without having to worry about hitting any glbt people. The US has a policy of excluding us. How many gays do you think the US government allows into such places? So the gays in the US would be standing safely to one side.

    Your second paragraph is even battier, so much so that I’m wondering if your whole post is meant sarcastically. Oh yes, we ALL know how effectively US military violence targets only military installations, allowing gays, women, children, and other innocents to remain safe in their schools, hospitals, nightclubs, commuter trains, or office buildings.

  95. ready2agitate says:

    Hear hear, Duncan. Int’g film out in 2007 called “A Jihad for Love” about gay religious Muslims around the world, made by the same man who made “Trembling Before G-d” about gay Orthodox Jews.

    Oh and please remind me of the role Anubis played in launching Samia & Ginger’s love affair, as I’m completely not remembering.

  96. Brazenfemme says:

    In response to Tea – you asked whether other grad students wished there were more members at queer student grad mixers – I am left wishing there were more queers at grad student mixers!

  97. Dr. Empirical says:

    Jeffster83: I stand corrected. Because after all, not a single innocent civilian has been brutally slaughtered at our hands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Panama, Grenada, Viet Nam…

    Nope, not one. Not so much as a hangnail. We’re just that good.

  98. Cin-dizzle says:

    Two things:
    1) It’s nice to see some hot sex in the DTWOF world again.
    2) What’s up with Jill, Mass Communications’ double chin?

  99. Straight Ally says:

    ready2agitate–

    “Oh and please remind me of the role Anubis played in launching Samia & Ginger’s love affair, as I’m completely not remembering.”

    I’ll try to find it in the Archive strips and point you toward the relevant one(s), but I just dropped in at 6 a.m. and need to do it sometime later. (No, I’m not getting up; I haven’t gone to bed yet.)

  100. Anonny Mouse says:

    Something to this effect:

    Ginger and Lois were talking in the front yard. Ginger was doing yard work or something, and Lois was trying to convince her to come to a club or something. “Come on, I’m worried about you. You’re not going to meet anyone hanging around here with the tactical nuclear family.”

    Suddenly Anubis rushes up and jumps playfully on Ginger. Samia is pursuing him: “Anubis, heel! Off, Anubis! God, I’m so sorry.”

    Lois: “But what the hell do I know?”

    🙂

  101. laura says:

    Am I the only one to spot a resemblance bewteen Jill and those terrible McFarkas-Laughlin?

  102. Anonny Mouse says:

    2) What’s up with Jill, Mass Communications’ double chin?

    She doesn’t 100% conform to Western Society’s strict parameters of female facial aesthetics, that’s all. Or something like that.

  103. tas says:

    Maybe I’m daft, but how did Cynthia end up living with Ginger and Samia in the first place? I know it’s been going on for a while, but I can’t remember how or why it started. Anyone have a strip number or remembrance? Thanks!

  104. Jo says:

    Cynthia is accidentally living with Ginger and Samia … Samia’s husband was going to live in their extra room and then Cynthia was talking to them about how she didn’t have a place to live. Ginger said something along the lines of ‘gee if our extra room wasn’t taken, I’d offer it to you’ and just then Samia’s husband walks up and says that he actually will not be needing the room … and there you have it.

    Can someone explain the recharge the ferret comment? I don’t get it … or was it just a way to get away from Cynthia and there is nothing more to the joke than the absurdity of the comment?

    Thanks

  105. straight european says:

    Actually, the first meeting of Ginger and Samia was at an antiwar demonstration. Ginger was with Stuart and then-pregnant Sparrow, who was explaining why in her opinion Ginger’s relationships didn’t last, when Anubis ran at Ginger. When Samia caught up with him, Ginger was tickling Anubis, who was flat on his back and obviously enjoying himself. The second meeting was the one Anonny Mouse mentioned. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Maybe I should stop reading the same books over and over and get a life. Or at least a library card :-).

  106. Jo says:

    okay …. just finished actually reading all the previous comments and I no longer need an answer to that ferret comment ….. 🙂

  107. judybusy says:

    Thanks, ready2agitate, for the heads up on Jihad for Love–I really liked Trembling before G-d, so will see if they have it at my local library!

  108. Josh says:

    It could be argued that Cynthia has the choice of being outfront about who she is, which means putting her politics out there, or not indicating her politics until other people know her better. But I don’t think she can be unforceful with her politics: they’re too important to her, she would not be willing to live the hypocrisy of expressing her sexual identity while closeting her political one, and she’s too young, socially inexperienced and full of herself. I certainly can’t see her intentionally keeping political identifiers off of her person like DTWOF’s experienced seducers (Lois, Sydney, Samia) would when they’re on the make.

    Plus I think she wants to be fully accepted for who she is – and she enjoys the conversational jousting too much.

    She could hang with lesbians who are more likely to be apolitical, but I don’t think she’d want that. She’d probably be too bored to stick around.

    So getting to where she’ll have her “first time” will be kind of rough for her. But then good writers always make their favorite characters suffer. 🙂

    I’m not always comfortable with Cynthia, but she feels authentic, she’s basically likable, and I can sympathize as someone who is non-PC on one controversial issue while being a progressive on all the rest – I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid unnecessary grief while socializing within my usual milieu. Not being politically aggressive can be very helpful in getting along with other people.

    Some people can do it effortlessly, but for most of us, getting along conversationally with people with whom we have political disagreements is a skill. Unfortunately, in the increasingly polarized US of A, most people are growing less interested in developing and exercising that skill. There’s now a ranting back and forth of pre-packaged attacks and retorts like the ones Jill and Cynthia exchanged, and with people quicker than ever to write other people off, people are less willing to stick around and talk long enough to get past the introductory unpleasantries and find out what where someone who thinks differently REALLY stands.

    But everyone’s so busy and keyed up and irritable that few are patient enough to stick around and listen, and really, it’s easier to have some authoritative elite organization like Fox News or some Left establishment publication tell us all the awful things that the people on the other side think. While Jill was trying to be snotty and dismissive, Cynthia’s reply really was an opening for further conversation, returned in the tone necessary to establish that she wasn’t a doormat who would just take abuse.

    Someday I hope she finds someone who will take her up on that challenge, and they’ll get pissed off and excited till they ripped their clothes off and maul each other. Cynthia has an intensity that would translate well to the horizontal plane. 😉

    Jeffster38 –
    Oh yeah, gay people would be safe in all those NIGHTCLUBS in Tehran. How many of those do you think there’d be there? 🙂

  109. Ellen O. says:

    Of course, we don’t know what Jill and Cynthia said between the panels, whether C. jumped into political discussion right away, if Jill said something that insulted Cynthia.

    In social and political discussion, I try to avoid the “we” statements and the sweeping “everyone is…” generalizations. I try to start from my own experiences, such as “When I’ve interacting with people who are homeless…” or “For me, religion means…” instead of “I suppose you think…” or “So-called progressive always act this way…”

    Starting with my own ignorance and concerns feels more heartfelt and genuine. Listening, questioning (graciously) and offering compassion goes a long way too.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for great fiction.

  110. Kate L says:

    I guess I should add that, despite my earlier comment about how I almost interviewed for a job with the CIA and how I actually accepted a job with a major international oil company for a few years, I can state that I am not a pro-war lesbian. I participate in anti-Iraq War protests, and I voted for John Kerry. Heck, I voted for Al Gore, too, but didn’t most Americans?

  111. JenOnt says:

    Jeffster 83: check out the link: US troops raid a kindergarten, ’cause ya know, bombers start as biters…

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=nw20080108103758931C406967

    To suggest that anyone can “stand safely to the side” when their country is the theatre of war is shockingly naive. The brutalization of war affects not only the soldiers on both sides but those in whose homeland the war is occuring.

  112. The Cat Pimp says:

    A good story needs conflict and Cynthia’s a nice foil to the Echo Chamber that the rest of the characters live in politically. She’s young and her opinions and knowledge are forming, so some of her reasoning may be flawed. Her being outside the group wrt her politics makes for some interesting friction with the rest of the dtwof world, just as Sydney’s unrepentant capitalism does. Giving her a girlfriend or not is not the issue, its her standing out that does. I like it. It spices things up.

    And the “I thought you were eating out” comment in the last panel had me glad I did not have a mouthful of coffee when I was reading…

  113. JenOnt says:

    Maybe Jeffster 83 is being all Jonathan Swift on us…

  114. Jana C.H. says:

    This was mentioned before in this thread, but I think it bears repeating: Cynthia is young Mo, coming from the right. In fact Mo was far more politically aggressive than Cynthia, and stayed that way all the way through her twenties and thirties. She didn’t start mellowing until she’d been paired up for a while with Sydney, who takes Mo’s politics seriously without freaking out

    Of course, Mo can get away with maniacal political rants because this is a progressive strip by a progressive cartoonist for a progressive audience. We love seeing Mo rant because she’s doing exactly what most of us have wanted to do on many occasions. If Cynthia ranted like Mo, we’d dismiss her as a wingnut instead of sympathizing with the social and philosophical bind she finds herself in.

    I think AB is doing a wonderful job with Cynthia. When she first appeared we saw her as mostly an annoyance to Ginger. I haven’t checked the old posts, but I recall that a lot of people didn’t like her. Now we’re all sympathizing and analyzing and plotting how she can get laid. That is Art, with a capital “A”.

    Over a hundred posts, and almost all of them on-topic. AB has hit the jackpot with Cynthia.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith WSG: Every boy and every gal / who’s born into the world alive, / is either a little liberAL / or else a little conservaTIVE.

  115. Duncan says:

    There was something else I wanted to add before, but didn’t want to struggle with the “slow down Cowboy!” error message. 😎

    As the Cat Pimp says, conflict makes for better fiction (though I disagree that “the rest of the characters live in” an “an echo chamber”, or that Cynthia’s viciousness and stupidity spice things up). Still, while it is entertaining at first to watch Ginger and Samia almost getting “caught” having sex by Cynthia, I find myself wondering. Cynthia’s not an equal partner in the house; she’s at most a lodger. It would not — in my opinion, but I’m a hateful old prune — be unreasonable for S & G to let Cynthia know that it’s their house, they are entitled to some privacy for their love life, and she needs to give them some room … by letting them know by phone when she’s coming home early, for example. Besides, she’s not a kid. If she interrupts them, she could watch or join in or say “excuse me” and go up to her room. There’s no reason why having a lodger should cramp their style so much…

    … unless they like it that way, come to think of it. Remember their first date, where Samia chose their restaurant for the long, discreet tablecloths, because the possibility of being caught is so exciting? We all have our kinks, but that’s not one of mine.

  116. April says:

    I must express my love for the low pants (panel 1), Samia’s look of lusty contentment (panel 4) and the ferret thing. Ace work, AB!

    Yes Cynthia is fun, but I can’t defend her extreme social ineptness. She barges into sensitive areas with the delicate touch of a rutting caribou, and all this at a casual mixer where everyone is more concerned with getting laid. Smooth…

    Oh and Anubis’ vicarious “enjoyment” is adorable too.

  117. Anna says:

    So nice to see Ginger being welcomed home by a dog again.

  118. d/f/ says:

    i agree with duncan on the space/privacy thing. it’s hard to get ‘caught’ when you’ve claimed your sexuality, are in your own house, with your own partner. i don’t fully get it, i must admit.

    and jana, i still can’t stand cynthia. her naive racism/buying into the Powers That Be is too much for me.

    i *do* love the graphic double entendre of the pinky finger or ring so strategically placed — ‘artful draping’ takes the next step.

  119. zach bender says:

    I thought the business about recharging the ferret was pretty obviously a reference to a vibrator. Also liked the double entendre in the last frame about eating out. Seems Cynthia did get the message, but that does not mean she will “change.” (“Jill” just as glib on her side, frankly.)

  120. Donna says:

    I see G&S as having an almost (for most people) instinctive reaction to being caught in flagrante. They might resent Cynthia later for intruding on the situation.
    Josh, really enjoyed your post.

  121. Scotia says:

    Can Cynthia really be considered a racist? After all, she lives with a Muslim immigrant and an African-American, and she relies on them for social and emotional support. I seriously doubt that she thinks she’s superior to Ginger & Samia because of her race. Interestingly, G. & S. seem to respect C.’s ideology, even if they disagree with it. It’s her lack of social autonomy that’s bothering them. Cynthia is just too smart to gloss over these contradictions.

  122. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’m enjoying the way people are reading things into the strip.

    Some of us are assuming Jill started the argument with Cynthia, but it’s clear to me that there had already been some off-panel discussion while we were watching Samia and Ginger. We don’t know what else was said.

    We also don’t know why Cynthia left the party. Did she get dejected after a single rejection and bail, or did she manage to alienate every woman in the room, one at a time?

  123. a different Emma says:

    To Tea and Brazenfemme:

    You too eh? When I headed off to grad school I thought “YES! Now, for once in my life I won’t be the token leftist lesbian feminist!” But I was, oh how I was. Should have skipped English and gone to Women’s Studies or Queer Theory school or maybe a commune or something. Sigh…

  124. Brazenfemme says:

    a different emma – maybe it is not to late for us to apply to library school 🙂

  125. Tom says:

    I agree with Cynthia. I would not vote for Giuliani but she makes a good point about those who apologize for the nazi-style policies of fundamentalist islam. I don’t like how bush has handled everything but he is right in that we need to not just let these people follow through with their agenda – it is dangerous to us all.

  126. Ellen O. says:

    Tom and others who are more politically aware than I am—
    Can someone tell me what Iran’s agenda is?
    Who is apologizing for Iran’s fascism>
    Is Iran’s fascism different than that of Saudi Arabia?

    Honestly, I haven’t been following Iran too closely (mostly I’m hearing about Pakistan). I find it hard to trust anyone’s motives.

    I’ve just finished editing a friend’s memoir about living in Hungary before and after WWII, and am amazed that greed, cruelty and the struggle for power, no matter what the circumstances, never, never seems to end.

  127. Dr. Empirical says:

    Tom: …”…those who apologize for the nazi-style policies of fundamentalist islam.”

    And who, exactly, are “those”? I have never heard anyone apologize for the obvious evils of radical islam. I have never heard anyone argue that they’re good people. I have never heard anyone argue that we should support them in any way. This is a straw man.

    I don’t oppose war with Iran because I support their government or their way of life. I don’t oppose war with Iran because I approve of their society. I oppose war with Iran because, whatever their beliefs and actions, Iranians are human beings.

    Slaughtering hundreds of thousands of human beings is seldom, if ever, a good idea.

  128. Tom says:

    Dr. E – you’re right, my statement was straw-ish. I think I was kind of responding to the other young woman in the comic. Believe me I am no fan of war and killing. I am just afraid of taking an isolationist approach to the various situations in the Middle East. My use of the term nazi-style is I think fair – these people have no respect for anyone else but themselves (not meaning to group all Islamic people together of course).

  129. Hammerwoman says:

    “Slaughtering hundreds of thousands of human beings is seldom, if ever, a good idea.”

    Unless they’re living over vast oil reserves.

    Unless you can send the children of the poor to do the fighting (quicker than welfare reform).

    Unless your campaign contributors have guns and uniforms and planes and fuel to sell.

    Now, of course, W is talking about peace in the middle east in a matter of months. This is “peace” of the type that was described two thousand years ago by a Roman historian, writing about the Roman campaign to subdue what is now Scotland: “They make a wasteland, and call it a peace.”

    I wish I could live my life at a higher level of abstraction. I wish, when I spoke with the earnest and smiling folks wearing buttons for Rudi, and Mitt, and Mike, et al, that I could be all intellectual and theoretical, but I can’t. I can hear the screams, see the blood, smell the burning. . . hmmm, think I left the cat plugged in. . .

  130. Ian says:

    A British reading of “recharge my ferret” could be one of “recharge my glass”, as there is a brand of beer (or ale rather) called “Fusty Ferret”. Don’t ask me what “fusty” means! I’ve discovered a fab new word: “muliebrity” and a (virtual unless you’re in the UK)) pint of fusty ferret goes to whoever can tell me what it means *without* consulting a dictionary …

    Poor Cynthia. Are there no Log Cabin groups in D2WO4-land? That would make an interesting strip – all those queens bitching about the various candidates! Clarice should introduce her to Dennis.

  131. Colin says:

    Scotia, Cynthia can be considered racist if she agrees with and works to uphold policies (and policy-makers) that systematically disenfranchise people and communities of color. Racism isn’t just thinking you’re better than other people, it’s also one’s position within and complicity with an inherently racist system.

    Or something like that.

  132. Jana C.H. says:

    Muliebrity: from the Latin; Having to do with women or feminity

    And wasn’t it Tacitus who made the quote about peace? I may be wrong, but if I am someone will gently correct me.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Will Cuppy: I forget exactly who Rome fell. It was probably just one of those things.

  133. d/f/ says:

    Yaes! What Colin said.

    Donna, I see your point about what is for most folks a natural reaction to being ‘caught’ in flagrante (what a fabulous word! no, i didn’t have to go look it up. for those who might not be familiar, tho: “in flagrante. ‘in blazing crime’; in the act of committing a crime or offence; in the act of having illicit sexual intercourse…” useful for this grad student, who thankfully, already did my lit stint). I won’t comment on what my divergence indicates, just that I’ve already been called a shameless hussy, or something to that effect, already at least once on this blog. ;>

  134. Scotia says:

    Colin: I see what you mean, but that seems like a reductive paradigm. I mean we’re ALL complicit in an inherently racist system (even, one might argue, some who are oppressed by it). Who put together your computer, for instance? I think you have to cut people who are honestly trying to work out their ideological values some slack. Otherwise, you could end up broadly censuring debate. That is NOT to say you have to respect their views, or to say all values are equal so long as they are sincerely felt. Cynthia has a lot of contradictions to work on, and this is one of them.

  135. Hammerwoman says:

    Jana: Tacitus was quoting Calgacus, a leader of the Caledonian Confederacy, in AD 84. “If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace.”

    Substitute “national security” for “empire” and, as Janis would have said, “It’s all the same f***in’ war.”

    ‘Course I’ve wound up like Ginger more than once, eyes bugged out, heart pounding, can’t make intelligent sounds, covering up the evidence with a couch cushion, wondering whether my housemate is messing with us or really is that clueless. . .

  136. d/f/ says:

    yes, we’re all implicated in a racist system.

    however, as colin pointed out, there is the additional step of agreeing with and working to uphold policies and policy-makers that “disenfranchise people and communities of color”.

    for me, the racism is in the not-seeing, the implicit trust in the system, and most of all, the wanting to be *part* of the systems and agencies that participate in torture, espionage, and the *real* suppression of dissent.

  137. in Boston says:

    where I am the majority of lesbians are moderates, libertarian or apathetic. But it seems like Cynthia wants to socialize mostly in academia, where most lean left 🙁 Personally, I enjoy someone who argues the other side and often do it myself! I’d have a duel over politics with Cynthia anyday.

    It seems like we are all waiting for an explanation from Alison Bechdel about the recharging ferret!!!

    I laughed when I read it because it was so unexpected. Who thinks up stuff like that??!! 😀

  138. The Cat Pimp says:

    I used to live with a couple and paid to live there. I’m convinced that I was paying at least half the rent. They informed me that I was not allowed in any room other than the kitchen or my own rooms in the basement. The husband told me I should enter the house through the garage. They insisted this was because they could be making love in the living room. I moved two months later. They were surprised I left. I don’t think anyone else could be. When I was in a couple and a friend stayed (for free, I might add), we did not restrict what room she could go in, except she did not go in ours. We also did not get jiggy in the living room. Just sayin’. Its a hazard of group living.

  139. Ian says:

    One pint goes to Jana C.H. – though the definition I’ve got is “the state of being a woman” – not a dictionary definition though …

  140. d/f/ says:

    i hear what you’re sayin’, cat pimp. and the first situation you described sounds awful. i’ve also lived with a couple, and know how it can totally suck when they consume the public areas with their coupledom — even if they’re not getting down.

    i think my umbrage-taking in this situation is context-specific. didn’t cynthia just kinda move in on them, in a lost-puppy kinda way? at least one of them didn’t know about it, i thought. i would feel very differently, for example, if it was lois getting carried away in the living room of that collective household – at least everyone’s agreed on everyone else’s presence. but maybe i missed something about the arrangement.

    on a related tip — living with two women of color definitely does *not* indicate a white person is not racist. the history of white women leaning upon and getting support — emotional, logistical, material — from women of color that they take for granted is a long one; bell hooks writes about this.

    it feels like, to me, an imposition that’s a part of this continuum. the resulting need to inhibit oneself in one’s own space is what gets me, esp. when samia and ginger have had to go through so much (internally and externally) to have their own space. and yes, i get that they’re a lot older than cynthia, and have that privilege. i guess it would make a difference, too, if cynthia’s actually paying rent, which is not at all clear to me.

    hmmm… i guess cynthia really pushes my buttons, i’ll have to look into tht. p’raps too i’m over-identifying with samia. makes the strip a little hard to read sometimes…

  141. d/f/ says:

    clarification: the cynthia / ginger / samia living & support arrangements feel like a situation that continues the history of white women leaning upon women of color for succor of various types w/ fully realizing what they’re doing; it feels like cynthia is imposing herself.

    also, thnx maggie jo for yr very insightful comments. i feel my own sense of humor rapidly draining out of the bottom of my tub, i’m afraid. you always inspire.

    on the recharging tip, then: anyone still puzzling over the ferret thing, check out the ferret links above. they explain everything! pretty damn hilarious, and very clever.

  142. Jana C.H. says:

    Thanks, Ian. Slainte!

    JcH

  143. Duncan says:

    Tom, “I am just afraid of taking an isolationist approach to the various situations in the Middle East. My use of the term nazi-style is I think fair – these people have no respect for anyone else but themselves (not meaning to group all Islamic people together of course).”

    Again, WHO is “taking an isolationist approach to the various situations in the Middle East”? Hint: not wanting to carpet-bomb innocent people is not “isolationist.” (There also seems to be some confusion in this thread between “apologize” and “apologist.” An apologist is someone who defends, not someone who apologizes; check a dictionary.) You’re still attacking straw persons.

    In that second sentence, you tie yourself into knots even more. “These people”? No, “nazi-style” is not particularly fair here, especially since the US and various European countries have been terrorizing the Middle East for a long, long time. The US has also supported the more brutal Muslim regimes — Saudi Arabia and Suharto’s Indonesia, to name just two — and the radical Islamists were often supported by the West at first in order to destabilize regimes we didn’t like. (Hamas, for instance, vis-a-vis the PLO, or the mujahadin in Afghanistan in the 70s and 80s.)

    Right now it’s not clear what we’re going to do with Musharaf’s Pakistan, but I remember a ‘liberal’ friend in late 2001 citing Musharaf as one of the ‘moderate’ Muslim leaders the US needed to cultivate in the wake of September 11. Whether the radical Islamists “have no respect for anyone else but themselves” I don’t know, but why should they respect the US?

    To my mind, “isolationist” better describes the mindset of Americans for whom the rest of the world exists only as an appendage to us, for our benefit, than it describes people who are aware of the impact on real people, elsewhere in the world, of the actions of the US over (say) the past 60 years. It’s not just an American thing, of course — it’s normal for citizens of imperialist countries to have such an attitude — but that’s no excuse for it either.

    About Cynthia’s intrusion on Ginger and Samia’s home as a case of white women leaning upon women of color for succor of various types, well, it could be. But since Cynthia is equally capable of imposing herself on others regardless of their color — her self-absorption marks her as just the kind of “isolationist” American for whom brown people across the sea aren’t real, and who can’t see why they’d object to our dropping bombs on them or training the secret police that torture them — and since Ginger is certainly aware of just those issues of race and nurturance, I don’t think it’s going on here. She and Samia are also adults, mentors as older lesbians who know the political reasons for supporting younger dykes, and I think the situation would be much the same if they were women of pallor instead. They got Cynthia into their household almost by accident, let’s remember, and I feel sure Alison was being mischievous in setting it up. What other mischief she has in mind for our Tumultuous Three Graces remains to be seen.

  144. Duncan says:

    Let’s see if I can squeeze this in past the Cowboy guard.

    Yes, Josh, yours was a good post, except for the use of the term “PC”. But Cynthia is not going to get laid in the way you imagine. Remember, she’s saving herself for marriage (or maybe for a three-way with Ginger and Samia — that could make a racy episode in a long story to end the next DTWOF collection!)

  145. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why the “recharge my ferret” thing is so confusing/intriguing. The ferret/Rudy connection not withstanding, it was just a snub, a way of breaking off the conversation while making it clear that JMC was so annoyed and uncomfortable with Cynthia that she’d say anything to get away from her. It’s the equivalent of saying “ring-ring! oh, wait, I’ve gotta take that call,” or “excuse me, I just remembered – I left my llama double-parked.”

    One of the joys of reading AB’s strips is their literary qualities; the layered meanings, the subtexts, etc. But this is really, as Sam Goldwyn would say, gelding the lily. Some of us (and I’ve been as guilty as anyone) need ot get a life 😉

  146. dzieger says:

    Ugh. Forgot to enter my name again…

  147. PETAPocket says:

    As a member of LAFFASS (Llama and Ferret Friends Antidefamation Surveillance Society), can’t you people find other defenseless creatures to use in your get-away lines?

  148. Andrew B says:

    I tried to write a comment about Cynthia, but it came out way too long-winded. Let me just say: there was a strip after the Ashley debacle in which Cynthia was talking to Samia about it. Referring to her belief that one should take a relationship just to the brink of genital sex and then get married before continuing, she said something like, “But isn’t that just what everybody does?” She really believed that, not because she’s stupid or self-absorbed but because she was brought up in a subculture in which it was rigidly enforced. That was a turning point in my views of Cynthia, which had formerly been extremely negative. For all that’s wrong with Cynthia — and there’s plenty — she is struggling courageously to maintain her integrity both against a hostile world and against an internalized upbringing that has left her drastically at odds with herself. While disagreeing with her on all kinds of issues, I admire that struggle.

  149. Ian says:

    I come from a right wing (though less extreme) family and can sympathise a lot with Cynthia too, even with her lack of social skills. It took me about 10 years to learn new ways of interacting with people. I’ve been very lucky (like Cynthia) in that I’ve mostly encountered very nice people who’ve been patient with me while I’m learning.

    I have to admit that once the light bulb metaphorically pinged I found it a lot easier, but it was a long struggle to even understand my new found friends and even longer to place their conversations in context.

  150. Donna says:

    LAFFASS (Llama and Ferret Friends Antidefamation Surveillance Society), Women of Pallor, and the Tumultuous Three Graces…how ever do you all come up with this stuff? Whatever it is, don’t stop doing it!

  151. Deena in OR says:

    Andrew,

    Without getting *too* graphic-

    According to the rules current when I was a teen, most lesbian sexual expression wouldn’t have counted as “sex” per se. Penetration only. So, technically, one could do all kinds of experimenting and still claim to be a virgin. If it weren’t for the whole “lezzie” label, anyway.

  152. Boyles says:

    Ok so I think the ferret thing must be a reference to Giuliani’s radio freak out (do to Cynthia’s button), but if you listen to the actual audio clip of the encounter (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2007/030507_b_Ferret.htm) you can see that the ferret in quesion is the animal, not the vehicle. Sooo I don’t quite get the “recharging” part – Alison please clear this up! I must know!

  153. LlondonBoy says:

    I think it’s important that those of us involved in purist Llama Lleague of Llondon distance ourselves from the backsliders, integrationists and counter-revolutionaries of the LAFFASS. Llamas are important and valuable contributors to the economic and social llife of llesbians, unlike ferrets, which perpetually need recharging from the llabour of the working classes…

    And let’s not forget the great musical llamas of years gone by, from Handel’s “Behold the Llama God” to the Edsel’s “Ram-a-Llama-Ding-Dong”…

    ( I’m sorry, I’m having a difficult afternoon, and needed the distraction. )

  154. ksbel6 says:

    Really, “ferret” is slang for smart phone, or PDA, or whatever else folks carry around these days to keep in contact and on schedule. It is also a timing gun used by mechanics, but I’m pretty sure AB was going with the smart phone slang.

  155. this time I'll be anonymous says:

    wow, what a lot of interesting commentary. I read the strip when it went up and then was off-line until today – and I thought most of the commentary would be along the lines of “that is one of the sexiest things you’ve ever drawn/written!” But I guess that was just me… TMI alert: I’ve been masturbating to the memory of the G & S panels all week…

  156. Andrew B says:

    Deena, I believe you. Believe me, I wasn’t trying to defend virginity pledges as a sensible way to organize one’s sex life! I was trying to say Cynthia deserves to be taken seriously, even when she is endorsing idiotic practices like virginity pledges. (And some of her ideas are not so idiotic.) She isn’t just a bullshitter who endorses crazy ideas for selfish reasons; she is a serious person who is struggling to reconcile reality and the crazy ideas she was brought up with. She, as a person (fictional character), deserves some sympathy and patience. That is not an endorsement of her beliefs. (Although, again, I don’t think all of her beliefs are foolish or self-serving.)

  157. Jana C.H. says:

    LlondonBoy– And what does all this have to do with Maoist Orange Cake? Or should that be Lleninist Llemon Bars?

    By the way, every time someone refers to Ginger and Samia as G & S I get comic opera tunes running through my head. Could we make is S & G instead?

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith G & S: Three little maids are we, / Pert as a schoolgirl well can be, / Filled to the brim with girlish glee-ee!

  158. iara says:

    LlondonBoy, I Llove you!

  159. Ian says:

    Ok, to my shame it took me a minute or two to get the LAFFASS thing. *hangs head*

    Llondonboy – absolute classic there and fully appreciated! If you ever come to Lliverpooll you must tell me.

  160. Natalka says:

    June, that animation was hilarious. Un-freakin-believable, I knew Rudy was an a**hole but I had no idea what a GIANT a**hole he could be!

    (Disclaimer: i am neither a ferret nor a ferret owner)

    Does anyone else see Cynthia’s opinion on why it’s OK to invade Iran as a huge, transparent rationalization? As in, her outlook is quite conservative, so at some level she wants to support Bush badly enough that she comes up with wacky homegrown reasons to support his policies – like bombing Iran because the government is murdering gays.

    incidentally – Jeffster83 – in a country where you can be executed for being gay, the closet is massive and roomy and sure to include plenty of military men…

  161. PETAPocket says:

    The gender studies revisionist campaign of Llama Leaguists (Llondon, Llos Angelles, and Lluchnow in particular) rears its ugly head here. “Purism” is a code-word for isolationism and fascist leanings, which LAFFASS eschews in favor of a multispecies approach toward representation that offers the ultimate route to dialectical enlightenment. Llamas are DOMESTICATED animals, found in herd situations (discos, biker bars), but ferrets represent wilderness and tunnels (land collectives, vaginal exploration).

    What do you think Sam the Sham and the Ferrets were alluding to when they sang about Wooly Bully? (Bully clearly references bulldagger.) Ferrets symbolize resisting wage enslavement and conformity, as in the exemplar Ferret Bueller’s Day Off. And let’s not overlook the secret Angels crush of so many teenaged dykes during the 70s, Ferret Fawcett Majors, who is rumored to have more than one tribadic tryst while a cheerleader in her native Corpus Christi.

  162. ready2agitate says:

    Oh I just got your handle, PETAPocket – hee! (now I’m smiling). Ferret Fawcett indeed….

  163. Grisha says:

    How many of you who are parents have had the experience of one of your kids (usually a toddler) walk in on you while making love? We have! What I think is happening is that G&S have ended up in “loco parentus” – w/ emphisis on the “loco” – for Cynthia. Her mom and – especailly – her dad, sound totally disfunctional. Hence, it looks like she’s imprinted on G&S and Anubis as the loving family she never had.

    However, seeing as G&S have only been together a relatvely shot while, it’s going to be dicy. They gotta get that gurl married off ‘n outa the house.

  164. Donna says:

    Yay LAFFASS!

  165. Travis Johnson says:

    HA HA!

    Denied orgasms.

  166. Mothra in NYC says:

    Awesome strip, as always …

    Did anyone notice the upside-down Science News in the last panel? That’s priceless.

    Thanks, AB!

  167. Ian says:

    Mothra in NYC – you’ve just reminded me of a popular cartoonist in Britain called Giles (who worked for right wing newspapers). He was softly satirical and there was a lot of affection for the family he created.

    Anyway, he drew hugely detailed one-panel 3-column cartoons for various newspapers, and each time a cartoon was submitted, the editorial team had to go over it with a magnifying glass (and fine toothcomb) to make sure no lewd depictions of condoms, etc made it through to final print in the daily paper as he’d generally try and sneak it through.

    I was thinking of it the other day when re-reading the bit about self-censorship in The Inedible AB and wondered if AB did the same sometimes – a bit like the nipple/pinky debate in the strip above?

  168. ready2agitate says:

    “We thought you were eating out!”

    Inedible, Ian? Freudian slip? 😉

  169. Ian says:

    You’ve got a choice ready2agitate: freudian slip or am I just a really anally-retentive reader of AB’s comic strip?

    One of the few times AB directly gets self-referential: I can’t be bothered looking for the exact strip number, but one of the books on display in Madwimmin Books in one strip is entitled “The Inedible Alison Bechdel”.

  170. ready2agitate says:

    Ah yeah, I remember that! And I thought you meant “Indelible.” Most excellent! Alison, give this pupil a gold star!

    (Oh, and Alison, will you break your silence on ‘recharge my ferret’?)

  171. Seraphine says:

    Yep, I noticed the upside down
    magazine also. A lot of things
    get turned around when hormones
    get loose and it’s too fun to
    stop. I miss my immaturity.
    http://EncoreSeraphine.com

  172. Ery says:

    I was just reading through the archives at planet out, and happened upon “The Inedible Alison Bechdel” It’s in #299.

    And it comes along with a nice little rant by Sophie taking the wind out of Mo’s sails. Wonderful.