DTWOF episode #512

September 4th, 2007 | Uncategorized

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Sharpen your Eagle Mirados. It’s time for school.


133 Responses to “DTWOF episode #512”

  1. Alexis says:

    Whoa, I am the first commenter, let me just savor that for a second, mmmmmmmmm,

    anyway, does Raffi really think the army is better than his home? Is it that bad!? Clarice and Tony need to do some fixin…..

  2. Alexis says:

    Wait, one more

    Since when do they eat the evil kfc? Maybe things really ARE that bad.

  3. TeratoMarty says:

    Huh… someone should tell Raf about army chow and military haircuts. Also the whole ‘getting-shot-at’ thing.

  4. Will says:

    “Textual Intercourse” is priceless.

  5. Elly says:

    Correction, Alexis! RAFFI eats KFC. It’s a known phenomenon. My brother used to buy his lunch at FarmFoods (vile grotty scarily cheap never-been-near-a-real-animal supermarket thing) at that age. It’s an act that asserts, ‘I reject your food in favour of my independence and a gallon of own-brand cola’.

  6. G. says:

    Sigh. The “mommy” and “daddy” bookending the strip seem esp. poignant.

  7. Hey, yeah! The mommy and daddy thing was brilliant!

    If only it had been intentional.

  8. G. says:

    Heh. Once again, Alison Bechdel’s subconscious proves to be one of our nation’s better cartoonists.

  9. advo-runner-mom says:

    unlike the other more recent strips, this one does not leave me worried that we’re one or two installments from The End.

  10. LizD says:

    I hope Cynthia moves in! I find her fascinating and would love to follow her developing story.

  11. Andrea says:

    I know he’s not real, but I am SO sad for Raffi.

    I want to see you take a really troubled relationship in this strip and actually make it work. Don’t you think that’d be even more dramatic than a breakup? *cough*monsydney*cough*

  12. Feminista says:

    Notice the gleam in Cynthia’s eyes when Ammir announces he’s found an apartment,and Samia’s angry look? Cynthia as a housemate would be a disaster. **shudder**

  13. Feminista says:

    Oops,that’s Ammar.

    Also liked the play on academic b.s. names of courses.

  14. BJ says:

    Cynthia! Don’t do it! I lived with a professor for half the year and it was a million times worse than parents! (Although fortunately I never saw him naked. Ew. Okay, maybe that would be a perk for you.)

    I’m so worried about Sydney’s dad.

  15. LondonBoy says:

    Yaaaay, Cynthia’s back ( well for at least one strip, anyway ) ! Now all we have to hope is that Ammar isn’t going to be let down by Maclaughlin-Farkas Rental Services Inc…

  16. Pam I says:

    How would AB have done the photo modelling for panel 5?

  17. Feminista says:

    Good question,Pam. The hug looks very similar to Mo and Jennifer embracing after a visit.

  18. Deborah says:

    Sydney might not pass security clearance if she lives with Samia…when an acquaintance of mine was trying to work for the NSA, consorting with foreign nationals was a big issue.

  19. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Oh God. The liberal professor, the knee-jerk conservative CIA recruit, and the Syrian doctor all under one roof. This sounds like a sit-com from hell. (Anyone recall what I consider to be the best sketch The State ever did- namely, “The Jew, The Italian, and the Red-Head Gay?)

  20. Duncan says:

    “Sydney” for “Cynthia” is an interesting Freudian slip, Deborah. ^^

    I don’t think Raffi is all that badly off. Complaining that one’s household is worse than the army, or prison, or a concentration camp, is pretty normal adolescent drama-queeniness. (If this were a normal comic strip, Clarice would proceed to wake Raffi up at 5 a.m., make him do 100 pushups and situps while screaming homophobic abuse at him, eat K-rations, etc., and see if he *really* thinks he’d prefer the military. Fortunately, this is not a normal comic strip or TV sitcom.) Real, serious teenage emotional trauma would look different than Raffi does right now.

    Ginger and Samia can always explain to Cynthia that they don’t want a terrorist living in their house. They’ve been way too soft on that girl so far.

    But damn… I mean, dang. I confess I am surprised to see that Ginger and Samia did actually buy the house and move in together. I’d half expected something to sabotage it.

  21. JenK says:

    Wow, Raffi really is a teenager. 🙂

  22. Ydnic says:

    Love the headlines in the penultimate panel.

  23. dc says:

    Yep. Duncan beat me to it. I was going to say Raffi’s response was just the predictable winding up that all teens do to their parents. I’m sure he has some inkling what the army is like 🙂

    Teens just *LOVE* to give their parents heart attacks! I know,
    I’ve been through it recently 🙂

  24. Deborah says:

    Thanks Duncan, for noting my Freudian slip. Oops!! But what does it MEAN???

  25. Rachelcakes says:

    BJ: I’m worried about all of them, and AB too. There hasn’t been much happiness in this strip recently.

  26. oaktown nomad says:

    deland – right on. “the state” and “dykes to watch out for” saved me repeatedly in high school, but i’d never thought of how well they might work together.

  27. Suz says:

    I love how defensive about the CIA stuff Cynthia looks in panel 6. Nice to see she might be sticking around in the strip.

  28. Maggie Jochild says:

    Does anyone know what N.H. stands for in Raffi’s upcoming high school name? (On the opt-out form, panel 2). Or — any guesses?

  29. Vanessa says:


    I believe the N.H. stands for “Nether Heights,” which was also the name of Raffi’s Elementary School.

  30. yeppers says:

    kind of overly banal, this one. maybe that’s a good thing. or maybe the strip is leaving too many loose ends because it’s not possible to deal with them in monthly installments.

  31. Sarah says:

    “Textual Intercourse” is the real title of a real book, of course, Will. About authorial collaboration in Renaissance drama, by Jeffrey Masten, an esteemed scholar and queer man who used to be a professor at my grad school and is now a professor at Northwestern.

  32. Josiah says:

    I wouldn’t say it was banal — there’s a lot going on here. One of the most interesting things isn’t what we see, but what we don’t see: is Toni out on a date with Gloria?

    I will say that I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see Mo’s reaction to Sen. Craig’s airport bathroom follies, though. The constant drumbeat to war with Iran is more important, of course, but the exposure of a hypocrite is so much more fun.

  33. Feminista says:

    Thanks,Maggie,for the school clarification. I was thinking the NH stood for New Hampshire,which is neither here nor there.

  34. Troy says:

    Hey.. i’m new here. I’ve loved DTLOF for years and am just finishing up “fun house”.. (fantastic!).

    so.. does anyone know if there are any DTLOF anthologies besides the little books that come out? I’d love to buy a larger volume (or 2 or 3) that spans several of the little books.

  35. CE says:

    If Raffi really thinks the military would be a breeze, Clarice and Toni ought to let him try out JROTC or a boot camp of any kind. He’d be in for a HUGE rude awakening, 5 bucks says he’d be going AWOL the first time a drill sergeant verbally dressed him down for not folding his bedsheets right.

    I’m kinda starting to wonder if maybe Ginger, Samia, and Cynthia are heading for the polyamorous highway, especially since it’s VERY obvious Cynthia is attracted to both of them and there’s a chance she might be moving in with them. Would be kinda nice to see a positive poly love nest

  36. fjm says:

    I’m with CE. I do rather like Cynthia–but then I always had a tendency to fall for the utterly unsuitable.

  37. Em says:

    Anyone else seeing shades of AJ Soprano in Raffi?

  38. Mabel says:

    Another great strip. I think AB is definitely hitting her stride at the moment. Far from being banal, I think this episode shows the things have hit the steady beat of a regular strip and things are moving along nicely.

  39. van says:

    Nice, Cynthia’s back! Looks like Ginger’s leaving one crazy house for another! Love the uni courses and google headline, hee!

  40. straight girl fan says:

    I am SO tired of Cynthia’s “boo hoo, why does nobody like me?” routine. Maybe because you’re a flaming HYPOCRITE?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Cynthia as a character, just not as a person. And I don’t get why Ginger and Samia put up with her. It’s way past the point of offering guidance to a needy youngster.

  41. Lori in NYC says:

    It’s amazing how AB makes these characters so real. I grew up in a family that ate KFC, McD’s and fried food and rebelled by becoming a vegetarian, eating tofu, and really beinb into wheat germ!
    Great job, AB.

  42. Hariette says:

    As for CE’s suggestion of sending Raffi to JROTC or bootcamp, NO!!!!!! Oh dear god, please, no. He’s hurting and he’s angry; this is not the time for the first move to be a punishing situation. The pain is evident in Clarice’s face and she’s half of the duo that is making the decision for his living situation. She’s got a voice & she’s in pain. Imagine being 14, having no say and no idea what’s happening except knowing everyone is unhappy?

    Maybe because half my work day consists of hanging with the joy that is adolescent boys, my heart is breaking for Raffi. I wish he had some safe & trusted adult that he could speak with or just hang out with. Would this be a good time for the return of beloved Tio Carlos?

  43. Scotia says:


    Nathan Hale High School

    New Hamburg High School

    North Hicksville Hich School

    any other ideas?

  44. Alex the Bold says:

    Syd’s father reminds me of when I worked at the Dairy Mart.

    One of the customers, George, comes in one day. He’d been in WWII and on one occasion he’d told me about having been in five major battles during the war.

    He also told me a story about how he ran into a German woman during the war. He and his men arrived at her farmhouse, and she was the only one who spoke English, and George started talking to her. “Oh, you speak English?” “Yes, I learned it when I went to Smith.” “Oh, I’m from Northampton, too!”

    And George asked her if there was any food.

    And she got very angry. And George finally got it out of her: “First you’ll eat, then you’ll rape all of us. You went to the same town that I went to school? How stupid do you think I am?” (The quotes aren’t exact anymore of course.)

    And George was stunned! So he started describing the town. All the store names, what Smith looked like, where it was, etc. And he said to her something like, “Now, come on, you must have met a lot of American men while you were at Smith. Do you really think we’re just gonna rape you?”

    And she accepted that, no, as there weren’t roving rape gangs in America, the likelihood was pretty high that there wasn’t going to be a mass rape at the end of the meal.

    I bring it up for two reasons:

    1. That’s the good will another George has squandered. After Abu Ghraib and all the rest, do you think anyone’s going to feed American troops again?

    2. The last time I saw George, he came into the Dairy Mart and there was a 30-ish man with him. I said hello, George said hi back, looked around for a minute and said, “Are you new here?”

    And it just broke my heart. In one of those great little moments where you think of the right thing to say AT THE TIME, I said to George, “Oh, I’ve been here for a while, but not in the mornings.”

    Poor Sydney, whom I usually cannot stand. At least I can feel a little “sydpathy.”

  45. Duncan says:

    Hariette, I didn’t of course mean that Raffi really should be sent to boot camp. That’s why I imagined it happening in a “normal” comic strip or TV sitcom, like My Three Sons.

    That might be a bit for Alison to use if she decided to do another one of her alt-universe strips again. Clarice to Raffi: “No more whining, young man, or you’re spending a week in The Family Circus!”

  46. Duncan says:

    Hariette, I didn’t of course mean that Raffi really should be sent to boot camp. That’s why I imagined it happening in a “normal” comic strip or TV sitcom, like My Three Sons.

    That might be a bit for Alison to use if she decided to do another one of her alt-universe strips again. Clarice to Raffi: “No more whining, young man, or you’re spending a week in The Family Circus!”

    Alex the Bold, “That’s the good will another George has squandered.” Oh, please! American troops did plenty of raping and pillaging before Iraq, including WWII. Vietnam was notably horrific in that regard, making Abu Ghraib look like a fraternity initiation by comparison.

  47. Sherri says:

    Hi, I don’t post much but I’m just randomly jumping in to respond to Andrea wanting Clarice and Toni’s troubled relationship to work. I think it’s going to be more interesting to see how the two of them ultimately figure out a way to work together to be there for Raffi, regardless of whether they’re back with each other. I know they can do it, they always seem to come through on the important stuff.

  48. Dale says:

    Parents losing it – another little crank on the Stress Machine. How old is Sydney, anyway? Does anyone have an idea of the ages of our Heroines?
    Duncan, that bit about sending Raffi to Family Circus – I laughed my ass off! Stephen Pastis is already making fun of them this week in Pearls Before Swine. Heh heh!
    Textual Intercourse…*cackle* May have to borrow that one!
    As always….great work, Alison!

  49. spoil sport says:

    Nathaniel Hawthorne High School (?)

  50. Andrew B says:

    The thing that bothers me about Raffi’s comment is that he knows how much Clarice hates the military. He must be very angry to say that to her, given her views on the matter. It’s not the same as another adolescent of another parent who doesn’t have such strong views. That other kid would be saying something like, “You don’t take me seriously as an individual; I’m just a uniform to you”. Raffi is saying, in effect, “You are as bad as an institution you hate”.

    Duncan, I know I’m not contradicting you here but I think it’s worth saying: when it comes to raping and pillaging, some Americans did/do, some didn’t/don’t. People are people, including soldiers. If you put them in extreme situations, some will do vicious things they would not otherwise have done. That’s a reason not to put people in extreme situations unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    It’s also worth distinguishing between the terrible responses some otherwise ordinary people will make to extreme situations and deliberate terrorism like the Phoenix program — particularly since the Cheney administration is trying to pass Abu Ghraib off as the former, when it almost surely was the latter. Finally, it’s worth recalling that the Cheneyites did waste a tremendous amount of international good will that existed following 9/11, and Abu Ghraib was part of the cause.

  51. Kat says:

    Andrew B, I don’t know that Raffi’s situation is as dire as that.
    Teenagers often say things because they know exactly how much it will drive their parents nuts. Wanna give your mom the biggest (and therefore awesomest) heart attack ever?? Say that her household is worse than what she hates most in the world.
    I’m sure that Raffi’s dealing with a lot, but I think the comment was a run-of-the-mill teenage dig.

  52. Alex the Bold says:


    “Vietnam was notably horrific in that regard, making Abu Ghraib look like a fraternity initiation by comparison.”

    The difference, I suggest, is that during Vietnam there was at least a semblance of shame, both nationally and in the military.

    I think that some (not all, but some, possibly many) of the people in the U.S. who were involved in Vietnam at the command levels felt genuine disgust and revulsion over what went on under their noses.

    Somehow, I can’t see Dubya, Cheney, Condi, or most (not some, not many, but most) of the rest of them feeling anything beyond a tiny sexual thrill over how their puppets put on a show and a little annoyance over having to pretend to give a damn about some girl being raped and burned in some shithole in Iraq.

    I’m not trying to parse the “rightness” of one war over another. I’m just saying that I think there was a time when an American soldier’s commanders felt genuine disgust at certain behaviors and communicated that anger to his soldiers.

    I think Customer George “got” that. I think President George doesn’t.

    Cue someone sputtering about Dresden …

  53. holli says:

    “Ginger and Samia can always explain to Cynthia that they don’t want a terrorist living in their house. They’ve been way too soft on that girl so far.”

    Duncan, I laughed out loud.
    My cats are alarmed.

  54. JM in theTC says:

    I would have to agree with Kat, Raffi sounds like a normal teen causing havoc.

    I would love to see Cynthia living with Ginger and Samia. It will be nice for her to have to face losing her CIA clearance for not only associating with lesbians but a Syrian lesbian. Hmmmm…. perhaps the CIA can overlook the lesbian part (officially I am sure they can’t consider you a security threat for homosexual behavior) but not the foriegn national segment. It would be lovely to see AB’s take on a conservative defending her lovely ideals after those same ideals bite her in the butt. Perhaps she can take a cue from miss cheney and her lovely family in virginia, the forced smiles and photo ops are a thin veil for hypocrisy.

  55. shadocat says:

    Another vote for Cynthia moving in! I want her in the loop, plus I’m delighted that Ammar is moving out (even if Sammia’s not so delighted—and what’s the deal with that, anyway?).

    I used to do clerical work for my Dad, (a lawyer) on a part time basis. A few months ago, he called me, convinced I had some notes on a case that had been over for years, stating, “I have to be at court in the morning!”(He’s also been retired for years.) God, now I’m feeling sorry for that damn Sydney again…

  56. shadocat says:

    And of course! The floods and the mortgage crisis MUST be the fault of the evil Iranians! (Didn’t I see that on Faux News?)

  57. DeLandDeLakes says:

    I dunno about that, JM- didn’t the CIA fire several direly-needed Arabic translators a few years back, because they were gay? Or was that the army?

  58. JenK says:

    I would love to see Cynthia living with Ginger and Samia. It will be nice for her to have to face losing her CIA clearance for not only associating with lesbians but a Syrian lesbian.

    My impression is that Cynthia is a true, small-government conservative who thinks the government should get out of people’s bedrooms. (She can also probably quote John Boswell on why the Bible contradicts Christianity’s condemnation of gays.) But I could be wrong there.

    Re: CIA & Syria, yeah, that could be dicey. Of course, there is a staffer on record as saying that Syria is NOT a threat to the US. Of course, he also seems to be saying that Syria isn’t together enough to be a threat. http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2006/06/cias-view-of-syria.htm


  59. The Cat Pimp says:

    I think Raffi was just yanking some chains with his comment. I found the KFC thing interesting. I don’t recall Toni and Clarice being particularly doctrinaire about vegetarianism, like Mo or Sparrow would be. I remember my teen years – the atomic furnace metabolism. If KFC was available to me at that age, I’d power down a bucket of the stuff. (Now, I am unable and I found out how they treat their chickens – EW.)

    I like Ginger and Cynthia’s ribbing each other. I find the age spread for a friendship a little improbable. Ginger is at least 40, probably mid-40s and Cynthia’s probably 22 or so. However, some points will be made somwhere. I have faith in AB’s capacity to weave sense into our strange world.

  60. Non Compost Mentos says:

    Oh, my…some kind soul at the Comics Curmudgeon blog linked to this strip, and I suddenly realized how much I’ve missed DTWOF! Gotta get me to the archives over the next couple of days…

    For what little it’s worth, DeLandDeLakes, it was the military that has discharged the Arabic-speaking intelligence officers. The details are widely available on the internets, but I’m including this link just because I like the name of the blog: http://thisfuckingwar.blogspot.com/2007/05/military-fires-three-more-gay-arabic.html
    The CIA, for all its many evils, is a civilian agency and hires LGBT employees, and has held Gay Pride celebrations at its headquarters in Langley VA. (another damn link: http://www.palmcenter.org/press/dadt/releases/as_more_intelligence_agents_work_with_military_personnel_scholars_question_rationale_for_pentagon_s_gay_ban )

  61. Anonny Mouse says:

    >>>>I like Ginger and Cynthia’s ribbing each other. I find the age spread for a friendship a little improbable.

    Did you never watch Buffy and Giles? 🙂

    Personally, I don’t think Cynthia was gone long enough to be missed. I’d rather see the return of Ashley WITHOUT Cynthia in the strip for a while. It’d be interesting to see how/if Ginger and Samia would defend Cynthia (whom they like regardless of her being a [insert derogatory term for “right-winger” here]) without defending her viewpoint, so to speak. And, really, some of us still wonder what was Ashley’s deal in finding Cynthia’s personality at all attractive in the first place?

  62. Dr. Empirical says:

    I always interpreted the Ashley/Cynthia relationship as the Mo/Sydney dynamic writ small.

    Having written that, I immediately see flaws in the theory, but the juxtoposition is interesting nonetheless.

  63. tea says:

    i became close friends with my favorite professor right after i graduated college. we’re actually talking about moving in together since my grad school is fairly close to where she now teaches. and i’m 24 and she just turned 40. so it happens.
    of course, we DO share the same political views.
    i think (a la buffy and giles) that friendship between mentors and students is far more common than we tend to think. the hardest part is convincing others that there isn’t some wild affair. (ahem, sydney?)

    ps. i like the little cat/mouse thing happening in the last two comments.

  64. Eileen says:

    Having Cynthia in the house can’t be worse than having Samia’s ex-(? are they divorced?) husband. But I think Cynthia should move in with Sparrow, Stuart and Lois. Maybe Lois, who wouldn’t care about the age or political difference, can talk her out of that virginity thing. Clarice could move in with Moe, when she finally kicks Sydney out. And when Clarice and Toni find out about Raffi’s bullying problem, they could take him out of school, and he could join Janis and JR’s home school.

  65. tylik says:

    Watch it with the JROTC idea — I have a couple of friends who did JROTC and enjoyed it enough they actually signed up… only to discover the real military is nothing like the high school drill teams and all.

    Cynthia, Ginger, and Samia as house mates sounds almost too perfect.

  66. Andrew B says:

    People who think Raffi is just showing ordinary adolescent angst: part of our disagreement might just be about what’s ordinary. Raffi could be in worse shape than he is. There’s a subjective element to what counts as ordinary. We might just have to agree to disagree about that.

    One other fact about his exchange with Clarice that seems relevant to me, though, is that they were not fighting when he came out with his remark about the military. Granted that it probably pissed him off that she tried to use him to keep tabs on Toni, and that he’s too old for “Mommy”, still it’s not like they’d been fighting for half an hour and the tension had been building. His default response, with little provocation, is to compare her to something she hates. That strikes me as more than ordinary adolescent angst/provocativeness.

    Raffi is one of my favorite characters. I hate to see him sucking down KFC and acting sullen. Clarice has got to make a move, one way or another. Raffi is going to make a move eventually, and it might or might not be in a good direction.

  67. Scotia says:

    Actually, a situation in which Cynthia has to choose between her friendship with Ginger and Samia and the kind of career she’s pursuing is not all that implausible and would make an excellent plot development. I don’t think she’s a small government libertarian conservative. She was clearly raised on the American exceptionalist world domination Kool-Aid. A lot of people become very original thinkers after a CIA experience (look at Valerie Plame). I think Cynthia is a great way of exploring the ways in which sexuality and politics have evolved. What, for instance, would she think of Larry Craig? A flaming hyopcrite who was noneless the victim of outrageous surveilance and entrapment. The right in America is undergoing a huge existential crisis right now; maybe Cynthia should too.

  68. Feminista says:

    I don’t think Clarice is asking Raffi to keep tabs on Toni–it’s a simple question that family members ask each other.

    Cynthia should move into grad student housing,thus sparing our winsome women (and Stuart)more angst. Who knows,she could even meet a Republican getting her MBA,thus adding another character to provide counterpoint to our freethinking friends.

  69. Feminista says:

    Or to paraphrase Mo,”you mean all lesbians aren’t socialist feminist vegetarian enviromentalist anti-consumers?”

  70. Jana C.H. says:

    Notice Cynthia’s expression when Samia says Cyn couldn’t tell them what happened in CIA camp. She looks guilty. Maybe Cynthia would have been perfectly willing to tell All-American Ginger at least something about CIA camp, but had automatically shut up with Samia, whose Arabic instruction had gotten her the position in the first place. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what AB does with facial expressions.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle, Soviet of Washington
    There’s no Pravda in Izvestia and no Izvestia in Pravda. –Old USSR Joke

  71. martinet says:

    “I don’t recall Toni and Clarice being particularly doctrinaire about vegetarianism”

    I’m certain that Toni and Clarice weren’t vegetarians, as they’ve served turkey for Thanksgiving, or at least planned to–in 2000, Toni had a free-range organic turkey on reserve at the co-op, which Clarice forgot to pick up because she was obsessing over election results. Toni sent Clarice (and Raffi) to the supermarket, and the only reason they didn’t end up with plain old ordinary no-range turkey was that the turks were all frozen and didn’t thaw on time for dinner. (God, I’m embarrassing.)

    I’m in the camp of sullen adolescence (and adolescent energy powerhouse re KFC), rather than anything overtly malicious.

    As for “too old for Mommy,” I think the need for distinction between Mommy and Meema is keeping that name going more than anything. I’ve heard that with my lesbian co-worker, who still refers to her partner as “Mommy” as opposed to herself, “Mama,” when talking to her sixteen-year-old daughter on the phone. Comes with the territory for lesbian parenting.

    Hard for me to read Samia’s look, more than anything. If she were in an ordinary situation, just setting up a new household with her lover, I would read it as annoyance that Ginger proposed an “invasion” of the space that they’re supposed to be making their own–BUT, the fact that Ammar was already there kind of blows that theory! I don’t think that she’s less close to Cynthia than Ginger is, either; they seem to share friendship equally. Might be a little control-freakiness on Samia’s part–can’t quite let go of Ammar, doesn’t want Ginger to freely open up the space to Cynthia. That scares me a little bit; I’m still not 100% sure what I think of her.

  72. emmala says:

    all this going on about how cynthia should be back all the time. i wonder what ever happened to Naomi….or feck what about Thea even.

  73. Aunt Soozie says:

    Pam and Feminista,
    You two crack me up. Vermont isn’t that desolate!
    She could invite a friend over for a photo shoot or something.

    Then you two get me thinking all sophmoronically about Alison’s next book and how you two envision her posing for that one. since it’s about self and other…will Alison have to run back and forth? Posing as both?

    Perhaps..but, maybe (even though she does admit to partial monkdom) Alison might happen upon another human being and she might ask that person to help her with her work by pausing for a photo or two. Then again, there is also the frenetic internet searching…we’ll have to ask her.

  74. Aunt Soozie says:

    and also…are you a pencil gnawer?
    Or is that too personal a question?

  75. D.F. says:

    Re: Samia’s look.

    I don’t know many queer Arab women who *wouldn’t* throw their partners at least a look upon hearing her offer to open up their *home space* to someone who just returned from CIA camp. No matter how friendly they are on a day-to-day basis.

    I (tho S. asian, not Arab) would be as likely, in fact, to throw my partner out as to throw her a look.

    We’re already bugged, have our finances looked into, telephone records turned over, blogs we participate in trolled, groups infiltrated…

    … what a perfect career coup for Cynthia.

    sorry if i sound bitter. been frisked one too many times at the airport.

    and yes, i admit it, it’s hard for me to understand that friendship.

  76. Dianne says:

    Cue someone sputtering about Dresden …

    Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima*, Nagasaki, the Japanese concentration camps, the post-war use of the former Nazi torture chambers to torture suspected communists…there’s lots to sputter about in relation to WWII. And, yes, there are and were rape gangs roaming the streets of the US. Which isn’t to say that Customer George isn’t a decent person himself. Just that his decency doesn’t guarentee his country’s decency.

    *If you ever want to make an American completely foam at the mouth, just suggest that the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki might not have been completely, absolutely, the best and most righteous act in the world. Seriously, Even “liberal” Americans completely lose it at the suggestion.

  77. Dianne says:

    Ok, now that I’ve ranted, on to something fun. It’s time for Raffi to get a girlfriend…or boyfriend, but he strikes me as more likely het. Stella’s out: they’ve been friends since childhood and it would be too much like dating your sister. Raffi and Janice need to meet. Let Clarice and Toni test out how trans friendly they REALLY are and give Raffi a chance to both get some of his hormones out of his system and possibly annoy his mothers. What teenager could ask for more?

  78. Pam I says:

    Don’t Ginger and Samia need some time living on their own in what’s (hopefully) still their honeymoon phase? Short-term visitors maybe – but house-share. already?

  79. Anonny Mouse says:

    >>>Notice Cynthia’s expression when Samia says Cyn couldn’t tell them what happened in CIA camp. She looks guilty.

    I thought she just looked mildly dubious, like “let’s not go overboard there.” I’m sure the CIA stresses secrecy, but I doubt it encourages its recruits to make death threats. Well, to one’s friends and family, anyway.

  80. Alex K says:

    @Dianne: Quakers – I was reared as one, in the United States – don’t subscribe loudly or often to the idea of “sin”, but that was the phrase I heard for our country’s use of nuclear weapons.

    But that was among members of a small sect, an odd one, and likely not representative of what a wider sampling of Americans might find.

    Raffi’s gone a long way, hasn’t he, from the little fellow (“They should share!”) whom his mothers encouraged to visit the state capitol with his Tonka truck… My nephews are moving through the same changes – they think they’re growing and gaining, I know they’re shrinking and losing, well on their way toward at least a few years as creatures controlled by their penises and wallets. Maybe that’s part of why this installment of DTWOF makes me feel so wistful, and, yes, even a bit lonely.

  81. Alex the Bold says:

    Cat Pimp,

    Don’t forget when Clarice went to the co-op and told Mo that because Toni was pregnant, there’d be no more greasy takeout until the kid is weaned.

    And Sparrow’s “secret fetish” (where she goes into a KFC or an FFF for some fried chicken).

    And Stuart once ate some meat for Digger that he thought was marinated tofu.

    They all eat meat! It’s just a trick to get us feeling guilty! (Freemasons run the country …)

  82. Kelli says:

    Dianne, of course the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrible. That’s almost, but not quite, a “duh”-worthy statement. War, in and of itself, is horrible, and the A-bomb merely the most dramatic and concentrated form of warfare. The question is not whether or not it was a horror; it’s whether or not the alternative — a war of attrition lasting possibly as long as another 2 years, at the expense of both Allied and Japanese lives — was better or worse than a quick end brought about by the demonstration to Japan of terrifyingly overwhelming force with considerably less risk to Allied lives. And in a war, one does tend to consider one’s own people to be more important than the enemy’s.

  83. Dianne says:

    See what I mean? Foam, foam…but, we HAD to! Millions of lives…really! Historically dubious statements at best, but what does that matter? Yep, winning means never having to say you’re sorry for your war crimes.

  84. Deena in OR says:

    Dianne…re: Hiroshima discussion-

    Count me as one that doesn’t believe that nuking Hiroshima/Nagasaki was an acceptable choice…morally reprehensible is more like it. And my grandfather was a crew foreman for the team that built the Enola Gay. (Yeah, there were things that we didn’t talk about when I was growing up…)

    But I will say this. I wasn’t there. I have no idea what advice was being given to Truman, or if he had a competent spiritual advisor, for that matter. He undoubtedly belived that he was making the best decision. It’s easy to dissect history from a distance.

  85. Jana C.H. says:

    Kelli, I largely agree with you, but I think the need to use the Bomb quickly to end the war was exaggerated. The Japanese leaders knew they were beaten and were looking for a way to end it. They had only one requirement: to keep the Emperor. The Americans insisted on unconditional surrender, but ended up allowing Japan to keep the Emperor anyway, which was, tactically, a sensible move. Dropping the Bomb was only partly to do with defeating Japan. It was also about positioning the U.S. in the post-war world, and was intended to impress Stalin.

    It was a horrible thing to do, expecially the drop on Nagasaki, since the destruction of Hiroshima alone would have done both jobs. Indeed, dropping the Bomb in the ocean within viewing distance of Tokyo would probably have been enough. It would have shown the Soviets what we could do and given the Japanese leaders the excuse they needed to surrended unconditionally.

    We are seriously hijacking the thread here, so if people want to continue, let me know and I’ll ask the other Divas about setting up a thread at Maoist Orange Cake. At the MOC right now we are discussing drag king names and operatic trouser roles, and Little Gator has something planned, but we can doubtless find room for this. It’s the nature of the MOC. http://maoistorangecake.blogspot.com/

    Jana C.H.
    Old Italian Political Saying: The conductor changes, the music remains the same.

  86. Deena in OR says:

    Re: Samia/Ginger/Ammar/Cynthia,

    Am I the only one that caught the turn of phrase from Ginger “If *Samia* hadn’t let Ammar move into our spare room, you could stay there.”? Seems that Samia and Ginger both have a conversation to have in private about boundaries, space, and making decisions on their own for the couple. Or maybe I’m just being hypersensitive…that’s one of my hot-button issues from former coupledom….

  87. Ianscot says:


    For what it’s worth, last night I saw a set of clips from the upcoming Ken Burns documentary, “The War.” Burns seemed to foreshadow much the same “it saved American lives, period” point of view about the atomic bombs, and he put the argument in the mouth of his map-overlay narrator rather than letting some historical source say it first person.

    There was significant debate among the branches of the military in our own country with respect to whether the bombs were necessary, whether an invasion would have been ruinous or even necessary, and so on. Between the Army Air Corps and the Navy, for example, there were various arguments made. And yet after the war people like Chester Nimitz, who opposed the bombings and in letters to his wife talked about their inhumanity, had the “saved American lives” position attributed to them.

    To return to the fold: I don’t think DTWOF would back off to some narrative voice to put forward that sort of idea, and its characters wouldn’t mouth along their agreement. Even within the universe of this strip, people and decisions aren’t like that.

  88. The Cat Pimp says:

    I think Ginger was making a polite pleasantry with Cynthia and it backfired when Ammar announced he’d found an apartment. D’OH.

    I agree with those who think Raffi is just being a sullen teenager.

    And the only Buffy I ever saw was the movie (it had Paul Reubens in it as some kind of evil minion), so I don’t know about Buffy’s friendships in the TV series.

  89. thistle says:

    On the “textual intercourse” class name–there’s a line in a Michael Palmer poem that I love, that goes, “For a dollar I will have text with you and answer three questions.” I hope Sydney has him in her syllabus 🙂

  90. ksbel6 says:

    I’m still very good friends with my high school algebra teacher…wanted to turn out just like him and am still trying to obtain his level of nice. So, we started our friendship at about 15 and 30, and now we are 35 and 50. I just don’t think age matters when two people click. Although, my girlfriend is over 20 years older than I am, so maybe I was just born into the wrong generation 🙂

  91. Kahuna Burger says:

    Deena – I caught that too and was equally surprised at the lack of mention. (but then, there was a lot going on.) Especially as in a prior strip while house hunting, Ginger says that Samia is going to show her husband the door (fully committing to their relationship) if Ginger goes through with buying a house together (fully committing to their relationship). Guess someone wasn’t able to follow through. 🙁

  92. Kahuna Burger says:

    The quote from the earlier strip : “Samia and I are playing emotional chicken. She’ll make Ammar leave when I leave Sparrow and Stuart and Lois, but not before.”

  93. Duncan says:

    Dianne, I’m an American, and I not only do not foam at the mouth at the suggestion that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not a good idea, but I consider them war crimes. Nor am I the only American who feels that way. But you’re right than many American liberals would disagree with me.

    It looks like Ammar is getting a place of his own, though like so many men he might well be back to demand emotional / financial service if that doesn’t work out.

    I don’t think we know enough about Raffi’s state of mind to say whether he has major problems right now. (And as a child of divorce myself, I don’t think that divorcing parents constitute a major problem.) But having read Alison’s work for many years, I also don’t detect any hints in that scene that worse is necessarily to come. (But I’ve been wrong before — I didn’t think that Sydney’s father was showing signs of Alzheimer’s when other detected it.) Still, I get the impression that a lot of caring adults are far too ready to assume that *all* teenagers are at high risk for doom. (“We have to talk. Whether or not to commit suicide is the most important decision a teenager can make.” — Ms. Pauline Fleming, in Heathers.) It’s weird: I thought that I was a troubled teen from a disfunctional family well into my twenties, mainly because my benchmark was the 50s TV sitcom paradigm. Since then I’ve come to realize that other families are much unhappier, and that I was/am a lot more resilient, better-loved, and better-supported than I thought. So maybe I’m projecting my strengths onto Raffi?

  94. Aranea says:

    To ksbel6, writing : “I just don’t think age matters when two people click.” Hear, hear!
    I’m still close friends with a former teacher, too, bridging a 30-year age gap that puzzles quite a few people. But, as Tea points out, sharing a perspective (political or other) matters more than age – which is why I don’t quite get the friends-with-Cynthia business.
    I was going to wonder why so many age-gap friendships seem to have started as teacher/student encounters, but on second thought I suppose it makes sense : many if not most of the non-family adults that, as a teen, you see on a regular basis are going to be teachers, and a good teacher or mentor can matter a great deal – or so I keep hoping, being a teacher myself…

  95. Aunt Soozie says:

    Hi Dianne,

    Personally, I’ve never heard anyone say that the bombing of Japan was a good idea…or that is WASN’T inhumane and horrifying. In fact most American folks I’ve discussed it with do foam at the mouth…in disgust and dismay at what was done.

    My father fought in WWII and he maintained that the bombings were unnecessary as the war was going to end anyway. That’s the way I always heard it told. Maybe I’m biased having grown up with my Dad and his point of view…or maybe it’s because, though I’m not a Friend myself, I grew up in Philadelphia, Land of Quakers. I don’t know who you’ve been hanging with but hey, there are many liberal Americans who would agree with me and my Dad and Duncan and Alex K.

    then again, my Dad never would have identified as “liberal” but hey, who does these days? You know, that’s another arena where we’re going to have to change our vocabulary.

  96. Ginjoint says:

    Dianne, I gotta love how you describe anyone who disagrees with you as “foaming at the mouth.” I think that’s very dismissive and….I’ll stop at dismissive.

    From what I have read/seen/heard/watched over the years, there was much, much soul searching over whether to drop those bombs. It was not a decision lightly made. Ultimately, it came down to what Kelli brought up – the war with Japan would’ve dragged on, despite both sides being war-weary and exhausted in more ways than one. Was it the correct choice? I’ll never know. I wasn’t there, I didn’t know the forces involved. But I’ll never consider it a war crime, either. ::Checking my mouth for foam. Finding none. Onward::

    All of this brings me to something else – I’m sick to death of liberals’ (and I consider myself one) constant self-flagellation: if it’s not American, it’s automatically better. Better than us, because we entirely suck, because of our recent Republican administrations. Why can’t this country find a balance between paralyzing self-criticism or self-deluding jingoism? And why the hell would Samia allow Ammar to move in? What the fuck is up with that?! Did she even ask Ginger? I’m going to bed.

  97. Hariette says:

    Duncan —

    Okay, I’m confused. (Granted, this is not hard to do!) You are CE as well?

    I must admit I do have a visceral reaction to the just-send-the-misbehaving-teen-to-bootcamp suggestion. Usually I hear it from parents who don’t think about setting limits until the little tyke is 13 or 14 and then they think that beating them is a good answer. Always kills me when the rebelling teen is the only one in the family giving the healthy response but that’s the response targeted for change.

    However, I think your suggestion of having Alison banishing him for a week in “Family Circus” is grand. If Raf thinks times are tough now, can you imagine if he was forced to live in a strip where he did not age? Can you imagine teenage angst forever? So where do we send Clarice & Toni and Sydney & Mo for their lessons?

  98. Hariette says:

    Martinet —

    “I’m certain that Toni and Clarice weren’t vegetarians, as they’ve served turkey for Thanksgiving, or at least planned to–in 2000, Toni had a free-range organic turkey on reserve at the co-op, which Clarice forgot to pick up because she was obsessing over election results. Toni sent Clarice (and Raffi) to the supermarket, and the only reason they didn’t end up with plain old ordinary no-range turkey was that the turks were all frozen and didn’t thaw on time for dinner. (God, I’m embarrassing.)”

    And don’t forget the cook-out for Raffi’s first b-day when Harriet was dating Ellen. Remember Ellen getting upset with Clarice for poking her tofu pup with the chicken fork? This was right around the time that Raffi went from eating only chicken to eating only beets.

    And if you are embarassing then I’m right there with you. Nice to have company.

  99. Jana C.H. says:

    Let’s see now, we want to educate people on both sides, so how about this:

    Raffi goes to Beetle Baily.
    Clarice and Toni go to Blondie.
    Mo and Sydney go to 9 Chickweed Lane.
    Stuart and Sparrow go to Funky Winkerbean.
    Lois and Jasmine (and Janis) go to For Better or For Worse.
    Ginger and Samia go to Hi and Lois.
    Cynthia goes to Pearls Before Swine.

    I think the Comics Curmudgeon people might like this. In a recent thread there people were trying (with difficulty) to come up with sexy comic strip men to match the large number of cheesecake women. I was plumping for Carlos, but no one took me up on it, perhaps because DTWOF is not a regular daily strip.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Arnold Edinborough: Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.

  100. Feminista says:

    To backtrack a little–Raffi and Janis? Hmm,I don’t think so. Despite(or perhaps in spite of) all of Lois’,Jasmine’s and Stuart’s valiant efforts,J seems intent on being ultra femme. I think R wouldn’t go for that. Aww,he was such a CUTE little boy…I think he should join the track team,where intelligence and non-meatheadedness are respected. At least according to my computer and physics geek nephew,who never felt put down by other runners.

  101. Tera says:

    Where is my favorite neurotic Mo??
    Every time I see Raffi I am still shocked that he is an adolescent. I can’t adjust!

  102. straight girl fan says:

    I think Ginger and Samia are both equally un-thrilled at the idea of Cynthia moving in. Ginger has a huge “oops” look on her face. Also, the way Ammar announces that he found an apartment makes it pretty clear the arrangment was temporary. (Perhaps slight spinelessness on Samia’s part, but not too bad.) And Ginger was just using it as an excuse.

    I agree with Scotia that Cynthia is not a small government libertarian conservative. I think she’s a conservative of convenience. If she weren’t gay herself, she would be a gay-basher. She has rejected the one part of her parents’ values that touches her personally. Everything else remains unexamined.

    Cat Pimp: If the only Buffy you’ve seen is the movie, you haven’t seen Buffy.

  103. Maggie Jochild says:

    Jana, not to continue hijacking — if you want to hijack any thread, the Maoist Orange Cake is perfect for it, we welcome digression — but I just wanted to say I really appreciated the historical points you added about the nuclear bombing of Japan. One more: Some of the military/science leaders involved (let’s be clear, not all) longed for the chance to study the effects of nuclear explosion in an urban setting, both immediate and long-term radiation exposure. Some of our “humanitarian aid” afterward were personnel to collect this data.

    More to the point: Since the first year of the Bush residency, BEFORE 9/11, Rumsfeld and other folks in the Pentagon were overtly stating the unilateral, first-strike use of nuclear weapons was back on the table. They’ll come up with some rationalization for it. This week, a B-52 carried five nukes “accidentally” across the U.S. to Barksdale AFB. If we make it through this month without the US attacking Iran, I personally will be relieved and surprised. And Syria borders Iran…

  104. --MC says:

    Raffi: the anti Michael. Michael being the kid in “For Better Or For Worse” who was so squeaky clean and square that he seems kind of sanctimonious and annoying, as much as I have enjoyed the strip over the years all the characters seem so much like a wish fulfillment projection of their creator. Raffi is getting to be rather surly, which is the way kids are.

  105. Deena in OR says:


    Why Funky Winkerbean for Sparrow and Stuart?? Most of the other ones I can see…

  106. Jana C.H. says:

    Deena– Why Funky Winkerbean? I couldn’t think of anything else at the moment, and I figured they’d add to the chaos in an interesting way. I don’t actually read Funky Winkerbean regularly; I should have stuck to strips I know.

    How about Sparrow and Stuart to Dilbert?

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  107. Riotgrrl613 says:

    Mirado? Sounds more like the new hybrid from Saturn, than a pencil for school kids… have you driven a Mirado lately?
    Anyhoo; love the comments from the ‘avid’, and applaude the minutea of your days, Ms.Bechdel. Keep it comin’!
    Massive shout outs and huzzah’s all around!
    Riot out.

  108. Dianne says:

    Ginjoint: I gotta love how you describe anyone who disagrees with you as “foaming at the mouth.” I think that’s very dismissive and….I’ll stop at dismissive.

    1. I don’t describe anyone disagreeing with me on anything as “foaming at the mouth”, that is my description of the reaction of the average American to this issue.

    2. I was responding to someone who originally made a snide remark about people “sputtering” about Dresden. Because, apparently, suggesting that killing a few hundred thousand people for no good reason is a bad idea is “sputtering”.

    3. I have been threatened with physical violence for suggesting that the bombing wasn’t absolutely the world’s best idea. Admittedly, by a Texan.

    4. Yes, you are foaming at the mouth.

  109. lb says:

    Did no one else love the rate my professors shout out? Amazing.

  110. DeLandDeLakes says:


    I think my eyes actually crossed while I was trying to picture what a big gay CIA jamboree would be like.

  111. Ginjoint says:

    Dianne, I never even said if I disagree with you or not. I said that it was not a decision lightly made. I also don’t think it behooves us to so strenuously toe a party line as to become hopelessly partisan – and therefore unable to see the multiple facets of an exceedingly complex situation. Anyway. I’m done – and a good evening to you, ma’am!

  112. Vicwa says:

    Maggie, Maggie,

    You voiced my worst suspicion about the use of the victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as research subjects – intentional or merely opportunistic? Intentional, I’m afraid. I’m sure the use of the A Bomb on other “enemies” was discussed, but bordering countries were too close to take the risk. Japan was conveniently an island – and it’s people were already dehumanized, making the choice easier. Ironically, the suffering caused by the bombing is the very thing that made them human again. I don’t want to see us have to learn that lesson again.

    Long predating any Saturn and a realy cool logo:

  113. CE says:

    Okay, apparently my comments were completely misunderstood.

    I was NOT advocating that Raffi be shipped off to a bootcamp. I was merely saying that if he thought army life was so easy, then maybe he should experience it for himself and see the truth, that just because you get paid and have the GI bill to take care of college, it’s not a bed roses. Yes, he is in a bad situation where he has little say in what’s going on, but…the kid has a roof over his head, he’s well fed (well, he’s being fed…I wouldn’t exactly call KFC nutritious), and he has BOTH parents who do love him (even if they’re being self absorbed jerks at the moment.) Alot of people don’t have that. My father was barely around during my adolescence and even when he was…he wasn’t exactly what you’d call…supportive. I’ve never once seen Toni or Clarice say to Raffi that that they could have had him aborted before he was born or that he wasn’t ever going to amount to anything. My parents’ marriage had deteriorated and were fighting on a constant basis whenever my father was home. I do understand Raffi’s anger…he does need someone he can talk to. However, he also needs to realize that his situation isn’t as bad as he thinks it is.

    I apologize to those who thought I felt Raffi should be shipped off to something akin the beginning of Full Metal Jacket. Next time, I’ll try to be more distinct and perspicuous with my post.

  114. Josiah says:

    It’s worth noting that Dianne shifted her comment from one which appears to apply to all Americans to one which applies to “the average American”. Dianne’s original statement:

    “If you ever want to make an American completely foam at the mouth, just suggest that the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki might not have been completely, absolutely, the best and most righteous act in the world. Seriously, Even “liberal” Americans completely lose it at the suggestion.”

    Her subsequent clarification:

    “I don’t describe anyone disagreeing with me on anything as “foaming at the mouth”, that is my description of the reaction of the average American to this issue.”

    There’s a big difference between “an American” and “the average American”. If Dianne’s original comment had rferred to “the average American”, I doubt that so many of us would have felt the need to “foam at the mouth” in response to Dianne’s provocation. (To be perfectly clear: the provocation was not the suggestion that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was criminal, but the suggestion that all Americans would foam at the mouth when that button was pushed.)

    I really don’t think that this sort of baiting is a particularly productive method for advancing historical understanding either. It just causes resentment and defensiveness, which gets in the way of actual dialogue and self-awareness. I think that we can do better than that.

  115. Grisha says:

    I have a rather personal interest in Truman’s decisions to use the atomic bombs against Japan.

    During the Philippine campaign, my late father got malaria so bad that he was shipped stateside. He recovered just about the time we would have been ramping up for the invasion of Japan. In all likelihood, he would have been sent back to his outfit, the 7th Infantry Division.

    The 7th was slated to spearhead the assault on the Boso Peninsula, east of Tokyo Bay as part of Operation Coronet, the invasion on the main island of Honshu. Estimates of what US casualties would have been are a matter of controversy, however some scholars believe that 500,000 KIA was not unreasonable. Obviously If dad had been one of those, I wouldn’t be here.

    I’m not sure if Truman did the right thing or not. The demonstration argument makes a lot of sense to me. Hitting a solely military target like Iwo Jima (Where the marines took massive casualties) has always seemed like a better option. However, I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject and am mindful that:

    * Japan was a much more closed society than Germany and analyzing the likelihood of a Japanese surrender was almost wholly speculative.

    * It was later learned that the Japanese High Command had correctly predicted the landing beaches.

    *The Allied bombing and submarine blockade was destroying Japanese society and civilization. Millions were homeless, schools were closed and the entire society, down to 15 year old girls, were being trained to fight with bamboo spears. It’s not clear that the continued conventional bombing wouldn’t have killed more Japanese than the two atomic attacks.

    * Elements of the militarist clique had suggested that honor demanded fighting to the last Japanese, with the civilization living on only in human history and lore.

    I don’t know what decision I would have made in Truman’s place, knowing only what he knew at the time, but I’m obviously grateful my dad survived the war.

    Gee – We’ve gotten far afield from our crazy little Lesbian community around Buffalo Lake, now haven’t we?

  116. Ray says:

    If Truman hadn’t dropped the bomb, he would’ve been removed from office. The Generals and American public would’ve demanded it. It fine to judge ourselves in the face of history, but don’t judge those before us who tried to do what was right in their eyes. Just look at the outcome. Japan is a close personal friend, we rely on her, and she on us. Surely we didn’t do all bad.
    Just so you know, my Grandmother’s siblings died in the fires of WW2. So I’m not neutral.
    I love the strip, loved it for years. Read it since I was little. Thanks.

  117. Anonymous says:

    As horrible as it feels to say this, I think Syd’s dad’s mental deterioration might [might] just finally make her a better person. At the very least, it’s made her a much more interesting character for me. I gotta be one of the few rooting for her and Mo to make things work…

    [and I’m sorry, but lately I just wanna whomp Raffi over the head] [sigh] [teenagers…]

  118. Rick says:

    Oops. That’s me up there. I forgot I need to type in my name…

  119. Kahuna Burger says:

    “Michael being the kid in “For Better Or For Worse” who was so squeaky clean and square that he seems kind of sanctimonious and annoying, as much as I have enjoyed the strip over the years all the characters seem so much like a wish fulfillment projection of their creator. Raffi is getting to be rather surly, which is the way kids are.”

    Actually, Michael always reminded me of my older brother, both in looks and attitude. Raffi is not “the way kids are”, he’s the way he (and some other kids) are. Michael was the way he, my brother and some other other kids are/were.

  120. Jaibe says:

    Michael is like a lot of kids from a happy home. Raffi is like a like of kids from broken homes. When your parents aren’t happy, what hope do you have that you’ll ever be?

  121. Butch Fatale says:

    When your parents aren’t happy, what hope do you have that you’ll ever be?

    Jeez, some, I’d hope! Adolescence is hard, and affects people differently. Some people are easy-going by nature, and some tend towards surliness. Certainly being in a home that is going through a stressful period makes lots of people cranky, but if none of us had a hope of being happy if our parents weren’t, I don’t know that there’d be any happy people!

  122. Anonymous says:

    I think as far as comic strips go, For Better or for Worse is better than most mainstream ones. There was Micheal’s friend’s coming out several years ago which was dealt with in a very realistic and sensitive manner. Despite the fact that many newspapers declared that they would not run these particular strips. So Raffi could go to For Better of for Worse, but I think the characters there would embrace him fine.

  123. CJ says:

    As I see it, Ginger was just being polite and felt secure to mention the spare room, because she was sure Ammar would stay there for some time. Ususally, it was Samia who was more friendly to Cynthia and Ginger just adjusted, though I do belive she really likes her by now.
    The embrace reminds me of a very old strip where two lesbiand meet and embrace and AB put in an arrow saying “no air pockets” (between breast and bellies) but I can’t find it right now.

  124. Eileen says:

    oooo,I’ve got an idea! (Not that Ms Bechtel can’t think up her own cartoon ideas, but this is fun.) Raffi is just at the age to have a crush on someone older and unavailable. And since he’s a dtwof character, it would be someone totally improbable and inappropriate. How about …Cynthia!

  125. mysticriver says:

    It’s almost refreshing – if sad – to see Raffi finally say something like that. I’ve been wondering for a while if he is mad at both of his moms (or at Toni particularly or at Gloria – or even Stella by association), and whether the whole split may cause him to want to move in with Carlos or instigate a search for his (sperm donor) birth father or something. I can definitely see him seeking out some guy space for a while, or at least avoiding any lesbian space, while he works this all out. Maybe he’ll move in with Ammar.

    Beautiful house drawing btw! Thanks for another great episode.

  126. Natkat says:

    Nah, I don’t things have gotten that bad at Raffi’s house. I think it’s teenage drama. They always think ANYTHING is better than having to, you know, do homework and make their beds. That attitudes changes once they have to pay their own bills and buy their own groceries.

  127. Grisha says:

    While Intellgence Community staffers are unable to talk about most of thier work, Cynthia could certainly talk about the culture and any relationships she formed rthere (Hint, hint AB)

    There actually is a CIA regognised “Affinity Group” known as ANGLE (Agency Network for Gay and Lesbian Employees.)thier grt togethers must be fascinating.

  128. davidm says:

    I’m surprised Sydney doesn’t offer a course in “Literal Stimulation”.

  129. alexis says:

    hey why doesnt anyone here take Raffi seriously? I would think that their collective home is quite depressing, and they are doing zero to make it better.

    I feel sorry for him and I don’t think its fair to just say he is yanking the chain, etc.

    Kids have feelings too, you know…

    and yes, I do know he is a character in a strip, but I have known him since he was born!

  130. morgan says:

    I’ve fallen in love with Raffi! His behaviour and appearance captures you and leaves you in wonder. Brilliant, Allison.

    And the news report in the background depicts the confusion-tactics the media uses to rule the masses.

  131. Jennifer says:

    Feminista Says:
    September 4th, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Oops,that’s Ammar.

    What a great name for a wacky sitcom!

  132. byrdie says:

    This is completely random and probably nobody will notice it now, but I just had a realization about Sydney’s weird romantic behavior …

    Is Sydney’s romancing of Maddy some sort of retroactive way to make up for what she did to Cynthia? Maddy’s still pretty damn healthy, and being able to give her the care, attention and ardor Sydney couldn’t spare for Cynthia years ago could be a way of attoning for her sins against her ex-lover.

    Similarly, Sydney’s pressure on Mo to marry her after her diagnosis could have been another part of that fear of abandonment that cosmic justice could bring around to slap Sydney upside the head. “I’m greedy, I want to make up for the past on my own terms, and I don’t want to face what I let others suffer through.”

    If so, then Sydney would feel compelled to face Maddy’s stage of cancer up close and personal while dealing with her own, yet hang on to Mo for dear life while simultaneously hurting her.

    The Sydney gets thwapped on the other side with her father’s declining health and her mother’s clingy behavior.

    Although I have sympathy for Syndey’s situation (my mother had a stroke in ’05 and died in January of this year), I’m glad that she’s starting to learn that life isn’t all snarky comments, academic achievement and whatever you can get away with. Whether she and Mo stay together or not — and this is as close to Mo’s described ideal as she’s ever gotten in a relationship, it’s good to see her facing up to other facts of existing.

  133. Solex says:

    So, Raffi wants to join the Army, hmm? Seeing how bad things are in Iraq, I’d say he’s being foolish, but considering how teenagers (males especially) need to find their own path in life, what the heck, why not? (If he’s smart, he’d join the Navy instead, so he wouldn’t be likely posted to Iraq.)Frankly, I’d rather have him join Starfleet, but since this isn’t the 23rd or 24th century, that’s not likely to happen.

    It’s possible that Raffi is becoming like Alex Keaton on the TV show Family Ties-developing a contrary attitude to life from both parents, and wanting to go his own way because of that. If that truly is the case, then he will probably join the Army for the heck of it, no matter what both parents say.

    As for Annoymous’s comment about whomping Raffi upside the head: were you a teenage male in a house full of women? Do you know what Raffi feels being a young man at his age? If you really do, then let the rest of us know, otherwise please stop commenting.