DTWOF episode #515

November 13th, 2007 | Uncategorized

515 detail

In which Raffi is MySpaced.

183 Responses to “DTWOF episode #515”

  1. PKbackintheUS says:

    Can they deport Cynthia to the home for wayward adults? Maybe she can have an affair with Lois. :p

  2. Angela says:

    Love the Raffi and moms interaction! That’s more affection than I’ve seen between these three in a while. It does seem that Toni and Clarice are permanently split, though (sniff).

  3. Anne says:

    Well, their arms almost overlap in one picture, that’s promising!

  4. tea says:

    no! lois deserves better. besides, i never thought of cynthia as particularly hot in the sack.
    Raffi is beginning to look like the boys i would have had crushes on in high school before i was a dyke. (or the girls i have crushes on now. good to know i’m growing)
    ah, adolescence.

  5. mlk says:

    that look between Ginger and Samia before they retire upstairs is priceless!

  6. laura says:

    i wonder. cynthia shows no conspicuous sinful behavior (except, of course, for being terribly sanctimonious and holier-than-thou, that severest of cardinal sins). what does she hide?

  7. Dale says:

    Gotta feel for Ginger and Samia. Been there, done that.

    Perhaps some fans here could help me with a query; how old are the characters in the strip? Raffi looks to be about fifteen now. What about the others?

  8. Al et al says:

    Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if Alison were setting Cynthia up for a Senator Craig moment?

  9. Aunt Soozie says:

    Well…Cynthia’s chowin down on some chocolate chip cookies that come in a box! Yuck. That’s a sin isn’t it?

    Love this strip…the family dynamics are right on target.
    The pace feels different too…maybe with the schedule back to normal the story is unfolding in a more natural rhythm. (those opinionated characters aren’t pushing Alison to squeeze more and more of their rich lives into one monthly episode)

  10. datamuse says:

    The last panel made me go “awwwwww”.

  11. NLC says:

    Dale asks:
    [H]ow old are the characters in the strip? Raffi looks to be about fifteen now. What about the others?

    Well, Raffi’s birth was depicted in 1993 (Spawn of D2WO4). So if we assume “real-world time” your guess of fourteen- or fifteen-ish seems about right.

    As far as the other characters: The “main cast” –i.e. the folks who were there at the beginning– were all basically post-college age when the strip started. So, again if we assume real-time aging, the youngest of them should be around their mid-40s.

    (I don’t know if we should assume overly strict adherence to calendar time –we’d have to check with AB’s inner daemon to be sure. And clearly some folks are older (e.g. Jezanna, who I’ve always imagined as 10-ish years older than the others) and some younger (e.g. Cynthia who is just-starting-grad-school age). But the above should give us a rough rule of thumb.)

  12. just a guy says:

    Just loved Clarice in the last panel. Excellent, and awwww worthy without a doubt.

  13. Deborah says:

    “This is just temporary.”
    Famous last words, Clarice!!
    Great strip, Alison….

  14. Deena in OR says:

    Raffi in panel 9 looks just like Toni in the strip where she’s telling her parent’s that she’s pregnant. You know, the “who’s the father” panel?

  15. joecab says:

    I love what you’re doing with Raffi. It breaks my heart every time I remember the sweet little innocent he used to be years ago, but that’s only because you’re handling is teens years so realistically. How old is he now again?

  16. BlueShoes says:

    Awww! Functional parenting from Clarice! That’s such a sweet panel, and it augurs so well for Toni and Clarice and Raffi. I teared up a little.

    (I’m sad that Toni and Clarice couldn’t make it work, though.)

  17. Ginjoint says:

    Something’s gotta happen to make Cynthia crack. Yeah, Al et al, I’m hoping for a Craig moment.

    Off-topic, for the cat people out there or anyone who’s ever been awoken by a cat, a very short cartoon:


    It explains so, so much.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Samia and Ginger are never alone because of Cynthia but what about Mr. Samia (what’s his name again, Ammar?)? What’s his story? What’s his and Samia’s story?

    Just asking.

  19. Anonymous says:

    this is the strip i’m going to be coming back to in 15 years when my kid’s old enough to be giving me this kind of grief. so, so great.

  20. Sophie says:

    Looks like things are taking a turn towards the healthy side. There’s so many of us who are scared of letting go of painful, dysfonctional ways of doing things because a) we’ve gotten so used to it by now, it’s part of our identity; and b) we’re secretly afraid that happiness is boring. Not!

    But I shouldn’t get all sanctimonious and holier-than-thou. Way to go, Alison. “This is one troubled kid” got me on the floor laughing! Well, metaphorically.

    (off topic) And the cat video! Priceless. I’m actually getting ready to go to my local SPCA and find me a nice lady cat. So this is a very special day for me… And I won’t be able to say I haven’t been warned.

  21. Mabel says:

    Fabulous strip. I just wish Toni and Clarice weren’t splitting up. It’s a special relationship. Since they were together when the strip started it woulda been nice if it lasted for the duration of the entire strip.

  22. JenK says:

    Glad to see Clarice so comfortable with admitting she smoked pot while still emphasizing that she doesn’t think he’s old enough.

  23. allakimbo says:

    Since the latest episode seems to apply so well to something I have been pondering for several weeks, I thought I would inquire of you all.

    Does anybody have any thoughts to share regarding how you might react if you discovered your 13-year-old niece had listed herself as being 15-years-old with a current mood of “horny” on her private myspace page?

    I don’t have a myspace page and am quite unfamilar with what is considered to be usual or unusual among myspace pages for people at this age.

    I have contemplated creating a myspace account so that I would be able request that she add me to her friends list, but I wonder if she would consider that to be too much of an intrusion on her privacy.

  24. mlk says:

    thankfully, not all people who are sanctimonious are also hypocritical. redemption is more likely for those who are simply and honestly misled by their beliefs. that’s what I hope for re: Cynthia.

    not in the near future, though. then there’d be no point in having her in the strip!

  25. Xena Fan says:

    Ginger and Samia (sp?) should be careful for what they wish for. Maybe Cynthia will break her vow of chasity (or whatever) and will become a houseguest from hell with too many girlfriends, parties, etc. Lois would be the ideal seducer for someone like Cynthia.

  26. *sigh* says:

    Jennifer, AFAIK Samia and Ammar were platonic and entered a marriage of convenience for–convenience! So she could get her parents off her back and to improve his immigration status. IIRC, a condition of Ginger’s moving in with Samia was that Ammar move out i.e. he wouldn’t be living with them both. He is a minor character off having his own life somewhere. more power to him.

    Now, let’s see some boobies.

  27. ksbel6 says:

    I’m a teacher and I know from discussions with high school kids (I don’t have the internet at home and all MySpace type stuff is blocked at school) that no one can trust anything that goes on MySpace. So, I would say that lying about ones age would be common. Most of the kids around here use Facebook, and the same rule applies. My daughter is 10 and I hope to keep her off of those pages until she is 30…that should be easy enough 🙂

    Speaking of Raffi though, my algebra 2 class is about 2 weeks away from solving polynomials of degree 2 and higher. So, if any of you need a review…

  28. Deena in OR says:


    I’m a parent with kids who have MySpace pages. I now have a page in self defense 🙂

    Seriously, I realize that you’re not the parent in this situation, and I don’t know your relationship with either your niece or the sibling in question (i.e. her parent.)

    I don’t see the harm in having your own MySpace page and asking, in all innocence, to be added to her friend list, and trading auntly banter back and forth with her via MySpace. IMHO, that’s different from spying 🙂 Aaanndd, if she knows that an adult who cares about her is seeing her page, she may be more careful about how she represents herself.

  29. Feminista says:

    Ah,the plot thickens. Seems our collective household is going to be getting quite overcrowded,what with Jasmine & Janis there a lot,and Clarice moving in. I think Sparrow or Stu will get overwhelmed at some point and say it’s too chaotic an environment to live in.

    Re: MySpace. My daughter,almost 19,now has one,but since she and I discuss everything from condoms to childcare to LGBT underage clubs(where she goes with her two gay male pals) openly, I doubt there’s little I’d find out by reading that scourge to our literacy. Not that I’m all that happy about all she discloses. I’m glad she’s able to be much more forthcoming than I was with my parents. And I wasn’t that wild.

  30. Suz says:

    Childless person speaking here. Let the niece have space. Your parents (and your aunts) weren’t breathing down your neck when you were terrorizing the mall or smoking cloves at
    the 7-Eleven, right? And you turned out okay?

  31. M. says:

    Maybe Cynthia will start smoking pot with Raffi!

  32. zeitgeist says:

    ‘[H]ow old are the characters in the strip? Raffi looks to be about fifteen now. What about the others?’

    I remember in a 1988 cartoon Toni saying to Clarice, ‘I’m 30 years old and i want a child’. That makes her 49. Raffi was born in August 93 so he is 14 and yes!! Too you to smoke pot! Sorry, just the mom in me coming out….. In a 1992 strip the gang at Madwimmin welcomed Lois to the ‘over 30 club’

  33. slamson says:


    MySpace Terms of Use state that one agrees that they are at least 14 and registers using truthful information. Looks like your niece put in a false b-day to get a page she is not supposed to have at all.

  34. zeitgeist says:

    Does anybody have any thoughts to share regarding how you might react if you discovered your 13-year-old niece had listed herself as being 15-years-old with a current mood of “horny” on her private myspace page?

    My reaction would be….’AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!’ Maybe I’m too reactionary, but in retrospect I was too lenient with my son, and i almost lost him. So I now advocate getting in thier lives and faces whenever possible and laying down the law.
    I have a 13 year old niece and if I saw that posted I’d talk to her about the reality of the world out there.. I mean a lot of older freaks, pedophiles, etc. would LOVE to get a hold of a ‘horny’ young teen. Don’t worry about appearing to be spying on her or defiling her privacy. She is a kid and she needs to be protected. Too many adults these days want to be friends with their kids. they have friends, they need adults who have their best interest at heart.
    Really, I only know this because I felt quite differently about it when my son was growing up. When I look back at that time in my life, I wish I was more protective, and less worried about being popular with my kid.

  35. andrewo says:

    Mo is just as if not more sanctimonious than Cynthia. Certainly as opiniionated and obnoxious. Most readers just agree with her. It’s great that Alison presents both sides.

  36. Ianscot says:

    That last panel is just the way to leave this one. Nothin’ like a kid talkin’ trash about your video game performance.

  37. Brazenfemme says:

    Love the back to regular schedule – procrastinating is now a treat (well, at least every two weeks 🙂 I have been Cynthia (at least the left leaning, activist,veggie, not so virgin type, ahem – but same hermit qualities – ahh, the life of the mind!) who moved in with my “moms” post divorce. I cringe to think my lengthy monologues ever left them less than wowed – especially regarding quantitative analysis and meta-theoretical assumptions. Jeesh, and they don’t think I communicate! Living alone now for 8 months and missing them. They did get their second chance at “launching” however, and maybe G and S could do the same! So, L and S, if you are out there listening, thanks for being awesome “foster” moms!

  38. sunicarus says:

    Ginjoint~Great video! Thanks.

    How have you been?


  39. Olivier says:

    zeitgeist, I don’t know how real is the threat of dirty old men to 13-year old girls (probabbly much exaggerated) but I am shocked by the partiality of your post. Do you realize that if a man, whether 15 or 70, has anything to do with a girl who he thinks is past the age of consent because she lied to him, he could have to go through hell because of it? He may not be able to prove he was lied to and that wouldn’t matter anyhow: ever heard of statutory rape laws? What that makes the girl who brought him to such a pass I’m too polite to tell you on public forum. Somebody urgently needs to talk some sense and decency into her and, if she won’t have any of it, to shut down her MySpace account and quite possibly to curtail her internet access as well.

  40. Olivier says:

    Ginjoint, I wonder if that is the same video I posted a (different) link to under “DTWOF episode #514”. I can’t tell because the Yahoo link is not working for me but from the description it looks like it.

  41. DeLandDeLakes says:

    HAH! I sure called it on Raffi’s “proclivities!” Ah, and now, Clarice and Toni get to experience that wonderful touchstone of parenting: trying to convince your kid that he/she is too young to smoke pot when you did it at the same age. 🙂
    BTW, when did Cynthia officially move in with Ginger and Samiya?!?!? And what the fuck were they thinking?!?!?

  42. berlina says:

    am I the only one who thinks Raffi got too easy? He’s wrting on a public forum that he smokes pot, plus he’s probably going to tell Clarice and Toni whatever they want to hear, then go out and smoke some more next time he’s out with the “ganja master”.

  43. Em says:

    Great strip! I’m so glad its back to two a month, it had the feel of an older episode.

    “xtreme weed”? It sounds like pot as marketed by Mountain Dew. Someone needs to teach these kids the proper adjectives to go with these drugs, consarnit.
    Though the way they were talking about it I get this mental image of Raffi and his friend being sold oregano leaves by a “dealer” wanting to profit off of kids who know nothing about pot but love to talk about it. And then when they’re out of earshot the seller collapses into laughter.

    “It breaks my heart every time I remember the sweet little innocent he used to be years ago”

    The same sweet little innocent who broke the Tiffany lamp of that judge, hit his classmate with a Tonka truck, and whose first word was ‘Fucks’?;)
    Though it did break my heart when that kid kept teasing him for having two moms. The pre-teen/early teen years are probably the cruelest, at least in my experience.

    I can’t remember if it was commented on, but it’s interesting to go back to when they first bought the house and Toni snapped “If you don’t want to live here, if you don’t want to live with me and Raffi, then don’t! Go live in the old neighborhood! Go live with Ginger and all her wacky housemates!” Funny how it came to pass, albeit without Ginger there.

  44. Em says:

    “Somebody urgently needs to talk some sense and decency into her and, if she won’t have any of it, to shut down her MySpace account and quite possibly to curtail her internet access as well.”

    But just from what we know it doesn’t sound like she’s actively trying to meet anyone either. In regards to allakimbo’s question, it’s hard to tell how concerned she should be without more information on what else she has on her page. The mood listings aren’t on the main page but in user blogs, and those can (and should!) be set to private. Honestly, if that were my niece I’d be less worried about it attracting attention from a “dirty old man” and more concerned that it might be grounds for teasing if the kids at her school saw it. At that age, saying anything remotely sexual about yourself is grounds for being teased mercilessly (unless they’re popular already *sigh*)

  45. mysticriver says:

    Thank you for that last panel. I think I got a bit teary too.

  46. Ginjoint says:

    What that makes the girl who brought him to such a pass I’m too polite to tell you on public forum.

    No, Olivier, it’s not a very nice thing to do (that is, lie about one’s age in order to attract an older lover who might otherwise spurn one’s advances due to the legalities involved.) However, if jail bait-appearing lovers are one’s drug of choice, I’d highly recommend simply asking for I.D. Romantic? Oh hell no. But I have a real hard time feeling sorry for people (male OR female) who rely simply on the moral integrity of a possible teenager to keep themselves out of trouble. Take some responsibility if that’s the way you roll, and know who you’re schtupping.

    The cat video is indeed the same one you posted a link to, Olivier. I didn’t mean to repeat; I missed most of that (mammoth) thread as I was recovering from surgery. Sunicarus, I start my chemo on Thursday, and I’m sore as hell. Thanks for asking. I’m currently trying to work up the courage to attend a support group for lesbians with cancer.

  47. Alex the Bold says:

    Oh, Alison. I love you. Is that okay? I don’t mean in some sick, needy, sexual way, where we bring each other to higher and higher levels of purely sexual intensity.

    I mean you just always come through with something good. Even with all the unhappiness and negativity and bitterness the strip has lately been dripping with, you now give us a strip that ends in a loving, affirmative manner.

    You’re just a peach.

  48. mk says:

    I have my doubts about the internet being “dangerous” to teens. I was a teen in the 80s and I and all my friends were propositioned by older men all the time. And these were face to face interactions, not something that happened in the safety of your home. Riding busses, going to the roller rink, sneaking into bars, heck even at the church picnic, I was hit on. I have to wonder whether there really is more danger, or whether this is media “hype”. There was an article in the NY times a while back where teens who were interviewed wondered why adults were so worried, since they would no more likely agree to meet a strange adult they met on the internet than they would a stranger who they met somewhere else.

  49. shadocat says:

    Well I had a teenager in the ’90’s who was seduced by an adult on the internet. He also seduced some of her friends. I won’t go into this any further because I did that here once before and I don’t want to repeat myself or do anymore damage. But I would carefully watch a girl who is only 13 lying about her age on My Space, and describing herself as “horny”. She needs a caring adult that will take her aside and tell her that her behavior could really put her in peril. Unfortunately, the world is not a safe place for young girls.

  50. D.F. says:

    oh thank you thank you for the twice-a-month! i was trying to be respectful but it’s so nice to have that rhythm back.

    the strip seems happier about it too.

    poor raffi. the kid just wants to be normal. too bad he’s gonna go thru a hard-core homophobe stage on the way (i think he’s already there).

  51. asrai says:

    re the myspace question: i think sometimes we get too caught up in policiing young people’s sexuality. plenty of girls are horny at 13 – why shouldn’t she say it? if adults tell a girl not to say it because of potential “predators” are we not just going back to pre-feminist ideas that women and girls shouldn’t talk about their own sexual desire for fear of appearing wanton and losing their social status or for fears of being preyed on (in the gross “she asked for it by admitting she was horny” way)?

  52. Aunt Soozie says:

    yes I would create and my space page and ask her to add you to her friend’s list. Many parents are doing that and I think it’s a great idea. Kids can have their privacy and secrets between themselves, away from parents and aunties but clearly a public forum like my space is NOT the place to share deep secrets.
    It’s good when parents are aware of what is going on in their kid’s lives. Mostly it’s great when they have a relationship where they talk about that stuff sans any snooping. My clinical opinion on parental snooping is too long to detail here. Though I agree the above case was not snooping, just a typical teenage absent minded or deliberate oops.
    re: your niece and her my space. I would directly tell her that you came upon her page and that you were surprised by the content. A lot of teens block their content to all but their friends. Many lie about their location which I think is a good thing that grants them more anonymity. the teens I know are aware of and wary about internet kiddie stalkers… they are interested in connecting with their friends, not weird dorky adults (and I should know) … but, I’m sure not all are so worldly.

  53. Jaibe says:

    I totally missed Cynthia moving in with Ginger and Samia — what a bad idea! Who is her academic advisor — hopefully neither of them! If she’s in every night of the week, why doesn’t she get free housing and maybe even a salary being the resident assistant or whatever they call them in one of the dorms?

  54. Jaibe says:

    PS loved the strip too!

  55. Ellen O. says:

    Check out episode #512 for the origins of Cynthia’s move into Ginger and Samia’s place. Cynthia’s in graduate school now, beyond her RA years. Besides, tension is good for storylines.

    Is that dental floss in the garbage can?

  56. The Cat Pimp says:

    The Halo 3 reference cracked me up. MySpace and FaceBook are unprecedented in terms of access to the teenaged mind (in other words, our now cloudy memories). All I can say is to just try to remember your own youth before you get upset. I used to whisper stuff to my friends in the alleys and basements. MySpace and FaceBook might as well be the same. Most of the occupants are teenagers and FBI agents pretending to be teenaged girls.

  57. Alex K says:

    @asrai: No harm, I think, in describing oneself, male or female, as “horny” – at least in a non-“pre-feminist” (feminist? post-feminist?) environment, which to me is: With support, without predation. I don’t know my way around MySpace. Is it such an environment?

    Lacking external support, with predators a continuing concern, one would do better, I think, to describe oneself as “horny” only after one has developed internal support. Till one can see ahead, and around several corners, and has the game moves well down, and is both confident and resilient.

    I learned how to treat partners acceptably by regretting the consequences of treating them badly. I learned to ease my way out of situations that seemed to me likely to go sour by having endured situations that went all the way through sour into downright miserable.


    How a thirteen-year-old is to learn the game moves without losing game after game after game is beyond me. (Although perhaps I have never been particularly skilled, and others are just horribly, enviably, better.)

    Does the loss of innocence always have to hurt?

    Yes, caution / restraint / censorship when using MySpace descriptors does constitute regression to pre-feminist modes of behaviour. I don’t know how, whilst feeling safe for that thirteen-year-old, to accommodate – within MySpace, as I’ve seen it described – the behaviour that I consider, as a feminist, ideal.

    You’ve made me think, asrai, and I thank you.

  58. Alex K says:

    By the way: The parallelism – G&S parental to Cy, T&Cl parental to R – made explicit by the contrast – T&Cl wish that R wouldn’t smoke pot, G&S wish that Cy would go out, get drunk, get high, get laid.

    Mmmmm! Nicely done.

  59. Alex the Bold says:


    Becoming a resident assistant is, well, I don’t know how to say it without raising hackles, so please, everyone scream quietly:

    Although there are frequent examples of conservatives moaning and crying about how they’re repressed by liberals (e.g., Papa Bush explaining how “mean” everyone is to his son. For the record, your son is the president, he needs to fight his own battles like a big boy.) the RA situation is an actual case of that, I suspect.

    Where I went to college, the RAs were almost exclusively left-leaning. Many of them were gay. The ones who weren’t gay were gay-friendly. Some of the RAs were complete bastards, but almost all of them were in it solely for the free single and were willing to trade that off by being approachable. Councilor Troi would be a great RA. Lt. Worf would not.

    These positions were not given to conservatives for several reasons. Mainly, this one: Say you’ve got a student who is in the midst of coming out. Too confused to go to the LBGA group or too embarrassed or too scared. And that student starts to spiral out of control. Then, let’s say the student kills himself or herself. Now, you’re the head of the housing department, on the witness stand in the wrongful death suit filed by the parents against the school, and you’re asked to explain how approachable or nurturing someone who thinks fags burn in hell would be to a confused gay student.

    RAs are almost exclusively mellow and relaxed because someone who is rigid and doctrinaire is almost always far less approachable. If I needed to talk to someone tough and hard, I’d go speak to a police detective.

    Cynthia would be a lousy RA, and the system is set up to keep her away.

  60. dragongoddess says:

    Hi – I’m a longtime reader, but I don’t think I have ever posted before.

    Once again, she’s done it again. She posted the strip yesterday, and this morning I came across a video on Yahoo news about a guy getting busted by his boss (on facebook, but they mention my space)because he posted pics of a party he went to when he called in sick. Must be the week for getting busted on the net!

    I am so tired of adults (and I am not a teenager, but someone who works with HS students) feeling they have the right to snoop on young people’s communications. Listening in on the phone, reading their mail (paper or electronic)snooping around their room for things or reading their diary is NOT okay unless you have a good reason to. My mother did that once, and as a result a decade and a half later I still don’t trust her around my things. I have a facebook (so my students had an easily accessable place to ask me a question) but I don’t look at their profiles when I reply on their wall, and if I saw something it would be confidential. It’s common respect. If you find something accidentally, that’s another story though!

  61. Duncan says:

    Damn. Try this commentary on the safety of teenagers, by Mike Males:


    I wish Ellen Willis’s great satirical piece on teen sex were available online; it’s just as relevant.

    Did Clarice smoke pot at 14? Somehow, from what we’ve seen of her background, I doubt it. But what is the proper age to start toking?

    AlexK, I just started a Myspace page this past August. I think I’m too old for the environment, but then I’ve never fit very well in such environements, including non-virtual ones, at any age. That’s okay, of course; wanting to be normal, in my opinion, is like wanting to be senile. And that’s not sour grapes — most people’s behavior often just seems weird to me. And mine suits me quite well.

    One thing I feel sure about is that clinicians should not diagnose people long-distance. (No, Aunt Soozie, we are definitely not on the same page.) As a non-clinician, though, I agree that there’s no reason *not* to start one’s own Myspace page — it’s a free cyberworld, after all — and the thirteen-year-old niece needs to learn that she isn’t invisible to obnoxious adults like her aunt and parents. Just as Alison had to take her mother into account in drawing herself in sexual situations (see her “Coming Out Story” and the comments she added in “The Indelible Alison Bechdel”).

    I just finished reading Jeanette Winterson’s newest novel, “The Stone Gods,” which I think is her best in some time. At one point there’s this exchange between two characters:
    “I’m only doing this to protect you,” I said.
    “That’s what all control freaks say.”
    Yes, there are dangers to kids in this world. Among them are the adults who want to protect them, for their own good, of course.

  62. Jon C says:

    Regarding the proper age to start toking: I believe it was Mr. Garrison from South Park that said, “Kids, there is a time and place for drugs and alcohol-it’s called college.”

    That’s my (naive) take as a parent of young children, anyway. It worked for me…

  63. boltgirl says:

    Apparently I only post when I have a shirt-related comment… but the final panels depict Clarice, Raffi, and Toni as a family in the purest sense we have seen from them in a looooong time–a child at the center of two loving parents who are working together to help him through one of the slogs of adolescence. Clarice is in white, Toni in black, Raffi is securely between them in both black and white, the best of them manifested in himself. Sniffle, sniffle.

    Or maybe it was the end of the laundry week and that’s all that was clean.

  64. Sherri says:

    That first post has me confused. Lois and Jasmine are still together, right? Wow, that is a lot of monogamy for Lois. Would love to learn more about them.

    Just had to mention the irony in that all those years ago Toni convinced/coerced Clarice to move to the burbs in the first place so they wouldn’t have to live next door to a crack house.

  65. Kat says:

    I won’t get too far into the Myspace discussion, but I will point out that snooping in a kid’s room is very different from what the caring aunt described. Myspace and facebook are not “private.” Things written and posted are available to millions of other users.

  66. Alex K says:

    @boltgirl: Your “shirt insight” is, I think, a lovely example of what the visually acute can gain from a graphic novel over and above its text. Thank you.

    Who knows if AB did it on purpose? It’s there.

  67. Jayinchicago says:

    is that cartman?

  68. Jen says:

    I saw the same thing as Alex K: One set of adults wanting the pot smoking to stop, the other wondering if it would ever start. It reminded me of that British documentary series “7-up” where the interviewer follows a set of post-war boomers starting at age 7 and then every 7 years to 49. Looks like Raffi’s being a bit precocious while Cynthia (at slightly more than 21) isn’t hitting her developmental milestones.

    I was a Cynthia (although not out, but also far less rigid politically & socially). Lasted until I was about 25. Wasted years. But when that defense mechanism dropped it dropped with a thundering crash and I was drunk and stoned and promiscuous for about a year before even-keelness was restored (with out-ness, coincidence? no.). Like the rest of this post, I was aware of my lack of invisibility and had gone to Europe for this brief wild child stage. All of this to say a Conservative scandal-like thing with Cynthia wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  69. DeLandDeLakes says:


    If you are concerned about your niece’s safety, the best thing you can do for her is not to curtail her internet use or spy on her (kids have a sixth sense for spotting interlopers on online forums, anyways- your sentences would probably be too complete, not enough emoticons.) The best thing you can do is talk to her about how to use her words to tell people who are paying her unwanted attention on the net to get lost. Myspace is actually an ideal forum for this, since you can friend- and un-friend people with ease. But, I think that keeping young girls off the net in order to make %100 sure that they never come into contact with any shady characters isn’t really any different than imposing curfews on women so they won’t go out at night and be raped.

    I very strongly feel that as feminists we must reject any proposed solution to keep women safe that compromises our freedom of movement. For example, here in Minneapolis there is a lot of talk about a recent news story in which a young woman answered a craigslist ad for a nanny, and wound up being murdered by the guy who posted it. The general solution proposed by the media seems to be “don’t use craigslist”- which had me thinking “According to these people, I shouldn’t go anywhere without a male escort, I shouldn’t be online- is there anyplace I CAN go?!?!?!”

  70. Aunt Soozie says:

    But wait…maybe your niece IS working for the FBI. If she’s YOUR niece, don’t underestimate her intelligence and networking abilities. Also…Alex…don’t you just hate perverts…and why CAN’T it be that sick sexual obsession that you’re having with Alison and her work?… geez… c’mon… thrill us a little why doncha? Would it hurt much? Really? ooo…nice!

  71. Jade says:

    Sometimes kids need an adult to interpret their actions for them. My 12 year old chose the name “boy crazy” for her email address. I had to explain that many people, including some of her friends, would think that meant she wanted to have sex. She was horrified, and changed it immediately. She really had no clue.

    Many adolescents and teenagers can’t really think through some of their choices, since they have no experience outside of their homes and schools, which, if they’re lucky, have been sheltered and protective. And if their parents, aunts and uncles or older siblings won’t discuss these things with them they are left to fend for themselves in a world which isn’t always benevolent.

    Sure, we all, or most of us, took stupid risks as teenagers, but that’s no reason to leave our kids to figure out everything for themselves.

    Parents and aunts who try to guide their young are not obnoxious, Duncan. It may feel that way to the kids, but it’s what parents are supposed to do.

  72. Silvio Soprani says:

    Yes, I feel that way to. In being a parent one must give up the privilege of being automatically approved of by one’s kids. I think the “unconditional love” may sometimes only go one way.

    I think if one is in the position of being able to discuss safety issues with one’s kid (as you describe in the “boy crazy” example above,) then it shows that you have built a workable framework of communication.

    This does not mean that sometimes/often one’s daughter may not want to hear what you have to say, but it’s important to say it anyway.

    One of the hardest parts about being a parent is maintaining one’s confidence in oneself and not surrendering to silence out of a feeling of being perceived as “out of it” or a “dork.” Amazing how a 13-year-old can make a 40-yr old doubt everything she has learned the hard way.

  73. Alex K says:

    @Jade: In coming out I didn’t have older siblings, aunts / uncles, parents to point ahead, saying, “There be tigers.” No older siblings; and whilst parents and aunts / uncles were happy to discuss with me how to handle heterosex, that wasn’t my leisure activity of choice…

    So, yes, I fended for myself, and took some bruises that might have been spared.

    But even if I’d had a mentor in matters homosexual, would I have been ready to listen? Hmmmm.

    Because I’m impulsive and proud, a lot of the lessons that I’ve learned have been taught me by pain. But so it goes.

  74. Scotia says:

    So much has changed in terms of the conservative agenda in the years since Cynthia entered the strip. Support for the war in Iraq has tanked, and megachurch leaders are talking about environmentalist and social justice issues. Karl Rove’s cynical playing of the gay marriage card didn’t have the same effect the second time around. The right got a free ride from the fear and anger that followed 9/11, but that is over and now the right in America is more fragmented than it’s been since the Carter administration. And so much has happened in Cynthia’s life; how could she not have changed her views? It seems like she is becoming more of a neocon lately, but what would account for that? Maybe she’s due for an identity crisis.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Awww, can’t Clarice and Toni work it out? Come on – we need a little hope these days. By all means, let them have individual lives, plot points, arcs, etc. but just let them stay together happily… for the sake of the children????

  76. Cat says:

    My Space and Facebook are in no way private forums. People put that information out there for others to see. What they forget is that more people are looking than just the people on their “Friends” list. I know two specific examples. I recently graduation from the Education Program At UW La Crosse. Another student was going through the program at the same time, and had a My Space page. On that page she posted pictures of herself out at the bars, and had a large title on the page that self-proclaimed “I am the drunken slut of La Crosse!!”. She was promptly kicked out of the program. Second Example: I have a regular who comes to the restaurant I work at. His son works in the Police Reserve forces (they are often refered to as “rent-a-cops” around here). The officer makes it a point of checking on Facebook and My Space for the applicants, and he found one woman who had a page boasting picture of her drunk. She was kicked out of the program. Did these women want people to see these pictures? Of course, that’s why they put them up. Did they want the University staff or future employers to see them? I seriously doubt it. So this Niece, may want some of her friends or suitors to see that she is supposively older and horny, but perhaps the simple act of telling the niece that her page has been viewed by her aunt would be enough to embarass the young girl into cleaning up her image. Not everybody knows everything about everyone. People have different sides, a work side, a recreational side, a family side, etc. Only on forums like My Space can you show all your sides, and it is inebitable that someone is going to see a side of you that you may not want them to see. That’s a risk you take when posting your life on a webpage. I made the deliberate decision to not create a page like that, because I am not willing to take that risk. Am I being too conservative and letting the mass population decide how I should appear or act? maybe.

  77. Aunt Soozie says:

    I sure hope I didn’t offer any long distance diagnoses!
    If I did and you are reading this and you are my malpractice carrier, my state’s licensing board,
    or a person with a malevolent and litigious nature,
    please be advised that any opinions previously and heretofore offered on this here blog
    (belonging to Ms Alison Bechdel)
    by me, Aunt Soozie,
    are officially and solely intended for entertainment purposes and are in no way meant to be construed by self-righteous homosexual males of a certain age (or any other human beings) as medical advice or to replace the use of your own brain or usurp the care of your personal healer, shaman or therapist of choice. Whew.
    (with the exception of my pseudo-Freudian interpretation of Alison’s dream which, though it wrought no clear diagnostic conclusion, stands as my firm and studied professional opinion)

  78. Aunt Soozie says:

    you know, the part about wanting to put a live chicken in her pants.

  79. Hilliard Addison Erskine says:


  80. Alex the Bold says:

    Aunt Soozie asks “why CAN’T it be that sick sexual obsession that you’re having with Alison and her work?…”

    OK, truth be told, sometimes I get into the shower with my water-proofed copies of Dykes to Watch Out For and rub them on myself until the sound of the water falling starts to whisper “Alison, Alison, Alison, Alisonalisonalison.”

    Not there’s anything wrong with that.

  81. Robin B. says:

    Just in case anyone is in the Boston area: there’s going to be a lecture at Radcliffe on Fun Home! Here’s all the info.


    Out of the Gutter: Contemporary Graphic Novels by Women

    Hillary Chute, Harvard University Society of Fellows

    Thursday, November 29, 2007
    5 p.m.
    Radcliffe Gymnasium
    10 Garden Street
    Radcliffe Yard
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

    Free and open to the public
    For more information, call 617-495-8647.

    Cosponsored by the Harvard College Women’s Center

    Hillary Chute will discuss two memoirs— Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon Books, 2003) by Marjane Satrapi and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) by Alison Bechdel—that have brought critical acclaim to women writing in the nonfiction comic genre. Persepolis is Satrapi’s account of her upbringing in Tehran in the 1980s, and Fun Home is about Bechdel’s experience growing up gay in rural Pennsylvania with a closeted gay father.

    Chute will examine the success of these books and address the question: Why comics? Why is this kind of serious nonfiction work so successful and well-suited for the comics medium? Chute will also discuss other talents in the field, including Lynda Barry, Phoebe Gloeckner, and Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

    Chute is a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She earned her PhD in English at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where her dissertation focused on graphic narratives’ representation of history. At Rutgers, she also developed the first courses on the study of contemporary graphic narratives. She is currently writing a book about nonfiction graphic narratives by women and working as associate editor of MetaMaus (Pantheon, forthcoming 2009), a book by comic creator Art Spiegelman. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in American Periodicals, Literature and Medicine, Modern Fiction Studies, PMLA, Postmodern Culture, Twentieth-Century Literature, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. As a freelance journalist, she has written about books and music for numerous publications, including The Believer, Time Out New York, and the Village Voice.

    Reception to follow the lecture.

  82. Aunt Soozie says:

    Alex, that’s perfectly normal but I’m saying that just as a blog reader not a clinician. Anyway, how do you get them waterproofed… not that I’d ever want to rub them on my body in the shower but, you know, just for a change of venue…

  83. Cynthia-Symp says:

    Why all the hating on Cynthia? Scotia says, “So much has changed in terms of the conservative agenda in the years since Cynthia entered the strip. [Big snip} And so much has happened in Cynthia’s life; how could she not have changed her views?”

    True enough, but a) Cynthia’s a minor character who rarely appears in the strip so she doesn’t get to show much evolution in anything; b) she’s a lesbian, so she’s hardly a poster girl for the conservative agenda; c) she has to bear the weight of non-hyperliberalness for the entire DTWOF universe. Cut her some slack.

    I’m with andrewo on this. Mo is just as obnoxious as Cynthia–it’s just that most of the folks who comment here (and probably who read the strip, period) can relate to Mo but not to C.

  84. Olivier says:

    Ginjoint, yes to a much older man she’d be jail bait: caveat emptor and all that. But to a boy in his teens it would probably look different and he’d be no less at risk since US law enforcement increasingly treats minors as adults. My point was that she’s not only a danger to herself (maybe) but to others as well.

  85. Jen says:

    Well, Cat they (facebook and myspace) can be alot more private than what you describe. Perhaps neice just needs someone to show her how to fine tune her privacy settings so that only her friends list can see anything. Plus a wee talk about being choosy about the friends lists (i.e.: no online-only friends).

  86. Olivier says:

    PS: Samia’s range of facial expressions is truly extraordinary, esp. (for some reason) in profile. I wonder: does AB find it easier to draw profiles? Anyway, Samia is one terrific addition to the strip.

  87. JenK says:

    I don’t think the complaint about Cynthia is just that she doesn’t get drunk or high – it’s that her only life seems to be school.

    I’m the daughter of an alcoholic smoker. My rebellion was to NOT drink and NOT smoke. I don’t think Cynthia needs to start drinking or smoking. But I do think it would help if Cyn would get a hobby. Heck, she could get her ass into the Metropolitan Community Church or United Church of Christ and meet other gay Christians!

  88. (Sir Real) says:

    “Sherri Says:

    That first post has me confused. Lois and Jasmine are still together, right? Wow, that is a lot of monogamy for Lois. Would love to learn more about them.”

    Sherri – I, too would love to learn more. I don’t think there’s any basis for saying whether 1) Lois and Jasmine are together, as we are lacking sufficient information. And certainly, we have no basis for saying whether, if so, 2) they are now or 3) were at any time monagamous. Given Lois’s proclivities, I would guess(hope) not!

  89. Leda says:

    Creating your own my space account and requesting to be one of your niece’s friends is a good idea, it will remind her how utterly public a space it is, the very thing I think you are worried about. The seductive nature of myspace and the impulsive nature of teenagers tend to mean that they forget the basic rule of myspace: anyone can look at your myspace page so if you wouldn’t want your family (or someone with harmful intent) to know then don’t put it up there, at least not under your real name…. Don’t get me wrong I use and enjoy these sites myself but I don’t put anything on there I wouldn’t happy to put on a bill board in the town centre. There is no privacy to be invaded.

    From the other side, my Mum just recently got herself on facebook, I did feel a little invaded at first but I looked at my profile again and I’m glad she can see this side of me, there is nothing of importance I hide from her really but I probably do present myself differently on facebook. Plus I get pictures of the farm and little updates more regularly without necessarily having to talk to her, which much though I love her, has its benefits….

  90. pd says:

    I agree with Xena Fan that Lois would have a life changing effect on Cynthia. But I can’t imagine the circumstance that would bring them together! While Lois might have no objection to a fling with a neo-con, I think the 20+ year difference in their ages might give her pause.

  91. AB ManFan says:

    Gee the naivety in regards to MySpace is truly astounding.

    It’d be one thing if MySpace was just a hangout place for kids to be kids, but the problem is there are way too many adults, and I’m NOT even talking about molesters.

    I’m talking about grown ups who just do not have common sense re: what they should share with younger people.

    The raft of extreme, hardcore porn I’ve come across randomly on myspace would make most anyone shudder with disgust.

    Oh and I am far from a prude, nothing sexual shocks me as long as it’s between adults.

    I do get pissed though when I see adults getting a thrill out of sharing hardcore extreme kink porn on myspace to be popular with the younger crowd. It’s sickening and pathetic.

    I remember one time I found a profile from some 20something yr. old who had a fascination with female humiliation degradation, bondage photos, photos. he posted for anyone to see hardcore scat photos of women covered in feces, and another photo so henious it beggers description. It looked honestly like the women’s genital area had been burned with an iron of some sort – branded all over. Yeah funny stuff that kids should be allowed to see, and NO parent should ever violate their privacy to say no!

    he posted t on a public page, one that ANYONE can randomly encounter while surfing randomly from page to page on myspace.

    It’s not about spying on the kids who go there to play.

    MySpace is full of soem seriously offensive and outragously raunchy stuff, that most would consider hardcore kink SM XXX porn, but because people post it on their supposedly “private” page no one is supposed to look.

    The problem is children, young people are ever curious, and they try to look and often succeed, anyone who thinks a parent who steps in at that moment and says no should never have children.

    Children/younger people are NOT always going to make the right choice.

    To “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” in the name of respecting the right to privacy is a wholesale cop out on the responsibilities of being a parent.

    The only thing that I do find shocking about those random pages I come across on myspace chocked full of extreme XXX porn is the fact that there are so many comments and visits by young people (younger than 15)who don’t know how wrong and evil the filth their viewing is, because for the sake of privacy their parents don’t bother to look.

    I do NOT think seeing women humiliated, degraded, covered in human waste, bodily orifices stretched in various obscene ways accompanied by “humorous comments making light of it – by the kids who are following one another to see the pics” does younger people any good, and no excuse based on respecting their right to privacy is acceptable for allowing this to happen.

    If a parent or educator says this is not true, that proves one thing, that person has NOT spent any significant time on myspace and/or is nearly a computer illiterate.

    In the information age, younger people are exposed to far greater amounts of everything than any previous generation.

    For once it can be truly be said, that today’s kids are different, than any other generation, because of technology.

    IT would be nice if it were all for the better, but unfortunately too many parents think harm from violating a young person’s “the right to privacy” is far more damaging than the wholesale extreme XXX porn that is so easily available online and on myspace – if you just make a little effort to look – and young people do make that effort.

    Anyone who thinks it’s just a little virtual world full of innocent chatter as in Raffi’s pot talk — is naive beyond imagination. You need to get a clue.

  92. Silvio Soprani says:


    I can’t see a mere 20 year difference being a problem for Lois. And I think Lois is such a compassionate being that she could see Cynthia without all the political baggage that we the readers see.

    I also want to point out that Samia is rather a mystery to me.. I don’t feel that we have much personal or emotional information about her. She does not seem to interact in much of a verbal way with anyone. We just see her as this ISSUE because of her mysterious “husband” (whether he is an immigration mitsva (I dont know how to spell it but it means a favor) or a “beard” to appease the parents, who knows?)

    We know that men have been assimilated into this clan successfully before. (Stuart, Carlos, “Jerry” [ftm transperson], but Samia’s husband is a zero, in terms of data. I wouldn’t mind knowing more about both of them!

  93. DeLandDeLakes says:

    AB Man fan-

    I’m sorry, but it wasn’t that much harder for children to discover hardcore porn and other sexually explicit material BEFORE the popularization of the internet. Example: me, at age 13, randomly picking up an R. Crumb book in a “normal” bookstore, and reading a cartoon that depicted Crumb getting a woman drunk and raping her. Maybe this was a fantasy of his, maybe not, but it definitely shook me up and made a big impact on my young mind. Not to mention the sheer number of children that have access to hardcore images because, well, their parents have things like that “hidden” around the house.
    It’s better to debrief kids on how to avoid internet creeps (i.e., don’t meet up with people you talk to online in person, tell people who are bothering you in online forums to leave you alone, and log off if necessary)- because it is literally impossible to keep them from using these technologies altogether. Even if you lock down a child’s net access at home, there is a whole world of libraries, school computer labs, and friend’s houses out there. Trying to keep them out of such chat rooms entirely is fighting a losing battle, and, ultimately, robbing them of the skills they need to deflect creepy and potentially dangerous people, both in real life and online.

  94. procrastinating law student says:

    Olivier writes:

    “He may not be able to prove he was lied to and that wouldn’t matter anyhow: ever heard of statutory rape laws?”

    Actually, in most states, statutory rape defendants can raise a “reasonable mistake of age” defense. It’s up to the jury to decide whether the child lied and whether believing her was reasonable.

  95. shadocat says:

    AB ManFan,

    Thank God there are people like you out there that get it. You rock, sir.

  96. April says:

    thankyou everyone for these very revealing (no pun) posts. certainly helps me put my parenting into perspective.

    thinking back to childhood, i saw some disturbing images and some pornographic images, and sometimes those categories overlapped.
    however what stayed with me and warped my emerging sexuality most, in ways which i have had to unravel over years, were ‘ordinary’ pop-culture attitudes to women, men, relationships, sex and desire. very unhealthy, very pervasive, very nasty, violent and absolutely ubiquitous. none of it x-rated, but nonetheless damaging.

  97. Maggie Jochild says:

    If I were the aunt of a 13-year-old who used “horny” to describe herself, I’d want to have a conversation with her immediately to find out what she meant by that term. Possibly she’s just heard it and thought it mean something innocuous. But it has an adult sexual meaning that either she should not yet know about or, if she does, then some adult has imprinted his/her sexuality onto her. It’s just not developmentally appropriate at 13 to be “horny” — interested in the meaning of sex, yes, interested in her own body and what its responses are to another, of course.

    Adult definitions of sex carry a load of crap as well as information and “health” in them, and you cannot sort it out by 13. Or 15. Maybe by 17, with good resources. We don’t let kids drive cars before 16, not because we want to shut off their mobility but because they honestly cannot handle the demands of it.

    The fact is, overwhelmingly girls in our culture are introduced to sex by a male who is older than her — the average I’ve read is at least four years older. When you are 15 or 16, four years older is another category altogether in terms of power and influence. It’s not an even playing field, she’s not interacting with an equal in that instance.

    People whose sexual development gets arrested in adolescence (which, to my eye, is probably the majority of adults in this country) will always be drawn to the notion of sexual interaction with teenagers, which makes them prey in a particular way. Furthermore, given that around 30% of the population was sexually exploited or abuse as a child or teenager, and few of them receive therapy or meaningful assistance in undoing all the baggage that comes with such damage, even a well-meaning adult just has no business seeking romantic or sexual contact with a teenager.

    I’ve done it, both ends of it. And I never would now, post recovery. Adult sexuality has to be cleaned up and reclaimed, and we need to allow our children the chance to define their own sexual existence — which means, unfortunately, we have to interfere to the extent of keeping other adults away from them as they explore.

    And, as a sexual abuse survivor who ran compulsion as a teenager, seeking out porn and any kind of information I could (mostly from terror, not from a place of genuine attraction), I have to strongly disagree that what is available in print compares to what is being put out there online. Increasingly, online porn is simply about humiliation and degradation of women. It’s not sexual, it’s violent. There’s nothing useful to a teenager in seeing such images, especially when it falls under the false category of “this is about sex” instead of it being labeled hate in the same way that photographs from concentration camps or genocide are not about “religious expression”.

  98. Deena in OR says:

    Thank you, Maggie. What I was thinking, but said much more eloquently.

  99. Scotia says:

    Cynthia-Symp seems to have misunderstood my point. It’s not a question of liking/hating her (she’s a cartoon character, after all) or agreeing/disagreeing with her. One of the many brilliant aspects of DTWOF is AB’s ability to develop three dimentional characters who reflect the cultural and political complexities of our changing society. It goes beyond a reductively static “liberal”/”conservative” binary. The perspective Cynthia originally represented is no longer tenable (a fact made all the more urgent by her self-identification as a lesbian). This character (who’s become increasingly central, btw: we’ve seen more of Cynthia than we have of Lois lately) is (a) not an idiot, and (b) not a hypocrite. I’m just curious to know where she’s coming from these days.

  100. April says:

    thankyou maggie that’s what i was trying to say.

  101. Jen says:

    AB ManFan — you’re right, I don’t know what I’m talking about with the myspace thing. I do know that Facebook can be more private. They are very different. Correction to my previous post: no one can see my Facebook page without my permission; Facebook can be much more private

  102. Ginjoint says:

    is naive beyond imagination. You need to get a clue.

    Yeeeah, uh, thanks for being there for us, AB ManFan.

    Olivier, at the risk of being labeled “naive”, which seems to be happening a lot around here, I don’t think the situation is as dire as you say. What I’ve seen in my life experience has been that teenage boys who are the age of majority who date girls a couple of years younger don’t usually get prosecuted unless there’s an angry parent involved, or other mitigating circumstances. Otherwise, we’d be buried in litigation with this. Certainly in my high school we had seniors dating freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. If you’re speaking more of, say, a 21- or 22-year-old man dating a young woman who says that she’s over 18, but just might not be, then I stand by what I said in my last post about this.

    Mo is just as obnoxious as Cynthia–it’s just that most of the folks who comment here (and probably who read the strip, period) can relate to Mo but not to C.

    Lots of us here realize how grating Mo’s rants can be – I sometimes skim over them, even when I agree with her. The reason Cynthia attracts more animosity is that her conservative beliefs can do real damage in people’s lives, including many of the folks who comment here.

  103. Cynthia-Symp says:

    The reason Cynthia attracts more animosity is that her conservative beliefs can do real damage in people’s lives, including many of the folks who comment here.

    You mean because enough people share them that they have the power to put them into practice? Many of Mo’s intolerant assumptions about the world could do real damage–but we’ll never know for sure. Well, not until Rep. Kucinich is swept to power next November.

  104. Suz says:

    What about Mo’s politics would be specifically damaging to gay people if put into practice?

  105. ready2agitate says:

    Eeeek! They can do damage to themselves and innocent boys/men to boot! Sexually flirtatious underaged girls, what *shall* we do with them?! Jail-bait! Cock-teases! Havoc-wreakers! Sorry Olivier, I just don’t sympathize with your viewpoint here (certainly Ginjoint is able to be far more civil than I). I know that boys do suffer enormously from society’s ‘unhealthy adult sexuality,’ as Maggie Jochild so eloquently expresses, but it does piss me off to read about boys/men who “could have to go through hell because of it” — the “it” being those all-too-seductive she-wolves out there who misrepresent their age. Sorry, it just sounds all too famililarly anti-female to me. (However, I can’t entirely flame someone who posts an awesome cartoon about cats…) (weakly extended olive branch…)

    Pulling for Ginjoint in chemo tomorrow (Thurs). Hang in there, lady.

  106. Jaibe says:

    Alex the Bold — maybe all the RAs just *seemed* right wing compared to the rest of us when we were undergrads 🙂 Anyway, I think Cynthia would be sympathetic if confused and overwhelmed (like every RA) as an RA.

    And thanks whoever pointed out 512 — it is the first time *ever* I lost the plot like that! I guess I’m getting old too. Anyway, that explains it; it was never intentional, just an offhand comment / dig from Ginger that she got her comeupance for.

  107. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’m truly sorry that I took a swipe at you. I was angered by the comment you directed at me. I wasn’t diagnosing. I’ve worked with a lot of families. I spend a lot of my time with teenagers. My opinions are based on those experiences.

    I’m certain you have ideas/opinions about college students based on work with them. I’m certain of it because you have stated as much right here…just as I have…that your opinions of a certain population are based on your first hand experience and observations.

    You quoted:

    “I’m only doing this to protect you,” I said.
    “That’s what all control freaks say.”

    and you added:

    Yes, there are dangers to kids in this world. Among them are the adults who want to protect them, for their own good, of course.

    Duncan…that’s a great sound bite but it’s such a broad brush. There are dangers to kids in the world; from sticking the fingers they were just sucking on into an electrical outlet to running into a busy street without stopping to look for oncoming cars to trusting some grownups who look benevolent but are not to driving drunk to having unprotected sex to getting high.

    Thirteen year olds DO use the word horny and it’s one of the choices for “what is your current mood” on my space. (The niece didn’t invent it.) Adolescents are sexual creatures with sexual feelings. Just as it’s naive to think there are no sexual predators it’s naive to think that some thirteen year olds aren’t curious about or interested in their sexuality.

    Every parent, every one of us will hurt our child/children in some way believing that we are doing what is best. So is it ever okay to set limits to protect a child? When we enact our well intentioned rules are we overly damaging the spirit? Just being control freaks?

    At what age is it okay to smoke pot? At what age do we turn them out into the world to fend for themselves without “protection”, rules, limits? Is it only in the realm of sexuality that you believe we limit children too much? Or do you think children are too controlled in general in our society?

  108. Alex the Bold says:

    This premise of “At what age is it okay to smoke pot? At what age do we turn them out into the world to fend for themselves…” is perhaps the biggest question of them all.

    I’ve seen what happens to people who were “protected.” I’ve recently gone back to school (why? Because I no longer want to spent half of my waking life in a cubicle doing work I cannot improve upon because no one will let me because they perceive any corrections to their deathless prose as personal attacks). As an old(er) student, the dynamics with advisers are a lot different. And one adviser mentioned that, sigh, she had a meeting scheduled for later in the day with a student and the student’s mother.

    “Jesus,” I said (or something like it). “She must be in big trouble if you have to call her mom in for a sitdown.”

    “Oh, no. The mother insisted on being there.”

    Turns out there’s more than a few parents who insist on injecting themselves into their children’s college lives like this. And it also goes out into the working world. I recall reading the story of the woman whose father came with her to the job interview.

    Congratulations, mom, dad, you have succeeded in completely fucking up your kid. Ever wonder where these joyless, timid, spinsters come from? Or those old men who just sit in front of the television and scream out their windows for those goddamned kids in the street to stop playing so loud?

    Yep. They were probably “protected” when they were growing up. And after a while, that “protection” becomes an unbreakable conditioned response. Mustn’t drink, ever. Mustn’t have fun, ever. Oh God, I almost went over the speed limit.

    You’re worried about a MySpace page for your daughter, niece, third cousin? Simple. Don’t have a computer in the house. Yes, it really is that simple. Don’t trot out the “But I need a computer for work.” If that’s the case, you put it in your room and you password-protect it. Or you buy one of the keyed models and you literally lock it up when you’re done.

    It’s the same thing with guns. If you’re worried about your kid finding your gun in the shoebox in the closet, you either have to get rid of the gun or the kid. And leaving your gun in a shoebox will certainly speed that either/or along.

    Don’t want your kid getting pregnant? Better sew her legs shut. Or explain it to her. Take her to a hospital ward where there’s lots of single mothers: “Yep, that’s her life for the next 15 years or so. Home every night, raising the kid alone because the father got up and fled. Even if he’s there right now, he could leave pretty much any time. And since both of them aren’t even high school graduates, even if she gets child support off of him, it’s going to be nothing. So her life is scheduled, in the poor zone, for the next decade and a half. And forget about college, she’ll be lucky to get to the high school prom. Imagine that, her whole life’s over and she isn’t even able to drive. Of course, she’ll never be able to afford a car anyway, so no big loss.”

    Protecting your kid from this sort of stuff is like taking them for a walk through a minefield without mentioning that you know where the mines are, but you’re not telling them. Oh, and here, put on a blindfold and go on ahead without me.

    Don’t want your kid breaking the law? Take a couple days off work every year or so. Go down to the courthouse, make a day of it. Sit in one of the benches. “Here, Raffi, this is what happens to people who get caught with drugs. And here’s a wifebeater. Next up, will be a DUI.” The most effective explanation for why you shouldn’t drink and drive can be found from watching some guy who’s been caught with a .12 BAC being told his license is gone for 3 months or 6 months and that he now HAS to start going to meetings to talk with others about his inability to control his drinking before he’ll get that license back. How far is YOUR commute?

    Nothing is more horrifying then the systems IN PLACE to punish us with a minimal of effort.

  109. slamson says:

    “At what age is it OK to smoke pot?”

    Ummmm, it is illegal where I live…the answer would be “NO AGE!” Obviously, opinions differ on whether or not it should be decriminalized. I waffle on that myself, for sure. But, in my teen years, when pot was certainly easily obtained, the fact that it was illegal trumped my opinion on the matter.

    Re: the MySpace thing. To me, the description of “horny” would indeed make me want to take the suggestions of many here and talk privately to the niece about her perceptions, etc. Excellent opening to do so, and she may listen better to Aunt than to Mom or Dad.

    We would then be on to the next topic: “You LIED about your age to get a page. Very Bad Idea. The page isn’t as much of a problem as your willingness to lie to get what you want.” We would be off to the races on the honesty topic and why lying about even such a small thing can have big consequences, especially when it becomes a habit. Am I the only one who feels that way?

  110. Ginjoint says:

    Thank you, ready2agitate. (For everything.) I was beginning to feel that I was the only one noticing the underlying misogyny…I’m off to be chemically bombed. Ta.

  111. DeLandDeLakes says:

    I sympathize with your POV, Alex the Bold (although I don’t know if there’s anything conclusive about an overly-sheltered childhood leading to spinsterhood!)- as someone who teaches young college students, I see the type of thing you’re talking about often. It’s very interesting that as the chorus to protect children and teens has risen higher and higher, the current generation in fact has little to no interest in challenging their parent’s values, at least not on a significant scale, like in the 1960s and 70s. On the contrary, it seems that people my age (mid-twenties) and younger are primarily interested in being parented into senility- which would explain the inordinate amount of young folks I know who still live in Mom’s basement. It seems to me that this will have long-term consequences, because people who are not accustomed to ceding important decisions to a higher “authority” tend to be extremely passive when it comes to things like politics.

  112. Deena in OR says:


    As a parent trying very hard to raise her kids into competent, functional adults, I hear what you’re saying. I’ve tried really hard to raise my kids with the concept of logical consequences…”If you do (or don’t do) Action A, Action B usually follows, for good or for not.”

    The trick is knowing when to step in, and when not to. My rule of thumb as a parent has always been this: if living with the negative consequences will cause more harm than good, then it’s time to intervene, or at least offer to help problem solve.

    Now, as I type this…my fifteen year old has procrastinated long enough to miss her school bus…so she’ll be walking the mile to school. It’s a safe route, and the consequences for her are no more than inconvenience, annoyance, and a possible tardy. She gets to live with that, and I’ll bet you anything she’ll be on time tomorrow.

  113. Alex K says:

    @Deena: I’m strongly reminded of the talk that my parents gave each of their kids when they left home. Gist:

    “Now that you’re on your own, you will do things that we disapprove of. You know what they are. We expect that they will make you unhappy. That’s why we disapprove of them. If they indeed do make you unhappy – we don’t want to know.

    “If you have been arrested, or are pregnant, because you have done something that we warned you against, that’s different. That’s worse than unhappy. In such situations, we can help. We can arrange bail, find a lawyer, or come up with an abortionist faster than you can.

    “But if you are unhappy because you have gone against your rearing, don’t call us to tell us. All that we can do for unhappiness of that sort is say, We told you so.”

  114. rdr says:

    Unrelated to the strip, Ellen Forney mentioned you in her interview with the local Seattle paper Real Change this week:

  115. Suzanonymous says:

    In the ridiculous-level-of-details department*, I thought the house G&S bought was one story and #512 seems to verify this. I didn’t read the rest of the comments (except to search for 512), forgive me, but I think there are a number of us scanners.

    Nice warm fuzzy at the end of the strip, there.

    * someone mentioned floss in the garbage?!?!?

  116. Dr. Empirical says:

    There used to be an I Hate Doctor Empirical page up on MySpace. I’m kind of disappointed that it’s gone.

    I found the whole thing pretty funny, but I imagine that a teen-ager with a similar page dedicated to him/her, and whose whole school knew about it would find it devastating.

  117. Deena in OR says:

    Dr. E….

    We could always fix that…. (wicked grin)

  118. ready2agitate says:

    Anyone going to the Radcliffe lecture Thurs. 11/29? What’s the sign for “I’m a D2WO4 blogger” again? was it a red ribbon worn out of the back pocket or something like that in NYC? Hoping to make it – just rec’d Persepolis for my birthday, as well….

  119. Andrew B says:

    Apparently the two-story part of Ginger and Samia’s house is to the left of what we can see in 512.

    There have been several posts lately stating as fact that Ammar and Samia have only a marriage of convenience, in order to help him with his immigration status or get her parents off her back or both. These are certainly plausible suggestions but I don’t remember either of them being established as fact. If anybody can remember, even approximately, when this was established, could you please remind me? Only if you remember — I’m not asking someone to troll through the entire archive, since that’s what I’m trying to avoid as well.

    Obviously he knows now what the story is. When he first showed up, though, he acted like he expected to have a real relationship with her and she acted like that was a reasonable expectation on his part. I’m more inclined to think she only discovered her identity after getting married. If there is a strip that definitely contradicts that, I’d appreciate it if somebody could remind me which one.

    I find Ammar’s buffoonishness flat and unfunny. I wish he would either vanish or turn into a real character. Not a major character — just a plausible one. His lack of depth also makes it hard to understand Samia, who is a fairly central character these days.

    Another of my too-long comments. The expressions on Samia’s and Ginger’s faces are as good as everyone says, I like the horror movie-like vertiginous close-up of Samia and Ginger climbing the stairs, and it’s great to see Clarice joking and roughhousing with Raffi again (and to see Toni apparently happy about it, instead of possessive).

  120. ms says:

    Cynthia has GOT to move out. She needs to find a peer group and go get some life experiences. And this will let Samia and Ginger have some private “sexy time”!!! I’m glad Clarice is moving out – it will let everyone move on to whatever comes next. It’s sad, but it’s sadder to remain stagnant in a situation that just isn’t working anymore.
    On a different note, what’s up with Lois’s sex life these days??!

  121. Suzanonymous says:

    Andrew B, I think they mentioned the marriage situation before Ginger came over to their house for a barbecue. Possibly it was the episode when Ammar and Samia appeared suddenly one day at the wayward home for adults, wanting to see if Ginger wanted to come with them. This would be spring or summer of ’06?

    About the house, maybe there was some sort of addition to the left, yeah. The house next door is similarly one story, which indicates what the housing development was like in general. And you don’t usually see the front door part with no sign of the second floor. That’s what I was thinking.

  122. Suzanonymous says:

    I was researching something boring, so I tracked those down on another tab in parallel: Ammar appears in episode 478 and the situation is explained in 481. They’re at planetout.

  123. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Bravo, Deena! I wish more people my age and younger had parents like you!

  124. Kahuna Burger says:

    A wrinkle I don’t think anyone’s addressed (might have missed it)….

    Raffi “But you SPIED on me!”

    No, Raffi darling, spying on you would have been sneaking up while you were having a very personal conversation in the privacy of your home and videotaping it. Perhaps you would have considered it better if we placed this information in a public forum (oh, wait, it’s there already) and sent the link to a large group of the people you would least like to know it?

    Little twerp is not only a self centered delinquent, he’s a hypocrit to boot. He’s got better parents than he deserves.

  125. ataraxite says:

    The question is not really whether a 13-year-old can be or should be horny.

    The question is whether or not a 13-year-old should SAY she is horny in a public place to (potentially) everyone she knows and many she doesn’t.

    As a middle and high school teacher, my answer to the first questions is probably yes, and to the second question, definitely NO.

    Any person walking down the middle of the street yelling “I’m horny!” to no one in particular would be considered poorly socialized at the least. Declaring horniness on yourspace is frighteningly similar to yelling it in a crowded theater.

  126. bindweed says:

    Wow! What would it be like to BE the horny teenage neice in question, and discover a very LONG debate concerning yourself on the dtwof commentary? For a thirteen yo I’d guess she’d DIE of embarassment. Of corse, some people (like me) probably dream of it…
    Oh, and here I am with my two cents- “SINGLE mothers”?? I think what you ment was TEENAGE mothers. I’m a “single” mother myself, at 32, in the sense of having never been married, and yes, my son’s birth father is a deadbeat, but what do you expect when you meet someone at the Eugene homeless shelter? NO one thought me having a kid was a good idea, what with my history or child abuse, homelessness, and ongoing depression/anxiety. However, dispite it being even harder than I could have imagined (and I’m the oldest of eight!), and a compleat change of life, it has been the most joyous thing I’ve ever known (yeah I know all parents say that, and I found it just as annoying before I became a mother). And, dispite a rocky start, at four years and counting, I have never been so happy, or felt so good about the world. I found a wonderfull guy, who is a kickass stepdad, and we are working on buying a house together. But I’m still “single”, because why have a wedding before you can do it right? So being a single mom isn’t an automatic ticket to a sucky life- I had a sucky life before, in many ways, with no help from offspring.
    Oh, and to the guy complaining about young girls lying about their age, comeON, dude, get a life. Yeah, I sometimes catch myself looking at too-young girls, but I would no more have sex with someone I thought had even a remote chance of being underage than I’d smoke weed on my way to drug court.
    Oh, AND I thought that article was brilliant. I’ve done all sorts of “dangerous” things, like hitchhiking (yes in this day and age), sleeping on the street, and prostitution (untill we stop being ashamed, sisters, and I know you are out there, they will always use it against us); and yet I have never been hit by anyone who was not a blood reative or intimate partner.

  127. Anonymous says:

    @ Kahuna Burger:

    “Little twerp is not only a self centered delinquent, he’s a hypocrit to boot. He’s got better parents than he deserves.”

    Well, he’s 14. How well socialized we _you_ at that age? I recall being quite the savage — in an entirely different, withdrawn, quiet-one-you-gotta-watch sort of way.

    What I love about how Raffi is portrayed is how plausible he is. He’s smart, but not a genius; basically a good, sweet kid underneath — but it is underneath most of the time. He’s as self-centered and obnoxious as any kid his age.

    There are also signs that he’s troubled, as anyone would be, by the breakup of his parents. Acting out by smoking pot may be one of those signs; but it’s handled with subtlety, not a hint of bathos.

    Do you have kids? I’m not, BTW, one of those people who thinks you have to be a parent to have valid opinions about parenting. Still… I know that my reaction to Raffi is informed by my own experience fathering a brilliant, sweet, creative, funny, perceptive, talented charming young boy who has the social skills of a bulldozer and the vocabulary of a stevedore (at age 7, mind you).

    Kids are assholes. If you raise them well, by the time they’re adults, they’ll have learned to hide it well.

    So lighten up on the (fictional) kid, okay 😉

  128. dzieger (not anonymous) says:

    That was me, above. I keep forgetting I’m not “signed in” when I’m here.

  129. Andrew B says:

    Suzanonymous, thank you for digging up those episodes. I’ve gone on at enough length already so let me just say I’m not convinced Ginger was being paranoid when she added “so she says” to her account of Samia’s situation. And when he showed up at Samia’s, Ammar sure didn’t act like he thought he was asking another favor of a lesbian who had already done him one favor by giving him a marriage of convenience. He acted like he thought he belonged there.

  130. Brazenfemme says:

    Hmmm, some great comments and obviously we are all delighted and inspired by that bi-monthy postings. Just a word to dzieger that “savage” is quite a loaded image/term/metaphor for those of us living on stolen land (I am an extended visitor on Coast Salish territory for example.) Sure, I get your meaning about youth rebelling, but a less colonizing language might be more welcomed. When I hear the word “savage” I think not only of the racist practices in Canada against First Nations, but what I deem the opposite to the term “savage” which is “brutal”. Meaning brutal means with which to “tame”.

  131. Ellen says:

    Dzieger — that’s quite the mixed message: “Kids are assholes”

    Is that really how you see your ” brilliant, sweet, creative, funny, perceptive, talented charming young boy.” Or did you mean that some kids, like some adults, are “assholes” ?

    Also, I wonder why asshole is such a pejorative term? In my opinion, the anus should not be so maligned. Without it, elimination is tricky. And for some, sex would not be nearly as fun.

  132. ready2agitate says:

    Great point, Brazenfemme, on the language of “savage.” Something to be mindful of, certainly.

  133. Scotia says:

    I really love the way Clarice and Toni don’t overreact to the pot thing. Of course it’s not a good idea for a ninth grader to smoke pot, but it’s no worse than him drinking alcohol and certainly not the end of the world. Let’s not forget that the prohibition against cannabis is fueled by media hysteria as part of the ill-conceived failure that’s called “the war on drugs.” Lumping cannibis together with more dangerous drugs makes this so-called war unwinnable (which may be the point). The fact that cannabis use is equally illegal for minors and adults actually gives minors greater access to it. And before anyone starts with the anecdotal shrieking about the dangers of weed, I’m not saying that it can’t be abused, only that the current prohibition deliberately distorts the facts and does nothing to mitigate its abuse.

  134. meg says:

    O, please!


    1. Of or pertaining to the forest; remote from human abodes and cultivation; in a state of nature; wild; as, a savage wilderness.

    Just because ‘savage’ has been applied to peoples who civilizations were not understood as such is no reason to take that as its primary meaning. Why further that misuse?

  135. Scotia says:

    I know what I forgot to say in my earlier post. While kids may or may not be “acting out” when they smoke pot, the principal motivation is that it’s fun (which is not to say that therefore it’s a good idea). T & C’s measured response indicate that they accept this fact.

  136. Kahuna Burger says:

    Hrmm… apparently the software has a problem distinguishing between 15 seconds and almost 12 hours in it’s flood control. Appologies annonymous Dzeiger, I shall try to retype my wasted response later.

  137. Jane B says:

    Hello Alison and friends, I have just seen Persepolis, an animated film co-directed by Marjane Satrapi. It’s based on her two graphic novels about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I am so excited because it is a) excellent b) funny (and also very moving) c) feminist and d) political (in a good way!). This is so rare in the world of animation! It was made in France where they value their cartoonists (and where Marjane now lives). See this film! Show it in your film festivals! http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/persepolis

  138. Anonny Mouse says:

    Maybe someone’s already said this, but at the risk of sounding sympathetic to Cynthia, there’s really nothing WRONG with someone choosing to refrain from drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, etc. It’s entirely possible to do that and be a reasonably healthy and happy person nevertheless. Ginger and Samia may be perceiving Cynthia’s abstinence tendencies as a facet/symptom of her “right-wingerness,” but the two don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other (actually, as seen in some news reports, they apparently RARELY have anything to do with each other, but that’s not really the point). “Left-wingers” are just as capable of being abstinent as “right-wingers.” It’s all about how one chooses to live one’s life.

    Or maybe she’s just a “late bloomer” when it comes to being interested in such things.

  139. dzieger (not anonymous) says:

    Wow. That’s the last time I’ll speak colloquially in this venue 😉 Lighten up guys (oops, sorry another controversial word. I should say, Lighten up, folks).

    re: savage – I’m aware of the word’s historical baggage, but wasn’t aware that there was no context in which it could be used without the whole “white man’s burden” thing being implied. Am I wrong in thinking that there’s a colloquial, historically neutral usage for this word? I ask this question sincerely.


    that’s quite the mixed message: “Kids are assholes”

    Is that really how you see your ” brilliant, sweet, creative, funny, perceptive, talented charming young boy.” Or did you mean that some kids, like some adults, are “assholes” ?


    Well, if you read the whole paragraph, I said:
    “Kids are assholes. If you raise them well, by the time they’re adults, they’ll have learned to hide it well.”

    So, yes, I’m speaking globally here. You know, id/ego/superego. Raffi, like most kids, is totally down with his id, no so in touch with his superego yet. (Psych 101 was over 20 years ago, so I may be a bit rusty on my Freud).

    The point is, chill out folks. I love my sweet, charming little savage – while being properly outraged at the treatment of aboriginal peoples at the hands of European colonists; and, in the language of an old improv group cohort making fun of the recovery/self-actualization jargon she was then being subjected to in her treatment, “I love and respect my beautiful anus.”

    Weird – I’ve defended so-called “political correctness” in the face of conservative attacks for as long as it’s been a rethug talking point, but I’m starting to develop an iota of empathy for the Neanderthal bastards 😉

  140. --MC says:

    Hi Jane B. Don’t worry, “Persepolis” has been picked up by a US distributor and will open in major US cities (in the undubbed version, so we don’t get to hear Iggy Pop as one of Marjane’s friends) on Dec. 25th.

  141. Alex the Bold says:

    The problem with terms like “savage” is that for some people, one effective way to win a debate is to pull the equivalent of throwing sand in the other person’s eyes and then kick them while they’re down.

    This is what happens when someone uses a word — doesn’t matter what word — and someone — anyone — is able to turn the whole conversation/debate on its ear.


    Mr. A: “He’s such a clown —”
    Mr. B: “Excuse me! I’m shocked, shocked!”
    Mr. A: “What?”
    Mr. B: “My third cousin is a professional clown. How dare you malign him!”
    Mr. A: “That wasn’t my intention.”
    Mr. B: “Did you know clowns helped saved Jews during the Holocaust? Why do you hate the Jews?”
    Mr. A: “What? I never –”
    Mr. B: “Oh, you sicken me with your slick cowardice. I came here to discuss this issue and you can’t hold back on your racist screed –”
    Mr. A: “Whoa. Wait a secon–”
    Mr. B: “Don’t interrupt me. How dare you interrupt me. I never interrupted you.”
    Mr. A: “Actually, you did. Three times, I think.”
    Mr. B: “Oh, so now you’re calling me a liar. This ‘debate’ is over.”

    Obviously, I’m being a little over the top here. But I see many instances of debates that aren’t about the two sides wanting to reach the point of the discussion. They want to drag out ancient grievances and petty snipes and lecture each other about how the “other” side simply isn’t able to discuss this.

    When someone says “savage” I don’t think of an American Indian. I think of some crazy Stone Age person with no language and no culture. Savage, as in not human. A berzerker, a lunatic. Someone destruction and uncontrollable.

    But, there I go, trying to able intent. And as we all know, language has no intent in it. None at all.

  142. bean says:

    I had no issue with dzieger’s post, and thought his response to people’s questions and criticisms was respectful and intelligent. (and i’m glad he’s happy with his anus!) I do have a problem with PC bating.

    Mr. A: “He’s such a clown —”
    Mr. B: “Excuse me! I’m shocked, shocked!”
    Mr. A: “What?”
    Mr. B: “My third cousin is a professional clown. How dare you malign him!”
    Mr. A: “Why do you always have to be so politically correct?”
    Mr. B: “I was trying to talk about your pejoritive use of the word clown, which is kind of a problem.”
    Mr. A: “Well, my grandfather was a clown in the holocaust, so i have a right to say it!”
    Mr. A: “I don’t think you do –”
    Mr. B: “Oh, you sicken me with your politically correct rants and raves –”
    Mr. A: “Whoa. Wait a secon–”
    Mr. B: “Don’t interrupt me. How dare you interrupt me. I never interrupted you.”
    Mr. A: “Actually, you did. Three times, I think. And you tried to silence me by preventing me from talking about your offensive use of language by instead making me defend myself against the accusation of ‘political correctness’.”
    Mr. B: “Oh, so now you’re calling me a liar. This ‘debate’ is over.”

  143. Deena in OR says:

    Ah, don’t be too fooled. I have been, and am, still as capable of mistakes as the next person. And everything I know about good parenting I learned from my own parents.

  144. Andrea says:

    My Space is the spawn of satan, I can’t go near the place even to check out a band and keep my job in the church.

    Sigh- everyone is getting older…. I’m celebrating 17 years ordained this weekend….it just seems like yesterday I was at Amazon Books in MPLS

  145. Ellen O. says:


    I lot of people here love words and are thoughtful about their use. I really appreciate this, as it feels different from most of the U.S. You may not be used to that from other forums. Thought you might want to know.

    To me, the word “asshole” isn’t one to toss around lightly. It feels degrading and harsh, especially when talking about children (whether they “learn to hide it or not.”) That word doesn’t feel like an alternative to “self-centered,” “demanding,” or other adjectives you are applying to children.

    As for “politically-correct,” to me it is another term that people use loosely to put down those who promote inclusiveness or again, thoughtfulness about language.

    Sticks and stones aside, words indeed can hurt us. Thanks for considering them carefully.

  146. Bigtime Lurker says:

    I have always loved the way DTWOF skewers (gently or not) a certain stream of political/social justice/academic dykedom that, frankly, deserves it. I say that as a full-fledged member of that stream, as someone who loves language and history and knows their power, as someone who loves children and also thinks they’re assholes, and as someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously but knows when to get serious. I think that there could be an excellent strip or two –or maybe even a graphic novel– just in this little comment section alone. It’s hysterical.

  147. Olivier says:

    procrastinating law student, I didn’t know that; I feel a little better, although I wonder how often that defense works.

    ready2agitate, I don’t mind the sarcasm but I think it’s telling that when when someone chimes in with a reminder that it takes two to tango and have an ill-advised affair (or just an ill-advised f***), he is accused of misogyny. I don’t kow about this particular girl and I won’t make uninformed guesses about statistics but girls don’t deserve any more than boys to be given the benefit of doubt automatically. That being said, I’ll take the olive branch you so genererously profferred 😉

  148. zeitgeist says:

    ‘Do you realize that if a man, whether 15 or 70, has anything to do with a girl who he thinks is past the age of consent because she lied to him, he could have to go through hell because of it?’
    Olivier, yes i am aware of how screwed any guy would be in that situation, but the question was about this on e particular person’s 13 year old neice. let’s face it tho, she’s saying she’s 15 not 18, which would be age of consent, so if any older guy stalked her, I wouldn’t feel sorry for them if they got in trouble.

  149. zeitgeist says:

    I don’t know how real is the threat of dirty old men to 13-year old girls (probabbly much exaggerated) but I am shocked by the partiality of your post.

    Oh really? Exaggerated. huh? Before the age of Myspace when I was 13, I couldn’t believe how many older men propositioned me, in person, on the street, in restaurants out with my parents, coming into the schoolyard during recess,in the park, riding my bike, etc. And according to a buddy of mine on the Boston PD, unfortunately, exaggerated? NOT so much!

  150. zeitgeist says:

    ‘re the myspace question: i think sometimes we get too caught up in policiing young people’s sexuality. plenty of girls are horny at 13 – why shouldn’t she say it? if adults tell a girl not to say it because of potential “predators” are we not just going back to pre-feminist ideas that women and girls shouldn’t talk about their own sexual desire for fear of appearing wanton and losing their social status or for fears of being preyed on (in the gross “she asked for it by admitting she was horny” way)?’

    You make some interesting theoretical points, but I disagree, and maybe I do so because I’m a parent, and maybe because I looked older than my age at 13, and got a lot of uninvited attention that i had no idea how to handle. Do we want to police people’s sexuality? No! But we are too caught up these days in treating 13 year olds like adults. Give 13 year olds adult freedoms, they will not be able to handle adult responsibility when it comes down the pike, and why should they know to handle it: they’re kids! Adults should do their job and protect kids, period. and yes, there are a lot of disgusting adults out there who prey on young women. this a pre-feminist idea? I don’t think so. I don’t worry about the 13 losing ‘her reputation’ or losing social status, I mean this isn’t the 50’s! I thinking safety first.

  151. zeitgeist says:

    Yep. They were probably “protected” when they were growing up. And after a while, that “protection” becomes an unbreakable conditioned response. Mustn’t drink, ever. Mustn’t have fun, ever. Oh God, I almost went over the speed limit.’

    Parents who inject themselves in the lives of their kids like this are extreme, and pathetic. There IS a middle ground. Kids should be protected, and taught, but coddled and not taught to fend for themselves as adults is failing to do your job as a parent. These same kids probably had every ounce of their free time scheduled by mom with soccer, violin, etc, and never learned that hanging with buddies down the creek is a learning experience in of itself.

    However the other extreme, which I saw parents do when my kid was a teen (and this happened to his friends) was the too permissive parent. ‘Oh you can have sex, smoke weed, we don’t care…’ and then they were shocked when their little darlings became directionless and because they became to much to handle they threw them out of the house. Kids test poarental limits! That is their job. The job of the parent is to reel them in! Body count: two of my kid’s friends died from herion, one was beaten in the sreets, living as a street kid. One little girl has HIV because she was a sex worker when Dad threw her out.

    Protected Kids grow up to be fine, too. Mine is 24, has his own family, and is not only in his chosen career but is an activist for many groups in the community, Despite having two protective mommies.

  152. oceans 111 says:

    Re: Cynthia: Where I went to grad school, not getting laid for several years was pretty much par for the course. You’re too busy, and nobody wants to sleep with someone who’s thinking 24/7 about [fill in your nerdish detail here]. People who came in with spouses were sometimes okay, but a number of people lost relationships to the process. Of course, that should also mean that she’s too busy with grad school to piss off Ginger and Samia, but maybe she puts her computer in the middle of the livingroom floor to work.

    Ginger of all people should sympathize!

  153. Olivier says:

    Zeitgeist, the age of consent in the US is variable but is 16 is most states, so yes you have a point but by one year only. As for being propositioned, I wasn’t questioning that it can happen (I’ve had to swat down a few men as a kid myself) and I can imagine it being annoying, same as when an adult woman can’t go out alone without being whistled at by every other male, but a _threat_? These men are rude and you wouldn’t want to read their minds but I wager very, very few of them constitute any kind of threat.

  154. Tera says:

    My Space is evil

  155. mk says:

    Well, my questions is, is the internet more dangerous than other places? Why is it in the news when some girl is seduced by an older man via the internet, but not when it happens by some other means, and it happens a lot, as my friend who work in high schools can tell you. I wonder if our fear comes from the fact that it is new?
    I rarely felt in danger when come on to by older men as a teen (and they knew I was a teen as I went to catholic school and was often in my uniform) but I definitely hated it. It was wrong in that it made me feel as though I had no right to just occupy a space, that I was prey, even if I could say no.
    My understanding is that most men who molest teenage girls (and other teens and younger children) are either relatives or someone trusted such as a coach, clergyman or teacher.
    The men I dealt with were mostly looking to gratify their egos.

  156. ready2agitate says:

    I believe there is a continuum from rude to violent. They are connected. While I can see your point, and even agree to an extent, I disagree with the notion that “they’re just rude, not threatening.” Part of the reason men can get away with rude is because they can overpower/threaten.

    As many women and girls know (at a very deep level, almost unconsciously by adulthood), when confronted with their rudeness, many men will become more aggressive. Often, the only reason we suffer rudeness is to avoid more threatening behavior.

    (This will be my last post, I swear, trying to explain life on the receiving end of sexism and mysogyny! Oy!)

  157. Revcat says:

    I read the first half of the posts thus far, and then skimmed the rest. Hope I am not repeating, but I don’t think anyone else has mentioned a detail in the close-up panel that shows the MySpace page. I think the person Raffi is IM’ing is Stella – it sure looks like her hair. Was she other one smoking?

    And to Andrea above – congrats on 17 years! I celebrated 10 years in August. I was ordained the day Princess Diana died – I’ll never forget that!

  158. Fatigues says:

    My oh my.
    I thought Toni and Clarice would freak over the pot!
    I’m glad they didn’t. They handled it right in my opinion.

    “This is one troubled kid.” HAH! Nice one, Miss Bechdel!

    Oh, and Raffi is hot, by the way.

  159. Maggie Jochild says:

    It’s simply not appropriate for any adult (any adult) introduce romance or sex into a relationship with someone who is not an equal in terms of power, influence and social status. Yes, girls encounter it far too early and persistently, but it’s not “normal” and it does damage our ability to trust, our feel safe, to consider connections that are NOT sexualized. Sometimes it’s incremental, but all in all, it’s overwhelming.

    Adding online predation to the mix has only upped the ante, not rendered the prior personal pressure and innuendo benign.

    Sex is a great aspect of adult life. But how children and teenagers are sexualized by adults is sick. The result of lies and hurt. Needs to be interrupted.

    For a great post that just went up about it as it is perpetrated in religious settings, check out http://www.groupnewsblog.net/2007/11/seduction-religion.html. Be sure to watch the video. These are radicals, liberals, who aren’t buying the line that to try to protect children or think clearly about sex is something “anti-sex” or uptight. We know better.

  160. Pam I says:

    Maggie that link comes up as Page Not Found

  161. Deena in OR says:

    Pam-try following the link, then removing the final period at the end of the address, then hitting “enter”.

  162. April says:

    I believe “politically correct” is *our* term misused by *them*. Reapplying it to its proper context is not misusing it (to put down those who consider the impact of their words), it is using the term properly and should be commended.

    IMHO one reason political correctness gets a bad rap is the over-regulation of ordinary thoughtful speech: eg “savage”. Quite a proper and correct word, but if you imbue it with your own anxieties about ethnocentrism and colonialism, it becomes loaded. The context, however, was not loaded with these biases: sometimes a cigar….

    So, as one politically correct revolutionary feminist, I say: relax people. Making people aware is one thing – making them uptight is another.

  163. Em says:

    “Making people aware is one thing – making them uptight is another.”

    What an absolutely perfect summation!

  164. Natkat says:

    Love this strip!

    Ah, the Internet. It’s going to destroy our youth and get them into trouble! The same was said of automobiles in the 20s and women wearing pants in the 40s. Kids adapt to the new technology and its changes on mores way better than adults do.

    My daughter turned 18 this year. When she was Raffi’s age she did some astoundingly shocking things that I won’t repeat here because you will think I’m a terrible mother who didn’t raise her right.

    The thing is, the stuff she did with the help of the Internet wasn’t any worse than the stuff her father and I did when we were age WITHOUT the benefit of the Internet.

    All the people in our lives warned us that our daughter was on a path to ruin; that she should go to a bootcamp for teens; that she needes serious psychological help.

    Her father and I relaxed. We realized that what our daughter was is NORMAL! We felt it was our role as parents to set limits – which we did – but we didn’t freak out.

    Now some 3 years later, our daughter is a focused, goal-oriented young woman who is serious about where she is going in life. She smokes a little weed now and then – but thinks I don’t know, which is fine, it’s her life – but she is not the cracked-out street walker everyone warned us she would be.

    Raffi will be just fine.

  165. Ginjoint says:

    Olivier, you didn’t exactly “chime in with a reminder that it takes two to tango,” only to be accused of misogyny. I’m calling bullshit on that. What I found misogynistic about your post was how you conveniently made the female in the relationship out as some sort of loaded weapon, who with her seductive ways and conniving mind is out to destroy a perfectly nice man who just wanted a roll in the hay – when in actuality it’s usually the younger of the pair that’s being exploited.

    What that makes the girl who brought him to such a pass I’m too polite to tell you on public forum. (Your words.) No, what does it make her? Some might use words like “slut” or “whore,” (nothing misogynistic there, right?), but I think something more along the lines of “confused” or “overwhelmed” would be more appropriate.

    This thread has taken a turn toward the topic of choosing our words carefully. For me, the words in your posts seem to have an undercurrent of wanting to blame someone who is more likely a victim than a transgressor.

  166. VS says:

    Well, the point is, it doesn’t matter if “it takes two to tango” if one of those two is a kid and the other is an adult. The adult bears the responsibility of behaving in a mature and responsible manner. I realize that may seem a lot to expect, but given the immensely greater number of privileges and rights adults have, to say nothing of the immense power they have over kids, it seems fair to me to expect an adult not to have sex with kids.

    What that makes the girl who brought him to such a pass

    Right. Because she threw him to the ground and jumped upon his dick! He had no choice in the matter! At no point could he have put the brakes on until he figured out how old his partner was! How could we expect minimally decent behavior from a man?

  167. April says:

    “He had no choice in the matter! At no point could he have put the brakes on… How could we expect minimally decent behavior from a man?”

    Precisely. The idea that a child is or can be a wanton strumpet excuses reprehensible adult behaviour. Testing out signals to see what happens, which is what kids do, is in no way an actual come-on as we understand it. Let’s stop pretending that grown-ups can’t control themselves and start expecting some restraint and decency. Obviously I’m not just talking about jailbait here.

  168. Grisha says:

    Just a comment here on teen pregnancy: A few years back, I procrastinated getting my CE done to renew my real estate license. I ended up going to a weekend cram course. There were two very bright and charming women there who were obviously very close. Someone speculated they were sisters, another that they were partners. At lunch it came out they were mother and daughter. Turned out she had her daughter at 14. Both of them were happily married. They worked for the same housing development company, one of them doing sales the other financing. From what I could tell life was good for them and their families. Bottom line is that I’m not sure that giving girls the 100% doom and gloom scenario about “Your life is over, you’ll never have fun again and be nothing more than a baby tending machine” is helpful.One of the problems with being a parent of a girl child in the 21st Century is you worry she’ll be pregnant at 16 and then worry she won’t be pregnant by 36.

  169. Duncan says:

    April, “Let’s stop pretending that grown-ups can’t control themselves and start expecting some restraint and decency. Obviously I’m not just talking about jailbait here.” It’s interesting to encounter Christian-right rhetoric on this website of all websites. “Decency” especially is a meaningless noise, and evidence of bad faith. As for “restraint,” I have plenty of it — I’ve never had sex with more than three men in one day, no matter how much I was tempted.

    While I agree that Olivier’s remarks about older men as victims of sluttish Lolitas revealed some unsavory judgments on his part, I also am wary of adults who treat teenagers as children. Even preadolescents are not “innocent,” another largely meaningless word. To talk as though an adolescent would never have sexual experience, or use “drugs”, unless led astray by an unrestrained and indecent adult, is dishonest, as dishonest as pretending that an adult who has sex with an adolescent is the helpless victim of a malevolent little tramp (of either sex)’s seductive wiles.

    I really liked Grisha’s remark, “Bottom line is that I’m not sure that giving girls the 100% doom and gloom scenario about ‘Your life is over, you’ll never have fun again and be nothing more than a baby tending machine’ is helpful.” Of course, it should not be forgotten that there are many people who will make it their business to *ensure* that young mothers are punished forever for their choice. Many of the difficulties experienced by mothers are not facts of nature — they are the result of social policy and human will, by people who consider themselves restrained and decent, but who are in fact scum.

  170. Ellen O. says:

    I’m glad that the young mother who was pregnant at 13 is doing well in life. I wonder about all the history you couldn’t see that day… Did she have financial and social help as she raised her daughter? What has see gained? What has she given up?

    Sure, different cultures look at teenage moms in different ways, but I wonder what percentage of teenage moms here in the U.S. go on to get high school diplomas and college degrees, and how that affects their ability to care for themselves and their children.

    Duncan, what you call “Christian Right rhetoric,” I might call “feminism.”

  171. dicentra formosa says:

    Sure, kids and teens (and I would add young adults) are less responsible for their actions than older people, who have a responsibility not to take advantage of them. On the other hand, if nobody teaches you about responsibility when you’re young you aren’t going to magically just acquire it when you’re 21 or 25 or 30. I don’t think it’s helpful to let young girls (or young boys) believe they’re living in a risk-free world and not let them know what assumptions others may make based on their behavior.

    I am the adult daughter of a woman who was once a teenage mother. My father was a college student at the time, and I have seen firsthand what they both gained and gave up. I know, too, what I have given up in choosing another path. When I hear discussions like this I cannot see my mother as a victim or father as aggressor. Neither did having her family early ruin my mother’s life. Every choice both creates and destroys possibilities.

    Just for the record: I have hiked, camped, driven cross-country and walked at night through cities in the US and Europe alone, and have a page on Myspace, but have only felt seriously threatened sexually twice–once at work and once in my own apartment, by a woman I thought was a friend and someone I could trust. And yes, I know that I have been fortunate, but I will not live in fear.

  172. April says:

    Thankyou Ellen O, I see a distinction between Xtian Right “sex is bad don’t do it” and feminist “sex is good don’t betray it”.
    Duncan I feel you’ve leapt to some startling conclusions here. I admit “decency” is an ambiguous word, but it is in no way meaningless. There is a world of difference between sexual liberation and sexual depravity. I’m not talking about people being joyously promiscuous, I’m talking people imposing their power to exploit others. I agree totally that children’s much-vaunted “innocence” is a Victorian construct, but that’s really not the point. Teen sexuality as mutual exploration and discovery is great (worlds away from the old porno standby of being “initiated” by an older creep). That’s what I mean by decency, not repressed Xtian continence.

  173. Travis Johnson says:

    Dear Ms. Bechdel.
    As you are quite obviously aware, human beings have to split the nature of their lives pretty cleanly between what they want and what they are resigned to accept (some people call these “needs”, I call them monosylabic).
    Anyway, you should know that I have an enitre folder of these divisions EXPRESSLY for DTWOF, having read just about every edition, ending upruptly and “Other Sundry Carbon-Based lifeforms”, and suddenly finding the website.

    For instance, I WANT Claire and Toni to be in love again, I WANT Mo to get some kind of sweet, grounded-in-reality girlfriend who would tell her that she’d be much, MUCH less stress if she’d tolerate the stuff she wines about the way that she hopes other people would tolerate her, and I WANT some kind of reassurance that someday, something indisputably good will happen to one of these characters.

    Alas, I know that, for the sake of the strips winning all sorts of wonderful accolades (like Pekar acknowledging your existence, OMG), Claire and Toni NEED to carry on in their heartbreaking cycle, Mo NEEDS to hate just about every form of traditional thought, and that the characters NEED to be eaten by the dark cloud attatched to a silver lining, and that the best thing to happen in the immediate future is Raffi somehow summoning up the hand-eye coordination to get a Killtastrophe medal in Halo 3 (seriously, even pacifists have to admire the skill it takes to get on of those suckers. You need eight damn fingers).

  174. Olivier says:

    Not to prolong this thread indefinitely but having now been accused by readers of both sexes of unsavoriness I want to remind my critics of what we were talking about: not women in general, not even teenage girls in general (although those I remember from my own teenage years were not, as a group, any nicer than their male counterparts and why they should get a free pass just because they are female is beyond me) but specifically the subgroup of underage teenage girls who are willing to lie about their age for the express purpose of having sex with men who might otherwise be deterred, i.e., older men. My contention is that such girls, if they exist, do not deserve the outpouring of sympathy that you seem so willing to waste on them; they will learn the hard way not to play with fire and that’s just life. Please, let us move on.

  175. Danyell says:

    I like the honest way of dealing with Raffi smoking pot. They say he’s too young, not even hiding that THEY did it themselves.

    In all honesty, though, I don’t smoke weed and I’m not in favor of it. But I think all things considered pot is at least safer than the LEGAL drugs we have. And I hate the scare tactics parents use against weed. (Saying it funds terrorism, or will make you do coke or kill people or other silliness.)

  176. Gil in Mexico City says:

    So where is Carlos? Wasn´t he the chosen male role model for Raffi? Is he in a different city? Did that friendship just fizzle out? Is he in a different town? Still in an open relationship? We want to know!

  177. Pam I says:

    I’m having to rethink my decades of ideas about pot – I still want it to be legal – but I’m struggling with getting two of the 17-y-olds on the course i teach, to sort themselves out or go, as they are both totally stoned all the time. And both say they try to stop but can’t, they get irritable, anxious and twitchy if they do. It seems like a chemical addiction to me – the converse of my previous idea. Admittedly these boys are not that well resourced and could be using this as an excuse. They will be able to come back in a couple of years and take another course, when they have grown up. But meanwhile, they are losing precious time. Does it matter? It sure as hell makes the whole class more difficult to teach, with them zonked and giggling in a corner.

  178. Ginjoint says:

    Please, let us move on. Whatev, Olivier.

    None of your critics veered from the topic. We just fought back.

  179. ready2agitate says:

    What a great discussion about teens and parenting and culture. I love the way Alison captures a moment that resonates with so many of us and gets us all reflecting. Not being a parent myself and having limited contact with teens, I would have never discussed Myspace over Thxgiving with my partner’s 17-year-old niece and her mom if not for D2WO4. My horizons have been broadened! (smile)

    Also, I’m not perfect (far from it), but when I notice that I’m hearing the same feedback from different sources, I try to consider that, rather than regird my defenses, I may really need to look at something. (Hard to do, admittedly.)

  180. Andrea says:

    Thanx RevCat- but I can’t count—-it was 1989 Nov 19 so it’s 18 not 17 years!

  181. Andrea says:

    “Political Correctness”

    I understand that idea- I was in seminiary when people tried to make everything inclusive. Unfortunatly, it went too far in the oterh direction when the “thought police” took over the idea….

    UGH! I’m the most politically incorrect UCC minister you’d every want to hang with.

  182. AnnaP says:

    Love the strip as usual, made my day.

    I seriously hope Raffi is not turning into one of those kids who only talk about pot smoking. how good marijuana is and how everyone should do it.

    I feel that Clarice should not have admitted him that she has tried it because that might encourage him to smoke some more.

  183. jaz says:

    um, is anyone going remind raffi about the time he spied on toni and clarice? with a video camera? and posted the film on youtube?

    i STILL haven’t forgiven him for that.