DTWOF episode # 525

April 1st, 2008 | Uncategorized

525 detail

Lukewarm off the scanner.

133 Responses to “DTWOF episode # 525”

  1. Aunt Soozie says:

    Fabulous as ever… especially the delightful Wheel of Ole White Pundits…

  2. Leda says:

    I love the look on Jasmine’s face when she realises she is making vegan chitlins for four instead of two..

  3. June says:

    Oh, that title! And such excellent advice! (I love how Clarice’s waist is filling out a little, despite her spartan diet at Stuart’s house o’local varnishkes.)

  4. Xena Fan says:

    A VERY original idea for the economic stimulus check!

  5. Ginjoint says:

    What the hell is Clarice up to? Where’s she going with this, exactly? Does she not realize there would be, uh, repercussions should she pursue Jasmine?

  6. ksbel6 says:

    Does anyone really know at this point if the economic stimulus check is actually free money, or an advance on next year’s tax refund? I’m pretty sure it’s just an advance. The only people who will get one will be those who got a refund of more than $600 this year because the government is assuming you will get a similar amount next year and then they will just give you $600 less. The problem with that theory is that I have joint custody which means I only claim a dependent every other year. So, for 2007 I got a refund (over $600) because I claimed a dependent. For 2008 I will have to pay about $700 because I won’t have a dependent to claim. So, now for 2008 I’m going to owe them about $1300…and no one seems to be talking about this. Also, someone told me we are borrowing the money from China…doesn’t China already finance the war? They are going to show up here one day and want their money…aaaahhhhh

  7. Renata says:

    Alison, I just love your artistic style!! You always seem to focus so much in details, and in portraying the characters not in a static manner. For example, I just loved the detail of the bamboo curtain in the sixth frame. I have one also, and it looks exactly like that, it makes me crazy cuz it’s never even…

    anyway, just wanted to tell you how much I admire your work… I wrote a post about Fun Home in my blog, if you ever want to check it out [only problem is that it’s on Portuguese…]


  8. Sophie says:

    We (all of us) are in fact borrowing all our money from the banks, as this video explains. It’s aptly called “Money as Debt”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ginjoint-you picked up on the same thing I did. Is Clarice interested in Jasmine?? Maybe I am just looking into it too much and she just wanted real food (i.e. not local rhubarb wine and not tgi Fridays). But considering Lois considers herself non-monogamous, even though she hasn’t been with anyone else for 3 years, maybe Clarice doesn’t think it would be too huge. Although that is a bit of a stretch considering the length of their relationship, especially by Lois standards.

  10. pk says:

    Didn’t you see Clarice’s surprise morphing into possible interest in the last episode where she supports not letting Janis do speaker’s bureau in high school? I think part of it is that this is the first attention of any kind that Clarice has gotten from a woman since breaking up with Toni. She needs to start looking elsewhere! If she’s frustrated with personal ads, maybe she could join a reading, knitting, activist group or something to meet people and friends-of-friends who might be available for dating and intrigue. I think at this point she’s just intrigued by intrigue.

    What a let down for Raffi, though. Not whether Clarice dates someone else, but that she would compromise her “quality time” with him. I hope she figures out not to do that, either.

  11. a lurker says:

    I’m not sure raffi’s upset that she’s compromising her quality time with him. I think he might be more upset that he’s getting vegan chitlins instead of TGI Fridays. which, honestly, I’m not sure I blame him!

  12. ms says:

    Please, please get rid of Cynthia. She is so irritating and at this point is nothing but a block to some hot Samia-Ginger action!!

  13. Xena Fan says:

    Is there such a thing as vegan chitlins? If so, what is it made with? I’m having a hard enough time believing in such a thing as rhubarb wine…

  14. Kahuna Burger says:

    I don’t know how much rent she pays, but Cynthia is in many ways still a guest in the house (sharing all the public spaces rather than having a basement apartment or something) and should NOT be talking to her hosts that way! Or, really, anyone. Who raised that girl, internet flamers?

  15. Emma38 says:

    Could that be Sydney and Mo actually about to *have sex* again? Woo hoo! I guess the stock of queer studies professors is rising . . . .

  16. Bookbird says:

    It’s great to see Mo and Sydney having fun…if Mo can grin like that even while McCain announces the Endless War, there has to be something good in that relationship!

    I think Cynthia’s been an interesting character as she’s trying (maybe not too well) to fit in with her new ‘family’. Her own family rejected her when she came out, which may be why she’s so clingy and intrusive.

    Ginger isn’t exactly raising the level of political discourse here, either.

  17. DW says:

    When I first read it I thought it was Raffi saying “what can I say, It was crazy talk,” which I thought was pretty funny, and a Junoesque response. I was kind of disappointed on second reading.

  18. pml says:


    The ‘free money’ from the government as a part of the stimulus package is just an advance.

    From the Chicago Tribune:

    “The reason is that this year’s rebate checks are technically an advance against a tax credit for the 2008 tax year, based on 2008 income. To put the money in taxpayers’ hands as soon as possible, the IRS will use our 2007 income figures.”

  19. DeLandDeLakes says:

    ‘Cept for the fact that it cost 4.3 million dollars just to send out the fucking letters letting everyone know they would be getting a rebate! Some stimulus package.

    The Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis is urging everyone to spend their rebates on sex toys, too.

  20. val says:

    Now is Clarice actually interested in Jasmine, or does she just not know how to be single? I just finally got my hands on a copy of Unnatural DTWOF (from my local Madwimmin which, thankfully, is still in business) – Clarice has never actually been single since she first “explored her lesbian side” with Mo several years before meeting Toni.

  21. Jim says:

    To follow up on the stimulus package, it’s basically a new tax credit
    which doesn’t have any effect on next year’s taxes, refunds, etc. And
    no one knows where the money will come from – it just adds to the
    huge war debt this year and probably devalues the dollar further.

    Also, Bush originally wanted to limit payments to those who actually
    pay income tax for 2007. But Pelosi and her crew (though imperfect
    on many issues) held out and insisted on coverage for people who
    are on Social Security or only pay payroll taxes for this and Medicare.
    But payments to individuals start at $300 in such cases. (I think.)
    The original Bush plan would have ignored about 50 million low income
    people, as was done in 2001. On the other hand, the current plan
    leaves out higher income people who don’t need the stimulus right now.

    Great cartoon, Alison!

  22. lytefoot says:

    Knowing people who were raised by evangelicals… yeah, Cynthia was pretty much raised by internet flamers, the poor dear. She’s trying, she just doesn’t know how to behave.

    Not that one wants to drown her any less for it, of course.

  23. Randee says:

    “blushes” I’m going to spend my economic stimulus check on a new harness. :”)

    nice to know i’m not the only one thinking about the possibilties.

  24. Maggie Jochild says:

    I love how the cobwebs attached to the Ole White Pundits is mirrored by the lining of Clarice’s jacket, and the fuzzy nap of Clarice’s jacket is mirrored by the texture of the couch.

    The recipe for vegan chitlins begins with “Skin the fatty epidermis from four rutabagas…”

  25. Em says:

    1. Thank dog Mo and Sydney are still doin’ it. If they have a love life, there might yet be hope for me.

    2. Please flesh out Cynthia’s character more. There is so much you could do with her, but mostly she shows up to drop Young Republican soundbites, which is just boring and annoying. She’s got angst in there somewhere. I can feel it.

  26. Anonny Mouse says:

    “Clarice has never actually been single since she first “explored her lesbian side” with Mo several years before meeting Toni.”

    Didn’t Clarice and Mo break up some time before Clarice started living with the girlfriend she had before she started her romance with Toni?

    I’m not sure that Cynthia pays rent at all; I thought Ginger and Samia were just letting her stay there to be nice after it turned out Samia’s husband didn’t need the room. I could be wrong, though. You’d think she’d have figured out by now that, apparently, NO ONE who shares her conservative perspective has offered her the slightest bit of kindness to date, whereas liberals have welcomed her into their homes despite her views, and maybe ask herself what that contrast implies.

    I wish that at some point we’d stay on a Cynthia/Ginger-and-Samia exchange long enough to see how Cynthia, when her viewpoint is challenged, demonstrates how she is or isn’t able to make a rebuttal. The fact that I myself personally don’t see how some of Cynthia’s views can SURVIVE a half-way thought-out challenge just makes me more curious to see her given the chance. 🙂

  27. ready2agitate says:

    Clarice is definitely hot for Jasmine, and last ep., Jasmine really appreciated Clarice’s solidarity re: Jasmin. This is definitely going somewhere and we’ll have to wait and find out.

    Thanks, AB, for mimicking what’s been going on in our house as bills pile in. I love the cynical commentary on Obama’s speech – in many ways it was fantastic, and in so many ways, well, not.

  28. Tivity says:

    Oh YEAH! What a way to spend the Stimulus check!!! I think a visit to Babeland is definitely in order (need a new harness myself!)

  29. nonabug says:

    ugh – Cynthia!
    every now and then, I feel for her, but most of the time she’s like a lesbian Ann Coulter…
    that whole exchange is priceless, though. Especially the “thank god the war is paying for itself” frame with the entire newspaper page of zeros. hilarious!

  30. Anon says:

    I thought much of this strip was based on things from Alison’s past in Minneapolis? If so, why not have the girls spending their stimulus check LOCALLY at the Smitten Kitten instead of ordering elsewhere?

  31. pk says:

    Sydney is a habitual online-buyer. Books from Amazon, clothes from catalog, etc. It fits her M.O.

    Re: why Raffi is upset–sure, I bet he’s not as excited about vegan chitlins as he was about TGIF, but it’s also that he’s not getting the thing he’s excited about because Clarice’s attention and priorities are elsewhere. If e.g. he had a crush on Janis or something, he might not mind the chitlins.

  32. K.B. says:

    It’s money borrowed from the Chinese to buy turnip twaddlers from the Chinese, and November votes for Republicans.

  33. gatheringwater says:

    We’d have less to talk about if we didn’t have Cynthia. Besides, a politically conservative character allows for a wider range of satire–like pointing out the “no blood for oil” sloganeers were nearly as misguided as the people who thought the war would pay for itself.

  34. Laura in Seattle says:

    I agree- we need to have Cynthia become more nuanced. Her intransigence in recent months makes sense psychologically; when we’re anxious and unhappy we tend to get rigid and fall back on old coping strategies, and it’s painful and anxiety-provoking to be kicked out of one’s family (I have the ugly t-shirt for that event myself). So it’s entirely predictable that she’d have a bout of heightened right-wing nut-case behavior. However, methinks it is time for her to find herself more secure, and less in need of defining her identity vis a vis her new “parents” in this way. I mean, the kid is young for her age psychologically (probably more Raffi’s emotional peer), but she can have a psychological growth spurt. Soon, we hope. Perhaps it’s time for her to have a session or two with her local feminist therapist? (But not Cleo, please, oy veh, she makes me so uncomfortable! Is that what you all think about us? Eek. Argh).

    And yes, there is rhubarb wine. We get very nice local organic rhubarb wine here in Seattle, which is apparently drinkable, according to people I know who imbibe.

  35. ksbel6 says:

    I like the “Student Loans Disappearing” line. When I graduated from college 12 years ago, $7,000 a year was plenty for a good state school. A guarenteed scholarship like Missouri Bright Flight was awesome because it covered almost half of the bill (its $2000 per year for 4 years). Now state schools cost almost $15000 per year and Bright Flight hasn’t changed at all. Kids hardly bother to try for it at this point.

  36. val says:

    “Didn’t Clarice and Mo break up some time before Clarice started living with the girlfriend she had before she started her romance with Toni?”

    Just checked it… Clarice left Mo for Tanya, then started dating Toni a month before breaking up with Tanya.

  37. Danyell says:

    I agree with Kahuna Burger. Why does Cynthia always have to jump to being so condescending rather than engaging in a real conversation? And yes, she is a guest! Doesn’t she have any manners at all? Or is she just so in denial about her privilege that she has to get personally offended when anyone disagrees with her? She’s a cartoon Ann Coulter! *grr*

    (Btw, I love how angry this character makes me. She’s so real and that’s what makes her so infuriating.)

  38. Danyell says:

    Btw- stimulus package? Brilliant.

    However, my check is going right in the bank. Since I can’t figure out where the money is coming from and how it might screw me later, Imma hold on to it for as long as possible!

  39. Dale says:

    “Please! Spare me your dim liberal grasp of how the world works.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I were being allowed a room in someone’s home (even if I’m paying rent) I still would never speak to my landlady/hostess like that. Girl got some balls!
    I have to agree with the others, though. It would be interesting to flesh out her character a bit. She’s godawful irritating, but subtly intriguing at the same time.
    And, as always, an excellent comic! The hidden jokes and jibes never cease to make me giggle – or just bust out laughing. Thanks, Alison!

  40. The Cat Pimp says:

    Once again, AB hits it out of the park with a truly gruesome food suggestion. Vegan chitlins. AIEEEEEEE. *I’ll* take Raffi to TGI Friday’s! I think this was the first time Mo smiled at one of Sydney’s purchases. Economic stimulus indeed! I hope it was the Amazon “gold box” special. (Cough.)

  41. kellan says:

    I just knew Clarice was thinking something naughty in the last episode!

  42. kittehpants says:

    I also love the economic stimulus idea – fabulous!

    For those of you who read Renata’s comment above where she mentioned her blog:

    I did the whole Babelfish translation thing and I was able to read most of it in broken English. In case you want to do the same, go to babelfish.altavista.com, then put in [http://www.oraculodelesbos.blogspot.com/] as the website to translate, then click Portugese to English.

    I got a good laugh out of the translated title for DTWOF – “Dykes You the Watch Out Will Be.” I enjoyed your blog, Renata! And as always, yours too, AB!

  43. chriso says:

    I literally just said, out loud, “Oh, Clarice!” Hah! I both love this newer plot point because it’s so well written and cringe at it because it could make things even more chaotic and drama-riddled in Clarice’s life.

    Also, I love Raffi’s glare of teenage annoyance with Clarice. He’s totally old enough to know she’s macking on Jasmine!

  44. Anonymous says:

    Cynthia needs to (or we need Cynthia to) clarify whether she’s a boarder or a roommate. If she’s a roommate she’s not out of line IMO.

    I take Raffi’s disappointment as about vegan chitlins, not about being upstaged.

  45. Suz says:

    (Whoops, sorry, 2:34pm immediately above this was me.)

  46. pk says:

    It would be cool to see Cynthia have some kind of growth. Maybe she can fall for a libertarian or something, and start to question some of her political beliefs. Or maybe an out evangelical Christian woman, or some liberal Christians? (I know such people exist.)– at any rate, someone she has things in common with and agrees with her about some things but who also challenges her to think more deeply about the things they don’t agree on. And who gets her out of the house so Ginger and Samia can get it on.

  47. diana says:

    My housemate Kim is talking about using her “stimulus check” to buy a flak jacket for a soldier in Iraq. Hell, If they have to be there and the government won’t supply them properly to survive, maybe we should take the money the government is loaning us (whether we want them to or not) and least save a life with it.
    I haven’t decided about mine yet.
    As for Cynthia, isn’t she a trust fund baby or some such? My point is that her view of the world is probably tainted by never having worried about the size of a heating bill. Wile I don’t wish anyone ill, it might be nice to see her take some financial hard knocks and see how her convictions hold up.
    Wow, it’s easy to be cruel to the fictional!

  48. Anonny Mouse says:

    “Just checked it… Clarice left Mo for Tanya, then started dating Toni a month before breaking up with Tanya.”

    Okay, thanks. I was just recalling the moment where Clarice saw Toni on a bus and said “I’m gonna marry her” to Mo. This seems to me like sort of an odd thought to share with a friend and ex who knows you’ve already got a girlfriend, although of course Mo focused on the perceived patriarchalism rather than the implication of cheating on Tanya. 🙂 From what I remember about Tanya, not too hard to guess that she and Mo didn’t get along.

    As for Cynthia, IIRC she’s not a trust fund baby—I’m not sure that very many rich people home-school their children—she’s just someone who’s never had to pay her own bills before. First she was at home, then at college, and now her current situation. Maybe she’s doing that challenge thing that some disowned people pull on surrogate guardians to see if THEY’LL reject her like her parents did.

  49. Jana C.H. says:

    Cynthia’s parents haven’t disowned her, have they? They must be paying her tuition, at least. I thought she was just avoiding them because every encounter turns into an argument or a prayer meeting. That’s according to Cynthia. I have no doubt that the family situation is bad, but it probably isn’t screaming-and-salvation every moment. It just feels that way.

    Cynthia clearly does not have money of her own or she’d just get her own apartment. Her parents must keep her on a tight rein financially as in every other way. I assume she balances her own checkbook, but she might not have her own credit card. I would guess that whatever cash she pitches in to help Samia and Ginger must come from her general spending money. No way would her parents shell out for rent to a couple of un-Christian perverts: a Muslim and– horror of horrors!– a (former) Catholic.

    Atheist liberal though I am, I would hate to see Cynthia entirely lose her faith or her basic conservatism. Remember how fanatical Mo used to be? Cynthia is young Mo, coming from the right. I expect she will eventually mature and mellow, as Mo has, but will still keep those flashes of insane fervency that so much define who she is.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith WSG: Nothing is so conductive to toleration as the knowledge that one’s bread depends upon it.

    P.S. The meeting in Seattle is on for Wednesday, April 2, at 6:30 pm at the restaurant at the Sunset Bowl (1420 NW Market St). So far I have no really solid RSVPs, but I’ll be there wearing a silly hat.

  50. oceans 111 says:

    Jana – Me, too. Do they serve vegan chitlins?

  51. LJR says:

    I was reading back through the strips where Cynthia was introduced and Mo and Sydney’s comments (in the line for Fahrenheit 9/11) about how Cynthia wants both Ginger and Samia. Looking at her with that perspective gives an interesting twist to this…

    …it suggests that when she’s talking like this, Cynthia might be essentially (and probably unconsciously) engaging in some really clumsy flirting — what she’s saying is right-wing party line, but what she’s trying for is to get her housemates to pay attention to her. I look at her showing up with the Risk board and see “I’m people I’m interesting you can hang out with me PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

    Given the apparent strictness of the home she grew up in, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cynthia has no idea of how people are supposed to act around other people they’re attracted to, straight or gay. The only reason that she started talking to Ginger in the first place was because of the difference in their political/social beliefs… and Ginger hasn’t been especially welcoming about listening to Cynthia’s personal troubles.

    Does she know any other way to try to get her landlords/housemates to pay attention to her? I feel for the woman. Doesn’t mean that I don’t think she needs to learn some new tricks, but…

  52. Anonny Mouse says:

    Well, not literally “disowned,” I guess, but the principle is sort of the same. Her parents REJECTED her for who she is, and her behavior toward Ginger and Samia could be interpreted as subconsciously testing them to see if they’ll reject her as well.

    But that’s just one interpretation. Maybe she really is just a jerk. 🙂

    I’ve never understood how gay conservatives get past the overt homophobia that permeates so much of conservatism, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen Cynthia acknowledge the paradox of embracing the religious/political views of people who despise her. That’s why I think it would be interesting to see how well she does in defending her views instead of just blowing it off when they’re challenged, or poking actual holes in liberal arguments instead of just flat-out rejecting them.

    I’ve hung around various political forums for years and I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a conservative take the time to give the sort of thought-out response I describe—I’ve lost count (well, okay, I was never actually counting in the first place, but nevertheless) of how often self-described conservatives just reject everything that liberals have to say without bothering to articulate whatever the fallacies in their (the liberals’) viewpoints are supposed to be—so seeing even a fictional one give it a TRY could be interesting.

    Again, Cynthia seems to be getting all of her emotional support from liberals (or people that she perceives as liberals, anyway), people who have obviously put their “bleeding hearts” to practical use by befriending her when no one else seems to want to, so if nothing else that ought to make it a LITTLE harder for her to embrace the outright demonization of liberals that typifies so much “right-wing” rhetoric.

  53. Debs says:

    Stimulus package!!! Hahahahahahahaha. That’s brilliant. I also liked the old, white pundits.

    I think Clarice is just distracted.


  54. Therry says:

    having just experienced one of them decadal birthdays, I have to ask, isn’t Clarice a little old for Jasmine? Note the gray in her hair in the fifth and sixth frame, and note how it’s blocked by the text balloon in the seventh!

    As for the Chinese financing the war, hasn’t anybody else noticed how wimpy our response to the whole Tibet thing was? When somebody’s holding your bag, you don’t make waves…

  55. Sophie says:

    English is not my first language, so I looked in the dictionary, where “a lodger” is said to be someone who “rents a rooom.” Since this is what Alison wrote in the first frame, especially in light of the sentence right before: “tips on weathering the financial pandemonium”, my understanding would be that yes, Cynthia does pay rent.

    I can’t help but seeing the characters on at least two different levels:
    a) fictional individuals we get to feel all passionate and emotional about, as in any soap opera;
    b) “voices”, or generic personae that stand for different psychological or sociological points of view, either within our beloved author’s complex personality or in lesbian culture at large.

    In both cases, this is fiction, folks and folkettes. Everything we might say while discussing Cynthia, Clarice or any other character is ultimately a reference to Alison’s powers of evocation, of touching us in just the right ways.

  56. Andrew B says:

    I guess this will be a win for Raffi’s new friends. I liked it when Clarice and Raffi were getting along well. The thing that makes their new relationship particularly disappointing is that nothing specific came between them. Clarice just got so self-absorbed when things went south with Toni.

    The title of this episode is a classic. And the last line is pretty good, too. I’m sure McCain does approve this message.

  57. MikeSTL says:

    Re: Ginger and Samia, and hot action therebetween, am I reading too much into Samia fretting over the heating bills as a replay of Toni’s obsession with the family finances? It seems to me that Toni’s bean-counting, combined with the very real economic stress on her relationship with Clarice, was a major contributing factor to collapse of that relationship. I hope Ginger and Samia aren’t going to fall into the same rut that Toni and Clarice did.

    Of course, then Samia and Toni could get together and fret over the household expenses, and Ginger and Clarice could get back together, twenty-odd years (twenty odd years?) on.

    The disembodied line, “What can I say? It was crazy talk!” is a delightfully Bechdelian commentary on Clarice’s panting after Jasmine’s vegan chitlins.

    And speaking of vegan chitlins . . . When I went to my university’s Student Government leadership retreat last fall, the resort where the retreat was held offered a vegan option for those retreatants who wanted it. Unfortunately, they wound up with more vegans than they had made vegan cuisine, so they ran out. One of the vegans (really cute guy, but, alas, str8) was sitting next to me, and one of the banquet servers came over and asked him if he wanted a steak.

    Ahh, hospitality!

  58. Lavode says:

    It’s so nice to see Mo smile for once.

  59. waterwitch says:

    Hey Jana–what meeting? Will there be rhubarb wine?

  60. lb says:

    Can’t wait to see you at Amherst tomorrow! (and yes, I borrowed your sketch for an ad)

  61. Jana C.H. says:

    The meeting is for any of us who live in the Seattle area or will be in the Seattle area tomorrow.

    Although I have never been there, I can say with confidence that the Sunset Bowl doesn’t have rhubarb wine. I buy a bottle of rhubarb wine (Hoodsport Winery) every few months, and have done so since long before Stuart went localvore. Honest, I like it.

    If we ever have a meeting in someone’s home, we MUST include rhubarb wine.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith S. Goodman: Where there is rhubarb, there is hope.

  62. justme says:

    Wow, vegan chitlins. I might have to get to work on a recipe. I’ve occasionally made some of the, ahem, unusual food items mentioned in DTWOF strips. My favorite so far is a recipe I came up with for eggplant tostadas (Sparrow made them when Ginger was working on her dissertation). Is there a DTWOF cookbook?

  63. diana says:

    what would people say to a Minneapolis area meeting sometime, say, up at Turtle Bread by Amazon on Chicago or some such?

  64. Cs says:

    Your comment made me burst out laughing.

    Mo’s expression in the last panel is priceless:)

  65. Hammerwoman says:

    I’m intrigued that Cynthia brings out such strong reactions from people! Whatever your feelings about her, there are many Cynthias in our queer (or post-queer?) world. They used to completely mystify me. Now, though, whenever I meet someone like her, lesbian, gay, trans, parroting the things they’ve heard on Faux News (or worse), my reaction is normally compassion, and pity. My sample is admittedly small, but this behavior has every time been accompanied by a self-loathing that is nearly palpable, and has often been fatal. I am careful to try and remain engaged over the long term, and to look beyond behaviors that seem calculated to isolate. As a transdyke, I know the abyss; I know that cold and darkness, and I’m thankful I don’t live there any more. I suspect Cynthia does.

  66. shadocat says:

    Clarice must really like that woman if she’s willing to eat a meal of vegan chitlins.

  67. Duncan says:

    Hammerwoman, I’ve been meeting right-wing gays ever since I came out in 1971. They don’t feel like a novelty to me. “We are everywhere.”

    I’ve said several times that Cynthia is a sociopath, that other people and their feelings aren’t real to her. It could come from her fundamentalist home-schooled background, which certainly would do little to teach her empathy. Saying so usually gets me flamed, but I stand by it; for what it’s worth, it’s not a moral judgment, since it’s not something she chose or can change, but it does intrigue me to see so many people making excuses for her and even trashing the people she treats so badly. It occurred to me again tonight because various comments here have pointed to her obliviousness and willingness to attack her landladies. (As someone else pointed out, she’s a lodger/boarder, not a roommate.) Samia and Ginger go easy on her, which is nice of them since her fellow students feel no reason to do so — reasonably enough. (Remember the liberal babe she met at the mixer and got into a fight with, and yet most commenters jumped to take Cynthia’s side? No wonder Bush got reelected.)

    I think it’s obvious that Clarice is attracted to Jasmine. The expression on her face as she backtracks on the food is exactly like the one she used to wear when fantasizing about Ginger.

  68. j.b.t. says:

    I’d be up for a meeting in Minneapolis.

    Love the strip, as always…

    The evangelicals I’ve met have always been pretty polite – but maybe that’s just because we’re in Minnesota and they’re too repressed &/or Scandinavian to be anything but.


  69. K. says:

    Uh, are we ever going to hear ANYTHING about Hillary Clinton in this strip? Love her, hate her, trust her, distrust her, she’s the first viable woman candidate for president I have seen in my lifetime (and debates about her viability in relation to Obama are legitimate, but kind of insulting to all of us who’ve supported her-we actually kinda do want her to win).

    This strip has long concerned itself with women’s issues and women in politics. Come on! Let’s see some discussion of Hill!! It doesn’t have to be positive (I think I can divine Bechdel’s loyalties from the tv commentary in this strip), but please don’t follow the rest of the media’s lead and just ignore the fact that she’s there.

  70. Ery says:

    I’d definitely eat vegan chitlins, rather than go to Fridays, given the choice. Although that may just be because I’ve never tried a vegetarian chitlin before…

    But anyway, I think some people are being a unjustifiably hard on Cynthia. It seems like she was just trying to be sociable by asking to play a game, when Ginger shot her down and started needling her with snide political quips. A bit of irritation and defensiveness is quite understandable in that situation. And, I don’t think her character would be nearly as likable as she is if she rolled over and accepted the liberal lesbian party line, just because she’s gay and so are her new authority figures.

  71. Risa says:

    I just started a little blog of my own with my best friend Rich. Right now it’s just an experiment…to see how our dialogue, 10 years of close friendship in the making, is altered by blogging. Yeah, we read way too much theory. Anyway, my most recent post is about DTWOF, so I thought I would share: http://empathyandirony.blogspot.com/2008/04/dykes-to-watch-out-for-episode-525.html

    Hopefully, I will be posting more on this as time goes by. I admit this post is quite paltry…but it’s late and there’s still work to be done.

  72. Feminista says:

    Un,K,recently Jasmine and Jasmine had quite the debate about Clinton vs. Obama,and the collective house has lawn signs for both candidates. So check ’em out,’k?

  73. Alex K says:

    “Vegan chitlins”. OK, I thought. Content no problem. But casing? Small bowel from a vegan hog?

    But worry ye not.

    http://www.wikipatents.com/ca/2420473.html — a foodservices company, Ruitenberg, in The Netherlands —

    “A composition for coating foodstuffs is described, where the composition comprises a first polysaccharide that is negatively charged in the composition and gels under the influence of cations, and at least a second polysaccharide which is neutral in the composition. A method for producing an edible coating is also described, as well as a method for coating foodstuffs. A coating formed by the first-named method and a foodstuff which contains such a coating are furthermore disclosed.”

    Alginates. With that vegan crispy-fried crunch.

  74. newbie says:

    Re: Duncan’s comment on Cynthia’s homeschooling…
    There are many non-fundamentalist homeschoolers out here. I chose “unschooling” as an alternative and compliment to our alternative lifestyle.

  75. Erica says:

    I’m finding myself a bit annoyed with all the comments implying that, since Cynthia is just a lowly tenant rather than an exalted homeowner, she has to take on some sort of subservient role and kowtow to Ginger and Samia. If she’s paying to rent a room, she’s paying to have just as much right to common spaces and speaking her own mind as anyone else. There shouldn’t be a two-caste system within the household. If Ginger and Samia want to have uninterrupted couply bliss, they shouldn’t be renting out a room.

    I agree it would be different if she were a free guest, but the implication of “take in a lodger” in that first panel is that she’s not.

  76. Lisa (Calico) says:

    Y’know what I’d like to see? Cynthia with a new haircut/do.
    That’s all for now. I’ll pass on the chitlins.

  77. ksbel6 says:

    When people fall in love, age difference isn’t an issue (okay, maybe that is past 22 or something, but you get the point). My partner is 26 years older than me and we have been together almost 4 years now (in May). The way we coo around each other would make you all puke I’m sure…:)

  78. Al et al says:

    Re: vegan chitlins– maybe tofu skins could be employed here? I once read a vegetarian haggis(!) recipe that used them. I’m not saying I’d be willing to eat vegan chitlins, though.

  79. Scotia says:

    Cynthia’s in grad school, so I imagine she’s on a fellowship, which tends to keep one on too tight a budget to live alone. As I recall, her dyke acquaintances didn’t want to live with a right winger, and her right wing acquaintances didn’t want to live with a dyke. Of course, it’s possible to conservative and queer (look at Mary Cheney), if not a movement conservative, which is where Cynthia comes from. The irony is that she’s using the same dismissive line neocons used at the beginning of the Iraq war, even when confronted with evidence that the progressive analysis is proving to be pretty much right.

    Despite Clarice’s enthusiasm for Jasmine, she’s making a huge mistake bailing on Raffi like that. He is at his most alienatable stage, and gestures that indicate that you’re not a priority to your parent is basically license to do whatever you want. No wonder he’s hanging out with the stoner boys.

    What kind of friendship (if any) do Raffi and Janis have? Maybe they could have a teenage romance (which doesn’t necessarily mean start having sex). That would bring up all sorts of interesting issues. She could even convince him that being a 9th grade pothead isn’t the greatest choice in the world.

  80. Anonny Mouse says:

    Jasmine looks younger than she presumably is. I think it’s the hair.

    She can’t be much younger than Clarice, though, since their children appear to be about the same age. Clarice and Toni had Raffi when they were in their mid- to late 20s. Even if Jasmine had Janis when she was a teenager (which is slightly less likely for a woman who, as clearly stated in the previous strip, went to college than for a woman who didn’t; I’m certainly not saying that teenage mothers NEVER go on to college—maybe Jasmine has a real overcome-the-odds inspirational backstory—I’m just saying that the reality is that becoming mothers at such a young age can diminish their freedom to do so), that would make her thirty-something to Clarice’s forty-something, and a ten-year-difference isn’t that wide a span for adults.

  81. Hey lb! Thanks for blogging about my talk at Amherst College tonight! Looking forward to meeting you.

    Anyone else who happens to be in the general Western Mass. vicinity, you should come too! Converse Hall, Red Room, 8pm.

  82. a lurker says:

    oh, stop ragging on Cynthia, every one. it is actually a tough adjustment to emerge from an isolated, right wing environment-I’ve done it myself. It takes a while. Partly cuz you come out BELIEVING what you’ve been taught. (not all our beliefs are things we’ve thought through completely. sure, logically Cynthia should give up being right wing-and I suspect she will eventually-but you’re dealing with feelings here, too-didn’t anybody else have a tough time coming to terms with being queer because of what they had been taught to believe? it’s the same thing. ) She’s a little in your face, but again-she was probably brought up by people who are in your face. This is the reality of making any kind of serious transition. and if she was home-schooled by right wing parents, she likely never had a chance to find friends who thought differently. so she doesn’t know how to act or to think but I suspect she’ll learn, because she’s smart and has some pretty compelling reasons to learn, obviously. and she did ask them to play a game, which was a friendly overture. so cut her some slack!

  83. a lurker says:

    and taking cynthia’s side is NOT the same thing as voting for bush. I would not vote for Cynthia if she ran for president, no matter how much I sympathize with her predicament. the analogy seems a little odd.

  84. Lori in NYC says:

    I’ve had vegan haggis and it was mighty good!

  85. tas says:

    Clarice and Raf? Just another parental disappointment. I’m really, really beginning not to like her. :/ (But the fact that I can not like a comic strip character speaks to the excellence of its plot and execution.)

    OVERALL, though, I have to say it again: I just love this strip!

  86. Nickel Joey says:

    Great point, lurker. My background is quite right-wing, red-state, and rabidly “evangelical.” Nowadays I have to grit my teeth when I visit my parents and Fox News is blaring from the TV.

    It took me years to work through the fact that not only was I incontrovertibly gay, but that it might be okay that I was. I’m still working through some of the fallout from my first 25 years. Cynthia’s what? Early 20s? Give her time.

    And even after plenty of self-reflection, some folks still end up politically right of center. It confounds me a bit, but it doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent or worth knowing. I have a couple good friends who are gay and Republican — and I love them anyway. 🙂

  87. Maggie Jochild says:

    Cynthia is an interesting foil on many levels. Our “community” (if there is one) has always contained folks who disagree on fundamental definitions of identity and politics — essentialist vs. constructionist, street activist vs. academic/in-system worker, “we’re just like everyone else” vs. “you can keep your marriage/military/gender roles and choke on ’em”. But since the neocon revolution and re-naming of parts (to invoke the brilliant anti-war poem by Henry Reed), the larger culture is increasingly polarized and the only refuge for anyone who deviates in one aspect is among progressives — where they demand a room, attention, nurturing, etc. without returning the favor sans disrespect and criticism.

    If we can teach tolerance (including for fundamental difference) and the ability to work in alliance where principles allow, the ability to refrain from attack and labeling where principles differ, we’ll have extraordinary tools in our hands.

    And yeah, a great many radicals of the over-50 set came from sociopathic households. You ask “how did I get this way?”, you say “biology/class/race/religion is not destiny”, and you transform.

    I do think those around Cynthia can and should demand respectful language from her — but they’ll have to teach her what that looks like. I also think they should demand it from Stuart and Sydney, by the way. Kindness is not weakness, though the right-wing/masculine mindset does define it as such. Greenwald has a new book out on how we as a nation can start jettisoning this thinking.

  88. K. says:

    Feminista, you’re right that Janis and Jasmine had a fight about Obama and Clinton, but yelling “girl power!” isn’t a real discussion of the complex figure of Hillary Clinton and the VERY complex emotions the female electorate has about her. I imagine that our gals might have a lot to say about her and I’d love to hear it–this seems to me the perfect forum. And not addressing it seems…a safer choice than I usually expect from this strip.

  89. Ellen O. says:

    As always, we don’t know what goes on between and behind the panels. Has Clarice been spending regular time with Raffi? Has Ginger ever clearly and politely said to Cythnia, “We’d like more space? Has Cynthia ever said, “My expectations for this household were different?”

    We don’t know and frankly, I wonder if such conversation might be better for real life than for the page.

    That said, two of my favorite strips centered around authentic conversation. Remember the episode when Clarice and Raffi were working on the deck together? Or when Cynthia poured out her heart to Ginger, and Ginger said, “Gosh, maybe you should talk to someone,” to which Cynthia responded, “I thought I was.”

  90. Andrew B says:

    If Cynthia didn’t talk back to her elders, she’d be in a prayer group, begging God to save her from being a pervert. She plainly does care, very much, what other people think and feel about her. She just has no idea how to elicit the thoughts and feelings she wants. She can still learn.

    I find Cynthia annoying and I was completely disgusted at her for putting Ashley through the wringer. (You know, as disgusted as one can be at a fictional character.) The turning point for me was the episode when she was talking to Samia about her failure with Ashley and she said, referring to the idea that everyone gets married before sex, “Isn’t that just what people do?”. She really believed it. She had an upbringing that left her totally unprepared for dealing with real life. How can we expect her to change that instantaneously?

    Ellen O, I agree that we need to keep in mind what happens off stage, so to speak. But it almost sounds like you’re saying that what happens “between and behind the panels” could be more important than what Alison chooses to show us. Alison has shown Clarice breaking her date with Raffi. Surely that tells us more about their relationship than any time they might, perhaps, have spent together. Right?

    The episode with Raffi and Clarice working on the deck is also one of my favorites.

  91. Duncan says:

    Looking over some of these comments, I get the impression that some people may think that I’m saying Cynthia is a sociopath because she’s right-wing, or even that right-wing equals sociopath. Um, no. There are left-wingers and liberals for whom other people aren’t real (such as the liberals who oppose the war in Iraq because it’s a “quagmire”, because it’s causing suffering to Americans, and not because Americans are causing incomparably greater misery to Iraqis there — and remember, the worst atrocities of the Vietnam war were engineered by American liberals), and right-wingers who feel empathy and compassion. Cynthia’s not one of the latter.

    Ery, I think it’s a safe bet that Ginger didn’t ‘shoot Cynthia down’ out of nowhere. (Even at the risk of assuming too much from between the panels, as Andrew warns.) Cynthia cheats, and she admits it. (“Duh! Is it called the game of global cooperation? I don’t think so.”) Not exactly the way to make contact with other human beings, but then she’s a sociopath.

    Maggie Jochild, “If we can teach tolerance (including for fundamental difference) and the ability to work in alliance where principles allow, the ability to refrain from attack and labeling where principles differ, we’ll have extraordinary tools in our hands.” I don’t think it’s going to happen; labeling is necessary (and there’s plenty of it in your comment), and people who want to have it all their own way view any difference as attack. What we need are better ways to deal with conflict.

    Maggie Jochild,

  92. Ellen O. says:

    Andrew — You raise a fascinating point. You are looking at the story from the point of view of crafted art. In making that comment about Clarice, I was looking at it from a psychological point of view, as if Clarice was a real person. “I was saying, don’t judge Clarice on this incident alone.”

    But you are right, Alison might be crafting something here: Clarice as distanced parent, who doesn’t press Raffi via cell phone (last episode) and is now shifting her interest toward Jasmine, perhaps to the detriment of Raffi, who definitely seemed excited by TGIFridays. He also seems skeptical about the increasing closeness between his Mom and Jasmine.

    Alison also built up Sydney’s dad’s Alzheimer’s this way. Slowly.

    On the other hand, Mo and Sydney’s reconciliation, which I expected to receive more attention, was settled off screen (or perhaps, on screen, in the apple orchard, if that was its defining moment.)

  93. Anonymous says:

    Duncan–the last time I looked up the word “sociopath,” I was taken to a definition for “antisocial personality.” It is not characteristic of a person who is unable or unwilling to conform to the norms of society to be quite as rigid as Cynthia is about following what she perceives as the “norms” of society and about wanting to join a government agency which will allow her to enforce those norms.

    Cynthia doesn’t have much regard for the values of those whom she perceives as “liberals”–but, you know what, I defy you to find any regard for the values that we regard as “conservative” in this strip apart from the very rare one. Is everyone in the strip a “sociopath”?

    The only incident I remember in recent history was when regard was shown to the woman who had lost her child in Iraq.

    I see Cynthia as having a very strong ethic of care–it is just misplaced. She really does want to make America safe for everyone, she really does want Iraq to be improved, and, yes, she is really in denial.

    What would change Cynthia would be to place her in the company of someone who has already gone through the transformation that she needs to go through. If she became involved with a woman who is back from Iraq–she could have a physical challenge, PTSD, a rape in her background–she could learn a lot about the limitations of her views.

    Yes, I said “limitations” and not “wrongness.” One of the charming aspects of a thread like this one is finding out just how little tolerance there among “liberals” is for those who have genuine, fundamental differences in values.

    I really can understand those who oppose abortion as horrific. I think that abortion exists principally as safety valve to keep us from noticing that all too many women lose their jobs when pregnant, are brutalized by the father when preganant, do not have proper healthcare before or during or after the pregnancy, and that we have insufficient action against child abuse.

    Oh, dear–I guess I have no concern for the rights of women or their feelings. I must be a sociopath too.

  94. Cate says:

    >I really can understand those who oppose abortion as horrific. I think that abortion exists principally as safety valve to keep us from noticing that all too many women lose their jobs when pregnant, are brutalized by the father when preganant, do not have proper healthcare before or during or after the pregnancy, and that we have insufficient action against child abuse.

    Or maybe that some women just don’t want to be mothers when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant?

  95. Jana C.H. says:

    Re Cynthia at “Risk”: I think her style of play shows her lack of understanding of international politics, poli-sci grad student though she is. Always breaking your treaties– to the point that your fellow players know you’ll do it every time– is going to interfere seriously with your plans for global domination. It’s like always bluffing at poker: if people know you’re going to do it, the tactic is useless. Cynthia needs to re-study World War Two, with particular attention to the Hitler-Stalin pact. Making a treaty with Stalin while planning to break it bought Hitler some time, but it turned out to be suicidal in the long run.

    In real life, however, Cynthia does NOT break her treaties. I can’t recall her ever reneging on a promise to another person. Her promises to her God and to her political principles are putting her through all kinds of grief. If she weren’t so damn principled she could abandon both and have a much easier social life. The whole “Risk” sequence seems to say more about Cynthia’s politics than it does about her inter-personal relations.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith WSG: It is easy in elegant diction to call it an innocent fiction, but it comes in the same category as telling a regular terrible story.

  96. panda says:

    I would much prefer vegan chitlins to TGI Friday’s.

  97. April says:

    Duncan, Anonymous – you’re both right.
    Yes “sociopath” means having an “anti-social personality”, but that’s antisocial as a medical, not general, term. It means that others’ rights and feelings are not real to you (which, incidentally, predisposes you to criminal behaviour).

    Begin rant. Overuse in everyday language of very specific jargon is my personal bugbear. Take “theory”, for example. “I’ve got a theory,” really means, “I have a(n) hypothesis.” A theory is a unifying principle which links lots of phenomena into one explanation. Next thing you know, people say things like “Evolution’s just a theory,” which only shows that they don’t know what the word Theory means. End of rant.

    Personally I see Cynthia as more of a narcissist: she has a grandiose sense of entitlement, no empathy, and requires everyone to agree with her or she sulks. Textbook!

  98. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    “I really can understand those who oppose abortion as horrific.”

    Oh, so can I — I just don’t happen to agree with them that it’s any of their (or anyone else’s, aside from the owner of the womb in question) business. Abortion may be horrific, but battlefields are moreso, and generally (Note: Not the same word or same meaning as “specifically”!;-{P}) have less excuse than any woman wanting an abortion for any reason. Personally, I prefer abortion as a choice for women, as opposed to a mandatory requirement after bearing one or two children. By the end of this century, I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter was the case in North America, even without a Chinese takeover.

    BTW, Alison, great episode title — hilarious episode…


  99. caffeinatedqueer says:

    all i have to say is that the stimulus package is brilliant. thanks for making me laugh out loud!

  100. mothra in NYC says:

    Interesting–all the newspaper headlines were about money and/or numbers (yeah, the two do often go together). My favorite one: the Iraq war price tag with so many zeroes it had to be continued on page 20 … very funny, but ouch. Where’s that tax rebate moolah coming from, again?

    Re Cynthia: she can be so annoying, but my favorite strips are those in which we sympathize with her or ache for her despite that.

    I’m impressed that Alison can make that happen; when I was in college, the one writing challenge I really, really couldn’t do well at all was to write a credible opinion piece from the point of view of someone I completely disagreed with. These assignments always came out one-dimensional and farcical, which meant they weren’t even funny, because they were too easy to dismiss.

    Cynthia, on the other hand, is believable as a person. But I really like reading about her best when she is grappling with her own issues rather than when she is mostly there as a foil for the characters we already agree with!

    Always looking forward to more.



  101. Francesca E-I Rice says:

    Hello, Alison:

    I think the biggest laugh I got was the comment about the war paying for itself. Hey-hey!

    I remember how the rest of my squad re-acted when we heard the news (secondhand) in late May 2003 that the Vice-President’s company, Haliburtan, was going to re-build Iraq by managing the oil production. We laughed so hard we almost have wet our pants.

    Good work, Kiddo!


  102. diana says:

    Checking back in after a couple days, I’d like to follow up on the idea of a Minneapolis DTWOF hookup.
    We can all do just coffee, have a light meal,ice cream at Sonny’s, or go so far as to have a panel discussion at the fall Minneapolis Comic Con.
    Whatever people want to do- let’s do it!
    If interested, e-mail me privately: bodefan@yahoo.com
    I’ll post on responses and options as we go.

  103. Jana C.H. says:

    Speaking of meetings: The Seattle meeting last night was fun. We had a good chat and a lot of greasy bowling-alley food, and we discussed politics without shouting at each other.

    Ocean 111 and I were the only ones to show up, which is exactly what happened the last time we had a Seattle meeting. We are a delightful pair and have a lovely time, but that’s with the rest of you Sealthians?

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

  104. Jen S. says:

    I’m not seeing the guest/lodger/etc. situation particularly significant to Cynthia and Ginger’s level of conversation. Cynthia’s interactions with Ginger *began* with her challenging whatever Ginger said (in class), while at the same time being one of the only students who was actually paying attention to her in those classes. I think they have been both fascinated with and appalled at each other pretty much the whole time they’ve known each other, and to me they seem kind of used to their pattern of repartee at this point.

    What I find disconcerting is how, over time, Cynthia seems more and more to be resembling Thea — to the point where I’ve been startled a couple times before I realised who it was.

    I also loved the title and the, um, package.

  105. Anonny Mouse says:

    Since the topic of abortion has been brought up, I recall when Cynthia criticized then-girlfriend Ashley’s support of birth control by saying, of course, that abstinence is best. Like most (all?) real-world opponents of birth control, she failed to explain how this theory applies to married couples. Maybe that’ll come up again at some point. Maybe the topic would pop up if she volunteered at Sparrow’s job instead of the pro-life place where she (apparently) got kicked out for being gay…

    It’s interesting that Cynthia apparently thinks that a non-legally-recognized wedding (as when she proposed to Ashley) satisfies the requirements of a chastity pledge. That shows that she at least gave the concept a little thought instead of, as a lesbian, simply swearing herself to lifelong abstinence.

    What’s supposed to be the difference between abstinence and celibacy, anyway? Is there one? I can’t find any source that clarifies it. If anyone knows and feels like answering, thanks very much.

    I hope that at some point Cynthis at least articulates precisely HOW she thinks the War in Iraq is making America safer. At this point, five years into it, I myself personally, with no intention of starting any discussion by so saying, can’t think of any answer that a sane person would give. MAYBE it’s achieving other worthwhile results, I’m willing to acknowledge that possibility, but making America safer? No, not seeing that one at all. But that’s just me.

    Maybe Cynthia can appear in one of those Break The Fourth Wall strips to complain to readers about how no one understands her. Maybe in such a strip she and 3 other characters can get a row apiece…

  106. Jana C.H. says:

    You can abstain from anything, including comic strips. When you abstain from sex, it’s called celibacy.

    When you abstain from sex not because of a conscious decision but because there’s no one in your life you want to have sex with, that’s also celibacy.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Anyone can get laid. All you have to do is set your standards low enough.

  107. Jana C.H. says:

    Extra thought: In a “Break the Fourth Wall” strip, Cynthia would probably be a red diaper baby. And straight.


  108. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    You’re not supposed to “think” about it, Mouse — just *accept* it because they (the neo-cons remaining in the Bush admin) say so, because they’re (so they claim) patriots and would never “lie” about protecting Amurrica from the Forces of Evil threatening their oil profi^H^H^H^Hcountry’s freedom (what’s left of it). Would they?

    Snarky (Meanwhile, Harper and his cronies continue to mouth the usual platitudes about rescuing Afghanistan from its own centuries-old legacy of violence, with just as much sincerity and credibility, i.e. none whatsoever.)

  109. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    IOW, it’s the neo-con party line and Cynthia, you might say, is a party girl.;-{P}


  110. anon-eponymous says:

    I wish I had never been born. Most likely this is because life itself is horrific.

    I think it’s probably religion that makes people assume that a parent or state which wants to abort is necessarily in conflict with the potential offspring. In my case, it was my father and mother, both determined to have yet another child, who were in conflict with me who hates living so much. I tried, ineptly, to kill myself when I was seven. My parents just laughed, probably because it was inconceivable to them that I really felt that way. As far as I can understand, when my brother put 50+ stitches worth of razor blade cuts in his arm, it didn’t really make much of an impression on them either. It made an impression on me; I told my sister it would have been better if he had died.

    Abortion is just a special name for a particular subset of death—and death is part of the package deal of life. Every parent hands their child a death sentence, ranging from the agonizing and horrible to the probably not too bad. (I faint a lot, and I’ve thought that if death were like that, which it could easily be, it would be quite supportable.
    It’s almost a rush, although at the same time it’s pretty sickening.
    The waking up is really the hard part of fainting for me.)
    I don’t think that a death is necessarily better if it occurs later in someone’s life rather than earlier.

    I’ve recently been filling out some Living Will and Power of Attorney for Health Care documents. I’ve noticed that these documents are nullified if my physician knows that I’m pregnant. A pregnant person becomes a non-person in the view of my state legislature. I think that must be a religious thing, too.

  111. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    Heinlein had a few words to say on the subjects of religion and abortion, through the voice of Lazarus Long, which I found highly cogent:

    “God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent — it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.”

    “History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.”

    “Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.”

    “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”

    “‘No man is an island — ‘ Much as we may feel and act as Individuals, our race is — a single organism, always growing and branching — which must be pruned regularly to be healthy.
    This necessity need not be argued; anyone with eyes can see that any organism which grows without limit always dies in its own poisons. The only rational question is whether pruning is best done before or after birth.
    Being an incurable sentimentalist I favor the former of these methods — killing makes me queasy, even when it’s a case of ‘He’s dead and I’m alive and that’s the way I wanted it to be.’
    But this may be a matter of taste. Some shamans think that it is better to be killed in a war, or to die in childbirth, or to starve in misery, than never to have lived at all. They may be right.
    But I don’t have to like it — and I don’t.”

    A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.
    P.S. Yeah, that’s another quote from the same source. No, it isn’t on-topic. Sue me.;-{P}

  112. April says:

    Common sense from Erisians?
    The world’s gone topsy turvy…

  113. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    Oh, look, a donkey with wings!…


  114. Leslie says:

    Clarice needs to leave her stimulus package in her pants. or at least down another street.

  115. Grrreta says:

    I like how Raffi is growing up in the comic strips. Pretty soon he’s going to be a young man, and an interesting character in his own right. At least, I hope so.

  116. History Buff says:

    I agree with Jana C.H. that the “Risk” sequence is mostly about Cynthia’s politics, but there is yet another point beyond treaty breaking. The rules of that particular board game epitomizes an imperialist mind-set: as a player gains territories, she is given more and more resources that can be used for aggression to conquer yet more territories.

    But that’s not what always happens in the real world. Even those who sympathize with imperial goals (I don’t) ought to learn that occupying foreign countries often makes a Great Power weaker, not stronger. The people of real countries aren’t as passive as the areas of cardboard of a board game; they may resent and resist. That’s certainly what the US has found in Iraq. Cynthia, like Bush, still objectifies the victims of US policies — not seeing them as real people — and I suggest that her choice of that particular game symbolizes her dim jingoist grasp of how the world works.

  117. K. says:

    Huh, wow. Really nobody wants to talk about Hillary Clinton. Huh.

  118. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    Hill’s in a sort of grey area, along with Obama — she has these disturbing Dominionist and neo-con connections, but OTOH, she has a fairly large amount of liberal street cred, while Obama may actually be a bit of a conservative. Or not. They’re difficult and thorny, whereas Bush, his crew and his base (including Cyn) are “easy”, and talking about them won’t necessarily get you lost in a forest of issues. Hence, you’re right, no one wants to talk about Hillary Clinton.;-{P}


  119. Maggie Jochild says:

    I am sick undo death of the wars about Hillary and Barack going on in the blogosphere, and the vile things people are saying/doing to one another in the same of “support”. At my own blog, I won’t let partisanship be demonstrated that way, and I’ve noticed on a few other responsible blogs, moderators are riding the comments section hard to keep racism and misogyny at bay. Given that this is an unmoderated blog, I think it is a VERY GOOD THING that we don’t venture into that territory here.

    I will vote, gladly, for whoever is the Democratic nominee. Any change at all is up.

    And History Buff, excellent point and analysis. I need to remember that.

  120. Pope Snarky Goodfella OTUC, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    Quoth Maggie: “Given that this is an unmoderated blog, I think it is a VERY GOOD THING that we don’t venture into that territory here.”

    Yeah, there’s that, too.;-{P}

    Snarky: Usenet Flamewar Vet

  121. Ellen O. says:

    K and others —

    Check the replies to Strip 522, “Decisions, Decisions” if you want to read our thoughts about Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. Plenty of discussion there.
    Enjoy it.

  122. RI Swampyankee says:

    To add to History Buff’s comment, I submit this bit of Eddie Izzard. Very funny. So true.

  123. K. says:

    I’m chagrinned to admit it’s true, but I hadn’t even thought about discussing Hillary in the context of Obama and who’s better and who should get the nomination and who can win and who should win–even though it’s all anyone seems to talk about lately and in my group of friends we’ve put a temporary moratorium on it because we’re fairly divided on the issue and it’s dull, not to mention contentious, to talk about it. I agree, let’s not go there. I actually really just was wondering, given that she’s this unusually viable woman candidate whom most women (plus a lot of men) have strong and conflicted emotions about, and that seems right up the DTWOF alley. But I’ll leave that to the dykes and sundries themselves. 🙂

  124. Gabi B. says:

    So I just got the internet last month (I know I’ve been stuck in a technological void) and I remembered DTWOF from forever ago. And through the magic of the internet I bought 10 of the books and found this site. Oh happy day.

  125. Brazenfemme says:

    On a totally related but different note, I suggest a DTWOF cookbook – we can include Milkweed’s preferences, (or not),character recipes (i.e. Lois’s tunafish-Hijiki-Argula casserole, or Sparrow’s lasagna soup) or the several BBQ’s featured in the strip and local-vore intentions (did I get it right? Possibly not after marking a mountain of student papers this week…) AB – not that you are busy or anything, but…

    For those interested, check out Cooking with honey: What literary lesbians eat. (Edited by Amy Scholder) 1996. ISBN 1-58341-076 I hope that is correct, I have discalcula so numbers are a bit of a challenge.

  126. Brazenfemme says:

    On a totally related but different note, I suggest a DTWOF cookbook – we can include Milkweed’s preferences, (or not),character recipes (i.e. Lois’s tunafish-Hijiki-Argula casserole, or Sparrow’s lasagna soup) or the several BBQ’s featured in the strip and local-vore intentions (did I get it right? Possibly not after marking a mountain of student papers this week…) AB – not that you are busy or anything, but…

    For those interested, check out Cooking with honey: What literary lesbians eat. (Edited by Amy Scholder) 1996. ISBN 1-58341-076 I hope that is correct, I have discalcula so numbers are a bit of a challenge.

  127. David (ISBN expert) says:

    Brazenfemme, That ISBN has an incorrect format. It should be 1-58341-076-7 in old format, 978-1-58341-076-9 in current format. It is for the book “Life in a Tide Pool (Life Views)”, by Janet Halfmann. “Cooking with Honey” is 978-1-56341-077-2 (old style: 1-56341-077-X).

  128. Brazenfemme says:

    Thanks David – between the bottle of La Fin Du Monde and my creative use of numbers at the best of times, well…maybe I should have just used the title! Have you read it? Also, sorry for the double post.

  129. diana says:

    There’s also a wonderful comic book cookbook from the Seattle comix folks from the mid-90s. Includes one of my favorite recipes, Roberta Gregory’s recipe for Albondigas Soup. The comic’s called Nothwest Cartoon Cookery.
    And the folks who have written me about the Minneapolis gathering- I’ll reply this weekend. We’ll get something going. Anybody else who wants to join us, drop me a line at
    and we’ll get there, wherever there is!

  130. ready2agitate says:

    Gabi B. – ho! welcome to cyberspace – watch your step – and welcome!

    RI Swampyankee – thx for that Eddie Izzard clip – thoroughly enjoyed!

  131. Rachel from Babeland says:

    Thanks for the mention Allison! I think Babeland is going to do a campaign on the stimulus package- why not stimulate the economy, yourself, and a feminist sex toy store at the same time?

    And I’m glad to see Sydney and Mo getting their groove back. I know change can be a tonic, but I want them to live happily (& cleverly) ever after…

  132. m'aider says:

    Anon-epon, I hear you. (does anyone else? author blog, not a forum, but still.)

    Dude in my neck of the woods was charged with misdemeanor for beating his gf, and felony for endangering the fetus she was carrying. WTF.

  133. MRice says:

    Y’all should be way more worried about encroaching Islam and Sharia law than the religious right. If the Muslims had their way, all of us gays and lesbians would be killed.