Now, some comic strips bring the awesome sauce, while others are just plain scolds, shoring up society’s rear guard and staking out a plea for a return to decency. I say “decency” as opposed to traditional values, as the funnies tend to position themselves at the sitcom Left of the values vote, at a place where Life goes on, and Family matters.
Now it should be obvious to anybody reading this strip that co-creators Carla Ventresca and Henry Beckett must not have Facebook accounts (Carla, do you also go by “Carly“?) — either that, or they are being purposefully misleading. Dave, we have seen some boring and lame status updates, but, really, Paul? That’s what you imagine being a parody of Facebook posts? Gee, you really are quite a boring twit. I mean, talk about cutting close to the bone — you didn’t even get the gristle. It’s like Dave and I are already sucking marrow and you’re still peeling artichokes.
And, then, of course, there’s the cryptic message from JER98… Excuse me, wouldn’t the proper FB argot go something like Jeremy Greenfarb commented on your status? No, really, do you even do the basic leg work before you blab off about Facebook being an inane wast of time. On a Claire Day, what is a waste of time is the 80 seconds I spend everyday reading your badly drawn strip on My Comics Comics.com merely in order to simulate the experience of poring over a print comics page… So, what can I say except that I hope Claire dumps Paul’s boring ass and then gets gobbled up by Cathy in some bizarre funnies accident: “I eat insecure comic strip women when my mother-in-law visits for Thanksgiving…” Ha ha ha!
In any case, Dave, I think this meets up with your previous query about the kind of thing Facebook is, and what our critical positioning in the blogosphere represents in the broader world of online networking. One of the most prevalent misconceptions about social networking is that it is a playground for narcissists.
For a time, I thought that FB could be said to have the collegial forum quality of a water cooler: a place to regale people you vaguely like with your love for television and the Wizards, your irritation at gay marriage repeal initiatives and whether or not you scored over the weekend.
However, I believe that you have truly seized upon the right metaphor for this new space which we and our peers are carving out with the help of annoying app generators. It is indeed a school cafeteria — although more of a high school — rather than a middle school as you have suggested — lunchroom. It is the supreme terrain of face-presenting, the apprehensive fashioning of an adult persona, and that nagging interior voice begging all saints that your best friend from 5th grade who has become a pimpled reprobate hesher doesn’t think he can sit at your table. Yeah — eww! Of course, there’s also the blabbing about food, gym class and, naturally, gross PDA.
And, where do we fit into all of this? Well, I think that, unlike the armchair anthropology of On a Claire Day (talk about wearing the “stupid people” T-shirt) we are actually assuming a sound critical stance as participant observers in our research terrain. That, I believe contributes mightily to the utmost radness of our blog here. And, yet, at the same time, are we not also anthropologists much as the effete high school boys just turned 18, going to the strip club — you know, for anthropological purposes? Yeah, just to see what it’s like… We may scoff at the dirty girls and the sad old men, but, when we get home at 2 AM (‘rents are out of town, see) and pop open the Bartles & James, we have to admit that we were just a little turned on by the whole thing…
*This post was initially intended for publication on Thursday, November 12