Lower Slobbovia (was "Silicon" (geog.))
James A. Landau
JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Jul 13 20:38:33 UTC 2001
In a message dated 7/13/01 3:08:36 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
okl-word at JUNO.COM writes:
> Was there really such a country as Lower Slovenia? As a callow kid at the
> time Capp was writing (drawing? lettering? whatever), I sort of assumed
> it was a parody on Outer Mongolia, since both were (I seem to recall)
> snow-covered places only primitively civilized. I checked my gazetteer,
> and while Lower Slovenia isn't mentioned, it does mention the Low
> Countries of Europe and the Lower 48 for the contiguous U.S.
There is a "Slovenia" in the Balkans, north and west of Croatia. It was a
republic of the old Yugoslavia, pop 1,997,000. Hopefully some historian of
the Balkans can enlighten us on whether some part of it was ever called
Slovenia-->Slobbovia seemed so obvious that I never doubted it. I cannot
remember any source or whether I invented this particular derivation on my
own. It seems much more probable than "Outer Mongolia", which readers of
L'il Abner might have been more likely to associate with Genghis Khan or with
Roy Chapman Andrews's dinosaur expeditions.
I remember that on one occasion Al Capp showed us Upper Slobbovia, which of
course was UNDERNEATH Lower Slobbovia. However, Capp threw in a lot of
one-shot inventions that he never re-used, and Upper Slobbovia may have been
one of those.
J. B. Post (I hope I got the name right), who is the curator of maps at a
place with the incredible acronym of FLOP (the Free Library of Philadelphia),
published a book of maps of non-existent places, entitled _The Atlas of
Fantasy_ (Baltimore: Mirage Press, sometime around 1970). He may have
published a second collection entitled _Fantasia Cartographica_. I have a
vague recollection that at least one Al Capp map is in _The Atlas of
> And L.S. still lives, although it's now called Elbonia in Scott Adams'
> "Dilbert" strip.
If you like "Dilbert", I won't object, but you will have to admit that it is
a one-joke strip whose humor is almost entirely derogatory. (If there has
been a change since I last saw the strip, please tell me.) L'il Abner, on
the other hand, was a rich tapestry which ran unpredictably from satire to
romance to philosophy to sheer foolishness.
Let me state that Trudeau, whom I detest, has three times the imagination of
Scott Adams. And try to imagine, if you can, a Broadway musical of "Dilbert".
If I had to rank all the post-World War II newspaper comic strips (totally
different criteria apply to the pre-WWII strips like "Little Orphan Annie" or
"Blondie"), I would rank at the top, based on their influence on the American
psyche as well as their artistic merits, exactly three strips: "L'il Abner",
"Peanuts", and, although I dislike it, "Doonesbury". In second place I would
place "Beetle Bailey", "Dennis the Menace", and "The Far Side", and leave
myself open for additional nominations.
- Jim Landau
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