Lower Slobbovia (was "Silicon" (geog.))

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Sat Jul 14 00:43:28 UTC 2001

In a message dated 07/13/2001 5:02:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK writes:

> > If I had to rank all the post-World War II newspaper comic strips ...
>  Uh-oh, I feel another off-topic debate coming on...

There is a serious philological topic behind this thread.

            The Leek Report
            by Vidalia Onion

(dateline is an unspecified state capital)

Senator X is about to find that his treasured tax bill is also his
kite-eating tree.  His security blanket of turnpike revenues is rapidly
unraveling.  Senator Y is about to use her feminine wiles to pull the gas-tax
football away.  X's badly-designed reorganization of Social Services is about
to eat through the surplus like Sergeant Shnorkel.

Don't expect any help from the Executive Mansion.  The Governor last spoke to
X about the time General Halftrack last heard from the Pentagon.

X didn't help himself by his efforts in yesterday's debate, in which he
demonstrated the British phlegm of Lt. Flap and the incisive mind of Lt. Fuzz.

The Popik Report is already being handed around the Senate, and everybody is
chuckling over its descriptions of X's pathetic attempts to fix parking
tickets wholesale.  Already he is known throughout the municipal courts of
our fair state as Jubilation T. Cornpone.

Our feerless prediction: next year this time X will be running for the school
board in Lower Slobbovia.


The topic?  How much has a given strip contributed to English vocabulary and

This might make a publishable paper in _American Speech_, but I'll let
someone else attempt it.


In a message dated 07/13/2001 5:18:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
JBaker at STRADLEY.COM writes:

>          L'l Abner started in the mid-1930s, so perhaps it should be judged
>  by the standards of the pre-WWII strips.  (Online resources give dates from
>  1934 to 1936; I'm at my office, so can't immediately check a more reliable
>  source.)  The preeminent status of Peanuts and Doonesbury, in that order,
>  among postwar strips is well-established.  Third place is not as clear, but
>  Pogo and Calvin & Hobbes are probably the best contenders.

I should have thought of Pogo.  When I was in high school, it was generally
conceded among people I knew that there existed three intellectual strips:
L'il Abner, Pogo, and Peanuts.

The bulk of L'il Abner appeared after 1945 and it stood up well by post-war
standards, so I am classifying it as post-WWII.

I have never been able to find what so many people raved about in Calvin &
Hobbes.  Call me illiterate.

Once I spent some time digging through newspapers 1929-1931 and stopped to
read the comics.  "What trash they had back then," I thought, but what I was
really seeing is that pre-WWII standards on comic strips were radically
different.  I can see how an audience that loved Barney Google and Gasoline
Alley would not appreciate the humor of Peanuts.

              - Jim Landau

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