How To Start The Day Off Wrong With a Collegiate Coat

Clare Briggs

Clare Briggs is a famous cartoonist who lived from 1875 to 1930. Poems by Wilbur Nesbitt.

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2 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    Is there a term for an unreliable narrator, but on a moral dimension? That is, an author telling a story from a point of view where that point of view is the ‘hero’ of the story, but he’s actually not – and that’s exactly the author’s intent (as opposed to accident, or mistake)?

    I happened to be thinking about that today, reading Ursula LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkeness, with respect to gender fluidity and the outside observers in the story making comments on it – which by today’s standards could be ‘problematic’. But I’m wondering if that was Le Guin’s point, even in 1969. (though the newer intro, written about 10 years later, doesn’t really lend itself to that interpertation)

    Anyway, thinking about that again, with this one, which again, has the dude flying off the handle at his wife due to the frustations of his day. Is it at all possible that Briggs is making this guy ‘the bad guy’? Or is it just straight up an embrace of the 1920s version of toxc masculinty?

    (weirdly enough, Cosmo Kramer would wear that same coat 70 years later, but fully own the look – and yet fly off the handle very inappropriately for a complete different reason)Report

  2. Will Truman says:

    I read it as being somewhere in between the two. The guy doing this isn’t Good, though is kind of too easily forgiven.

    The analogy I would use is the doofus dad in a family sitcom who spends the entire episode trying to cover for having forgotten his anniversary. There is, I think, a consensus around the idea that forgetting the anniversary is bad. That, if we’re thinking about it, it reflects badly on him that he did. That if she’s mad, she’s pretty justified in being mad. Maybe we’re hoping he gets caught or maybe we’re hoping he gets away with it because, even though he did this thing he shouldn’t have, we’re sympathetic to the character in the overall and this particular thing doesn’t persuade us not to be. (And even if we want justice to prevail and him to get caught, we are likely to hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble.)

    That’s sort of where I see this, except with the bond to the male character being weaker since the characters in these don’t repeat and we have no relationship. The guy in this comic is portrayed as kind of a loser-for-a-day and I think verbally ripping into his wife actually furthers that portrayal. It goes from a bad day to a worse day, because now he’s dragging other people and yelling at women is something you’re Not Supposed To Do. There is a sort of “This type of behavior is inevitable because men will be men” aspect, but the men doing it are not enviable and are (at least for the day) losing at life.Report