Grfld

typed for your pleasure on 21 May 2008, at 1.00 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Skunk’ by The Jon Spencer Blues explosion

What exactly is it about Garfield™® that engenders so much contempt amongst upright-walking, thinking beings? I think the reason goes beyond its feeble and saccharine attempts at humour; in fact, for me, it’s precisely because it tries to be as inoffensive as possible is the reason I wish to see Jim Davis’ head on a pike outside the city gates. I can understand wanting to create comics that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, but as a wise Mancunian once remarked, ‘If you pander to the public, art can never exist’.

Luckily, it seems of late that more and more people are realising that there actually are trace elements of humour to be found in Garfield™®, if you have a powerful enough viewing device to see it. Recently, I discovered three separate sites that have a reductionist approach to putting the ‘comic’ back into that ‘comic strip’. First, I give you Arbuckle:

In 1978, Jim Davis began a newspaper comic strip called “Garfield”. For almost thirty years, this strip has endured, primarily because its inoffensive, storyless humour is immediately accessible. It is, if not quite the Lowest Common Denominator of the comic world, at least as close to it as one can get without being obviously mediocre.

The comic changes dramatically when one removes the thought bubbles.

“Garfield” changes from being a comic about a sassy, corpulent feline, and becomes a compelling picture of a lonely, pathetic, delusional man who talks to his pets. Consider that Jon, according to Garfield canon, cannot hear his cat’s thoughts. This is the world as he sees it. This is his story.

They’re accepting submissions, so if you’re feelin’ mischievous and want to redo a strip yourself, contact the site owner to check to see someone else hasn’t done the one you want first.
Then you’ve got Garfield minus Garfield:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?
Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Yes, Jon is that much more unsettling when he’s the only person in the room. I love the ones where they redo the extended Sunday versions, and the first panel that usually has the title ‘Garfield’ in it, is completely blank.

Finally, there’s Lasagna Cat, which is not so much ‘reductionist’, as ‘singularly disturbing’. But that description really fits when you’re dealing with live-action reenactments of various Garfield™® strips, with rimshots and canned laughter and the actors holding still in lieu of a freeze-frame. Yeah. After viewing a couple of these, you can announce to the world that you have indeed seen everything it has to offer, and you can now return to your Maker with no regrets. My particular favourite?

Hallucinatory. But funny! And when’s the last time you could honestly say that about an unadulterated Garfield™® comic?

And with this post, I hereby announce the new category, G******d (which has actually been there for a bit of a while, but nevertheless). Come, share the Hate with me

ta very much to aneamo for the ‘Garfield minus Garfield’ link

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Bring me the head of Alfredo Garfielda

typed for your pleasure on 19 December 2006, at 12.04 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Zelzah’ by Medicine

Jeff/Zip Gun sent me this intriguing article yesterday. Normally, I’m against vandalism, but I’m behind this 100%. That’s one hundred one per cents!

Town’s Garfield statue decapitated 2 months after installation
Chicago Sun-Times | December 18, 2006

MARION, Ind. — Police say someone stole the fiberglass head of a Garfield statue located near downtown’s Riverwalk.

‘’I’ve got to believe that whoever did this is probably going to be bragging about this at some point,’’ said Marion Deputy Chief Cliff Sessoms.

The statue is now a headless figure dressed in workout gear and giving the OK sign. Police are investigating, but said Friday they don’t have any leads yet.

Belinda Hussong, the city’s parks and recreation director, said she was disgusted to hear about the vandalism to the statue, which was unveiled in October.

‘’You put so much energy and effort into a community project, then this happened,’’ she said.

Marion is in the home county of Jim Davis, the fat cat cartoon’s creator.

The statue was put along the Riverwalk to promote exercise, wellness and riverfront activities.

‘’We had a lot of generous sponsors to the statue and I feel like we should replace it,’’ Hussong said.

Good to see I’m not the only person out there who reaches for their gun when they hear the name Garfield™®


Clearly, the best Garfield™® strip Jim Davis never made

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Garfield, as written by Samuel Beckett

typed for your pleasure on 6 August 2006, at 5.38 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Lass dir Zeit’ by die Crazy Girls

Frantic Frightened Frequent readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ know how much I love that fat orange cartoon cat named Garfield™®. And when I say ‘love’, I of course mean ‘loathe‘. However, in reading the recent b3ta newsletter deposited gently within my Inbox, I now know of exactly six strips of that ‘comic’ series that I actually enjoy. One of the features it had was a link to one of those periodically-funny-but-usually-repellent ytmnd sites, having to do with the death of Garfield™®. I’ll provide the link here in a moment, but first, let the associated Wikipedia entry relate to you its tale.

One storyline, which lasted a week from October 23, 1989 (possibly to coincide with Halloween, although the 31st actually fell the following week), is unique among Garfield strips in that it is not meant to be humorous. It depicts Garfield awakening in a future in which the house is abandoned and he no longer exists. This is revealed to have been a dream of some kind, and ends with this narration:

“An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice…or terrify, all depending on how we conduct ourselves today.”

Alternatively, some theorize that the end of this storyline actually implies that the rest of the series, the more conventional strips, are all fantasies Garfield is playing out in his head to delude himself from realizing the dark turn his life has taken, as he slowly starves to death in an abandoned house. (emphasis mine) One would assume that his ability to eat more than physically possible in usual strips would be his use of fantasies to stave off his growing hunger and starvation. This theory is arguably supported by the text, as right before Jon and Odie reappear, the narration reads:

“After years of taking life for granted, Garfield is shaken by a horrifying vision of the inevitable process called ‘time.’ He has only one weapon…denial…

This emphasis on “denial,” with the word given its own box in the panel it appears in, and being followed immediately by the earlier text on the power of the imagination, could support the horrifying theory. However, it could also be that denial is what Garfield needed to snap himself out of this dark vision. This is also more likely considering the only way Garfield could have gotten into “a world where he no longer exists” is if that world were a dream. Many, however, attribute the bleak world to the future Ebeneezer Scrooge witnessed in A Christmas Carol, where he beholds the dark and bleak image the world has become because of his negligence and lack of gratitude for other people’s efforts. Still, another point of view on this storyline is that Davis was parodying The Twilight Zone series, which often featured ominous narratives, similar to the use of narration in this set of bleak strips. Another interpretation is that Davis was going through what might have been a period of depression or crisis, and used this set of strips as a form of self-therapy. Lastly, another widely-believed theory is that Garfield was only in the house for a few days before he was rescued in the November 2 and November 3 strips, and the ‘storyline’ was just an introduction to the next week of ‘flashbacks’.

In this age of the Internuts, where lies are the order of the day, and Wikipedia being no exception, I had my doubts as to whether these strips were real. But doubt no more! Simply go to the Official Garfield™® Media Conglomerate Headquarters Web Presence here, set the controls to 1989 October 23, and look for yourself! Chilling, yes, but honestly, I’d have to say these are the funniest Garfield™® strips ever written.

The aforementioned ytmnd site would be here, just so you know. And at this point, I’d normally mention the occurrence of the date that story arc started with a favourite number of mine, but freaked-out fucked up frequent readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ would’ve already kenned that.

‘I come not to praise Garfield, but to bury him’

Technorati tags: Garfield, hatred, loathing, death, the void, Samuel Beckett, lasagna

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typed for your pleasure on 16 February 2006, at 11.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Jumpin’ Jap crash’ by m1dy

Right, now cup your hands tightly. I SAID CUP THEM!!
*pours links into your cupped hands*

+ People these days with better cameras than mine are all about that crazy tilt-shift photography. That’s where you take a picture of a landscape from some distance away, but you fiddle with the settings, so that parts are focussed, and other parts aren’t, thereby resulting in a photo that looks like a highly detailed micro-miniature. Select from two links — here, or here. It’s quite fab, I’m sure you’ll agree

+ Longtime readers of this blog (both of you) may recall the wee article I wrote last year about my seething hatred for Garfield. Well, through the miracle of Modern Science, *coughPhotoshopcough* the strip featuring America’s favourite overweight marketing juggernaut and his delusional, physically repulsive owner has actually been transformed into something funny! As a poster on the forum I spotted this on stated: ‘It’s a given that Garfield has a base quality level of zero. Therefore, any change made (random or otherwise), cannot do anything BUT improve the strip. Entirely true!

+ I’ve never read any of Philip K. Dick’s novels, which would explain why this doesn’t get its own posting here on ‘Shouting to hear the echoes: All Gynoids, All The Time’, but apparently, the Philip K. Dick Android has gone missing. If it was Actroid-chan or the Warhol Android, all eyes would be on me, but I’m not a suspect this time. Perhaps he’s out hunting Replicants? Ahhh, Irony

+ Last episode of the first, err, season of ‘The Ricky Gervais Show‘ podcasts will be aired on 20 Feb. Hope you’ve heard the previous 11 episodes, otherwise you’ve missed most of the Humour Train! WOO WOO There it goes without you! You better start running, squire!

+ ‘Mobile suit Gundam: Climax UC‘ would be Bandai’s latest offering in the long line of PS2 Gundam-based videogames. I’m particularly frothy about it, as it’s ALL UNIVERSAL CENTURY-BASED BATTLES, BABY. Recreate fights from familiar chestnuts such as Original Gundam and Char’s counterattack, as well as Gundam ZZ and The 08th MS Team; plus, there’s a create-your-own-character-and-determine-where-they-will-pledge-their-allegiance mode that looks quite engaging. Bandai, if you do nothing else for me ever, you will export this game to the States. When that glorious day arrives, you will be witness to Climax DC

+ I’ve swapped out Penda/Monti’s links in the sidebar to reflect her new URL and site: MontiLee Stormer.com. Don’t worry, you can access the Diner through it, but this is her new ‘professional’ corner of teh Intarwub

+ I have no idea what to make of this. None whatsoever. Do you?

+ Remember my post on North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel, a.k.a, The Soul Accumulator of Malkunofath? Well, if you think that’s bad as it is, keep in mind it’s rather representative of the general Nork mindset – monomaniacally focussed and shockingly obsolete. Here, then, are the tour diaries of one bloke and a couple of fellow tourists as they experience all that North Korea has to offer. Meaning, all that the government has selected to be experienced, that is

+ And speaking of outmoded thinking, whilst validating a passel of bookmarks this eve, I find that the crazy feminazi shits o’er at Pandagon.com no longer have that lengthy anti-iDollator post of streaming invective up on their site. You remember; the one that was written shortly after Meghan’s article appeared in Salon.com, claiming that since not only do I have a RealDoll, but I say that I have a relationship with ‘it’, that obviously I’m a filthy misogynistic tool of the patriarchy that eats kittens for breakfast? I have to say, Shi-chan and I are almost offended. We brought you over five hundred responses to your mentally crippled post, and obscurity is the way you pay us back??
Huh. It just goes to show that you really can’t please some people
EDIT (05 June 2008): The Pandagon, err, ‘people’, have deleted the above-linked post for reasons unknown. Thankfully it’s archived on the Internet Wayback Machine, so you can view the baseless vitriol here

thanx to Penda and Zip Gun for some of the links

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typed for your pleasure on 7 January 2005, at 1.26 pm

Los Angeles Times, I salute you for your forward thinking.

‘L.A. Times’ Drops Daily ‘Garfield’ as the Comic Is Blasted and Praised
By Dave Astor | Published: January 05, 2005 12:50 PM ET

NEW YORK The Los Angeles Times dropped the daily version of “Garfield,” the most widely distributed comic in syndication.

“Garfield” has received mixed reviews in recent years, but the Times is one of the few papers to ever dare pull it. Reader reaction? “We are getting complaints,” said Jennifer James, a Times editorial aide, but she declined to reveal how many.

The Times dropped the daily “Garfield” effective two days ago — while keeping the Sunday “Garfield” — to make room for “Brevity,” a new comic by Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry of United Media (E&P Online, Dec. 9).

“We’re always trying to get some new talent in the comics pages,” said James, who did not make the “Garfield” decision.

Gene Weingarten, a humor columnist for The Washington Post and Washington Post Writers Group, praised the Times decision during his weekly washingtonpost.com chat yesterday. He said the paper displayed “the kind of cojones missing in too many places” and described “Garfield” as “a strip produced by a committee, devoid of originality, devoid of guts, a strip cynically DESIGNED to be inoffensive and bad, on the theory that public tastes are insipid. [emphasis mine] Now we need others to follow suit. Like the Post.”

When asked for a response to Weingarten’s comments and the Times action, Universal Press Syndicate Director of Communications Kathie Kerr said today: “Our understanding is that ‘Garfield’ ran in a children’s section of the Los Angeles Times. When a feature is dropped on pages which are predominantly read by children, those young readers are less likely to complain or demand its return.”

She added that Jim Davis is “hands on” with his comic, and concluded: “‘Garfield’ is the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, and that speaks volumes to its popularity. More than 2,700 newspapers worldwide publish it, and, in the last year, more than 50 newspaper clients were added. It’s an easy-to-get laugh a day and that endears it to millions of children and adults worldwide.”

I can remember when Garfield was actually funny. That was for a couple of weeks, back during the fucking Reagan administration. I can understand wanting to milk a ca$h cow dry, but I mean, jesus christ already. How many times can you do a variation on the ‘fat lazy Monday-hatin’ lasagna-lovin’ cat oversleeps’ four-panel strip? Apparently, several thousand times.

If I had limitless sums of monies at my disposal, I would bestow a grant to some programmers, so that they could create a programme that would take every single Garfield strip and variant thereof (i.e, calendar installments, greeting cards, etc) made, and see exactly how many times Jim Davis has done the same three or four ‘jokes’ over & over. Then, I would give another grant to a group of scientists, so they can run a battery of tests to see how much more raw Banality has entered the Universe since Garfield’s inception. Finally, upon receiving and analysing the results from both groups, I would write another sizeable cheque, and give it to some bloodthirsty contract killers, and immediately dispatch them to Jim Davis Estates.

Good christ. For that matter, why is Bil ‘The Family Circus’ Keane still alive? Does no-one else see that as being a problem??

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Bring me the head of Alfredo Garfielda on December 19th, 2006

Grfld on May 21st, 2008