Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Baldo Resists

The comics section of the daily newspaper is an interesting place. Most days, humorous strips are just that -- humorous. One expects Doonesbury to include political commentary in the mix. But other comic creators occasionally do more than simply entertain.

I found the following sequence from Baldo (Feb. 14-17, 2017) especially powerful*.  Baldo's creative team, Hector CantĂș and Carlos Castellanos have occasionally shared their thoughts on Latino and minority issues before in Baldo.

But not like this.

For many, the election of Donald Trump  (on both sides of the aisle) signaled a cultural shift. Criticism and dissent would not be tolerated, especially from minorities.

The strips from 2/14-2/16 form a three-part story. Part 1: the vocal dissident disappears. Part 2: the strip goes dark (and silent). Part 3: the clearly rattled lead characters return with safe, "government-approved" humor.

Point made.

The fourth sequence provides a more nuanced coda. Billy is a minor recurring character who feels he's the victim of reverse discrimination. Real-world Billys perceived the election as a sign that their side was on the rise. And they could finally tell those people exactly what they thought of them.

In Baldo, this shift is represented by the return of Billy, "sent to keep an eye on things." He's always on the lookout for foreign threats. And (in the strip) he always misidentifies them -- as in this strip. Maybe that's why the sequence didn't have the seal of approval from the FBMC.

*I know not everyone shares my political views, and so I'm sure not everyone will agree with that statement. As long as we can all disagree with respect, I'm cool with that.

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