1. Yeah, I don’t actually see a joke here.
    Maybe an element of surprise that the online version would still have names called out, and a speech from particular students.

    At the University of Chicago, “Though we cannot be together on campus this June, the importance of recognizing our students’ collective academic accomplishments and conferring degrees remains. We are planning a virtual Convocation ceremony to take place on June 13, to confer degrees and celebrate the dedication and accomplishments of the Class of 2020. We share your disappointment in this news but remain confident that we will find appropriate ways as a University community to celebrate the Class of 2020 in ways both singular and enduring.” I haven’t seen details. But part of these announcements is that members of the Class of 2020 are invited to participate in the in-person on-campus convocation events in spring 2021.

  2. My nephew’s graduation (he tells us) consisted of the president’s (of the college) speech, and then someone reading all the names. I’m not sure if it was streamed or just filmed. And he was very grateful (he also tells us) not to have to sit there through the whole thing…

  3. It’s a Zoom meeting graduation. I saw some college tried that and had it “Zoom bombed” with bigoted imagery. Locally, they’ve had some automobile parades where the high school grads get to don the cap and gown.

  4. I get a bunch of recommendations from YouTube for his SGN videos. Then again, the algorithm goes phases of recommending male hip-hop artists, which I have never viewed.

  5. Not a joke – it is what a lot of schools are doing since large crowds are discouraged.

  6. Whether they use Webex, Zoom, Skype, or one of another half-dozen virtual-meeting programs, the software probably won’t support 8000 little windows, and even if it did, they’d be way too small to identify. I suspect they’ll just stream out the performers (dean, speaker, etc.). Even with a tiny private college, there are still lkely to be several dozen graduating students.

  7. It’s kind of meta. Maybe that counts as humor in some circles? I mean, like, it’s literally ironic.
    (Yes, it’s neither: those are the circles who might see it as humorous?)

  8. I’m sure it depends on the size of the class. I think most are just scrolling the names of the grads. If there weren’t too many, you could have a series of stills with names.

  9. Nice job, Targuman! You provide enough gravitas without getting ponderous, and do a good classic “I’m not going to tell you about the …” trope.

  10. I don’t see the impact that it’s supposed to have if it’s a tribute.

    I’m going to buck the trend and say it’s a joke. Which is to say I am maligning Deering for being so out of touch, he thinks the idea of a graduation via distance internet conferencing is surreal and strange, yet somehow never asked then how *would* we do a graduation.


    I think if we don’t do thing regularly we think it’d be odd to do a zoom version of it. In Feb, who would have conceived a Zoom Passover Seder? We’d think that was a joke. And if we think of something we don’t do… And extra-marital affair? … and we image it by Zoom it could be a joke?…So if … somehow…. you don’t have any contact with high school students and we missed *all* the lead up stories about “hey, what will we do for graduations” one *might* think the I’d of a Zoom graduation would be strange…..


    Or maybe it’s a tribute. You’d have to be *really* out of it to think it’s a joke.

  11. woozy: In Feb the thought of a Zoom Passover Seder would have been surprising. But now, even if you’re talking to a non-Jew who doesn’t know any Jews, I don’t think they’d even blink twice to hear that you had a religious ceremony through Zoom. For this comic to be a joke, Deering would have to be so out of it that he not only doesn’t know how most seniors are graduating, but so out of it that he doesn’t know that virtually everything has moved online. That’s almost inconceivably out of touch.

    OTOH, it’s not much of a tribute. So I agree with everything you’re saying on both sides of the joke/tribute question, but just have a final assessment at the end because I can’t imagine Deering being that out of touch.

  12. The word “valedictorian” is pretty good fodder for a moment of DIY etymology.

    (That’s where you take the apparent parts of a word and, whether or not you happen to know a Latin or or other meaning for that root or stem, you reconstruct it by comparing a slew of other modern words in which it occurs. I think not too long ago on CIDU we noted that there is not really a stem -copter in “helocopter” but rather a -pter which must mean “wing”.)

    It’s a little rocky getting the -vale- down, unless you know the word “valetudinarian”, or are familiar with a scene of Roman legions saying “Ave atque vale” explained as meaning “hail and farewell”. But that or something similar can get you to -vale- meaning farewell or goodbye. And after that, there are lots of examples like “dictate”, “edict”, and so on, to give speak or say for -dict- .

    So a vale-dict-orian is a “goodbye say-er””.

  13. Winter Wallaby

    And yet so many cartoonists who show up here tend to have a very specific mindset of things the they perceive and assume will be shared and are out of touch of those that are.

    I also imagine when you do strip every day you go immediate reaction with no reflection. So I can imagine a cartoonist think “monday strip, it’s high school graduation…. in a hall on a stage the valedictorian walks to a podium in front of a crowd. But in coronavirus times it’s done on Zoom and the valedictorian will be sitting at home at a table; that’s an idiosyncratic juxtaposition. Done. Next strip” and there’s no internal self-editor say “Um, wait a minute. That may be an idiosyncratic juxtaposition, but it’s what is literally happening and utterly common so it isn’t actually a joke”. Deering may not be so out of it that had that internal self-editor popped up he wouldn’t have listened, but he might be so out of it that it never popped up.

  14. At my high school, we had the runner-up as the Salutatorian. As I recall, her speech was a lot more fun because she didn’t need to be as formal as the Valedictorian.

  15. Maybe the joke is that the person pictured here is actually the valedictorian, thus cap and gown and speech in hand. Very small joke (particularly as it represents reality quite a bit) but possibly less than obvious to someone who doesn’t have a family member graduating (or isn’t graduating)?

  16. “Maybe the joke is that the person pictured here is actually the valedictorian”

    That’s exactly what I was assuming but I dont see how that is any more (or less) of a joke. The joke, if it is a joke, is still a social distancing graduation where all the participants are all distant.

  17. I”m not sure where you guys have gone with this, but for me the idea that the young woman we’re seeing “here” and not via the screen would be the valedictorian in question is not at all a swerve but what I assumed from the first was most likely. Of course that’s her!

  18. I also, like everyone else, assumed she was the valedictorian. What I still don’t understand is how that would make the comic into a joke.

  19. Right, I can’t see where there would be a joke here, either.
    But also by that, not a failed joke either.
    No reason a comic can’t cover a somewhat notable slice of life.

  20. “No reason a comic can’t cover a somewhat notable slice of life.”

    Yeah, but if so, it should evoke an emotion or something notable about the slice of life. No matter what the intent, something is really lacking. There’s nothing whistful or emotional to make it a tribute (Maybe had there been images of the parents, and more congratulation cards….). And there’s nothing idiosyncratic to be a joke. My opinion is it’s intended as a joke and Deering is out of it to not get that… this is normal. Or maybe it’s a tribute. It’s flat either way.

  21. mitch4: I agree, that’s why my vote was for “tribute.” What I meant was that I don’t understand jjmcgaffey comment that the joke might be about the person being the valedictorian.

  22. Robert’s older niece is due to graduate from high school this June – hopefully. His sister is takes it as a personal affront that there will be no graduation – she can’t have her usual (for any occasion) over the top expenditure of funds for excessive clothing (for younger niece’s first communion older niece and SIL had 3 custom made gowns – the communicant (is that the right term)? having 3 overdone white puffy custom made dresses and BIL had 3 new suits – the party was the equivalent of a wedding. Instead of having making her first communion with the rest of her religious school class as is the norm, they manged to get her a first communion alone. Only the two of us and BIL’s mom and her sister and BIL (and they are all also Jewish) were invited to the church for the actual ceremony. My family was terribly confused as the party invitations implied that that was also the ceremony and once again I had to explain my SIL to them. I would not be surprised if she held her own graduation for niece.

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