31 Comments

  1. No, they have the ancestors going back through time to the right, and the unborn Children of the Future lined up to the left. And the family of NOW right there in the middle.

  2. nebulousrikulau could be correct, but I would have said larK was right, high child mortality rate. That is still true in most of the world and only changed in European and NA countries in the last 80 years or so.

  3. The interpretation from Nebulous does, in a way, answer the issue in the editorial question (or larK’s). But raises an equal doubt on its own, which is why would this be the convention, that past family members in this chain are represented in their adult (maybe “final”) form, but future ones are perceived as children? And subsidiary question, if the basis is that the part of their personal timeline closest to us is how they show up for us, that explains why the past guys are adults but not why we don’t see them on their deathbeds, and on the other side why toddlers and not infants?

  4. I thought the filters on cameras that give you dog ears and a long tongue were strange enough. Having the spirits of dead/future relatives on either side of you beats it.

  5. It’s kind of a waste of time sorting out who’s left or who’s right when a family believes that strongly in ghosts, anyway. You can just write the whole thing off as some kind of ectoplasmic reunion in the minds of total hysterics.

  6. I saw this on the weekend and just thought, “Another stupid Family Circus”. Dysfunctional Family Circus was SO much better.

  7. Maybe it works if seen as a Memorial Day special? (Or should that be Fathers Day?)

  8. nebulousrikulau is likely right, but I took this as a remembrance of all those male children of the past who didn’t make it, as lark noted. I thought it was touching to remember them.

  9. It works fine as long as you don’t think too much about the metaphysics. The sentiment is metaphorical, not metaphysical.

  10. @padraig: Or he’ll be non-binary and thus won’t fit into the sexist Family Circus patriarchy.

  11. I see this as a “men of the past and future”, not, “dead babies.” We often associate previous generations as older, which is why they are shown as old men. We also tend to associate them with whatever last picture we have, which wouldn’t be from a death bed.

    As for the future generations, kids are the future. They could be shown as a kid of any age, so a convenient age was picked and drawn. I don’t see one option being more apropos than another.

    People around here can be pretty harsh.

  12. @TedD re “People around here can be pretty harsh” — it’s Family Circus, which was never even remotely funny. My daughter noticed about when she started to read, around 4, and would check it every Sunday, reporting “Still not funny”. It’s not even cute most of the time. Why it persists is a mystery, like Yahoo.

  13. TedD says: We also tend to associate them with whatever last picture we have,

    Ooh oooh oooh, callback! We were in a camera shop and the clerk was warning the customer not to use the “Last known photo” setting!

  14. Why it persists is a mystery, like Yahoo. Well, Yahoo search, especially if still in part human-curated, deserves this. But Yahoo brand is on so many services, some of them pretty decent, that they shouldn’t all be knocked down in one broad brush.

  15. @Danny Boy Hmm. World’s most porous email? Groups that were deleted, disrupting many communities? Leading competitor for “Busiest, lowest S:N homepage”? If you say so.

    Srsly, I’ve been asking why Yahoo continues to exist and have perceived value for most 20 years. You’re the first one to offer anything resembling a rebuttal (no, Verizon wasting $nB on it doesn’t count). I’d be honestly interested to hear what services you think are decent.

  16. For one, there’s their Domain Service system — mostly outsourced by now, but so what, we were asking what there is of value with the Yahoo brand still stuck on it.

    I don’t know what you mean by “[w]orld’s most porous email” exactly. But just from the consumer point of view, I do prefer their UI over that of Gmail, both on Windows desktop in Chrome web browser and in phone/tablet apps. In the case of the apps, besides Yahoo and Gmail as add-in options, the competition includes Apple’s built-in Mail; and that still doesn’t beat Yahoo — for the features and preferences I am looking for — UI preference being to a large extent a to-each-their-own situation.

  17. I had a soft spot for Yahoo (I interviewed to be their fourth employee but as they hadn’t hired a hiring person yet …… I had a classmate who was hired as their 17th employee) but after their email hack of 2015 they should have been deregulated and not allowed to exist any more.

  18. “porous email” — you’ve never used their email, I assume. Everyone who does seems to wind up with their address book exposed and everyone they know getting numerous spams “from” them.

    I was unaware that they had been a domain registrar, but given their incompetence at protecting email, would never have considered using them for that service.

  19. anyone else think that the adult ghosts don’t quite add up? Like it looks like there’s 3 people from the mid/late 20th century, 1 from the 19th and 1 from the 18th….

    Then again, my knowledge of historical clothing styles may be lacking…

  20. PS3: you’ve never used their email, I assume. Then you’re not reading very attentively. Since I said I prefer their UI to Gmail’s, that is from experience that I would only have from using the product. And whatever the external history, my experience has been fine.

    They weren’t precisely a domain registrar (tho I realize I could have left that impression). But they were everything-but. All the user interaction was carried out on Yahoo branded web pages, including payment of course, and it was a very useful set of pages — not the bad kind of “user friendly” that means just leaving out anything at all subtle or indirect or advanced, but the good kind that makes it easy to do the common or expected things, and not terribly hard to find out how and accomplish the more advanced things.

    You may see it as weakness or blinders to More Important Issues that I keep returning to UX. But that is what I encounter, as a user, having experiences.

  21. Yeah, I can believe their UX was OK. But the More Important Issues trump that. Style over substance…
    Anyway, didn’t mean to hijack the thread!

  22. While the humor level of FC has been low for a long time, it’s never gone in for morbid like dead babies. Hey, remember “dead baby jokes”?

  23. Isn’t Jeff doing the strip now. He is certainly at the age where he could be a father…

  24. @bpostow: I see two twentieth-century styles and three nineteenth. The last could be late eighteenth.

  25. The high young child mortality rate in the 1700s throws off the life expectancy numbers. We often hear at reenactments – “they all died young back then”. Have to then explain this to people who seem to think that everyone “back then” died by 25. When there is a high number of children dying before the age of 5, it throws the averages way off. Once a child was 5 years old the chance of decent life length was expected.

    Two things I will point out (as I try to stay in the 18th century) is Benjamin Franklin and Geo Washington who are both far from young and people live long enough to be parents and grandparents.

    This goes hand in hand with “They were short then.” As one reenactor pointed out if people were smaller and smaller in the past (please pardon the blaspheme) then the dashboard Jesus figures are full size. There is less an inch difference in height in military records in height between the 1770s and now.

  26. All the women in my family would always want to get a picture of “All the men in the family.” A picture of all the men present with no women in the picture.

    None of the men in my family ever wanted to get a picture of “All the women in the family” with no men. For that matter, none of the women ever asked for that either.

    I don’t know why. Some kind of inherent sexism, I guess.

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