Poll: your favorite Trudeau

Speaking of Garry Trudeau, Phil Smith III sent in the following recent Doonesbury and reports that the commenting crew at Go Comics didn’t get far with this. Your Editors, meanwhile, confess to not having recently followed Doonesbury closely enough to even know what it would be to get somewhere with an explanation of this episode. But Phil will be on hand to help propel the comments here. Apparently the crux is just what they said or did to lead Mel to face-plant like that.

35 Comments

  1. At first, I thought ‘favorite Trudeau’ referred to Canadian premiers and I wondered how come we were going into Canadian politics.

    Actually, the Sunday ones are new and having nothing to do with either other Sunday ones or the weekly reruns.

    And no, I didn’t ‘get’ this one, either.

  2. Andréa sez: At first, I thought ‘favorite Trudeau’ referred to Canadian premiers and I wondered how come we were going into Canadian politics.

    And indeed if you wanted to, there are options to vote for either of the Trudeau politicians

  3. The ‘Hoo-aa soldier!” probably flashed her back to her sexual assault when she was in the military.

  4. padraig: Mayyyybe. If so, it’s pretty subtle, even for Doonesbury. But that’s more than I got from it! I did wonder if it was something gender-related

    Ah…with that clue and more Googling than I’d expected, I found:
    Mel’s Story: Surviving Military Sexual Assault

    so I think you’ve got it! The usual problem with an ongoing-story strip: if you don’t happen to remember the callback, it’s a mystery. Thanks.

    (Is it a good thing or a bad thing that this got explained so quickly? O well, the poll makes up for in the entertainment department!)

  5. I’m going to reiterate what I’ve said in the GoComics comments: I don’t see how this is a flashback.

    “Hooah” is a common expression of enthusiasm and support in the Army. She would have heard it everywhere, including when she returned for a second tour after receiving counseling for the assault. Military trappings have never been shown to be a trigger for her, and there’s no indication that the phrase itself is associated specifically with her assault (as opposed to just associated with the military, which is associated to her assault).

    So if the military itself isn’t a trigger, and the word “hooah” isn’t known to be a trigger, what triggered her?

    But that’s just it — she doesn’t look traumatized in the final panel; she looks exasperated. That’s the puzzle. Everyone is assuming she’s experiencing a PTSD trigger but I just don’t see it.

  6. There’s a poll? It’s not showing up for me, Firefox on Linux (albeit with an adblocker and two anti-trackers…)

  7. Powers: Good arguments; maybe reading the book would make the trigger part clearer? I could see the expression (well, posture) as either exasperated or traumatized. Traumatized might be hard to portray in a cartoon.

    Hey, can I expense a copy of the book against the CIDU treasury? 🙂

  8. I don’t think she’s face planting. I think she’s crying. B.D. is both empathizing with her and treating her as a fellow soldier, something she didn’t get much of in the Army.

  9. I won’t go into details about Prime Ministers Trudeau (because boy could I), but the pedant must point out P.E.T. was Prime Minister 4 times. He won four general elections, with one lost between third term and fourth. The “winning” government in that case was ousted in 9 months. Altogether, about 15 years served as PM.

    As for the comic, I don’t get it. It’s not funny. The posture just seems like she is exasperated. I see no reason why. If someone explains it here, cool. If not, I don’t care enough to look it up myself.

    Trivia time: B.D. Went to Vietnam War in 1972. Went to Iraq War in 2003. Assuming he was 20 in 1972, that puts him around 51 when he went to Iraq. That would make him about 70 now. So maybe Mel is just embarrassed by her grampa’s praise?

  10. IMHO, no humor is intended.

    Mel is momentarily overwhelmed by conflicting emotions, which include the trauma-scar emotions that she normally deals with and contains, and is unable to reply because she’s weeping into her hands.

  11. ““Hooah” is a common expression of enthusiasm and support in the Army.”

    Maybe Trudeau thinks it’s not and thinks it has become a expression of assault on women. It doesn’t matter if it is; just what the cartoonist thinks.

    “But that’s just it — she doesn’t look traumatized [triggered] in the final panel; she looks exasperated. That’s the puzzle. ”

    Why is that a puzzle? She isn’t triggered. She’s just annoyed that B.D. and Cora just don’t get it and continue to use offensive (so Trudeau assumes) phrases.

    ……..

    “Trivia time: B.D. Went to Vietnam War in 1972. Went to Iraq War in 2003. Assuming he was 20 in 1972, that puts him around 51 when he went to Iraq. That would make him about 70 now. So maybe Mel is just embarrassed by her grampa’s praise?”

    Yeah but all the major character went through a very consistent an nearly canonical time warp in that they were born around 1950, went to college and were in their very early 20s in the late 60s early 70s. Got in a time warp for 12 years and got out of in 1983 when the world ended. The world began again in 1985 and the characters were magically 2 years older now about 23 or 24 years old (nearly exactly 1 year older than I am) since which they’ve aged in real time but maintained memories and full awareness that they came of age in the 60s but are only as old as people born in the 60s. So BD is about 61 now I think. About a year older than I am but with firm identity of being a vietnam vet, a war that ended when I was is elementary school and he (who is now a year older) was about twenty (and had been twenty for about four years.)

  12. “Face-plant”? I am admittedly somewhat of the geeze and therefore out of it, but I do believe in this case it is a face-palm.

  13. My impression was that Mel was exasperated that they were acting like having to fight against sexual violence is a thing to be celebrated. Like, it’s 2021, and people are still having to try to convince people that sexual assault is a bad thing, and that the perpetrators should be punished — she’s exasperated and upset that they’re acting like this is a wonderful thing to be celebrated.

  14. Thanks for the correction, Swimming Man Burning. Probably even “face-palm” isn’t really correct, but it is better than “face-plant”.

  15. I suspect it’s just exasperation or maybe despair – not at BD or Cora – but at the 8 year process and finally having enough buy-in only to be blocked by the committee chairman. Which apparently is what’s happening currently to the real bill being sponsored by Sen. Gillibrand.

  16. Hi larK, I get the poll ok on: CIDU website in Chrome browser on Windows; CIDU website in Opera browser on Windows; CIDU website in Opera browser on Android phone
    The poll is missing on: email notification; WP Reader Mode following sites opera browser on windows

  17. PatPat thanks for mentioning something I wasn’t confident enough to mention before, that Mel seems in part based on Sen. Gillibrand.

    SingBill, of course I will defer to your knowledge of matters Canadian and political. When I said PET was twice PM that was based just on seeing Wikipedia say he “was a Canadian politician who was the 15th prime minister of Canada (1968–1979, 1980–1984)”. … Though now that I look at that formulation, I wonder why they said just 15th and not something like “15th and 17th”, considering that Cleveland is always called the 22nd and 24th U.S. President.

  18. Mitch4: remember, it’s a parliamentary system, so P.E.T. wasn’t actually even elected PM by the people: his party won the election and he was the head of the party, so when Parliament elected a PM, he got it. That’s fungible. In at least some parliamentary systems, the head of the party could quit/die/be forced out the day after the election, and nothing would change: the party would elect a new head, and (assuming a Parliamentary majority) that same person would be PM. You “vote the party, not the person”, at least in theory.

  19. woozy: “Why is that a puzzle?”

    Because, even after reading the comments, it’s still not clear to me what she’s exasperated by. (I think exasperated is more likely than traumatized or moved, but it’s not really clear to me.)

  20. Phil Smith III, true. Trudeau was actually PM 5 times, the first was when he succeeded Pearson as Liberal leader in April 1968, becoming PM. I didn’t count that since he called an election for June 25 of 1968 to establish a mandate.

    Another peculiarity of the system is that you don’t need to have control of the most seats for the GG to appoint you PM. That was what Harper feared would happen when he browbeat Jean to prorogue Parliament.

  21. Translation: “We just heard about the bill you are co-sponsoring and we’re SO proud of you! Not only because you won an election to public office which is SUCH an accomplishment for a woman, but because you’re SO brave, and after ALL you went through. You survived sexual violence! And here you are fighting against sexual violence! It makes us so PROUD just to stand here and watch you!”

    They didn’t have to remind her that she is a survivor. They didn’t have to tell her how proud they were of her doing things that would be unremarkable if a man did them, like sponsoring a bill and being an agent of change. They didn’t have to condescend.

    For all her efforts at change, nothing has changed. Therefore face-palm.

  22. EXACTLY! And also all the other things we are still discussing/arguing over – racism, misogyny, bigotry, who won the War Between the States, ACA, Roe vs Wade, ad nauseam.

  23. Mark in Boston: “They didn’t have to tell her how proud they were of her doing things that would be unremarkable if a man did them, like sponsoring a bill and being an agent of change. They didn’t have to condescend.”

    Er, what? Sponsoring a bill and being an agent of change is a remarkable thing for most people to do, whether male or female. If you had a male friend who was a co-sponsor of major legislation on the floor of the Congress, you would just say “eh, that’s a unremarkable thing that men do all the time?” I would think congratulating them on an impressive feat would be a normal non-condescending thing to do, regardless of their gender.

  24. FWIW, the Canadian father and son PM duo are probably tied for most polarizing federal politician in Canadian history.

  25. WW: Co-sponsoring major legislation on the floor of Congress is what Congresspeople do. It’s their job.

  26. “As for the comic, I don’t get it. It’s not funny.” — It wasn’t meant to be funny. See PatPat‘s comment.

  27. Good grief. I tried to post a comment. It (as happens frequently) wanted me to log in again. I did. It then told me “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” I backed up and the comment was not there. Three rounds of this got the same results each time. The comment is:

    “As for the comic, I don’t get it. It’s not funny.” — It wasn’t meant to be funny. See PatPat‘s comment.

  28. Arrgghh indeed!
    Hey, it happens to me too. I think it’s a matter of browser not redisplaying after login is completed.

  29. For those curious about the poll results, but not wanting to use the poll mechanism to view, here is how it stood, as of Sunday evening, just before the thunderstorms finally arrive we were promised ;/ warned about all day.

  30. Boise Ed: try F5 on Windows, or whatever the equivalent hard refresh is on Mac. Might help.

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