Project Wonderful Banner

Monday, August 18, 2008

That damned Freedom Fighter

What's Mallard raving about today?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

As if yesterday were not enough to peg the smug superiority meter, today Mallard is better than you because he read Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and you didn't.

Of course in acting superior to everyone, Mallard conveniently ignores the fact that some of those whose eyeballs fall on his work have read Solzhenitsyn. He also ignores the fact that, unlike him, many of those people have understood it.

Plus, isn't reading Solzhenitsyn something that only Elitists would do? Just spelling it correctly made me suspicious that Mallard is an Elitist.


exanonymous said...

If one pays homage to a famous figure (famous for good things, that is) one should not draw the eyeballs crossed and rolling up in the head like the person is currently dying in the comic.

factinista said...

Mallard's using the death of another human being to inflate his own ego? Typical.

Kaitlyn said...


I looked him up on wikipedia, and he told the world about the gulags and got kicked out of the USSR.

A communist country.

I can't believe he used the word freedom fighter. I keep thinking that has a weighted meaning, but I'm thinking I'm wrong because a) my 4th grade science project sucked and I've never read Solzhenitsyn.

Erich said...

Note that, while chiding us for not reading Solzhenitsyn's works, Mallard doesn't claim to have actually read them himself...

Truce Binsley said...

At least John McCain has read Solzhenitsyn.

Kaitlyn said...

I deleted a bit from my first comment, but not all of it.

The communist country part.

Of course he's a noble freedom fighter - he was fighting for freedom from a COMMUNIST dictatorship.

Which is the only time to fight against the government.

Any other time and you're a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Solzhenitsyn was anti-semitic, wasn't he?

Michael said...

I read the Wikipedia page on Solzhenitsyn. Does that count?

From what I understand, his works aren't required reading along the lines of the Bill of Rights, 1984, or Brave New World. It's not even "feel guilty because, like everyone else, you haven't read it" like John Locke or the Federalist papers. He's not even as crucial as Vonnegut, about which you failed to make a similar cartoon after he died; the greatest living American author at the time of his death. So, Mallard, stop with the smugness as if you've read his stuff.

Robert said...

Apparently Solzhenitsyn's work is so powerful it can transform the color of one's feathers.

Anthony said...

@erich: Exactly! I thought the same thing. There's nothing in the strip that indicates anything other than Mallard alluding to Solzhenitsyn-- Not a quote, not an analytical appreciation. Seriously, Mallard reads?

Kaitlyn said...

The reason you should know his works up and down is because he hated communism.

Well, guys, time to face facts. One year in a state university, and I've never heard of the guy. Of course, I haven't taken a course where he would come up, but it's the school's fault for not incorporating his work into every class, from Russian History to Math.

EddyPo said...

You know Tinz is very excited about this guy, probably because of the Russia/Georgia conflict which has sprung up recently (2 week lag?) He gets to rage against the "Evil Empire" again which he really really missed.

Hey Tinz, your neocon roots are showing.

Michael said...

He is most famous for exposing the system of secret prisons known as the gulag, where enemies of the state were held without basic human rights such as habeus corpus. They were tortured to produce false confessions (with U.N.-banned practices such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation), and were held indefinitely outside the legal system with no government accountability. Human rights groups like Amnesty International spoke out against these "grave human rights abuses".

Of course Mallard, a fervent believer in human rights, has read Solzhenitsyn!

Gold-Digging Nanny said...

I read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch in my high school A.P. Literature class.

Public education rocks!

rewinn said...

Solzhenitsyn really is someone worth reading. One Day in the Life ... is right up there with "1984".

Solzhenitsyn may or may not have been anti-Semetic. No one lacks failings, and anti-Semetism is rife in Russia.

We have to take great human beings as they are, not as we would like them to be.

All that said ... today's is another lazily written strip.

The "oh yeah...." has no function except to take up space that would be better served by making the green ducky actually HOLDING A BOOK!

The essence of drawing is to SHOW, not TELL. Poor Tinsley can't do layout and doesn't have an editor, which is doubly unfortunate because the literal message of today's strip is 100% correct.

Well, maybe only 50% correct. Just as important as READING Solzhenitsyn is DISCUSSING his ideas and opposing the ALL-POWERFUL EXECUTIVE which Tinsley lauds most of the time.

(truce binsley has a good McPoint)

MartyRotten said...

Maybe it's just me but Alexander Solzhenitsyn looks an awful lot like Karl Marx in that strip. What's up with that?

GeoX said...

The point is: a dimwitted authoritarian dickhead has no fucking right to namecheck Solzhenitsyn: seriously, Bruce: I know you only like him because he opposed communism, but he also kind of hated American culture. I think some of his view in that regard were a li'l bit nutty, but unlike Bruce, he actually had principles, some of which were very brave. Tinsley, on the other hand is a small-minded twerp with a noxious, mean-spirited little comic strip. He's pretty much the opposite of anything brave or principled.

In conclusion: Tinsley sucks. But we all knew that.

Michael said...

Thanks rewinn - I'll put that book on my reading queue!

Everett Volk said...

Anybody else find it weird that the Tinz drew a picture of Karl Marx to celebrate Solzhenitsyn's death? I do.

Also, I wouldn't necessarily dismiss Solzhenitsyn. Instead, try reading The Gulag Archilpelago and A Clockwork Orange concurrently. I found it to be a marvelous way to gain insight into the minds of the individuals who's job it is to actually run the machinery of the authoritarian state.

Marion Delgado said...

I read a couple of volumes of Arkhipelag Gulag in the original, and let me add it was no pleasure, after a while, looking up Alexander Isayevich's archaic Russian in "Dal's" (the Russian equivalent of "Webster's") got pretty old. He was a reactionary rebel against modernity in every area he could be, including "new" words not hundreds of years old, and a Slavophile.

I lost much, but not all, of my respect for him over the years - I think he lied blatantly and repeatedly about Cold War issues, was an unreliable historian, and had ludicrous double standards.

I also note that his NY times obit says he was imprisoned simply for calling Stalin the Whiskered One ... that's not correct. He was corresponding with a friend, and one of them said in writing that "the whiskered one" deserved a bullet. For that he was sentenced to 8 years in a labor camp, followed by an indeterminate sentence of exile from Russia proper. It's almost certainly his status as a Major that kept him from being killed or given 25 years to life.

But to expect the patron saint of the Cold War to die and not be exploited/memorialized by Tinsley would be a true miracle.

Marion Delgado said...

A.I. Solzhenitsyn was not anti-Semitic at all. This set him apart from many other Slavophiles. His treatment of Jews in his fiction is uniformly sympathetic and he often spoke out publicly, and wrote commentary, against anti-Semitism in Russia.

He was also fanatically pro-Israel, since he saw them as a Cold War ally. That's part of the double standard I referred to above. His depiction of how the people in the camps knew the North Koreans and Russians had started the Korean War could have been applied, word for word, to Israel in the 1967 war, but he reversed himself transparently.

Obviously, many people like James Hagee are both near-anti-semites and Dispensationalist Zionists, etc., but Solzhenitsyn did not fall into that category at all.

If I could make an analogy, Zionism is typically to some degree, large or small, anti-Arab, anti-Islamic, imperialist, religiously partisan and somewhat racist, and all of those could be applied to typical Slavophile philosophy making appropriate changes. But the cultural Zionism of someone like Noam Chomsky is free of those taints. I would say Solzhenitsyn's Slavophile orientation was equivalent to Chomsky's Zionism.