Phoebe vs. President Bill | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Phoebe vs. President Bill

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To the editors:

I almost wrote to respond to Phil Albee's September 15 complaint about the new layout of Section Three, but I restrained myself. "Just some malcontent," I decided. But Bruce Palmer's vicious attack on President Bill [Letters, October 13] demands rejoinder.

To take things in ascending order of importance. First, bravo on all the new changes. It's good to see you shaking things up a bit. Moving things around makes the otherwise turgid Section Three more fun to look through.

Second: Phil, Bruce--in three years of reading the Reader I have tried to like Lynch & Whitney's strip, I really have. But it's just not funny. I want to like it; it often has ideas that I think should be funny. But it's just a dog. Maybe one strip in five is decent. And their recent burst of self-reflexivity (Look at us! We're in our own strip!) has left me real cold. P&TPP should be buried as far back as it can go.

Finally, I'd like to congratulate William L. Brown on his brilliant new creation. President Bill is the best thing I've seen in years and the most consistently funny strip now running in the Reader. I put the inaugural, six- panel offering up on the fridge and laughed at it every day for two weeks. Lynch & Whitney can't hold a candle to this.

At the risk of being banal, I'll explicate a little so that maybe Phil and Bruce can join in the fun next time too. President Bill is funny because it takes the everyday absurdities of the workings of our authoritarian-wannabe state and reimagines them happening in a magically-instated progressive government. It distances us from the usual outrages of government practice by showing how even the best political ideas could go haywire if pursued in the style of Reagan, Bush, et al.

Thus our jaded acceptance of the ever-continuing string of right-wing inanities receives the shock of a fresh perception. This helps clarify just how boffo our "leaders" really are, while allowing us to fantasize about holding the reins of power ourselves, and giving us the psychic relief of being able to laugh about what is really a rather dire political situation. Pretty neat stuff, huh? (Of course, this doesn't work as well if you're a Republican.)

Long Live President Bill!

Carl Smeller

W. Farwell

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