Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Group 8, 008-01 The Comic Strip Philosophy Group – Shonda’s Contribution

My group is analyzing the philosophy found in comic strips. The comic that I have chosen is Andy Capp, which focuses on the life of a cartoon character and his interactions with his family and community.
The specific strip that I have chosen depicts a local politician knocking on doors, asking for votes. Andy asks him why he should vote for him and the M.P. replies that he is interested in reforming the justice system. It then shows Andy walking through his living room and telling his wife who was at the door, to which she replies “Oh, have they let him out on bail?”
This specific strip speaks to Machiavellian leadership and self-interest, both of which are common in today’s society.
The M.P. clearly shows little regard for the justice system and only seeks to reform it to his benefit. He wants to appear likeable and concerned with the wants and needs of the citizens, but only in so far as it wins him votes and gets him to where he wants to be. He seeks to lead, but does not hold himself to the same ethical standards of those around him. He sees no harm in seeking votes on the ethical grounds of reforming the justice system, even though he was just let out on bail for an offense of some sort.
The wife’s response shows us the general attitude of society, in accepting that this sort of behavior is common place with our leaders. She is not depicted as being upset by this at all, or shocked, showing us that most are resigned to the fact that this is how things are. Our society does not demand or force change upon its leaders. We seem to have forgotten that our votes change laws, change the way that things are and in fact, that we as the people set the standards for what is allowable and what is not in our countries and in our governments.

The Machiavellian leadership that exists, only exists because we as a society allow it to. Which raises the question, is this acceptable and why have we become so ok with it? Why are we not shocked by this sort of behavior from our local officials and why aren’t we doing something about it?


  1. (HI Shonda! I'm posting here because I keep forgetting to sign on as an author =/)

    My group has decided to do our presentation project on the philosophy of various newspaper comic strips. My group consists of myself, Jackques, Breanna, Jacob, Madi, Shonda and Connor. We each picked a newspaper of our liking to discuss in class this Thursday. I have chosen the task to create a PowerPoint for the presentation.
    The comic strip I’ve chosen is one of my all-time favorites, Garfield. Garfield is a comic strip created by Jim Davis that has been published since 1978. The strip focuses on three main characters: Garfield, Jon, and Odie. It’s simple to observe the comic shares the witty and lazy humor of Garfield towards his owner. However, I believe Garfield has a philosophy of his own. His life philosophy is pretty simple: Sleep, Eat, Sleep More. But I view Garfield as a stoic. Garfield believes that we should only worry about things we can change. Maybe his laziness and uninterested motives are because he simply doesn’t care. Why would he bother with something he can’t change? Seneca believed to be truly alive you should live like a recluse and away from other people. Stoics believed calming and clouding your emotions would allow you to think more straightforward. And honestly, does it get more straightforward and unemotional than Garfield.
    I have also found some funny and stoic-like comic strips from Garfield. I plan on incorporating them into our presentation. Hopefully everyone in my group will have a comic strip we can incorporate into the PowerPoint to share to the class.

  2. Anonymous7:49 PM CST

    Connor Dean Section 8 Group 1 Contribution (I also forgot to sign on as an author, so I'm posting here too.)

    Each member of Group 1 is selecting and analyzing a different comic strip to find any philosophical meanings within them. The comic I chose was Beetle Bailey, my favorite newspaper comic strip. It is written by Mort Walker and has been published since 1950. It centers around a small fictional US Army unit. The unit's most infamous character is Beetle Bailey, a lazy slacker that does nothing but sleep and get in trouble, but actually knows more than he lets on.
    Beetle seems to rotate between embodying multiple philosophies, sometimes holding a stoic approach to everything. When he's shown as a stoic and a cynic, he's portrayed as lazy, refusing to do work that he deems futile. Beetle accepts that sometimes there's thing he can't change, no matter how hard he tries. For instance, Beetle frequently refuses to do anything when he's on cleaning duty, always citing that the place will just get dirty again anyways.
    Other times, Beetle holds an Epicurean outlook, doing what he wants while being unafraid (or just oblivious) to the consequences that could come of it. For instance, in one comic, Beetle, while on duty, attempts to steal food from the mess hall while the battalion's officers are waiting for food. Naturally, it doesn't end well, but Beetle was determined to do what he could to enjoy his time. Other characters from the series shared this outlook, like Rocky, a female member of the battalion that frequently goes drinking when off duty, often getting in trouble with the MPs and the General.
    And lastly, Mort Walker even wrote some Beetle Bailey strips that actually poked fun at intellectual topics. One of them depicted one character, Zero (a member of the battalion known for being rather unintelligent) and Beetle talking. Beetle mentions that Zero "shouldn't believe everything that anyone tells him." To which Zero replied "Does that include what you just said?" I think that this exchange serves as a perfect parody of the concept of Skepticism, showing that if you are a true skeptic and properly doubt everything, then shouldn't you also doubt you own belief in Skepticism?
    All in all, Beetle Bailey is a fun little comic strip that makes light of the Army life, but looking at it now, I can clearly see some of the philosophical influences on certain characters.