fredag 28 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 31: Death

Today, "Plugger" means "Fisher".

This comic is dull, and spending even one minute a day on it is making me duller. And Homestuck, for those keeping count, continues to grow beyond my ability to express myself with every page. I may continue to update this blog whenever I feel like it, but let's call it what it is: I'm pulling the plug.

So to speak.

torsdag 27 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers turns 30

Pluggers, 20150827:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who uses food to cover the gaping wound in their soul where music should be".

Makes sense, really. If you have no funky flow, no sick beats, no song in your heart, no poetry, no art, nothing but jealousy at ordinary people and their ability to tune in with the fundamental harmonics of the universe and lay down some fresh jams, then why wouldn't you pretend to be joking about fruit preserves being more "your kind" of jam to hide your pain?

I'm not sure if it's funny, though.

Your humble critic's plugger status: My singing is better than my cooking.

onsdag 26 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 29

Pluggers, 20150826:
Today, "Plugger" means "Over two hundred years old".

Well, there's definitely some generational gap here. I've heard of family doctors (though not once in a context of them not being a hilariously old-fashioned concept), but I've no idea why Mr Dog is terrified to see he may meet new people in the waiting room, aside from the basic fear of change.

Do pluggers even visit clinics? I think family doctors are supposed to visit you at home.

But I'm fairly sure if you had one doctor, then got a new one when the old one died, then had that one for the duration of his entire career, and all this happened back when people had a family doctor, and you're still alive now, that'd make you at least two hundred years.

Why does "Plugger" so often mean "Old"? Consider the main writer of the strip: A gestalt of the collective newspaper reader, expressed outwardly as its level of enthusiasm for reading the newspaper. The meaning of Pluggers shows demonstrably that newspapers need to attract a younger readership if they're going to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I'm not, nor could I ever have been, nor will I ever be a plugger today.

tisdag 25 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 28

Pluggers, 20150825:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone in need of a system for their personal effects".

As a rule, I think, if you can remove the entire concept of a "plugger" from the strip and it doesn't change the strip at all, you've struck Pluggers gold. You're also irritating everyone because you put your pluggers into a joke that didn't need them.

"The downside to wearing cargo pants, it takes at least five minutes to find your keys". See? That's a joke right there. Phrase it in funnier words and it's a standup comedy bit. But dressing the joke in Plugger clothes is like, I don't know, what's an obnoxious gimmicky mascot no one needs or cares about? It's like if you stopped people on the street to tell jokes about your mother-in-law while wearing a polar-bear-from-the-Coca-Cola-commercials costume.

Because you work for Coca-Cola damnit, and that suit is the most interesting thing about you.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Because I'm an adult who understands no one else is going to take care of my things for me, I keep my key in the coin compartment of my wallet in my right front pocket. Always.

måndag 24 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 27

Pluggers, 20150824:
Today, "Plugger" means "Music enthusiast".

Maybe even "A fan of whatever band Candace Rutherford recognized on the elevator when she had this one, lonely thought". I'm no mind reader, but it seems far from impossible.

Makes me wish I was blogging about music instead. I don't really know anything about music, or a lot about any musicians, but I love it. Music is sooo much better than Pluggers.

I worry that I'd soon find out how little I actually have to say about music, though. It would be obscene to treat music like I treat Pluggers, trying to find something new to prattle on about every single day just to keep readers interested.

So ironically, this abysmal strip at last shows us one redeeming feature of Pluggers: It's a less intimidating subject to discuss than things that are actually good. Kind of like Muzak really.

I'm your humble critic, and I like to challenge myself.

söndag 23 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 26

Pluggers, 20150823:
Today, "Plugger" means "Responsible consumer".

Blu bluh commercial health care bluh America bluh.

(Seriously, if you need a knee transplant and you can't have it unless you pay new car-levels of money, you live in the wrong country.)

Your humble critic's plugger status: Three weeks in I'm questioning if I've taken this project as far as it will go. Okay, positive.

lördag 22 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 25

Pluggers, 20150822:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person who thinks clothes randomly disintegrate in the dryer and that's where lint comes from".

This isn't rocket science, Mrs Kangaroo. Clothes disintegrate gradually with wear, which is why you get filters full of lint even if no socks go missing, and you usually throw clothes out long before they achieve the state of amorphous rags, let alone loose fiber.

Pluggers wonder idly at the mysteries of the clothes dryer. The rest of us use our hands and eyes and brains to try to figure stuff out, and reserve our wonder for the things that seem wondrous.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Never further from

fredag 21 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 24

Your humble critic has been preoccupied with getting drunk and watching Steven Universe with his brother, so to catch up today we have a combo platter of meanings.

Pluggers, 20150819
"Plugger" means "Person who values efficiency over style".

I don't have a shed, but I use the same principle when I dress myself. However, I usually have enough foresight to take this into account when I buy clothes, which seems contrary to the unspoken rule here saying pluggers have to buy crap they don't need in obedience of their nesting instincts that ends up being used for useless make-work projects so they don't feel wasteful.

This actually describes one guy I know. Dude loves shopping for tools. Everything from screwdrivers to small tractors. Also tree plants and occasionally farm animals. If his wife didn't go behind his back to return as many of these purchases as humanly possible their summer home would be overrun with geese armed with power drills on a yearly basis.

Of course, this guy is pushing eighty and has since his stroke a vocabulary of five words and the impulse control of a four year old.

Pluggers, 20150820
And here we see "Plugger" means "Committed dog walker".

I'm not sure I can add anything that would make this concept more ridiculous. At least the dog owner is a kangaroo instead of a dog. That'd have been weird. Though honestly that dog looks suspiciously like a character in the strip. Maybe this is how they are born: Made to socialize with large enough groups of other animals to force them to develop language, conscience, blue-collar work skills and a paunch. 

I don't know. All I know is, if you live in the kind of neighborhood where everyone has dogs learning their names is probably a thing you do, but Amy Laney is probably mistaken about how universal that experience is. Not all of us live in dog-saturated suburbia or downtown Detroit.

Pluggers, 20150821
And now "Plugger" means "Person manifesting an existential paradox state of reduction by 75%".

75% reduction of what, you ask? But that's the wrong question. It's just a reduction by three quarters. That's why it's an existential paradox. 

Mr Bear takes twice as long to move half as much lawn, as we can see. But there's no basis of comparison here. It's not twice as long as he thinks it should take, or half the lawn he used to be able to mow when he was younger and stronger. None of that. It just is an amount of lawn mowing in a vacuum reduced to one quarter.

It's like how the Moon has about 25% of the mass of the Earth, and then you remove the Earth from that equation and you have just a Moon with 25% mass. I'm no mathematician, but I think the only word for that is paradox.

And what does this mean for Pluggerdom? Oh, it just opens up literally an entire new dimension of meaning. Pluggers are no longer limited to merely being things or people that are possible to be. Pluggers can be the impossible, now.

Pluggers can. . .

Pluggers. . .

Touch the untouchable

See the invisible

Do the impossible

Break the unbreakable

Fight the power

tisdag 18 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 23

Pluggers, 20150818:
Today, "Plugger" means "Computer illiterate who acts like it's a medical emergency when they need someone to turn it off and on again so their children will come and they don't have to pay a professional."

Yeah, Mrs Dog's cheapness in the face of her own incompetence is sad enough, but look at how upset Ms Dog is. She came here expecting a heart attack at least. What's the dang rush?

Oh wait I've got it. Mrs Dog has important hacking to do.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I barely have anyone to call if I had a medical emergency.

måndag 17 augusti 2015

Strange comics: Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield, for those two of you who don't know, is a comic strip about an evil cat, a stupid dog and their pathetic owner-man. It's remarkable primarily for its blandness; a calculated, meticulously designed lowest common denominator-appeal developed by a marketer and refined over the decades to a blatantly, proudly soulless level of franchise-building purity rivaled only by the upstart Hello Kitty derivative. A true American success story.

But business aside, by nature of its design the comic offers a valuable service to the community: A template for comedy. It's not funny, oh no, it leaves all the work up to the audience. But it enables a great variety of work to be made. It's been doctored, randomized, acted out, conspirafied and homaged, parodied, remixed and taken the piss out of to hell and back, and the results are often hysterically funny on several levels.

But my favorite in the genre is Garfield Minus Garfield.
Strip for 20150122
It's fascinating how well the strip holds up with the main character removed. But we soon forget he was ever supposed to be there, and the strip becomes, as the site describes it, an existential "journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb".

Sometimes it's absurd. (See above.) Frequently it's pointless, art school project strips with no beginning, middle or end; a single image or line divorced from context and floating in an abstract pastel-colored space.
Strip for 20150311
But those individual strips become something greater when standing next to their brothers. They begin to tell a story.
Strip for 20140731
It's a story I think most of us can recognize ourselves in. Our real selves, behind the scaffolding of ego the real strip tries to reinforce.
Strip for 20150514
It's heartbreakingly bleak.
Strip for 20150512
And I just can't stop staring.
Strip for 20140930
Honestly, I wish I could take every single strip on the site and cram them into my eyes. There's very little else I can say.
Strip for Valentine's day, year one (?)
Just read it tenderly, and with care. Let it linger as long as you dare. Small doses is probably best.

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 22

Pluggers, 20150817:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person whose unconscious is telling them to stop throwing away money on some patently ridiculous memory vitamin bullshit that's probably destroying their liver, but is nonetheless determined to live their life ruled by the fear of not being in control of their decaying faculties".

I think that's what it's really about. Not the fear of going senile, which is something that's hard to vividly picture even with a young and pliable mind, but the pathological need to feel in control of your world. Taking a pill, while ignoring that you don't actually know if it works, how it works or even where it's from, is still an act you decide to perform.

It's the same flaw in our reason that makes people deny vaccines for their children. It's not that they think their children are better off dead than living with Autism - although as someone with a diagnosed Autism spectrum disorder I'm always willing to accuse Autism Speaks and anyone else who suggests neuropsychiatric variance is inherently undesirable of precisely that - but that they need to believe there's something they can do, that they understand what causes Autism and have the power to prevent it; that it's under their control.

I want to show these people, in ways they can't ignore, that they're not actually in control of shit, and it doesn't matter how much they want to be, and they have only to accept they're not and learn to live with it, and they don't need to be afraid of feeling powerless. I don't know how I'd accomplish that except with the aid of extended demoralizing torture that would make me no better than the bullies I had in school, though. Maybe that's how the bullied become the bullies.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negligible

söndag 16 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 21

Pluggers, 20150816:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone with the level of attention span difficulties that makes them a traffic hazard  because even while driving they can't pass by a text without reading it but still insists on driving everywhere".

I mean both these cars are moving at liftoff speed. The tiniest malfunction, bug on the windshield or microseond lapse in concentration is going to have explosive consequences. At this distance, Mr Bear has guaranteed such a mistake will kill all three of them. And all because he couldn't wait to get out of his car to laugh at bumper stickers like a healthy muscle-powered person.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I don't have a driver's licence because I worry about this exact thing

lördag 15 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 20

Pluggers, 20150815:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person who uses cash".

This can seem old-fashioned and quaint to some people. Some people even want to get rid of cash altogether, reasoning that every legitimate place of business should be able to afford a card reader and the banks' fees for using said card readers. And every legitimate person should be able to afford a debit card with an accredited bank.

This lie is nearly as dangerous as money itself. It places more power in the hands of the powerful, it pushes not having money closer to actually being a crime in itself, and it makes the economy even further removed from reality than it already is.

I believe something like 3% of all the money in existence has physical form. The rest is a shell game, a parlor trick, a soap bubble, a breath, a heartbeat in between the moment where we have our fun and the moment where our bill comes due. Someone, at some point in the future, will suffer for this imbalance; this koyaanisqatsi.

And I'm almost certain it won't be the banks.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Poor enough to use paper money almost every day.

fredag 14 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 19

Pluggers, 20150814:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who can afford a house but not a water sprinkler".

You know how the bees that make our food are mysteriously dying? Part of the problem seems to be grass lawns, which when kept properly trimmed and dull provide the bee equivalent of olestra: It looks like food from a distance, but all you get is anal leakage.

The flat green surface Mr Dog is standing on indicates he's part of the problem, and he should grow himself a proper garden instead of standing around all day hosing down his lifeless suburban field of hollow dreams. It'd look pretty, use less water and help keep us all alive.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I'll most likely never be a homeowner.

torsdag 13 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 18

Pluggers, 20150813:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who uses their cat as a substitute for conversation".

It's hard to get a clearer picture of the devaluation the word has suffered over the years, from referring to a specific class of person (but we don't live in a class society, oh nooo) with a specific attitude, family structure, set of values, type of job and life philosophy to the gibbering horseshit we see here that attempts to appeal to literally everyone who ever has been or imagines at some point they could be in the presence of an animal.

By the way, I think I need a  "symbolic dialogue" tag. Here we see again this kind of dialogue I really, really hope the writer doesn't think is something people actually say, even to their pets. Because in what world do you need to debate which of these two places to go to first? If you're picking up a package that's heavier than your supply of drugs you go to the drug store first; otherwise it probably doesn't matter at all and you should just go where the wind takes you. Or where you always go if you're the traditional type.

So what we're seeing is a representation of the pointless, useless talk you see from people to whom speech is a goal to pursue in itself, rather than a means to exchange information. Hopefully.

(I don't understand those people.)

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negative; I only talk to my imaginary friends

But I'm not lonely, dear reader, I have you!

onsdag 12 augusti 2015

Demons gotta die baby

This part of page 25 of Kill Six Billion Demons is not really indicative of the comic:
But it's a hard comic to fit within the margins of this poorly designed blog.

If I had to use one word to describe it, the word that springs to mind is "bold". It's a young webcomic - I went through the story so far in a few hours of reading, and I'm not a fast reader - and I'm not yet sure what it's about.

It seems to be about a young woman with dyed blonde hair whose very special night with her boyfriend is interrupted when a mysterious stranger shows up, shoves a brilliantly glowing key into her forehead and gets beheaded by the army chasing him (approximately in that order), which separates her skin, flesh, bones and vascular system from each other with explosive force and then puts her together in a strange place called Throne, populated by criminals, conquerors, avengers, knights, demons, angels, gods, supergods and dead hobos; made out of the corpses of the primordial creator YISUN and their servants, situated at the very heart of the world's 777 777 universes and overflowing with its own wild, spiraling, freight train-like in its self-assurance mythology, where she bumps into the angel 82 White Chain Born in Emptiness Returns to Subdue Evil and the two of them, bound to each other by debt and honor, are set by some circumstance on a mission to, well.

It's a city crawling with life in so many different shapes and sizes it boggles the mind. You'd think it doesn't matter so much, but the ubiquitousness of characters (and two-legged backdrops) that fall deeply into extremes between the bite-sized and the skyscraper-sized has a big effect. The human mind is only comfortable with a certain scale of things, and here we're never even certain what the frame of reference is by which we're supposed to judge the scale. It'd dizzying, baffling, even frightening; it makes you hesitate to look close, contrary to what you need to do to have any chance of grasping what's going on.

The author known only as Abaddon employs a loose, scribbling art style, as seen above. The linework does its job; the colors seem chosen for efficiency more than aesthetic. This, in my opinion, is the work of someone who has things to do and people to be; a furious, relentless march to pour as much of this strange world onto the page as fast as possible. This is the work of someone with complete confidence in the quality of their story, the validity of their worldbuilding, the authenticity of their characters.

Which also shows in the assorted psalms, spasms, parables and historical texts that accompany most pages as an extension of the narrative intermixed with glib comments on the story by the author. Not to mention how they're quite open about making up the story and the characters as they go along and invite the reader to contribute.

It's really a lot of information to take in, and Abaddon doesn't make it easy for the reader. I like that. Nothing worse than an author what underestimates their audience. It gets frustrating when you catch up with the comic to date and there are still so few answers, but then, that's serial publication for you.

I like the world and its people. I hate sleeping because I'm always missing stuff. Kill Six Billion Demons is one of those comics that make me wish I could sleep for years so I don't have to wait to find out what happens. But then, that'd only mean it'd be too late to be a part of it.

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 17

Pluggers, 20150812:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who needs to use the bathroom".

Well sure, we have some additional qualifiers involving timing, the gender of your progeny and maybe some subtle strokes about puritanical terror in the face of bodily functions, but it seems petty to get hung up on such arbitrary and pointless details even if they seem to be trying to make a joke about how old men have prostate problems. We're trying to be inclusive here and what this strip is saying is that pluggerness is a state dependent on how badly you need to go to the bathroom at this moment.

As our food and drink moves through us, at a certain point we all become pluggers.

Your humble critic's plugger status: I just went, so negative

tisdag 11 augusti 2015

In which a political cartoon is interpreted

Steve Breen (?) cartoon, unknown date:
What is satirist Breen trying to tell us here? For one thing, he's wrong. Liberal arts students do not think of menial laborers as "losers". We think they perform the very important job of keeping the world turning and saving us from having to get a honest job.

Although Mr Artist here is not wrong. A career in welding is probably going to make Mr Smith die young, with a dulled mind and a wrecked body, in pain and darkness and despair over a life squandered. All in service of his corporate masters, in exchange for a pitiful crumb of their table.

And the worst of it part is, he doesn't have any choice. He can't choose to pursue a higher education. He has been prepared for his work by a society that teaches him learning is for the weak; that won't let him study at a level where he may justify getting in debt or qualify for a scholarship. He can't afford to have what he wants, and so he's an easy target for the allure of a quick, large and steady paycheck.

And then he'll start a family and have literally no way out. Every single full time worker I've known in my life has worked to support their family, not because they enjoyed their work or thought it was meaningful. Just because they had to.

In the game of life, yes, Smith is a loser. Don't mock him, but have some pity. Don't blame him, but blame the ones who turned his life into a game.

Your humble critic's yearly income: ~$16 000 in disability benefits and rent supplementals.

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 16

Pluggers, 20150811:
Today, "Plugger" means "Someone who jealously guards their cookie recipe to the point where they literally cannot imagine anything worse than seeing it published on the local gossip magazine's website where other people may get to enjoy it".

Note, by the way, how in this nightmare Mr Chicken (or is ir Mr Dog? How do fable creature marriages work?) displays an appropriate amount of slack-jawed, newspaper-dropping shock at this horrendous turn of events. In this worst of all possible worlds, hubby is there for her. He doesn't really matter; his reaction is irrelevant, as are his comforts. Deep down, all Mrs Chicken loves is that no one else can have her peach muffins. All she cares about.

Anyway, I was going to make a joke about how no hacker in the world could be paid to leak Ma Chicken's secret recipe, or about how utterly unbelievable it is that she'd store such information on an electronic device, but then I thought over what kind of characters and authors we're talking about here and realized when this chicken woman says "We've been hacked" what she means is that Mrs Rabbit looted her recipe box when they were over for supper last time and the local gossip magazine's website is having a field day with it.

I'm your humble critic, and I believe truth should be told.

måndag 10 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part this is my life now

Pluggers, 20150810:
Today, "Plugger" means "Male-identifying Western-themed TV show enthusiast without Internet connection".

Did you know movies and TV shows used to be made primarily for middle aged white men? Because they were the buying powers and the decision makers of the house. It was a marketing study that changed everything by showing that middle aged television owners aren't actually susceptible to marketing because they generally know what they like. (See previous installments re. crusty minds incapable of change.)

And that's how we got the now-classic "13-35" key demographic. Why make shows for people who don't care about advertising?

So we don't see a lot of new Westerns these days. (Team Coen's True Grit was a masterpiece, but, you know, remake). And reruns is all you get if you don't know how to work the Inter Netflix on the pirate machine. Kind of weird when a grown man and old film enthusiast is taken completely by surprise that an actor he idolizes did a movie sixty years ago but imagine his joy.

Funny story, you know in Blazing Saddles when Bart invokes Randolph Scott's name to stir the hearts of the townsfolk? Here in Sweden, the subtitlers translated "Randolph Scott" as "John Wayne". That was incredibly confusing to me when I was six and didn't speak a word of English.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negative

söndag 9 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 14

Pluggers, 20150809:
Today, "Plugger" means "One who still uses travelers cheques on vacation".

Sometimes the strip does my job for me.

Okay, clearly they're trying to make a metaphor about people who're set in their ways, who've stopped paying attention to the changing world around them, stopped taking on board new ideas like internationally connected debit cards and ATMs and frauds that have made travelers cheques increasingly obsolete for the last twenty-five damn years, and refuse to accept that it's all but impossible to actually do things the way they used to even if it did used to be at all practical back then; who have let themselves be left behind and grown old and ossified, not in body, but in mind; who have become afraid of change.

I have seen twelve year olds like that, though. They're not a joke. They're frightening and sad. They're holding my country's parliament hostage at the moment, working to undo all progress of the last eighty years and help Europe back to the "good" old days when women were properly grateful to be allowed to vote and foreigners knew their place and nobody would get on your case for stringing up a few queers in the woods.

That is where legitimizing the fear of change and turning it into political ideology gets us.

So I'm sticking with the strip's story.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Noooooooo

lördag 8 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 13

Pluggers, 20150808:
Today, "Plugger" means "Teacher".

Really. That's all it's saying. If you are someone who, in your life, has learned things and, at some point, teach these things to others and they learn from you, you're a plugger.

That's the kinder interpretation, anyway. I read "Work hard and keep your nose clean" as a symbolic advice, a representation of generic basic learning, a summation of the fundamental things that people should learn along with the precepts of language. If we take it literally, it's the kind of toothless, content-free advice you'd expect from a discount fortune cookie or a robot programmed with conversational phrases but no actual understanding of human communication and they're making a joke at the expense of old people and their too often dissolving minds.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Positive

fredag 7 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 12

Pluggers, 20150807
Today, "Plugger" means "Old person", as it almost usually does.

But the nuances to this specific oldness are many. A plugger needs to have driven a four on the floor (never heard that expression before) as their primary (only?) mode of transportation, and needs to have moved directly from driving their ancient car to being unable to move without a four-legged walker for support. Those two vehicles specifically, and not in the sense of "vehicles", but "modes of transportation", as in "what are these lumpy things attached to my butt for?"

Your humble critic's mode of transportation: Apostle's horses

torsdag 6 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 11

Pluggers, 20150806:
Today, "Plugger" means "Scam artist in 1987".

I think that time Ernie had a storyline about Sid "The Human Piranha" Fernwelter making up a long series of fake names in order to get out of paying his utility bills actually happened in 1987. There was a time when a dishonest person might successfully fool debt collectors by smooth talking, but that was before credit card companies started doing a better job at preying on people than any human beings could.

I know, given our lives are run by corporations built up to effectively be psychopaths using people any way they can to benefit their shareholders, I shouldn't be upset with little people and their little lies, but it bugs me that there are people who cannot grasp that debts they owe is money they have spent. Yes, you spent it before you had it, and you may not even remember anything about the poker game where you spent it, but you still owe that money to be paid. Debt doesn't go away before you pay it. That's not how money works.

My cousin's check for $1600 that he owes me has been in the mail for over twelve years now.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Zero credit, zero debt

onsdag 5 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 10

Pluggers, 20150805:
Today, the para-stable matrix of the hyperword "Plugger" returns to meaning "Old".

Maybe not as old as Keith Roberts thinks, though. We had party lines when I was a teenager in the 1990s. I called them with our rotary, bakelite phone. I'd have guessed they died out with the advent of fiberoptics, but it turns out they still exist. Just not in your big city-centric reality. What, you thought the subway map marked the edge of the civilized world? Turns out there are still people living out there, and I'm not even talking about suburbs. I'm talking about isolated communities deep in the wilderness where you'd have to vespa for days to get a wireless connection.

Or, wait, maybe I'm reading this wrong and it's not about the cultural isolation of the incestuous Pluggers author/readership where they come to think something as blatantly unthoughtful as "Where did those party lines we used to have before we moved to the city go?" is a universally shared thing that everyone of their generation is thinking. Maybe it's about being so old you start believing your party's lines and actually value their rhetoric over their demonstrated interests, competence or integrity; that quoting a good-sounding soundbite is better than doing useful things like let's say keeping people from starving to death in the street.

I've seen that level of oldness. It's not pretty. But it's perfectly in line with what we expect from Pluggers.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Probably negative, sadly.

tisdag 4 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 9

Pluggers, 20150804:
Today, "Plugger" means "Person whose main contact with popular culture is through the newspaper crossword puzzle".

I despise The Big Bang Theory and its conceit of laughing at people for being nerds, but I've also never finished a crossword puzzle in my life, so I'm feeling left out by everyone here. I, however, have made peace with fact that the world doesn't revolve around me, and I don't beleaguer it for failing to make an effort to keep me in the loop. I accept that me not being able to name any of the actors playing in The Big Bang Theory is due to my own lack of interest, not because the world has gone mad.

The world was never made for me in the first place, so maybe it comes easier for me than for people who used to be normal and now find out they've turned old. I don't know.

But I do know if you want to do anything, working to make the world into a place for you is going to be a more constructive endeavor than passive-aggressively joking about how a TV show that's named after an astronomical concept has "stars" in it.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negative

måndag 3 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 8

Pluggers, 20150803:
Today, "Plugger" means wait we had basically this joke just two days ago. Fine, "Plugger" means "One who justifies their bad decisions by transparently twisting known facts into law which they can obey to the letter while still indulging in their ultimately self-destructive appetites".

How do you like that, Brookins?

How does it taste?

Sweet, like a hot slice of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, perhaps?

Your humble critic's plugger status: Positive


söndag 2 augusti 2015

Gee I hope I don't remember what I learned from the future so I can stop it from happening because it's just too painful

Funky Winkerbean, 20150802:
Some backstory: Funky Winkerbean is, to me, chiefly a comic about Mr Les Moore and his love affair with his loss of his wife Lisa, and what an amazing person he and everyone around him thinks he is because of how deep and profound that love is, and what an amazing writer he is because of the uncompromising, personal vision supposedly shown in his book about his dead wife. So in this storyline, where the cast of the comic has a reunion with their younger selves from when the comic was funnier, the plot is chiefly about Old Les (with a goatee and blue hair to the right) dominating the "In memoriam" table with his stuff about Lisa, Young Les (with black hair in the middle) having super intense manfeelings when he finds out Lisa is going to die, and Lisa herself (the very plain girl talking to Young Les) being ignored completely.

And so we see the man's caliber, in the end. He has the choice to potentially rewrite history, saving a woman from a horrible, pointless death in cancer - someone he knows and supposedly loves with all his heart, no less - and he does nothing. Twice! His younger and older selves could both try something.

We have always thought the older Les was far too deeply in love with his own martyrdom to care to do anything to get over Lisa, but I didn't think he'd literally let a person die in order to get to feel sorry for himself.

And what's the younger one's excuse? He's too overcome with terror and wants to deny what's going to happen? What he knows is going to happen, because he's literally in the future? He doesn't like it, but he's not even going to try to do anything about it? It's not like everything else worked out so well for everyone  he can't risk upsetting anything; in fact the whole cast should be working together to take notes on how to make the exact opposite of this heavy-lidded, anhedonic, misanthropic, lethargic future devoid of hope happen, if the narrative had half as much interest in all the rest of them put together as it does in Les.

In conclusion, I hope Les gets cancer and dies alone and unmourned. Soon.

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 7

Pluggers, 20150802:
Today, "Plugger" means "Construction worker".

Very straightforward. Almost old school.

Did you know construction workers have a higher incidence of suicide than any other distinguishable profession? I read it maybe a decade ago in some glossy magazine. It's because tradition dictates they get up at 5 in the morning and start working, to show that they are Real Men and tougher than common folk. Like a reasonable person could figure out using only their ass, this is Not True and only serves to make them more miserable than common folk. It turns out forcing yourself to wake up before dawn five days of the week for indefinite periods is really bad for you in the long term!

That coffee and donuts breakfast on the road probably isn't doing Mr Bear any favors either.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Negative like a HIV test

lördag 1 augusti 2015

The Meaning of Pluggers, part 6

Pluggers, 20150801:
Today, "Plugger" means "One who eats fruit and vegetables".

If I wanted to be mean, I could take the view that pluggers are people who think old wives' tales are a working substitute for affordable health care, i.e. Americans. But that'd be contrary to the principle of letting as many people as humanly possible feel like Pluggers is talking about them, so it seems the less likely interpretation.

Your humble critic's plugger status: Positive