Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Doonesbury Passes the Torch to a New Generation

posted by Nell Minow

Doonesbury was the voice of my generation.  Joanie Caucus and I started law school the same year.  As the Doonesbury characters were getting married and having children, and surviving the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, and 00′s, my friends and I were, too.  Vietnam, Watergate, AIDS, the women’s movement, yuppies, gay rights, oil, scandals, dictators, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, love, loss, families, from the personal to political and back again — all were reflected, mocked, and illuminated in Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, in some papers placed on the editorial page instead of the comic page.  His insightful and sympathetic portrayal of wounded veterans has been exceptionally moving.

And now, with the wedding of Mike’s daughter Alex to the Iraqi war veteran Toggle, the strip is shifting to make her and her generation the focus.  Alyssa Rosenberg has a lovely and touching  tribute to this generational shift on Think Progress.

Daily cartoon strips may not get as much credit as they ought to for shaping the cultural zeitgeist, but throughout her life, and mine, Alex Doonesbury’s been one of the best female characters, of any age, in any medium. She’s a child of divorced parents with a complicated relationship with her mother that made her mature and self-protective rather than the victim of cliche trauma, and loving, collaborative tie to her stepmother, a Vietnamese refugee adopted by American Jews. In addition to both of these women, Alex has a father who spars with her on politics, works with her on business projects, and treats her like a mature person with worthy ideas. She’s been a full member of the cast almost from her birth because she was that important in Mike’s life, and she became so in ours. Alex is a computer genius without falling into sexy hacker tropes, and her skills brought her closer to her parents and all the way to MIT, a point of pride so fierce that MIT students rigged the voting to win her as a fictional fellow student. And her love story with Toggle, a disabled veteran with less education and a decidedly different family background from Alex’s own, has been part of Doonesbury’s transition into a more expansive portrait of American life.

In walking her down the aisle to Toggle at her June wedding, Mike ceded pride of place in her heart to a new man, and informally deeded the strip to a new generation of characters.

 

Once again, Trudeau’s timing is impeccable, and I look forward to following Alex and Toggle — and watching how the original characters continue their own adventures as elder statesmen and emereti.

 



Previous Posts

Guest Post: Tara Sonenshine on "Calvary"
My deepest thanks to Tara Sonenshine for allowing me to publish her thoughtful comments on "Calvary," starring Brendan Gleeson as a troubled priest in a small Irish t

posted 11:19:17pm Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Effie Gray, Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her "Sense and Sensibility" screenplay. She wrote and stars in "Effie Gray," with Dakota Fanning, the real-life story of the Victorian art critic, John Ruskin (David Suchet), and his much-younger bride, Effie Gray. Tom Sturridge plays John Millais, the artist she mar

posted 3:30:30pm Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New MacArthur Genius Award Winners Include Alison Bechdel and Joshua Oppenheimer
It is always a treat to see the worthy awardees of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants." The foundations awards are unique because you cannot apply for them and there are no restrictions on the use of the money given to the recipients. The awards committee reviews the work of people making ex

posted 9:53:29am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Birthday US Constitution!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzAJyK0ovo8[/youtube] It was on September 17, 1789 that the US Constitution was approved. The Bill of Rights was not added until later, but let's celebrate that, too. How many can you name? This will help you remember them. [youtube]https://www.youtu

posted 8:00:21am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Days and Nights With Katie Holmes and Allison Janney
Inspired by Chekhov's "The Seagull," this is the story of a weekend at a country house that includes a famous actress, her discontented son, and people who love the wrong people and are angry at each other -- sometimes at the same time. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEs6vXztmBM[/youtub

posted 8:00:41am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.