Monday, August 28, 2006

Mouth Wide Open


Besides the awkward necessity of two text bubbles emerging from the same character in panel 3, here's a primo joke about Garfield's personal standards. He places an importance on living with flare and style over the remarkableness of achievement, and even his lethargy must be remarkable, world-class laziness. Likewise, though characterized by inactivity, Garfield selects to participate in only those tasks he can perform in excess and with mastery. This tendency in Garfield has always reminded me of Oscar Wilde, who not only made Lifestyle an artform, but whose enduring legend outweighs his writing in quantity and arguably in import.

Garfield is the rare iconic American character known entirely for his attitudes and opinions, and barely at all for his adventures or the stories that he is involved in. This entire blog is dedicated to understanding what it means that a nation embraces a character that mirrors and celebrates cultivated gluttony, laziness and meanness. Today we see how Garfield twists the Puritan work ethic to suit his own useless ends: a job is only worth doing if you can do it right, so make sure the things you're good at further your self interests. May we all be as spectacular at displaying our apathy as Garfield.

4 comments:

Ian said...

Dear God, what sort of hideous mutant has replaced Garfield in that first panel??

Ryan Ferneau said...

Yeah, look at how his mouth opens... Must be his wooden dummy stand-in.

eksortso said...

Today we see how Garfield twists the Puritan work ethic to suit his own useless ends: a job is only worth doing if you can do it right, so make sure the things you're good at further your self interests.

I like that, actually. Do the best you can, so it advances your self-interests. Everybody ought to do that.

Except, y'know, they shouldn't be mean when they do that. But in Garfield, mean is funny.

Smamp said...

It's impossible to read this without yawning