Some might say that’s my big problem.

July 5, 2009

The Boondocks: Public Enemy #2

The Boondocks: Public Enemy #2

The Boondocks begins by chronicling the adventures of Riley and Huey, two African American boys who live with their grandfather in the suburban community of Woodcrest. Where Huey represents the ignorant, pop-culture brainwashed side of contemporary black youth, Huey represents the informed, radical antithesis. As the comic progresses and McGruder finds his voice, the plot and supporting characters fall to the wayside in favor of McGruder’s message. This shift coincides with the comic’s Doonesbury-esque shift from the funnies to the op-ed section, and this seemed to only fan McGruder’s flames and he took blatant shots at everything from the Bush and Regan administrations, to Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson, to Star Wars, Vivica A. Fox, and Anna Kournikova.

McGruder–like another author whom I admire but have mentioned waaaaay too much–likes to play with extremes. He uses caricatures, rather than characters. He’s rarely subtle and when he is, it goes over my head. More so than most comics, The Boondocks give you near-unfiltered access to the mind of the author. Reading a Boondocks anthology can be compared to getting to know a highly functioning sociopath: initially the quirkiness is funny, but eventually you read their interviews and realize they’re actually bat s**t crazy. In this case, however, it’s still funny to me and I’m not sure why. What perplexes me most is that in most cases, listening to artists/writers/directors rant through their characters makes me want to set things on fire. For some odd reason, Aaron McGruder’s blatant rants entertain me. The possible reasons why can only be troubling:

Possible Reason 1) Rather than the comic, I’m actually taking delight in the frustrated dissatisfaction the radical left.

Possible Reason 2) I find the decline of our society–and particularly black culture–side-splittingly amusing.

The Boondocks: A Right to be Hostile

The Boondocks: A Right to be Hostile

Possible Reason 3) I’m entertained merely by the fact that this “anti-comic” of sorts sticks it to mainstream media.

Perhaps I don’t mind because when it’s all said and done, I don’t really disagree with him. In a spirited interview with Hard Knock TV, McGruder admits that in regards to the problems with our country and particularly our government, awareness of the issues is no longer the problem. I’d agree with him. If you’re an activist today (which I’m not), you aren’t fighting ignorance, you’re fighting apathy. Apathy fueled by information over-saturation brought on by conduits like mainstream news media, the entertainment industry, and self-important wannabe muckrakers who regurgitate their dissatisfaction into blogs, tweets, and…

Whoops! This was supposed to be classified as a “review” and not a “rant.” Scratch that last part from the record.

I don’t think Aaron McGruder is bat s**t crazy, he’s passionate. He’s also living proof that when given direct line to the masses such as a nationally syndicated comic (or a blog…) if you’ve really got something to say and try to sugar coat it, it will sooner or later come out in a way that ain’t always pretty. If the syndicated run of The Boondocks comic and the movie Me, Myself, and Irene have taught me anything, it’s that you either let it out or shut yourself away before you hurt someone. In the spirit of that idea:

National Blog Posting Month is an ill-conceived idea that can have nothing but adverse effects our quest to build collective knowledge. Encouraging individuals with an over-inflated sense of self-worth (bloggers, tweeters, etc.) to make a special effort to increase the frequency of their spewing into electronic vomit bags known as blogs only contributes to general epidemic of information apathy that continues to plague our society.

Aaahhhh. That felt good. I’ll see you tomorrow!


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