It's been proven that repeated exposure to stressful situations can lead to mental health problems. So we asked ourselves, who do we know that's spent decades getting into, causing, and being exposed to stressful situations? Dagwood Bumstead, that's who. Now, we're all aware that Dagwood and his family starred in a series of mental hygiene comics, but what were things like before they got the help they so desperately needed?
You'd think Dagwood had joined the tinfoil hat brigade, protecting his vital synapses from those insidious mind control rays emanating from Jupiter and/or the Hollow Earth. But you'd be wrong. Dagwood has joined the men who think the problem is women, and the solution is metallic headgear.
Back in the day you could take your report card to Showbiz Pizza and/or Chuck E. Cheese and they'd give you video game tokens based on how many A's, B's, and C's you had - clearly they'd taken this idea from Dagwood Bumstead's arrangement with his daughter Cookie. If Cookie ever brought home straight A's, she'd get the ultimate prize - they'd tell her what her real name was!
Dagwood's in the Daghouse. AGAIN
Look buddy, your poor financial skills shouldn't mean the rest of the family suffers! Wait a minute, this is the 1950s. Of COURSE it means the rest of the family suffers! Blondie can't even get a bank loan by herself!
Bribe, incentive, payoff, squeeze, payola, grease, Chicago handshake, whatever you want to call it, it gets good grades. Don't knock it, Blondie!
where's she going with this... something about unpaid, unrecognized domestic labor valued to between 10 and 39 per cent of the GDP and possibly contributing more to the economy than the manufacturing, commerce or transportation sectors, Dagwood... hold onto your wallet!
The great part about a legacy strip like "Blondie" is how here in the modern age all the generations of men who imprinted on seeing Blondie every day in the funny pages can now get into the online comments sections - which you should never read - and leave comments like "Blondie's all A's in MY book!" and "I think Blondie's in A-1 shape, myself!"
Did I say "great?" I mean "creepy"
Here the patriarchy attempts to cling to the systems of unpaid domestic labor underpinning its entire structure. Good luck with that.
And infantilized by the one-two punch of consumer capitalism and a nascent women's movement, Dagwood is literally pacified. If he'd been wearing his protective watering-can headgear, this never would have happened!
So what kind of effect does this have on a Dagwood? Well let's check out another Chic Young strip and see.
Oh my goodness. Okay. Here's Dagwood dressed up like a lady, taking a day at the beach with... Mister Dithers? Sure, the strip is titled "Colonel Potterby And The Duchess," but that isn't fooling anybody.
Here Young's casual dismissal of traditional comic strip spatial relationships and storytelling techniques - where exactly does this diving board and pier/boardwalk come from, anyway? - pays off in a sequence that really makes us wonder what the hell kind of bathing suit "The Colonel" is wearing.
This transvestitical romance is so powerful, it breaks the time barrier and takes us back hundreds of thousands of years to caveman times.
I think Chic forgot who was supposed to be chasing who in this little psychodrama. Let's get back to some good, wholesome, regular Blondie antics, please!
"Yes judge, I thought it was a real gun and that's why I pointed it at my husband's head and pulled the trigger." They still have the death penalty in your state, Blondie.
And here Dagwood finally throws modern customs and mores out the window and decides to let it all hang out. Of course this is just the first two panels, surely the punchline of this sequence won't involve actual nudism!
Nope, that's the joke, Dagwood's stripped down to his skivvies right there on the sidewalk. Good for you Dagwood, those 50s men's fashions are so constricting! But let's not judge Dagwood too harshly. He's under a lot of stress.
Sometimes when Dagwood gets home late from a poker game and Blondie goes all Fatal Attraction on him, the only way he can get any sort of mental equilibrium is by putting on a dress, calling Dithers, and getting out into nature for a little stress-relieving role play.
Hey. Put a watering can on your head, put on a dress, whatever it takes, Dagwood. Whatever it takes.
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