Friday, October 14, 2011

Jane Is The 1%

May 20th, 1940:

I think Jane's been listening to Herman Cain a little too much. Cainwashed!

Het her straight!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Double Hetter: Holy Matrimony, Aunt Het!

March 20th and 21st, 1938:

Aunt Het bashes both sexes equally. She's always goin' on about relationships, pointing out how each side manipulates the other. Fun stuff like that. In this case, the women-folk are on the butt end.

The two cartoons above ran on back-to-back days, not coincidentally. Another double Hetter by Rob Quillen, who either loved to drill a point home or just occasionally got lazy. In the first one, we've got the classic "I love you, you're perfect, now change" tale. Sure, his performance of the electric slide while holding an umbrella is cute now....

In the second, it appears as if Het is being talked to. To Het's chagrin, the friend is thinking she's got it all figured out: In a couple of years, surely the shoes won't be left out, and the chair will be patched up. And the man will be...repaired. She's not even in love with the guy, just her image of what he'll never be. Poor gal. Poor guy.

I've got four friends getting married this month and two more next. Good luck to them. Het sez: Don't go changin'.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double Hetter: Whine, Whine, Whine

Boston's big sports radio station (which I generally try to avoid) has a daily segment called the "whiner line," where callers can vent about their favorite teams. But if you listen at any other time, you'll see that the whole damn thing is a whiner line. Which is interesting, since all four of the Boston sports teams have won championships recently. In sports, as well as in life, there's a tendency to complain loudly when things are going wrong. Or even if one little thing is going wrong among a plethora of rights. A hair in your soup? I'm calling the health department! A bad wiring job? I'm calling the BBB! A nipple on TV? I'm calling the FCC!

But when was the last time anybody called any of these people to tell them everything's going fine? These two very similar Hets show that society has been like this for a long time.

I'm starting a new trend. I'm calling 9-1-1 right now to let them know that they need not worry; I'm doing just fine, having an emergency-free day. Oooh, and if they get mad and say I'm tying up the line for potential emergencies, I am so reporting them....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Double Hetter: Child Labor

March 31st, 1938, and January 6th, 1950:

Why hire help when you can have kids? In the cartoon on the left, Het tells us that it's those dirty farmers who put their own children to work rather than paying strangers. But twelve years later, she's admitting that she uses her own adult children for the same purpose.

Isn't it weird to see the term "birth control" in A. a comic strip and B. 1938?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hetters Gonna Het

October 31st, 1939:
Touche, Het. Having been born and raised in the New York metropolitan area and having lived in Manhattan, I know that I can be a bit of a male Maisie. There's just no place like NYC. See, there I go! Maybe next time this man's a-knockin' I'll think of Het's words to rock me back down to earth.

But I wonder about the specifics of this scene. Was the movie very pro-small town life? Or made by a local production company? I mean, they could have just seen King Kong, right? Maybe they did and Maisie felt it represented New York poorly. Or was she just generally knocking the small-town moviegoing experience? "A New York theater's got padded seats, better candy, and nobody brings their cow!"

Most likely she was just afraid to call any idea swell that she herself didn't come up with. Sounds like someone I know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aunt Het: A Brief Introduction

I discovered Aunt Het in July 2011 while searching newspapers online for old Red Sox stories and box scores. There she was, off to the side of the comic strips, a single panel tucked away near the crossword puzzle in the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. It was the 1930s, but Het was speaking to my generation. And she wasn't holding back. At least not in the witty one-liners in her mind. The woman observes the imperfections of her neighbors and family members, and gives us the unedited scoop. No segment of the population is off limits, either. You probably know an Aunt Het, but you definitely know the people she's constantly ripping to shreds.

Ignore the text, and Aunt Het is a quaint old woman in a small town. And occasionally her words of wisdom are pretty innocent. But this was truly a study in humanity, and even in its tamer moments, the metaphors still ring true today. The writer, Robert Quillen (it was drawn by John H. Striebel), was a real quip-master, and quite an oddball. There isn't much online about him, and there's hardly anything written about Aunt Het. Even the "Aunt Het Festival" in Quillen's adopted hometown of Fountain Inn, South Carolina seems to have nothing to do with the cartoon. I can't even figure out the exact dates the strip ran. But the ones I'll be showing you here are from the late 30s, early 40s. Each post will have its own cartoon (from the Telegraph-Herald unless otherwise noted). I'll probably do a couple per week, but we'll see how it goes.

I'll start you off with this one, from February 24, 1941:

Well said, Het! Taken literally, this is brilliant. In a post-9/11 world, we're all suddenly suspects. You're not going to find a real terrorist judging a person solely by their outer appearance. People see a turban and run for the hills--meanwhile, you're more likely to be swindled by a white man in a nice suit than you are to be blown up by someone who happens to share the same faith as certain high-profile terrorists. But looking at the bigger picture, I get a "sometimes good guys don't wear white" vibe. Het ain't judgin' no books by no stinkin' covers.