A Pax on Both Their Houses

September 7, 2000


I have opinions. In fact, I have a lot of opinions. I began my career as a professional cartoonist drawing political cartoons for a metropolitan newspaper. There, I was a member of the “editorial board,” where I occasionally was charged with writing an “institutional” editorial. You know, that stuff along the edge of the editorial page, the stuff so beloved by newspaper editors which few others read. I did that for several years. In fact, I got tired of having opinions; I felt I had far more opinions than answers. That’s what motivated me to create Arlo & Janis, and, lo, I fell into the sweet gig of newspaper comic strips. For 35 years, I have made a living emphasizing the things we all have in common which, I have always felt, far outweigh our differences. This spring, I confess, I have let you down. I temporarily lost heart and became depressed by outside events. It became harder and harder to be cheerful, and I internalized the old dictum, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything.” I pulled a Ghandi. I told myself I’d just go off and starve until things got better. Two things happened: I got hungry, and I realized I was just being lazy. So, I grabbed a bag of chips, and here I am. I say I have let you down, because none of this is your fault! You have earned a reputation as an unimaginably civil Internet audience, and we have been doing this for years. I defy you to name another individual blog that has survived as long as this one in pure blog form. And through it all, you’ve been supportive and caring, of one another and of me. You should be proud! I know I am. Let’s do it some more.



46 thoughts on “A Pax on Both Their Houses”

  1. ? You never know what will someday be politicized. Arlo’s shirt, for example, there are now people using Hawaiian shirts to allude to a “luau” by which they mean a new civil war. There’s no Aloha nor even Jimmy Buffett spirit in those people.

  2. I am pained at what I see in the world, pained by the extreme “left” and the push it to the limit “right”, I can no longer find a centrist who emulates my feelings, where have all the statesmen gone? The people who want to work for the betterment of all? We seem to have no one anywhere in office except a bunch of politicians whose “job” is to get reelected; not serve…

    Our lives are turning into something that is Symply Fargone…I am so concerned for my grandchildren AND everyone else too…my sincere apologies if I have offended anyone, I do not mean to, I’m just disgusted by both sides………back to lurking….

    no candidates nor party are supported by this post…

  3. So glad you are back, JJ. The comments were starting to turn ugly on last week’s page. How appropriate is today’s retro strip.

  4. You have been making me laugh for 24 years. Sometimes it’s as if you have been able to get inside my head at how I perceive my marriage. In all of that time, I’ve had some hard moments. You should be allowed to as well. That is just a normal part of life. I’m just grateful that you have produced all of this over the years, and are continuing to do so. Thanks for the laughs and insights.

  5. Thanks Jimmy! So many of the sources we counted on to keep government in the center seem in disarray. Papers, radio networks and TV newscasters. It is disheartening some times.

    I sound like my father… ?

    Taking a break to regroup and clear one’s head is very appropriate I think. We then come back strong and ready.

  6. Jimmy I totally love you and your comic family. I have used cancer and ill health to drop into days and morphed nights of total unawareness. I just told Ghost I don’t really want to know.

    Not a political post, just thinking of the past when I was young and hopeful for the future. We thought we were peacefully moving forward for equal rights, now I think we achieved nothing if it ends like this.

    Not just racial rights but for women, handicapped, sexual, people of all colors and persuasions, where did it go?

    I made Ghost take off his Hawaiian aloha shirt yesterday. Those people are vile scum. Like Symply I am back to lurking again.

    • The aloha shirt is not vile, nor does it represent a new civil war. And we should not let it be misappropriated by hiding them. Too many harmless things are being lost by the majority letting them be redefined by the self-appointed censors of the society. Don’t give in and don’t give up and we will get through this too.

      Welcome back, Jimmy. I’m flat disgusted with the media myself. Where is the balance? Where is the calming word and call for rational thought?

  7. I may have a terminally bitten tongue. It just isn’t worth it to engage. Everyone has their own perspective and has their own own sources of information. It is like apples and oranges. I believe strongly in the power of prayer and of love. Except I find some people are offended by that!. It doesn’t matter, I will still pray for them. As I pray this will blog will continue to be a civil and safe place to gather. Where our only arguments are why Gene and the kids aren’t in more strips, why Janis does give Arlo more “peeks” and why is Luddie the smartest figure in comics? 😛

  8. I am the eternal optimist and with the drop-dead, unbelievably, no word to describe b-e-a-u-tiful weather we had (until last week), I couldn’t help but do the happy dance despite the quarantining. Then came Sunday and the horrific rioting. I’ve sworn off of the news because it makes me so angry with humankind.

  9. JJ – Thanks for the truthful update. We were all worried about you. Maybe it’s just me looking for an place to escape – but this blog and comics are the place for me. Prayers for you and us all.

  10. ‘Been enjoying the ride, all these years.

    Keep looking for the things we have in common. Now more than ever, we could use the reminding.

    Peace,
    -McD

  11. Hawaiian Shirts? THIS… is news to me. The only shirts I wear when I’m not getting dirty in the yard or my shoppe are Tropics flavored shirts! Tough… I WILL continue to wear ’em! LOVE+PRAYER=PEACE. G-d Bless! -Greg

  12. I have more flowered shirts than any other kind and I will continue to wear them. JJ, you are entitled to have human feelings as we all do. I appreciate your ability to express those feelings with sincerity. Please do not feel that you are not appreciated. You are the nation’s number one cartoonist without a doubt. It is tempting to feel that the country is at the lowest point ever. I have been reading about the Woo0drow Wilson administration and there is a lot that we didn’t hear about in history class. The real history is shocking. I also just watched the series about Grant. So many people have died terrible deaths to enable us to life in a time of unprecidented comfort, at least until now. What will the future bring.? Mr. and Mrs. America, that’s up to you.

    • Jerry:

      I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the Grant series. I finished the last episode yesterday and was greatly impressed.

      You might also enjoy “George Washington: The Indispensable Man.” It is one of my favorite books.

  13. Just a shout-out to you for your beautifully put introduction to the blog today, Jimmy, and to all of my fellow Villagers. Let us indeed keep on enjoying this beautiful oasis of friendship that Jimmy seems to have allowed us to inhabit from time to time. Love to all from Nancy K

  14. Not that we haven’t had a couple of kerfluffles over the years, but we’ve always managed to work through them to the other side. Let’s hope our country can somehow do the same.

  15. Good news is that I won’t be accused of being part of the “boogaloo” movement for wearing my flowered/Hawaiian shirts since I never wear them while carrying long arms and wearing tactical gear. The only time I actually ever carry a long arm is when going to or from hunting or a firing range for target practice. 🙂

  16. Well, David, with your example, perhaps I can convince Jackie’s it’s OK to wear my Aloha shirts, since I don’t wear tactical gear nor carry my tactical shotgun with me when wearing them, either. Although they do make good “gun burkas” for my Glock 23 pistol. 🙂
    Speaking of “OK”, I’m so old I can remember when one could make the “OK” hand sign without being accused of belonging to a hate group. Which is something else that was actually a thing for a while.

  17. Well, David, with your example, perhaps I can convince Jackie’s it’s OK to wear my Aloha shirts, since I don’t wear tactical gear nor carry my tactical shotgun with me when wearing them, either. Although they do make good “gun burkas” for my Glock 27 pistol. 🙂
    Speaking of “OK”, I’m so old I can remember when one could make the “OK” hand sign without being accused of belonging to a hate group. Which is something else that was actually a thing for a while.

  18. Ghost said thank goodness he never wears tactical military style pants with his aloha shirts. No one in this group would look scruffy like the Boogaloo do.

    My little Facebook page reaches about 3500 people. I use comics and humor, a strict polite, gentle small town world where people find only kind words. Amazingly people hang out from all around America and even the Far Side of the World.

  19. Love your strips. I am currently working my way through your back strips (reached 2006) and amazed how often things are so true today! Keep safe and sane!

  20. I knew there was a reason I felt such affection for the Arlo & Janis. Now I understand what it was. Thank you for being such a positive part of our lives for so many years. And thank you for not giving up now.

  21. I come to this page every day to see if Jimmy has written anything or added a new comic. Every now and then, I read the comments. I think I may have even posted twice asking about “After Dark.” I do love the community of readers on here. Very respectful. The only other blog that I find is similarly respectful would be one I’m on related to stamp collecting. People just enjoying others with similar interests. Enjoy the day!

  22. On Facebook I changed my cover photo to that of my wife and I at a Luau and I am wearing my Hawaiian shirt. I don’t care what people “think” it means. It means that we were having a wonderful day in paradise.

    I also posted a picture of a Sunrise with the American Flag in the foreground. The Sunrise appears to be in the form of a cross. Now I understand that some might feel that it is political, and it is. I believe that the Stars and Stripes represent ALL of America, especially those brave men and women who died that we might enjoy our freedom. The cross represents one of those freedoms. The bottom line is that if they are offended, they need only ask and we hopefully can have a civilized discussion and find common ground.

  23. I have missed you so much. The bad news makes me sadder by the day. I need your joy and perspective daily. It must be hard to keep that spirit though. I’m with you.

  24. It’s encouraging to see demonstrators shooing away looters and turning in those throwing rocks. I hope the kids that were handcuffed for breaking curfew were released with a warning.

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