Heathcliff, For Why? (6)
October 17, 2016
A series of posts, by HiLobrow friend Brandi Brown, puzzling over the Andy Kaufman-like anti-comedy antics of Heathcliff, a cat who has nonplussed newspaper funny pages readers since 1973. These posts were selected from among many others that first appeared at Brandi’s website Heathcliff, For Why?.
Sometimes, I have absolutely no idea what a Heathcliff comic is about, and I’ll just throw it to my Facebook friends. Whenever I do this, the results are remarkable. Yesterday’s Heathcliff was no exception.
I posted the comic and wrote, “WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN?” and this was the resulting thread:
Bill: Heathcliff represents the inner city working class and the sandwich represents how the “white flight” to the suburbs was destroying the urban economy and ultimately taking food out of his mouth.
Brandi: So is the man who prefers “Whole Wheat” saying, “I prefer staying in the inner city and gentrifying it.”? Also, why does Heathcliff work in construction?
Bill: Because he’s an avatar of the working poor. That’s why the other worker has a hardhat and Heathcliff doesn’t. It’s to show how he has no protection from the economic forces that harm him.
Brandi: Damn, son. That’s deep. Heathcliff is a black man.
James: You see, ladies and germs… what we have here is a classic bait-and-switch. Our blue-collar friend there is picking at his bourgeois ham on wheat, while Heathcliff – get this – HEATHCLIFF is eating a freaking BIRD SANDWICH. Now the reaction we’d expect from the construction worker would be, “Holy shitballs, that’s a bird sandwich. No thank you, my good man. I prefer processed, shaved ham to a raw (living) bird.” But no, that would be low-hanging fruit. Instead, he’s all like, “What if instead, I mention the BREAD? Mofo will never see it coming. Because again, this cat probably expects me to talk about the bird. This’ll be rich! Here I go!” That’s right, Heathcliff just took us comics to CHURCH.
I was already crying after reading Bill and James’ Heathcliff analysis but then Pat realizes that Camus is really the only person who can truly explain Heathcliff.
Pat: I’m just gonna start pasting literary analyses of Albert Camus’s The Stranger but I will replace the main character, Mersault, with Heathcliff.
“The ideals of existentialism seem to be embedded heavily in this scene as Heathcliff harshly denies his belonging to the group of humanity and insists on being his own person. Any time he is forced by society to identify, interact, or express basic human emotions and behavior, he views it as a form of punishment that stifles his individual desires.”
“Heathcliff is a detached figure who views and describes much of what occurs around him from a removed position. He is emotionally indifferent to others, even to his mother and his lover.”
Alvin: I feel the theme song is a cry for help.
Brandi: There was the episode where Heathcliff tried to make his mom believe he was adopted by a rich family. He also drove his dad to rob a bank to go back to prison to get away from him.
Pat: “Heathcliff’s ultimate vindication is in having remained true to himself and to his feelings in a society that cultivates deception and hypocrisy.”
Brandi: Also: HE REALLY LIKES CAKE!
Pat: “Heathcliff is a troubled soul trying to find happiness in an indifferent world. His attitude should inspire no admiration, and certainly is not to be imitated. He is a quasi-antihero. Where typical heroes devote their entire lives to a cause, Heathcliff has no faith in any cause, and indeed recognizes no meaning. Despite his tenacity for living in the present moment, Heathcliff is blind to the fact that every choice he makes is made with his knowing that no matter what choice is made, he will ultimately die.”
Will: Wow. I see “whole wheat is heavier and healthier than white bread.”
Brandi: That makes sense too. This comic requires even more teamwork than the ham helmet one. By the way, Heathcliff also has a gravy helmet.
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators