Saturday, May 26, 2007

An act of superstition

From bad to worse
What is April, that thou art mindful of her?

Psalm 8:4 [redacted]
April is unhappy that her parents are going to uproot her by moving into a new house. She is so unhappy that she becomes a regular little drama queen, raging against the unfairness of life and fate. She wishes really hard that the universe would intervene on her behalf. Like any sufficiently myopic egoist, she marvels at the power she possesses when circumstances appear to answer her call to postpone her dreaded relocation.

Now that her wish has come true, at least in part, April is ridden with guilt. Wouldn't you feel guilty if you manipulated the stuff of reality to suit your own selfish ends? Of course. April, however, has a level-headed friend named Eva who counsels her to be of good cheer: “There's no such thing as curses.” That's a comfort, isn't it? Let's cast aside all superstition and rest easy in the face of the odd coincidence or two.

But then cartoonist Lynn Johnston throws us a curve in the last panel (shocking behavior for a cartoonist, of course) by having Eva attribute the intervention to God instead. Let's not be superstitious and speak of curses! Let's invoke the name of God instead!

Is that Johnston's message? Or is it just possible that she is equating belief in God with belief in curses—just another superstition? Johnston has been denounced before as subversive. Perhaps she is subtly working to undermine the privileged position of God by reducing him to just another aspect of irrationality.

I wonder.


Unknown said...

It seems to me like the last line is indeed the punchline as indicated by its placement, and if it's not, there's nothing even remotely approaching a joke in the strip.

Anonymous said...

Lynn Johnston cartoons rarely have jokes.