Commemorating Pearl Harbor Day, Part Deux

Whenever the calendar rolls ’round to a historical anniversary I’d like to commemorate but I’m not quite sure how, I find myself asking, WWJHD? Which, of course, stands for: What would Johnny Hart do?

wwjhd.gif All things considered, this punchline at least makes sense – unlike that weird ‘clams got hands’ gag that cracks up the cartoonist and baffles this reader.

Actually, the extent of my commemoration today was mailing off a birthday card to my ailing grandfather, who fought the Japanese through the three worst years of his life, until this last one. As a result, he still refuses to eat rice, but he gave up his grudge against Toyota and bought a truck from them after they opened a manufacturing plant in our state.

Come to think of it, I suppose his clearly defined boundaries and willingness to compromise make my grandfather something like the anti-Toby Keith. Right on.


Comments: 38


Travis, your irony is sharp, but your love and pride shines thru. Please tell your grandad thanks for me and Charlie Mike to you and the family…



Will do, mikey, but it’s liable to confuse the hell out of him. (Alas, that’s pretty much par for the course these days.)


…Any rice at all? A whole lot of rice out there has nothing to do with East Asia, much less Japan.

It’s a much better attempt at humor then the infamous “SLAM!” one. B.C. still sucks, though.


Surviving WW2-era members of my family still refer to my partner as a “Nip” or a “Jap”. My partner’s *parents* weren’t even born then, and were born in Hawaii in any case. Presumably, though, Mr Hart would find this sort of charming attitude only proper. Me, I think he’s an asshole.


the infamous “SLAM!� one

Oh yeah … that was pretty bad. When I worked as an editor at a local Jewish newspaper, there was a big hubbub about this one, too.

My grandpa’s rice embargo had more to do with the Marines serving so much of it to them while they was overseas. He’d never really eaten it before then, so he strongly associated it with the war. And I’ve never heard him use either of those slurs, D., even when he referred to their actual adversaries.


Read: “while they were overseas.” I use a different set of charming colloquialisms.


My uncle Dick has had a very hard life. He served in the Pacific during WWII and saw a lot of stuff he simply doesn’t talk about. Since the war, he’s lost his parents, all five of his brothers and sisters (including my father) some at very young ages, his wife and, perhaps most tragically, his daughter who died far, far too young.

Despite these tremendous losses, he has always been a kind, gentle and very funny guy if sometimes melancholy. He’s always been my favorite uncle. Some years ago he visited and as I was driving him from the airport and we came over a hill into a view of a Toyota dealership and he just let out with a “goddam Japs” line. It was SO out of character for him I just was stunned for a few minutes. I then told him not to talk like that in front of my kids and he, of course agreed to that.

And now Johnny Hart essentially lets out with a “goddam Japs” on his nationally syndicated “comic” strip. In front of my kids. Hart, unlike uncle Dick, is just an asshole.

Not that my kids read Hart’s POS strip, but still…..


B.C. used to be funny. At least, I thought so when I was a kid.


Why does your grandpa hate Louisiana? They are the largest rice exporter in the world. I know why I hate Louisiana, but what are grandpa’s reasons?
And clams got hands was funny as hell. A lot of shit is when you’re 13.


Garfield used to be amusing, but Davis actually created his franchaise based on the principle of mediocrity.
Basically, he didn’t want it to get very good, because if it did, the strip would become uber popular and all that, then the fad would die out.
But by keeping it decent, but predictable, it’s easier to create a continuous streak of strips, and people have accepted its mundaness, thus creating a perpetual flow of income and demand to last the ~30 years it’s been around.
Seriously. That was his plan. The sad thing is that it worked. *shrug*

At least Jon got a girlfriend. I assume she hasn’t dumped his ass yet, i haven’t read it in five months.


Happy birthday to Grandpa Travis G.


“I spent the next three years in a POW camp, forced to subsist on a thin stew of fish, vegetables, prawns, coconut milk, and four kinds of rice. I came close to madness trying to find it here in the States, but they just can’t get the spices right.”

Oh, and BC suck-diddly-ucks. Why even keep up the pretense of the cavemen if you’re talking about Toyotas?

For more comic strip frivolity, I reccommend The Comics Curmudgeon at


My grandfather fought in WWII (and lost his brother there), and he does use “Japs,” but never with any malice. He uses it as if it were simply the proper way of identifying people from Japan, like “Canadians” or “the French.” We’ve tried to gently suggest that it’s probably not the best word he can use, but he’s got Alzheimer’s and a brain tumor, so change isn’t something that comes easily to him. He did drive a Subaru (back when he could drive).


i have friends who were loathe to admit that they had german cars (VW, BMW, Benz etc) around their older relatives – my whole rationale for him was that buying goods from old enemies like the Nips, Krauts and Eyetyes was better for them to be building consumer goods than tanks, aircraft etc – that is if you couldnt buy “American” – of course that doesnt mean shit these days since Toyota builds cars in LA, KY, OH, etc and Ford/GM/Chrysler build in MX,Canada and get their parts from Asia

I actually think that having toyota employ people in the US is better than killing people in wars – oh yeah Johnny Hart u r a dick


My grandfather was a supply officer on a seaplane tender in the Pacific in WWII. He lost his best friend to a kamikaze when he was off the ship temporarily — took out their cabin. It was an awful three years.

Once when I was 9 or so we were looking at his pictures from the war. I idly used the term Jap, which I had heard someplace. He smacked me and told me to cut that shit out and that decent people didn’t talk that way.

Of course, he encouraged me to hate the dogfaces and the jarheads, but that’s not racial.


Since Toyota sales topped 2 million?!! Christ Jesus, we’ve been allies since 1951, GET THE HELL OVER IT.

Hate Encrusted Eyes

The war in the pacific is one of the most racially charged wars the united states has ever fought. The memory lingers

Smiling Mortician

Why even keep up the pretense of the cavemen if you’re talking about Toyotas?

Toyotas, hell. Did y’all click on the second link in Travis’ 6:15 comment? WTF? I mean, what exactly does Hart think “BC” stands for? And besides, WTF?


My Dad was in the European theatre, and the “Krauts” were the enemy. He doesn’t say it with malice, it’s just his generation’s vernacular. Knowing what he went through I don’t call him on it. He has other opinions where I do say something to check him, but that’s not one of them.
Garfield: I’m lazy and like lasagna, and my owner’s a loser. Funny stuff for thirty years.
And J Hart’s an ass.


As Johnny Hart said to Chris Muir on the top of a mountain: “When you can snatch this nugget of concentrated unfunniness from betwixt mine buttcheeks, you too shall have syndication, grasshopper.”


Bil Keane, Johnny Hart, Chris Muir….

Thus is the conservative nonfunny meme passed through the generations.


Yesterday, Mallard FIlmore’s punchline was “Kids today will think that Pearl Harbor was a popular grunge band from the 90s”.

It’s a non-punch line that will live on in infamy.


My pops (who is the same age as most of my peer group’s grandparents) fought in WWII. He was a seabee in the Navy. Today, the 8th, would be the 65th anniversary of the day he enlisted. The navy still had peacetime enlistment standards and so of all of the young men who showed up that day, the navy only took a few, including my father. When they found out he worked in the shipyards (in Hoboken, Jersey City?) they said his civvie job was too important and they couldn’t take him. He told them he’d quit. So they took him. His fresh off the boat Italian immigrant parents thought he was insane — to their mind, one didn’t join the military until one was forced. So here’s to my papa, who’s in the hospital right now. (Aside: he uses the term “Jap” very matter-of-factly, but only in reference to the 40s.)


“Yesterday, Mallard FIlmore’s punchline was “Kids today will think that Pearl Harbor was a popular grunge band from the 90sâ€?.

To be more popular culture and politically tone deaf would be death.
Christ on a cracker, the guy’s a complete moron with a job better than mine.
To paraphrase Kevin Smith: Capitalism: Wow!


“Yesterday, Mallard FIlmore’s punchline was “Kids today will think that Pearl Harbor was a popular grunge band from the 90s�.

No, you stupid duck, Pearl Harboprwas the singer of a San Francisco new wave band in the 70s. I think she went out with one of the guys from the Clash for a while. get with it!


And clams got hands was funny as hell. A lot of shit is when you’re 13.

I was right there with you. (only in spirit, mind).

As long as were sharing WWII vet stories, the most moving thing I may have ever read was in one of the books by sub captain, later Admiral dick O’Kane. He was commanding his sub alone from the bridge in a nighttime attack. It should have been the riskiest job, but when the vey last torpedo malfunctioned and circled back on his own sub, he was the only thrown and one of the very few survivors. One of the surviving Japanese ship of the convoy he attacked rescued him. They took him to a cabin, tied him to a chair and a line of very scraggly looking men took turns taking punches at him. He said,and I have to paraphrase, that when it was explained to him that these men were the survivors of one of the ships he had sunk, that he took their punches without prejudice.

Reading O’Kane makes me realize that certain cartoonists don’t understand what Pearl Harbor means any more than the kids who thinks it was a grunge band.


My Granddad is a Marine. He served in the pacific durring WWII. He’s only ever talked about one incident durring the war and I had to get him drunk to do it:
He was on a hospital ship recovering from a tropical disease when they brought the Wasp survivors abord. He said it was the single worst night of his life. All he could do was lay in his bunk and listen to screams, moans and whimpers from the burn vicitms.
I had never seen that may cry and never want to see it again- it boggled my mind. He’s a retired lumber jack and tough as nails. I have not asked him about the war since. He’s 86 now and I’ll listen if he wants to talk, but I’m not going to press it.
Interestingly enough my great uncle – who’s a lot younger than my Granddad – served in Vietnam and married a Japanese woman from Okinawa he met while on R&R. For years my Granddad was the only one in the family that would talk to my great uncle and his wife. He seems to bear no resentment of the Japanese.


My parents were THERE on December 7th. My father was a Naval officer and spent the rest of the war in the Pacific. My mother had to take my brother and sister (I wasn’t born yet) back to California on a troop ship, constantly in fear of being sunk.

My father turned into the most left-wing pacifist imaginable. My mother, on the other hand, claimed that she could never trust a Japanese person again. “You just don’t know what it was like to look up and see the rising sun on those planes… And I didn’t know if your father was alive or dead for 36 hours!” When I asked her if she included the American-born parents of my friends, or my dentist (we lived in Sebastopol), she said it did.


The line is actually “clams got feet.”
Back in the ’60’s, Hart was funny. B.C. was alot of sight jokes and situational comedy. In the ’90’s Johhny got hisself “saved” after being recruited by some repairmen. Since then, the strip plain old sucks.


“Of course, he encouraged me to hate the dogfaces and the jarheads, but that’s not racial.”

How do you get four squids on one stool?

Turn it upside down…

On a less light note, the father of my wife’s best friend spent WWII in a Japanese internment camp (his parents were Christian missionaries). The description he gave of his time in the camp was like reading J.G. Ballard…I find it remarkable that he holds no ill will towards the Japanese people, I suspect I would not be so forgiving.


This is really weird, but both of my grandfathers were in their early 20’s when the war came to the US. And both of them got to stay home because of influence. Pretty shameful, no? My dear old dad, though, was in Vietnam from 67 to 69 at Khe Sahn–with the Marines during Tet. So, I think that makes up for the lackluster performance of my family’s side of the greatest generation.


…wuh…buh….ffff….psss.. Pearl Harbor….?

I mean the guy couldn’t even Google for a band name? Or was he so set on grunge, because a new wave band from the 80’s just doesn’t seem as culture-war scary?

I did a cartoon strip for our college newspaper, and even when we mailed it in we were funnier that that friggin duckbeast. And we had a chicken-hat as a permanent character.


I’m still pissed they chose to have the Olympics in Barcelona. Clearly “Remember the Maine” is just an antiquated slogan of a bygone era nowadays.


No, the original funny line was “Clams got legs!”

And as Clumsy Carp says this, one clam says to the other, “Now we’ll have to kill him.”

My partner and I have been swapping these lines for the last 30 years whenever something odd, yet in retrospect predictable, happens (like when it was announced that Katherine Harris, who was supervising the Florida ballot-counting in 2000, had been appointed by Guess Who). Along with other B.C. punchlines like “Oh, how sweet — he killed me a friend!” and “Three clams, clutched in the fingers of two broken arms.” Back in the 1960s Hart was actually funny, but he was always libertarian.


My dad was a marine in the south pacific. Yet a 87 he’s a big fan of Zatoichi movies.


The Toyota Yaris is made in France. I imagine that a car made by cheese-eating surrender monkeys for slitty-eyed samurais adds up to an American xenophobe’s worst nightmare.


Hart can blow his cavemen out of his inane, wingnutty ass.

I don’t hear the Japanese regularly busting our collective nuts sixty one years later for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

i’m just somewhat comforted by the knowledge that time and age will have Hart sooner than later.


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