CIPC #204: B.C. June 9th, 2013

Last year, we started with some high-brow Culture with a capital C. As there is a widely supported consensus that 2020 was not one of history’s best efforts, I decided to do the exact opposite this time. We will start the year with a brow so low it might be a gnome’s. We will start with B.C., an American newspaper comic started more than half a century ago by Johnny Hart of The wizard of Id fame. Under his direction, the series was rather popular with public and critics. However, after he died in 2007, the series was taken over by a certain Mastroianni, and there were no more awards. It is from his time that today’s subject hails.

Usually, the makers of newspaper comics try to introduce some kind of plot in their little strips — especially on Sunday, when they have some more space — but Mastroianni decided to dispense with this tradition and just drew a clumsy character bumbling around in a number of sports and games.

One of them is chess, as evidenced by the image above.

The perpetr – sorry, author, probably felt quite comfortable when making his little drawing. For one, this blog hadn’t started yet and for two, the pieces are flying around all over the place, which considerably hampers the usual proceedings in this blog. But if he thought that would keep him safe, he seriously underestimated me.1

I may not be able to reconstruct the position but I can still judge it. Harshly.

For example, the board is uni coloured — light beige, of all colours! — instead of chequered black and white. Even more importantly, it has the wrong dimensions: it seems to be 8×7. So that’s already two strikes against this comic – and I can’t even talk about the position! And yet there’s more. The klutz on the left has crossed his legs and has, in doing so, accidentally knocked over the board, sending the pieces flying. But there is not a black king among them. Third strike — out!2

Realism: -/5 This Mastroianni managed to make a doubly impossible position without showing a position! That’s impressive, but not in a good way.

Probable winner: There are no winners here. All of civilization loses.

1. [Or, more probably, he didn’t estimate me at all.]
2. [From my understanding, that’s also how the American justice system works.]