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In the Key of G Minor

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on October 20, 2017

I don’t profess any breadth of musical knowledge whatsoever. (I am, however, painfully well aware of my own limitations as a singer, which is why unlike my brother I never took up an entire three-hour car ride to our relatives as a kid belting out “Hotel California” with such particular emphasis as “They STAB it with THEIR steely KNIVES but they JUST can’t kill THE beast.”) But a quick internet study a few years back taught me some very broad strokes about musical keys. D major often signifies triumph. E major is rambunctious. And G minor is discontent and/or unease.

Portraying a sense of disquiet is never exactly the most inviting approach. And we knew going into this storyline that it would be only a matter of days (well, minutes) before some readers would be using the word “Funkyverse” to describe current Sally Forth. For those who don’t frequent specific online communities, “Funkyverse” is another way of saying. “For the love of God, lighten the f*** up already!”

But the obvious truth about light is that it does cast a shadow, and to avoid the shadow is to deprive an object of its weight and substance. Of course, wallowing in shadow only prevents one from experiencing the joy that is far more common and accessible than our brains will sometimes allow us believe. It’s a balancing act. Certainly right now Sally Forth is casting an eye more to the shadow behind it than the sun in front. But in moments of grief that is precisely what one does. You reflect, you wonder what you could have done to prevent the current situation even though almost every time you could have not prevented or foreseen it, and you find yourself in a grey area. You know you will need to—you will certainly have to—move forward, but you can’t quite look back into the sun because right then its light is too harsh, too revealing, and frankly too much for you to take in. We will of course step out of the shadow. We won’t wallow. But without occasionally acknowledging the shadows life can cast I believe the strip would risk becoming immaterial, insubstantial. That can certainly be read as a ridiculously self-aggrandizing statement of “THIS IS IMPORTANT AND WHAT WE DO IS IMPORTANT” but really, we want the people of Sally Forth to feel real and recognizable, or as much as they can when one character can launch into a monologue about how Star Wars would have differed if R5-D4’s motivator had not malfunctioned and Uncle Owen had not traded him in for Artoo. (The answer is not much, except that the Empire would have won and Luke would still be spending his days on the farm, killing time writing slash fiction about Jawas.)

And rereading the above paragraph I am reminded of the following scene in The Simpsons:

So today, in the key of G minor, we have Ted regretting he had not spend enough time with his dad as he copes with just how much his father’s condition advanced in his absence. I live only an hour away by train from my folks, so I saw my dad frequently and the changes, though very upsetting, never came all at once as a shock. But there were relatives for whom a period of time away resulted in an entirely different wave of emotions. I do not presume to talk for them. But I thought it important to address that aspect in the strip, since so many have experienced the situation from that perspective.

Also written in G minor (well, technically G-sharp minor) is Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money,” a comeback song after her disco successes. Like today’s strip, it’s about longing and regret, as it tells the story of restroom attendant Onetta Johnson who is overwhelmed but keeps moving forward. The music video for the song more emphatically ends the tale on a note of resilience. And yes, the song reeks of early-80s Giorgio Moroder synths. And yes, the video shoot seems to have started with the director shouting, “We only have an afternoon to do this, people, and it’s already 3 PM!” But it’s still a great song, and for those who are understandably finding our current story to be a bit too much for three panels placed between Sudoku and a tire ad in their paper, perhaps this will give the necessary small uplift.

3 Responses

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  1. gleeb said, on October 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I’ve read Funky Winkerbean for longer than I’m willing to admit, and take it from me, you are nowhere near the Funkyverse.

    • oldskool said, on October 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks, I was bewildered as to what the origins of that phrase would be, but was sadly too lazy to Google it…

  2. BillR said, on October 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

    “A Little Book on the Human Shadow”, by the poet, Robert Bly, is an excellent reflection (heh) on your comments about shadow and light.


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