Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Psychosomatic Mechanic

Kudos to Tom Wilson for having the courage to use nearly the exact same strip two months in a row. It's a wonderful strip and I'm glad that it came up again so that I could discuss it. My first thought was to make a joke about Wilson's shrewdness: the average reader's age for his feature skews well into the 90s and he could with all likelihood reuse the same strip day after day with no real consequence. Old people live in a perpetual "Memento"-esque nightmare wherein the memory resets every fifteen minutes or so, so I'll go on record as saying that it's not worth the effort to impress them with quality work when they already spend most of the day staring at vapid knickknacks.

After pushing the old people angle I would lapse into a long soliloquy about subjectivity and mental objectivity and a hundred other "-ivities", before realizing that letting this double strip occurrence slide would be inexcusable. Let's give Tom Wilson credit for inserting an actual premonition into "Ziggy."

Why do I think that the 5 April strip was a premonition - a subtle hint at things to come? The white outlines, surreal perspectives and dreamy landscapes certainly hint toward a bizarre omen. Why not? If Ziggy were to have a premonition, wouldn't it be about something this bland and insecure? Notice the way the mechanic smiles wildly, nonthreateningly, while holding his wrench very close just in case.

The difference in Ziggy's sentence between iterations merely proves the veracity of this interpretation: "Mind" or "head", Ziggy's a heck of a lot more prescient and prophetic than we give him credit for.

Not all premonitions turn up so clearly. Imagine that you saw, one fateful morning, the following image, clear as Clearasil in your mind:

"GRISLY MURDER!" You'd be shouting to everybody who used to respect you. But wait until reality comes along a month later and gives you context for the image:

Oh! I just got a tantalizing look at my future in the wonderful field of custodial labor! Too bad I didn't notice it at the time.

Premonition image by Filipe Franco

The "guy sweeping" image was unattributed in the
first place, which makes it okay for me to repeat the
vicious cycle.

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