Out There


Beta-fresh answers, uploaded occasionally

Lets face it, our favorite comic strip is often obscure or inconsistent, and key characters are sometimes left stranded for years. Long-suffering readers are within their rights to demand some clarification. Use the "Ask GBT" form to email us your questions, and we will answer those we can on the Blowback page, and also archive the answers here.

Q: Here's another "how accurate is the strip?" question, this one re the 11/27/05 Sunday. Is the strip's dialogue, with GWB rationalizing DKE's hazing rituals, quoted verbatim? If so, where's it from?
-- Rick Pluta, Lansing, MI | Out There | November 30, 2005
A:The fact that the dialogue in panel seven is in quotation marks is the tip-off that these are Dubya's actual words, as per this Boston Globe article. The subject has been addressed in the strip previously, most notably during this September 1999 series, which incorporates a Yale Daily News photograph of an actual DKE brand.
Q: Who provides the voice of Uncle Duke on your Home Page?
-- L. Jones, LA, CA

Who created the "Dancing Duke" on the web site homepage? It's fantastic work!
-- Chuck Stephens, Tulsa, OK

Out There | December 15, 2004
A:The Home Page clip was originally created for Duke's 2000 "Whatever It Takes" presidential campaign. It was created using motion capture technology similar to that used for animating the characters in Polar Express.

The movement and voice are those of Fred Newman, a performer, composer and sound designer whose many credits include "Prairie Home Companion" and the PBS series "Between the Lions". We urge you to check out Fred's Web site, where you can read all about his new book, Mouthsounds, which provides "the complete sonic scoop for actors, musicians, puppeteers, and other show-offs". Fred will teach you how to impersonate an ice cream truck, a growling stomach, an elephant stampede, and perform "Purple Haze" using duck quacks.

Q: What's the deal with the new "Blowback" feature? How is it different from the FAQ? How do I submit content?
-- A. Sims, Madison, WI | Out There | April 26, 2004
A:For years GBT has used this FAQ feature to answer selected queries from among those submitted to the DTH&WP. But Management has been criticized, understandably, for not making available a generous sampling of the other feedback the site receives. In response we have launched BLOWBACK, which will provide a constantly updated, judiciously edited supply of share-worthy e-mail regarding the strip and the site. Submissions to BLOWBACK can be made on the CONTACT page.
Q: I heard that the TV series Trudeau and Robert Altman did about the 1988 presidential election is coming back. True?
-- Owen V., Portland, OR | Out There | February 20, 2004
A:Starting Tuesday, February 3, the Sundance Channel will be re-broadcasting an updated edition of Tanner '88: The Dark Horse, written by GBT and directed by Robert Altman. This innovative weekly series tracking the fictional presidential campaign of Jack Tanner was filmed in real time against the backdrop of the 1988 primaries. The show starred Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed, Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), and featured interactions with real-life candidates Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Pat Robertson, Bruce Babbit and others. Originally aired on HBO, Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes for best TV series.

For the Sundance Channel broadcast, each of the 11 episodes will be introduced by recently-filmed interviews with the characters, who look back on their experiences in campaign '88 from the vantage point of campaign '04. You can read more about Tanner '88 in this Boston Globe article, or this CNN piece.

This week?s schedule: Tuesday, 9 pm; Friday 11:30 pm; Sunday 5:30 pm.

Q: I'm hearing a lot about the new HBO TV show K Street and about how it mixes real actors with people in the political world playing themselves. Didn't GBT do this already? I seem to recall the 1988 campaign had Michael Murphy on the trail. I'm not hallucinating again, am I?
-- Patty, Pacific Palisades, CA | Out There | October 27, 2003
A:We can't speak to the hallucination question, but it sounds like you definitely saw Tanner '88. Written by Trudeau, directed by Robert Altman, starring Michael Murphy and Pamela Reed, with appearances by Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Bruce Babbit and others, this earlier HBO series has been acknowledged as a source of inspiration by K Street creator Steven Soderbergh. Tanner '88 won a special jury prize at Cannes, and is occasionally available in VHS format on eBay.
Q: Is there a new Doonesbury book coming out soon? It seems about time for our annual fix, but there's been no mention of it on the DTH site.
-- Laura Lynch, Lawrenceville, NJ | Out There | October 17, 2003
A:Our silence on the subject is an egregious oversight which we hasten to correct. This fall's annual Doonesbury collection, Got War? is indeed in the house. The warehouse, that is. And copies have probably arrived by now in your local bookshop. Members of the Quality Paperback Book Club will have a chance to order by snailmail, as Got War? and Peace Out, Dawg! are joint main selections of the Quality Paperback Book Club.
Q: Although we are pleased to be partnering with Slate, a steady trickle of e-mail indicates that the relationship has not been universally blessed:

Microsoft is the evil empire. Have you sold your soul to the devil?
-- H. Waya, Philadelphia, PA

Does the word 'ethics' mean anything to GBT? Or does it just get in the way of $?
-- M. Green

I'd rather chew off my testicles than have anything other than the barest minimum to do with that sneaky, ugly-minded bunch of misanthropes at MSN.
-- John B., United Kingdom

Out There | September 09, 2003
A:To us, joining up with Slate makes sense: we like the mag, we like the people who create it. Our shared audience appreciates opinionated commentary on popular culture and current events. Yes, Slate is owned by MSN, but GBT still controls the content of DTH&WP, and we continue to admin the site, as we have for seven years.

Those not yet familiar with Slate might enjoy THIS RECENT INTERVIEW with its editor, Jacob Weisberg (who also creates Slate's popular 'Bushisms' feature). In the piece he discusses the DTH&WP-Slate relationship and hints at special projects now still in the brain-jamming stage.

Q: Can I ask a question that?s not about the war? I want to get a complete set of strips without buying books that overlap one another. Would you please guide me in my shopping?
T.A., NY, NY | Out There | September 08, 2003
A:If a complete collection is your goal then old print media won?t get the job done. All the books have been judiciously edited by GBT. The CD-Rom bundled with The Bundled Doonesbury will give you the strips through May 1995 (warning -- PC only!), but the only all-inclusive archive is our DAILY BRIEFING feature, which gives you access to all strips by date. We hasten to re-iterate our regret that the subject indexing for post-95 strips is not yet available, though we have good reason to predict a complete index will be up before midsummer night?s eve.
Q: Holy shit! What are we doing in the Slate environment?
-- Garry Trudeau, New York, NY | Out There | June 02, 2003
A:Try checking your e-mail occasionally, Cartoon Boy. The Doonesbury Town Hall has just clambered aboard the bandwagon of the web's hottest online journal. It was lonesome out there in the ether, and now we are happily nestled among reams of sparkling content and bodacious commentary. All aspects of our site have made the move intact, except for the deeper realms of the Doonesburys hope Slate regulars new to our little show will make it a habit to read the strip, check out the headlines, weigh in on our weekly straw poll, and explore the other splendors of our multi-featured, one-stop news and entertainment destination.
Q: Where?s the translation of the French Sunday strip?
-- S. Bleu, St. Louis, MO | Out There | May 12, 2003
A:You've come to the right place. Click here for the TRANSLATION.