Janis seems to be suggesting a selfie, in which case Arlo is right: that would look dumb.

Also they’re grown-ups.

They seem to be taking a serious photo, maybe for a Christmas card (sans the Duncan family’s sweaters) as opposed to making duck faces for something they’re going to post on Facebook.

Of course this comic seems to be decades old, so maybe I’m just missing something.



  1. My suspicion is that the comic is recent, but supposed to look old. The joke is that we imagine that a long time ago, someone suggests doing something stupid that people do now (e.g. selfies), and people at the time immediately (correctly) recognize that it’s stupid. But this thing that anyone in the past would immediately recognize as stupid is what we actually do now! (ha, ha!)

    Similarly, in Back to The Future, Doc Brown of the past dismisses as ridiculous at the idea that an actor would become president.

  2. Winter has it – the strip is today’s – but it shows A&J from years ago – the camera is an “old” film-based SLR.

  3. I’m trying out two-level nesting for a few days.

    I’m not entirely sure what happens to the third comment: does it get sent to an alternate universe?

  4. Recalling an 50s-60s New Yorker cartoon that showed a recliner in a big suburban back yard, and a phone on a very long cord next to it. The joke seemed to be that somebody relaxing would want a phone nearby.

  5. Third comment? It looks like we can leave as many replies as we want to the original comment (i.e. at level 2), but can’t even try to leave a third-level comment.

    (FWIW, I’m not a fan of nesting.)

  6. Ah, so that’s what two-level nesting means.

    I’m not a fan of nesting either, but the new template’s lack of comment numbering has led to confusion over who’s being responded to, and I thought this might help.

  7. Bill, from what I gather you are a serious photographer; any serious photographer would of course see taking a photo from outstretched arms as ridiculous — it would make for a lousy photo. Most people don’t know good photos from a pack of playing cards; in fact, you can’t even show most people the difference (well, you can, they just refuse to see it). As far as most people go, a “good” picture has faces of people they know in it, and anything else is so much dross. And the difference between a well composed, well lit, in focus picture of people they know versus some out of focus flat flash shot against a blank background with everyone’s legs cut off.. the difference is… meh. If the latter has Aunt Sophie in it in addition to the family and kids, whereas the former doesn’t, well, then the latter is the better picture.

    I’ve had this discussion with my wife. She’d side with Janis.

  8. It’s a “flashback” strip. That is, the strip itself is current, but it reflects a much earlier point in the character’s lives.

  9. I’m in full agreement, except I’d probably also keep the photo with Aunt Sophie.

    Granted, my aunts are in their mid-90s, which changes things…

  10. I don’t think it matters who is right. The idea is we take selfies that way and people accept them and it’s normal but in the past it would have seemed dumb.

  11. I agree, Winter has the explanation of the comic.

    Nesting of comments has been going on all along when you use the WP app or Reader view in web browser.

    Even for those not using those and seeing it that way, it has been affecting the email notifications if you get those, as they include a bit about who is being replied to and a bit of quotation from that post or comment. Of course, very often it is Bill’s original post from the start of the thread.

  12. Just for the record, I knew a guy in ’92 who’d been taking selfies for a while — he took one of himself skydiving. It was harder back then, without a backward facing screen to show you what the photo would look like. Back then, the main criterion seemed to be you needed long arms…

  13. My father is 13 inches taller than my mother, and obviously was much much taller than me and my sister when we were kids. His long arms took a fair number of “self portrait” photographs back in the day, many of which are in my mother’s scrapbook albums. He was pretty good about making sure we were all in the frame, from practice I guess. My sister and I always got a kick out of taking them back then, for what that is worth.

  14. I don’t see any nesting, which makes me sad. If there’s a vote going on, I prefer nested.

    So how do I get nested? I tried clicking on the folder icon, and on the ‘reader’ icon, no joy.

  15. I had a friend who traveled a lot, and he used to take selfies with people using a small film camera.

  16. We have very few photos of my dad as he always took the photos or movies.

    Now my uncle – middle brother of dad – dad is oldest – also was rarely in his family’s photos or movies – except that he would get into the movies at the end. When we saw Uncle Herbie the movie was about to end.

    Most of the photos Robert takes are of things while traveling not people. I have come to photography more recently (my college trip to Mexico photos are horrible as is are photos I took of a trip in junior high to PA) using my cell phone and my photos tend to be for recording – photos of which vitamins we need to replace, photos of the bear figurines I own (stuffed bear photos will follow at some point, but are less likely to be duplicated with a new purchase ) to prevent buying more “twin” bears. Also photos I want to post for needlework friends at Quilt shows or of clothing or people working with fiber at museums and events we go to. I have started taking photos of sections of my bear village as some online friends were interested in it also.

  17. Hey, Brain, maybe your guy is my guy; where was in in the summer of ’92?

    I couldn’t say. I don’t know if that was in his “travel around the world and play golf with one club” phase or if he had already stopped that and settled back down.

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