I stumbled upon this post from years ago, and I just had to offer it up again, particularly since so many new people are herIe. So, in the spirit of the Sunday morning comics…….
As a little kid, one of my simple pleasures was Highlights magazine. Most of you probably remember this, since it was a staple at most pediatric and dental offices. The part I liked the most, of course, was Goofus and Gallant. I was a really good kid, but I guess I had a prurient curiosity about what a nasty, selfish, and rude kid like Goofus would be up to. Whether he is demanding to be fed….….
……or engaging in animal cruelty..….
……or being a pig at the dinner table……..
……or, in a true fit of pique, hurling his younger brother into an existential crisis.
As you can see from the above tidbits, the format was always the same: Goofus, the unapologetic asshole, would do something completely obnoxious or rude while Gallant, his effete, better-behaved peer, would be a total sweetheart in a similar circumstance. It was quite the Yin/Yang for kids to read about each month.
These days, I naturally don’t make a habit of reading Highlights, since there are better media offerings for someone of my age, but since I have kids of my own, I’ve glanced at the 21st century style of Goofus & Gallant on the occasions when I’ve been in medical offices. And here’s a sample of what it’s like these days:
Goofus? What the hell, man? I’ve got to say, I’m disappointed. Gone is the Goofus of old, whom we all knew would eventually grow up to be an arsonist or serial killer.
Instead, he’s been replaced by an only slightly-less-polite version of Gallant. In the example above, he apparently has misplaced his grandfather’s watch (which, inexplicably, he has brought to gym class). Worse, he’s actually concerned about the situation. He doesn’t seem like a bad kid at all. He’s simply made an error, and he’s distressed about it. Big deal!
The Goofus that we all used to know back in the good old days would instead have deliberately crushed grandpa’s watch in a vice, just for the hell of it. Maybe he’d even throw the shattered parts at the old man just out of spite, once the deed was done. Take that, gramps!
Here’s another one:
So that’s the most horrible kid of his class? He’s taking a few extra moments to decide what candy to buy? That’s not the Goofus I grew up with! C’mon, man, just use your five-finger discount and steal everything you see!
The wussification of America continues, folks, from birth on forward. Bring back the old Goofus. I want to see him start a school bus fire.