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This breathtaking volume boldly, cheerfully, and blankly stares back across the stunningly mellow life and times of Zonker Harris. From his Californian-American roots to his legendary status as surfer, nanny, and former sun god, his career trajectory has unfailingly carried him ever deeper into the homegrown heart of the American daydream. A puddle-plumbing denizen of Walden Commune, Harris spent his formative years as a bodaciously freaked-out college student. His innovative decoding of the rites and rituals of the burgeoning counterculture put him on the cover of Time. Forced by a strategic oversight to graduate from college, Harris blazed a path to glory on the pro tanning circuit. His triumph in the George Hamilton Cocoa-Butter Open set a high watermark for the sport.
Family values led Harris to devote considerable time to helping his stunned parents refill their empty nest. Extended-family values propelled him into a career as a professional nanny, in which capacity he has indeed taught the children well--especially Sam, who was surfing the long board while still in diapers. Later, leveraging his political cluelessness, Zonker served on the disastrous Duke2000 presidential campaign. A devoted foot soldier in the war against AIDS suffering, Zonk is held in high regard among SoCal's medical marijuana community for the efficacious potency of his magic brownies. Unfazed by worldly success, he remains a true and gentle freak. After all, he humbly notes, I am but one dude.
Doonesbury continues to entertain, inspire, and provoke with its unique blend of social commentary, humor, and political satire. Chronicling the millennial state of the nation through the interconnected lives of its large cast of characters, the strip offers unusual perspectives on the usual suspects, and asks impertinent questions on the pertinent subjects of the day. In Duke 2000: Whatever It Takes Trudeau's Pulitzer Prize-winning strip tracks the end of an Internet start-up and the beginning of a gay marriage, the revival of an aging rocker's career -- and the complete reinvention of the irrepressible Uncle Duke. In a presidential primary campaign attracting the likes of Warren Beatty and Donald Trump, perhaps it was not surprising that the former ambassador to China decided to throw his bandana into the ring.
Even challenging Dubya to a "pronunciation bee" can't save Uncle Duke's weird horse race for the White House. In the end, the former Ambassador passes out in a snow bank while the Cheney Administration kicks into high gear. Predictablistically, the new presidential syntax isn't the only thing that's tortured and strange. Take myvulture.com, an Internet company born and born-again, worth $1 million or $500, depending on whether you ask the CEO or his mother; or look at Joanie Caucus as the turnover in Washington casts her career into play, if not into midlife crisis; or consider J.J. and Zeke, whose pay-per-view, online wedding yields mucho buzz but zero bucks--just like the rest of the Net. Yes, it's a Dubya Dubya Dubya world. Doonesbury just downloads it.
[Trudeau ranks as] one of the foremost sociopolitical satirists of recent decades."
While some in the Doonesbury universe seek office, others serve. Alex and her Seattle co-hordes devote their young, restless, and body-pierced Deaniac energy to hooking up "flash art" with politics. Half a world away in Iraq, a major bad boy from stateside devotes himself to liberating the city of Al Amok, ruling with a steady hand, a full glass, a devoted Chinese handler, and an economy based on looting. As fate would have it, B.D. finds himself heading upriver on an apocalyptic mission to terminate Al Duke with extreme prejudice, a story line so made-for-TV that B.D. feels compelled to bang out the screenplay on his laptop in real time. Fortunately for the man known to Honey as "sir," the media red-lights the hit, though car bombers quickly pick up the option and put the project back in play.
In the homeland, a wartime president has the answer to almost all the questions ("9-11") but tries to shelve the still incomplete story of his own National Guard duty back in the daze. Mark and Zonk join the war against trash politics by offering a $10,000 reward for any witness who can collaborate the flightsuit-in-chief's account, but their efforts, alas, come to naught. Yes, it's a divided nation. On the west coast sexual assault charges accompany a rise to power, while back east they mandate a fall: Walden College's acting coach, Boopstein, lets accusations of way-personal fouls force her football team off the field. Sex parties for recruits? "Who knew we were that competitive?" marvels President King, ending Boopsie's gridiron apprenticeship with two little words: "You're fired."