Day #383: Flip is Made Chief of Police of Gulliver City

"In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" dated May 11, 1913:

Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (JULY 4, 2021):

This strip sucks. - 1/22

Of course, when I say it "sucks", I mean that in the most academic sense possible… there is just so much to discuss here and very little of it is positive. - 2/22

I feel as though the strip feels like it has three acts. 1) Flip being tried for letting the animals loose, 2) Flip's arrest of Impie, 3) Flip's re-capturing of Impie. - 3/22

The top tier represents pretty much all of that first act. In it, Flip has to do *very little* convincing for the judge to not only acquit him… but give him a job?! - 4/22

Meanwhile, Doctor Pill is chomping at the bit for him to be put in jail so that they can be rid of him. These comments are in stark contrast to the ones he makes when Flip is declared Chief of Police… - 5/22

This moment, more than probably any before it, cements the way that I feel about Pill as a conniving and self-serving sycophant. - 6/22

On the other hand, the Princess admits, after all this time, that she likes Flip "very much"! Similarly, at the end of the strip, she demonstrates characteristic empathy towards "poor little Impie". - 7/22

I really like these moments because, again, they give the Princess a moment to shine and demonstrate her as a foil to Pill… she cares deeply for her friends, even those who often cause trouble, in a way that is significantly different than it used to be. - 8/22

This character growth really stands out to me in a way that it probably wouldn't had we not been reading chronologically… I mean, remember when she tried to lure Nemo away from Flip's execution? Now she's pulling for him! - 9/22

Now, Flip's reign as Chief of Police is one that feels very important in our contemporary moment… let's talk about a few things that stand out to me (and please, add your readings about this too). - 10/22

First, it seems as though as soon as Flip puts on the blues, he becomes a bit drunk with power… not only does he damage public property in the pursuit of his "job", but he threatens Pill with arrest, as well. - 11/22

When he arrests Impie in panel 4… he is not doing anything mischievous! I mean… sucking up smoke from a smoke stack isn't healthy, I'm sure, but he isn't hurting anyone but himself really… - 12/22

But, no conversation about how he should behave moving forward, no decency at all really… just arrest. Neither does he defend Impie when the judge calls him a "wild creature"… - 13/22

Given the conversations we've had about Impie's behaviour coming back on Flip, I find this interesting… with Flip's new position, it seems as if that invisible bond has been broken; Impie's actions now only reflect on Impie. - 14/22

The animal incident was *not* Impie's fault… it was entirely Flip's. So, if he's being arrested because of that, somehow Flip escaped justice by becoming a law enforcement officer, while Impie paid the price. - 15/22

It's irksome… but, what's worse, is Flip's willingness to go along with it… tossing Impie in a cage and leaving him locked up, then going to eat dinner without a care in the world, is so cold. - 16/22

Now, the end of the strip... - 17/22

Our present historical moment is filled with examples of police brutality directed towards black people and black communities and it's become clear that white supremacy and structural racism has been allowed to thrive in certain segments of law enforcement for many years. - 18/22

This strip, from 1913, proves that this type of brutality is not a new phenomenon; it was a recognizable element of policing even in the 1910s. - 19/22

The end of this strip is a lot and I think that speaks more to *when* we're reading these strips--a time where we hear story after story of black men, women, and even children murdered by police--than it does the strip itself. - 20/22

Impie does not deserve any of the mistreatment that happens to him in this strip and it strikes me as an important conversation to have that it all occurs at the hands of law enforcement here… - 21/22

This is my reading of "In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" #383. What’s yours? - 22/22