Theoretical Analysis Of Valerie's Parents

1015 Words5 Pages
This satirical portrayal of America as singularly masculinized did not deter female readers. Bagge’s editorial section of Hate #4 points to the publication’s inclusion of female readers, writing to male readers unhappy that the publication’s first contest excluded male participants “You fail to win my sympathy… since the Stinky contest is obviously a big joke and that the women entering it don’t really truly want to date [the character]… a lot of you desperate creeps seem sincere in your desire to shower love on [the character Lisa Leavenworth]” (Hate #4, 23). Bagge addresses the women readers as people who understand and participate in the satirical characterizations and misogyny. This inclusiveness in the face of masculinized advertising…show more content…
In “Valerie’s Parents,” despite the implication that men are independent through the connections made between women and dependency, the story’s textual conclusion argues that men are equally dependent. Although the discussion of gender is carried over from sub-text to text as the characters Buddy Bradley and Valerie Russo try to resolve their argument, Bagge uses the comic format to continue the discussion of nationality. This is largely related through dialogue, as there is no written narrative throughout the story, but the use of symbols, specifically baseball, the Russells’ dog Pierre, and the country music station KRTZ’s hat and coat paraphernalia all represent different concepts of nationality that use conceptions of gender to relate the theme of dependency. Bagge’s author’s note, written below the final row of panels, reinstates the machismo of American identity as he writes, “Drawn in the summer of 1991 by Peter Bagge (Pronounced Bag, not “Baggie.” I ain’t no stinkin’ D-go!) The End” (137). The plot is able to resolve through ignoring literal family and metonymic nationality, Valerie rejecting both when saying, “Oh, forget it. For now I’m just gonna pretend like my parents don’t even exist” (137). Yet Bagge’s author’s note turns metonymic nationalism into literal statements of nationalism, employing a slur against Italians. Bagge ironically uses the inflection of an American dialect distinct from any of the character’s voices, using the informal contraction “aint’t and the speech-based pronunciation of “stinkin’.” Using this second layer of pseudonymic identity distinct from the author stand-in character Buddy, Bagge highlights the importance of understanding
Open Document