Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005269, Mon, 3 Jul 2000 09:28:20 -0700

Re: Pushkin in the Boondocks? Teaching Contemporary Lit (fwd)
From: Paul Sonnenburg <rover@cais.com>

Galya Diment wrote:
> Couldn't resist -- A very curious letter in [today's] Washington Post:

> Pushkin in the Boondocks? / Monday, July 3, 2000; A18
> Has anyone noticed the striking facial resemblance between the young
> rebel Riley in the Boondocks comic and ..Pushkin? ... It's worthwhile
> to compare a drawing of Riley and a self-portrait of Pushkin that
> appears in "St. Petersburg: A Cultural History."

Mr. Cunningham's amusing speculation begins innocently enough, but as is
not uncommon with the publication process, it appears to this admirer of
Aaron McGruder's sometimes mordant strip that either Mr. Cunningham in his
choice of brothers or the layout editors at the Post, or both, have their
characters switched. The Cunningham letter is accompanied by facing
drawings: on the right is the sketch of Pushkin; on the left is _not_ the
Boondocks younger brother, Riley, but the older brother, Huey. In looking
at several of the recent strips, it's easy to see Mr. Cunningham's
projected resemblance of the Riley character's profile to the Pushkin
sketch, far less so a similarity between Huey and the poet. Simultaneously,
in the comic strip's continuing storyline, it is surely Huey who earns the
honorific "young rebel": unlike his more experienced brother, the younger
Riley's hostility is seldom grounded in principle and rarely rises above
petulant annoyance. Such distinctions probably don't matter in the
grander scheme, but in a forum devoted to VN, perhaps they matter
some. And if they don't get the lawn mowed soon, both Huey and Riley
should be less worried about duels than Granddad.

Paul Sonnenburg
Washington, D.C.