Category Archives: philosophy

What’s It All Worth?

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about the whole GameStop saga, which I find amazing and entertaining. Honestly I could write thousands of words about it, which made it extra challenging to distill my thoughts into a few illustrated frames.

Basically, the GameStop thing itself is a great story of regular peeps manipulating the market in the same way billionaire hedge fund assholes normally do, and in fact sticking it to said hedge douches. In the bigger picture, it really sheds light on how “fake” the market can be (not always, but sometimes, maybe even often). In the bigger picture, it shows how there is a system out there where, like Matt Taibbi said, Wall Street is just a giant vampire squid sucking money away from the rest of us. And in the really big picture, it shows just how unreal much of our modern civilization really is, and how dangerously close we can get to everyone giving up on the illusions and all of it falling apart — this last party really is attached to the whole Trump/Fox misinformation era as well, in that there seems to be an unraveling of what we all agree upon as “true” and “real”. There’s also a connection to everything laid out in the book Sapiens, ie there are no border, nations or companies really… just illusions and agreements.

So yeah, big topic, and as you can see by my comic, I sum it all up by saying that while none of this is “real”, it can and does affect us all in real ways. Pain, suffering, hunger, and the reverse — these things are real. And when you’re dealing with them, suddenly all your philosophical issues melt away and you just care about not dying.

Freedom?

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about the ongoing nightmare we’re experiencing after last week’s violence in D.C. While it would be easy to just rant about how everyone warning about the dangers of Trumpist misinformation was right, I felt it more interesting and nuanced to discuss freedom. Freedom of speech in particular. Because it’s probably the one place where I am hearing a debate from both sides, not just one. And it’s an interesting and distressing problem. One I don’t claim to have the solution to. All I can say confidently is that governing hundreds of millions of people is complicated, and like Socrates suggested, anyone who walks around pompously claiming they know the answer to this or that is probably full of it.

One last note. I don’t love the art for this one, but I just needed to get a strip out before some other crazy shit happens, and free time is tricky to come by in these quarantine days. So thanks for staying with me even if this week’s strip is more of an illustrated article than a comic.

Malaising Grace

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about that feeling you get every morning when you wake up and realize it’s still 2020 and you have nothing to look forward to besides more stress, strife, fear and loathing. Sometimes I try to get excited about something… like, hmmm… maybe I can go by myself a donut today. That sort of thing. The little things. That seems to be something to live for when the big things are all horrible and you can see civilization collapsing before your very eyes.

Happy Monday.

Unqantifiable

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about the QAnon conspiracy, which is essentially a massive troll effort meant to destabilize America. On one hand, this is obviously absolutely frightening and depressing, but on the other hand, I think it’s more important to examine the state of our country and discuss why so many people were in the kind of mental state that this sort of madness would appeal to them. Because this is the real problem — and it’s a big one without a simple answer.

The Beginning

This week’s new Dustinland comic was inspired by a recent blackout my neighborhood experienced. Only for a few hours too. But it got me thinking… well… one day it’ll start just like this, but things just won’t come back…

Tolerants

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about a lot of things — mainly the debate on race we’ve all been having lately. Actually we’ve been having it for decades now, but the Trump era has really brought it to the forefront, which is probably the one thing we can thank him for.

So on one hand, it’s about our conversation on race and equality. But it’s also a conversation about the conversation, and how who can and can’t say what. Because I think ultimately, it’s hard to say what’s more frustrating: That we’re still debating what seems incredibly obvious (everyone should be treated equally in the U.S. and yet this still isn’t the way things are) or that we can’t even talk to each other anymore without being attacked, trolled, berated or cancelled.

Nation Without A Care

This week’s new Dustinland comic pretty much says all I have to say about the matter. I mean, I don’t think EVERYONE in the U.S. is like this, but enough people are to ruin everything for the rest of us. I don’t think it’s necessarily their fault — even the idea of something being anyone’s fault is a whole other philosophical wormhole. It’s really more about human nature combined with the American experiment leading to this current state of ignorant nightmare. Good times.

Cracks

This week’s new Dustinland comic is obviously about the stress caused by months of quarantine. For me personally, it’s less about the fear of getting sick and more about dealing with the monotony and frustrations of day to day existence right now. In particular, balancing work and parenting. Of course I am grateful for my awesome life etc… it’s just that right now there’s a lot of bullshit going on and it’s hard to not let it slowly get to you. This past week I really noticed it creeping in.

As for the absurdist ending, that’s not meant to be something negative, but most people take it that way. Really it just means that life is meaningless is silly, so why stress over it. Just laugh and go with the flow and try to enjoy it, or at least “enjoy” it. Kind of like a dark version of eastern philosophy, but without the enlightenment or reincarnation parts.

Negative Outbreak

This new Dustinland comicis about how optimistic and pessimistic outlooks affect how you’re doing during times of crisis. Namely, this huge global pandemic that is absolutely fucking everyone’s shit up right now. Fun times!

They’re Listening

This week’s new Dustinland comic is about how our kids are silently absorbing all the negative political conversations we have while they’re playing off in the corner, seemingly ignoring us.

Now, in the comic, I joke about being proud of my son’s actual real life quote, but in all seriousness, I find it concerning. I don’t want him to be as stressed out and negative as I am. But I guess it can’t help but seep in. Because they really are little sponges, and they’re listening, even when you think they’re not. And whether you’re a liberal, a conservative, or something in between (which I think is actually the truth for most of us), we need to protect our kids from the unrelenting negativity, hate and cynicism that’s dominating politics in the U.S. — and in much of the world, from what it sounds like. We need the next generation to grow up thinking they can make a difference, in their own lives, and to the world.

So yeah, as funny as it can seem, no more Dusty Downers…