The Washington Post carries about 40 or more comic strips daily, which makes it a lot more fun to read than (say) the New York Times, the Kansas City Star, or many others.
This past Monday I was struck by how many of these strips seem to depend heavily on a certain type of character - call him/her the lazybones, the loser, the layabout, or the lout if perchance you crave alliteration - but whatever you call it, it's the person who doesn't seem to have much get-up-and-go.
There are classic portraits like the do-nothing Beetle Bailey, the teen loafer Jeremy in Zits; Garfield the lazy cat, Dagwood the the multi-decade goof-off, and others. There's Dilbert, where the employees cleverly duck accomplishing anything and their boss does nothing either; Earl Pickles lacks gumption, and Baldo is another mostly-idle teen (though we must give this strip its due, because it offers Gracie, the nine-year-old who loves school and has already tried to apply to Harvard). And this Monday, even Nate, who at times shows some spunk, was devoting himself to avoiding his dad's urgings to set goals or to plan for the coming school year.
Should we be concerned about this picture of a lazy, unambitious America, where no one seems motivated to get a job done? Is this really us? Some may say so, but I hope maybe it says more about cartoonists than about the rest of us.