The Nietzsche Family Circus

Wow, it’s hard not to love the Nietzsche Family Circus, in which a random quote from Nietzsche is paired with a random strip from Bil Keane.


The insipid blandness of Jeffy, Dolly, et al. is skewered on the angry Teuton’s spear of righteousness, BUT the pompous old Kraut’s gassy bombast is deflated by the chirpy Keanesian bourgeoisie of Life at Home in the Suburbs. Despite nearly tripping the irony overload circuit-breaker, there’s something sweet and true about the resulting ensemble. It’s like finding an unhurt child in terrible car accident. (Spotted at Jeff Mather’s place.)

6 thoughts on “The Nietzsche Family Circus”

  1. I, for one, always enjoyed those Sunday Family Circus cartoons that featured a long tortuous black arrow that traced Billy’s fun-filled trek through the neighborhood, chronicling all the hi-jinx that ensued. Yes, I said “enjoyed.” I know, I know. Bring on the hate.

  2. I agree, those black arrow comics were the cream of the Family Circus crop. I just couldn’t stop looking at them until I had retraced all of little Billy’s steps. As I mentioned here once before, you really do have to give credit to a comic that inspires so much loathing. In terms of raw hate energy, Family Circus towers above other unutterably lame comics like Cathy or Garfield.

  3. Teuton, really? I understand that the Nazi’s warped Nietzsche’s readings, but seriously, we HAVE progressed since WW2. These comic-quotation combinations are still hilarious, especially because the quotes all have a violent commonality that works better than some of his other quotes (they are all dynamic but not necessarily violent). I think the humor comes in the act of a child (usually) saying these revolutionary things. Or, in the case of a parent saying the quote, it begs the question of what prototype suburbian 1950’s parent would seriously be shocking their children with such ideas. It’s the conflict between revolution and innocence and sometimes youth that makes it funny for me.

  4. I wonder what usage of “Teuton” you’re referring to. According to OED (and my understanding) a “Teuton” is “any member of the races or peoples speaking a Germanic or Teutonic language.” I actually thought Ned was referring to Nietzsche’s well-known love of Ska!

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