Spread The F Word

F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
Visit www.FMIN.us for more information.
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Mar 1, 2010

Musical Hate

This comic from back in 2006 stirred up some hate mail from band nerds around the country. Here are two great ones. I can't find my responses, but I highlighted my favorite parts in bold:

I am usually not offended easily, however your strip on 11/06 really bothered me. As music educators we must justify our music program day in and out. I must deal with teachers, parents, administration and coaches that believe music is not important . And if a child is not physically adept, put him in the marching band.

In our district- the Marching Band is considered a Fall Varsity Sport. The football team has not made finals in years. However both marching bands in our district have consistently placed in the top three in our division in the last 10 years. We are the most "winningest" team in the district and we are very proud. ( as well as our Athletic director and coaches.) The coaches in our district tell their team members that we should practice like the marching band. We work hard and quite frankly your strip sends out the wrong message to kids, to everybody and encourages the stereotype about musicians that we must fight on a daily basis.

If the stereotype about band nerds is that they are nerds, then this letter does not help his cause. But I like the next one even more...

The disgusting cartoon of Nov. 6 about the boy not throwing the football well, and the father saying "Let's go find an instrument." is one the most repugnant, demeaning, stereotypic "jock" mentality images that has been perpetuated over the eons, that I can ever recall. It is shameful to publish that ludicrous perception. The cartoon itself lacks substance, which underlines the superficiality of the ideas it purports. It is in the beer party around athletic events level of mentality. I am recommending it be replaced with something that is close to funny and with some substance. I am recommending that the Music Educators National Conference censure you in some fashion. Be ashamed.

I had to bold the last two sentences because they are so great. I never heard from the MENC, and this was several years ago. I'd probably get some sort of notice in the mail if I had been censured, but perhaps not. Maybe if I ever apply to teach music somewhere, a siren will go off and I'll be arrested.

The reason I bring this up is because I just got a letter about this comic:
It was a very complimentary letter from a gentleman requesting permission to display the comic in a briefing. The letter was from a Band Officer in the Army who oversees all Army Bands in Iraq! Apparently, if you play an instrument and you are NOT a dork, you join the Army Band. Permission granted, Sir.

By the way, I played the saxophone in my high school marching band. My uniform looked very much like the one in the comic. I wish I still had that hat.

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Darren said...

hahahaha yes! you are the best tony... I'm about to bring those comic strips to school and hang them up in band.

Anonymous said...

Man, I wish you were still available in print in Detroit. I use to love cutting you out and taping you above the urinals in my plant. It's just not the same when I print it the day after.

"Hey man, there's a funny ass comic strip above the urinals in #5 you'd like."

"I know"


Anonymous said...

I'm a band nerd (and yes I'm proud of it. I was in the ASU marching band and read you comic strip in the ASU paper everyday) and I think these comics are funny. I don't know any football player who could march and play an instrument. At my high school several of the top graduates were band students. So stop worrying about being insulted and remember that you will most likely end up far better off than the football players.

Linda said...

Have you ever heard about the "Thunder Road Incident"? Back during the Vietnam War, The 1ID Band made national headlines when it marched for a mile down "Thunder Road" while playing The Colonel Bogey March. This "road" was under the control of the North Vietnamese Army regiment (located less than a mile away), and it was critical that the 1st Infantry Division maintain control of it. The band, marching down the road playing a march, confuesed the enemy, and caused them to withdraw from the area. They thought that since the band was playing, the 1ID had won a battle, so they retreated in fear! The 1ID band completed a combat mission without ever firing a shot!

So you second comic strip is not offensive...but actually quite accurate!!!

My husband has spent 7 years as an Army bandmaster (commander), after being a musician for 10 years. In case people wonder...bands DO deploy...they are soldiers first, musicians second.

(I'm not a band dork...I'm a band geek...I think there might be a difference. I'm proud to be a geek, but I wouldn't want to be a dork!)

Katie said...

It was that comment that made me love F-minus in the first place! I am a musician, graduated from ASU in 2007 with a BM in performance. I am constantly sharing your comics with friends and they enjoy them too. Keep up the good work and ignore those neurotic musicians without a sense of humor! (It was me that put up that drawing of the flute player in my profile pic on facebook hehehe)

Steve Reed said...

Man that first comic was GOLD. People need to learn that if you can't laugh at yourself, others will do it for you.

Anonymous said...

Tony, I now understand why you're so upset that people don't decorate for Saxophone Day anymore.

Ryan Knapp said...

Unrelated, but I thought you'd like to know that the two ads that comics.com ran with your cartoon this morning were on how to get rid of diseases called Ulcerative Colitis and Spinal Stenosis. I don't know what these are, but they sound both painful and made-up. Maybe they're trying to send me a message?

Anonymous said...


I am a band director as well and I immediately posted this in my office. It makes me chuckle and my students enjoy it as well.

I think the original letter is from someone who is insecure and doesn't know how to laugh. I didn't see you "purporting" anything, it's just F-U-N-N-Y.

Love your comics. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If anything, those two letters say more about the sad state of affairs with music and music education in American society.