+

If Bart Simpson and Chris Griffin grew up and went to therapy, they might have a lot to say.

A lot of it would probably be hard to hear.


All images by Panic Volushka, used with permission.

That's the subject of a fascinating — and heartbreaking — new comic by a 25-year-old, Seattle-based artist who writes and draws under the name Panic Volkushka.

Both "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" often depict over-the-top family violence. Volkushka, a graduate student in counseling and art therapy, told Upworthy that a class he was taking inspired him to imagine how that violence might affect adult versions of the shows' child characters in the real world.

"People [have been] saying, 'Growing up, I couldn’t watch these shows, because that’s what happened to me, and I didn’t understand why I was suddenly expected to laugh at it,'" Volkushka said.

"At the time I was taking a class on systems therapy, which is based on the idea that even if you’re doing therapy with individuals, that they exist within the context of larger systems — their family system, social systems around them — so you have to understand that to understand what’s going on in their life," Volkushka said.

"The behavior that you pick up in your family is so much of the behavior that you take with you for the rest of your life. And for a lot of people, they don’t realize they’re doing that. Sometimes, for therapy, a big part of that is just realizing, ‘Oh, this is why I’m doing this.'"


As someone who once benefitted greatly from — and currently studies — counseling, Volkushka also hopes to highlight the restorative value of therapy.

"I was bullied pretty badly when I was in middle school and ended up going into therapy when I was 13," he said. "And it was really, really helpful, and I had a wonderful therapist."

In casting the therapist, Voshka attempted to contrast "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," and their casual depictions of abuse, with a show which he feels presents a far healthier family dynamic: "King of the Hill."

"Hank really doesn’t understand Bobby," Volkushka said. "There are times Peggy doesn’t understand Bobby. And Hank definitely discourages Bobby from things that he thinks are 'too girly,' or 'not the things that boys should do,' but ultimately, he loves Bobby, and when Hank is trying to discourage Bobby, or doesn’t understand Bobby, the show generally shows Hank as being in the wrong, and even if he doesn’t understand it, usually by the end of the episode, he’s come to some sort of peace with it. Like, 'I don’t understand my son, but he’s still my son.'"

Though he's received a few complaints from fans of the shows, Volkushka said the reaction has been mostly positive.

"I grew up watching 'The Simpsons.' That was, every Sunday, I’d sit down with my parents and watch the latest episode. And I still really love it."

Ultimately, he said, he hopes the comic will prompt people to take a harder look at the way family dynamics are depicted in pop culture, even on shows that as enduring and popular as the ones it explores.

"You can still appreciate it for what it is and criticize it at the same time. I don’t think that’s impossible."

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

US players comforting Iranian opponents after their World Cup match is humanity at its best

The politically charged match ended with several beautiful displays of genuine human connection.

US and Iranian players embrace after World Cup match-up.

The lead-up to the 2022 World Cup match between the U.S. and Iran was filled with anticipation, as the teams battled for a spot in the final 16 and long-running tensions between the two nations on the political stage rose to the surface.

The Iranian team had some internal tensions of its own to deal with as players navigated the spotlight amid human rights protests in their home country and rigid expectations of their government. According to CNN, after refusing to sing the national anthem before its match against England on November 21, the Iranian team was reportedly called into a meeting with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the anthem or engaged in any other form of protest.

Hence, before the match against the U.S., the players were shown somberly singing the anthem. Then they got down to the business they were there for—trying to win (or at least tie) a soccer match to advance to the World Cup round of 16.

It was an exciting game, with the U.S. ultimately winning 1-0. But in the end, all of the intense competition and political tensions were superseded by some truly heartwarming acts of good sportsmanship and human kindness.

Keep ReadingShow less

Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jaleel Akbash on Unsplash

Japanese soccer fans explain why they clean the stadium after a match.

Japanese fans at the World Cup tournament have been receiving praise for their admirable habit of cleaning up the stadium after their team's matches. It's commonplace to see Japanese fans, blue garbage sacks in hand, hanging back after the game to pick up the trash everyone has left behind in the stadium.

It's not the first time Japanese cleanliness has made headlines. Some schools in Japan don't even hire janitorial staff, as the students clean their schools themselves. Other than in specific educational programs such as Montessori (where practical skills and habits like cleaning and organizing the environment are incorporated into the pedagogy), that idea is practically unheard of in the U.S. But watching the Japanese fans picking up after a game, the automatic assumption that someone else is going to clean up after us feels like a mistake.

So what is it that compels Japanese fans to clean the stadium at the World Cup, despite the fact that there are people hired to do it already?

It generally comes down to one word: "atarimae."

Keep ReadingShow less