Short Story Month: Jughead, asexual puppetmaster

Archie (Short Story Month #1)

As every­one is no doubt aware, Riverdale is the car­toon page’s ver­sion of David Lynch’s Lum­ber­ton, where mon­sters hold sway and Kyle McLach­lan dis­cov­ers the ter­ror that is sex­u­al long­ing. The town’s idyl­lic 1950’s facade dis­guis­es its true self, a roil­ing, ooz­ing melange of male impo­tence, psy­cho­sex­u­al class war­fare, and bit­ing satire.

Here, we find Jug­head Jones — Riverdale’s asex­u­al pup­pet­mas­ter, the Puck to Veronica’s Titiana, for­ev­er toy­ing with his “friends” for his own sick amuse­ment — play­ful­ly engag­ing in the ten­ants of Marx­ist dog­ma as he high­lights the antag­o­nism which exists in soci­ety due to com­pet­ing socioe­co­nom­ic inter­ests and desires between peo­ple of dif­fer­ent class­es. Veron­i­ca — rep­re­sent­ing Riverdale’s high­est caste as scion of Mr. Lodge, the dark lord of cap­i­tal­ism — dis­plays the instinc­tu­al igno­rance of her class, prais­ing a  “work of art” with­out giv­ing thought to the artist’s true intent. So hell­bent on prov­ing her­self a cul­tured cit­i­zen of Riverdale’s klep­toc­ra­cy, she imme­di­ate­ly proves her­self the fool by inane­ly glo­ri­fy­ing a framed like­ness of food­stuffs (like­ly also adorned with infan­tile diges­tive juices), ven­er­at­ing the piece as wor­thy of join­ing the revered heights of Pol­lock and Dali. Jug­head, the “artist” in ques­tion, effort­less­ly strips away Veronica’s affec­ta­tion by reveal­ing the true intent behind the art, that of prov­ing the watch­er an igno­rant fame­whore. Veronica’s face in the sec­ond pan­el betrays her hor­ror of being proved a laugh­ing­stock. Mean­while, Jughead’s garb con­tin­ues his artis­tic attack, his shirt being embla­zoned with a bold S, which we take here to rep­re­sent the word suck­er. 

No doubt Mr. Lodge will soon wreak vengeance upon the artis­tic com­mu­ni­ty for this slight to his daughter’s van­i­ty, insist­ing that all art which stains Riverdale’s walls be sub­mit­ted to com­mit­tee for eval­u­a­tion of its over­all worth to the com­mu­ni­ty. His wrath there­by destroys the con­cept of artis­tic integri­ty and sub­jects the town­ship to the banal­i­ty of group­think, thus ensur­ing his hold over the cit­i­zen­ry will con­tin­ue unin­ter­rupt­ed for decades to come.