Thursday, May 28, 2009

RIP TFRL

So, the CIO called me into his office to talk about TFRL today. He was cool about it, and didn't personally have any problems with it, but he's also a very smart guy, and communicated that he didn't want TFRL to be a problem in our redesign process. "Put this behind you and move on," he said, meaning apologize, don't write anything that directly relates to the people and meetings you deal with, but by all means have a cartoon.

Well, I understand and appreciate that, but I can't write a cartoon about things I haven't experienced. The whole reason TFRL resonates with people is because it is real. The only reason it is funny is because it's real. I can't write something that is a total fiction - I don't have that skill.

So, this is the end of TFRL. The only two people in the whole world that I know of who have a problem with it win. I sincerely hope they are happy because I am stopping this specificially for them.

69 comments:

Lane J said...

we will miss TFRL!

Aaron Rester said...

Oh, man. What a bummmer... thanks for all the laughs.

You know what would be cool? A DIY TFRL web app! Like Shrinky-Dinks 2.0 or something. Then the whole world could create their own TRFLs...

Megg said...

Can't get any more real than that. We'll miss TFRL.

LoriPA said...

There's only one thing for it: win the eduStyle Best Blog award and go out in an "Arrested Development" style blaze of glory!

Matt Herzberger said...

That really sucks! To bad some people are petty and can take fun poked their way.

Tony Dunn said...

Yes, you can still vote for us for higher ed blog of the year and prove everyone wrong!

Vote here: http://www.edustyle.net/awards/2009/ballot.php#37

E James Ford said...

I agree with LoriPA! For those that haven't yet voted yet, get to the edustyle awards and put this blog over the top.

Seriously, though, humor is one of the most insightful tools available... Thanks for making all of our processes more bearable by making us realize that we're not alone.

Karlyn said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Shelley Keith said...

I'm sorry for (y)our loss. You should have more t-shirts printed so we can help it live on in spirit.

Um, you sure you don't want the mob with pitchforks and torches? I'm sure we can make it happen.

Carlene said...

Awful that some people's personal insecurities can ruin something that brings joy to so many webbies in the world of higher ed (or in general).

Long live TFRL!

rstackhouse said...

This saddens me deeply. This comic has said a lot about the inefficiencies of educational bureaucracy. Now it says even more about the power of such bureaucracies, who are charged with spreading knowledge and fact, to stifle the truth.

Obviously the people who wanted you to can your comic don't understand the idea of being Responsive, not Perfect.

A really sad commentary on our educational system.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Mike said...

This is a sad day for sure

D.W. said...

While I'm not a Web person, I related to the trials, tribulations, and victories you documented with the Web cartoon.

I agree that it stinks TFRL is ending, but I admire you for standing up for what you believe in. Thanks for the laughs and for having integrity.

A.M. Millikin said...

so sad......

Bradjward said...

Sorry to hear this. Honestly, you can have all of my eduStyle blog votes. You deserve it. This blog deserves it.

Stewart Foss said...

Wow, this is really sad. TFRL will be sadly missed.

ann said...

Awh man, what a bummer! Sorry to hear it. I guess it was supposed to be a secret vote, but I had already voted for you. You don't get more real life than this. :)

todd said...

You are too smart and your work too truthful for an academic setting. Please consider taking TRFL forward in a commercial setting, but definitely continue your creative work.

Kristen said...

BUMMER, I have really enjoyed reading this blog for comic relief since my org is undergoing a redesign at the moment.

Anonymous said...

As a loyal reader and someone who could commiserate with your issues after just completing a 2yr redesign, I am sorry to hear this.

Thanks for being a smile to me with every cartoon.

Cliff said...

TTFN TFRL

Justin said...

What a shame.

jodycb said...

whatever happened to academic freedom? Wait... that's just for faculty.

I love this cartoon. It is helping keep me sane in the face of my own redesign. Now I will have to use my Employee Assistance Program benefits.

It's just not right.

Susan said...

UGH! This is wrong on so many levels. I hate when a few have to ruin it for the many.

I wonder what "someone" or (two) would think about a flooded inbox of curtly worded letters of disdain (NOT hate mail). :-)

Sorry Tony, prophead and the gang. This really is a sad day, indeed.

Joshua Schroeder said...

Sorry to hear this. Thanks for the memories.

Ron said...

This is sad, yet not surprising. You've done great work here, though!

Ross said...

FWIW, our designer had a similar internal cartoon that he discontinued for fear or irritating the brass.

My suggestion is to open it up to the world. We'll give you stories, you make them funny. We'll make it very clear that nothing funny ever happens at your school.

Cody said...

You work in higher-ed, it's only appropriate you should be censored for doing good work. Rest in peace TFRL.

MFebber said...

My heart lightened every time a new TFRL post appeared in the RSS reader. RIP indeed, TFRL, RIP.

the photoSmith said...

wow, classic higher-ed admin move. depressing. it was a good run...

Michael J. said...

Ross' idea is good. Scott Adams gets his stuff from readers. Could expand to a whole community of people submitting stuff. Could ask for donations, or subscribers. Who knows, maybe earn enough to quit the day job....

One problem might be that the material still cuts too close to the bone. Maybe you could store up the incoming suggestions and use ones not time-coincident with your current work. Most of this stuff is evergreen. (Not your take on the stuff, but the topics themselves.)

Joel Goodman said...

I concur with my colleagues. Very sad. Thanks for the fun!

Michael J. said...

Also worth noting (for the commenters) that 'academic freedom' is for tenured professors, not admin/staff. That argument gets no sympathy from most. You have agency, and can work around org issues (or, of course find another org).

insidetimshead said...

As we're preparing to begin a redesign, I was looking forward to TFRL being, to quote Shakespeare, the star to my every wandering bark. And it's sad ... this was all so funny because it's true.

We talk about authenticity on the Web and here was an example of old-fashioned thinking being unable to handle the truth. In short, we know who gets it and who doesn't, and I hope the blog comments you see here show where the people who get it stand.

Know that you'll be missed and that we appreciated all the laughs!

Karine Joly said...

That's a really sad day. Maybe we should have torched Humbold State ;-)

You're very talented and funny - and I hope you can share that talent and humor with all of us in the future.

drew said...

If you're a successful artist/musician/author and you don't have detractors, then something's wrong. This little setback is merely a sign that you're doing great work.

Art is about inciting reactions. And great art has the quality of being loved, or being hated. Usually with no middle ground.

Those things being said, if i could go back in time I'd counsel you to create TFRL without divulging your employer.

Introducing the Best Higher Ed Blog award winner: John Doe.

Andrew said...

Very sad to see this blog go, especially under these circumstances. I hope this concept resurrects in some form, and soon.

Todd Barber said...

Sorry, I enjoyed reading it and laughing and passing it around my campus getting a glimmer of hope that "we weren't the only ones."

Danielle Warby said...

as someone that works in a similar area in a university I LOVED this blog because it was all so true and so so funny. if those who are unhappy take a good hard look at this blog and take on board some of the issues raised, things might actually go a little smoother for the redesign. you guys are the experts after all and you should be left the job you are hired to do with as little interruption from politics as possible... and we all need a little comic relief dealing with the working life at a university. you will be missed!

Andrew said...

There were times when I thought you must have had a webcam on the wall behind my desk. This is very sad news and makes my job as a University web designer/developer just that much less fun.

sybil law said...

:(

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I haven't read through all the comments yet, but am guessing a few people tried to persuade you to continue. The thing is, your talent is unique and your eye for seeing something and being able to create something wonderful from it is terrific. Although you've used the Web design as a platform, why not use a different platform. The lunch room, the bus, whatever. I got the best laugh tonight on the bus. I could tell the story, but you could tell it better even though you weren't there. You bring joy. I hope you'll continue. Many thanks and best wishes, Pati

Chuck Reynolds said...

Dude that sucks... Typical management... I say keep it going... Fk it...

PeasinaPod said...

you can't go - i just got here!!!!!

PeasinaPod said...

you can't go - i just got here!!!!

Anonymous said...

Too bad that a couple of rotten apples spoil the fun
It's a sad day indeed.

mikeyc7m said...

tony, l love your blog, it described my struggles at work so accurately i thought you were spying on us. Do what i did - quit! Tell the uni to stick it and go get a job where you are respected for your talent, expertise and experience. I hope your CIO reads these comments, what a jerk.

Marius said...

This is the first post that hasn't made me laugh, but made med want to cry.

I'll really miss this cartoon. You don't know how universal your situations are.

Felt like you had been earsdropping in the meetings I've been to. And it felt good to know I wasn't the only one experiencing problems with boards, managers and people not knowing their role.

TFRL will be greatly missed!
Good luck with the rest of the redesing

zedzdead said...

A symptom of your own success? If you do too good a job of it, word gets round and eventually the cleaner lets it slip to the CEO that its her favourite site.

At least they didn't tell you to shut it down by committee!

kapgar said...

You will be missed sorely.

Can you make some "in memoriam" T-shirts? I'd buy one or more.

gilzow said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

This is far and away my most favorite online comic (dude, you beat out xkcd!). I agree with @drew: great art causes controversy. Tony, you truly have a talent for this, and I hope you find a way to continue in some fashion.

It ticks me off when an employer attempts to dictate what you can do in your off hours, on your own equipment using resources not owned by the employer.

I really believe that those of us in the community could provide you with enough stories that you could easily keep TFRL alive with absolutely no (your-employer-here)-specific stories.

LONG LIVE TFRL!!!!

Aaron said...

Shame on your CIO for being such an idiot. :(

I was only an occasional passers-by, coming in through my HEB RSS feed, but I enjoyed what I did read. (AFAIC, anyone that uses Domo-kun is ok in my book. :) )

Darylslimshady said...

aww...just when I discovered this funny part of the web...

Anonymous said...

My sincerest condolences.
Thanks for all the giggles and helping us realize that at least we are not alone in our dysfunctional universities.

Anonymous said...

"Can't get any more real than that." is exactly right. Here's hoping a good job opportunity comes your way, where you are allowed to thrive and not trampled by people who can't laugh at their own quirks.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the turkeys get you down...

Free frickin speech...

Aren't you in a union...

Call 911 - get the police...

I'd burn my bra for you...

Rich said...

What the heck?! I just started subscribing to your feed yesterday!

I've had scuffles with management just like you. It's a tough life, but I loved your stuff. Will the archives stay up?

Anonymous said...

My condolences... that really sucks. I and my coworkers really enjoyed TfRL.

James said...

I'll miss TFRL. Thanks for sharing while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

But it wasn't about your higher-ed place of employment -- I was so sure it was about mine! Will miss this comic relief.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to see this end, and I understand how it is the right decision. I also work in a university. I say I'm no longer amazed at what happens here, but something else always comes along...

Michael Stoner said...

Tony,

I've been on vacation this week and haven't been checking email or RSS or Twitter and what do I learn when I scan my feeds? I can't believe it! I'll really, really miss TFRL. It wasn't just amusing, it was real. I mourn the end of this great series.

isaacson said...

that sucks so much. hope someone else will take up the torch, need some humor to make it through our own redesign.

Jesse said...

Tony, thanks so much for keeping us entertained. TFRL was truly unique and your cutting remarks will be missed by all. Now where were those pitchforks?

Anonymous said...

"whatever happened to academic freedom? Wait... that's just for faculty." This comment is so true... I will miss TFRL and I just started reading it!! I've worked at two high-ed institutions in redesigns and this comic really made me laugh at the similarities in dysfunctionality!!

marty mankins said...

Will miss TFRL. A fellow blogger - Kevin Apgar of www.kapgar.com used to provide links to these and I got hooked.

City said...

Why I oughta! A committee of two brought you down. I feel your pain. They same thing happened to our Web Team after we posted a video of us snow kayaking the stairs *near* the University!

maxCohen said...

"he didn't want TFRL to be a problem in our redesign process"

So that means after the redesign is done you can start it again? Just keep notes and start posting then. See you in 5 years! :)