Oliver Wendell Jones

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Oliver Wendell Jones
Bloom County character
Created by Berkeley Breathed
Information
Gender Male
Nationality American

Oliver Wendell Jones is a fictional character in Bloom County, Outland and Opus, three comic strips by American cartoonist Berkeley Breathed.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The genius of the bunch, he was always hacking into forbidden files with his Banana Jr. 6000 computer, and would be grounded or spanked by his father when he was caught. His father never approved of his focus on computers and once demanded he take up a more "normal activity" like football. This was not received well by him. Oliver once framed Steve Dallas for breaking into the IRS computers.

Hacking[edit]

His first such hacking endeavor in Bloom County occurred only days after his first introduction to the series, where he alters the print newspaper's front page of the New York Times, which has the headline, "Reagan Calls Women 'America's Most Valuable Resource'". Milo, who accompanies Oliver, immediately alters it on the basis of being "too wordy" and the final edition reads "Reagan Calls Women 'America's Li'l Dumplin's'", sparking nationwide outrage and a mass dumpling pelting attack on the White House by feminist activists but earning the administration praise from Phyllis Schlafly (the comment was based on a real comment made by Hayden Fry, the football coach for the University of Iowa which provoked similar outrage in real life). He also reprogrammed NASA's Space Shuttle re-entry trajectory to cause the shuttle to land in on their neighbor's beet patch; his dad commented that that was kinda funny, but that Oliver was still in BIG TROUBLE. Hacking the IRS to give Dad a multi-million dollar rebate didn't quite go as planned either.

Among his other accomplishments is building an atomic bomb for a science project, a feat that got him suspended from school. He also hijacked HBO's transmissions claiming to be leader of the "People's Revolutionary Anti Scrambling Front for the Liberation of Public Airwaves etc, etc.". In this stunt reminiscent of Captain Midnight's similar hijacking of HBO, Oliver appeared on television wearing a black hood similar to G.I. Joe's Cobra Commander.

Mothering[edit]

Oliver's mother always tried to get him to emulate someone "normal" - though she always used Michael Jackson as an example - which was something that Oliver did not appreciate. Through the years, Oliver's mother had a wall sized Michael Jackson photo covering Oliver's room, bought him a Michael Jackson glove, a Michael Jackson Caucasian kit and the Michael Jackson facial distorter (basically a tabletop vise for the face).

Oliver was named for United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and it is also similar to the full name of the M*A*S*H character Spearchucker Jones, Oliver Harmon Jones.

Inventions[edit]

The Electro-Photo Pigment-izer[edit]

This skin-darkening invention was created to flash the white South African ambassador in a desperate attempt to destroy the apartheid regime, but the mission nearly killed Opus and landed Cutter John in Communist Russia where he was held as a political prisoner.

Prototype testing proved successful on Steve Dallas who, after finding his skin a little darker, believed that he had ventured into The Twilight Zone and began looking for Rod Serling in the bushes.

Starchair Enterpoop[edit]

The Starchair Enterpoop was Cutter John's wheelchair with balloons attached to it, with a crucial design flaw that there is no way to steer. It was meant as a way to take Cutter John to Washington DC so he could use the Electro-photo pigmentizer on the South African ambassador to the United States, thus turning him dark-skinned and creating social chaos in South Africa to help bring down apartheid.

The Teleportation Device[edit]

This was an attempt to transport matter. A few bugs plagued it in the beginning. Oliver's first attempt at teleportation landed him part way in the floor. Another attempt resulted in his father's automobile being transported into orbit around Pluto. The largest disaster was due to Bill The Cat's presence in the transporter with Oliver, which changed Oliver into half-human half-cat, a la The Fly. This was later revealed to be a dream.

Scalp Tonic[edit]

Oliver developed a baldness cure made out of sweat from Bill the Cat (originally intended as a deodorant until it caused rampant underarm hair growth in Oliver's dad). When users began to develop feline characteristics (most notably Bill's trademark "ack" noises), the government declared the tonic a controlled substance. The price of the tonic skyrocketed, and the gang began selling it underground. Criminals began to get in on the action. The whole series was a thinly disguised commentary on the drug wars. The craziness ended when Congress legalized the scalp tonic which caused the market to collapse, and production to cease; without a supply of the tonic, Oliver's dad went totally bald (by sneezing his hair off).

The Grand Unification Theory[edit]

After Oliver began searching for an explanation of the universe in the form of an equation, he was told that Stephen Hawking was doing the same (this caused him to bang his head on the wall several times). Oliver then wrote a letter to Hawking, ridiculing him and his mathematical abilities. Hawking responded by mailing Oliver a thermonuclear bomb (which never actually detonated). Oliver eventually beat Hawking to the equation, and attempted to explain it to Opus. Under closer examination, however, the equation disproves the existence of flightless waterfowl, and Opus begins to be erased, as if with a pencil eraser. Oliver then discovers that he "forgot to carry the two" and corrects the equation, and Opus pops back into existence, if a bit disheveled.