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Comic Strip of the Day: “Ephphatha!”*

Steve Breen leads off today because he’s covering the news and not the noise.

There are plenty of Omarosa cartoons, and we’ll get to them, but Breen is the first to pick up on this bit of news that is only news because the question it raises is “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?”

How many times can an entire people do the same?

A grand jury in Pennsylvania has issued a scathing report of clergy sexual abuse, and I wouldn’t expect you to read the entire thing, but the introduction is damning enough, and I didn’t choose that adjective by happenstance.

As Christopher Titus said, in a comedy bit you might not want to click on, “I feel bad for these priests. You know what I wish they had? A god they could pray to for guidance, or maybe, like, a book with some rules in it they could read.”

And he goes on, “I don’t trust the Church anymore, and that’s sad, because they’ve done good work in the past. They’ve fed the hungry, they’ve helped the homeless. When it comes to raping little kids, they seem to have dropped the ball.”

Well, Titus often looks at things the rest of us don’t want to, and hears things we don’t want to hear.

I particularly like Breen’s take because the Pennsylvania investigation delves back into things that happened decades ago, and are not only outside the statutory limits but, more to the point, fall under the heading of Things We Already Knew.

If we wanted to.

Which we don’t.

Even Sacha Pfeiffer, one of the Globe reporters who shared in a well-earned Pulitzer for their work in 2002 , went on Twitter to point out that the problem is a great deal larger than what they uncovered in Boston.

If you saw “Spotlight,” the 2015 movie based on the Globe’s reporting, you saw a very good breakdown of how in-depth investigative reporting works, not just comparable to “All the President’s Men” but in several ways better because it was about something less dramatic and national in scope, and about something right in their own backyard

As Pfeiffer notes, in everybody’s back yard, and not everybody wanted it dug up.

Here’s the trailer, but you should watch the whole thing, which can be streamed on Amazon.

The Pennsylvania grand jury isn’t telling us anything we didn’t know, but the Boston Globe didn’t, either.

How far back do you want to go?

How many times do you have to be told before you listen?

How many times can you turn your head and pretend that you just don’t see?

In 1993, “60 Minutes” reported on clergy abuse and the elaborate coverup in New Mexico.

And before that, national reporting on the case of Father Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana pinged the PTSD of a young waiter in British Columbia, who went to the press with his story of abuse by Christian Brothers at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland, leading to a national investigation and a two-part made-for-TV movie.

Which you can stream on YouTube, and the lawyer-talk at the start is, well, lawyer talk. Canada has funny laws and the movie could not be shown in the Maritimes when it first aired because the trials were still ongoing there. It sure was fiction and not at all no-sirree based on facts, but it was also potentially prejudicial.

If you want something the lawyers haven’t disclaimed, go to Amazon and buy the 1991 book in which reporter Michael Harris summarized his newspaper reporting, which triggered the investigations and, thereby, the movie.

 

And thereafter, revelations of sexual abuse by clergy (not all Catholic) in the residential schools where First Nations children were sent to have their culture removed.

 

And sexual abuse of the “Duplessis Orphans,” illegimate children confined often to lifelong servitude in Quebec.

Point being that I have no idea when it all began.

And that I’d rather know when it all is going to stop.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Nate Beeler)

 

(Mike Lester)

And, now, the noise: Omarosa was so amusingly annoying and toxic on the Apprentice that she was hired for the sequel.

I still refuse to credit Trump with the wit and cunning to purposely deploy all these bizarre distractions, but this latest is indeed distracting, and, whether he planned it or not, her bizarre accusations are sure drawing attention away from everything else.

I’m not sure this sideshow is entirely to his benefit, however. I’m not surprised Beeler gave him a slapdown, and a pretty hilarious one, because, although he clearly leans to the right, Nate Beeler is not afraid to speak up when a conservative fails.

Here, he offers a list of foolish distractions and nonsensical feints, and achieves the editorial cartoonist’s dream of multiple panels that each manage to make distinct political points and get laffs at the same time.

Lester’s cartoon is different, however. It does, indeed, make a point that has occurred to me and other people as well, but, in context of Lester’s ongoing defense of Trump, it’s worth considering on another level.

I’m reminded of the almost-certainly-apocryphal story of how, when Walter Cronkite visited Vietnam and declared the war unwinnable, LBJ or an aide remarked that, if he had lost Cronkite, he had lost the nation.

Mike Lester isn’t Walter Cronkite, but he’s a steadfast conservative and, when he questions the president’s judgment, it seems like a significant crack in the foundation.

A few Trump flunkies have attacked Omarosa, but I haven’t seen any of his opponents praise her.

Lester’s point seems the only real one in play, and he stated it clearly.

 

*Footnote

Jesus … put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spat and touched the man’s tongue. And looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released, and he began to speak plainly. — Mark 7, 33-35

Go thou and do likewise.

Community Comments

#1 Perry Brent
August/15/2018
@ 10:44 am

Omarosa is a perfect fit for Trump. Attention-grabbing, self-promoting, liar. I loved her interview on NPR when she got called out by the reporter for clearly changing her story “Girl, did you even read my book?” Omarosa, did you even read YOUR book?

#2 Hank Gillette
August/15/2018
@ 9:44 pm

Maybe I am dreaming, but I think the Catholic church could solve at least 90% of their priest problem by opening up the priesthood to married men (and women). I just think there is something off about a young man who declares that he is willing to renounce sexual relationships for the rest of his life, and it seems to have been a magnet for some seriously messed-up people.

Yes, there have been predator ministers from other denominations, but in those cases the story has been about one rogue minister, not a church rife with predatory priests and a church organization willing to cover it up rather than help the victims.

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