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CSotD: Elections are over, back on your heads

Maybe you can see things more clearly from a slight distance, but Canadian cartoonist Michael de Adder once more boils it all down to the essential point, aided, I would note, by the fact that his detailed style makes it possible to capture Bill Murray’s best hangdog expression.

Simply citing the movie would have been a weak commentary. You need the weary pessimistic defeatism with which Murray’s character — at least for the first two-thirds of the movie — greets yet another Sonny & Cher wakeup.

It’s been awhile since I’ve watched the movie, but my recollection is that, at first, he simply goes through the same stuff over and over, unable to effect any real change, and then he goes through a “what the hell, I know I’ll survive it” phase in which he accepts and even celebrates his inability to change things, and then finally gets a grip and does what he should have done before the cycle ever began.

Helluva metaphor, there, Michael. One of the best.

Except we seem to still be in the “What the hell, I can’t change anything” phase.

Or maybe that’s why it’s such a good metaphor.

 

Although, in the wake of Washington State voters actually moving to approve some sensible gun laws, David Horsey brings another apt Hollywood metaphor to the scene.

I don’t know that any professional gunfighters dressed like that, but the ones in the movies did and most of our gun-totin’ tradition is largely based on Hollywood imaginings, so that works.

In the movies, the good guy knows how to handle a gun, and the bad greedy rancher knows the run-of-the-mill thugs with which he surrounds himself cannot stand up to him, so he imports a gunslinger who can.

Seems like an apt metaphor to me, because I’m sure Horsey is right and the quick-draw artists will be arriving any time.

 

And Rick Kirkman  caps off this pessimistic collection with a commentary on a sneering insult worthy of Liberty Valance, with which Wayne La Pierre’s hit squad responded to a major journal representing internal medicine specialists:

You can see, by the way, that this was a carefully planned insult and not just something popped off in a momentary loss of self-control.

And, while the Groundhog Day cartoon was made more effective by de Adder’s detailed style, this one works better because of Kirkman’s more open, comic style: It gives the statement no more grace or dignity than it deserves, while his line of ambulances under lights and siren express the difference between LaPierre’s cruel, bullying indifference and the critical work of the people being attacked.

The difference between this moment and those Westerns is that, whether it’s Gary Cooper in High Noon or Jimmy Stewart in Destry Rides Again, there’s always that problem of getting the good people of the town to stand up to evil.

No such problem in real life, as a Twitter search of #THISISOURLANE quickly reveals:

 

And if you look at the icons in those furious  Tweets, you’ll see the demographic that is doing most of the pushing back, which brings us to …

 

Elsewhere in the News

Barry Blitt has the next New Yorker cover, and it’s by far my favorite analysis of what just happened.

Michael Cavna has a brief explainer with Blitt and NYer art editor Françoise Mouly, but I think what I like is that I didn’t need to hear why he drew it or why she selected it, because the cover is complete and, like the best of artistic commentary, self-explanatory.

As a white man, I get pretty sick of being told what shits we white men are, particularly when I can’t argue with the examples being cited.

But there’s no villainizing in this piece, simply a depiction of a roomful of dull, stuffy business-as-usual types, and a burst of color, both graphic and metaphorical, coming through that door.

There’s also no promise of how much things will change, only a suggestion that they will, and I think that’s both responsible and encouraging.

I have little patience —  okay, no patience — with the many cartoons, mostly from the right, pointing out that there was no gigantic blue wave wiping the Republican party from the face of the Earth, because it’s gloating over the failure of a goal nobody really set and a prophecy that nobody really expected.

Yes, there was talk of a blue wave, just as, before every World Series, there is talk of a four-game sweep and just as every shopkeeper who opens a store dreams of customers lined up down the street.

Dreams, however, are not predictions, and when a team manages to win in six, or when that store is profitable a year later, it’s churlish and stupid to mock them for their dreams instead of acknowledging their accomplishments.

 

That said, there is also some absurdly uninformed whining coming from the left, specifically from people who apparently skipped eighth grade and so are horrified now to learn that the number of Senators is not proportional to population, but is, rather, a standard feature of a federalist government.

Granted, in the above map, only the blue countries have bicameral legislatures, so how could anyone know?

It’s true that two-per-state no longer reflects the disparity in population among our states.

But the solution is not to turn the Senate into a duplicative mirror of the House or to abandon federalism, but rather to break up the states that have bloated populations and disparate needs into more compact, coherent bodies.

It needn’t be hard, once you get the heel-draggers out of the way. It doesn’t even require two-thirds majorities in the state or in Congress.

It does require opening that door even wider and letting in quite a bit more sunshine and color and vision.

Though, if you know how this gunslinger met his end, you know the importance of pairing up your visionary pilgrims with a plain-talking pragmatist or two.

(Even if you prefer to print the legend.)

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
November/10/2018
@ 8:40 am

While it’s *technically* true that we Canadians have a bicameral legislature, the Upper House (as we call the Senate) is all appointed by the current PM. They are not elected, although we’ve been pushing to have that for decades. The problem, of course, is that the Upper House would have to approve any change in our Charter, including an elected Senate, so it’s not likely to happen.

Still, something has to be done. We’ve had too many instances of Senators appointed to represent provinces they only marginally live in. Sorry, but your vacation house in PEI does not make you a resident of PEI, just an interim visitor who happens to own a small, slightly run down cabin by the lake.

#2 Mike Peterson
November/10/2018
@ 10:55 am

On the other hand, I liked our system by which Senators were appointed by state legislators, which we messed up in 1913.

And on the other other hand, I remember when Mulroney had a cunning plan to pack your Senate which involved appointing a well-known, intelligent newscaster whose name escapes me but whose response I remember: (1) No and (2) BTW, I oppose most of your policies anyway.

Still, a deliberative body is central to federalism. It shouldn’t be that hard to avoid screwing it up.

#3 Kip Williams
November/10/2018
@ 4:23 pm

I’ve been saying lately that the only difference between living in the world today and GROUNDHOG DAY is that nobody in this one ever learns anything.

#4 Russell Hodin
November/10/2018
@ 8:25 pm

Instead of breaking up the more populous states, why not consider consolidating the less populous ones. Should make for some interesting names. Idawytana? Wisdakota? Missgeorgia?

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