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CSotD: All The News That Fits, We Print

Judge Parker threatens to become self-aware, likely because Francesco Marciuliano, who also writes “Sally Forth,” is writing the stories.

Sally Forth has made shattering the fourth wall an ongoing feature, and that’s fine there but I’d hate to see it here. However, if Ronnie’s caustic grasp on normalcy becomes the catalyst that brings it down to earth, I’m all in favor.

Too many continuity strips suffer from what I call “Rookies Syndrome,” after the 70s cop show in which any long-lost high school friend who showed up was either a crook or the victim of one, and any time anyone had a health issue — pregnancy, addiction, gunshot wound — Jill, the world’s most flexible float-nurse, would just happen to be working in that unit.

It’s not a new phenomenon, but when Rip Kirby ran into an old friend, it was usually because the old friend was specifically seeking his professional help.

Crime-fighters most often found their cases because the police asked for help or in some way other than, as Ronnie suggests, having a network of family and friends made up entirely of killers.

Marciuliano and Manley have taken over a strip that was in desperate need of an intervention, and it would be nice if they could cure it of “Rookies Syndrome.” There are few non-comedy continuity strips left and I think some inventive, non-incestuous crime fighting would be welcome.

 

Here’s some good news in the real world, specifically from Houston, where Nick Anderson has landed a full-time gig as Senior Communications Specialist for Government Relations in the Houston Mayor’s office.

In a post on his Facebook page, he explains that he will still be producing three cartoons a week for the syndicate, though, because of potential conflicts of interest, he’ll no longer comment on local issues. That’s fine for those of us who don’t live in Texas anyway.

And I’m sure he’ll continue his Patreon page, because three cartoons a week is a time-consuming after-hours “hobby” that needs to somehow justify, if not entirely sustain, itself.

As fewer newspapers offer staff positions for cartoonists, more cartoonists will be in Nick’s position, and I’m sure a lot of cartoonists have been for some time, as most novelists have been from the very start.

In fact, there’s a piece floating around about how little sustainable income you get when your graphic novel is published, and it’s no news for anyone in book publishing: The phrase “Don’t quit your day job” is a standard in the arts, because very few writers or artists ever make enough to get by, unless they choose voluntary poverty.

Which isn’t necessarily a choice when you have a family, though Vonnegut’s kids told of how, when he got an advance, he’d stock up on beans and rice and other cheap imperishables.

Better, I think, to have your dad be Joseph Heller, holding down a job at Newsday and writing “Catch-22” on the sly.

In any case, good on ya, Nick, and rest assured that you are hardly the only creative type working early in the morning or late at night. (He wrote at 6 am, two hours into the day’s blog.)

 

And speaking of unemployed cartoonists, Indian cartoonist Gireesh Moozhippadam lost his freelance gig in another of those deals where the editors published an offensive cartoon, but it’s his fault he drew it.

The caption says of the minister being criticized that his policy proposal is what you should expect when you give a good job to someone who used to climb coconut trees. The reference is to the minister’s caste, which traditionally made a type of fermented coconut liquor.

India is such a diverse nation on so many levels — economic, industrial, linguistic, cultural — that it’s hard for an outsider to keep up with things, but my understanding is that, while reform has loosened the once-strong caste system, it can no more eliminate prejudice than our Civil Rights Act did here.

But it’s the same the whole world over in that, when something gets into print which clearly never should have, it’s the cartoonist or reporter who gets sacked, and never the editor whose job it is to review and approve content.

(h/t to Tom Spurgeon)

 

 

Let’s counter that dismal story with some excellent newsgathering by Patrick Chappatte, who  has gone out to Silicon Valley to report on the odd fact that the tyros who make all that hi-tech stuff are careful to keep their kids clear of it.

In the first chapter of his report, he visits a Waldorf School strongly populated by the offspring of tech firms, where smartphones are banned and computers are not introduced until the eighth grade. At the bottom of that first chapter, a link leads you to the second, discussions with a group of industry insiders who have serious reservations about tech’s societal impact.

They have been described, he says, as “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.”

It’s fascinating and chilling stuff and I have no idea what to do about it, but I think I’d be more comfortable believing they had no idea what they were doing to society than I am knowing that they are careful to protect their own families from what they produce for the rest of us.

 

Which then leads to this piece of business reporting on the Nib, with the straightforward title “The Wealthy Aren’t Paying Their Share. How Do We Get Rid of Tax Havens?”

I’ve complained often about reporters who don’t know how business works, but this is almost the opposite, because it’s a lot of information in a quick format.

However, it matters and it’s well past time that people began to understand, as the inmates sang in Marat/Sade, “Why do they have the gold? Why do they have the power? Why why why why why, do they have the friends at the top? Why do they have the jobs at the top?”

Stick with it. It’s complex but worth it.

 

Juxtaposition of the End of the World

(Pat Bagley)

 

(Darrin Bell)

Though we may be a little too late.

 

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