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CSotD: Sunday Miscellany

Ben Garrison is almost certainly the most reviled cartoonist among cartoonists, not because he is conservative — there are several conservative cartoonists in the “agree to disagree” category — but because he is ham-handed and, as seen in this recent piece, prone to concepts that, if not clinically paranoid, are at least doctrinaire to the point of being disjointed from events.

 

And so he caused a stir when he ran this cartoon, in which he criticized Fox News for criticizing Dear Leader, and only in part because it appears his conservative TV watcher is married to Veronica Lodge.

It’s not that anyone admired the cartoon itself — it’s still got a preachy, harsh tone that clangs — but, along with his explanation of the piece, it’s a sign that Fox’s gradual easing into a more mainstream form of conservative coverage has gotten to the point where the Ben Garrisons are beginning to take notice.

Not that he’s plowing new ground or breaking away from Trump: Dear Leader has been criticizing the shift at Fox.

Nor is Fox turning into a left-wing bastion. But it remains the most easily accessible conservative outlet, and I suspect there are a lot of Trump supporters who don’t have the interest or perhaps the computer skills to access Breibart and Town Hall.

If Fox is no longer a consistent booster of Trump & Co., we might see a bit of dialogue emerge in this country.

Though I’ve spoken to several people recently who report the same sad experience of watching a once-moderate parent turn right-wing extremist, as seen in this sad documentary, “The Brainwashing of My Dad.” (streamable on Amazon)

Baby steps.

 

And now, the sports

Phil Hands comments on a recent law passed in California that allows college athletes to monetize their fame (Barry Alvarez being the football coach at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Hands’ local paper).

It’s not that they’ll be paid by the schools, but they’ll be able to get a cut of jerseys with their names, they’ll be permitted to do commercials for the local burger joint and they’ll be allowed to hire agents before they graduate.

On the topic of amateurism, the NCAA has long been good at straining at gnats and swallowing camels. At the time I was there, Notre Dame had a clean reputation, as did the service academies and most of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Even then, it wasn’t 100% squeaky — alums sometimes slipped a few bills into someone’s hand in a handshake. But a friend on the basketball team went to law school at another university and would work out on the court with several of the current players there. He reported being shocked at how blatantly they were paid off.

Funny story: There’s a violation called “coach’s car,” which has to do with coaches maintaining a small fleet of Corvettes or whathaveyou, licensed in their names but on permanent loan to their players. But the night I came across three of my basketball buddies driving around in coach’s car, it was a nondescript sedan with a box of Kleenex on the back deck: It genuinely was “coach’s car.”

And technically they could have been gigged by the NCAA for that. I can’t recall the details, but there was a player some years ago who lost eligibility for having played a bit part as a football player in a movie. I’m not sure he even had a line, but the NCAA declared that he was profiting from his skills and therefore had turned professional.

Now, I’ve never begrudged the coaches for getting a taste of the funds they bring in through ticket sales, TV contracts, jersey sales and so forth. As I’ve said to people who bitch about how much athletes make, come back and complain after your employer sells 80,000 tickets a week and TV rights for people to watch you clean the fryer hoods.

But my d-in-law got a stipend as part of her scholarship while she was working on her doctorate and I’m pretty sure a Division I-A football team makes more money off their students than her school ever made from her considerable talents.

 

More Kollege Kapers

Existential Comics takes a swipe at ol’ Fred Nietzsche, who, rather than being pietzsche like the graffito said, was perhaps a bit overbearing. Go read the rest, because it’s a hoot, particularly if, like most undergraduates, you took his arrogance for wisdom.

I’ve often contrasted Dali and Chagall by suggesting that Dali said “Look what I’ve done!” while Chagall said, “Let me tell you a story …”

I would suggest that Nietzsche and Spinoza contrast in a similar way, the difference being that, while I’d rather nestle in with Spinoza or Chagall, I do get a kick out of the inventive ways that Dali shows off.

Nietzsche, by contrast, goes in the “I’m not in college anymore” basket.

Or, to quote another great philosopher, he does not spark joy.

 

The Job Market for Trained Philosopher Kings

Retail has been dogging Early-Onset-Christmas-Syndrome this week, and this Sunday piece is a lovely addition to the arc.

Artistic note: Check the top and bottom margins. The story, which is fiction, is slightly smaller than the final panel, which is reality. Well played, Norm Feuti!

 

Now go away

Constant readers have, no doubt, picked up on how much I like Betty, which I think is a greatly underappreciated strip. But today’s warms my heart.

Not so much for Betty’s part, because on-line shopping out here in the sticks is kind of unavoidable. Even our “big box” stores aren’t very big and, if I drove to a major city every time I wanted selection, I’d melt the ice caps in no time at all.

But I’m with Bub: I know what I want, I know where it is, I don’t need help scanning the bar code. They’re not “jerks” but they waste my time.

And I’m sorry if it displaces a worker, but, if you pump your own gas and use ATMs, you’ve got no stone to cast.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
October/6/2019
@ 7:20 am

I found it vaguely — and bleakly — amusing when some rich celebrity gets hauled into court for paying out fifty grand to pass his/her little dumpling off as a student on an athletic scholarship… and yet no one, as far as I know, was hauled in to take to task the coaches and university admins and the NCAA for bringing in athletes and shoving them into paper courses just so the coaches could make millions of dollars and the NCAA got all that lovely sponsorship money.

Funny how that all worked out, huh.

As for Garrison? Sheesshhh…

#2 Tara Gallagher
October/6/2019
@ 11:42 am

The problem with the “if you pump your own gas” argument about self-checkout, is that I don’t have much choice in the matter. I suppose I could sit in the car and honk the horn until the clerk came out, but often there’s only one clerk in the convenience-store part of the gas station, and they’re not going to want to leave the counter unattended or lock up.
I have no idea what people with physical imitations do to get a fill-up; I suppose they bring a friend. Or maybe find a gas station with a service bay and more employees, but that’s a shrinking resource.

#3 Susan Dress
October/6/2019
@ 4:32 pm

I don’t have a choice whether or not to pump my own gas. That’s all that’s available in Ohio. And I do go into the bank or use the drive up window and actually talk to a person at the bank.
So is it OK for me to say “No” to self checkout? To being forced to use it, as some stores close down cashier lanes completely, or have just one cashier and 10 self check lanes?

#4 Susan Dress
October/6/2019
@ 4:34 pm

Tara: gas stations in this area have signs posted on the pumps telling those who might need physical assistance to honk, or call the cashier. But also say customer might have to wait a bit for service.

#5 Mary McNeil
October/6/2019
@ 5:37 pm

Having worked in retail, I can agree with Betty from the other side – it eliminates the jerks that the clerks have to put up with too.

#6 Mike Peterson
October/7/2019
@ 3:32 am

Gas stations (and convenience stores) are required to pump for disabled drivers — that’s part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is federal law.

However, there was a time not too long ago when some stations pumped and some were self-serve and Americans made their choice, which was to lay off the pump jockeys, which was too bad, since those guys could also replace a blown water pump at odd hours (if they had the part, which they often did.)

Blow a water pump today and you may have to go to the dealership during normal business hours, since most gas stations laid off their pump jockeys and converted their bays into shelving for snack foods.

I imagine bank tellers are feeling the pressure of both ATMs and people who use their phones or computers for banking. However, I do notice that there is usually a short line in the teller’s lane and clear sailing at the ATM lane. Which may change, because it’s a pretty good incentive to use the ATM.

#7 Mike Peterson
October/7/2019
@ 3:35 am

As for “jerks,” they’re the ones in the self-check lane with a full basket of groceries despite the sign saying “small orders only.” And their skill at scanning is usually equal to their skill at reading that sign.

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