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CSotD: Burnout

There are many reasons to like Mike Thompson‘s cartoon, starting with the timing.

I hit a point last night where I didn’t want to read the arguing and self-sanctities on my computer anymore and I didn’t want to watch the talking heads promote their talking points on TV, and so I just read books that had nothing to do with anything current.

Thompson isn’t trying to be funny or sanctimonious. Even better, he has the whole family burnt out — the kid isn’t being a brat, he’s just stressed, and the wife isn’t being smug and all-knowing. She’s just as burnt out as her husband.

We need upbeat, “we can do it!” kinds of messages. We also need some warmer weather, since being snowbound and quarantined is a nasty combination.

But we also need truth, and this is truth. Note that Thompson lists the facts: The disease, the deaths, the impact on savings. But he’s not pissing and moaning about whether the relief package is properly balanced or who made the right declarations and gave the right orders or who should have done what when.

It’s simply a portrait of where we’re at, and a damn good one.

 

Ruben Bolling has been at the top of his game recently, and hits a kind of Twilight Zone mood with this edition of Super-Fun-Pak-Comix.

Part of the disjoint is that everything has ground to an unrealistic halt, so that even people like me, who normally work at home, find it unsettling that the rest of the world has gone blank.

For us, a run to the post office or store puts us back into the regular hum, and while it’s not quite as empty as Bolling portrays it, it’s empty enough to make you feel like Burgess Meredith after he breaks his glasses.

 

 

Mark “Off the Mark” Parisi opened a discussion on Facebook about how syndicated cartoonists are handling the whole situation, given the necessary lead times for their work to hit the newspapers.

As is the norm for Facebook, a lot of people who don’t have lead time issues chimed in, but sorting through to the responses from those who have to consider that problem showed some interesting reactions, as well as memories of times when a cartoon done six weeks earlier happened to hit at exactly the wrong time.

Which is kind of the answer: It’s fine for web cartoonists and editorial cartoonists to aim to be topical, but syndicated cartoons are a separate category.

 

There are a handful of comics-pages cartoonists — Darrin Bell and Bill Hinds, for instance — who work close enough to deadline that they can riff on current events, but even they have to play it carefully to avoid a sudden reversal of policy or dramatic turn of events that will make them look, at best, irrelevant and, at worst, as if they were being purposely tasteless.

 

Meanwhile, Lisa Benson is right: The virus is destroying our economy.

The question then is, so what? Not that she needs to provide an answer; her job is to observe issues, not resolve them.

The crisis is a real test of our darwinian capitalist culture: It’s simple enough to say that some businesses will bounce back and others will not, but there are a lot of factors involved in that, and they aren’t all about who is “smartest.”

It brings to mind the multipliers that come into play when some sports team wants a new stadium: They say it will cost X-million dollars but will generate Y-million in revenues, and that Y-million always seems pretty squishy.

Now we’ve got star athletes and team owners pitching in to pay the salaries of stadium employees and hot dog vendors, which is a good thing, but that’s not the whole Y-million. What about the bar across the street, which reliably fills up on every game night? Or the parking lot which ditto? Or the hotels for visiting fans? Or the newspaper that sells ads for sports paraphernalia, ads that have been cancelled because the place selling that stuff has hunkered down in the dark?

Those odd bits of the multiplier are now revealing themselves in the larger economy. For example, when the editorial cartoonists cancelled their annual convention, I called the Marriott and cancelled my reservation, and I felt bad for them.

Then I called the boarding kennel to cancel my dog’s reservation and it occurred to me that boarding kennels must really be getting screwed as travel ceases.

 

It’s not clear yet what this pending agreement in Congress means, though conservatives like Dana Summers are screaming “Pork!” a word that means “money being spent elsewhere than Wall Street.”

My real question is how much accountability there is for doing things like reimbursing the Marriott for not laying off housekeepers as well as for paying their light bill?

 

 

I saw a screed on the FoxNews website, all upset that some of the money is going to Big Bird, oh, and also NPR, which has been doing yeoman’s work in providing accurate information on the crisis while Fox has been deliberately misleading the public.

Accurate information is a major part of this crisis, and Marshall Ramsey is correct, particularly as Dr. Fauci gets less exposure because he dares to correct Dear Leader’s inaccuracies.

 

While, as Lee Judge charges, Dear Leader continues to revise the facts, I’m sympathetic to Ramsey’s idea that Facebook and Friends pose a serious threat to public safety as well.

I’m seeing a lot of “This is from an emergency room doctor” pass-alongs, and the general rules of Snopes haven’t changed: If the source is not named, be suspicious.

And the rule laid down at the City News Bureau of Chicago remains in force: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Even if the Facebook piece has a police department or hospital name attached to it, that isn’t enough.

Be suspicious. Know your sources.

 

As Bill Bramhall suggests, in these days of deceitful hoaxsters and self-serving narcissists, trust must be based on performance, not on promises.

 

Community Comments

#1 John Shea
March/27/2020
@ 4:37 am

I’ve been a lover of comics for almost all my life (except for the first two years before I learned to read, and to write with the clarity and succinctness I’m exhibiting right now. Okay, okay. okay! I’m meandering, I know, but what the hey-how-are-you: I’m in isolation.)
The second paragraph is really the first: I’ve been a lover of comics for years, and you/they do a great job. I love what artists are doing. Keep it up!
Especially good today was Bill Bramhall and Marshall Ramsey.
Thanks, guys.
I mean, in less than a month I’ll be entering my eighth decade (79 years and counting) and I simply refuse to offer myself for sacrifice to save whatever those conservatives think I should be giving up the ghost for.
Nuff sed!

#2 Liv Simonich
March/27/2020
@ 8:44 pm

Thanx for the pithy relevant humor.

#3 Linda bosworth
March/28/2020
@ 11:30 am

Life is too important to be taken seriously. Thats why everything funny at a funeral is over the top. I had read an interesting artical on testing proceedures which said the most reliable test is the result of anal swabbing, ……..the lines would be shorter.

#4 Denny Lien
March/28/2020
@ 3:36 pm

My favorite version of that attitude is:

“Life today is NO JOKE — therefore, let us DAMN WELL MAKE IT ONE!!!”

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