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CSotD: Alone in a Crowd

I’m tempted to simply post Dave Brown‘s cartoon and walk away.

Dear Leader’s childish speculation about UV light and disinfectants drew a lot of cartoons, many of them very funny, but, as absurd as his rambling word salad was, there wasn’t anything humorous about it, or about the way he continues to be enabled, not simply by silence but, now, more actively.

Dr. Birx, caught looking aghast by cameras, was still able to play Pollyanna with her explanation:

When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue and so that’s what dialogue he was having. I think he just saw the information at the time immediately.. and he was still digesting that information

You could use the same approach to explain how Junior happened to light the garage on fire:

He found a box of wooden matches and was just fascinated with the way you could strike them on concrete and a variety of surfaces …

It wouldn’t bring back the garage, and, really, it’s only an explanation for why an eight-year-old should not be held responsible for burning it down.

Which is why the Constitution requires the President to be 35. We really can’t have feckless little eight-year-olds running the government or playing with matches.

I’ve heard the excuse that no intelligent person would inject bleach or disinfectants, or drink them or eat them, but that’s like the apocryphal story of Muhammad Ali on an airplane:

The flight attendant reminds him to fasten his seat belt, to which he says, “Superman doesn’t need a seat belt,” and she replies, “Superman doesn’t need an airplane.”

The wise and invulnerable don’t need our protection, but society recognizes a need to protect the other 98%, and particularly the vulnerable and gullible.

I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending I haven’t laughed at a lot of the cartoons inspired by this idiocy, but Brown draws the State of the Union and that’s what is germane.

Put in plain terms, the specifics of the moronic drivel Trump spouted are far less important than the fact that the President of the United States said something so utterly nonsensical and potentially harmful, and was not only not chased from the scene by men with butterfly nets but was defended.

Allegedly, he was being sarcastic with a reporter, despite the fact that he didn’t say it to a reporter or in response to a reporter.

Well, they argue, he didn’t actually say you should do it.

Point to Slytherin, but he certainly suggested it would be a good thing to do, and he also revealed his complete and utter lack of preparation for this press conference.

If he were a competent administrator, he’d have only speculated about it in setting the stage for a known, rehearsed explanation, in the spirit of “Never ask a question for which you do not know the answer.”

Y’know — the way grown-ups do things.

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of gallows humor, but I think Dave Brown caught the right tone.

I’ll wait to laugh until I see the tumbrils roll past.

 

 

This also isn’t funny.

(Pat Bagley)

 

(Kirk Walters)

The issue in this Juxtaposition is serious and there’s little doubt that the combined pressures of economic hardship and enforced togetherness will add pressure to abusive relationships.

The first question is, can we back up the fears with facts?

I found two pretty good articles on the topic, one from The Guardian and another from the New York Times, and they are far better backed up than that old urban legend about Super Bowl Sunday and abuse, but they’re still more anecdotal than statistical, and I’d mark Kirk Walters down for that reason:The fears are valid but the numbers aren’t in.

That’s no reason not to be on guard, but it is a reason to keep cart-and-horse properly lined up.

However, that’s the second question: What are we going to do about it?

Anything?

Pat Bagley is one of my frequent flyers here, but I’m uncomfortable with his symbolism, in part because (as noted in the Guardian article) abuse isn’t always male-on-female, but mostly because, while cartoonists need to use dramatic symbols, abusers aren’t Hollywood horror villains.

I had a friend in junior high whose family lived in deep poverty and whose dad would come home drunk and beat the hell out of his mom.

I remember when we were 14 and my buddy was finally big enough to step between them and knock the old man down. (Bill Clinton did the same thing at 15. It’s a right of passage in far too many homes.)

But I also remember a lot of laughter in that house, and I remember one time when the old man and I were alone and he told me of how much he regretted having ruined his own life and of his determination that his son would do better.

Even at that young age, I knew the guy was a perennial fuck-up, but I hadn’t known how deeply he knew it himself.

I felt sorry for him, but it didn’t let him off the hook. I loved them both, and if it broke my heart, I can’t imagine how that family must have felt from the inside.

Somebody older than 14 needed to fix it, but “fixing it” is a lot more complex than simply knocking down a one-dimensional cardboard villain.

Well, the lockdown may show these things more starkly, and if it drives individuals to seek help for themselves and their families, that will be a good thing.

But when we have lifted the quarantine, the overall problem will still be here.

Like the coronavirus itself, if we convince ourselves it’s over, that’s when it will come roaring back, stronger than ever.

Last I heard of my friend, he was listed in his little sister’s obituary as a master sergeant in the army, so he’d surely outdone the old man.

Now he’s gone, too. I wish I could have sat in his kitchen with him, to see how he turned out.

 

Community Comments

#1 PAUL PINDERSKI
April/25/2020
@ 8:11 am

Your 8-year-old analogy to Trump is spot on.

#2 Mary McNeil
April/25/2020
@ 4:05 pm

Re: domestic abuse- In the words of the immortal B.J. Hunnicutt “You treated the symptom. The disease goes merrily on.”

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