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CSotD is a No-Fly Zone

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Steve Kelley (Creators), but I sure like this one.

Now, let’s not start planning a wedding or anything: I suspect his opinion is tinged with an urge to defend Mike Pence against foolish criticism, while mine is more of an urge to defend political cartooning against foolishness in general.

After leafing through today’s cartoons, I kind of wish I’d kept count of all the flies, but I have no desire to go through them again. I’m reminded of the young college student who, on an MTV Rock the Vote town hall with Bill Clinton, asked if he wore boxers or briefs.

She was slammed for wasting her opportunity with that empty-headed trivia, but it turned out she found the experience humiliating: She had actually had a substantive issue in mind, but the producers told her, instead, what they wanted her to ask.

Pretty good excuse, for an amateur.

 

But Paul Berge (Ind) managed to tackle some substance instead, leaving the fly as a tiny visual joke that you had to look for, after you untangled the actual point of his commentary.

I note that he also left Harris’s WTF? expression in place, without bothering to mention that she was then attacked by conservatives for Failure to Fawn, providing a secondary commentary on the lack of respect that makes up the substance of his cartoon.

And whatever you think of the value of vice-presidential debates, this is an issue of wasting your sip from the firehose: In normal times, we might have time for a few light-hearted jokes about the office Texas Jack Garner dismissed as “not worth a bucket of warm piss.”

However — aside from the fact that Dick Cheney managed to disrupt the entire Middle East for the foreseeable future from his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — there are plenty of more important things happening that deserve to have a light shone upon them.

 

Nick Anderson (WPWG), for instance, went after Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s astonishing attempt to limit voter participation by ordering one drop-off box in each county. Granted, a judge has since ruled against Abbott’s cunning plan, but there’s time for an appeal and it’s worth keeping the issue in front of the public.

This is an occasion when “those damned pictures” can have more impact on the public consciousness than any number of long, well-considered, well-reasoned (yawn) columns and editorials.

This is what political cartooning is for.

 

Which doesn’t mean it can’t be funny. There’s nothing humorous about a life-threatening illness striking members of the US Senate, but Steve Sack (Star Tribune) gets a laff out of Mitch McConnell’s desperate attempt to ram through a third Supreme Court seat before potentially losing control of the Senate.

 

And even Signe Wilkinson (AMS)’s (slightly) more somber commentary on the same topic retains an absurdity that, if it doesn’t provoke actual laughter, contains the kind of gallows humor that brings out a wry smile and a nod of acknowledgment.

Tasteless? Well, Lenny Bruce was tasteless, and he’s got a whole section at the National Comedy Center, as does George Carlin.

Sometimes tasteless is a cool hand.

In fact, you can even mess with the Deity, if you’re got a point to make, as seen in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Byrnes – Cagle)

 

(Mike Peters – KFS)

I’m particularly amused by the difference here: Byrnes calling it a hit, Peters calling it a miss.

Now, it’s fair to ask, if I don’t like jokes about flies, why I celebrate this bit of seeming trivia?

But it’s sacrilege, not trivia, when the President of the United States suggests — before an audience who may use religion as a basis for voting — that he is a favorite of God, particularly when God has been pretty explicit about what he expects us to do in our time on Earth.

Byrnes is more explicit on that point, while Peters simply exploits the sin of pride, which, after all, is one of the Seven Biggies, and you’re free to peruse the list and see what else might apply, though perhaps you should watch for that “judge not” thingie.

 

Note, too, that Dear Leader may be under some kind of steroidal mania, which explains but does not excuse his bizarre post-release statements and promises.

Ed Hall (Artizans) notes the apparent promise of $1200 to people if they re-elect him, which certainly comes close to buying votes. I say “apparent” because it’s not clear whether he is promising it now or later, thanks to his inconsistency in calling off negotiations but then making promises.

 

The more substantive question being raised by Matt Davies (AMS) is why Republican Party leadership doesn’t send the same sort of delegation to the White House that they gathered to speak to Richard Nixon, when his cogs were beginning to slip.

And the answer is that today’s Republican Party may have 250 members in Congress, but they’d be hard-pressed to assemble three with the stature of Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott and John Rhodes, who, this article says, didn’t actually urge him to resign.

They simply informed him that he was now working without a net.

Today, the Senate Majority Leader is known as Moscow Mitch, and you might as well search the skies for passenger pigeons as seek Republicans the like of which we saw before the cynical, cataclysmic shift outlined in Stuart Stevens’ masterful “It Was All A Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump.

 

Nor is it simply those who have worked within the GOP — Stevens, the Lincoln Project, the Bulwark — who can see what we have allowed ourselves to become.

From the far side of the globe, New Zealand’s Rod Emmerson (NZ Herald) smells out the rot in a system in which the President encourages domestic terrorism while those in power fail to step up.

‘Liberate Michigan’ said Trump, and as a consequence 6 local militia are charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. What a broken country…

But, hey, what about that fly on Pence’s head?

 

Community Comments

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#1 Mike Lester
October/10/2020
@ 7:52 am

Mr. Byrnes is incorrect unless he’s drawn God throwing spores at former President Obama: USATODAY, USNEWS/WORLD REPORT, SNOPES, POLITIFACT.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/08/26/fact-check-obama-administration-built-migrant-cages-meme-true/3413683001/

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2020-08-18/ap-fact-check-michelle-obama-and-the-kids-in-cages

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-build-cages-immigrants/

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/sep/13/joe-biden/fact-checking-biden-use-cages-during-obama-adminis/

#2 D. D. Degg
October/10/2020
@ 9:03 am

Mike, not so much incorrect as not all-inclusive.
However I think the angel is pointing out Stephen Miller. Didn’t Pat’s comment happen after Miller’s positive result? Which would tie into that last Emmerson cartoon.

#3 Mike
October/10/2020
@ 9:28 am

Mr. Degg: if you’re suggesting the cartoon is about Stephen Miller, a sr. advisor to President Trump that’s funnier than the cartoon.

#4 Mike Peterson
October/10/2020
@ 9:44 am

Mike, you should probably read the articles before publishing the links, since they all say that, yes, there were “cages” (quibble over the definition) under Obama but that they were for very temporary use in very specific situations, mostly involving unaccompanied minors rather that entire families.

I’m sure you’ve read the NYTimes article about the current administration’s intentions to use the policy to punish and intimidate, but here’s a story that explains how it’s been going. (Spoiler — it’s not the same thing.)

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/06/17/family-separation-under-trump-administration-timeline

#5 phil von neupert
October/10/2020
@ 9:47 am

MIKE, as usual, you tell half the story. Sure, the cages were built under Obama, as emergency temporary housing. They were not used as long-term facilities until Trump. Obama never used them to torture children as a form of foreign policy, like Trump did. Even your links say that. (What, you didn’t think we’d actually read them?) The “American Eclipse” cartoon says it all. The Holocaust didn’t happen overnight, it happened in stages. First came marginalization, then torture, and finally, extermination. Apparently, we’re in stage two.

#6 Mike
October/10/2020
@ 9:51 am

Where do you see I have not read the links? Everyone of them says the cages were initiated on or about 2014 and Obama was president. Unlike yours my point is absent agenda, “quibble” or apology. You guys are so intent on being right you can’t even read a calendar.

#7 phil von neupert
October/10/2020
@ 10:01 am

It’s not about who built them, MIKE. It’s about how Trump used them. Why can’t you see THAT?

#8 Mike
October/10/2020
@ 10:43 am

I’d love to do “very fine people” next but it’s Saturday and I’m grilling out. Have a nice weekend.

#9 Mary Ella
October/10/2020
@ 5:04 pm

Does it ever occur to Lester that he’s not unappreciated because he’s a conservative but because he’s an insufferable jerk with delusions of his own brilliance? Good grief, Lester, stick to grilling, no one wants you.

#10 Mary Ella
October/10/2020
@ 6:07 pm

After posting that I’m thinking now that telling someone that “no one wants them” is too cruel for me to be saying, even on the internet.

Mike Lester is still an absolute pill, though.

#11 Nicholas Merritt
October/10/2020
@ 8:11 pm

No Mary, the problem with telling Lester nobody wants him isn’t that it’s mean, it’s that if it were actually true he wouldn’t be here – or anywhere at all. Unfortunately, despite all his flaws, there are in fact enough people who at least tolerate his existence for him to continue to participate in the slow destruction of this country.

#12 Mike
October/11/2020
@ 11:04 am

I’ve been coming to Daily Cartoonist since the 90’s when Alan Gardner ran it and professional cartoonists debated. I could be wrong but I see very few people who derive 100% of their income from cartooning here anymore. And during those years never did I read:

“there are in fact enough people who at least tolerate his existence for him to continue to participate in the slow destruction of this country.”

This isn’t debate or rebuttal or logical anymore. It’s silly and sad and painful to watch.

#13 Nicholas Merritt
October/11/2020
@ 11:24 am

I’d say that I’m glad you finally recognized that about yourself, Lester, but we all know full well you think it’s everyone else that is the problem.

#14 Mike Peterson
October/11/2020
@ 12:57 pm

Let’s shut this one down — I don’t think there’s anything productive left to say, but, as proprietor, I’ll close it off with an observation and a quote:

The observation is that, even in Alan’s day, this was not entirely a forum for professionals. There was — and is still — a place called the Wisenheimer which is a closed board for the pros. This is not and never was that. To which I would add that the medium does of course require an audience whose engagement should be encouraged.

The quote is from Samuel Johnson:
“You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.”

Subject closed.

#15 Derek Madge
October/12/2020
@ 7:19 am

I absolutely understand the fascination with the fly. It could be seen simply as a symbol of how bizarre the debate and the entire situation the debate is built on is, or it could be seen as a metaphor for the White House’s lack of awareness ( willing or born of ignorance, I cannot tell) of the most obvious things.

Or, simply, as my friend stated, she knows what flies are attracted to.

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