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CSotD: Czeching the Poles

I don’t normally begin a post with a Tweet — much less two — but the other day Ann Telnaes said on social media that we should come to an agreement about the difference between a meme and a political cartoon.

It’s easy, until you think it over.

Memes are amateur and political cartoons are professional, but not all memes are amateurish and some political cartoons are. So I can’t pin it down, though it falls somewhere in the same region as Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition-definition of hard-core pornography:

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

Which I would apply in suggesting that maybe the President’s tweets count as memes, because they’re hastily put together, not particularly well-thought-out and don’t always stand up to analysis.

Or, y’know, because I know it when I see it.

Twitter flagged Trump’s second attempt as misleading, no doubt because someone reported it, not because their bloodhounds tracked it down. But that first tweet has since disappeared, which bogus memes seldom do.

We may assume that it wasn’t because he had the vote count wrong but because he was getting a whole lot of mockery for not knowing the difference between polls and Poles. (It’s still not capitalized, pal.)

That’s hardly as important as the fact that the Wizard of Wharton doesn’t know how tariffs work, but it’s a whole lot funnier.

It’s also a whole lot closer to what has gone wrong in our country, and that’s not funny at all.

 

Some 275 words into this posting we finally come to a cartoon, this by Jack Ohman (WPWG), which seems close to explaining what the hell has happened to our country.

I certainly agree with him that we are a nation divided, but I’d like the cartoon a lot more if it didn’t suggest that we were divided between fat-bellied barbarians and incisive forward-thinking patriots.

He might have planted an American flag on both sides, and skipped the red-white-blue declaration. Both sides are America, like it or not.

But at least he’s depicting extremists on both sides: Her Che Guevara headgear, his fat belly and unkempt beard.

So I’m not faulting Ohman so much as picking up on elements of the past campaign, the past four years and the years since we shifted from a mostly rural to a mostly urban culture.

I didn’t like “Deliverance” and I resent knee-jerk jokes about incestual, brutish rural idiots, nor have I ever liked those “yo’ in a heap o’ trouble, boy” storylines of innocent city (i.e. “normal”) people threatened by backwoods bullies.

Which is why I liked “My Cousin Vinny:” Poor Fred Gwynne was a decent judge stuck between nitwits from both sides of the cultural divide, with (spoiler alert!) the outcome decided by a blue-collar city girl who knew an awful lot about things girls aren’t supposed to know anything about.

Obvious disclosure: I almost certainly grew up more country than you did (We had to drive an hour to see a movie, or, for that matter, a stoplight).

I grew up with rednecks and progressives and some lived well and some lived on welfare and those factors were totally blended and unpredictable.

I’m also aware that not all city folks are pencil-necked geeks who can’t park a bicycle right, though if you try to trace that quote on Google, you get a million geeky hits about bicycles, while, where I come from, a grown-up riding a bicycle musta got too many DUIs.

Randy Newman wrote a funny song about whatchall think about rural types, but his intentional ironies would all be misinterpreted if I linked it here.

 

Still, stereotypes exist for a reason.

By rights, Marisa Tomei’s character — city or country — would eat this condescending son of a bitch for lunch, but he has apparently outpolled a well-financed, credible opponent, despite, as Michael de Adder (Ind) points out, his attitude towards half the state’s population, to wit:

I want every young woman to know there’s a place for you in America if you are pro-life, if you embrace your religion, and you follow traditional family structure. That you can go anywhere, young lady.

Maybe rural, blue-collar women — a significant demographic in South Carolina — agree with that, though perhaps they’re just behind the times: It wasn’t long ago that nearly all women in America declared staunch, traditional beliefs while keeping their personal experiences a deep secret.

The constructive response to which ought be to support them, not to mock and condemn them.

Funny thing: People don’t like being called stupid. Who knew?

Given a choice between people who shelter them and people who make them feel stupid, most folks prefer to be sheltered and accepted, even if they have to stifle certain aspects of their life to maintain that support.

God knows Lindsey Graham understands that.

 

Nor should the women of South Carolina be singled out for having voted against their best interests.

Jason Chatfield (NYer), builds on an old saying, and, whatever the ultimate outcome of these elections, you truly have to wonder how so many coal miners who were promised jobs that never happened, and so many factory workers who were promised a return to American-based production which ditto, could let themselves be fooled again by an obvious conman.

My suggestion for healing the country, however, would be to stop mocking Trump supporters as fools and embrace them as brothers and sisters.

While we wait for the final results, here’s our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Kevin Siers – Charlotte Observer)

 

(Steve Kelley – Post-Gazette)

Siers comments on Trump’s declared intention to get his hand-picked Supreme Court to order an end to the counting of all those ballots, while, Steve Kelley, whose paper fired their previous cartoonist for criticizing Trump, decries the long lines of voters.

Don’t blame the victims. We’re all victims.

 

Community Comments

#1 Reg Dunning
November/4/2020
@ 9:55 am

I appreciate political cartoons. I don’t agree with all of them, but I understand most of them. It is important to view the points in an open-minded method, even if it is for the observers own view.

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