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CSotD: Funnies Break

Edison Lee (KFS) doesn’t say everything I’ve been thinking about this, but he says enough.

One of the things popping up on my social media feed again lately has been calls for term limits.

We’ve got term limits. They’re called “elections.”

If they don’t work, the answer is in this comic strip, because Congressmembers spend way too much time and energy fundraising and running for re-election.

AOC, who certainly seems dedicated to doing her damn job, has complained/explained how, once you get there, you spend most of your time begging for money so you can stay there.

Imagine, then, how some of these old mossbacks prioritize their job demands.

Get the money out of politics and a whole lot of other problems will solve themselves.

 

And you’re not lightening my mood, Lio (AMS), but we’ll deal with bewildered preppies and the havoc they wreak another day.

 

Though, first, let me spend a few more political moments arguing with Keith Knight over this K Chronicles piece on “defunding” the police, starting with the fact that you don’t get to declare which is the last word, and I don’t expect mine to be, either.

When I’ve heard someone call for defunding libraries, schools, parks, etc., my response has always been to get my back up.

Some rightwing jackass wants to play Cancel Culture with Big Bird and the donations come piling in, plus we have petitions and rallies and all sorts of pushback. It’s a great way to rally opposition.

The question is whether you want to just inspire your existing supporters or maybe make some converts and bring about actual change.

Because, if finding a phrase that fits on the sign were enough to end police brutality, it would have come to a screeching halt back in 1988 when NWA discovered a word even shorter than “defund.”

 

And while we’re on the topic of pissing people off, I don’t know how many newspapers carry Bliss (AMS), but it looks like Harry’s trying to find out how many people read it.

Not saying it’s a “bad cartoon,” but it’s one I’d save for a moment when I really felt the point had to be made, which maybe he does.

Still, it strikes me as an “Are you sure you want to go there?” piece.

And I’m not sure which I’d find more distressing: A flood of cancellations or a chorus of crickets.

As of 8 AM, there are 17 comments, split but polite.

 

Maybe everything is meaningful today, and, if so, it’s probably a reflection of my mood rather than some grand shift in the cosmos. This Arlo & Janis (AMS) is Monday’s start of an arc on the topic of “mansplaining.”

I caught the tail end of Deborah Tannen being interviewed on NPR the other day and was sorry I hadn’t heard more. I bought her book, “You Just Don’t Understand,” some 30 years ago, before she became a rock star and about the time I had a GF going to Smith, and the difference between male and female conversational styles has been on my mind ever since.

As she explains early on, little boys play boastful games of jumping higher or running faster, while little girls play collaborative games of assigning roles and working through scenarios, and, no, it isn’t true of every child or every moment, but it does carry into college seminars and industry boardrooms, where some of us are trying to win the point and some of us are trying to reach a consensus.

I’ve worked for as many women as men, but, looking back, a lot of those women rose to the top in a man’s world — not just with the blue suits and string ties, but by having a hunter, rather than a gatherer, personality.

The pendulum is swinging in the other direction at the moment, and men who press a point too firmly can be reported to HR for bullying, which reminds me of a favorite Civil War story, of a Black regiment assigned to guard duty at the POW camp in Elmira, where resentful Rebs were laughed off with “Bottom rail’s on top now!”

Indeed it is.

 

And, as reigning King of the Segues, I can fold this Wumo (AMS) neatly into the narrative, though first I want to say that, indeed, I don’t know very many street names and mostly navigate by where I want to go, which wasn’t the case when I lived in the city.

 

Note the credit line on this 2011 Rhymes with Orange (KFS), because it sprang from a conversation I had with Hilary Price about Deborah Tannen’s observation about men and directions.

Men don’t like to ask for directions because it puts them one down. Women don’t mind because it’s an example of social collaboration.

Which also ties into the disconnect in which men don’t bring up a problem unless they’ve given up trying to solve it on their own and are specifically looking for advice, while women may mention it seeking empathy more than a solution.

Hence, the resentment of “mansplaining.”

I’m also the king of that.

 

Lightening up a bit more, this Moderately Confused (AMS) brings back a memory of senior year in college, in which my seminar banned the word “evocative,” demanding that people make an actual point instead.

It also reminds me of yesterday, when I was on the way home from the park at about 10 before the hour and flipped on “Fresh Air” to be there when “All Things Considered” came on.

Which means I stumbled onto one of those pretentious last-segment reviews of something or other in which the reviewer tries to be more evocative than the artist being reviewed.

It was so goddam evocative that I switched back to my playlist and wound up missing Lakshmi Singh entirely.

 

The person in this Charlie Hankin New Yorker cartoon is precisely the type who would prattle on about things that are “evocative.”

I’ve had to put several of these relentless self-promoters on Facebook’s 30-day snooze.

I don’t want to completely unfriend them, but, geez, I’d rather be the guy behind her than one of the poor folks in front of her.

 

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
May/20/2021
@ 10:03 am

“Mansplaining” is rapidly losing its original useful meaning. It’s not just when a man explains something to a woman, but when he explains something that she already knows better than he does as if he’s the patient, patronizing expert.

The Ur-example was a man who kept telling writer Rebecca Solnit that if she wanted to understand a subject she really ought to read a particular book on it, even after she told him that she was the author of that book.

Unfortunately, “mansplaining” is sometimes weaponized to shut up men who aren’t mansplaining. We’ll see how “Arlo & Janis” does with it; today’s gag kinda works if we assume that Arlo is the expert home-fixer-upper and Janis the back-seat driver who thinks she knows better. But I don’t know if “womansplaining” is or should be a thing. It lacks the blustery bull-headed arrogance that mansplaining implies.

Re: defunding the police, I believed the phrase was a mistake from the first time I heard it. If your slogan needs an asterisk and fine print that says, “What we actually mean when we use that word is different than its obvious definition,” your slogan has failed.

#2 Mark Jackson
May/20/2021
@ 10:32 am

The difficulty with getting money out of politics is that the Supremes have ruled that that would take free speech out of politics.

I’m not at all sure “defund the police” was a mistake. Folks had been calling for “reform” for years without effect; an attention-getting term was called for. Yes, further explanation was then needed but those conversations did happen, and continue to happen, in some quarters. There’s been a surprising amount of progress – dare I say as a result? – and I’ll reserve judgement until the net effect can be assessed. Of course there’s been blowback, but as a PR flack in one of Jon Rosenberg’s “Scenes From a Multiverse” strips put it, “‘Defund the Police”\’ is polling terribly among people who don’t give a shit about police violence.”

By the way, the primary leadership of the BLM movement here in Rochester is named Free The People; NWA would appreciate the initialism on their t-shirts.

#3 Bill Harris
May/20/2021
@ 10:39 am

After watching the latest clown show going on in the Senate, it is abundantly clear that like the fictional Senator Ottoman, the real Senators are only concerned about the next election cycle and holding on to power, democracy be damned.

Yes elections serve as term limits but piles of money grease the skids for re-election. So just get the money out of politics- but how? Term limits seem like an inelegant but simple solution- why invest millions of dollars in a pet Congresscritter when his warranty expires after two terms? Of course to amend the Constitution to limit terms needs action by the same people who would be negatively impacted by these limits, so I guess that isn’t going to happen.

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool conservative but I’m beginning to see the need for a people’s revolution.

#4 Katherine Collins
May/20/2021
@ 1:42 pm

I have never seen or heard of this strip “WUMO”, but who cares . . . I am writing to complain about cartoonists who leave noses off of their people. Why do that? It reduces the number of strange little signifiers on a character’s face, thereby hugely increasing the chance that the reader will not be able to read the drawing. Is it possible to pass a law mandating that cartoonists must include noses? Probably the GOP would go for that.

#5 Mary McNeil
May/20/2021
@ 4:35 pm

Mike, are you trying to say that “evocative” became a real inflection point, or just an existential crisis ?

#6 Mike Peterson
May/20/2021
@ 5:12 pm

It threatened to become an entirely new paradigm.

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