Comic Strip of the Day: Short Takes

In the current Monty arc, he’s decided to be an author, complete with tweed jacket and pipe, and today’s not only cracked me up but resonated with an issue in children’s literature that I’ve been pondering.

Inclusion matters. But you don’t gain another perspective by chatting with somebody, whether it’s bringing a woman’s perspective to your male writing or writing from the perspective of a disabled transgender homeless abused refugee of mixed racial background, which would be the ideal protagonist for an award-winning, teacher-assigned deeply significant children’s book. (The kids are reading “Captain Underpants.”)

It’s not that you can’t bring in such characters, of course, and there aren’t a lot of novels that don’t have both male and female characters, though it takes some chutzpah to put other-sex characters in the lead role, as in Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.

But, even in third-person writing, Jane Austen writes of men primarily as they impact her female characters, and most male authors write of women in terms of their impact upon the men.

Crossing cultures is even harder. We have a lot of daily contact with members of the opposite sex and either we get it or we don’t, but, unless you live in a minority community, you haven’t got a clue.

Even if you grew up in such a place, you should, like Monty, run things past your friends and hope they’re honest enough, as here, to recoil in horror over how much you’ve already gotten wrong.

So, yes, inclusion is a good thing. We need more.

But encourage your minority friends to write it, because you’re not … heh heh … “entitled” to.

(Comic Strip sidebar for editors: Having strips with minority characters done by minority cartoonists is good, but running “JumpStart” does not mean you shouldn’t also run “Candorville” because you think having one strip about negroes in your newspaper is sufficient. We’ll rant that rant another day.)


But, while I’m ranting, I also got a good laff out of xkcd because not only did she not invent the lampshade, but “life hack” is just what hipsters call a “handy hint,” something people have been sharing for generations.

You might see some “life hacks” in your newspaper — if you read one — under the byline “Heloise.” But Heloise the Boomer didn’t invent them either, and inherited the franchise from her mother Heloise who was part of what Tom Brokaw or Steven Spielberg or somebody dubbed “The Greatest Generation.”

Which is a measure of what they did rather than when they were born.

I think you had to be there.


Life Improves Upon Art

Ward Sutton posted this piece in the Boston Globe scant days before the Minnesota Police Department demonstrated the proper response to such “Good Citizen” reports.

This doesn’t wipe out the unjustifiable, sometimes fatal, actions of bad cops, but it provides hope and a model for what could be, and, in some well-run communities, already is.

Despite those who have encouraged bigots to crawl out from under their rocks.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Matt Davies)

(Chan Lowe)

Two takes on Dear Leader’s decision to counter the damage done by his tariffs by creating a higher deficit.

I like them both, but I’d quibble with both, mostly with Davies’ implication that the damage will fall upon Blue Staters more than Red. As much as the payoffs are an admission of failure, the overall damage to the economy will impact the farmers, too, and, while urban areas pay more in taxes, that’s not too relevant if you’re the individual with income taxes, state taxes, land taxes, school taxes and (multiple) vehicles to license.

He’s not alone, though. A lot of the discussion says “taxpayers” will have to cover “farmers,” as if farmers were not a subset of taxpayers.

Lowe is right that they won’t turn it down, but it’s not socialism. It’s more like an insurance payment covering Leadership Stupidity.

And, in any case, farm subsidies — socialist or not — have long been part of our economy, an attempt to keep farmers on the land despite market fluctuations that would otherwise bankrupt them.

They could be better tuned, but I know a lot of dairy farmers who have given it up anyway. It’s not like you can just sit back, take the gummint subsidies and not go out into the milking parlor every day.

And the alternative to subsidies is trade.

Politico writes that “President Donald Trump’s bailout for the ag industry is driving his many Republican trade critics to exasperation.”

I’ll let Politico defend that “many,” and add that I wish that, instead of driving them to exasperation, it would drive them to action.

In fact, the best part of that article comes from a Republican who is far better at taking umbrage than he is at taking action:

“This is what we feared all along, that these markets would be replaced by handouts,” (Sen. Jeff) Flake said. “You lose some of these markets, you lose them for good or a long time.”

He’s right. Major deals will be replaced by agreements with other global suppliers, and you can’t just say “I’m back!” and expect everything to be the way it was, any more than a store can lose customers to the guy down the street, make a few changes and expect all its former customers to return.

And there are any number of substantial business arrangements beyond agriculture which Trump’s grandiose trade war will destroy.

Meanwhile, I miss Jon Stewart’s periodic montages of talking points, in which he would string together legislators and commentators parroting a particular phrase, because I’m sure he could put one together in which they simply keep saying “Venezuela.”

Who fed them that particular example?

It doesn’t help when even progressives can’t get it straight. I saw one sympathetic commentary in which he explained that socialism just means that the means of production are owned by the government.

No, that’s “communism.” Communism does not work.

Socialism is something different, and, in fact, does work.

What we’ve got here is “capitalism.” Here’s how that works:

4 thoughts on “Comic Strip of the Day: Short Takes

  1. I am happy for you for your move to The Daily Cartoonist, especially if it increases your income for your work. What I don’t appreciate is having to search for your column every day. Yesterday’s post was under the “Editorial Cartooning” header, while today’s is under “Comic Strips/Panels”.

    Call me lazy, but I would appreciate a permanent URL that I could use to find you every day, or at the very least be able to find your column consistently under the same header. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll still read your column (if I can find it), but I will be grumbling a lot under my breath.

  2. That’s easy: Come to and scroll down to the headline that says either “CSotD” or “Comic Strip of the Day.”

    But I’ll header them under Comic Strips/Panels even when they’re predominantly something else, if that helps.

  3. Hank G. has a point. It was nice to go to the same URL every day to find your post. But since I always wanted to read the comments, I’d still click on the title and go to that post’s site. Here I’ve learned to go to the Daily Cartoonist homepage, then scroll if necessary to click on the “CSotD: …” or “Comic Strip of the Day:…” title and I’m here. Still the same number of clicks. And if I see another heading that interests me, I’ve got more to read. So I’m happy you’re here. I have never read anything on the Daily Cartoonist website before, so they get more readers and Mike gets more readers — win-win!

  4. Thanks, Mike. I don’t even mind if there are a couple of extra mouse clicks. My problem (such as it was), was the first couple of days, I had trouble finding it, because it was under different headers. If you are okay with putting it under the same header every day, then I am a happy camper (is “happy camper” a Republican expression? It occurs to me that the only people I’ve heard use it in public were Republicans.).

    I hope the move means that a lot more people see your column, because I think it deserves it.

Comments are closed.