Comic Strip of the Day: What is in a name?

I wasn’t sure where to start today, but David Horsey may come the closest to my position.

I’m not quite with Bob Englehart, in proclaiming the unknown writer as a hero, because, as others have suggested, there’s an element of complicity in staying on the team, even if you’re helping to thwart the President’s most outrageous intentions.

But here’s the thing: John Dean came forward and was one of the heroes of Watergate, despite the fact that, for a long time, he was one of the conspirators. But he came forward because there was someone to come forward to, and also because he sensed that he was being set up as a scapegoat.

So tell me, O Saintly Purists, whom the Anonymous Writer — who may or may not already be in Bob Mueller’s sights, for all we know — should come forward to?

With what honest and effective Congressional committee, with what duly established grand jury, should this insider cooperate? (And do you know this person is not already communicating with Mueller? How?)

Meanwhile, Mark Felt remained anonymous while helping Woodward and Bernstein penetrate the Watergate coverup, and, while he wasn’t on the White House staff and so it’s not exactly parallel, the fact remains that he was more valuable as an ongoing source within the system than he would have been had he spilled his guts publicly at the start.

Felt went to the press because that was who cared. That was who was willing to dig. And he remained anonymous, becoming more useful as an ongoing source within the administration than as a one-shot former source.

His identity was only revealed at the end of his life, which brings up the important question: So what?

Someone has pointed out that, if Anonymous Writer came forward, he or she would be fired, sure, but would then be festooned with book contracts and paid speeches.

I guess another difference between 1973 and 2018 is that, today, we recognize no motive except money.

Which kind of lets the GOP’s Congressional aiders and abettors off the hook, doesn’t it? They make good money by going along with things, since they profit from it.

Meanwhile, our prissy, oh-so-ethical journalists have said Anonymous Writer is someone who “claims to be a senior executive,” thereby discounting the competence and honesty of the New York Times, which preceded the Op-Ed with this:

The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.  

And then further published this background look into the process.

So the idea that the author “claims” to be a senior official is a direct insult to Times, and I’m not sure journalists need to throw cheesy, unwarranted insults at each other. That’s the President’s job.

Meanwhile, my Kindle copy of Bob Woodward’s book will arrive tomorrow and I’ll start reading. Others have said that there is nothing new in Anonymous Writer’s piece that isn’t in Woodward’s book or in “Fire and Fury,” which came out much earlier.

But hearing it in one person’s voice is different. Though I’d add, for those who think profit is the only worthwhile motive in today’s world, that I paid Bob Woodward and Michael Wolff for their accounts.


Meanwhile, Pat Bagley‘s cartoon cracked me up.

And so did this New Yorker piece by Ellis Rosen.


Wherefore art thou Comic Con?

Meanwhile, over in settled law, it strikes me as odd that there are so many Comic Cons in the wake not simply of the upholding of San Diego Comic-Con’s trademark infringement suit against Salt Lake’s similar event, but in light of the further decision to award legal costs to SDCC totaling about $4 million.

Which initial ruling, by the way, you can read here.

Granted, the additional award will likely come down on appeal — it kind of sounds like the judge was indulging a personal fit of pique — and the jury only awarded SDCC $20,000, reasoning that the Salt Lake folks didn’t intentionally swipe the trademarked name.

But two takeaways are:

A. The trademark was upheld. Apparently SDCC has been sending out cease & desist letters but holding off on legal action until the Salt Lake case was resolved. Now that little bunny rabbit is in the bag and I’m not sure why anybody wants to be next, and also

B. Don’t piss off the judge. Even if that $4 million is cut down, whatever the final amount is will be money you didn’t have to lose. Tying up the court with fatuous midnight-in-the-sophomore-dorm reasons you think the law is wrong very rarely works in your favor.  Get a better lawyer and never pass up a chance to keep your mouth shut.

The good news is that the judge did not allow SDCC to stop people from saying “comic convention,” which was one of their demands.

Not that these things seem to have a helluva lot to do with comics anymore.

I wonder who’d sue you first if you called something a “Marvel-Con”?


And as long as the old man is ranting

This morning, I hit the link at Comics Riffs and wanted to see what Michael Cavna had to say about Macanudo, a well-established South American cartoon just added to the Comics Kingdom lineup. However, the link led only to the above error message.

404 happens. I know that.

But it makes me wonder how much sites care when they shrug off failure with “Whoops!” or “Oh, Snap!” as if they were four-year-olds hoping the grown-ups will giggle instead of getting angry.

And “Take a deep breath. Everything’s going to be okay” raises those stakes to, “Don’t get bent out of shape, asshole,” level.

Yeah, you’re right. I should relax.

My subscription is up for renewal in November. I’ll take a deep breath, relax and wait ’til then.


Y’damn right, pal.

6 thoughts on “Comic Strip of the Day: What is in a name?

  1. Mike, you might be missing the point of the Englehart piece — though in this case it may be due to the cartoonist implying too much subtlety.

    That silhouette looks very much like Alfred E. Neuman, which gives the cartoon a very different spin, what with the implication of “What Me Worry” and the fact that Neuman is, like Trump, a village idiot.

    I don’t know for a fact if this was Englehart’s intention, but that was the first thing I thought of when I first saw it.

  2. Seconding JP Trostle. I can imagine Alfred E Neuman testifying behind a protective identity filter that levels his eyes, neatens his hair, and fills in the tooth.

  3. Dunno about that, but I’ve seen several takes on this that suffered from subtlety to the point of muddy takes. I saw the resemblance but it also looked like a kind of Boy Scout, so I just read the medal.

    Subtlety is best dispensed in very small doses.

  4. Well, I’m solidly in the Alfred S Neuman camp, because that’s what the profile immediately looked like to me, but then, I’m a longtime and still-current MAD mag subscriber who also recognizes the Spy vs Spy guys easily .

    As for Macanudo and the WaPo’s Comic Riffs, the article is up now , with mostly a profile of the artist Liniers (complete with his Real Name). But Michael Cavna hasn’t reacted to King Features’ other big news to cancel Henry and Hazel, and its an obvious non-comic-strip Juxtaposition of the Week.

  5. There’s no doubt that’s supposed to be Alfred E. Neuman. Nothing subtle about it to me at all; maybe to someone under 40.

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