Comic Strip of the Day: Reality 101

Let’s ease into the topic with Edison Lee and the perfect political speech.

If you envision Orville and Edison in that final panel as a bar graph instead of as a pair of characters, you may have some sense of how such tautological, meaningless focus-group-tested drivel impacts elections.

However, while little Edison is not yet old enough to vote, the Parkland kids and their generation are, and I’ve got some hope they’ll both see through the bafflegab and show up to vote.

I’m tired of ranting “We changed the Constitution so you little fuckers could vote, now get off my lawn and into the booth!”


Which is a good segue to an excellent piece from the Nib., a collection of personal reports about the impact of the recession a decade ago.

I hate phony Madison Avenue demographic marketing labels — I’m not a “Boomer” and I don’t like being lectured by self-proclaimed “Millennials” — and so I am happy to see these artists escaping the weight of that corporate logo to do real reporting without any self-righteous finger-pointing or naive, magical solutions.

This is stark, realistic, important journalism.

As for “Boomers” and “Millennials,” we had the “Generation Gap,” and I get it, but the journalistic  remedy — not just for that but for a whole lot of things — is to illustrate the ways in which we’re all in this together, and these personal stories do an excellent job of that.



But as long as I’m in Old Man mode, Signe Wilkinson‘s cartoon could use a little historic context.

This mysterious letter seems like a pretty flimsy barrier to the GOP steamroller, but it doesn’t have to halt the beast.

As a graduate of a prestigious Catholic university, I could go on and on about the social ineptitude of high-achieving Catholic prep school alumni.

In fact, when I dropped out for a year to write, one of the first things I wrote was a letter to Father Hesburgh imploring him to recruit more blue-collar public high-school grads. And, FWIW, the preponderance of Catholic-school girls at the college across the road didn’t help.

Our dating scene was like a cluster of blind people on speeder-bikes.

Both Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas fall under the category of Catholic preppies, though Thomas afterwards went to (then all-male) Holy Cross while Kavanaugh braved a co-educational school for heretics in New Haven.

What I see uniting the two is more social ineptitude than malice, and the historical perspective is that Anita Hill didn’t raise the issue of how he had treated her in the belief that it, in and of itself, should derail his confirmation, but rather because she had been interviewed by the FBI and was surprised that his generally well-known misbehavior was not a topic.

Similarly, what Kavanaugh is allegedly alleged to have allegedly done is more than a little skeevy but mostly incredibly stupid and inept and, if true, it’s too bad she didn’t have a brother to break his nose, but the important thing is to find out if it was a one-off bit of ghastly idiocy or part of a pattern.

Which takes time.

I have always felt that Clarence Thomas could have avoided a long, drawn out process if he’d simply said, “I was going through a divorce, my personal life was a trainwreck and I behaved badly for a limited period that I truly regret.”

You’re note that it didn’t stop his steamroller, but it added another week and a half to the month-long process.

Of course, as long as Senator Grassley determines who can talk and who needs to shut up, it will be hard enough to stretch things out until after Nov 6, never mind until the new Congress has been seated.

Still, the Wayne Gretsky Rule applies: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.


Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Kal Kallaugher)

(Matt Pritchett)

Putin hasn’t murdered anyone on this side of the Atlantic, as far as we know, so the attempted murder of a former Russian intelligence officer in London is not being widely covered here.

Too bad, because not only do Kal and Matt capture the latest nonsense perfectly, but here’s the funniest thing you’ll read in the New Yorker that was not written by Andy Borowitz: The two hitmen claim they went to Salisbury to see the cathedral.

Which is pretty funny except for the part where they were trying to kill a guy.

Good thing we’re Putin’s pals, right?


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Jim Morin)


(Mike Smith)

He’s not gonna leave the White House, no, but I’ll betcha he’s been evacuating plenty.

Or maybe not.

As Tony Schwartz, his former ghostwriter and perhaps not a neutral observer, explains, avoiding facts is an automatic defense mechanism for the president:

He lives on two tracks: One, when he is in a slightly saner state — and it’s all relative in his case — he is absolutely capable of consciously and intentionally lying for a particular outcome. When he is aroused, when he’s feeling under attack, it happens instinctively, impulsively and with no forethought. He just does what he has to do; it’s a survival mechanism.

So he may not need the Pampers himself.

But, boy, I’ll bet his staff is starting to go through’em.


Juxtaposition of the Day #3

(Steve Breen)


(Gary Varvel)

I’ve seen a couple of cartoons on the topic of how vaping in general and the kid-friendly flavors specifically are luring youngsters back to tobacco, but I was amused that Breen and Varvel both invoked the ghost of Joe Camel.

The kids won’t remember Joe, but their parents will and that’s who needs to stand up and raise hell.

Just as they’ve called for sex education in schools.

And the way they’ve demanded the liquor companies quit luring their kids in with alcopop.

Or perhaps not.

“To Catch A Predator” might as well have been sponsored by Mike’s Hard Lemonade, as often as the predator showed up with a six pack of it under his arm.

Thank god all that bad stuff happens to someone else’s kids, eh?