CSotD: Short Takes

First, this note to editorial cartoonists:
If Elizabeth Warren had — without claiming any advantage for it — said that her family spoke of African-American heritage, was mocked and called “Aunt Jemima” for it, but then took a DNA test that bore out her claim, would you depict her as a triumphant minstrel-show mammy?

Don’t put her in feathers and buckskin, either. Same thing.


I’d also suggest that body-part jokes about the Khashoggi murder are in poor taste, but there are ways to inject humor into a grim situation, and Don Asmussen conflates Dear Leader’s efforts to absolve his pals of guilt.

I would note that this came out before Trump’s statement about the Saudis being “innocent until proven guilty,” but it was that much funnier because we knew the thought was there all along.


And I’m certainly not ruling out grim humor. David Rowe, a master of edgy commentary, provides an excellent example of using the dead body to make a solid political point.

A large part of what makes this work so well is its economy: There is the dead body, covered in money. There are no details either about arms deals or about personal emoluments.

Dead body.



It’s a beautifully spare argument in an art form in which less is more.


Similarly, I like Jen Sorensen’s cartoon on the topic of voter suppression. A four-panel cartoon can’t be called “spare,” but she does well to focus on the plight of the voter rather than going into details about how it all happened or the motivations of those who made the decisions.

By drawing our attention to the person who wants to do the right thing, she makes the bland dismissive attitude of the bureaucrats more toxic. Blandness is a hallmark of altie cartoons, often to their detriment, but, in this case, the bland depiction of heartless people who simply don’t care is in contrast to the innocent old lady who genuinely does.

It also allows her to use those four panels to enumerate the variety of ways in which voter suppression works. The outrageous decision in the Dakotas that people without street addresses cannot vote is only one highly unsubtle means of suppressing minority voters.

There are many more polite, button-down ways to either dilute the impact of the franchise or simply erase it.

And about that …

Well, yeah, sure, but you can just say, “May I please have a provisional ballot?” and not get ALL CAPS about it.

One should not scream at the waiter for the errors of the cook, and the folks checking in voters have nothing to do with establishing the rolls.

My best guess, based on nearly a half-century of voting, is that they’ll simply hand you the provisional ballot without you having to go all Thurgood Marshall on their asses.

If they try to deprive you, turn to the poll watchers and let them know.

And if you doubt that, volunteer to be one of those poll watchers and see that it’s done right for everyone, all day.

It’s not like there’s a lot of competition for the role.


So anyway

Arlo & Janis notes one of the perils of not having a large crowd at the table, and at least they’ve got two people eating.

As a single guy, I have not yet mastered the art of making soup or stew in small enough quantities that I can manage to eat it all before it either goes bad or I get sick of it.

Could be worse. I once lived with a con who was a terrific cook but had learned his skills in Joliet, such that all his recipes were for 500 people. He really had trouble scaling it back.


And speaking of food, SMBC tells the story of Gregor Samsa in a way that is more horrific than anything Kafka wrote. Here’s the whole terrifying thing.

When I first moved back East, I became business friends with someone who had been in Colorado at the same time I was. We used to meet regularly for lunch at the food court in the mall and our standing joke was

“You in the mood for Mexican?”
“No, let’s go to Taco Bell.”

But we never actually did.

Good lord.


And Rhymes With Orange continues today’s assault on classic literature, which got a solid laff from me.

I liked the book and have hated every adaptation except, of course, Max Fleischer’s, though that for the artwork, not the script.

The Lilliput section of Gulliver is like Don Quixote’s battle with the windmills or Natasha’s love for Boris: They all occur in the opening part of the book.

Though I have to think the people who keep pushing it as a children’s story haven’t even read that far.

Aside from the fact that it’s a convoluted political satire written in impenetrable 18th century English, there’s the fact that, shortly after the tie-me-up-tie-me-down section, Gulliver extinguishes a fire in the Queen’s chambers with his own massive fire hose.

Which, admittedly, I thought was hilarious even as a child. But I doubt the people pushing the book as kids’ stuff know that’s in there at all.

Anyway, I couldn’t get through the rest of it until college.


By the way, if you’re near Western Mass and want to meet the Hilary Price half of the RWO team, here’s the where and when. It’s always a happy gathering.


Non-Juxtaposition of the Day

Insider insight: Needing to cut back on his massive workload, and having realized that there were no print clients taking both Candorville and Rudy Park, Darrin Bell and his syndicate quietly unified the strips.

Here are the last two days, printed under whichever name your local paper prefers.

And that’s why the on-line Rudy Park is in permanent reruns.


Juxtaposition of Your Own Subconscious

(Pardon My Planet)


I could explain this juxtaposition, but I’d rather get $75 an hour to ask you what you feel the connection is.

However, I’ll give you two gender-specific Moments of Zen:

One written by a woman

One written by a guy

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Short Takes

  1. Say, about all those illegal migrant kids – do you suppose Trump has ever read “A Modest Proposal”? Nah…

  2. Yeah, Taco Bell is far from Mexican, and from quality, but when one has vegetarian grandchildren – with vegan parents – one comes to appreciate a place that’s found pretty much everywhere and can and will adjust their menu items accordingly. And I personally find their cheap bean burrito Not Terrible, with enough hot sauce.

    On the other hand:

    A: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
    B: I’m so hungry I could eat a cow!
    C: I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant!!
    D: I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s.
    A, B, and C: Wow, he’s REALLY hungry!!!

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