CSotD: The Demands of Mourning

Paul Fell notes the futility of “Moments of Silence” followed by “Months of Inaction,” which puts his piece head-and-shoulders above the multitude of “We’re So Sad” cartoons currently out there.

There are times when all you can say is “We’re So Sad,” and editorial cartoonists have an obligation to mirror those moments for the nation or, certainly, within their own communities.

But we didn’t need quite so many weeping Statues of Liberty in the wake of 9/11.

I mean, the fact that we’re all sad doesn’t take away the requirement to be somewhat creative.


For instance, while a good three-quarters of the profession were drawing weeping Statues of Liberty that day, Clay Bennett found a way to depict the hole in America’s heart.

One of the challenges at the moment was that we’d been blindsided, and so there was as yet no appropriate call-to-action like the one that Fell adds to his expression of sorrow.


Similarly, we had been blindsided by JFK’s assassination, which was what made Bill Mauldin‘s piece — banged out between the lunchtime horror and presstime for the afternoon Extra — such a classic, melding a national monument, an assassinated president and a murdered man into an expression of national grief and horror.

By the time Martin Luther King was murdered, that sense of shock had diminished, such that there was a need to combine the expression of sorrow with a call to action, as Hugh Haynie did in an inspirational sense …


… and as Herblock did with a more specific demand for change.

Though this is perhaps not the best example of the power of editorial cartoons, since it precedes Paul Fell’s similar call to action by half a century.

But, in any case, here we are and we’re all sad and, I would note, if that temple had not called itself Tree of Life, we probably wouldn’t have so many cartoon trees.

We can do better. Some have.


For instance, there’s always room for fury, and Ann Telnaes doesn’t play upon the Tree of Life tree but, rather, depicts a carefully cultivated tree of fear, division and hate, directing her anger at the way in which the Republican Party, in the person of Mitch McConnell, has nurtured that system and empowered the bellowing man-child at play in its branches.

Fury is, after all, sorrow with a demand for action, which puts this above the “Hate is Bad” cartoons, especially the cowardly, neither-hot-nor-cold variety that blame everybody and thereby blame nobody.

I actually saw a cartoonist who did a “Hate is Bad” cartoon two days ago and this morning followed it up with a cartoon expressing contempt over something that happened several years ago, directing his hostility at one of the recipients of Cesar Sayoc’s bombs.

Apparently, hate is only bad for about 36 hours and then we’re back to business as usual.


Nick Anderson steps away from the specifics to note the trend, which, I would note, includes the fact that two African-Americans can be murdered by a racist and barely make the news because their deaths are simply lost in the numbers, buried by the other horrors of the moment.

At which point Sarah Huckabee Sanders steps up to hold a second press briefing in a single month — because it’s important to keep America informed — and confirms, not Anderson’s point, but the need for Anderson to make his point.

The problem, it turns out, is that the press is disloyal and refuses to join in the Happy-Good-News Chorus:

 If anything, I think it is sad and divisive the way that every single thing that comes out of the media — 90 percent of what comes out of the media’s mouths is negative about this president. Despite the fact that the economy is booming.

(Well, except that the market has tumbled, erasing all of 2018’s gains.)

Despite the fact that he said he would fix the trade deal and he’s done exactly that.

(Well, except that Mexico has announced they’re siding with Canada and demanding an end to Trump’s tariffs)

And, she explained, we should all be loyal, because Dear Leader “got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted.”

In Newspeak math, 63 million votes is so much more than the 65.8 million votes his opponent got, that it constitutes an “overwhelming majority” and requires total loyalty.

And asked why, given that the temple shooter was outraged by the Trump-promoted theory that Jews were funding the Central American caravan, the President didn’t dial it back a bit on that, Sanders said it was like blaming Bernie Sanders for the shootings at the Congressional softball practice.

Because Bernie had made such inflammatory speeches about softball. Or something.

She wasn’t real clear on the point.


Which brings us back to the question, if the President’s rhetoric has no impact on people, why does he keep staging those expensive rallies?

I was pleased that David Fitzsimmons knows that, in TR’s time, “bully” meant “swell” or “wonderful” and not “cruel and oppressive thug.”

I’m a little less blown away by his assumption that Uncle Sam has really made this call.

I like the idea a lot, mind you, but I’d be happier if this cartoon were to run the morning of November 7, reflecting a national sentiment with some mathematical certainty, and not the kind of math Sister Sarah practices.


It’s not clear what’s going to happen in Georgia, but Adam Zyglis is perfectly correct about what is going to happen if the nation does not exercise its right to direct, and not simply obey, the government.

Because we could specify, next Tuesday, that we would be pleased to have the government override our rights.

One of those Enlightenment dudes — Rousseau or Locke or somebody — opined that the one thing you can’t vote for is to overturn democracy.

Obviously, this makes sense both logically and philosophically.

Just not, y’know, historically or practically.

We shall see.

But, then again, we’ve already seen.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: The Demands of Mourning

  1. And if Dear Leader’s rhetoric is not to blame, than how can The Media’s rhetoric be responsible ?

    As someone pointed out on CNN yesterday -If all those bombs had gone to Fox News, the coverage would be somewhat more ramped up.

Comments are closed.