CSotD: The long and short of it

The flow of inspiration from the Trump firehose has been such that I just want to flush it out now, hit Friday Funnies tomorrow, and hope for new things by Saturday.

But, before that, Tom the Dancing Bug deserves praise for being able to bundle so much fraud and stupidity into a single, inventive, multi-panel cartoon, even bringing in Trump’s history of making phone calls to reporters in which he pretends to be his publicist.

Read the rest of his piece here, because it’s brilliant, but I want to praise him in general for being one of the few cartoonists who can regularly sustain a gag through multiple panels and specifically for being able to bring in so many relevant topics in this one, all the while maintaining a credible Calvin-and-Hobbes parody.


But simplicity also has its place.

I began to assemble a juxtaposition of cartoons of planes dropping things on the California fire, but there were too many of them over too many days, and Lalo Alcaraz had struck first (at least in my feed), while nobody has since done better, primarily because they tried to be too specific.

That is, you can come up with all sorts of things a Trump Water Bomber might drop, and several cartoonists did, and, yes, those were all charges that could be leveled.

But Alcaraz brought up the paper towels that are a metaphor for the childishly uncaring sociopathic narcissism that keeps Trump from responding appropriately to any tragedy.

You don’t need to get any more specific and, in fact, I think it weakens the message to do so.

Trump should have done this, he should have done that, sure. Agreed.

But the essential message is that he is incapable of giving a shit, and Alcaraz nailed that.

Any more is just details.

Which I guess puts everyone else somewhere on a continuum between Lalo Alcaraz and Ruben Bolling.


Matt Davies criticizes the lack of priorities, and the cartoon works in particular because his style adds a comical level of absurdity to Trump’s desperate, wrong-way race.

Note, too, that what Trump is attempting to extinguish is the count, not the recount.

That’s a critical difference, because we can argue all day about when there should be a recount, but the Republicans are against formally completing the process with an accurate count of the original ballots.

And I hope everyone who has advocated early voting sees how the law can be constructed such that ballots delayed in the mail can be ignored.

You have to watch for those loopholes and escape hatches.


Kevin Siers uses a familiar scene to put it in stark terms, and there was a bit of semi-paranoid talk before the election that, if the Republicans lost, Trump would simply declare fraud and refuse to recognize the outcome.

And here we are, and it’s worth observing the twist Siers has put on the Wizard of Oz parallel: In the movie, the bogus Oz tells Dorothy & Co. to ignore the man doing all the actual manipulating, while, in this cartoon, the manipulator is in full view, demanding they ignore the reality.

Or, as we say, shooting a man on Fifth Avenue and not losing a vote.

Look, I understand that, by villainizing some inept local election board leaders, you can fool your fans into believing carelessness is deliberate fraud.

That’s no more difficult than convincing them that full employment at welfare wages is as good as what we had a generation ago, or that a massive deficit will be paid off by a booming economy.

But this is a man who has just repeated his nonsensical opinion that people have to show identification to buy groceries, and doubled up on it with a truly laughable fraud “theory.”

“The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump complained. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

“If you buy a box of cereal — you have a voter ID,” Trump continued. “They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.”

Now I’m surely gonna use the automatic checkout at the store, because the regular lines will be held up by loyal cuckoos trying to show the clerks their drivers’ licenses so they can buy Coco Puffs.

Or maybe he actually meant that, if you buy a box of cereal, you have a voter ID.

Next press briefing, I hope someone asks him if a handful of cereal is adequate ID or if you have to bring the box itself.

By the way, I just got a letter from the New Hampshire DMV telling me that we now have Real-ID drivers licenses and that, when my current license expires in January, I will need to renew it in person, bringing proof of residence and my Social Security card.

Above is my Social Security card, dating from 1965 and with the noted disclaimer that John Birchers and others insisted on, because they feared we’d all be getting federal identification numbers and would be tracked by the Central Government.

Little did they know how acceptable their paranoid fantasies would become, once reality had been bent into the right shapes.


For example, even using two panels, Bill Day needed too many words, and I say “needed” because I don’t see a workaround and the message is critical and relevant.

But the fault here is that nobody steeped in our current paranoia would ask that question.


While, as Jeff Boyer points out, those who profit from that paranoia won’t answer a question that would be easily handled by any immigrant who came to our country out of respect and admiration for our system.

Or for what it could be.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: The long and short of it

  1. When I worked in the US, everyone insisted on using my SocSec as ID, and I got in the habit of asking why. The bank said they needed it for tax information, which made sense, and the department stores said because it was “unique to you!”, which didnt.

  2. My favorite Phil Ochs song!

    It shows that he truly was a patriot who loved this land but saw it’s flaws.

    Just like so many of us.

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