George HW Bush has died and Bob Englehart offers my favorite obituary cartoon on the topic, which is pretty muted and not terribly specific, but then so was GHWB.
Bush always struck me as a behind-the-throne type, not a Number One Leader sort of person, and that’s not a slight: Somebody needs to keep all the parts working and he was a very intelligent, well-organized fellow.
But being faceless comes at a cost, and the value of a Smithers to society is largely a measure of the boss he serves, which made it particularly disappointing when Bush went from declaring trickle-down to be “voodoo economics” to serving the man who implemented it.
Worse yet, perhaps, to be remembered as a contrast to your own son: Bush Senior, having been to war himself, sensibly held back after pushing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. His son evaded combat himself, but sent thousands of American kids — and Allah knows how many Iraqis — to die in a war that upended the world.
Well, you can’t draw a cartoon about that, except by doing what Englehart has done, which is to reflect on the man’s decency and where we’ve come since.
Which incorporates an element of that contrast, but within the limits of good manners.
Most of the rest of the obituary cartoons are about the fact that he outlived his wife, which is a damned bizarre way to sum up the life of a lifelong public servant, though I’ll admit it took him a very long lifetime to do it.
But if Englehart’s cartoon is my favorite summation of GHWB’s legacy, Nick Anderson offers the best tribute to his life, which is only right, given that Nick is a fellow Houstonian and the Bushes have had a significant presence there.
I’m going to send you to Nick’s Patreon page to read the rest, in part because he has a nice big legible version there, but mostly because he did this for the Houston Chronicle before they canned him, so they get the rights but he gets the click.
And if someone decides to drop a coin in the hat while they’re there, well, so much the better.
This thing of pre-written obituaries, BTW, is fairly standard, and most local media have them on hand in case Prominent Community Person should shuffle off the coil near deadline.
One of the best “Mary Tyler Moore” episodes came when Mary and Rhoda are updating the obit files late, become giddy and add humor to one. Of course, that person promptly dies and Ted reads the colorful obit on the air.
Which was a lot funnier and more insightful than summing up someone’s entire life with “Well, now he and his beloved wife are both dead.”
Though if you read that in Ted’s voice, it’s not bad.
And now the sports
Win, Lose, Drew comments on unintended consequences in the NFL, where attempts to combine social justice with legal justice have resulted in a demonstration of greed.
First, it is only right to point out, NFL players are more law-abiding than average within their age cohort, but this article also lays out which teams seem to have the greatest problems with player behavior, suggesting that it could be a factor of the city itself, or of the team’s culture.
However, domestic violence does happen and the league came up with a policy whereby the accused is basically suspended with pay until the legal system has figured things out.
What Drew Litton references is that this sometimes comes at a point when a team has had enough of, as the term goes, “lockerroom poison” and cuts the accused free.
The Washington Redskins took advantage of this recently to sign an accused abuser, hoping to put him back on the field after he is either exonerated or has served his mandatory (but minimum) six-game suspension.
Now a second similar case has emerged of a team releasing an accused abuser, and the question is whether some team will move to pick up a talented but (allegedly) brutal player.
The NFL is allowing the question to be asked on their own site, with both a comprehensive video report on the incident and a solid column by a prominent NFL reporter.
Which is frank and honest, but, then again, it’s not like the guy quietly protested police brutality.
Though, if you want a little reinforcement on where that issue stands, check out the comments Ollie North got on NRA TV’s Twitter account.
Brek-ek-ek-ex, ko-ax, ko-ax
Meanwhile, I’m gonna tut-tut my friend Dwane Powell for this one, which brings to mind Calvin Trillin‘s late wife Alice, who — though sensible and brilliant in other matters — had a rule that “Any money not spent on a luxury you can’t afford is the equivalent of windfall income.”
Alice’s rule meant that, if you didn’t spend $75 on a dress because it was too expensive, you could then turn around and spend $75 on something else.
Similarly, if football were downgraded to a club sport, you could spend the millions you pay the coach on the academic program.
As soon as you had persuaded the TV networks and about 100,000 ticketbuyers per 16-game season to transfer that money and devotion to exciting lectures on Aristophenes or the Crimean War.
Bearing in mind that a grad student can get a living stipend for teaching freshmen about Aristophenes or the Crimean War, but a right tackle can’t, under NCAA rules, get a taste of the millions of dollars he’s bringing into the university’s coffers.
I’m a supporter of college sports, but there are a lot of tails wagging dogs in Division I and perhaps the NFL should run its own farm system.
But the fact remains: If the circus leaves town — Alice’s rule notwithstanding — the money leaves with it.
The Duplex reminds me that, back in the Good Old Days, there were 23 days, yes, but only 19 shopping days, until Christmas.
I still miss the days when stores were closed on Sunday and we would take a moment — churched or not — to regroup before the next week began.