CSotD: Cultural Notes

Perhaps the view from a distance is clearer. British cartoonist Brian Adcock manages to freshen the familiar panhandler concept by propping her up against the wall — excuse me, the barrier or, shall we say, steel slats — with her MAGA hat as the receptacle for the charity she needs.


Though part of the Trump Party Line is that federal employees are almost all Democrats, so they don’t matter. Paul Fell suggests otherwise.

There’s no point in asking where Trump got that voter information because he obviously just says whatever comes into his head, but it is worth pointing out that, while some federal employees are married to other federal employees, others are not, and they also have parents and siblings, such that the potential 800,000 pissed-off voters should have some sort of multiplier applied.

Though Trump has never cared about his opponents and is happy to play solely to his base.

I have no idea, however, why his Republican enablers don’t see the looming disaster, but they clearly don’t, since they’re also willing to alienate large blocs of voters.

Perhaps they have more faith in their gerrymandered districts than they should.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Rob Rogers)

(Clay Bennett)

Here we have a pair of cultural references with an interesting and, I think, critical difference.

The Fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf and the Story of Chicken Little are often used interchangeably to refer to someone spreading panic, but they’re very different stories.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf invents threats in order to get attention and relieve his own boredom, and Rogers does well to apply it to Trump’s lying claims of looming disaster, most of which appear to assume xenophobia and some degree of racism among his followers.

In that fable, the problem comes when a real disaster appears and the boy has no further credibility. Which might happen, so I like the parallel.

But Chicken Little is a different story, in which Chicken Little’s foolish, misguided panic is exploited by Foxy Loxy, as a trick to make the animals vulnerable to his predation.

But there was no stenographer or translator present when Chicken Little was told the sky was falling, so we’ll never know quite where he got that information.

Or why he allowed his followers to be led into the cave.


Meanwhile, Dave Brown goes past folk tales and reaches into the Classic Poetry bag for a little Percy Bysshe Shelley.

We’ve seen the prideful Ozymandias drawn into political battles before, but never with such a wonderfully well-suited parallel, and, though most people encountered the poem in one class or another, it’s short enough to quote, given its spectacular applicability:

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

It truly could have been written for Dear Leader and his desert wall.

Meanwhile, while cartoonists are being jailed around the world or, in this country, fired, for cartoons that criticize the power structure, Thai cartoonist Stephff (Peray Stephen) has quit working for two Gulf State papers that refused to run cartoons critical of the Saudi government. (h/t to Patrick Chappatte)

This cartoon is based on the public defection of a young Saudi girl, and doesn’t directly reference the Khashoggi murder.

But it does echo the hypocrisy of the Saudi response, which asks us to believe that the people who killed Khashoggi dreamt up the idea on their own.

And that executing witnesses is an appropriate way to resolve international embarrassments.

I hope Stephff will continue to draw the truth, even if it can’t be shown to the Saudis themselves. Nothing happens unless “the whole world is watching.”


And speaking of the war against ignorance, the Nib has a quick tutorial by Kasia Babis on AOC’s proposal to restore the progressive tax rates of those days when America was great, and it’s worth going there to read the rest.

But the bottom line is in the above snippet: If the 70% rate is set to kick in at, say, $10 million dollars, and you made $10,000,010, you would pay the regular rate on your first $10 million and then 70% only on those excess 10 bucks.

It’s the tax policy that made America great, but between honest ignorance and an organized attempt to play upon that ignorance, I doubt this one is ever going to get through to the bulk of voters.

Heck, I’m still puzzling over why anyone would see some sign-spinning clown dressed up as the Statue of Liberty and say, “Yes! That’s who I’ll entrust my tax return to!”


Meanwhile, the War on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes goes on, led by the respectable old law firm of Dicless and Redicless, LLC.

Matt Wuerker’s cartoon puts me in mind of how Uncle Remus dismissed a family of racist white-trash: “Dey allers did hate n—–s kase dey aint had none, en dey hates um down ter dis day.”

You really can’t expect these fat cats to understand women, except the superficial silly ones who will follow the sparkle of a diamond anywhere.

To quote a second great bit of stray dialogue, their attacks on AOC remind me of wealthy, thuggish Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) in “Born Yesterday,” who hired William Holden to tutor his girlfriend (Judy Holliday), only to have her catch on to what a sleazebag he was.

“I love that broad,” he mourned. “Hey! Do you think we could find somebody to make her dumb again?”

Sorry, Harry. That ship sailed a long time ago.