We’ll lead off today with snippets of things you should go check out, starting with Ann Telnaes’s longer piece on the conference about sexual abuse at the Vatican. Or the conference at the Vatican about sexual abuse.
Whichever. It is well-worth the click.
Signe Wilkinson takes up a piece of that argument, agreeing with Telnaes that it’s been too long with too little movement, though she’s more specific in what has to change.
I’m not going to disagree with Wilkinson.
As a recovering Catholic, I don’t think that celibacy causes sexual misbehavior, but we should all be aware of how often those who speak loudest on topics of sexual propriety — not just the occasional Catholic priest but intrusive, extremist moralists of every stripe — turn out to be hiding their own flaws in that regard.
It’s a form of toxic denial that is at once to be pitied and to be stopped, and Telnaes notes the “pass the trash” policy of reassignment which the Church employed in Boston until the Globe blew the lid off the long-hidden horrors.
I’m also well-aware of the way the Church’s moral authority has made it hard for young victims to be believed, in part because the cleric in question may be such a model of righteousness and in part because clergy in general are held to be halfway between mortals and God.
Bringing them down to the level of theological counselors, as they are in most of the religions, makes them more credible and more accountable.
And, if nothing else, married clergy are better suited to offer counseling to people who are sexually active.
Flo Kennedy came up with the wisecrack that, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament, which is overstating it, but I do believe the Church might take a different opinion on, say, birth control, if priests either had wives or uteruses, or, yes, both.
In any case, you should go look at Ann Telnaes’s entire piece and also, if you haven’t yet, you should watch Spotlight, the excellent film about how the Boston Globe uncovered what everybody already knew was going on.
It’s a good look at how both newspapers and churches should operate but too often do not.
And here’s a way-too-small look at an astonishing piece, also from the Washington Post, in which Steve Brodner caricatures the Trump Ring as it relates to the Russian issue.
You’ll get a better look on the Washington Post website, but even they had to break down what is, in print, a double-truck or, in laymen’s term, a drawing spread across two full pages.
Steve should go kick back and rest his wrists after this.
Maybe he could buy a copy of Kriota Willberg’s book, “Draw Stronger,” or just start following her column at Comics Beat, if it’s not too late. And if you are a cartoonist, you may want to do the same.
Johanna Draper Carlson has a review of the book over at Comics Worth Reading and, as she says there, it would be a nice gift for the cartoonist in your life.
A cartoonist’s wrist is a valuable tool and should be guarded carefully.
Speaking of books, I just got an advance copy of Brian Fies’s “A Fire Story,” and, while I had reviewed an advance-advance digital preview, holding the real thing in my hand is diffo, and, besides, he’s done something fun with the end papers that you’ll have to get your own copy to see. (UPDATE: I just moved the dust jacket. You should, too.)
That’s the schedule for his West Coast tour, and I would note that the Denver Pop Culture Con will also feature another Friend-of-the-Blog …
William Katt will also be there, believe it or not.
Elsewhere amongst the comics …
I don’t know which part of Michael de Adder‘s comic I like most, though anyone who has followed this blog for very long knows how I feel about awards and can probably guess the likelihood of my staying up to watch this.
Bob Hope and Johnny Carson both made it worth tuning in, but nobody can replace them.
Or at least, that’s what the show’s producers are hoping.
But I love de Adder’s comparison, because not only is nobody hosting the White House these days, but the aura of vapid self-congratulations is equally staggering and off-putting and frequently undeserved.
Thus the Gong Show seal caps it beautifully, the differences being that Barris knew his hosting was a colossal absurd ego trip, and that he frequently booked acts knowing they would be gonged, simply for the entertainment value of it all.
At least, I don’t think Trump hires people with that in mind.
Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to remove the mental image of Kellyanne Conway sitting in Jaye P. Morgan’s place.
Strongly Related Juxtaposition of the Day
Another memory of the Gong Show was when a truly horrible act went on and on and you sat there astonished that nobody had grabbed the mallet, considering how quickly they’d halted some far less awful things.
I’m kind of past Sack’s image of waiting in either gleeful or worried suspense, and am more at the Stahler level of not wondering what’s in it so much as when the thing is going to drop.
As for the speculation that The Trump Ring will simply stifle it, that I’m not so worried about.
There will be a Daniel Ellsberg.
People forget, by the way, that the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate Scandal were only tangentially linked. But the content of the Papers, and the criminal manner in which Ellsberg was harassed by the Plumbers, certainly added to the need to get that crew out of the White House.
I suggested earlier that you watch “Spotlight,” but, if you happen to have STARZ streaming service, here’s something a little less intense.
(Please don’t tell Trump it’s a spoof — It may have been his inspiration.)