CSotD: Of Lice and Men

Ben Jennings looks across the Atlantic and offers us the gift of seeing ourselves as others see us.

You can parse it and explain it and run polls showing otherwise, but it really is just Robert Burns’s proud lady primping and taking pride in her lovely bonnet and her nice clothes while those behind her watch a louse climb around on her neck.

Very fine lice on both sides, that is.

Meanwhile, Trump’s latest unhinged speech provides an unusual


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes)

(Ed Hall)

Most times, a Juxtaposition here shows two cartoonists with an interesting variation of points of view. Two cartoonists simply stumbling onto the same concept is known in the trade as a “Yahtzee” and is a curiosity rather than an indicator of anything more.

Except when it says something important, and here a pair of solid cartoonists who are frequent flyers on this site found themselves unable to add much to the President’s own words.

Telnaes depicts him as Satan and suggests that he is throwing raw meat to the mob, while Hall stops short of suggesting that Trump employed that much forethought.

For my part, I agree that Trump has a talent for throwing raw meat to a slavering mob, but I’m similarly disinclined to credit him with having made a conscious decision.

He’s like a three year old who has discovered that saying “fuck” will make slightly older kids laugh and so repeats it over and over, delighted at the effect and without the slightest idea of what it means.

In this case, he is parroting back some hateful misinformation that an article in the New York Times delicately describes as “what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain.”


Over on Twitter, a nurse from a newborn intensive care unit describes the true procedure, the people being libeled and the parents being torn apart by this heartless lie.

Her entire thread is worth your time, as we ponder the 25th Amendment and the pimps and cowards in Congress who let this charade continue unchecked.

Which is to say that I remain undecided on impeachment from a pragmatic viewpoint, but I am completely convinced that an honest legislature would render it irrelevant.

And that the question “At long last, have you no sense of decency?” has been answered for this generation.

Or at least too large a portion of it, which brings us to this


Juxtaposition of Resistance

(Ann Telnaes)

(Matt Wuerker)

In this case, the Juxtaposition is of two classic commentaries now up for auction in a fundraiser to benefit Press Forward, a group dedicated to improving newsrooms by making them better and more representative places to work.

Go have a look: There are many other artists represented among the offerings, as well as a great many credible groups represented among the supporters of this effort.

Even if you don’t care about the wider issues, it’s a great chance to score some original art.


And I may have lost a favorite slur

I’m not the only person who, in recent years, has derided the White House Correspondents Association Dinner as “Nerd Prom” and stated that the annual event had become emblematic of the chummy, unprofessional relationship the Washington press corps had taken up with the powerbrokers of the Potomac.

I may be the only one who referred to them as “The White House Concubines Association,” however, and I meant it and I liked it and I wish it had caught on.

That said, I may have to retire the soubriquet in light of this past weekend’s more staid, professional event.

I guess they still did the red carpet thing, which is silly and degrading but at least only included journalists this year and not Hollywood groupies.

(The photo above, from Politico, is of the 2015 event and I should perhaps note that “soubriquet” means “nickname” and is not a term for people who would be dismissed as trash if they weren’t also wealthy.)

I find it kind of weird but emblematic of the aforementioned groupies that they apparently had their own “Look At Me Being Clever!” party across town. (And who better to provide coverage of that than that esteemed paragon of responsible journalism, the Daily Mail?)

The downfall of the WHCA Dinner began in 1987, when Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Kelly invited Iran-Contra (alleged, alleged) accomplice Fawn Hall to the dinner.

Kelly, the first journalist killed in the Second Iraq War, left behind a decidedly mixed reputation, and squiring Hall to the dinner was a deliberate provocation that touched off a “Can you top this?” contest of sorts, as people with a legitimate reason to be at the dinner competed to bring increasingly inappropriate or unlikely guests.

That escalation eventually brought so many celebrities to the fest that the dinner spawned a plethora of parties and the WHCA apparently began to lose focus itself, not surprising, perhaps, given the increasing Potomac Fever brought about by news anchors becoming celebrities themselves.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, we were losing sight of the difference between satire and wiseassery.

Compare, for instance, Pat Paulsen and the Smothers Brothers to the groundless mockery of Gerald Ford — a star athlete who declined NFL contracts — as a clumsy bungler.

So perhaps it’s not the WHCA’s fault that, just as editors routinely fail to understand political cartoons, they were unable to distinguish between the sharp, memorable satire of Stephen Colbert and the sophomoric insult humor of Michelle Wolf.

But as with the toddler shouting “fuck” to the giggles of his little friends, eventually it gets out of hand, someone must bite the bar of Ivory and everyone else gets sent off to their rooms without even that much supper.

And they all complain about how unfair it was and meet up over at Samantha Bee’s house to mutter “fuck” and giggle anyway.

Sometimes the “reset” button works. I guess we’ll find out a year from now if it really did.

In any case, Ron Chernow was intelligent and not simply funny but witty, a rare and welcome attribute. Check it out:




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