CSotD: Pot Pourri

Juxtaposition of the Whimper, not the Bang


(RJ Matson)

Mo and Bartender can fret all they want over the hijacking of the Fourth of July Celebration in Washington, but the best outcome would be a massive boycott and no crowds and — Guess what? — that ain’t gonna happen.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth said of her father, TR, “My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening,” but as much as he enjoyed making speeches and being the center of attention, TR kept the good of the nation as the theme.

And he didn’t argue with the press over reports of crowd sizes, or lie about superlatives, or hurl around childish insults. He may have been a little too eager to prove he was manly, but at least he knew how it was done.

By frightening contrast, there is something in this holiday hijacking that smacks of “Triumph of the Will,” a concerted effort to change a celebration of unity into a rally of Trumpism, and why not?

After all, the holiday season in December has been declared to be for Christians only, and the flag now represents obedience to conservative doctrine, and attempts at inclusion are sneered at as “political correctness.”

Well, who ever said decency was a majority position?

We had to send federal troops to enforce integration in the South, and just as Northerners were feeling morally superior, we found the same racist trash screaming abuse in the streets of South Boston.

As for Dear Leader, it seems as though every blatant lie, every bullying insult, every fresh outrage will be the one that will finally tilts things, and yet it never is.

And, as Matson depicts it, the Republican Party has adopted loyalty to Dear Leader as their path to power.

Will those impeachment clouds turn into a storm?

They may prove a test, but there’s no guarantee of who will pass and who will fail.

Meanwhile, as we slouch towards election day, the loudest voices of opposition insist that Trump’s opponent in 2020, above all, must not be a centrist.

Indeed, why would they want to nominate someone a large number of people would vote for?


Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

(I owe Roz Chast a nickel every time I use that line)

The trick to cartooning, obviously, is to present a situation that pings something in the reader’s own life, but when a cartoonist hits you with an actual memory, that’s quite a bonus.

In this case, Big Nate has let the class mouse escape, which is funny enough, but pinged one of my favorite high school memories.

Our biology teacher returned from a trip to the city with a pair of foot-long iguanas, who lived in a tank in the back of his room. We quickly learned that, if they got out, they would skitter across the tile floor with blinding speed despite their lack of traction, so eventually, through trial and error, the tank was set up such that they couldn’t escape.

Except that one day there was only one iguana. Mr. Biddle sealed off the room and a hunt ensued, but no iguana turned up and we eventually decided that he must have skittered out an open window in which case he fell two stories into a whole lot of snow and so it goes.

But a few weeks later, Mr. Biddle did a complete tank clean-out and found that the missing iguana had managed to jam himself between the back wall of the tank and the heating element, died and was subsequently dehydrated by the heater.

So he took a thermometer box, lined it with paper towels and laid the iguana in it, with a carrot, wrote on the top that the little fellow had been entombed with food for the afterlife, and dispatched it to the social studies teacher.

It would still be a fond memory if the recipient had chuckled and perhaps thought up a devious response, but instead, he opened the box and totally, absolutely, completely freaked out, turning it from a fond memory into a legend.

I always enjoyed social studies, but I was never so glad to be in the room as I was at that moment.


On the other hand, today’s Zits triggers a different sort of high school memory and I’m hoping this is the start of an arc.

My parents never left us overnight without adult supervision, but, then again, my parents weren’t insane. We managed to screw up enough when they were just gone for two hours.

However, I had a friend whose parents regularly left him and his brothers alone for a week or so at a time and it’s good he wasn’t a close enough friend that I would get involved in the magical events that went on.

But I sure heard the stories. The fact that his parents kept letting it happen makes me suspect that this is one of those cases where everybody under 20 heard all those stories and nobody over 30 had a clue.

Which brings us to John Singleton, whose death has been noted widely. While I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, I’ve always found it curious that discussions of “Boyz in the Hood” never seem to involve comparisons to “Cooley High.”

Granted, discussions of “The Big Chill” rarely involve comparisons to “The Return of the Secaucus Seven,” but that was essentially an art house film. Both “Cooley High” and “Secaucus Seven” were rough and clunky and amateurish in places, but Cooley High achieved cult status, and, in fact, there is a remake in development.

Well, good luck with that. The rawness of Cooley High was its best part, and if you smooth it over, you’ll lose a lot.

The reason I bring it up is that, for all the teen films that have played with the “parents out of town” idea, nobody has ever touched the realism of the house party in Cooley High.

Kids, don’t try this at home:



One thought on “CSotD: Pot Pourri

  1. I’m not entirely sure that a centrist is more likely to beat Trump than a more progressive candidate. The progressive would draw more enthusiastic support from the base, and by offering some real structural changes might attract those working class voters not irredeemably in the Trump tank. Sure, the Republicans will smear that candidate as a Socialist Secret Muslim, but they’ll do that even if the Democrats were to nominate, say, David Brooks.

    But on the other hand you may be right. Hard to know at this point.

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