CSotD: Plain Talk and Poetry

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Matt Davies)

(Ann Telnaes)

Juxtaposing this pair is a bit unfair to Matt Davies, because he posted his piece before yesterday’s astonishing tantrum, and so his cartoon is mostly about how much childish behavior the Democrats will put up with in general.

But the idea of Toddler Trump setting a fire in the back seat ratchets things up more than if he were simply back there tearing the Constitution to shreds, and raises the question of at what point letting him do his thing actively endangers the nation.

Telnaes illustrates the actual meltdown, and, in both cases, it’s Trump playing to his base and running out of the tricks that served him so well when he was defrauding banks, construction companies and individuals.

My thoughts yesterday were, first of all, that someone would depict him threatening to hold his breath until the Democrats relented, and, second, that walking out of the meeting and having his handouts prepared to explain it was like a three-year-old who claims his older sibling pushed him down, but who clearly looked for a comfortable place to flop.

It’s such a flagrant fake that you can’t help but giggle a bit.

However, having him climb the flagpole is a better take than holding his breath or the fake flop, because he wants to depict this as a patriotic move. The reversed flag signalling distress is almost gilding the lily, but clarity is a lovely thing.


Meanwhile, Marshall Ramsey illustrates a response to the tantrum that has also been pointed out on social media, and I am particularly impressed with this because he not only works in the oft-cited cover-ups of paying off porn stars, but adds the literal cover-up of that ridiculous hairdo.

I also like the fact that he depicts this in the literal setting with the actual words of the president. The resulting cartoon has the advantage of not containing a metaphor that anyone must decode and interpret.

I don’t think the child-in-the-back-seat or tantrum-on-a-flagpole metaphors are difficult to understand, but they fall under the general category of “Look what the big baby has done now,” and are fun if you already disliked and distrusted Trump, but are more aimed at ratcheting up existing discontent than at attracting new adherents.

By contrast, Ramsey’s plain talk doesn’t include an insult beyond pointing out the deliberate lie, and so challenges loyalists to continue to defend the president.

Ramsey isn’t prone to exotic metaphors and so his cartoons don’t bring the guffaw response of some others, or the reassurance a good pie-in-the-face can bring to those already on the other side.

However, they also don’t offend or confuse people. Sometimes a direct approach — a bland but firm “So tell me how I’m wrong” — is the cool hand.


Applied Elsewhere

Tom Tomorrow lays out the hypocrisy and nonsensical thinking of anti-abortion legislators, and, again, I really like how he digs into the rotten details of their delusional logic.

And, again, as a message to allies, it’s a powerful message of “no, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.” That’s a message that matters, and not only does he encourage people to rally against this insanity, but, by laying out the hypocritical thinking, he helps to arm them with arguments.


Nate Beeler lays out the underlying misogyny and anti-sex attitudes at the heart of restrictive legislation, and he’s right, but, in this case, I suspect he’s being too subtle. This may plant a seed of doubt in the mind of someone who clings to the idea that pro-life is about the child and not mixed with puritanical, busy-body, hostile repression of more free-spirited fellow citizens, but it’s not likely to knock them out of their chairs.

And, again, that doesn’t make it a “bad” cartoon — the reasoning is sound and it got a grin from me, but I already knew what was being said between the lines.


The contrast this time around comes from Phil Hands, who is completely direct and actively works to convert, not to amuse.

He could have gone farther: Others have cited pre-natal care, and pointed out how “pro-life” is more “pro-birth” because the same people who insist every embryo be carried to term refuse to legislate in order to make pregnancy and birth safer or to support in any way the child once it is born.

Instead, he compresses his message to one simple point: Preventing pregnancies prevents abortions.

It contrasts in an interesting way with this:


Mike Smith is only one of several cartoonists (and SJWs) who point out the role men have in creating pregnancies, though other cartoonists tend to promote condoms, since explaining that vasectomies are reversable is a longer conversation.

But the man’s response here raises the issue of the dual standard which decrees that, while “it takes two to tango,” the resulting pregnancy is her problem.

Again, and unlike Phil Hands’ Lay-it-out approach, this cartoon calls upon the reader to do some interpretation, but, y’know what?


There are times when I don’t give a good goddam about subtlety and interpretation, and Jack Ohman offers a grim commentary that both shocks and challenges.

And if Alabama fans are offended by the pun in his caption, they can’t possibly be as offended as those of us who remember the days before Roe v Wade.

I remember the anxious desperation of someone who, knowing I had radical friends and knew where to score drugs, asked if I knew of a cooperative doctor. (I wasn’t much help.)

Far more than that, I remember holding a weeping lover as she confessed why her period was so irregular, and that she had nearly died, and why we should probably not talk about future children. (I was 19 years old and even less help.)

In short, there are times when subtlety can go straight to hell, along with those pious hypocrites who have never once glimpsed the face of Christ.

And all their works, and all their pomps, and all the stones they clutch.



2 thoughts on “CSotD: Plain Talk and Poetry

  1. Those look like mighty old students in panel 4 of Phil Hands’ cartoon. One would hope they’d already studied the Facts of Life.

  2. I remember when my colege roommate tookme aside and told me not to be too upset if she killed herself because she was pregnant. (It turned out she wasn’t.)

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