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CSotD: Monday Mix

Tank McNamara comments on something that has alternately puzzled and depressed me: The resurgence in recent years of boxing.

The fight he refers to was a particularly strong example of why.

Howard Cosell, who was at the time the best-known boxing announcer, stepped away from the sport late in 1982, after announcing a particularly brutal match between Larry Holmes and Randall “Tex” Cobb, the latter a pug with little skill beyond taking punishment.

As noted in that article, not only was he aware of the long-term brain damage in the sport, but he had seen more than one boxer killed in the ring, as well as others with serious eye injuries caused by blows to the head.

It’s one thing to enjoy football — as I do — knowing the strong potential for serious brain damage inherent in the collisions that are part of the sport. The NFL may not be moving as fast as critics would like, but there are rule changes and equipment research happening, aimed at making the sport safer.

By contrast, brain damage is the point of boxing. Hitting your opponent in the head hard enough to make him unconscious is the ultimate goal, and audiences hate to see a bout end with a scoring decision instead.

The winner of the bout Tank riffs on described boxing as “the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It’s legal. So why not use my right to do so?”

Why not indeed?

If they brought back dueling, television networks would be happy to broadcast it, too.

And it would get solid ratings.

And speaking of appalling instincts, here’s our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Matt Davies)

(Bill Bramhall)

Davies and Bramhall comment on the Republican effort to distort the Census in order to reduce the national influence of minorities.

Yesterday, I discussed how a document was uncovered revealing that the Republican motive in asking a controversial question about citizenship on the Census was not, as they have claimed publicly and in court filings, an effort to help monitor compliance with voting rights, but an attempt to undercount minorities in order to give “Republicans and white Hispanics” a numerical advantage.

Usually, seeing additional cartoons on a topic already covered falls under the category of too little, too late, but in this case it’s good to see additional attention being paid to a critical and appalling issue.

And it sure beats seeing additional cartoons about that stupid boat.


Meanwhile, Jeremy Banx shines a little light on the on-going Mueller report issue, and the cartoon is funny, but it plays on a misconception in American courtrooms that is addressed in British courts, where they have a verdict of “not proven,” distinguishing between “not guilty” and “innocent.”

(Update: Scottish, not British. See comments.)

The gag, of course, is that a jury is required to come up with a verdict, and Mueller’s statement doesn’t amount to one. At the same time, as all loyal viewers of “Law and Order” know, there are times when a trial exonerates someone who did it, because either the prosecution wasn’t able to round up convincing evidence or the jury simply didn’t understand what was presented.

As Banx suggests, the outcome in this case is not particularly satisfying, but, fortunately, we’re not quite at that point yet.

Stay tuned.


Historic note:

Paul Berge noted “Suffragette Saturday” on his blog this past weekend, an occasion I’d never heard of but which is coordinated with tomorrow’s 100th anniversary of Congress’s approval of the 19th Amendment.

In the above cartoon, Satterfield shows the states lined up to ratify, and Berge has several other cartoons from the moment that make visiting his blog well worthwhile.

I wrote a kid’s serial tracing the women’s suffrage movement a few years ago, and as part of my research, looked at editorial cartoons.


This one, from July 4, 1914, shows the new president, Woodrow Wilson, disappointing suffragists with his insistence that suffrage was up to the states, not the federal government.

Suffragists had little faith in Wilson, having timed a major demonstration in Washington to coincide with his inauguration, and the younger, more militant Alice Paul branch of the movement placed pickets outside the White House pretty much throughout his term in office, up to ratification.

After the first World War, Wilson became a supporter of women’s suffrage, but it hasn’t much shifted his place in history.

Other Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Jones)

(Bob Gorrell)

Meanwhile, it’s nice to see Bob Gorrell, who is usually a supporter of conservative policies in general and Donald Trump in particular, take a stand on Mexican tariffs that forces him to break ranks.

It’s hard to see the tariffs as anything more than a hissy fit that will do more to damage our overall economy than it will to address immigration issues.

As several people have pointed out, harming Mexico’s economy is likely to increase, not decrease, immigration, and it will certainly hit Americans in the pocketbook.

And, while American automotive makers are said to be hardest hit by the tariffs, Jones is right to point out where the pain is likely to be felt first.

After all, we can drive our cars another couple of years until things go back to normal, but a lot of our food comes from south of the border and that’s going to be difficult to replace, or pay a surtax on.

Trump still seems unclear about how tariffs work and who pays them, but the real question, between now and November 2020, is how long he can continue to keep his base equally ignorant.

Revelations that his tax cuts have damaged the economy seem a bit airy and theoretical, but it’s hard to bullshit someone about the price of a tomato.

Though — and I’m only being slightly sarcastic here — it may be that his base doesn’t eat any more vegetables than he does.

Trump’s threats won’t help Mexico control emigration — if anything, damaging their economy is likely to increase it — but he seems to be reversing the process a little.


Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
@ 6:49 am

I sometimes think the best solution for American football’s problem with concussions is simple: take away the padding and play Aussie style. Would certainly be a far more interesting game.

#2 Blinky the Wonder Wombat
@ 8:13 am

@Sean Martin-

I agree with you 100%. Remove the padding (i.e., armor) and players will have to learn how to block and tackle without harming themselves or others.

#3 Denny Lien
@ 8:39 am

By analogy with the “remove the padding” football suggestions, there are also fairly convincing arguments that bare knuckle boxing is safer than the “fighting with padded boxing gloves” variety, for the same reasons.

Unrelated second point: it’s misleading to say that a “not proven” verdict is available in “British courts” as opposed to (only in) “Scottish courts.”

#4 Paul Berge
@ 8:46 am

There will always be players with Wilder’s view of the game. I’d name Ndamukong Suh or Vontaze Burfict, for example.

#5 Mike Peterson
@ 9:40 am

Ouch. Thanks, Denny. (Updated) Another of those times when I write something and think “I should check that” and then don’t. I bat about .500 on those.

As to football, the set-play nature of American football distinguishes it from Aussie Rules or rugby. A lot of the damage is happening in the line and not in tackles. Not sure what it would look like w/o any gear, but there were plenty of fatalities at the start of the 20th century. Might be interesting to look back to the rule changes then.

#6 Sean Martin
@ 11:15 am

@ Denny: As one who studied MMA for a few years, you’re right — take away the padded gloves and you go from a clubbing situation to one that’s more cutting. The biggest reason bare knucks boxing was stopped was not because of KOs but because of the bloody aftermath, which so upset the genteel folk. But it’s actually safer — even now, you rarely hear of concussions from participants in MMA or UFC.

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