Today featured a lot of good work on the funny pages, but, just to show I’m not ignoring the current crisis, I’ll start with Non Sequitur, which is good commentary on the Department of Justice.
And I’d add that, while I’m not sure of Wiley’s timing on posts, it’s not easy for a comic strip to be completely contemporary, and yet in the past week we’ve seen DOJ abrogate its responsibility to the nation and slide into lockstep with Dear Leader. Not that it hadn’t suggested it before, but it has sure confirmed our fears in recent days.
It’s not easy to be timely to begin with: On Friday, I wrote a current-events explainer about Hong Kong for the Tuesday-published mostly kid-written weekly publication I edit, and damned if the Chinese government didn’t at least partially cave in to the demonstrators on Saturday, just too late for me to call it back for a quick edit.
Which reminded me of back in 1979, when I wrote a humor piece for a monthly magazine about Ted Kennedy’s potential candidacy and then sweated through six weeks — two weeks pre-publication, four weeks on the newsstand — hoping he wouldn’t stop waffling and make a decision. (Thank god, he didn’t.)
Well, whatever Wiley’s lead time, there wasn’t a lot of danger that the DOJ was going to stop being Dear Leader’s lapdog and do its job of overseeing American justice. There will be no Saturday Night Massacre this time around because the weasels have already been put in place.
But enough politics. Let’s have some fun.
Two Things Worth Watching
Sherman’s current story arc began back here, when — as Sherman reminds us all at the start of this week — the gang got the Great Kahuna to turn them all into kids.
It’s been fun stuff and, if you aren’t already aboard, I recommend you start reading.
Meanwhile, I’ve mentioned Jeremy’s new job as a dog-walker a couple of times, but I’m hoping that it’s not a story arc but a permanent development, because it offers Scott and Borgman a fun place to drop gags like this without having to seriously alter the overall feel of the cartoon.
They do a nice job of letting Jeremy grow very slowly: There was a time when he wasn’t old enough to drive, and his adventures in the VW van have since become a regular source of humor.
This promises to be another such development and I hope they don’t wrap it up. It’s the perfect job for a kid in the gig-economy, and a nicely flexible element for them, since it doesn’t lock him into a particular place with a particular boss, etc.
Juxtaposition of the Day
There’s not a lot of significance to put on this Juxtaposition except that it’s funny it hit on the same day.
On the other hand, it’s an interesting study in how the same topic is handled using two well-established, very different characters.
Betty and Bub are a pink collar/blue collar couple, but, as I noted the other day, more like the average-folks of “Life of Riley” than the more defiantly-blue-collar bitter couples in “All in the Family” or “Roseanne.”
Meanwhile, Lemont is indeed defiantly white-collar, and his attitude clashes with that of his childhood friends Clyde, who refuses to step up in the world, and Susan, who often seems uncomfortable living on a level her parents did not.
So when Betty finds herself being tracked with odd suggestions, she’s more puzzled than upset, while Lemont finds it an insulting challenge to who he wants to be.
Well, okay, that got kind of deep. But good strips offer good characters and good characters offer that kind of potential for analysis.
Though today’s Argyle Sweater shows that you can over-analyze a character to the point of delightful foolishness.
Foolish as this is, of course, he’s right.
And then Speed Bump weds a couple of things to make this also foolish gag.
I mean, a rationalist would wonder where the other five puppies are. This is why we try to be as irrational as possible here.
The gag hits me on two levels, the first being that we put our first-born into a Snugli at a time when they were still a very new concept, and here he is, about 45 years ago, being “held” by Anne Moore, a Peace Corps nurse who developed the Snugli after seeing West African women carry their babies in sashes.
The other half is that a lot of dog owners have switched from collars to harnesses, which avoids pulling on the fur-baby’s neck, but, then, so does teaching the damn dog how to walk on leash.
I’m just an old-fashioned type whose dog’s leash can be draped over a finger when we walk, because he gets me. He really gets me.
Okay, this much politics
I don’t have much more to say about the NYTimes dropping editorial cartoons in their International edition, but plenty of people do, and, while DD Degg put up an excellent round-up the other day, Patrick Chappatte has created a place where he’s got links from around the world in a format he can continue to update.
As said before, my concern in the whole matter is that it shows how little editors understand the format.
The NYTimes has even said they want to run more graphic journalism — straightforward reporting rather than metaphorical commentary — which is what won them their Pulitzer.
Which I also like, but hamburgers are not hot dogs, hammers are not screwdrivers, and graphic journalism is not editorial cartooning. It just isn’t.
Most editors do not comprehend metaphorical commentary. They don’t admit it because they don’t realize it.
Meanwhile, the above illustration is the first panel in a well-crafted, well-argued explanation of editorial cartooning by Ann Telnaes.
Whatever else you read on this topic, you should read — and share — that.
Looking for some Mo?
Ann ran into a glitch in the uploading mechanism at GoComics, but you shouldn’t miss this week’s particularly well-done episode of Mo.