CSotD: Messaging

I expect there will be more cartoons about Trump’s bizarre rendition of the history of the US Army, but Clay Jones and Ed Hall are out front early, which is the only place to be on this one.

For those of us who are self-employed, a “holiday” mostly means that we can work without phone calls or emails, which makes holidays pleasant, and, in a case like this, it means keeping up with the amateurs who have flooded the Internets with  #RevolutionaryWarAirports gags.

I expect that, over the next few days, we’ll see a lot of cartoons on the topic, none of which will surpass what’s out there, some of which will actually duplicate it.

AAEC officers have said that one challenge is to get the message out to meme-makers that they, too, are political cartoonists.

To repeat a comparison I used the other day, they’re like garage bands, and most of them crank out “Gloria” and “Wild Thing,” which is just fine on a Friday night if there’s enough beer in the house, but some others do good, original work.

Goofing on the government is not confined to the professionals. Anyone can play.


However, as Carmen and Winslow suggest, it would be nice if we could start with some agreed upon body of fact, though it’s not entirely the Internet’s fault.

In the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, I’ve seen the paranoid idiocy that Winslow describes presented on cable under the category of “some say,” and, while unmedicated nitwits on the Internet can be excused for their folly, this deliberate, commercially-based sowing of delusional nonsense is harder to justify.

Meanwhile, Trump loyalists are already explaining that he meant “seaports,” and simply misspoke.

Which would be understandable and on a level with Obama’s much-derided “57 states” slip.

Except that, while not as overtly ridiculous as “airports,” the idea that the American army controlled any major seaports is not close to true. No marginally competent historian would have written such a thing.

The fact is, much of the action in the Northeast was based on Clinton and Howe’s grip on New York’s ports, and, had Burgoyne not screwed up his campaign down the Champlain, Mohawk and Hudson valleys, England would have cut the colonies in half.

History is often open to debate, and, speaking of Burgoyne’s invasion, the birth of the Navy is claimed by several places, including Whitehall, NY, where a small fleet was built that delayed, though did not defeat, Burgoyne.

Anyway, here’s a transcript of what Trump said, including not just the airports but his praise of Alexander Graham Bell, who was not an American, which emphasizes the question of, beyond what he did say, what nincompoop wrote what he was supposed to say?


Meanwhile, in the opposition camp

(Phil Hands)


(Pat Bagley)

I saw someone arguing on social media yesterday that the Democrats must not do what they did last time or they will lose again.

Which defines “losing” so narrowly that it ignores the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and only missed out on the Electoral College vote by a fairly narrow margin, likely due to poor planning, not an unpopular message.

Which also made me scratch my head over a conversation on MSNBC in which they pondered the question of whether Americans are ready for a woman president?

Which in turn makes me less judgmental about people who think Alexander Graham Bell was an American or that the Continental Army controlled airports or seaports or spaceports.


There is a current movie called “Yesterday,” about a mediocre guitarslinger who somehow wakes up in an alternative universe where nobody has heard of the Beatles, and so becomes a sensation by presenting their songs as his own.

My 13-year-old critic noted the frequent allusions to things few kids his age would catch, but recommended it for all ages, not just those old enough to remember the Beatles.

However, what I’ve seen from people my age is that they hate it.

At least, some of them hate it.

The ones who hate it enough to bother talking about it at all, hate it a lot.

But Rotten Tomatoes suggests that they may be a vocal minority.

On a related note, a couple of decades ago, I let a college senior read the manuscript of my college novel. This was the early 80s, the book was set in the late 60s.

Her response was that she was initially surprised, but upon reflection, not at all surprised, that the characters had more or less the same interests that she and her friends had, mostly getting along with their parents, who was sleeping with who and so forth.

Somehow, she was under the impression that everyone back then was dedicated to the point of obsession with stopping the war.

We have a lot of notions and impressions and they’re frequently colored by media images rather than facts.

Extreme lifestyles, extreme voices become over-represented in the public eye. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just history.

Today we’re pretty sure that Donald Trump was the only college kid who took a student deferment, which makes him a five-time draft dodger.

Well, millions of young men took a II-S to finish college; many of them subsequently enlisted or were drafted, some of them died on the battlefield.

And there was nothing wrong with failing your physical, even deliberately, but a letter from a friendly doctor who may have never even examined you was draft dodging.

Making Trump a one-time draft dodger, which is bad enough.

Point being that you can’t make fun of people who don’t know their history unless you do.

Meanwhile, the reason you may feel the Sixties consisted entirely of wild hippies and heroic Vietnam vets is the same reason why you may feel that nobody wants centrist policies in the upcoming election.

“Centrist” meaning “acceptable to most people,” which is simply a variation on Yogi’s “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

Pick your spot. But do it knowledgeably.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Messaging

  1. I saw “Yesterday” last Sunday. I liked it a lot (but then with Boyle (“Trainspotting”) directing and Curtis (“Blackadder”) writing, you can’t go wrong.

    I can understand if audiences from a much younger age might dislike it or ignore it (thinking that The Beatles and their music were way before they were born and don’t really matter) but audiences actually hating it???? (if they want a film to hate, direct them to the dog I saw on Tuesday, “The Dead Don’t Die”)

    What makes the film work, besides the main plot point (there’s more, but I’d be spoiling it) and what really worked for me is the bind our main character Jack (Himesh Patel) goes through. Is it right for him to take credit, thus earning worldwide fame and riches, for the work sone by someone else? Even though there’s nothing legally wrong with what he’s doing.

    This is what this film’s about, and of others don’t see that, well, they’re not watching the same movie that I was.

  2. I think President Trump did a good job with his speech about the history of the army, navy etc. Kids dont know anything anymore. They dont teach them much in schools anymore. Why do you find this bizarre? Is it a knee jerk reaction to the president? Are we supposed to be lie down and be completely helpless?

  3. It’s just a coincidence that those battlegrounds where Trump’s numbers eked out a narrow win were all in GOP-run states where we were never allowed to see actual ballots or have a confirmed count, and which were the only states in which the announced totals differed markedly from the exit polling (which called them for Clinton).

  4. “Yesterday” sounds a bit like the Britcom “Goodnight Sweetheart” in which the hero finds a time warp, steps back into the early 1940s, and becomes popular singing songs from the Beatles, Sinatra, and others.

  5. Funny how generational stereotypes work. The other night I heard two ’20-somethings’ referring to what I would have called ultra-right wingers as “stereotypical Baby Boomers.” They meant racist, rigid, Trumpist, etc. Now, the stereotypes I’ve always associated with our age group include hippie, flower-child, leftist war protester, druggie, and knowing those were the days of a civil rights movement and ‘sexual revolution,’ I had a jolt realizing the stereotype for us old folk had morphed radically (or reactionarily) while I wasn’t really looking. Obviously neither stereotype applies to the whole group, then or now, but still…

    Rip Van Winkle

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