A word about today’s headline: “Great Expectations” is one of my favorite novels. It’s about how easily a decent young boy can be turned into a snobbish, ungrateful little shit.
David Rowe comments on the disappointment from those who, like young Philip Pirrup, had more exalted thoughts about themselves and their fortunes than reality was willing to provide
What’s more, Dickens originally ended his novel much like “The Sun Also Rises,” with a note of vain regret for all the waste generated, but was persuaded to change it to a more romantic, encouraging finale …
… by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the best-selling extruder of hackery who gave us “It was a dark and stormy night.”
There’s a point there: Happy Talk has its place, but that place is neither in serious literature nor in serious politics.
Juxtaposition of the Day
For those whose expectations were rooted in reality, yesterday’s testimony did what it could and what they thought it would, even if they held a minority opinion.
Mueller was only there to affirm what was in the report, and there were any number of reasons to expect exactly what happened — he was under DOJ orders not to expand on his findings and he’s kind of a dour Marine anyway — and there were no reasons whatsoever to expect him to suddenly become someone else.
Let’s be clear about what the Mueller testimony wasn’t, and what it was. It was not about books and movies, despite the popularity of the metaphor that those who had not read the words of the special counsel’s report would be riveted by a hearing’s sounds and pictures. Mueller was not cut out to play the superhero role in a blockbuster film.
But his steadiness in the face of repeated Republican provocations and his unwavering confirmations of his report’s genuinely scandalous findings about Trump sent a message: Only a country that doesn’t care about the rule of law, has given up on holding presidents accountable and is too cowardly to stand up to foreign interference in our elections would simply let all of this go.
And if that message was lost on the hairsprayed TV geniuses, others picked up on it, sparking this barrage of tweets:
And this delightfully rude thread on the topic, which begins with:
Jeff Danziger, who not only shares Mueller’s status as a Vietnam vet but was in Army intelligence, seems less disappointed than the TV Kids and more realistic in his expectations and his after-the-fact appraisal.
And Pip may have been disheartened to learn that the source of his good fortune was less exalted than the blue-collar existence it raised him from, but nevertheless he ended up reasonably wealthy and distant from the hard life he’d have otherwise lived.
A life, it should be noted, he’d have shared with the nicest and noblest characters in the book, had he not been such a snobbish, ungrateful little shit.
So we’re left with Mueller’s report and all the information we need to go forward, despite his not rising to our romantic, unrealistic, overblown expectations.
Granted, we did have some legislation to help protect our elections from fraud and manipulation, but Senator McConnell and his gang chose to block it from reaching the floor.
The GOP claimed the problem was that there wasn’t time to get paper ballots out to all the states before the election, though they made this objection at the same time they were pretty sure they could still get the intimidation question on the forms in time for the Census in order to minimize the number of brown people represented in Congress.
Meanwhile, Back At the Gulf …
Patrick Chappatte notes our continuing efforts to provoke Iran into doing something stupid so we can kill a bunch of them and a bunch of our own young people.
I’m willing to lay some of the blame for this campaign of bullying and provocation on the doorstep of careless media, since they have insisted from the get-go on describing the treaty with Iran as “Obama’s” or at least as the work of Americans rather than crediting the consortium of nations that negotiated it.
Reporters have also remained blissfully unaware of the constant harassment of shipping in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, so that they can treat recent examples as something new and scary scary scary.
That sloppy, stenographic coverage made it easier for the chickenhawks to walk away from the treaty and impose sanctions, like a junior high bully poking a finger into his target’s chest in order to get him to make the first move.
However, if we do succeed in starting up another Mideastern War, don’t worry: We may send forces over there, but it won’t stop us from deporting their families while they’re gone.
Looking for Alternative Markets?
A lot of cartoonists are looking to graphic novels for new sources of income, and, specifically, to the kids, middle-school and YA market.
Some are doing it well, some are flailing, because (A) writing for kids is no easier than writing for adults and (B) it’s simply not the same skill set as doing a comic strip or editorial cartoon.
Anyone venturing into this brave new world would do well to check out The Beat’s extensive coverage of a ComicCon panel on the topic.
Because knowing is half the battle.