CSotD: Buggin’

Matt Lubchansky comments on the bizarre but irresistible foolishness happening on Twitter, which, if you missed it, is more or less encapsulated in the cartoon, which is only slightly more ridiculous than the reality.

To summarize, Bret Stephens is a conservative columnist at the NYTimes, apparently brought in to annoy and provoke readers, or, put another way, to broaden the paper’s commentary.

I don’t know much more because I cancelled my NYTimes subscription when they fired their cartoonists, but as someone pointed out, now that a columnist has offended someone, they’ll probably have to scrap their whole op-ed section, too.

So there was a news article stating that bedbugs had turned up in the NYTimes newsroom, which inspired a professor named Dave Karpf, with whose work I am even less familiar, to drop a Twitter wisecrack saying that Stephens was a bedbug.

To which Stevens responded thusly and this is where the “I am not making this up” portion begins:

Karpf’s original tweet had only garnered 9 likes. This one got a little more attention, less because of the temper tantrum itself and more because Stephens tattled to Karpf’s university provost.

However, the utter horror of being called a bedbug did attract some attention:


However, while the ease with which Stephens could be wounded attracted a fair amount of derision, it was the tattletale aspect that gave this absurd exchange legs (yes, six of them).

And cue the sad trombone, because, while I don’t know how tattling to the headmaster may have worked out for Stephens in the St. Grottlesex League, it didn’t earn him a terribly satisfying response from Karpf’s provost:

Now, let me say that I’ve had friends make career-devastating blunders.

But, in both cases, they were mistakes, one an ill-advised, only-slightly-relevant comment that was taken badly, the other a wisecrack that wasn’t intended to go public at all.

But neither case revealed character, and not only has Stephens revealed an absurdly thin skin for someone in public life, but … geez … the tattletale thing … wow.

Like I said, I don’t know much about him, but he’s 45 years old. Not “four or five.” 45.


Worst part for him is that everybody had to read that stupid story in high school. Eli Valley chimes in, and I expect others will as well.



Elsewhere in the Stupidverse

Clay Jones picks up on Trump’s transparent lie, in which he told everyone at the G-7 and in the press that China had called to schedule a trade discussion.

Apparently not knowing that China not only has telephones but televisions and other ways of knowing what you’re saying about them.

And he works in Trump’s denial that he ever wondered about bombing hurricanes, which also had the disadvantage of his having wondered about it in front of witnesses.


Still, some people will believe anything Dear Leader says, as Kal Kallaugher points out in this truly delightful cartoon. Of course, since he seems to take his diving instruction from that judge, it’s not surprising she gives him top scores.

Kal’s talent for caricature, his penchant for detail and his sly sense of humor make his worst work better than most people’s best. The multiple images here let him burlesque the lack of real effort, the total lack of control and the penchant for self-satisfied denial, all in one panel.


Here he uses those same talents to analyze the odd situation in Kashmir, where it seems Modi has kicked over a hornets’ nest for no particular advantage beyond pleasing his Hindu Nationalist voter base.

The best part is that the tiger’s face is so attention-getting, and its foreleg blocks downward eye-flow, such that most readers will start with the tiger, go up to Modi and only then circle down and see the hand grenade the tiger is about to swallow.

And the best part of the best part is that I doubt Kal consciously planned the layout so that it would work that way. It just happened. Again.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(David Horsey)


(Mike Luckovich)

This juxtaposition may seem a bit unclear, but stick with me:

First, David Horsey proves that you can show up late to the (Greenland) dance and still cut a good caper. The absurdity of the Greenland inquiry matches up nicely with the evil selling out of our own natural resources and historic vistas.

And Luckovich emphasizes that latter point: That governing has, in this administration, become secondary to profiting. It’s a silly cartoon, as most “take me to your leader” cartoons are, but it’s got a nice edge to it.

That’s it for today. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. Or, if they do, turn them in and get them all fired.




4 thoughts on “CSotD: Buggin’

  1. Don’t sell Kallaugher short. He’s a master at leading the eye around a cartoon.

    I suspect that even a mind trained to read from right to left would follow Diving Trump exactly as Kal intended.

  2. My assumption is that Kal may have consciously thought these things through as a young man learning the trade, but that they have since become instinctive.

    I’ll ask him next month at CXC/AAEC. (plug)

  3. There are a bazillion images floating around the interwebs. Kal’s “Dive, He Said” toon _immediately_ made it to my Suitable For Framing folder along with several others of his. (For the record, the leader in the clubhouse is still his Church of the Handgun cartoon.)

  4. And if we needed yet another reminder of the speed at which news cycles move, now according to Trump, Fox is anathema to him.

    I swear, you just cannot make this stuff up anymore…

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