CSotD: Plus ça change

Michael Ramirez salutes the victory of Osama bin Laden, who managed to both undermine our freedom and to keep us firmly in his grasp nearly two decades later.

Not sure that was the intent of the cartoon, but look around.

Our misplaced priorities are based on pre-existing, irrational Islamophobia, given a semi-rational basis by the horrors of 9/11, such that we have given up a great deal of freedom and are not any safer.

As others have noted, one incompetent cuckoobird tries to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb and we all have to take off our shoes at the airport, but someone with a military rifle slaughters a roomful of little children and we shrug it off and watch it happen again and again.

Too bad the guy who shot up Sandy Hook wasn’t a Muslim.

On accounta I haven’t heard anyone declare that the scanning of shoes means they’re about to confiscate our footwear.

Anyway, Osama bin Laden gets the award. He turned this country on its head.

I don’t mean to pick on Ramirez. It’s just that his “Never Forget” declaration is the most plain and stark of a bucketload of cartoons criticizing Trump for negotiating with the Taliban.

I’m trying to remember the specifics of how, a half century ago, we quarreled with the North Vietnamese over the shape of the negotiating table in Paris, which, IIRC, had a lot to do with who was going to sit on their side of it which in turn raised the question of how many parties were going to sit at the table in the first place.

I do recall that there were people who didn’t want peace talks at all, and that they had no plan at all for bringing the war to a close. So that’s the same.

There were some hawks who wanted to nuke the place, but they were dismissed as crazies. Today, they’d be cabinet members (at least temporarily.)

Finally, when we all shook hands and the US troops went home, Henry Kissinger accepted his Nobel Peace Prize and Le Duc Tho more or less asked the Committee whom they were trying to bullshit.

We’ll get to that part. Pretty sure a draft dodger who accepts a Purple Heart would have no trouble sending Afghanistan’s women back under their burkas if he gets a shiny medal in exchange.

Meanwhile, there’s a difference between “remembering” and “holding a grudge.”


Which brings us to Steve Kelley, who mocks an ambivalence widely on exhibit.

I don’t think much of knee-jerk conservatives who ignore the real news and draw whatever half-baked drivel is on talk radio, but here’s a case of a conservative having fun with exactly what is spread all across the Internet, the newspapers and anywhere cogitators gather to cogitate aloud.

He’s obviously been reading the same things I’ve been seeing: “I never liked Bolton, but here’s the thing …”

The critical question, of course, being whether cartoonists would have so much to say on the matter if Bolton didn’t have that ridiculous mustache.

Confession: I heard the news in the car, and it was the first time in a long time that a Trump action evoked both “Holy shit!” and a burst of laughter.

And I immediately had a mental image of Yosemite Sam suspended in space, realizing that the platform was gone and that he was about to do the High Divin’ Act hisownself.

Kelley nailed it.


Juxtaposition of the Day


(Lee Judge)

(Ward Sutton — Click for the rest)

Still on the topic of serious issues that made me laugh, these critiques of Donald Trump’s artless deals both did just that.

In his New Yorker piece, Sutton exhibits the rare ability to string an idea across several panels. That’s not the same as Tom Tomorrow or Tom the Dancing Bug, who construct sequential narratives.

It’s basically one concept presented in a way that sustains despite being essentially repeated. I’ve seen a lot of cartoonists fail at it, and there’s one in particular (no names) whose regular output is six panels that come across as a search for the variation that works.

In this case, what works in particular is the woman’s disinterest and unwillingness to change her response. Change her dialogue panel-to-panel and you’ve ruined the piece.

And Lee Judge’s depiction also features repetition, but in the array of cigars that have already exploded in the Dealmaker’s face as he cluelessly blows up yet another.

Judge is, at least at heart, an ol’ country boy and this cartoon reminds me of the story of the city fella who decided to start farming and bought two dozen chicks at the feed store.

A week later, he’s back and says they all died. The storeowner sympathizes and, because he stands behind his goods, gives the guy another two dozen chicks to replace them.

But a week later, he’s back again because his chicks are all dead again, and this time the storeowner says, “Well, those were healthy chicks. You must be doing something wrong.”

“I think you’re right,” the customer admits. “Either I’m watering them too much, or I’m planting them too deep.”

As he reaches for another cigar.


Kal Kallaugher, meanwhile, offers the president the respect he deserves and has earned.

I sometimes have to differentiate between liking Kal’s work because of the point he makes and just liking it because his style is so appealing.  I do try, after all, to make this blog a discussion and not an art show.

But, without distinguishing between those factors, I can say that Kal is presenting at the CXC/AAEC extravaganza in Columbus later this month.

Nor is that all.

If you’re anywhere within range, you really should come on by.


Finally, Macanudo proves that I’m not completely against featuring a cartoon simply because I like the artwork.

William Blake’s okay, too. I associate him with a really cute girl in a bikini, but, hey, I was just turning 14.

One thought on “CSotD: Plus ça change

  1. 1950s/1960s: most of the Middle East are US allies

    1973: the Saudis turn off the oil spigot

    1974: the US embarks on a foreign policy of manipulating the geo-political landscape of the entire region, just so it can insure continual access to all that oil

    1979: the Iranian Revolution, brought in in part by the US forcing the re-installation of the much hated Shah

    1980: the Russian invasion of Afghanistan encounters local militias, all created and armed by the US as part of its “ghost war” with the then-Soviet Union. A generation later, those same militias, initially created by whipping up religious fervor and nationalism at the instigation of the CIA, evolve into the current day Taliban and Al Quaeda.

    1991: Desert Storm the Prequel ends, and the Kuwaitiis thank the US for coming to its aid and requesting it now shut down its base and go home. The US refuses, with members of congress calling them “ungrateful towelheads” and demanding the US get to keep that base in perpetuity.

    2011: the Syrian Civil War begins, and the US is hesitant to get involved… mostly because it uses Syria for out-sourced torture in CIA-run “ghost prisons”.

    And Americans wonder why the Middle East hates your country so much. It’s got zero to do with “American freedom values” and almost everything to do with the US throwing its weight around and trying to bully everyone into submission.

    I’m no fan of the Taliban, trust me, but let’s get real: had the US not so relentlessly stuck its nose in places it didnt belong, there’s a good chance the Towers would still be up there. Maybe we should all remember that as well.

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