I hadn’t intended to lead with this house ad from the Tampa Bay Times of July 29, 1974, but it’s both apt and oddly timed.
I was looking for a photo of the original “Point/Counterpoint” segment from 60 Minutes, which inspired the memorable “Jane, you ignorant slut” rants of Saturday Night Live, playing on the staged confrontations between James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander.
I ended up here when I was looking for confirmation that the original liberal side of the deal, Nicholas Von Hoffman, had been fired for unleashing not an attack on Kilpatrick but upon Nixon, who was within two weeks of resigning:
I don’t know what Kilpatrick offered as a riposte, but Don Hewitt offered the ultimate counterpoint and brought in Shana Alexander to play the role of liberal in the kabuki, probably about the moment most Tampa Bay subscribers saw that ad the following Monday morning.
Which casting change set up the confrontations that made the Curtin/Aykroyd spoof so on-target.
Anyway, my intention was to offer a critique of Counterpoint, the free email collection of cartoons which is now old enough to stand on its feet and absorb a little analysis.
And while I think you should be subscribed to it — it’s free and thus sure to be worth what you pay for it — it starts with a risky premise, much as its 60 Minutes semi-namesake did.
Presenting both sides of an argument tends to fail in one of two ways: Either you wind up with a lukewarm bowl of “on the one hand, but on the other” or it devolves into equally pointless “Jane, you ignorant slut” confrontations.
Counterpoint avoids some of this by not assigning a topic as Point/Counterpoint did, though I think it might be kind of fun for them occasionally to give that a shot: Ask six of their stable of cartoonists to comment on a leading candidate or a hot topic.
Meanwhile, their backer’s expressed desire to have everyone ramp it up and increase the tenor of their arguments seems more likely to raise the heat than to cast any more light. We shall see.
But now fasten your seatbelts and let’s look at the current issue.
I tend to agree with Nick Anderson overall, though this particular piece doesn’t blow my mind. I like the stars and stripes coming off to reveal a white flag, and backing out of our commitments is an appropriate description not only of his actions in Syria but of his general treatment of our allies.
Still, I’ve featured grimmer cartoons here, given that Trump’s ham-handed mismanagement is leading to death and not just American dishonor.
But perhaps appealing to American pride can reach across the aisle, at least with the public.
I’m always surprised when I agree with Ted Rall, because he’s essentially a nihilist and tends to spray blame in all directions. But his response to the inexcusable shooting of a woman in Fort Worth, coming as it does on the heels of the equally inexcusable shooting across the street in Dallas, is right on, and I laughed at the final panel.
You could disagree with Ted out of respect for the uniform, but respect for the law demands that cops clean house, and how long ago was Serpico? When was Chicago? When was Freddy Hampton murdered?
How long before this all ends?
I disagree with Nate Beeler’s point of view, but it is fair commentary from a conservative point of view, which assumes that ramping up social programs and environmental protection is “radical” and no better than what the Trump administration has saddled us with.
He’s saved by the vagueness of his charges because we could debate tax cuts for the rich vs medical care for the poor without coming to a solid conclusion. This is the sort of over-a-beer arguments we seem to lack these days.
By contrast, Rick McKee dredges up an easily dismissable matter: Warren has not only explained why she ticked off a box on a form (yes, more than once), but shown that (A) she didn’t benefit from the claim and (B) she does, in fact, have an insignificant amount of Indian genetic background.
She even apologized before a gathering of Indians for any suggestion that she was culturally native and her apology was accepted.
McKee is beating a dead horse, which amounts to hurling insults for the sake of insults.
Kal Kallaugher’s artistry is so much fun that I have to put it aside in my mind while I analyze the charge he’s making or I’d agree with anything he drew.
In this case, I agree, but without as much enthusiasm as usual.
He echoes Nick Anderson’s charge of Trump going bass-ackwards, but brings it home against silent Republicans rather than against the President himself. It’s a rich target, because they’ve got a lot more to answer to than does our Play-Actor-in-Chief.
However, I’m not sure the premise justifies, or requires, the push-me-pull-you graphic, particularly since he needs words to explain his point — Trump on a hippo might have simplified things and made it more clear.
I honestly don’t understand Mike Lester’s point, though it sent me to YouTube to watch the interview, which is not an up-against-the-wall inquisition, but neither is it fawning. His accusation of “in bed together” doesn’t seem justified.
The overall nepotism charge is another matter, but Hunter Biden, with degrees from Georgetown and Yale Law, is more than simply well-connected. And, as the Daily Beast notes, it seems odd to have Romney’s niece, McCain’s daughter, Trump’s son and Ron Paul’s son bringing home the charge.
As far as I know, Lester doesn’t have any wealthy forebears propping him up, but I’d like to see attacks on nepotism widen out a little.
Bottom Line: It’s an oddity that, in this particular issue, I wish the people with whom I agree were punching harder, but I’d also welcome more debatable points than fury and insults from the other side.
I don’t know if I’ll get either wish, but I’ll keep watching and I’d recommend you do the same.
One thought on “CSotD: Gander Sauce”
Thanks for the ink. COUNTERPOINT continues to re-imagine the editorial cartoon model and the feedback is appreciated.
-One of Nick’s best.
-Ted Rall ditto.
-Beeler does consistently great work and this isn’t even one of his best.
-McKee ditto Beeler.
-Kal does this every issue: brilliant work.
-The last guy took a gamble and drew a cartoon in response to an interview that had not been broadcast yet. Fell flat but that’s the beauty of COUNTERPOINT: working w/out a net is encouraged.
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