CSotD: There’s Got To Be A Morning After

One of the facts of life for reporters is that the news is a 24/7 thing and someone is going to have to work on holidays. Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm reminds me of a favorite story.

I have several favorite working-on-Christmas stories, because after you’ve run around and talked to the people at the Chinese restaurant and the nurses at the local hospital for the standard “Who’s working on the holiday” story, almost anything seems interesting and fresh.

For instance, I ran into a little heart-warmer one year, about a diner that let their help take the holiday but was then swamped with unexpected business. A family eating dinner there saw their predicament and spent the rest of their Christmas waiting on customers and bussing tables.

But my favorite came during the usual set of “Any injury accidents or structure fires?” calls to the police barracks, whereupon a Trooper advised me to call the fire chief in a particular town for a great “structure fire” story.

Seems a fellow who’d been enjoying the holiday a bit too much decided the discarded wrapping paper needed to be disposed of, so he took it out in the yard to burn it, not in a burn barrel but in a pile.

Only the wind kept blowing out his matches, so he moved the pile of paper over to the side of the house where the wind would be blocked.

And the vinyl siding would burn along with the paper.

This meant the volunteer firefighters in the town had to leave their warm homes and holiday happenings to put out the blaze, but (A) it didn’t do more than scorch the hell out of his siding and (B) apparently this fellow was known for such antics and it provided everyone with one more example of his folly.

So rather than resenting being dragged away from their families, the firefighters got a good laugh and the whole thing turned into “Look what he’s done this time.”

Every little town has one: Not the Village Idiot who needs to be cared for, but the Village Nincompoop, an endless source of unintended humor.

The challenge for the reporter being to tone down the hilarity so that readers pick up on it but it doesn’t come across as cruel. Think of Cliff Claven or, if you’re a bit older, Ernest T. Bass.


As the country folk say, every pot has its lid.


Juxtaposition of the Season

(Ben Jennings)


(Peter Schrank)

Jennings and Schrank aren’t the only cartoonists to play with the issue of melting ice caps and the legend of Santa, but, first of all, they turn in some excellent artwork, and that’s worth celebrating.

Then Jennings adds a touching element of hopelessness: A beautiful, functional workshop sinks into the Arctic Ocean as Santa and an elf stand on the ice watching the end of their centuries-old enterprise.

And Schrank addresses broader climate change issues than global warming, adding what we can only assume are the horrific bush fires in Australia, fires that threaten to return and become worse year after year, while his second panel is not the North Pole but simply a “regular” part of the world wiped out by rising waters.

Grim stuff, presented with excellence.


Other Juxtaposition of the Season

(Steve Breen)

(The Duplex)

For those who prefer to put worldly issues aside for the day, Steve Breen offers a bit of playful graphic reverence that rises well above the various Star of Bethlehem clichés that normally mark the holiday.

What I particularly like about this depiction is that, at whatever level you mark the significance of this baby, the moment of joyful motherhood is there.

Christians consider Jesus the incarnation of God, but other major religions credit him as a great teacher, with Muslims listing him alongside Moses and other patriarchal figures as a major prophet.

Breen offers the word “Joy” as a springboard from which you can project any type of joy you wish, from the simple joy of motherhood to the infinite joy of redemption.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Glenn McCoy seizes on the opportunity to divide us based on religious beliefs, decrying the fictional “War on Christmas.”

It would take all of three minutes of research to find that schools are not forbidden to note Christmas but, rather, are not supposed to direct children to sing religious songs.

“Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman,” yes.

“Silent Night” and “Little Town of Bethlehem,” no.

And, of course, fair being fair, they would also be expected to pull out the dreidels and note the secular portions of that holiday, too, as well as Chinese New Years and other non-religious cultural celebrations.


We’ve been through this before, as Thomas Nast attacked the Irish for objecting to their children being taught Protestant religious doctrine in the public schools.

The difference then being that the Irish actually wanted their kids taught religion in school, but they wanted it to be Roman Catholicism and so formed their own parochial schools where their kids could be indoctrinated in their beliefs.

Go thou and do likewise.


While up in the Great White North, Doc and Raider managed to celebrate the holiday in a secular way, and yet I would challenge any Catholic parish to throw a Christmas party that included this many cardinals.

It’s a good day to be a cardinal in Canada.

Not such a good day to be a wren in Ireland.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: There’s Got To Be A Morning After

  1. Breen / McCoy cartoons: one is a shoehorned cloying religious imagery more suited for greeting cards containing sentiment that has everything to do w/ the birth of Christ and zero to do w “the moment of joyful motherhood”.

    The other is a comic based on logical progression and hyperbolic observation of current cultural insanities. In other words is a funny cartoon intended to mock. This is the daily CARTOONIST, right?

  2. You might consider the McCoy cartoon courageous mockery – but only in the absence of the large and growing white nationalist/evangelical reactionary movement it panders to. In that context it is neither courageous nor mockery, just a clumsy dog-whistle. But it is certainly hyperbolic!
    When you cite current cultural insanities, you appear to be referring to the discouragement of state-subsidized religion. This is neither current nor insane – although the seizing of this issue by the alt-right to enflame and motivate a voting bloc might be described by those adjectives.

  3. Thanks, Mike Lester, for setting Peterson straight. Pretty sad when a guy writing on the topic of cartoons has to have things explained to him.

  4. First, thanks for the mention, good sir. It’s always nice to see my name in such good company.

    Second, to my fellow commenters… get a grip, folks. McCoy is just playing on the insecurities of the “Christians” who dont seem to understand he’s going fast and loose with the facts, even for the purposes of a cartoon. Mock things as much as you want, but provide some basis in reality when you do. Crist is right: it’s just a sad little dog whistle, nothing more.

    Moving on….. 🙂

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