CSotD: Chuckles and Despair

A couple of Sunday funnies to start things gently.

Zits made me smile partially for the portrait of a young teen finding a way to show off powers beyond his true capacity, and partially for the memory of doing the same thing myself.

Not quite this.

But at about 12 or 13, I had a female pen pal who wanted a photo, so a buddy and I walked up to the top of a mountain and over to the side where there was a cliff.

I then went down about 10 feet and posed as if I were climbing up, while my buddy took a couple of photos of my slightly straining face, laboring up the barren rock face, with a background of trees and ponds spread out far below me.

It would have been brilliant.

If he hadn’t dropped the camera.


And Dog Eat Doug reminded me of the days when I used to walk my ridgeback and my Labrador retriever in the housing development where we lived.

Here, Lucy, a pitbull mix, is a Strong Eye dog, the type who, as a sheep herder, moves the flock by staring them into submission, while Sophie, the brown Lab, projects a gentle image.

And thus it was with my pair, which inspired this column that I hope you can read, because it’s one of my favorites.



After going through a kabillion New Year’s cartoons with the same tired variations on New Year babies and vain resolutions, it was nice to get to Doc and Raider for a cheerfully realistic take.

Reaching for hilarity is rarely the point in this strip, and the more normal the plotlines, the more depth it achieves.

I like the idea that, while other cartoons stretch to point out the futility of New Year’s Resolutions, here we celebrate optimistic ambitions while acknowledging the value of pragmatism.

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a rum raisin and a vanilla caramel swirl.
And I have nothing to add to this Damien Glez piece except that I’m awfully glad he did it because it really made me smile.
Granted that there’s something odd about a cartoonist in Burkina Faso knowing about the Muppet Show. We really need to think about what cultural hegemony we are responsible for, though this seems harmless enough.
By contrast, I rather hope the influence of Don Imus is not felt around the world, and I was glad that, while there were several tweets and Facebook posts about the loss, Clay Jones offered nothing of the sort, but rather cartooned about the justice it would be if he faced the sort of black women he trashed on his show.
Jones declines to celebrate the “shock jock” phenomenon, and he is joined in this by another cartoonist whose penchant for fury I much admire.


Between the two of them, I’ve nothing to add except that, if you want to see how cruelty, racism and misogyny became hip and mainstream, you should stream Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon.
“Monetizing cruelty” is an excellent description of what they did, and what we contributed to.
Now comes Matt Davies with a commentary on how outrageous behavior tends to dominate the news, and, again, there isn’t much to add to the cartoon, which states the issue perfectly.
There’s no doubt that Trump’s clown show was permitted to drown out more thoughtful Republican candidates in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
There are quips that acknowledge the media’s tendency to celebrate the bizarre rather than the normal: “If it bleeds, it leads” and “All the news that’s hip, we print.”
There is certainly fault to be found, as I’ve noted before, in the fact that, if a photographer covering a demonstration takes 100 shots of normal people listening to speeches, the editor will pull out the picture of the guy dressed like a blood-stained Uncle Sam to run with the story, even though he doesn’t represent the average demonstrator.
But when 100 of those 5,000 demonstrators begin to break store windows and hurl stones at the police, do you ignore them because they weren’t typical?
You should report that most of the demonstrators were quiet while a minority rioted, but even if you do, the part your readers/viewers will remember is the smashed windows.
Last night, CBS broadcast an hour-long look at children in captivity on our border, interviewing the kids and their parents and exposing the way we ended up with children in cages who could have been settled with relatives in the States, and children kept in cages while their parents were deported to their home countries.
And as I watched, I wondered who was watching this, as opposed to Law & Order SVU or the Fiesta Bowl or Saturday Night Live Vintage or wrestling or hockey or any of the other possibilities.
I was touched and infuriated by these stories, but I was already touched and infuriated, and I wondered if anyone was watching who hadn’t grasped the situation?
Mostly I wondered how on earth anyone at CBS persuaded the brass to let them air something so dull and responsible.
We need more of this, but I despair of our getting it.
And I hate the picture Dave Granlund draws, mostly because I can’t refute it.
Though at least 60 Minutes is on the Top Ten of Broadcast television. (“The OT” is post-game football coverage)
And the chatter on social media involves some mainstream news coverage plus satirical commentary on same, though the top numbers here don’t nearly equal the broadcast audience.
And the cable numbers suggest that, if you don’t want four more years, you’d better grab a clipboard and start knocking on doors.
Still, we’ve been here before.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Chuckles and Despair

  1. In one of the Penrod books, Booth Tarkington explained that dogs’ behavior depends upon territory, and that a small dog in his yard is generally free to bark away a large dog passing by. Penrod assumes that his faithful Duke is fearless because of this, but he’s just playing by the rules.

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