I’m going to try to be mostly critical in a literary rather than a social sense today, starting with Steve Breen’s simple expression of the situation.
I had our next issue planned with a review of “My Spy,” but the reviewer dropped me an email to say she’d gone to the screening, but the release date had changed to mid-April, leaving us with no lead article.
However, she agreed to go to the Denver Art Museum’s new Winslow Homer/Frederic Remington exhibit and write it up, so we were off the hook.
Then they closed the museum.
And the press preview of the new live-action “Mulan” was cancelled and that film’s opening also postponed.
So I sent out a list of new books we have for review and I guess we’re going to be a literary review for a couple of weeks. The kids love to read — several emailed back to request titles — and we’ll muddle through same as everyone else.
I saw another political cartoon on the topic of everyone being at home that suggested chaos and people getting on each other’s nerves but if that’s how your family rolls, don’t blame Covid-19.
I don’t have a whole lot of patience for cartoons about families who hate each other going off on vacation together, either, but, at the risk of going all “Battle of Britain” about it, this just doesn’t seem like the moment.
Though I find it interesting that the stores are all out of toilet paper but nobody seems to have stocked up on Doritos and Oreos.
Speaking of which, here’s our first
Juxtaposition of the Day
These are both good commentaries, but note that Bennett’s metaphorical shortage is aimed at governmental ineptitude and dishonesty, while Turner comments on public response.
I don’t know how the Irish government is responding to the crisis, but, even if they’ve been exemplary, I still find the concept of hoarding more directly applicable to the spirit of public responsibility.
Which is to say that, while both cartoons feature empty shelves, and both label those shelves as metaphors, they’re completely different commentaries.
If I were an editorial page editor and had them both as options, I’d feel obligated to pick one rather than run both, in order to avoid the visual duplication, but my choice would really depend on when they crossed my desk.
I think, in a general sense, I’d want Turner’s, in order to rally the troops, but after witnessing yesterday’s shameful ass-kissing contest in the Rose Garden, I’d be awfully tempted to run Bennett’s instead.
And I’d be disappointed that I was working with the printed page and couldn’t animate Ann Telnaes‘ analysis of that disgraceful performance, my only criticism being that she didn’t sketch in that crowd of CEOs assembled to tell us what a great, great job Trump is doing.
However, Pence is in charge, so he makes an appropriate stand-in for the crowd, which he no doubt had a hand in assembling.
Imagine flying in to DC for the privilege of making a one-sentence speech in a way-too-long press conference, thanking the president for letting you make a donation to the cause.
It struck me that we were probably seeing a public demonstration of the way the White House staff has handled Dear Leader for the past three years: Praising him while at the same time sheltering him as best as possible from people who might ask nasty questions like why he had disbanded the pandemic team.
Which he says he didn’t do, someone on his staff did, and he’s not responsible for any problems but he’s doing a great, great job.
And I’m sure Google CEO Sundar Pichai would also have been there to praise the president if he’d known that his company was creating a great website, which apparently they aren’t. Or weren’t. Or something.
Another element of handling Dear Leader being the fact that, even when the things that you tell him are happening don’t spark a tantrum, he doesn’t quite grasp what you’ve said.
But, as Bob Moran notes, we at least got him to declare the emergency, perhaps a bit later than every other nation in the entire world.
This isn’t the only “lock the barn door after the horse has escaped” cartoon out there, but the slight cough and the weird eye-roll of the horse, plus the dull, blank expression on the president’s face, make it the best of them.
(BTW, when you see the whites of a horse’s eye, it means he’s about to either kick or bite you. So there’s a second element of “too late.”)
Juxtaposition of the Bum Wipe
Getting back to the hoarding element, Matt Davies goes after the gaping stupidity of the move, which is only exceeded by the nitwits who bought up all the bottled water under the apparent notion that the elves who bring it to your house will also go under quarantine.
Blower, however, declares it part of the cultural moment, pairing it with a similar element of the zeitgeist. I like his commentary because, as with Warhol’s, it is an insight into the petty and mundane, though I think Warhol was more celebratory while Blower is more critical.
Still, if the Covid-19 kills us all, this might be the one that would explain it best to future archaeologists.
While Dana Summers wanders off-topic to demonstrate that he doesn’t know the difference between socialism and communism.
Most of what we’re doing under this state of emergency is “socialism,” while, if we had some “communist” central government politburo setting production goals — the cause of those Russian shortages — they’d be doing things like directing high tech companies to produce websites without consulting them first.
I would note that Nick Anderson posted this cartoon about the doubters and gullible swallowers of propaganda on-line and it took scant moments for someone to comment, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”
Indeed. But we’ll give Mike Thompson the final word, in keeping with the spirit of the moment:
Now, let’s get into character: