Kal Kallaugher gets away with the tired iceberg metaphor for two reasons: One is his art, through which he can draw just about anything and make it fun and fresh, and the other is his ability as a storyteller.
A couple of years ago, the featured speaker at the final banquet of the AAEC convention couldn’t make it at the last minute, so Kal fetched an enormous green puppet from the trunk of his car and Guy Badeaux pulled out his harmonica and the two of them provided more entertainment and laughs than I’m sure the original speaker could have.
Which I say because his panel-by-panel delineation of the current failure of leadership is great fun despite the fact that he’s depicting something that should horrify us.
And I would add that Jack Ohman does spot-on imitations of JFK and of William F. Buckley, which ability to entertain may explain why this depiction of the current meltdown is a similar example of how much fun gallows humor can be.
Even as we all stand on the gallows.
Though it should be noted that the last time we had a nitwit in office, he was the puppet of some very clever people who got us into a caper in the Middle East that has likely done more long-term harm to the planet than the coronavirus, which has a lot of catching up to do if it’s going to kill as many people.
A nitwit surrounded by lackeys is a whole other challenge. But I digress.
In his local cartooning, Ohman often reaches for the laffs, but, in his national pieces, they tend to emerge more organically, simply from his style, as they do with Kal, as they did with Pat Oliphant and Bill Mauldin.
It’s important to note that this does not start with looking for a joke you can make about current events. That’s the late-night comedian approach.
Rather, it’s a matter of finding the ironies that expose flaws in policy, at which point the humor tends to follow in properly grim fashion.
Steve Breen pushes the humor a bit in this piece, but, while it’s funny, it’s still awfully grim, exploiting the difference between fantasy-for-fun and fantasy-to-maintain-power.
There may be a sort of coming together in this: Jay Leno simply went for laughs and was more of a wise-ass than a commentator, while Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah have an approach closer to what political cartoonists do.
Still, they need actual laughs, while political cartoonists seek grim chuckles. The best in both media remain allied but definitely different.
Paul Berge, meanwhile, drifts away from the editorial page long enough to show a little sympathy for the sports section.
Despite all the cancellations, there are still sports stories out there, what with free-agency and the draft coming up in the NFL, and, meanwhile, stories of how these hard times are being handled will fill the pages.
For instance, a couple of players have stepped forward to announce they’re donating money to make sure the stadium workers get paid, which is pretty cool, and the NFL has announced that college players headed for the draft should not be traveling to visit prospective teams.
But all those columns of agate, tracking scores and stats and standings, are not going to update very often anymore, and, while we worry over the hot dog vendors, there are also the writers and photographers who report on the games.
The ripples on this thing extend into all sorts of places.
Greg Kearney points out that, while sheltering at home is a great opportunity for kids to do some reading, when the libraries close, it cuts off a substantial source of free books.
And parents who want to order from Amazon in lieu of going to the bookstore will find it an expensive way to fill the hours.
Two thoughts: One is that older books are very affordable on Kindle, and, if the author is dead, one doesn’t have to worry too much about not contributing royalties.
“The Princess and the Goblin,” for instance, is only 99 cents on Kindle, and if the kids aren’t old enough to read it themselves, it’s a great read-aloud, and ditto with the old warhorses like “Treasure Island.“
A little caution is called for: “Mary Poppins” and “Doctor Doolittle,” for instance, have ample lashings of gob-smacking racism, but don’t forget that a lot of youngsters have only seen bland, commercial knock-offs of Beatrix Potter, while Goodreads has a whole list of free Kindle books for kids.
The other idea is that there’s a thing running around the Internets that lists museums with virtual tours, which is not only entertaining but a nice antidote to that idiotic Facebook thing in which a group of schoolchildren doing on-line educational activities at the Rijksmuseum are attacked for looking at their phones.
Plus there’s also going outside and playing, or taking a walk in an isolated spot where you might come across birds or frogs or turtles or some such.
Even if you’re working from home, you deserve a coffee break, and taking it with your kid beats sitting around the break room at work.
As Watson notes, the reason for staying home might be a bit daunting, but the staying home itself could be pretty cool, if you’re lucky enough to be able to work out the details.
Meanwhile, here’s an irrelevant but amusing
Juxtaposition of the Day
I came to Arctic Circle first and thought, well, that’s stupid because there aren’t a whole lot of trees in Greenland. Then I came to the Flying McCoys and found the answer.
Hey, if Walt Disney can throw lemmings off cliffs, we can have beavers hijacking 18-wheelers.
Patrick Blower provides a role model for all of us in these difficult times.
Though some of us already grasped the basic concept …
4 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday Morning and we’re all coming down”
Iceburg? I thought it was iceberg.
What we need in these trying times is comics (and chocolate – I have stockpiled chocolate)!
My public library has electronic versions of books that can be checked out online. It’s worth checking to see if your local library does the same.
“The Princess and the Goblin”, as well as “Treasure Island” and many other public domain books can be downloaded free from Gutenberg.org, although you might need a computer rather than just a Kindle reader to access them.
Project Gutenberg (and Hathi Trust and archive.org and other free eBook sites for public domain titles) are all fine, but my favorite is the Online Books Page, which draws scads of links from all of those and from a number of smaller and more specialized sites as well, currently linking to “over 3 million free books on the web”:
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