CSotD: Cartoonists catch up

There are many things that Dear Leader can’t seem to understand, and Jimmy Margulies captures two of them here: One is that Trump genuinely has no sense of empathy. It’s not that he ignores or downplays the suffering of others. He genuinely does not get it.

So he can cheerfully toss paper towels to people during a visit to Puerto Rico in the wake of a devastating hurricane. He understands that he’s supposed to be there, he knows there are these supplies to be distributed, but he misses the concept of solemnity.


When Kid Shelleen blundered into Frank Ballou’s wake, he had the excuse of being stinking drunk.

Trump doesn’t drink. He’s simply wired that way.

Confession: If I sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing my hands, it’s invariably in the voice of Kid Shelleen.  On account of I’m wired that way.

But Trump isn’t being deliberately shallow when he brags about his ratings instead of ministering to the suffering of others. That’s how he sees the world.

And since he is also incredibly lazy and not particularly bright, he ignores his briefing papers and the advice of any experts still hanging around the White House, instead taking his cues directly from watching television.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that he brought Mr. Pillow up to the lectern at yesterday’s episode of the new daily TV show “Mr. Trump’s Neighborhood.”

Confusing TV shows for reality has left him thinking that it’s perfectly natural to have Mr. Pillow pop up to interrupt the program. On today’s show, we’ll probably have the JG Wentworth singing Viking, or possibly that nice woman who wants to send you a book about mesothelioma (and so much more!).

Hey, never mind the coronavirus: Let’s get rid of that stubborn belly fat!


Joe Heller brings up a topic that has popped up among cartoonists, though more on the syndication side than among political cartoonists.

The industry is already in rough shape, and we can argue how much of that came from the Internet itself and how much was from a colossally foolish lack of response to the Internet and how much of that colossal foolishness was due to stock-swapper stupidity masquerading as newspaper management.

The damage to the ship was exactly the same, regardless.

Now advertising has suddenly fallen off a cliff, in large part because why advertise when your doors are closed?

Again, the “why” is less critical than the “what” and the “what” is that wounded newspapers have lost a whole lot of revenue and nobody knows when it will come back, or even if there will ever be a restoration of what we knew as normalcy.

This has happened before.

In World War II, a lot of advertisers dropped off the scene because instead of making washing machines and automobiles they were making tanks and bombers and ammunition. In addition, paper was being rationed, adding significant cost and limitations to production.

Newspapers then were very strong, with radio being the only real competition in the media market, but, even so, there was a lot of hyphenation as the weaker of the two papers in a market could not keep up and was absorbed by the stronger, resulting in a single paper with both names on the plate.

Today, Heller’s metaphor is solid: The big ship is already sinking, and the threat is to the lifeboats.

Some strip cartoonists have already been dropped until the crisis is over, but the question is whether those papers that are shifting to fewer print days, or going on-line entirely, will return to a full schedule when normal life resumes.


Editorial cartoonists certainly deserve a strong place in an online-only world.

In South Africa, Zapiro now appears on the online-only Daily Maverick, a solid and highly respected news outlet there, as does Madam & Eve, which is technically a strip, but, like Doonesbury, more political commentary than Dagwood-hanging-off-the-gutters gags.

I don’t know that every paper that might go online-only will recognize the need for, and advantage of, this kind of local commentary.

It could be that the reason Zapiro and Madam & Eve are in the Maverick is that it was started by intelligent people rather than corporate beancounters.


But I’d say local commentary like Brewed on Grant  — now found along with Rob Rogers‘ political panels in the alternative Pittsburgh Current — is worth the investment, whether in print or online.


Speaking of immigrants

I got a kick out of John Cole‘s cartoon mostly because, while Dear Leader and Andrew Cuomo were quarreling over the notion of keeping New Yorkers where they damn well belong, what we’re already seeing up this way is people from the city taking up residence in their second homes.

Thus ending up in our hospitals when they become short of breath, adding numbers to the numbers we already hadn’t counted on.

But I got a secondary chuckle because I know there are, or at least were a decade or so ago, a significant number of people whose first-and-only homes are in places like Allentown and whose jobs are a two-hour commute away in Manhattan, assuming little traffic.

As the song says, “Don’t bother, they’re here.”


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Non Sequitur)

(Steve Kelley)

Speaking of semi-political cartoons and political cartoonists, Wiley Miller and Steve Kelley converge on the topic of alcohol and its germicidal qualities, though they apparently differ on whether it should be used topically or taken internally.

And I’m dropping my usual insistence that “martini” means the original, authentic drink unless otherwise specified, since we need to save the gin to consume with quinine, long prized for its use in treating malaria.

We know how Dear Leader champions using anti-malarial drugs on the coronavirus.


And if your head is spinning neither from gin nor vodka but from coronavirus news overload, head for Australia and read the rest of this First Dog on the Moon discussion of what else is happening in the world.

Or go take in a family musical (h/t Morten Morland):


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Cartoonists catch up

  1. Kid Shelleen for the win! When I call my sister on her birthday, that’s the version I sing. (When I call the day after for her birthday, I sing the traditional birthday song of my family, “Happy Birthday Yesterday,” to the tune of the William Tell Overture finale.)

  2. Mike, I generally like what you write, but IMHO, this is one of your best columns ever. Keep it up.

  3. I really enjoy CSotD. Thanks for writing it.

    I know “Dear Leader” is facetious, but it still makes my teeth stand on end every time I read it. He is the very opposite of “dear” to most of us. Any chance you could use a different phrase? There are a lot to choose from: OFL (orange fractious leader). Bloviator-in-chief. Captain Chaos. IMPOTUS. The Trumpinator.

  4. When he no longer kisses up to Dear Leader, I’ll consider dropping the name.

    Meanwhile, when he cited South Korea’s coronavirus measures, my response was shock that he even knew the country exists. Not sure it wasn’t the first time he’d mentioned it.

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