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CSotD: Chekhov’s Box

We’ll start with David Fitzsimmons’ commentary on the militants who demand the opening of society and who insist that the contagious nature of the coronavirus is a myth or an error or a political gambit.

As noted yesterday, there have been a plethora of such cartoons, mostly featuring the notion that those who protest today will be dead tomorrow.

But Fitzsimmons correctly notes that it’s more likely these rebels will carry the virus home to someone more vulnerable to its potentially deadly outcome.

However intelligent you may be to either (A) believe the science or (B) see through the fraud, it’s irresponsible to roll the dice with someone else’s life at stake.

And much as I dislike the word “stupid” as a diagnosis, it’s arrogant and stupid to believe that you couldn’t be wrong — on either side of the argument.

Difference being that, if you’re wrong and it turns out the virus wasn’t that much of a threat, well, we trashed the economy and sat home for no reason, but we’re all still here and the economy will rebuild.

If you’re wrong on the other end of things, you’ve killed your grandmother. Or your spouse. Or your kid. Or your best friend. Maybe more than one of those.

When you see that sad-assed alcoholic at the bar, drinking down the rent and the grocery money, the issue isn’t whether he’ll run his car into a bridge abutment on the way home, because it’s his life.

But it’s only his life if he can guarantee that he’ll wander off to the right into that concrete wall, and not off to the left into an oncoming car.

Meanwhile the bartender who keeps serving him is named Donald J. Trump.

 

As Steve Sack notes, Trump understands the Deplorables and is a master at manipulating them.

We’ve had presidents who have used the Bully Pulpit to inspire and unify the country, but, while it takes a substantial ego to want to be president in the first place, we’ve never had one whose entire ambition was his own grandeur.

At last night’s Trumpapalooza, Yamiche Alcindor told of a man she’d interviewed who had lost family members to the virus and said that, had Trump taken the pandemic more seriously, he would have, too. She asked if he felt he had downplayed the threat. His response:

And a lot of people love Trump, right? A lot of people love me. You see them all the time, right? I guess I’m here for a reason, right? To the best of my knowledge, I won, and I think we’re going to win again. I think we’re gonna win in a landslide.

His priorities are clear. That one guy doesn’t like him, but a lot of people do, and it’s not about saving lives. It’s about his own popularity.

As long as the majority of his Typhoid Mary-Onettes don’t catch on, he’ll keep pulling their strings.

 

While, as Matt Bors suggests, there is always some profiteer willing to go along with the game and, in fact, whole teams of them, adding fake authority to Dear Leader’s fake advice.

 

And, while Joe Heller correctly notes that the money intended to bail out small business was captured by large corporations instead, I saw two cartoons this morning from major conservative cartoonists blaming Nancy Pelosi for the problem.

Nancy Pelosi, that is, who held up approval of the next round until there could be a guarantee that the money would go to small business this time instead of being gobbled up by large corporations.

Well, what the hell. Why bother to couch your argument in facts? It’s pretty obvious the President’s audience neither demands nor recognizes them, after three years of whatever comes into his mind.

 

Still, as Clay Bennett styles it, we’ve been warned not to open this box. (The wood carving is extraordinary, BTW, and that is the type of key and keyhole you’d expect with such a box.)

Now, first of all, there’s an element of Chekhov’s gun in the story, because warning someone not to open the box is a sure way to make them curious and, ultimately, to get them to open the box.

Or, to be closer to Chekhov’s point, if they’re not going to open the box, there was no reason for the storyteller to include the warning.

Still, it mirrors real life, just as if — to pick a concept at random — you were to lay out for them a magnificent garden of fruits and vegetables, and then tell them not to eat the fruit of one tree in that whole wide expanse.

Which is indeed “real life” to a lot of the people who also believe Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil and Dr. Trump and that the Earth, which is about 5,000 years old, was created in a six-day week.

And who do not get their necks up over mythological stories in which women are seen as the cause of all our troubles and sorrow.

Which is my clever segue to this

Half-Juxtaposition of the Day

(Alex — an actual cartoon)

(Not an actual cartoon but posted by an actual cartoonist)

Two gender-based comments on the lockdown, neither of which I would refute.

In fact, one Christmas my parents were dog-sitting a collie whom I, home from college, took for walks.

Often.

I didn’t tie him out anywhere because I was capable of walking and smoking a joint at the same time.

Meanwhile, women often comment with puzzlement about how, if a man wants to buy a pair of pants, he goes into the store, heads for the pants section, gets his pants and checks out.

I did have a post-divorce GF with whom, after cooking a very good dinner together, I would go wander the mall, buying nothing but waffle cones, which we ate while we sauntered.

However, rebound relationships being as predictable as Chekhov’s gun, the only thing I gained by dating her was several pounds.

After we broke up, I went straight to the pants section — without looking around — to buy some that fit.

Not Sans-A-Belt, but certainly sans regret.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
April/22/2020
@ 3:53 pm

It is a darn good box. I was just looking at it elsewhere.

Considering that it’s the billionaires who want things opened, and they give money to Republicans, it’s sort of a Pander’s box.

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