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CSotD: Life in the Idiocracy

Let’s begin apolitically, with this Greg Kearney depiction of the woman who was gored by a bison a few days ago at Yellowstone.

Last time I was at Yellowstone, I passed a jogger, then came over a hill and saw a herd of bison, so I slowed down until the jogger caught up so that he could keep my microbus between himself and the beasts, for which he — a park employee — thanked me.

Bison, like moose, are particularly dangerous because they are huge, short-sighted, defensive and not awfully intelligent. You might not expect city people to know that, but, then again, you might expect them to read the warnings posted.

You can’t save some people from their own lack of common sense: She got within 10 feet of the beast.

Repeatedly.

I hope they were both wearing masks.

 

Though, speaking of biffalo-buffalo-bisons, Adam Zyglis gives out some advice from the other end of caution, despite the City of Buffalo encouraging people to use the parks for recreation and recommending either wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.

I’ll suspend judgment because I don’t know how crowded the parks get in Buffalo. I might mask up if I had to walk my dog on the Esplanade in Boston, but I certainly don’t bother here in semi-rural New Hampshire, where we don’t come within six feet of each other even in healthy times.

Maybe that’s one of those Yankee things, but I’ve lived in five other states and none of them were particularly smoochy.

But better safe than sorry and if your parks are crowded, one of those disposable masks won’t hinder you a lot and will certainly protect you from the virus in an outdoor venue.

No mask will protect you from your own stupidity, of course, so don’t repeatedly come within 10 feet of a bison.

And if you have to be told that, there’s probably no point in telling you that.

 

Which brings us to this spectacularly apt cartoon by Ann Telnaes that sums up the way politics has overwhelmed science.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose state is one of those which has seen an explosion of cases, says Fauci “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” which epitomizes the Trump Party’s position that, if you don’t say what I wanted to hear, you’re obviously wrong.

After all, Trump has starred in a reality TV show and Patrick has been a talk-show host, while Fauci is only the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases, so there you go.

It’s an extension of George Wallace’s attack on “pointy-heads who couldn’t ride a bicycle straight,” and on his appeal to the very worst in people, which, after all, enabled him to carry Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia in the 1968 presidential race.

That, and his open contempt for minorities, plus his ability to strut like a little bantam rooster, looking for a fight.

In the old movies, people only obeyed a bully because they feared him, and even if, as in “High Noon,” they let the hero face the bully alone, they were eager to be released from the bully’s control.

But in the past few decades, we’ve seen the rise of bullies like Dirty Harry Callaghan and anti-heroes like John Rambo who oppose intellectuals as much as — perhaps more than — they oppose violent criminals.

And, BTW, if you laughed at the racist, misogynistic jokes in “Animal House,” you’re not part of the solution.

Meanwhile, Max Boot comes to the party a bit late with this column, in which he compares our current situation, to the movie “Idiocracy,” making him only two or three years behind everyone else.

When it becomes obvious to national columnists, it’s time to worry.

 

Jen Sorensen explores the many ways in which militant ignorance and a contempt for science exhibits itself.

As she points out, it’s not always a Republican/Democrat party split, and there is a strong streak of apolitical, uninformed ignorance that includes fear of vaccinations and believes in nonsensical alternatives to sensible, proven treatment.

 

The good news being that Dear Leader, having — as RJ Matson points out — found himself abandoned by a large contingent of his crew, has moderated his position on masks.

 

Though he says he thinks the mask makes him look like the Lone Ranger, which, as Ed Hall suggests, shows his dogged insistence on preserving a reputation for stunning ignorance, either of pop culture or of how to wear the mask.

 

Thing is, we can be as stubbornly ignorant as we want to be, but when it starts to threaten other nations, they stop laughing and take action to protect themselves, as Ed Wexler points out.

Being barred from the EU is humiliating, but there is a bright side in that it’s the sort of ground-level consequence that just might wake up a few more people.

 

And from the Motherland, Alex points out that working in the office involves a lot of wasted time and suggests working at home is equally efficient.

Though there’s always an ulterior motive in the strip, which is what makes it so much fun.

The unfunny part, and the part that may further awaken some people, is that Florida State sent out an announcement that people working remotely must no longer care for their children at home during those working hours.

Then, according to the Lily, they clarified that they didn’t mean the nobility; only the peasants:

They specified that the policy only “applies to employees whose job duties require them to be on campus full-time during normal business hours,” and specifically excludes professors.

To which the obvious response is ” … and the horse you rode in on.”

While my favorite furious Aussie cartoonist, First Dog on the Moon, suggests an unspoken ” … and the kangaroo you hopped in on” for all those media types searching for the story they’ve already written:

 

Finally, I’d suggest that …

If it took Max Boot this long to catch up with “Idiocracy,” he’s got no chance of understanding today’s Reality Check.

Here y’go, Max. This’ll help:

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
July/2/2020
@ 9:18 am

I only have one bison story and it’s not very interesting but does have a point. My family and I were vacationing in my boyhood state of South Dakota. Went to a state park, saw a lone bison a few hundred yards away while we watched prairie dogs cavort. Looked up a few minutes later, he was a couple hundred yards away. Looked up again, a hundred yards. About now we realize he’s actually moseying our way and looking a lot bigger (as anything moving toward you tends to do). When he got within 50 yards, we all got in the car. When he got within 20 yards, we drove away with due haste.

We looked back and realized that the large wood interpretive sign we’d been looking at was his favorite scratching post. He didn’t care about us at all, but woe to anything that got between that beast and his post.

My point is that from up close an advancing bison looks like a freakin’ freight train coming down the tracks (even slowly). Its presence commands instinctive respect. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together would know better than to mess with it. But I guess there are a lot of people who think the whole world is a theme park that’s been child-proofed for their protection.

#2 Fred King
July/2/2020
@ 12:08 pm

The Washington Post has an article on mask/non-mask wearers as seen by cartoonists: https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2020/07/02/cartoons-mask-trump-political-statement/

You have some of them here, but there are a few extras.

#3 Kathleen Elizabeth Donnelly
July/2/2020
@ 12:21 pm

Note to Yanks who want to travel:
Thanks to Brexit, there’ll always be an England.

#4 Daniel Turcotte
July/2/2020
@ 12:40 pm

You write, “one of those disposable masks won’t hinder you a lot and will certainly protect you from the virus in an outdoor venue.” Masks barely protect the wearer, they’re effective at keeping the wearer from spreading germs and viruses around. That’s the main thing about them, they protect OTHER PEOPLE from getting whatever you may or may not be geysering around… Thank you.

#5 Phil Maish
July/2/2020
@ 12:56 pm

In Idiocracy, President Camacho clearly cared about his constituents, and realized his own intellectual limitations. We should be so lucky.

#6 Mike Peterson
July/2/2020
@ 1:20 pm

Daniel — you’re right, thanks, though they do (as you note) have some value for “incoming” droplets, etc.

I guess you’d have to then take them off and wash them very soon in that case, since the virus could cross the barrier.

The real problem is convincing doubters that they should wear the mask in case they are an asymptomatic carrier. “Not me! I feel fine!”

I still contend that, if you’re outdoors and keeping six feet away from each other, it’s an option, not a necessity. But it’s sure as hell not a political statement.

#7 Kip Williams
July/2/2020
@ 2:05 pm

Went to Yellowstone around 1970. People stopped their cars to feed bears. They held their kids up to see them. There was a bison in a field, and people kept trying to get close to it, until it finally charged in a few directions just for some space. Next time we saw it, another bunch of idiots was trying to get in its face.

Frankly surprised this is the first I’ve heard of someone being gored. They’ve been asking for it for decades.

#8 Mike Peterson
July/2/2020
@ 2:37 pm

Which reminds me of my first trip to Yellowstone in 1970, with a dozen Boulder freaks.

At one point, we knelt by the roadside and sat up begging like dogs or bears or something or other. People hadn’t gone there expecting a prankster show, but they were laughing and getting it all down.

I like to think that people all around America have movies of Yellowstone that include footage of the Hippie-Bears.

#9 Kip Williams
July/2/2020
@ 2:48 pm

So sorry I missed your show.

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