CSotD: Sunday Follies

People who don’t understand editorial cartooning often look for humor instead of incisive commentary, but the point is to have a point, not to get a laff.

However, Signe Wilkinson offers a rare chance to get both with this one. I take Trump’s attempt to corrupt and thereby deny the November elections very seriously, but her depiction of the situation made me laugh anyway.

Mind you, I’ve inherited that Irish taste for gallows humor, which is not genetic, of course, but is inculcated from the cradle. I think it is one of the few remaining traces of our centuries in the underclass.

Gallows humor being best applied, and best appreciated, by those who live in the shadow of one.


In this piece, Deb Milbrath is more bitter than funny, but, again, her criticism springs from a sense of being overwhelmed rather than a sense of looking down from superior heights.

Also from a sense of foreboding, given that this ran almost two weeks ago and I had given up on using it in a timely manner until yesterday, when I saw this piece from NPR confirming Milbrath’s fears, and then poked around and found confirming reporting from Forbes and more from Propublica.

It appears that they found a system that wasn’t perfect and ordered it replaced with a system that was far worse.

There is also the Vanity Fair article indicating that Jared’s plan for massive testing was abandoned because it was believed the virus would strike most (by happenstance) in states with Democratic governors on whom the deaths could be blamed.

Which also reveals that somebody in the White House ordered $52 million worth of testing equipment without going through proper accounting procedures, and that either the stuff was no good in the first place or was ruined by improper handling.

None of which is remotely humorous.

It’s hard to ascribe motivation to what’s going on, but even the most generous interpretation of the repeated failures in handling this pandemic read like an investigation of a drunk driver who piled into a school bus.

I don’t really care why he was drunk or whether he’d ever driven in that condition before or whether he’s sorry or not, though I will admit my impression is swayed by his reluctance to take a sobriety test and his challenging of the results.

Anyway, Milbrath nailed it, and she’d have probably gotten more credit if she’d done it as a result of the reports rather than as a prophecy of the seemingly inevitable outcome.

I don’t think she was psychic. I think she based her prediction on knowing who was behind the demand to reform the reporting system.

Clever girl.

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

(Now I have to pay Roz Chast another dime.)

Andertoons raises this point-to-ponder: Imagine how the volume of stuff on your Facebook page would change if you could add a filter to eliminate selfies?

Granted, duck-faces seem to have all but disappeared and someone apparently got the memo that red Solo cups are not ecologically cool, but little else has changed in the relentless posting of big fat faces obscuring the alleged point of the photo.


We would have very little notion of what Yosemite is like, if Ansel Adams were photographing it today.

Unless your name is Sarah Cooper, how’s about you point that camera somewhere else once in awhile?


Continuity issue over in Luann: Brad is a firefighter.

This reminds me of when elder son was first on the local volunteer force. We were driving by one of those places that had a crane set up for people to bungee dive off of, and he remarked, “If you really want an adrenaline rush, walk into a burning building. It lasts a lot longer and you’re doing something that matters.”

To which I can add nothing, except that nobody ever accused him of being dull.


I do find extruded books and extruded movies to be dull, and Edison Lee attacks the problem today.

I was listening to a book review on NPR the other day and had an overwhelming sense that it was extruded writers’ workshop text about an extruded writers’ workshop novel and for all the fulsome praise (look it up), the book likely took far longer to read than it would take to forget having read it.

And then “Godfather III” was on TV last night and I’ll say I sure hadn’t forgotten having watched that, nor did I repeat the act.

Edison’s script sounds far more original and certainly more entertaining.


Juxtaposition of the Day



(Pardon My Planet)

I feel sorry for people who have bucket lists, having settled for a nice house, a picket fence and a safe job with full benefits in place of chasing a few dreams.

When I’d speak to kids at Career Days, I’d say that I’m kind of sorry that being a reporter didn’t pay enough to let me travel, but, then again, if I wanted to travel that badly, I’d have been a travel writer.

In my youth, I thought I should hit the road, and so I did, only to find that I didn’t like sleeping on other people’s couches.

So I’m not sitting around thinking about what I should have done. I gave it a shot — In fact, 50 years ago this weekend, I was on a really fun roadtrip.

If you have a bucket list, empty it. Now. Do it all.

But don’t expect having done so to scratch the itch.

“Experiences” are overrated, and counting up the places you’ve been won’t provide a sum of what you’ve done with your life, while jumping off a crane with a rubber band tied to your ankle isn’t the same as doing something that matters.

The only experience that matters is experiencing yourself.

As Bill Walton has said, “If you don’t believe your dreams will come true, it’s time to get some new dreams.”

And as Snuffy Smith has said, “Times A-Wastin'”


7 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday Follies

  1. Ironic Synchronicity: As I clicked to read this column U. S. Secretary of State Pompeo was on tv badmouthing China (rightfully so) for rousting protestors and delaying elections in Hong Kong.

  2. Re: Milbrath’s cartoon As we used to say where I worked “You don’t have to be very clairvoyant to know what’s gonna happen next.”

  3. I didn’t know my Irish heritage was linked to my appreciation for gallows humor. Local PBS radio covered 50th anniversary of Wadena Rock festival. When asked if I attended, I explained that I was 15. I had to get permission to bicycle to the park.

  4. Love your writing. And your dry wit. The way you veer me (is that a transitive verb?) off course when I think I know what you’re going to say.

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