CSotD: Praise and brickbats

Kal Kallaugher asks a depressing question, but I’m not sure he hasn’t set up a false premise.

That is, while I will accept that trying to sell smoothies made from those repulsive ingredients would be hard, I also believe that the health claims of for-real smoothies are greatly overstated.

A tall glass of blended fruit contains a whole lot of calories. Not so many as an equal-sized milkshake, but that’s faint praise.

So the two panels don’t really conflict, because people believe what they want to believe, and I’ll certainly agree with Kal that it’s sad to see how far out of reality they’re willing to swerve in the effort to confirm their prejudices.


Though Andy Marlette notes the role pure stupidity plays in things.

Marlette works at the Pensacola News-Journal, so the swarming of the splashdown by pleasure craft is a local story, while he’s well-aware that “Floridaman” is an Internet trope for stories of idiotic events by foolish people from that state.

I like his contempt, however, because I place this not in the “Darwin Awards” category but up with Kal’s grimmer assessment of toxic stupidity.


I can’t be the only person who remembers when the USS Cole let pleasure craft approach the ship while it was refueling, and, while Aden is in a different Gulf than Pensacola, I’d call that a distinction without a difference these days.

I don’t suppose it would do for the Coast Guard to have put a few rounds through the hulls of these morons, but the best way to prevent problems is by keeping them from happening rather than by stopping them once they’ve begun.

The Coasties and NASA are promising to do better in the future in attempting to contain and control stupidity, but, boy, there sure is a lot of it.

The Coast Guard said it couldn’t establish an official safety zone, which would allow the service to hold rule-breaking boaters legally accountable for scooting too close to the astronauts and their capsule, because the landing site was more than 12 nautical miles from shore and outside U.S. waterways.

Perhaps there’s this solution: As long as they’re within 100 miles of shore, it’s legal to send unmarked Border Patrol agents in to beat the living shit out of them.

Or so we’ve been told.

Leading to our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Robert Ariail)

(John Darkow)


(Jack Ohman)

I take very seriously both the purposeful destruction of the Postal Service in the interests of letting private companies profit (which did not begin under the current administration) and the purposeful casting of doubt on the safety and security of voting by mail (which is a continuation of Dear Leader’s deliberate lies in 2016 about voter fraud.)

These are not the only three cartoons attacking Dear Leaders attempt at voter suppression by undercutting the USPS.

They’re just the three that featured a fat, vicious little dog with a ridiculous haircut.

Small things amuse small minds, yes. But I laffed.


I’m certainly not amused by the contradiction noted in Nick Anderson’s cartoon.

Here in the Granite State, we were the target of one of Dear Leader’s nonsensical “voter fraud” claims, that busloads of phony voters were brought in.

It would simply be foolish if he hadn’t then formed a taxpayer funded task force to track it all down and come up with f-all.

Then, on the Covid side of the cartoon, there is this utterly ridiculous exchange in the Axios interview that doesn’t seem so much like a slick conman trying to push phony statistics as it seems like Cliff Claven confidently going on despite having no idea in hell what he’s talking about.

I don’t like horror movies, but I’ll admit watching that clip is an entertaining way to scare the crap out of yourself.

He’s that dumb.


In which I piss off everybody

Dennis Degg and I have a friendly, unspoken competition and, normally, once he latches on to a story, I back off and vice-versa.

However, while he’s done a masterful job so far, with an excellent follow-up, the continuing kerfuffle over Bianca Xunise’s Six Chix cartoon has reached a level that calls for additional commentary.

She’s getting support from friends and fans, as she should, but I’ll confess that, though I wouldn’t have dropped the strip over it, I’m part of the “everyone” who “has been getting it wrong.”

The Six Chix format is problematic because it specializes in “Ain’t it the truth?” humor but each cartoonist only appears once a week.

Jimmy Hatlo did “Ain’t it the truth?” gags, but he had a large canvas and used a lot of words to provide a set-up and punchline.

Modern cartoonists — including several women — do “Ain’t it the truth?” but  (A) they often set up and deliver in four panels and (B) one panel or four, they’re in the paper every day, establishing a personna that helps readers process their point.

Which doesn’t make every day brilliant: “I sure love chocolate” is no improvement over “I threw my golf clubs in the pond.”

But familiarity means the good gags emerge from an established base, and once a week doesn’t establish that.

In addition, Xunise was blending two fraught issues: BLM and masks, then handed the wisecrack to the villain to deliver, with no retort to tell us the wisecracker wasn’t speaking for the cartoonist.

She blames the editor for not flagging it before it ran in his paper, but editors never see the comics page.

It’s laid out in the backshop, not the newsroom, with the assumption being that Dagwood will always hang from that gutter and Garfield will always hate Mondays.

Every cartoonist needs to know how it is, not how it ought to be.

And here’s how it is:

A. Once the syndicate green-lights it, you’re working without a net. Newspaper editors won’t preview your strip.
B. If one reader gets it wrong, that’s life. If several get it wrong, look within.
C. By noon, it will either be on the refrigerator or wrapping coffeegrounds.
D. Tomorrow starts fresh.


In lieu of a musical sign-off, go read the rest of this Existential Comics.

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Praise and brickbats

  1. Good to see I’m not the only one who didn’t see the comic as the artist intended right away. Even looking at her initial Twitter complaint thread it wasn’t clear for a few minutes that she wasn’t pushing the POV of the white woman. I wonder if she understands that likely 99% of the people who see her comic in the paper know absolutely nothing about her, let alone her skin color?

  2. The Six Chex cartoonists change every day, but they each run the same day every week; it’s not impossible a steady reader will notice that a cartoonist with a certain style usually has a black female POV character.

    I always wondered why no one flagged the “Dennis The Menace” panel with the black stereotype:

    The backroom production explains why the editors didn’t catch it, but shouldn’t the syndicate have seen it?

    Snopes has the details: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/dennis-the-menace/

  3. I read the links about Dennis the Menace. For a cart0on drawn in 1970 (yeh, I know – 50 years ago) that was a jaw-droppingly ham-handed portrayal of a black character – more like an old Mutt & Jeff or Yellow Kid. Incredible.

  4. That was kind of the point, Mary. Hank Ketcham was old enough to remember characters like Joe and Asbestos, or Mushmouth in Moon Mullins, or even Steamboat in Captain Marvel, to name just three. He never figured out that the world had changed — which might explain why Dennis was into cowboys long after real kids had moved on.

  5. Midsomer murders quote. Assistant while at nursing home thinking life gets bad as we age: “Who wants to live to 87 anyway?” His boss: “Somebody who is 86.”

  6. I think is is telling that Mr. Ketcham lived in Switzerland from 1960 to 1977, the height of the Civil Rights Era. When he returned to the United States, it was a far different country from the one he left.

    I also suspect that there were few, if any, people of color in Geneva, where he lived. I don’t see how he could understand the lives of Black children, except through the often biased lens of the American media, whenever he had access to it.

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