CSotD: They’re not reruns if you’ve never seen them

At the early morning hour I should have been blogging today, I was preparing to go work the polls at the New Hampshire Primaries. Fortunately, I am, in fact, the fellow in this vintage xkcd, and have an extensive collection of funny pictures on my hard drive.

While they won’t serve as alternative currency — if they did, we wouldn’t need Beanie Babies and baseball cards, not to mention those things people really do think are alternative currencies — but they will serve to let me provide you with a few laffs and thoughts from the past.

I should note that I saved these for my own amusement and didn’t always catalog them very well, so that, unless there is a legible date on them, I don’t know when they ran except that I’ve been doing the blog for a decade, and they’re older than that.

Which means that at least some of them are probably in a book, so, if you like them, in addition to following the link and becoming a fan of the strip, you could probably also buy a book. Or support the artist’s Patreon, and we have a list of those here.

Onward to the Past!

You may notice a number of cartoons today that were perhaps more humorous a few years ago than they seem to be today, like this Kirk Anderson poster, which was already pretty grim gallows humor when it ran in 2005.

But at least back then it was clearly a parody. But, then, parodies are warnings.


It was hard, back then, to come up with a political scenario so ridiculous that we wouldn’t be pursuing it in all sincerity today. Pearls Before Swine was barely a year old in 2002 when Stephan Pastis penned what I’m sure he felt was an off-the-wall policy proposal by an off-the-wall Rat.

Which it was. Which it still would be.

Only now the element of surprise would be minimal.


And then there are Evergreen cartoons like this David Horsey piece, that you can trot out from time to time, just changing the heads.

It never seemed quite clear the extent to which W was simply parroting the party line as fed to him by Cheney and the crew, which gave cartoonists an opportunity to portray him as a compliant dimwit. When Cheney went in for a heart operation,there was a joke running around which was to wonder aloud, if something happened and he died in surgery, who would become president?

I’ll bet there are some GOP honchos who long for the days when the president just said whatever you wanted him to say, but at least Dear Leader gets his lines about tax cuts right.


Aaron McGruder stopped by the funny pages for a cup of coffee and a short-lived version of Boondocks at the turn of the century, long enough to drop this gem, which is another example of a strip that should not have aged nearly as well as it did.

It’s worth remembering that, sometime between 2000 and 2020, the Democrats did offer a candidate who excited people. But, as Jasmine’s dad noted, a win due to unforced errors is a win nonetheless.

And a loss, for whatever reason, remains a loss. Fingers crossed that we don’t repeat the entire scenario.


Meanwhile, Wiley Miller offered a grim exaggeration in Non Sequitur that we then got to see happen for real.

I telecommuted my last job, working for the Denver Post from here for a decade, and I’d fly out there every six months for workshops with the kids whose work I edited and for a one-day journalism camp for kids in general.

It began as a question of which floor of the building we’d gather on, and then there stopped being a choice of floors and finally they sold the building downtown and moved everyone to the production building on the edge of town, and then the last time I was out there, the empty desks so vastly outnumbered the remaining reporters that Wiley’s illustration is pretty well on the mark.

I’d feel I was telling stories out of class if the newsroom hadn’t courageously stood up to their hedgefund owners and continued to do so

We need more of that, and not just in newspapers.

Silence is collaboration.


Which reminds me of a favorite, but dispiriting, On the Fastrack. There are worse things than losing a job.

Like, sometimes, keeping a job.

Pep Talk Time: I’ve been lucky: Divorced in my mid-30s and empty-nested in my mid-40s, I’ve long been a free agent, able to walk away when a job stopped being fun.

But even friends with spouses and kids and mortgages and picket fences and collies have emerged from a firing with the realization that they were better off without that giant stone on their backs.

Don’t kid yourself: If it’s not mutual, it’s not loyalty.


The good news being that, as seen in this Kevin and Kell, in our interconnected online hi-tech world, you can always go out on your own and become fabulously wealthy.


Final word on the topic goes to Derf Backderf, who walked away from his long-time cartoon, the City, after 24 years, and has become instead a successful author of solidly good graphic nonfiction.

I’ve already reviewed his latest, Kent State, which has now been released after a bit of pandemic delay. It’s the best thing I’ve seen about that era — neither cynical nor starry-eyed, but solidly researched and told with feeling.

You should buy a copy while he’s still signing them.

But, then, there’s a lot of things you should do, and you probably know it.

So what’s keeping you?


2 thoughts on “CSotD: They’re not reruns if you’ve never seen them

  1. The Derf cartoon reminds me of a factory job I once had. They had “continuous improvement standards,” which meant that every day we all had to be more productive than the day before. When I told my supervisor that even the machinery had a maximum speed, he just have me a puzzled look and walked away. (Turns out he didn’t know what the maximum speed was, so I lasted awhile.) They really didn’t care; it was all done to keep everyone busting their humps while the CEO bled the company, which went bankrupt a few years after I quit. The Bush tax cuts wiped out local manufacturing after that. Only in America!

  2. Got my copy of Kent State last week. One of my earliest political memories (besides being the only Humphrey supporter in my 3d grade class) is seeing the photo of the young woman screaming in anguish over a dead body at Kent State. It was on the front page of the morning paper* I saw while waiting for the bus.

    * The Dayton Journal Herald FWIW>

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