CSotD: Sips from a flailing firehose

A young political cartoonist asked the hive mind if things have always gone at this pace.

It was a good question: You can barely address one scandal before another comes along and so we forget about Dear Leader’s taxes in order to discuss his lunatic behavior at the debate but then drop that subject to talk about his covid diagnosis and now that has morphed into his bizarre decision to drive around waving like the goddam Queen of England to the adoring peasantry.

My response was that she should go read this  Irish Times interview from 2017 with Tom Tomorrow cartoonist Dan Perkins, a brilliant piece that sparked the oft-used line about drinking from the firehose.

If you haven’t read it, you should.

If you haven’t read it lately, you should read it again.


When Ann Telnaes (Washington Post) dropped this piece a few days ago, I thought she’d allowed her fury to outweigh her analysis, but I also thought that by calling him a fool, Ann was for once taking a more generous view than my own.

She tends to drag me back from my Pollyanna tendency to hope for the best, but, in this matter, I was still sorting through what he does out of incapacity from what he does as part of some cunning plan, and calling him a fool seemed almost exculpatory.

But this latest sip from the firehose changed my opinion, with a little input from social media:


… and this …

… and especially this …

I mean, if a woman who hates Christmas, refuses to condemn the caging of children and openly, blatantly advertises the fact that she simply doesn’t care can summon up more human decency than the Leader of the Free World, where does that leave the Free World?


At which point, David Rowe (Financial Review) — another cartoonist who often pulls me back from the brink of fatuous, good-natured optimism — weighed in with this analysis.

Indeed, the firehose has struck yet again: While the doctors struggle to come up with a medical briefing that will touch upon the truth, however tangentially, while fulfilling the political requirement to keep everybody cool, the Fool bursts out of containment and turns the whole thing to farce.

There are many types of fools. There is the Fool for Christ, the classic innocent who reveals spiritual truths, and there is the kind-hearted King of Fools, Quasimodo, valiantly flailing in his attempt to provide justice in a world he can only vaguely comprehend, and there is Lear’s fool, voicing truths the mad king can no longer articulate.

But there is also the Village Idiot, whose real-life foolishness provides the vulgar with a bit of comic relief.

There are well-intentioned philosophical types who try to parse arcane wisdom in his antics, like tea-leaf readers forcing patterns into random outpourings, but, in real life, there aren’t a lot of cosmic truths revealed through intellectual incapacity.

Let me clarify this: We had a village idiot in my tiny town, a great hulking fellow apparently in his late 40s who, at an early age, had been struck in the head with a baseball bat that scrambled him permanently.

We didn’t call him the Village Idiot. That would have been cruel, and, besides, we didn’t really think of him that way.

But his mother ran a popular bar where he shuffled around doing chores for her, so he was quite visible in a town in which everything else closed at 6 pm. A couple of times a week, he’d go over to the barber for a shave, but he mostly hung around the bar.

People messed with him a little bit, but only in affectionate fun and god help the stranger who mocked him for real, because he was ours and there was never a doubt but that he was one of us. He wasn’t exactly loveable, but I guess we did.

Still, we sure as hell didn’t entrust him with anything more important than wrestling kegs into place or toting cases of beer up from the cellar.

And it just occurred to me that his name was Donnie.

Even if it weren’t, I’d pretend it was, but it really was.


Anyway, after several days of making a plea for Christian forbearance, Dear Leader’s latest outburst of shocking, narcissistic lunacy makes me particularly open to the viewpoint expressed in Joy of Tech.

Whatever happens in terms of his covid — and he’s at risk, though we don’t know how dire and they aren’t telling us and an awful lot of people survive it — I’d certainly welcome his being cured of the spiritual illness that possesses him.

I at least wish for him to recover enough to be resoundingly defeated by an unassailable, undeniable margin on November 3, at which point his spiritual status would cease to be of public import.


First Dog on the Moon blends the fury of Telnaes and Rowe with the in-depth analysis Joy of Tech offers, and if his conclusion seems defeatist, perhaps he’s the fool who speaks truth, and, when I say “perhaps,” you should be reading his work regularly, because even when he’s writing about Australian politics, he always offers something to ponder.


Note that First Dog is only a cynic by etymology, and is more of a realist as the terms are understood today. If you want a cynical viewpoint, head over to Non Sequitur (AMS), but, as you chuckle, you might tremble at the fact that Wiley Miller draws his viewpoint from real life.

Part of the challenge of drinking from the fire hose is not simply dealing with the continuous stream of material, but attempting to exaggerate for satiric effect that which is already so desperately off the charts.

For example:

As noted often before, it’s not that you can’t make this stuff up. It’s that you don’t have to.


Scott Stantis, who draws Prickly City (AMS), is not giving up so much as noting that Trump is only a symptom and not the underlying disease.

But sometimes treating the symptoms is the best you can do, and, in any case, you can’t ignore them.

Vote. Resist. Be cool.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Sips from a flailing firehose

  1. Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin the GOP files to block the governor’s mask mandate — only hours after Ron Johnson and Donald Trump test positive for COVID.

    I hope Stantis is wrong.

  2. There’s been a lot of mention lately of certain spiritual and religious principles, such as loving your enemies, Karma, etc. These are very good things, but I feel I must remind folks of another principle from the Scriptures, “Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Cast not your vote for Trump……

  3. The adjective “goddam” should not e applied to the Queen of England at this point in time. There are others worthier of it.

  4. I’ve said worse about her, but I was mostly emphasizing the absurdity of Trump’s emulation. Anyway, I didn’t say which Queen of England I meant. I’m sure they all waved to the peasants from time to time, though I don’t think any snicked off 200,000 heads.

    Then again, Vicki did five times that much damage in the Potato Famine through more or less the same policy of ignoring, downplaying and denying the problem.

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