CSotD: Facing the facts

We’ll begin gently.

The sheet with all the eye-holes was Linus’s costume, not Charlie Brown’s. I don’t have an exact date for this strip, because I encountered it in a collection, not the newspaper. But it ran in the late 50s, when Linus was still a toddler.

I bring it up now because the Peanuts Halloween special has been licensed to Apple TV and won’t be broadcast, which has a lot of people very upset.

By the time the Peanuts animations came along, I was a teen and, besides, I already had the voices firmly established in my head, so they were never my thing.

However, the median age is such that most Americans grew up with those specials, and I’m also old enough to remember when “The Wizard of Oz” was on TV once a year and nobody had video players, so you either caught it that night or you missed it entirely.

I get it.

But let’s be realistic here: Peanuts is a commercial enterprise, and, as I noted back on the 15th anniversary of Schulz’s death, it always was. He licensed toys and allowed his characters to sell products from the moment they were popular enough to make it viable.

When he died, I alerted my editor and we changed our comics page accordingly. But, while Schulz had said he didn’t want anyone else drawing his strip, he never said anything about reruns, and about 90% of Peanuts clients went that direction rather than clearing the spot for another cartoon.

To which I would add that Jeannie Schulz is a very nice lady and has done some wonderful things for comics and their artists with the money the franchise continues to produce.

But it is a franchise.

You don’t have to accept that Linus cut the holes in that sheet, but it’s time to cowboy up and accept that Peanuts is a franchise.

And that was the easy one. Here’s our


Juxtaposition of the Day

(John Cole – Cagle)


(Dave Granlund – Ind)

The response to Pope Francis’s remarks in a new documentary seems a little overblown, given that, as noted in that linked article, he’s voiced support for same-sex civil unions for several years. (He’s also on record as rejecting the notion that only RC’s, or even Christians generally, get into heaven.)

The footnote in Granlund’s piece is not surprising: The Church maintains its right to define its own sacraments and, while Roman Catholics might wish for the Church to accept same sex marriages as religiously valid, it doesn’t impact anyone else.

Nobody outside the Church much cares if you’ve been baptized or confirmed, either.

Marriage is the only sacrament that has standing in the wider world, mostly stemming from the days when the Church was also, if not the civil authority, at least the recording clerk for the secular world, and while the vast majority of marriages were inconsequential from a civil point of view, others involved substantial mergers of families and property and needed to be carefully documented.

The Church has a long history of conflating theology with tradition, and it’s a bit like Superman in that, over the years, they’ve added enough to the story that they’ve backed themselves into some logical corners.

The tradition is that marriage is a sacrament because of the Wedding Feast at Cana, which you might think would make winemaking a sacrament, and I’ve also heard people say that Jesus spent more time among fishermen and so maybe fishing should be a sacrament, too.

However, when I was a brand-new freshman at Notre Dame, the priest at our Religious Orientation session reminded us that the wedding feast probably ran over several days, and that, if Mary were the uptight, moralistic, pious figure a lot of Catholics consider her, she’d have been grateful when the wine  finally ran out.

Instead, she insisted her son fill another four-foot vat and keep the party going.

And if I’d heard more preaching on that level over the years, I might still be in the Church but Cole’s palpitating conservatives are a substantial, vocal presence that drove me out.

Yes, Arlo. Very much like that.

I’m glad Francis is stirring things up and I wish he’d use that Papal Infallibility superpower to further drag the Church kicking and screaming into the 21st century or at least the 19th, but it’s like fretting over what your ex-spouse is up to.

MYOB and it ain’t none of mine anymore.

Though one of my professors said you can no more be an ex-Catholic than you can be ex-Italian or ex-Irish, which is why so many of us refer to ourselves as “Recovering Catholics.”



I suppose that, in the grand scheme of things, Eternity (though you might call it “Paradise”) is a bigger deal than Politics, but it seems pretty much a dead heat when it comes to things people insist on believing in despite all contrary evidence.

Matt Wuerker (Politico) wonders at the Trump faithful who have no problem with the slogan “Promises Made, Promises Kept” when it is so easy to list the unkept promises and so hard to find any that were fulfilled.

But it’s an article of faith, not of logic. I don’t think Noah had kangaroos in that ark, but, if you bring it up among the Faithful, they’ll explain it.

The difference being that how the kangaroos survived the flood (assuming there was one) doesn’t have a lot of impact on anyone’s life, while, going back to Pope Francis, there is a substantial difference between how the Church views marriage versus how it plays out in civil society, where all sorts of here-and-now factors depend on that license.


And believing in Trump against all evidence means — as Steve Brodner (Ind) so well depicts it — supporting an administration that is responsible for one of the most appalling violations of human rights and human decency in the West for the past 75 years.

No? Read this. I dare you.


Their excuse of not knowing, and that word “gladly,” resound in something Frank Zappa told me in an interview:


Which is why, 75 years ago, we needed to go through this:

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Facing the facts

  1. Who will be the first to proclaim, “I was only following orders?”

    Or have I already missed it in the ever tightening news cycle?

  2. Searing stuff. This is a crime against humanity and will probably be shovelled under the ground like many US crimes. The hiprocisy. If you want to take the high ground then you have to live with it and all it entails. Sadly, ethics, morality and decency are no longer relevant under the present administration. You need to change for the good.

  3. I know a woman who defines herself as ‘a lapsed Unitarian.’
    The mind boggles.

  4. When I was a student, a friend interviewed for a job at a LUtheran college. It was a job requirement to be a member of a church, and when asked, she answered (with a straight face) that she was a devout Unitarian. She was offered the job. Other side of the coin.

  5. There’s the story of the Unitarian who had to make a hard choice — given the option of (a) going to Heaven or (b) goving to a really interesting discussion group about Heaven.

  6. Ok, I’ll weigh in on this one. I can’t see directly comparing the separations at the border with the Holocaust. Far from it. Remember, 11 million people died in the Holocaust, which was probably the most horrific system of exploitation, torture, and murder ever devised. Absolutely sickening in its brutal efficiency. Athough the treatment of the migrants at our border was despicable, and a tragic step in an evil direction, thankfully it’s not even close to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Would Trump take us there? Quite possibly, if we allow him to. Thankfully, our Nation’s Founders came up with a better system than did Weimar Germany; overthrowing our government won’t be so easy. But it could be done. VOTE, and then be prepared to defend it!

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