CSotD: Thoughtful Funnies

(Non Sequitur — AMS)

(Prickly City — AMS)

The most unpleasant part of our current situation is that a pair of cartoonists, working from different sides of the political spectrum, could drop such spot-on strips today, despite each working with a substantial lead time.

We’re that divided politically, and, more than that, we’ve also divided between people who believe in facts and people who swallow partisan conspiracy theories.

Political cartoonists have had four years of drinking from the firehose, but the past few weeks have been an insane deluge, such that they’re having to tear up half-completed pieces because the news cycle has whipped past and now something else is more compelling.

Some of it has already been said — Bill Barr just announced a partisan attack on the voting system that caused the DOJ’s person in charge of election integrity to resign in protest, but how many cartoons of Barr as a lapdog can you draw?

How long ago was the first time this column noted that, when John Mitchell began subverting the system for Nixon, he had the integrity to first resign as AG and become the actual head of the Committee to Re-Elect, instead of just the de facto one?

And there’s an obligation to be inventive: How many cartoons of Trump being dragged bodily from the White House do we really need?

The flood of Alex Trebek at the Pearly Gates cartoons is inconsequential, but the political stuff matters and not only am I burned out on it all, but I want to give that sector of the cartooning world a chance to think a bit and then catch up.

Bearing in mind this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Half Full — AMS)

(Luann — AMS)

An interesting pair of reflections on intelligence in today’s funnies.

Maria Scrivan poses an enigmatic concept: Is the Scarecrow saying that he is so readily amused that intelligence doesn’t matter, or is he insisting that having access to infinite information makes native intelligence an unnecessary luxury?

I think it’s more important to know where to get information than to memorize mountains of the stuff, but I also believe you’ll do a better job of it with some starting point. You can’t look up things you didn’t know existed, but if you know Lao Tzu existed, you can look up things about him without having read everything he wrote.

I mention him because one of the few things most culturally literate people think of when they hear his name is that he recommended a ruler should keep his people in check by emptying their minds and filling their bellies, though if you look it up, you’ll find the details are a bit more complicated.

But it brings us to Luann’s mother, who is advising Bernice that one does not read history for pleasure; that pleasure consists not just of reading fiction, but of reading cheap, tawdry fiction in which even the title of the bodice-ripper is misspelled.

I will confess that I’m about two-thirds through The Count of Monte Cristo, which is not great literature, though Dumas often turns out a particularly nice phrase.

A thriller doesn’t have to be extruded like turkey loaf, after all.

But even trash now and then can be fun and I don’t judge people who read silly books, as long as they don’t mistake them for literature.

Similarly, I enjoy museums and national parks and other “non-fiction” attractions, but I also like amusement parks. I think they’re all fun.

So, hey, if Bernice enjoys reading history, go watch Honey Boo Boo and leave the kid alone.

Somebody’s got to grow up to be vice-president.


Meanwhile, Betty (AMS) and Bub prove once again that you can be awfully intelligent without having a string of letters after your name.

In fact, I’ve heard a theory that the more letters after your name, the less likely it is that any of them were very impactful, though it’s not a matter of obtaining them.

It’s a matter of then needing to display them.

I had a surly old professor in college who insisted that he was a “doctor” while people with MD after their names were merely “physicians,” but I think he was mostly burnishing his reputation for eccentricity.

Perhaps he was a fan of the commedia, although, when we studied “Hamlet,” he pooh-poohed the idea of necessary comic relief in a tension-filled tragedy and said, rather, that the reason for the gravedigger scene was that Shakespeare had the guy on the payroll and had to give him something to do.

He also became angry over any suggestion of homosexuality in “Ulysses,” despite all the ashplants and other Joycean clues.


Looking back on some of my college courses makes me feel like Linus.


I’m giving Maria Scrivan a second spot in today’s line-up for purely personal reasons. This Half Full ran Sunday which was also the day my four-month-old puppy first noticed a squirrel.

She took off in hot pursuit, but, being new to the sport, was utterly mystified when the beastie seemed to have disappeared entirely.

We’re gonna have to step up the work on that recall command. I suspect she and squirrels have a long and exciting relationship ahead.


Also on the list of “included for personal reasons” is today’s Vintage Big Ben Bolt (KFS) which I offer  because of Murphy’s three-panel perspective shift that includes her protruding shoulder and Spider’s cut off one.

Plus his semi-befuddled response at the end made me laugh and worry for his safety.


Note that, back in 1960 when this first ran, strips were still four-column on an eight-column measure, nor had pages yet been cut back in width. There was space to do good work.

Though, if you’re reading this on a phone screen, you’re estopped from complaining about cartoon shrinkage.


Finally, some sort of technical glitch knocked Andertoons off the GoComics page for several days, but it’s back now.

You can tell he has an Action in his hand, because placing it back will make the two stacks the same height.

See you tomorrow.

Don’t stop thinking.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Thoughtful Funnies

  1. I suspect “tail” is a joke rather than an error – and do merpeople even wear bodices?

    I agree that memorizing random facts has little value, but it’s more than a matter of knowing that there’s something to look up. Robert Pirsig once observed that data without generalization is just gossip, and one needs enough data to provide a structure (and constraints!) to permit reasonable inference.

  2. Interesting that there’s a character in the old comic strip being played by Richard Nixon, but without those jowls of his for some reason. Must be why his widow’s peak is elongated a bit.

    And the character’s named Spider. Coincidentally, Nixon was portrayed as a spider in the early ’70s Pogo strips.

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