CSotD: Death of the Red (State) Mask

Politics has been leaking all over the funny pages lately, and today’s Non Sequitur (AMS) is a good example.

The anti-mask issue is completely political. Nobody seems to object when they are told they can’t smoke in a particular place, or, at least, they don’t threaten violence or make great speeches about freedom.

Acceptance of the link between smoking and cancer was not immediate, thanks in large part to the work of the Tobacco Institute, a phony research group set up by tobacco companies to crank out bogus studies and blatant lies.

It took several years to overcome their excellent work in public deception, but since then we’ve added talk radio and the Republican Party to the effort.

They’re more efficient.


As seen in this La Cucaracha (AMS), private industry is stepping up on behalf of public health, and let me point out that you don’t hear rightwingers crying their eyes out over “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

I don’t think you get a lot of hookworm north of the Mason/Dixon line and I never did figure out what health risk was posed by people without shirts, so making people wear shoes and shirts seems like imposing a dress code rather than seeking to protect health.

However, I am old enough to remember when “No shoes, no shirt, no service” signs were paired with “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” which was mostly about longhaired hippie types by then, but had originated with negroes and such.

So the difference might be bigotry, or it might be tied into the conservative fetish with private property, but most stores will back up their employees for insisting that customers be masked and will call the police if the fascisti become belligerent.

Non-profit venues seem different. At election time, we set up an outdoor area where anti-maskers could vote, but were also told that, if they insisted on coming inside, we needed to put their right to vote indoors ahead of everyone else’s safety.

And I know of a hospital that has issued a directive not to insist on masks, because one person’s right to receive treatment is more important than everyone else’s right to avoid infection.

I like the solution of simply declaring boiled water an Americano, even without a shot of espresso.

Why should my delusion be any less credible than yours?


Jeff Stahler (AMS) could have run this as a political cartoon (which he did) or as a Moderately Confused cartoon (which he also draws), but chose the former.

It functions as a cheerful acknowledgement of the two-so-far vaccines awaiting approval, but it also raises the risk of people who may believe that they can ease up on prevention, which is foolish because a lot more people are going to die by the time the vaccines are approved and available, six months or so from now.


This Mike Luckovich (AJC) piece serving as a reminder to inform the crybabies that Memorial Day will be Monday, May 31, and turkeys will be available then.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have so poisoned the well of common sense that a lot of people say they won’t take the vaccine when it is finally rolled out.

It’s a good example of capitalizing on existing paranoia: We’ve dealt with anti-vaxxers for a dozen years or more, who, because virtually every child has had vaccines, believe that the ones who show signs of autism are victims of medical malpractice.

I think it’s because they ate chicken nuggets. Back when small children lived on Spaghetti-Os, we didn’t have this problem.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett – CTFP)


(Pat Bagley – SLTrib)

In any case, as Bennett contends and Bagley confirms, the rightwing spin machine has done an excellent job of making Americans more ignorant and more vulnerable.

Which confounds our changing racial demographics in an odd way: As white supremacy is threatened by an increasingly non-white voting population, it seems counterintuitive to advance beliefs that will kill off your existing supporters.

Then again, these are people who, in private business, make decisions that are suicidal in the long term but will advance profits in the next quarter.

The difference being that Wall Streeters then sell out in that next quarter, while the Republicans are going to have to deal with the eventual impact of their policies. Though I suppose when you get to be 85 like Charlie Koch, you can shrug and admit that you screwed up and helped destroy the country.

It’s not like you’re going to be around to deal with the results, after all.

As for promoting the anti-mask delusion, I don’t suppose you can hold Republicans or rightwing talk show hosts legally responsible, since, while financially supporting the Tobacco Institute was enough to tie tobacco companies into the deliberate fraud, the anti-mask effort is mostly based on the Big Lie theory.

And, if pressed, they could prove that, while they publicly denounced Covid as basically harmless and a libtard myth, they were shoveling billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies to find a vaccine against this non-existent health hazard.

I’m still unclear on why the Senate had Facebook and Twitter testifying yesterday, but never seem to haul Rupert Murdoch or any talk radio hosts up in front of a committee.

Okay, that didn’t help.


However, here’s some good news

Steve Sack (Mpls Star-Tribune) has been awarded the National Press Foundation’s Clifford K. & James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons, a prestigious award named for two Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonists, and Sack is one of those as well.

It’s encouraging to see good work acknowledged, particularly since there is always the chance a prestigious national award will help keep a cartoonist employed in these parlous times.

The above is from the portfolio for which he received the Berryman, and you can see more examples of his work there along with the announcement.


And while I was poking around, I came across the announcement of his 2012 Pulitzer, which also includes a portfolio of cartoons.

Though I use his work because it’s good, not because it wins plaques.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Death of the Red (State) Mask

  1. “No shirts…” may have more to do with preserving the appetites of the other diners.

    Bagley’s cartoon meshes with reports from ICU nurses of patients and their families cussing them out because there is no such thing as Covid.Except those on ventilators…which make it hard to talk.

    Kamala Harris seemed to have a valid take on the vaccine. Asked if she’d take it she said “Sure – if the research supports it is safe. But not if Donald Trump tells me it is.”

  2. TBF, they did holler like kicked dogs about seat belts, helmets,
    insurance, guard rails on Dead Man’s Curve, and probably spitoons, as intolerable limits on their freedom to disregard the rights of others.
    Back in the 90s, we went to a theatre cafe and sat in the tiny non-smoking area at the back. After taking our order, the waitress went to a guy who was expelling clouds of smoke and said something to him, to which he bellowed “I THOUGHT THIS WAS *AMERICA!*” Then he stared at us and loudly opined that he might just go sit in the back of the smoking section and blow his smoke back (clearly thinking we’d complained about him–which we hadn’t–because who doesn’t?).
    Lots of belligerent self-pity out there. Just look at the coal rollers.

  3. Interesting anecdote: The drinking age in NY is 21, the drinking age in Quebec is 19, so there was a lot of crossborder traffic when I was a reporter up there in the 80s and 90s.

    Several guards said that not only were the kids wearing seatbelts, but they had designated drivers at a rate the cops found surprising and encouraging.

    Teach your children well.

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