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CSotD: Are we still a role model?

This Madam & Eve (Ind) isn’t the first I knew that Black Friday sales have become a global phenomenon, but it struck me that they’re not only in places like South Africa and Australia, but so well-known that you can reference them in puns.

Which is bizarre, given that Black Friday is the Friday after American Thanksgiving, a holiday that is not only specific to the US, but which floats, such that, in order to schedule Black Friday sales, not only do you have to give a damn about a holiday you don’t celebrate, but you have to pay attention so you know what date you won’t be celebrating it on.

It’s not a sudden revelation. I know that, decades ago, showing “Laverne & Shirley” in Malaysia — or was it Indonesia? — required explaining that they were insane, since the program made no sense there otherwise.

And Anwar Sadat, who’s been dead for almost 40 years, faced a dilemma in that expanding television to rural areas helped spread education on topics like growing tomatoes in brackish soil, but getting people to watch TV meant showing “Dallas,” and the green lawns and fancy cars inspired kids to give up the land and head for the slums of Cairo.

But at least then we were something of a model. Laverne and Shirley were nuts and JR was a conniving villain, but they operated in a successful culture.

Perhaps everyone got so used to the idea that we were a nation of villains and lunatics that events of the past four years have seemed perfectly reasonable.

Or maybe it has something to do with schadenfreude and train wrecks, a combination of enjoying the giant’s failure and not being able to look away from the disaster.

I can understand the fascination, but I still don’t understand Black Friday.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

 

(Mike Luckovich – AJC)

We didn’t even have Black Friday sales this year, or, at least, not in the sense of crowds flocking to stores, and it will be interesting to see if they come back when the dust has settled.

We’ve had “It’s Black Friday All Month Long!” sales, mostly on-line and not so much offering great bargains as reeking of desperation.

Ramirez and Luckovich are both commenting on how laissez-faire capitalism approaches disaster, with Ramirez illustrating the dilemma of cleaving to a philosophy based on letting it all play out, while Luckovich condemns hardline ideologues who insist on doing just that.

Historic sidenote: We wouldn’t have nearly so many Irish-Americans here today if Britain hadn’t dithered over the same dilemma throughout the Potato Famine.

 

Gary Varvel (Creators) is concerned that the same crew who bailed us out of W’s massive economic failure are going to be back in power, but not to worry: Bush’s depression was largely internal, while Trump has done a lot in international trade that can’t simply be put back in place.

Having made ourselves co-equal with China was a game changer, and, while the Biden administration can at least try to rebuild trust and relationships, they won’t be able to just go back to where Obama left off, because that place no longer exists.

Even without the threat/promise of Trump 2024 standing in the wings, though the GOP isn’t looking for a fresh start but a replay.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Michael de Adder – Ind)

 

(Kal Kallaughter – the Economist)

Certainly, Trump could have bowed and walked off stage, with a promise of “I shall return.”

But that’s not Trump. That’s Douglas MacArthur.

And much as MacArthur was a hero to the “kill them all and let God sort it out” chickenhawk crowd, those days are past.

While, if they were going to walk away from an embarrassment, they’d have done it quite a while ago.

The trick at this part being trying to determine which costs more: Alienating the Deplorables by abandoning Dear Leader, or losing moderate voters by continuing to support this humiliating display of childish whining and its ongoing, collapsing clown show.

 

 

So far, the GOP seems willing to be publicly mocked, not just by professional cartoonists but by everybody.

Not that they are hip enough to catch the cultural references or wise enough to hire people who might.

I find it easier to believe there is an international market for “Laverne & Shirley” than that anybody is watching this without a disclaimer explaining that it’s a comedy about an insane person.

 

However — and this matters — this Tom the Dancing Bug (AMS) is absolutely correct.

Laughing at the lunatic is not a particularly practical or helpful response, not just given the havoc he can still unleash in his remaining time in office but in light of the dangerous divisions he has fostered and made a long-term factor in our nation.

Leading to our final

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Chris Weyant – Boston Globe)

 

(Mike Smith – KFS)

I think people understand that Biden & Co. won’t be able to simply wave a wand and make it all better again, and either of these metaphors can represent the feelings of most Americans.

As noted above, it’s not simply a matter of returning to our 2015 settings.

Our bungling of the trade war with China aside, there are also things like the fact that Trump didn’t just give his pal Putin free rein by ending the Open Skies program, but ordered the specialized planes that surveilled Russia destroyed and cut off the contracts to replace them.

And his last-minute opening of mining and oil exploration in nature preserves and sacred native lands might be overturned easily, but not once contracts are signed, even if the derricks are not yet in place.

Plus, assuming the Democrats don’t sweep the Georgia Senate elections, any repairs that require legislation would have to have Mitch McConnell’s blessing, which perhaps explains the hissing sound in Weyant’s cartoon.

While I suspect that the would-be mechanics in Mike Smith’s cartoon are going to find a few parts broken, stolen or otherwise missing, and it won’t simply mean employing five lugnuts on each wheel instead of six.

This may take more than a handyman.

 

Community Comments

#1 Christopher Ward
November/29/2020
@ 11:33 pm

I really do think that the GOP can safely distance themselves from the Deplorables and reach out to retain the right leaning moderates like me. The Deplorables aren’t going anywhere even if they are alienated.

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