CSotD: The Grumpy Old Critic Speaks

Stuart Carlson (AMS) picks up on a twisted saying that I’ve just noticed entering the conversation, and which we need to nip in the bud.

It’s different than my oft-raged-upon misuse of “rats leaving a sinking ship,” of which I spotted two examples today, both by cartoonists I greatly admire. As noted before, there is some mysterious appeal in the old sailor’s superstition that rats will leave a ship in port, somehow knowing that it is fated to sink.

But, as used most often, the idea that rats get off the ship once it has begun sinking doesn’t have any of that cool vibe because there’s no particular glory in being so loyal that you stay aboard even though it’s obvious things have gone disastrously wrong.

But “throwing spaghetti at the wall” is a complete bollix, mixing up a metaphor and a cooking tip.

“Throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks” is a cleaned-up version of “throwing shit at the wall,” and means advancing a host of weak arguments in hopes that one or two of them will catch on.

Throwing spaghetti at the wall, however, is a way of determining if it’s done, and, first of all, you’re only throwing one un-sauced strand, and, second, if it’s starchy enough to stick, you eat the rest of what is in the pan.

Which you would probably not do with mud or feces, but be my guest.

And this note: While I got the tip from an Italian restaurant owner from Naples, it’s a matter of debate among cooks, as is the tip about putting a dollop of oil in the water to keep the spaghetti from sticking together. Also, you end up with starch marks on your kitchen wall.

It’s your choice.

However, if you can’t tell spaghetti from mud from shit, I’m not coming to your house for dinner.

Now let’s let Carlson off the hook by praising him in this

Juxtaposition of the Day


(Stuart Carlson – AMS)

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

I could have featured any of several conservative cartoonists here, because one of their current arguments is that Joe Biden is simply a repeat of Barack Obama, with which Carlson agrees, except that the people in his cartoon see that as a good thing.

It would be more debatable if Biden hadn’t been VP for the entire eight years of Obama’s administration, and if Obama hadn’t beaten John McCain 365/173 in 2008 and Mitt Romney 332/206 four years later, in a political environment in which Trump declared his 304/227 victory in 2016 a “landslide.”

Though when Biden won 306/232, Trump backers insist that was not simply a squeaker but a fraud, and, whatever it was, they’re absolutely convinced it wasn’t a sign that the majority of voters (80,947,680 to 74,090,774, pending final recounts) were seeking a Restoration.

Barbie was right: Math is hard!


And speaking of working with partisan blinders, Mike Luckovich (Atlanta JC) notes the way conservative gatekeepers praise phony reforms that never happened while blocking real ones that need to, and, more specifically, how Mitch led his Senate confreres off to celebrate Christmas while they left average Americans (ahem) hanging.

The cartoon is about his killing of the bipartisan relief bill, though Luckovich throws in a reminder of the bigoted supremacist philosophy that predates Trump’s presidency: The fraudulent snowflake complaint about a rule — ah, hell, let’s call it a “law” — against saying Merry Christmas.

All it was was a directive given to store employees that “Happy Holidays” is a polite way to include Jews, Muslims and non-believers in your good wishes.

Y’know — people from shithole countries who follow shithole religions.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

As long as they keep it to themselves.


But, as Jack Ohman (WPWG) points out, Republicans are very sensitive people and their widdle feelings were hurt when Neera Tanden, while campaigning for Democratic candidates, tweeted mean things about  Republicans.

Ohman’s graphic comparison is so spot-on that I have nothing to add but applause.


But I will expand on the theme with the help of Ken Catalino (Creators), and this Bulwark article by Mark Becker, former head of the Brown County (Wisconsin) Republican Party, in which he recounts a conversation with Senator Ron Johnson, who continues to declare Trump the winner of the election.

The TL;DR of the call was this: Senator Johnson knows that Joe Biden won a free and fair election. He is refusing to admit it publicly and stoking conspiracies that undermine our democracy solely because it would be “political suicide” to oppose Trump.

One salient point Johnson made in that conversation is that there were voters who turned out for Trump who had never been drawn to politics before.

Enough to risk destroying the party? Apparently, we’re going to find out.

But let me end with a refutation of popular cynicism, with this seasonal

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Dave Whamond – Cagle)


(Steve Kelley -Creators)

Much of holidays are based on tradition, the pandemic is playing Holy Ned with some of those traditions and, it being the largest celebration in the Christian world, I am not surprised to see cartoons about how much the pandemic is taking away from our usual Christmas practices.

However, let me mount my cynical contrarianism in the service of Good for once: I’m going to suggest that most kids who are young enough to believe in Santa are not old enough to be settled in What Christmas Has To Be.

Which, in turn, means I salute the mothers in Kelley’s cartoon for finding the joy in their children’s experience.

Our eldest was nearly seven when “Kramer vs Kramer” came out, and we took him in order to open a conversation about his best friend, whose parents were among the first in our circle to split.

Five years later, we were pretty much the last, by which time most of his friends seemed to have two homes and maybe four parents.

Kids live in their world, not yours. They’ll enjoy this Christmas, unless you tell them they shouldn’t.

Or complain about it in the next room. Little pitchers have big ears.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: The Grumpy Old Critic Speaks

  1. A lot of people seem to think that Trump’s style of ruling is the trend of the GOP, but after seeing him soundly voted out by people on both sides of the aisle, I’m not so sure anymore. He was some sh*t that we threw at a wall. It doesn’t look like it stuck

  2. I always wondered who was in the George Soros financed caravan of liberals, socialists, communists, fascist, BLM members, antifa, anarchists, and athiests who forced every retail corporation to order their clerks to say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’.

    They also ordered all corporations to have holiday parties instead of Christmas parties.

    All on the same day, so they had to be highly coordinated.

    How did they do that, and why couldn’t they have used their powers for ‘good’?

  3. Abraham, I’m not sure I would call these results ‘soundly voted out’. Biden may have gotten nearly a 3:2 split of electoral votes, but the popular vote was very nearly 1:1. Not to mention that almost no Republican leaders were speaking out against him until it was clear he was done.

    At least we can console ourselves with the thought that many of those people likely wouldn’t have voted for Trump if they’d been receiving factual information instead of domestic terrorism – or at least, it’s nicer to believe that than the idea that nearly half the country is morally bankrupt.

  4. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; 74 million votes is only 28% of Americans over the age of 18. That’s Trump’s level of support. The fact that Biden only got 32% of those over 18 simply shows that 40% of America didn’t care enough to vote. Given the consequences of another term of Trump, that’s even scarier.

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