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CSotD: Advent Potpourri

It used to be a tradition this time of year to break the fourth wall and wish readers a Merry Christmas, these being some examples by classic strips back in 1925.

 

I didn’t see many examples today, though it may be that, come next Friday, more cartoonists will do that. It’s a clumsy situation to have the big canvas of Sunday arrive so many days in advance.

The Other Coast (Creators) gets the laurels not simply for assembling its disparate cast but for unapologetically offering a Zoom conference as “gathering,” without whining and making jokes about what ought to be instead of what is.

There are a lot of cartoons today reminding us that we aren’t doing it right, that this isn’t what Christmas should be.

Sure, the world would be much more fun if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, but even without that, we’ve always held as special the people who have celebrated the holiday despite poverty or absent members.

There’s also been riffing on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” this year, complaining about being quarantined without acknowledging that the song was written for young men risking their lives in in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.

Which makes arranging a Zoom conference seem like rather small potatoes.

 

Which is not to say I don’t have a sense of humor, and Pros and Cons (KFS) cracked me up, because there is one in every crowd, and the real laff is that, aside from the ill manners involved in pointing out the blended, folkloric aspects of the holiday, a true expert would recognize the state of history in the days when scripture was gathered into the Bible.

History was pretty folkloric even without the presence of deities and miracles and angel choirs.

Pointing out the flaws in Luke at Christmas is like going to a wedding and talking about the divorce rate: You have all the facts, but you sure lack social skills.

But to prove I’m not averse to dubious Yuletide humor, here’s our

Juxtaposition of the Day

(The Argyle Sweater  – AMS)

 

(Brewster Rockit – Tribune)

I suppose that, if you are a Norman Rockwell parent reading Sunday funnies to your very small child, these would pose some challenges to your talent for censoring on the fly, but they otherwise fall under the category of “If they’re old enough to read, this isn’t going to disillusion them.”

Though I’d hate to have been answering the phones at the paper if that Brewster Rockit had run 20 or 30 years ago.

Then again, I never bought my kids “Walter the Farting Dog.”

Times, and kids, change, and, to paraphrase James Thurber, it’s not as so easy to disillusion little girls nowadays as it used to be.

But if you want to get all huffy about things, here’s a more serious

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Chris Riddell – the Observer)

 

(Clay Bennett – CTFP)

It doesn’t matter to me that Chris Riddell is referencing Boris Johnson and Brexit, because we’ve got poverty and want resulting from Covid and, meanwhile, as many self-destructive disloyalty issues as Brexit.

Which is to say that no Limey bastard is gonna tell me they’re better at voting for really horrible outcomes than we are, which brings us to the only practical use of coal these days: Rewarding bad behavior.

I would have put Brexit and Trump neck-and-neck if the Diaper Don hadn’t recently pulled ahead by  spreading asinine, paranoid conspiracies about the 2020 elections and openly dabbling with declaring martial law and possibly naming a splendiforously unqualified nitwit as a special prosecutor to further mess with our political stability.

There is, however, a difference between stupidity and ignorance, and I have compassion for the people in Ohio who believed Dear Leader in 2016 when he promised to resuscitate the coal mining industry while Clinton only offered training for new careers.

They should have known that nearly all Western coal users had retooled for natural gas and had no motivation to back up and go through it all again simply to burn coal. But there remained a market for coal in China, and Trump’s vow to abandon the Paris Agreement and his general denial of climate change could make that seem promising.

Four years later, they’re still underemployed, they have a major opiod crisis in their region and yet they remain loyal and believe there was a massive conspiracy to steal the election.

If we’re done debating the Bible’s historical underpinnings, perhaps we could focus on its folkloric messages about compassion.

Moses got pissed about that whole Golden Calf thing, but he got over it and eventually led his flawed followers to the Promised Land.

There’s a Commandment against lying, but there’s nothing condemning people for being gullible, only for exploiting their trust.

 

This, too, began with Nixon

After yesterday’s giggling and mockery over the name chosen by space professionals, for space professionals (Why is there a comma in there?), I was thinking how wise it would be for Trump and Pence to back away from both the Guardians of the Galaxy and the stolen Star Trek logo and just let the next administration clean things up.

 

About which time someone explained that, while the Guardians wouldn’t be going out to make war in space, they were needed to deal with space debris, which brought in yet another space epic of the past, a Buck Henry-written TV comedy about a United Galaxy Sanitation Patrol Cruiser.

 

The whole thing also set me to remembering the last time anything this breathtakingly stupid had emerged from the White House, and, yes, once more we have an example of Trump attempting to outdo Nixon, who started off 1970 by unveiling new fabulous uniforms for the White House guards.

Political cartoonists took notice:

(John Fischetti)

 

(Herblock)

(Paul Conrad)

(Pat Oliphant)

 

UPDATE: Here’s how Walt Kelly dealt with it — and I think the dialogue would apply today:

The uniforms were quietly withdrawn, and later purchased at a deep discount by a high school marching band.

Which happy result suggests that it’s time for our current crop of cartoonists to get to work, while we offer a seasonally appropriate mashup of really macho Guardians in really cool uniforms:

 

Community Comments

#1 Kevin Tolman
December/20/2020
@ 11:24 am

Even worse than reading about Santa Claus dying in a comic strip to your kid is having you kid see Santa Claus die.

https://www.library.pima.gov/content/man-who-killed-santa-claus/

#2 Blinky the Wonder Wombat
December/20/2020
@ 12:50 pm

Nice article form the archives of the Washington Post about the date of Christ’s birth.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/12/24/why-is-christmas-on-dec-25-it-wasnt-always/

TL;DNR: no one really knows why December 25th was chosen.

#3 Harley Liebenson
December/20/2020
@ 1:22 pm

Not to put a damper on things, but as perhaps the resident Yid might the reason December 25th was chosen as the Jewish Holiday of Chanukah begins the 25 of Hebrew month Kislev.

Since it is my understanding that the whole manger scene was due to a lack of rooms as people were flocking to Jerusalem for a festival. So, Chanukah fits.

#4 Brad Walker
December/20/2020
@ 2:24 pm

One of the few times I’ve seen Ignorance and Want referenced in popular media. Most adaptations skip them altogether — although I do wonder what Disney or Jim Henson could’ve done with them.

And that’s not as bad as a graphic novel adaptation I read this year, from Disney no less, that wrote out Tiny Tim. And no, I don’t care if that’s a spoiler.

#5 Mark Stacy
December/20/2020
@ 2:44 pm

re: Nixon’s guard uniforms –

Not only editorial cartoonists, but also Walt Kelly doing *his* political satire in Pogo soon had his Spiro Agnew hyena wearing one of those for the remainder if his time in the strip. Could scarcely been anything more perfect than that.

#6 Mike Peterson
December/20/2020
@ 4:08 pm

I’m disinclined to try to find factual bases for folkloric stories, but there was a land claim in Western Canada in which the tribe based its claim of occupation on the legend of a woman who married a bear. Her brothers objected and shot arrows at the bear who was a god, and who rose up and swiped the top of a mountain off and destroyed their village.

Archaeologists uncovered evidence of a mud-and-daub construction village that had been buried in a mudslide thousands of years ago, confirming the claim if not the details.

As noted above, history and folklore have been known to merge.

#7 Mike Peterson
December/20/2020
@ 4:19 pm

See update, above. Kelly was harder on them than Conrad.

#8 Solon Manney
December/20/2020
@ 7:06 pm

Speaking of Walt Kelly (Pogo), may we have a rousing rendition of “Deck us all with Boston Charlie”, as long as it is Christmas and all?

Mr. Kelly provided an alternative (“bunny”) strip to newspapers whose readers’ sensibilities might be outraged by his satire.

#9 Kip Williams
December/21/2020
@ 9:38 am

Back in ’85, I was treated to an amazing article to be running in a family newspaper on Christmas morning:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6caU4RPj1vY/X-C_uFzw0HI/AAAAAAAAC1U/UoSfont78Gg6ZQaP-h4D8LfjYyQ3XUgeQCLcBGAsYHQ/s1593/santa%2Bc%2Bclaus%2B19851225%2Bnjdr.jpg

Looks like a good one-time ticket for a cash-strapped parent to call off Christmas for a year.

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