CSotD: Truth and Illusion

“Truth and Illusion, George. You don’t know the difference.”
“No, but we must carry on as though we did.”
                                       — Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

I was delighted to see Jen Sorensen address the stereotype that all Red State (ie, rural) voters are dedicated conservatives and Trump supporters.

The two-township community in which I grew up went for Trump 501-397, or about a 55/45 split, which isn’t close but is hardly a runaway and mirrors our county’s 55/43 vote.

That’s a substantial percentage of pro-Biden voters, and, if you looked at my Facebook feed, you’d see that my high school friends were very much in his corner, perhaps because those who feel otherwise have either unfriended me or been unfriended by me or were never my friends in the first place.

Which is likely your experience as well. It just stands out more in communities where the combined vote totals less than four figures.

And sometimes it stands out more among the white men in diners in those counties, though the other factor there is that, since we all grew up together, we know who the cranks are, as well as where they gather.


I was covering a town meeting in rural Maine when one group became really obstreperous about a particular item on the warrant. A resident leaned over to me and quietly explained, “That’s the Hilltop Diner crowd. They’ll all get up and leave as soon as this vote is over.”

Which they did.

I didn’t lose many close friends in the last election cycle, though I’ll admit I’ve been occasionally as surprised as Sorensen’s anthropologist at the passion I’ve found in people I would have assumed were lukewarm.

At least, until I remembered that their daddies belonged to the United Steelworkers Local 3494, back before the hedge funders stripped and shut down the mine.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ed Hall)


(Gary Varvel – Creators)

An interesting split on the near-accident over Denver, and we can start with a chuckle over it being a United airliner, given that the lack of unitedness within the GOP is the common theme here.

And it’s a truth/illusion split, because Hall uses the event as a metaphor for a disintegrating party, while Varvel labels the failed engine as the Lincoln Project, making a more pointed accusation.

Had the plane not landed safely, most cartoonists would back away from playing with it as a metaphor, but, since it did, Varvel’s bit of dialogue is particularly apt, because I’m willing to bet a few of the people on that jet didn’t want to get on another flight right away.

I’d also like to see the split on Republicans who stick with the party vs those who join forces with the Donald. Fifty/fifty seems unlikely.

And there is a sort of third option: At The Bulwark, Bill Kristol writes of moderate Republicans shifting to a tacit support of Biden.

How many? Well, half is a major loss, whether they leave the GOP to join a new Trump party as Varvel suggests or, more along Kristol’s line, simply wander away.


Bringing in Trump Airlines would stretch the metaphor too far, but I’m fascinated that he chose two of the most outrageous self-promoters in the country for this incoherent commercial.

Takes one to know one, I guess.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Dana Summers – Tribune)


(Bob Gorrell – Creators)

The question of sorting truth from illusion becomes more interesting with this pair.

It’s not hard to find sources for Summers’ accusation that Biden has excused the treatment of the Uighar minority in western China: Several conservative news organizations have taken a remark from a recent town hall out of context, including this piece in the dependably rightwing NY Post.

The Nation, equally predictably, leaps to his defense in the matter, and it’s even more predictable when you remember that the Nation was ridiculed by Phil Ochs long ago as a journal of weak-kneed liberalism.

The Bulwark has a fairly balanced take on the matter, which doesn’t match what Summers says, but offers this subhed: “The president’s town hall remarks were taken out of context, but still leave a lot to be desired.”

Such disagreements are where political cartoonists find grist for their mills.

On the other hand, I can’t find much support for Gorrell’s take, which assumes far more destruction-per-protester in Portland, Kenosha and elsewhere, as well as Democratic support for those rioters — something I certainly never heard — and he also seems to assume there was a similar proportion of destruction-per-protester in the Capitol attack.

I don’t know how many people stayed outside the building peacefully chanting slogans, but his comparison seems more than a bit far-fetched.


Perhaps the real contrast of the day is seen in Stuart Carlson (AMS)‘s note on the 500,000th covid death, in which he passes up the opportunity to point out who ignored the crisis, downplayed the danger and even promoted false narratives that heightened the catastrophe.

You might, I suppose, call it support for the President, whose brief remarks last night were tasteful, heartfelt and politically moderate, offering comfort and hope in place of blame.

To which I would add that people seem to think “unity” means everyone being on the same page. It doesn’t.

Rep. Ayanna Presley was on The IA yesterday, and she differs deeply with the president on how much student loan debt should be erased. She even said she has no intention of backing down on the figure of $50,000.

But she repeatedly said she was in dialogue with the White House and, staunch as her stance may be, she sounded like she wanted a dialog, not a fist-fight.

That’s unity: The kind of attitude that realizes there are blue voters even in the red states and vice-versa.


And getting back to the pandemic but still speaking of loyal opposition, covid vaccines have arrived in Australia and First Dog on the Moon has a lovely description of how it’s all going. I’ll send you to the Guardian to read the whole thing.


Peace out.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Truth and Illusion

  1. I remember in the early 70s when a private plane augured into a gravestone at Olinger’s just outside Denver. A friend I hadn’t met yet lived close enough to stroll over to see the scene.

    Speaking of strolling, here’s the link to EarthCam’s Abbey Road cam. I just watched for a whole minute and nobody held up traffic posing in the crossing like the album cover–another casualty of Covid! Now people can drive through there like any other intersection!


  2. Hey, back in the Stapleton days, it actually mattered if incoming jets began shedding blue ice. Now it only annoys the prairie dogs.

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