CSotD: Mostly for laughs

I hadn’t planned on doing politics today, but this topic won’t wait, because Biden has promised an announcement Monday on Saudi Arabia and the Khashoggi murder, but cartoonists and editorialists have already said he hasn’t done enough.

I like Patrick Chappatte‘s cartoon, then, because he’s not jumping the gun, but rather stating the facts, which we’ve known pretty much since the killing, and yet he’s quite clear how he feels.

It’s important to let politicians know that the whole world is watching, but he’s not kibitzing, which is a different matter.

The world has reason to be holding its breath: Donald Trump, who never met a murderous tyrant he didn’t like, brushed the matter under the carpet, and the only surprise in his response is that he didn’t try to blame the death on Antifa.

Administration sources have said that we won’t see much beyond the sanctions and visa restrictions announced Friday, but I wasn’t hoping for a declaration of war or expecting that we’d cut off relations with Saudi Arabia.

I note, however, that, when he stands next to Vladimir Putin, Mohammed bin Salman looks like Fred Rogers.


In case you forgot, here’s a throwback Juxtaposition of Jeff Danziger and Ann Telnaes on the 2006 murder of another journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. (Yes, on Putin’s birthday.)

And yesterday marked the anniversary of the 2015 murder of Boris Nemtsov, nor are those the only two, but we haven’t broken off relations with Russia or demanded Putin be arrested.

Granted, the line between realpolitik and doing nothing can get a little blurry at times. But realpolitik theoretically includes a lot of under-the-counter, no-nonsense discussions.

I hope tomorrow’s briefing will at least provide a glimpse into the things we won’t be told about. I’d like there to be some arm-twisting on the Yemen situation, but that might be done soto voce.

Still, if the Saudis suddenly decide to stop killing Houthis, it won’t be a coincidence.

If nothing else, the occasion should allow reporters to ask some questions and get details on the public aspects of whatever we’re doing about it.

At which point I’ll look forward to informed reactions. Stay tuned.


Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?


I have very little bordering on nothing to add to this Macanudo (KFS) except to say, yeah, that pretty much wraps up the current culture.

The pandemic has been going on so long that I’ve lost track of whatever we’ve given up that was so important before, though I suppose that, once we’re released back into the wild, we’ll go right back to whatever it was.

Beyond that, I’d note that the blue-haired retirees who take the time to fill out those phony “comic surveys” hate this strip, which is why editors who want to watch their audience grow old and die along with their circulation should drop it immediately.

Those interested in growing their audience may feel otherwise, of course.

We should ask them both.


I also have little to add to this episode of Wallace the Brave (AMS) except that I’m not sure which knocked me further out of my chair: The sound effect in the second panel, or poor Spud’s expression in the fourth.


There were several strips today where the set-up got me interested but the punchline didn’t fulfill the promise.

Candorville (WPWG) was just the opposite, a slow build-up to a twist at the end which was a complete surprise and very well-played.

The call we thought it was is more likely, and whether you dread it or wish that phone call would happen is perhaps a check on your karma.

The times I’ve reconnected have been quite positive, but there’s a call or two I wouldn’t want to take. I’m not perfect.

I made one of those calls — the positive kind — myself shortly after my divorce, in which I found a number for an old GF and called.

She was delighted to hear from me and just as I was remembering what a great girl she was, she cheerfully told me all about the guy she was about to marry.

Boy, if revenge is a dish best served cold, 15 years later is great timing.

To which I would add that the current generation has it better than we did, or worse, depending on whether or not you want to hear from your past.

Since the advent of cell phones, you don’t have to change your number each time you move, and I know people who are nearly 20 years out of their former area code but still at the same old virtual place.

All of which reminds me of a short story I wrote back in 1976 which I like but which relies on technologies you’d have to explain to anyone under 40.

A conceptual thread that continues here:


Zits (KFS) got a chuckle today, in large part because, while the technology changes, some things remain eternal.

It reminded me of back in the early 80s, when I let a college senior read my unpublished collegiate novel, set in the late 60s. She enjoyed it, but said she was particularly struck by this factor:

She’d gotten the feeling that college students back then were utterly obsessed with the war and civil rights, and there was a fair amount of that in the manuscript. But, she said, of course — of course — they were also obsessed with who was sleeping with whom.

Thus was it ever. I just finished reading Walter Scott’s “Quentin Durward,” published in 1832 and set in the 15th Century. It’s about the diplomatic and military rivalry between Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and King Louis XI of France.

But it’s also about young Quentin, a Scots mercenary who escorts — and of course falls in love with — Isabella, Countess of Croye.

The historical context may change and the technology may adapt, but the basics are as true today as when your grandparents — or greats — were young.

That’s why we’re here.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Mostly for laughs

  1. I hope Patrick Chappatte isn’t planning on applying for a visa to visit Saudi Arabia anytime soon. But there is a CBC news story this month about a former Saudi critic being ‘disappeared’ from Canada after he immigrated here. MBS has a lot to answer for.
    Absolute monarchy is an abomination.

  2. I can understand that in the real world politics often supersedes justice, but we’ve been able to somewhat justify them when the victims are not American citizens. The Khashoggi situation is different and the need for justice overrides politics. I’m not naive enough to assume a breach in Saudi relations, but something more than a strong condemnation and sanctions on minor officials is needed.

  3. Mike, just on DD Degg’s page today reminding us of NCS’s 75th anniversary. Your open with Chappatte’s gauntlet reminds us, too, why you all are here. (That and finding out who’s zoomin’ whom.) Thanks for the work.

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