CSotD: Same Ship, Different Metaphor


That cargo ship wedged in the Suez Canal may be a disaster for international trade, but it’s been a boon for political cartoonists.

Don Landgren isn’t the only one who has used it to comment on Republican efforts to stop voters from voting.

The blockage of the Canal only impacts about 10 percent of shipping and the GOP efforts also only block a minority of voters, or votes of minorities. Turns out blocking 10 percent of shipping has a dramatic effect on trade and the GOP is hoping for the same result.

David Cohen isn’t the only cartoonist to suggest someone being arrested for handing out water, either, but he brings in the Biblical aspect, since Christ did mention it, and also accepted water from a Samaritan woman, to the horror of his Apostles. And in the movies, he gave water to Judah Ben Hur, which isn’t canonical but more people have seen the movie than have read the Book.


This isn’t a cartoon but a meme quoting a Tweet, but that Tweet from comedian George Wallace has gotten a lot of play, and it makes me wonder if it’s time for college students to head South again for a second battle with Jim Crow.

They could mail in their ballots, living in civilized states, then get on buses and head for Georgia to hand out water bottles. They could simply give them away and accept arrest in order to jam up the courts and test the law, or they could sell them for a penny, skirting the law against giving voters anything.

I picture them having one guy walking down the line with his pants legs stuffed with pennies, strewing them along like the guy scattering the tunnel dirt in the Great Escape.

Okay, back to the Canal …

Steve Sack likens it to the filibuster, which, I would note, seems to block 100 percent of anything that can’t be snuck through on a technicality.


Marc Murphy uses it as a metaphor for those who obstruct the vaccine rollout and thus prevent us from sailing on. I might have belabored it more, having Covid blocking things and the deniers halting efforts to free it, but even with nobody trying to stop them, efforts to unjam the thing appear futile.

The other day they declared it “human error,” which sounds silly, given that the canal is right there, and all you have to do is steer down the middle. But having the rudder fall off or the electronics go dead would take you off course and there’s not a lot of room for going adrift in that sandy ditch.

OTOH, they’ve also just declared that they might have to take off some of the containers, which did surprise me, perhaps because I’ve read too much Hornblower and assume that, now as it was then, when a ship goes aground you start by lightening it by throwing things overboard, or, in this case, off-loading them to other craft, who, being stuck behind you, having nothing better to do anyway.


And it being an international incident, lots of people get to chip in, like Canadian Graeme Mackay, who likens it to the Conservative Party’s environmental stance …


… and Rod Emmerson, who compares it to something or other happening in New Zealand, which seems to have the Covid thing under control and the nicest PM in the whole wide world but is still grappling with Maori racism issues plus something something something property investors.

I don’t know the details, but, given our absurd housing bubble plus the way development is intruding on nature in this country, I can relate.


Meanwhile, I wonder if anyone in the outside world can relate to our struggle over weaponry? Jeff Stahler (AMS) oversimplifies things but nevertheless hits the target.

As noted here several times already, the Second Amendment was about national defense, drawn up out of our bad experience with standing armies, for the same reason the Founders created the Third Amendment keeping the central government from forcing you to let soldiers crash in your house and eat your food.

Both quickly became obsolete, and where Stahler’s cartoon ties in is that they assumed we were all smart enough to just let the things sit there, and let’s remember that the idea of militias as national defense fell apart while a lot of the Framers were still around and could have said, “We’d better repeal those.”

Granted, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia because he thought citizens should be educated but he was off in France when the Constitution was being written, or else there might have been less of an assumption that voters were innately intelligent.


And speaking of overestimating anybody’s intelligence, Tim Campbell (WPWG) makes a point that is not only missing in our discussion of mass murderers but of criminals in general.

The problem with ramping up punishments is that the people who commit crimes either don’t expect to get caught or, as the T-shirt here says, are crazy and don’t care.

That may be an insensitive way to phrase it, but no more insensitive than assuming that someone whose mania causes him to shoot up a school or a Bible group or a grocery store or a rock concert is sane enough to have charted the whole thing out in advance, totaling up the pluses and minuses of their plan.

They keep asking “Why did he do it?” ignoring the obvious answer “Because he was nuts.”

Though we’ve got a case now where the guy told the cops why he did it and people say, no, he did it for this other reason and explain whatever’s on their mind instead of what he says was on his.

Which I guess is okay, given that he was indeed nuts, though not nuts enough to cop an insanity plea.

Besides, we’re all kinda racist and we’re all a little nuts.

We should perhaps focus on the fact that the Second Amendment doesn’t provide unfettered access to machine guns and bazookas, and pass laws properly distinguishing combat weapons from hunting weapons.

On accounta if you don’t have sane citizens, you’d damn well better have sane laws.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Same Ship, Different Metaphor

  1. I wonder if it was Melanoma’s jacket saying “I don’t care, do you?” that helped inspire Campbell’s cartoon?

  2. As I heard it, the Ever Given was fighting off heavy winds, trying to keep from being blown into the left bank of the canal. The wind suddenly slowed or stopped, so their heavy-duty steering to the right took them into the right bank.

    And what kind of ship name is Ever Given, anyhow?

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