CSotD: Spinning out of control

This Steve Kelley (Creators) comic provoked some back-and-forth on Facebook, and let me start off by giving Kelley props for responding. Too many cartoonists set up Facebook and Twitter pages and then leave them untended.

Either join the conversation or, if all you want is publicity, buy an ad.

But here’s what matters, and it is that the scenario he presents is totally unrealistic: Nobody in the US gets two different types of covid vaccine, either though clinical procedures or by flipping a coin.

Kelley responded to the criticism with a link to this NYTimes article, which explains where he got the idea, but is a weak defense for the cartoon.

Political cartoonists are journalists and are under an ethical obligation to nail down both facts and meaning, and to confirm single sources, before commenting on a news item.

The article states that there are trials going on in Britain to see if patients who get their first shot with Pfizer might benefit if their second shot were AstraZeneka or vice-versa, and that British vaccine regulations already allow it.

Results of the studies are not back and not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, which is the basis of his cartoon. Fair enough.

The problem is that nobody here is doing that, and that — besides the fact that AstraZeneca’s vaccine isn’t even approved here — it is, so far, a stop-gap solution to the problem of availability in Britain.

The US has no shortage of vaccines, which has been a source of resentment from countries that do, and we may start sharing our stash once we get a little closer to full-vaccination.

Which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(John Branch – KFS)


(Phil Hands – AMS)

Whether you see it as the innocent delusion in Branch’s view or the more full-throated contrarianism Hands portrays, there is significant pushback against the vaccine by people who don’t understand the science.

Whether they seek reasons to avoid vaccination or are innocently misled is beside the point, as is whether they are genuinely baffled or simply take pride in going against the crowd.

The point is that feeding their appetite for rejecting the vaccine is not only feeding the continuation of the pandemic but also puts those specific people in danger of contracting the potentially fatal disease.

Deliberate spin can influence elections, which isn’t exactly “innocent” but is only a potential threat in the long run: Claiming that Obama is a Muslim is dishonest but so it goes.

However, there is a reason strip cartoonists don’t do jokes about kids playing hide-and-seek in refrigerators. Even if you portray it as the deathtrap it can be, some kid may misread the cartoon and that tragedy will be on your doorstep.

Giving people an excuse to reject vaccination carries the same risk, to which I would add that every cartoonist knows how often people simply don’t get the point of a cartoon.

Add to that the fact that combining vaccines is something that isn’t even happening in this country and there’s less reason to even bring it up, unless the goal is to frighten people out of getting vaccinated.

Which is like doing a joke about kids hiding in refrigerators.


Coming Attractions

Thimble Theater is starting a new adventure over at King Features Vintage. A good time to start reading, and, if you’re not already popping your 20 bucks a year, a good time to start supporting all their comics.


And you can sweeten it with a new Buz Sawyer adventure, which started Monday. Roy Crane’s 1950s politics are straight out of Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover, but he combines solid storytelling with terrific artistry.

Again, if you like comics, $20 a year is nothing.

And if you don’t like comics, whachoo doin’ here anyway?


Speaking of Not Getting It

I wish Jeff Stahler (AMS) were exaggerating to make his point, but he doesn’t have to: They really did break away from the Chauvin trial to cover the bizarre, inexcusable shooting of Duante Wright.

Yes, it’s not the only inexcusable shooting of an unarmed black man by police, but it is bizarre that, even carrying her bright yellow taser on her non-dominant side … well, we’ll see how it comes out, since she has been charged.

But it brings something back that needs to be said again.

I was at a peace march in Chicago in April of 1968, and, as we walked from Grant Park to the Civic Center, the police went alongside us, chatting and joking. I remember one cop on a three-wheeler with a sprig of lilac one of the girls had stuck in his visor.

I also remember that, when things degenerated into a police riot and people were being beaten with nightsticks and dragged away with broken bones, streaming blood, the police who’d been with us were now desperately urging us to stay back and out of it.

I appreciated their sincere concern, but a few months later, when I saw the chaos in the streets at the Convention, I wondered where the hell they were, because nobody seemed to be keeping anyone safe from the thugs then.

Which brings us to Trevor Noah’s brilliant commentary on good apples and bad apples, which I can’t embed but to which this is a link.

But it also brings us to a misinterpretation of the “bad apples” metaphor. As he says, it’s unacceptable to keep dismissing police brutality as a few bad apples.

However, nobody seems to understand that old expression.

It’s not that there are good apples and bad apples. Maybe you have to live in a more agrarian setting to know this, and I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, because getting it right matters.

The expression “One bad apple spoils the barrel” does not mean you have one bad apple and the rest are good. It means that the mold from that one apple spreads and ruins every other apple.

If you tolerate one bad apple, you will soon have no good apples.

Am I the only person here who has seen “Serpico”?

Okay, it’s 48 years old, but he’s still around and the movie is a classic.

It’s about apples.


One thought on “CSotD: Spinning out of control

  1. I distinctly remember a Richard Scarry story in which Busytown loses power on Thanksgiving morning, and Lowly Worm saves the day by delivering turkeys and charcoal grills so everyone can cook dinner in their living rooms.

    Granted that it’s less likely a small child could set up and light a grill in the house, and remain undetected long enough to kill the family with carbon monoxide, than is the child crawling into a refrigerator and suffocating. . .but still.

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