CSotD: National Juxtaposition Day

Before we get into the Juxtapositions, a couple of cartoons that pinged me on a personal level.

Macanudo (KFS) hits on a particular favorite, because we read “Great Expectations” in junior high and I didn’t get it, except, wow, a surprise ending.

But, yes, I can put a peg in the ground to mark who I was with each rereading, because it’s a novel that justifies repeat visits.

On break from college and nursing a failed relationship made me focus on Estella.

A sort of juxtaposition itself: Yesterday I heard a song about a guy meeting up with an old lover, only he was obviously about 23 and hadn’t begun to understand — anymore than I did in 1970 — how that can work after you’ve carried your broken heart around a little longer.

Steve Goodman nailed it pretty well in Yellow Coat, but PP&M got closer to the bull’s eye with Whatshername.

Dickens got it, but that hack Bullwer-Lytton missed it completely in persuading him to rewrite, and destroy, the ending. Most editions of the novel include the original, bittersweet conclusion as well as the garbage one.

In any case, the older I got, the more I began focusing on what a snotty, ungrateful, insensitive jerk Master Philip Pirrip turns out to be, the saving grace being that he, at least, began to recognize it, too.

While during a particularly bad career period, I identified with Wemmick, the dour clerk who, when he leaves the office and heads home, begins to walk with a lighter step and to smile, such that, once he’s back in his own domain, he’s downright jolly, but who then reverses the process as he heads back to the job.

I still think of my ex-GFs with a nostalgic sigh, but I hope I’m no longer an ungrateful snot (about them or in general) and I eventually learned to avoid jobs that soured my stomach.


Alex brings out a vicarious personal take, because one of my dog-owner friends has had to go back to the office, three hours away in Boston.

Since his SO is a med student here, he had little choice but to return to renting a “shoebox” there, and when he told me the cost of a 600-square-foot apartment in the Hub, I was appalled.

Quite a change from pandemic times, when she had a rotation with a hospital on the West Coast and he could simply tag along and Zoom in from there.


I was pleased to see Rubes (Creators) leap upon NPR’s least-welcome verbal tic.

I mentioned this annoying expression earlier, but the readers seemed to think I was upset that nobody ever responded “You’re welcome.”

No, my objection was that this burgeoning cliché could be wiped out quickly if the response were “That’s what she said!”


Which, admittedly, is only funny because the guy who says it is the only person in the room who thinks it’s funny. And he’s an ass.

Still, for god’s sake, do something.

If you don’t want to end up explaining your sense of humor to NPR’s Human Resources Department, maybe try being direct instead.

When I was in talk radio, my program director finally cornered me in the production room and told me I absolutely, positively, definitely, had to stop saying “We’re back” at the end of each commercial break.

Surely, when a guest is scheduled, someone could beg them to say anything else.

“I’m happy to be here.”

“Thanks for inviting me.”

“It’s your dime, start talking.”

Anything else. Anything.

And BTW, let me point out that, in the English language, “cliché” is a noun. The adjective is “clichéd.”

Ne prétendez pas être si sophistiqué. Vous ne trompez personne.


Now, on with the Juxtapositions!

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Reality Check – AMS)


(Free Range – AMS)

Two cartoons about squirrels wouldn’t be a Juxtaposition, though two cartoons about, say, tapirs might be. Squirrel cartoons are a dime-a-dozen and you’ll find at least two in the funnies nearly every day.

But two cartoons marking the indecisive, lunatic manner in which squirrels cross the road definitely qualifies as a Juxtaposition, and particularly since Whamond and Whitehead take two approaches to presenting it as what you might call a regulatory issue.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Arlo and Janis – AMS)


(Betty – AMS)


This one is a little more tangled. Betty and Bub have been out looking at the night sky all week, so this is an extension of that arc, while it’s a new but not unprecedented topic at A&J, and a one-off reference in Watson, which doesn’t update daily.

Again, simply referencing the Moon wouldn’t create a Juxtaposition, but referencing a full moon is diffo, and Bub specifically referencing the eclipse makes that full Moon relevant throughout.

And I agree with him that eclipses take too long, though, if they really were completed in 15 minutes, we’d space out and miss them.

As it is, that strip would have better run yesterday, since it’s highly unlikely you’ll see this in time to catch the eclipse, at least on this continent, given that, if they’re going to view it, Betty and Bub must be lying out there waiting for sunrise.

In any case, Watson makes me think there’s a whole fascinating dramatic prospect in what happens to werewolves during an eclipse. Do they partially turn back into humans? Perhaps temporarily become werefoxes?

Well, now those of us in North America have to wait a year before we can find out.


Juxtaposition of the Are You Kidding Me?

Here’s how Darrin Bell and Jimmy Margulies came up on my Comics Kingdom page this morning.

These things happen, but they don’t always present themselves on a silver platter.

This one was a little hard to miss


Finally, let’s return to pretentious language and clichéd thinking, because Pearls Before Swine (AMS) repeats a humorless Grammar Nazi complaint about ironic usage.

“I could care less!” needs, perhaps, an exclamation point to make clear (to blockheads) that it is sarcasm, and the tell in this strip is Rat’s use of “correct.”

Direct, humorless language is not “correct.” It’s just direct and humorless.

And unjustifiably snobbish.

Like those tiresome upperclass twits who assume the frequent, self-deprecating humor in country music is unintentional.


9 thoughts on “CSotD: National Juxtaposition Day

  1. The two Olympics cartoons are funny, in the sense Of “surprising.” I get Mr. Bell’s immediately. The other one … I have no idea what the idea is. Gears? But they’re not meshing. Clearly not a virus thing, so it must be something else.

    Sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. Today I am in that slice of the audience that cartoonists probably hate to think about.

  2. What day did you publish a link to Beardmore – Civilians at War? I used it to find the book, but I want to share your column that included it with a friend

  3. Oh. Maybe I found a link to the book by going down a rabbit hole you opened. Maybe following a link about Bill Maudlin. Maybe Maudlin was linked by you. In 2019? It’s weird I’ve scoured my history and cannot find where I first found a link to the Beardmore book. I wanted to send the link to the daughter of the author who maintains a page about her father, Beardmore. He wrote comic books after the war so you might want to check him out:

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