See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

CSotD: Holidays and Follydays

I’m pleased with the recognition, but I agree with Bill Bramhall that it ought not to be the end of the process.

I’ll admit my first reaction was “There’s another day the post office and the banks will be closed,” because American wage slaves don’t get many of our federal holidays off.

Here’s the current list:

New Year’s Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Inauguration Day
Washington’s Birthday
Memorial Day
Juneteenth
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day

Of 12 federal holidays, only New Years, Memorial Day, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas are sacrosanct, which, ironically, would be half if employers still honored Labor Day, which too many of them don’t.

So I’m happy about the new holiday, but closing the post office doesn’t really elevate a celebration the people who will mark it already have been.

 

I heard someone say Juneteenth would be a good opportunity for teachers to teach kids about slavery, which would be true if schools weren’t one of the few places that observe federal holidays.

And, as Kevin Siers points out, if they don’t close for the new holiday, the GOP will close them down for addressing forbidden subjects.

I realize that the war on CRT doesn’t mean you can’t teach about slavery. It just means you have to skip over the parts where it was unpleasant and happened on purpose and left deep marks on the African-American community.

 

As JD Crowe puts it, this leaves our racial heritage as an untouchable subject.

It was always going to be a tough subject to teach, and I have some sympathy for those who object to “white people did this,” since “white people” is a shifting demographic group from several distinct ethnicities, many of whom had nothing to do with what happened in America before the Civil War, who weren’t welcomed here, and whose advantages since have been more passively than actively achieved.

Though, looking at it today, those once-hated groups have far less of a historic hangover than those once-enslaved people.

However, that’s the sort of tricky problem that can be worked out by curriculum experts, unless you live in a state that requires the teaching of Happy Face History, as discussed here previously.

The real problems will come when teachers depart from the curriculum and make remarks that are (A) hurtful and (B) don’t reflect actual history, and that happens on both sides of the political divide.

I’d start by having middle and high school teachers fully understand the history.

As for elementary teachers, it’s one of those things where you have to be careful to answer the question that was asked, not the one you imagined, the classic joke being the kid who asks where he came from, gets a full explanation of the birds and the bees, but only asked because his friend came from New Jersey.

Which reminds me that, in 10th grade biology, we had to take a note home to let our parents know we were about to learn about reproduction, which, at that point, was more about correcting what we’d figured out on our own.

I think we’ll be teaching racism on pretty much that same level, if we’re allowed to teach it at all.

And, yes, there are places teachers aren’t allowed to address either topic.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Kevin Kallaugher)

 

(Chip Bok – Counterpoint)

 

(AF Branco – Creators)

Kallaugher notes the lack of cooperation from Chinese authorities in attempting to pin down the source of the coronavirus.

China is hardly the most transparent nation on Earth, and, if they won’t talk about the Uighurs or Tibet or their ghastly air pollution, it’s hardly surprising that they aren’t being forthcoming about what happened in Wuhan.

Their initial explanation, that the virus spread from a bushmeat market, was handy, since not only did it push the blame way down the ladder, but the sale of endangered animals — wild or farmed — is one of the few things the Chinese government has been somewhat open to discuss.

It was also a reasonably logical explanation, since animal-to-human transfers are hardly an unknown phenomenon, which is why outside nations were willing to examine that theory as well as the theory that it escaped from a laboratory, though we also have labs that examine extremely nasty germs.

Only, as seen in Bok and Branco’s Juxtaposition, conspiracy buffs can’t decide if it was a naturally occurring virus deliberately released or a virus that was deliberately manufactured before being deliberately released.

Beyond the issue of whether scientists are allowed to alter their best guesses as facts emerge, there remains the unexplained matter of why the Chinese would deliberately use their own people as the vectors with which to kick off this deliberate pandemic, rather than deliberately releasing the virus somewhere else.

And don’t say because they wanted to lower their population, because that’s obviously not true.

Anyway, as Kal says, they’re not too blabby on the topic.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Gary Varvel – Creators)

 

(Robert Ariail – AMS)

This is a particularly interesting Juxtaposition, because Biden’s handing over a list of unacceptable cyber-targets in Geneva was open to interpretation, and, like Varvel, my initial reaction was that it was a meaningless gesture.

But the more I see of Biden, the less I believe he makes meaningless gestures, and yesterday I compared his approach to these forbidden targets to Tom Hagen’s quiet insistence that Johnny Fontaine really deserved a role in that movie.

I think Putin is a lot smarter than that Hollywood producer, and he’s a canny gambler. I agree with most analysts that he doesn’t control the hackers, but that he could shut down the ones at his end if he wanted to.

I’m a bit troubled by Ariail’s use of the term “red line,” because Biden’s former boss made a hash of that in Syria. But Biden seems to be drawing away from simply having been Obama’s VP.

We shall see.

The Final Word

Now that Stan Kelly has chimed in on the topic, we’re done (I hope) with this.

While, on a related note, the rightwing is having fun with the NYTimes’ inability to figure out satire.

Not that anyone suspected they could.

 

Community Comments

#1 mark allen johnson
June/18/2021
@ 7:50 am

Columnist Mike Royko ( RIP) once wrote about all the people who got Veterans day off while he, a vet, did not. His proposal, in his usual smart ass manner , was that vets should get the day off and not others. So, we’ll see who benefits from Juneteenth. If not equitable at least it will be respectful of the history behind it.

#2 Stacy Curtis
June/18/2021
@ 10:18 am

“I heard someone say Juneteenth would be a good opportunity for teachers to teach kids about slavery, which would be true if schools weren’t one of the few places that observe federal holidays.”

So you can’t teach kids about slavery on any day except Juneteenth?

#3 Kip Williams
June/18/2021
@ 11:12 am

More like “on any day, including Juneteenth.”

#4 Paul Berge
June/18/2021
@ 12:39 pm

Alas, any teachers still teaching by Juneteenth are probably preoccupied with final exams.

Someone might want to include it in the lesson plans for Constitution / Citizenship Day in September.

#5 ;Mary McNeil
June/18/2021
@ 5:51 pm

Well, here in Ohio we not only got mail today but the Credit Union was open. But I’ll bet postmaster general DeJoy took the day off

#6 Bob Crittenden
June/18/2021
@ 9:44 pm

Mary – the real test will be whether we get mail tomorrow.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.