CSotD: Reasons to believe

Once again this week, sports takes the lead, as Adam Zyglis (Cagle) spotlights a hero and a zero.

Carl Nassib, who is entering his sixth year in the NFL, came out as gay, which caused a great deal of applause, until someone found out he’s also a conservative Republican, at which point they remembered another defensive end, Michael Sam, who came out just before the draft in 2014.

There is some evidence that the NFL leaned on St. Louis to draft Sam so that the league wouldn’t look homophobic, but, like nearly half of seventh-round choices, he didn’t make the team, then spent a few weeks on Dallas’s practice squad before being released a second time.

He subsequently played a season in the Canadian Football League with Montreal and is now an author and motivational speaker.

Nassib, by contrast, has a solid if unspectacular pro record and has been a starter as well as a dependable backup, giving him a much stronger claim to first active, openly gay player status.

NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon congratulated him on Twitter but added a bit of a shrug from inside the locker room.

Perhaps worth noting that Moon graduated in an era when African-American quarterbacks were either not drafted or were forced to convert to running backs. Passed over in the draft, he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL and led them to a league championship in five of his six seasons there, before the NFL took a chance on the future Hall of Famer.

Also worth noting that the Edmonton Eskimos are now the Edmonton Elks. Times change and smart franchises wise up in all sorts of ways.

By contrast, as Zyglis notes, his hometown team, the Bills, is currently dealing with the embarrassment of having a solid star come out as a rabid anti-vaxxer.

I can’t embed this snippet of video commentary, but it’s worth two minutes, as a former player explains preventive health care to someone who ought to already know how a professional keeps the instrument in tune.


While the rightwing continues to obsess over Critical Race Theory, they’re also picking up on a purported rise in the crime rate, as seen in this Lisa Benson (WPWG) cartoon, in which the problem is that Democrats have completely eliminated police departments across the country. Or something.

This in-depth analysis from the Tennessean concedes that, yes, there’s been a rise in violent crime, perhaps due to the pressures of the pandemic, perhaps due to something else, but certainly not confined to cities where there have been minor cuts to police departments — we’re talking four or five percent — and it’s also happening in cities where police budgets were increased, cities with both Republican and Democratic mayors.

To which I would add that, if cities increased their social services budgets, and if there were more support for childcare and family leave, you wouldn’t see little kids left to play unsupervised next to a raging surf.


From the other side of the aisle, Benjamin Slyngstad touches on the CRT matter, sort of, and he’s both right and wrong at the same time.

He’s certainly right that our histories make way too much of the word “we” when they are only describing the experience of the mainstream middle class. As noted here several times, history taught as “the virus that spread from Plymouth Rock” is bad history, and I’d certainly add that teaching what “we” did and thought about “those” slaves is even worse.

We need an inclusive, Ken Burns style history that explains major events in terms of social movements, not simply political documents and the actions of Big Important People.

But the calls of “Why didn’t they teach me about this?” miss the point, which is that school curricula can only cover so much, and its real mission is to provide you with a framework that inspires you to seek more details.

I don’t know that we were taught much of anything about the GI Bill, beyond — I mean this literally — a sentence or two. And, honestly, I like Slyngstad’s work in general, but between “many” and “some,” that second panel is statistical gibberish.

The fact of the GI bill belongs in the topic of the post-war economic boom. The inequity with which it was distributed belongs in the roots of the Civil War Movement.

But, mostly, fixing our educational system is about addressing the word “We.”

The rest will follow.


And now for something completely different


I firmly believe we need to end the filibuster before the GOP ends American democracy.

But I’d have given RJ Matson praise for this one anyway, because not only is it an apt comparison of a pair of deadly if somewhat phantasmagorical beasties, but it’s a true cartoon rarity in that he actually replicates the meter of Lewis Carroll’s poem.

We may not have been taught much about the GI Bill in school, but we were sure hammered on poetic meter and repeatedly made to demonstrate it in writing of our own.

In fact, I still remember, in eighth grade, learning the meter of this line from “The Courtship of Miles Standish“:

“NoTHING was HEARD in the ROOM but the HURRying pen of the STRIP LING,”

and, though I had to look it up to see that it is dactylic hexameter, I had remembered that “dactylic” means the syllables mirror the long and short bones of your finger.

A lot of future cartoonists were evidently doodling pictures in the back of the room; Matson was listening.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Barney and Clyde – WPWG)


(Lola – AMS)

This one stopped me in my tracks, because, while a well-known nursery rhyme, it’s not particularly prominent.

Weingarten & Co get no credit for meter, since it is the original text, and no credit for etymology, either, since the poem didn’t appear until a good 200 years after the two Marys — Stuart and Bloody — had died.

But wotthehell, most nursery rhyme “origins” are as nonsensical as the poems themselves.

(I was going to add “Mary, Mary” — written by Mike Nesmith for the Paul Butterfield Band — but
found this instead. You’re welcome.)




6 thoughts on “CSotD: Reasons to believe

  1. I ended up memorizing Jabberwocky in third grade as a result of copying it out longhand as a present for Mom–it seemed to make sense at the time. Anyway, it’s pretty good, but he added a syllable for no reason at all. On the whole, it’s a great cartoon. I like the art.

  2. I don’t get the dire warning when I’m about to send comments any more. I don’t even know if anyone else got those, but they seem to have vanished with the new Firefox (along with all my logins and bookmarks).

  3. Matson must have been watching Jeopardy the other night when “What Is Jabberwock” was the final question. (And one losing contestant added the “y” at the end, making it wrong because the clue asked for the monster, not the poem.)

  4. Jabberwock is a noun – the name of the beast.
    Jabberwocky is an adjective.

    Senators who invoke the Filibusterwock too often are filibusterwocky or “filibuster-happy.”

    I correctly use the noun in the poem and the adjective as the title of the cartoon.

    Yes, I was paying attention, while also doodling, in the back of the class
    in high school. I was an English Major in college who also studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, for a year when I lived a stone’s throw from the Lewis Carroll shop on St Aldate’s.

    (Never went to art school, for whatever that’s worth.)

  5. Not sure if this is a true Juxtaposition of the Day, but “Six Chix” and “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” are both about pop cultural references no one under 40 is likely to get.

  6. Brad, if we’re honest, that’s kind of Simpson’s punch line. As for Lawton, I always thought it was “nobody does it like Sara Lee,” so the joke was mostly lost on me.

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