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CSotD: Long Divisions

There are plenty of Billionaires in Space cartoons popping up, and I got a laugh out of Joy of Tech‘s take, because they’re right about any tourist with bucks and a kind of de-glorification of space flight. In the early days of flight, there were pilots who made a good living as (literal) barnstormers, flying into small towns and thrilling the locals with a few stunts and, for a price, a chance to come Josephine in my flying machine.

For that matter, it’s not so long ago that taking a commercial airplane trip was somewhat elite, an event not everyone experienced and for which people dressed up.

Today, you’re lucky if your seatmate showered, much less dressed for the occasion.

Imagine that all the way to Neptune.


However, there have also been cartoons about the egotism and waste of money involved, and, while American versions have been almost wistful in what that money might have otherwise done, plutocrats in this country who fear socialism should be glad they’re not in places where the thirst for justice has not been watered down by an unrealistic hope of sudden, unearned wealth.

First Dog on the Moon takes an amusing but harsh look at the whole thing, more aligned with life overseas, where trade unionists and students have a much more realistic expectation of how much wealth is ever going to trickle down to them.

You should read the entire comic, which he has titled, “What if the worst people in the world said they all wanted to go into space?”


Though, to be fair, the State of Texas is making a bid to become the worst people in the world, offering $10,000 bounties for anyone who turns in a woman who has had an abortion, or, for that matter, anyone who offered her advice on the topic or even drove her to the clinic.

Ann Telnaes is not a fan.

You might think this would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the final indignity that causes people to rise up. After all, we know from the history of the conflict that many, many women have quietly terminated pregnancies, including many who are not liberal and whose religious background would argue against it.

And those quiet, conservative women sometimes vote behind the curtain in ways they don’t proclaim publicly.

But how many times can you say, “This, clearly, is the final straw” and then watch as another bale is loaded on while the camel placidly chews its cud and says nothing?

Speaking of which, what are you doing?


As Jen Sorensen illustrates, the Courts remain insensitive to how hard it is for everyone to get to the polls, and to how state legislatures’ attempts to make it harder are a class-based, race-based attempt to shut out those who might rock the boat.

Those with an interest in stifling the vote are mocking Kamala Harris for having said that even the seemingly easy step of submitting a photocopy of your ID can be a burden in rural areas.

Are there photocopiers in rural libraries and high schools? Sure.

However, in my old hometown, you might be 20 miles from either, and, if you don’t have a car, that’s a burden. And, by the way, you might also be 40 miles or more from anywhere you can get that government-approved ID.

And that’s nowhere near as remote as Sorensen’s example of life at Four Corners or in some of the Northern Plains states.

Anyone who says Harris’s point was simply about photocopiers is either a liar or a fool, and god knows we’ve no shortage of either.


But here’s a funny example of a cartoonist who hasn’t done his homework: Dana Summers (Tribune) comments on Democratic lawmakers in Texas who left the state in order to prevent a quorum and thus frustrate passage of a law further restricting voters.

I don’t know what he knows about that law or about the reasoning of the dissenters, but he apparently missed another recent Texas legislative effort, one to preserve the mythology, rather than the history, of the Battle of the Alamo, which, you may be shocked to learn, featured neither Fess Parker nor John Wayne.

In fact, Summers’ cartoon might serve as an illustration for “Forget the Alamo,” the new, more complete history of the siege. As one author of the book told Dave Davies on Fresh Air the history hardly matches the movies.

History sucks.


Speaking of harsh truths, a short arc in Candorville (WPWG) sent me back to 1989 and my days as a reporter in apple country.

Meryl Streep went on 60 Minutes to denounce Alar, a chemical sprayed on apples to keep them from dropping off the trees before they could be harvested. This was of major concern in an area where the apple harvest was a big part of the economy, and I ended up diving deep into the facts of the matter, it being generally agreed that Meryl Streep was not a biochemist.

But she appeared to be right about Alar.

The tie-in to baby food — aside from the then-recent scandal of Beech Nut selling sugar water as apple juice — was that, first of all, babies are not simply small adults. Their developing bodies have different needs and also different ways of processing food.

The other was that the pro-alar people declared that you’d have to ingest massive quantities of the stuff to suffer harm, but, first of all, the per-weight issue changes those numbers, but, also, any parent of an infant knows that they tend to fixate on one or two favorite foods, and that apple juice and apple sauce are often on that list.

They were ingesting massive quantities.

Lemont is in a different situation, victim of our ability to spot minute quantities of anything. The baby food companies aren’t adding those toxins; they’re naturally occurring, which means that even making your own baby food from organic ingredients wouldn’t eliminate them. Read more here.

Though tossing a bit of the family’s menu into a grinder would help eliminate the fixation issue, as well as a lot of fussy eating later in life.

But, yes, science also sucks.

Though not always.


Community Comments

#1 Mike Beede
@ 7:56 am

Might be interesting to assay Lamont’s spice drawer. I suspect with the tools of modern science he’d find plenty of stuff in there that was surprising and horrifying to him. I haven’t checked (what do I look like, a cartoonist/journalist?) but I bet the regs on spices are pretty lax, based on the reasonable argument that spices are pretty much a trace component in the diet and therefore less of a concern. At least until the next celebrity needs a cause.

Like other stuff in the real world, it’s complicated. If you have no regulation and inspection, the companies will be selling you wine sweetened with lead, and if you inspect too rigorously you can’t have real root beer unless you source your own roots (see “sassafras”). Well, I’m in my seventh decade and I bet in the Roman Empire I wouldn’t have made it there … and even if I had I’d have been dead now for a couple thousand years.

Here’s to comics!

#2 Greg Olson
@ 6:15 pm

Here in the People’s Republic (Oregon) Republican legislators have regularly been absconding in order to prevent a quorum. Doesn’t get quite the same reaction on Fox as when Democrats do it.

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