CSotD: A Variety of Disputations

REMINDER TO CARTOONISTS: There are still three or four of you who have not yet
drawn your cartoon of the Olympic Rings supplanted by the coronavirus.
Please submit them before the Games have ended. 

Meanwhile, Michael Ramirez (Creators) cuts to the chase, or such chase as there is.

Cities vie to host the Olympics and then spend ghastly amounts of money on them which is never recovered. It’s about as expensive an example of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results as we have, and it’s certainly insane, and, by the way, Einstein didn’t say that.

According to Quote Investigator, the saying likely emerged from one of the 12 Step communities. Maybe major cities ought to join Olympics Anonymous.

Tokyo called off the Games last year because of the pandemic, which is still happening in a nation where only 20% of the population is vaccinated, but they, or the IOC, have decided that the show must go on, without the audiences whose expenditures might have offset the expense and disruptions in the surrounding communities.

Even ESPN is documenting the degree to which the Japanese people disagree with hosting the Games, though reporter Greg Keown concedes that demonstrations have been small and orderly, pointing out that this seems more in line with national character than national opinion. (By contrast, the Mexican government shot people in the streets for demonstrating against the 1968 Games. Different time, different place.)

Bottom line is that Ramirez foregoes drawing yet another corona-themed gag about the Olympics, and simply points out that the 2020-and-a-quarter Olympics have fallen flat on their face.

Well done.


Graeme MacKay notes the disconnect between the US and Canada over opening dates for their border.

I take it personally, with a small dash of Olympic relevance.

I lived in Plattsburgh, NY, for a dozen years or so, which is so close to Montreal that I could leave work at five and catch the first pitch of an Expos game in the gigantic, over-priced stadium whose roof never opened and closed as it should and which is the somewhat-enduring appropriately semi-functional symbol of the the 1976 Games, which remain the benchmark for Olympic economic disaster.

The border kept our little city from becoming a suburb, but we could still scoot up there to enjoy one of the most diverse and entertaining major cities on the continent. Now it’s not clear how or when anybody will be able to go either direction, or if you might get into one country and then not be able to get out.

MacKay is up-river in Hamilton, so he’s depicting the Peace Bridge that unites our two great countries, or did, and probably will again, though it’s a little hard to tell at the moment.

When I went to double-check that, I discovered that the website hasn’t been updated and says the bridge is open to commercial vehicles and essential travel, which doesn’t jibe with the date MacKay and the Canadian government list.

The website also speaks of “duty free washrooms,” which I assume, first of all, is spelled correctly, and, second, refers to their location and not any tariffs.



If you didn’t know Mike Peters (KFS) was from Dayton, Ohio, you might have thought this cartoon was a tad tone deaf, if not heartless.

But Dayton was also home to the Wright Brothers, who built an enormous nationwide monopoly on bicycles and bicycle repair shops, where they employed people at low wages so that they could amass a vast tax-free fortune for themselves, with which they hired engineers not to invent anything but, rather, to design and build an airplane for their personal use, similar to the airplanes the government had been flying for the past half century or more.

Or something like that.

Or maybe nothing at all like that.


David Horsey suggests that perhaps there’s more Emperor than Jedi in our intrepid space cadet.

Could it be that he’s not part of the solution after all?



On a considerably less hilarious topic, Joel Pett (Tribune) makes a connection I hadn’t seen made elsewhere.

Obviously, it’s an exaggeration. That’s a pretty basic tool of editorial cartooning.

For instance, we don’t close women’s schools and force them to wear burkas, though we do throw them in prison for terminating pregnancies, and we also offer rewards for information on the felons who advise them about pregnancies or drive them to medical facilities.


And, like the Taliban, we restrict what teachers can teach children about our nation’s history.

But we don’t blow up statues as part of that Cancel Culture approach to history. Quite the opposite, as Kevin Siers points out.


It’s not clear to me how the Taliban feel about modern science and health care.

But this Mike Luckovich cartoon reminds me that I’d be willing to bet that, if the Taliban is telling the Afghan people not to get vaccinated, they themselves are not getting shots and they’re certainly not putting out orders that all Taliban employees must show proof of vaccination. 

They may be lunatics, but they’re not hypocrites.

And we should remember that the majority of people in Afghanistan do not support the Taliban, whereas, in this country, the Republican Party won the popular vote for President in 10 of the last 25 elections, and as recently as 17 years ago.

It’s the Iranian Supreme Council, not the Taliban, and certainly not us, who put restrictions on who can run for office.

We simply put restrictions on where, when and how people can vote, and challenge the results of elections if we don’t like the outcome, sometimes encouraging mobs to storm government buildings to overthrow the winners.

Still, the Taliban governs by enforcing their own religious beliefs on all citizens, and we’d never do that.

Except when we had to, for moral reasons.


Serious thought on the topic:

Horsey drew this cartoon in 2001, before we entered Afghanistan. It was haunting then and it’s terrifying, now, to see it re-emerging in the country’s future.

But it’s like being friends with an addict. You do all you possibly can, but there comes a time when you realize that you have done all you possibly could.

And that not every sunset is gonna be beautiful.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: A Variety of Disputations

  1. The Olympics lost any claim to honor in 1972, when IOC Head Avery Brundage stood in the Olympic Stadium in Munich and declared, ‘The Games must go on.’

  2. And why do the “how dare they not spend the money on USEFUL THINGS” people who decry space projects (and, lately, specifically attempts to jumpstart space tourism) never seem to point out the vast amounts of money spent on the Olympics?

    I suppose because there are more pole-vaulters out than there are astronauts at this moment in time, but I hope that ratio will not always hold.

    I know what Big Events cause my household to turn in on the TV, and which ones just get the reaction “O.K., anything else on?”

  3. Probably because governments that participate in the Olympics do tend to spend money on useful things. If Bezos donated a substantial amount of his fortune to “feeding poor children”, as in the cartoon, I think that not nearly as many people would take issue with his space travel. But as it is, the man’s failure to pay his dessert of taxes combined with how little he donates combined with this project that brings about no social good for almost anybody makes many feel that he could stand to be much more useful.

  4. I can’t remember an Olympics in the past half century that didn’t include a very large number of people decrying the waste of money. Maybe LA, where they sold out to commercial sponsors, but that didn’t pan out. And Brazil didn’t spend as much because they’d just pissed it all away on the World Cup, which money was never recovered either.

    But the modern Olympics are a constant magnet for people who would rather the money was spent sensibly.

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