CSotD: Running with the Red Queen


The joke being that, while some of us ran as fast as we could, some of us didn’t run at all, and so here we are in the same place as we started.

I’d laugh, if I didn’t have a niece in Florida who tested positive despite being vaccinated. She’s okay; For nearly all vaccinated people who become infected, the symptoms are low if they have any at all.

The problem for political cartoonists is that it’s hard to satirize things that don’t move and people who likewise or worse, such that Ed Wexler‘s cartoon about Ron DeStantis is better than average — the blanket toss is a nice touch — but, with all due respect, you don’t have to do astonishing work to be better than average, because there really isn’t much to say beyond “Shame on you.”


I could feature half a dozen cartoons on the topic of Covid and denial and not get anywhere. It’s frustrating, as a cartoon critic, I’m sure as a cartoonist and, most certainly, as someone who would like this whole thing to be over.


Jen Sorensen has her characters running as fast as they can, which echoes both their weariness and, presumably, her own.


While Matt Davies (AMS) echoes today’s theme, with the Anti-Vaxers setting a pace sure to make certain that, no matter how fast we run, we will stay in the same place.

BTW, our co-op is re-instituting masks starting next week.


There may be movement elsewhere, and I like Ed Hall‘s latest, which echoes my oft-stated opinion that Biden is doing a great deal of work without shouting it from the rooftops. This Washington Post piece traces the complexities he’s working to rope together.

He’s not just facing opposition from the GOP but from the progressive wing of his own party, though it seems that those who embody the saying “The perfect is the enemy of the good” are a fringe within the fringe.

Most, though frustrated by what they see as a lack of action, seem to take a more pragmatic view, particularly of the end of eviction protection, which, thanks to a Supreme Court decision, is more on their shoulders than his.


Economics is even less precise than epidemiology, and Phil Hands echoes a fear of inflation that is seen on both sides of the political spectrum.

Most economists seem concerned but not frightened, calling it part of the post-pandemic rebound. On Friday’s Marketplace, it was explained that prices lagged during the pandemic, so that something which now costs $12 might have cost $10 a year ago, but both prices are unrealistic, so that, while it won’t return to that low price, it won’t stay at the high price once the supply chain and other elements have shaken themselves off.


Which is good news for those of us who have managed to hang on through the past year, but, as Dave Granlund and those aforementioned progressive Democrats point out, it’s cold comfort for those who only made it with forbearances and government aid.

It’s like telling someone that grizzly bears are on the endangered species list while they are being attacked by one. It may be true, but it’s not reassuring at the moment.

I’d criticize Granlund’s calling it an “extended forecast,” because the extended forecast is quite good. It’s the immediate disaster that threatens, and I like his tornado, because even the most heartless economic Darwinians of the right seem willing to extend government  aid in the wake of tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Though perhaps they denied and downplayed the pandemic precisely to avoid categorizing it as a natural disaster.

It’s easier to ignore suffering and loss if you can chalk it up to a lack of character and ignore the most important part of the instruction manual.


The sound of tinkling bells and sounding brass aside, Paul Fell is right that the deficit is a partisan concern, and, while nobody seems Grinch enough to question relief for one hurricane at a time, the sweep of the pandemic — and the denialism of Trump and his allies — turned it from a disaster into a political pawn, subject to the by now traditional criticism of helping those in need at the expense of Wall Street and the 1%.

It’s evident at the moment in the infrastructure talks: Everyone agrees we need to fix up our highways, and they even agree that guaranteeing Internet access is as vital to the nation today as extending electricity was in the 1930s.

But the bargain seemingly achieved — that horse isn’t in the stable yet — included jettisoning the simple expedient of a slight tax increase on the ultrawealthy, who can afford multiple homes in lavish communities and even trips into space, but shudder at the prospect of swallowing a waffer-theen mint.

There is an explanation from the deficit-averse about how this whole thing will pay for itself, but it’s like listening to a kid explain why he can continue to play video games and still be ready for tomorrow’s exam.

It’s a complicated way of taking unspent money from this pile and shifting it over to that pile without admitting that you condemned it as irresponsible when it was proposed in the first place, and that it was never real money anyway.

The trick is to keep a straight face.


Juxtaposition of the Zyglis Watch

(Candorville – WPWG)

(On the Fastrack – KFS)

Maybe reporters at major papers with strong unions work under multi-year contracts, but my experience was much more as reflected in Fastrack, and, yes, while the fixtures were once prized more highly than the employees, it’s all up for grabs these days.

The only contract I ever signed was as an independent contractor, and it mostly promised that I wouldn’t write anything that would get the newspaper sued.

But the Buffalo News does have a guild and, against all odds and predictions, they appear to have ironed out an agreement with Lee Enterprises, subject only to a vote by union members.

DD Degg has summed up some other good news, and the return of Adam Zyglis’s work will — pending that vote — be twice-welcome.

Sometimes the tattoo is from printer’s ink.


7 thoughts on “CSotD: Running with the Red Queen

  1. “…even the most heartless economic Darwinians of the right seem willing to extend government aid in the wake of tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes.”

    I seem to recall southern Republicans bravely standing against aid to the northeast after Superstorm Sandy — a miserliness not reciprocated after Hurricane Harvey.

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