CSotD: Issues of Standing

Marc Murphy salutes the new Census data, which shows an actual decrease in the number of non-Hispanic white folks in the US, with a reminder that both apples and their pie are immigrants. Yes, I fact-checked an attorney: Apples originated in what is now Kazakhstan and the pie in England.

I’m a non-Hispanic white person, but I greeted the news with a shrug, since I’ve never owned a tiki torch nor fretted over such things.

However, that doesn’t leave me neutral, because, after watching the Trumpanzees plot to subvert the Census process, I find it amusing that even their monkeywrenched head count showed that, yes, OMG, people who don’t look like us are gaining in numbers.

Run, Tucker! Run!

Knowing that white folks are only 58% of the population is going to make GOP gerrymandering a tough assignment, especially since part of the change is an increase in interracial marriage, which may require drawing district lines right through the middle of people’s houses.

I have standing to laugh: I covered the 1990 Census, and, when the numbers started coming out, my editor was giddy with excitement to see how much more diverse Northern New York had become in the past decade.

Until I reminded her that the athlete housing from the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics had been converted into prisons.

Counting indigenous people was also a challenge, given that there were a lot of militantly sovereignist Mohawk in the area who didn’t want to be counted, though our cheerful Census Bureau insisted they were wonderfully cooperative and the numbers were accurate.

For that story, I called around the country to other tribal leaders and got a lot of interesting information about undercounts, delivered with a fair amount of the dry Indian wit that makes droll Yankees look like Soupy Sales.

Speaking of which …


Back about that same time, I was at a craft fair and picked up one of those T-shirts with a picture of Geronimo and several of his warriors that said “Fighting Illegal Immigration Since 1492,” and then realized that I didn’t have standing to wear it. I gave it to an Abenaki in the backshop at the paper who was delighted to have it.

Marty Two Bulls has standing to comment on this sort of thing, however, and the fact that we see his cartoons in the mainstream is yet another element of change.

It’s more evident in the African-American community, where the piercing humor of people like Ollie Harrington was confined to the Black press for decades, but, when cartoonists like Aaron Magruder and Keith Knight stepped forward, they did it in the mainstream and it made a whole lot of people uncomfortable.

Not just the white people who found themselves holding the bang end of the slapstick, but a fair number of Black people who felt this was a conversation that should be kept in the family.

Well, it’s out there now, and we’re still sorting through who’s got the right to say what about whom and with which words, though I think the “Latinx” thing is dying out as it becomes evident that the people who have standing to use it don’t.

It’s related to a conversation I had with a Saginaw friend who said it didn’t matter to him if you said “Chippewa” or “Ojibway,” because “the only time they write it down is when they’re taking something else away from us.”

They now use their own name, “Anishinaabe.”

Problem solved, and without the need for outside advice. Fancy that!

Anyway, I like Two Bulls’ cartoon because he addresses the current flood of anti-immigrant slurs by white-supremacist Magg-ots in a way that’s as American as succotash.


On a related note, Walt Handelsman takes advantage of his standing as a cartoonist in Louisiana to make a telling reference that should strike home with his audience.

Granted, Katrina was 16 years ago, but that’s not so long ago for an event with such a profound, and often tragic, impact on the  Mississippi Delta and Gulf Coast. If brand-new voters don’t remember it personally, they’ve heard the stories and seen the results, while the bulk of readers will catch his reference immediately.

When you have the chance to sock-em in the gut, you shouldn’t pass it up.

It has to matter, of course: Don’t dull your meat ax by using it to kill spiders.

But it’s appropriate here. Not everyone died in Katrina and not everybody will die from Covid, but everybody who was there can certainly understand the concept of risk, and the danger of ignoring a threat.


More local commentary, this from Adam Zyglis (Cagle) who not only, as a New York resident, has standing to discuss the Cuomo resignation, but has extra standing to salute New York’s next governor, who is, like him, like his paper, a Buffalo native.

I’m not the only one who bristles at anything outside the Five Burroughs being dismissed as “Upstate,” and there are many back home who are thrilled that, for once, their governor is not from Downstate New York.

Kathy Hochul not only grew up on the Niagara Frontier but is a Syracuse grad, which doubles her credibility in the parts of NY from which you cannot see the Statue of Liberty.

Though, BTW, “passing the torch” is less a cliche when the torch is from that iconic statue, which, like the Giants and Jets but not the Bills, is in New Jersey.

Having former governors Spitzer and Cuomo in a male-symbol-shaped sewer seems an exaggeration, because while they, and Anthony Weiner, fell from grace over sexual matters, there are plenty of recent NY politicians who have disgraced themselves through good old fashioned corruption, a tradition going back to Boss Tweed and only male-based because we wouldn’t let the girls play.

I heard former NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman interviewed yesterday, and she said that, while being the “first” was never a policy factor for her, women do prioritize differently, and having them better represented in government, and in powerful positions, makes a difference.

Having worked for both male and female publishers, I agree.

The ones with standing to lead are the ones who never lost the diamonds in their eyes, or the hunger for the day’s chase.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Issues of Standing

  1. I’m just a layperson when it comes to editorial cartoons, but I have to say how impressed I am with Marty Two Bulls’ technique. I appreciate his stuff for providing a perspective I don’t usually get to read about, but also that guy can really draw!

  2. If the Adam Z cartoon brings “excelsior” into more common usage, that would be a significant accomplishment. Not just NY, but the whole nation could benefit from an infusion of excelsior standards.

  3. I’m only a hick from flyover country, but I’m pretty sure New York has 5 “boroughs” – unless you mean Edgar Rice and his kin…

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