CSotD: Short takes

Clyde gets down to reality in today’s Candorville (WPWG), and his list of dictators could also have included a heapin’ helpin’ of populist demagogues, who are mostly only barred from being actual dictators through chance and technicalities, not for lack of ambition.

Lemont expects things to make sense, while Clyde sees what actually does.

In Lemont’s world, the top rated shows on TV would be Masterpiece Theater and 60 Minutes, but Clyde would put his money on Honey Boo-Boo and those talent-show quasi-contests that are like the Gong Show except we’re supposed to take them seriously.

And a lot of people apparently do, which is the point.

You can build a whole movement based on lies and distortions about the coronavirus, led by people who have themselves been vaccinated, because, when you tell your audience that Anthony Fauci is a fraud, they’ll bleat “Four legs good, two legs better” right on cue.

The faithful are now insisting that Trump would have gotten all our Afghan allies out, which might not convince the Kurds whom he abandoned in Syria.

But that was ever so long ago, and good demagogues know people have no memories. You don’t have to be clever, just confident.

Hence the term “con man.” 


Speaking of which — and referring to Clay Jones being put in Facebook Prison because someone objected to his cartoon — I would point out that the way to avoid problems with FB is apparently to give them money.

Clickbait is one thing, but these ads are not only lies but completely irrelevant to the advertisers’ actual business.

However, reporting utterly dishonest ads is not only harder than turning in a political opponent, but futile.

Zuckerberg doesn’t care, as long as the check clears, and why should he?

The advertisers are his clients. You are the product he’s selling.

To put it another way, they’re buying tickets to the zoo. You are the monkeys they’re paying to see.


Rico Schacherl’s cartoon made me smile, because the joke is that you can’t lose what you never had.

I’ve told this story before, but I used to run stock market simulation games for schools, and not only did the kids in the local juvie facility do well, but I checked with colleagues from around the country and they all reported the same thing: They were handing out awards regularly to underage convicts.

The kids were in the joint because they got caught, but, hey, they had good instincts.

If you can turn their talents to a con that’s legal, they’ll shine like lightbulbs.


Rhymes With Orange (KFS), meanwhile, offers some smart advice for getting past the on-line cons, to which it should be noted that even Googling to find out more or less what something costs will target you forever.

And I’ll add that Price and Piccolo did well to make it “Mom & Pop’s,” because “shop local” shouldn’t mean trotting down to K-Mart or Walgreens or Barnes & Noble, where your purchase only helps some poor local schmuck make minimum wage while the actual profits go off to a distant Corporate HQ.


Which brings to mind that someone noted on FB the anniversary of the invention, 125 years ago, of the dial telephone.

I assume that the Luddites who proudly refuse to use self-check stands at grocery stores, and insist we all do likewise, are also preserving low-paying jobs for switchboard operators by refusing to dial phone calls themselves.

The way they pump their own gas and never use ATMs.

Which is a wise-ass response, but that’s what I do. If you want an intelligent take on the issue of technology and low-skill jobs, click here.


The war on self-check is simply the latest on-line lynch mob phenomenon, and Wumo (AMS) points out a more venerable example, the war on Palatino and — horrors! — Comic Sans.

I understand preferences, certainly, but the only  time I’ve objected to a font was when everyone began using an Irish font with an oddly extended bar on the “e” for things that had nothing to do with Ireland. Cultural appropriation is a separate issue.

I’ll also admit to objecting when people use insufficient leading (the distance between lines of type). It makes my teeth ache.

But this thing of ganging up on specific fonts reminds me of the gormless unbathed peasants in the Holy Grail, thrilled to be part of the crowd but unable to explain why they think Carol Cleveland is a witch.


Juxtaposition of the Century

(Free Range – AMS – Aug 17)

(The Argyle Sweater – AMS – Aug 19)

Breath-taking, isn’t it?

If it had happened two weeks apart, you could be suspicious, but two days apart makes it simply unexplainable.

Though we might conclude that Whitehead and Hilburn have different editors at the syndicate. This is a distinctive enough gag that, even if their submissions came in well apart, it ought to ping the memory.


Man Overboard tends towards more theological/ethical/philosophical material, but this dip into the secular world got a laugh and a thumbs up from me.

There’s a serious point to be made here, which is that, even in genre fiction, you need to maintain consistency and logic within your imaginary world of vampires or cowboys or swashbucklers or whatever.

One shouldn’t go all Holden Caulfield on a piece of fiction, whether on stage, in books or on film. But, given that he was on the verge of a breakdown, it did bring a lot of issues to the fore.

Just not in a way you should want to replicate.

The reason the original Star Trek worked so well was that everything and everybody was completely consistent and realistic. Only the settings were exaggerated to set up the conflict.

But, as sequels and imitators emerged, the settings tended to become the focus, at which point suspension of disbelief got harder and harder.

Modern vampire and zombie stories start at such an extreme point that it’s not enough to suspend disbelief — you have to abandon it entirely.

At least, I would. And I couldn’t. So I don’t.


Finally, the gags in Wallace the Brave (AMS) are always good, but this one came with a free earworm.

And, yeah, pretty sure that’s Cindy.

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Short takes

  1. That earworm reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer sees a preview of a new detective show where the second cop is a tough, no-nonsense guy named Homer Simpson. Homer talks up the show, and everyone’s watching the debut where they’ve reworked the character into a dope (who sounds exactly like Homer’s friend Barney Gumbel) who screws up constantly and then exclaims “Oh oh Spaghetti-O!” after.

  2. My first though about the zoo analogy is that it wasn’t exactly right. We aren’t the monkeys they’re paying to see. We’re the captive monkeys they’re paying for, to see *them*. But that’s if I think about as regards television. With the internet, the advertisers are indeed watching us. Spot on.

    By the way, I used to ask people this question: “What’s the number one product sold by TV?” My answer was eyeballs. Viewer eyeballs.

    Regarding Palatino, I suppose the next step is for fonts to become a political wedge — maybe one party will use sans serif and the other will become serif only. (I’m assuming this hasn’t already happened.) And candidates will warn that the other guys are gonna make you use a serif.

  3. I was curious enough to pop over to MS Word and check out the differences between Times New Roman and Palatino.
    Basically, Palatino isn’t as cramped as TNR; otherwise they’re superficially the same.
    Knowledge makes the cartoon even funnier.

    Oh, Brad Walker! How long have you been saving that brilliant pun?

  4. Incidentally, my boys insisted on Franco-American/Chef Boyardee stuff at the store one day, despite my having never, ever served them canned pasta.

    But, being a good father, I let them each select two cans of whatever. They ate one can each as soon as we got home.

    The other two cans I donated to a food drive a few months later.

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