CSotD: Bad Vibe Nation

Scrolling through the Intertubes has, as Joy of Tech points out, become a most unpleasant activity, and yet one to which we seem to have become addicted.

One of the elements of that addiction is denial, the “I can quit any time I want to” common to addicts and those alcoholics who have only a small glass of wine at dinner plus the quart of vodka hidden behind the dryer, all governed by the saying, “One drink is too many and 100 are not enough.”

I was going to assume that Joy of Tech was riffing on this horrifying breakdown of Facebook’s algorithms at Mother Jones, but when I went to fetch it, I found countless articles about how to beat the algorithms, most of which I suspect involve hiding them behind the dryer.

That Mother Jones piece is long and detailed but worth the effort, because it lives up to its headline “Why Facebook Won’t Stop Pushing Propaganda,” which, again, seems central to the above cartoon.

And which brings us to wonder how much of the genuinely bad news in which we are currently enmeshed is a result of successful propaganda, made harder to bear because of the constant doom in doomscrolling.

The answer being that it really doesn’t matter if we can’t find a way to put the pieces back together.

The other question is the one Ken Kesey reportedly put to Pancho Pillow: “Why should I take your bad trip?”

And the answer to that is that we’re all on the bus.


Of course, we each have the option of doing our homework and being honest instead of frantic and hateful, but Peter Brookes is one of the few cartoonists bothering to point out, for instance, that the equipment the US left behind in Afghanistan is largely junk, either because we sabotaged the stuff that we, ourselves, couldn’t transport home or because, as Clay Jones points out in a perceptive, furious essay, it isn’t going to last long without maintenance and they’ll run out of parts soon enough.

Jones also excoriates rightwing media for lying about things like the man hanging from the helicopter and the dogs left behind, asking, in his inimitable way, why, if the evacuation is such an obvious disaster for Biden “Republicans still have to make shit up.”

Helluva question, and if you’d prefer to see the lies and the coverage and the lying coverage dealt with in classier language, Jennifer Rubin covers the ground with a bit more grace, in a column headlined “Facts are finally starting to penetrate bad Afghanistan punditry.”

Though a cynic might have called it “Truth gets on its boots, hoping to overcome Falsehood’s half-global lead.”


Bill Bramhall is one of several cartoonists to point out the hypocrisy of agonizing over the status of women in Afghanistan without acknowledging our own assault on women in this country.

Confining it to Texas seems a pretty optimistic viewpoint, since the Texas law is essentially a slow, underhand pitch designed to let the McConnell Supreme Court take a hearty swing at Roe v Wade.

SCOTUS declined to block the law overnight, but that was a temporary move and I’m sure that it will eventually come up for a full hearing from them, and I’m also pretty sure that, if you believe in women’s rights to make their own medical decisions, you won’t like the outcome.


I realize that Mrs. Betty Bowers is more of a satire site and meme-source than a political cartoon, but it’s a thin line and she’s got this one right.

I particularly like her pretty, well-groomed appearance, because she is the personification of the gentry who lecture from a rarified platform of privilege, as well as of those nicely dressed ladies who go to their doctor for a discreet D&C while lecturing everyone else about the sinful evil of abortion.

She’d better hope her doctor’s staff is all paid enough that Greg Abbott’s $10,000 bounty wouldn’t tempt them.



Betty Bowers offers dark humor, but there’s nothing funny about Gary Huck‘s projection of what is being offered to women in Texas who don’t belong to Betty’s country club.

He’s hardly the only cartoonist to feature a coat hanger, or even one shaped like Texas, but he’s one of the few to show the implement untwisted, and simply waving a coat hanger does not begin to explain the matter.

The Texas law, particularly the bounty system, is designed not only to put safe abortions out of reach, but to put even back-alley gynecological services out of business, and it includes banning discussions of the process that might involve travel to other states.

It leaves frightened, desperate women with few alternatives.

I say this as someone old enough to know not just the stories but the young girls who starred in them, including some young frightened girls who were lucky enough to take enough of a toxin to kill the fetus but not quite enough to kill themselves, and one who wept, telling me of her having untwisted a coat hanger and inserted it into her womb, the result being a flood of blood and tissue, a midnight race to the emergency room, and the likelihood that she would never have children.

It leaves me wondering how many stories I never heard, and how so many righteous Pharisees managed to avoid hearing them at all.

I suppose it helps if you don’t listen.


And if, as Benjamin Slyngstad demonstrates, you don’t allow women to be heard.

The biggest downer of all being that we can’t guarantee they will be.

The elections of 2022 will tell us a lot, and that story may not have a happy ending.



It’s understandable that social media is full of hatred for religion, with so many people having been scarred by blasphemous malpractice in that area.

But Sufi Comics offers a view of thoughtful applied devotion, the best part being that you don’t have to have an objective belief in Allah to apply the life lessons they offer.

You just have to work to envision the evil in the world as a challenge to be resisted and then, as they advise, taking action.

Cartoons are one tool. So is voting. So are songs.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Bad Vibe Nation

  1. Is there anything preventing countersuits? Get enough of those going and that $10,000 will get eaten up fast — only ones to profit will be the lawyers…

  2. Apparently, the law makes squealers immune to countersuits.

    And Branch’s version was on my list but, as said, I preferred the one showing the hanger untwisted, as they are when used for the purpose Gov. Abbott intends.

  3. @Brad Walker—from what I read that if you fight one of the squealers in court, you won’t even get to recoup you legal fees if you win.

    And now the good Christian folk in the SC have decided that they’ll allow it to pass for now because all of a sudden the law is too complicated for them to address.

    What burns me up most about this is just the absolute craven weakness of the whole thing. Forced-birthers don’t have the balls to make abortion illegal so they pass a bunch of useless regulations guised as “safety measures” to regulate clinics out of business. The wing nut SC doesn’t have the balls to say they want to overturn Roe so they cover by basically taking forever to “think about it”. Republicans don’t have the balls to just come out and say they don’t want the “wrong people” voting so they pass a bunch of restrictions disguised as “election integrity”. Wing nut legislators don’t have the balls to say they want to have one official state religion that’s favored above all the others, so they lobby to allow legal discrimination and call it “protecting religious freedom.”

    If you’re going to be a d—ned fascist who wants to turn the country into your own narrow idea of “paradise”, where your own kind can get whatever they want and all the weirdos that make you uncomfortable know their place, cut the charade and just come out and say it.

    Also, the fact that this is all being done under the banner of the faith I was raised in makes me want to abandon that as well.

  4. It all seems to come down to “The sacred sperm must be carried to term.” I can see at least one party boy on SCOTUS subscribing to that philosophy.

  5. And since there’s not exemption for rape or incest, Texas could have serial rapists checking up on their victims and suing when they’re not pregnant later on.

    And wouldn’t said SCOTUS party boy prefer to NOT have to pay child support for every time he partied?

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