CSotD: Rumors, arguments and contradiction

Patrick Chappatte’s cartoon provides a warm-up exercise today. The latest Bond film is on the verge of release in theaters only, which may avoid some issues but why avoid controversy when, as Chappatte puts it, the mission is to resuscitate the audience?

So, having previously gotten everyone riled up about Bond becoming Black, the latest rumor is that perhaps the next Bond should be a woman.

In an article that helpfully lists everyone projected to be the next Bond, series producer Barbara Broccoli dismisses the notion of a female Bond:


And we should assume she meant more interesting than this 1966 attempt at a female secret agent, strictly played for giggles.

But she leaves an interesting question on the table. According to Wikipedia, Bond wasn’t a Scot until Fleming had seen Sean Connery in “Dr. No” and added half-Scottish ethnicity to the next novel, but even given the elasticity of “British” identity, he was always white.

At what point does cultural appropriation become a two-way street?

If Korean actors shouldn’t play Chinese characters, where is the line drawn?

Diversity has to mean more than simply recasting old characters in new skins.

Changing colors doesn’t inject authenticity, and, if Hollywood has a diversity problem, it’s not in front of the camera but behind it.

Now for something more substantive:


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Walt Handelsman – AMS)

(Francis – AMS)

The status of women in Afghanistan is crucial, the latest horror being (former) women judges living in terror of murderers they sentenced to prison, but who have since been released by the Taliban.

As said here before, few wars simply end with an armistice and a group hug, but this is well beyond acceptable.

But what’s the solution? Given that 20 years of armed presence didn’t solve the problem, I’d be disinclined to simply try it again, particularly in a place so clearly resistant to nation-building.

There is also a secondary fact pointed out in “Francis,” which is that we’re not so clean ourselves, and perhaps not all that well situated to lecture the Afghans, much less to step in and start shooting them again.

The hopeful note, to the extent there is one, is that Afghanistan is not simply a pariah — a lot of countries are withholding diplomatic recognition — but it is reportedly in extreme economic distress.

This does not appear to be the usual case of privileged Fat Cats starving the peasants, but of nobody having much of anything, and the Taliban may have to budge in order to survive.


Bob Englehart suggests a parallel with Germany and Japan, but we defeated them and rebuilt those fallen foes to their pre-war status as viable manufacturing entities.

We lost in Vietnam and they’re selling us shrimp, not cars.

We also lost in Afghanistan, which doesn’t have a lot of shrimp.

What they have is opium and some heavy metals, but, while the former is a major crop, the latter is in the ground and would require significant investment.

It’s possible that China might step in as an ally and trading partner, but the cost — both diplomatic and economic — of doing business with a bankrupt, pariah nation might not be worth the mineral rights.

And speaking of bankrupt extremists . . .

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Steve Brodner)

(Ann Telnaes)


(John Darkow)

Brodner and Telnaes are aghast over the ease with which Mitch McConnell is encouraging our economy to fall into default, Brodner assigning active blame and Telnaes transfixed by the cold-hearted joy McConnell seems to take at the prospect of blaming Democrats.

It’s a mess he engineered himself, and that he could readily repair by doing, not simply as others have done in the past but as he himself has done before.

It takes little effort to throw the lifesaver, but, while he readily tossed it to Trump, he’s hoping that Biden goes under, and, given that the person in danger of drowning is Joe Average American, it’s a particularly heartless attitude.

But that’s also the key.

Having sold the Big Lie that the election was stolen, and the Big Lie that storming the Capitol, attacking police and shouting for the death of political leaders is a peaceful demonstration, McConnell is probably right: If our economy is forced into disaster, his political faithful will believe it was all Joe Biden’s fault.

Let me add here that I’m tired of hearing that “nearly half” of Republicans call the January 6 riot a legitimate protest, given that Republicans only make up about 28% of the electorate.

Nearly half of a little over a quarter is what we might refer to as “the lunatic fringe,” and perhaps we should be more clear on that.

Making them seem like a formidable group emboldens the screwballs among them, such that we can’t have school board meetings or governmental conferences without interruption from loudmouthed, potentially violent idiots who have been mislead into thinking they matter.

Perhaps more cartoonists should take Darkow’s approach and lay things out in common terms that Archie Bunker can understand.

Preaching to the choir isn’t going to change things, but explaining matters in plain, bread-and-butter language might.

After all, that’s how we got here.


Juxtaposition of the Day #3

(Gary Varvel – Creators)

(Lisa Benson – WPWG)

Both cartoons are laid out in terms Archie will understand and applaud.

Varvel’s is brilliant: We all watch enough cop shows to know that “drug mules” are bad, then he loads up the Democratic Donkey with a burden of meaningless catch-phrases, the only one of any substance being that, yes, the proposal will spend trillions. The rest are just empty, scary words — he’s even got “pork” in there twice.

And “High Taxes” on whom? If he specified “Tax increases on fat cats, tax cuts for you,” well, that would undercut the purported Biden quote, which is distorted to scare Archie into opposing all those mythical, unspecified bad things Biden wants to do.

As for Benson’s cartoon, there’s no context and no meaning: Biden claims America is back, she says it’s not.

It’s straight out of the Argument Clinic sketch:

Which is a classic because, we realize, even as we politely argue back, that it is maddening, that it is futile and that we’re paying for it.

Also, that it works.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Rumors, arguments and contradiction

  1. The Detroit Free Press ran the Modesty Blaise comic strip in the early 1960s. One of her favorite tactics was to confront the villain while topless giving her the advantage as they were momentarily paralyzed by the vision. Strip struck me as more than a little off center, but, I was barely a teenager so what did I know.

  2. *sigh* So, here’s this “Female James Bond” thing again.

    I agree with Barbara Broccoli. IMO, James Bond should always be male and, I’ll add, British. Because, you know, James Bond is a male British spy. But he’s also known as Agent 007 which means that there’s a 003, 008, 004, etc… PLENTY of other numbers that could easily be a woman, of any color. (but British).

    Why, oh why do people think changing a fictional character’s sex (or for that matter, race, nationality) is some great creative move. To me, it just sounds lazy. Why not create a totally NEW character?

    BTW, you could have had shown a MUCH better female spy film example than the obviously camp 1966 “Modesty Blaze”. 2017’s “Atomic Blonde” was an excellent action packed spy film (also, like Modesty Blaze based on a comic) with an original female spy lead. (and it featured some of the best hand-to-hand fight scenes I’ve ever seen on film.

    (I liked it so much I made a comic of it: http://www.theblabbingbaboon.com/?comic=daily-comic-journal-august-15-2017-dont-shoot-ive-got-your-shoe)

  3. I haven’t seen a James Bond film in years, but my understanding is that in the previous film, Craig’s Bond retired and his 007 code was assigned to a woman. From what I’ve read, this is some talk of starting a new film series based her Agent 007.

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