CSotD: References and relevance

I’m using this Halloween-themed Clay Jones cartoon to make a point that Clay Jones doesn’t represent.

Jones is self-syndicated and pumps out cartoons at a prodigious rate, often giving his clients more than one choice on a given day. Today is November 2 and he’s already put up four cartoons since this October 31 one ran.

There aren’t many cartoonists who maintain his pace, but, while you can justify a Halloween cartoon if it will only run in your home paper in the run-up to that holiday, I’m seeing several still sitting on syndicate sites.

Cartoonists don’t always have control over the posting of their work, but I’d think you could put out some kind of heads-up when you’ve got a piece that is going to become screamingly outdated before the next cycle.

And, of course, you would then produce something a little more evergreen with which to replace it.

You make the extra effort, they make the extra effort, everyone remains relevant.


There is, however, such a thing as being a little too evergreen, and Lisa Benson (WPWG) offers a cartoon that could have run any time, under any administration.


Here’s Real Clear Politics average for those right direction/wrong direction polls for the past decade, and there has never been a time when “wrong direction” didn’t outpoint “right direction.”

If you go to the site and play with the interactive graph, you’ll find that the “wrong direction” last dipped below 50% of respondents this past June, while the only other time I could tease it out below “a majority of adults” was in June, 2009. Again, it was just a hair below 50% then.

So once under Biden, once under Obama.

Pretty sure that’s not the point she was trying to make.

Though I’m also pretty sure most people are not going to see the cartoon and then look up the facts.

It’s like shoplifting a canoe: You can simply pick it up and walk out of the store with it because the offense seems so improbable that nobody’s gonna ask to see your receipt.

Any more than they’re gonna stop a politician in mid-speech and ask what the heck “Critical Race Theory” really means.

It’s all malarkey, but, hey, malarkey works.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Morten Morland)


(Dave Brown)

High art and low art collide in a pair of references to the G-20 conference and the Glasgow summit on climate change.

Morland adds an acknowledgement to Bruegel the Elder, while Brown offers an acknowledgement to Monty the Python.

I have a theory as to which one more readers are going to recognize.

And let me confess that the only reason I recognized Bruegel’s depiction of the Tower of Babel is that it was used as the cover illustration of the Penguin edition of Thomas More’s “Utopia,” which I greatly enjoyed but only encountered because it was assigned. As Bruegel would have been, had I majored in art history.

So it’s an absolutely brilliant reference to pride, failure and chaos — complete with jets and limos — but I wonder how many readers, even of the upscale London Times, caught it.

On the other hand, I’m sure plenty of readers picked up on the classical source for Dave Brown’s less profound but equally apt commentary on the current squabble between Britain and France over fishing rights.

I suppose it all depends on how you define a classic.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Paul Fell)


(Matt Davies- AMS)

This is a bit of a cheat, since Davies’ cartoon ran some time ago, but the latest news out of his more-or-less hometown of NYC is that the 10,000 cops who were going to risk suspension for refusing to be vaccinated dwindled down to 34.

However, apparently quite a few firefighters clicked their heels and obeyed their union leaders, walking off the job to protest having to obey the government in the interest of public safety.

As Fell notes, there are some good, skilled workers idled over the long term by our predatory economy, while he and Davies agree that there’s probably not a lot of sympathy for people who give up their jobs because they are butthurt sociopathic snowflakes.

And I’d add, though it’s not in the cartoons, that it seems the same people wetting their pants over having to get a shot are from the same side of the aisle that doesn’t want workers to get time off to deal with family medical emergencies, that won’t support helping young parents pay for childcare so they can go back to work and that is indifferent to the issue of keeping little kids in poverty.

I’d also bet they post memes on Facebook about how spoiled kids are today, as they wipe their tears away from having a boss who makes them do stuff they don’t wanna.


As Mike Smith (KFS) suggests, there are plenty of people who can’t see beyond the tips of their own noses, and who possess a striking lack of concern for anyone but themselves, as well as a striking inability to see how Event A could become Result B.


And if they can’t see how world events might impact local prices, they certainly can’t, as Adam Zyglis contends, make sensible judgments about an only slightly distant future, particularly when they are being led around by people with a vested interest in lower taxes on billionaires and fewer regulations on fossil fuel companies.

When I was a lad, there were lively debates over smoking and cancer, but then we discovered that the tobacco companies were funding fraudulent research, and people were outraged that they had been lied to.

Judging from the way climate change has been debated, and the way an attempted coup is being explained, I’m just not sure we’re capable of being outraged anymore.

Instead of improving education of the people, we’ve focused on improving corporations’ ability to lie to us and get away with it.


As Matt Wuerker (Politico) says, it’s all a matter of which lies you pay attention to, though I’d fault him for the suggestion that people choose one or the other: An awful lot are lining up for a heapin’ helpin’ of both.

The Tower of Babel having begun in a world united, but since tumbled into division and disaster.


8 thoughts on “CSotD: References and relevance

  1. I agree that holiday cartoons shouldn’t be pushed out the day before a holiday. It’s a pet peeve actually. But while this cartoon was dated for October 31 (Halloween), it was actually published on October 27 and sent to my clients that day.

  2. The fact that it’s a ‘Hallowe’en’ reference makes no diff . . . the point is relevant so long as Manchkin is allowed to ru[i]n the US government. I mean, do the Dems really need a Mitch McConnell on their side of the aisle??

  3. I featured it, as said, not for the content as for the timing. The idea of a Fourth of July cartoon running in October or a Christmas cartoon running in May is obviously foolish unless you have some intentional and clear reason to be off-time with it, but there are currently several Halloween cartoons still out there and that’s equally ridiculous, regardless of their content.

    It should be a matter of professional pride, to which I would add that there are several cartoonists who never look at their syndicates’ websites or even their own webpages to make sure things are working properly. If you don’t care, why should we?

  4. The periods of smoking cigarettes has been known for a long time, despite the tobacco companies’ efforts. My mother, who was born in 1918, had heard them referred to as “coffin nails” during her childhood, and strongly discouraged us from “smoking” the candy cigarettes we gathered at Halloween.

    A search for “coffin nail cigarettes” turned up this as just the first entry. https://tobacco.harpweek.com/hubpages/CommentaryPage.asp?Commentary=Introduction

    (“Coffin nail” turned up something completely different.)

  5. Lauren: Hence the debates with truth on one side and corporate lies on the other. Hence the parallel with climate change, which science has warned about since the 19th century, but which has been denied by those who profit from fossil fuels.

    And, BTW, cartoonists who do “Oh, so this is global warming!” cartoons after every snow storm are complicit in the deception.

  6. I’m with Clay on this. I think we’d be looking at very different results in Virginia if the people who thought they would see something nice by this halloween hadn’t just been hande a bag of #### candy corn. The timing of the cartoon matters less than the timing of Manchin’s chicanery.

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