CSotD: Monday Comics

It doesn’t take much to make me laugh over a poke at Facebook, but the level of gallows humor in this Joy of Tech gibe makes it more thought-provoking than funny.

Will future generations one day look back with the same sense of “What the hell were they thinking?”

Of course, the Greeks and Romans had limited choices, though copper would have been a better one. But lead was plentiful and easy to work with, and, most important, they had no idea what it could do to them when it leached into their drinking water.

Those consequences were left for historians to ponder.

By contrast, while Facebook is certainly cheap and plentiful, it’s only been around for 17 years and we can plainly see what it’s done to us, both personally and politically.

In “No Exit,” Jean-Paul Sartre proposed the idea that Hell is other people, which formed the basis for the Seinfeld finale, in which the worst punishment possible was for Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer to be locked up in each other’s company.

But Sartre, and the Seinfeld writers, were thinking small. Zuckerberg has managed to impose that ghastly sentence on millions and millions of people.

I have friends who have bailed out, but the numbers don’t suggest any great societal reform.

Maybe more ridicule would help. Joy of Tech is doing what they can.


If there is a segue from that to Big Nate (AMS), it has to do with societal dysfunction, because this gave me a flashback to junior high and the horrors of record hops.

I’ve heard girls complain, in later years, about the custom that boys asked girls to dance, so they had to wait, and hence the term “wallflower” for those who were never asked. As Phil Ochs wrote:

Wallflower is waiting, she hides behind composure.
She’d love to dance and prays that no one asks her.
Then she steals a glance at lovers while her fingers tease her hair.
And she marvels at the confidence of those who hide their fears.
Then her eyes are closed as she rides away with a foreign legionnaire.

I’m pretty sure girls these days are free to ask boys to dance, though I suppose impossible dreams of romantic partners persist despite what can be seen on the other side of the gym.

But speaking from that cluster of adolescent nebbishes, I can tell you it takes courage to ask someone to dance and risk rejection, which is why most of the guys were tucked in corners giggling or out in the boys’ room having a cigarette.

I’m happy to have passed that stage of life, chiefly on the principle “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”


The segue to Pooch Cafe (AMS) is easy: Poo Poo is in a state of constant social anxiety that would do a seventh grader proud.

The theme of dogs hating mailmen (letter carriers, please) is old and well-established, mostly because a lot of dogs do at least announce, if not object to, people coming on the property, as they should.

Most of the dogs I know bark, but then wag and accept a cookie and register the encounter as a highpoint in their day. My last ridgeback considered the mailman a delightful source of treats despite the fact that we had a PO box and the mailman never came to our door.

Didn’t matter. He met him on the street, got a cookie and they were friends for life. In fact, my dog extended the amity to UPS and FedEx drivers, who also carry cookies, and he would go nuts anytime, anywhere he spotted one.

But what’s the fun in that?

You could, of course, write a book of comic strip tropes that don’t exist in real life.

When, after all, was the last time anyone cooled a pie by setting it on an open window ledge?


Funny, not funny

One of the oddities of getting up at four in the morning to write this is that, because of the time difference, the top of my newsfeed is filled with things from Australia and New Zealand, and I often start to get outraged at some politician I’ve never heard of, then check out who posted it and realize why.

But it does yield some unexpected gems, and this morning First Dog in the Moon was having fun with a TV host who flew all the way from Sydney to London to interview Adele about her new album, but hadn’t listened to it.

That sent me to Google News, where I found a more detailed explanation, and it’s a contest between the cartoonist and the reporter as to who can provoke the most laughs, because it’s an absolutely outrageous screw-up.

There is, however, a significantly not-funny side to it.

As a woman quoted in that news article says, “There are thousands upon thousands of highly qualified, talented reporters waiting in the wings who would kill for Matt Doran’s position.”

And, indeed, I used morning soft-news shows as an example of bad interviewing when I was mentoring young journalists, because the hosts are so often totally unprepared for the interview and unable to go beyond their production assistant’s list of questions.

You don’t have to be Terry Gross or Jon Stewart, but having some basic grasp of who is sitting across from you would be nice.

It doesn’t matter that much with Adele, granted, but, then again, if you can’t prep to interview a pop star, how on earth can you hope to interview someone about climate change or the economy?

Read the rest of First Dog’s cartoon here, and then go here and pick up on the details, and then weep, twice.

Once with laughter, once for the future of journalism.


Sunday’s Macanudo (KFS) brought to mind those middle-school journalists I used to mentor.

I did it long enough that some of them are in their mid-20s now and, yes, they’ve turned into some really worthwhile pebbles. I have a lot of faith in Gen-Z.


13 thoughts on “CSotD: Monday Comics

  1. Because I refuse to join FB, I’ve lost contact with most, if not all, of my Cairn Rescue folks. Sad, both for me and for those dogs whom I’ve not been able to help to a better life. Plus just the social aspect, which would’ve been helpful during these pandemic years.

  2. Back in the 1980s I worked in a small corner off a warehouse where I could listen to my local NPR station, often to Studs Terkel. What impressed me the most about his show was that when he interviewed an author, he had actually read the book.

  3. NPR is not free of bad interviewers. I was prepared to hate “1A” after it replaced Diane Rehm, and Joshua Johnson drove me up the wall. He often would ask a question, then quickly list all the possible responses he could think of before letting the guest speak. The show became much less annoying when he moved on.

    Robin Young, who often asks questions implicitly answered earlier, and sums up responses incorrectly (or with superfluous additions), is still at “Here and Now,” however.

  4. As an author himself, I’m sure Studs Terkel (I can still hear his voice; I listened to him on WFMT, Chicago) appreciated both being and having a good interviewer.

  5. I cautioned the kids against coming into interviews with a list of questions but not listening to the responses.
    “You graduated from high school in Arizona, but then you moved to California. Why?”
    “I had to, because I’d murdered my parents with an ax.”
    “So, then you got a job at . . .”

  6. Thank you for telling us about “getting up at four in the morning to write this,” because I have often wondered how you can consistently produce such insightful content by 9:00 EST seven days a week — usually including holidays. Your column has become a part of my morning ritual ever since discovering CSotD about a year ago thanks to your comical insight into Dear Leader. By the way, I have tried to find out more about you multiple times doing web searches, but I have not gotten beyond your diminutive bios on this and your former sites. I often wonder about your age each time you mention where you think of yourself in such terms. Thus, can you point me to any online resources that supply more detailed accounts of your history? Either way, keep up the good work and thank you for including so many links to additional off-site information within your articles.

  7. Thanks for reading, Jason. Here’s some boilerplate I put together about 12 years ago, so update the length-of-service accordingly. Born in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, grew up in the Adirondacks, Class of ’67 in high school.

    Writer/Editor Mike Peterson has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he studied classical literature, philosophy and the history of science. He has also taken graduate courses in education. Over the years, Mike has worked in television, radio and newspapers, as well as writing for advertising agencies and magazines. He has won awards as a business writer, newspaper reporter and columnist, and created a presentation on editorial cartoons for students that the International Newspaper Marketing Association named best public service by any newspaper in the world under 50,000 daily circulation.

  8. What is even not funnier is there are millions of homes in America that use lead feeder pipes which pass through the home’s concrete foundation walls below ground! So Facebook may be somewhat less harmful after all. (?) Apparently time has changed very little as to how we receive our water.

  9. okay, now i desperately want to see your “presentation on editorial cartoons for students that the International Newspaper Marketing Association named best public service by any newspaper in the world under 50,000 daily circulation”. or did you deliver it way back before every presentation in the world was recorded?

  10. Not just before everything was recorded but using overheads.

    It was back in the days when you could tell whether a presentation was written for business or for schools by whether it was PowerPoint or overheads.

  11. I refuse to use facebook anymore after they posted my legal sentencing for a crime i hadn’t told anyone about, before i chose to contact any friends or family. I was attacked by dozens of complete strangers, keyboard warriors. I immediately contacted them to have it taken down but it took 12 hours and the damage was done. Sometimes i miss talking to people from high school and family that moved afar but… honestly…not often lol.

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