Several Grinch cartoons had appeared before the current flood of Manchin cartoons, and it’s not surprising, given how the Grinch — who first appeared in book form in 1957, then in the classic animated TV show in 1966 — has joined Ebenezer Scrooge as a villain who rejects, then embraces, the holiday spirit.
We’re still waiting for the “embrace” part this year, and if someone merits it and someone else draws it, you’ll see it here.
While we wait, I’m also allowing Jack Ohman (WPWG) to represent all the coal/Manchin cartoons, in part because he admits that those mountains of coal called for a lot of tedious work.
Here’s where the professional and personal merge: I realize that, if he’d colored them black, they’d have disappeared into a single lump, but I particularly like blue because, when I was a wee lad, there was something called “Blue Coal” marketed on the radio and with a large billboard in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“Blue Coal” is the term for a once-popular and trademarked brand of anthracite, mined by the Glen Alden Coal Company in Pennsylvania, and sprayed with a blue dye at the mine before shipping to its northeastern U.S. markets to distinguish it from its competitors.
At the time, people still heated their houses with coal, though, by my childhood, conversions to fuel oil and natural gas were well in progress.
However, most houses still had an opening where coal was shoveled down into a place in the basement from where it could be loaded into the furnace.
Though thank God not by me. This Out Our Way memory from 1936 notwithstanding, I think most houses by my time were fixed up with coal chutes and access for the truck to deliver it directly to the basement.
Even so, enough spilled out that we could always scrounge up coal around the foundation of the house to make two eyes, a smile and three buttons for a coat, and those bits were still scattered around for several years after the furnaces had all been converted.
Today, I think most kids just find regular old stones for their snowpersons, but you can buy plastic eyes and buttons, which grotesque development is only a small part of the sort of commercialization Kevin Kallaugher laments.
Granted, one of our local stations also sponsors Toys For Tots, which helps families at least put something under the tree, even if it’s not The Toy Everyone Simply Has To Have that year, and the same station has a drive each fall for school supplies, which the kids do have to bring since we’re not one of those countries that funds basic education.
A clever segue back to Joe Manchin, who torpedoed legislation to, among other things, help educate our children and is depicted here by Mike Thompson (USA Today) relaxing at home and despising the people he is supposed to serve.
According to Manchin, poor people would simply spend their child tax credit on drugs and would misuse their paid family leave to go deer hunting.
Getting a buck in the fall is not simply sport but a vital part of some people’s annual budget for food. I point that out because, like me, Joe grew up on the right side of the tracks in a town where not everyone had all they needed.
I know how easy it was to have a lot of friends from that other side of life, and, in fact, how much effort it took not to.
Either he somehow managed to avoid having friends less fortunate than himself, or he is in some substantial denial.
Neither would reflect well on him.
Clay Bennett (CTFP) offers this commentary on what Manchin has done, to families, to the environment, to our future.
Again, the appeal of the Grinch, and of Ebenezer Scrooge, is not in their strength of character nor in their insistence that self-reliance makes our country strong, but, rather, in their ultimate realization that the real meaning of Christmas is not in the nativity stories of John and Luke, but, rather in Matthew 22:36-40:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Thus Steve Breen (Creators) depicts Scrooge as haunted by his neglect of social responsibility, his stubborn refusal to embrace what Jacob Marley learned only when it was too late, that other people were his business.
The real sorrow here being not that he has declined to obey the mask mandate but that he has not contributed to building a world in which there would no need for such a mandate, a world in which people would instinctively help protect each other.
Fortunately, we live in a world in which even the most steadfast sociopath can be converted into a decent, responsible human being, or at least persuaded to behave like one.
Perhaps that’s as close to a Christmas miracle as we’re likely to have this year.
Finally, Arlo & Janis (AMS) remind us that today is the darkest day of the year.
Janis seems a bit cynical about Arlo’s celebration. Perhaps she joins me in looking forward to more and more light in the days to come.
It reminds me that it is once more time to repeat my annual reminder that blue is not a permanent color, and that every darkness eventually yields to light, if you position yourself where you can see it:
Please click. Especially if you’re not in the mood for Christmas Miracles.