CSotD: Knowing isn’t even half the battle

Speaking, as we were yesterday, of brilliant women of the past, this Pearls Before Swine (AMS) calls to mind Madame de Staël‘s quote “To know all is to forgive all.”

I’d agree that, if you can see both sides of an issue, it’s easier to be generous in judging, and it’s as true today as it was in 1807. And, given that she survived the Reign of Terror, I’ll concede she knew what she was talking about.

However, knowing both sides of the thing in front of you is not at all the same as being bombarded with every event in a very large world, which might better be summed up in another of her quotes, “Life often seems like a long shipwreck, of which the debris are friendship, fame, and love.”

When I showed kids Thomas Nast’s obituary cartoon for James Garfield, I’d make two points:

One was that this was the end of nearly three months of the President’s lingering after being shot, and the country — epitomized by the disarmed, de-armored goddess Columbia — had been watching and clinging to hope throughout the episode.

But I also pointed out that, for the average American out in the country — two-thirds of Americans lived in rural areas — goings on in Washington were interesting and important but distant, and they’d spend the day working in the fields and only read the news in the papers at night.

It was less than 20 years since young rural youth had gone off to “see the elephant” and fight the Civil War, in the wake of which federal issues of coinage became a major concern for farmers.

Even then, despite their increased sense of nationhood, locusts and rainfall were more pressing matters.


The world has since become a great deal smaller, and we’ve not only seen the elephant but are learning to live with it. Betty (AMS) is making plans for a world that may include staying home indefinitely, with Bub making the not-so-cheering observation that the air conditioner she’s budgeting for might also help filter out the smoke from wildfires.


And in case that didn’t make you split your sides laughing, here’s Adam@Home (AMS) worrying about his daughter’s mental health in an increasingly ugly world over which he has little control.

The kids in this strip, and particularly Katy, are comically mature and self-aware, but I don’t find her remark at the end all that surprising, though, frozen at 6, she’s younger than the Gen-Z’s with whom I’m in contact.

As my former mentees have graduated from high school, I’ve hoped they would take a gap year before college, not just because I think it’s a good idea in general, but because I see no point in spending a year masked in your dorm room and taking courses on Zoom.

Only the pre-med and engineering majors learn anything in the classroom, and even they don’t learn squat academically freshman year. College is about each other, about conversations in the coffee shop and during random activities that have nothing to do with your studies. For about $60,000 less a year, you can sit in your bedroom at home and read a book.

But I was more comfortable with that theory when I thought it would only be a year. Like Adam, all I feel I can do now is check in and see how they’re doing with the wonderful world we’ve made for them.

Fortunately, this newest emerging generation seems well-aware and, if not thrilled with the mess they’ve inherited, determined to dig in and prevail.

I hope that, like Madame de Staël, this higher level of knowledge comes with a higher ability to forgive.

I don’t know Mannequin on the Moon (AMS)‘s lead time, but I’m giving them a serendipitous timing award for today’s panel anyway, since, if you don’t have avocados at home right now, you’d better run to the store pronto.

The Mexican cartels are waging war on the crop or its farmers or its sellers or all three, and, once they started issuing death threats on US agricultural import inspectors, our government simply slammed the door on the stuff.

Which our media helpfully pointed out did not decrease consumption during the Super Bowl, though it does somewhat blunt the value of the Mexican avocado industry’s 60-second commercial during the game.


If they had this effect on people in real life, we’d still be able to buy them.


Speaking of soft, delicious food, I can at least take some sense of solidarity in this Andertoons (AMS), since it proves to my satisfaction that Mark Anderson has spent more than a day or two in the hospital.

Which comes with a hope that he’s okay, mind you, but there’s a sense of espirit and sangfroid and whatnot in making jokes about such things, and I have the advantage of having lost a whole lot of body parts in the summer of 2016 and being here six years later to joke about it.

“I was in surgery for 12 hours.”
“It wasn’t so bad. Hell, I slept through it!”

Anyway, it’s good to stay in the hospital for more than three or four days, because that’s how long it takes to figure out what to order for dinner and what to avoid at all costs, and the one constant positive is pudding.

I don’t know what’s in it, but I do know that if the plastic cups were any smaller, you’d have to scoop it out with a chopstick.

The joke here is that asking for more pudding won’t get you past the Hospital Nutritional Police, because, after all, how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

Which, if you did, would put you over your daily calorie limit as determined by the HNP.


As for the tiny one-use plastic cup that the pudding came in, Jen Sorensen‘s got it covered: It falls under the “No Number at All” category.

Which gives it a more direct route to the landfill, since it doesn’t have to go be rejected at the recycling center with most of the other plastics.

I’m not so sure that knowing all lets anybody off the hook anymore.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Knowing isn’t even half the battle

  1. Changein subject :The site on King Features for Pros & Cons by Kieran Meehan has not updated and Feb 13 is the last posted cartoon. Is the strip ending of just leaving King Features ?

  2. Comics Kingdom changed servers and the last week has been very glitchy. Seems back to normal this week and Pros and Cons has been updating. Try refreshing your link?

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