CSotD: Screening gnats and swallowing camels

We’ll start with something non-controversial: A compliment to Dave Whamond not because this particular Reality Check (AMS) put me on the floor but because it suggests he has actually played Wordle.

There is an obligation, before you mock something or even simply riff on it, to understand it.

Bob Hope told of going down Rodeo Drive one day when he glanced at a pizza parlor and, to his intense surprise, saw Lucy in the window tossing a crust. He stopped the car and went in and she swore him to secrecy, but said she had a gag coming up on her show that involved Lucy Ricardo as an incompetent pizza chef, which required that she become a competent one.

If she didn’t know how to do it right, she wouldn’t be able to do a credible job of doing it wrong, he explained, and it was a philosophy she brought to all her work, which is why she rated as a comic genius.

I say this as a rebuke to all the cartoonists who think simply throwing a bunch of random green and yellow blocks on a page is an adequate way to riff on Wordle.

It isn’t, and the unforgiveable part is that it would take less than half an hour to figure out how the game actually works.

You wouldn’t even end up covered in flour.


On a slightly related note, I like Tom Stiglich (Creators)‘s cartoon of Vladimir the Pooh with his head stuck in a honey jar, though I’m not sure why there are snow flakes.


In fact, as Martyn Turner points out, it may not be warm in Ukraine yet, but it is spring and mud season has been bogging down the Russian advance.

Anyway, I’d rather see the Russian bear with his head in a honey jar than see yet another cartoon of him being swarmed over by bees, in part because I think every cartoonist has done that one by now, but mostly because those big paper hangy-down nests are built by wasps.


Which is why EH Shepard didn’t show Pooh climbing towards a wasp’s nest. He wanted honey, and the bees were properly nested in a hollow in the tree.


Ignorance is not always trivial or humorous, however, and this Chip Bok (Creators) piece is only one of several ignorant discussions of transgender issues, along the lines of cartoons in which Black people look like Al Jolson and Indians speak grunting broken English.

I’m not unaware of the controversy over transgender athletes, and it’s a worthy topic for discussion, but that requires some hint of WTF you’re talking about.

The technical part being whether the athlete transitioned before or after puberty, which may effect musculature, and the hateful stupid part being the idea that anyone would go through all that as a “choice.”

Which is related to the hateful stupid idea that gay people “choose” same-sex attraction.

The lunatic fringe has declared war on transgender kids, though, and it’s a bad time to live in Texas or Florida if you vary from what the Christian Taliban has declared to be righteous.

This sort of ignorant hatemongering is a whole lot more significant — and unforgiveable — than thinking that bees make paper nests or that Wordle is a random collection of green squares.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Nick Anderson – Counterpoint)


(Bob Gorrell – Creators)

Speaking of fraught concepts that could be a topic for intelligent conversation, inflation certainly qualifies.

Anderson is correct that, while Biden is getting the blame for inflation in the US, it’s happening everywhere, and the overall phenomenon cannot be his fault.

However, we could have a lively discussion of how to respond to it, which can be traced to various national leaders, so, if you feel that raising the prime by 0.25 points is a bad solution, say so.

But Gorrell doesn’t say why he thinks Biden is handling things badly. Cartoonists aren’t required to come up with solutions for the issues they discuss, but, given Gorrell’s constant stream of anti-Biden commentary, this needed some grounding in specifics.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Graeme Keyes)


(Guy Venables)

The price of oil is also a global matter, though Biden is taking the blame for that, too, based mostly on dubious arguments about pipelines and drilling permits that his opponents either haven’t bothered to examine or aren’t interested in discussing honestly.

But Keyes is Irish and Venables is British and they both raise the very genuine international issue of having to deal with a murderous tyrant who is doing to Yemen what we cut off Putin for doing to Ukraine.

This is a moral dilemma, though some have pointed out that the Allies made common cause with Stalin when Hitler and Tojo were rampaging through the globe, and it didn’t mean that FDR or Churchill thought much of the fellow.

My own preference would be to seek oil from Venezuela, but Biden’s attempts to do that have brought condemnation from the rightwing because Venezuela is a socialist nation, a frantic criticism that seems to come mostly from people who have sided with Putin.

In any case, the primary problem, as noted here several times before, is that we have long failed to cut our dependence on oil, and, while this is no time to play “I told you so,” that is precisely why we’re in this bind.

It’s a serious conversation we need to have, after the current crisis is past.


Cathy Wilcox combines the gas issue with overall economic matters, and it’s comforting, in perhaps a perverse way, to know the Aussies are facing the same intractable problems we’ve got here.

Housing is a game for people who are already in the game, and the house I bought for $23,000 in 1972 is now, according to Zillow, worth $520,200, which is ridiculous because it is one of those post-WWII chicken coops hastily thrown up to get returning GIs into houses.

I wish I’d held onto it, but selling it now would only allow me to move into another chicken coop, and maybe not quite such a nice one after I’d paid the 7% sales commission and dealt with closing costs.

“Investment portfolio” my ass. You’re just riding the tiger, pal.