CSotD: Two Minutes Non-Hate

After such a hateful week of deliberate lies and irrelevance, it’s time to take a break. Here’s an intelligent palate-cleanser from Bizarro (KFS), which only requires that you have read some Poe, which, in turn, only requires that The Telltale Heart was assigned in eighth grade.

Though we were assigned the Pit and the Pendulum and I had to learn about the Telltale Heart on the street.

Edgar Allen Poe makes for some grim reading, but I haven’t heard of any parents demanding his work be taken out of the curriculum, which I mention because a school district in Pennsylvania has “paused” use of Marjane Satrapi’s brilliant Persepolis for a ninth grade honors course.

One of the parents objected to “scenes of violence and torture,” the appearance of the f-word and her feeling that it “pushes a liberal ideology that does not belong in our school.”

Let me repeat: This was for a ninth grade honors course.

And let me marvel that, in Pennsylvania, opposing the Iranian government is considered “liberal ideology.”

Though I agree that high school freshmen would never encounter the F-word otherwise.

How the fuck could they?

Disclaimer: I gave Persepolis to my grandkids this Christmas, and I would have done it well before they reached junior high except that I thought I already had.

Anyway, maybe it’s best to let this alone, before the good parents in that district read some Edgar Allen Poe and find out he also depicted violence and torture.


Speaking of cultural literacy, and of violence and torture, I was delighted by Jeff Danziger (WPWG)‘s depiction of Vladimir Putin  in large part because he didn’t add “apologies to Fritz Lang” in the corner.

The cartoon works even if you don’t catch the cinematic reference.

But for those of us with a little background in classic cinema, the homage to Lang’s 1931 classic “M” is a sly wink, and there’s no need for “apologies.”

If you haven’t seen it, you should. Peter Lorre plays a child murderer whose string of horrific killings brings down the law on his city, which turns up the heat on local gangsters, which understandably motivates them to also hunt for the killer.

Danziger’s depiction is grim enough to carry some impact even if you don’t catch the connection, but if you know the reference, the characterization of Putin as a psychotic killer whose crimes have united the world against him is both telling and appropriate.

Now, can’t we talk about some criminality a little less noir?


Juxtaposition of Criminal Types

(Pros and Cons – KFS)


(Andertoons – AMS)


(Non Sequitur – AMS)

Don’t let your gifted ninth grader see any of these cartoons, because they suggest that people break the law, and kids shouldn’t be exposed to the concept.

In particular, they suggest both an inevitability and an insouciance that is decidedly immoral. And funny.

Non Sequitur, in particular, reminds me of my first job out of college, selling The Great Books of the Western World to people who wanted a free Mortimer Adler paperback but got me instead.

I quickly realized that nobody ever read those books and that we’d have been more honest to sell less expensive sets of empty bindings they could put on their bookshelves. But, when I finally stumbled across someone gullible enough to say yes, I discovered that the price wasn’t the worst thing going on.

The books were over-priced enough to require a loan, and, when I turned in the contract, my boss asked about a box I’d left blank, explaining that it was for the credit department, and I was to put a 20 there if they were white and a 40 if they were not.

Which is appalling enough, but the grim laugh was that, when the Federal Trade Commission circled, and I volunteered to testify, that never came up, because the complaints centered on them calling their sales staff “management trainees” when nobody was being trained to be management.

Hence the guy in Wiley’s cartoon wanting to block all revelations, because you never know which shameful action they’re pursuing you for.

But, boy, I sure remember the stunned, crestfallen expression on the face of the young African-American fresh-out-of-law-school company lawyer when, in my deposition, I revealed that policy to him. It made me wonder if he stuck around working for them any longer than I had.

Lie down with the dogs, get up with the fleas.


Speedbump (Creators) brings to mind that old Buddhist mantra:


BC (Creators) doubles down on the concept of wise vs smart, and I assume people with gigantic TVs use them to watch Titanic or How the West Was Won or something that requires a canvas of that size. I have a large-but-not-gigantic TV because my apartment is so small that I can’t get far enough away for a bigger TV to make any sense. Or fit in the room.

In fact, I often watch TV on my 28-inch computer screen, which is only two feet from the end of my nose and works just fine, thanks.

Meanwhile, I use my smartphone as a phone and, once in awhile, for looking up some trivial point that comes up in conversation at the dog park.

Looking stuff up at home is faster on the computer, both in actual processing time and in not backtracking because of mistyping on that teeny-tiny keyboard.

Relevance here at CSotD being that I welcome readers no matter what their tech choices, except that, if you read comics on your phone, you are estopped from complaining about newspapers shrinking the size of those comics in print.


And another thing …

I’ve complained too often about how number-nerds ruined baseball, so I’ll let cartoonist and sports guru Lee Judge weigh in on the rule changes coming this year, particularly the one noted in Tank McNamara (AMS).

Judge and I agree that eliminating the need to strategize around the fact that good pitchers are nearly always poor batters removes an important element from the game.

Here’s how Judge feels about designated hitters.

And here’s what gives him more of a right to express his opinion on Major League Baseball than I will ever have, or ever want to earn: