CSotD: Clowns with Flamethrowers

Jen Sorensen describes the lack of actual, principled ideas in our current world, an example of sarcasm in defense of freedom, which should be the purpose of editorial cartooning, though we also see it used for just the opposite purpose: To reinforce prejudice and paranoia.


Drew Sheneman (Tribune) echoes her argument, but is more specific in pointing out the hypocrisy of proclaiming a principle while working to undermine it.

As noted here before, people associate this doubletalk with the Newspeak invoked in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but, in that novel, the government is fully in place. The current process of achieving thought control is better demonstrated in his earlier novel, Animal Farm, which begins with a glorious revolution that is then betrayed.

The farm’s governing principle, “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad,” is somehow transformed into “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better” as the once-revolutionary government becomes indistinguishable from the exploiters it overthrew.

 The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.


Mike Peters (KFS) has little to do this time except to draw the picture and add hammers and sickles.

The Conservative Political Action Conference is not simply supportive of Hungary’s Victor Orban — who is openly, proudly linked to Vladimir Putin and equally supportive of his invasion of Ukraine — but is planning a meeting there next month.

You can’t make this stuff up, but you don’t have to.

Steve Schmidt — no liberal himself — described them this way back in 2013:

Look, this CPAC convention is increasingly the Star Wars bar scene of the conservative movement. I mean all that’s missing at that convention is a couple of Wookiees. 

But back then he was insisting that they did not represent the Republican Party. This was before they nominated, and elected, Donald Trump, and Greene, and Boebert, and Cawthorne, and Gosar.

As others have noted, a clown with a flamethrower still has a flamethrower.

I’m old enough to remember when my elementary school class was part of an assembly in which a couple from the John Birch Society warned us about the threat of the Soviets and communism.

More well-anchored elders dismissed the Birchers as clowns, but, Robert Tracinkski argues, they appear to be winning, if not under that same name.

It’s easy to laugh at clowns, but dangerous to ignore anybody with a flamethrower.


GOP leadership was publicly offended when Madison Cawthorne accused the party of throwing cocaine-fueled orgies, but, as Matt Wuerker (Politico) points out, they haven’t exerted any effort to rein in the other flamethrowing clowns who seem to dominate their party.

In fact, as noted here before, McConnell stated that, as party leader, he would support any candidate the party nominated for president, regardless of how immoral and unfit for office he considered the person to be.

And he didn’t say “reluctantly.” He didn’t even seem to understand the question of where, or why, he might draw a moral line.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Paul Fell)


I suppose we should take comfort in this juxtaposition, since Fell speaks of elections here while Badiucao is describing the scene in Australia (h/t to Cathy Wilcox).

Then again, the fact that honest engagement in ideas has become secondary to partisan smears and party loyalty throughout the world is cold comfort indeed.

Meanwhile, the world is watching France, where it appears to be a contest of ideas between moderate Emmanuel Marcon and far right Marine le Pen, who is not a clown but wields a large flamethrower fueled by, and loyal to, Putin.

The suspense there being how many voters, knowing le Pen wants to drop out of both NATO and the EU, and is vicious in her views of immigrants and Muslims in general, will vote for her.

In the wake of World War II, many there claimed they didn’t know what was going on. They’d have no such excuse this time.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Clay Bennett)

(Tom Tomorrow)

(Clay Jones)

At least Texas Governor Greg Abbott is honest in his hatred. Clay Bennett shows the Gestapo showing up at the door of a transgender child, in observation of Abbott’s threat to charge parents with child abuse for getting counseling and medical help for their children.

You don’t have to admire his bigotry, of course, but at least, unlike McConnell, he’s not afraid to own his role in advancing hatred and discrimination.

But it is perversely optimistic to expect jackboots on your doorstep. Governing people by force is never as effective as simply turning them against each other.

Tom Tomorrow demonstrates the sophistry of the Q Anon branch of the Republican Party, who spread vicious rumors and delusional prejudices in such a way that you can’t tell whether they believe this demented idiocy or are intentionally invoking Goebbel’s principle that people will accept lies if they are so outrageous that it’s impossible to believe anyone would be so dishonest.

Again, you can dismiss them as clowns, but, whether party leadership ignores them or endorses them is irrelevant to those in the path of a flamethrower.

Jones doesn’t bother debating intent: It doesn’t matter if these hatemongers are sincere or consciously manipulative.

The end result is the grooming of a new generation of bigots loyally and eagerly gathering each day for the Two Minutes Hate and absolutely convinced that any failures are Snowball’s fault, and that four legs are good, but two legs are better. His commentary on the topic is particularly worth reading.


Juxtaposition of It Can’t Happen Here

(Ann Telnaes)


(JD Crowe)

I often feel I need to lighten up, and I welcome the days when I’ve assembled enough funny stuff to post some light reflections on life.

But how often can you say, “If you’ve ever wondered what you’d have done in Germany in the 1930’s, you’re doing it now” if nobody is listening?

It’s becoming futile to quote Martin Niemöller:

They’re already coming for the women. Perhaps you’re not a woman, but did you never have a mother, a sister, a lover, a wife, a daughter?

And they’re already coming for the children. Were you never a child?