Tom Tomorrow sets the stage today by extending the Republicans’ strategy of fear- and hate-mongering into the absurd, for the benefit of anyone who didn’t think it was already there.
And let’s note, in particular, that fifth panel, because, in a functioning democracy, it seems unbalanced to blame one party for trying to destroy everything. But despite the whining from those who, when they aren’t complaining about “cancel culture” are passing laws to outlaw topics they don’t approve of, the scales seem tilted almost entirely to the right.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the attempt of liberals to be liberal and let people say what they want, the unreasoning bigotry and outlandish hostility has come to a point where decent people like Mallory McMorrow and Ian Mackey have begun not just “pushing back” but “firing back” at their tormentors.
It’s about time, and it may almost be too late, because Fox News’ highest rated host has taken up the cudgel of the macho man, not, perhaps, realizing that the song with that refrain was using it with a level of sarcasm he could never understand.
There have been several cartoons suggesting that Baby Tuckoo has nothing to tan, but mocking him in that way isn’t likely to make much of a dent. I prefer Ed Wexler’s comparing him to the little girl in the iconic Coppertone ads, with his prissy face, his bowtie and his hand on his cheek just so.
It’s just enough to question his pose of being America’s most manly man without descending into homophobia: Wexler isn’t questioning Carlson’s orientation, simply his lack of the very characteristics he absurdly insists American men should exhibit.
As well, of course, as laughing at his idiotic theory of testicle tanning.
Some of us, BTW, remember about 20 years ago, when studies suggested that men who wore boxers had a higher sperm count than men who wore briefs because loose undies were cooler and the warmth of briefs could kill the little tadpoles.
You would think this might have sparked sales of tighty-whities among worried single men, but apparently the smart ones realized it wasn’t enough of a difference to rely on, while the foolish ones became Fox hosts and turned the tanner on their tallywhackers, as seen in this Jeff Danziger (WPWG) cartoon, and let me say the cat expresses all our fondest hopes.
For my part, I prefer to get my hot nuts from the peanut man — do not click on that link if you are under 18 — while the other part of this cartoon I like is the accusation of absolute cluelessness in the bedroom, which I think is entirely on target.
It’s not simply Carlson, but an entire class of powerful men who simply don’t get it, at least two of whom only sit on the Supreme Court because when women come forward and relate their experiences, they discover that powerful, clueless men will ignore their testimony.
And, to emphasize the point, Michael de Adder compares Carlson’s bizarre biological theory to one proposed by another powerful, clueless man who thinks himself a paragon of machismo, when evidence from his former inamorata suggests that he was a lousy husband and a worse lover.
This clarification: Dear Leader also suggested shining bright lights on covid sufferers, which is a more direct and equally asinine connection to Carlson’s Theory, but which doesn’t make as good a cartoon.
However, while this is all very ridiculous, it’s really not in the least funny. Really not.
The other day, Charlie Sykes had Ruth Ben-Ghiat on his podcast, and I would strongly urge you to listen. Ben-Ghiat is author of “Strongmen: Why They Rise, Why They Succeed, Why They Fail,” and the topic on the podcast was “Fascism 2.0.”
They went through the difference between the easily thrown-around term and the actual definition of fascism, and it is chilling how the present moment fits that literal, historical model.
The entire thing is informative and terrifying, but the relevant point here is the importance of the “Strongman” as fascist leader, which includes his insistence on the perfection of his solutions and on his never taking blame for errors, but, specifically, his adoption of machismo as a sign of his dominating personality — which includes Putin taking off his shirt and being seen hunting tigers, but extends as well to Mussolini, Hitler and jackasses who brag of grabbing women by their genitals.
And those who produce documentaries about how to be manly, in utter violation of the fact that the First Rule of Man Club is that nobody talks about Man Club.
Although, admittedly, it’s all well and good to say that, if you are manly, you don’t have say so, but we pay homage to the strutting poseurs, and sometimes we even let them invade Ethiopia, Poland or Ukraine and commit war crimes.
And sometimes we pretend that it’s all happening somewhere else, until a Mallory McMorrow or an Ian Mackey screams at us to wake up.
Let’s hope at least 51% of us do, and that nobody keeps the votes from being be counted.
Meanwhile, in the friendly skies …
Juxtaposition of the Day
Telnaes and McGarry both question the judgment of a pilot who, receiving news that a Florida judge had overturned science in favor of ideology, would announce it in the middle of a flight rather than completing the current assignment and letting the rules change on the ground.
It seems unlikely that the pilot was listening to commercial radio in midflight. More likely, he got word from some flight controller, and perhaps was even told that the airline was cancelling the rule. But tracing the stupidity up the line doesn’t erase the bad judgment involved in making the change in a crowded airplane at 30,000 feet.
Have these people no experience of passengers disputing the mask issue?
Meanwhile, McGarry asks a more long-term question about how inexperienced Trump-appointed judges deemed unqualified by the Bar Association may rule on other issues of “freedoms” that endanger others.
And, finally, Drew Sheneman reminds us that hypocrisy and perils to health are not just in the future.
We’d best not rely on these macho macho men.
We have better models, after all.