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CSotD: M’aidez? Non, Sauve Qui Peut!*

Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) offers an all-too-realistic view of the non-floral May Day in our current days of stubborn selfishness, and I might well have paired it as a Juxtaposition of the Day with …

 

Today’s Non Sequitur (AMS), which reminds us that we are living in Lotto Nation, where everyone expects to suddenly become wealthy some day, mostly without a lot of effort, and is waiting for the blessed moment they can take their deserved place alongside the Kardashians and others who, a few generations ago, would have been joyfully imagined on May Day as heads on pike poles.

One of the antidotes to the excesses of the Gilded Age was the work of reformers like Jacob Riis, Jane Addams and Helen Stuart Campbell, whose work shed light on a level of poverty most Americans had genuinely never seen, particularly since most Americans lived in rural areas, far from the urban misery of the slums.

They may have been aware of, and even fascinated by, the Astors and their wealthy, privileged lot, but they didn’t expect to magically join them, and so seeing people even worse off than themselves touched enough hearts to create a wave of sympathy across the country.

People like Josephine Shaw Lowell, who had once argued fiercely for the abolition of slavery (her brother Robert died commanding the 54th Massachusetts “Glory” Regiment) began working as tirelessly for the rights of the poor workingclass.

I guess you had to be there, because, today, cries for economic justice are seen as evil, and those who say it can be done are dismissed as dreamers, the cynical rejection of social reform creating this bizarre

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Lisa Benson)

(Rob Rogers)

(Clay Jones)

I was hoping Clay Jones’ essay would explain the origin of all the fairy imagery, but he didn’t, though he makes the excellent points that (A) we pay for K-12 education, so finishing the task seems logical and (B) we’ve got plenty of money for other causes, as well as the general observation that cruelty and selfishness seem rampant in our society.

Such magical creatures certain do exist: One of them tapped its wand and dropped $1 million in bitcoins on Alex Jones, and it truly was magical because it instantly disappeared and he’s apparently still bankrupt, according to his court filings.

I suppose we should be grateful that two cartoonists rise up to counter the “We Can’t Afford It” narrative with examples of how we can afford the things we value.

That simply doesn’t include children, who have all sorts of rights until they are born, at which time they are expected to feed themselves, to provide their own medical care, to insure that their drinking water is pure and to prepare themselves to go out and get jobs that pay well enough for them to say, as good Americans do, “Nobody helped me and, by god, I will help nobody!”

Even if it means their poor ol’ Mum has to keep waiting tables well after they’ve become wealthy enough to pay off their own student loans.

It wouldn’t be fair to other poor ol’ Mums, would it?

 

It’s not necessarily that they’re heartless. Perhaps it’s just part of being genuinely, sincerely, absolutely clueless, given that the Official Twitter Account of the Republican House let itself be snookered not just by a satirical comedy site, but by the Babylon Bee, a satire site ostensibly on their side that has been described as “like the Onion, except not funny.”

Which absurd self-own at least drew people away from trashing Ingraham so they could post tweets ridiculing these gormless dupes.

 

Not that being clueless is funny in what should be a functioning democracy. Chip Bok (Creators) joins in the rightwing horror over Homeland Security’s mission of fighting back against Russian lies and the kind of disinformation that lures migrants to our Southern Border.

They should at least see it as a mixed blessing, given how they’ve all been howling about the flood of immigrants, but joyfully accepting starring roles on Russian television.

“Big Brother,” of course, is the federal government’s attempt to set the record straight.

Not to be confused with Republican state governments’ attempts to make everybody straight.

 

Our hopes are with Donald Trump, who is currently urging his followers to boycott the 2022 midterm elections if his hand-picked unelectable crazies don’t clear the primaries.

One of whom is JD Vance, who, as noted in Vanity Fair, is running on a platform of oligarchy and treason.

 

While Jackson never actually said that, he did bring to government such an outrageous level of spoils-system job-filling that not only did Thomas Nast take note but we learned in social studies that Jackson’s excesses sparked a reform that ultimately culminated in the civil service system.

Though Vance is only recommending post-election corruption. Trump is well ahead of him, inspiring his toadies to use gerrymandering, voter suppression and disinformation about election security to persuade voters to elect right-minded secretaries of state who will guarantee the outcome of the 2024 election before it even takes place.

 

While, as RJ Matson suggests, the Democrats prepare for midterms with high-minded wisdom rather than by directly addressing anything that actual voters give a flying patootie about.

To which I would observe that FDR was right, that our biggest fear is indeed “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

It still is, even on May Day.

* Help me? No, everyone for himself!

Now a few things from our shared past

Buz Sawyer (Vintage KFS) is currently on assignment at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, but his remark in this episode made me wonder about the etymology of “hooch,” a term Vietnam Vets used for their housing.

It’s a variant of “uchi,” a Japanese word for “home,” but “hooch” was apparently first used in the Korean War as a place where prostitutes did business. Given that Buz was a veteran of both WWII and Korea, he’d likely know the term, but his use here suggests that it had long since lost that more earthy meaning and adopted the one familiar to modern vets.

 

And then Facebook reminded me that Saigon fell 40 years ago yesterday. A reminder of how much we’ve changed, alas.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
May/1/2022
@ 1:24 pm

I believe you’ll find–maybe have found, by now–that the DFT quote up there comes from yet another web humor source. Who’da thunk it? Not me! I responded to it on Twitter too, before I heard.

Love to join in with you on the singalong. I can manage the chorus of the Draft Dodger song, and all of the Country Joe.

#2 michael dooley
May/1/2022
@ 2:57 pm

thank you very much for continuing to honor the memory of Phil Ochs (who i’ve always appreciated a great deal more than that other guy), i was fortunate enough to have attended a few of his performances (sadly, not the Carnegie Hall), and his warmth and humanity still linger in my heart.

#3 Mark B
May/1/2022
@ 6:01 pm

“Fire every single midlevel bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people.”

Basically fire everybody who knows what they are doing and replace them in one swoop with newbies, who don’t know the job. That’s a remarkably stupid idea, even for republicans.

Kip’s comment reminded me that I totally forgot to play Country Joe’s “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag.” for my intro US history classes this semester.

#4 Andréa Denninger
May/1/2022
@ 6:27 pm

Coincidental you should mention the Astors; I just finished Anderson Cooper’s book, Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty (which I highly recommend). All those riches, and the family is full of suicides, scandals, unhappy families . . . why would anyone aspire to that? Well, probably because they put on such a façade of ‘having it all’ and then some.

#5 Lonny Groieed
May/2/2022
@ 6:39 am

Andréa: Regarding the Vanderbilts, when I took a tour of the Biltmore House, I surmised that this must be what the super rich did with their money before the discovery of cocaine.

The timeline is close on that, but in truth, cocaine was in use in the western world for a decade or so before Biltmore was bilt [sic].

#6 Lonny Groseed
May/2/2022
@ 7:14 am

BTW, the Nast drawing appeared in Harper’s Weekly Apr/28/1877 (or perhaps Apr/26). I’ve tried to find the original in google books’ run of Harper’s, but 1877 is the one year in that decade that I haven’t been able to find.

#7 Paul Berge
May/2/2022
@ 7:46 am

FWIW, The date for that issue of Harper’s Weekly was April 28, 1877.
https://archive.org/details/sim_harpers-weekly_1877-04-28_21_1061/page/n3/mode/2up

#8 Lonny Groseed
May/2/2022
@ 8:38 am

Thanks, Paul!

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