CSotD: Monday Nincompotpourri

Monday is not my favorite day of the week. Gag cartoons may be starting up new story arcs, but it’s hard to tell the gold from the dross from the first day’s entry, while only a handful of political cartoonists put pen to paper (or wand to Wacom) on the weekends.

And, as Matt Pritchett demonstrates, the Brits aren’t any help, being mired in a leadership struggle that has very little resonance outside their own demesne, though we’re all hoping they pick someone with silly hair again.

We don’t understand their politics, but we’re experts on leaders with silly hair.

In fact, we’ve recently had a flurry of cartoons on that topic, as seen in this


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Steve Brodner)


(David Horsey)


(Kathy Hirsh)

The easy take on this is to cite the expression “There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous” and insist that here are two or three, but that gets into a tangle of attribution that is interesting but irrelevant, and, besides, it’s hard to find anything approaching the sublime in this ridiculous situation.


It reminds me less of Presidential behavior than of Myrna’s behavior on the Electric Company, except that the things Myrna claimed as hers really were.

She may have seemed ridiculous at the time, but her basement didn’t represent the depths to come.

Horsey’s take also brings to mind that, while I’ve never made it through a LOTR movie or any of the books — unless you count Bored of the Rings — I certainly know who Gollum is. Thus there are certain symbols and references that cartoonists can use safely because everybody recognizes them, however imperfectly.

As for seagulls, when I lived in Plattsburgh, there was a McDonald’s right on the shores of Lake Champlain with signs imploring customers not to give the gulls any more fries than they could steal on their own, so Kathy Hirsh is also covered.

(Not to be confused with the McDonald’s in the border town of Champlain, which, in 1989, had to implore people not to feed the macaques who had escaped from Parc Safari and taken up residence on the roof. Monkeys are amusing. Seagulls are a pain in the ass.)

Nothing amusing in Brodner’s cartoon, which simply illustrates the astonishing selfishness of a truly narcissistic knothead. Having dealt with a lot of narcissistic commercial developers (redundant) when I was covering business, I’ve known who Trump was from the start, but that’s a bit like the difference between seeing monkeys in the zoo and finding one perched on your rooftop.

It’s illegal for him to have those documents. That’s not an arguable point, though, of course, his loyal brownshirts will argue it anyway. But having them stashed in the basement at Mar A Lago was not nearly as chilling as this report from the Washington Post:

This gets into obsessive Gollum territory, and it reminded me of a story I heard from a former Cambodian ambassador of visiting China in the 70s. He and his wife checked into their hotel only to realize that her suitcase was locked and she hadn’t brought the key.

He said to her that, if they only had a screwdriver or something, they could easily get it open. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door, which revealed a bell hop with a screwdriver.

There was no subtlety, he said, and he suspected it was intentional: When they opened the closet, a tangle of wires fell off the upper shelf, which certainly answered the question of how the bell hop knew they needed a screwdriver.

Which in turn suggests to me that you’d have to either be a complete idiot or a deliberate traitor to carry a box of Top Secret documents with you if, for instance, you were visiting Beijing in 2017. (Is that a landmine he’s treading on?)


Speaking of disloyal nincompoops, Paul Fell notes the astonishingly clumsy self-own that Republicans have performed with extremist forced-birth legislation that has not simply motivated Democratic women but brought a substantial number of Republican and, certainly, non-affiliated women over to the other side.

The thing is, even a substantial number of pro-life people who want restrictions expect reasonable exceptions, while a substantial number of pro-choice people also expect limitations. What neither expects, or wants, is for heartless lunatics to craft legislation that goes beyond the bounds of human decency.

And yet here we are.

And, BTW, the rightwingers continue to complain that Biden hasn’t bothered to stage a performative photo op at the southern border. They neglect to mention that in July, he got Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to agree to spend $1.5 billion on infrastructure improvements to border security.

Granted, the US is spending $3.5 billion, but our GDP is about 23 times greater than Mexico’s and I don’t recall the former guy making much headway on that promise to get Mexico to pay for anything down there, not even a farcical wall that no serious observer would consider a practical solution.

But common sense and facts have long since exited the discussion.


As Clay Jones points out, the fact that Biden has taken off the kid gloves and begun to tell it like it is may make a few people nervous, but we got here because of Nervous Nellies who were afraid of trading insults.

Once again, his commentary is more blunt than anything I would say and, once again, I agree with him right down the line. When people are encouraging violence against political opponents and sugar-coating obvious attempts to overthrow the government, it’s okay to call them what they are.


Meanwhile, if you’re tired of the whining from fat cats about how putting a few dollars back in the hands of young people is a terrible idea but giving plutocrats tax breaks and loan forgiveness is simply good business, Paul Berge offers a slew of cartoons from a century ago, including this Winsor McCay commentary on resistance to offering WWI vets a bonus. (Spoiler: It didn’t end well.)

Consider it a mashup of our current reluctance to compensate victims of the burn pits with our insistence on leaving students in crippling debt.

Mister, we could use a man like Woody Guthrie again.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Monday Nincompotpourri

  1. The most charitable explanation I can think of for why Donald Berzelius Trump had those boxes of Top Secret SCI documents with him on foreign trips and at Mar-Illegal is that it’s all stuff his aides wanted him to read. Someday. But he never got around to it, and forgot all about them. So there they sat in the lounge of his Florida hotel, waiting to get washed out to sea by Hurricane Btfsplk.

    Thanks as always for including me in the round-up today!

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