See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

CSotD: Explanations don’t matter

I love Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint)‘s dream of an attorney who would come explain the news to those who sit and stare, and I particularly like that he depicts them, not as idiots or yokels, but as regular folks who simply don’t get it.

It’s easy enough to look down your nose at people who don’t understand the things you do, and, if you hold yourself up as the Exemplar of Excellence, it does make them idiots and/or yokels. Especially if you discount the things they understand that you don’t, because the things they get are not important or you would get them, too.

Which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Jen Sorensen)

 

(Tom Tomorrow)

These are similar, but they’re not the same. Sorensen decries a lack of honest give-and-take and a reflex to hide behind defensiveness rather than to engage, and she’s not wrong, though I’d fault her slightly for making it seem one-sided. It may be hard to cover in four panels, but this is one time when a little both-sidesism can be defended.

My concern at the moment is more evident in This Modern World, where there isn’t even a hint of honest disagreement, and it fits in with a phrase being more and more frequently aimed at the MAGAts, which is “The cruelty is the point.”

I know I’ve been citing the Bulwark often, but I also have cartoonists who I think hit the target regularly, and, in a recent podcast, Tim Miller went on at some length about how LOL and “Owning the Libs” has become the point, with making any sort of intelligent political point unnecessary and irrelevant.

It’s an outgrowth, certainly, of Rush Limbaugh, for whom cruel jokes were ratings magic, but cruel humor has become a mark of wit beyond politics. When the punchline is that vulgar, sexist Bluto Blutarski becomes a US Senator, that line is drawing kinda thin.

And when it becomes clever to be crude, when it’s stupid to be “woke” to the notion of fairness and decency, when the response to cruelty is a shout of LOL-triumph, there’s no point in looking for dialogue.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Steve Kelley — Creators)

 

(Gary Varvel — Creators)

Nor is there a need even for a fig leaf of honesty.

When the people of Martha’s Vineyard proved to be generous and welcoming, Steve Kelley insists, it meant that they were cynically engaging in some kind of performative nonsense, because we know there’s no such thing as honest charity, despite the fact that all major religions emphasize the sorts of responses those kidnapped, defrauded migrants experienced.

But to the LOL crowd, it’s not Christian/Muslim/Jewish religion in action, but a dishonest, phony act, because they can’t imagine anyone they know behaving that way except to show off.

 

Dunno where they got that idea.

Varvel, meanwhile, insists that, when people voluntarily — neither in custody nor as a result of having been lied to — move 34 miles from a community with limited resources to a place in the same state that has the facilities and experience to help them, they’ve been “deported.”

To a military base, mind you. You know, where the jack-booted thugs live.

Truth has nothing to do with it. The point is to own the libs.

 

Though, as Kirk Walters (KFS) explains, both sides are exploiting those Venezuelans.

One side does it by lying to them, defrauding them and transporting them to places where they are not expected to get help and where their legal attempts to flee communism for a life of freedom seem likely to fail.

The other side does it by helping them and pointing out how badly they’ve been treated.

Again, it’s important to recognize that, for some people, treating others decently is simply performative “virtue signaling.”

We might pity their shriveled souls, but that would be “woke” behavior.

Can’t have that!

 

Seeking Solutions and Hoping Not to Find Any

I’m surprised to see Steve Breen (Creators) jump on the “It’ll never work, Lippy” anti-electric bandwagon, though perhaps he’s only trying to goad the State of California into moving faster.

 

However, there have been a flood of “It’ll never work, Lippy” reactions to the state’s announced determination to shift from cars powered by petroleum to those powered by electricity.

My experience is that, if you don’t set a deadline, nothing happens. We’ve talked about the environment and climate change for decades, and that’s all we done: Talk. Setting a specific date finally drives a peg in the ground and one can hope it will cause people to focus not on what probably ought to happen sometime but what definitely has to happen soon.

The other part of this is that a decade and a half is a generous time for technological development. The time between Sputnik’s launch — which certainly focused our attention — to Neil Armstrong’s stroll on the lunar surface was about a dozen years. The first cars made in America rolled out in 1893; 19 years later, you no longer had to use the hand crank to start them.

I once asked Alan Shepard if he’d had any doubts in 1961 about trusting his life to American technology. He basically shrugged it off as a dumb question and we went on to talk about other things.

It was a long time ago. I guess we’ve changed.

 

As it happens, this Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) cartoon reminds me of back in the days when I interviewed Shepard, because I was also writing real estate stories in those days and mortgage rates were in double-figures.

The current housing bubble is caused in large part by miniscule lending rates and, as Benson suggests, will likely burst as the Fed moves to raise rates and put the brakes on inflationary spending.

Which she seems to think will be a bad thing.

We could perhaps debate that, but, I promise you, the term “bubble” is never used by economists to describe anything good.

 

While, speaking of things everyone talks about and nobody does anything about, RJ Matson notes that Democrats introduced a Senate bill to eliminate anonymous political donations of $10k or more, but every Republican present voted against bringing it to the floor.

No surprise.

After all, the first rule of Plutocrats’ Club is: You do not debate the rules about Plutocrats’ Club.

 

Community Comments

Currently there are 6 Comments
Stay up-to-date on the comments by subscribing to the comments RSS feed.

#1 Paul Berge
September/23/2022
@ 7:19 am

“My experience is that, if you don’t set a deadline, nothing happens.”

Reminds me of the time when Geo. W. Bush, after repeatedly refusing to set a “timetable” for withdrawing our troops from Iraq, announced a “time horizon” for doing so. The explanation I put in his mouth was that a table doesn’t recede into the distance no matter how long you travel toward it.

https://bergetoons.blogspot.com/2017/08/condemned-to-repeat-it.html

#2 E Oliver
September/23/2022
@ 7:25 am

One of the things that surprises me about the Martha’s Vinyard coverage is the focus on the island being occupied by rich people. I’ve never seen any mention of the many more ordinary people who also live there. Looking at the photos, I’m guessing they were the ones who turned out to help.

#3 Andrea Denninger
September/23/2022
@ 9:52 am

So where does everyone think electricity comes from? I mean, we’re not all going to be flying kites with keys on ’em . . . it has to come from SOMEwhere/SOMEthing.

#4 Mike Peterson
September/23/2022
@ 10:00 am

I suspect the “rich folks” have mostly gone home for the season and only the “regular people” are left on the island. As noted the other day, that’s a lot of people. The local HS, btw, is only about 60% “white” which probably gives a better idea of the permanent population.

And while the source of electricity is certainly an issue, I think the distribution is a larger one in this context. PG&E needs to stop setting wildfires with worn-out wiring, and there also have to be far more charging stations available. But 15 years or so should make that perfectly reasonable and likely resolve the source issue as well.

Meanwhile, the rightwing might want to cast an eye on Texas, which can’t even meet current demand.

#5 Becky Ferguson
September/23/2022
@ 4:28 pm

I wish the *leftwing* would pay more attention to Texas. Gov. Abbott is still in the lead! Their radio/TV ad has a clip of Beto sounding like he favors defunding the police (but not literally — a poor choice of slogans), and then the narrator says something like, “He wants to defund and disband the police” which Beto is definitely not in favor of. It’s a losing battle for November, I fear.

#6 Mark B
September/24/2022
@ 12:35 pm

Jeeze, are there any “conservative” cartoonists who don’t regularly lie through their teeth???

Join the discussion!

PLEASE NOTE: Please use your first AND last name when posting a comment. Please refrain from swearing. It's one of the rules that I enforce strictly. Thanks.

Want a cool icon next to your name? Go add one to Gravatar.com

*
*
This will not be published

(Optional)