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CSotD: Mixed Bag Day

Political cartoonists should, indeed, stick pins in powerful people, but it does seem, in the current cycle, like a two-pan scale, where what happens on one side shifts the balance for the other.

Lee Judge (KFS), for instance, is hardly a Trump fan, but he seems anti-Biden in his comment on the way the White House hastens to walk back Biden’s more forceful statements to make them more palatable to moderate voters.

It’s a reasonable topic to debate, particularly since it seems that the more Biden speaks his mind, the more popular he becomes, and I’d note that there aren’t nearly so many cartoons about his approval ratings these days.

Still, it seems harsh to call him crazy because he has declared our intent to defend Taiwan against invasion, or because he knows the difference between a pandemic, an epidemic and a cluster.

When Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan, a lot of people were afraid she’d upset China, which seemed odd unless you were planning to pull us out of all our alliances. Which I guess some were.

But cartoonists — and not just the Brandon-haters — continue to complain that Biden said Covid remains a serious problem but that the pandemic aspect has ended.

 

The Mayo Clinic has an interactive map tracking infection and vaccination rates, and it’s pretty clear that things are trending downward and suggests that, while it’s still a serious problem, the pandemic aspect has ended.

But what do they know about diseases?

 

And speaking of clusters, British cartoonists have been having a ball mocking their new prime minister, Liz Truss, who came into office with a record of unfortunate statements and clumsy actions and may be disappointing a lot of people but certainly not the cartoonists.

Much of the commentary about her approach to the economy is well beyond what non-UK residents would be expected to get. On the other hand, Peter Brookes offers a laugh for those of us who raised our kids on those Beatrix Potter books, even if we don’t know much about the internal workings that inspired it.

Point being that I’m seeing a lot of lively work from over there, but very little I can use over here, which is too bad because, boy, they sure know how to land a punch.

However, if everyone will please stop drawing recruiting posters with Putin in place of Uncle Sam/Kitchener, I may be able to gather enough editorial cartoons to resume political commentary.

 

Meanwhile, over on the funny pages …

 

Non Sequitur is often somewhat political, and Wiley touches on a particular sore spot with this one, which is the use of “breaking news” to indicate anything less than two days old.

CNN apparently got word to throttle back a little, but they’re getting so much direction from the top that it’s hard to take them seriously at the moment anyway.

However, MSNBC continues to misuse “Breaking News.” I suppose it makes them seem smart, since they have so much information on a story that just broke.

Eight or ten hours ago.

 

While the editorialists are fussing around, come over to Between Friends (KFS), where Maeve is going through another of her romantic disasters. This time, however, she has a new sounding board in Savreen, who is much younger than she is and able to put things into focus as none of the strip’s usual cast of middleaged women could have.

We’ve seen Susan’s daughter used as the voice of youth, but the mother/daughter relationship is different. Savreen has, since her relatively recent introduction, brought a steely Millennialist perspective to the workplace, and having her and Maeve interacting on a more personal level offers a lot of potential.

She’s also Maeve’s boss, which reminds me of an interview I had for an editor’s position with a publisher who asked, “How would you feel about working for someone younger than you?”

To which I answered, “At my age, what choices do I have?”

Turned out to be a great relationship, working and personal, and Maeve and Savreen are a promising pair.

OH NEVER MIND: Sandra Bell-Lundy gently notes that this is Kim, not Savreen, and admits she’s still working on the new character’s look. But, while I can write that confusion off to my having read the strip at 5 in the morning, what I can’t dismiss is that, as she also pointed out, Savreen is Susan’s boss, not Maeve’s. One would assume, at this point, Maeve and Savreen have never met and, when they do, it won’t be on a level where they discuss their personal lives. (I still adore the new character.)

 

Brewster Rockit (Tribune) sparks a different memory of my past jobs, because I spent a couple of decades working with educators, and any time they got together, they wanted to break into small groups and either write things on Post-It notes and stick them on a wall or else there’d be tablets of newsprint that each group would write things on.

And then we’d all get together again and go over each group’s conclusions, and we’d honor and respect each one and accomplish absolutely nothing. To this day I have a visceral reaction to Post-It notes bordering on PTSD.

But I do like submarine sandwiches. When I was on jury duty, they gave us subs during our deliberations.

I’d rather be on jury duty than sit through another educational meeting.

 

Deflocked opens an attractive possibility, though I will admit that, in my case, there isn’t a lot of difference between being a student and being retired, though I often went to classes in my sophomore year, when I was on academic probation, and my senior year, when I was married and so had nothing more interesting to do.

I even wrote a song about it, senior year, which you may sing using the chorus from Cream’s classic music hall number, “The Mother’s Lament.”

I’d rather be learning than earning,
I’d rather make textbooks my life!
Oh, I’d be a fool,
To drop out of school,
And have to go work like my wife.
My teachers are foggy old pedants,
My classes are boring, and yet
I’d never survive
If I worked eight-to-five
And I’d rather write papers than sweat.

The song was written to amuse my wife.

Back when I had one.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Banx)

 

(Dana Summers — Tribune)

Cartoonists continue to be obsessed with the Dart mission, but Banx is the only one who made me laff.

Summers left me pondering the fact that kids who get good at video games may not master the math required to work on NASA projects, but reportedly give our drone program a significant advantage.

But mostly, it reminded me of this film, in which Centauri drove a Delorean a full year before Doc Brown.

 

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
September/30/2022
@ 9:26 am

The bad-faith efforts of so many right-leaning editorial cartoonists continues to amaze me long after it shouldn’t. A while ago I rhetorically asked you what had happened to Ramirez, whose POV I used to respect but has fallen into batshittery; whatever hit him seems to have spread. At best, I guess they notice what gets the most hits and shares and likes and so do more of what their readers seem to like. I want to imagine that if you sat Judge down and asked him if he really thought Biden was cuckoo for defending a democratic ally against threats from Communist China or accurately characterizing the state of the pandemic, he’d concede that No, he just said that to sell a cartoon. But I don’t know anymore.

The sticky notes flowchart brainstorming mediator craze hit my industry as well. We spent enormous person-hours sticking things to walls with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was, only to miraculously reach the conclusion everyone knew we would reach when we walked into the room–which recommendation was usually totally ignored by the managers who’d told us to get into that room so they could do what they wanted all along. It wasn’t all useless, as I turned out to have a knack for mediating such processes and was actually flown around the country to hobnob with my brother mediating wizards, where I made nice friends and memories. I don’t think it ever helped he company, though.

“The Last Starfighter” was a fun movie and a pioneer in CGI effects, which look primitive now in the same-but-different way Willis O’Brien’s Kong puppet is a thrill from a different era. Whenever I play any type of video or computer game, even Solitaire, I still imagine there’s someone at the other end waiting to recruit me for a greater purpose based on my superior gameplay. Hasn’t happened yet. Doesn’t mean it won’t.

#2 Paul Berge
September/30/2022
@ 11:42 am

Way back before anyone but his parents had heard of Bill Gates, my dad’s work involved a fair amount of computer use. There was a game on his computer that we kids would amuse ourselves with when waiting for him to get off work and take us home (his job being closer to our school than our house was).

The game involved landing your spacecraft onto a planet; instead of graphics, there were readouts of your height and velocity, the latter of which you adjusted with the up and down arrow keys. You could choose a specific planet, moon, or asteroid, or set the game to choose a random speed, height, and planetoid for you.

With asteroids, the difficulty was usually that if you weren’t going fast enough, you’d bounce off the asteroid or miss it entirely. Except for the time when my younger brother, momentarily delighted to see that the computer had chosen a small asteroid, saw all too late that he was thirty feet above it and heading for it at a speed of 25,000 mph.

#3 Mark B
September/30/2022
@ 12:23 pm

The head of one of our local historical societies has done a wonderful! job! and we’re much better off than we were just a couple of years ago. But she’s a retired education administrator and Lord does she love the Board of Directors brain-storming on newsprint taped up onto the walls of our meeting room. Seems like a sad waste of good paper…

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