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CSotD: Men With Hammers

One of my first memes, from back when a man with a hammer declared “Mission Accomplished” before several thousand American kids, and several hundred thousand Iraqis, died to prove him wrong.

This morning, we are beleaguered with cartoons featuring bloody hammers, and I’d have had a tough time sorting through them if more of them had been worth a damn, but, while drawing a hammer and a blood stain to protest violence isn’t necessarily a case of crocodile tears, even when offered sincerely it seems inadequate.

You can’t just draw it. You have to do something with it.

Michael de Adder, for instance, shows the hammer — as others have — as the cause of a shattered nation, but he enhances and expands the point by plainly accusing the hatemongers, while showing a number of impact points to make the case that this isn’t simply one bizarre event out in San Francisco but has been a repeated series of blows.


Robert Ariail connects the hammer to the on-going divisive, hateful rhetoric, and the bland face of the elephant indicates what on “Law and Order” is termed “depraved indifference to human life,” since he is under a moral obligation to know that the words he uses to instill fear and hostility in hopes of gaining votes are very likely to stir up far more drastic and deadly responses as well.

I suppose it’s possible, even probable, that the staffs of politicians and commentators screen out the vulgar, insane letters that are a constant in their feedback, but nobody who has dabbled in either media or politics can truly be unaware of the madness lurking out there.

I was no longer in talk radio when Alan Berg was murdered, but I’d also had an opportunity to interview people from Aryan Nations and their publicity materials alone were enough to make my program director agree that we didn’t need either to publicize their insanity or to antagonize them.

Berg, meanwhile, had had more than one armed “critic” show up at the studio before Aryan Nations showed up in his driveway.

Anyone in politics, anyone in media, who says they didn’t know there were crazies out there is a liar.

At least Berg drew their lunacy towards himself rather than directing it at others.


Even Donald Trump has, as Kevin Kallaugher (Counterpoint) points out, either the good sense or the human decency not to join in the cacaphony of “Whataboutism” spewing forth from his side of the aisle, from people who pretend that there is parity between calling Brett Kavanaugh a beer-swilling predator and calling for the deaths of Democratic leadership, or who feel drawing insults in chalk on some rightwing figure’s sidewalk is comparable to filming campaign commercials in which you shoot your political opponents.


And this Halloween-inspired editorial cartoon would be depressing no matter its source, but, coming from a hard-line conservative like Gary McCoy, Sally’s accusation is less mournful than insulting, suggesting not that we’ve lost our capacity for bipartisanship but that those who innocently wish for it are insane.


Yet, as Ed Hall notes, here we are, and, no, it’s not a case of “They both do it,” because the Democrats just erupted in a loud, intramural conflict over a letter calling for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are so strongly unified that they can’t quite seem to even criticize outright, blatant Anti-Semitism within their ranks.

Though I suppose you could make the case that “both sides” show party unity at times. The question, for voters in the upcoming midterms, is which sort of unity you want to be associated with.


On a related topic, this Ben Jennings cartoon about the Brazilian election has been getting positive feedback on line: I’ve seen several British cartoonists forward it with approval.

Lula’s narrow election victory over authoritarian incumbent Bolsonaro has, first of all, earned praise because Bolsonaro, despite being endorsed by Trump and a favorite of our ex-president, has taken his defeat like a man, though in silence rather than with some grand gesture of national unity.

The National Review — no bastion of libtard propaganda — reports that, while Brazilians are accepting democracy’s outcome, rightwingers in this country are soiling their Depends over the results, with columnist Bobby Miller concluding, “Much like its embrace of Viktor Orban, the right’s infatuation with the machismo of petty tyrants such as Bolosanro must end.”

Jennings cites one of Lula’s major promises, to severely curtain deforestation of the Amazon, which impacts the world far beyond Brazil.

But last evening’s election report on All Things Considered cautioned against irrational exuberance, since the closeness of the count means that, while Lula will be the leader, Bolsonaro’s party will have enough of a presence in the legislature to limit Lula’s ability to carry out his promises, including the one to save the Amazon forest.

“Unity” can be hard to achieve. We’ll have to see which country, if either, gets there first.


As Jeff Stahler warns, we’ll be getting plenty of advice over the next week, though it would be surprising if much of it came in the form of sensible discussions of meaningful policy proposals.


While, Tom Tomorrow warns, even a sudden attack of honesty would not be likely to change the direction of the oil tanker to whose mast we’ve been bound.

Not that a sudden attack of honesty — or competence, or common sense — seems at all likely.

Here in the Granite State, we’ve got a Senate race in which the Republican challenger recently repeated that stupid story about schools putting out litter boxes for students who pretend to be cats.

He told the crowd “I wish I were making this up,” but if he wasn’t, his staff was, and nobody was bright enough to check the story before passing it on.

Or at least bright enough not to name a particular school, who promptly announced the falsity of the foolish, hateful claim.

Worse, as that story reports, it’s not just happening here. It’s happening in other places where hating transgender children is a way to raise money and gain votes, and, no, they don’t both do that.


To which this Cornered (AMS) provides an appropriate, if flippant, introduction to today’s appropriate, flippant musical conclusion:


Community Comments

#1 Peter C
@ 10:08 am

A classic National Film Board cartoon!

#2 Lawrence Roberts
@ 3:22 pm

It is pleasant Wednesday morning here where I live in NZ. I hope, fervently, that when Wednesday morning rolls around for you folk you wake to a day that lifts your spirits and soothes your souls.

#3 Andréa Denninger
@ 6:58 am

My fave cat song . . .

#4 michael dooley
@ 12:32 pm

wait, did i just read in your column that “Even Donald Trump has …good sense …human decency”? i’m going to go lie down now,

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