CSotD: Don’t Panic (yet)

Today’s top story in the media world is last night’s ghastly near-collapse of a tottering Twitter under the tone-deaf management of alleged genius, Elon Musk, as encapsulated here by Bill Bramhall.

Oliver Darcy has excellent coverage at Reliable Sources, but the immediate crisis appears to be that, in the latest of his nonsensical edicts, Musk told his remaining staff that they would have to put in long, hard hours or resign.

An astonishing number chose the latter.

Ah well. As I noted to somebody the other day, I was never fired from a job I still wanted, and, apparently a lot of folks at Twitter felt the same way, and good for them. Three-month severance pay should ease the pain of a righteous decision.

So Elon announced that he was shutting down the offices and turning off everyone’s card keys for the weekend, which is kinda funny, given that his latest hissy fit had been a demand they all stop working remotely. There’s a certain Catch-22 lunacy in that, which is fine because the older I get, the more that book seems less about war and more about management.

What happens next? Who knows?

I imagine the site will persist, more likely in a state of growing chaos than in a persistent vegetative state, amid all sorts of rumors about whether the debacle was a pure case of hubris and incompetence on Musk’s part or a deliberate attempt to shut down a place where dissenters could voice their opinions of the oligarchs.

Maybe he’ll sell it, or maybe someone will rebuild something similar, but we’re not going to be left voiceless.

I haven’t figured out Mastodon yet — beyond the fact that there are two O’s and only one A in the name — but I’m already over there at mas.to/@CSotD and I’d invite you to join me.

I found a spreadsheet of journalists who have made the move and am populating my feed with some of them, but I wish someone would compile a similar listing of cartoonists.

I’m sure it will all work out — without anybody giving Elon $8 a month — and, anyway, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.


Though, while we’re on the topic of things I’m not losing any more sleep over, I liked this Teresa Burns Parkhurst cartoon from the New Yorker, which fits in with a gripe I posted the other day about white folks appropriating indigenous wisdom — mostly phony — under the impression that other races possess magical insights.

I came across it just after reading some talk about “Wakanda Forever,” which had been frosting my hindquarters because, when Kirby and Lee invented the Black Panther character, they borrowed the name of a revered deity in Indian culture, and not just one of the pantheon but the top name.

When Frank Linderman was collecting stories of the Cree, Blackfoot and Ojibwe, he specifically noted that tales about Old Man were often hilarious, but it was strictly hands-off when it came to Wakonda/Manitou.

So I went probing to find out how this whole thing was playing out in Indian Country, and, as it happens, Indian Country Today is where I found an answer.

Turns out the Osage and Kaw, who use that name for the supreme deity, dismiss it as a puzzling oddity and were even kind of pleased that at least it was used with a sense of reverence.

Their shrug reminds me of when I was editing Linderman’s collection for modern youngsters and asked a Saginaw friend if I should use “Chippewa” or “Ojibwe.”

It didn’t matter, he said, since the two are basically pronounced the same and “the only time anyone writes it down is when they’re taking something else away from us.”

I will similarly save my outrage for more fraught topics.

It’s not like there’s a shortage.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Gary Varvel — Creators)


(Clay Bennett — CTFP)

For example, you don’t have to agree with Clay Bennett’s admiration for Nancy Pelosi, though it’s going to be hard to argue with his prediction that Kevin McCarthy won’t measure up to her record.

The fact that the Republicans have a razor-thin majority and a sizeable number of extremist crazies is going to make it very hard for anyone in his position to get anything done.

Bennett at least opens a conversation.

By contrast, Varvel failed to make his point, perhaps because the right has been joyously exulting over having, as many of them put it, “fired” Pelosi. I realize it’s just hyperbole, but that’s not how the House of Representatives works and it’s not like she can’t serve out the remainder of her term.

The real problem is that we don’t know whose high heels those are, and not only is he overplaying the diminished impact of that purported “red tsunami,” but it could be viewed as saying that, in gaining control of the House, the Republicans have dropped the hammer on women in general.

Good cartoons shouldn’t need labels, but this cartoon did.


Meanwhile, Pat Bagley picks up on a shift in rhetoric between the campaign and current plans. One criticism of the GOP was that, for all their insistence that Biden and the Democrats were responsible for crime, inflation, fentanyl and the price of gas, they never explained what they would do about it if they gained power.

So far, in part because the aforementioned Freedom Caucus holds them hostage, they haven’t come up with much more than a promise to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop and other purported misdeeds they can link to Joe Biden.


But who needs substantive policy initiatives? As Jeremy Banx notes, the public has a stunning ability to cling to simple promises, even when they not only fail to address obvious problems but are the cause of those issues.

But, hey, vox populi, vox deo, y’know?

Maybe. But, as it happens, I was looking for something else yesterday and happened on a column I wrote in 1994, which included this passage, which I wish had not aged quite so well:


There was no red tsunami, and, while Dave Granlund seems to think loss of the House signals a serious problem, let’s just see how the lame duck session goes and then carry on from there.


13 thoughts on “CSotD: Don’t Panic (yet)

  1. So I set up a Mastodon account last night (@BergeToons@mastodon.lol for those who might be interested). This morning, the antivirus program on my PC is blocking mastodon.lol on the grounds that it’s a “risky connection.”

    Welcome to the new normal, brought to you by a guy who says his name is now pronounce “EYE-gor.”

  2. The Varvel use of the hammer imagery just seems too mean spirited, to soon. Pelosi is certainly fair game, and invoke some wicked witch of the west vibes and drop a house on her, totally fine. But a hammer?

  3. So the parties are pretty much switching houses.
    It has to occure to someone that, as you need both houses to pass a bill, passing a bill in the house you will lose means that (with timing) you can pass it in the house you will win, and pass the bill whole, without reconcillation.

  4. Bills don’t survive the adjournment of Congress. A bill must pass both chambers of the same Congress.

  5. “Registration at Mastodon has closed, I was told when I tried to open an account.”

    All of Mastodon, or one particular server? I’m pretty sure that Mastodon.social has stopped accepting new accounts.

    Mastodon has a distributed network with people providing servers with various interests. All of them can access the broader Mastodon network.

    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about, I don’t really. I am thrashing around like everyone else, but here is a link to a list of different Mastodon servers. You might try one of those.


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