CSotD: Saturday Morning Cartoons

I was going to let DD Degg cover the Charles Schulz tributes today, but this Arctic Circle (KFS) deserves some separate commentary.

Alex Hallatt has been doing “Grown-Up Peanuts” gags all week, but today’s strikes at her usual health/environmental themes, and pinged my receptors for a couple of reasons.

We’re long seen research indicating that farm kids have fewer allergies than city kids, apparently stemming from the amount of animal and other natural crud they encounter from a young age. Just as the Count of Monte Cristo regularly consumed small amounts of belladonna to build a resistance to being poisoned, so, too, farm kids have built a natural tolerance for various impurities from birth.

But recently I heard an expert on the RSV outbreak that is sending infants to hospitals who blamed the isolation of the pandemic for this uptick, saying that kids hadn’t mixed with other kids and so were far more vulnerable to the disease once they did.

When our first was crawling around getting into things, we’d joke “Boil the baby!” in imitation of over-protective parents and grandparents, and the urge to keep babies in a protective bubble seems to have only increased since then. I’m not suggesting purposely exposing them to filth and disease — Chicken pox parties were a terrible idea — but a little unclenching of the nether regions might be appropriate.

Which, BTW, also extends to (gag) “fur babies,” as witness the hysterical lists of things that are “poisonous” for dogs but which, on examination, are simply not so good for them.

The theobromine in chocolate can kill a dog, though (A) susceptibility varies greatly and (B) it generally requires some really primo gourmet chocolate to trigger the response.

But I saw a list yesterday of things that could “poison” your dog that included turkey skin and other basic holiday fare.

Good for him? No. But not necessarily good for you, either.

It’s not as if any of us are going to live forever, but if you restrict your diet, and that of your dog, and that of your kids, to 100% guaranteed healthy fare, you can make it feel like living forever. Who needs that?

So good on ya, Pigpen. You’ve found the secret to a good and healthy life!

Adding to the topic of the Schulz Centenary, not everyone got the memo in time to play along, but Arlo and Janis (AMS) were covered, because Jimmy Johnson did a “grown up Peanuts character” story arc back in 1997:

No need to take a second shot; he got it right the first time.


Real Alphas Never Use that Term

Tank McNamara (AMS) is about to marry his tennis-pro girlfriend, and one of the benefits of characters who don’t age is that their attitudes can become more modern, even if their bodies don’t.

There’s a talent we should all envy!

I’m less impressed with Tank’s growth as a man than I am that Buck, his old quarterback, has also glommed onto a more modern view of women and relationships, particularly since we’ve suddenly got a flood of self-proclaimed “alpha males” who couldn’t get laid in a bordello, sternly telling women to get married, take off their shoes and get back in the kitchen.

Wisdom dispensed from deep within their parents’ basements.

Even back in the Olden Days, boys with any character and pride stopped believing the fantasies of lockerroom braggarts by the end of junior high, and grew into young men who embraced the saying “Men of quality are not intimidated by women of equality.”

And if they didn’t get it before, they’ve got NFL All-Pro JJ Watt, his professional soccer player wife, Kealia Ohai Watt, and their young son as real-life role models, not to mention the other manly-men of sports who have missed important games to be in the delivery room for something that mattered more.


Granted, there was a time when Tank didn’t accept equality-driven, athletically minded women with quite so much grace.

But life is for learning.


Going back to those alpha nincompoops, Prickly City (AMS) captures our unfortunate zeitgeist with a reference to FDR’s first inaugural speech, which, given the transformation of Twitter into a refuge for white supremacists and budding fascists, together with the former president’s hosting of such people as he bids for a second term, is worth quoting in a little more context:

The whole thing is worth reading, and is full of nuggets like

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.

FDR had plenty of enemies and detractors, but they didn’t have the bullhorn of the Internet. Even so, his reforms didn’t simply fall into place by themselves.

We need to gird up, not give up.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Lisa Benson — Counterpoint)


(On the Fastrack — KFS)

Just as we were approaching full employment, a number of firms have begun massive layoffs, sometimes to genuinely eliminate surplus workers but more often to satisfy the relentless demands of stockholders.

I was at one paper where we knew we were on the trading block before it was announced, because Corporate suddenly stopped upgrades of equipment. Sure enough, we began seeing layoffs and buyouts as they pumped up the profit-and-loss quotient to make us look like a better deal.

That was 25 years ago. Today, there is little fakery and much more open butchering, at which point it’s hard to argue against the “quiet quitting” of simply fulfilling the requirements and refusing to extend yourself for a company that obviously doesn’t extend itself for you.

Not sure it’s a good response, but it’s certainly a reasonable one.


And Deflocked (AMS) offers a related gag, because, without universal health care, a lot of people are forced to remain trapped in wage slavery.

The fear FDR warned against is not always unreasoning or unjustified, but buck up: We fought back from those harder times.


11 thoughts on “CSotD: Saturday Morning Cartoons

  1. The Arlo and Janis strips ran before I discovered it. What a great tribute. I see nothing wrong with having our childhood cartoon characters grow up, even when it’s Pastis’s parody of Family Circus.

  2. Special thanks to the entire comics community for today’s wonderful tribute. What a pleasant surprise to read the back pages today and find all the clever references.
    Well done, all of you.

  3. “But recently I heard an expert on the RSV outbreak that is sending infants to hospitals who blamed the isolation of the pandemic for this uptick, saying that kids hadn’t mixed with other kids and so were far more vulnerable to the disease once they did.”

    This expert and others like him have been pretty thoroughly debunked. The right wing media-sphere is unfazed. I believe the basis was a paper published in a French journal, and it has likely been retracted by now. It basically just boils down to “that’s not how the immune system works”.

    Meanwhile, another theory floating around that, has not been debunked to my knowledge, is that Covid is having an effect like measles did, where it causes the “immune system amnesia”. The immune system forgets that it doesn’t like certain pathogens, so you end up getting things you’d otherwise be immune to after childhood exposure all over again (ie. chickenpox, RSV, etc.). Bear in mind how very little is yet understood about Covid as a whole, and especially its long term effects. A shocking percentage of the pediatric population has been exposed to Covid without much protection or care. How many unmasked kids under 5 do you see running around despite the fact that there are no available vaccines for anything since the wild strain (and even that wasn’t available until even Delta was long gone and Omicron ruled the earth), and the take rate for that is something like 11%. As a result, ALL the kids are getting RSV, etc. all at once rather than staggered out by birth rate as is typical. The typical hospitalization rate projected over the larger population is such that the hospitals are predictably overwhelmed.

  4. This “quiet quitting” is the response to “Do a little more than everyone expects and pretty soon everyone will expect a little more.” It has been going on for years as the people “doing a little more” caught on to this.

  5. Jason, I went looking for refutation of the theory that pandemic responses — isolation and more hand-washing, etc — left very young kids unexposed to RSV viruses until recently, changing the normal timing of the outbreak.

    I found one source that said that’s not the case and far more that said it likely is. Those still favoring it — that is, in materials less than two weeks old — include the CDC and AMA, but I’d welcome a link to an authoritative source that says otherwise.

    There do seem to be some dubious theories attaching it to the Covid virus specifically, but, those aside, the overall lack of exposure to anything seems very dominant in medical thinking.

    Not saying you’re wrong. Just asking for a source or two with some research backing.

  6. Poinsettias have joined the list of “not nearly as poisonous as everyone thinks.” Apparently it’s an old wives’ tale. Latest I read is that if you (or your dog or cat) ate several pounds of petals you might barf, but that’s true of a lot of things. A nibble won’t hurt anyone.

    And now I’m reminded of my dog, who devoured hibiscus flowers with the passion of a junkie needing a fix. I was aware that hibiscus is considered human-edible and makes a popular tea. Nevertheless alarmed, I looked it up to learn that some varieties are harmful to dogs and others aren’t, and I was (to put it mildly) not a trained horticulturist. Hardly mattered since I couldn’t stop her, and she never barfed so I figured we were OK. I tried one myself and it had a mild floral flavor, not bad but not the addictive crack it was for my dog. That hibiscus shrub is gone now. Sometimes I think about planting a new one just to make her happy.

    A different dog of mine ate most of a box of chocolate and got very sick–a long night of enthusiastic emission from both ends. It was not gourmet chocolate, but still convincing enough to never let it happen again.

    I may be leaving the impression of being a neglectful dog owner. I’m not. Let he whose dog has not scraped some unidentified goo off the street and gulped it down before you could stop them cast the first stone.

    I appreciate the “quiet quitting” ideal, having long ago learned the futility–or stupidity–of being much more devoted to your company than they ever are to you. However, years ago I supervised a guy who may have been the original quiet quitter–wouldn’t do anything not in his job description, out the door at 5–and he was a pain in the ass. I kind of respected him for it, but the result was that everyone else ended up pulling the extra weight that he never would. Bosses weaponize the term “team player,” but when I had to stay late to finish the time-sensitive work he dropped on his way out the door, I wished he might have been more of one.

  7. Brian:

    Quality of chocolate makes a big difference. I had a GF’s dog scarf down an entire box of AYDS and he didn’t even miss his next meal, which suggests that the popular stuff didn’t contain a whole lot of real chocolate and wasn’t much good as an appetite suppressant, either, which was how it was marketed to young women.

    And I said I understand quiet quitting but not sure it’s a good idea. Well, why not? Corporate culture means they won’t give you a good or bad recommendation anyway — they’re terrified of being sued, so will only confirm your dates of employment.

    But I, too, would find it maddening as a fellow worker. Thing is, I put in all kinds of hours not out of loyalty but because that’s who I am.

    I once asked a teenage son if he thought I was a workaholic. He replied, “You mean to the point where it interferes with your social life?” and burst into laughter.

    Most of my quitting was loud. And, if I may say so, well-deserved.

  8. Brian:

    “Let he whose dog has not scraped some unidentified goo off the street and gulped it down before you could stop them cast the first stone.”

    I am not the he you are looking for. In fact, my Best Dog Ever was so fond of ingesting and otherwise experiencing disgusting materials that I called him “dumb” in print once for repeatedly getting sprayed by skunks out back by the chicken coop, thereby getting his little spaniel companions odor-fied. And I was rightfully corrected by Mike Peterson thusly:

    “In your case, don’t forget that skunks do serious damage to chickens. Tell the story this way: Kelsey took one for the girls. And the spaniels were his backup. Thank them for their bravery and sacrifice.”

    So I did. And still do in quiet times when sleep eludes me.

  9. Jason – Thanks, though I’d say they’re arguing primarily against the Covid-linked concept that isn’t central to the argument, and largely from belief than from studies, the latter being inevitable in such a short-term phenomenon.

    Two points: First, the theory — at least in its primary and most credible state — is about kids born in the pandemic, not youngsters who did Zoom schooling, so it’s about what you might call a blank-slate situation rather than a theory that lack of continuing exposure caused a weakening of immunity.

    I don’t think the theory is required to stand up to misapplications, and the “weakening of existing immunity” seems to be that.

    And the other point is that the New World offers an indisputable example of a more long-range application of the theory, in that people native to this hemisphere had never been exposed to the diseases that were relatively routine among Europeans who came here. It’s not that people here had “weakened” responses, nor that they hadn’t been exposed to dirt, dust, animal waste and each other. It was that they had never encountered these particular viruses.

    I find the “immunity debt” theory itself interesting but of little practical application — that is, it can explain a temporary surge but does little to suggest practical changes, except, as noted, in giving anti-Covid conspiracy theorists a whipping boy for their objections to common sense preventive measures.

    Thanks for the links. I suspect we’re less far apart than it appeared.

  10. Too much of ANYthing can be bad, for dogs, cats and humans. Case in Point: One of my Cairn Terriers tore thru a cardboard box and then thru a bag of Pill Pockets; she ate over 60 of them, and these are specifically made for dogs.

    I was up with her until 3 or 4 a.m.; she vomited 18 times (yes, I kept track).

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