CSotD: Truth, fiction and opinions

I was dismayed to read the absurd piece by a Cleveland editor in which he said that, while readers like comics, he doesn’t, and so he doesn’t care that they do. Though, granted, I appreciated his proving my long-time dismissal of editors as cloth-eared lumpkins who don’t understand the art form.

His ignorant rant, however, points out the dismal fact that cartoonists have to please editors, not readers, and that editors would rather please their immediate, fading audience than attract new readers.

It’s a critical matter for comic strips, since we’ve seen several chains abandon even trying to create their own page and simply extrude a bland, one-page-fits-all, centrally laid-out comics page.

But, while this allows editors to ignore individual strips, they still select editorial cartoons with the same tone-deaf lack of comprehension, which tempts political cartoonists to offer obvious images in place of incisive commentary.

At the moment, the result is a flood of Biden Corvette cartoons, and I used a photo above because I’m not singling out a particular cartoonist in this.

The topic is hardly off-limits, and a cartoonist like Chip Bok (Creators), who is firmly in the anti-Biden camp, is justified in using the garage stash incident as an attack point.

Agree with him or not, Bok makes a political point consistent with his established leaning, and I can respect his effort without endorsing his take.

What I can’t respect is a sneaking suspicion that some cartoonists are drawing snarky Corvette cartoons not because they oppose Biden or think he intentionally stole documents or to comment on the need for greater care of classified information, but because they know they can sell Corvette cartoons to cloth-eared editors who recognize the theme without being able to analyze the commentary.

Political cartoons should make a political point that you’re willing to stand behind. If you’re simply trying to make a sale, draw Dagwood hanging off the gutter or Garfield grumbling through another Monday.

Don’t pretend to be taking a stance if you’re simply taking a paycheck.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Bill Bramhall has the advantage of a staff position at the New York Daily News, so he doesn’t have to thrill anonymous editors to make a living, but my bet is that this one would have been picked up by a lot of papers.

I base that hypothesis on the fact that I’m sick to death of George Santos gags and, in particular, of Pinocchio jokes, but this one made me laugh. Still, it makes a point more about Kevin McCarthy than about Santos, and is thus incisively political as well as ridiculously funny.

Nice trou, by the way.

I’m less amused by Michael Ramirez (Creators)‘s cartoon, not because it promotes an anti-government, paranoid fear of jack-booted police, though I wish that hadn’t become an apparently mainstream political stance.

But we’ve got enough real things to argue about, and dishonest tropes about taking away people’s gas stoves or hiring 87,000 armed IRS agents seem excessive.

JFK Jr. is dead. Nobody is drinking children’s blood in a pizzeria’s non-existent basement. There are no Jewish Space Lasers. Nobody is coming after your stove.

And there is a point at which it’s hard to write off something as an “interpretation” or a “misunderstanding” or even an “exaggeration.”

Even opinions should contain a nod to truth.

Andy Marlette (Creators) leverages the issue of truth and the lies to make a point about his home state’s governor and the use of invented distractions to attract attention rather than making a serious attempt to address Florida’s actual problems.

Was DeSantis elected to be governor, or to be a presidential candidate? It’s a question worth raising, and well asked.

Paul Fell capitalizes on a pair of talking points in which facts seem to be taking a back seat.

Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest in an NFL game was an injury, as discussed here before, that not only could have happened in any sport but was far more likely in another sport, but it drew forth a raft of cartoons by people who hate football.

As noted, the sport has some troubling injuries, certainly, but that wasn’t one of them, and it was a poor excuse to mount the soap box.

By contrast, Fell points out, we’ve had yet another shooting in a school but, because such slaughter has become common, the age of the shooter attracted more attention than the problem of guns itself.

His cartoon is a good demonstration that having a viewpoint doesn’t have to be partisan, but it ought to be morally consistent.

Wishing that people would focus on real threats instead of popular themes is a solid point.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Dav Pope)

(Cathy Wilcox)

The death of Australian Cardinal George Pell raises a different, more troubling question of truth vs opinion.

I enjoy American football with misgivings, and feel the same way about guns, because they contain concrete, out-in-the-open issues that can be discussed and debated.

The issue of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy is far more tangled, because even for “recovering Catholics” like me, it’s not only an issue of personal identity but one of personal experience.

Not only did I serve Mass for some good, honest priests, and go to a university where many of the faculty were good, honest priests, but I had an uncle who was a good honest priest.

Still, I’m no fool and I knew about sexual abuse well before the Boston Globe’s coverage became an Oscar-winning movie, and even before abuse was reported in residential schools, and even before a Sixty Minutes report inspired a young victim to reveal the horrors of Newfoundland’s Mount Cashel orphanage.

Anyone who wanted to know, already knew.

But there was an element, first of “not all priests,” which is fair enough, and a second element of believing, as I have of Pope Benedict, that layers of bureaucracy kept those who could have done something from doing all that they could have, and should have, done.

But George Pell offered a different story, and this important report should chill your blood.

It is made worse because he apparently received cover from Francis, “the good pope,” and was honored in death by Australian PM Tony Abbott declaring him “a saint for our times.”

I have few answers, but I find relief in dark, dark sarcasm that you may not.

Click this one with caution.

One thought on “CSotD: Truth, fiction and opinions

  1. I like to think that I’ve reached an age where I can decide what to freak out about (if anything) all by myself without some knob in a suit telling me what to freak out about.

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