CSotD: Love is allegedly in the air

Let’s kick off today’s coverage with a 2008 Frazz in which Caulfield once more demonstrates his grasp of what matters and what doesn’t. I’ll grant you that I bristle a little at “less” and “fewer” mistakes, but not enough to interrupt a conversation over it.

I save that for “may have” and “might have,” because they mean two different things and the difference is critical. And, granted, next month I will correct people who think the Irish diminutive for Patrick is “Patty” because it damn well isn’t.

But we’ve got bigger fish to fry on a day that seems an attractant for same-old-same-old cartoons and grocery store bouquets that would be doubly welcome as a surprise on another day rather than as an obligation on this one.

Not that I don’t have some affection for the day. My first date with one of the major romances of my life was on Valentine’s Day. I took her to a hockey game, having won a pair of tickets in a drawing at work. She brought me dog biscuits, knowing whose heart she really had to win.

Hockey games and dog biscuits are the keys to true love, no matter what Hallmark and Russell Stover may try to tell you.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes)

(David Horsey)

The actual key to love is respect, and, as Telnaes and Horsey remind us, there’s precious little of that being given out lately.

Telnaes is righteously angry over the rightwing court’s efforts to help ultraconservative lawmakers drag women back into the 19th Century, as well she might be.

We had a half century of allowing women to make their own reproductive choices, and it is both chilling and hateful for anyone to try to take those rights away.

Horsey, meanwhile, points out that the State of Washington’s healthcare system is dominated by Catholic hospitals which invoke theology to restrict medical care. This does not simply involve abortion but potentially impacts birth control as well, and whatever personal autonomy Hobby Lobby and religious hospitals can’t yet restrict in that sphere, legislators and SCOTUS are poised to curb.

But, hey, here’s a Whitman’s Sampler and a bunch of half-dead carnations, ’cause I love you!

My heart belongs to Jane Austen, on Valentine’s Day and all the others, because she was not a fool for love, because her wit has made me laugh out loud and startle the dog and, at the moment, because I just finished reading Mansfield Park for the first time and consider it a highly relevant, highly contemporary learning experience.

She unleashed less of her mordant wit in this novel than in her others, but instead paints an in-depth portrait of a young, intelligent woman with solid personal values who is too shy and self-conscious to put them forward to control her own life.

The fact that the novel was written and set in 1814 loads poor Fanny Price with plenty of societal expectations, but we see the characters around her ignoring, flouting and exploiting those restraints in whatever ways benefit them personally, while Fanny allows herself to be browbeaten and bullied without a word of protest.

Two hundred years later, there are far, far fewer societal restraints on young women, but Austen’s generous, deep use of internal probing to illuminate Fanny’s dilemmas and frustrations still provides insights into women who, in any era, feel overwhelmed and bullied into silence and conformity.

Just as our history has been largely written by men, so, too, most of our classic literature has been written by men. Authors like Turgenev, Tolstoy and GB Shaw held up bold, assertive women as models, but I had never before encountered a character like Fanny Price.

In classic literature, that is.

I’ve encountered her in real life, and Jane Austen has now schooled me to understand that we cannot look at the attempts to force women back into the shadows and simply expect all of them to stand up and resist without support from the rest of us.

Thank god for Jane Austen, and for Ann Telnaes, and for Margaret Atwood and for the others who shine a bright, probing light into those dark shadows.

But applauding them alone won’t do.

If anyone believes that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” maybe the key is to give ourselves fewer things to feel sorry about.

We need to step up for the Fanny Prices and build a world in which it’s safe and okay to be a little shy and unassuming.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

As had been noted here many times before, an idea that comes to you quickly is probably coming to other cartoonists just as readily, and dear little Cupid is taking a beating this morning from RJ Matson, John Deering, Martyn Turner, Marshall Ramsey, Michael Ramirez, Mike Luckovich and Clay Bennett, though I’ll stipulate that Jeffrey Koterba at least let him be the aggressor.

This sort of coincidence is laughed off in the trade as a “Yahtzee,” but there are only five dice in that game and here are eight variations on the theme. Call it a Super Yahtzee.

Oh well. It can’t all be dog biscuits and hockey games, after all.

Sometimes it’s sweet little Cupid and an ear worm no exterminator can get rid of:

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Love is allegedly in the air

  1. At least Santa avoided being the target this time, in the comics at least. Good timing on his part. Also good that leprechauns don’t fly, or next month, they’d be the trope du jour.

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