CSotD: Interesting Times

Tom Tomorrow packs a lot into six panels here. There is, by the way, no Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times,” and people who quote alleged Chinese, African or Native American wisdom without sourcing it should be horsewhipped, but that’s a rant for another day.

Fact is, we’re living in times that future historians are going to find very interesting and it may turn out to be more pleasant to be them than it is to be us.

But if we’re going to continue to leave them a graphic trail of cartoons to study, this is a good time to remind you to support the work of people like Tom Tomorrow and other cartoonists, and here’s a list of how.

Lee Judge (KFS) echoes the hypocrisy Tom Tomorrow pointed out, and I thought of running these as a Juxtaposition, but Judge — while he offers many examples — is focusing on one aspect of the lies and double-dealing, while Tom Tomorrow dealt with an entire spectrum of dishonesty and autocratic zeal.

The other point is that Judge is direct in setting up and then refuting the dual standards, while Tom Tomorrow uses bland restatement, forcing the reader to recognize the point. I’ve said that bland restatement has its limitations, but I think in this case presenting the laundry list of grievances in that format is more effective.

I had a writing professor in college who used to speak of planting time bombs in your fiction, small things that seemed innocuous at the moment but that, in light of later events, would explode with significance. There’s something of that in Tomorrow’s format, because the bland restatements build up as you read each one.

However — and it’s a big however — the approach assumes, first of all, that you share his disapproval, so that the acquiescence of the characters infuriates you, and, second, that you have an active imagination and grasp of sarcasm and satire. Which, I guess, is a polite and analytical way of accusing him of preaching to the choir.

By contrast, Judge’s one-two punch is harder to misunderstand and is a more direct appeal to readers who may still be making up their minds, the oft-cited “swing voters” who can make the difference in a tight race.

Note that Tom Tomorrow began in the alternative press, where his task was to keep people motivated, while Judge, being syndicated in the mainstream, is more likely to appear before those undecideds.

Different markets and different goals call for different approaches.

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

I laughed at Stahler’s cartoon, but, as noted in the past, I have an appetite for gallows humor.

I don’t know that ER triage hasn’t maybe come to this. It’s got to be close. I went to look for the story about the Florida road rage incident, in which two men fired guns at each other’s cars, each hitting the other’s daughter. What I found was that the man who fired first has had his charges dropped because someone in the other car threw a water bottle at him, which gave him permission to kill them all under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

But when I put “road rage” into Google News, it spit back more than a dozen stories on the topic, just from the past week.

Meanwhile, Dr. Macleod’s point had come to mind yesterday when Louisville had a mass shooting and it occurred to me that we’re coming to a point where I’m not sure mass shootings even qualify as “news” anymore.

The old rule was “dog bites man” is not news, but “man bites dog” is. Fair enough, but we have laws to keep dogs from biting people. They’re not perfect, but they’re better than the laws we pass to make it easier for people to shoot each other.

The good news being that, while Republicans expelled Rep. Justin Jones from the Tennessee legislature for protesting in favor of gun laws, the Nashville City Council voted unanimously to appoint him as his own successor and send him right back, whereupon he promised to continue to do his job.

His fellow expellee, Justin Pearson, is expected to be similarly reinstated and is equally expected to keep on keeping on, with the help of a rising Gen Z tide.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

And while Republicans are stirring up and antagonizing young voters over gun issues, they may be doing the same to reinforce the fury of women in a post-Roe World.

Telnaes makes the point that Judge Kacsmaryk’s outrageous decision about mifepristone came from the pulpit and not the bench, and, as Ruth Marcus makes clear, he didn’t even attempt to hide the fact that he was basing his finding on religious beliefs rather than judicial reasoning or scientific study:

Given the nationwide attention to the case, you might have thought that Kacsmaryk would have taken pains to appear as judicious as possible. But no: A dozen sentences into the opinion, his personal views about abortion become unmistakable.

Luckovich makes the deeper implications clear: Kacsmaryk’s imposition of personal religious beliefs on both law and medicine indicate a level of contempt for modern women that should be jaw-dropping.

Should be, that is. Marcus says “My fury here is not because I fear that Kacsmaryk’s ruling will stand. I don’t think it will, not even with this Supreme Court.” But let’s not forget that this Supreme Court includes one associate justice who spent considerable time in a conservative religious cult — sorry, “faith group” — in which wives were known as “handmaids” and expected to be subservient to men.

She may only be one vote out of nine, but, then, Roe v Wade was overturned 6-3, and we can count on a few more 6-3 decisions from the McConnell Court.

By contrast, not everyone predicted Roe v Wade would pass 7-2 in 1973. The court was hardly as predictable back then.

It was another era, one in which we had turned this 1963 Burt Bacharach song into a major hit and Grammy winner for Jack Jones that was covered, as well, by Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London and Lena Horne.

Times change. But not without help.

Let this be a motivator:

One thought on “CSotD: Interesting Times

  1. Marc Murphy’s editorial cartoon is appropriate here also…along with the essay.

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