CSotD: Would you believe … ?

Life between the ages of 15 and 20 seems purposely geared to be annoying. In my case, those years coincided with Get Smart, which Jack Davis drew here and it’s always fun to feature his work.

Get Smart itself, however, began as a clever sitcom but then became repetitive and predictable, which would have been okay if everyone hadn’t picked up on “Would you believe?” as a rarely clever saying.

Not only did it require you to suggest an alternative for people to believe, but it required you to attempt to imitate Don Adams’ voice, and most people could do neither.

I’ve been thinking of that lately, because the gag was clever and well-done on TV and haplessly annoying in real life. In short, I’m tired of being asked to believe things that nobody possibly could.

The issue I’m having relevant to political cartoons is that though allegedly a master spy, Smart was invariably the most gullible person on the set at any moment. His boss was impatient with him, his partner-and-girlfriend spent more time trying to keep him out of trouble than solving security problems and his enemies were confounded mostly by his unpredictable foolishness.

Hence the running gag was that, when he said “Would you believe?” nobody ever did.

I’m not speaking of sins of optimism. I appreciate that Adam Zyglis here suggests that Trump attempted to overturn the Rule of Law and, instead, has been caught up in it.

I just think he’s getting quite a bit ahead of things and counting his chickens before they’re hatched. It’s true that Trump has finally found charges he can’t duck or pass off on others or otherwise ignore and evade, but, then again, the party is far from over.

And then again again, you have to realize that, until 49 years ago yesterday, I fully expected Richard Nixon to use smokescreens and bullroar to remain in office. The existence of the tapes didn’t convince me; it was the unanimous Supreme Court decision that they be released that finally made me think maybe justice would be served.

We’re not there yet, but I appreciate Zyglis for pushing the concept.

Chris Riddell, meanwhile, explores one of the defenses being thrown up by the Trump camp, but the important factor here is that he is not pretending to buy either that the charges are false or the notion that Trump honestly believed he’d been cheated.

Rather, it’s a case in which Trump delivers the absurd “Would you believe?” explanation and the elephant, in absolute thrall to the Former Guy, is either sincerely or pragmatically agreeing to belief nonsense.

The humor in the original being that nobody could possibly believe whatever farcical statement Maxwell Smart led off with, and he would pare it down to marginally credible through a series of “Would you believe?” modifications.

In Riddell’s version, a powerful beast has been subdued not by logic, nor by political reasoning, but simply enmeshed in an emblematic red tie, and it centers on why on Earth the elephant didn’t pull free before it was too late, and whether it’s too late now.

Fascinating question!

As with the characters in his cartoon, Mike Lester (AMS) has the right to proclaim that Trump is being treated unfairly. Absolutely.

The problem in his argument, however, is not that he’s trying to “introduce facts not in evidence” but that he’s trying to introduce evidence that isn’t factual.

Gore gave up his challenges once SCOTUS ruled against him, despite outstanding issues of Bush’s Florida campaign manager leading the count in that state and of dubious deadlines for military ballots.

And, if Stacy Abrams or Hillary Clinton went beyond nominal recounts, I missed it. They may have second-guessed things and expressed regret, but if they screamed “Fraud!” they didn’t scream very loud.

Though they were legally entitled to, under the First Amendment, as is Donald Trump, as anyone knows who read as far as the second of page of that 45-page indictment:

The indictment charges him not with complaining or criticizing, but with illegal maneuvers to change the outcome, while the current (pending) order of protection has nothing at all to do with the results of the election but, rather, attempt to enjoin him from attempting to soil the jury pool or intimidate officers of the court.

Meanwhile, Chip Bok (Creators) offers a dog’s breakfast of ill-informed argument. It seems reasonable to wonder — after all the fruitless recounts and pointless investigations of women handing each other breath mints — how Trump could still doubt the legitimacy of the outcome.

It’s like someone insisting the sun is shining, then stepping outside and returning soaked to the skin and still insisting that it’s not raining. It doesn’t make you question the weather; it makes you question their sanity.

And wondering why someone thinks Trump is a “Russian secret agent” is beyond argumentative. They don’t. He’s thought to be a potential asset, which is different, and it would be easy enough to probe it by comparing the full, actual Mueller report with the redacted summary Trump’s Justice Department released.

Which shouldn’t be a hard sell for people who have been complaining about corruption in that corner of the executive branch.

Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) suggests that voters will have trouble making up their minds in the next election because of a tangle of thorny vines, only a couple of which are specifically identifiable, much less proven by evidence.

Most are so vague as to pop up in every election cycle, at an extent that distracts us from Maxwell Smart and makes us think instead of Cliff Claven: Often in error but never in doubt.

So far, the “witnesses” to all this corruption seem to be a guy who was blowing smoke into places it doesn’t belong, and a guy who disappeared:

Benson needs to get out the machete and trim this mess into something she can both explain and, if not prove, at least offer some specific evidence for readers to ponder.

Finally, Steve Kelley (Creators) capitalizes on the Barbie craze with a cartoon that criticizes the Biden administration for gas prices having reached $70 a fill-up for a nifty little runabout that hold 18 gallons of gas.

Would you believe 12 gallons?

At the current average price of $3.82 a gallon, would you believe that an average fill-up for an average car would cost just under $46?

What would you believe?

Enquiring minds want to know!

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Would you believe … ?

  1. Welcome back, Mike. Thanks for continuing to show that editorial cartoons shouldn’t be blatant lies.

  2. If Trump really were a Russian agent, they’d have quietly pushed him out an eighth-floor window years ago for being such a visibly stupid Russian agent.

    1. The only fault with that is that it’s probably been years since Trump has been on a floor higher than the third or fourth (when was the last time he stayed in Trump Tower in NY? And those windows are probably built not to be opened at all, otherwise we would have heard about one or more of Trump’s many early enemies having “fallen” out of them first).

      1. Remember that Visa check card Trump did some 20 years ago where he dropped his card off the roof of the Trump Tower and ended up rooting around in a dumpster to retrieve it? It was the last time he showed any vestage of a sense of humor.

  3. I loves me some ‘Get Smart’

    Around here gas is $4 a gallon, which is still far lower than it was just a year ago. I don’t see too many of those “I did that!” stickers anymore either, and I’ve scraped off my share.

    And I highly doubt the Barbiemobile costs $70 to fill, and it probably gets good mileage regardless. It’s not like she and Ken are bumming around in some huge pink SUV…

  4. From none other than former AG in the Bush administration, Antonio Gonzales in an opinion piece in the Washington Post:

    “Pundits across the political spectrum have a duty to be honest with Americans and to demonstrate that Trump is not being singled out and treated unfairly unless there is clear evidence to believe otherwise. The American people should withhold their judgment, consider the facts as the case moves forward, and be wary of words designed to fan the flames of partisanship. The rule of law is the glue that holds our country together. If we are to survive as a democracy, we must continue to respect and protect it.”

    Cartoonists like some of those posted today need to pay attention from this voice on their side of the political spectrum.

  5. Why is it that Republicans seem to think they have some God-given right to cheap gasoline?

    1. Why is it that Republicans seem to think the president has any control whatsoever over the price of gasoline?

  6. The Barbie car looks similar to a 1960 Corvette. With a 16.4 gallon tank and being in California, it could cost over $80 to fill it up. However someone who had that car would not care about gas prices.

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