Confession: I didn’t watch last night’s debate. There were several reasons:
One was that it didn’t appear to be on television here. The listings showed some baking contest and it occurred to me that I could record that and see if it turned out to be the debates, or if it turned out to be more interesting or if the system saw it wasn’t on and so recorded nothing.
Another is that my expectations were so stunningly low that staying up late didn’t seem worthwhile, and I knew that, if it turned into a fistfight, I’d hear about it in my morning newsfeed.
Apparently, it didn’t.
This morning I read a brilliant write-up of the whole shebang from Reliable Sources, and I checked for accuracy at Politifact and I indulged in a lovely takedown from David Frum. The Frum piece was particularly fun because the comments were as enlightening as his own observations.
And, in the end, I don’t feel like I missed a whole lot.
Fact is, I went through the cartoons this morning and couldn’t find any that reflected the actual debate, which may be because it went on so late at night and may be because nothing unexpected occurred.
This Patrick Chappatte cartoon is one of several that were done in advance and, as near as I can tell, reflects what happened as well as what didn’t.
Fiona Katauskas posted in advance of Donald Trump upstaging everyone else, though she’s focused on his booking rather than the debate. I think she’s covered all the bases and if any of it goes counter to her prediction, I’ll be very surprised.
She might have worked in a few more cameras, I suppose. I’m anticipating several hours of correspondents standing outside a building waiting for someone to go in and then standing around waiting for someone to come out.
We might hope for another absurd interval like Rudi’s foolish, chaotic press scrum to liven things up — here, knock yourself out — but it’s more likely any “action” will be more like John Eastman’s no-comment, which was neither surprising nor entertaining.
I think she pretty well nailed it.
There was actual news yesterday, and it broke early enough in the day — about 1:30 in the afternoon on the US East Coast — that you didn’t have to be in Australia with David Rowe’s lead time in order to comment on it.
Rowe is his usual rude self, bless him, but he’s not wrong in linking to Trump’s oft-expressed admiration for tyrants who kill their opponents, and I like the contrast of the golf club with the missile launcher, as well as the contrast of the actual autocrat with the striving groupie.
I haven’t seen much from American cartoonists, but the rest of the world appears to have taken notice, and Cartoon Movement features several examples, including this
Juxtaposition of the Day
There are several more examples of response, but I like the contrast of these two, both of which make use of Prigozhin’s nickname of “Putin’s Chef.”
I don’t have the background in international cartooning to know the extent to which Ceruzou may have been more graphic because of geographic proximity versus cultural norms versus personal taste, but obviously Lucas is less horrifying in his depiction of the murder.
I will say, however, that I greatly appreciate the wink in Ceruzou’s piece, because, gosh-golly, we don’t know what happened except that, of course, we do.
You could do an entire essay on the topic of who Putin is winking at.
In the meantime, the Yanks have been silent on the topic, except for a bit of fortuitous timing from Wiley Miller at Non Sequitur (AMS), which coincidentally provides a bit of insight into what we’re likely to see, once we get through the process of responding and posting.
It won’t likely be heads on dinner plates.
I’m assuming, BTW, that the syndicates are responsible for posting cartoons at GoComics and Comics Kingdom, which might account for some delay, and individual cartoonists may also have agreements not to post their work on their individual websites and social media until it’s been formally released.
But I think the overseas crowd gets one helluva head start, given their ability, and willingness, to get things up and posted so quickly, and if taking the time to process the ideas leads to less in-your-face reactions, well, maybe that’s another factor cartoonists here need to start contemplating.
I have heard a few cartoonists say, “My editor wouldn’t let me …”
Maybe the response to that should be “What has your editor done for you lately?”
As for what American cartoonists have, in fact, been up to, I like Michael de Adder’s piece because it comes in the wake of several commentators noting that our economy is in relatively good shape, at least compared to other developed nations, and wondering why voters still seem convinced that we’re in the financial gutter.
It might be because of headlines that say “Voters think the economy is in the gutter.”
Just a theory.
What de Adder captures here is that neither painter is depicting the flower in its entirety. I don’t think it’s the job of editorial cartoonists to provide full-rounded essays, but I do think they have an obligation to be correct about what they do say.
The economy is blooming but it does have some thorns. It’s no service to the nation to ignore one facet in order to promote the other, either direction, but I suppose the answer to that dilemma is to ask who the editorial cartoonist serves?
De Adder depicts one cartoonist as a donkey, the other as an elephant. If that’s simply a metaphor that means liberal vs conservative, fair enough. But to the extent that they are actual party designations, perhaps some introspection is called for.
As a journalist, I never joined a political party and I kept away from buttons and bumper stickers, though there was little doubt among my sources that I was progressive by nature.
I didn’t work to hide that, I think most of them respected my professionalism, and I always thought John Chancellor was being a bit prissy in declining to vote for fear of disrupting his neutrality.
Neutrality is a self-indulgent myth. The only real standard is fairness.
Watch for it, on a station near you.