CSotD: Saturday Cartoons

Brewster Rockit (Tribune) is usually silly, except that on random Sundays it will suddenly take a kind of Mr. Wizard shift and explain something about astronomy. (For those too young to recognize the name, Mr. Wizard was who we watched on TV before we had Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson.)

This is a nice combination of silly and thought-provoking, having earlier in the arc pointed out that the “first star I see tonight” is usually Venus and not a star at all. Shifting from science to folklore without abandoning either is a delightful talent.

It also raises this question: If thought travels at the speed of light going out, how quickly does wish fulfillment travel coming back? But I hated metaphysics, so we’re not going to dwell on it.

I’d rather ask the pony where it was five minutes ago. That’s not metaphysics. It’s metempsychosis.

Or met him with pike hoses, as my XGF Molly used to say.

We can skip metaphysics and shift to theology with today’s Bizarro (KFS), the interesting thing here being that, rather than being sacrilegious, the cartoon tacitly holds believers to a higher religious standard.

When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, but there are all sorts of folks who believe that when you wish upon a deity, it makes a great deal of difference how that deity feels about you. And those who have read Homer realize that not only can the gods withhold favors from people they don’t like, but they can and will actively mess with them.

You think karma is a bitch, wait’ll you see Minerva with a full head of steam. (Pic by Dylan Meconis)

I got into Notre Dame just in time to miss a priest who for several years had circulated a record of how many communions there had been the week before, which he tied into how the football team had fared, which mostly proves that one man’s faith is another man’s idolatry.

And then there was this 2000 strip from Owen Dunne‘s short-lived “Tommy Watches Television” web strip.

The counter to all this not being atheism but a sort of deism where you can believe in a prime mover, but you have to accept what happens as God’s will and not impose your own desires in the form of petitions. It’s not just expressed in the Arabic “Inshallah” but is central to a large number of Christian sects whom you don’t notice because they lack the hubris of their more flamboyant colleagues.

As for me, I believe in science, where, as demonstrated by Paul Noth, logic and pure analysis help people avoid coming to emotional, irrational conclusions.

As Tom Gauld would have it, science should show a bit of imagination and perhaps let its reach exceed its grasp now and then. A lot of interesting breakthroughs come from someone wondering “what if …?” and deciding to find out.

Though I’d add that YouTube is full of dog-training tips that, if dogs ever did gain the power of cognition and human speech, would make them laugh and tell us how far off the mark we’ve been.

We might be better off not asking.

If you’re going to be irrational, this is a great time of year for it, and Crabgrass (AMS) has just started a Halloween-based story arc.

While Between Friends (KFS) is in the midst of a more reality-based horror story: Helen has just found out that she’s going to be covering for Maeve while she’s gone, and it appears “covering for” means “doing her job.” (Starts here)

My assistants were fully capable of taking over my job, but Helen is right that it’s not fair to ask them to do it at an assistant’s pay. In fact, I’m not sure it was fair to ask them to do their own jobs at an assistant’s pay, and I always saw it as a launching pad, not a career.

In fact, one of them worked for me for two years and then got a job that paid twice what I was making.

It may be that Maeve has worked out some sort of fair solution here, but Helen should keep her neck on a swivel.

But we all should anyway. The days of 50 years and a gold watch are long over.

BTW, someone was complaining the other day that we no longer have continuity strips in the comics. But, much as I love Rip Kirby and Johnny Hazard vintage strips at Comics Kingdom, we certainly do have continuity stories these days, and these past two — Crabgrass and Between Friends — are good examples.

Okay, nobody gets shot or blown up. But you still have to pay attention and tune in tomorrow.

Macanudo (KFS) hit me with perfect timing, because I’d just (A) heard some journalist whining about their work being called “content” and (B) heard a story on NPR’s national news that was basically a rewritten press release with a reporter’s name appended.

I don’t mean it was slanted or full of self-serving praise, just that it was a plain-jane description of the thing, to which the reporter had added nothing. It reminded me of an informational interview I did years ago with an editor whose newspaper I liked.

I observed that the paper didn’t have a lot of bylines and he said he saved that recognition for stories in which the reporter had dug in and come up with some original findings.

Rewriting a press release after interviewing one other source was not gonna do it.

He didn’t have any openings in his newsroom, but I wished he had, because his instincts were admirable and if he did have a tendency to kick your ass, he’d at least be kicking it in a helpful direction.

As for the term “content,” there’s an easy solution to that objection: Get over yourself.

Finally, today, we’ll circle back to religious tradition for Man Overboard and some reflections on Jacob and Esau. The strip is not only funny enough in itself but provides an excuse to post this, from Beyond the Fringe.

If you watch it, you get a dispensation allowing you to sleep in tomorrow. If you don’t, you have to get up and go to church even if you had no previous intention of doing so.

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Saturday Cartoons

  1. There’s the old joke where the man swears to a talent agent that his dog can talk.
    “Ok, say the Agent. “Show Me.”
    The man asks “What’s ontop of a house?”
    The dog answers “roof.”
    The man asks, “What does sandpaper feel like?”
    The dog answers “ruff”
    The man asks, “Who was the best baseball player ever?”
    The dog answers “Ruth”
    The agent, furious, kicks them out of his office.
    Dejected, the man and dog sit at the curb and the dog says, “Was I supposed to say Gehrig?”*

    *Or “The Aristocrats” but that’s a very different joke.

  2. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer and Flanders got their kids into a minigolf competition: “Hey nice try, Flanders, but I just prayed this morning and we can’t both win!”

    But yeah, I’ve always been irritated by people who act as if God is some sort of wish-granter.

  3. Along with the gag-a-day strips that also feature week- or weeks-long continuities of which there are many, there are still a few classic continuity comic strips in the papers. ALLEY OOP, GIL THORPE, JUDGE PARKER, DICK TRACY, GASOLINE ALLEY, MARK TRAIL, MARY WORTH, REX MORGAN MD, THE PHANTOM, and PRINCE VALIANT all still exist. And FLASH GORDON is returning sometime after the new year. I admit that ALLEY OOP and MARK TRAIL are now gag-a-day/continuity strip hybrids in their latest incarnations and GASOLINE ALLEY has always been such, but they are still continuity strips.

  4. I agree “content” is mildly insulting.

    That’s partly because, as an R&D person, I objected to the R&D work being called a “subject matter” and the researchers/developers “subject matter consultants” on large projects. It wasn’t just “subject matter”, it was the days, weeks … years of technical work that would allow the project to exist at all. Similarly, it’s not mere “content”, it’s a play, a screenplay, a painting, a symphony, a science fiction novel, etc.

    1. Two responses, both anchored to my previous advice of “Get over yourself.”

      First, you are a pen for hire. You don’t have to accept work from someone you dislike, but, once you’re in, you’re in. If you cash the checks, you’re part of it all.

      Second is more practical: Each day, the advertising people send over “the budget,” which shows how many pages will be printed, where the ads fall on each page and what percent remains for editorial to fill. “Content” is a good thing. Content is why people buy the newspaper.

      But you’ve got to fit it into the budget, choosing the most important and the most reader-attractive. How they balance depends on the particular newspaper, but you are hired to provide content. And, y’know, change the world and stuff.

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