CSotD: Flashbacks

This classic xkcd may not quite express my long-term financial plan, but I’m glad I have been saving funny pictures, because, between Jim Jordan cartoons that are suddenly irrelevant, and divisive, nasty commentary on the Middle East — plus the fact that few political cartoons post anything new for Monday anyway — I was in too sour a mood today to even enjoy the funnies.

So I’ve dipped back into my hard drive for some things from when laughing happened more easily and thinking didn’t hurt so much.

“I just happened to be passing by.”

It would be nice if this 1964 Bill Mauldin cartoon could come to life again. He was commenting on how Barry Goldwater’s rightwing views were alienating Republican moderates, with the expectation that LBJ would pick up their votes.

I don’t know if that’s exactly why, but Johnson waxed Goldwater in the ’64 elections, which drove the Republicans to rethink their direction.

And not for the only time: After Mitt Romney’s disastrous defeat in 2012, Bobby Jindal said the Republicans needed to “stop being the stupid party,” and form a plan to rebuild themselves.

As he explained:

Haven’t heard Jindal’s name in a while, have we? The depressing part isn’t that they ignored his advice. It’s that ignoring his advice seems to have worked so well for them.

I’m hoping Joe Biden can pick up some disconsolate hitchhikers in 2024.

But something has to change before this 2013 Mr Boffo goes from satire to prophecy.

This 2009 Pearls Before Swine (AMS), alas, is accurate. I won’t repeat my usual rant about editors who don’t understand cartoons, or publishers appointed by Corporate who don’t understand their local communities or cookie-cutter newspapers that fear to take a stance.

Ain’t nobody listening anyways.

I nearly got in a fistfight with the editorial page editor of a paper where I worked, after I showed him this Foxtrot and then laughed when he said he didn’t get it.

I assumed he was kidding but, no, he didn’t know who she was either, and he was deeply offended that I found that ridiculous.

He later won a Pulitzer. I wish I were joking.

Juxtaposition of the Last Century

Speed Bump — Creators (2007)

I was a big supporter of VocTec long before one of my granddaughters took advantage of it to train for a career that seems to be working well for her. It doesn’t involve fixing cars or milking cows, but it does involve a growing sense in the world that practical knowledge is not a bad thing.

Her father and I were both labeled as underachievers and nagged at to live up to our Great Potentials, but she was diagnosed as ADHD early in grade school and so was able to make decisions based on who she was instead of who people insisted that she ought to be.

A lot of kids benefit today from that change.

Another change in the world, though I’m not sure it’s catching on as well as it ought to have. I’m don’t know the date of this Jules Feiffer piece, but it ran in Playboy several decades ago. Nekkid ladies aside, the Playboy Philosophy actually preached a level of respect and mutual consideration that, if anyone really did read the articles, would have benefited them.

And in this case, they only needed to read a cartoon to get the message.

I certainly don’t credit Playboy with all the changes in the world since, but I see the incels and allied misogynistic wankers and have to wonder how they manage to remain so clueless when the world around them offers not just hints but clear statements of how relationships can function and how good men behave.

As Auntie Mame said, “The world is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

Even old strips like Elderberries can trigger current thoughts. I was driving past all the “Help Wanted” signs on the street thinking about people who complain that automation is eliminating stupid, repetitive, low-paying jobs nobody wants anyway, when I remembered a colleague who wound up stocking shelves because he was forced into retirement before he was old enough for Medicare.

Stocking shelves didn’t require a lot of mental/spiritual effort and the store offered benefits.

Constant Readers, however, will know how I hate those cheerful Modern Maturity stories about 90-year-old mountain climbers when so many seniors have trouble making it up the stairs. A lot of them also have trouble making it on Social Security and aren’t nimble enough to stock shelves any more.

Could be worse. I lived in South Bend right after Studebaker terminated their pensions and widows in their eighties were flipping burgers. I wish the people who yap about personal responsibility and bootstraps could have been there.

Bill Watterson had the chutzpah to walk away from a very profitable gig when it no longer scratched the itch. Too bad his decision was so rare: There are good cartoonists today who can’t make headway because the remaining funny pages are packed with zombie strips and formulaic gags that lost momentum years ago.

BTW, Watterson has just donated a signed copy of his new book, Mysteries, to be auctioned off as a fundraiser by Team Cul de Sac to raise money for fighting Parkinson’s.

Speaking of artistry, all the hoopla over Steve Bell’s dubious homage to David Levine’s LBJ scar cartoon reminded me of this Levine work I liked better, as LBJ was beset by Bobby and by Wilbur Mills, with only loyal Hubert to support him.

I wasn’t nuts about Bobby, but I didn’t think Gene had a chance and it didn’t matter because I was old enough to kill, but not for voting.

This Bloom County hearkens back to a time when we made our own images to go along with the music.

F’rinstance, the Association song “Cherish” is forever imprinted in my mind by memories of a blind date with a cute blonde who wore strawberry lipstick and don’t ask me how I know that because (see Feiffer above) gentlemen don’t tell.

But it was well before MTV and YouTube and half-naked exploding porpoises. My head remains packed full of images from Sgt Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request and Time Has Come Today and Forever Changes that only I can see on accounta I’m the one who put them there.

And so, in lieu of a concluding musical video, we’ll return to xkcd whence we began.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: Flashbacks

  1. The closing xkcd strip was quite amusing. Spoken as someone who ended up with two psychology degrees because he flipped thru the Gannon College catalog with his eyes closed and stuck his finger in at a randomly decided moment. Well, pre-seminary wasn’t working out, I had already failed final probation, and Gannon gave me one more chance if I changed majors. I really didn’t want to go to college, but the alternatives were: A. Vietnam. B. Continuing to live at home with the parents. (A. was vastly preferable, given those choices. No, there was no other choice in getting away from mother, she was very good as seeing to that.)

    And yes, being of that certain age when weekends were spent in demonstrations trying to influence American policy, while knowing you’re going to be well into Nixon’s first term before you’re actually allowed to vote.

  2. The sad part of that FOXTROT strip is that one doesn’t even need to know who Pervez Musharraf is (or rather was, given that he died earlier this year) to get the joke in the strip. Context tells you that Pervez Musharraf was a political figure and that said fact was something that Peter knew and Roger didn’t. Knowledge of why Pervez Musharraf was a political figure isn’t really necessary.

    1. Really, the punchline is Roger saying “she” when Musharraf is clearly a “he” even if you have no clue who Musharraf is(was) either.

  3. Whenever a guy in college asks what literature, for instance, has to do with a job, I say “absolutely nothing. Education is for making you a better, well-rounded person.”
    I just graduated with a Political Science degree. What do I do with it? I (hopefully) have a better understanding of our politics and government than the average shmoe. My job? Aspiring cartoonist. And never the twain shall meet.

  4. Before you start steering old (or young) people into a career stocking shelves, be aware that it isn’t the rosy, relaxing bliss you may think it is. Besides being physically challenging (my odometer for one day was an average of nine miles), but the pressure to meet quotas, determined by computers, is quite real at any big box or national chain, and the attrition rate is pretty high. I managed to save enough money to live quite comfortably for the rest of whatever time I have left, but I’m aware that I’m pretty out of step with my co-workers who spent the same 24 years I did doing that job–and believe me, ulcers are not unusual for all those reasons, just as I imagine they’re common in other, loftier avocations. .True, I didn’t go to college to become a night stocker (like Kolchak), but now that I’m retired, I wish I could still do it, just to have co-workers again–but even if I didn’t have post-stroke disabilities, it would be a tough job opportunity for anyone in my age range, much less somebody doing it just to occupy their time, even if the wages now begin where mine peaked just two years ago.

  5. When my college demanded that I choose a major, I went through the catalog and crossed out everything I didn’t like. The one thing left was anthropology. I only worked as an archeologist for one summer, but understanding why people do what they do has been invaluable.

  6. Bobby Jindal, 2015:
    “I think the Donald Trump show has been entertaining. I’ve enjoyed him as a reality TV show star, but just because a lot of people like watching Kim Kardashian, we wouldn’t put her in the White House either,” Jindal said. “He is an unserious, unstable, narcissistic egomaniac…Let’s make America great again, it starts by firing Donald Trump.”

    Bobby Jindal, 2023:
    “I just had a great conversation with President Trump, and I told him that he has my full and complete endorsement to win back the White House and Make America Great Again!”
    11:51 AM · Oct 16, 2023

  7. Mike said: ‘I wish the people who yap about personal responsibility and bootstraps could have been there.’
    Speaking of responsibility, Here is another aspect
    Who actually takes responsibility????
    And, yes it may sound fanatical and I’ve said it before, I think Wiley Miller is a national treasure.
    Of course, I think Mike Peterson is one, too.

  8. Seems Jindal is again in the running (along with dozens of rtwingnut politicians) for the ‘Upper Middle-class Twit of the Year’ award! They twist and turn; contortionist dervishes without a shred of honesty or conscience.

  9. Back in the early 80s, a few months after seeing “Allegro Non Troppo” for the first time (including a marvellous piece of animation set to Ravel’s “Bolero“, tracing the evolution of the world, all the way from “bacteria” through “dinosaurs” to “man”), I happened to see Tai & Randy skating to the same piece of music in the Winter Olympics. As the pair did their marvellously elegant moves over the ice, all I could think of was “dinosaurs wearing ice skates“.

Comments are closed.