Several comic strips have been anticipating Christmas with gags about kids trying to clean up their acts for Santa and people decorating their trees, but now we’re getting right down to the real nitty gritty, and Monty (AMS) brings up the topic of Christmas cards as we enter the home stretch.
I used to get a lot of Christmas cards, but, then, I used to send out a bunch of Christmas cards. The two factors are likely related.
My dad used to draw a card every year — that’s me reaching for the candy cane in 1952 — and people looked forward to them. I get a few cards from artists today and feel much the same, because they come across as a gift.
Family photo cards also mattered, because in the days before the Intertubes they were how you kept up with distant friends and family. Today, they aren’t so special, since you just saw pictures of everyone on Facebook two days ago.
What made me laugh about Monty was the use of filters, because I hate them. Living in the midst of autumn colors, I’ve long known that catching the right fall landscape on the right day with the right settings is magic. Having some nitwit colorize and post a mediocre shot does for photographers what AI does for writers: It cheapens honest work of skilled people.
Now they’re advertising camera-phones that allow you to swap in faces so there’s never a photo in which someone had their eyes closed or was looking the wrong direction.
Hooray! Everybody is an artist!
Which means nobody is an artist.
I mentioned a while ago the number of Thanksgiving cartoons which assume we still bring home live turkeys, and Cornered (AMS) mashes up the concept with the “X-number of shopping days ’til Christmas” promos that mattered a lot more back when we shopped locally at stores that closed on Sunday.
When Vietnamese refugees first began coming here after the war, one of the things they had to get used to was that we sell dead animals, a practice they found unhealthy and disgusting. They’ve apparently adjusted, but I wonder how many born-here-Yanks would suddenly turn vegetarian if we all had to slaughter and clean the meat we ate?
Just an idle thought. Growing up amid the autumn color means I also grew up where a deer hanging from the chimney was part of the normal landscape. For that matter, the people I know who keep chickens today give them names and only consume their eggs, and it sure didn’t used to be that way.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Comic strips this year have been a mix of kids being careful to behave in case Santa decides he hates them and ones in which the whole Santa-as-Big-Brother thing is questioned. Grand Avenue is right that, at best, such a vigilant Santa Claus would be a real annoyance if he weren’t somewhat theoretical.
I remember being stunned when, in the third grade, we discovered that one of our classmates still believed in Santa, though none of us were cruel enough to burst her bubble.
I also remember being not quite so surprised in junior high Confirmation class when we discovered that she thought the priest was walking down the Communion rail with an empty chalice and alakazamming a host for each person.
Meanwhile, They Can Talk shows how to make a cartoon about the cat messing with the Christmas tree that stands out amid the flood of cartoons about cats messing with Christmas trees. I don’t remember our cat ever knocking down ornaments, but, if he did, I could readily see him doling out justice to that rotten little stooge.
Juxtaposition of Inexplicable Beliefs
I don’t blame Mr. Boffo for being somewhat off on the stock market, given the normal lead time for comic strips and how recent the growth of stock prices has been. My IRA has gone up about 7% since New Year’s but that’s mostly in the last two months.
Of course, the Boffos aren’t retired, so the ups and downs of their portfolio don’t matter a whole lot. If they have the sense to leave it alone, it’ll be fine by the time they need it.
Editorial cartoons, on the other hand, are expected to be up-to-date, and yet many of them continue to weep and hang crepe. Recent numbers don’t justify all the pessimism.
Jobs are up, unemployment is down, inflation is low enough that the Fed is no longer raising rates. The consumer price index has only climbed slightly and remains healthier than in other developed nations, gas prices are dipping close to $3 a gallon nationally and there has been a rise in median wages.
And yet too many political cartoonists continue hauling out their dead, ignoring the cries of “I’m not dead yet!” and “I feel happy!”
Well, we know how that ends: With a brisk thump on the head to make a reality out of partisan perception.
Plus, come on, Lisa:
Perception matters more than facts, though, as RJ Matson demonstrates with this illustration of a flush, thick, richly decorated holiday tree.
Why, it’s as plain as 2+2=5.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
There used to be a Christmas special every year, in which a comic strip would offer a series of strips specifically for the season. I haven’t seen one in several years, but don’t despair.
Non Sequitur (AMS) has been running a story since Monday in which Danae finds Lucy missing and tracks her into the forests of Maine. This is today’s episode, but you can start at the beginning by clicking here.
While, over at Crabgrass (AMS), the boys have captured one of Santa’s elves last week, or perhaps the elf has captured them, but now he’s promising them a look at Santa’s Workshop. Again, you can click here to start at the beginning of the serial.
I don’t think Brewster Rockit (Tribune)‘s story arc of a giant inflatable elf is extensive enough to qualify as a true seasonal serial, but it’s been a funny sequence and today’s episode gave me a laugh.
Finally, here’s an odd start to a brilliant career: