There’s a lot of Year-End and New Year’s material this weekend, most of it pretty much the same, so I went instead to Australia for Jess Harwood’s take on the changeover, which I heartily endorse. Not only are the most well-adjusted happy people I know dogs, but nearly everyone I know in three dimensions is someone I’ve met at the dog park.
I intend to continue to debate big, important things and I certainly intend to vote, but I particularly intend to hang out with my dog and her friends and their humans.
And to go by the prayer of St. Francis to change what I can change, bear what I cannot change, and attempt to discern the difference, not because he was the patron saint of animals but because he was a good stoic.
On the other hand, one shouldn’t be too rigid and when Steve Brodner manages to drag both Margaret Mitchell and Carol Burnett into the debate, I’m not inclined to pretend he didn’t.
This is a lovely way to say that, while she’s loyal to her Confederate roots, she’s also completely ridiculous. And that those two factors seem perfectly compatible.
So don’t look at Ben Jennings’ piece because you won’t recognize everyone in it.
Or just look at the ones you do recognize.
Or dig the whole thing because it’s so well done.
I’m also skipping all the cliched “Old 2023 and Baby 2024” cartoons, except that I’m passing along Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint)’s because he’s managed to rise above the usual and make it not only relevant but even touching.
It sums up my overall attitude that I know I can’t do much to change things, but I can’t just sit back and watch, either.
And I’m sorry if you think I’m antisemitic because I don’t approve of firing on clearly marked UN relief vehicles driving negotiated routes or picking off Christian women in churchyards or killing people who wave white flags and cry out for help in your own language.
If you want a balanced look at what’s happening in Gaza, Ann Telnaes has collated the work of two cartoonists there, one Israeli and one Palestinian, and here’s a link to her thoughtful, on-the-spot coverage.
It’s very much worth your while and I’ve used a gift link so you needn’t fret over the WashPo’s paywall. Go have a look.
We’ll feature another political/New Year’s piece, this from Lalo Alcaraz at La Cucaracha (AMS), and, like Danziger, he’s managed to take the Baby New Year cliche and turn it into something relevant and thought-provoking.
I’d note, BTW, that for all the rightwing bloviating about an open border, the Biden administration has indeed been in negotiations to tighten things up. But Mexican president Lopez-Obrador suggested we extend some aid and recognition to Cuba and Venezuela in particular and Central America in general so that people might be better able to stay home.
Which would depend on a Republican majority that claims they want to get a handle on this issue, but seems more fixated on walls and punishment than on effective cures.
And a tip of the hat to Tom the Dancing Bug for pointing out that the first step to solving problems is to face them, which is why we haven’t solved all that many problems in this session of Congress.
It’s been hard for the past several months for cartoonists who rely on exaggeration and satire, because the Freedom Caucus is beyond either, but Ruben Bolling scores here. It would be nice if, in the coming year, our legislators could quit competing to be more absurd than the cartoonists.
But I ain’t gonna stand on one foot waiting for that to happen.
Man Overboard brings us back to this past week’s holiday with a reminder of why it’s doubtful policy to lie to your children. (Click on it for a larger version)
It’s entirely possible to take a Jeffersonian view of God and Jesus and such, admitting you don’t know everything and accepting certain aspects of the story as folklore while still accepting the moral teachings. But saying so in public can get you in plenty of trouble, because there are a lot of people who live in a dual reality in which looking up reveals stars and galaxies on the one hand, and angels with harps on the other.
And who want to embed that quality in our government.
When I was a kid, we had a book of stories about saints, and, in the introduction, the author explained that some of the stories were of things that didn’t actually happen, but the point was that they could have happened, if God had wanted them to.
Which I bring up in connection with this xkcd because one of the more folkloric saints was Patrick, who certainly did a lot of preaching and monastery-establishing in Ireland but didn’t actually drive out the snakes. Though he would have, if God had wanted him to.
But when I read this cartoon this morning, it occurred to me that Iceland probably popped up out of the ocean relatively late in the game, just as Ireland did. So I did some Googling and, sure enough, there are no snakes in Iceland, either.
Though I suppose there would be, if God had wanted them to be there.
FWIW, my favorite folkloric story about Padraig is that he was baptizing one of Ireland’s Norse immigrants and stuck his crozier in the ground to free up his hands, after which he realized he’d jammed it through the fellow’s foot. He apologized profusely, but the Viking said it was okay and that he had just assumed it was part of the ceremony.
Which is more believable than the stuff about snakes.
Finally today, Cornered (AMS) offers a year-end reflection on life and mortality and suchlike.