CSotD: Hits and Misses

Dave Whamond raises a fundamental issue with regard to Pope Francis’s statement condemning surrogacy.

The Pope was addressing a situation in which poor women are paid to bear children for the wealthy, and he might have made a more narrow comment specific to that aspect of surrogacy, condemning the practice of turning pregnancy into a career.

But the Church already condemns in vitro fertilization and, moreover, insists that a baby be conceived only from the parents’ own sperm and egg. There is no exception listed for Paracletic Fertilization, which brings us to Whamond’s point.

There was a moment at the end of the Middle Ages when the Church could have stated that, while parts of the Bible are folkloric, it is the philosophical and ethical teachings that matter, that you needn’t believe in Noah’s Ark in order to achieve paradise.

But they’re boxed in on the Virgin Birth, having built a substantial devotional framework around it and drawn a formal line between theological truth and scientific truth.

As Francis Bacon explained in 1605:  “The theological truth is drawn from the word and oracles of God and determined by faith. The scientific truth is based on the light of nature and dictates of reason.”

It’s similar to how DC Comics screwed up the Superman franchise by coming up with answers to questions like “How does he cut his fingernails?” The more they tried to explain fantasy using logic, the more absurd the story became.

In this case, a lot of medieval sexual concepts relied on the assumption that the sperm contained the entire child and that the woman provided fertile ground in which it could grow.

We all know how telescopes screwed up the geocentric universe and celestial spheres.

We’re still paying for the havoc microscopes brought to theological biology.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Kevin Kallaugher

Graeme MacKay

Here are two views of the American role in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Kallaugher notes that Biden has been calling for restraint in the war with little visible effect, while MacKay suggests that, as much as the Americans have tried to pull Netanyahu back, his coalition blocks their efforts, and he notes as well that Israel is attacking Gaza with American armaments, which seems a mixed message from Washington.

That message is equally unclear on this side of the ocean, and it’s hard to square Biden’s apparent attempts to restrain Israel with the continued supply of weaponry. However it shakes out for the people there, the lack of public clarity is a problem for Biden’s election prospects here.

And “public clarity” is the issue: Voters don’t see, and therefore don’t care about, whatever diplomacy may be going on behind closed doors.

What the public sees, as Harry Burton points out, is the contrast between rushing aid to Gaza and rushing bombs and rockets to them.

The cartoonish exaggeration is that, while the aid must come by trucks through restricted entries, the weapons actually arrive individually and without the need to clear customs. I think Burton makes his meaning clear through the volume of trucks in his illustration.

Then again, “how are we to know what’s going on in Gaza?” Egyptian cartoonist Doaa Eladl (Cartoon Movement) asks, with the number of journalists killed by Israeli forces at the moment being 79.

This is another serious issue of public perception, and one has to wonder how that perception has been shaped not just by the death of popular Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on the West Bank a year ago, but by the efforts of the IDF to deny and cover up their role in her killing.

Say Good Night, Wayne

Matt Wuerker — Politico

Adam Zyglis

I’ve seen other cartoons about retiring NRA executive Wayne LaPierre with blood on his hands, but I was particularly struck by this Juxtaposition, in which both cartoonists show him with the tombstones of victims of guns.

YMMV, but I’m giving the salute to Zyglis because while Wuerker catalogs the variety of deaths, I like Zyglis’s verbal economy in not doing more than using the tie to label the subject of his cartoon, and his making the deaths an integral part of LaPierre and his legacy.

Though it’s worth pointing out that his resignation was not due to the number of people who died because of guns but because of how he mishandled NRA funds for his own benefit.

His trial over that will continue, and it will be interesting to see how much corporate malfeasance matters to the membership.

Juxtaposition of the Day #3

John Deering

Jeff Danziger

Cartoonists got a late Christmas present in the form of a nonsensical boast from Donald Trump that he could have negotiated a solution to the problems that brought about the Civil War.

His previous most-stupid-remark about American History, that George Washington defeated the British by seizing their airports, was perhaps a misstatement, but this was a protracted discussion of something he apparently had thought about and intended to say.

Nikki Haley’s neglect to cite slavery as a cause may also have been a verbal spasm, but Trump appears to genuinely believe his statement, which requires an astonishing — though not necessarily surprising — level of ignorance.

Deering does well to simply mock it, and the fake Lincoln beard is as laughable as the fake history being spouted. Danziger, instead, reminds us of the cruelty of slavery and the absurdity of Trump (and Stefanik) as saviors.

Again, YMMV, but I find the whole thing so foolish that I think the mockery is a more fitting response.

And then Ted Rall (Counterpoint) steps in to demonstrate that no statement is so utterly foolish that it can’t be topped. Perhaps Trump was asleep in class when they taught all the arguments and compromises that attempted to resolve the slavery issue before it burst into open warfare.

But it is beyond belief that anyone could cite slavery — which was so clearly, fundamentally and violently removed from the Constitution — as if it were still there. Nor does Rall’s cardboard liberal say anything remotely sensible about the 14th Amendment.

Perhaps Rall believes there should be an amendment to repeal the 14th Amendment’s prohibition of traitors in high office, and that it could be introduced, passed in Congress and ratified by at least 38 states between now and November.

I’m more inclined to believe in Cornwallis’s air force.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Hits and Misses

  1. Dear Mike, your column today clearly points out that I must modify the old saying we have been using: ‘chaos will ensue.’ I now should be ‘chaos is proliferating’.

    You point out that the Rall comic is insipid And, I agree with that and with Mark B. Ted Rall has been tepidly, but feverishly, tap-dancing on both sides of important issues for a while now.

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