CSotD: Jokers, Poseurs and Thieves

Frazz (AMS) starts us with a reminder that some things can’t be purchased, except of course that they can.

As it happens, the strip ran just after the Boston Marathon, as likely planned, but also after a local news story here mentioned that they used to put the medallions indicating that you finished on a table so racers could pick them up at the end.

But they had to stop doing that because random people were taking them. Geez louise, at least Rosie Ruiz ran half a mile to establish herself as a fraud. But I didn’t have to look up her name, so I guess she accomplished something.

The really scary part is that, while some people grabbed the medals so they could lie about having run the Marathon, the bulk of them probably just took them because they thought it was okay.

Which is related to the fact that I’m old enough to remember when you had to visit a place to get the T-shirt. You didn’t have to be enrolled at a college to wear the shirt, but you had to at least visit the bookstore, and only roadies got to wear rock tour T-shirts.

And you certainly wouldn’t wear a shirt that proclaimed you a lifeguard or a member of the fire department unless you were a lifeguard or a member of the fire department.

That’s how old I am.

The Duplex (AMS) widens the topic a bit, suggesting against all evidence that you have to be a drunken nitwit to make ridiculous claims about aliens.

Not anymore! Tucker Carlson is a perfectly sober nitwit and is willing to state in public that aliens are already here and something something something whatever.

The good thing for him being that, while Sandy Hook parents will sue a liar who makes up insane fantasies about them, Tucker isn’t apt to get sued by the spiritual entities who live under the ground when they’re not zipping around in flying saucers.

PT Barnum apparently didn’t say there was a sucker born every minute, but he sure made a good living by exploiting the fact, and there are plenty of people following his lead today.

Moreover, for every cynical liar who doesn’t believe the idiotic things he says, there’s a Michael Lindell or an Aaron Rogers who probably does.

Which leaves us here: It’s hard to tell if Steve Bannon honestly believes that he’s on the verge of some revolution to completely reorder our nation, but then again, it’s also hard to tell why he wears so many shirts at the same time.

Perhaps he’s nuts.

But it’s even harder to tell how on earth these lunatics — whether sincere or not — manage to attract so many followers.

Yet here we are.

A little historical/linguistic ignorance is understandable. Rob Rogers (Counterpoint) has fun with the concept of “a jury of his peers,” which seems likely to have come from English common law and a time when society was divided into nobility and commoners such that, if Count Uptoten was indicted, he could only be convicted by his fellow hotshots and not by a collection of working stiffs.

But it clearly has no meaning on this side of the Atlantic where everyone is equal except for Presidents who, at least by some accounts, are legally permitted to assassinate their rivals.

In F Minus (AMS), Tony Carrillo explores this concept in greater depth.

It’s not universal. Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud, but he had, first of all, failed to establish himself as a certified important person before inventing his own kind of wealth, and, second, his own kind of wealth didn’t translate into real money very well.

Now, if I owned stock in Tesla or in Truth, I might question whether they translate into real money very well, either, but the critical factor is to establish your bona fides before you start criming.

Or at least become (truly) wealthy enough that you don’t have to go into court with a public defender who opens your file for the first time as the judge is banging his gavel.

Moscow Marge would have gotten away with it, too, Pedro X. Molina assures us, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

To be sure, those meddling kids were onto the scam nearly a year ago, but presidential campaigns unfold more slowly than Scooby-Doo adventures, nor do they often end as abruptly and decisively.

One issue being, as Bill Bramhall points out, that if you’re going to pull a scam based on a beloved family tradition, you need to make sure you’ve got the beloved family on your side.

Another issue being that you should vet your stalking horse carefully to make sure his lunatic positions are not identical to your real candidate’s lunatic positions.

I’m not a big believer in polls, but I’m also not a big believer in outsmarting yourself.

Speaking of which, we drew another step closer to Kristallnacht this weekend as the House stood up to the Putin Caucus and passed an aid bill for Ukraine 310-112, at which point the supporters of Ukraine cheered and waved small Ukrainian flags, which deeply upset Moscow Marge and the rest of the Russian lobby.

The Stooge Caucus is introducing a bill to forbid display of foreign flags in the halls of Congress and I hope it includes lapel pins and brochures, too, because ideological purity to the Fatherland ought not to be constrained.

Though it might be nice if these superpatriots who worship the American flag showed it some respect, taking it in at night or when it rains, never wearing it as clothing, not using it as an advertising gimmick and retiring it when it becomes tattered.

Or don’t. But either venerate it or treat it normally.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Off the Mark — AMS

Matt Davies

It’s Earth Day, one more time in which we separate those who care from those who couldn’t care less.

Parisi suggests that they can’t be shamed, while Davies notes that even when the dire results are in their faces, they can’t be bothered to take meaningful action and will challenge anyone who tries.

“Sure, I’ll pick up the Dixie cup. Who the ****’s gonna pick up Con Edison?” — Abbie Hoffman

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Jokers, Poseurs and Thieves

  1. Back in the1980s Ken Grimwood wrote “Replay” about a guy that lived his life over and over again, remembering his previous lives so he could invest his money wisely and then try and stop things like JFK’s assasination. It had enough interesting takes to really get my attention. Anyways, I now wonder if it isn’t actually a thing…it would certainly explain Elon Musk more than anything else does.

    1. I read REPLAY ages ago and loved it. Unfortunately, I forgot both the author and the title. So, thanks, Ben R, for providing me with both! I just ordered a copy of the book from the library to read again.

  2. I’m with you on the jackets and t-shirts. I wouldn’t dream of wearing gear from a college I hadn’t attended, and wearing an Army or Navy shirt when I hadn’t served would feel like stolen valor. I’d be ashamed to do it. (Why do people who vacation in exotic places bring their friends and relatives t-shirts billboarding those exotic places? I’m never wearing that shirt because if I did someone would ask, “Oh, I love it there, what was your favorite restaurant?” and then I’m humiliated.) We have a lot of bicyclists in my area, and there’s a similar ethic that you don’t wear a jersey from a race unless you actually participated.

    But there are fine lines. I wear a baseball cap with the NASA logo, which to me seems analogous to wearing a cap emblazoned with my favorite sports team or cartoon character. A few people have asked me if I’m an astronaut (as if that’s the only job NASA has) and I answer, “No, I’m just a big fan of their work.” Once or twice that’s resulted in someone sharing their opinion that the Moon landing was a hoax, which makes the cap a handy if inadvertent filter telling me which people to ignore and avoid.

    Matt Davies’s cartoon is one of those that’s effective because it simple reports the conversation with no exaggeration. That’s exactly it. Doing nothing is too expensive. So is doing something. We’ll worry about it tomorrow.

    1. No, most plastics are indeed not recyclable. Liquor bottles switching from glass to plastic is irksome (also for reasons besides that)

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