CSotD: Silence is Golden (But my eyes still see)

Rob Rogers (Tinyview) sets up today’s topic: If nobody knows that it happened, did it? And, if it didn’t happen, how could it matter?

That fourth panel has gone from horror to comic relief as Noem attempts to move forward while backpedaling furiously. She’s gone from being proud of shooting a puppy, a goat and two horses to adding that Biden should have also shot his dog rather than adopting it out to someone who could train it better.

Now she’s defending the false claim in her memoir that she met Kim Jong Un by blaming her ghostwriter and saying she didn’t even know it was in the book. Which she read aloud to record the Audible edition.

But while Noem’s bat-guano attempts to rewrite reality are the most obvious, Rogers nails three similar efforts to make things go away if they threaten a preferred narrative.

In the Gospel of John, Pontius Pilate asks “What is truth?” but we’ve gone beyond the gospels and through the lookingglass, where Lewis Carroll is a better judge of that issue:

Truth is whatever alternative facts have been repeated enough times to sink in, while whatever has been repressed and unheard is, obviously, not true. And never was. And couldn’t possibly be.

George Washington cut down his father’s cherry tree. Davy Crockett went down swinging Old Betsy. Al Gore said he invented the Internet. Donald Trump had the biggest crowd ever at an inauguration and he held a Bible upside down.

All those things are true not because they happened — they didn’t — but because we’ve heard them so often that they have become true.

Reaffirming this is Joseph Goebbels’ famous quote, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” which — fittingly — he apparently never said.

Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) makes the observation that, while Trump continues to denounce witnesses and the jury at his trial in violation of the judge’s specific instructions, the real problem is not that he stands in front of a crowd of reporters and says these things but that they report what he said.

And Mike Smith (KFS) says media coverage of the trial of a former president of the United States for electoral financing fraud is excessive, leaking into other aspects of what should be quiet, untroubled lives.

It is, Guy Parsons agrees, not the fault of Donald Trump for saying all these disturbing things and revealing his horrifying totalitarian plans. It’s that the damned media covers the ravings of a person simply because he’s going to be the nominee of a major political party and appears to have an excellent chance of becoming the president.

Graeme MacKay notes that Trump manages not simply to enjoy his unhinged rants, but to literally capitalize on them, raising far more money than he is fined for his insubordination to the court and the demands of justice. If he didn’t welcome media coverage of his tirades, he’d likely STFU.

Ward Sutton points out the effort it takes to remove the bad, troubling facts of the day and restore our untroubled lives and pristine national image with happy talk and promises of a wondrous, utopian future.

Clay Jones anticipates a future in which Dear Leader will be able to squelch troubling press reports and save his devoted followers from such upsetting things, and it sounds like a ridiculous, impossible prediction, because that sort of thing couldn’t happen in a democracy.

At least, not in this democracy.

We assume.

Meanwhile, in a democratic nation far, far away

I’ve often criticized cartoonists for failure to address the news quickly enough, but RJ Matson appears to have jumped the gun, if you’ll pardon the expression, because while Hamas announced acceptance of a proposed cease fire, Netanyahu shot down the possibility, if you’ll also pardon that expression.

As the song goes, “We are not here to sing; We are here to kill the dove.”

Peter Schrank notes the futility of Israeli warnings for civilians to leave Rafah in advance of the military attacks, given how many had already left the death and destruction in northern Gaza, which raises the obvious question of where they are supposed to find shelter now?

Amorim (Cartoon Movement) similarly questions how these refugees are expected to survive the coming wave of attacks on Rafah.

Clearly, the policy at hand is based on the idea that all Gazans are active Hamas members, or, at least, are sympathetic to Hamas.

At least during the recent Troubles in Ulster, when the British began rounding up and imprisoning Irish without trials, they chose young men of military age from specific neighborhoods, so at least likely to have strong feelings on the topic of Irish nationalism.

There seems no such discretion in Gaza, where indiscriminate bombings and seemingly intentional killings of journalists have been shrugged off or filed under indefinite investigation.

In order to “pacify” Gaza, Maarten Wolterink (Cartoon Movement) observes, Netanyahu has closed down Al Jazeera in Israel, seizing reporters’ equipment and blocking both the TV channel and the website within Israel.

You don’t have to like Al Jazeera — whether you’ve followed their coverage and judged for yourself or not — to object to the repression of a free press.

The “alternative fact” in this case is to believe that, if news is not reported, that means it didn’t happen.

As CNN reports, not everyone accepts that interpretation of reality or the government’s means of making it so:

Even the Onion, that bastion of wise-assery, found the development chilling enough to warrant satiric coverage.

However, you’re perfectly free to believe that, just because it happened there, that doesn’t mean it could ever happen here.

Fortunately, our government would never call for that sort of iron-fisted suppression of the free press.

At least not our current government.

But today’s Candorville (KFS) lays out the troubling choice facing American voters in November, and while the characters frame it in terms of large-scale political theory, voters would do well to consider it in more pragmatic, personal terms involving reproductive choice, concentration camps and, yes, suppression of the free press.

Unless you truly believe in alternative facts and alternative truth and that things you haven’t seen and won’t hear about aren’t happening.

True in personal relationships, chillingly true about governments:

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Silence is Golden (But my eyes still see)

  1. I’m somewhat pleasantly surprised to see Lisa Benson criticize El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago. I may need to mark the date on the calendar in case it doesn’t happen again soon.

    If Gary Varvel ever does it, I’ll have to look for Rod Serling or Allen Funt hiding in the bushes.

    1. Heh… Tell me you read Charles Pierce without telling me you read Charles Pierce.

  2. Where does that picture from Hunting of the Snark come from? The Bellman on the left and the Beaver on the right are both from Henry Holiday’s illustrations, but they are two separate pictures that have been pasted on a large picture of a ship that ISN’T from the book, at least not the original one.

      1. Bingo. I found it on a different page without the explanation. Well, he did a cool job.

  3. Yes, it would be nice if Trump coverage didn’t dominate our media.

    It would be nicer if Trump weren’t front-runner for President… again.

  4. Re: the brilliant cartoon by Ward Sutton.

    May be beautiful and yet
    What’s too painful to remember
    We simply choose to forget . . . .

    (“The Way We Were” by Alan & Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch)

  5. Mike, this post today caused me much pain and anger. But, I am grateful for your posting all of it. And, it should cause us all pain and anger. So many of the comics point out the disintegration of societal decency, honesty and care. Yes, I must agree with Candorville on the argument of ‘lesser of two evils’. But, I am angered that our failed system almost always offers only evils of greater and lesser degree.

    To paraphrase: ‘First they came for Al jazeera, and I did nothing’ Yet, main stream media in this country is mostly worthless, incomplete, corporate-biased propaganda. As I read, mainstream median won’t report about ovenmitt romney and deceitful, impotent blinken laughing and cheerleading for israel at a rtwingnut orgy at the mccain institute in Sedona, Scarizona.

  6. Oh boy. You’ve curated a particularly brutal set of images and references today, Mike. Shamefully accurate and timely, though.

    Lisa Benson has deftly illustrated the media’s circular dilemma while simultaneously contributing to it. As do we all, I suppose, by consuming it. That Ward Sutton masterwork crystallised perfectly all of the random multifarious outrages relentlessly swirling around in all (most?) of our heads. As always Clay Jones is, to quote Dave Edmunds, “as subtle as a flying mallet”. In contrast, I am in awe of how Amorim, with that simple-yet-masterful odd white shape, leaves absolutely no doubt who’s being depicted. And your sign-off using the Darrin Bell Candorville panel sums up the whole sh*tstorm pretty succinctly.

    I agree with Shermanj. I’d say “Bravo!” regarding this entire post, but seeing it all collected together like this leaves me saddened and dismayed.

  7. An insightful, comprehensive post sir. I wish more would see it and realize we’re on the eve of destruction. And yet… a therapist once told me that, if you saw a rapidly approaching train and wouldn’t be able to escape, the best thing to do would be turn your back, turn your ear-buds up full-blast and enjoy the music until you’re hit. We ARE the “damned human race.

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