CSotD: Timing, repetition, redemption, etc.

Barbara Smaller’s cartoon is hardly breakthrough humor, subconsciously echoing as it does a Tom Toro piece that has become a classic:

It is odd that they both ran in the New Yorker. As an editor, I certainly would have recognized the repetitive nature and declined to run the second iteration.

OTOH, if I were editing somewhere else, I’d have probably laughed, then said, “Hey, wait a minute …” but eventually decided that it’s hardly the first time a gag has been re-cast and re-issued, and it’s not only funny but it’s something people should reflect on.

After all, if every editor rejected an “opposing thumbs” cartoon on the basis of Gary Larson having done it first and best 40 years ago, there would be a lot of blank spaces on the comics page. I did a rant on this very topic in 2017, noting that nobody but Larson had thought about opposable thumbs since high school biology.

Sometimes a concept becomes part of the comic gestalt. At some point, somebody made a joke about slipping on a banana peel, and where would we be without it?

I’d have definitely preferred to see more separation between Smaller’s caption and Toro’s, but that’s an editing demand, not a rejection. I have no objection to cartoonists harping on soulless capitalistic greed.

Soulless capitalistic greed, as it happens, is also the theme of today’s Buckets (AMS). I’ll confess that I’ve started getting my ‘scripts from (gasp) Amazon, which I realize sets off all sorts of righteousness alarms.

But come on: Soulless capitalist chains have all but killed local pharmacies, and the idea that going to Rite Aid or CVS or Walgreens qualifies as “shopping local” is stretching things. Pharmacists once made a good living as professionals; today most are treated as “the help,” and compensated accordingly.

The other thing is that Amazon’s prices are lower even than my insurance coverage, and while it’s not quite as great a difference as in today’s Buckets, it’s often as much as two-thirds off. As someone primarily living on Social Security, I have to choose which empty, soulless capitalist corporation I’m going to subsidize.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s imbedded somewhere in Toro and Smaller’s cartoons.

In the “Timing is Everything” category, I wish Ruben Bolling had run this Super-Fun-Pak-Comix (AMS) yesterday when I featured the play. But I was tight on space anyway.

Which is why I didn’t run this Banx riff on the Met Gala along with the bogus Katy Perry and Rihanna A.I. photos of the event, even though it had made me laugh almost as much as the real dresses did.

Now it has become relevant once more, because Reliable Sources cited the Katy Perry fake in reporting growing pushback against such frauds, though this excerpt tackles more serious issues:

You can read the whole thing here, where those red-ink source links will be clickable.

My new policy is that people who post A.I. images on Facebook get “snoozed for 30 days” for a first offense and blocked for a second. Most of my “friends” there are artists, dammit.

Besides, people who post garbage constitute a security issue, since they’re prone to falling for all sorts of click-bait scams.

Juxtaposition of Retribution

Joy of Tech

Nick Anderson

Still drawing on Reliable Sources, the uproar over Apple’s ad — in which various creative tools are crushed to demonstrate how thin their new phone is — has had an impact.

Joy of Tech either picked up on it before anyone else or has had their wish fulfilled, because Tim Cook has not just apologized for the ad but canceled it. Ad Age has the full report, linked at Reliable Sources but also here.

I’ll give Cook credit for being, in real life, more frank and crest-fallen than he is in Joy of Tech’s vision, but you’ll have to decide whether you still hate him for approving the ad in the first place or admire him for taking his lumps.

For my part, I don’t need a thinner phone. I can lose the current one just fine.

Related technology gag: Ivan Ehlers doesn’t plow a lot of fresh ground here, but, as with the issue of soulless corporate greed, this is something that ought to be said often.

Repetitive mockery seems to have ended duck lips in selfies, so maybe we can make fun of people until they put down their phones and enjoy the moment.

Phones are good for still photos, but he gets “shaky” right when it comes to videos and he’s certainly right that nobody’s gonna watch the results anyway.

I’ve got a box of VHS tapes that were technically good when they were recorded but have probably degenerated in the decades since. Plus, who’s got a player?

I should get them digitized so I can never watch or show them to anybody because computers no longer come with CD drives.

Different level of technology from Loose Parts (AMS), but it answers the question a lot of people in older houses have had.

I ran into a somewhat different mystery in one house, where there was a wire in the back that ran, instead of to a utility pole, to a neighboring house. I eventually guessed that someone had had the cooperative idea to let the neighbors flip on the backyard light if they heard something suspicious.

Being more suspicious of the concept than of nocturnal sounds, I pulled the thing down. Never heard any repercussions, so maybe the current neighbor didn’t know what it was there for either.

Non Sequitur (AMS) is featuring a Teacher Appreciation Week arc you can follow from its beginning here. As someone who worked with educators for decades, I know the best of them genuinely get the concept that a student’s failure is their failure, though what they can do about it varies by the resources their school provides.

Danae is her usual precocious self, but her experience is sadly not that far afield.

Meanwhile, Off the Mark (AMS) triggers my PTSD from running honor rolls in the newspaper.

I learned not to bother calling the schools to confirm insane (sorry, “variant”) spellings of otherwise common names.

Now they’re all grown up but we’re still not supposed to laugh.

And it has become impossible to guess.

13 thoughts on “CSotD: Timing, repetition, redemption, etc.

  1. On the Parisi, it doesn’t really matter how he spells it, because
    1. The customer is never going to see it, and
    2. He’s going to be back in five years to have it removed.

  2. I have just such a switch in my living room. The house was built in 1988; we moved in in 1993. Every so often, when I see it after forgetting it’s there, I flip it, just to see if anything happens. Thus far, nothing has, but that doesn’t mean it never will.

    1. The switch maybe connected to a wall socket. If there is a wall socket that looks like it was installed upside down (the round ground plug is on top) then that socket is controlled by the switch.

      1. That you would eventually figure out. My guess is that such a switch once controlled a ceiling light that has been removed, but somehow the switch wasn’t. Or Blazek is right and it’s just there to mess with you.

  3. Here’s one explanation:
    “In my house there’s this light switch that doesn’t do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Madagascar. She said, ‘Cut it out.’”
    ? Steven Wright

  4. Is tiktok using AI to recognize and label AI?

    Mike, I understand your need to spend carefully. But, most of our organizations’ members are also on VERY limited retirement budgets (that are effectively shrinking due to corporate greedflation) and yet we do all we can to avoid feeding the crapitallist monsters that are destroying our society. I won’t go into details, but those huge corporations are soulless, unethical thieves and thugs. We do all we can to support honest, small, local businesses.

    Joy of Tech is great. I saw the ‘crush’ commercial and was repulsed, disgusted and angered by their destruction of all the means of true creativity. Our art organization never has and never will use any apple products. We really identify with the Nick Anderson cartoon. Hey, suckers, we still use a non-spying flip phone and Linux.

    ‘Non Sequitur is featuring a Teacher Appreciation Week arc’. And, it’s great as usual, even though it’s a repeat from 2009. Hey, even Wiley Miller deserves a break now and then! (Sadly, the last time he let the Wiley Bears draw a strip, he lost dozens of newspapers: FYtrump)

    And, as many may know, that switch on the wall probably controls an outlet that doesn’t have anything plugged into it.

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