CSotD: Bits and Pieces

Tom Tomorrow and I seem to be on the same page. I don’t mean on the same ideological page, though I agree with everything here.

But there is, at the moment, an over-supply of things to comment on, several of which don’t require a lot of attention but still ought to be said, which he handles here by creating the equivalent of seven free-standing single panels in his usual multipanel format.

In my case, I’ve seen some cartoons that are quite good but don’t fit into a theme, and way too many that fit into a theme but aren’t particularly wonderful.

So don’t look for clever segues today. Tom Tomorrow and I are, at the moment, purposefully episodic.

F’rinstance, I like this Bill Bramhall swipe at RFK Jr and his brainworm story, because that stupid story was an easy mark for cartoonists but spawned more insults than insights.

It probably isn’t even true, but that’s a kinda pointless observation unless you had considered RFK Jr as a source of otherwise accurate scientific information. And those who see him as a credible source of anything won’t be put off by anyone revealing another ridiculous thing he thinks is true but probably isn’t.

Bramhall rescues the story by using it to point out that the GOP has allowed a different worm to eat its brain, which also won’t convert any groupies, either, but gives a bit of comfort to the afflicted, while making the important point that RFK Jr isn’t the biggest threat to the nation.

Ann Telnaes is more direct in laying out a more critical threat than Bobby Jr., and she does it by accurately reporting what Dear Leader told a Mar-A-Lago gathering of major petroleum executives.

It’s a story that is one helluva lot more important than an apocryphal brainworm but isn’t as attractively daffy and so has only been talked about by commentators and columnists in dire and serious terms, rather than splashed all over as the latest freak show exhibit.

Telnaes does her best work when she is absolutely appalled, and I like that she has cast Trump in the role of Christ, which is not only his self-vision but that of his allegedly Christian but Biblically illiterate followers.

Meanwhile, the facial expressions of the oil barons plainly tells that they aren’t buying it, but feel that maybe it’s an opportunity they should consider.

Thomas Nast’s cartoons in Harper’s Weekly were surrounded by rich text, articles which explained in exquisite detail the issues he addressed. I often wonder how many readers plowed through all that, compared to those who just looked at “them damned pictures,” which was precisely why Boss Tweed hated Nast.

Reports of the famous quote vary from “my constituents don’t know how to read” to “my constituents don’t read,” but that was then, and remains today, a distinction without a difference.

And it’s why political cartoonists should address those less sexy, more complex news stories.

Juxtaposition of IANAL

Mike Luckovich

RJ Matson

I’ve been reluctant to pile on Judge Cannon — beyond wishing her first name was “Lucy” — because I am neither a lawyer nor a psychic and am reluctant to interpret her rulings as a genuinely purposeful attempt to aid the former president.

I’m okay with Mike Luckovich showing her at the defense table in the sense that her rulings, which actual attorneys have criticized as amateurish at best and incompetent in some cases, have definitely been beneficial to Dear Leader, even if they were what she thinks of as neutral judicial judgment.

But I’m uncomfortable with assigning intent. Clarence Thomas is whining that everybody is picking on him, but that’s different: When he fails to recuse from cases in which his wife was an active participant, he is in clear, unmistakable breach of ethics, and, besides, we all heard him whining when Anita Hill brought up his bad behavior towards her and so it’s well established that he’s a self-serving crybaby.

By comparison, all we know about Cannon is that she is a very inexperienced judge who makes decisions that leave other legal professionals agape, and that, so far, they all seem to favor Trump, not necessarily by providing him support in his defense, but certainly, as Matson points out, in adding to the delay and thus reducing the impact of his alleged behavior on the upcoming election.

Elsewhere in the Judicial System

If Ann Telnaes does her best work when she’s appalled, Steve Brodner seems to live in a state of permanent rage, which might be a problem except that his style includes firm statements of what he’s pissed off about this time.

The combination here is devastating, the caption in neat typeface while he summarizes Susan Necheles’ cross in frantic, scratchy letters. Add a lying, dozing Trump and a calm Stormy Daniels and he’s managed to wrap up several hours of testimony in a single panel.

There has been some pearl-clutching over Daniels’ “salacious” testimony, but, as both Judge Marchand and Walt Handelsman point out, Trump opened the door by denying having had sex with her, and those upset by what she testified to should be glad they didn’t go for an established tactic in he-said-she-said cases and have her describe what she wouldn’t have seen otherwise.


As it is, the press, in its haste to uphold Victorian standards, keeps saying he denies having “had an affair with her.”

Well, she also denies having had an affair with him. It wasn’t even a one-nighter and didn’t include breakfast.

“An affair” was what he was covering up with Karen McDougal. Let’s keep this stuff straight, folks.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Adam@Home — AMS

Bob Gorrell — Creators

Adam@Home has a story arc about using A.I. to create comic strips. That’s a risky topic to raise, since comics pages are full of burned-out zombie strips, many of which would lose little by being cranked out by a machine.

Meanwhile, Bob Gorrell once more reminds us that we don’t need A.I. as long as we’ve got Ctl-C and Ctl-V to carry the artistic burden. BTW, the president has done nine campaign events in the past three weeks, plus several incumbenty things like greeting winning sports teams.

Though he can’t draw the crowds Don Stewart can.

Here: Scratch the earworm.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: Bits and Pieces

  1. Not surprised to see the Luckovitch cartoon in your blog. Coincidentally I had put it up on my fridge a few hours earlier from my Funny Times issue and was thinking of you

    1. Don Stewart ? “Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist.” from the page “Educating Our World.”

      1. You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two names packed up into one word. When I drop a name, it means just who I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.

  2. What I found interesting about Tom Tomorrow’s newsletter is that he got press credentials from NYC as an editorial cartoonist.

    1. I gather from his story that they take such things seriously there, but not so seriously that they wouldn’t give Tom Tomorrow a press card. I only used my press card once, and it didn’t work that time. (Bank robbery. I snuck in anyway.)

  3. Over the weekend, I subjected myself to the entire stream of the NJ ego-fest. I wanted to see it raw and in real-time so I could judge for myself, once and for all, whether or not Dozy was being maligned or misrepresented by biased editing. Alas, no. The uninterrupted firehose of vindictive bile, blatant hate-speech, unhinged vitriol and fanciful, nonsensical logic-and-policy-free verbiage confirmed all my worst suspicions. As a result, I was physically ill. I went in the bathroom and barfed. It seemed he used the event as compensatory therapy after a week of having to keep his odious yap zipped in court for the past week.

    After taking a fresh-air walk and recovering, I later looked at video of some other recent indoor event, and was astonished that the “performance” was virtually a re-run of the very same “material”, in many cases almost word-for-word. I won’t be revisiting the experience.

    I believe he’s convinced himself he’s right up there with Don Rickles, Shecky Greene or Andrew Dice Clay in the pantheon of “insult comics” whereas in actuality, a more unfunny, humourless person I defy anyone to find. Without exception, every “joke” is a wit-free barb at someone else’s expense. So repulsive, loveless and pathetic. If this is truly the best that the GQP can dredge up, they’re rightfully doomed. I hope America can survive this.

    1. If he had just pursued a career as a crappy insult comic we all would’ve been better off.

  4. I hadn’t heard “Bits and Pieces” before, and it’s hard to believe it made it to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. I’m glad to know it existed, but I wouldn’t have expected it to have broken the top 50.

      1. Yep, I remember as a kid being in the magazine section of the sporting goods store and seeing the Beatles and Dave Clark 5 sharing the cover of a Teen magazine, and the headline asking the question which group was better. My informal poll of a couple of (older) Jr. High girls resulted in a resounding victory for the Fab Four.

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