CSotD: Quick Resolution, Quick Responses

To repeat an oft-told story in political cartooning, Bill Mauldin was at a luncheon when news of JFK’s assassination came. He raced back to the newsroom and, within an hour, had this classic cartoon ready for the afternoon’s Extra edition.

I point this out because, while I was indeed surprised at how quickly the jury came back yesterday, I was even more surprised at how quickly so many political cartoonists stepped up. Granted, some of them may have had two cartoons ready to release, one if guilty, one if innocent.

Bill Bramhall is always fast to respond to the news, but for others, there are often editors and deadlines and contracts and agreements that slow down responses. I was going to give them 24 hours to catch up, but, instead, I find I have to sort through more cartoons than I can use in a single day.

Dr. MacLeod admits he was surprised, in a good way, by the quick resolution of the case. Mauldin stepped in at a moment of crisis and national trauma, and it’s considered tacky to admit how exciting it is when the adrenalin is pumping and you get to do what you were meant to do in a crisis.

In this case, however you feel about the verdict itself, it’s okay to admit that such sudden developments are what you live for, and it’s very good news for political cartooning that so many artists were able to respond so quickly.

This will be a two-parter, and we’ll get to the overseas reactions tomorrow. They’ve also been quick on the draw, so to speak, but it’s an easy way to divide up the goodies in a “you snooze, you lose” profession.

There was a lot of celebration from the lefthand side of the aisle, but I particularly liked Clay Bennett (CTFP)’s more thoughtful and restrained response.

It may be hard not to chortle over the downfall of a dishonest politician with whom you disagreed politically, but the larger and more significant story is that the law worked, that, as Bob Dylan wrote ironically,

(T)he strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom

I’d be more fond of Dylan’s song if he hadn’t made a hash of the actual history of the case, but yesterday that jury quickly went through 34 charges, convicting on all of them in a short time.

Trump supporters would likely say that’s evidence of a fix, but it’s more likely evidence that guilt was obvious. A fixed jury would have stayed out longer just for appearances.

Given that both sides were able to interview and approve the jury members, and that it included at least one member who said he got all his news from Truth Social, I think Christopher Weyant’s take on the verdict is sarcastic but fair.

From what they requested — a copy of their instructions plus some of David Pecker’s testimony — they were making sure of things, not debating guilt vs innocence.

John Buss gloats a bit by putting a twist on Trump’s defense in what will be an upcoming trial if Judge Cannon ever stops pondering the paperwork and gets down to business.

Someone suggested that Biden should have pardoned Trump to both put the problem aside and demonstrate that he is the bigger man, while others have worried that Trump would get back into office and pardon himself, but presidential pardons are only for federal cases, not — as here and in Georgia — state charges.

Buss, rather, takes advantage of the facts to mock Trump’s arrogance.

If he is re-elected, Trump will be able to sweep away the theft-of-documents charge, but that’s a bridge to be crossed when we get there. It’s not as if the past two presidential elections were landslides, and the next one could be decided by a small number of disillusioned people deciding to vote against him or to not vote at all.

Juxtaposition of the Day

John Cuneo

Ed Wexler

Cuneo and Wexler take advantage of Trump’s legendary sensitivity over a reference to his small hands. But while they show those little hands being brought to justice, the images also unintentionally suggest that regulation handcuffs — that is, basic justice — can’t really confine him.

Granted, as Marshall Ramsey (Creators) says here and as was pre-saged in yesterday’s round-up, Trump will no doubt fundraise off the conviction and, again no doubt, will be successful in doing so.

But the conviction is real, and will follow him. Pontificators have said that, as a convicted felon, Trump can’t vote for himself, but Florida and New York law won’t stop him unless he is jailed.

I also heard an “expert” say he can’t join the army, which almost made me drive off the road. He could get a waiver and join up, but he’d need to have those pesky heel spurs re-examined.

Meanwhile, though he’s very unlikely to be sentenced to jail, Drew Sheneman did a magnificent job of pointing out how the mighty have fallen. The bathos in that list is fabulous, while the picture of the man who would be king being treated as just another con adds to the impact.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Phil Hands

Mike Luckovich

Hands and Luckovich do a bit of dancing on the grave, which is less analytical than celebratory, but, first of all, I’m not sure dignified analysis has a terribly huge tradition within political cartooning. Certainly not as prominent a place in the art form as does ridicule.

And, second, if you don’t want people to giggle when you fall, don’t hold yourself so high.

Trump’s record of outrageous con games and spectacular business failures made his television-created reputation as a genius dubious right from the start, and if he’s still got pigeons lining up to be plucked, there may be some societal benefit in mocking his downfall.

Seeing Chip Bok (Creators) execute such a 360o pivot makes me curious to see what other surprises may be in store.

As noted above, we’ll look at the overseas responses tomorrow, but this sure ain’t over domestically either.

Here’s a Dylan tune that fits the moment.

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Quick Resolution, Quick Responses

  1. The joys of working in a motorcycle shop: When the news came down yesterday afternoon, via text from my sister, the best I could do is close the door to my office and as quietly as possible jump up and down and cheer. Politically, motorcycle dealerships are far from being bastions of liberalism (and I’m not working at a Harley dealership), and of the entire staff here, our transgendered male online sales person and myself are probably the only ones cheering.

  2. I was happy to hear the verdict come so quickly because I was getting weary getting mad whenever one of the talking heads mispronounced “corroborate” as if it were spelled like cooperate with a “b” instead of a “p.” Some of them were lawyers, so I’ve gotta wonder who typed their law school papers for them.

  3. Trump may not be able to join the Army but he can still be their Commander-in-Chief.

  4. Yes, Mike, it is a large first step in the right direction. (‘right’ as in ‘correct’, not ‘right’ as in rightwing) . But, as I am sure you know, there is a long journey ahead that is strewn with deadly tRUMP money and delay tactic mines.

    And, we are living in dangerous barbaric times:
    Trump Supporters Issue Threats of Violence Online After Guilty Verdict
    . . . many Republican lawmakers have joined Trump in making clear that they don’t accept the trial’s outcome.

  5. i believe that John Cuneo is well aware that his oversize handcuffs are meant to indicate that the ex-President won’t serve any prison-time for his election interference. and seriously, anything less than that is just a slap on his tiny little wrist.

  6. My wife and I toasted but at the same time understood it was and will always be a freakin’ shame all this wasn’t brought up before the 2016 election and maybe we would have had Hillary as president and if she was in charge things may have turned out differently at the beginning of COVID and possibly saving countless lives in the process….only to dream…. Still, if this changes things the slightest in any battleground state, it was worth it…

  7. Dunno about anyone else’s experience, but Drew Sheneman’s page at GoComics has been stuck at May 23; I’ve had to go to Arcamax to keep up.

  8. Cartoonists need to check their various pages. If they trust other people to promote their work, they’re taking a risk that I certainly wouldn’t. That’s not the only GoComics page that is stuck, and there’s no excuse for cartoonists not to notice and raise hell with whoever they’ve appointed to keep things current.

    God knows things are tough enough in the business.

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