CSotD: Things that just ain’t so

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
— Things Mark Twain didn’t say

Here’s a cartoon that Scott Stantis most likely regrets, though it did pop up on the Intertubes last week.

But it’s gone now, most likely because Jimmy Carter isn’t. As Twain really did say, “the report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Several cartoonists probably have a Dead Jimmy cartoon on their hard drives, ready to post, which reminds me of the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode in which Mary and Rhoda pull an all-nighter updating WJM’s in-case-of-death obituaries.

They get punchy and produce a hilarious satire. You can guess the outcome.

Such disasters are why broadcasters don’t cuss in the studio, even when the mics are not supposed to be on, and why print people don’t type anything into the system they wouldn’t want to read over coffee in the morning, though it’s usually pretty innocent, like the day the agate sports listings in our paper ended with “that’s all I could get, Bob.”

In Stantis’s place, I might have done a little mea culpa over the gaffe, but if he did, it’s gone along with the cartoon, which you might not have even seen except that now you have.

And I suppose you’ll see it again at some point.

“So it goes,” as Billy Pilgrim and Linda Ellerbee would say.

I wish that sort of thing were always as innocently, transparently mistaken.

For instance, it’s not unusual to see some both-sidesism on the editorial page, and that’s nothing new. When Nixon’s massive bribery, burglary and political malfeasance sent many of his staff to prison and him out of office, there was a fair amount of “everybody does it” bandied about.

The difference being that such things were part of the fringe, not part of serious, well-regarded discussion. Today, Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) has a much larger platform for, as Lemuel Gulliver politely phrased it, “saying the thing that is not.”

It’s true that the Bidens have objected to weaponization of the legal system and the partisan attacks on the President’s son, but he’s been pretty standup about the rough patches and bad decisions in his life.

Benson’s take is her opinion, but she stretches things.

By contrast, Bob Gorrell (Creators) uses his collection of clip-art to advance a charge against “The Biden Crime Family” that has never been seriously proven.

If the Bidens were private citizens, such dubious accusations could result in libel actions, which makes it kinda funny that their opponents want to make it easier for famous people to sue reporters and commentators.

Hunter will probably serve no time over one minor violation. It’s not as if he bought 34 guns.

Trump will almost certainly avoid jail time as well, but the constant drumbeat of “It’s all fixed!” and “They’re not fair!” has undermined faith in the electoral process and is working well to destroy faith in the justice system.

Meanwhile, the laptop thing Gorrell references may have a smidgen of fact, but so far is mostly rumors, bogus testimony and possible foreign disinformation.

Asha Rangappa writes:

And then the attorney, former FBI agent and law professor proceeds to take apart the case at some length.

Of course, the people who need to read it won’t, leaving her to comfort the afflicted without being able to afflict the comfortable.

Still, getting truth out matters, as seen in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

Joe Heller

Jen Sorensen

Two cartoonists tear apart the wonderfully amusing bogus story that Red Lobster’s bankruptcy is due to an all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion rather than to the short-sighted, profit-taking greed of vulture capitalism.

I’ll admit to having a dog in this fight: My hometown mines were shut down a generation early because of vulture capitalist exploitation, then another company bought the paper mill in the next town to acquire a valuable patent, whereupon they shut it down, killing the rest of the jobs in our area.

Then I went into the newspaper business and watched the same thing happen there.

It’s never the shrimp. It’s the greed.

Because once the chains have driven all the local diners and bookstores and drug stores out of business, they’ll turn inward and cannibalize themselves, like Red Lobster, until not only will you have no place to shop but you won’t have a paycheck to spend there anyway.

Drew Sheneman rejects the happy-talk nonsense that preaches a cheerful but inoperative theory of how the business world works. You might as well take a spade and dig for oil in your backyard as put in your time on the treadmill in hopes of making it into the executive suite.

BC (AMS) nails it: Laughing over shrimp promotions is a trick to distract the rubes while the pickpockets work the crowd.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Jen Sorensen


Sorensen returns to expose the double-standards applied to minorities, while Deutsch and Scholtes point out how far afield bigots and crackpots go to preserve the steady beat of fury and discontent that fuels their unpleasant lives.

Though, again, it’s nearly impossible to get through to those who might change. As Swift said, satire is “a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.”

Still, it is important to comfort the afflicted, to reassure them that they are not the crazy ones.

Ooo! Ooo! I know this one! We did this in Colorado Springs in the late 80s, just before the market crashed completely!

Ours was a little different than what Dave Granlund outlines, but the effect was the same. Builders offered an adjustable rate mortgage that began 5 points below par, then the next year was 3 and then 1, so that you had three years of lower payments, the cost of which was included in the purchase price.

It would be years before you’d covered the cost of that bargain rate, never mind reducing the real principle of your loan. If you tried to sell your house, you’d find that you owed more than it was worth.

The HUD Repo book went from a stapled comic-book size to a thick perfect-bound publication filled with listings of houses and condos that people had had to walk away from.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Things that just ain’t so

  1. I noticed that yesterday’s Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, without any explanation that I could find, went from $1.50 per copy (24 pages, tab) to $2.50 per copy (24 pages, tab)–on a Tuesday. Must have been a last-minute decision. (It’s obviously Biden’s fault.) I’m a subscriber, so I’ve probably already paid the increased price without knowing it, but it is kind of surprising, nonetheless. I’m old enough to recall buying the Milwaukee Sentinel morning paper from a vending machine on my block for a nickel just to get pictures of the newest Milwaukee Braves rookie from the previous night’s game for my scrapbook. I wonder if any kid today has a scrapbook–and where he would clip pictures or articles from to fill it. (I guess you could print stuff out from the web, and clip it out of that. I wonder if anyone does that? Of course, my ink cartridges last about two months before they dry up from non-use, so I’d guess it would still actually be more economical to buy the paper.)

  2. Private Equity firms gutting businesses. Am I wrong, or isn’t that where Mitt Romney made his millions??

  3. The Pocket app is the digital scrapbook now. I save everything interesting there, including cartoons from here.

  4. Bummer about the timing error on the Stantis cartoon. I love the way it weds Carter’s connection to Habitat to the idea of an imperfect Heaven in need of repair.

  5. Good one today.

    I feel for Stantis, but that happens sometimes. Every big news organization has obits of important old people ready to go, which makes all the sense in the world. Take your time and do it right instead of scrambling on deadline. I do recall a recent high-profile obit in which the obit writer died before the subject did, which required an awkward editor’s note.

    “Always assume every microphone is live and never type anything you wouldn’t want to see in print” is great advice not just for journalists but everyday folks. I’m reminded of a passage in Dan Rather’s biography in which he said he did his best to never ever swear, even in the most private situations, because if profanity is in your vocabulary there’s a good chance it’ll emerge when you’re stressed–when, say, you’re covering a big event live on the air. I liked that.

    The modern digital world would be a lot better off in general if everyone moderated their opinions and thought a bit before hitting “send” or “post.” It’s so easy to forget there are people on the other end.

  6. I gotta say, being a conservative and/or reactionary seems like a pretty lousy way to live, always on the lookout for things to get pissed off over. “OH NO, a rainbow flag!” “OH NO a black person in my favorite movie!” “OH NO anyone who isn’t exactly like me having the audacity to exist!”

    It’s also worth pointing out that the Confederacy wasn’t just a foreign nation, but a *hostile* foreign nation that practiced slave ownership.

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