CSotD: Puzzles and Punditry

Start with the good news, which is that I agree with Dave Granlund’s idea though not with the sense of crisis it suggests. That is, kids shouldn’t get drunk and drive around, but while you can’t stop all of them from doing it, it’s not the issue it was when I graduated (gasp) 57 years ago.

And even then, my date/driver for the graduation party was a non-drinker, which had been a parental condition of my going. My class had, on our own, rented a bar and restaurant and hired a band. It was quite a party. New York had an 18 drinking age and many of us had started three or four years before that.

But by the 90s, when my own kids were in school, things had changed. There were parent-organized after-prom and graduation parties with DJs and prizes and soft drinks. I suppose some kids went out afterwards, but most didn’t.

As for the rest of the year, NY had raised the drinking age to 21, but Quebec was 19 and less than half an hour away. However, as a reporter, I had border guards tell me that they were seeing carloads of kids coming home with four of them absolutely ‘faced, but with a designated driver at the wheel.

Granlund’s cartoon is probably an example of things young people are seeing, but it’s only a small piece of a much more universal message. We were shown the gory drivers’ ed shock films, but there wasn’t an overall societal message like kids have been getting over the past few decades.

Things aren’t perfect, but nothing is, and it’s a whole lot better than it was.

I’ll take whatever good news is available.

Juxtaposition of Foreign Mysteries

Ben Jennings

Steven Camley

I take frequent advantage of British cartoons, which have an edge not often seen over here, but I’m taking a brief respite while the UK has a general election, with voting on July 4. Obviously, everyone there is harping on that and I don’t get it all, nor do I expect readers here to find it comprehensible.

But Jennings and Camley riff on the Euro 2024 tournament to comment on the elections, and they shed a little light on how things work in a parliamentary system, and in this case one that has seen happier days.

Rishi Sunak called the election, but his Conservative Party is certain to experience a major loss, with Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, as Jennings puts it, set to make an easy penalty shot.

But there goes Nigel Farage, streaking through the goal mouth with an eager press racing behind him.

Camley explains the likely outcome, which is that Labor will win and Farage’s Reform UK Party will grab enough seats to knock the Conservatives down to #3.

Reform UK used to be the Brexit Party, which won the referendum that caused Britain to leave the EU and seriously damage their economy, which explains the “streaker” in Jennings’ piece: There is some surprise that anyone would ever vote for him again, but here they all are, primed for another “Be careful what you wish for” result.

If you’d like to see how third party politics can function, this is a good one to watch, but elections rarely result in cartoons that translate well overseas.

Juxtaposition of Knaves and Fools

Mike Luckovich

Gary Varvel — Creators

By contrast, in our own political race, Mike Luckovich has some fun mocking the fraudulent editing of a video by the GOP that was used to smear Biden with an accusation of wandering off at the G7.

He’s not the only one to laugh in the face of the outrageous lie, but you’d have to pay attention to know that, because not all media is debunking it.

Does Gary Varvel wander off beyond the friendly confines of Fox News? Perhaps he doesn’t realize that he is helping to spread a lie. Perhaps he does.

But, whatever the reason, his take on the smear came out well after mainstream media had revealed the original video before it was cropped and doctored.

By then the Trump-promoting outlets were out with a second, similar accusation that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, this one elevating a pause into a freeze-up.

I guess they’re trying to offset the mental decline jokes — like this Pat Bagley cartoon — that ensued when Trump’s Teleprompter malfunctioned and he began free-styling an incoherent story about sharks and batteries.

Trump seems to be having a tough time, and Phil Hands, cartooning at the Wisconsin State Journal, didn’t let it pass when Trump said the site of the GOP National Convention was a “horrible city” and then tried to explain the gaffe by saying he meant Milwaukee has a lot of crime.

Which it doesn’t appear to.

As RJ Matson suggests, it’s the latest example of Trump making off-the-cuff remarks his supporters then have to walk back.

In a country with coherent news coverage, he’d be buried in the polls, but he has the advantage of major, partisan media and a cadre of followers who, as noted here recently, either don’t follow a broad range of news reports or don’t follow news at all.

I wrote then how tired I was of quoting Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

I’m also tired of quoting Jonathan Swift:

Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired: for in the course of things, men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers.

A distinction with possibly a difference:

Speaking of major media that needs to get its act together, Jack Ohman (Tribune) takes a shot at the Washington Post’s continuing chaos. For those who haven’t followed this journalistic soap opera, the Post brought in a new publisher from Murdoch-owned British papers, who canned the existing editor and is hiring former colleagues to head the newsroom.

The Post’s staff of multi-Pulitzer winners is in revolt and has not hesitated to cover the problem themselves.

One weakness of progressives being that they’re not afraid to publicly criticize themselves and each other, which should be healthy, but not if the opposition doesn’t also do self-examination.

Reliable Sources sums things up, and cautions that Post owner Jeff Bezos needs to step in, clean house and get the paper back on track. It’s well worth the click.

11 thoughts on “CSotD: Puzzles and Punditry

  1. Vervel (and for that matter Benson) don’t care if it’s true or not. Truth for the true believer is totally irrelevant.

    1. Amen. At this point anyone who pushes a false narrative is doing so knowingly, and they don’t care because it’s the narrative they want.

  2. For the record it is Keir Starmer, not Keith.

    The Reform Party is on (at least) it’s third name. Originally the UK Independence Party (leave the EU); The Brexit Party (We did it! we’ve left the EU); The Reform Party (Brexit didn’t work because it wasn’t done properly). It has always been a spoiler party and scared the Conservative Party enough to have the referendum. Farage will split enough Conservative votes to give seats to Labour and The Liberal Democrats.

    The thing I notice about the cartoon is how much media coverage Farage is getting to promote his racist philosophy, and fake man of the people persona. You may also like to know that he maintains 2020 Presidential election was stolen.

    1. Thanks, for the clarification (fixed) and the insights. Ditto to Paul below. As said, it’s hard to keep track of this stuff from a distance!

  3. The man in the canary costume is Ed Davey. Davey is known for his political stunts. Hence the costume. He is scratching his head because Nigel Farrage is getting all the media attention.

    Nigel Farrage is throwing a milk shake as he streaks the pitch. Throwing milk shakes on politicians is a form of political protest in Britain with Farrage being the latest victim.

  4. Anyone who claims not to ‘follow the news at all’ is guilty of what Winston Churcill called a ‘terminological inexactitude’.

  5. When I was 16, I walked into O’Neill’s and laid a quarter on the bar for a draft beer, promising to bring my ID next time. I thought it tasted like an inner tube.

    1. O’Neill’s was not a hard place to get served. I drew a line through my DOB and moved it up a year with a ballpoint pen. Told him it had been a mistake and had been fixed. He bought the explanation and I bought a beer.

      1. BTW, do you suppose the statute of limitations has run out for that fellow who added my name to his science fair entry in exchange for a six-pak of Bud?

  6. Regarding quoting Daniel Patrick Maynihan – I like this quote by Harlan Ellison:

    “Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that’s horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing. It’s just bibble-babble. It’s like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.”

    — Harlan Ellison

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