CSotD: Bombs Bursting in Air and So Forth

Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint) sounds echoes of the bandwagon/Bellman effect discussed here yesterday.

Yossarian was asked, “What if everyone felt that way?” and responded “Then I’d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn’t I?”

Understandable answer, but then again, Edmund Burke wrote, “Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.”

The change-is-good people are rushing more polls to the front to prove that “everyone” does feel that way, but the polls also showed that Hilary Clinton was going to be elected president in 2016.

While “everybody” assembles another circular firing squad, let’s focus for a little while on the holiday.

Clay Jones offers this easy transition from politics to things that matter, because we somehow seem more concerned about dogs and fireworks than we are about Project 2025, which ought to have all of us hiding under the bed.

Grand Avenue (AMS) is one of many strips taking on the issue of dogs and fireworks, which is as much as a July 4 tradition as the fireworks and firecrackers themselves.

A century ago, cartoonists were calling for a safe & sane holiday, and E.A. Bushnell even brought in the dogs to recall a time when bullies thought tying a string of firecrackers to a dog’s tail was funny.

Walter Blackman, meanwhile, brought up not only firecrackers, which he seemed to think were going to disappear, but the tradition of firing off the Civil War cannon on the town square.

In Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder described a July 4th celebration two or three years after the Civil War, in which the two cannons on Malone’s town square were loaded with powder and stuffed with grass and weeds:

It should be noted that Almanzo Wilder’s mother made him stand far away from the cannons, so Blackman — cartooning more than a half-century later — wasn’t the only person who thought the tradition was at best risky and perhaps also foolish.

In any case, the tradition of firing cannons seems to have ended and most of those cannons went off to foundries during World War II, but the “fool killer” firecrackers are still legal in many places and are a bigger nuisance for gun-shy dogs than fireworks.

I had very few disagreements with my in-laws back when I had in-laws, but one was over firecrackers. I wasn’t concerned that little Black Cats were going to blow off my kids’ fingers, but once they were banned in Colorado, I took the stance of the Dad in Lola (AMS) and didn’t like the example of joyous lawbreaking by authority figures.

It was, however, largely futile and not worth going to the mattresses over.

Besides, this Dogs of C Kennel (Creators) reminds me, I’d had a fun Fourth some two months before becoming a father, back when bottle rockets were legal in Colorado and I had taken a job selling vacuum cleaners with an ex-con who lived in our apartment complex.

He threw a barbecue on the holiday for the guys in the office and their GFs and spouses, and at some point the bottle rockets came out, and darned if a few of them didn’t begin going over the six-foot privacy fence into the Yuppie apartment complex next door.

A couple of the lads there went up on their porch intent on stopping the bombardment, but changed their minds when they saw Steve on the other side of the fence with a handful of rockets, clad in naught but a pair of shorts, looking buff and covered in prison tattoos.

What are a few bottle rockets, after all, between neighbors?

I’m not insensitive to frightened dogs, like the one in this Half Full (AMS), but I appreciate that Maria Scrivan specified “fireworks,” because that seems a solvable problem, unless you live next door to an athletic stadium or amusement park where they are a nightly feature.

In most towns, fireworks are a once-a-year event with the hours publicized well in advance. If your pup is gun-shy, you can try a Thundershirt or doggy-downers, but I know several people who just take Bowser for a car ride somewhere else during that hour or so. Most dogs like car rides.

The issue isn’t that one hour. Rather, it’s the nincompoops who randomly fire off M-80s and cherry bombs for three days before and three days after, and, nearly two-and-a-half centuries after the Revolution, we haven’t solved the issue of nincompoopery.

But it’s important to realize that some years have seen more important nincompoopery around July 4 than others.

For instance, in 1914, Doane Powell noted how President Wilson was working to shut down women’s suffrage. We can be grateful today that the rights of women are nowhere under attack, right?

Okay, Mike Luckovich could conceivably disagree. But it isn’t the current president who has those goals in mind, so why worry about it now?

While in 1926, as Nelson Harding pointed out, the most annoying explosions were coming out of Tea Pot Dome, and it’s worth mentioning, BTW, that when we talk about the issue of indicting a corrupt president, Warren Harding managed to exploit a loophole by dying just as the evidence of scandal was beginning to emerge.

Ah well, timing is everything.

Meanwhile, on this date in 1973, John Fischetti pointed out Nixon’s only way out of his growing dilemma: Blame others.

A year later, the Supreme Court — a different one than the one we have today — unanimously ruled that the President was not above the law and had to turn over his secret tapes to investigators, even though he had recorded them in the process of carrying out his presidential duties.

I suspect it’s another of those things where you had to be there to appreciate it.

You’re here now, so lets join Bill Bramhall in making a wish that we’re all still here and celebrating freedom a year from now.

Though I suspect it will take more than wishing.

I’d better post this classic before it becomes so relevant that it’s banned:

One thought on “CSotD: Bombs Bursting in Air and So Forth

  1. Thank you, sir for helpful information, historical context and helping me keep my sanity by letting me know I’m not alone. In the words of the late Kinky Friedman, “May the God of your choice bless you.”

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