Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 407 and reprises of Opuses 406 and 406a (a Bunny Bonus) —:
Opus 407 (September 17, 220): A selection of August’s editorial cartoons in a month that includes both parties’ nominating conventions, plus reports of several cases of editoons provoking outcry, some yardage of sheer exasperated outrage about the Trumpet, and the winners of the National Cartoonist Society’s awards, including Cartoonist of the Year. Here’s what’s here, by department, in order (the longest entries are marked with an asterisk*)—:
Before We Start
Rancid Raves Errs
NOUS R US
*NCS Announces Winners
Melania’s Nazi Uniform
ODDS & ADDENDA
Kamala Harris for the People
EDITOONS CREATE UPROAR AND OUTCRY
Yes, Editorial Cartoons Can Make People Angry: Pat Bagley
Cartoon Sparks: Mike Luckovich
Conservatives Not Immune: Michael Ramirez
Editoonist Fights Back: David Fitzsimmons
Jordanian Cartoonist Arrested
Charlie Hebdo Trial Starts in Paris
Antics and Idiocies of Our Bloviating Buffoon-in-Chief
THE TRUMPET AND WHITE SUPREMACISTS
The Mock in Democracy
—with Gag Cartoons Interwoven for Breaks
ONWARD, THE SPREADING PUNDITRY
Politics, No Pictures
*FACT-CHECKING THE TRUMPET
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
If Not of A Lifetime
“Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”—Kurt Vonnegut
Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.
Wear glasses if you need ’em.
But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,
so we’ve added another motto:
Seven days without comics makes one weak.
(You can’t have too many mottos.)
And in the same spirit, here’s—:
Chatter matters, so let’s keep talking about comics.
“If we can imagine a better world, then we can make a better world.”
And our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:
BEFORE WE START, THERE’S THIS (WORTH REPEATING)—:
It was John Adams who declared that “the government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.” What, exactly, does that mean? How does a government of laws function that makes it different from a government by men?
A government by men exists as long as there are men powerful enough to boss everyone else around.
A government of laws functions like a game. It works as long as everyone plays by the rules, the laws. When people stop playing by those rules, that game, like any other game, deteriorates and soon ceases to be.
Unhappily, we have a situation today of some people not playing by the rules. Remember when Trump ordered that no one in the White House staff or in the State Department testify before the House committees that have subpoenaed them. Those who obey this order are not playing by the rules. If you’re subpoenaed, you must show up. That’s the rule, the law. People who disobey that law are undermining American democracy, a government by laws.
If you don’t play the game by its rules, the game is pretty quickly over.
In a recent Time, we read something in the same vein: “Democracy, after all, is not unlike flying in Peter Pan’s world: if you stop believing in it, it ceases to work.” (Haley Sweetland Edwards and Abby Vesoulis)
Evidently, most of us know that.
... And Then This—:
RANCID RAVES ERRS
Last time (Opus 406), we posted a photo of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.—that black wall with the names of dead soldiers on it?—that had been, seemingly, defaced with colorful graffiti. And we said how shameful it was that a remembrance of the dead should be defaced. We’re posting the photo again near here.
Well, you can’t tell, but my face is red. Turns out the photo wasn’t of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. The photo was taken in May 2016 and shows a vandalized Vietnam War Memorial in Venice, Calif.
Four years ago.
It is not related to recent demonstrations over the death of George Floyd. Except that the Venice photo was posted on Facebook recently by some Right Wing-Nut who wants everyone to make the mistake I just made.
Some Black Lives Matter protesters have spray-painted war memorials around Washington, D.C. But as of now, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has not been vandalized.
"I have had no reports of it being vandalized," said Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a public information officer for the National Park Service, in an email. "I saw it this morning and it was fine."
... And This—:
FITNAUGHT on Faking
Sorry: can’t resist the bad pun. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity for several days. Onward. We had just posted the Hindsight on Fay King when the postman brought me a copy of Battling Nelson’s 1911 book, The Wonders of Yellowstone Park, which I’d mentioned in the essay. One of the illustrations that accompanied the essay was a King drawing caricaturing both Nelson and King, she facing him with a sketchpad in her hand.
My sources for the picture claimed it was the frontispiece in the book and/or that it was among the illustrations King supplied for the book. That’s a little iffy. Was the frontispiece the only illustration in the book? Or were there others?
So I steered around in the direction of imprecision, saying only that it was “an illustration” in the tome. Not “the” illustration (which it might’ve been if she’d drawn only the frontispiece). And not “one of the illustrations” in the book (which it would’ve been had there been others).
Hence, faking. I was, in a manner of speaking, faking the extent of my scholarship.
Now that I have the book itself, I can correct that dodge. Now, I can assure you that (a) the picture is the frontispiece and (b) it is one of 21 illustrations King provided.
Nelson says he wrote the book while staying at the fabled Old Faithful Inn at the Park, which had been founded as a national park, the nation’s first (the world’s first!), March 1, 1871. His writing style is uninhibited and unabashed. Without style, in fact. And he could have used an editor. In one place, he says something is “magnificient”; in another, he spells it correctly.
The book was printed in Hegewisch, Illinois—probably by Nelson himself.
In his Preface, he describes himself in the third person as “the only real unique lightweight champion the world ever had. ... He is a self-made man, self-educated and fought his way from a very, very poor boy, unassisted, up to the pinnacle of success in the prize ring.
“Having participated in over 100 ring battles—real ones. He has never been knocked out or mixed up in a solitary one that had the finger of suspicion attached to it.”
The Yellowstone book is his second! He also wrote The Life, Battles and Career of Battling Nelson, which, he assures us, “is really a very interesting book. It tells of the hardships a man has to overcome to become a real champion.”
Of the three pages in the Preface to Yellowstone, only one is devoted to the author. The rest, he devotes to Fay King, “a very dear friend of Bat’s [still in the third person]. ... She has talent, ambition and a strong heart which is bound to win out sooner or later. ... Such wonderful artists as Tad ... and one of the highest salaried artists in the world, Homer Davenport, have commented very favorably on her work, which speaks heaps of praise for her talent. ...
“The artist is but a mite of a girl, standing only five feet tall, weighing 123 pounds—fully clothed. ... black hair and brown eyes, in all she is a stunning little brunette.”
Turn-about being fair play, King includes a picture of Nelson in virtually every Yellowstone scene she draws.
From such affectionate descriptions—visual and verbal—we may conclude (rightly, I suppose—particularly given their subsequent marriage) that the relationship between the two is cordial bordering on romantic.
Nelson also supplies the missing information in King’s early career. Between graduation from Seattle University and her arrival at the Denver Post—a blank spot in the narrative until now—King was “doing ‘Special Cartoons’ and interviews for a theatrical paper in Portland,” her home town.
For graphic evidence of Fay King’s regard for Nelson, we have a selection of her drawings from the book posted on the Other Side of the $ubscribers Wall.
... And, yes, this—:
A WOODWARD FITNOOT
In our Bunny Bonus a week or so ago, we asked some questions in connection with Trump’s alleged failure to respond adequately to the coronavirus. Okay, he didn’t do anything like enough; he was largely silent, not wanting to “cause a panic,” he says. But where were the experts? Why did none of the infectious diseases scientists speak out and correct Trump when he said it was nothing to worry about?
Someone tried and was silenced. That’s it? One scientist and it’s over? Where were the rest of them? Where was their highly touted scientific curiosity?
And where was Woodward? He knew that Trump knew he was wrong. Had Woodward spoken out as soon as he learned of Trump’s intentional deception—reportedly in his February 7 interview—he might’ve saved 30,000 to 40,000 lives, according to the calculations being advanced about Trump’s failure to properly respond.
But in all the fuss and feathers about Trump’s dereliction of duty we heard nothing about Woodward’s.
In interviews over the following weeks, Woodward excused himself from culpability. In the early weeks last winter, he said, no one was certain about whether the virus in China would threaten the U.S. and the rest of the world. As far as Woodward was concerned in those early weeks, Trump might have been right to stay mostly silent.
Okay, but that doesn’t entirely excuse him—or the rest of the news media.
In its delight in reporting this fresh Trump travesty, the news media overlooked an even greater story. In focusing on Trump’s dishonesty, no one sees the other derelictions. We’ve neglected to ask the other, obvious, questions that I asked just above.
The news media need to back off a little and realize that they are as culpable as Trump. They didn’t pursue the story. (If it had been about Trump raping someone, they’d have dug in until they had answers.) They didn’t pester scientists for clarifications. And neither did Woodward. And he, lest we forget, is an editor at the Washington Post.
READ & RELISH
Brevity is the soul of lingerie.—Dorothy Parker
NOUS R US
Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits
NCS ANNOUNCES WINNERS
The National Cartoonists Society, originally scheduled to meet for the 74th annual convention, this time in Kansas City, met instead virtually, on the Web, all day Saturday, September 12. While this maneuver lacked the cocktail parties and fellowship and good cheer of the traditional in-person gathering, it permitted the Society to present its traditional awards—at the top of the list, the Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year. ... To Learn Who That Is and Who Won All the “Division” Awards, and To Read about the Editoons That Cause Outrage and To See over 100 Editoons Culled from the Activities of the Last Month (Including the Nominating Conventions of Both Parties)—and More, Much More— Click Here
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