Friday, September 30, 2016

Quote of the day: The great white absence-of-hope

If all the jobs are moving overseas, why wouldn’t the white working class vote for Trump? What good reason do they have for not doing so? I know why the black and Latino working class won’t–because of the racism of the Trump campaign. But if you have no hope except for being white, why not vote for your racial dominance? That’s what Trump offers.

- That's Erik Loomis, putting it about as clearly as I've ever seen it. Jeezus.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The unforgiving minute: Decideds and undecideds

Last night I heard a woman sitting a few seats down from me say this to the man she was with. For verisimilitude's sake, you have to imagine it delivered in a classic early 1980s Valley Girl-speak, and without the slightest trace of irony:

"I've decided to be less judgmental of women. [Pause.] It's not fair to hold them up to my standard."

My initial impulse, of course, was to grab the man by the arm and shout, "Run away! Run away!"

/But then I realized that he knew perfectly well what he had gotten into; they'd been trading passive-aggressive barbs since the moment he sat down with her. He'd long-since made his choice.

I feel much the same way about voters in this election. I've read a number of posts and articles this week mentioning "undecided" voters. I don't believe there are very many of those -- certainly not if the choice is about Trump versus Clinton. Maybe a few dazed or confused Democratic or Republican  voters can still be picked off by third-party candidates, or vice-versa. And a lot of voters -- particularly Trump voters, I suspect, and particularly Trump voters who haven't been in the habit of voting for years -- may be undecided about whether they'll actually cast a ballot at all.

But this year, pretty much anyone who makes it to the voting booth has already made up their mind about who they're voting for, and why.

Turnout, I suspect, will be everything.

Minute's up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday evening's toons: I'm not sure why we're even calling it a “debate” anymore

Welcome to a Very Special Post-Debate edition of p3's Sunday morning toon review.

So it's come to this: America is the Argument Clinic customer and last night we were shut up in a room with Mr. Vibrating. The host – it's silly at this point to use the term “moderator,” let alone “judge;” probably “ringmaster” is nearest the mark – has promised no penalty for making stuff up. (Unlike the establishment media, I have no problem pointing out that Trump is a liar; if I sometimes avoid the word, it's because actually lying is only one of the weapons in his arsenal: along with self-contradiction, there's subject-changing, free-form delusion, as well as the standard tools of the craft.) The Republican candidate has promised – by his extensive track record of mendacity and by his opposition even to the flimsy and inadequate practice of “fact-checking” – that he's going to be making stuff up. And now the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates has said that she believes it's good enough simply to have Candidate Clinton use her own response time to fact-check Trump. (Has this person watched even a minute of television in the last fifteen months?)

So if you were hoping for to see a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition last night, you should probably have looked elsewhere than the first round of presidential whatever.

Any political cartoonist who tried to capture last week the full magnitude and horror of what we were going to get last night would be laughed out of court, so cartoons prior to Monday night that dealt with the debates were forced to go for the evergreens, picturing Hillary surrounded by books, legal pads, pencils, etc., while Trump is admiring himself in the mirror, practicing insults, etc. Or fact-checking. Or the low bar. Among the best in this difficult catgegory: Clay Jones, Jack Ohman, Joel Pett, Gary Varvel,

Some of the more interesting work came from artists who were sketching in real time, including Ann Telnaes and Matt Davies.

 Although a few got out there quickly with images that seemed to reflect the (un)reality of the evening, including Clay Bennett, Jen Sorenson, Tom Toles,

Deadlines drove some cartoonists last night. R. J. Matson posted this on Facebook today, and admitted he wasn't quite satisfied with it:

”I drew this before the debate started last night to meet Roll Call's publication deadline for today's paper. It's not entirely off target, considering what transpired on stage and in spin rooms everywhere, but it could be sharper. Back to the drawing board today...”
(If I were going to quibble – and regular readers (all five of 'em) know that's so not me – I'd say cartoon's problem is not so much about sharpness as that Trump is shown clearing his much-lower bar, but a lot of post-debate commentary, focus groups, etc., suggest he didn't even manage that.)

One last thought on last night's debate (and the campaign in general): When Trump says not paying taxes “makes me smart,” when he brags about having made money off the Great Recession and insists that doing so is simply “called business,” when he muses on the equivalent of strategic bankruptcy for the federal government, when he says he'd tear up existing international treaties (the equivalent in his mind of business contracts?) – those are all morally sketchy but currently acceptable business tactics that have helped bring him whatever wealth he has. In a smarter world than ours, this would put to death forever the foolish idea that America is a business and should be run as a business by a CEO in Chief.

Meanwhile, it's still 2016 in America, so every cartoonist has many opportunities to sharpen his or her cartoons about police shooting black citizens. Since there are only so many ways you can depict police standing over a dead civilian or black parents having The Talk with their children, kudos to Mike Luckovich for finding in the particulars of the Terence Crutcher killing something on which to base some novel but admittedly ultragrim humor.

Today's toons were selected from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, The Nib, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.

The regular p3 toon review will be back Sunday-ish.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday afternoon toons: A Trump-heavy week. Alas.

(I haven't updated the list of epithets and sobriquets for Donald Trump lately, but midway through AMC's airing of all three "Back to the Future" films yesterday a new and especially apt one re-entered my head: "Alternate-Reality Biff Tannen." Story here.)

Yes, Trump claimed that Hillary started Obama Trutherism and that he himself put a stop to it. And yes, Trump speculated again about what would happen if Second Amendment types got an open shot at Hillary. Are you thinking that this one is finally The One? Silly you.

Also: Who really cares in 2016 about Colin Powell's opinion? About anything?

I suppose the only thing that's good about Trump putting thinly dog-whistled threats out there against Hillary this time is that it briefly diverted attention from Hillary's health, which briefly diverted attention from Hillary's foundation, which briefly diverted attention from Hillary's email accounts, which brifely diverted attention from Benghazi!!! Gosh, do you thik there's a pattern here?

Today's toons were selected from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, The Nib, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Chan Lowe.

p3 Legion of Merit: Jeff Danziger.

Ann Telnaes wonders why, after a quarter-century in the game, things like this keep happening to Hillary. (For a possible answer, see Jen Sorenson's bit, below.)

Mark Fiore digs into Hillary's "deplorable" comment (which has been superseded by about five other things since she said it only days ago). He seems to think it was more of an unforced error on her part than I do.

Follow along in your guide books, everyone, as Tom Tomorrow teaches you to say "loser" in Russian!

Keith Knight imagines a better world.

But Reuben Bolling doesn't.

Carol Lay has another happy ending. Seriously. It ends happily.

Red Meat presents The Priest, contemplating the face of the divine.

Comic Strip of the Day manages to use both "priate" and "lapriscopically" in the same post. That alone makes it worth the click, in my judgment. The main story does raise an important question, though: Aren't libertarians the ones who hold property rights and contracts as sacred?

"Did you ever see a dream walking? Well, I did." "A Dream Walking," directed in 1934 by Dave Fleischer, cashes in on the popularity of the title song, which had been recorded the previous year by fellow Paramount star Bing Crosby. Uncredited: Seymour Kneitel (animation direction), Sammy Timberg (music direction), Billy Costello (Popeye), William Pinnell (Bluto), and Mae Questel (the (The Slender One).

The Unbelievably Great Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman is too nice to Wells Fargo.

Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen advances one explanation for why things like this keep happening to Hillary.

Matt Bors marks upon the intelligence of the contrarians!

Jesse Springer points out that the economic good times in Portland have gone off the rails for some.

Test your toon-captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quote of the day: And for this America should be grateful?

With every new poll that is released, I comfort myself with the knowledge that Donald Trump is not willing to put in the hours to be a competent authoritarian, which is cold comfort, I know, but you take what you can get.

That cannot be said of the next guy to try it, and there will be a next time, because the basic tectonic plates beneath our democracy have shifted so as to make the next guy inevitable.

- Charlie Pierce, who sees the fault as not being in The Media, but in our apathetic,lassitudinous selves.

No big, funny mammal analogies today.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday early afternoon toons: Lauer-ing the bar, monetizing the memory

The sad part is that, just as Trump will apparently never be able to blurt out something so toxic that he can't recover from it (assuming it doesn't increase his approval rating from the get-go), my guess is that Matt Lauer's terrible job as the overmatched host of the Commander in Chief forum last week will soon disappear down the memory hole. Using one third of his time with Clinton rehashing the asked-and-answered "questions" the emails? Ignoring the Dye-Blond Buffoon's lies, evasions, and inaccuracies? Pffft. Put Matt back on the Today show for a week and let him land that day's "get" – perhaps a collie who rescued a boy from a mine by running to town for the sheriff – and all will not only be forgiven, it'll be forgotten.

And, for the record, I'm with Brother Pierce: I object to calling it the "Commander In Chief Forum," because the country is slowly but surely coming to think that the Presidency has no other function, and that being CinC makes the president the boss of me. (Spoiler: Nope.) And, although Pierce doesn't mention this himself, I object to the symbolism of holding it on an aircraft carrier. Have we really forgotten the last time a big press draw like this was held on an aircraft carrier? A Facebook commenter said yeah, but what about veterans' issues, to which I should have replied (but didn't, alas) that Veterans' Affairs is a cabinet post (hence, part of the Executive branch), not a wartime responsibility of the CinC, and so we don't need the invocation of the latter role to expect presidential candidates to answer policy questions on the topic. If I really wanted gratuitous military symbolism, I'd be watching an NFL game right now. Unfortunately, I imagine the CinC Forum is here to stay as a part of the presidential election ritual.

Also, what's the big deal about athletes kneeling during the national anthem, rather than standing at attention with hand over heart? First amendment issues aside, we're once again confusing football and soccer uniforms with military uniforms, and the standards of behavior appropriate to each. Besides, kneeling is also a way to show respect, and even subservience – ask Zod.

And finally, our highest honors to to ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman for recognizing that we will never forget the meaning of today's anniversary until the last advertising account manager no longer remembers. As a parallel piece, Comic Strip of the Day looks back at what was not political cartooning's finest hour.

Today's toons were selected by an underqualified morning talk show host from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, The Nib, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Matt Davies.

p3 Legion of Merit: Stuart Carlson.

p3 Medal of Mandatory Freedom (tie): Jim Morin and Brian McFadden.

Ann Telnaes is relieved: Trump does have a plan after all.

Mark Fiore presents Suzie Newsykins, whose only summer mistake was listening to grown-ups.

Tom Tomorrow has too nearly captured the essence of my Twitter feed.

Keith Knight asks an interesting question, but it's hard to tell which answers (if any) are made up.

Reuben Bolling wins the Saul Steinberg Prize.

Carol Lay returns to a theme she owns: the search for the perfect Other. Once again: happy ending or not?

Red Meat celebrates a generational rite of passage: summer camp.

The Comic Curmudgeon salutes Six Chicks for committing.

Sometimes it seems like Comic Strip of the Day and Sophie Yanow are about the only ones out there in the Tooniverse paying attention to Standing Rock. Although I suppose that may change if Amy Goodman is indeed arrested. To be clear, I'm a fan of both Goodman and the First Amendment, but I suppose I feel the same way about Standing Rock and the prospect of its white First Amendment martyr as I used to feel about the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association: If a spectacle like this is what it takes to get some action on the problem, then so be it.

Read the label! As a shout-out to a friend, here's "Hopalong Casualty," directed in 1960 by Chuck Jones from his own story. I usually don't feature Warner Bros cartoons from beyond the mid-1950s because the production values got poorer and poorer (and you can see it happening here), but this is a gem, mainly because Jones is a master of timing and understood the logic of the Coyote and Road Runner (his own creations, after all) so well. Almost half of this toon is taken up with the "Acme Earthquake Pills" gag, which is one of the funniest bits in all of cartoondom. If you Google "acme earthquake pills" you'll find there are two or three clips of just that three-minute bit, but they're all ruined by the same well-meaning but thoroughly misguided overdubbing of music director Milt Franklyn's minimalist soft-tympani-roll driven build-up and use of bizarre sound effects – and silences, which always signaled something worse was to come – with someone's heavy-handed use of "creeepy music" that only occasionally syncs with the mood of the exact moment. (No links.) Enjoy Hopalong Casualty at Vimeo.

The Magnificent Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman observes that everyone in Casablanca has problems. Maybe theirs will work out.

Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen watches as the world reacts to the EpiPen scandal in the US.

Matt Bors hits it on the nose: This election though, am I right?

Jesse Springer looks on with concern at the latest symptom of Oregon's seemingly perpetual budget woes.

Test your toon-captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Quote of the day: The Caudillo's rhinocerous

If you assume, as I do, that simply telling El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago that he is a lying sack of hair who knows less about most major issues than a rhino knows about differential calculus would be frowned upon at the upper echelons of NBC, then there wasn't much for poor Lauer to do.
Charlie Pierce – the Sultan of Similies, the Ace of Analogies, and Master of Mammal Metaphors – on the bad hand that Matt Lauer was dealt last night at the so-called Commander-in-Chief Forum.*

Other examples of his craft here.

*Note that the fact that Lauer was dealt a bad hand doesn't get him off the hook for playing the cards he did get so badly. Even in bridge, with the worst hand imaginable, there's still a right way and a wrong way to bid and play it. (Really? Half of your Clinton questions about emails? Seriously>)