Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday morning toons: #Benghazi is the new Belgium

Belgium is the rudest word in the Universe, yet by a strange coincidence, also the name of a country on Earth. The word is completely banned in all parts of the Galaxy, except in one part, where they don't know what it means, and in serious screenplays.

Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe

The GOP really only needs two things: (1) Any sort of policy platform containing anything other than tax cuts that they might actually be for, and (2) any remotely-viable presidential candidate for 2016. Really, that's all.

Recognizing their embarrassing lack of either of these, this week they've made a virtue out of necessity by going all-in on ginning up some new controversy in the continuing nothingburger that is Benghazi!, hoping that they can thereby pre-impeach Hillary Clinton even before she officially declares her candidacy. Linguistic experts predict that, by the end of June, right-wing pundits and political figures will have generated more distinct, individual sentences containing the words "Hillary" and "Benghazi" than any other paired words in the history of the English language.

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy, Donald Sterling, and Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma can go Belgium themselves.

Today's toons were selected from among the most remarkable, certainly the most successful political cartoons ever to come out of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor, including McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of hoopy goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Ted Rall.

p3 Legion of Merit: Bill Day.

p3 Iron Cross: Mike Keefe.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium (tie): Monte Wolverton and John Cole.

p3 World Toon Review: Petar Pismestrovic (Austria), Enrico Bertuccioli (Italy), and Ramses Morales Izquierdo (Cuba).

Congratulations to p3 regulars Jen Sorenson, winner of the Herblock Prize for excellence in political cartooning (and congrats to Clay Bennett, also a p3 fave, for being named finalist)!

Ann Telnaes shares a little May Day irony.

Mark Fiore wants you to relax and imagine a terrifying world. Actually, there's not much imagining involved.

Taiwan's Next Media Animation has a tragic story that doesn't make me feel as sad as I probably should. (Hint: 2014 Darwin Award sweeps!)

Tom Tomorrow confirms your worst fears.

Tom the Dancing Bug presents: Bob figures it out. (Admit it: You do this kind of thing too.)

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl is cultivating his powers of observation.

Comic Strip of the Day begins a review of death-penalty toons from this week with the best opening sentence I've read in a good while. And I flatter myself that I'm at least a minor authority on the subject.

Where's the village smithy today, since they took the hosses away? That's the title tune to "Shoein' Hosses," a 1934 Popeye short directed by Dave Fleischer and animated by Willard Bowsky and Dave Tendlar (both uncredited). Also uncredited: Musical director Sammy Timberg (who may have written the title tune just for this film, since I can't find any other trace of it), Billy Costello (Popeye), Mae Questel (The Slender One), and William Pennell (Bluto, also singing the title tune). I'm not sure who does the voice for Wimpy's brief appearance. Bluto's theme is the 19th-century sea shanty "Blow the Man Down," and the horses' theme is, of course, "The Old Grey Mare." Odd that the tune for Popeye's beat-down immediately before the spinach appears is obviously meant to suggest "The Anvil Chorus" – but it isn't. And the chain-and-anchor-forging tune is Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." (Nothing's cheaper than public domain!) Why did Olive fire Wimpy, who only somewhat wrecked the smithy, but hire Popeye, who (with Bluto's help) completely trashed the place and left her pinned to the wall? And is there a fitness message in the juxtaposition of Popeye singing that "the way to stay wealthy is always stay healthy" with Bluto's original appearance walking out of a bar smoking a stogie? I didn't think so, either. A later, colorized version of "Shoein' Hosses" was made, but we're bringing you the original in glorious black and white.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman knows a pathetic cry for help when he hears one.

Possibly-ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen takes us back to the fundamentals.

Jesse Springer is about to see one of his favorite targets flushed.

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

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