Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday evening toons: Riddles

It's been a week to make one puzz and puzz, till one's puzzler is sore:

When House Speaker wannabe Kevin McCarthy (R - Naturally, FL - Of course) blithely mentioned Hillary Clinton's drop in the polls as proof that the Benghazi hearings were working – thus admitting what everyone else had known all along, i.e. that their purpose was plainly and simply to damage Clinton politically, and nothing else – it raised a metaphysical question: Was this a genuine Kinsleyan gaffe, inadvertently speaking the truth? Or was McCarthy simply providing more evidence that Republicans now live and operate in a world where they don't even have to pretend to be coy about such abuse of public trust? (Just as Carly Fiorina has shown that telling obvious, recognized, and documented lies about Planned Parenthood not only doesn't raise the so-called "character issue," nor lead to ungentle questioning on the talking head programs, but actually gives you an uptick in the polls.)

In a similar way, when the investigation of the shooting which took nine lives down the road from me at Umpqua Community College this week wound up in the hands of an Oregon sheriff who's a Sandy Hook truther and possibly an Oath Keeper, does his public claim that "gun control has no part in this" make him the worst choice imaginable for the job, since he has some pretty idiosyncratic notions about how he should do his job? Or is he the perfect choice, since whether you think Sandy Hook was a put-up false-flag operation or a terrible, terrible tragedy, the fact that our only response as a nation was to sell ourselves more guns (no, sending "thoughts and prayers" doesn't cut it – not anymore) suggests he may have a better bead on the spirit of the times than we do?

Today's toons were selected by arcane calculations based on the lunar eclipse from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.

p3 Award for Extreme Excellence: J.D. Crowe.

p3 Best of Show: Jeff Stahler. (See also Comic Strip of the Day, below.)

p3 Legion of Merit ("Sneaking It Past the Editors" Division): Tom Toles. (Although the Post, Toles' syndicator, has some experience with that particular joke, going back to the days when the Nixon re-election campaign made a similar offer to publisher Katherine Graham.)

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Michael Ramirez and Lisa Benson.

Ann Telnaes presents the ugly truth.

Mark Fiore asks: Who will lead House Republicans out of their current mess?

Tom Tomorrow investigates what makes the whites show all the way around right-wingers' eyes. Fear today, gone tomorrow, one might say.

Keith Knight takes a rare turn into sports journalism. No he doesn't.

Reuben Bolling imagines a world where not making sense actually makes a whole lot of sense.

Red Meat's Ted Johnson learns the sad truth: every crimefighter has his kryptonite.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon contemplates Atlantean cuisine, and the policy of the clean slate. (And is there a Tarantino joke hidden in the name of the dish?)

Comic Strip of the Day explores some of the same territory as this week's Best of Show honoree, Jeff Stahler.

Why you poor little thing! I better let you stay inside the house tonight. As a tribute to the anti-vaxxers who've managed to let measles get its foot back in the door in the US, here's "Polka-Dot Puss," a 1949 Tom & Jerry toon directed by Joseph Hanna and William Barbera. It features the first shot by musical director Scott Bradley at what would become the standard T&J theme for the next generation. It also features an appearance by Tom's occasional foil, Mammy Two-Shoes, a housekeeper in the classic "Mammy" mold voiced by veteran actor Lillian Randolph, so consider yourself warned. Mammy is shown as usual: only from the waist downward, as she interacts with Tom. When T&J cartoons became widely syndicated on television, there were occasional absurd attempts to edit out (white-out?) the stereotypical character by replacing her in her scenes with the skirt, knees, ankles, white bobby socks and saddle oxfords of a teenage white girl – often, and this is the pathetic part – often leaving Randolph's obviously-not-teenaged, obviously-not-white voice on the soundtrack. Ah well. Watch Polka-Dot Puss at VideoMotion.

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

Water on Mars? Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman connects the dots.

Very Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen presents the game that's sweeping the nation. Unfortunately.

Matt Bors celebrates the free market's influence on American health (ah, if only it worked that way). The first clue with that guy was that he's obviously watched "Risky Business" way too many times – and not the parts on the El with Rebecca DeMornay – with the lights off – alone – if you know what I mean – and I think you do.

Jesse Springer created a cartoon about the UCC shootings, but offers this one up as well, for those readers who need something to take their mind off the carnage for a bit.

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.

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