Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday afternoon toons: Parsing the Vulgarian, and other low return-on-investment pastimes

(This week's guest p3 Toon Review Avatar.
Betty will be back next week.)

Okay, I stand by my Eeyore-style rant from a couple of days ago, at least in its main outline: The way things are going, whether Trump drops out of the race, or stays and loses, or – lord help us – stays and wins, we're headed for a political crisis at best, a constitutional crisis at worst.

But I'm beginning to feel differently about the incident that prompted it – Trump's possibly-throwaway line about a "Second Amendment" remedy to the problem of Hillary Clinton unilaterally placing rabid anti-gun Supreme Court justices on the bench.

Lower electric — lower electric bills, folks. Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick…

(CROWD BOOING) If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know. But — but I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day. If — if Hillary gets to put her judges — right now, we’re tied. You see what’s going on.

XXX you see what’s going on? We tied because Scalia – this was not suppose to happen. Justice Scalia was going to be around for ten more years at least and this is what happens. That was a horrible thing.
Now it's true that, earlier in the same speech, Trump could be read as coming close to equating the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association –
Your Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association endorsed and they endorsed me early, a long time ago. And they’re great people, Wayne and Chris, they are great people.
– which would give some support to those Trump defenders saying that the "maybe there is" line simply meant that the NRA's clout might prevent a pro-gun control nomination from getting confirmed. And that reading, however self-interested, got buttressed soon after when the NRA announced a big media buy on Trump's behalf.

But really, such arguments are never going to get anywhere. There's no way to pin down what he was trying to say in the original speech. The plain fact is that Trump's public language skills are barely those of a sixth-grader, with a limited vocabulary plus grammar and syntax more stream-of-consciousness (trickle-of-consciousness?) than Kennedyesque. And when it comes time to figure out what he meant in a given case, we don't even have the option of appealing to authorial intent, since when Trump is challenged on something he said, he's apt either to deny what he said on-camera or in front of witnesses, or to dismiss it however implausibly as a joke.

Short version: When Trump says something, there's really no reliable way to say what he meant – not at the moment, and not later. As Charlie Pierce is wont to say: This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

Trump lit the fuse on this early enough in the week that nearly every cartoonist out there had time to take a whack at it.

Oh yeah – and US Olympic gold medals something-something breaking all historical records something-something historically-awful coverage something-something.

Today's toons were selected, however improbably, 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 toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Darrin Bell.

p3 Legion of Merit: Jeff Danziger.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium: Clay Jones.

p3 "Humor Is Such A Subjective Thing" Award: Tim Eagan. (Source.)

Try as I might, I can't unsee Ann Telnaes's mashup of the week in Trump and the week in Rio.

Mark Fiore has an update for people who never made it farther than Rio or Trump's brain this week.

Tom Tomorrow presents Peter Thiel's Modest Proposal.

Keith Knight looks at the world back in Clint's day.

Carol Lay looks at those magic words: You must need something.

Red Meat's Old Cowboy takes the ride.

Comic Strip of the Day meditates on (among other things) the takeaway from the self-described "survivor's tale" Maus. Like many other readers, my introduction to graphic novels was through that book. (By coincidence, at the beginning of the summer I finally got around to reading – and thoroughly enjoying – Jeff Smith's Bone.)

Road runners can't read! A friend reposted this video of three bear cubs playing on a hammock on Facebook this morning. I told her it felt like discovering a lost Chuck Jones "Road Runner" cartoon: It's got nature. It's got a very simple concept. It's got perfect timing. It's got single-minded pursuit of a goal. It's got about a dozen increasingly-baroque variations on failure. No matter how many times they hit the ground, they're back up, apparently having learned nothing except to redouble their efforts. Then comes the final moment, when they think they've finally got it, but . . . In fact, all it needs is a caption, perhaps: "Bear (Hammockii Obsessivus)." In honor of those cubs and their wild ride, here's the very first Road Runner cartoon, "Fast and Furry-ous," directed by Jones in 1949 from a story by Michael Maltese. (Attentive readers may note that, in this premiere effort, Jones does briefly violate Rule #5 of the Road Runner / Coyote discipline to make the boomerang gag work. But it's about the only such instance I can recall. Sentence reduced to time served.) Watch "Fast and Furry-ous" at DailyMotion.

The Totally Classy Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman looks for the position of the next gunman.

Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen pays tribute to a chickenshit euphemism run amok.

Matt Bors has grave concerns about the next 85 days. Grave. Concerns.

Jesse Springer wonders if the fact that both timber trade groups and environmental organizations are filing lawsuits against the BLM's latest timber management plan for Western Oregon, means the two sides have finally found common ground and decides, on balance, no.

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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