Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday morning toons: On the political-cultural significance of Reno

I'm probably the last to finally allude to the Johnny Cash lyric to describe Hillary Clinton's speech last week on Donald Trump's many shortcomings as a candidate, a leader of a party, and a human being, and anyway – strictly speaking – she didn't shoot him in Reno "just to watch him die."

I'm also one of those who put aside his initial disappointment that she didn't target the entire GOP apparatus that has been building Trump in its basement laboratory since the early 1980s. Partly that's because declining to go full slaughterhouse mode on them slightly ups the odds that those voters will stay home out of embarrassment, waste their vote on a third-party candidate, or (least likely) actually vote for Clinton – in each case driving up the margin of her increasingly-likely victory. Along the same lines, elected Republicans who appreciate that they were allowed to save some small amount of face (however undeserved) when Clinton declined to lump them into the same crazy-bowl as their candidate, might have at least some tiny motivation to do their damned jobs and work with her administration on some things at least, whereas history teaches us that they will have zero motivation to do so otherwise. (Pierce cites evidence this last is even more of a pipe dream than I'd guessed. Ah well.)

As fun as it is to imagine the Republican party collapsing like a wet taco – or the Whig Party – over the next four to eight years, I confess I wouldn't want to be the Democratic president trying to keep a lid on things while the Grand Old Party was going through its death throes at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. I imagine it would look a lot like the T-1000 falling into the vat of molten metal, flailing and shrieking and spasming through every guise it had ever taken on to do its evil work as it went down. Not something you'd want to be standing near as it happened. (And even if every congressional Republican resigned his or her seat tomorrow, the state-level incubators from which many of the worst of them first emerged will still be operating around the clock.)

And of course, the conspicuous silence of every top Republican (except for the Trump campaign itself, which unsurprisingly squealed like a stuck pig in 140 characters or less) after Clinton's take-down was eloquent.

They've got the slow drip of Clinton's e-mails and foundation, stories which continue to go nowhere at twice the speed of sound, but that's really it. Things could somehow turn around for the GOP in the next 71 days, but it would take a miracle (actually, it would take a disaster), so for now, sucks to be them.

Oddly enough, although Clinton's Reno speech came early enough in the week that political cartoonists had time to think it through, we didn't see a lot about it in this week's p3 toon review, although some harmless fun was had at the expense of Trump campaign handlers and surrogates. Perhaps this is evidence supporting the theory that the smartest thing for the Republican establishment to do, post-Reno, is to ignore it and deny the political press any fuel for the fire. 

In any case, people with life-threatening allergies got a blunt reminder this week of why public health shouldn't be traded on the stock exchange.

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,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Walt Handlesman.

p3 Legion of Merit: Brian McFadden.

p3 Certificate of Achievement for Ignoring Away Trump Campaign's Billions in Free Media: Bob Gorrell.

Ann Telnaes has a simple request.

Mark Fiore invites us to celebrate some of America's Worst Ideas.

Tom Tomorrow charts election phenomena in 2016 – and beyond.

Keith Knight shares a golden oldie: Wondering what the heck is all this commotion?

Reuben Bolling's Super-Fun-Pak Comix features the return of a p3 favorite: Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler from 1909. But it's Imaginary Friends & Their Imaginary Friends that really made me laugh. And then go, "hmm."

Carol Lay shares the truth about creativity and love. Happy ending? You tell me.

The Comic Curmudgeon is enjoying the current story arc in Spider-Man, but fails to appreciate Stan Lee and Larry Lieber's awesome shout-out to Dorothy Parker and her review of House on Pooh Corner in the second panel.

Comic Strip of the Day discusses scandals, knife fights, and things that were horrifying in 1971, finding time along the way to be provoked by the same Jen Sorenson toon I did (below).

"If that cat's been in that kitchen . . . !" And there you have most of the plot of "The Midnight Snack," directed by Joe Hanna and William Barbera (uncredited) in 1941, the second Tom and Jerry cartoon, although the first in which they're referred to by their now-familiar names. (In their first short, "Puss Gets the Boot," they're named, respectively, Jasper and Jinx.) I love the deep blues and shadows – like "Puss Gets the Boot," "The Midnight Snack" is set in a darkened house, lit mainly by refrigerator lights, radio dials, etc. And, of course, Tom still looks like a Russian Blue cat. The character of the black house maid, nearly always shown only from the shoulders down (sometimes knees down) was voiced by veteran radio/TV/film actor Lillian Randolph, who made a pretty successful alt-career playing black house maids and similar characters during that era. (She did the maid in several Tom and Jerry shorts between 1940 and 1952. The character's name, which I don't recall ever being used on-screen, is Mammy Two-Shoes. Consider yourself warned. For TV syndication, the voice of Mammy Two-Shoes was redubbed by other actors, notably June Foray – later to voice Rocky the Flying Squirrel and many others – as a white teenager. Sometimes Mammy's lower body was replaced with that of a typical teenaged bobby-soxer from the era and sometimes – inexplicably – not.) Watch "The Midnight Snack" at

The Transplendent Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman demonstrates the fundamentals of the pivot.

Documented Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen has a strip today that reminds me of a store about three blocks from where I'm sitting right now, called Nature's Grocery. Despite the friendly green store name, most of its products are wrapped and packaged like they're expecting a drive-by shooting on the way to check-out. Do ramen noodles really need two layers of packaging?

Jesse Springer looks at another victim of Oregon's pattern of nickel and diming things that should be top priorities: the chronically underfunded and understaffed Oregon Department of Forestry.

Test your toon-captioning kung fu 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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