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.

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