Jack Ohman on the $7 million blockbuster.
I'm not a Hillary Clinton fan, but she had two moments in the past year that really impressed me. One was her speech in San Diego in which she eviscerated Donald Trump, the other was her calm, composed testimony in front of the House Committee on Partisan Fishing Expeditions.
In both cases, she seemed far more authentic than other times when she sounded like an honor student trying to be one of the gang.
She would do well to embrace the fact that she's basically a very intelligent nerd, because it works for her.
This Steve Sack cartoon is in response to the report, but might just as well have been drawn in the wake of that aforementioned testimony, because she acquitted herself well over that marathon appearance, parrying both substantive questions and ridiculous harassment.
The latter being exemplified by Martha Roby's grilling her over email comments that flowed between two State Department employees, as if the job of the Secretary of State included personally reading every casual, inter-office e-mail exchange by any of the department's tens of thousands of employees.
So we spent $7 million to learn nothing, or next to nothing. The hearings found little except that they uncovered the email issue, which became another tool in the campaign. (Because if there's one thing the GOP won't stand for, it's improper use of email!)
And, outside the hearings, we got confirmation that their purpose was to damage Clinton's electoral prospects.
All of which brings us to our ...
Juxtaposition of the Day
As many comments in social media have pointed out, this was hardly the only attack on a US embassy or consulate, nor was it the deadliest. It's just the one that has been the focus of, by far, the most partisan exploitation.
Such that the difference between 2016 and 1954 is that, when Joseph Welch famously asked "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?" nobody expected Sen. McCarthy to respond with shame, but the American people, indeed, did have a sense of decency.
I guess you had to be there.
Nick Anderson echoes Ohman in pointing out that the bombshell was a dud, but two members of the committee have issued their own "report," which they said was necessary because -- I'm not making this up -- the official report was based on facts, rather than on speculation.
No sense of decency, no sense of shame.
And to elaborate on that
Ann Telnaes has written about the state of political cartooning in an age of lynch mobs and witch hunts, specifically referencing the horrific drubbing she took on social media when she accused Ted Cruz of exploiting his children in a political ad.
For which she was accused of exploiting Ted Cruz's daughters, not only by Cruz and his cronies, but by the editorial staff of her own paper.
I stand by my original commentary on the matter, which included this:
One of the oddities of our political scene is that the conservatives who criticize the climate of "victimization" and attack minorities for complaining over unfair treatment and condemn any demand -- even any request -- for politeness as "Political Correctness" turn out to be the biggest crybabies and whiners in our society, particularly since they're basically whining over (A) not being allowed to completely dominate the landscape or (B) being called on their inconsistent bullshit.
Speaking of whining, Telnaes doesn't do a whole lot of it, nor does she dwell entirely on her own experience, using it, rather, as a jumping off point to discuss the greater topic.
The big worry for editorial cartoonists these past several years has been the widespread loss of staff jobs as newspapers fold or choose to eliminate their cartoonist in favor of buying syndicated cartoons. Finding paying work online remains problematic for cartoonists. But the much bigger danger now is the use of social media to intimidate and silence, because it attacks the satirical core of what makes a cartoon an editorial cartoon. If we’re being harassed and pressured not to aim our pens critically, we won’t be able to call ourselves editorial cartoonists much longer—we won’t be able to create anything but mushy, uncontroversial drawings.
Not sure she's not locking the door after the horse has escaped, but her piece is definitely worth a read.
And I would point out that a trip to Kenosha this fall would provide a chance to hear more.
That link not only tells you about the Festival but features a short video of Ann creating a cartoon, so we'll pause while you go have a look.
And then there's this
But today's Dustin brings in a level of kink I'm not sure I've seen before, and ... well, I'm not their editor, but this is pushing into the upper reaches of PG-13.
My normal response is that, as long as it whooshes over the kids' heads, I'm okay. In this case, it's pretty much the opposite: The kids will get it right away, but the old folks who are apt to fire off a furious letter to the editor will have no idea what's going on.
So, to that extent, I guess we're good, right? If the ref doesn't throw the flag, there was no foul.
But, geez, it sure creeps me out.
And speaking of Festivals and such
Mo Willems (center) hosted the Reuben Awards a few weeks ago in Memphis, and Tom Heintjes of Hogan's Alley has posted an exhaustive collection of snapshots from the weekend. If you want to see the faces behind the comics, here's where you'll see them.