I'm still on the road, and, while I'm posting from my son's house rather than a motel, the fact that my Internet connection is fast and stable doesn't mean I'm any more well-informed. It's been a nice break, focusing mostly on the early 19th Century rather than the early 21st, but it does create issues in perusing editorial cartooning, since I'm not on my usual wall-to-wall political status.
It's not a matter of seeing a cartoon and not knowing what it's about, but I am seeing the value of broader statements that can appeal to people who haven't been glued to the Intertubes. Gary Clement, for example, lays out the oddness of anyone being loyal to Dear Leader at this point.
I haven't been able to gauge the accuracy of this in real life, since I purged my feed of Trump loyalists in the run-up to the election and people haven't been so outraged that they're scraping off their bumperstickers.
But I have seen some rightwing cartoonists who continue to cling to party, and they seem to get enough supportive comments that there are apparently plenty of people out there who wouldn't be delighted to have their coverage end but would, I'm sure, blame it on Obama if it did.
My theory being that, even if Putin still had trolls on staff, he'd have withdrawn them along with the 750 American staffers he's booting out of Russia. He must be wishing there were a Lemon Law that covered presidential elections.
And Ann Telnaes captures the mood of the moment, which certainly hasn't moderated with a few days' inattention.
We caught a segment of Sunday news in the car yesterday and were surprised that it lacked the "WTF of the Day" flavor, but everyone needs a little time off and perhaps the weather in DC was perfect for golf.
Capturing the mood is important when the mood is so toxic as to be newsworthy, and I'm embarrassed that Scaramucci's attitude so quickly brings Hollywood gangsters to mind, because we should all be above that sort of ethnic stereotyping.
Telnaes doesn't touch on that, however, despite capturing his dead eyes and slicked hair which, after all, is simply an accurate caricature of the man.
But, honestly, if I were a cartoonist now, I'd be torn between showing guys unwrapping a package with a fish wrapped in McCain's jacket or Scaramucci walking around a round Cabinet table with a baseball bat in his hand.
Ah, well -- Trump's leadership has always had a sort of cinematic quality, and a major difference in the head-hunting aspect is that, in the case of "Will nobody rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Henry was (reportedly) appalled that someone took him seriously, while, when Salome demanded the head of John the Baptist, Herod was sorry he'd promised her "anything."
However, given that Trump doesn't have the brains or the sense of dignity to keep away from Twitter, there's not much doubt but that he ordered the hit.
Circumstantial, but well captured here, if only by implication.
Anyway, I'll be back to normalcy, or at least, normalcy in the Moderately Confused current age, soon enough. Meanwhile, there remain some constants in this world turned upside down:
For instance, Reply All captures a sort of oddly masked dominance in a whole lot of couples, in which orders are wrapped within casual comments and suggestions and nobody wants to be a bully.
There are a lot of guys who don't seem to notice, and who take pride in having a "man cave" without realizing they've ceded the other 85% of the house. Or they don't care that they have.
But even this goes back to the way I've spent the last few days, because I've been talking a lot about Ojibwe culture and history. Unlike the Iroquois, who are both matrilinear and matriarchal and very clearly need to consult the clan mothers on decisions, Ojibwe are among the many native cultures that are merely matrilinear, in which such things are more nuanced.
It makes a lot of sense to be openly matrilinear, not simply for the continuity in a world in which people can die at young ages, but because, as a phrase from a patrilinear, patriarchal culture put it, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Indians are just more straightforward and accepting of it. My experience has been that, even in patriarchal/matrilinear cultures, when Grandmother has spoken, the issue is settled.
And nobody feels the need to go around grousing about "she who must be obeyed."
On a somewhat related note
In Pajama Diaries, the Kaplans have begun the college search, and Rob and Jill seem to mirror the relationship of Drew and Lizzie in Reply All -- she's got the Plan and he's going to go along with it.
The concept of the vertical file brought back a time I wrote about, when a fan at a Terri Libenson appearance showed her the vertical file in which she had organized things for her kid's bat- or bar-mitvah (I didn't catch which), and it was covered with decoupaged Pajama Diary strips on the topic.
It was a great little moment, but, like Rob, I find the whole prospect frightening.
I don't know how I'd have gotten the boys through bar mitzvahs post-divorce if we'd had them, but my single-dad approach to college didn't include a lot of organization and vertical files.
I grabbed a copy of the Insider's Guide to Colleges and put it in the bathroom.
Though I'll concede that, while that helped them make some decisions and focus their priorities, ultimately the elder chose the college where he went to spend a weekend with his stepsister who was enrolled there, while the youngest make his pick from a half dozen his mother swept into town and took him to visit.
Which perhaps proves that, even post-divorce and without the agency of vertical files, we remain a matrilinear culture.