It is both Easter and April Fool's Day, and it was interesting how few cartoonists took advantage of this coincidence, which won't happen again until 2029. There were a couple of jokes involving fake Easter eggs, but maybe they saw it, as Caulfield does in today's Frazz, as a combination of one of the most solemn holidays with one of the least solemn.
Then again, only editorial cartoonists seem to see Easter as solemn, with their mandatory empty cross pieces. Strippers generally do rabbit and egg gags, with the occasional "little kid saying something inappropriate to the priest" jokes, some of which are quite good, mind you.
But not solemn.
Ash Wednesday is supposed to be solemn, but, as she suggests, we've cured that problem by jacking up Mardi Gras to a level such that we'd be solemn the next day regardless of any religious motivation.
And I would note that St. Patrick's Day always falls during Lent and you could probably draw a graph where the level of debauchery of St. Patrick's Day goes up on one line and the solemnity of Lent goes down on the other. I'm not sure where they'd cross but it would certainly be within my lifetime.
I was never old enough to have to fast during Lent when that was a thing, but I certainly was old enough to participate in giving things up for Lent, and none of that "I'm going to give up being pessimistic" la-dee-da bullshit. You had to actually make a sacrifice.
Though in comparison to what observant Muslims do during Ramadan, even pre-Vatican Lenten fasting was low level.
I had a friend who visited Morocco and realized, to her horror, that she'd timed the trip such that it was Ramadan and her guides had to take her through these hot, sunny desert sites without being allowed even a sip of water. (Though the breaking of the fast at sunset is a pretty mellow, good time, because that's what happens when you truly sacrifice.)
Which reminds me of my favorite passage by Francis Yeats-Brown, not from "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" but his sequel, "Lancer at Large," in which he contrasted how India in the 30s was not so far removed from India in the Upanishads, compared to the changes between modern European life and that of the Bible, in which the metaphors of that world are distant from anyone's current experience:
There is a deep insincerity running through modern Christendom, because the average man and woman who goes to church no longer accepts the Church’s teachings on Heaven, Hell, the reality of the Devil, or the terror of the Wrath of God. We repeat the rich, rolling phrases of the prophets of Palestine, without giving them literal credence and hence we tend to similar hyperbole in our worldly affairs. A civilisation that has lost its Faith, cannot keep faith in anything.
In any case, I would argue that Easter is more profound than solemn, but agree with Yeats-Brown that it's also pretty distant and hard to blend into our day-to-day worldview.
Your mileage may indeed vary, but if it varies as far as mine does from that of the evangelicals in Mike Luckovich's cartoon, you probably also welcome some distance from the ol' whited sepulchres.
OTOH, here's where I alienate everyone: I find little difference between fundamentalism and atheism.
Tolstoy wrote that, if a native tribe were to discover that their idol was made of wood, it wouldn't prove that there was no God, only that he was not made of wood.
Similarly, taking the metaphors of the Bible literally may be foolish, but the fact that the world clearly was not made in six days does not disprove the entire idea of supernatural existence, and the most valid scientific response is agnosticism, not atheism.
A rudimentary study of the history of science reveals all sorts of things we knew were impossible and yet turned out to exist (and, yes, vice-versa).
Similarly, a rudimentary study of logic shows the difficulty in proving a negative.
Here, however, is where I drive my stake into the ground:
Whether you believe Jesus was an Avatar or True God or a helluva teacher, there is no place in Scripture where he ever healed someone and then said, "Go thy way and do whatever the hell thou wouldst."
Even if you only think of him as a teacher, it's clear that simply signing up for the class is not sufficient: You're expected to stick to the curriculum.
On to Secular Things
Dick Tracy is starting a Minit Mystery. These are fun but you do have to follow the strip every day or you'll miss the clues.
I often identify with Lemont, and, though we are of different generations, today's Candorville touched a nerve.
However, the throwback versions of soft drinks are evidence that, yes, manufacturers did go cheap and turn snack foods into garbage. (And if you can't find Throwback Coke, there may be some Passover Coke on the shelves at the moment -- same thing.)
When we lost access to cheap Cuban sugar, it was the end of delicious kid food.
And once they learned they could sell us cheap, screwed-up versions of things we knew, it wasn't long before they began inventing bad-tasting stuff we had no pre-concieved thoughts about.
Lemont's generation never had a chance.
But here's some good taste!
Adam Zyglis honors the day by saluting tomorrow.
Whatever you think of polka music and squirt guns, a holiday that involves Polish cooking has to be the best holiday in the calendar.
(Man, I never should have broken up with Linda Lapkiewicz)