I don't know whether only looking at political cartoons once a week has dulled my interest in them or this was a particularly unthrilling week in the genre, but I feel like the incurably optimistic little boy in the joke looking for the pony in the steaming pile.
I expected the annual flood of NCAA bracket gags. You gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.
But I'm not sure thinking that airline pilots should be emotionally stable is a political position worth a slot on the editorial page.
Yes, they should. But does this strike anyone as controversial?
Because it doesn't particularly seem like a heroic stance to take.
It fits, however, into a theory of mine, which is that, if I would spend more time watching CNN and MSNBC and Fox, I'd have a different sense of what matters, because I get the impression that the Germanwing crash coverage was wall-to-wall, and that these cartoons were driven, not by the event, but by its coverage.
Which meshes with some particularly weird commentary on the Iran nuclear talks which seems completely unrelated to the talks themselves. I saw several cartoons in which the Iranian negotiators in full mullah-garb were screaming "Death to America!"
It makes me wonder if anyone is even trying to follow the actual news itself, or if political cartooning has simply become a matter of illustrating other people's talking points.
Aside from the whole "rightwing chickenhawk trying to suck us into another war" aspect, it isn't a competent reading of the facts.
I have this bizarre theory that, when you sit down to comment on a subject, you should take a few moments to find out what the hell you're talking about, and not just by consulting your ideological allies.
Wolfgang Ammer's cartoon, for example, makes it seem like he's commenting on what is actually going on there, rather than just fantasizing on the topic.
We really need to bring back the military draft, with no deferments for the sons or daughters of politicians, political commentators or other trigger-happy cowboys.
I suppose the fact that it dominated the news cycle called for that response in the first couple of days, but Tim Eagan seems to have put it in perspective.
(BTW, am I the only person who knows that, once you declare your candidacy or start raising funds specifically for that purpose, a whole bunch of campaign finance reporting laws kick in? Because I seem to be the only person who isn't mystified as to why contenders wait as long as possible to announce.)
Jen Sorensen not only cut through the nonsense, but avoided adding to the foolishness.
Yes, we have racism. It's not our only problem, and it's not going to be solved by baristas.
One more crisis you miss out on by working at home. My coffee tastes better and does more about issues. It's also far less expensive per cup than at Starbucks, where only talk is cheap.
And on the topic of futile gestures, as Joel Pett points out, sexism is not going to be solved by changing out the face on a $20 bill, though this is a little more complex.
A lot more complex.
To start with, being a genocidal expansionist was not all Andrew Jackson did, but, yeah, if we were discussing whether to put him on the $20 today, his actions in that sphere would absolutely, totally, immediately end the conversation.
But if that's all you know about his impact on the nation, and, specifically, its monetary system, well, you don't know much. He was a transformative figure, which puts him in the company of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton and Franklin.
And, yeah, Salmon P. Chase, though I've never had the pleasure of seeing his face in my wallet.
In terms of people who don't deserve to be on the currency, I'd also be inclined to drop Grant, because he wasn't particularly transformative and he got his spot because of (A) the war hero thing and (B) guilt over the way he ended his days frantically writing his memoirs while in the final stages of cancer so his family wouldn't fall into poverty.
Putting a woman on the currency would send a message, and I'm not opposed to the idea, but, as Pett suggests, tokenism won't resolve much.
And even if you question the accuracy of the pay-disparity figures, any damn fool can count the women in Congress and see that we aren't keeping up with the rest of the world.
Perhaps if we shift the deck chairs nearer to where the orchestra is playing ...
Guilt was a lousy reason to put Grant on the money, but it's a lousy reason to put anyone on the money.
And finding a transformative woman is hard for the simple, circular reason that we haven't put women in positions to be transformative.
Most of the women proposed -- even aside from the easily dismissed "Famous Firsts" -- seem like tokens of change that came about through societal shifts upon which they had impact, but over which they had virtually no control.
Being famous simply isn't enough. We've all heard of Paul Revere and Thomas Paine, but neither of them are why the Revolution succeeded.
In terms of actually spearheading a major change in the nation as a whole, Susan B. Anthony may be the most genuinely transformative figure on the list.
She was, in her time and even after, very much the face of the suffrage movement and, by the way, her views on race -- unlike those of Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton -- could survive the type of serious vetting that would disqualify Andrew Jackson.
So, sure. Put her on the money. It won't solve the problem, but, then again, it couldn't hurt.
Don't believe me? Ask your barista!
Juxtaposition of the Week:
Meanwhile, back in the world of non-theoretical theories, here's what the people who have actually won office are doing about things that actually might happen.
And, if they ever do come up with some way to gauge the mental health of airline pilots before they drive their planes into the ground and kill all the passengers, I can think of a secondary use for the technology.
Now here's Mike Pence's Moment of Zen
I saw some okay cartoons on the topic, but the memes were
better, so I'm gonna go with a 45 year old song instead.