So Darrin Bell nails it with today's Candorville.
Jefferson spoke about government without newspapers vs newspapers without government (preferring the latter) before he was president, but then despised the press when he was in office.
That was understandable, because the partisan press was vicious and hysterical and only tangentially accurate.
Still is. I saw another "Hilary is covering up Benghazi" cartoon this morning and you have to wonder if the cartoonist is genuinely that paranoid and misinformed or simply a damned liar. But at least the hack is operating within a definable-if-incoherent political agenda.
Scaring the crap out of people simply for clicks and ratings is different.
Ebola is only contagious within conditions that generally don't exist here, mostly the crowded hospitals and clinics in places where ebola patients can't be easily isolated. And it's 5,000 miles from here to the nearest ebola patient, which isn't my idea of being crowded.
So I did a short piece for the kids a few weeks ago in which I noted that, while we should be compassionate and help in this crisis, you don't have to be concerned about catching it yourself because it's not spread in the air and it's way far away.
And got a letter shaming me for underplaying the danger, explaining that the World Health Organization and the CDC are lying.
Well, there might be some political agenda in declaring another "failure" by the Obama administration, but most of this misinformation is simply hysterical slime intended to draw eyeballs.
And it works! A decade or so ago, a friend told her kids they were having beef something-or-other for dinner and one of them burst into tears because they were all going to get mad cow disease and die. (They didn't.)
Okay, not too ranty. Under 300 words.
So let's try this one:
Edge City hits the nail on the head with this final (I assume) strip in an arc about teacher conferences.
I've also been struck by the increasing rigor in our schools, and not just recently. My kids are parents now and, back in their student days, they were pushed harder than I was in mine, and they also understand math and science better than I did: They were handed a lot less memorization and a lot more explanation in both areas.
Note that they graduated before "No Child Left Behind" was even a twinkle in the profiteering privatizers' eyes. The key was better teaching, not more bubble-sheets.
I'm currently rereading "The Reason Why," Cecil Woodham-Smith's entertaining and insightful history of the Crimean War and specifically the idiocy that led to the Charge of the Light Brigade.
I mention this because the system by which military commissions were purchased rather than earned put in charge officers who, as Gilbert & Sullivan's Major General put it, knew no "more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery."
Not only did Raglan, Cardigan and Lucan have no idea what they were doing, but they were arrogantly dismissive of officers with actual, practical experience in India and either deliberately kept them from command or, when they couldn't do that, simply ignored their advice.
Which is relevant because Mr. Fitz has rebuilt his web site, from which a talented teacher with actual, practical experience and more than "a smattering of elemental strategy" holds forth in cartoon form against the idiot, utterly unqualified Major Generals currently in command of educational reform and regulation.
In lieu of further ranting, here's Bill Gates explaining his qualifications for leading the reform efforts:
And there's this:
Prickly City with a simple, true statement in lieu of all the bloviation and pontification from another sort of "novices in nunneries" who are eloquent with what we ought not to do and damned silent on the topic of what we should.
I often disagree, sometimes strongly, with Scott Stantis' politics, but then he does one like this. Not only well-timed in terms of the current situation crisis but well-timed in that I'll be face-to-face with him next week in Kenosha.
Okay, Scott, we're cool. No lame "boots on the ground" gags between now and then, okay?
This time, it's personal!
Pearls appeals to me today for strictly personal reasons.
In editing reviews by middle-schoolers, I have been trying to think of a neutral, uniform way for them to describe "colorful" language. Kids that age are sensitive to such things and they often add language warnings to their reviews, mostly as part of explaining the age group they feel a book, movie or TV show is appropriate for.
I feel like I'm nurturing about four dozen Holden Caulfields, all anxious to scrub the F-words from the eyes of the Phoebes of the world. And that's not a bad thing at all.
But what is a good descriptor?
I'm somewhat stymied by a personal conviction that things tagged as "adult" and "mature" are often anything but. On the other hand, "crude" and "vulgar" suggest a lack of artistry that may not be the case either, while the words are not "offensive" if the context is right, they're simply not geared for everyone.
No, it's not "colorful." Thomas Kinkeade paintings were "colorful" and, as noted in PBS, "colorful" has nothing to do with it, though Kinkeade's work was not geared for everyone (see previous paragraph).
"Salty" is an excellent descriptor but only if you're writing for people over 70.
Best solution I've come up with so far is to get out of the way and let the kids explain it to each other.
The grandfather/granddaughter generation can often harmonize better than parents and children.