Might as well start with the Big One, and Andy Marlette provides a plain and solid image for our opener.
I've complained plenty about rightwingers trying to torpedo the Iran deal for political advantage in the 2016 elections.
They pretend it was a bilateral effort between the US and Iran -- or, rather, between Obama and Kerry personally, and the most radical Iranian Islamist faction in that nation's government -- which starts the discussion out with a flaming, gaping, transparent lie, after which it doesn't get any better.
The same people who screamed "Read the Bill!" over the Affordable Care Act, then told blatant lies about death panels and so forth on the assumption nobody was going to read the bill, are not even suggesting anyone peek into this one.
However, as much as the chickenhawks are willing to play with world peace in general and the lives of our young people specifically, Huckabee's comment set a new low in a political discourse that you keep thinking cannot possibly burrow any deeper into the cess pool.
Mika Brzezinski gets it right, not simply on the tasteless excess of the statement itself, but on the truth about Huckabee that it reveals: Just as "many a truth is spoken in jest," the things you claim you didn't really mean tell us a whole lot about how you really think, who you really are and what you really do mean.
This is a dog whistle that only Huckabee's fellow dispensational fundamentalists are supposed to hear, but maybe he blew it too loud.
Which I refuse to refer to as "Sounding the trump."
Speaking of making her point
Jen Sorensen asks for some consistency.
She doesn't rely on the cliche of "bland person speaking bland palpable nonsense" but states her premise and then populates her examples with demonstrated criticism directed at unlikely targets.
It's not even sarcasm. It has a bit of the "innocent little boy pointing out the Emperor's nakedness," but she's not pretending to be innocent.
Not only does this not suggest the sort of "I'm above it all" dispassion some cartoonists feign, but it possesses clarity: Here's what I see, here's what I think.
That is critical when you work in a medium that a lot of people simply don't get.
Which brings us to:
Shades of Gray
As soon as I saw the NYTimes backing away from the "Hillary's Going to Jail" story they had blown, I wondered aloud how many cartoonists were going to back away from their own now-inaccurate cartoons on the topic.
Several had rushed so quickly to make hay of the original story that it's hard to say, and the tradition is that, even if you got it completely wrong, you don't turn around and pull down the cartoon, or even attach any sort of "perhaps I was hasty" footnote.
Meanwhile, Clay Jones not only responded with a solid jab at the NYTimes for its incompetence, but with another righteous shot at another false narrative, this one a purposeful lie rather than a foolish mistake.
His comments on the genesis of the cartoon are worth reading, because he worried to some extent that the average reader wouldn't know that the Times is known as "The Gray Lady."
More important, in comments on his Facebook page, he concedes that some people may not realize that not only was the body-parts thing phony but that it had nothing to do with Clinton anyway.
Back in my short but instructive stint on talk radio, I did a satiric piece to stir up the phones, in which I advocated closing public schools after the third or fourth grade and sending the kids off to work in factories.
It lit up the phones all right: People called to say that I was right and that it was good to hear me finally saying something sensible.
It was a lesson, one of many learned the hard way, about irony, satire and sarcasm.
Which reminds me of the story about Adlai Stevenson, who, when he was running for president in 1956, was told by a woman "You have the vote of every thinking American!" to which he responded, "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"
Juxtaposition of the Day
I can't find the interview anywhere -- I think it was on "Fresh Air" -- in which Wycliff Jean talked about his support for music education in the schools, and said that, back before we began all but shutting down the schools and sending the kids off to work in factories (and I would note that we're making a lot more progress on the former goal than the latter), poor kids could learn to play an instrument.
Even the doo-wop groups on the corner, despite being a cappella, most likely knew how to play an instrument and were also apt to have polished their vocal chops in school choruses as well as church choirs.
The abandonment of support for arts in the schools explained the rise of DJs and scratching, he said, because, without bands and choruses, records and radio were how they heard music "made."
We can discuss another time how teaching the notion that "everything is poetry" in English classes kept potential young rappers from learning about non-repetitive meters and rhyme schemes more exquisite than AABBCCDD, but I agree with Jean that a lot has been lost since the days when even kids from poor homes were able to trundle home with a trumpet or violin case in tow.
Curtis's dad notes that many of the old-school musicians were self-taught, but I'd suggest most were self-polished and got their start at least from a kindly uncle if not in one of those elementary school classrooms.
And, whether self-taught or instructed, their music was hand-made, not sampled and then cobbled together.
If you've got Netflix, I strongly suggest you watch "Muscle Shoals," both for the history and the music, and also to see the way soul and hillbilly music blended to make that magical sound.
Now here's your moment of artisanal doo-wop: