Let's get the Aleppo kid out of the way early, Antonio Rodriguez Garcia having swept the category with this depiction.
Melding his blank astonishment with the open-eyed naivete of le Petit Prince is brilliant because his story is less about him than about the questions he asks and the answers we offer.
Plenty of cartoonists have adapted the image of the boy, many more will, and I'm afraid it will have no more impact on the refugee crisis than did the kabillion adaptations of Alan Kurdi, the drowned three-year-old whose picture so captured the world last fall.
Still, it can be another drop on the stone, wearing away our indifference, forcing us to focus.
A fellow I knew in college asks a question on Facebook:
I just read a story about the children in Louisiana and the mental trauma they are going through with the floods. Can you imagine the children in Palestine and Yemen and Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and the horror they live on a daily basis and have been doing so for YEARS!? Bombings day after day, never knowing if it is going to be you or your loved ones next. It's a wonder that any child even knows their own name and can keep any piece of their sanity. That's a miracle to me, that they are not totally insane. Where are the daily stories about these human beings?
I remember a story that ran back 30 years or so ago, about kids in Lebanon and Belfast and other war zones, and, in particular, about the odd, obsessive tics they would develop, like having to touch ever lamp post as they walked down the street.
Yes, it's a miracle they aren't totally insane.
But to his greater question -- "Where are the daily stories about these human beings?" -- I refer to Matt Davies:
It's a commonplace to say that, in the Olden Days, Walter Cronkite would have put Aleppo and Yemen and Louisiana at the top of his broadcast and left the Olympics to the sports department and the Kardashians to the supermarket tabloids.
But I'm not sure, even then, what place this little fellow would have had in the mix. That story about kids in war zones sticks in my memory in part because, even in those days, it was so striking, so unusual.
And yet you must not stop trying.
There were images that stuck and that mattered, perhaps the most famous being that of nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc running down a road in Vietnam, her clothes burnt off by napalm, her skin on fire.
The war didn't stop the next day, but it was more than just another straw on the camel's back, and it made Westerners see the war as more than an abstraction. It made them see napalm as more than a bright flash in a distant jungle.
And, through a series of events in response to the response, it brought Kim Phúc to a place where she could continue to have an impact on the world.
And Malala Yousafzai continues to have an impact after her chilling assassination captured hearts. Her autobiography is a standard on little girls' bookshelves, and there is no doubt that her story was at least a part of what has inspired Michelle Obama to make girl's education a priority that seems likely to last after she has left the White House.
However, Davies is right: We are readily distracted, and any news that came along during the Olympics slid to the bottom of the pile, at least if you rely on network news and whatever your friends post on Facebook as your means of tracking the world.
But why do you do that?
Why limit yourself to what you can see without making an effort?
Maybe you aren't seeing the coverage, but claiming it isn't there is like saying that it's impossible to eat a healthy diet because McDonald's has such a limited menu.
Who says you have to eat at McDonald's?
Smarten up: Learn about grocery stores. Learn basic media literacy.
I'm seeing complaints, for instance, that the Louisiana flooding is being ignored, but I've been reading about it and seeing the astonishing videos all along.
What's more infuriating is that all the Social Justice Warriors are furious that Ryan Lochte is getting off scot-free for his lies because of white privilege, when it's clear -- if you even glance at the media -- that he isn't.
I'd like someone to genderneutralsplain to me how being trashed throughout the media and -- as Dana Summers notes -- losing millions of dollars of sponsorships, utterly destroying in one stupid move the career you spent your life building, qualifies as "getting off."
In other news
There is other news being covered, and Kevin Kallaugher offers this hale-and-farewell to the Great Barrier Reef, which has nearly been killed by the impact of climate change.
To which I say, piss on it.
No, no, seriously. Turns out, at least in the Caribbean, overfishing is a major threat to the coral, and that the healthiest reefs there are in areas protected from commercial fishing and so have more large fish swimming around them. And pissing.
You can keep your Olympic darlings. The really fascinating news stories require a little digging.
And Mr. Boffo may not be known for political insights, but the strip gave me a laff because I've been following the Justice Department's abandonment of private prisons.
In part because, in the '70s, I had a freelance client who went from building cheapo firetrap condos to becoming a pioneer in the private prison industry.
And also because the strip made me wonder if the Department of Education will ever rethink the move to charter schools, which are philosophically and operationally pretty much the same thing as private prisons.
He blew his mind out in a Brazilian service station