I'm not as moved by the topic of Joe Heller's cartoon as I am by its excellence on a professional level.
To start with, it was a quick turn-around on the one Super Bowl commercial that got significant chatter. Every ad agency works to create a Super Bowl one-and-done spot, to the point where the last several years have been meh, because the surprise element has faded.
This one, however, has popped up on social media, and, whether Heller latched onto it Sunday or Monday, he moved fast on something that by midweek would be stale.
And, while there was some talk about it before, the North Korean launch was Sunday morning, so it might have been on his radar, but, even then, he put the two highly disparate factors together fast.
That's the job description, but you don't often see it done so well: Usually, it's an obvious topic addressed with a timely metaphor or vice-versa. Very rarely both.
He also swapped his arrows around to sidestep a potential landmine: "Monkey" is a loaded image, and applying it to a member of a minority group is a no-no. "Crazy" works, and depicting him as a baby also works, since he is young and inherited the gig.
That's not "political correctness." It's knowing how to use the tools of your trade. Cartoonists who deny that minorities should not be depicted as apes are not defending free speech so much as defending their own incompetence.
Intentional insult or not, it's an avoidable distraction from your point.
As to the topic itself, I'll spare you the full rant, but leave us not forget that North Korea got its nuclear weapons technology from our ally in the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistan, which also furnished nuclear technology information to Iran and Libya. There was some tsk-tsking, but then life went on.
Because we're realistic, not idealistic, right?
Which brings us to ...
Today's Rudy Park is realistic about politics and idealistic about childhood dreams.
Yesterday, I caught part of Dave Davies' interview with Mad Max director George Miller on Fresh Air, and he talked about the odd assortment of chewing-gum-and-baling-wired vehicles tooling around in the Australian bush:
We don't have a gun culture, but growing up in remote Australia, the car was the thing - big, big expanses of landscape and long, straight roads. And as soon as someone could get their hands on a car - I mean, like a lot of rural people, people were driving, you know, when they were kids already - not on the main roads, of course but on country properties. And so I remember growing up there and the car was - I don't know if it was a way to get out of town, it was a way to express them - people to express themselves in some way by doing up cars
My first time driving a car was in a pasture, in a car in which, if you dropped something on the floor, you'd probably have to stop and go back to get it, because the rust holes were larger than the remaining metal portions.
The final panel here is where I lost it, because those farm kids were perfectly able to keep these madcap vehicles running, and I rather doubt that an idealist like Rudy would be able to do that, or to otherwise justify his usefulness to the realistic aforementioned mutant barbarian crew.
I picture him wandering around the bush clutching his conch shell/cell phone, wheezing and asking people not to call him "Piggy."
Which is funny, in a kind of postapocalyptic way.
Today's Lockhorns brings up a recent juxtaposition, not of cartoons but of conversations.
As I was being driven out to the Denver airport the other evening, we passed the neighborhood where I bought my first house in 1972, for $23,500. It wasn't an architectural treasure, just one of those cookie-cutter chicken coops that popped up in the post-war boom when the Greatest Generation came home looking for places to live, but it was affordable housing even a quarter century later.
I had gone to have a look at it in 2001 when I was out there, and the current owner told me that it was then worth about a quarter million. I said to the boss the other night that I didn't even want to think what it would sell for today, to which she agreed I probably didn't.
Back in '72, we made it on my wife's income as editor of a weekly hotel giveaway magazine, which wasn't exactly the big time, while I stayed home, watching the baby, working on my writing and pulling down the occasional copywriting gig or book review.
It was a bare-bones life, but we had plenty of family time and could usually find enough change to get a bottle of cheap wine on the weekend.
Freelancers and editors today earn pretty much what they did 30 years ago, but I doubt many other people could live there now on one paycheck, either, while, as said, it wasn't much of a house in the first place.
The next day, on my flight to Charlotte, I sat with a woman I'd guess was in her mid-40s, attractive, well-dressed and intelligent, a Colorado native who had moved to North Carolina to be with her Significant Other but missed Colorado deeply. I add the description because it was pretty clear she was a professional and presumably he was, too.
He'd offered to live half the year back in Colorado, so she'd been out there looking for a house in the backcountry.
As Leroy notes, housing prices give a new meaning to "Don't spend it all in one place."
She'd discovered you sure can't afford to spend it in two, and was on the verge of tears.
So to hell with it: I'm gonna put aside being realistic today and vote, one of two chances I'll get this year, ideally for the same idealist.
In the interests of balanced commentary, a song of realistic expectations: