Roz Chast has just dropped a very good cartoon into our laps, a preview of her graphic memoir, "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant," which will be released in May but is available for presale.
Here's a snippet of that significantly larger sample from the New Yorker, which you should definitely go read.
It doesn't have to be about something overwhelmingly dramatic. Maus did well with the Holocaust, but Alison Bechdel's Fun Home is about small, personal things. In both cases, however, it was the personal element and not the historical significance of events that made the story matter.
Roz Chast doesn't need lessons in storytelling, and I really want to see where this thing goes. Particularly since she's roughly my age.
We've all heard of the "sandwich generation," one of those whining media memes about people who have to take care of their aging parents and their children, which, as I understand history, is not really that new a phenomenon.
Well, the having to care for both isn't new. The level of whining appears to be unique to our era and, yes, we've passed it on to our children, the first generation whose parents were ever, ever at all unfair to them or insensitive to their needs.
But what I feel emerging in Chast's memoir is none of that whining, but, rather, a very realistic, caring concern that I share, in which the dual-element is "how can I help my parents?" and "how can I avoid burdening my own kids?"
I want to see where she goes with it. I think a lot of people will want to see where she goes with it.
One way to avoid the problems of old age
One way to avoid the issues of old age is to die young in a pointless war waged by chickenhawks using other people's children. And the drums are beating, beating, beating as patriotic cartoonists who happen to be at no personal risk take up the call to do something.
A few cooler heads, including Tony Auth, are speaking up, and we'll see if they can prevail.
As for me, I'm old enough to remember a time a little more than a dozen years ago, when conservatives in general and Republicans specifically insisted that it was unpatriotic to openly question the Chief Executive in such a time of crisis.
Of course, the media's resulting compliance led us on a wild goose chase for yellow cake and WMDs and death in the sand, so "Knock it off with the criticism, you hypocrites" may not be the best argument right now.
However, there is a difference between criticism and mere bitching and point-scoring. It would have been good then, and it would be good now, to put politics aside, not in order to give the administration free rein, but in order to actually examine the situation before sending our young people into the jaws of Hell.
Matt Bors echoes my anger over the insouciant ignorance with which commentators are dragging us towards that brink.
This really is an illustration of Lenin's attributed remark that, if you want to hang a capitalist, he will sell you the rope. Between conservatives pandering to yahoos for votes and the media pandering for clicks, I have to wonder if anybody is taking this seriously.
Pat Bagley is taking it seriously, with a pointed rebuke of the chickenhawks which puts a spin upon a Cold War political theory that helped get about 60,000 of my contemporaries killed a half century ago.
Side note: This On The Media interview suggests that we're still sweetening that story with sugar sprinkles and fairy dust.
Or maybe that's not a side note. I wouldn't mind rehashing that discussion from a half-century ago, if only to point out that we didn't want that war, either.
But I guess sometimes these things just happen and there's no way to foresee the dangers, is there?
If we're going to debate this topic again, the first debate in the series should be over the moral need to reinstate the draft.
Was the draft fair? Oh, hell, no.
To start with, there should have been no deferments and none of that marching-around-at-the-local-armory-once-a-month stuff either.
There should have been no sexual discrimination.
And the voting age should have been lowered so that we weren't sending people off to war who we didn't trust to vote.
So fix that.
Because the draft, even with all the flaws it had, with all the flaws it would still have, was a helluva lot fairer than letting chickenhawks and armchair generals play with the lives of other people's children, knowing their own kids are at no risk.