Instead, I feel compelled to salute Dan Wasserman for having done his homework and then making a coherent point. I wish I had been compelled to sort through more like this.
I recognize that some political cartoonists have always sacrificed analysis in order to make a joke, but I think the percentage has risen sharply since newspapers began laying off staff cartoonists in favor of picking up cheaper material from the syndicates.
A lot of editors think all cartoons are supposed to be funny.
I don't recall ever laughing at a Nast cartoon, and the times that Herblock or Mauldin produced a chuckle, it was gallows humor based on a sense of hopelessness or, at least, helplessness.
Mauldin, of course, cut his cartooning teeth in an atmosphere of both, and I doubt he consciously chose to transfer that into his civilian work so much as he simply continued with the same quiet fury he had established.
But what made his WWII cartoons so popular was that he knew what he was talking about, and, however guilty he felt about leaving his outfit to cartoon full-time for Stars & Stripes, he left with first-hand experience.
When he began cartooning in civilian life, it likely never occurred to him to do a cheap gag about something he had only vaguely heard about.
If, like me, you've given up on The Daily Show, you probably get it: Jon Stewart was funny, but mordantly so. Trevor Noah goes for laughs but never sticks in the stilleto.
If Stewart was in the model of Lenny Bruce, Noah is in the model of Jay Leno.
And if you go through the crop of American commentary on Brexit, you'll find a lot more Jay Leno than Lenny Bruce, a lot more people taking their position from the quick-and-easy and not so many who have done a whole lot of homework and analysis before picking up their pens.
There should have been a lot more cartoons about how this happened and a lot fewer based on British icons and stereotypes.
But, cheap gags aside, I wish there were more talk, as Wasserman brings to the table, about broken promises and false hopes than about racism and xenophobia, because if you dismiss the Brexit vote as simply the folly of hateful cretins, you miss what happened there, and what may well happen here in November.
I'm not humorless, and I got a chuckle out of Tom Tomorrow. Go read the rest of his exhaustive listing of foolish, hateful, contradictory things that have tumbled out of Trump's foolish face.
But the point should not be to laugh at Trump, or at the people who support him, because they do by-god support him, and jerking his pants down to expose him as the preening, lying, bigoted jackass he clearly is may cheer your own adherents, it does nothing to persuade his.
If you want to laugh at a fool, laugh at someone, though seeing the success Trump has had in the primaries, still believes that, at some point, his followers will catch on to the fact that he's a clown and will reject him.
There is nothing wrong with a cartoon that simply depicts a situation without making an overt comment about it. But, if you look at those Willie-and-Joe cartoons, it's plain that, while Mauldin was depicting a situation, he included commentary.
The initial response to Brexit included a lot of "What were they thinking?" sorts of depictions, including the upcoming New Yorker cover, and, as an initial response, it's not simply valid but solid.
But the time for initial responses has passed, and, in the current universe of instant publication without deadlines, it's now time to move past slack-jawed wonderment and begin to look into what it means.
Political cartoonists are required to move quickly. Either keep up the pace or get the hell out of the way.
I wept because I had no shoes ...
There are many things wrong with our commercial media, but American cartoonists should thank their lucky stars they are not being handed the raw material their colleagues in South Africa are feasting upon.
Dov Fedler depicts a situation that should make fans of open government and a free press weep: SABC, South Africa's dominant television outlet and the equivalent of the BBC or CBC, has gone into the tank for the Zuma government, its head operating officer decreeing a Pravda-style approach to "journalism" in which, among other things, riots are not shown and the president must be depicted with respect.
There is yet courage in the nation, and the network's chief operating officer did not hide his response behind some flimsy blather about spending more time with his family.
Dr. Jack and Curtis also commented on the development.
And Rico Schacherl
Apparently, there isn't really a Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times," but the notion remains valid, and American cartoonists should be glad that they have to do some homework in order to make valuable comments.
And they should be particularly glad that they are only joking when they talk about what a godsend "President Trump" would be to political cartoonists.
Because it is neither fun nor funny when things actually get to that point.