Local editorial cartoons are a great reason newspapers ought to employ their own cartoonists and not rely on syndicated material, and here the Chron's Nick Anderson focuses on the flooding that has devastated Houston for a second straight spring and, as the markers on the door tell, several others as well.
At this stage, Anderson only notes the residents' fatigue, and the folly of "100-year" titles in this sort of thing, which actually gives the cartoon some national heft: We also have 100-year blizzards and 100-year storms across the country, and, like Houston's 100-year floods, they don't seem to respect the calendar much.
I don't expect anyone to read this in one sitting, but you might sample it and then pick up a current print copy of The Atlantic and put it wherever in your house you return for reading sessions from time to time.
Jeffrey Goldberg's "The Obama Doctrine" goes through a lot of fascinating foreign policy analysis, in the process of which he notes the president's frustration over the gulf between perceived and real threats:
“ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States,” he told me in one of these conversations. “Climate change is a potential existential threat to the entire world if we don’t do something about it.” Obama explained that climate change worries him in particular because “it is a political problem perfectly designed to repel government intervention. It involves every single country, and it is a comparatively slow-moving emergency, so there is always something seemingly more urgent on the agenda.”
Later, Obama mentions how the long-term crisis impacts immediate policies and seemingly unrelated situations:
“Right now, across the globe, you’re seeing places that are undergoing severe stress because of globalization, because of the collision of cultures brought about by the Internet and social media, because of scarcities—some of which will be attributable to climate change over the next several decades—because of population growth. And in those places, the Middle East being Exhibit A, the default position for a lot of folks is to organize tightly in the tribe and to push back or strike out against those who are different."
Which makes a ruined carpet seem like a small thing, though Houstonians are also wondering aloud why local development codes do not account for the fact that the city has a semi-tropical climate where regulatory attention to storm drainage would seem sensible.
That much is local: If cities along the San Andreas Fault can mandate building codes that provide some protection in case of earthquakes, why wouldn't codes in a flood-prone city require adequate drainage?
Well, because it would cost developers money and nobody gives a damn.
There. That was easy!
But, as we enter into an election that, among other things, will pit those who believe in science versus those who resist it, it's important to recognize that, just as Houston is getting 100-year floods several times a century, the impact of climate change on local agricultures, and thus national economies, and thus international relations, is not 100 years down the road but looming like an oncoming freight train.
All politics is local.
Even the global stuff.
Cinematic Juxtaposed Nitpicking of the Day
But first, the coming attractions: Comics Kingdom has announced that the winner of the poll to select the next Vintage strip is Jungle Jim, which makes this Alex Raymond fan very happy.
And now our main features:
Okay, this genuinely isn't snark, it's probably just nit-picking, but, while I really like Mike Peters' cartoon, and agree entirely with its premise and cinematic metaphor, my immediate response to seeing it was "Wrong side of the bed."
I don't mind in the least that the elephant's head isn't under the blankets, nor do I think there needs to be a lot of blood as there was in the original.
But it bothers the hell out of me that it's shot from the wrong side of the bed, and, if I were a comics editor, I'd have asked Mike to do something he would have absolutely despised me for.
On the other hand, if people are going to argue with you over a political cartoon, it should be over the message, not the freaking perspective.
It's like a columnist using an apostrophe that doesn't belong, thus offering the Grammar Nazis a chance to fling tomatoes over that instead of over the actual content.
Okay, never mind.
On to Loose Parts, where Dave Blazek purposely sets himself up to annoy the crap out of Classics Nazis (if such people exist) with a distinctly, ridiculously, delightfully non-Greek name. If I were a more astute scholar, I would know the nickname for Karolos, but it sure as hell isn't "Chuck."
However, while there probably aren't Classics Nazis, I did once -- in fact, twice -- wind up with pissed-off Greeks protesting a series of stories I did called "Tales of Ancient Rome" because, goddammit, most of the tales of ancient Rome were originally tales of ancient Greece.
I had frantic phone calls from two papers, one of them with a circulation of about 750,000, because they were threatened with boycotts over the matter, and I ended up on the phone with one of the pissed-off Greeks who was, well, pissed off, despite my acknowledgement that everybody knows Roman culture was borrowed from Greece, that Greece colonized Rome.
I subsequently self-edited the name of the series to "Tales of the Ancient World," but I didn't change the names of the characters from Latin back to their original Greek equivalents. Half of them were still Greek anyway.
The challenge for an editor is to get both the creators and the audience to hate your guts simultaneously.
Which probably sounds harder than it is.
So here's a little something to horrify the Classics Nazis, because the fact that I'm not sure they exist probably means I don't piss them off frequently enough.
Remember, Blazek's "Jason and the Argonauts" reference inspired this. I'm only passing it along: