One of my favorite stories of innocence, which I've told here before, I know, is of my sister explaining to her toddler daughter that it is not polite to make personal comments about people.
The message was received and processed, and shortly thereafter, they were in the grocery store and the little cherub demonstrated her new learning by proudly, eagerly remarking, in the piercing, unmodulated tones of someone her age, "Mommy! I'm not gonna say that lady's fat, Mommy! Mommy? I'm not gonna say that lady's fat, Mommy!"
Well, I'm sticking to the Prime Directive here, folks, and featuring Steve Benson's tribute to Joan Rivers, not because it's brilliant, though I think, as obituary cartoons go, it's really quite good.
I particularly like the little wheels under the casket. That's the kind of delightful touch that, though hardly central to the concept, adds to the overall effect.
And the overall effect is fun. The cartoon would not work nearly as well if the tacky woman were not so wonderfully off-the-wall, and, while labels are rarely a good thing, the message on the wreath is not only a valid way to sneak one in, but a reasonable declaration that we're laughing with you, not at you, Joan, and that the cartoon is intended as a tribute as well as a gag.
But Benson's cartoon was far outnumbered by dismal failures, so, in light of the Prime Directive, let me simply explain:
Mommy! I'm not gonna print all the cartoons that feature a Jewish woman standing in front of the Pearly Gates, Mommy! Mommy? I'm not gonna print all the cartoons that feature a Jewish woman standing in front of the Pearly Gates, Mommy!
1. It's not that Jews don't get to go to heaven. It's that Jews don't expect to go to heaven. It's not part of their cosmology. And they certainly don't expect to stand in front of St. Peter, for chrissake.
If you respected her enough to do a cartoon at all, respect her enough to acknowledge that.
2. It's overdone crap anyway. Trying to come up with a good Pearly Gates cartoon is like trying to find a good brand of Butterscotch Schnapps.
'Nuff said. Let's move on.
But as long as we're not running things:
In lieu of running a compendium of "Obama Refuses to Act" cartoons (with and without golf clubs), I offer Tim Eagan's excellent take on the President's current dilemma.
Eagan is not the only cartoonist to pick up on this theme, but the combination of his art and the disarming-the-bomb metaphor makes this the best of them I've seen.
A good idea extraordinarily well-executed.
And, again, it's vastly outnumbered by "Do something! Do something!" cartoons, very few of which include any sort of idea of how to reassemble the broken pieces of this Pottery Barn fiasco.
I've even seen a couple of triumphalist fantasies on the theme of, boy oh boy, are we gonna get those ISIS guys now!
Also without any suggestions of how.
I'm not gonna run any of those, either.
Back in the 60s, the bumpersticker said "War's good business: Invest your son."
And Pete Seegar asked "When will they ever learn?"
And here's a bit of nostalgia from the above-linked July 3, 2003 CNN article on the "Bring'em on" moment:
Since May 1 -- when Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq -- there have been more than two dozen "hostile" U.S. military deaths in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
Anyone who thinks caution is cowardice and that we just need a little willpower to solve the ISIS problem might want to go update that figure and then come back and explain their cunning plan.
We'll wait right here with Kareem's mom.