Here's the thing: When you get paid to do something, you take on a responsibility to know what you're doing.
A cook, for instance, who, asked to prepare an unfamiliar dish, simply leaps into it without a little fact-finding is not likely to hold the job very long.
Unless the new task was cooking something the boss didn't want to eat anyway, in which case just throwing what you think it might contain into a pot is fine, because it wasn't supposed to taste good and, in fact, if it did, then the boss might have to re-think the whole thing.
If nobody wanted to think it over anyway, there's no problem.
So, when it comes to bathrooms and sex and gender, if you don't know the difference between "transgendered" and "transvestite," grab your pen and draw yourself some ignorant hostility.
You can simply dismiss the people who know the difference as "politically correct" and "libs" and so forth, while the people who like your take will be comforted, the check will clear and the job will go on.
Not that, as far as I know, there is any significant connection between "transvestite" and "pederast," either.
Nor is there any significant connection between lascivious legends and truth.
However, not all misunderstandings about sexual orientation and sexual desire are based on gullible ignorance.
There is, for example, a pretty easy-to-trace connection between the proclaimed belief that homosexuality is a choice, and the distressing number of times those who proclaim it are found out to be secretly gay.
For them, it is a choice -- Should I do as I've been told, or as I truly feel -- and it's one they are ashamed to admit they struggle with.
So they deny and condemn and insist that anybody with strength of character can choose between those two things they so dearly want: Social approval and sexual satisfaction.
And they assume that everyone must make that conscious choice, rather than just going with their natural inclination.
Which makes me wonder about all the people obsessed with the idea that people with penises are just itching to go into women's bathrooms and sexually assault little girls.
I make no exception for cartoonists.
Juxtaposition of the Day
We all have our blindspots, mind you.
Another less personally toxic bit of lazy professional disconnect, and one that is considerably more subtle and complex, is the idea that the presidential campaign is a horserace, and, while Zyglis and Margulies are not the only cartoonists who have noticed the impact of the Sanders campaign on the Clinton campaign, their current commentary stands out in a forest of "give it up, Bernie" panels.
I'm providing some cushion for a few cartoonists who are clearly pulling for Hillary Clinton and wishing that Bernie had never come on the scene, let alone that he stayed so long and has done so well. Cartoonists are supposed to be partisan, obviously.
But, again, commentators are also supposed to do their homework, and to be honest in their positions.
So I don't fault them so much for their "give it up, Bernie" cartoons as for ones in which they claim he's promising "free stuff." That's either lazy or dishonest. That's like saying Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet.
Beyond those pulling for a specific candidate, however, I've ranted here before that there generally isn't a lot of praise for quitters in commentary, and you don't have to walk away from the governorship of Alaska to be mocked for dropping a commitment because it isn't working out the way you hoped.
Yet here we are: "Quit, Bernie. You can't win."
Horserace coverage is, between elections, decried not only as lazy but as harmful to the process, because it focuses on appearances rather than substance.
But then it's post time and off we go again, and the only point is to be first and get that blanket of roses, because "Place" and "Show" may pay off in real horseracing, but, in America, there's no such thing as second best.
There's the winner, and there's the failure.
Even an Olympic silver medalist has failed, while, good lord, the bronze is for total losers.
Yes, I'm a Bernie supporter. But, the New Hampshire Primary being well in the past, let me confess: I didn't expect him to win the nomination, and this isn't the first time I've voted for a presidential candidate hoping support would bring out some issues and force some compromises.
I can look at that list and see four people I knew weren't going to win the White House and would have had to think twice about supporting if I thought they might. And I did think Kerry and Ford had a chance, up to the end.
Which does kind of narrow it down, I guess.
I don't list Gore because I wanted him to win and still wonder how many Americans and Iraqis might be alive if he hadn't invented the Internet for the benefit of cartoonists and Jay Leno.
Well, whatever the margins, whatever the prospects, it's been a long time since the results of a general election moved the needle.
Primaries, however, should have an impact, and, whatever Bernie's actual expectations for an open convention may be, he has opened a lot of dialogue that a single-horse horserace (Martin O'Malley having just been the lead pony) would not have.
In a good system, a close finish in the primaries would enable his point of view to be heard at the convention.
Which it won't. But it's not fixed.
And there's no shame in not winning.
The shame would be in not making an effort, right?
Right. It's the American way.