The above strip, from Chris Muir’s DAY BY DAY, has become a bit of a teapot tsunami for political blogospherians who make a living expressing outrage at each other’s statement. To be honest, we weren’t very offended by it—humor is supposed to provoke and shock—but it did solve a mystery for us. One of the conservative blogs we read is Captain’s Quarters, which gives us the latest in Nancy Pelosi’s skullduggery while being run by a decent enough fellow who at least has common sense. But we always wondered what those comics panels at the top of the blog were. It’s nice that comics were getting exposure on a well read site, but the panels didn’t make any sense — they seemed to be excerpts from some longer narrative randomly chosen to be at the top of the page. Now we see it is actually a humorous comic strip, which surprised us. Shaenon Garrity has a go at explaining just why this strip is so poorly constructed.
The dialogue isn’t even trying to be dialogue. Look at the exchange in the first panel. “Is Hillary trying to be black?” “Literally, it’s all she can see.” The question and answer don’t match up. I wish I could say that this was just an oversight on Muir’s part, that he meant to replace the first line with something like, “Does Hillary just see people in terms of race?” and he forgot to make the correction. But almost all Day by Day strips read like they were run through Babelfish a few times. Muir clearly isn’t interested in creating human dialogue, or even building a political argument through his characters’ give and take. He just wants to cram as many Republican talking points–“Hillary is trying to be black,” “Race is all Hillary can see,” “Democrats see people as groups, not individuals”–into the strip as possible, and he honestly doesn’t give a shit whether the result makes any sense as a comic.
Dirk — one of the few publicly conservative comics types — has a go at refuting Garrity’s criticisms but sticks with the political agenda for criticisms of Muir’s strip:
Beyond that, I will merely note that the primary benefit of inflexible, deeply held political beliefs lies in their ability to arrange for you to be right, since they allow you to set the definitions by which you judge the thoughts and conduct of others. Alas, the primary drawback to inflexible, deeply held political beliefs also lies in their ability to arrange for you to be right, since they lead you to see only the definitions by which you judge the thoughts and conduct of others. Either way, I wouldn’t dream of getting between Shaenon Garrity and her definitions.
As for the Captain, Ed Morrisey he wasn’t all that comfortable with that particular strip either.
MEANWHILE, stage left, Tony Auth’s cartoon for the Philadelphia Inquirer equating the votes of five Supreme Court justices to ban partil-birth abortion with their Catholic religion, has come under fire from a wide array of sources, as well. Auth is a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, so no one is questioning his craftsmanship, so the argument stays with the political this:
The four non-Catholic jurists are depicted in Auth’s cartoon without miters, their faces filled with fear. The caption beneath the cartoon read: “Church & State.” Auth’s message to the American public was clear – those five Catholic’s on the nation’s highest bench were in the Vatican’s back pocket. To make his point, Auth pandered to the ignorant and sought to ignite the flames of fear among those who truly believe that Catholics are out to rule Washington from Rome. Just like Imus, Auth had crossed the line.
If Auth had made such a comment about a rabbi or Tel Aviv, he would have been labeled anti-Semitic. If he had made a similar cartoon about Muslims, there would have been picketing in the streets. And if he dared to draw minority groups in such a light, heads would have rolled. But because Auth targeted Catholics, all was fine.
The good news? At least no one in America is rioting over cartoons…yet.