Anything You Can Spare For Cartoon Violence

Each week, the Comics Curmudgeon helps explain Today's Cartoons.

It has come to our attention that the economy is in a bit of a pickle. As financial and macroeconomic experts, we're all too aware of what this portends: hobos! Yes, thousands of shabby, unshaven, impoverished tramps will soon be spreading out onto America's streets -- and America's editorial pages! In this week's Cartoon Violence, we offer up a guide to the coming hobocalypse that will help you make it through with your bindle intact.

080201-1.jpg The society that hobos will build will ape the one they left behind. You may think that once your home has been foreclosed on, your transition from condo to hobo jungle will be an entry into a new life, a life free of competition and worry. You've been led to believe this by hobo propaganda like the popular song "Big Rock Candy Mountain."

Sadly, the modern-day tramp is just as conscious of status and his place in the hierarchy as anyone else. Upon commencing your life on the street, you'll find that makeshift lean-tos rise up off the sidewalk in ghastly parodies of the high-rise developments from which their inhabitants were evicted, and competition reigns, with old-timers looking down their filthy, mucus-encrusted noses at you over the size of your television box or the amount of sterno in your hoard.

Our advice: "Big trash day" is your chance to get a leg up on your competition. The discarded furniture and large cardboard boxes left strewn about the sidewalks today are your key to a higher place in the awful new order of tomorrow.

080201-2.jpgCorporate back-stabbing will coexist uneasily with actual back-stabbing. As more and more white-collar workers find themselves pounding the pavement and living the life of the hobo, they will bring their traditional ways of relating to one another -- the snide, behind-the-back comments, the undermining, the jockeying for position on the org chart -- to the garbage-strewn sidewalks of their new home. Prime real estate, near the spots where the ruined cities' few still-solvent inhabitants work and play, will be seized by the same cunning and guile that once secured promotion to VP of operations -- at least until someone figures out how to make a shiv.

Our advice: That awful boardroom edition of Sun Tzu's Art of War you got as a present when you graduated from b-school? You might want to read that in a different light now.

080201-3.jpgHumans will not be the only forms of life reduced to hobo-dom. Long gone are the days when the only ones affected by the vagaries of the stock market where wealthy plutocrats wearing top hats and monocles -- or even when the only life forms whose comfortable retirement depended on a steady eight percent annual rise in stock market prices walked on two legs and were mostly hairless. Yes, in the coming economic collapse, even the animals will be cast out of their pens, their "nest egg" (in the case of birds, this was a literal nest egg) long vanished in a puff of sub-prime smoke.

Our advice: Stock up on pet food. It's cheap, and you can use it to lure destitute beasts off of the best park benches, or, in a pinch, eat it yourself.

080201-4.jpgIn heroically socialist America, the last will come first. Have you heard the news, comrades? Our brave commissars in Washington are contemplating giving three- or even four-digit stimulus checks to poor people! Surely this will solve the hobo problem for the underclass, while, ironically sending the wealthy into a downward spiral of destitution and beggary!

Our advice: Don't work hard and use your Ivy League connections to get a job at a brokerage firm, that's for darn sure! Apparently those commies in the government just don't respect that kind of effort to grow the economy!

080201-5.jpgWhen you become a hobo, this is what you'll look like. As a homeless person, you'll be the new face of America, and so you'll need to look the part. Filthy red-and-white striped Uncle Sam pants, shock-white dreadlocks, little chinbeard -- all add up to the "in look" for the tramp of tomorrow! You can learn all this and more from a slew of new magazines, like Hobo Vogue and Elle For People Who Haven't Showered In Months, which offer fashion tips to the newly homeless and also double as toilet paper.

Our advice: Don't ... spill your ketchup ... or use a globe to block your begging hat? That's ... that's what I'm getting out of this, anyway.


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