Cartoon Violence Demands Answers

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


Political cartoons, like all forms of art, are designed to raise questions -- questions about our most closely held beliefs about our policy and our government. The good ones do, anyway. The really bad ones are so poorly drawn that the questions they raise are more along the lines of "Who the hell is that?" and "No, seriously, who or what the hell is that supposed to be?" Somewhere in the middle, though, are cartoons like the following. They questions they prompt are more likely to be tinged with confusion and incredulity than wonder, and they don't necessarily cause a lot of introspection, except for the "Dear God, I wasted ten seconds of my life on this?" variety. This week, Cartoon Violence is here to help you heal and move on after your brush with this week's cartoons.

01ans.gifKey questions: Are Anna Nicole Smith jokes still funny? Are diaper-wearing lady astronaut jokes still funny?

Answer: Yes, apparently they area. There's a well known comedy adage: mildly funny but now dated thing we're tired of + other mildly funny but now dated thing we're tired of = total comedy gold, baby! See, it's the diaper-wearing lady astronaut ... watching Anna Nicole Smith coverage! Hoo!

Still unanswered: Did the lady astronaut spend so much on adult diapers and her ultra-thin wall-mounted flat-screen TV that she had to sell all of her furniture save a single battered La-Z-Boy recliner?

02nk.gifKey question: Who is this dapper, patriotically garbed fellow doing business with various Axis of Evil leaders?

Answer: Why, that's Uncle Sam! But it's an Uncle Sam for the 21st century, focus-group-tested to be more likable and accessible -- call him "Cousin Sam!" He's ditched Uncle Sam's outdated fru-fru top-hat for a baseball cap, the kind that real Americans today wear! And he's ditched Uncle Sam's tall, lean physique for pig-faced obesity, just like real Americans today have!

Still unanswered: Don't we measure the oil we hand out to nuke-crazed lunatics in barrels, not tons?

03hil.gifKey question: Shouldn't the pin in this grenade have been pulled, thus heightening the dramatic tension of the composition.

Answer: Yes, yes it should have been. Didn't Anton Chekhov say that "If there is a hand grenade chained to a presidential candidate in a cartoon, we need to be assured that it will maybe blow up soon"? I think he did.

Still unanswered: Couldn't Hillary just remove the pin and then throw the grenade safely away? Shouldn't cartoon metaphors hold up to obsessive-compulsive scrutiny?

04ans.gifKey questions: Are Anna Nicole Smith jokes still funny? Are "Bill Clinton is a horny philanderer" jokes still funny?

Answer: No. No they are not.

Still unanswered: Is Bill Clinton sweaty because he's nervous about secretly being the father of Anna Nicole's baby, or because he's having some kind of sex reverie about the late Playboy Bunny/lunatic?

05il.gifKey question: Is Bush supposed to be highlighting the "EV" in "EVIL"? And if so, what does the hell does that mean?

Answer: No, see, he's changed "EVIL" to "OIL"! And an "O" is a circle! Because the country used to be "evil" and now it's "oil" ... no, I mean, we gave it "oil" and we used to give it "evil" ... uh ... and ... there's this "full circle" thing ... that Bush, you know, never really said ... uh ...

Still unanswered: Did anyone who isn't being paid to look at this spend as much time trying to figure it out as I just did? --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON

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