Do Today's Cartoons bug you as much as they bug us? Yes? No? Whatever. It's a three-day weekend, we don't care what you think. And neither does resident cartoon expert the Comics Curmudgeon, who, as he is every Friday, is here to explicate and excoriate the worst of American Political Cartooning.

After the jump, Pluto! Everything is still about Pluto! Get over it, people!

OK, we here at Cartoon Violence aren't going to lie to you. We're nerdy. We love space stuff. Rockets, the Starship Enterprise, pictures of Saturn's moons, all of it. It's pretty awesome. Not only is it awesome in and of itself, but it distracts from this Macaca-ridden, soon-to-be-Katherine-Harris ruled shithole of a planet that we're stuck on just because NASA hasn't got its act together enough to offer $29.99 round-trip weekend excursion fares to the Lunar Hilton yet.

But. We're pretty comfortable with the fact that our dorktastic interest in the final frontier puts us firmly in the American minority. Most Americans view scientists and astronomers as being smarter than they are, and thus to be feared, mocked, and/or legislated against. So we have to admit that the sudden popular outcry over the demotion of Pluto from planet to "dwarf planet" status took us totally by surprise. Let us be the first to say that IT'S JUST A BUNCH OF ICE AND ROCK, PEOPLE. IT DOESN'T HAVE FEELINGS TO HURT! Yet if political cartoons are an accurate bellwether of popular opinion (and we can't think of any good reason why it shouldn't be considered thus), then America's current outrage level over the reclassification of a smallish spherical body hundreds of millions of miles away is a more pressing issue than, say, the ongoing Iraqi civil war, the midterm elections, or anything happening anywhere in Africa.

Of course, if your a political cartoonist doing a Pluto bit, you can't just say "Pluto's been demoted! Oh noes!" No, you've got to find an angle, preferably one involving current events somehow This week in Cartoon Violence: how various artists make hay out of scientific bureaucratic maneuverings, and avoid having to draw a Darfur cartoon for another week.

01joe.gifTotally relevant thing that Pluto has been linked with: The isolation of Joe Lieberman from his own political party. It's as if he's been sent into the icy darkness of outer space!

We approve of: Joe and Pluto's mirrored faces -- long and pathetic, as they float in space contemplate the fact that their erstwhile compatriots go off and do their thing without them, whether that thing be orbiting the sun in a stately manner, or attempting to wrest control of the Senate from the GOP.

We disapprove of: Joe hanging out beyond the Earth's atmosphere without a space suit. You may be able ignore primary results, Senator, but you can't ignore the searing cold of the interplanetary vacuum.

02dna.gifTotally relevant thing that Pluto has been linked with: Um, the whole JonBenet suspect guy being cleared by his DNA, we guess.

We approve of: The deeply ambivalent looks our bartender and boozehound are giving the erstwhile planet. Are they trying to figure out if he's on the level? Or are they planning to give him the bum's rush? Also, note that they're watching the Flinstones on the bar TV rather than more typical pub viewing fare. I know it doesn't work this way anymore what with your 24-hour cable cartoon networks and such, but I'm hoping this is supposed to mean that this little scene is taking place at about 9:30 on a Saturday morning.

We disapprove of: The implication that the first thing John Mark Karr did after the tests came back negative was go to a bar and bitch to an average alcoholic American about his troubles. Also: the beer taps appear to be dispensing "Spuds" and "Hot Dog", two of your less popular microbrews.

03kid.gifTotally relevant thing that Pluto has been linked with: Kids today, with their loud music and their saggy pants and their IPODS AND I JUST DON'T GET IT BRING BACK THE FUCKING DRAFT.

We approve of: The fact that the saggy-pantsed kid appears to be simultaneously listening to music and talking on the phone. That kid is hardcore, do you hear me? Hard core! I also appreciate the look of aimless rage on dad's face, and the fact that he's got a beer can in his hand. Looks like Mr. Technology's gonna get a WHUPPIN', 'specially if he's too damn GOOD to get all the porn viruses off of dad's computer, which, he'd like to emphasize, he has NO IDEA HOW THEY GOT THERE, NOW SHUT UP. NO, YOU CAN'T TELL YOUR MOTHER.

We disapprove of: The entire concept. Look, we know it's hard to keep up with the kids today and the stuff they do, but trust us: You cannot do a joke like this without coming across as an angry reactionary old fart. And do you want to come across as an angry reactionary old fart? Apparently you do. [Those are the only people who still read newspapers - Ed.]

04tom.gifTotally relevant thing that Pluto has been linked with: Tom Cruise has been fired by Paramount! It's as if he's been sent into the icy darkness of outer space!

We approve of: The idea that, with Tom's powerful OT-VII control over his own body combined with Pluto's very low gravity, his Oprah-style jumping antics might propel him into the limitless void of space.

We disapprove of: The whole dwarf thing is kind of a stretch. I know, dwarf planet = seven dwarves, Tom Cruise is short, blah blah, but it really would have only worked if he had been fired by Disney. At least they didn't make a "Pluto the planet = Pluto the dog" joke. Plus, Tom Cruise jokes generally: soooo early 2006.

05huh.gifTotally relevant thing that Pluto has been linked with: Nothing. Really. We can't think of a damn thing.

We approve of: Nothing. Nothing at all. Seriously. We can't come up with of a reason this cartoon should exist.

We disapprove of: The Uranus joke. C'mon, a Uranus joke? Are we in fourth grade?

OK, OK, we actually approve of: The Uranus joke. Heh. "Uranus." Sounds like ... heh. --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON


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