Cartoon Violence Will Try To Say Something Nice, For Once

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

You know, it isn't easy being a critic. Well, it's easy in the sense that you don't actually have to do anything constructive but can just sit back and laugh and laugh at the feeble attempts at creativity that others put out there on the line. That part's easy -- and, let's face it, awesome and fun. No, we're talking about the hidden cost of constant criticism: the fact that such a never-ending stream of negativity will eat out your soul from the inside. So, in a physician-mandated attempt to prevent this spiritual erosion, this week we're going to do our best to say something pleasant about political cartoons that we otherwise would have felt an unstoppable urge to tear into tiny tiny tiny little pieces.

01dem.gifSomething nice: Well, in the midst of the usual crap about how trying to prevent the escalation of a war that will kill thousands of soldiers is really the same thing as lynching the troops, there comes a backhanded admission that accidental decapitation is perhaps not a sign of a fair, smooth-running, freedom-loving penal system.

Caveat: Weird bloodless headless two-dimensional corpse looks like it might be a Photoshop cut-and-paste job.

02dem.gifSomething nice: It's nice that, in a medium that routinely labels such high-profile and embarrassingly easily recognizable figures as George Bush and Hillary Clinton, one cartoonist has boldly decided that readers will be able to identify Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr without help.

Caveat: al-Sadr looks like some kind of terrifying, creepy, big-eyed kewpie doll.

03crk.gifSomething nice: Rather than just making up phony-baloney white guy approximations of offensive rap lyrics, the artist has actually cited actual offensive rap lyrics (from "Knuck If You Buck", by Crime Mob, whose band name makes it all the more shocking that the lyrics might advocate criminal behavior.)

Caveat: It's very difficult to blow someone away with a butcher knife.

04sad.gifSomething nice: Rather than just show up in Paradise expecting to be serviced by 72 virgins, Saddam went the extra mile, thought about their feelings, and got a hold of some roses. Isn't that nice? That's a gentleman! They don't make third-world dictators like that anymore.

Caveat: Mental image of red-hot Saddam-on-Arafat action will never go away.

05bar.gifSomething nice: At last, a vague political context in which it actually makes some vague sort of sense to reference this beefcake shot!

Caveat: "'08ama" a little too cutsily reminiscent of "Jennifer 8. Lee." Also, do you really mean to imply that Obama plans to launch a campaign to conquer the Caribbean by force and convert its people to Catholicism and/or enslave and/or exterminate them? I mean, maybe you do. I don't want to second-guess you.

06gay.gifSomething nice: Ha, ha, you see, gay people like Perrier! And the Episcopalians are fighting about gay priests! Ha, ha! It's funny!

Caveat: Oh, wait, no it's not. That's a stereotype, and, much worse, I think it dates from the 1980s. Also, the baby looks like a giant, horrifying slug-beast. Also ... RAGE ... RAGE ... HATE ... RAGE .... --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON


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