By the Comics Curmudgeon


There is a certain class of American who cares nothing about the tales of economic carnage that fill our newspapers day after day. I'm talking, of course, about editorial cartoonists, whose jobs are basically guaranteed, and whose pay makes possible a lifestyle that makes AIG vice presidents look like starving hobos eating dirt under a rusty, leaky bridge. Of course, these princes of the pen also have the best health insurance, with fresh kidneys and livers delivered twice weekly to keep their insides smelling fresh. Nevertheless, as part of their job, they must pay attention to the day-to-day problems suffered by you, the "little people," and have noticed that maybe things are not quite so rosy further down the socioeconomic ladder!

Truly, if there is a perfect way to depict our flourishing economy, it is this: as a fat old man, eyes wide with shock, standing in an alley with a cardboard sign begging for gainful employment, because he isn't smart enough to think of anything else to do. He believes that he has clothed himself with a modicum of dignity, but has in fact put on ostentatious and anachronistic clothes that accentuate both his girth and his inability to relate to modern times, thus making him an object of fun and derision. And what better way to represent the Minimum Wage than as a punk, thieving teenager in a ringer T and some sort of skater haircut? After all, it's a well-known fact that minimum wage earners are cheerful anarchists without a care in the world, who only use their wholly adequate legal income to supplement the cash they get from robbing decent folk like you and me. Note that both characters in this little scene have dark circles under their eyes, but for very different reasons: The Economy was up all night weeping because he doesn't have any useful job skills with which he can support his family, whereas Minimum Wage was slam-dancing with his buds at a rap-metal concert, after which he smoked dope.

Like any socially disruptive event, the economic collapse has given rise to radical changes in America's mating habits. For instance, in bygone days men and women would meet at social events specifically designed to facilitate romantic encounters: church picnics, evening volleyball leagues at the local adult education center, "ladies' night" at an establishment dedicated to serving alcohol, etc. But now women know that, more than witty banter or good looks, what they need out of a man is earning power. Thus, packs of predatory single ladies have taken to lurking in the parking lots of America's big box stores, trying to assess as quickly as possible the combined total cost of the plastic Chinese-made items in the shopping carts of the men who emerge from these caverns of commerce. If the amount is over their predetermined threshold, the man-hunter is likely to leap onto the unsuspecting gentleman, tearing off his baggy cargo shorts and having her way with him right then and there in an attempt to secure access to his steady paycheck.

Say, did you know that the economic crisis has affected not just decent, God-fearing Americans, but foreigners as well? Why, this political cartoonist from the United Arab Emirates has even drawn a cartoon about our financial problems! Isn't that cute? He's taken the word "collapse," which is metaphorical when discussing the economy, but made it literal by drawing a building that's actually collapsed! Then he labeled the hell out of a bunch of shit. From that description, you might be tempted to believe that the Foreigns are just like us, but look closer: the "joke" of this panel involves knowing the difference between finance economists and macroeconomists, and how each might perceive their own responsibility in the recent economic debacle -- so, in other words, not like us at all, because we are dumb.

This Lebanese cartoon is another example of the Foreigns being very much not like us. Hillary Clinton (engaging in the sort of Uncle Sam cosplay that she can only get away with overseas, away from the harsh glare of the U.S. media) is chasing a terrified be-slippered Iranian mullah with what could be one of two things: An ice sculpture of an arm, or an actual severed human arm that has been frozen to prevent it from putrefying. "SHAKE HANDS BEFORE IT MELTS," she demands. If Hillary Clinton were to threaten foreign leaders with bloody detached limbs in every country she goes to, the world would, I think, be a much calmer and more pro-American place.

Oh, wait, hey, what about the Health Care? Health Care, as you know, is a beautiful, innocent sleeping baby, tucked away in a maternity ward. Unfortunately, this maternity ward just lets any old elephant furry wander in off the street, to steal or eat the babies inside or whatever. You know that a trench coat is a universal symbol for perverts, right? DEAR HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS: DO NOT LET PERVERT ELEPHANT FURRIES NEAR YOUR ADORABLE SLEEPING HEALTH CARE BABIES. NOTHING GOOD WILL COME OF IT.

OK, do you want to know the real reason why the elephant furries have been able to kill the Health Care? Here it is: Lobbyists are walking into the offices of each and every member of Congress as we speak. In one hand they hold giant sacks of money, but that's just a cover, as it's what you'd expect a lobbyist to bring on a Congressional visit. Once alone with the lawmaker, they reveal their terrifying secret weapon: a monstrous Michael Steele homunculus. Just look at that grinning little face. You'd do anything the lobbyist said, just to make him put the mini-Steele back into its little box. And that's how Michael Steele saved the Republican party, the end.

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