By the Comics Curmudgeon
Is there any more poignant word in the English language than "avuncular"? Literally meaning "in the manner of an uncle," it has come to denote the sort of interactions that you might have with a relative of an older generation, a relative that you're fond of, but not really close to: there's a certain chummy pleasantness, combined with perhaps more license than one expects from someone your parents' age, masking an underlying lack of true intimacy. Thus it is not inappropriate that our national symbol is not a father or mother figure, but rather a stripey-pantsed Uncle, with whom our relationship might be somewhat ambivalent. It's still sad to see him get tasered or sewn to a French dude, though!

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President Obama: he's a handsome man, am I right? The ladies, they can't get enough of him. Well, have you ever considered how much pressure that puts on him? Bill Clinton was a lovable hillbilly and could get as fat as he wanted and still get all sorts of intern ass, but Obama's sexiness brand is pretty much focused on him staying trim and athletic. Thus, you should be unsurprised to find out that he's developed a terrible eating disorder, all because he thinks you only love him for his tight buns, you awful beasts. He spends his nights barfing up state dinner after state dinner, all for you and your unrealistic beauty standards.

What was I talking about? Oh, right, Uncle Sam. Yeah, so Uncle Sam, like everyone else in America, can't be bothered to dress in his traditional eccentric but still formal outfit anymore. Instead, he just tucks his t-shirt into his belted, pleated khaki pants, like the rest of you slobs with no class. He's even wearing a baseball cap. A baseball cap! There are few things more depressing than seeing an elderly man wearing a baseball cap, but seeing your beloved national symbol doing so may be one of those things. Anyway, he's lost all claim to our respect, so frankly nobody is going to speak up when he's viciously tasered because he failed to show proper respect to some bored, surly rent-a-cop.

Supposedly a "mild" electro-stunning from a taser doesn't have permanent effects, but ol' Uncle Sam never was the same after that incident. He pretty much lost whatever initiative he had, let his beard grow out all hobo-like, never washed his clothes, and basically just sat around shooting the shit with one of his foreign friends. It was sad, really, but everyone felt kind of bad for him, so nobody would speak up about it.

Still, nobody expected things to end quite as unpleasantly as they did: with Uncle Sam and his Euro-bud getting so fucked up on moonshine that they got into a vicious fight that left both so injured that doctors had only one desperate recourse to save them: combining the non-mangled body parts to create a single merged organism. Since this did not entail Human Centipede levels of horror, a jaded populace mostly ignored it, but you have to admit that it sure would be traumatic to wake up after a bender to find the be-bereted head of your foreign frenemy permanently attached to your shoulder.

It's probably almost but not quite as upsetting to wake up in your dingy, lower-middle-class apartment to find that you and your flabby, slovenly wife/aged, decrepit husband (choose as needed for the role in which you as a rule visualize yourself) have apparently just had a three-way with a donkey. I mean, yes, all of us in long-term relationships, even those whom the coastal media elites might dismiss because they wear the wrong clothes and watch the wrong TV shows, need to do what they must to keep their relationship fresh, but donkey-fucking? (Or, in the argot of liberal extremist and elderly Mormon Harry Reid, donkey-making-love-to?) This is a sad place to be at in your life, and I'd imagine that you'd mostly sit around reading the paper together in awkward silence until the donkey finally decides to get up and leave.

Oh, in case you were wondering, this right here is the greatest political cartoon published in 2010 so far. It is from China, and it features a jet plane, sporting the top hat and cane and bow tie one associates with comical plutocrats and Mr. Peanut, getting punched in the face by a volcano, twice. The panels are numbered, in case you're unsure of the sequence of events.


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