Jun 29, 2011

Niagara Falls!?

Charlie Daniel, 6/28/11:
Isn't the point of the joke that the "slowly I turned" guy is so muscular and powerful that he overwhelms any obstacles?

And doesn't that really badly fit our actual experience in Afghanistan?

Jun 28, 2011

Suicide Is Painless

Clay Jones, 6/27/11:
As all God-fearing Amurricans know, the only possible reason to want to end a war is if you're a pinko sissy skirt-wearing wimp. Right?

Fasten Your Seat Belts, It's Going to Be a Bumpy Night

Henry Payne, 6/27/11:
So the car represents...what, exactly? The tyrannical federal government? The evil forces preventing oil drilling off the coast of Virginia?

Presumably, the "bumps in the road" are for the US on the road to renewed prosperity, so does this mean that Obama is driving us over our own economy?

(And can anyone believe that Mr. Detroit, the car-happy Payne, is showing a vehicle as a weapon?)

When It's Over, Over There

Dick Locher, 6/27/11:
Locher thinks it would be wiser to keep the soldiers over in Afghanistan, at least for a while, since their Anger Management is much larger and more obviously phallic there.

He Doesn't Have To Shoot Me Now

Bob Gorrell, 6/27/11:
Sovereign debt is a random thing, with unexpected but occasionally fatal outcomes. Just look at all of the countries that had debt troubles and then immediately died!

(Oh, and China only owns 7.5% of US debt, too, so this cartoon is either badly informed or racist.)

Jun 27, 2011

Aussie Drive-Thru

Paul Zanetti, 6/24/11:
"Welcome to Zanetti's, may I take your order?"

"Yes, I'd like a large order of All Those People Look Alike, with a side of Why Are They In My Country and a tall If They Can't Assimilate, to go."

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Ann Cleaves, 6/24/11:
This is either a comment on the use of unmanned drones in the we're-not-calling-it-a-war over Libya, or on the recent massive disappearances of bees being called Colony Collapse Disorder.

Or, perhaps, in some bizarre way, it's both: bees are disappearing because they're turning into drones! 

Jun 26, 2011

Newspaper Roulette

Paul Fell, 6/23/11:
So the News-papers are trying to kill themselves, and causing job cuts as a side effect?

Or did Fell mean to draw the opposite, and somehow it ended up this way?

Jun 24, 2011

It Seemed That the Land Would Be Torn by War

Steve Kelley, 6/23/11:
Obama is the young farmhand Wart, of seemingly humble birth [1] and skills [2] and no power [3], but if he can pull the magical sword Polls from the stone of Economy, then he will be acclaimed as rightful King of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Notice, also, how deeply cynical this cartoon is: Obama isn't trying to grasp Prosperity, or Peace, or even Slight Bump in the Housing Market, but simply the illusion of popularity.

[1] Insert birth certificate joke here.

[2] Insert teleprompter joke here.

[3] Wry commentary on the rabidly Republican House here.


Joel Pett, 6/23/11:
Saudi women are protesting their country's restriction on female drivers, and Wal-Mart just won a big Supreme Court decision in their fight against a class-action lawsuit on behalf of their female employers.

Think those two things have nothing to do with each other? Ha! You've forgotten that Any Two Things Make a Cartoon!

Having Two Famous Women Named "Callista" Is Too Confusing

Sandy Huffaker, 6/23/11:
Newt Gingrich is a Nibelung out of legend, obsessed with gold and jewels, and his wife Callista is some sort of bird princess. He cursed his staff to turn into blackbirds if they betrayed him, but they fled his demesne anyway.

In the next opera, he'll battle Wotan for his spear and magic helmet.

His Precious

Don Landgren, Jr., 6/23/11:
Why on earth do sports fans think that watching something somehow gives them ownership of it?

I mean, I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, but that doesn't mean I pretend to have personally defeated Sauron. And yet I'm the nerd.

Jun 23, 2011


Mike Keefe, 6/22/11:
Yes, Virginia, Operation Fast and Furious was real, and it operated pretty much like Keefe's cartoon shows: ATF agents out of the Phoenix office allowed guns into the hands of "straw purchasers" in hopes of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels, until a US Border Patrol agent was killed by one of those guns.

American law enforcement, ladies and gentlemen! Just as competent and smart as the folks where you work.


Scott Stantis, 6/20/11:
I'm hoping that...thing...on the left is some new piece of public art in Chicagoland, and, if so, then I think I agree with Stantis.

If not, I'd like to have what he's having.

The Money Train

Chuck Asay, 6/22/11:
Yes, that's right: the US government is taking in so much revenue from taxes that it can't spend it all, and just needs to warehouse the money somewhere.

Also, is this the very wonkiest thing ever to complain about in an editorial cartoon?

Jun 22, 2011

Sweating It Out

Roger Harvell, 6/21/11:
Actually, as a little quick research would have shown, most recent Supreme Court decisions aren't close at all -- no justice was in the majority less than 83% of the time in the current term.

The opinions that editorial cartoonists care about -- the big ones -- tend to be squeakers: that's what Harvell means.

And is that average-Joe figure meant to represent the $422-billion revenue Wal-Mart? How cute.

YOU'RE Locked in Here With Me!

Stephanie McMillan, 6/21/11:
It's hard to know where to start here. So, in Bolivia, "Nature" has the same legal status as an adult human in court? It can be called as a witness, served with papers, and put under oath?

And this is a good thing?

But, instead, the USA has the entire Earth locked up? (And no other countries have anything to do with it?) American exceptionalism goes to some pretty weird places, these days.

Where There's a Whip, There's a Way

Scott Stantis, 6/21/11:
For those of us not from Illinois -- and caught up in the various budget woes of our own states -- Illinois's Gov, the dude with the drum and friendly demeanor, got Motorola a $100-million-plus tax break, which they can keep as long as they don't get rid of more than 800 employees in the state.

You know, I, myself, would be happy to move to Illinois for only $50 million, and I'll promise not to get rid of any of my employees. How about it?

Make the Pie Higher

Pat Bagley, 6/21/11:
If only the truck had been labeled, as well -- something like "Budget" or "Government Spending" -- then this would have been a perfectly labeled cartoon.

Oh, and are the Bush tax cuts really above the debt ceiling? How does that work, in this metaphor?

Signs of a Rebounding Economy?

Robert Unell, 6/21/11:
Are there many people trying to scan a QR code from job-seekers on the streets of Kansas City while driving? Enough that they need to be warned away from doing it?

Jun 21, 2011

The New Angel in the House

Adam Zyglis, 6/16/11:
Not to throw a wet blanket on anyone's celebrations, but what did the Weiner scandal have to do with women in politics, anyway?

Or is this just a way of saying "Women pols: none of them have sent naked photos yet! (That we know of.)"? If so, it's only a matter of time -- all politicians are massively narcissistic by nature and there's no end to the shenanigans they get up to.

Jun 20, 2011

Woman of Kleenex, My Foot!

Victor Harville, 6/17/11:
Clark Kent is much more of a horndog than DC Comics would like you to think.

Jun 17, 2011

Truth, Justice, and the Fenway

Dick Locher, 6/16/11:
I can't do any better than just to try to describe this cartoon: President Obama is Superman, trapped in a phone booth that is also the economy, and he can only be saved by a little tow-headed Red Sox fan with a wiffle bat.

I'm afraid the details of that symbolism is beyond me, but I do like the way Obama's speech balloon snakes into the booth.

Jun 16, 2011

If That's His Wife, Do You Blame Him?

Paul Fell, 6/15/11:
"Sexual Indiscressions" [sic] -- which, oddly, don't seem to require a second person -- only affect men. And those men all apparently inhabit the world of The Lockhorns.

Pomp and Supposedly Amusing Circumstances

Tim Jackson, 6/15/11:
Either this is based on a real incident witnessed by our Mr. Jackson, or -- and this is just a guess -- our Mr. Jackson has finally cracked after a long journalistic career of having to cover other people's tedious commencement ceremonies.

Either way, there's very little political, or even cartoony, about this piece.

Jun 15, 2011

A Grisly End

Chuck Asay, 6/8/11:
In Asay-land:
1) There are dedicated elementary-school sex-education teachers, instead of it being a tertiary responsibility of some gym/health teacher to speed through a "your changing body and you" speech on a slow day near the end of the year.

2) Mothers are eager to take complete control of the sex-education of their children, instead of being vaguely embarrassed and happy to keep procrastinating about it, like those of us in the real world.

Jun 14, 2011


Steve Breen, 6/13/11:
It's true: high-speed rail is an economic impossibility, and can never be built. Just ask Japan and Europe.

Jun 13, 2011

Three Donkeys Walk Into a Bar....

Terry Wise, 6/11/11:
One: It's "Whoop! There it is."

Two: Is that supposed to be a joke? I don't mean the cartoon itself -- that clearly isn't -- but what the donkeys are telling each other. And, if so, is the punch line based on the fact that Palin has greater cleavage than the other women? (And does she? I have to admit I've never made a particular study of the comparitive breast sizes of major politicians.)

Three: Is Wise's point that Democrats are hypocrites for calling Palin stupid, bcause Napolitano and Clinton have made equally ignorant regular public statements? And, if so, what is he talking about? Actually, if not, what is he talking about?

The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter Vegetables

Adam Zyglis, 6/12/11:
Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, and nothing repels them more quickly than...newly-mown grass!!!!

Seriously, if the worst thing going on in your town is that some vacant lots have tall weeds, I think you'd want to keep that quiet, to keep the rest of us from piling on.

Jun 11, 2011

The Creative Destruction of Capitalism

Lisa Benson, 6/11/11:
Actually, in California as in every other US state, sales taxes are owed on all purchases -- merchants collect those taxes on local purchases, and currently aren't required to do so on some mail-order, phone and Internet transactions, but consumers are actually required to pay those taxes to their state governments every year.

(They don't, of course, but they're all breaking the law currently.)

And the old exemption from collecting taxes was entirely based on the fact that it would be too cumbersome and unwieldy to do so...which no longer carries much weight, in a world in which many on-line retailers (Wal-Mart, Amazon's store for Target) already collect tax nationwide.

I'm Not Dead! I'm Getting Better!

Editorial Explanations has been quiet lately, for unavoidable reasons related to my professional life -- namely, that I'm in the middle of a two-week business trip -- but I am playing catch-up today.

To avoid a flood of week-old cartoons, all dated today, I'm sticking the oldies on the days they were originally published and marking them all "Backfill."

Service may be spotty for the next four or five days, but should return to normal for the second half of June and forward. Your forebearance during this time of great national trial is greatly appreciated.

Jun 8, 2011

Late, Lame, and Ludicrous

Bob Gorrell, 6/8/11:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: the lamest excuse for a "Weiner-gate" cartoon yet, in which Gorrell doesn't even try to caricature our big-nosed protagonist.

Instead, J. Random Gorrell-Man smirks while taking a photo of his fully clothed junk, for no aparrent reason. (And, looking more closely at the cartoon, I think the camera lens is actually pointed away from the guy.

Merry Pranksters?

Joe Heller, 6/8/11:
Um, Heller, you do know that "herstory" is an actual thing, right? And that it's from the end of the political spectrum as far from Sarah Palin as it's possible to get?

Jun 7, 2011

I Was Expecting a Lemming Reference

Daryl Cagle, 6/7/11:
It is entirely possibly that there's some fact about salmon, known to everyone but me, which would render this cartoon explicable. I freely admit that.

I hope someone will now tell me what that fact is, because otherwise this just looks like a bizarre collision of two ideas to me.

Jun 6, 2011

Balloon Drop

Joe Heller, 6/6/11:
So we should remove the moral debt ceiling, so that the morally dubious politicians can...float away?

So morality keeps bad people closer to us, and we should instead remove morality, so they can go on and do what they want, further away from us?

I'm not sure if I can explain the metaphor in this cartoon at all...and I'm not sure if Heller could, either.

The Only Caucasian Landscapers Known To Man

Dick Locher, 6/6/11:
Locher has the best metaphors in the business -- at least for my purposes. For example, in this case, he seems to be arguing that the grass (the government budget? the economy?) would benefit more from a strong program of bulldozing and/or strong poison.

And when you're saying that healthy, green, growing things are the problem...well, that's a sign you may want to rethink your metaphor just slightly.

Hours of Toil and Drudgery

Terry Wise, 6/6/11:
Yes! Let's honor Sarah Palin for her tremendous work ethic! Why, she served more than half of her elected term as governor of Alaska! And it's really, really hard to go on TV and talk about things off the top of your head, too!

And don't get me started about the workload involved in reality TV -- the woman is a rock!

(And is there anyone actually saying that Palin is "stupid"? She's chronically ill-prepared, certainly, and has shown little interest in acquainting herself with actual facts, but "badly informed" isn't the same thing as "dumb.")

Update, mere moments later: I stand corrected; people are calling Palin stupid. (That may be shorthand, but it's still inappropriate.)
(Ed Hall, 6/6/11)

Jun 4, 2011

Sweeping Generalization Theater Presents

David Cohen, 6/4/11:
Every war in history has been a failure.

Would someone please inform Scipio, Attila, and Churchhill?

Red Cars Are Dangerous

Cartoons by Garry Markstein, John R. Rose, and John Cole:
Plus five points for not doing a Grim Reaper "can you hear me now" cartoon, like four or five other cartoonists I could name.

Minus fifteen, though, for doing the same cartoon as each other, down to the color of the car.

Jun 3, 2011

Paging Johnny Carson

Nick Anderson, 6/3/11:
Is that the fabled "bluebird of happiness"? And is it about to fly up Rep. Weiner's nose? Or is it just going to continue to perch upon his, well, "little Rep. Weiner"?

All Quiet on Several Fronts

Ted Rall, 6/3/11:
A random Hitler comparison: the first, or last, refuge of a cartoonist facing a deadline? Discuss.

Also, what the hell?

None Shall Pass

Ken Catalino, 6/1/11:
Note that "raising government revenue" -- even to the levels of ten years ago -- isn't even an option; it's utterly unthinkable for Catalino. (Though not for actual Democrats in the real world.)

And how is "debt ceiling" a weapon against debt in the first place?

Jun 2, 2011

March of the Mutants

Chris Britt, 6/2/11:
C'mon, what they say is utterly unbelievable! Haven't you seen the millions of people suffering from brain cancer from cell phones! They're all over the place, aren't they?

Death Has an Awesome Ringtone

Scott Stantis, 6/1/11:
After long, rigorous meta-analyses of many studies that individually found no strong link between cellular phones and brain cancer, researchers have now, finally, possibly, found what may be a slight increase in the incidence of those cancers in some very few users.

[FX: crickets]



Happy now, cartoonists of America?

Jun 1, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Robert Unell, 5/31/11:
Are our memories really all that short? (OK, we all know that politicians can't remember anything since the last election, but surely cartoonists can recall the late '90s?)

The real lesson, for actual adults, is that trying to pay for two wars and a major expansion of Medicare (Part D; look it up) while slashing government spending, as a certain recent administration did, is not going to bring the government's books closer to balance.

Old McDonald's Beauty Shoppe

Terry Wise, 5/28/11:
Now, hold on a second -- this cartoon isn't necessarily racist. It could be merely insane.

And googling "Oprah cheeseburger" doesn't help clear it up as much as one might hope.

Any plausible theories can be aired in comments -- or, hell, bizarre half-baked ones would work just as well.

When I Was a Boy...

Randy Bish, 5/31/11:
Well, yeah. Forty-four years later, you're not going to look all that good on a swing, are you?

Editorial cartoons: taking a principled stand for the obvious for two centuries.