Dec 31, 2013

The End of Editorial Explanations

The post title says it all: there will be no more posts on Editorial Explanations from this point forward. The end of a year -- and, possibly, the beginning of another year, an election year, when the cartoons will get nasty and rude and personal for months on end -- seemed to be the perfect time to do that, and so it is.

Editorial Explanations, like most things, never quite lived up to its own image of itself -- you can see my second anniversary post, from last February, for the fullest explanation of what EE was intended to be, and how it didn't always live up to that -- but it was fun to do all of the time for quite a while, and then fun to do much of the time during and since the 2012 election. So I don't regret it.

But editorial cartoons are an arguably dying artform, and there are fewer cartoonists working than even when I started this blog in February of 2011 (and that was well after the first big wave of newspaper closures and layoffs and consolidations). As the field tightens, the scope for the kind of work that I really wanted to showcase here -- the local cartoonist for the Podunk Herald, doing a lazy cartoon about a dead famous person, or about a news story in a country he knows only cliches about -- shrinks and narrows until it has basically disappeared.

There are still bad editorial cartoons out there: they appear every day. But they are mostly deliberately bad cartoons these days, that take the opposite of the facts and turn that into propaganda to score points for a particular political team. I've spent more time on those deliberately bad cartoons than I've wanted to -- they are my own particular tar baby -- but it's time now to walk away.

Perhaps this is a case of Gresham's Law, but I don't think so: there's still also great cartoons almost every day. And the same cartoonists who do a deliberately bad cartoon one day can go a great one the next day -- I found myself laughing at an A.F. Branco cartoon only a week or so ago, showing that even our newest and most tendentious cartoonists can break out of the scoring-points mold now and again.

So I hope the few of you that read this blog will continue to read editorial cartoons: at their best, they crystallize complicated ideas and situations into a visual metaphor that can make us look at the world differently. And, yes, at their worst, they're purely cheerleading for their "team," mostly in the form of taunts about the opposing team. But every artform has both best and worst: that's what makes them art.

But you'll have to find those cartoons elsewhere -- I suggest my three major sources, AAEC, GoComics, and Cagle. And you'll have them without my snarky commentary...which may well be a plus.

Thanks for reading.

Dec 30, 2013

Where's That Amazon Drone When You Need It?

Chip Bok, 12/28/13:
UPS only had trouble making deliveries in time for Christmas because their stupid customers ordered packages too late for timely delivery.

Sure, UPS promised a certain level of service, and failed at that, but come on! We should all assume that all businesses will fail to give us what they promise, because that's the American Way.


Tony Auth, 12/27/13:
Yay! Three guys are totally not responsible for the scandalous sexual abuse of children that happened under their power!

Jesus would completely celebrate that, right?

Dec 27, 2013

From Each According to His Ability

Milt Priggee, 12/26/13:
D'ya think Priggee meant to imply that Jesus was such a dirty Commie that he wanted every single person to have absolutely equal income at all times?

'Cause, y'know, he just did.

Dec 26, 2013

So Sad How the Republicans Have No Core Values

Michael Ramirez, 12/25/13:
The problem with the modern Republican party is that they haven't been adamant enough in opposing everything Obama does. If only they'd been a little more recalcitrant, they would actually have accomplished making sure nothing got done.

My God Can Beat Up Your God

Gary Varvel, 12/25/13:
Varvel wants to use today's political cartoon to heavy-handedly enforce conformity to your local hegemonic religion. I'm sure, if he were cartooning from Baghdad, both he and his audience would have no problem with a similar cartoon praising Muhammad at Eid.

Admittedly, the drawing is excellent, but since a political cartoon is supposed to be a) about politics and b) contain humor, there's no way to consider this a success in its chosen medium.

Dec 25, 2013

Consider That the Guy May Just Be Presbyterian

Terry Wise, 12/24/13:
If you have any kind of Christmas celebration, of any kind, but don't attend your local hegemonic Christian church, you are evil.

I can see that Wise is trying to make a point connected to that word "hypocrite," but I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

Dec 19, 2013

Spare Us the Cutter

Bob Gorrell, 12/18/13:
There are people who do not have budgetary responsibility for something, and they want to spend a lot less money on it than the people who do have responsibility.

Wonder if these are the same people who think the US spends 25 times what it actually does on foreign aid?

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding?

Gary Varvel, 12/18/13:
The world would be so much better if we all just mellowed out, man, and let go of all of the negative emotions that are bringing us down.

Love your brother, man!


Clay Bennett, 12/18/13:
This is one of the rare political Rorschach test cartoons -- what you think it means will depend on what you already believe.

Is it....

A: That the new budget agreement will hurt the taxpayers of this great nation, with all of its weasel-worded "fee increases."


b: That the new budget will hurt the poorest and weakest in society, by failing, once again, to create any substantial jobs programs, increase the minimum wage, fix the social safety net, or do any of those other things Democrats love so much.

Dec 18, 2013

NoDoz Nation

Ted Rall, 12/18/13:
Any politician who is so out of touch as to sleep at night when he still has work to do is a sad, pathetic thing, to be pitied and removed as soon as possible.

The Old Rubber-Glue Trick Again

Glenn McCoy, 12/17/13:
The greatest threat to the health of the American public is a government board empowered to make minor changes to Medicare payments -- not anything to do with individuals directly -- that can be overruled by Congress.

It's certainly not the actual boards at actual insurance companies that make actual decisions to deny care to actual people, causing actual deaths. Not actually.

They're Even Wearing SHOES!

Jeff Danizger, 12/17/13:
All women are stupid bubbleheads who know nothing about cars.

Dec 17, 2013

When Mall Santas Crack!

Ann Cleaves, 12/16/13:
Are those supposed to be Santa's elves? If not, why is he paying them in the first place? And why does he want them to go shopping?

Also, usually you get "double time and a half" -- speaking as a former retail wage-slave -- because you're working on a major holiday, and so you're not available to "go shopping."

Dec 16, 2013

Girl Cooties!

Randy Bish, 12/13/13:
It's vastly worse to be vaguely in the company of teenage singer Miley Cyrus than actually in the company of despots and mass murderers Adolf Hitler (1938), Josef Stalin (1939), and Ayatollah Komeini (1979).

This is because men killing people is honest, while young women acting out sexual activities in public is, and always will be, utterly scandalous.

The Deceased Is Survived by Fifty States and a Grieving Military-Industrial Complex

Jerry Holbert, 12/13/13:
The United States is utterly dead, just like the Holy Roman Empire and Czechoslovakia.

Um, really?

Dec 12, 2013

Even Worse Than Being Sick: PAPERWORK!

Jeff Stahler, 12/11/13:
You're gonna die anyway, so why bother to ever see a doctor? Save yourself and the people around you some money and just never have health care -- especially if you're poor!

Dec 10, 2013

And You Have to Pay for the Elves' Birth Control, Too!

Terry Wise, 12/8/13:
Unlike the previous regime, under Obamacare you can lose your healthcare for being sick or having other conditions that make your healthcare more expensive.

No, wait -- it's the reverse of that.

Dec 5, 2013

If It's Not Perfect Right Away, Kill It Immediately

Ed Gamble, 12/4/13:
That's right: the alternative to healthcare is "cut taxes, cut spending." Because a smaller government magically makes people healthier by spending less on clean water, clean air, unadulterated food, firefighting, roads, and national security -- not even counting delivering healthcare.

Dec 4, 2013


Michael Ramirez, 12/3/13:
Global warming means it'll never be cold anywhere ever again!

Dec 3, 2013

The Horrors of Buying Insurance!

Steve Kelley, 12/2/13:
Oh, no! This family now has healthcare! If they get sick, they'll be treated by doctors! They won't have lifetime limits! They might even be hospitalized if they need it, and not be bankrupted by the cost!

How thoroughly horrible!

Dec 2, 2013

For I Was Hungry, and You Gave Me Food

Mike Lester, 11/29/13:
Pope Francis is just a pinko Commie, unlike the real Jesus, who never said anything about feeding the hungry.