The Comic Book in Your Eye and Mine, or, Candide? He Dead.

Do not interrupt

Daily the cartoons. Not Voltaire-ish Candide. Much stupider. (In Voltaire there was something Aristotelian—after all, comedy should hurt, and moreover, you were supposed to know why.)

Now our public square is just one big stoner cartoon fest.

The public square is all boo hoo and snarling.

Candide? He dead.


Political cartoons are to democracy what stock is to soup and they’ve always been confrontational. (Comedy is supposed to hurt).

Liberty means never having to say you’re sorry.

People who wish to trade liberty for taste are un-American. Many of these types serve on school boards.


Twenty years ago I told a group of students we were now entering the age of holographic cartooning. “Everyone,” I said, “is now a 3D walking representation of something.”

“It works like racism,” I said. “Only now every one is victimized by one gruesome projective cliche after another.”

“What do you mean?” asked a boy-man who always sat in the back of the room.

“Ah,” I said, “You own a deck of serial killer trading cards, am I right?”

(He was surprised I knew.)

He admitted it.

“How did you know?”

“Because your friends talk about you. And this is my point. You are now the serial killer trading card guy. Nowadays everyone becomes a cartoon. End of story.”

“What can be done about it?”

“The only way not to be a cartoon is to ask questions—like—who makes the serial killer cards? Why are they a commodity? What audience are they aimed at? Why would there be an audience for them?”


Donald Trump knows that the public likes cartoons, doesn’t care about nuance, asks no questions, and is comfortable living with two dimensional representations of everyone else.

Most politicians have given in to a worldview that’s entirely composed of cartoon pathos.

They portray complex issues as 2D Looneytunes.

Both sides of the aisle do it.

Liberal Dems argue the rich are sucking the brains out of children.

Rightwing Repubs argue that a treaty preventing the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon is a prologue to almost immediate armageddon.

2D. Looney.

Iran is Wily Coyote. The US is the Road Runner, headed straight for a painted tunnel.

The rich are contemptible because, well, they’re rich.

Meanwhile, the policies that lead to either circumstance are insufficiently examined.

You don’t have to demand much of politicians if you see the world as a shitty cartoon.

You certainly don’t have to demand much of yourself.


The serial killer trading card kid flunked the course. He never turned in a paper.

He was having too much fun.





Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

One thought on “The Comic Book in Your Eye and Mine, or, Candide? He Dead.”

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