September 13, 2005 - September 6, 2005
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Caption Contest Winners
. This time the rightwingers lose. Fair is fair and our
three-punk panel of judges have agreed unanimously that the first prize
winner in our contest to caption the photo above goes to an entrant who
is clearly no fan of the president or his daughters. But that's the
thing about humor; it is no respecter of politics or particular
political views. We had many entries from both sides of the aisle, and
the pro-Bush crowd scored their share of decent punchlines. We also had
ambitious contestants who were trying to write "outside the box" as the
current argot goes. One submitted a pair of captions averaging 50
words apiece. One preferred to caption the Vogue fashion photo rather
than the contest picture. And one hit on the novel idea of writing a
caption for the president instead of his daughters. Since this entry
was within the contest parameters (barely), unique in its viewpoint,
and passably funny, we decided to award it an Honorable Mention
. Here it is:
wonder if they make a barrel big enough for the both of them.
Our Third Place
winner leads a
group of entries who see the twins as unexpectedly bright bulbs:
agree -- Iran is next, right after the election, and this time,
Cheney stays out of the loop.
goes to this
little partisan gem:
way! It's your turn! I sat next to the smelly French diplomat last time!
As we mentioned above, First Place
goes to an entrant who doesn't seem to care for the Bushes. The
difficulty the panel faced was not in choosing him as the winner, but
in deciding which of three captions was the best. As it happened, each
of the judges selected a different one of the three as best overall. So
we're going to share them all with you, in no particular order:
shouldn't have corrected him when he said Iraqistan.
Oh, sis, he loves you! He
really does! It's just that,
sometimes, he likes to stare at the airplane bottles for a few hours...
It didn't help when you called out,
"Waitress!...take me drunk, I'm
First prize, as promised, will be an autographed copy of
The Boomer Bible
Whatever his political views, the recipient should
find much to laugh at and agree with in the book, which tends to treat
almost everyone with equal disrespect. At any rate, we hope you enjoy
Second prize is a
Shuteye Train T-shirt
Third prize is a
Boomer Bible Ball Cap
All winners will be notified by email, so that we can arrange to
send the materials to correct mailing addresses.
Thanks to everyone who participated. We enjoyed reading the entries,
and many were as amusing as some of them were, well, not amusing.
Maybe we'll do it again sometime.
Now... back to the exciting conclusion of the Democratic Convention....
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
A BIG NIGHT FOR
DEMOCRACY. There were some real heavy hitters at the convention
Tuesday night, but they'd been told to leave the loaded gloves at home,
so we got pale, sanitized imitations of Teddy Kennedy, Dick Gephardt,
Tom Dashle, and Howard Dean. The singular source of all their hatred
was, by DNC edict, forbidden to be mentioned by name. This gave
Dubya something of the stature of Yahweh -- he whose name may not be
uttered lest thunder and lightning consume the speaker from on high. Only Dean
seemed as if he could barely restrain himself from unleashing the
stupefying left hook he became famous for on the campaign trail. At
times, his face twisted briefly into the familiar grimace, and more
than once he began listing individual states, which is the trademark
sign of an incipient Dean psychotic episode. But the heavy hand of enforced
pretended civility prevented him, in the end, from giving the delegates
what all of them yearn for like so many thirst-maddened vampires -- the feast
of Bush blood that substitutes in their lives for the light of the sun.
That may help explain why the convention crowd reacted so fervently
to the evening's featured speaker, Ms. Teresa Heinz Kerry, who appeared
before them as a vision in red and buoyed their hopes with an accent
that really could have originated in Transylvania, though some of us
also detected a soupcon of Gabor glamour and maybe half a cup of Garbo
hyper-theatricality. The speech had been billed as an opportunity for
us ordinary Americans to get Ms. Heinz Kerry's inside insight into the
charm and gravitas of John Kerry, but thankfully, we were spared the
tedium such an approach would have ensured. Instead, the queen of the
night chose to tell us practically everything she could think of about
Teresa Heinz Kerry. Was it a prescient gratitude for the
non-John-Kerryness of her remarks that caused the delegates to mount
prolonged and evidently spontaneous demonstration upon her entrance?
Or was there some subterranean,Transylvanian-esque telepathy that
inspired every single delegate on the floor to think of exactly the
same placard -- color-keyed to the lady's costume -- to hoist and wave
as they adored her greatness?
Alas, such questions can only be answered in full by Democrats. The
rest of us must piece together what partial answers we can infer from
evidence such as the speech script itself. That's why we labored
mightily to copy down as much as we could of it from the TV before the
pencils dropped from our numbed and exhausted fingers about 40 minutes
in. So all we have for your persual is the beginning, but it speaks for
itself, we think. Here is a great personage waxing eloquent on her own
favorite and most admired great personage. It's enough to make one fall
mute with astonishment. To set the scene: her son Christopher
introduces her, she enters, the crowd goes wild, and then she begins to
KERRY: Tank you. Tank you.
Tank you. I love you, too.
Tank you, Christopher. Your
[INAUDIBLE] would be [INAUDIBLE]
of you and [INAUDIBLE].
And I love you. And I love our [INAUDIBLE].
My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry.
KERRY: And by now, I hope
[INAUDIBLE] no surprise
that I have something to say.
And tonight, as I [INAUDIBLE]
campaign, I would
like [INAUDIBLE] you from my heart. For all you
Latinos, el libro está en la mesa y el telefono fue inventado
por [INAUDIBLE] Bell...
... for all you Franco-Americans,
la plume de ma [INAUDIBLE] tante est dans la salle de
bain, [INAUDIBLE], n'est-ce pas...
.. for all you Italian Americans, e puo
far portari su i [INAUDIBLE] bagagli, per favore, e posso avere un
... for all you Portuguese
Americans, [INAUDIBLE] um cerveza se faz favor, onde e lavabo...
all you Africans, habari Yako, Bwana, [INAUDIBLE]
... and for all you
African-Americans, yo jimmy hat be [INAUDIBLE] fly!
.. and to all new Americans in our country, I invite you [INAUDIBLE]
work toward the noblest
purpose of all: a [INAUDIBLE] democratic society.
KERRY: I am
grateful -- I am so grateful for the opportunity [INAUDIBLE]
before you and to say [INAUDIBLE] about my [INAUDIBLE]
and why I firmly believe [INAUDIBLE] of
the United States.
This is a much powerful moment for
me. Like many other
[INAUDIBLE] like many of you, and like even more your [INAUDIBLE]
grandparents, I was not borned in this country.
And as you will have seen, I [INAUDIBLE]
in East Africa, in Mozambique,
in a land that [INAUDIBLE] a dictatorship. My father, a
caring man who [INAUDIBLE] for 43 years, and who taught
to understand [INAUDIBLE], only got to [INAUDIBLE]
for the first time
when he was 73 years old.
KERRY: That's what [INAUDIBLE]
As a young woman, I [INAUDIBLE]
Johannesburg, South Africa, which was then not segregated.
But I [INAUDIBLE]
Apartheid everywhere around me.
And so with my [INAUDIBLE] marched in the streets of
Johannesburg against [INAUDIBLE] higher education.
This was the late 1950s at the dawn
America. And, as history records, [INAUDIBLE] South
and the Higher Education [INAUDIBLE] passed. Apartheid
tightened its [INAUDIBLE] Nelson
Mandela [INAUDIBLE] to Robben Island.
I learned something [INAUDIBLE]
still. There is a
value in talking [INAUDIBLE] anybody may be noticing it,
whether [INAUDIBLE] to do.
KERRY: And if even those who are in
danger can raise their [INAUDIBLE], isn't it more that is
[INAUDIBLE] us, in this
land where[INAUDIBLE] birth?
I have a very personal feeling
about how [INAUDIBLE] America is,
and I know how precious [INAUDIBLE] a sacred gift, [INAUDIBLE]
who have lived it and [INAUDIBLE] defending it.
My right to speak my mind, to [INAUDIBLE],
to be what some
have called "opinionated"...
... is a right I deeply and [INAUDIBLE]
HEINZ: And my only hope is that [INAUDIBLE]
women, who have all earned their right to their
... instead of being labeled [INAUDIBLE]
will be called smart
and [INAUDIBLE], just like men.
She went on like that for quite a while -- quite a very long while, in
fact -- and eventually she even mentioned her husband. She admitted
frankly and candidly that she was married to him and that she was aware
he was running for president. At some point in there, we could swear
she was quoting Lincoln, or trying to quote Lincoln, or translating
Lincoln into Portuguese, but whatever it was, everyone in the Fleet
Center was profoundly moved.
You would have been moved too if you had been there. Almost certainly.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
A WOMAN WITH A PLAN
Yes, sir, Senator Hillary spoke at the convention last night, and it
wasn't so much what
she said as the way she said it that struck a deep chord of memory. Her
delivery was so forceful, so commanding, so loud, so monotonous, so
incantational that she reminded us of some great leader of the past.
It's on the tip of our tongue... yes, we've almost got it, it's... no,
damn, it's gone. Well, it doesn't really matter who it was. What
matters is that she clearly has the iron will it takes to get elected
chancell--, er, president of this great homeland of ours and stick it
to our enemies even while she's creating a national social--, er,
health care paradise for all us citizens. It's a shame we can't
fast-forward to the next election and get started right away on
whatever she has in mind. The Democrats have got to be so darn
disappointed that they're stuck with nominating a cadaverous
billionaire and John-Boy Walton. But think how much hate they can build
up in a second Bush term, an emotional cauldron that can fuel the
ambitions of a truly great leader. That kind of hate and that kind of a
leader could remake the world. Is everybody else as excited about that
prospect as we are?
Since we posted the day's entry a few seconds ago, we've received some
complaints from the Democratic National Committee, Moveon.org,
DemocraticUnderground.com, and a few thousand liberal bloggers. They
claim we're comparing Hillary to Hitler. Also, the New York Times
, the L.A. Times
, and the Washington Post
are planning to
denounce us in their editorial pages for comparing Hillary to Hitler.
They think it's unconscionable, a new low point in American politics.
We want to set the record straight. We were not
comparing Hillary to Hitler. If
a few files got mixed up and linked together in such a way as to make
people think we were comparing Hillary to Hitler, we regret the wrong
impression people may have gotten. And if anyone was offended during
the momentary misapprehension that we intended to compare Hillary to
Hitler, we are sorry they were offended. Isn't that what usually passes
for an apology about this kind of thing? Good. Because that's about as
sorry as we're going to get.
Monday, July 26, 2004
OUR FRIENDLY UNCLES
Remember, the deadline for entries in the photo caption contest is
Tuesday at midnight.
USA Today contracted with Ann Coulter to write a daily column about the
Democratic Convention and with Michael Moore to do the same at the
Republican Convention. Now Ann has submitted her first report, and the
high-minded folks at America's skimpiest national newspaper are refusing
to print what she
wrote. They sniffed that the piece was "unusable" and "not funny." So
we thought we'd check it out at AnnCoulter.org
and see for ourselves. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Here at the Spawn of Satan convention
in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to
identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones
wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts
emblazened with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always,
the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to
conceal their eye-rolling.....
As for the pretty girls, I
can only guess that it's because liberal boys never try to make a move
on you without the UN Security Council's approval. Plus, it's no
fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl
allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up,
natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat
fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic
Maybe we're impossibly crude, but we think that's
funny. Certainly funnier than some of the stuff Michael Moore allows to
escape the snakepit he calls a mouth. Has Coulter said anything to
compare with this?
At his live show in London
last year, which I reviewed, he built an entire segment around his
argument — presented not as satire, but as a straight-faced statement
of fact — that, if all the hijack victims on September 11 had been
black, they would have fought back. Moore argued that, because the
passengers were pampered members of the bourgeoisie, accustomed to
being waited on at every turn, they did not know how to defend
themselves. Now, it takes only a second to realise that there is an
obvious flaw in this: we know that once the passengers on the third
plane heard about the attacks on the twin towers, they rose up and
fought their hijackers. Even the more sympathetic reviewers acknowleged
that Moore crossed the line into absurdity at this point.
But USA Today has already replaced Ann Coulter with
Jonah Goldberg, who is far too much of a gentleman to compete with
Moore's crazed and vicious tirades. We'll have to wait and see whether
Moore's first effort is similarly adjudged "unusable" and "not funny."
The big three networks have decided that covering the conventions is
less important than showing us reruns of people eating worms and
undergoing total head rebuilds on so-called "Reality TV." This has left
the three ancient network anchormen stranded, like the beached (and
overpaid) whales they are. Even The
New York Times
has felt it necessary to document their humiliation:
This has left the anchors seeking new
ways to stand out on a landscape that has changed vastly since Mr.
Rather, 72, Mr. Jennings, 65, and Mr. Brokaw, 64, covered their first
conventions in 1956, 1964 and 1968, respectively.
In a particularly uncomfortable moment,
the three men found themselves on the wrong end of a lecture on Sunday
about their networks' paltry convention plans in a panel discussion at
Harvard University. Stern words came from the PBS anchor Jim Lehrer and
the CNN anchor Judy Woodruff, both of whom work for networks that are
offering many more hours of coverage.
"We're about to elect a president of the
United States at a time when we have young people dying in our name
overseas, we just had a report from the 9/11 commission which says we
are not safe as a nation, and one of these two groups of people is
going to run our country,'' Mr. Lehrer said. "The fact that you three
networks decided it was not important enough to run in prime time, the
message that gives the American people is huge.''
As the lecture hall echoed with applause
and the three men bristled, Mr. Lehrer added, "As a citizen, it bothers
The three anchors of the biggest networks
- whose newscasts' combined audience of nearly 30 million still dwarfs
that of cable news - were hardly in a position to disagree.
Chances are, they'll still be cashing their paychecks even though
none of them had the cojones
to stand up to the whoremasters in news management.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
THE CHOSEN UPDATE:
The Unasked Question
The entries are pouring in for our photo caption contest
but most of them seem to be coming from men, and it shows. Capturing a
woman's voice requires either a good imagination -- or a woman.
things raise our Celtic ire more than watching and listening to all the
talking heads -- the political pundits of our day -- ignoring a very
simple historical fact that spins around the periphery of our current
discussion of the Iraq War, most notably the roles of Senators Kerry
and Edwards. Senator Kerry's unchallenged doubletalk when asked
if he is in favor of the war in Iraq is a constant reminder of the
interviewers' failure to pursue the invisible question at the center of
the war debate.
Let's start at the beginning. The President does not declare war.
The Constitution of the United States assigns the responsibility to
declare war to the legislative branch, defined in Article I, Section 8;
Clause 11, "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal,
and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water." Article II,
Section 2; Clause 1 of the Constitution gives the task of waging war to
the executive branch of our government. It states, "The President
shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,
and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual
Service of the United States." Thus it falls to the President to
carry out all declared wars on behalf of the United States and its
citizens. These two parts of our constitution function in a very
special way. First, they place the military power of the United
States under civilian rule. Second, they divide the authority to
commit and command these forces. Now why was this done?
Well, interestingly enough, the founders seemed to think that an
executive, say, the Commander in Chief, might become overly ambitious
and cavalierly dispose of the lives of U.S. citizens and U.S. treasure
if he could go wherever he pleased with whatever force he
desired. They had seen enough of this in the principalities and
kingdoms of Europe. So they ensured that no war could be fought
by the United States without the legislative branch of the government
declaring one. Then, and only then, can the executive branch
proceed to wage war.
On December 8, 1941, Congress did just that. President Roosevelt
asked for and Congress granted a declaration of war. It is brief
enough to be set here for your review:
Whereas the Imperial Government of
Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and
the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it Resolved by
the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States
and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon
the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is
hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military
forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to
carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring
the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the
country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.
Three days later, the same declaration of war was issued against
Germany, as follows:
Declaring that a state of war exists
between the Government of Germany and the government and the people of
the United States and making provision to prosecute the same.
Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the
government and the people of the United States of America:
Therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the state of
war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has
thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared;
and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the
entire naval and military forces of the government to carry on war
against the Government of Germany; and to bring the conflict to a
successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby
pledged by the Congress of the United States.
Thus began World War II as far as the United States was concerned.
The war against Iraq under President George W. Bush has not been so
clear. Something very strange was done. Congress, in what
would become Public Law No: 107-243, wasn't as straightforward.
The Congress worked from October 2, 2002 through October 16, 2002 on
House Joint Resolution 114 ("HJRes114"), which can be read HERE
Much more lawyerly than the World War II declarations, HJRes114 winds
through a series of WHEREAS clauses that recite how we got here from
Iraq's aggressive foray into Kuwait in 1990. It states that "the
efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence
agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large
stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons
program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development
program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than
intelligence reporting had previously indicated." It reminisces
about those halcyon days in 1998 where, in Public Law 105-235 (August
14, 1998), "Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass
destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and
international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and
unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the
President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the
Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into
compliance with its international obligations.'" (It reminds us
of those awful insurance policy forms that are incomprehensible to any
normal human being.)
And there is more from the golden Clinton years -- regime change.
That's right. It is Public Law 105-338 (October 31, 1998), which
"expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the
United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi
regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace
that regime." Congress has a sense? What does that mean?
There is sooo much more. Such as:
"Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability
and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the
current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a
surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or
provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the
extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and
its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the
United States to defend itself."
It even cites the United Nations' Resolution 678 authorizing the use of
all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council
Resolution 660 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions.
This long WHEREAS section concludes with "Whereas it is in the national
security interests of the United States to restore international peace
and security to the Persian Gulf region."
This means War! Right? Well, not exactly. It means
that the House and Senate jointly resolve to support diplomatic efforts
and the use of United States Armed Forces. Both? Yes,
both. How does this work?
Well, it works like Section 3 (b) says it works in big, bold letters:
Presidential determination? What the hell is that? Did we
miss this in the Constitution?
What it means is that Congress abdicated its duty under Article I,
Section 8; Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution to declare war. Who
did it give the care of this duty to? That's right, President
George W. Bush. So, instead of Congress weighing the evidence and
declaring war on a hostile nation, it spent nearly a week wrestling
with the problem only to hand it back to the President and say,
"Whatever you think."
You'd think that if a guy was willing to give away the store like this,
he'd have to be pretty convinced it was time to go to war. Well,
why not say that? Because if things don't work out as you hope
they will, nobody can blame you. After all, you can say
"PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION" meant whatever you want to say it meant
for years to come.
But that was way back in October of 2002. We're now in 2004 and
boy-oh-boy are the guys that voted for Public Law No: 107-243 mad,
especially Senators Kerry and Edwards, the very guys that voted for
If Senators Kerry and Edwards ceded their right to declare war to the
Executive Branch and have proceeded to say that the Executive Branch
unwisely took the country to war, the central issue has to be: Why did they cede their constitutional
authority to such a man - a man they speak of as if they never regarded
him as fit for the role of commander-in-chief?
ask them why
"PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION" seemed like such a great idea in 2002 and
is such a dreadful idea now? Can we expect more constitutionally
challenged decisions like this from them in the future or was this just
a one-time thing?
Friday, July 23, 2004
Garry Trudeau, author of 'Doonesbury'
and cousin of Pierre Trudeau
SWARTHMORON OF THE WEEK
. It's been a rocky road of late for
cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who has had a long and celebrated career with
the comic strip Doonesbury. Used to unending praise, he's probably
found it difficult to accept that his time in the sun may finally be
passing. But the spring and summer of 2004 have pestered the great man
with slaps, spats and downright disrespect, and he has begun to react
What is it that got under his skin? Was it the nagging rumor that he's
too high and mighty to draw his own cartoons, which resurfaced as
recently as April
this year, when all the attention was supposed to be on poor B.D.'s
I guess everyone now knows that
"Doonesbury" character B.D. is going
to have his leg amputated. If not, let me spoil the surprise.
Garry Trudeau, the strip's author (but
not illustrator), wants us
all to understand that bad things happen in war, and that people make
Thanks for the tip. I had no idea.
Personally, I don't think a cartoon leg
is much of a sacrifice.
When I first read the item, I thought,
"Gee, that sucks." Then I
remembered I had stopped reading "Doonesbury" in the Eighties. About
fifteen years after Trudeau hired a beard to do all the drawing for
In case you're wondering why I mentioned
the fact that Trudeau
doesn't draw "Doonesbury," it's because he doesn't credit the artist
who does the work. Nice, huh?...
I've been checking around the web, and I
found out Trudeau denies
that his inker, Don Carlson, draws the strip. Trudeau claims it's a
false rumor that came from an "Entertainment Weekly" story. Funny, I
believe I read it in a cartoonist trade magazine back in the Eighties.
I probably still have the issue.
Or was it the sudden appearance of articles that suggested Trudeau
had lost his satirical edge and his sense of humor to boot? He couldn't
have enjoyed reading critiques like this one in the July issue of Reason Online:
Trudeau's career arc mirrors the
evolution of baby-boom liberalism,
from the anti-authoritarian skepticism of the 1970s to the smug
paternalism of the Clinton years. In 1972 the strip was engaged with
the world; in 2002 it is engaged with itself.
I mean that literally. In 1972 Doonesbury
intelligence; in 2002 it rewards familiarity with its own mythology and
conventions. In 1972 it trusted readers to know the politics and pop
culture of the day; in 2002 it trusts us to understand that a floating
waffle represents Bill Clinton, a floating bomb represents Newt
Gingrich, and a floating asterisk represents George W. Bush. The strip
has grown so self-referential that it makes jokes about its own
self-referentiality, with Sunday strips devoted to charting the
relationships among the characters. And so Doonesbury folds in
upon itself, and Trudeau ends up producing his own fan fiction.
Which is worse? Shots like that from the intelligentsia or brickbats
from the peanut
gallery like this one from May?
Mr. T, well-known lefty author of a very
well done political strip, decided to pitch a hissy-fit, en francais,
in his Sunday strip.
Mr. T pretends to express the outrage of Franco-Americans all over the
country at the frog-bashing of recent days.
Evidence has been piling up for days of
illegal weapons collaboration
and outright espionage, through which the French assisted in Saddam's
accumulation of military equipement banned by the sacred UN Security
Council, and kept Saddam up to date on everything they (the French)
knew about what the US was up to during the runup to the war.
All, it appears, in return for contracts of various sorts and illegal
sweet deals for oil.
Perhaps this was not the time to rise up in fake frog outrage in
defense of all Franco-Americans.
Who knows? Perhaps it has been some combination of all these factors
that caused M. Trudeau to boil over. At any rate, he started letting
in mid-July about -- who else? -- his old Yale classmate
George W. Bush:
cartoon illustrated an
article in the Yale Daily News on Bush, then a senior, and allegations
that his fraternity had hazed incoming pledges by branding them with an
iron. This... caused The New York Times to interview Bush,
who (in Trudeau's memory) told the Times "it was just a coat hanger,
and ... it didn't hurt any more than a cigarette burn." Trudeau
quipped: "On doit penser ce qu'est sa vue d'ensemble de la torture
And that's not all he had to say about Bush. The
article in Editor & Publisher quotes
these pungent remarks from a Rolling
recalls his former Yale classmate
George W. Bush as "jusqu'un autre preppie qui buvait trop de biere et
blessait ses amis avec ridicule." He also claims Bush helped
inspire his very first cartoon.
"Il etait une artiste de la manipulation," said
"Doonesbury" creator Trudeau, who served on a dormitory committee at
Yale with the future president in the late 1960s. "Il pouvait vous
faire inconfortable extremement ... Il etait fort a controller des gens
et des resultats in cette fashion. La maitre de humiliation."
Shortly after this little explosion, the beleaguered cartoonist
experienced the unkindest cut of all, also reported in Editor
A poll that resulted
in a vote to drop "Doonesbury" was defended by the head of a
"It was not a political statement of any kind,"
Continental Features President Van Wilkerson told E&P. "I
personally don't have an opinion about 'Doonesbury' one way or another."
Wilkerson said he conducted the survey because Garry
Trudeau's comic "created more controversy than other strips." In the
poll e-mail he sent Continental's newspaper clients this spring,
Wilkerson wrote: "(I)t is my feeling that a change in one of the
features is required. I have fielded numerous complaints about
'Doonesbury' in the past and feel it is time to drop this feature and
add another in its place. ... If the majority of the group favors a
replacement, you will be expected to accept that change."
Of the 38 papers that run the Continental-produced
Sunday comics section, 21 wanted to drop "Doonesbury," 15 wanted to
keep it, and two had no opinion or preference. "I wouldn't call the
vote [to drop 'Doonesbury'] overwhelming, but it was a majority
opinion," Wilkerson said.
Naturally, M. Trudeau could not be silent about this outrage. He
responded with great heat yesterday:
Garry Trudeau said
"un processus injuste" led to a vote to drop his "Doonesbury" comic
from a consortium of 38 newspapers.
"La popularite de comiques individuelles augmente et
diminue naturellement, et les selections des journals reflecteront
naturellement les preferences evoluant des editeurs et lecteurs," said
Trudeau, in an
e-mail response to an E&P request for comment. "Dan ce cas,
'Doonesbury' etait choisi pour le sondage internel cause par les vue
d'une personne seule. Une idiote. C'est unamericaine. C'est un outrage,
un affront a ma genie brillant. Va te faire foutre!"
Is it just us, or does Trudeau seem a bit out of touch with his
audience in these remarks? Nothing we can put our finger on, but some,
you know, je ne sais quoi that
makes him appear distant, even cold. We hope he finds a way to get over
it. Or not.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Jenna and Barbara
president's daughters have been back in the news of late, joining their
father on the campaign trail. They made joint appearances before Ohio
workers and Vogue
Magazine. They sound serious these days:
In the Vogue interview for the August
issue, conducted in a Manhattan hotel room on Mother's Day, the
daughters present a picture of themselves in striking contrast to the
image of fun-loving twins known for partying and under-age drinking in
Texas. Barbara Bush says that after the election she plans to sign up
for a program to work with children with AIDS in Eastern Europe and
Africa; Jenna says she plans to teach at a charter school.
Despite all this grown-up-itude, the irrepressible Jenna, who almost
lost her dress at the Republican Convention four years ago, playfully
stuck her tongue
out two days ago at the reporters and photographers surrounding the
president's limousine in St. Louis. Maybe she was remembering the
snotty coverage The Washington Post
gave to their Vogue
Jenna's ruby red dress is by Oscar de la
Renta, a designer favored by her mother. Barbara is wearing a similar
ivory gown by Calvin Klein. They are accessorized with an array of
borrowed diamonds. The dresses are classic designs -- styles a designer
would keep on hand in the showroom but wouldn't bother to put on the
The 22-year-old twins look like
debutantes, minor royals, or that particular New York species of
well-groomed, pedigreed and socially connected women known as the
"Bright Young Things." For much of the time their father has been in
the White House, they were kept under wraps. Occasionally they emerged
from their protected world to be snapped attending a fashion show or
traveling with their mother. The only significant ink on them has been
on police reports detailing their ill-advised underage drinking.
The article goes on like this for quite a while, as if the Washington Post has never had any
truck with the well to do. It would seem that Jenna, at least, hasn't
been so thoroughly protected that she doesn't know how to deal with
We at InstaPunk think the Bush twins are charming. There's something
mischievous going on there that defies the slick characterization
offered by the Post. We think
they have a sense of humor. We think they have secrets. We think
they're always up to something, which their father probably knows but
doesn't worry about because Laura does plenty of worrying about it.
Herewith our lowly tribute to the First Daughters: a photo caption
contest. We really like this picture, which was published the same day
the notorious 'tongue' photo:
There's Dad, leading the way, probably
just out of earshot of the girls (what with the jet engines and all),
and something is happening between the two of them, but what? A sly
comment? A cutting barb? An argument? A plan? You tell us. Mail your
captions to punk@Instapunk.com, and we'll sort through them and decide
on first, second, and third place winners. First prize is an
autographed copy of The Boomer Bible,
courtesy of our friends at BoomerBible.com, and second and third place
will be a hat or T-shirt or something, courtesy of same. We'll accept
entries through midnight Tuesday, July 27. We'll announce the winners
one week from today.
No big deal. We're just having fun. Maybe
you will too.
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