It’s strange how conservatives lack all humor

Case in point: this political cartoon.

Am I supposed to laugh at it? Find it appalling? I don’t know. It looks like a pretty sweet deal, this socialist state.

I took a look at some of his other cartoons. Mainly what I see is a bozo flying into fits of apoplexy at the idea of “free stuff”, where the underprivileged get anything that might make their lives better. He’s really committed to making sure everyone stays “in their place”.

But come on! A high-speed rail to Alaska and Hawai’i? Who could complain about that?


  1. says

    Yeah I’ve seen this guy’s work too.
    I’m generally perplexed too. I think it’s supposed to be funny or deriding, but it’s so detached from reality. In the one he published today, why is Obama there? Is the joke that if something bad is going on, then Obama must be part of it? But he’s not the president anymore. Trump is the president. Not Obama. He also labels his caricatures because he’s lampooning people nobody will recognize will recognize from his caricature. In the example I linked to, he names every character except for Obama, otherwise you wouldn’t know who they were. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of Strzok. Comey, I would recognize from a picture, but unless he labeled it, I wouldn’t have any clue that was supposed to be Comey. Who’s Clapper?

    It seems like he’s just fishing for weird conspiracy theories on q-anon forums and drawing them up. You know what they say in the IT industry. Garbage in garbage out.

  2. A Sloth named Sparkles says

    It’s not just unfunny, he accidentally laid a decent, competent plan for Americans?

  3. cartomancer says

    All seems like a jolly good start on the road to successful integration into the civilised world. Though how you’re going to feed the giant woman who lives in Oklahoma is going to be a puzzle. Perhaps she isn’t such a good idea at that size. I’d suggest going with several smaller ones.

  4. Kip Williams says

    Former National Lampoon editor Sean Kelly called out fellow former NatLamp ed PJ O’Rourke once, and in the course of it he described “the one conservative joke,” which, shorn of corroborative detail works out to “if these people are so darn smart, why aren’t they able-bodied/rich/white/male/straight?”

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Am I supposed to laugh at it? Find it appalling?

    Well, if you’re were a REAL hard-workin’ Murican who pulls yourself up by your bootstraps daily rather than leeching of the Achievers like a loser or a non-white, you WOULD find it funny and appalling. However, since you’re just a pointy-headed, atheist, intellectual who lives on the tax-payers dime to spread your godless communist propaganda amongst our impressionable youth, I can see why you would fail to see the humor. /s

    He’s really committed to making sure everyone stays “in their place”.

    When I was a conservative, I didn’t believe that there was a “place” so much as got what you deserved. You work, you deserved to be paid. If you work harder than most or accomplish something exceptional, you deserve more that those who just put in the bare minimum. If you haven’t earned something, you don’t deserve it.

    That’s what most of the rank-and-file right-wingers fear and loath about socialism, you’re taking from the “deserving” and giving it to the “undeserving.” In their cynicism and bigotry, they also believe the benefits that the government offers are not being doled to feed, clothe, shelter, and protect the masses, but to buy votes from an lazy underclass, particularly minorities. They think that Big Government is going to tax away any gains they made in life and won’t see any of that “FREE STUFF” because they earn too much, while the “strapping bucks” and “welfare queens” buy lobster and New York Strips with their ill-gotten food stamps. Besides, everything the government provides is lousy, substandard, dross, while only the profit motive creates goods and services of quality. You might not be able to afford life-saving medicine, but at least you won’t die a ward of the evil, evil state.

  6. says

    “You work, you deserved to be paid.”
    So the one time an employer tried to screw me out of a paycheck, she was a hardcore conservative. IMO if you are poor and want “free stuff” from rich people, you must be a “liberal” If you are rich and want free stuff from poor people, you must be a conservative.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re “free stuff” [yes those are scare quote]
    As someone [somewhere] pointed out, Socialism is not free stuff, because everything from socialism is from the taxes we pay into it.
    Essentially: value returned for value given.
    Rather than our taxes being funneled into the pockets of the super wealthy, like what’s happening in today’s capitalism.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ray Ceeya @ 1

    Because, according to the right-wingers, Obama is bête noire behind all efforts to hamstring Dear Leader Trump’s glorious presidency by planting bugs in microwave ovens and allowing FBI agents to have private political opinions.

  9. PaulBC says

    Someone should write a monograph on the rightwing anti-train fetish if they haven’t already. Airlines and highways are also subsidized, so what gives? To be honest, I think a rail tunnel to Hawaii would be unlikely to succeed, but if we actually had one, that would be an amazing accomplishment. Who knew that “socialism” could work such miracles?

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    oh I see, Socialism means MF’ing PIRATES will sail away from Florida, while Bourgie Pigs are fed to the sharks.
    what kind of pigs? Bourgie? too hard to spell Bourgeois? too french? am I unaware of a common slang term? Who cares.

  11. fusilier says

    You gotta understand something about Varvie: he’s a fundigelical Troo Believer. He belongs to that religious …sort … who got Pence elected governor. He belongs to that religious …sort … who open private schools that don’t close for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday because “it doesn’t speak to our parents and families.” *

    He’s also the …sort … who writes religious books for kids and models Jesus on himself for the illustrations.

    fusilier, in Indianapolis

    James 2:24

    very close paraphrase of a Perry Township special education co-ordinator speaking to My Beloved and Darling Wife

  12. PaulBC says

    How did I post @11 and forget to add my favorite Donald Fagen lyrics:

    On that train all graphite and glitter
    Undersea by rail
    Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
    Well by seventy-six we’ll be A-OK

    It’s possible Fagen is being ironic here, since he’s kind of a jerk, but I don’t see what’s so funny, particularly with the demise of the obviously worse Concorde.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    rietpluim @ 10

    Not really, other than the horrible straw man created during the Cold War that conflates any form of progressive taxation, welfare, and government intervention into their precious free market with COMMUNISM!!!

    Today public housing and national health care, tomorrow GULAGS AND FIRING SQAUDS!!!

  14. lumipuna says

    Alaska will be made smaller and moved closer to the mainland, to reduce transport costs both within state and interstate.

    Hawaii will also be moved closer, but made bigger because it’s densely populated, and because improved transport access will increase tourism and development.

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    Another example of the rank-and-file conservative’s “understanding” of socialism: When he’s on one of this political rants, my right-wing Catholic father will often snidely ask, “Should a janitor make as much as doctor? That’s what would happen under socialism! Everyone would be paid the same!” I’d explain to him that’s not how it works, but he doesn’t like being contradicted and I don’t like the thought of living in a cardboard box.

  16. kingoftown says

    “Rebuild every building”

    What’s that part about? Are republicans opposed to building on brown field sites?

  17. PaulBC says

    @18 Can he explain why he thinks a janitor shouldn’t make more than a doctor?

    Given a hypothetical choice between keeping my salary as a software developer and getting paid more to clean the offices of software developers, I would keep my job, thanks.

  18. says

    Republicans have spent so many decades screaming “SOCIALISM!” that it no longer works except with conservatives. They don’t understand how people are embracing Sanders or AOC despite embracing the word, not seeing that if the Clintons or Obama or countless other Democrats the socialists the GOP painted them as, socialism can’t be that bad.

  19. PaulBC says

    @18 And another thing about your “Catholic” father. I was raised Catholic. I was raised to believe in the dignity of work and not to put faith in “worldly” measures of success. To a great extent I have held onto those values though not the theology. What is this religion of rightwing Catholics? It bears no resemblance to anything I was taught and I went through a lot of Catholic education.

  20. says

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a schism with American conservative Catholics and the rest of the RC church at some point. Some prominent Catholics have already taken issue with things Francis has said and would like to see the next pope take a more rightward turn on economics and the environment.

  21. drew says

    Here in the PNW there’s already free weed for anyone who’s not a complete . . . oh! I understand the cartoon now.

  22. says

    I’ve lived in Indianapolis for almost 15 years so I know Varvel very well. He’s a hack, of course. He’s only slightly better than Ben Garrison. He got in trouble a couple of years ago for putting a racist caricature of a Hispanic man crawling through a window and ruining a white family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not sure how he is still employed there.

  23. PaulBC says

    Cartoons like this make me appreciate Onion’s parody cartoonist “Kelly” a lot more. The satire is funny, but actually no less plausible than some of the real cartoons. There’s also pathos, because he captures the sad persona of disaffected middle-aged guy not really getting what is happening with his world. It is so much better than the real stuff, which lands with a splat, like this one.

  24. Nemo says

    “MFING PIRATES, YO” is the most cryptic part, to me. It seems to be a modern aircraft carrier retrofitted with sails — to be environmentally friendly, I guess? — and, uh, sails make the cartoonist think of pirates? I dunno.

  25. PaulBC says

    kingoftown@19 I thought “rebuild every building” was a criticism of busy-work jobs for full employment, but I’m as confused as anyone. We don’t need busy-work construction. There is plenty of work fixing some of our decaying infrastructure but apparently that’s “socialism” too. Basically anything that cuts into the wealth of the superrich is socialism.

  26. Akira MacKenzie says

    Paul BC @ 22

    What is this religion of rightwing Catholics? It bears no resemblance to anything I was taught and I went through a lot of Catholic education.

    My father was very much a child of the 1950s, so to get a grasp on his version of Catholicism you can combine Cold War anti-communist paranoia with pre-Vatican II theology. During my childhood, he switched parishes three times after the priest said something he deemed too left-wing for his tastes. He claims the Jesuits are all Marxists. He also REALLY doesn’t like Franny and believes Benedict was hounded out by a gay liberal cabal within the Church.

    In short, he’s fucking nuts.

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    Nemo @ 27

    It seems to be a modern aircraft carrier retrofitted with sails — to be environmentally friendly, I guess?

    Yep. According to conservatism’s straw man view of environmentalism, in order to be “environmentally friendly” we’ll have to get rid of all pre-fossil-fuel technology.

  28. PaulBC says

    @29 Switching parishes also doesn’t feel very Catholic to me unless you’re literally changing your address. We did go to neighboring churches now and then. Actually, I almost forgot, but we’d leave our diocese some times for Saturday mass, because at the time ours did not have evening-before services.

    I do know the type, though. Actually I think some of the older nuns at my school in the 70s were very staunchly anti-communist. I never would have considered Jesuits unusually liberal: more scholarly, but not more liberal. I grew up in a very leftwing Catholic family in a more moderate Catholic community. Clearly, Catholicism lines up with “cultural conservatism” when it comes to sex, but I never saw it lining up with capitalism particularly. That is a newer American thing I believe.

  29. Kip Williams says

    Maybe “rebuild every building” is because the Libs always cater to people who are in wheelchairs or otherwise disabled, which is only a cover for forcing them to rebuild all the nice old buildings as nasty, harsh, frightening-looking things (that is, they’ll have wheelchair ramps).

    In other news, I was away for five minutes, so I have to log in again again. “Keep me logged on” seems to be a private joke that I’m not in on.

  30. leerudolph says

    PaulBC@14:”To be honest, I think a rail tunnel to Hawaii would be unlikely to succeed”
    Poor Elon Musk, on the horns of a dilemma: Transonic Rocketpowered LA/Honolulu Shuttle Service, or Just Another Boring Tunnel?

  31. NitricAcid says

    Notice that they’ve cut off Canada as a foreign country, but Mexico is still there, presumably having been annexed after the border was completely opened.

  32. says

    This is actually not the original cartoon, this is one that’s been edited.

    The original is not much less perplexing. There’s some bit about farting cows and no air travel and electric cars instead of the free weed and health care. So I guess it makes a LITTLE more sense from the conservative bogeyman standpoint but…it still sounds pretty good?

  33. says

    Looking at this caricature, I can only think about how I’d like it. Free hormone treatments, public housing, government health care, and unions are all things I’d like. I would even take the free weed. And I definitely like high speed rails. Maybe not to Hawaii, but to other places where they can be built. Thus for me this cartoon accomplished the opposite of the intended effect.

  34. hemidactylus says

    The “Bourgie Pigs Being Fed to the Sharks” sounds reasonable enough on its face given the decline of shark fisheries. The practice would seem to have more of a point than Che’s bloody wall. But then I think of bourgie toxins accumulated from daily lattes, vaping and other habitual consumption and wonder if that would be bad for the sharks.

    On a more serious note I recall years ago being bored enough to watch a local city council meeting on tv where the issue of a local sales tax option (maybe half a cent to a cent) was being debated and some Cuban guy (with a stern expression indicating complete seriousness) compared that minor tax increase to the oppressive Castro regime his family had fled years ago.

  35. numerobis says

    The green new deal has a part about subsidies for retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, and to mitigate lead and asbestos, with the target being to fix all the buildings in a period of N years (was it 10 years?)

    Conservatives hate conservation almost as much as they hate helping black people, so they oppose this.

  36. Nemo says

    So, re: ericoehler #36, this (from garyvarvel dot com) appears to be the original:

    I infer that all the changes from that version were made by someone intending parody, which makes more sense of it.

  37. EwgB says

    @Nemo #41 Thanks for the correction. Now the MFing pirates makes more sense. Though I’d say the original point still stands, one will be hard pressed to find a joke here. Maybe the cows?
    I do have two remarks.
    1. Shouldn’t conservatives be happy for the high speed rail through the flyover states? Might actually do something for the places along the way.
    2. Where are those rich boats swimming to? Not to Europe, surely. We already have most of the stuff here that they supposedly hate. Government or highly regulated private healthcare, free or affordable healthcare, social programs, brown skinned immigrants. Oh yeah, and high speed rail!

  38. Stuart Smith says

    I like the Bourgie pigs being fed to sharks, but it seems inefficient when there are good old fashioned guillotines available. They’re kind of traditional, you know.

  39. PaulBC says

    2. Where are those rich boats swimming to? Not to Europe, surely. We already have most of the stuff here that they supposedly hate.

    Must be Bermuda, though it’ll get pretty crowded, there are lots of tax advantages.

  40. says

    Nemo: about the only things AOC actually advocated on here were Healthcare for all and taxing the rich (‘Cos that’s where the money is). The rest is out and out Conservative hysteria. Dog forbid they be against anything realistic, ‘Muricans are too dumb to recognize reductio ad absurdem fallacies. Sadly shown to be true far too often.