Urbin Report

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Left can be funny...

Harry Stein writes about the rising popularity of Right Wing cartoons in "Laughing at the Left."

He points out that Mallard Fillmore, Prickly City and the Webcomic Day by Day, are following the footsteps of the classic Li'l Abner comic by Al Capp.

Then you had Al Capp of Li’l Abner fame, a former liberal so distressed by the excesses of the sixties that he took time off from chronicling Dogpatch’s amiable swindling and social climbing to lampoon “Joanie Phoanie,” a Joan Baez look-alike in bare feet and love beads, with flies constantly circling her head. Capp also came up with Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything (SWINE). In one representative entry, SWINE, having determined that America should be returned to its rightful Native American owners, induces wimpy Harvard administrators to hand over the university to the only Indian they can find—a shady character named Lonesome Polecat.

Even Lonesome Polecat—who soon trades the school to mobsters—can hardly believe the administrators’ lack of spine. Coming upon a bunch of students hitting a dean over the head with protest signs, he demands, “Why enemy no fight back?” “Because we’re students!” replies one of the kids. “If we commit assault, arson, and vandalism . . . ”

“ . . . they’re not crimes . . . ” chimes in another.

“ . . . they’re simply proofs of our idealism!” adds a third.

In explaining his political shift, Capp described an ideological journey that countless other liberals would make in the decades to follow. “What began to bother me, privately, was that, as things grew better, the empire of the needy seemed to grow larger. Somehow they became entitled to government gifts other people couldn’t get, such as people who worked,” Capp explained. “Yet I remained a loyal liberal,” he continued. “I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home of liberalism. I spoke at liberal banquets in New York, Los Angeles, Washington. One day a lady photographer came to my studio and showed me a collection of Boston photographs. A publisher would publish them if only I would rattle off the captions. . . . Well, one doesn’t turn down a lady liberal. . . . This one, she said, will break your heart. She showed me a picture of a city street. It was mid-afternoon, the sun was shining. Garbage cans were tipped on the sidewalk. Bottles lined the gutters. On a porch sprawled a half dozen teenagers, drinking and smoking. The caption, I said, should be, ‘Get up off your asses and clean the street!’ The lady stormed out. I guess that was when I began leaving what liberalism had become.”


HT to Mr. Reynolds