Monday, November 10, 2008

Majesty, Can You Spare a Halfpenny?

I love it when The Wizard of Id tries to get topical. As always, this comic is on the cutting edge when it comes to criticism of English monarchs of the fourteenth or fifteenth century; only when one attempts to apply it to twenty-first-century America does everything fall apart. The cartoonist clearly does not understand how government bailouts work. He has heard the phrase "government bailout" repeated ad nauseam, and he has decided that since he has a character who represents the "government" (the King) and a multitude of characters who might enjoy being "bailed out" (the peasants), he can stick 'em all together in two badly drawn panels and cause gusts of hilarity to arise from the masses. The gusts will be stronger than usual because this particular comic is Topical. Hyuck! Hyuck! Har...

My alternate theory is that the cartoonist is once again having a go at Richard II. That "out-of-work" peasant will not be sitting against the wall for long; his monarch's contemptuous gesture will goad him to rebellion, and a certain Revolt will get started. Odds are that before long, this particular peasant will be calling himself Jack Straw* and wielding a pitchfork with murderous intent. The cartoonist is thus commenting on a dangerous situation brewing in England six hundred and twenty-seven years ago rather than an unfortunate situation occurring in the United States three weeks ago. Since in both cases the comment is out of date, we can probably just point and laugh,** then forget this comic ever existed.***

*Thanks to the demon Wikipedia, to which I just resorted out of a sort of anal curiosity, even though I bloody knew who Jack Straw was and didn't actually need to look him up at all, there is currently a Right Honourable Jack Straw, MP, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice, in the British government. The irony is killing me.
**At the cartoonist, not at the comic. Heaven forbid we should laugh at the comic.
***Yes, I know that comics have to be submitted to the syndicates weeks ahead of time. It still amuses me when a cartoonist tries to make a topical comment about a weeks- or months-old happening. B.C.'s weak gestures towards the popularity of The Dark Knight are especially painful to watch.

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