Political Cartoon Even More Boring And Confusing Than Issue

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Vol 40 Issue 12

New York Times Seeks Court Order To Remove Tuesdays With Morrie From Bestseller List

NEW YORK—The New York Times announced Monday that it will seek a court order to have Mitch Albom's book of discussions between himself and his dying mentor, Tuesdays With Morrie, forcibly removed from the paperback non-fiction bestseller list. "We've tolerated the old dead guy's ramblings for the past 66 weeks," Times Sunday books-section editor Mel Constantine said. "But now it's simply gotta go. I want Morrie out of my list—permanently." Should the order be successful, the book's slot on the list will be replaced by a line urging readers to donate to the Fresh Air Fund.

Reality Show Slowly Sinks In

EAST LANSING, MI—Though she'd lived in denial for nearly a month, toy-store manager Ellen Cranmer admitted Monday that the reality show The Apprentice has finally sunk in. "Normally I never watch those stupid reality shows, and I certainly don't integrate them into my regular week," Cranmer said. "But since around the time of the Trump Ice challenge, I've been passing on social events so I can be home Thursdays at 9 p.m." Cranmer said that she was shocked when she realized she hadn't missed a single episode, and saddened by her belief that Amy will win.

Psychic Helps Police Waste Valuable Time

MANCHESTER, NH—More than 36 hours after the disappearance of 13-year-old Heather Jordan, Manchester police hired local psychic Lynette Mure-Davis to help waste their valuable time Monday. "I see a river... and along the banks is an outcropping with five lilac bushes," said Mure-Davis, who then paused a full 90 seconds to "collect vibrations" from Jordan's scarf. "I also see a man... tall, but stocky, wearing... a hat. And an animal, perhaps a dog." As of press time, Jordan was still trapped under a collapsed utility shed three blocks west of her house.

Teen Learns The Negligible Value Of A Dollar

ASHLAND, WI—After earning $5 for mowing his family's half-acre lawn, 13-year-old Andrew Mink learned the negligible value of a dollar at the town's sporting-goods store Sunday. "Pops dropped me off at Dunham's before baseball practice so I could buy something with my hard-earned money," Mink said. "I kinda wanted a baseball glove, but that was almost $40. A new bat was, like, $65. Even a batting glove was more than $10." The teen finally found a wristband for $3.99, but he was unable to afford sales tax on the item after reserving one dollar for his bus fare home.

Stewart's Prison Sentence

The nation awaits Martha Stewart's June 17 sentencing, which will reveal how much time she spends in prison. What do you think?

You Are No Longer Welcome In The Homer Reading Group

Sorry I'm late. The Gustav Mahler Jugendsymphonie is in town, and I was held back by the conductor, Claudio Abbado—terrible bore, please don't tell I said. But enough about that. Did everyone enjoy the reading of... Wait. What are you doing here? Did you not receive my phone message of 1:43 a.m. Tuesday last? Oh, you received it. Then, as you well know, you are no longer welcome in the Homer reading group.

I Hit The Dead-Wife Insurance Jackpot!

Last week, I was Maxwell Linden, lab technician. I was four long years from retirement, sharing a cramped little A-frame with my wife, and driving a Lincoln Mercury seriously in need of a new transmission. Today, call me Mr. Linden, widower extraordinaire. Along with my wife Leah, my financial troubles are gone forever. Even though her life-insurance payout was only $250,000, I feel like a million bucks!
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

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  • Night Out Consecrated With Opening Exchange Of High-Fives

    CHARLOTTE, NC—Kicking off the evening with their customary expression of excitement and camaraderie, a group of friends reportedly consecrated their night out on the town Friday with a ceremonial opening exchange of high-fives.

Political Cartoon Even More Boring And Confusing Than Issue

PORTLAND, OR—A political cartoon in Monday's Daily Oregonian was more boring and confusing than the issue it attempted to address, area resident Craig Lawler reported Tuesday.

"I get the donkeys and elephants," said Lawler, a high-school biology teacher. "But the rest of the cartoon is just a confusing jumble of ambiguous symbols and weird objects. I thought it was about unemployment at first, which would have been boring enough, but then I noticed the word 'ethanol' over there on the jug, so I realized it's actually about commerce. I think."

After several minutes of careful inspection, Lawler identified the in- and outboxes on the elephant's desk as symbols of the nation's record-high monthly trade deficit.

"I finally figured out what subject we're even dealing with," Lawler said. "Now I just have to figure out what's being said and how it's funny or insightful—or, ideally, both."

According to Lawler, the cartoon also contains an object that is "either some sort of chart showing the movement of the Dow, or just a broken window pane."

The cartoon was penned by James Ploeser and syndicated in 47 newspapers and magazines nationwide.

"I like to have a little fun with my panels, but I also like to make a point," Ploeser said. "They call it an editorial cartoon for a reason. The fact that those inboxes and outboxes were made of steel evokes the steel-tariff controversy from last fall, of course. And did you notice the word 'lies' in the outbox? And the bags of grain in the inbox? It's all there, if you look."

Lawler, who reads the editorial cartoons along with the rest of the paper each morning, said he is fairly well-versed in current events.

"I think I'm even a bit above average, in terms of knowing what's happening in the world," Lawler said. "I keep up on all the economic news and foreign affairs. So, if I didn't get that those dolls in the outbox represented outsourced workers, I'm really not sure what percentage of the population would."

James Ploeser's cartoon as it appeared in the <i>Daily Oregonian</i>.

Lawler said the cartoon is part of a larger trend.

"Political cartoons run in nearly every newspaper, so they must be an important part of American discourse—but damned if I can figure out what most of them are trying to say," Lawler said. "Take this Sunday's cartoon. It had two penguins applying for a marriage license. They were knee-deep in water labeled 'public opinion.' But the clerk at the desk was an eagle wearing a judge's robe and a sash that said 'mayor.' So the clerk marrying the penguins was... a mayor? Or a Supreme Court justice?"

His voice rising in frustration, Lawler continued: "Then, off to the side, there was another penguin holding a bouquet of flowers labeled 'constitution' in one hand and a piece of cake labeled 'polls' in the other. But this was all happening on a television! And, in the foreground, there was a hand labeled 'Iowa' holding a remote control, and the caption said 'Nothing's on.' What's going on here? I am so full of rage right now."

Patting her husband's arm, Lawler's wife Janice said she shares his frustration.

"Just last week on Time magazine online, there was a U.S. map with each state colored differently," she said. "Some of them were red, some were blue, but some were orange and some were purple. It said "voting alert" across the top. I stared at it for 10 minutes and never figured it out. I'm still thinking about it."

Dr. Edward Hunt, who teaches a class on political art-history at Boston College, defended the cartoon.

"The best editorial cartoons are worth a thousand words," Hunt said. "The Teapot Dome scandal? Watergate? Reaganomics? These aren't necessarily visual ideas, but the cartoonists broke the issues down into highly poignant pictorials. The cartoonists of today follow in that tradition. It's not the cartoonist's fault if some idiot schoolteacher in Oregon can't understand what a donkey riding on a tractor labeled '527' means."

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