Comics Commentary

I’ve been an aficionado of clever comic strips all my life. My favorite, throughout my childhood and into high school, was Charles Schulz’s wonderful “Peanuts” strip with all the memorable characters: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, etc. The strip was a cultural phenomenon back in the 1960s, in particular.

Schulz used his strip to communicate his Christian faith as well as offer commentary on cultural changes and the meaning of life. He never preached stridently; he allowed the message to come at you indirectly, making one stop and think a bit about what he was saying.

Later, I became a great fan of the “Calvin and Hobbes” strip. My students sometimes must feel they are awash in the insights from that one.

When Bill Watterson, the brilliant artist of the strip, brought  “Calvin and Hobbes” to an end in the 1990s, I was deeply saddened, but later some of my students presented me with the entire collection, from which I have helped “instruct” students ever since.

Nowadays, one of my favorite comics that touches on the foolishness/silliness of our modern cultural trends is “Mallard Fillmore,” a title with a nice touch for an American historian like me. The artist, Bruce Tinsley, is a conservative in politics and, based on what I’ve seen in his strip, a committed Christian. He takes on political correctness in a poignant way.

Lately, Tinsley has been on target with some of the most egregious modern trends and/or practices based on wrong ideas, one of which is that people really aren’t accountable for their actions:

In the wake of the Parkland shootings, Tinsley offered this commentary on the drift of society:

Just the right amount of sarcasm, in my opinion, in the pursuit of communicating truth.

He often pokes fun at education trends and the issue of free speech. Sometimes, he can combine them rather easily, as universities have become a haven for the stifling of speech that the prevailing “wisdom” decries:

While I am a devotee of expounding Biblical principles and trying to explain how they apply to each one of us individually and to our society as a whole, I appreciate the ability of comics such as these to help me make my points. Regular readers of this blog know that I punctuate many of my posts with what I believe are appropriate comics and political cartoons to aid in my explanations.

That will never stop as long as there are talented artists (and I do believe that is the correct term) who can highlight the concepts I want to expound upon.

Fight On, Politically Incorrect Duck

Occasionally, people comment on my selection of cartoons for this blog. They seem impressed by the ones I use to connect to pressing topics. It’s not really that difficult. First, I just check out the best political cartoons each day to find the ones that are most appropriate. There’s one particular comic strip, though, that is always fresh, and I’m not sure how many are aware of it. It’s one of my favorites—Mallard Fillmore. I find that name especially fitting for an American history professor.

Here’s a blurb about the comic strip that pretty much explains it:

Mallard Fillmore continues to be one of the most highly contentious and celebrated comic strips, providing a unique conservative viewpoint to the comics pages. Mallard Fillmore has been a lightning rod for controversy with the right-leaning duck addressing hot button issues and lampooning liberal politicians, the media, and cultural establishments.

So true. Here are some examples I’ve been storing this month:

An economics lesson that few will ever learn. Yet it’s made quite clear in just one panel. And how about this one ridiculing our fear of profiling?

Lately, he’s been combining  a couple of worthy targets: modern “higher” education and liberal discrimination:

Keep up the good work, duck. Don’t be frightened by political correctness. There are too few voices like yours.

Tinsley Time

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I sometimes like to highlight the Mallard Fillmore cartoon drawn and geniused [is that  real word? it is now] by Bruce Tinsley. He has a flair for seeing what’s really happening. He’s also not very politically correct.

He draws an Obama that looks more like the real thing than many other cartoonists’ conceptions. He also has the pulse of the president.

That has been Plan B for everything—sometimes Plan A.

He periodically lampoons journalism schools, and for good reason.

The mood of the country right now? He’s on target with that as well.

Very few candidates want to be called liberals today. They prefer the term progressive, which has such a positive connotation. It’s easier to fool the voters that way.

Thanks again, Mr. Tinsley, for continuing to enlighten.