Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Week's Toon: Humpty Romney

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 17, 2011

The big challenge in this cartoon was to fit Mitt Romney's long, angular face onto a round egg (and then to redraw it again a centimeter to the left, because I hadn't left enough room on the page to put in the block of text. When I had a scanner that could handle a 14" by 17" sheet of bristol board, I would have just moved the border of the cartoon a centimeter to the right, but that scanner died earlier this year and I had to replace it with one with a raised barrier and a hinge immediately against two sides of its 12" x 8" screen).

While Rick Perry's face would fit better on Humpty Dumpty's head, I kind of like the insinuation that Romney is a fragile thing heading for a fall. It's difficult to imagine today's Republican party rallying behind a former Massachusetts governor whose major achievement in office was a health care plan that served as a model for Obamacare; and who isn't, by literalist fundamentalist standards, a Christian, and thus ineligible for public office as far as GOP theocrats are concerned. Their crowd was disappointed by John McCain and his lack of open religious fervor, and they're not going to lose another election cycle to someone who isn't one of their own.

Moreover, I like the name. It was a coin toss whether to call him Humpty Romney or Romney Dumpty.

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of reading Through the Looking Glass, Alice buys an egg from the White Queen (the Queen having turned into a sheep), who places the egg upright on a far counter. By the time Alice reaches it, the egg has turned into Humpty Dumpty, and the two have a conversation full of Dodgsonian wordplay.

[Humpty Dumpty said,] "There's glory for you."

"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.

"Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument," Alice objected.

"When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more not less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs, they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

"Would you tell me, please," said Alice, "what that means?"

"Now you talk like a reasonable child," said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. "I meant by 'impenetrability' that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life."

"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

As I noted on Monday, Alice -- in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass -- appears to be becoming a running theme for this election. I've already drawn the Republican field as Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum; and although I haven't yet set a cartoon at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, one seems inevitable. I wouldn't be the first to do so, however.

(Nor am I positing that Dwayne Powell was the first to do so. I'm pretty sure that every liberal editorial cartoonist has produced a Mad Hatter's Tea Party cartoon since the Tea Party emerged on the scene.)

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