Saturday, December 26, 2015

On the Second Day of Christmas...

It's SaintStephenback Saturday, the second day of Christmas, which is swell if you're a big fan of turtledoves. If you're looking for a topic for next week's editorial cartoon, ummm, not so much.

The week after Christmas is usually a pretty slow news period, which wasn't a problem for me during those many years when I aspired to be the world's oldest college cartoonist. The college newspapers all take a long Christmas vacation. Out here in the Real World, the show must go on, even if none of the newsmakers are making news and their spokespersons are resting their voices.

In 1993, we had a certain eccentric rich presidential candidate (formerly and futurely) whose concerns about American jobs getting sucked south of the border provided sufficient fodder for this post-Christmas cartoon.

We now know that if your job didn't end up in Mexico -- or Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic -- there is now an app for doing whatever it was that you used to get paid for, and even the reindeer are losing their jobs to Amazon drones.

Most post-Christmas cartoons don't have a Christmas theme, though. TV commercials will have been jamming Christmas down everyone's throats since the end of back-to-school specials, so everyone is sick and tired of Christmas. Even churchgoers who had complained "Why can't we sing familar Christmas carols?" all through the season of Advent have lost interest in "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Once in Royal David's City" by the First Sunday of Christmas.

Which is why you never hear anyone talk about "keeping Christmas in our hearts 365 days a year" after December 25.

There are exceptions to the usual news drought after Christmas. Every four years, new cabinet members are named in December, often once Congress has gone home for the holiday. Up through 2012, with LGBT service in the military still a hot-button issue, the views of the nominee for Secretary of Defense were usually worth a cartoon or two.
Or the nominee for Attorney General.

And from that same year, having the 2000 election go into extra innings was a godsend for editorial cartoonists.

If politicians aren't being helpful, Mother Nature doesn't give a hoot about holidays on the calendar. Most years, you can count on a certain contingent of editorial cartoonists drawing someone up to his chest in snow wondering whatever happened to that global warming crap them dang egg-headed climatologists keep warning about. You haven't seen many of those cartoons this year.

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra sent a devastating tsunami around the entire Indian Ocean. Somewhere between 228,000 and 280,000 people were killed, and millions were left homeless. from Indonesia to South Africa.
Some religious people took it as an opportunity to lend aid and comfort to the afflicted. Others did not.

But you can't count on the weather, and it's ghoulish to count on disaster befalling someone before your deadline. If all else fails, there is still one last holiday on the December calendar. A cartoonist can try summing up the entire year.

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