All Bets Are Off

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I was taking bets just this morning, but since it's already at least a four-way tie, we're going to need an instant replay challenge:

Inevitable? No doubt, but a few of the artists on the Cagle Rosa Parks page actually managed some variations on the Parks/bus/seat theme. Here's hoping a busload of editorial cartoonists might meet with a Sweet Hereafter-style tragedy sometime soon.

NEXT: And Then You Look for the President With the Dog Poopie on His Shoes!

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  1. They’re none of them that good, but for sheer tacky flavor, the “Sweet Chariot Lines” takes the cake.

  2. Apparently we’re none too sure what Rosa Parks actually looked like …

  3. And yet the angelic bus driver (and Mrs. Parks herself, in one comic) is white.

    Hmm.

  4. I personally would have had Rosa Parks entering civil rights heaven with the first tribute being that Emmett Till would whistle at her, but then again, I am going to hell. Or should for that.

  5. so you’re urging the metaphoric (satirical) death of editorial cartoonists giving themselves a day off with an easy cartoon while making light of Rosa Parks death — brilliant…

  6. I don’t know about the cartoons, but consider this as-yet unconfirmed rumor: I just heard on the radio here in Los Angeles that the city will be shutting down the “Rosa Parks” section of the Santa Monica freeway westbound for ten minutes during rush hour to “honor” Rosa Parks. I think if you want to see 20,000 people who used to respect her suddenly hate her, this migsuided tribute of molasses traffic will surely accomplish that.

  7. Raving Atheist usually does galleries of common editorial cartoon tropes (Bob Hope golfing with God, etc.)
    He once gathered all the cartoons of Ray Charles entering heaven with his vision intact, and wondered if the same treatment would be acceptable for a mentally handicapped person.
    “Imagine if a kid with down’s syndrome died (Like TV’s Corky). How appropriate would it be to draw him in the fictional afterlife as a normal adult, with some kind of intellectual job like a professor? I’m sure many would see this as wrong because it simply isn’t portraying the person as we knew him. The same goes for giving Ray his sight back in these little feel-good comics. Ray’s blindness was a fact of life and surely influenced his musical expression. Some people just don’t get it.”

    He also once wrote the joke story:

    Responding to criticism that its members routinely employed clich?d Christian symbolism to portray the afterlife of deceased celebrities, the National Association of Obituary Cartoonists yesterday approved guidelines governing the use of religious imagery in posthumous, single-frame comic strip tributes.

    In the press release announcing the new rules, NAOC expressed regret that Christian, and sometimes distinctively Catholic, images of St. Peter, Jesus, and angels had been depicted as greeting famous new arrivals to “heaven.” The statement decried imposition of the cartoonist’s faith upon the deceased as “subjective, disrespectful and arbitrary.”

    NAOC, however, also rejected as subjective the use of the celebrity’s own religious beliefs in obituary cartoons. Instead, according to NAOC Executive Director Abdullah Al-Amin, its members will be bound by an objective standard which recognizes the One True God Allah as the sovereign master of all departed human souls.

    “The infidel whore Katharine Hepburn is wallowing in the excrement of a thousand donkeys, not fornicating in the clouds to harp music with the filthy kafir dog Spencer Tracy,” said Al-Amin. “Cartoonists must heed the wisdom of the Prophet of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), else they will themselves will be toppled on their faces into Hell-fire by the harvests of their lies to feast upon the flesh of their dead brothers.”

  8. What ever became of that heroic white man who bravely wanted to sit in the black section of that bus?

  9. No one goes to heaven until after “The Rapture” anyway.

  10. Damn, she may go to heaven but she still has to ride the bus. You’d think they could at least send a limo.

  11. Douglas,
    Do you think it would be PC for Mrs. Parks to ride in the back seat (even if it is a limo?)

  12. “Here you go, Ms. Parks — we may have treated you like crap your whole life, but you have a spot in our white heaven to make up for it!”

  13. Whew! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m beat. It’s been a busy day for me today. Can we stop talking about those awful comic strips now?

  14. I think the celestial stylebook is unlikely to have adopted “Ms.”

  15. I find it interesting that both Denver papers (Keefe and Stein) did the same idea. You’d think they might coordinate to avoid that problem, given that the joint operating agreement.

  16. Apparently we’re none too sure what Rosa Parks actually looked like …

    Are we … black?

  17. yes we are

    Then we’re awake… but very puzzeled.

  18. In Ed Stein’s comic, why is Rosa Parks being picked up by Jerry Garcia?

  19. But you all are missing the point. This is all supposed to make everything better. People need to deal with this lady dying, so what better way then to express it in a cheap, totally predictable, mawkish, and thoroughly unoriginal fashion? That way, people can spend a brief moment nodding grimly, and then immediately resume their lives ignoring their own mortality.

    It reminds me of that cartoon of John-John Kennedy in heaven somehow turning back into that saluting little boy at his father’s funeral. In the forground, there is Jack Kennedy, looking on. That is so totally fucked up I don’t even know where to begin.

  20. Jarod:

    Yeah, and why, in that same cartoon, does Parks look like she just got blown up like Yosemiti Sam? I expect there to be a loose hair on top of her head still burning, and she very slowly reaches up to snuff it out.

  21. Why are all the buses empty? That seems very inefficient. Of course, most of the buses around here are empty, too. I guess even in heaven most people shun public transportation.

    Why does she have luggage (in 3 of the 4 cartoons)? Shouldn’t heaven provide everything a person needs?

    Why does God think that letting her sit up front is some great compliment? Didn’t she fight for and ALREADY WIN that right here on Earth? Wouldn’t it be better for God to say, “Here, Rosa, be the general manager of this divine football team”?

    Why does one of the buses have a windshield wiper? Isn’t Heaven above the clouds? Isn’t this kind of like Adam and Eve having navels? In that same cartoon Rosa seems to be floating onto the bus–but why the need for a bus, then? Yeah, that second cartoon is the worst of the bunch.

  22. So there are buses in heaven. I wonder what kind of mass transit system hell has? I vote the DC Redline during peak.

  23. Why does she have luggage (in 3 of the 4 cartoons)? Shouldn’t heaven provide everything a person needs?

    I like the fare collection box (and the lack of wheels) on the bus in #2. Heaven is just $1.15-$3.50 away, depending on your fare zone.

  24. The cartoons are annoying and inaccurate. The issue wasn’t that she would not go to the back of the bus. She was already in the ?colored? section. The issue was that she would not give her seat to a white man. The ?colored? section of the bus was not a fixed area but it was marked with a sign that the driver could move. If the white section was full and white person needed a seat then the “colored” section became the white section too. I may be picking a fine point because a black person couldn?t sit in the front unless there were no whites on board, but historical accuracy is important to me. What Rosa Parks did was courageous. The least the media could do is get the facts straight instead of over simplifying them.

  25. The bus driver in cartoon #3 would never pass the HMT(Heaven Mass Transit) drug tests. Rosa’s facial expression in that cartoon makes it look like she has already dropped a tab.

    I would only hope that I would not have to ride buses in heaven. What is the retirement age up there? When can you finally stop commuting? How do I get a job as a newspaper cartoonist? They seem to have minimal skill requirements and do not have to display any originality.

  26. How do I get a job as a newspaper cartoonist? They seem to have minimal skill requirements and do not have to display any originality.

    I’ve been wondering the same thing for years. “Newspaper cartoonist” falls into the category of Dream Job for me. Minimal skill requirement, as you already mentioned, plus (even better): none of them seem to care whether people like what they do or not. You can churn out all the bullshit you want and still get paid! One syndicated contract and you’re set.

  27. I mean, to wake up every day and think, “Wow, I’m the guy who makes the Marmaduke cartoons.” Then laugh with feckless abandon at the sheer cut-rate mediocrity of your own drawings, and the anger and/or depression they provoke in great numbers of people.

  28. I mean, to wake up every day and think, “Wow, I’m the guy who makes the Marmaduke cartoons.”

    Hey, that’s cutting edge humor compared to The Family Circus…

    I’m under the impression that real editorial cartooning has been a dead art for at least 50 years, but maybe I’m just in constant “not giving a shit” mode.

  29. smacky-

    Wouldn’t being the Marmaduke guy fill you with the same anger and depression as you try to find some treacle at least moderately unlike what you’ve done before to fill today’s strip?

  30. matthew hogan: Naw, Emmett Till liked the white ladies. (OK, now I’m going to hell; better go pack my swimsuit.)

  31. Sandy,

    No — that’s the beauty of it! Being in his position would allow peals of laughter from the sheer insanity of it all. You need only to rotate the same three or four jokes over and over again: Marmaduke’s hungry; Marmaduke’s barking; Marmaduke is playing with his chew toy; Marmaduke won’t do tricks.
    It’s almost enough to make me burst out laughing aloud in my office just thinking about it.

  32. “Do not make comments that threaten, speculate about, express approval of, show idle curiosity regarding, counterfactually fantasize about, or in any other way entertain the idea of death or bodily injury against any other person.”

    Tim Cavanaugh, June 15, 2005 at 12:12 am

    “Here’s hoping a busload of editorial cartoonists might meet with a Sweet Hereafter-style tragedy sometime soon.”

    –Tim Cavanaugh, October 25, 2005 at 7:07 pm

  33. “I may be picking a fine point because a black person couldn?t sit in the front unless there were no whites on board, but historical accuracy is important to me.”

    Actually, Ralph, your post is also misleading. The first couple of rows were off limits to blacks, even if everyone on board was black (which was not uncommon). Blacks would NEVER have been in the first row of seats at the time no matter what.

  34. tdf,

    Rules that apply to commenters do not apply to Reason staffers. Don’t like it? Lump it.

  35. I am an atheist and I don’t believe in heaven. But cartoons like this are the way our culture honors people who deserve to be honored. Why is that such a problem?

    Repetitive? Sure. Why not? Many people believe Rosa Parks deserves to be at the front of the bus taking her to heaven. When did anyone at Reason ever do anything this significant?

  36. Wouldn’t Ms Parks have been greatly amused at all of the fuss over a cartoon.

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