On Reason and Jerkiness…

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 8, 2010

I was listening to a news story on the radio — it was some sort of protest or march about something that inflames folks these days. So I’m guessing it was either health care or American Idol. At one point the reporter led in with a “and then things started to get a little edgy” and then two men arguing. One screamed, “Do you have Medicare?! Do you have Medicare?!” And another screamed, “Everything the government does is bankrupt! Everything!” Now, because writing is linear, it appears that the two men may have taken turns and perhaps even listened to each other, carefully considering the other’s opinion before offering a well-constructed counterpoint. Right. It was actually one big tangled mess of crashing sound waves.

I was feeling very judgmental and empathizing with the reporter who was trying to add some context to the story. But then this week’s comic popped into my head with the three players:

  • The hopelessly self-assured jerk
  • The voice of consideration and reason
  • The cartoonist, who likes to think of himself as a voice of consideration and reason, but given the opportunity might just as likely be a jerk

The jerkiness comes mostly from my amusement in drawing a Hitler mustache on the guy in the fourth panel. Are you all familiar with Godwin’s Law? It states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” I think it goes for wordy cartoons, too.

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