23 Is Enough, but 24 Makes Two Dozen…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, April 2, 2007

So for what seems like forever a Native American tribe has been trying to build a casino just south of Grand Rapids. This has irritated two different groups of Grand Rapidians: The business-people (who have invested buttloads of money in downtown GR and don’t want to see potential revenue drained away) and the religious people (who think gambling is sinful and wrong). I, myself, think casinos are stupid, attract stupid people, create stupid jobs, present stupid entertainers, and are generally a stupid idea. I’m not part of a group because groups are stupid.

These two groups got together and formed a bigger group called “23 is enough.” Not terribly intuitive, but the name means that Michigan already has 23 casinos, we don’t need another one.

Recently the state has lat last given the whatever-their-name-is tribe the okay to build the casino. (Turns out it’s difficult to sustain logic that says 24 of anything is too much when you’ve already allowed 23. Like with liquor licenses, the “but how come he got one?” argument eventually wins.)

This caused a schism within the “23 is enough” organization. The business folks thought, well hell, if there’s gonna be a casino, let’s get our own for downtown GR, and then that will be enough. The religious folks went, huh? what? Are you serious? But we thought… And then they all had to figure out what to do next, which leads us to this week’s comic.

Right. Now this has nothing to do with anything here, but Kurt Vonnegut died this week and if any of you have ever read Vonnegut you know that an interesting thought need never be held back just because it lacks context. I have so many favorite Vonnegut quotes, but this one in particular is a pearl because it promotes clarity, attacks establishment, and manages to skewer folks who may otherwise be part of his “group.” Which is to say, this is what an editorial cartoon aspires to be:

“It has been my experience with literary critics and academics in this country that clarity looks a lot like laziness and ignorance and childishness and cheapness to them. Any idea which can be grasped immediately is for them, by definition, something they knew all the time.”

–Kurt Vonnegut

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