The Breakfast Table

More Comics, Less Sports

Dear Steve:

Thanks for the encouragement to remain graphically inept. I’ve always theorized that cartoonists’ drawing styles tend to suit their temperament in the same way that singers’ voices reflect their own messages. I mean, what if Johnny Lydon had wanted to become a lounge singer? Or what if Jewel was one angry bitch with a bad hair day and a gun to use on any guy she despised? So maybe my workaday “style” fits my cranky, as you put it, outlook on life, I dunno. But I still would like to draw better, if for no other reason but to like the way my stuff looks more when I see it in print. Anyway, I suspect that maybe you’re just trying to keep all the primo drawing gigs with yourself (“And another thing, Rall can’t draw for shit!” Brodner told his editor over drinks at the 21 Club).

I’m glad you mentioned The Simpsons, which is hands-down the best thing on TV ever. It’s so great that it’s amazing that it was ever broadcast, much less promoted to the point that it was permitted to gather an audience and eventually become successful. But don’t diss Fox–I thought Marriedwith Children (a live-action cartoon, really) was pure genius. The X-Files, well, obviously is great, though this business of preempting the season premiere in favor of baseball is stupid. Why can’t baseball games be played and broadcast during the middle of the day, like in the old days? Any station that preempts news or other prime-time programming for sports is irresponsible as hell. More to the point, spectator sports don’t deserve coverage in any newspaper so long as they’re cramming comics into one tiny page and skimping on the international coverage. Why they merit TV coverage at all is beyond me, but running baseball games on Sunday nights is sheer lunacy. Back to Matt Groening, I was initially disappointed by Futurama, but now I realize that it’s not written for adults; it’s really more for kids. The humor is more downscale than The Simpsons, which is fine for its intended audience. I guess I’d have to ask a kid whether they like it in order for me to form a decent opinion.

I like your Phil Harris theory of sexual politics a lot. It’s true, you imagine that George Quincy is getting good sex–he certainly appears relaxed for a guy who signs more death warrants for his state’s citizens in a day than I drink cups of coffee–but one wonders whether it’s with his wife. After what we’ve just been through post-Monica, I certainly hope so. Speaking of which, I know it’s a little late, but I’d just like to say that I still think Clinton ought to have resigned the day in January 1998 that the Lewinsky story broke, and definitive proof that I’m right was the sinking of the test-ban treaty that you like so much. No sitting president would have taken such a beating on a foreign-policy front without having lost all political credibility to the extent that Bill Clinton did after being impeached. He may have remained in office, but at what cost? He crippled Gore’s chances of defeating Bush–who as a Republican is destined to lead America into its next recession or depression, as the GOP always does–and he squandered two years of economic expansion during which really great programs might have been enacted while we had the cash lying around. To those who say that private consensual sex is nobody’s business, they’d be right if not for the fact that Clinton perjured himself under oath, which is obviously impeachable, and more important, unforgivable. Anyone who’s ever sat in a courtroom and watched some dirtbag lie with a straight face knows of what I speak.

As for Clinton, it’s not too late to quit–dash off that letter to Albright now, for Chrissake!

If this is it for this week’s Breakfast Table, Steve, then it’s been a pleasure solving the world’s problems with you. And if this is not it, see you tomorrow!

Very truly yours,