The Baffler,  January 8, 2015

Daily Bafflements



• At The Nib, Ted Rall writes about the power of political cartoons, the risks that every political cartoonist takes in making them, and why they do it.

• Cartoonist Tommy Dessine’s dark and perfect response to Wednesday’s murders at Charlie Hedbo (the text reads “oh no, not them”).

• “There are some who will say that Charlie Hebdo tempted the ire of Islamists one too many times, as if coldblooded murder is the price to pay for putting out a magazine,” writes the New York Times editorial board.

• Denmark’s daily newspapers, where the murders must have hit home especially hard, all stood in solidarity on Wednesday as well.

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In Psychology 101 you learn of those “false binary” or “false dichotomy” situations that crop up where two viewpoints are so powerful they tend to pull all other options into their orbit. If you're not capitalist, you're socialist. In Chicago if you're not a White Sox fan, you're a Cubs fan. You're either with us, or you're against us. Or, to use an example that upended plenty of Thanksgiving dinner tables, if you think Hillary sucks, you love Trump. But as the modifier in “false binary” suggests, these black-or-white decisions aren't real. There's always another option present. When you see a broken window during a protest, you don't have to “completely condone” the action if you don't “admonish it entirely,” or vice versa.

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Further Reading

 April 4

Official oversight commissions tend to perform all of the trappings of democratic accountability while rarely resulting in lasting reform.