Cartoon: Civility Zombies


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Gretchen Koch and I were chatting on Twitter, about if I should do a cartoon about the “civility” issue. Gretchen said “I think it’s worth it, because as you said, it’s perennial. The civility zombie, that is.” This comic strip immediately popped into my mind, and fortunately for me, Gretchen said she didn’t mind if I used the idea. Thanks, Gretchen!

Also, thanks to Mandolin for suggesting the kicker panel!

Drawing cute cartoon zombies is, as it turns out, a great deal of fun.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This is a four-panel cartoon.

PANEL 1

Two women, one with a ponytail, one with glasses, are in a house, near an open window. The woman with glasses looks angry and is holding a cell phone; the woman with the ponytail is reacting with panic.

GLASSES: Have you read the news? $@@! the GOP!
PONYTAIL: Shh! Don’t say that!
DISTANT VOICE FROM OUTSIDE WINDOW: Civility.
(Note: Here and throughout the cartoon, the word “civility” is lettered in fonts designed to look like dripping blood.)

PANEL 2

Zombies appear in the window, looking like they might crawl into the house. They have rotting green flesh and each of them is raising a forefinger and waggling it.

GLASSES: What’s happening?
PONYTAIL: It’s the civility zombies! They come whenever someone on the left is impolite! RUN!
ZOMBIES: Civility! Civility…

PANEL 3

Glasses and Ponytail flee up a hillside, pursued by zombies. A zombie in the foreground look sstraight at the viewer.

GLASSES: Can we shoot them?
PONYTAIL: That’s rude, which only makes them stronger! Plus, we’re liberals! We don’t have guns!
ZOMBIES: Civility! Civility! Civility!

PANEL 4

Glasses and Ponytail have come to a stop, surrounded by zombies. Glasses looks frightened; Ponytail looks irritated.

ZOMBIES: Civility! Civility!
GLASSES: So this is it? We’re going to die?
PONYTAIL: No, they’re completely toothless. But so annoying!

SMALL KICKER PANEL BELOW BOTTOM OF STRIP

A man in a “MAGA” hat is grinning and talking at a zombie. The zombie has his back to the MAGA hat wearer, and makes a dismissive gesture with his hand.

MAGA: Libtards! Cucks! Snowflakes!
ZOMBIE (in blood-dripping lettering): Meh.

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30 Responses to Cartoon: Civility Zombies

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    As I recall the political civility zombies first lurched out into the political affray when Sarah Palin’s Tea Party PAC used an ad with a graphic of target crosshairs over some Congressional districts whose Democratic candidates she wanted to see defeated and the left claimed she was advocating shooting them and called for civility.

  2. 2
    Kate says:

    You have a shitty memory, Ron.

  3. 3
    Kate says:

    One of those reps actually was shot in January 2011 – Gabbie Giffords.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    Yes, but it was shown that there was no link between the ad and the shooting. The shooter had never seen it.

  5. 5
    Kate says:

    A major feature of zombie concern trolling is that the zombies strenuously object to something that the zombies themselves do all the time and see no problem with when the same behavior occurs on their own side.

    @2 I was referring to your selective memory – Zombie concern trolling started far earlier than 2010. I’d say it started at the latest with the likes of Newt I-divorced-my-wife-while-she-was-in-hospital-with-cancer-and-married-my-mistress Gingrich clutching his pearls over Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinski. By the way, Democrats learned from this, and over the past 25 years have become far better at holding our own side to account (Weiner, Franken to name a few). And don’t cite me some Democrats who’s slipped through the cracks when your side has Trump in the White House and supported a child molester for Senate (I’d say the Republican objections to Moore had similar force to Democratic objections against Clinton).

    In an environment in which mass shootings are common and sometimes actually include congresspeople, graphics of crosshairs on congressional districts (with a list of names – a point you left out, which I suspect is why you didn’t link directly to the graphic itself) contribute to an environment which normalizes that violence. It is perfectly reasonable to object to it, even if we can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any particular shooter saw this particular image. But, whether you agree that this is a valid concern or not, it is a genuinely held concern on the part of Democrats, who do not approve of the use of this type of imagery against anyone. If that graphic is the best example of concern trolling from the left that you can come up with, that just illustrates that the left is not really concern trolling.

  6. 6
    Kate says:

    By the way, Amp, I don’t think those Zombies are toothless anymore. I think they are becoming genuinely dangerous.

  7. 7
    Elusis says:

    Yes, but it was shown that there was no link between the ad and the shooting. The shooter had never seen it.

    Citation needed. How on earth do you prove something like that?

  8. 8
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    A major feature of zombie concern trolling is that the zombies strenuously object to something that the zombies themselves do all the time and see no problem with when the same behavior occurs on their own side.

    This is definitely true for many Republicans and most Trump supporters. The only Trump supporters this isn’t true for are those who call for and embrace incivility. I do think that there are many centrists who desire civility and actually mean it. I know many people like me believe that Trump and the right benefit more from incivility than his opponents do, and fear the consequences of tearing down civility norms.

    This could just be a biased view on my part, and whats really bothering me is the decrease in thoughtful political commentary from friends, family, and writers I respect, replaced by declarations of rage. Some of us ( I suspect most of us who aren’t artists) just aren’t at our best when enraged and try to avoid rage-filled environments where rage tends to spread. From a centrist perspective, conversations are getting simultaneously angry, stupider, and much less nuanced all around, even if one “side” is much stupider and angrier than the other.

  9. 9
    Kate says:

    …whats really bothering me is the decrease in thoughtful political commentary from friends, family, and writers I respect, replaced by declarations of rage…

    From a centrist perspective, conversations are getting simultaneously angry, stupider, and much less nuanced all around, even if one “side” is much stupider and angrier than the other.

    The types of conversations you desire are predicated on both sides arguing in good faith. One side can not do that by themselves. How can one engage thoughtfully with someone who is lying to one’s face? How can one have a nuanced conversation, with someone who changes his story repeatedly?

    Yes, this reduces us to rage-filled emotional appeals about not stealing children from their parents. But, the alternative is not thoughtful, nuanced debate about immigration policy. The alternative is more and more children being up put into inhumane camps without their parents.

  10. 10
    Chris says:

    I don’t think one can prove that Loughner had never seen Sarah Palin’s target map. That said, it seems unlikely that the map had an effect on Loughner’s actions; he had been fixated on Giffords since 2007, long before Palin’s PAC circulated that map. Every fact-checker that looked into the claim that there was a link between the map and the shooting found no evidence of a connection.

    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/jun/15/new-york-times-editorial-board/no-evidence-sarah-palins-pac-incited-shooting-rep-/

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  12. 11
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Yes, this reduces us to rage-filled emotional appeals about not stealing children from their parents. But, the alternative is not thoughtful, nuanced debate about immigration policy. The alternative is more and more children being up put into inhumane camps without their parents.

    Maybe thoughtful debate will work better? I really don’t know. On one hand, I think that when you have an issue where the most popular position is opposed to the position of those in power, emotional appeals within the context of movement politics is a great idea. It signals to politicians that their days in office will be numbered if they continue to defy the will of the people they govern. On the other hand, I think emotive movement politics can be disastrous for the movement when there is an opposing “silent majority.” (as an example, I think the protest movement to keep families together is working, while BLM may have done more harm than good)

    I think this is true because emotional appeals just don’t work as well to change individual minds. Rational arguments with hedging language are much better at this. Loud appeals to emotion may get the attention of those in power, but you do this at the risk of alienating those who disagree with you. On top of this, I think that the more one is exposed to emotional arguments from the opposition, the more entrenched their beliefs become. I’m more likely to see such a person as an ideological enemy, rather than someone who has made a mistake (or perhaps someone who will show me I’ve made a mistake).

    I also think that an over reliance on emotional appeals is harmful to the person voicing them. Emotional appeals often come with moral certainty, and I am a strong believer in the idea that each and every one of us is wrong about pretty much everything, and that the world can only ever become a better place if the majority of people become a little less wrong over the course of their lives, one generation after another. This requires some humility- not too much, but some. I’m increasingly turned off by those who seem to lack it almost entirely.

  13. 12
    RonF says:

    Heh – I always thought that Newt probably would have been wise to keep his mouth shut with regards to critiquing Bill Clinton’s behavior. OTOH, the fact that most of the left and public feminists DID keep their mouths shut with regards to critiquing Bill Clinton’s behavior (or, in the case of one or two, actively saying it was a worthwhile tradeoff) was – I think, anyway – the first time the public really started to tune into the left’s establishment’s hypocrisy on women’s rights.

  14. 13
    RonF says:

    Kate:

    Actually no – I didn’t link to it because I worked directly off of memory and didn’t even realize that there were names on the graphic. I had no motive, nefarious or otherwise, for not linking directly to the graphic, other than laziness. And I’m not talking about “zombie trolling”, I’m talking about public calls for civility by one party or another, the which I don’t recall being a big thing prior to that instance. Although I can remember plenty of talk during campaigns of targeting one candidate or another for defeat, with no one making a big deal out of the language.

    My observation about emotion-filled commentary/debates/protest is that while it’s a great way to mobilize the base for your position on a given issue, and thus to bring at least momentary pressure on elected officials, it’s a lousy way to convince others of the merits of your cause. Especially if they are pressed as an immediate reaction to an incident before the facts are known. The end result for them is that they will simply back off and not engage in the discussion at all. This can lead to some surprises on election day ….

  15. 14
    Kate says:

    the fact that most of the left and public feminists DID keep their mouths shut with regards to critiquing Bill Clinton’s behavior (or, in the case of one or two, actively saying it was a worthwhile tradeoff) was – I think, anyway – the first time the public really started to tune into the left’s establishment’s hypocrisy on women’s rights.

    As I said @5, my recollection is not of feminists and the left staying silent and accepting the trade-off. Mainstream, centrist Democrats stayed silent. The notion that the left and feminists don’t criticize centrist Democrats is laughable.
    And, since then, the Democrats have become far better at holding their members to account, especially with the rise of Gillibrand in the Senate and the response to the #metoo movement. I see no similar progress on the right. To the contrary, the election of Trump shows that they are not even bothering to pretend they actually care anymore.

  16. 15
    Kate says:

    I think emotive movement politics can be disastrous for the movement when there is an opposing “silent majority.” (as an example, I think the protest movement to keep families together is working, while BLM may have done more harm than good)

    ’m talking about public calls for civility by one party or another, the which I don’t recall being a big thing prior to that instance.

    Activists have always been called to be more civil for any level of speech at all – even football players simply taking a knee during the National Anthem. This is nothing new.

    “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

  17. 16
    RonF says:

    The criticism that I heard of NFL players wasn’t that they were being uncivil. It was that they were being unpatriotic and were showing disrespect to a country that had made it possible for them to get wealthy for playing football for a few years.

    Speaking of getting wealthy for playing ball for a few years, I keep wondering why no one is going after the NBA owners on this issue. They have a similar rule that was instituted for a similar reason going back to I think the 80’s. Why hasn’t it been a big issue hugely publicized by the media?

    From page 61 of the above link:

    H. PLAYER/TEAM CONDUCT AND DRESS

    (2) Players, coaches and trainers must stand and line up in a dignified posture along the foul lines during the playing of the American and/or Canadian national anthems.

    As far as the commentary from Rev. King goes, I thought about it a couple of weekends ago when Fr. Pflager and people from his parish and community decided that the street violence situation in their neighborhoods warranted leading a march down the Dan Ryan to draw attention to the same. That’s I-90/94 going through the middle of Chicago and is one of the busiest (if not THE busiest) sections of highway in the entire country. As I’m sure you imagined upon reading that, there were numerous people calling for him not to do it. It sure as hell disrupted the city. But after thinking about it a while I decided that the critics were wrong. I’m not big on government intervention into problems but it seems to me that one legitimate function of government is to maintain public order. The city is demonstrably not maintaining public order on the West Side of Chicago with 5-year old kids getting shot in the head in their own living rooms from stray bullets coming in through the windows. If I was living there I’d be desperate for action too.

    Of course the left out there is talking about the city becoming the employer of last resort and “gun control” and other such things. That might cause some changes in the long run, but if you want something to happen sooner I’d support calling out the Illinois National Guard to put some squads on street corners 24 x 7. It wouldn’t be pretty, but that way decent people could sit secure in their own homes and walk the streets at night. Drug sales (and therefore consumption) would drop as well.

  18. 17
    RonF says:

    Kate @14

    As I said @5, my recollection is not of feminists and the left staying silent and accepting the trade-off.

    As I said, not all of them stayed silent. Consider Gloria Steinem’s apologia for Pres. Clinton from March of 1998, when she was one of the most prominent feminists in the world.

    #MeToo didn’t come about because of powerful males’ abuse of women. That’s been going on for a hell of a long time. It didn’t even come about because of powerful politicians’ abuse of women. That’s been going on for a hell of a long time too. But it was tolerated as long as politicians like John Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton et. al. helped advance goals sought by the left. No, #MeToo came about because abused women could be used to attack someone opposing the goals of the left.

  19. 18
    Ampersand says:

    There’s a lot I like about Gloria Steinum, but one thing I don’t like about her is the extent to which she’s a Democratic party apologist, even when she shouldn’t be.

    Ron, #metoo couldn’t have happened during the Clinton administration (although plenty of feminists, including NOW, criticized Bill Clinton). #Metoo required both that enough of society agree that sexual harassment is wrong – which certainly wasn’t the case decades ago – and that things like twitter exist. Look at what happened to Bill Clinton in the 1992 primaries, versus what happened to John Edwards in 2008. Or Al Franken just last year.

    And the most prominent people accused in the first wave of #metoo were people like Harvey Weinstein – who was a huge donor to the Democrats – and other Hollywood folks, most of whom I associate with the left.

    No, #MeToo came about because abused women could be used to attack someone opposing the goals of the left.

    You really think the dozens of women who accused Weinstein only did so to harm Republicans? How do you even imagine that works?

  20. 19
    Mandolin says:

    And I’m not sure how Franken being ousted was good for Democrats either on a purely strategic/political-power level.

  21. 20
    Mandolin says:

    Or Kevin Spacey or… I dunno, I guess most of the Hollywood people who got pinned seemed to me like they’d affect a lot of liberals and a lot of conservatives because it’s super sad to realize people whose work you like are also doing awful things.

    Aziz Ansari is left-associated, isn’t he? Junot Diaz. Sherman Alexi.

    And people really did try to tar Clinton for association with Weinstein even though as far as I can tell it wasn’t much of a relationship.

    Anyway, I don’t think we have to look far to figure out why #metoo happened now. It’s not even about Trump. It’s about the cultural change which has sent #metoo-like movements through various other social subcultures in the past decade. It happened in comics; in atheism; in academics; in science fiction. Then it happened in the movie industry, and then in the wider public world. In each of these cases, some of the people who were proven to be bad actors were beloved of liberals, and some beloved of conservatives, and some of everyone, and some of no one. But even where I am situated, it’s been very hard and sad to realize how many people I respect need to be rebuked.

    Sexual harassment exists on every level of society and in every subgroup. Whenever one of these movements happened in a subculture, I’d hear people ask, “What is it about X SUBCULTURE that causes these things to happen here and not elsewhere?” And the answer is: nothing. It’s pervasive. We’ve just seen the conversation work its way up to politics now, is all.

  22. 21
    desipis says:

    RonF:

    #MeToo came about because abused women could be used to attack someone opposing the goals of the left.

    I have to agree with the others; I don’t see #MeToo being about left-wing political strategy. I think Ampersand is onto something when he mentions twitter. The Harvey Weinstein story turning into a broader movement was something I only see happening in the post-truth world. The fact Aziz Ansari is still mentioned in the #MeToo context shows that the movement isn’t about truth, it’s about who is making a claim of grievance and which tribe they belong to.

  23. 22
    lightly says:

    Speaking of liberals not having guns reminded me of this post.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/18/want-gun-control-arm-the-left-it-worked-before/

  24. 23
    Mandolin says:

    Aziz Ansari is someone who was affected by Me, Too—-and relevant because the initial proposition was that the accusations were politically motivated. Even though the Ansari story was mostly just gross, it’s an example that demonstrates accusations were not a tool being made and wielded for the purpose of undermining Republican men.

  25. 24
    Gracchus says:

    “Sexual harassment exists on every level of society and in every subgroup.”

    This is true, but in some subgroups it exists only at the residual level, while in some it is very prevalent and prominent.

  26. 25
    Elusis says:

    Citation very, very much needed.

  27. 26
    Ben Lehman says:

    @gracchus

    Please let me know which social subgroups only have “residual” sexual harassment and what that even looks like. I’m … cautiously enthusiastic about this news.

  28. 27
    Gracchus says:

    Well, are we talking about social subgroups now? I thought we were just talking about subgroups generally. I was thinking of women as a subgroup – not a social one, but definitely a well defined group who are far less likely to commit sexual harassment than almost any other.

  29. 28
    Mandolin says:

    Well, are we talking about social subgroups now?

    Yes. That’s what I was describing.

  30. 29
    Gracchus says:

    Oh OK, I misunderstood. In that case, what I said doesn’t really make any sense. Consider it withdrawn.

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