April 20, 2016

"What in the hell are you trying to do?"


                "What in the hell are you trying to do?"

A New Yorker cartoon, published in the April 25, 2016 issue, by the brilliant William Hamilton, who drew cartoons for more than 50 years. He died in a car crash on April 8th. Driving in Kentucky, near his horse farm, he ran a stop sign and got hit by a truck. His cartoons showed people of a particular class — "the preppy world, the world of Ralph Lauren, the Protestant WASP establishment that was on their way out, holding on to their diminishing privileges."
“He took a rarefied world and broke it down into terms that would seem familiar to any socially insecure high school student anywhere,” [his daughter and son-in-law] wrote.

As Mr. Hamilton himself once put it: “I see a lot of the people I draw. They’re my friends.”...

Mr. Hamilton’s fascination with high society came from “being near money, but far enough away that I couldn’t quite get my fingers around it,” he told The New York Times in 1988.... “We lived on one of those dwindling trust funds,” he once said, “with a hint of money in the past, but not much in the present.”
I found the "What in the hell..." cartoon when I clicked to The New Yorker's new set of cartoons looking for one I'm seeing people sharing on Facebook. Ah! All the cartoons about about Trump. Click here and scroll through. For example, people playing bridge and one says: "One no-trump. Oh, please, God, no Trump." The one that I'd seen on Facebook has Trump taking the oath of office — Bible omitted, intentionally or unintentionally? — and saying: “... and will to the best of my ability, which is terrific ability, by the way. Everyone agrees, I have fantastic ability. So there’s no problem with my ability, believe me....”

Some are a lot funnier that others. One should not have been published.


“I know we strictly bust ghosts, but I feel this is a shot we need to take.”

I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable. Was it because the assassins — the "Ghostbusters" characters — are women? Somehow violence by women doesn't count as real violence? It's only a joke — a Squeaky Fromme joke. It's funny until it's not funny. Or do we in some strange, unexamined way believe that women have a violence privilege?

55 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Thanks for posting this. I always liked Hamilton Cartoons in the New Yorker (long ago, my parents subscribed) because the drawing was clean and I could relate to the people.

tim maguire said...

The violence by women helps, but you know the real reason just like all of us do--murdering Republicans is not really murder. Not murder-murder as one might say.

rehajm said...

“being near money, but far enough away that I couldn’t quite get my fingers around it,” he told The New York Times in 1988.... “We lived on one of those dwindling trust funds,” he once said, “with a hint of money in the past, but not much in the present.”

The New York Times empathizes.

Sebastian said...

"I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable" "I can't believe/I can't get my mind around/why-oh-why/whoa": the shtick gets old. It's who they are, it's what they want, they pursue power by any means necessary: why expect anything else from the left?

Owen said...

William Hamilton R.I.P.

We will not see his like again; and with the dwindling of his demographic, soon nobody will notice.

Patrick said...

Unlike Hitler, the people calling for violence against Trump are very committed and are acting on all the best impulses, so it's ok for them. They have no inkling that where such thinking leads.

Steven said...

"I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable"
Carl Weiss had a huge funeral for a reason.

Anglelyne said...

I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable.

Justifiable? Wrong question. Funny or not funny?

Herd politics is the death of wit.

Ann Althouse said...

"the shtick gets old"

No.

Assassination is different.

It does not fit the general category that of course the press is liberal and liberals are out to get conservatives.

This is categorically different. There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death. That is a restraint that transcends the usual politics.

Curious George said...

"Was it because the assassins — the "Ghostbusters" characters — are women?"

Whoa! I know they look like women, and likely are. But they very well might identify as men. I mean the Ghostbusters were men, and identifies as such.

Laslo Spatula said...

The Hamilton cartoon: fine line-work, just enough detail to establish the setting. Note the make-up items are on tables we don't even see. Upper left of the cartoon: empty space, because nothing else is needed -- it directs your eye to the essentials.

The "Ghostbusters" cartoon: inelegant line-work, scratchy overdone details -- 'LOOK! Look at all the detail I put into their backpacks!'

Gray tones everywhere, because the line-work itself is not trusted to stand on its own: muddled, aimless.

Punch-line with the finesse of a hammer. Below-par college-newspaper stuff.

Sad.

I am Laslo.


rehajm said...

There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death.\

In defense of the cartoon Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained. There's no shooting or death involved.

Kyzernick said...

They're not assassinating Trump. Everyone knows that the proton packs carried by the Ghostbusters merely hold their phantom target in place so that they can deploy the trapdoor that will imprison the ghosts in another dimension. It's not an assassination - it's a kidnapping.

Kyzernick said...

Great minds think alike.

MisterBuddwing said...

I mean the Ghostbusters were men, and identifies as such.

I take it you haven't heard of the "Ghostbusters" reboot due out this summer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ugHP-yZXw

(For my money, it doesn't look all that promising.)

rehajm said...

Kyzernick said...
Great minds think alike.


x2!

Gahrie said...

Or do we in some strange, unexamined way believe that women have a violence privilege?

Or perhaps the MSM is giving the Left a violence privilege, like they always do.

tim maguire said...

Ann Althouse said...This is categorically different. There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death. That is a restraint that transcends the usual politics.

Yeah...no. There is plenty of history to mainstream left-wing exhortations of violence against right-wingers for their opinions (never mind for the moment that Donald Trump is not a right-winger, he is the likely Republican nominee, so he must be made to be right-wing). This may be a difference in degree (though not really even that!), it cannot reasonably be argued to be a difference in kind.

MisterBuddwing said...

Or perhaps the MSM is giving the Left a violence privilege, like they always do.

Change that to "violent fantasies privilege," and I'll totally agree with you.

The view seems to be that leftist fantasies of violence are a harmless way of letting off steam, since we know leftists are peace-loving pacifists who wouldn't hurt a fly in real life, while conservative fantasies of violence are... a dress rehearsal. (Irony alert for the less than enlightened.)

MadisonMan said...

(For my money, it doesn't look all that promising.)

Agreed, although I'm certainly not the target audience. Won't everyone be waiting for a Bill Murray appearance and ultimately be disappointed?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rehajm said...

In defense of the cartoon Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained.

How'd that work out for the Stay-Puft marshmallow man?

traditionalguy said...

ISIL prefers female suicide bombers. Women will get the job done.

But of course that is not a woman's highest and best use.

Maybe, just maybe, some women are different from others....could it be so?

We are back to the Myers-Briggs typing.

holdfast said...

"There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death."

Uh-huh.

I take it that you've now fully repressed 2000-2008?

But remember, a picture of a reticle on a county or state is a call for immediate violence, but a call for immediate violence is actually a funny joke and why don't you Rethuglican weirdos get the joke?

rehajm said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

How'd that work out for the Stay-Puft marshmallow man?


Not same! Crossing the streams would be bad...

tim in vermont said...

Since you brought up The New Yorker, can I just say that just because poetry doesn't rhyme, doesn't mean it's not doggerel.

Owen said...

Rehajm and Kyzernick: "...There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death.\

In defense of the cartoon Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained. There's no shooting or death involved..."

Exactly. The underlying thought (kill him) is shielded by the fakery of Ghostbusters pretend-tech and it's not really death anyway. Childish trappings around a very real malevolence. The cartoonist invites the reader to share that vindictive fantasy and then "laugh it off."

But sometimes the truest words are said in jest.

Alexander said...

Trump brings badfeels to rightpeople. Obviously, this is bad.

Removing badfeels from rightpeople is good.

How one goes about 'removing' the badfeels... well, that a *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*, but suffice it to say that for the rightpeople, there's no wrong way to do it, so long as it works.

Bonus points if you can point out afterwards that it was his own fault.

Laslo Spatula said...

"In defense of the cartoon Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained. There's no shooting or death involved..."

Somehow I think the average New Yorker reader is unfamiliar with the details of Ghostbuster science.

I am Laslo.

Curious George said...

"rehajm said...
In defense of the cartoon Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained. There's no shooting or death involved."

"Blogger Kyzernick said...
Everyone knows that the proton packs carried by the Ghostbusters merely hold their phantom target in place so that they can deploy the trapdoor that will imprison the ghosts in another dimension. It's not an assassination - it's a kidnapping."

Tell that to Stay Puft. They "smored" the son of a bitch.

MisterBuddwing said...

Somehow I think the average New Yorker reader is unfamiliar with the details of Ghostbuster science.


"Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area..."

Curious George said...

"MisterBuddwing said...
I mean the Ghostbusters were men, and identifies as such.

I take it you haven't heard of the "Ghostbusters" reboot due out this summer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ugHP-yZXw"

I hadn't. But again, this idea of "men" and "women" is so antiquated.

TurbineGuy said...

"Or do we in some strange, unexamined way believe that women have a violence privilege?"

It's amazing how many times a day you see women slapping or hitting men on TV. Even on obviously progressive shows.

Owen said...

Woman-on-man violence is the norm in entertainment world. The violence may be literal (with the man getting smacked although usually not fatally) or it can be figurative (with the man being chewed out or mocked for being such a clueless jerk).

Just take notes of TV ads and how many of them have the guy as the butt of the joke.

Is this the tribute paid to the powerful? Or the derision shown to the conquered?

Michael K said...

"There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death. That is a restraint that transcends the usual politics."

The Coachella Music Festival is OK with killing Trump and even the entertainment magazines think it is a great thing.

Rap music seems to be accomplishing the purpose of sucking the intelligence out of anyone under 30.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

This is categorically different. There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death. That is a restraint that transcends the usual politics.

Really? George W Bush Assassination Film Wins Award

"A spoiled child (Bush) is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little b*stard. [audio of gun being cocked]." --a "humor bit" from the Randi Rhodes Show

Those were the first two I thought of. Prominent Liberals and Media folks publicly wishing for violence against Republicans or people on the Right is not new or shocking to anyone who pays attention, ma'am.
If you want to put a spin on it, you might say that we tune it out specifically because we aren't really afraid of some limp-wristed Lefties actually harming anyone--we all know they're mostly loudmouthed wimps--so we just assume that violence is the domain of the non-Lefty! How about that, a take analogous to your view of domestic violence--the Left can make all kinds of threats of violence, laugh about killing Republicans, etc, and we take it in stride because we assume they don't pose an actual threat. When a Republican uses any kind of war or battle or fighting analogy, though, everyone loses their minds because Republicans are actually capable of harming others through violence (they're "real men").
Hey, you explain the double standard!

Anyway it's not really all that rare, Professor, and it's certainly not considered (by the Media) as some terrible, career-destroying thing when the Left talks/fantasizes about killing Republicans.

JAORE said...

"I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable."

Did you sleep through the entire GW Bush presidency?

Books, plays, posters...

But, we can always wait for some trivial image thought to contain a threat to Her Hillaryness and the old civility demand will echo throughout the land.*

* Yeah, I know you are tired of hearing this. I'm sure tired of having it thrust in my face - no, Laslo, that was not an invitation.

Michael said...

The cartoon isn't really about killing a person. It's about deflating the puffed-up public persona of Donald Trump. He is the giant Marshmallow Man of our times, and if they "busted" him an actual human being might walk away from the debris. It's a cartoon; not everything is meant literally.

But I think it's true that violence is culturally a female privilege. Men are considered (a) too good at it, and (b) not to need it. Women are allowed wide leeway (presumably) to defend themselves. Besides: "The female of the species is more deadly than the male."

Curious George said...

"There is normally real restraint about saying you want to see somebody shot to death. That is a restraint that transcends the usual politics."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3ctO7fdrcc

I dunno, maybe lynching is different.

tim in vermont said...

It trancends everything but Democrat politics.

Brando said...

It's easy to imagine the reaction if they used the original (all male) ghostbusters and a giant Hillary. It would be "sexist" and "violence against women" and all that. We hear constantly that the rips on Hillary (e.g., being "unqualified") are rips on all women, because those attacks would never be made against a male candidate (a dubious assertion). So maybe Hillary's the beneficiary here of not being in such cartoons, while it's okay for a man like Trump to be.

In any case, that cartoon is just another reminder of a beloved pop culture institution being bastardized with an unnecessary re-make, as though putting women in those roles is adding anything new and worthwhile. Yawn!

Michael said...

He was fantastic and I took the magazine for years just for his cartoons. My absolute favorite had two men in front of an imposing building and the one says to the other: Sorry this is my club, you can't come in.

furious_a said...

Ghostbusters use Proton Packs which fire a charged particle beam that neutralizes the negative energy of a ghost, allowing it to be contained. There's no shooting or death involved.

Tell that to the STA-PUFT Marshmallow Man, pal.

furious_a said...

The cartoonist could have portrayed Trump-Puft in the Sailor Suit, leering over building ledge at the Ghost-bustresses, and one of them saying "...but crossing the streams would be BAD."

That would have captured the whole chosen-the-form-of-your-destructor vibe radiating from this whole campaign and would have also been, you know, funny. Any implied assassination would resonate with only the humorless and way-too-easily-offended.

At least funnier than the movie reboot is going to be. I'm just glad that Harold Ramis isn't alive to see the travesty when it premieres.

William said...

Does anyone know a single person who has attempted a comb over in emulation of Donald Trump? Hamilton people are not Donald Trump fans and, by and large, don't do comb overs. They go bald and drive old cars. Wasps like to pretend that they're unpretentious. Donald Trump is not a stereotypical Wasp.........Remember that infamous fist bump carton on the cover of the New Yorker. The New Yorker editors did. There have been more Mohammed cartoons than those of Obama in that magazine.

Mary Beth said...

Somehow I think the average New Yorker reader is unfamiliar with the details of Ghostbuster science.

They've got no one to blame but themselves for that.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Michael said...
He was fantastic and I took the magazine for years just for his cartoons. My absolute favorite had two men in front of an imposing building and the one says to the other: Sorry this is my club, you can't come in.


New Yorker Print: This is my club

...I don't get it.

Lilac Haze said...

I think of the ghost buster thing as attacking a monster. Remember, it was Trump who started down the path of attacking political correctness and saying things that were before unspeakable. Why should it stop here? "It's just an assassination" Ha ha ha ha. Que in alt right joke.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Lilac Haze said...
I think of the ghost buster thing as attacking a monster


I agree, but isn't that Other-izing, and aren't we supposed to be against that?

Michael said...

HoodlumDoodlum

In just those few words and that bland drawing Hamilton slammed the clueless WASP and his companion who looks and dresses like him but is separated by not belonging. The class within the class, the concierge floor of the Ritz, the horror of another mysterious rung on the ladder that you do not know exists or do not know how to climb.

Michael in ArchDen said...

Am I the first to notice how small his fingers are in comparison to his other features? :-)

tim in vermont said...

I guess Michael, that first you have to care about it.

R. Chatt said...

We're ultimately judged by our actions not our words, and to what degree we bring something of the divine to the earth. So I've been told by every spiritual teacher and text.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have a president who inspires light hearted humor and big achievements instead of snark, angst and colossal failures?

Rhythm and Balls said...

I can't get my mind around why The New Yorker thought assassination ideation was justifiable.

Um, probably because no one sane would take seriously the idea of the Ghostbusters as real-life assassins. Let alone assassins of presidential candidates.

Even presidential candidates with the ephemeral image and consistency and administrative durability of a ghost.

tim in vermont said...

Um, probably because no one sane would take seriously the idea of the Ghostbusters as real-life assassins. Let alone assassins of presidential candidates.

LOL, tell that to Sarah Palin. But I guess by "sane" you mean "nobody on our side would think that about one of our own." There is so much unsaid by liberals.

Matthew Sablan said...

It got published the same reason all the murder fantasies of Bush, Walker, Palin, etc. got published. Not because the VIOLENCE was thought to be less, but rather, the targets were thought to be unperson. They thought it would be a safe gag, one they'd never make about Obama or Clinton, but then trotted it out and didn't realize that some people don't like their oxes being gored.

[Honestly, it's just not FUNNY is the real problem, not the violent imagery.]