April 20, 2008

The conservative mindset. The liberal mindset.

This half of a Pogo cartoon strip by Walt Kelly says it all:


Photographed from the framed original on display at the Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

The Mustard Museum

Why is that cartoon at the Mustard Museum? The other half of the strip mentions mustard twice, and the Mustard Museum has diverse things mentioning mustard...

The Mustard Museum

... plus a lot of mustard:

The Mustard Museum

In case you're wondering about the second half of the strip: The mouse goes on to say, "Bong! Bong! Bong! Corned beef on rye on the nose and all is mustard." The alligator (Albert) says, "A delicious time of day." And the rabbit says, "Some time call! Corned beef on rye on the nose an' all is mustard! What's that amount to?" The mouse answers, "To you, a buck fifty, with java, two clams even." So the old Father Time character says, "Strike that liberal."

IN THE COMMENTS: More than one commenter doesn't understand the comic strip, and I explain it here.

And here's a link to the Mustard Museum website.


Duscany said...

What does that Pogo strip mean? I may need more coffee this morning but I don't get any of it?

Ann Althouse said...

Cartoons were much more challenging back in the day, eh?

blake said...

They were certainly more challenging to draw.

Look at the shading, the individual whiskers on the beard, the Charlie Brown stripe on the vase in the background....

Bill Waterson tried to break the four-panel-rearrangeable mold for comic strips and what happens? Comic strip guys start working on the web--in four-panel-rearrangeable format.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, I was going to point out the allusion to Charlie Brown. Amazing!

vbspurs said...

Duscany, I'm glad you said it. I didn't get a word. All I know is that there's a subliminal bong message.

Ann, as a die-hard mustard fan (which, BTW, in my babyhood I called "mouseturd"), I am happy you went to this museum.

This is right up my kitschy Americana alley!

And I see you are still using the self-same camera I own, the Sony Cybershot, DSC-T9. God only knows how your colours turn out so good. Way better than mine.


Trooper York said...
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rhhardin said...

The Mary Cassett Museum today in Ohio.

reader_iam said...

I just had a huge pretzel dripping with mustard late this afternoon, for the first time in a long time. Mmmm, mmmm. Truth be told, I couldn't care less about the pretzel; it's just an excuse for sucking up gobs of mustard.

(My favorite sandwich in elementary school was tuna fish and mustard. Yeah, I know that sounds gross, but what can I say?)

Cool post.

Michael_H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael_H said...

The Mustard Museum is waaay cool. I kicked ketchup and embraced mustard while I was there last summer. It was a true conversion.

My friends now think I'm an anti-ketchite, but I don't care a bit.

The museum is owned and operated by a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, I believe.

He could do worse, like that attorney here in SE WI who constantly runs those "get out of debt-declare bankruptcy" ads on local televison.

Bissage said...

(1) It takes a genius to recognize genius and make it ingenious.

* prostrates self before master *

(2) Mrs. Bissage just called me to dinner so I cannot stay. I came to say, “I must be going.”

No matter what we’re having . . . I’ll put mustard on it!

Hope it’s some kind o’ varmint!!!

(3) Before I go . . . Victoria . . . please stay a while?

You’ve broken my heart too many times before and I can’t bear another.

(4) She’s yelling up the stairs . . . gotta go!

s1c said...

Pogo - Great comic!!!

Seeing this, reminded me of the old conspiracy (the bold words) that Kelly was actually a communist trying sending secret messages. So off to wikipedia and lo and behold:

"In the early 1970s, Kelly used a collection of characters called the Bulldogs to mock the secrecy and paranoia of the Nixon Administration. The Bulldogs included dopplegangers of J. Edgar Hoover, John Mitchell, and Spiro Agnew. Always referred to, but never seen, was "The Chief," who we are led to believe was Nixon himself.

J. Edgar Hoover apparently read more into the strip than was there. According to documents obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, Hoover had suspected Kelly of sending some form of coded messages via the nonsense poetry and Southern accents he peppered the strip with. He reportedly went as far as having Government cryptographers attempt to "decipher" the strip."

How come we can't get good conspiracy theories in today's world?

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I used to live just outside of Mt. Horeb and the Mustard Museum was a regular stop.

Mustard fanciers who don't know need to know that they have a mail order business.

Maybe it's just personal taste -- I'm married to a European -- but their 'Herbes de Provence' and their tarragon mustards are absolutely awesome. They even have a lavender mustard, which is outstanding.

Our local pub, the Free State in Lawrence, not only has what is indisputably the best beer anywhere between Chicago and Denver, but every March they bring in cases of mustard from Mt. Horeb and serve it with their phenomenal fries while folks watch their Jayhawks march up the bracket.

Trooper York said...
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MadisonMan said...

Beautiful day for a drive in the country today. I like browsing through the antiques mall in Mt. Horeb too.

blake said...

I sort of thought the stripe might be a coincidence, but the two were concurrent so it seems more likely an allusion.

As for condiments, I prefer mayostard. Er, mustardaise. Er, mustardayonaise.

Bissage said...

And now we know the menu.

It was meatloaf, peas, and pasta in chicken broth and parmesan.

For those who care, the meatloaf was Lipton onion soup mix. (A classic!)

The peas were Trader Joe.

The pasta was gemelli.

The wine was some sort of Australian Merlot. (Frankly, I don’t even know what brand. I’m not fussy. If it’s big in the middle, slightly astringent and full of oak, I’m one happy camper!)

The dog dug it all big time.

(That sweet, little baby eats like a horse . . . well . . . a pony, that is.)

P.S. Couldn’t care less about this conservative/liberal claptrap and there was no way Mrs. Bissage was going to let me put mustard on my meatloaf. (I asked a simple question and she moved for her knife and I let it go at that, being a sensible man.)

There you have it!

Pogo said...

What does that Pogo strip mean?

Pogo wasn't a typical strip with one liners. It was a series that required knowledge of the characters and current storyline, tolerance for swamp-speak and nonsense, and a little background education to get the allusions.

How it ever got popular back in the 50s is beyond me. But the drawings were as beautiful as Herriman's Krazy Kat.

I would guess this particular drawing/strip ran in 1967 or '68. The author was ill by that time, already losing some of his vision to diabetes. He died in 1973.

It's worth reading the old stuff he did parodying Sen. Joseph McCarthy as the character Simple J. Malarkey, which includes Indian Charlie - Malarkey's sidekick, a caricature of Richard Nixon.

Rick Lee said...

Does it smell like mustard in there? My mouth waters just a little looking at the photos.

George said...

The publisher Fantagraphics was supposed to have started to re-release the Pogo books last fall.

News here on the offishull Pogo website.

George said...

Sorry, s.b. Oh-fishul

Ann Althouse said...

Pogo, it's dated 1966.

Rick, a little. Not powerfully.

A propos of nothing: I just went out on my deck to watch the sunset and saw a turkey running around in my yard. That was odd.

Trooper York said...
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Simon said...

I shall honor this thread by drenching a burger in mustard. :p

Trooper York said...

Monique: [eating a corn-dog] Mm, great corn-dog.
Ed: I wonder how they get the wienie into the corny exterior?
Monique: A question that has plagued mankind for centuries.
(Good Burger, 1997)

vbspurs said...

MichaelH said:

"My friends now think I'm an anti-ketchite"


By the way, Ann probably went here, but this is the website of the Comic Arts Museum in Brussels.

From the one photo they show on their absolutely minimalist front page (can anyone click on any "link"??), it looks like it's been spruced up a tad. It was awful when I went.

And mind, I like Tintin.


Kitschy museums generally have a very amateur air. It's what I like about them.

I'm guessing the Ketchup Museum is owned by Mrs. Heinz-Kerry and is in PA?

Here's the condiment PACKETS museum.




vbspurs said...


"You’ve broken my heart too many times before and I can’t bear another."

Aww. Thanks darling. :)

I don't know if I can make that promise, but I'll make an effort to post more oftenner.

If Truthiness is a word, oftenner is too.

BTW, best US mustard is...? I like French's.


Trooper York said...

Teddy Roosevelt: [after seeing Larry slapping Dexter] Dear Lord Larry! Why are you slapping the monkey?
(Night at the Museum,2006)

Simon said...

Victoria - When real Dijon coarse ground isn't available, I'm partial to Boar's Head deli style.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...

What does any of this have to do with mustard? C'mon Trooper, you are creative? Something about hot honey mustard on the Baron's knockwurst or something to that effect.

Kevin Walsh said...

Gotta admit...whenever I've read a Pogo cartoon I have NO idea what they're talking about.

"tyin' a can on me"?

"how about a fresh call"?

"callin' the time"?

Althouse? Translate please?


Michael_H said...

Our Gracious Hostess said: "I just went out on my deck to watch the sunset and saw a turkey running around in my yard."

You live near Kevin Barrett?

Simon said...

LOL @ Michael's comment.

Bissage said...


(2) If you’ll promise to make an effort to post more oftenner, I’ll promise to be more hopefullicated.

(3) And don’t listen to the snobs! And don’t ever you change, baby! I’m a Plochman’s kind of guy and you’re a French’s kind of gal and it’ll be you and me against the world, FOREVAR!!1!!1!


(5) And don’t worry about Mrs. Bissage. I kid around a lot, but she’s not really all that dangerous. I’ve gotten pretty good at disarming her. (But truth be told, I sleep better now only because I’ve gotten her hooked on NyQuil.)


Paul Zrimsek said...

Seeing this, reminded me of the old conspiracy (the bold words) that Kelly was actually a communist trying sending secret messages.

The job of seeing secret messages in everything was handed off from conservatives to liberals a few years after the job of calling the time.

Palladian said...


George said...

'Tyin' a can' -- kids used to tie cans 'n' stuff to the tails of dogs and cats?

'Nine o'clock' -- a reference to when parents would call their kids in on summer evenings?

The rabbit, the sexual hare in a "rut"(ting) season, represents spring...the new "time." (Why that would be conservative, I don't know).

And the lefty mouse? He remind one of Lewis Carroll's Tea Party dormouse...'Feed your head'...the Airplane, don'tcha know.

The guy with the beard is Mr. Natural.

Albert Alligator is Al Gore, Sr.

Did anyone notice the Charlie Brown shirt motif on the vase in the background? Turns out, according to the book 'Schulz' that there was a real Charlie Brown, one of Schulz's illustrator pals. Having that name drove the poor guy to suicide, but like his fictional doppelganger he couldn't even get that right and just had to stay alive.

Pogo said...

"Translate please?"

This was Walt Kelly's strangest series, taking place on another planet, which had talking dinosaurs living alongside people. Weird.

In the prior strip to this one, the guy with the hat had just fired the rabbit from his job telling time (from inside the hat).

"tyin' a can on me"?
Slang for 'to play a dirty trick' (cf tying a can on a dog's tail to watch him run); meaning it was mean to fire him. [e.g see Carl Sandburg reference this use in in in Good Morning, America, and Cassell's Dictionary of Slang p. 1436.]

"how about a fresh call"?
Means he wants someone new to announce the time.

"callin' the time"?
The rabbit's job was to lean out of the hat and call out the time, but he always said it was nine o'clock. He got fired because he thought he should have been paid double time for working Labor Day, and announced it was therefore 18 o'clock.

All humor is ruined in the 'splainin'

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't get it. I never get it. I don't get Nancy either. A deaf friend of mine thinks Nancy is hilarious, so I'm doubly nonplussed at that. Here it's the Time character that references conservative and liberal. 72 years of being stuck in a conservative rut. Finally a liberal voice and it's immediate nonsense. That's all I can get out of it. I know nothing of the artist. Although, I do know those swamp boats he drew with the flat bottoms were sold at the equivalents of 7-11's in Shreveport Louisiana. They were stacked like paper cups. I thought it odd to go to a convenience store and pick up a fishing boat, or to be in one like Pogo.

reader_iam said...

A propos of nothing: I just went out on my deck to watch the sunset and saw a turkey running around in my yard. That was odd.

Eek! Does that mean that overnight we'll all be experiencing some sort of simultaneous, collective orgasm again?

Perish the thought. Please. The imagery, that is.

reader_iam said...

which had talking dinosaurs living alongside people.

Well, there are actual people in current times who believe that dinosaurs and humans hung out together on this here earth. Just pointing that out.

titusyourmoma said...

I just watched Requiem for a Dream, one of my favorite movies.

Ellen Bursteyn and Jennifer Connelly are amazing. Ellen should of won the Academy Award for her depiction of Sarah Goldfarb. Jennifer is absolutely beautiful and the new it girl. I love her, so beautiful.

Clint Mansell music incredible.

All in all in incredible movie.

If you haven't seen it you need to.

titusyourmoma said...

My trick from Madison just called me telling me he has been faithful to me. I was like Mary you don't need to tell me that.

titusyourmoma said...

I am now watching Saw II. I hope the hot Rican with the major guns doesn't get killed.

titusyourmoma said...

I love big guns.

reader_iam said...

All kidding aside, we did see a little rabbit trying to figure out what the hell to do and ducks looking for the nests and then nibbling at stuff flung onto a roadway abutting what used to be a bank, not a tributary, before floodwaters encroached. No huge deal--no 2001, for example, much less 1993, here (and, good grief and thank God, nothing like what our Mississippi River neighbors way south experience)--but still, it is interesting to observe nature, in its various forms, reacting to, you'll pardon the expression, the force of nature. (We went back a second time tonight to the same place we'd visited in late afternoon, in response to questions posed by our almost 8-year old. [Science & etc., hands-on and in action, baby!]).


titusyourmoma said...

Althouse had a conversation with another commenter about banning me.

That offends and hurt me....somewhat.

titusyourmoma said...

Labels are really boring.

Everyone has a little liberal and a little conservative in them.

vbspurs said...

Bissage, LOL! I love the photo too. ;)

Also, Reader_Iam, what is this about a collective orgasm?

Now there is a part of collectivisation I wouldn't be against.


reader_iam said...

Hmmm. Inadvertently cut out the first paragraph of my previous comment. But I suspect interested people can figure out the lead-in without the repeat, and everyone else would appreciate my not taking up the real estate. So, it's all good.

reader_iam said...

Hey, Victoria, much-missed blogfriend: Can't take credit for that idea. I was referring to an Althouse notion, which she expressed in a comment in her own comment section attached to her post the other day about this past week's Midwest earthquake.

Good to see you 'round, dear.


Palladian said...

"Kevin Walsh said..."

I love your website, Mr Walsh!

Ann Althouse said...

I thought the little lizard (dinosaur?) on Albert's abdomen alluded to genitalia.

But that's a side issue.

I thought it was pretty obvious that the rabbit had had the job of announcing the time and had been fired because he kept "calling the time" as 9 o'clock. Because of his adherence to set old ways regardless of their usefulness, the man calls the rabbit a conservative. The mouse is eager to take over the job, but his approach to announcing the time involves way too much change (with inane promises of yummy goodies). The old man thus decides that the mouse, by contrast to the rabbit, is a liberal. The rabbit criticizes the mouse, and in so doing, happens to use a phrase -- What's that amount to?" -- that also sounds like he's asking for a price for the goodies just mentioned. So the mouse states a price -- and adds a pitch for coffee. The mouse has revealed himself to be a capitalist, so the old man revokes his opinion that the mouse is a liberal.

former law student said...

Reading George's post re Fantagraphics reminded me I once had a pleasant conversation with Wisconsinite comics publisher/republisher Denis Kitchen. When he ran his Kitchen Sink Press he reprinted Al Capp, but not Pogo. I see it went under in 1999, but Kitchen is still in business.

When I was a kid Pogo was in the Daily News, which as an afternoon paper and true daily I never read till I got to college.

Seneca the Younger said...

I did so love Pogo. I think I'm going to hit Amazon.

Trooper York said...
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titusyourmoma said...

Thanks Troop and thanks for defending me Althouse-hugs.

MadisonMan said...

Here's what you can say when you meet: it's a movie quote and it's relevant to this entire thread.

Brother, if you want any singing from me, you better haul out that bratwurst and spread some mustard on it

Trooper York said...
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