A word of homage to Chris Muir
It's been some time since I have mentioned the cartoonist Chris Muir. The Florida-based dispenser of drollerie and savvy social commentary, now in his early 50s, is a politically mature version of Garry Trudeau, the creator of Doonsbury. Muir's family of characters is as yet smaller than Trudeau's. He does not have the extravagant silliness of the 60s drug and protest culture as a prop and inspiration for absurd (yet somehow lovable) characters. But whereas Doonsbury ran out of gas in the Clinton years -- if only, Trudeau seems to have felt, Monica Lewinski had interned during a Republican administration! -- Chris Muir is just now hitting his stride.
If you're a cartoonist, American politics -- American culture generally -- is a gift that just keeps on giving. With the ascent of Barack Obama, it is the return of Santa Claus about once a week. So much material, so little time! Chris Muir makes the most of it, delighting his growing circle of readers in the process.
Quite apart from his notable graphic abilities, what sets Muir apart from most of his fellow entertainers is his allergy to the poison of political correctness. He has a clear grasp of the dangers of what Tocqueville called "democratic despotism," what conservatives today are likely to congregate under the rubric of "big government." Muir pokes fun at pomposity and excess wherever he finds it, but he is perhaps at his best and most trenchant when exposing the sinister underside of the illiberal liberalism that has come to define the Democratic party of the early twenty-first century. This recent strip is a case in point:
Muir's column should be syndicated in hundreds of newspapers. But most newspapers are too timid to offer him a home. Do not despair, though. You can find his pointed reflections on The Way We Live Now every day at daybydaycartoon.com. Make it part of your morning ritual. It will help prepare you for the slings and arrows of mendacious rubbish that the MSM will be sending your way the rest of the day.