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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

You don't know Jack
by Tom Sullivan

Many artistic luminaries passed away in 2016. Those who died during the heat of campaign season escaped my attention, however. Thankfully, Roy Edroso at the Village Voice led me (quite indirectly) to one who went to his reward in late October.

Edroso has been on safari in Rightbloggerland where veterans of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are "fighting a rear guard action against various threats to the Republic, including Facebook’s fake news alerts, the new Star Wars movie, and basic math." There was little reaction to Trump's "unpresidented" tweet, Edroso found. However, when someone tagged Trump booster Mike Cernovich for misspelling “Gettysburg” on Twitter, Cernovich relpied, “Strategic Typos increase engagement as it makes you stop to look. Thus more views. As your reply proves.” Pee Wee would have stopped at, "I meant to do that."

Edroso adds:
This may also have been the spur of a Twitter convo between the New York Post’s Seth Mandel and Ricochet’s Jon Gabriel about how that Obama guy isn’t so smart actually: “It's Obama's utter lack of intellectual curiosity that grates…” “Despite his intellectual pretense, I've never taken Obama as a big reader.” “he's not (though he occasionally pretends to read, with hilarious results).” “Got to hand it to Dubya... he read A LOT,” etc. By 2014 they’ll be telling us it was Obama who couldn’t spell.
Rightbloggerland: space where everyday laws of nature no longer apply. Quantum conservatism we might call it. It is a dimension of belief, not fact, where up is down, black is white, in is out, and wrong is right. Where Ann Coulter's cat can be both alive and dead. Where the Kentucky Fried Chicken company is a person ... headquartered in Louisville ... in a bucket.

But it was this passage from Edroso led me to the death notice of the luminary in question (or is it gloominary?):
At Fox News, John R. Lott voiced another common complaint: “These fact checkers have their own biases — usually the same liberal biases that we see in the rest of the mainstream media.” For example, Lott wrote, fact-checker Politifact said Trump’s claims of “large scale voter fraud” were bullshit, but aha, “voter fraud in 2008 gave Al Franken the Senatorship in Minnesota.” That is, if you believe the evidence Lott was offering, namely another Fox News editorial written by… John R. Lott containing rock-solid proof points like “undoubtedly other felons voted illegally in other counties.”
Okay, my neurons fire funny, but this echoes the intellectual rigor of the age's premier cartoonist-theologian, Los Angeles native Jack Chick. You know, the author of those darkly bizarre, sometimes violent, comic book gospel tracts found on the toilet tank in gas station restrooms. It seems the angels have carried Jack home for a visual replay of his life:

The New York Times marked Jack Chick's passing on October 26:
“To some, Chick tracts are American folk art or even a form of religious pornography, titillating and somewhat dangerous,” Brill’s Content wrote in 1999. “Chick is the ultimate underground artist.”


Mr. Chick saw a long list of practices and beliefs as enemies of true Christianity. In addition to Islam, they included abortion, drugs, evolution, homosexuality, rock music, the Roman Catholic Church, Judaism, Mormonism and Freemasonry — but also Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter, Halloween and updated translations of the Bible. He and the Christian Booksellers Association parted ways in 1981, partly because of his work’s anti-Catholic messages.
Jack Chick was 92.

I have a small bundle of Chick tracts collected over the years. One that passed through my hands into oblivion, sadly, was a comic book-sized, anti-Catholic expose in the style of Classics Illustrated (those of a certain age might remember). Priest have secret sex with nuns and sacrifice the babies to Satan — that sort of thing. Jack also had a thing for documenting his charges by footnoting his illustrated screeds with references to past screeds:

We can expect a lot of similarly scholarly work under the Trump administration, as Edroso illustrates:
... Accuracy in Media just dropped a scathing indictment of Ken Burns. Yes, they’re talking about the Civil War and baseball guy, who they say “hammers at left-wing mantras in his documentaries.” For example, in “his blatantly biased documentary Central Park Five,” Burns focused on the fact that the Five were exonerated by DNA evidence — or, as Accuracy in Media had it, “exonerated” in quotes, since “they would have to stand trial and be declared not guilty in order to be exonerated. Instead their sentences were simply vacated.” It looks as if the reign of The Leader will have a suitable intellectual complement.
Since he was dead before Election Day, one hopes Jack Chick voted his last ballot early or by mail. That would, of course, make the conservative icon one of Dear Leader's loathsome dead voters.

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