The Talk, part 3
The Talk, part 3 | Buy Reprint Rights | License Candorville | Get Candorville In Your Paper | Buy Candorville BOOKS
August 11th, 2010

The Talk, part 3

A few of you have written to tell me Lemont’s last line is insensitive and/or inaccurate. Insensitive? Maybe. But if you’re looking for “Sensitive-ville,” that’s a few miles down the road. I don’t believe in walking on egg shells about the truth, and this is as accurate as analogies can get. This is a succinct way to describe the disorder that’s afflicted our country since the Revolution. Delusions of equality and liberty on the one hand; and on the other, feelings of utter hopelessness and helplessness by those who didn’t receive either (and their descendants).

Some of the symptoms of a manic episode: a person may feel he’s on a mission from God, that he’s been chosen for some special, grandiose purpose; and that that warrants his aggressive, intrusive actions. This is the point at which you should be Googling “Manifest Destiny,” “The War of 1812,” “The Mexican-American War,” the “Spanish-American War,” the “Vietnam War,” “slavery,” and… hell, just Google “American History.”

Some symptoms of the depressive episode, from Wikipedia (I know, I know, but look it up anywhere, and it’s the same set of symptoms): Chronic feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, or hopelessness. For eight decades, this described not only the slaves and the Native Americans… but America’s abolitionists and those who felt slavery was a necessary evil. And it’s a succinct depiction of what afflicts so many descendants of slaves today, and so many descendants of slave-owners.

Whether it afflicts an individual or a society, mental illness is a hard thing to talk about. In both cases, most would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. In both cases, the mere mention of it stirs up accusations of “insensitivity” by those who’d rather ignore the problem away.

Anyone who’s read the strip for any length of time should know Candorville‘s not into ignoring problems away.

  • Chaya Fradle

    Methinks Lemont has pushed a button or two.

  • kencollier

    It seems odd to me that people have so trouble with the possibility that the founders were imperfect or inconsistent in any way. I've always found the failure of the founders and the fights between them somewhat comforting. The founders weren't perfect and designed a government for humans like themselves. Flawed people can do great things. Jefferson was inconsistent and imperfect at time (both on the issue of slavery). That doesn't make the Declaration of Independence any less inspiring. In some ways, it makes it more relevant.

    • Chaya Fradle

      I agree with Ken. In fact, we had both a positive and a negative history. Just because we now know the negative, this doesn't mean we can throw away the positive. But, I think the cartoon is only specifying for one particular negative. Slavery.

  • Budman

    I would have welcomed the last frame to say, instead: "some ghosts are hypocrites". Or, "delusional hypocrites". Or, "bigoted hypocrites."

    Anything like the above, but, please, please not another ''media'' kick in the teeth at the helpless, not-at-fault mentally ill [nor any other powerless minority]. I think that you agree with this, yes?

    I always look forward to Candorville in the LA TImes and enjoy the writer's wit, politics and artwork. Thank you.

    But, we have battled severe bipolar-manic-depression illness in our family for over 30 years. I support meetings of patients and families of NAMI and DBSA mental illness support groups in our area and have seen first hand how these terrible brain illnesses kill patients, destroy families and destroy lives.

    Minorities and disabiled need to be treated with more respect and not subjected to more ridicule, stigma, jokes and treated like second class citizens just so those more fortunate can feel a phony superiority, right?

    I hope no one reading this suddenly finds themselves or a loved one a victim of severe mental illness. It sucks big time.

    Keep up the good work; be careful please of the hurtful labels; we can be candid without being cruel, yes?

    Thank you.

  • James

    Yet again the term democracy is thrown around.

    We are a Republic.

    Katrina was a tragedy to say the least, but it was a failure of the local government, look at the floods of Tennesse were everything was handled at the local level.

    Chaya, you make the argument for the Democrats and a liberal solution. I have made no party stand, but let me ask this:

    Who was the mayor around the katrina disaster? Governor?

    • kencollier

      Democracy is generally used as a broad term that refers to a system where the authority to govern originates with citizens. A republic or representative democracy is one way in which democracy is practice. Calling some "a democracy" is different than referring to democracy. Either way, squabbling over the exact phrasing in a forum like this isn't really constructive.

    • The word ‘democracy’ is simply Greek for ‘republic’, and ‘republic’ is simply Latin for ‘democracy’. The proper name of the state of Greece in English is ‘Hellenic Republic’, but in Greek it is ‘Hellenic Democracy’ (‘Ελληνική Δημοκρατία’).

      You may find it helpful, to understand political theory, to make a distinction between these two terms. You may find it particularly nice if you make the distinction so that one term (which matches the name of your favourite political party) fits the constitution of your country but the other term does not. However, the rest of us are not obligated to go along with your special way of using these words.

      • kencollier

        Perhaps the terms are interchangeable in Greek and Latin. I'm sure that will be useful when you're posting to a Roman's blog. However, the English definition of the words is different.

  • What Lemont is saying isn't insensitive but certainly not right either. When someone is bi-polar, life is either really, really great – or really, really awful.

    What Lemont is observing would more correctly be called cognitive dissonance – holding contradictory ideas at the same time. They created a republic based on the idea of freedom but then allowed slavery to continue.

    Anyone who is offended by Lemont's comment needs to re-read history. Look at the abolitionists again. Some of them fought to end slavery not because they believed in the inherent humanity and dignity of the African slaves but because they wanted to purify American and rid it of these inferior beings!

    I may disagree with Lemont's analogy but I agree with the spirit of his comments (ooo – bad inadvertent pun there.) The founders had some good ideas but they also had some really bad ones. It's our job today to take the seed of good and expand it to include all people, regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation, in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • James

    After of course reminding everyone that we are a Republic, not a democracy!

    I also find the comment about the founders rights for slaves offensive as it could not be further from the truth.

    • Darrin Bell

      I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying the Founders *did not* allow slavery to continue? Are you saying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were not written by slave-owners?

      • James

        Most of the founders wanted to abolish slavery, however in the grand scheme they knew at the time they could not abolish slavery and deal with indepedance at the same time, but measures were taken to put us on the right path.

        IE, just one of many examples is the changing of the words "property" to "happiness" and the 3/5th's clause, these are just two rapid examples of measures taken to weaken the slave owners and slave states positions.

        You truly want to get into how things got spun in the wrong direction I would recommend some reading of the professor David Barton and material from wallbuilders. Of course if you have more time read original source of the writings of the founders to see real intent they had and not the tranlanted and opinionated versions of revisionist history text books.

        The comment could have read more accurately "the few founders who fought to cling to the right to own slaves".

        • kencollier

          The Founders talked about equality but often fell short. Remember that their early democracy was only to be exercised by white, land-owning, males. I think Darrin is essentially correct that the founders often said one thing and practiced another. Attempts to dismiss "revisionist historians" doesn't change the fact that the founding generation found itself very comfortable with the inequalities of the time.
          I don't think Darrin's "bi-polar" diagnosis is correct (Lucy's label of cognitive dissonance is pretty good), but I'm for granting comic strips a degree of artistic license given the need for humor backed into a small space.

  • Amor

    Love Lemont, but if someone were to say that at a gathering, I would probably walk out. XD