By the Comics Curmudgeon
OH GOD YOU GUYS HAVE YOU LOOKED OUTSIDE LATELY! There is, like, so much snow! Frozen water! Falling out of the sky! And accumulating, on the ground! YOU GUYS! And yet there’s supposed to be this whole “global warming” thing, which was going to turn the entire planet into a palm-tree-lousy paradise? People are angry! They’re feeling betrayed! Especially the ones who never believed in global warming in the first place! Why does Al Gore hate America, so very much?
OK, drink this one in: It is the absolute Platonic ideal of the cartoon about how it’s cold outside and how that means global warming doesn’t exist. Step 1: Depict dude interacting with winter in some way. Step 2: Dude contemplates the opposition between his current immediate experience ( “cold”) and a word-part of the shorthand for a complex scientific theory ( “warm”). Now, if you want to get fancy, you could add, I don’t know, wordplay, or jokes, or puns, or something vaguely visually interesting to look at. But here’s the great thing: you actually don’t have to! I mean, seems like a lot of bother, right? Nope, just shoveling dude contemplating coldness, and warming. BAM.
Of course, in terms of nuance, that first cartoon is the equivalent of an Axe Body Spray ad that’s all like “Spray this stuff on ya and you’ll be fuckin’ in no time.” In contrast, this one is like an overwrought Obsession commercial from the late ’80s, all dramatic shadows and funny camera angles and overloaded signifiers. Observe our climate nerd, wielding his mighty shovel of Science! He emerges from his (carbon-spewing?) chimney, only to find the Snow of Incontrovertible Truth blanketing the land! The sun, low in the west, “manipulates” the length of the chimney’s shadow! But what of the squirrel? What does the squirrel represent, with its beady, inscrutable eyes? Are we meant to know? Or does it represent the complete absence of knowledge, of certainty?
Oh wait you guys, we totally forgot about Al Gore! Al Gore invented global warming, to make money. Now all the Congressfolks are trapped in the Capitol, by the snow, and they’re mighty pissed at him! They were this close to signing the check for the Global Warming Protection Money and mailing it to him when it started snowing. Now they’d like to have a few words with the man, but he’s nowhere to be found! Have they been denied their sweet, sweet vengeance, just because Gore’s Prius is stuck in a snowbank somewhere?
Naturally, the people who were right about this — i.e., Republicans — are pretty smug. And we should give them the chance to enjoy their I Told You So’s! After all, they’re only human! Or, in this case, horrifying obese human-elephant hybrids, but deep within their hulking mutant form beats a human heart of smugness. Anyway, so, yes, it’s all well and good that they’re hyped up about being right, but really, we feel that if you’re going to give an interview to the national press, you should at least wait until your enormous vindication boner has subsided. You know, especially if you’re a freakish mutant elephant-man, wearing a trench coat.
These ideological victories are all well and good, but it’s still, like, snowing a whole fucking lot, you know? Americans in days of yore would grit their teeth, go out into the streets, and clear away the snow, working together for the betterment of all. We, of course, are not Americans of yore, but are instead a bunch of whiny babies. Here we see a typical pusillanimous early 21st century American. Faced with an unstoppable onslaught of snow, he attempts to surrender to it, like a common Frenchman. Silly coward! Snow does not obey your so-called “Geneva Conventions”!
Oh, and good news, everyone! They found Al Gore! Or at least the head part of Al Gore.
(Bonus cartoons: If somehow these cartoons on this theme weren’t enough for you, you’ll want to check out this.)