Tom the Dancing Bug: Nate - Oil Spill

By Ruben Bolling

ttdb5.jpgHere's this week's strip! You can also buy Thrilling Tom the Dancing Bug Stories, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From My Golf-Playing Cats and Tom the Dancing Bug at Amazon.

Published 8:57 am Wed, May 19, 2010

28 Responses to “Tom the Dancing Bug: Nate - Oil Spill”

  1. Matt Deckard says:

    Beautiful satire.

  2. zikzak says:

    Who’s nate? Is he a real figure? I think this kind of political commentary is weak, because it depends on making stuff up to make the point. If you can’t be funny or make a point without fabricating an opponent, you’re doing it wrong.

    First of all we’ve got an imaginary figure getting called on some imaginary contradictory stuff he said. Presumably we’re supposed to understand that real pundits or politicians do stuff like that all the time. But if so, why not call those people directly on it? Why do you have to invent a fictional representative?

    The rest of the strip takes that strategy even further. It lays out a fantasy scenario meant to reflect the mentality of people like (the imaginary) Nate. Again, if “people like Nate” are so bad, why not call out the actual fucked up stuff they do? I’m sure conservative politicians are responsible for much more heinous stuff than burning down a house anyway.

    The strip reflects a general tendency among pundits to paint their opponents with extremely broad strokes – to create a caricature of “those kind of people” and then argue against that, rather than reality. This is intellectual lazy at best, disingenuous at worst.

    • Trotsky says:

      >> If you can’t be funny or make a point without fabricating an opponent, you’re doing it wrong.

      The creator of this comic has been making a living off of Funny and Making-a-Point for a couple of decades now. I humbly submit to the members of the jury that YOU are doing “it” wrong, if indeed you are doing it at all.

    • kpkpkp says:

      Do you own a brown suit and red tie?

    • Sean Coffee says:

      Congratulations, zikzak. You have successfully denied the validity of all satire and allegory ever. “Why are there ducks and pigs in Animal Farm! Why doesn’t Orwell use the real people? It’s as bad as that Jonathan Swift guy, the cannibal! Or those guys on Saturday Night Live who do parodies of politicians but don’t accurately reflect what they’ve said! SNL should use transcripts only!”

    • millionpoems says:

      > This is intellectual lazy at best

      Intellectual lazy, indeed!

    • Nater says:

      Who’s nate? Is he a real figure?


      There be another lesson in humour. This one is called irony. It has nothing to do with the element, nor the domestic chore. It is, rather, where the literal meaning of a statement is contradictory to the actual meaning.

    • Anonymous says:

      “You’re doing it wrong”. Hmmm, you’re either a brilliant ironist and frankly very stealthy troll, or, as I suspect by the length of your comment, yet another person who thinks their taste and opinion is some kind of rulebook for the rest of us to follow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Time for that sense of humor tune up you’ve been putting off.

    • Anonymous says:

      it’s called a comic.

    • Anonymous says:

      @zikzak: Yeah, that’s weird how this comic strip uses hyperbole and exaggeration. It’s almost cartoonish.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nate is a recurring character. He used to be called “Nate the Neo-conservative,” which spells out who he’s parodying. Evidently Ruben either expected you to recognize him, or to be able to figure it out from context. Which, as everyone else said, isn’t actually too hard at all.

    • neward says:

      Your satire is brilliant.

    • wgmleslie says:

      I agree. My personal cartoon nemesis is “Uncle Sam”. Who is this Uncle Sam character supposed to be? The American people? It’s just a lazy shortcut.

      I will not be satisfied until political cartoonists depict each and every one of the 300 million US citizens.

  3. mappo says:

    Really zikzak? You don’t know who Nate is? “Drill !@#$%%$! Drill” didn’t help?

  4. kpkpkp says:

    Here are a couple video links:

    McCain Palin Rally:

    Palin’s ‘Drill Baby Drill’ Vs. Oil Spill”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why is anyone still pissing about Palin, who has NO power?

  6. Anonymous says:

    In all fairness to I zikzak, I seem to recall reading somewhere that Nate the Neoconservative was originally modelled after pundit Bill Kristol, but I can’t find any source for this.

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Glenn Fleishman says:

    Thank you for joining us for another round of Guess Who Is an Engineer! With us this week, are panelists #1, #2, and #3.

    Quizmaster: Is Bolling serious?

    Panelist #1: Bolling is engaged in satire and lampoon, along with creating an avatar of Nate who acts as a symbol for a host of political figures we might identify with him.

    Quizmaster: 15 points, panelist #1! Panelist #3, what’s the definition of satire?

    Panelist #3:

    Quizmaster: That’s a shortcut, but the judges say we can take it, 10 points! Now, Panelist #2, does a cartoon represent literal reality with no shading of meaning or analogy?

    Panelist #2: Yes?

    Audience: HE’S THE ENGINEER!

    Quizmaster: That’s right! Take him away, boys. Everyone in the audience today will receive a year’s supply of Kitty Bits and Doggy Bits. Thanks for playing!

    • Matt Deckard says:

      Quit giving engineers a bad name. I’m an engineer, and I correctly identified this not only as satire, but as beautiful satire in the first post. zikza.. erm, I mean Panelist #2 isn’t an engineer, he’s just a moron.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention: I love the quotation marks around the word “Sigh” to show that he’s saying it instead of actually sighing. That’s an awesome bit of characterization. Good job, Bolling.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “You don’t know who Nate is? “Drill !@#$%%$! Drill” didn’t help?”

    I don’t know, either, and no, that line doesn’t help.

    I googled and came up with RNC chairman Michael Steele — I’ve certainly never heard of him before.

    Should I have known the name and catch-phrase of the chairman of some political party? I will be very impressed if anyone here can, from memory, say the name of the chair of any other political party and a phrase he/she is most famous for saying.

    • Matt Deckard says:

      Understanding political humor does require one to have at least a vague awareness of current events. If you’ve never heard the phrase “drill, baby, drill”, then either you’re not American or you haven’t been paying attention to American politics for the last 3 years. Or watching the news for the last month.

      In either case, you are not the intended audience for this comic.

  11. Sebas van den Brink says:

    I think XKCD summarized a discussion like this beautifully;

  12. Anonymous says:

    Nate the Neocon is brilliant satire!

    “I never said there wouldn’t be an oil spill. Anyway, what does the spill have to do with oil drilling?” Hysterical!

    I’ll bet you can hear that exact quote from one of the AM radio hate-talkers. I hear Sean Hannity shouting down disagreeable callers over the Gulf disaster with the line, “Do you think BP intended this spill to happen?” It’s as if he thinks that absolves them from responsibility—like a drunk driver that killed someone would not be responsible because he never intended that to happen.

    Think about someone like Bill Kristol. Everything he claimed about Iraq before the war turned out to be completely, utterly wrong! Everything! Yet he has never conceded even ever making the slightest error whatsoever, and continues to be a fixture on gabfest shows as if has some shred of credibility.

    The Neo-cons loudly and emphatically assert that what is wrong with the world is the failure of others take responsibility. Yet, like Nate, they move from failure to failure, oblivious to the trail of destruction in their wake as a result of their own errors, not to mention the possibility that they themselves may actually be capable of making a mistake.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I laughed out loud! This is a classic and highlights Bollings’s comic genius.

    Yes I am a suck up but at least it’s true.