#SAD: Doonesbury's collected Trump strips afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted

Since 1987, Doonesbury has been pricking Trump's bubble, and Trump hates it; Trump even instructed the ghost writer on "his" "book" Surviving at the Top to devote several pages to denouncing Trudeau as unfunny (you can read all of Trudeau's Trump strips in last year's Trump retrospective collection, Yuge!).

No cartoonist* is more qualified than Trudeau to tear Trump a new comedic asshole, five days a week.

(* Berkeley "Bloom County" Breathed, who came out retirement to savage Trump in three glorious volumes (and counting) of new strips, is a close runner-up)

As Trudeau explains in his introduction to #SAD: Doonesbury in the Time of Trump, the point of satire isn't to change Trump supporters' minds by making them laugh at their racist god-emperor -- it's to afflict the comfortable (Trump can't stand being laughed at) and comfort the afflicted (laughing at Trump is a proven preventative for outrage-induced aneurysms).

Trump's brand of news blitzkreig -- doing something fucked up and terrible before you've fully processed the last fucked up and terrible move -- is exhausting, but reviewing it in retrospect, through collected satire, thoroughly defangs the tactic, revealing it for the cheap trick it is.

It helps that Trudeau, like Bob Woodward, came into his own through the Nixon impeachment; the callbacks to Nixon are especially tasty and make Trump's incompetent villainy all the more obvious; as another Trudeau once quipped, "I've been called worse things by better people." Characters born in the Nixon era slot eerily well into the Trump era -- for example, Ronald Hedley Jr is now working for Fox, and his Twitter account is a right-wing version of Poe's Law: satire is indistinguishable from Hannity.

All things being equal, I'd trade this book -- and others, like the Bloom County revivals -- for a timeline in which Trump never rose to power (in the same way that I'd trade Picasso's Guernica for an alternate timeline without the Guernica massacre), but if we have to have Trump, at least we can be comforted by #SAD.

#SAD: Doonesbury in the Time of Trump [Garry Trudeau/Andrews McMeel Publishing]

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