In most aspects, there’s no arc to the human story. Only a line heading upward. For nearly everything. In this case, the coarsening of the National Discourse. We aren’t returning someday to any sort of golden era of political civility. The line heads heavenward and has been since the Republic started.
There’ll always be great, classic cartooning. There’ll also be radio. Concept rock albums. Theatrical movie dramas for intelligent adults. Little kids riding bicycles down a neighborhood street without a grown-up. Family dinner hours. Eleven-year-old girls who dress like children. Instant coffee. Buggy whips.
They’ll just be much harder to find.
Although he’s clearly a dramatic, dysfunctional narcissist, and he hasn’t managed “funny” for almost two decades, Berke Breathed really puts his finger on an American problem: our great process of liberalization, or breaking into many different competing individualistic viewpoints, has alienated us rather than bringing us together.
Even more, there’s no stopping point — this process will continue until our dissolution. Breathed isn’t quite together enough to see how this correlates to his own political views, in that an endless search for greater inclusivity and a free lunch leads to a loss of any kind of consensus as to behavioral or political standards, but he makes a good point: the parts of life that are most satisfying are become rare and clandestine.