Cerebus and sentimentality


Cerebus the Aardvark, a short, grey, furry fellow, was nevertheless a very, very formidable warrior that you didn't cross unless you absolutely had to. Here, he's very angry at some government thugs.

He takes himself and his titles with absolute, earnest seriousness.

He was also a very clever and canny negotiator.

Cerebus proves to be a first-rate poitical speech-maker. After a few panels of stirring up the crowd...

As one might guess, the seasoned political operatives that Cerebus' team was negotiating with very quickly saw that the teams' position was, erm, really quite reasonable and that, well, they could be dealt with.

As I said, you really don't want to cross this guy unless you absolutely have to. (And yes, I'm fully aware of the many parallels between Cerebus and Howard the Duck. Both are short, grumpy, highly intelligent non-humans that people very quickly get used to dealing with and both have a non-sexual relationship with a woman who does not observe traditional, puritanical, sexual morality).

When Cerebus falls under the influence of sorcery, he falls head-over-heels in love with a dancer named Jaka.

Yak, supper

This is about the most romantic and sentimental thing he says in the whole series. Later on, he's in a shop looking for things that might appeal to a lady, suddenly regains his memory and wonders what he's doing in shop like that to begin with. Jaka, who had been won over by his brutish charms and was now crushed to see he had forgotten her, became important to his story years later.

All of which is a very lengthy and roundabout way of saying that I got a real kick out of the following e-card.
It's not just un-sentimental, it's anti-sentimental. I consider it a nice, refreshing change from the usual stuff that some of my Facebook buddies like to post, such as

Anne Frank

looksJames Allen
Ugh. So on and so forth, yadda, yadda, yadda. This kinda stuff is okay in small doses, but some folks like to post stuff like this ALL the time! Cerebus met with Jaka a few years later and she reminded him of his promise to kill her a yak for her supper. Cerebus grumply replied that he would be glad to buy her a yak if that would make her happy. Jaka was not at all impressed and Cerebus clearly understood that he really messed up.

You see, Cerebus' romantic statement was made so much more impressive to Jaka precisely because he very rarely said anything that heartfelt. The very rarity of such a statements from him made those very few heartfelt, romantic statements very meaningful. When I see people just crank out those statements 20 times a day, I just end up going "meh" and as a tonic, I really appreciate the anti-romantic image of the poor woman confusing her Etch-a-Sketch with an iPad. It's just...bracing.

Update: This sounds to me like an interview I'd absolutely loathe. Absolutely gloppy with sentimentality, we get this description:

Much of the interview consisted of Pelley waxing admiringly over all the James-Bond-looking gadgets on Panetta’s plane, or what he called Panetta’s “flying command post” (just as Brian Williams, with boyish excitement, pointed out that the White House Situation Room even has a clock that always shows the time of whatever time zone in which the President is found!). Because Panetta’s plane is the venue from which the U.S. would launch a nuclear attack, it is called the “Doomsday Plane.” As the CBS camera surveyed all of the machinery on the Doomsday Plane with close-ups of the crisply uniformed soldiers operating it, Pelley unleashed my favorite lines:

The Doomsday Plane is laden with secret gear. We can’t show you most of it. It’s so heavy the Air Force re-fueled it twice in the night’s sky over the Atlantic.

It turned out the lightest thing on board: the heart of the man with a world of worry. Leon Panetta is rarely far from an eyelid-collapsing, eye-shaking belly laugh.

And to people around him, it’s reassuring: with lives at stake, he stays in touch with his humanity.

And where he came from.

[As Pelley spoke softly about the warrior's humor, humility and humanity, multiple clips were interspersed of a laughing Panetta, a Panetta at play, the fun Panetta, followed by the two of them -- watchdog journalist and Pentagon chief, along with Panetta's other loyal, obedient dog: his Golden Retriever -- intimately strolling together, as they wear obviously coordinated LL Bean outdoor outfits, under the walnut trees on Panetta's childhood farm: it quite resembled the standard montage used in romantic comedies to showcase the rapport rapidly developing between the two romantic leads.]

In Balloon Juice, Cole says: "If you watch that Panetta piece, where Scott Pelley does everything but give him a reach-around on camera, and don’t feel nauseous, something is wrong. With you."