The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion There’s a cartoon for everything. Edith Pritchett will show you.

4 min

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In today’s edition:

The world according to Edith

What do Earth’s carefully balanced ecosystems and a block of ramen noodles cooking have in common?

They’re both unraveling as they heat up.

Space tourism and defrosting things from the back of the freezer? Each a daring leap into the unknown.

These are the punchlines of a few of the most recent delightful Venn diagram comics from British cartoonist Edith Pritchett, whom I got to see in person (well, in print) when I picked up the Guardian’s Saturday magazine on a trip last week to London.

But you don’t have to go quite so far to get acquainted with her; in addition to her Venn diagrams and vignettes of millennial life for the Guardian, she draws regularly for Post Opinions.

They’re similarly topical. The most recent was about the “Rat Girl Summer” trend. If you want an explanation of what it is, you’ll have to visit the Style section. But Edith provides some excellent alternatives, including “Washed-Up-Dead-Jellyfish Girl Summer” and “Wood Louse Boy Summer.”

Space tourism popped up stateside, too. Edith imagined what it might look like on holiday dodging cosmic debris, including Sandra Bullock.

Edith’s favorite fodder might be our collective obsession with our screens. She has conjured whimsical dating app features for people with no game, a suite of clever new safeguards for Meta’s sites and tips for going to dinner with augmented-reality goggles.

Mind you, an op-ed today from psychology researcher Susan Linn argues that the ideal amount of screen time for babies is zero, lest they miss out on developing “executive function and self-regulation” and grow into a generation even more reliant on screens.

But where’s the fun in being well-adjusted?

If not screens, then perhaps give your kids cartoons. Edith’s father, Matt Pritchett, is also a cartoonist for the Telegraph, a British competitor of the Guardian. Safe to say, Dad had an impact.

Even when she probes her family of extraordinary artists for material, Edith manages to extract the bits that, as ever, resonate with the rest of us. From a 2022 cartoon for the Guardian, she tells herself, “Careful not to cut myself as I slice Comté by the fridge door” — coaching familiar to any of us who have ever slunk back to the parents’ for a visit.

Less politics

Kate Cohen was also recently in the United Kingdom, attending Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe for new theater works. She was pleased to see it mightily crowded.

“But destination playgoing is the theatrical equivalent of a pilgrimage to Mecca or sightseeing at St. Peter’s Basilica,” Kate writes in an essay. “It doesn’t keep theater alive as a regular part of life.”

Kate frets that theater attendance numbers have not returned to pre-pandemic highs. If you’re familiar with Kate’s writing, it might surprise you to learn that she also frets over church attendance numbers.

Of course, there’s a passing resemblance between the two. When’s the last time you went to Mass? The wardrobe is fabulous.

But as Perry Bacon argued in a recent column on seeking something churchlike, Kate writes that Fosse and the Gospel alike provided people “participatory transcendence” — a place to come together in shared purpose.

So no matter what your druthers, she urges, get back with your people in the pews, or stalls, or bowling alleys, before they’re gone for good.

Chaser: Novelist and playwright Monica Byrne writes that the professional nonprofit model is killing regional theater. To save it, fund artists directly.

Smartest, fastest

It’s a goodbye. It’s a haiku. It’s … The Bye-Ku.

“Cut back on your phone

By even just 10 percent”

New screen-tithe guidelines


Have your own newsy haiku? Email it to me, along with any questions/comments/ambiguities. See you tomorrow!