They'rrrrrrre baaaaaack!

They'rrrrrrre baaaaaack!

As we suffer through sinus headaches, as our heads are filled with a formless gunk that infects our ability to think or see clearly, as our eyes water, our muscles ache, as our souls drain from the weight of the never-ending drone for which we have no filter, it's time once again to fortify our resources for the annual spring invasion.

We speak, of course, of campaign signs.

They pollinate and pollute our paradise, emitting all the sincerity, substance and subliminal seduction of fast-food commercials. It's a genetically modified attack on our fertile minds and fields.

There is but one natural response at our disposal. All together now. Close your mouths, then slip your tongue halfway through your lips. (You'll know when it's halfway out when you have only half of it remaining inside.) Now fill your cheeks with air (not THOSE cheeks) and blow.

Feel better? Good.

Come to think of it, I suppose the same exercise would have worked with the other cheeks " although such a combined effort would have had the EPA on our tails for exacerbating the proliferation of greenhouse gases — and isn't that what a political campaign actually contributes to this great nation of ours?

God Bless America " and its methane production!

I suppose that's a tad snarky for some of you — most likely those who have stumbled in here with false hopes. Still, these are bad times for snark. The War on Cynicism is growing out there in the heartlessland.

"Cynicism," according to Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard, "is the defense mechanism of people who feel unsafe and powerless."

Well " duh. Still, despite this clear lack of time spent in our virtual reality, Karlgaard isn't finished attacking our traditional American values.

"Once cynicism gets a foothold in your culture, it spreads," he says, "just like an ill-advised tweet or blog post. You need to proactively fight it."

War is Hell, but the War on Snarkery is Hell with a Muzak earworm.

So, you might ask, why am I quoting the esteemed Forbes publisher here? Well, because I received a press release this past week from a publicist touting Karlgaard's new book (name purposely omitted), which on the surface is a polite, gentile battle cry sounded to beat back the cynical hordes.


Think about it. If we can't read about the recent proposal by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PFTETOA) to open a vegan restaurant in the Ohio childhood home of serial-killing cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer — and not feast from that steaming stew of conspicuous bad taste " well, what's in the next jar we're removing from the refrigerator?

"Dahmer's old house gives us a way to evoke sympathy for these victims and to suggest that a life-affirming diet can change everything," PFTETOA wrote in a letter to a Bath Township real estate agency, noting the, um, similarities between Dahmer's victims and the treatment of animals used for meat, eggs and milk.

Alas, even before Rich Karlgaard could tsk-tsk us away from shooting those fish in a barrel (sorry, PFTETOA), the proposal was withdrawn, leaving us to doubt talk about God and his mercy.

Even the usual standard-bearers of cynicism are deserting us. David Letterman is retiring from CBS's post-news show and being replaced " not by "Stephen Colbert" " but by Stephen Colbert???? Our fake conservative blowhard is being placed into cold storage for whatever manifestation of Colbert's personality will be thrust upon us?

Who can we turn to in this hour of need?

"CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now, it's just wide out in the open."

Coo-coo ca-choo, Rush Limbaugh. It's good to know in a nation where university professors are teaching classes on the cultural significance of Miley Cyrus (we're looking at you, Skidmore College), that we can still count on our real conservative blowhard to swing the wrecking ball of ballast our teetering ship desperately needs.

Colbert being Colbert instead of "Colbert" is just wrong. It's like that scene in "Man On The Moon" where Jim Carrey, portraying Andy Kaufman, is heckled by audience members wanting to hear Carrey-Kaufman morph into Latka Gravas for their amusement.

If his audience rebels when Colbert morphs from "Colbert" into Colbert, will he do what Carrey-Kaufman-Gravas did and start reading "The Great Gatsby"?

At least both versions of Stephen Colbert (presumably) will still be alive as this transition takes place. It's just too cynical to suggest that the snark-filled anti-Americans behind "The Colbert Report" would kill off the title character who's been the focus of the show for years.

I mean, really, it's not "How I Met Your Mother."

Oops, spoiler alert.

Still, it just seems a little bit wrong — in the same way it's "wrong" to flash your headlights to a car in the opposite lane to warn it to slow down, or to park your SUV in a "Compact Cars Only" spot as you buy GMO-free tomatoes at the Ashland Co-op.

It's not a little bit wrong in the "little bit pregnant" way that what's happening to Archie Andrews is wrong.

Archie, that paragon of American values — you know, the America where the freckled-face redhead 73-year-old teenager gets to choose between the beautiful blonde and the beautiful brunette for his girlfriend — is being gunned down in a forthcoming issue of the comic book.

Oops, spoiler alert.

Archie (who dies heroically, of course) is being killed off in a flash-forward. Then things around Riverdale revert to normal as we see how his life got to that point.

"Fans will laugh, cry, jump off the edge of their seats and hopefully understand why this comic will go down as one of the most important moments in Archie's entire history," according to a press release exhorting readers to buy the issue so they can laugh, cry, jump and understand.


Yes, the death of a comic book nice guy will be one of the most important moments in Archie's entire history. We're certain of that. To paraphrase Brooke Shields, we you die, you lose a very important part of your life.

Dang you, Rich Karlgaard. Let us have some fun; our sinuses are killing us.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at