I want to talk about Ted Rall’s latest effort, not because I want to join the huge chorus of people who love to bash Ted Rall, but rather because I want to bash cynicism. Rall’s cartoon, if you haven’t yet seen it, says that Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who joined the Army in 2002, is basically an idiot who made the fatal mistake of choosing to serve in the military because he believed our lying President. In four short panels, he manages to accuse Tillman of racism as well. Rall’s cartoon isn’t funny — Rall is rarely funny — but it also fails even to serve as pointed commentary. You don’t have to be a very good cynic to come up with ways to disparage Pat Tillman; honestly when I heard that he’d joined the Army a couple of years ago, and again when I heard that he’d died, the bad reasons he might have joined came to mind only a few seconds after the good reasons he might have joined. Ultimately, we have no way of knowing what motivated Tillman to enlist. Any of us can imagine impure motives that may have led to him doing so — it doesn’t behoove us to callously point them out. Sometimes saying things that most people keep to themselves doesn’t make you courageous or iconoclastic, it makes you an ass.