Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ask Doctor Bush

Here's a thing I did for Internet Sexuality Information Services (ISIS) for their Sex Tech Conference held recently in San Francisco. It was a series of cartoons of "Dr. Bush, the Abstinence Doctor," being asked questions from kids confused by the bullshit abstinence-only sex education they have been receiving in school. Some abstinence-only education actually tells kids things like that they have a higher risk of cancer if they have an abortion, and that condoms will not protect you from AIDS.

The twist to the slide show is that the audience gets to text-message their own punchlines and watch them automatically appear in the word balloon! Don't ask me how it works, but it opens up funny possibilities. Look at some of the ones they came up with.

Does abortion really have side effects?
Huckabee getting elected.

Will using condoms affect my health?
It certainly affects the right side.
(I don't really get that one.)

Do condoms work?
If only my dad wore one!

The cartoons were supposed to be projected onto the side of San Francisco's Flood Building. Hopefully next time it won't be rained out. Hey, maybe I oughta do that for my Election Nite Party in November! Details to be announced.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Controversy

Boing-Boing has a pretty funny discussion about Airborne, the "fake cold remedy." A couple posters are Dangle fans! They understand that the cartoons themselves cure colds, not the stuff inside the box. Uh-oh, did I say that? See, I can't stop deceiving!

To me the funniest comment, after fifty in a row slamming Airborne for its worthless placebo, was this one:
I always thought Emergen-C worked better! I love that stuff.

And one guy/gal points us to an eye-opening study that says that Vitamin C doesn't work either. Why don't those guys sue Vitamin C? Talk about systematic deception!

Over at Stupidtom dot com, stupid tom gives those Airborne-haters an earful. And one poster even sympathizes with me:

jerrster, on March 9th, 2008 at 8:07 am Said:

…the cartoonist Lloyd Dangle (Trouble Town) who did the illustration for the Airborne box will be hurt financially I’m sure…kill all the lawyers!

Actually, the lawsuit won't hurt me financially at all. It'll help. Just consider, that prostitute that ex-governor Spitzer hired charged him $5000 for sex before the scandal. Now she can charge a million! Deceptive cartooning works the same way.

Floaty and Leafy Tackle the North Pacific Gyre

The first I heard about the North Pacific Gyre was from my cartoonist, editor, and pal Pete Friedrich, who used to drive a 1970 Impala, but has since gone enviro in a big way and reduced his carbon footprint to half that of a chipmunk's. He's also the one who taught me that cooking with a Teflon pan on high heat can kill your canary, which I never do anymore.

What's the Pacific Gyre? It's an enormous mass of plastic debris the size of texas that is trapped at the center of the circular Pacific Ocean currents. Plastic, as we know, never goes away, but it does break down into smaller bits eventually. Those bite-sized pieces are consumed by jellyfish, birds, and other creatures who partially digest them and return it to the water as plastic poop. So the Gyre is a soup, not only of bottles and tampon applicators, but also tiny, microscopic bits of plastic that permeate the entire habitat and food chain.

Pete made a comic book about it, so I have to believe him. And it's funny and charming and well-written. It's suitable for kids and will turn them into environmentalists. Of course, after the way the way we've left things they'll have to be. Get a copy here here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Airborne Controversy Brings Prime Time Exposure!

As you might have heard, the big controversy here last week was that our greatest client ever, Airborne, was sued for false advertising and settled for $23 million. The complaint argued, among other things, that my highly scientific and suggestive pictures of germs and sneezing humans on the box deceived a whole class of honest, hard-working people into believing that Airborne cures colds.

The story has gotten a lot of play––my cartoons are on the news everywhere––even in a tongue-in-cheek segment on the Colbert Report. New York Magazine wrote a snarky piece under the headline: Sickos Behind Marketing Airborne Lied To Us All. But, with the exception of a few, the tone of the coverage was that of indignant, torch-carrying righteousness, matched with glee over the settlement and Airborne's long overdue comeuppance. Plus, Airborne agreed to refund customers for up to six boxes, which is almost as good as Bush's stimulus package.

"Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed," snarled one critic. Funny, I thought it was pretty commonly accepted that vitamin C, the main ingredient in Airborne, is a natural cold-fighter. The once popular natural cold remedy Echinacea, another ingredient, was debunked recently by the New York Times, causing sales of the plant extract to plummet, but then re-bunked by the same newspaper.

Remember when margarine was supposed to be healthier than artery-clogging butter, but then it turned out to be trans-fat that stops your heart in half the time and makes lab rats sprout with tumors? Eggs were bad now they're good but muffins are bad. And as many anonymous posters to this blog know painfully well, the ointments, patches, and devices purported to enlarge penises don't work. No wonder they're so angry! How do those companies get away with it? The answer, I'll bet, is that they don't haul in the kind of bucks that Airborne does, making it unattractive to the lawyers.

As to Airborne being overpriced, as one of my anonymous posters explained, it's only expensive because Dangle was so overpaid for the cartoons. Yeah, right.

So what will happen to Airborne? Will it lose its customers and go down the tubes? Will the school teacher have to go back to teaching in the California public schools? Brandweek says no:
Airborne's false advertising claim will probably be quickly forgotten, asserted Laura Ries, partner of branding consultancy Ries & Ries, Great Neck, N.Y."As a brand, Airborne has a lot of trust with consumers," she said. "It has been immensely successful with its marketing and packaging. Strong brands tend to survive and consumers are willing to forgive."

But will America forgive my deceptive cartoonery?