Today's Patriotic Sketches
Just sketchin' in front of the old TV last night. Everybody loves Chesley Sullenberger, aka: Sully
, but I'd be leery if I saw him hanging around outside my son's elementary school. Nor would I trust Bobby Jindal
with those close-set eyes. Isn't it odd to look at his Indian features and hear that hillbilly pre-school teacher's voice come out? That's probably racist, definitely anti-hillbilly. Finally, I was about to give up on drawing Joe Biden
with his odd-shaped dome and permanently downturned, but not frowning mouth. I can draw a cartoon of Obama
, ears, chin, the two lines on his face, but still can't really draw
him. But Madame Speaker
...Oh, you have a face a cartoonist can truly love.
Where did Jindal give that speech? In the front hallway of somebody's McMansion? No, I know it was the Louisiana governor's mansion, that's why he had the two flags standing there right next to him. He carries those around with him I bet.
Dangle Elsewhere in the Blogosphere
This Week's Cartoon
On those governors who are pretending that they don't want the bucks.
Politics 101: Obama Schools McCain
McCain Feels Punked
If you didn't see this video
yesterday check it out. Whenever the Republican sniping starts to make you think that they're inflicting heavy damage on Obama, he does something like this. He held a strategic planning meeting for his enemies. It cracks me up that they even had breakout sessions, like you would at any hotel conference for the plastic container industry. Then Obama invited each of them to take some TV camera time, which is catnip for politicians. McCain couldn't resist making a snide remark about the expense of a new presidential helicopter, but watch how deftly Obama makes political mincemeat out of him.
Alan Keyes Unleashed
YouTube - Keyes: Stop Obama or U.S. will cease to exist
I can't believe that this guy was more of a viable presidential candidate than Nader or LaRouche. Who are his supporters? Severe psychotics and schizophrenics? He's batshit crazy. Which makes this video very entertaining.
Cartoonist Fighting Newspaper For His Sketches–Too Bad He's Got No Reason to Expect Them
Poor Brian Duffy, it sucks to hear that another newspaper fired a cartoonist, but when you're an employee, everything you make belongs to the people who sign the checks, as if you were merely an extra pair of hands for the boss. That's Graphic Artists Guild 101. Once when I was Guild president I got a call from a super-famous cartoonist's representative who wondered why his client couldn't have the twenty years worth of cartoons he did for Playboy back. Did he sign a Work for Hire agreement? Yes, but... He can't do anything because all those cartoons belong to Hef. Legally, Hef's the author.
Also, I don't know if channel 8 should know better, but sketches and original cartoons are two different things. Sketches usually refer to preliminary drawings. Cartoonist Fighting Newspaper For His Sketches - Entertainment News Story - KCCI Des Moines
A Modest Proposal: Resorting to the Nuclear (Cartoon) Option
I've been thinking hard again about how a cartoonist can propel himself into the mass culture. It’s been a long, semi-satisfying career, but it’s more obvious with each passing cartoon scandal that if I really want to make it to the national stage (and TV) I must draw something patently offensive, racist, or confusingly satirical in a way that leads the public to make the judgment that I have crossed the line
, and that I deserve a public shaming. As far as I can see it’s the only way for a cartoonist to gain recognition, notoriety, national infamy, or notice by the Pulitzer committee. I want Ron Reagan Jr. to declare whether I’m funny or not. I want to issue bold statements ridiculing my aggressors, and demanding respect for my artistic license.
Let’s see now, I’m going to have to go back and dig through the stinking landfill of racial stereotypes and slurs and pick one that still has enough life in it to capture Al Sharpton’s interest...
The monkey-equals-african-american president has just been done to death by Sean Delonas and during the campaign by nutso McCain fans. They’re-going-to steal-our-white-women was done obliquely in the famous Harold Ford ad. Terrorist fist-bump done by Blitt on the New Yorker.
I think my best option would be to go with the long-held white-man-insecurity of african-american penis size, possibly working in a side dish of watermelon and fried chicken. Maybe I can have Obama sleeping with Hillary Clinton and her remarking on the size of his penis while they both smoke cigarettes in bed, a bucket of chicken on the night stand. This, I think would serve to rip open the wounds of American society once again, however only if I can get it published in New York Daily News or Long Island Newsday, or in a faux-engraved style on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Sharpton might not even see it if it runs only in the Fresno Flypaper. See, even this will require advance planning.
But how will I tie this dredged-up bit of bigot bait to current news to give it fresh relevance? Mrs. Clinton could say something like, “Take that, Bill! I’m sleeping with a guy who has a HUGE stimulus package!” Eh, the stimulus thing is kinda over. She could be shooting him up with steroids, and saying, “Now you’re body will be huge like your PENIS!” That would obliquely tie into the all-black-men-are-athletes belief as well (a plus). Or, Mrs. Clinton could take a puff of her post-coital Marboro and say, “Wow! If I was younger I’d have your octo-tuplets.”
I’ve only been accused of racist cartoons twice. Once for criticizing president Clinton, who, according to the accuser was a black man. The other time when a right-winger went all politically correct on me for a gap-toothed Condoleeza Rice I drew. I made up for the latter by holding a consciousness-raising “Draw Condi” contest, where I challenged cartoonists to draw an un-racist picture of the Secretary of State, with me as the only judge. There were hundreds of entries but each was marred with shadows of racism and nobody won.
What I’m saying to you all is that my fiftieth birthday is coming up faster than hell, and, despite polishing up my drawing, attending many creative writing workshops, and reading Henny Youngman’s Treasury of One-Liners over one-hundred times, I have to admit that I've never done anything significant (on TV) in my life. My work lacks the germ of hatred that captures the American imagination. With publishing and economics what they are now, for us cartoonists, the nuclear option may be the only option.
This is funny. Talking Points Memo has a map that will keep track of which Republican states are opting out of of Obama's stimulus package. So far there aren't any, and some Republicans are bragging in their districts about the money they scored in the bill––even though they voted against
it. You probably already know this, but TPM should be in your favorites folder. Talking Points Memo | Behold the Hypocrimap!
Own a Piece of History
Forget about those commemorative coins, plates, clocks, and golf tees, here's my commemorative sketch
of the first thirty days of Barack Obama's presidency, drawn only once, ripped from my sketchbook five minutes ago, and available for the last time, because after this the artist's hand will be smashed beyond recognition with a ball peen hammer. (Ow! Not really)
For the first time, YOU
have a chance to win a piece of history. This original commemorative sketch will be given away free
in a drawing to be held on Tuesday, Feb 24! It's not the greatest likeness ever, don't look at it too closely, but for free it's better than a sharp stick in the eye!
Enter the drawing by simply leaving an interesting comment after this post. Do it before before Midnight, Monday, February 23. Note: You must be a registered fan of Troubletown Comics on Facebook or of Troubletown on Networked Blogs to win! (It only takes a second to sign up.) The winner will be announced Tuesday, February 24.
Incidental Humor is Everywhere
Hah, hah, hah! On my "Major Douchbag Award" post, all the google ads are coming up for vaginal hygiene products! Let's see what this produces: Hemorrhoids, hemorrhoids, hemorrhoids!
From Your Senior Cartoon Correspondent...
Did you ever see that Jerry Seinfeld stand-up bit where he teases the audience by saying (I paraphrase), "You come here, you get drunk, and sit in judgment of my comedy. But you aren't writers, you aren't comedians, you're completely unqualified
As a cartoonist I get that feeling every time one of these cartoon outrages breaks. You sit there listening to Michael Reagan, Chris Matthews, Ron Kuby, Jim Lehrer, arguing about a cartoonist's "intent," whether a cartoon is funny, whether it's well executed, whether it even deserves to be called a "cartoon." And then they take calls. The New Yorker "fist bump" flap was a particularly cringeable moment.
Look, every cartoonist has spent some time looking at cartoons in books. You can't become an editorial cartoonist for a major newspaper without some study. At some point you run across Little Black Sambo
and other old, "darkie" imagery from packaging and advertising from the first half of the 20th century. You've seen reproductions of the cartoons of Lincoln's time showing the brutal "negro" caricatures of the day. Maybe you've even seen a pre-sanitized version of Disney's Fantasia
. And perhaps you learn about the history of slavery, Jim Crow, and civil rights struggle in the United States. You file that information away and it informs how you approach cartoons. Depending on who you are, you either avoid the shameful stereotypes from the past on a subconscious level––or you find a way to work them into your repertoire.
Cartoon Controversy Alert!
PW Weekly: Always an Apocalyptic Read
This morning when the alarm went off, NPR was in the middle of a dire story about how Michiganders are shutting down businesses that are ancillary to the auto industry. Like the parts manufacturers that make the little knobs on the doors you push down to lock the car (I dunno, my 1989 Toyata pickup has them). Then they talked about a hygienist at a Detroit dentist's office who fears that once GM cuts employees benefits, nobody will get their teeth cleaned.
I briefly considered sticking my head in the gas oven, but instead went to the studio and opened the Publishers Weekly's daily e-newsletter. Usually it's, Barnes and Noble Lays Off 800, Harper-Collins Closes All Non-Celebrity Divisions, Viking-Penguin's Penguin in Coma; Fights for Life, etc...
Today's is about publishers and distributors eviscerating each other over a 7¢ magazine surcharge. Anderson Lays Off Employees; Source Sues - 2/18/2009 8:18:00 AM - Publishers Weekly
OUCH! San Diego CityBeat Major Douchebag Award
OMG this is insanely funny! I had actually been thinking about writing a satirical piece after all the other cartoonists and I started belly-aching about losing our papers from them going out of business and whatnot. It's funny stuff and I thought it would be funny to have a guy say:
"Screw you! At least when you had
a job it was super awesome
. My job is to clean the tiny hairs out of urinals at a ballpark!"
Well now, Edwin Decker, of the esteemed, San Diego City Beat
, has beaten me to it and done me one better...
with an amazing "open letter" taking each of us rich crybaby cartoonists to task individually in some of the most humorless, self-pitying, gen X, real-artists-must-starve hyperbole I've seen in a long time.
It reminds me of a guy at a newspaper years ago who started publishing my cartoons without permission or money. Of course I called him up and read him the copyright act. It turned out I was being ripped off by a fellow cartoonist! He was shocked by my disapproval, and actually argued with me about what a jerk I was not allowing cartoons to be free.
He said, "Jeez, I don't know why you're complaining, I'd give anything to have my cartoons published anywhere."
Here's Edwin directly addressing the cartoonist Max Cannon.
Pollen dripping from speakers? Bottom-dollar street hookers? No, cartooning must not be anything like column-writing! Edwin continues:
You draw cartoons. If cartoon-drawing is anything like column-writing, you sit at your desk with your wine and your weed—Big Sonic Chill dripping its pollen from your speakers—and an expensive computer doing all your heavy lifting.
[Cannon makes $1000 per strip.] I won’t reveal how much my column earns, except to say that it can’t even buy me a small bindy of coke and an hour with a bottom-dollar street hooker.
Get this. Some cartoonists have even taken to asking for donations, such as Lloyd Dangle (“Troubletown”), who wrote that his website will now have to be viewer-supported. “That’s why I’ve added the Donate button,” he explained.
Well, how ’bout that? A mother-jumpin’ donate button!
Dude, Lloyd, don’t you see the folly of your ways? You are asking strangers—who are probably broker than you—to support your little hobby so that you won’t have to go out and get a real job like ditch-digging or cotton-picking. If I were a ditch-digger or a cotton-picker, and I saw your donate button—oh yeah, I’d donate something all right.
Congratulations Edwin, you just made it into my traveling 21 years of Troubletown floor show slide show! And I'm sending you a Troubletown T-shirt!
Tip to you right-wingers always leaving your quickly-deleted obscenities in my comments box: Learn from Edwin! Would it be so hard to write entertaining, maudlin, unintentionally funny, and genuinely douchy letters like his? I'll print 'em, share 'em, and make you famous!
Newspapers: Helluva Way to Run a Railroad
A week of The Washington Post weighs about eight pounds and costs $1.81 for new subscribers, home-delivered. With newsprint (that’s the paper, not the ink) costing around $750 a metric ton, or 34 cents a pound, Post subscribers are getting almost a dollar’s worth of paper free every week — not to mention the ink, the delivery, etc.
This is a funny fact from Michael Kinsley's NY Times Op-ed
shooting the idea of micro-payments to hell, arguing that online readers will never submit to being nickeled and dimed for content. You've gotta love the fact that the newspaper is already losing money before they even begin to think
about content! Time magazine's former managing editor, Walter Isaacson, stirred up a commotion with an article, How to Save Your Newspaper
, which eulogizes print for sixty paragraphs before delivering the answer...
––i-tunes for newspapers! Steve Outing is very big on another payment model called Kachingle, that he says is going to make somebody a lotta money.
Even though you might only be asked to pay a few pennies to read an article, there's an emotional hurdle that is insurmountable, Kinsley and others say. They're probably right. i-tunes is probably an anomaly, people will only pay for things that are entertaining and/or pornographic, and readers (liberals) are notoriously cheap. Micro-payments for news would therefore have the consequence of reducing our citizens' awareness to an even more abysmal level than it is today. Democracy might not be able to afford that.
Here's another eulogy for newspapers by the Berryman-Prize-winning cartoonist, David Horsey.
I don't share these because I enjoy funerals, but it is fun to think about the conflict between content and money, and how much fun it will be to watch old editors and cartoonists eating out of dumpsters, peeing themselves, and sleeping in the park. Talk about micro-payments! I made 68 cents last week from google ads!
Big Bertha's base is an adjustable fan. When you turn her on her hair blows straight up out of the cylindrical cranium
In case you're wondering how I'm spending my time these days since cartoons have been eliminated from all publishing everywhere and the Republicans gutted Obama's stimulus-pak of any welfare provisions for cartoonists, well, I try to keep busy... We had a big-ass robot party at our house for a bunch of six-year-olds and Oscar who was turning seven. Parents: How to throw a killer robot party:
Do a craft project where you make robots with foam swimming pool noodles, nuts, bolts, garage junk, and hot glue guns. I participated! I also used cardboard boxes, light bulbs, silver wrapping paper, buttons, jar lids, paper tubes, plain Christmas ornaments, and more garage junk. Tip: get the low-temperature glue guns so that nobody gets hurt.
I also recommend the balloons used for making balloon animals. They come with a little pump and even though you won't be able to figure out how to bend them into any recognizable shapes, it's fun to try and, for some reason, it mesmerizes kids for close to an hour. My wife led a robot dance party but that didn't go over too well, as the kids sat nervously on the sidelines like at a prom, except for two of them who stood listlessly in the middle of the dance floor just so they could win the prize.This robot is looking around nervouslyI like this one because you can see its inner-workings through the window in its chestThis one looks cute but really it's evil and will kill you without a second artificially-intelligent thoughtIf one of these comes after you, crush its sensors with a brick and run away
Also, if you happen to be in the San Francisco International Airport, they have a robot exhibit
up right now in the domestic terminal that is amazing and inspiring, especially if you happen to be planning a robot party.
Was this article helpful? Yes. No. Eat me, I'm out of work!
About This Week...
This week's Troubletown, as you can see, has everything you could want: meat, a doghouse, Blagojevich, condoms, nice drawings of Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi and Obama burying a dead GOP elephant. Huh??
A couple mornings ago when the alarm went off (set to NPR so that we can always wake up to sound of a pledge drive), the first thing I heard was an announcer saying, "Nobody really knows what shovel-ready means."
I know what it means, I thought. "Shovel-ready" is stimulus-package-speak for a project that has cleared all bureaucratic hurdles and is ready to go. But, come on, it's a much better description of someone who's dead and ready for the graveyard––like the Republican party!... Maybe I'll use that in my cartoon, I thought. Nah, that's too stupid. I won't use it, I thought.
Bipartisanship is over already, despite president Obama's efforts to be placating to the defeated Republican minority, who's members appear to be spittle-mouthed crazy over the particulars of the bill, and are led by John McCain, the whitened old fool who's just coming off of two years of breathtaking, high-profile ineptitude. But is that what's really going on? Have they even read the bill? When the Reeps declare that there's pork in the bill, that's stating the obvious. Of course there's pork, enormous loads of it, but it's Democratic stimulus pork, the kind of slow-cooked pulled-pork Democrats like, full of human services and entitlements–– that they earned by kicking your asses, sorry losers!
It's not like the Reeps don't know that, nor that they haven't given away great piles of pork themselves, deliciously expensive five-star restaurant pork, in every way imaginable to every evangelical crackpot, armed mercenary, Afghan warlord, Brown and Root criminal, CEO, banker, and and oil executive. They basically opened up the treasury and blew the money out the door and windows with fans. They sent stacks of hundred dollar bills weighing tons on pallets to Iraq. Oh, yes, they are very fiscally disciplined.
So I thought it would be funny to imagine all the porky things Democrats supposedly love and that Republicans hate being forced down the Reep's powerless throats. There are also shades of Tom Delay and all the nasty things he did to the Dems when they were in the minority, like giving them the crappiest offices, making them hold their "inquiries" in the janitorial closet instead of a real hearing room. He's a felon, you know, but is he in prison?
Greg Palast and Robert Reich wrote good stuff about what they think is going on. Hell, all I know is it's funny. See, this is why my cartoons come out so mixed-up and undecipherable.
Speaking of Blagojevich...
I keep thinking about this phone conversation I had the other day. I was talking to a guy I've known but only by phone and email, and as he was talking I kept picturing Rod Blagojevich's face! I couldn't stop. So naturally I assumed this guy was lying to me in everything he was saying.
Right Wing Cartoon Watch
I admit I don't get to see all the right wing cartoons I should, but here's a treasury of them going after Obama and the liberals behind the Bush shoe-throwing incident (that seems like it happened a long time ago, doesn't it?) They are Limbaugh-tastic and totally retarded
, hence probably Pulitzer-worthy. Thanks to Batocchio for compiling them at Right-Wing Cartoon Watch
; the commentary is pretty funny too. Of course Josh Fruhlinger
is still the master of the snide comics review. Here's his commentary
on the editorial cartoonists' love affair with Blagojevich.
Lloyd's Career Makeover Part 2: Obama's Works Program
I'm expecting Obama to create a new deal for me, like FDR would've done. Click it to make it bigger.
This Weeks Cartoon: How This Depression Will Be Remembered
Dangle Career Makeover, Part 1
I've been exploring mid-life career changes a lot lately; today I'm considering tattoo artist.
Nobody looks at art on paper anymore, but everybody has skin and they want it tattooed! Businesses are drying up everywhere around my town, but tattoo parlors are on the increase. I don't know if you even call them "tattoo parlors" anymore, they are so cool. They're more like tattoo emporiums. It seems like every vacant storefront has someone hanging out a new skull shingle. Am I right to assume there's a shortage of needlers?...Con: ass-kickings
Looking at the pros and cons of this career change:
There appears to be no shortage of willing skin
With the obesity epidemic, actual human surface area is increasing
It would increase my popularity with the youth of today
It's a "helping" profession
It would mean less isolation for me
It offers the ability to cause real physical pain to people who probably deserve it
Employee discounts on facial jewelry and scrotum rings
More punk girls in my life, which have been missing since my youth
I'll be doing creative work, my work
Will have to learn how to puncture the epidermis with a motorized sewing machine needle
Mistakes will result in ass-kickings by boyfriends
Ass-kicking related stress would be constant
Having to please teenage fashion victims
Proximity to the fashion-conscious generally
Having to face angry parents of tattooed under-agers
Ii might be forced occasionally to draw "pretty"
May have to get my scrotum pierced for acceptance
But what if tattoos are just be the latest economic bubble?
Hmmm...If I decide to move forward on this career move I will need all the help I can get from my online community, so I am reaching out. In no particular order, who can help me break into the business? Where can I get trained running one of those puncture-needle things? Is there a mortuary college or medical school that teaches techniques? Are there certain tips for preparing for a tattoo shop interview? What should I wear? Important: I will need easy-going volunteers with blank areas of skin to let me practice on. I look forward to hearing from you.
Newspaper Apolcalypse: Don't Cry for Me Altie Blogoshphere
Last week's post about weekly newspapers tragically deciding to eliminate cartoons got a lot of play as news this weekend in the altie universe, mostly thanks to Tom Tomorrow
(all links lead to him) and Max Cannon's enormous gif image editorial
. Reminder: be careful what you write in your blog! Sometimes you'll get quoted! Don't use words like "shit-canned." Something called Meta Filter
is funny example, mostly for the comment thread. Us precious, money-grubbing alternative cartoonists receive little sympathy from the thoughtful and unintentionally hilarious posters there; it's impossible to pick a favorite but I loved this one:
“If cartoonists would look at this more as an art than as a part time job or a get-rich-quick scheme, I think comics overall would be better."
What I learned from Tom Tomorrow's blog, and what caused the sudden interest in the altie cartoonists' plight, is not that a few independent weeklies gave up syndicated features to save $20 here and there, but that the big weekly kahuna, Village Voice Media, formerly New Times, suspended all cartoons across their entire empire. I didn't even know about this, since I only had one VVM paper in my syndication, the OC (Orange County) Weekly, who must've forgotten to send me the memo. They discontinued Troubletown, which had been running there since 1995. (Was my best source for rabid right-wing hate mail)
My first thought was, free papers with no cartoons? What's next: Cracker Jack suspends little prizes? Grocery stores eliminate gumball machines and the little horsey rides? Porn sites suspend free two-second teasers? (Not that I would know anything about that.)
Second, I was thinking again about The Great Depression II, and how it will be so different from The Great Depression I. My dad told me when he was a kid they got by on cheap thrills: for a nickel you'd go to the movies and see a newsreel, double-feature, and sometimes a live band. You could get bleacher seats at a ballgame for practically nothing. They'd ride the streetcar for something to do. But this time there's no such thing as free entertainment. Your internet connection and cable TV cost money, even if your mom pays for it. David Pogue who normally writes about the newest electronic gadgets for the NY Times, started off the year with an interesting article on how to cut back on tech expenses as you go broke.
What'll you do when you're down and out and you turn to the free paper for a quick diversion? Read letters to the editor? The table of contents? This week's theater review? Look at the thinly-disguised prostitution ads?
I want to make sure, dear Troubletown readers, that you don't think I'm whining about this! Deadlines, rabid hate-mailers, and gaining and losing papers is what my life's all about. It's just preferable, when you have to lose one, that it be for insulting an entire community, not for some penny-ante, Depression-era cost-cutting measure. I may have grown fat and soft in this present occupation, but underneath I'm still mean and resilient, and beware: if there's only food for one in the life raft, I won't be the one to die! Once you've lived this long as a cartoonist you're prepared for anything.