It's interesting that shantytowns, tent cities, Hoovervilles, Bushburgs, Obamalands, neckbone cities, etc. are popping up all over these days according to a storm of recent articles sparked by a report on the Oprah Show. Amazing how Oprah runs the world, makes books into bestsellers, and makes the news happen. After Oprah, the NY Times followed, McClatchy, and then, well, everybody.
Two classes of homeless now emerging in these tent cities, they say, and the new ones are kind of the cocky, yuppie homeless because they consider their situation to be temporary, whereas many of the long-term homeless don't ever expect to get back into society due to mental problems and drug addiction. I read some contrary viewpoints about the tent cities that says that there has been no surge in people living in tent cities, that the numbers have actually declined over the past decade.
I wondered how many people in these tent cities were vets of Iraq and Afghanistan, and how many of them perceive a difference in status depending on which war they were in, the popular one that Barak Obama likes or the bad one that Bush started and Barack Obama doesn't like, but is letting it roll on for a while. Mixing metaphors is what we're all about here at Troubletown, that and mixing unrelated threads of stories, so I had enough stuff here for my cartoon.
There's not much reporting on the suicide rates of returning vets, but it's alarming. Those men and women are coming back seriously f'ed up, and it's just going to to keep getting worse. The chimpy NY Post disputes the statistics. So are the print journalists who don't have any newspapers to work for anymore. Joke that didn't make it: I wanted to make the "face of new homelessness" be a cocky print journalist who expects to be rehired really soon, but you only get so many inches. Oh, yeah, and a house on the next block that sold at the top of the market, one that a contractor had bought in disrepair, fixed up and flipped, is on the market again. My wife said, that house must be under water. Bing! I oughta use that in my tent city cartoon! God, I'm so funny.
Oliphant gets in trouble with the Jews once or twice a year, but now that Greenspan is out he won't get it so much for drawing those hook-nosed "Shylock" stereotypes. As a cartoonist I don't know how you could draw Greenspan without making it look like an anti-semitic stereotype. He's a Jew right out of central casting. Is this Oliphant anti-semitic? I don't think so, but comparing Jews to Nazis is a new one. I haven't seen it before. Headless jack-booted goose-stepper with a star of David that has a comical-looking shark face attached to it? On second look, I think he must've added the shark face to make up for the fact that the guy doesn't have one. The little nub of a head or neck or whatever it is bugs me. And gee, Ollie, could you squeeze a few more metaphors in there?
Incredibly wordy, huh? Sometimes I think I should get rid of the pictures.
Okay, originally I was going to do a cartoon about how people always concentrate on the insignificant things. Torture, we worry about whether the color of the jumpsuits is demeaning. The world melts we worry about how gay weddings will make us feel. But then the NY Times did an article on the front page of the Week in Review section about how people are such dummies that they concentrate on insignificant things and ignore important things. That's when I knew that that angle was dead, but it brought to mind the solid week of AIG bonus news on every channel and the softball interview with war criminal Cheney. I also thought that in the cartoon Dick Cheney could be talking about how Obama wants to give Miranda rights to the fish. That didn't make it in. That woulda' been funny. Oh well, you can only do so much. I got up at five am this morning with only a fuzzy idea and my tongue was kinda fuzzy too.
Do you like commentary with This Week's Cartoon? Or should I just let the cartoon speak for itself? Some cartoonists say that their fans are hungry for more.
Referring to his upcoming memoir: "'I'm going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there's an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened,' Bush said."
An interesting article about political cartooning in the Middle East, with some sample jokes. It's a new field there––what with the censorship and decapitation and the Muhammad thing––my bags are packed!
This is a good article by Mr. Zipp. Maudlin but good. What's Ben Sargent going to do? These cartoonists who had cushy set-ups at daily papers don't know what it's like to scrounge for their next meal. No offense, I'm just a freelancer at heart. Some of the guys I knew who got jobs on staff at dailies so internalized the editorial stance of their papers they became like chunks of dead wood. Zipp: Departures bring us closer to a new era in newspapers
Books of killed cartoons and illustrations are popping up everywhere. I keep getting calls. The people in book marketing must have brought this up at one of their seminars as a hot trend. Killed images are ones created on assignment for a publication that are rejected and "killed." I think the tone of this article on Alternet about the book on the images killed by the New York Times is kind of funny and not just because of Kissinger's butt cheeks. It's like there's a big conspiracy to suppress rough tough illustration... I like the fact that they give the amount of one million dollars as how much the Times pays out in "kill fees," as evidence of the epidemic of censorship, but is that a million a year? A million since the Times began? The article doesn't say. I'll tell you from experience, with what the Times pays for accepted art, it would take a helluva lot of killed pictures to get to a million. It also says that some of the images have been suppressed for thirty years. It's probably more likely that nobody had thought to publish a book of killed cartoons for over thirty years.
I suppose I should be grateful. It make us illustrators who get our artwork killed sound so noble and beleaguered. I was a contributor to the NY Times Op-Ed page for years. My experience was that things got killed out of weird circumstance more than anything else, except one time I submitted a cartoon making fun of Al Gore and that woman who was his "image advisor..." Naomi Wolf. It was killed because Naomi Wolf was married to someone important at the paper. That's sorta conspiratorial I guess. Another time they gave me an assignment to illustrate an article about Bill Clinton, but I was told before starting that I couldn't draw Bill Clinton in my illustration. I came up with some sketches, very surreal, high-concept stuff that illustrated the inner-Bill Clinton or some such stuff. It were killed. When the paper came out, they had used a primitive-looking illustration of a guy looking over the side of a boat. It made no sense at all in the context of the story. It's always infuriating, after you get your illustration killed, to see what they end up using––because it always sucks!
If you ever work for the Times it won't be the kill policy, however, that is most offensive. It will be signing the freelancer contract, which requires you to give all rights to the company; and also the small pittance you will be paid for your effort. Every time I worked for Op-Ed page I rejected the contract in writing and my art directors always accepted it. Then I got an assignment from another part of the paper and refused the contract again. It worked again, I did the job. Then, about two months later I received an envelope from the NY Timesin the mail. Inside was a copy of my written correspondence with the word, "rejection," hand-written over it, and signed by Steven Heller, famous art director and promoter of graphic arts and Steven Heller. It was a little late for the rejection of my rejection to hold water legally, but funny, I never got another call to do an illustration from the Times.
Of course, you don't work for the Times for the money but for the exposure and the perceived legitimacy it gives you. I would syndicate Troubletown often off of the notoriety of having pieces published in the Times. So, dumbass, you're thinking, why make a big deal out of the contract? So what? I wonder that myself sometimes, but I just can't stomach those contracts. I don't even like to read them. I hate 'em.
Normally I wouldn't blog a piece of advertorial like this suggesting that comics belong on mobile devices from a company that puts things on mobile devices. But this guy's photo is so nice, and he quotes Matt Groening as saying that developing a website "doesn't give him much pep." He's worried about Life in Hell now that LA Weekly has dropped all its comics. Because without that weekly cash he'll have to figure out how to live on a gazillion dollars! Hah! Har! He's rich, get it? Anyway, the idea of reading comics on a Kindle really is my idea of life in hell. Kindle sounds like a combination of candle and swindle. That's why I don't want one.
Batshit crazy Michelle Bachmann talks to the man of virtue, Bill Bennett about her belief that Bill Ayers now runs the government and her theory of punctuated equilibrium. She could probably use some equilibrium but not this kind that is very bad and socialist! Sometimes it's fun to hear two nutjobs taking themselves so seriously.
Not only has Dangle sparked the imagination of a generation of cartoonists, it's remarkable how much music Troubletown has inspired. Everyone from Tom Petty to Ras Midas to mega-church Jesus rockers have sung about the comics you guys love so much.
There's a gal in Seattle, Jenna Conrad, who even named herself Troubletown; my existence always confused her fans. Unfortunately her sound man reports on his blog that, "she has decided to drop Troubletown, and begin performing under the moniker Avians Alight." Ah, too bad, she's starting to sound like one of my %* newspapers!...No, really, her voice is haunting, visceral, and has a raw honesty that tears into your heart and leaves it bleeding on the street. Give her a listen and buy her new record.
If chicken-fried hillbilly rock is your thing, check out cut 11 on Bigger than Dallas, and buy the record. It rawks. Tom Petty is one of the lamest musicians ever to slide into a pair of tight pants, but he shows some class singing about Troubletown in the hit, You Wreck Me, for whatever that's worth. If you're a punk like me, you'll dig the Supplicators hit, title, wait for it, Troubletown. It'll make you pierce your cheek and bang your head against a concrete pillar at the Rathskeller. Gugun and the Blues rock out on a live version of their tune, you guessed it, Troubletown, here on Deezer records.
Jamie Marshall's Troubletown is slickly produced and sounds a bit Springsteen and Jackson Browne meet Warren Zevon. Give it a listen. Jamie goes as deep into blues infused jazz rock as anyone playing these days. Buy his record. And speaking of jazzy, I-don't-know-what-kind-of-music-this-is, Vince Bell sounds like he's going to be a mega-star, especially when he's singing about Troubletown. Only a 30-second sample here, you'll have to buy the CD.
Like I said, Ras Midas and I Roy do and extended reggae dance dub, of their tune, Troubletown, but I couldn't find the music, only this video , which is totally sweet. If spiritual music of the non-Rastafarian variety is what you're looking for check out
BUT somehow through the smoke and raging din I hear yahshua’s voice it calls to me from heaven Seventy times seven ………. (I HAVE FORGIVEN YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS) and though I’ve sinned dear father, though I’ve sinned I have confessed my wretched ways to you right here on holy ground And your grace delivered me from troubletown Yahshua delivered me from troubletown
Have you seen this video? If not, you must watch this child, Jonathan Krohn, whip up a crowd of wingers at the conservative revival meeting in DC last week. You can almost hear the little old ladies in the front row saying, "Oh isn't he cute? And mean too!"
The child has obviously been bred to be the young messiah for the conservative movement and he's come right when they need him most. Get used to this kid, folks, his mug will be on TV for the next seventy-five years unless he pulls a Danny Bonaduce. He's going to make Rush Limbaugh look like a thumb-sucking wallflower.
Krohn's father is obviously former Bush speech writer, David Frum. Michelle Bachman, the batshit crazy congresswoman from Minnesota is his mummy.
Krohn's pedigree; Dad: The mushmouthed Frum; Mom: batshit crazy lunatic
The resemblance to both is remarkable. Love him though they must, the youngster had less than a month of coddling and biological love before being sent to "camp." All part of the plan, the kid was put through a 12-year deep psy-ops project, whipped with metal coat hangers daily, and exposed to extreme temperatures, all helping to strip him of any shred of compassion and cement the ideology.
I made an ass out of myself on talk radio the other day. It started when I agreed to do some work for my wife, who is over-extended and overworked, I myself being under-extended and underworked. I'm in semi-retirement. She’s designing a “making of” coffee table book for a super-famous filmmaker and his huge licensing and franchise operation. I don’t know if she has a NDA, but she might: suffice it to say it’s a book that will cater to geeks. So I was sitting there making type corrections. Looking at the page printouts and typing in new captions, changing fonts here and there, and adding periods and commas. It’s what I used to do in the old days with a knife and fast hands; now I'm working in InDesign. I clicked in to Air America for some diversion...
I’m such a spoiled brat that I’m really not used to drudgery. My hands are soft like a Lord Fauntleroy who's never done a hard day’s work in his life. The idea that somebody would ever hire me is laughable, yet I’m an internationally acclaimed artist, successful entrepreneur, marketing genius, and roustabout man about town.
And this is drudgerous work, believe me. Making corrections to book text, your back and neck starts to seize up right away. And since there are a gazillion tiny corrections, you get into the mindset of: One more! One more! One more! Just one more page before I pee!
But it was also boring. Boring but demanding enough that your mind can’t wander to women, sex fantasies, or what’s happening on your facebook page. Finally, out of sheer boredom I clicked Air America and streamed it, the Ron Kuby Show. Next to Lionel, who I refuse to listen to, Ron Kuby is fast becoming the most annoying of the Air America hosts, a position once held by Randi Rhodes. Randi Rhodes was at least vitriolic and did her research, Ron Kuby’s show is what Howard Stern would be if Stern was a long-winded defense lawyer. Kuby and his twenty-something producers make wisecracks and guffaw heartily at their own jokes, and they tease the host for wearing a ponytail. But, on this day Kuby was entertaining and I was loving every second of it.
Anyway, as my shoulders fused into a mass of aching tissue, Ron Kuby was talking about the cartoon. After apparently going on for days about the chimp cartoon––and taking your calls––he was finally left with talking about Al Sharpton’s protests outside the office of the NY Post. He didn’t approve, even though he’s known Sharpton for fifteen years. Kuby and his cohorts started talking about what the protesters were chanting. Nobody knew what to chant. This was the best they had:
“Hey Ho, racist chimp cartoons have got to go!”
Kuby, to his credit, had a point. That’s a terrible chant. So they started trying to come up with one, and theirs sucked even worse, they didn’t even rhyme. So, being who I am, I started reeling off amazing chants. These aren’t all masterpieces, but this is the extraordinary quality of chants I came up with in fifteen seconds:
Murdoch, Murdock he’s our man, The Post is like a garbage can!
The cartoon you ran really stank, let’s make Murdoch walk the plank!
You chimped us in that bad cartoon, let’s send Murdoch to the moon!
To read The Post you might need glasses, Murdoch you can kiss our asses!
The New York Post will hurt your liver, let’s throw Murdoch in the river!
The Post cartoons really blow, we don’t like your minstrel show!
I don’t know why, but I decided to call in to the Ron Kuby Show to share a chant. I never do this, but I was desperate for distraction. It went like this:
“Hello, do you have something you want to say to Ron Kuby?”
“What’s your name and city?”
“Lloyd from Oakland.”
“What do you want to say to Ron?
“I have a chant.”
“A chant, you know for that Al Sharpton thing you’ve been talking about for the past hour.”
“Oh, a chant. What is it?”
“I want to say it to Ron.”
“Yes, but you’ve got to tell me first or you can’t be on the show.”
So I did. Then they put me on hold. I turned down my computer and listened to the show on my cell phone, my brain basking in those tumor-producing waves. Ron switched topics to a detailed discussion of harnessing wind power and the legalities of trading carbon credits with a look toward how consumers may benefit. I was bored again, and with my phone up to my ear I wasn’t even working on the type corrections. Suddenly I hear––
“Lloyd from Oakland, you’re on with Ron Kuby!”
“Uh, I have a chant.”
“You have a what?”
“A chant, is there something wrong with my phone?”
The producers and Kuby would all talk at once and then suddenly there would be silence.
“You wanna hear it?”
“Yes, let’s hear it.”
“You should’ve dumped that chimp cartoon, Murdoch is the real baboon.”
“What?!” Kuby said. One of the producers had been interjecting something and he missed the chant.
“You should’ve dumped that chimp cartoon, Murdoch is the real baboon.”
Remember last week when that guy Rick Santelli went nuts on CNBC in an apparently genuine Howard Beale moment? The guy was so incensed by Obama's lack of financial discipline that he called for a Chicago Tea Party where they would throw, I don't know, tea in the water? Anyway, it seems to have caught fire, and people everywhere are calling: "Tea party! tea party!". Nope. It was all fake, manufactured by rich Republicans at enormous cost. The story was originally in Playboy. I can't remember them breaking a story in the last decade or two. Go Playboy!