Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg


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I don’t think there’s anything I can say about Justice Ginsburg that her many admirers haven’t said this week. She was an amazing woman, and the world is a bit bleaker with her gone.

I hope you like the cartoon, or take some comfort from it. I’m honestly nervous to show it to you; this is well outside of my comfort zone.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has ten panels, arranged as a 3×3 grid of nine panels, with a wide tenth panel beneath. All of the panels show a maroon wingback chair on an otherwise empty green hill.

PANEL 1

In the distance, just beyond the crest of the hill, Justice Ginsberg is looking towards us.

RBG: The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy i s supposed to be.

PANEL 2

RBG has walked to just behind the chair as she continues to speak.

RBG: What greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?

PANEL 3

RBG has sat in the chair and look angry, spreading her arms to make a point.

RBG: Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work… Is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you’re not getting wet.

PANEL 4

Skies have been clear blue up to this point in the cartoon. They have turned a bit grayer, and there are white clouds in the sky.

RBG leans forward a bit in the chair, holding her hands together.

RBG: A gender line helps to keep women not on a pedestal but in a cage.

PANEL 5

A close-up of RBG, holding up a forefinger to make a point. For the first time in this cartoon, she’s smiling.

RBG: Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

PANEL 6

RBG has stood up and is walking off the page, with her back turned to us.

PANEL 7

The chair sits on the hillside, with no one around. The skies are a bit darker now, and the clouds are gray.

PANEL 8

From the right border of the cartoon, RBG leans in for a moment, like someone peering around a wall, to talk to us. She’s smirking a bit.

RBG: When I’m asked “when will there enough women on the Supreme Court,” and I say “when there are nine, people are shocked!

PANEL 9

RBG faces the viewer and shrugs.

RBG: But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.

PANEL 10

A much wider panels shows a slightly more distant shot of the chair on the hill. No one is in sight. The sky is much darker now, and dark clouds roll in from either side.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, In the news, Supreme Court Issues | 4 Comments  

Cartoon: Why Would Anyone Think The GOP Wants To Suppress The Vote?


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So this cartoon was written fairly recently,1 while the Trump administration’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, was seemingly ordering cutbacks, leading many people to worry that this was an attempt by Trump to make vote-by-mail ballots less likely to be counted.

This was my original idea for the final panel of this cartoon:

But I felt a lot of hesitation about that panel. Because while I was working on it, it was (and still is) a developing story. Is DeJoy actually trying to affect the elections? Or is he just trying to destroy a public service (he has investments in the Postal Service’s private industry competitors)? Or is he just an incompetent Trump crony thrust into a position he doesn’t understand (during hearings in the House, he seemed to know very little about the postal service, and claimed to not know who ordered the cutbacks)? All of these explanations seem possible.

And would anyone even remember this story a month or two from now?

I don’t want to spend a week or two working on a cartoon and then have it almost immediately be mooted by a changing news story. So even though I’d already put a lot of work into it, I almost didn’t finish this cartoon.

Then I read someone arguing that it’s unfair of accusing the GOP of trying to cripple the postal service to suppress voting, when they might have different (but also venal) motives. And I thought, if that’s true, whose fault is that?

The GOP has tried, again and again, to suppress the vote. If people are now quick to interpret what the GOP does as yet another attempt to suppress the vote, that’s entirely reasonable. It’s a reputation they’ve earned with considerable effort over many years.

And that’s a cartoon idea I feel a lot more confidence in.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a gigantic man – as tall as a two-story house – speaking to a bunch of voters. The giant is wearing a collared white shirt, striped tie, suit vest, and pants. He is white and balding and middle-aged, but looks quite strong. He is cheerfully grinning in every panel.

PANEL 1

The giant is destroying a small building – wood and a piece of roof and a chimney flying in all directions – by stomping on it. We can see the remains of a big wooden sign, which says “VOTE HERE,” being snapped in two by his shoe. A couple of alarmed human-sized people are watching him do this.

GIANT: I closed 542 polling sites in minority neighborhoods – but I also closed 34 voting sites in white neighborhoods. So it’s perfectly fair!

PANEL 2

The giant is holding a piece of parchment, which says “Voting Rights Act” in big letters. In his other hand he holds a paintbrush, dripping red paint. There’s a can of red paint open on the ground near the giant’s feet. A gigantic “X” has been painted on the parchment, over “voting rights act.” Six human-sized people are watching, one of them filming with a smartphone.

GIANT: The law is from 1965! Who needs voting rights now?

PANEL 3

On a city sidewalk, the giant is standing holding a long roll of paper, with “Voter Rolls” written at the top. The long roll of paper is on fair. A red gas can is on the sidewalk near the giant’s feet. A couple of human-sized people are also on the sidewalk, looking angry and aghast.

GIANT: Gotta purge Black vot — I mean, bad voters.

PANEL 4

The giant is standing on a path in a public park, a giant axe held resting on one shoulder, shrugging. There are trees and a little pond. The giant is talking to several human-sized people, who are listening looking skeptical and annoyed. Again, one person is filming with their cell phone.

GIANT: How could you think I’d try to suppress the vote?

  1. Actually, this paragraph was written almost a month ago when I posted this cartoon on Patreon, so it’s a bit less recent now. []
Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | 7 Comments  

Cartoon: Hush, Woman, The Strawfeminist Is Speaking


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I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of arguing with someone about politics, and it becomes obvious that they’re not actually responding to, or truly listening to, anything you’re saying; they’re just using what you say as cues for the already formed arguments they’re eager to use.

Obviously, that experience inspired this cartoon. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve seen people criticize or mock the slogan “believe women” by pretending it’s a slogan about courtroom standards and getting rid of due process – which it obviously is not. I wouldn’t say no feminist has ever used it that way – there are, after all, millions of feminists – but it’s definitely not the common usage, and pretending it is is just so intellectually dishonest and I GET SO FRUSTRATED AND

…And hence, this cartoon. I hope you like it!


I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “hence” in a sentence before.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows the same thing: A man and woman walking through a hilly park – not side by side, but with him ten feet or so ahead of her. There are shrubs and trees and little pedestrian paths through the grassy hills. She is wearing big round glasses (“big round glasses: the cartoonist’s best friend”), shorts, and a  black tank top. He has a beard, and is wearing a bowling shirt with two thick vertical stripes, and black pants.

PANEL 1

GLASSES is talking and making an “I’m just explaining things here” gesture, with her palms held out in front of her. BEARDY is looking grumpy as he talks back.

GLASSES: “Believe women” means that if a woman says she’s been raped, we shouldn’t reflexively dismiss her story.

BEARDY: So courts should just assume men are guilty?

PANEL 2

Glasses looks a little annoyed, putting one hand on her hip. Beardy is smirking.

GLASSES: I’m not talking about courtrooms. What if a friend tells you she’s been raped by a man?

BEARDY: So feminists hate men! Funny, that’s just what I thought.

PANEL 3

Glasses looks even grumpier; Beardo is raising his voice a bit.

GLASSES: I don’t hate men. But I have to keep in mind that any man could potentially be a rapist.

BEARDY: So you admit you think all men are rapists!

PANEL 4

Glasses is now shouting, her hands balled into fists. Beardo looks positively cheerful.

GLASSES: Are you listening to me at all?!?

BEARDY: No, thanks, I already ate.

Posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Cartooning & comics, Feminism, Feminism, sexism, etc | 24 Comments  

Cartoon: Transgenderism Is Coming! Run Away!


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Hi, folks!

This week1 I’m moving out of the studio I’ve been in for… 12 years? Longer? (Update: ten years.) A very long time. It’s been an amazing space to work in, but the building owner has new uses in mind. And all good things end eventually.

Me and some friends already have a new studio rented, but I’ve put off actually packing and moving until the very last moment. (My lease on the old space runs out this Friday!).

So I lettered this cartoon, and am typing this message to you, from an oddly empty room, with most of the furniture gone and piles of packed cardboard boxes around. It’s a bit surreal, but moving always is.


So anyway… This cartoon! The art is by Becky Hawkins, who did an amazing job. I just love the variety of expressions and little movements she put in there. (It was also Becky’s idea to have it be a cable TV yapping show of some sort; in my original sketch, it was just three people talking on zoom.)

This cartoon is about a specific aspect of the so-called “cancel culture” issue – pronouns and the supposedly apocalyptic results of getting a pronoun wrong. Many of my friends and acquaintances are transgender in various ways, and – being a big dork – I’ve more than once gotten people’s pronouns wrong. It’s something I’m especially liable to do if I haven’t known the person long, or if I have known the person long but they’ve only recently announced their pronoun preference.

Nine hundred and ninety nine times out of a thousand, there’s really nothing more to it than saying “oops, sorry” and moving on. But that’s not how right-wingers – most of whom have never known any out transgendered people outside of Twitter – tell it. Their interest – both emotional and, in the case of media personalities, financial – lies in demonizing transgender people as much as possible. And they egg each other on to greater extremes. (“Transgenderism is the new fascism” is something I actually saw somebody say!)

So this cartoon is an attempt to illustrate – and make fun of – that dynamic.


The original last line of this cartoon was “Thanks! So, about lunch…,” but that line rang really untrue in the age of Covid, so I changed it to them talking about a YouTube video.

With Portland so much in the news this month, I’ve more than once found myself reassuring out of state friends and relatives that I’m perfectly safe and things are actually very quiet here (everything you see on the news takes place in approximately six blocks of downtown). It reminded me of this cartoon Becky and I created almost a year ago. But looking at the last panel of that cartoon actually makes me sad, because that entire style of living has been cancelled, and who knows for how long, by Covid.

(A very, VERY minor silver lining: I do feel that my visual vocabulary for showing people talking over the internet has really been expanded by Covid.)


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus an additional tiny “kicker” panel underneath the cartoon.

The first three panels all show some sort of news or talk show, in which the screen is divided “zoom” style to show three pundits who are talking to each other from separate locations. There’s a large window, for whomever is currently speaking, and then two smaller windows with the other two pundits.

The three are: A white man with a beard and mustache, in front of a cityscape background; a white woman with brown hair and a blue blouse, in front of red-white-and-blue stripes; and a white woman with blonde hair and an off-white blouse, with a framed something on the wall and a houseplant behind her. I will call these characters CITYSCAPE, STRIPES, and HOUSEPLANT.

At the bottom of the largest window, a chyron – which is the word for captions at the bottom of news programs – displays changing messages. It is presumably scrolling, so not all of each message fits on screen at once.

PANEL 1

Cityscape looks angry; the other two look grimly concerned.

CITYSCAPE: These “transgenders” jump down your throat if you don’t use their “preferred pronoun.” That’s why I’m not friends with any.

CHYRON: …ew study proves liberals are stupid…

PANEL 2

Houseplant, in the main window, is making airquotes. Stripes is screaming, her fists raised in the air. Cityscape has his arms crossed and looks serious.

HOUSEPLANT: I don’t know any “gender nonbinaries,” but I heard that anyone who uses the “wrong” pronoun is fired and blacklisted!

STRIPES: Transgenderism is the new fascism!

CHYRON: …God hates who you whate, says sour…

PANEL 3

Stripes, now in the main window, looks very frightened and wide-eyed, like she’s about to cry. In the smaller windows, Cityscape looks sad and Houseplant is shaking her head with her arms akimbo.

STRIPES: Can you imagine the Hell of actually associating with these people? Watching every word… Living in constant fear… Knowing that the slightest misstep means you’re cancelled! Forever!

CHYRON: Scientist: Watching Fox cures cance…

PANEL 4

This panel shows a person with curly hair in a low ponytail and a purple shirt holding up a tablet. On the tablet’s screen we can see the other person in the conversation, who has glasses and bright pink hair. Ponytail looks concerned, Pinkhair is smiling and looks cheery.

PINKHAIR: By the way, you said “he.” I use “they.”

PONYTAIL: Oops! Thanks, I’ll try not to do that again.

PINKHAIR: Thanks! Hey, did you see that turtle video?

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE CARTOON

An angry short-haired white man is yelling and pointing at Barry, who looks taken aback.

ANGRY MAN: This cartoon is bull! I “misgender” transgenders for fun on twitter all the time, and lots of them get angry!

  1. Actually, this was written and posted to Patreon back in July. []
Posted in Cartooning & comics, Transsexual and Transgender related issues | 5 Comments  

Cartoon: Are you GENUINELY Poor?


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This cartoon is based on a cliche I’ve heard so many times – that poor people aren’t “really” poor, and so don’t deserve help, if they have a phone/big TV/smartphone/microwave etc. Basically, any consumer durable. (“Consumer durables are a category of consumer products that do not have to be purchased frequently because they last for an extended period of time (typically more than three years”)). It’s not enough to be food insecure, in danger of eviction, and not knowing where the money for utility bills will come from – if you’re not suffering in every single way, this thinking goes, you’re not really poor and don’t really deserve help.

For example, the Heritage Foundation grouched that “the typical poor household, as defined by the government, has a car and air conditioning, two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR.”

(Color televisions! I love that they specify “color.” How does the Heritage Foundation think poor people could even find the black and white TVs that they presumably think are all poor people should have? I guess they could use a time machine, except probably Heritage wouldn’t approve of poor people owning that, either.)

It’s particularly ridiculous to hear people complaining about cars and phones – two items that are actual necessities for many people who’d like to be part of society. And they’re often necessities for being able to find a job, or to find a better job.

Hence, this cartoon.

The most interesting challenge about drawing this cartoon was the need for change without changing: To see these two characters on three different days, but with their personalities, social roles and circumstances unchanged. So each of them had to have three sets of clothes, and I needed to draw what looked like three slightly different parts of the same general area. My collaborator Frank Young, who did the colors, did a really bang-up job on making the panels look like different times of day.

In hindsight, I think I could have done it better – really, there’s no reason all three locations had to be on the same sidewalk – and hopefully I’ll take that and do better next time this comes up. But I’m still pleased with how this came out.

The figures were fun to draw. The villain is a perfect Barry character – super exaggerated expressions and a huge mouth. The other character was more of a challenge, since he had to be downbeat and restrained without being boring to look at.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows two men: A not-wealthy looking man with shaggy hair and some stubble, and a bald man in glasses, wearing a business suit and tie. Each panel shows them at a sidewalk with grass growing in the background.

PANEL 1

Shaggy is wearing a wrinkled collared shirt and jeans. Necktie is wearing a gray suit with a tie with a dot pattern.

It’s bright daytime. Shaggy, with his back turned to Necktie, is looking at and poking a smartphone, and, in the helpful way people so often do in the first panel of my cartoons, talking aloud to himself. Necktie is turning to look at, and yell at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I can’t find a job and I’m out of money… Time to google “food stamps.”

NECKTIE: Food stamps are for people who are genuinely poor. If you were poor, you wouldn’t own a smartphone, would you?

PANEL 2

A caption says “one week later.”

From the light, it appears to be early evening. Shaggy is wearing a plaid shirt and Black pants, and has a backpack; Necktie is wearing a pinstripe suit and a tie with horizontal stripes.

Shaggy is looking worried and has a hand on his chest; Necktie is sternly talking to, and pointing at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I sold my phone, but now I’m out of money again.

NECKTIE: So sell your car. No one who owns a car is poor.

PANEL 3

A caption says “one month later.”

The same two men, on a similar patch of sidewalk. Shaggy is wearing sweatpants with a stripe down the side, and a hole in one knee, and a tee shirt. Necktie is wearing a dark blue suit, a black shirt, and a light-colored necktie.

Shaggy is sitting on the curb, slumping, looking down both literally and metaphorically. Necktie, talking to Shaggy, looks very cheerful.

SHAGGY: Now I’ve got no money for food, no phone for job hunting, and no car to get to a job!

NECKTIE: Excellent! Now you’re genuinely poor!

PANEL 4

The same scene, a moment later. Shaggy, looking hopeful, is looking up at Necktie. Necktie folds his arms and grins even more.

SHAGGY: So now you’re okay with me getting food stamps?

NECKTIE: Nope!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Economics and the like | 41 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Mailboxes Edition

  1. How to Test Every American for COVID-19, Every Day – The Atlantic
  2. U.S. Immigration Law’s Unconstitutional Double Standards – The Atlantic
  3. Three Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ – The New York Times
  4. Three Cheers for Socialism! | Commonweal Magazine
    “Chiefly, what [Americans] have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions.”
  5. Why Black Voters Prefer Establishment Candidates Over Liberal Alternatives | FiveThirtyEight
    Established relationships, and being risk adverse. The effect seems somewhat smaller if the liberal alternative is a credible Black candidate.
  6. A Better Remedy for Cancel Culture – Persuasion
    That “better remedy” being ending (or at least limiting) at-will employment. Some very interesting comments, as well.
  7. Lackawanna woman died as she lived: hating Tom Brady | Buffalo Bills News | NFL | buffalonews.com
  8. The Black Officer Who Detained George Floyd Had Pledged to Fix the Police – The New York Times And an alternate link.
  9. The gruesome, untold story of Eva Peron’s lobotomy – BBC Future
    Interesting, but less than certain.
  10. New Work by Gary Larson | TheFarSide.com
  11. Words for cutting: Why we need to stop abusing “the tone argument”
    Written five years ago and still terribly relevant today.
  12. Teens in Argentina are leading the charge to eliminate gender in language – The Washington Post and an alternate link.
  13. The Unstrung Power of Elaine Stritch in “Original Cast Album: Company” | The New Yorker
  14. Why Are Hospitals Censoring Doctors and Nurses? – The Atlantic
  15. Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s – The Atlantic
  16. Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine
  17. Abigail Nussbaum — How to do Garak/Bashir in Canon DS9

Posted in Link farms | 78 Comments  

Cartoon: How Politicians “Lead”


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So yesterday someone was telling me that “the Democrats have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the left on this” – “this” being health care, in this case, but you could say the same thing about any number of issues. I thought “hey, I did a cartoon about that years ago” and searched around, and couldn’t find it on any of my webpages.

I think I simply forgot to post this one. So here it is!

As I said, it applies to many issues, but the issue I had in mind when drawing this was same-sex marriage — one of many issues in which the Democratic base got there years before the politicians did.

People forget that Joe Biden began his career as a pro-life Democrat — he even supported a constitutional amendment to undo Roe v Wade. But over time, the base became too solidly pro-choice for a pro-life Democrat to be a viable presidential candidate. So Biden changed. And he continues to change, such has his newfound opposition to the Hyde amendment.

I don’t say this to criticize Biden. It’s good that he changed. We want our politicians to move to the left!

If elected, Biden will not be left enough for my tastes. But at the same time, his administration will probably support policies well to the left of Barack Obama or Bill Clinton’s administrations. Because we dragged him there.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each of the panels shows the same location: A abstract, mostly empty space. But there’s a white line dividing the space in two. On the left side of the space are three activist-looking people – a woman wearing a sleeveless turtleneck and glasses, a man wearing a hoodie and a knit hat, and a woman with a short spiky hairdo.

On the right of the line is a handsome man in his 40s or 50s, with neatly combed hair, wearing black pants and a business shirt with a necktie. He basically looks like a politician. Also to the right of the line is some sort of pole sticking straight up from the ground (I was thinking it was a lamppost when I drew it, but since we’re only seeing the bottom six or seven feet of it, we don’t see the “lamp” part in this cartoon).

PANEL 1

The Politician is clinging to the lamppost with both hands. A rope is tied around his ankles, and Glasses, Knit Cap, and Spiky are pulling hard on the rope, as if they’re in a tough game of “tug of war,” trying to pull the Politician to the left. They’re pulling so hard that the politician’s legs and body are horizontal, and he’s a couple of feet off the ground. The three activists have expressions of effort and determination; the Politician is wailing.

GLASSES: C’mon!

KNIT CAP: We’re going this way!

POLITICIAN: Can’t we be patient?

PANEL 2

As the three continue to pull on the, the politician has lost his grip on the lamppost. His fingernails are leaving scrapes on the ground as he struggles not to be pulled left.

GLASSES: Why is he being so stubborn?

SPIKY: Heave!

POLITICIAN: Nooooooo! It’s not the time yet! It’s not safe!

PANEL 3

The Politician has been pulled to the left of the line and is looking around fearfully. The three activists are panting, bending over or sitting on the ground or leaning against the side of the panel, clearly exhausted.

PANEL 4

The politician has stood up and is taking a prideful pose, The activists are reacting to what he says with surprise.

POLITICIAN: I’m proud my leadership got us over the line!

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | 41 Comments  

Cartoon: Terfluffle in the Supermarket


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This cartoon was written by me and drawn by my most frequent collaborator, Becky Hawkins. Becky also came up with the title. Thanks Becky!


(For those of you who don’t know, “TERF” is short for “Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist.”)

Here’s something I can say for certain: When they notice this cartoon, I’ll be insulted by some TERFs, not in a “I think your cartoon sucks” way but in a “you’re a fat p.o.s. who should die” way. Of all the groups I’ve insulted in my cartoons, only the racist antisemites are more consistently hateful than the TERFs. And, of course, TERFs are kind to me compared to how they treat trans women.

It a subculture – much like the Men’s Right’s subculture – in which people sit in a bubble and egg each other on into becoming ever more bigoted. To such an extent that all of the horrible things the TERF in our cartoon says, are things I’ve seen TERFs say in real life.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels.

PANEL 1

Two women are talking in a supermarket. The first, a woman with stylish glasses and her blonde hair pulled into a low bun, and wearing a reddish orange dress with matching shoes, is grinning with a smug expression and holding up her phone to show the other woman.

The second woman has short brown hair, worn in a style called a “quiff”:  “short hair that’s left longer on top and dramatically swept to the side.” She’s wearing jeans, brown boots, an open red button-up shirt over a white tee, and four piercings in her ear.

The two are waiting on line by a counter at a supermarket; we can see a glassed-in counter (like a Supermarket deli) behind them, with ad pictures on the wall showing a sub sandwich, a big joint of meat with slices carved off, and a salad.

GLASSES: As a feminist, I look for small ways to fight misogyny every day!

BOOTS: What a great idea!

PANEL 2

A close up of Glasses, holding up her phone in one hand, and raising her other hand’s forefinger to make a point, still smiling widely.

GLASSES: Like, here on FaceBook I told a trans “woman” that he‘s just a man in a dress!

GLASSES: And on Twitter I said that all transgenders rape women by appropriating women’s bodies!

PANEL 3

Another close up of Glasses, reading her own screen and laughing big, but with a rather mean expression.

GLASSES: And here, I said transgender “women” are to women what Twinkies are to food!

GLASSES (very large): HA!

PANEL 4

In a shot similar to panel 1’s shot, we see Glasses continuing to smile and talk to Boots. Boots, with a horrified expression, has turned away from Glasses and is now holding her own smartphone, which she’s frenetically typing on with a forefinger.

GLASSES: So what’s a small way you’re fighting misogyny?

BOOTS: Telling everyone I’ve ever met to block you.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Transsexual and Transgender related issues | 38 Comments  

Cartoon: You’re So Brave, I’d Rather Be Dead


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I’m not disabled, so the first time I heard a disabled person say that ablebodied people repeatedly tell them “I’d rather be dead!,” it boggled my mind. I actually wondered if that disabled person could be an unlucky outlier, someone who had run into an extraordinarily large number of ablebodied jerks through sheer chance. (Every statistical group has clusters and outliers, right?)

But then I saw it again, online, in a forum for disabled people, and I read the comments – person after person saying “oh, yeah, that happens to me, I’m sick of it.” And then I saw a similar thread on Twitter.

And then I finally thought, “hey, this should be a political cartoon.” (I’m sometimes not the swiftest.)

Once I had that thought, the cartoon was very easy to write. This general structure – a series of repetitive events showing how stigma or prejudice cumulatively wears down its targets – is one I’ve done several times before, including in the cartoon I posted here yesterday.

This doesn’t bother me; many cartoonists I admire have themes they return to again and again. The trick is finding new angles for exploring the same theme.

* * *

Embarrassingly, exactly as I wrote the words “new angles,” I remembered a cartoon I did four years ago that’s almost exactly like this one, about white people’s habit of touching Black people’s hair. What I wrote back then, about that cartoon, also applies to this one:

Part of what I wanted to get at, with this cartoon, is the cumulative nature of these small indignities (aka microaggressions). It’s simple for the character, in panel 1, to repel the request with at least an appearance of good cheer.  But when it comes again and again and again and again and again, it’s not so easy. Things add up; pressure builds. What if it were just one person might be “wow, that person was really awkward, what was up with that?” becomes a pattern of small assaults to one’s dignity.

If I had remembered that four-years-old cartoon, I would have tried to find a different angle for this one.

So am I sorry I did this one? I admit, I’m not. If some readers (especially disabled readers) enjoy seeing the “I’d rather be dead” cliche made fun of in a cartoon, and feel that the cartoon at least partly reflects their own life, then for me that completely justifies making this cartoon.

It’s interesting (to me at least) to compare the art of the two cartoons. The script is very similar, but the layout and the drawing style are radically different. I definitely put a lot more work into drawing this one.

 


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. The first five panel shows a woman with blue hair with a thin pink streak, thin oval glasses, and arms that end slightly above where her elbows would be. In each panel she appears, she’s in a different setting talking to a different person. I’m going to call her GLASSES.

PANEL 1

A caption at the top of the panel says “Monday.” A brown-haired woman, hands clutched together in front of her chin, is anxiously staring at Glasses. Glasses, who was walking and is wearing a backpack, turns back to look at the woman.

ANXIOUS: You’re so brave. I’d rather die than live like that!

GLASSES: Um… Thank you?

PANEL 2

A caption says “Tuesday.” In a grocery store, a muscular man in a sleeveless tee, who is pushing a grocery cart, talks loudly at Glasses. He is between Glasses and the shelf, and Glasses is gesturing towards the shelf behind him, looking a little annoyed.

MUSCLES: I can’t imagine being you. I’d rather be dead.

GLASSES: Dude, I just want some Pop Tarts.

PANEL 3

A caption says “Wednesday.” Glasses is seating in the… what do you call those things? The sort of built-in stadium seating some college lecture halls have, with a series of long curved benches and desks, each one on a higher level as they get further from the front of the room, so everyone has a good view of the professor. Glasses has a laptop open on the desk in front of her. We can see a couple of bored looking students in the row behind Glasses.  Next to Glasses is a man wearing a jacket, one of those “image of a necktie” tee shirts, with his black hair in a long ponytail and an expression of extreme disgust. Glasses looks very annoyed as she responds to him.

PONYTAIL: I couldn’t stand not wiping my own butt. I’d die first!

GLASSES: Shockingly, butt wiping isn’t actually the pinnacle of human existence.

PANEL 4

A caption says “Thursday.” Glasses walks down a city sidewalk, a cartoon cloud indicating grumpiness floating above her. Behind her, a man wearing sandals and pants with torn knees, and carrying a shopping bag, grins as he talks at her; she doesn’t even bother turning back to look.

SANDALS: It’s inspiring that you haven’t committed suicide.

PANEL 5

A caption says “Friday.” An older couple, a man and a woman, are looking at Glasses; the man, wide-eyed, is speaking, but is cut off by Glasses yelling at him, leaning forward angrily.

MAN: I’d rather be dead than-

GLASSES: I don’t want to die. I have a great life! Except for ablebodied people telling me my life isn’t worth living!

PANEL 6

The “camera” pulls back to show the man and woman now standing by themselves; Glasses, it is implied, has stomped off and left the scene. The man and woman look annoyed as they look in the direction Glasses went.

MAN: Those people are so rude!

WOMAN: Obviously it’s the disability that makes her so angry.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Disability Issues, Disabled Rights & Issues | 3 Comments  

Cartoon: Capitalism/Socialism


If you like these cartoons, help me make more at my Patreon! Lots of $1 or $2 pledges means I can make a living.


Today’s comic is written by me and drawn by Jake Richmond, creator of Modest Medusa. Jake is a longtime friend and collaborator of mine – he colored my “Hereville” graphic novels – but this is the first time he’s drawn a comic of mine.

Jake’s a terrific cartoonist. The major reason I asked him to draw this strip rather than another is because I’ve always liked how Jake draws water.


This strip was obviously inspired by our current situation. The amount that Congress has allotted to stimulus is frankly not nearly enough to address the size of the economic crisis – but it’s still much larger than what most American politicians would ever support, and even the Republicans voted for it. (For round one, at least. I suspect they’ll give in and vote for round two, but who knows?) When things get dire, it turns out a safety net isn’t optional.


To my patrons: As always, thank you for supporting these cartoons.

As this crisis goes on, I keep being blown away by how lucky I am. I live in a nice house with eight housemates, so I have plenty of company, and none of us are ill. I have a job I love that I can keep doing through the crisis. We have food and even toilet paper.

And I have the pleasure of knowing that my work means enough to folks that they’re willing to support it. I am awed to be so lucky.

Extra thanks, this time, to Claire Nolan (who is also thanked in the sidebar of the cartoon). I hope you like this one, Claire! If you’d like to be emailed a print-quality high-res copy of this cartoon, signed to you by me and by Jake, please get in touch.

(Would any other folks like to be thanked in the sidebar too? Upgrade your pledge to $10 or more and it will happen!)

 


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show a man in a one-person rowboat. He’s rowing  The man is wearing an “Uncle Sam” style red-white-and-blue top hat.

PANEL 1

The man – let’s call him Uncle Sam – is rowing and talking cheerfully. He’s rowing facing backwards (as people often do in rowboats), so he can’t see that his boat is heading straight towards a large rock jutting above the water.

SAM: Capitalism capitalism capitalism capitalism…

PANEL 2

The boat hits the rock, and Sam is thrown over the side of the boat. His hat flies up a little off his head, and we can see that he’s bald.

SAM: Capitali- AHH!

PANEL 3

The man, looking panicked, scrambles to get back into the boat, yelling as he struggles, the water splashing around him. His hat floats on the water nearby.

SAM: SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM!

PANEL 4

Sam is now back in the rowboat, looking happy and relieved. All is calm. He has put the hat, dripping with water, back on his head.

SAM: Where was I…? Oh yes… Capitalism capitalism…

Posted in Capitalism, Cartooning & comics, Class, poverty, labor, & related issues, Economics and the like | 6 Comments