Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Tomorrow night is the fabulous cartoonist signing event/fundraiser/party at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City, and YOU are invited! A $5 donation to the museum gets you in the door. Cartoonists you get to hang out with include:
Scott BatemanThe Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is located at 594 Broadway, a half block south of Houston on the east side of the street, on the 4th floor. More details here. See the Village Voice ad here.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
I've posted a few photos from the March for Women's Lives here.
I sometimes watch late-night comedy shows while drawing the strip. One night recently, THREE shows in a row had interviews with Donald Trump or a sketch about Trump. When the networks want to ram something inane down our throats, they sure don't hold back. No wonder a majority of Americans still think Iraq had something to do with 9-11, even though the White House once quietly admitted this was false (it was barely covered).
Escape from Ronald Rump
Monday, April 26, 2004
Yep, that's me at yesterday's March for Women's Lives. (Unfortunately, all I had to write with was a crappy pen.)
In short, it was awesome. March organizers, who meticulously collected signatures of attendees and issued "Count Me In" stickers to everyone in the crowd, put the number at 1.15 million. That means one out of every 300 people in the entire United States was there. In contrast, the showing of counter-protesters was puny. A few hundred appeared along one stretch of the march, forming a sort of gauntlet of nutballs; in today's newspapers, they predictably receive more coverage than they should. Put it this way: even if you assume there were a thousand of them -- a generous estimation -- there were a thousand TIMES more pro-choice people marching. So in a 1000-word newspaper article that accurately reflects the numbers, the counter protesters should get one word. Actually, more like a partial word -- say, a word missing its last letter.
Here are the heroes of the march, IMHO:
1. Medical Students for Choice - This group, dressed in their white coats, proudly held signs saying "I am a Future Abortion Provider." In an age when abortion doctors are being murdered, this was a real act of bravery.
2. The person who came from Juneau, Alaska. I don't know who you are, but I saw your signature on a sign. You came from Juneau. That's all I need to know.
3. Catholics for Choice - Especially the guy who climbed up on a pole (or something) during the march, waving his Catholics for Choice sign in an area that contained nutballs.
The whole event was extremely well-organized, and much to my relief, the bongo factor was low. This was not a radical crowd; it was comprised of ordinary Americans of all ages. I was amazed by the number of people who travelled from faraway states to be there. I'll post some more pics soon.
Friday, April 23, 2004
... on Sunday, April 25 in D.C., in what should be an historic rally for women's rights. Find out if there's a bus going from your area and sign up at the March for Women website. (You have to create an account; then click "Get Local" for info on rides from your area.)
In case you hadn't noticed, there's a war on -- against my gender. Now is not the time to be complacent. As if the threat of Roe v. Wade being dismantled isn't enough (please keep this in mind when you vote, Naderphiles), remember the Global Gag Rule which denies funding to organizations in poor countries that do so much as advocate reproductive freedom. People are dying because of this. So get off your duff and protest.
Just don't bring bongos. I really can't stand the whole bongo thing.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
After all of the damning evidence that has come out about the Bush administration's weakness on terrorism and lies leading up to the war in Iraq, as well as the Chimp-in-Chief's mortifying press conference, the American people have spoken. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll:
By 49 percent to 44 percent, Bush was viewed as better able to deal with the country's biggest problems. Five weeks ago, those numbers were reversed. By comfortable margins, voters saw Bush as stronger than Kerry on key national security issues...Wot!?
I have to constantly remind myself that lots and lots of people simply don't follow the news. At this rate, it seems clear that Bush could do anything and we'd still be obsessing about Donald Trump's hair.
Monday, April 19, 2004
I was secretly hoping all last week that no other cartoonists beat me to the punch on this one. Fortunately, no one did (or at least, not the cartoonists I regularly read).
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Just like mosquitoes in the warm weather, the students in this University town are out in droves, cruising around in their ass-thumping, subwoofer-laden Bass Cars. They drive by my house at a rate of one per minute, rattling the windowpanes and sometimes making themselves felt in my seat cushion. I'm sorry, but this has got to be the most fucking obnoxious trend ever. Armed with car stereo products like the Sony X-Plod, which should be illegal, these affluent frat boys seem to think that shaking entire neighborhoods makes them sexy. Well, I have news for you: You are not sexy. You are self-conscious, insecure, and probably terrible in bed.
You know, not to sound like the grumpy oldster I'm rapidly becoming, but when I was in college I couldn't afford a car, let alone a Toyota 4Runner tricked out with bass tubes. Ugh, there goes one now.
See related cartoon here.
Friday, April 16, 2004
[UPDATE: I received an e-mail from Bert Sperling explaining that the number of Starbucks was not used in the Best Cities ranking; he claims it's more of a "fun fact" -- an affluence indicator of sorts -- that appears on the website where you can compare cities. I think they could make it clearer that it was not a variable in their published study. Also, this explanation doesn't exactly jibe with the language on the site, which reads like a straightforward advertisement for Starbucks. Moreover, it completely ignores the destructive power of Starbucks over local businesses, and the aesthetic degradation of our towns and cities.]
This is really interesting. A report came out recently, ranking my town of Charlottesville, VA the number one place to live in the country (above Honolulu, even!). Nothing unusual there -- Charlottesville is consistently rated highly in these sorts of studies. But get this: one of the variables in the study was the number of Starbucks in the city, as in the more Starbucks, the better. Sperling's Best Places website (the source of the rankings) explains:
To growing number of people, Starbucks means fresh-brewed premium coffee at affordable prices. This is the number of Starbucks locations in a city, and if there are none, then the number of miles to the nearest city with one or more.Smells like product placement, if you ask me. This wouldn't necessarily be a big deal, except this particular ranking is being promulgated in a new book, Cities Ranked and Rated, which is receiving all kinds of press coverage. Cities are taking the rankings very seriously, as a book like this can have a major impact on local economies. In protest, I sent them this e-mail:
I can't believe you are using the number of Starbucks as a positive factor in your rankings. So a town where all the local coffee shops have been supplanted by a national chain are the best towns? If you must use Starbucks as a factor, it seems to me it would be a negative -- i.e., the town is losing its unique character. Your little blurb about Starbucks, by the way, reeks of product placement. Tacky.You can see this all for yourself on their city comparison pages.
Ironically, they got the number of Starbucks in Charlottesville wrong. They say we have just one, when we actually have at least four. I guess that makes us an even better city than they thought!
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
I've realized that I'm utterly incapable of predicting the public response to Bush's televised appearances. Last night he seemed as imbecilic as ever; yet in the past, he's been given a pass for similar painful-to-watch incoherence. This time the press seems a bit more critical -- even neocon William Kristol called the performance "depressing."
I will say, it was refreshing to see the White House press corps show some backbone last night during the Q&A. Where has this healthy level of journalistic skepticism been during the last three years?
If you want to read something hilarious, go to the comments on Atrios's blog that readers were pouring in during last night's press conference.
OH MY GOD.Every time Bush pulled a real boner, there was a flood of great one-liners. At one point, someone referred to him as Count Chimpula, a moniker I may start using on a regular basis.
Monday, April 12, 2004
I hereby announce the title of the new Slowpoke book: America Gone Bonkers. The book will be 112 pgs., and has been solicited for release in September. Whenever I finish the cover art, I'll post it here. Stay tuned!
Sometimes there's so much going on in the news, I get the urge to take a step back and do some social commentary instead. The sock-in-the-pocket idea was inspired by my husband's habit of walking around with his socks in his pants pocket as he's getting dressed (perhaps I shouldn't be revealing this). It occurred to me that it looked stylish, in a weird way. Perhaps my cartoon will play the role of the Cyclopian Hippo singer, and start the sock-dangling trend in real life.
Friday, April 09, 2004
It took a couple weeks, but it seems my "Naderite Nursery Rhymes" cartoon did manage to rankle some readers. I've been lumped in with mainstream "liberals" (presumably in the Clinton-DNC sense), and have been decried as "conservative." Writes reader Matt Lakin, of my cartoon, in the latest Local Planet Weekly in Spokane:
... I thought, "Wait a minute! This seems like a very conservative tactic, like a fake liberal would perpetrate!" Ralph Nader is not stealing votes from John Kerry; he’s earning them the honest way... Conservative means avoiding change and keeping with tradition.
Okay. I'm not saying Ralph doesn't have the right to run. I never said that. Would that we had a multi-party system like they have in Canada and Europe. Fine by me.
The sad thing here is that I'm fairly certain that these people who are upset at my cartoon actually agree with me on the issues. We all want the same things for this country. The difference lies in how we approach the problem. I am really getting a sense that these people believe there is no difference between Bush and Kerry, and that alarms the bejeezus out of me.
As I've said before, this election is nothing short of a matter of life and death. I do not believe Kerry will perpetuate the Bush assault on our air and water that is certainly going to result in thousands of premature deaths. He's not going to stack the Supreme Court and federal courts with psycho right-wing judges. He's not going to deny funding to organizations that help pregnant women in poor countries because they perform abortions. I could go on, but suffice it to say, people are actually dying because of Bush, and I do not want that on my conscience.
In the end, it's a matter of pragmatism. Sure, you can get your ya-ya's out and vote for Nader. I'm sure the woman with the botched abortion in Uganda will appreciate it. I'm sure the families who live near mercury-spewing, coal-fired power plants will thank you as well, after their children are born autistic.
And I'm being extremely charitable here. For a bolder (and in my opinion, highly amusing) statement on the issue, check out this cartoon by my talented colleague Tim Kreider.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
I meant to link to this a couple days ago -- Paul Krugman had an excellent column on one of the most anti-human policies of the Bush administration: their refusal to reduce toxic mercury pollution according to the Clean Air Act. Honestly, if most Americans -- progressives and regressives alike -- understood what is going on here, they would be outraged.
The head of the E.P.A.'s Office of Air and Radiation, like most key environmental appointees in the Bush administration, previously made his living representing polluting industries (which, in case you haven't guessed, are huge Republican donors). On mercury, the administration didn't just take industry views into account, it literally let the polluters write the regulations: much of the language of the administration's proposal came directly from lobbyists' memos.And we were worried about chemicals in Iraq?
I did a cartoon on this a few months ago, and I've half a mind to do another.
No, not "Big Ass" comix by R. Crumb -- I'm talking about the fundraiser for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in NYC on April 29. A veritable bevy of weekly strippers (myself included) will be on hand for book signin' and breeze-shootin'. You can see the Village Voice ad for the event here.
Monday, April 05, 2004
It looks like Blogger.com has chosen this site as one of its "Blogs of Note" this month. Woo! To those of you new to the site, Slowpoke is a cartoon I draw that runs in several altweekly papers around the country and on Slate.com. I recently started this blog to provide readers with some "feature commentary," as they say, and as an outlet to pontificate about various issues I don't manage to cover in the strip. You can check out the cartoon archives here.
The obvious subject matter for political cartoons these days is Richard Clarke's revelation that Bush is a clueless idiot when it comes to fighting terrorism, but so many great cartoons had been done already (like the Toles one below) I felt I had nothing much to add. Hence this little jab at the administration's War on the Environment. My apologies to the excellent cartoonist Don Asmussen ("Bad Reporter") for using his patented newspaper headline format; I initially thought "WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO 'SAVE OUR OFFICE PARKS'" would make a nice Onion headline, but since I'm a cartoonist and not a writer for the Onion, I had to draw a fake newspaper. The whole office parks concept came about when I was driving around a few weeks ago, looking for a drafting chair to accompany my new drawing table. My travels took me to some soul-crushing landscapes that filled me with nothing short of existential despair. Fortunately, existential despair makes for good cartoon fertilizer.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
I daresay the new network is nothing short of revolutionary. It makes starkly clear what is not being said in the mainstream media -- shockingly so. I've been convinced of the rightward tilt of American media for some time, especially since reading Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? but listening to Air America makes me realize just how little of this kind of dialogue there has been. We've truly been subsisting on crumbs.
One suggestion, however: Al Franken's co-host really needs to turn down that ear-splitting laugh.
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