Friday, July 30, 2004
A couple nights ago at a local coffee shop, a friend of mine pointed to the laptop of the person sitting next to her. I leaned over and saw the guy had a screensaver of interchanging, flattering pictures of George W. Bush.
I can't imagine having a screensaver of any politician I support. It would just be too weird... too reminiscent of the idol worship that has led to so much historical tragedy.
Like many, I was sweating bullets yesterday over the possibilty that Kerry would play it cautious, but thankfully, he rose to the occasion and nailed it. Democrats have to see past the Republican intimidation tactic that speaking critically about Bush's malfeasance makes them "pessimists," and Kerry's speech was clearly a step in the right direction. He also did a masterful job of reframing the issues -- at long last, playing offense rather than defense. Some of my favorite lines:
I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a Vice President who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.Ah, a president who believes in science and empirical reality. Now that would be refreshing.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
I just found out last night that one of my client papers, the Local Planet Weekly in Spokane, has folded. It's a shame; they seemed like such a great paper. The editor who took on my strip left his post to make a charismatic run for mayor of Spokane last year, ultimately losing to some Republican career politician with the fortuitous surname of West.
I could really stand to pick up a new paper to replace the LPW, so if you've been enjoying my cartoons online, please take a moment to e-mail the editor of your local alternative weekly and suggest they run Slowpoke. You can find a complete list of AAN papers and their staff contact info here.
For those of you who missed Barack Obama's stunning speech last night, you really should check it out at the Convention website. It looks like it will be posted any minute now -- they're still working their way through Tuesday's speakers. It galls me that his speech ended just before the networks began their coverage at 10pm. I distinctly remember watching hours of the Democratic National Convention on network TV as a kid in 1988, in particular one young speaker by the name of Bill Clinton who talked for a long, long time. I suppose the attitude today is that people can watch the convention on the cable news channels (ugh), but you know, a lot of us don't have cable. And we wonder why Americans are so politically apathetic. All I can say is thank goodness for PBS. The fact that most Americans were watching tripe when Obama gave that speech is just a travesty.
Fortunately, they did get to see Ron Reagan's excellent plea on behalf of stem cell research. I'm feeling a little less enthused about Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech. While she started off well, with a display of her multilingual talents and the assertion that someday smart women will no longer be derogatorily called "opinionated," but "informed," she lost me a bit when she drifted into the philosophical ether. And this is certainly not to say the First Lady can't wax poetic about the state of our union, but I think the Kerrys need to show their human side right now. It was something of a missed opportunity.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I missed Al Gore's speech, but what I saw of the Democratic Convention tonight was pretty damned good. Scratch what I said earlier about Carter being a weak choice -- the man gave a wonderful speech -- in fact, his earnest demeanor proved a refreshing contrast to the sleaziness of the people presently ruining the country (much as he contrasted Nixon in the '70s). He didn't pull any punches, either, stating quite plainly what desperately needed to be said: Bush & co. are radicals leading the country in an unprecendented direction.
David Alston, Kerry's swiftboat crewmate, was simply fantastic. And Bill Clinton entertainingly outlined the differences between the parties, something that should have been done long ago. I was pleased to see Hillary call Kerry a serious man for a serious job. That's exactly how to contrast a war hero with a devil-may-care frat boy.
So far, so good. Though, as my husband pointed out, the Repubs have their own convention 365 days a year with Fox News. Will this four-day burst of sanity be enough?
Monday, July 26, 2004
If you have a chance to listen to Randi Rhodes's live coverage from the Democratic National Convention on Air America Radio, do so. She's on from 3pm-7pm EST.
Randi's brilliant -- the Next Big Thing, if you ask me.
I have to say, I've been fretting a little over the choice of Boston. I mean, first they pick a guy from Boston, despite what happened to Dukakis. While I think Kerry would make a great president, I probably would have gone with a southerner like Clark or Edwards. But whatever. Next, they pick Boston as the site of the convention. Not to disparage the fine city of Boston, but we've got that base covered. Why not someplace in the Midwest? Why not a swing-state city like St. Louis? Are we trying to reinforce the Republican myth that progressive values are for Northeastern "elitists"? True, Boston is the birthplace of the country, but given the widespread apathy for history that marks our culture, I doubt many will even make the connection.
And finally, while Repubs are featuring big-gun media darlings like Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani at their convention, we're featuring... Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter? I suppose Ron Reagan is a nice touch. He had an incisive quote in an NPR interview I heard yesterday. Terry Gross asked him what he would ask George W. Bush if he had five minutes with him. Reagan said he'd ask Bush whether he thought the 15,000 or so innocent Muslim civilians killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were going to heaven. Ouch!
Maybe the convention will prove me wrong and be full of pleasant surprises. We'll see.
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And when life hands you yet another promotional CD-ROM from AOL, make a cartoon. Yes, we received yet another of these wasteful mailings the other day. AOL apparently keeps close tabs on address changes at the post office; we got a "Welcome to the neighborhood!" CD offering the usual 1099 hours free over 50 days, which if you do the math, means you have to be awake over 21 hours a day to take full advantage of the special (I guess they're assuming people can't do division).
Perhaps the worst thing about these mailings is that, unlike most other junk mail, they're not recyclable. Millions upon millions just go directly into the landfill.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Two posts below, I posited that more Americans probably know about Queen Latifah's breast reduction surgery than Bush's Global Gag Rule, which denies funding to aid organizations in poor countries that advocate reproductive freedom, thereby resulting in thousands of preventable childbirth-related deaths around the world.
Since then, I have received two hits on this website from people seeking information about Queen Latifah's hooters, and zero hits from people looking for info about the global gag rule.
The weekend before last, I taught a cartooning workshop at a public library in rural Virginia. At one point on the way home, I seemed to be surrounded by cars with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers. I can handle these in isolation -- in downtown Charlottesville, where I live, Kerry stickers easily outnumber Bush stickers by maybe four to one -- but being surrounded by Bush stickers is like being in a bad horror movie. They are the mark of the possessed.
Friday, July 16, 2004
From Planned Parenthood:
For the third year in a row, President Bush has cut off family planning funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, denying millions of women around the world access to basic reproductive health services—including birth control, sexuality education, prenatal and obstetric care, and lifesaving information and services to prevent HIV/AIDS.This ticks me off perhaps more than anything in the whole abortion debate. NO ONE is talking about Bush's Global Gag Rule, which is killing poor women and children by the thousands. I'll bet more Americans know about Queen Latifah's breast reduction surgery than this tragic situation (no disrespect to the Queen).
In any case, it's one of many reasons why it's absolutely imperative that Kerry gets elected.
Whew, it's been a hectic week here at Slowpoke HQ. In addition to my regular weekly deadline, I've had to teach two cartooning workshops, do promotional stuff for my new book, and draw freelance illustrations for the C-VILLE Weekly and Nickelodeon. I tend to let things slide when I'm busy, and now my office/studio looks even more debris-strewn than usual.
Thought I'd share a couple artistic endeavors undertaken by my friends recently. My pal Russell Richards painted these lovely John Ashcroft posters, which he's selling on his website.
On a lighter note, my housemate Tabb has made some stop-animation bunny porn (dear god, I can only imagine the Google searches that phrase is going to attract). You must be eighteen to see the bunnies.
It was posted on Monday, as usual, but I didn't get around to blogging it.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Kerry clearly made the right choice choosing Edwards. Had he chosen the grub-like Gephardt, I would have thrown in towel right then and there. An interesting tidbit in the Post today: Edwards tried to get an article about the threat of terrorism published in a major newspaper before September 11, but no one would run it.
The North Carolina senator had such limited luck pitching an OpEd article on terrorism to major newspapers that the piece, warning of poor cooperation among federal and local law enforcement, ended up in the weekly Littleton Observer, circulation 2,230 -- four weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks.Put that in your pipe and smoke it, chimp boy. (That our vacuous tool-in-chief had the audacity to suggest Edwards doesn't have enough experience to be president speaks volumes about Republican spin.)
I do have one quibble, and that's about the new Kerry-Edwards logo. It blows.
Why choose a staid, formal, classical serif font? Aren't we trying to get away from the whole Bostonian stiffness thing? The Bush-Cheney logo is super-fat, decisive-looking. Granted, Kerry should contrast himself as a serious grownup compared to the hotheaded radicals now running the country, but the reserved logo goes too far.
Monday, July 05, 2004
My new book, Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers is being solicited this month in the Previews catalog (that's the main catalog through which comic shops order their wares). So if you've been enjoying my cartoons, please call up your local comic store and ask them to order the book. The publisher is Alternative Comics. (If you're feeling really ambitious, the itemcode for the Previews catalog is JUL04 2537). Most of my sales come from this catalog, so it's VERY important to get comic retailers to order it.
If you don't have a comic shop in your town, or you'd rather order through a regular bookstore, you can do that as well. Call up Barnes & Noble (or any bookseller) and pre-order Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers, ISBN 1-891867-78-4. The ISBN should be all you need; let me know if it isn't.
After I sent the cartoon out I saw the hilarious Onion article about the Reagan Pyramid, and fretted over the possibility that people would think the pyramid reference in the cartoon was inspired by the latest Onion. I assure you, it was sheer coincidence.
The reference to thongs, however, was directly inspired by my experience in San Antonio (see a few posts below).
Drooly Julie's Advice for Debutantes
Friday, July 02, 2004
Here's a new one: my housemate brought home a bunch of bananas last week which had, in addition to the usual Dole sticker, a second sticker advertising the Garfield movie. How bizarre is that? I'd like to have seen the boardroom meeting where they thought that one up. I mean, the fast food-blockbuster movie-industrial complex is bad enough, but now our fruit has to contain promotional tie-ins as well?
A couple shots from my recent trip:
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