Monday, October 31, 2005
I'm trying an experiment with color this week. Papers run the cartoons in black and white, so I've had little incentive to color them until now, but I feel my web readership has grown enough that I may as well try it out. There might be some weeks when I'm too busy to do it -- we'll see.
I'm sure it has been pointed out many times that if a Democratic administration had maliciously blown the cover of a CIA agent, the right would be frothing at the mouth voluminously. But this hypocrisy cannot be highlighted enough. The dearth of right-wing pundits willing to come forth and say, "Dude, that was uncool" is absolutely damning. It doesn't matter where you stand on the political spectrum -- this was massively uncool. The more the right sputters hair-splitting excuses, as my flaming wingnut character does in the cartoon, the more ridiculous they look.
As much as I'm enjoying all of this indictment business, I'm still pretty cynical about the prospect of bringing this fetid administration down. They own the media, and Fox News will ensure millions of Americans stay in the dark. They will continue to be as radical as ever, as evidenced by today's off-the-map Supreme Court nomination. If Alito gets on the court, we're looking at a long legacy of ruin, indictments or not.
Friday, October 28, 2005
The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies is doing an interview series with its 2005 award winners (Slowpoke took first place in its category this year), and the article about me is featured today.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Apologies for the light blogging of late; I've been busy. This week's cartoon arose from last week's news that the Senate has voted (mostly along party lines) once again not to raise the minimum wage above $5.15 an hour, where it has been stuck since 1997, thus illustrating the massive hypocrisy of Bush's "ownership society" -- that fun-sounding euphemism for paying for that liver transplant out of your own savings. I don't have time to go into a lengthy discussion of the minimum wage here, except to say that market fundamentalists often ignore the social costs of poverty -- lack of health care, crime -- that cannot be quantified from a pure economic perspective, and which cost us all in the end.
The "strip mall nomenclature" panel was inspired by an actual strip mall I spotted along the highway in the outskirts of Washington, DC sprawl in northern Virginia. I believe it was actually called "Village Center." I assure you, it was anything but. There's also the new style of mall-building, to make them seem like fake, mini-towns. Hey, it's the best sense of community we can hope for! On a side note, wouldn't it be cool if Dress Barns were real barns with dresses scattered among bales of hay, and maybe some friendly, nuzzling piglets? I would totally shop there.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I realize this cartoon is hardly comprehensive, but if I had included all the perps & players, there wouldn't have been room for any gags.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
This Times article is right on. The state of medical billing in this country is a national disgrace.
When she finally did open some of the envelopes, there were pages filled with dozens of carefully detailed items, each accompanied by a service code: "Partial thrombo 2300214 102.00," "KUB Flat 2651040 466.00."I'm reminded of this panel from a cartoon from a few years ago:
Monday, October 10, 2005
I've blogged about this before, but I continue to be fascinated by this flipflop trend. Back when I was a college lass, in ye olde grunge era, we did not wear flipflops to class. Long underwear beneath shorts perhaps (I was not guilty of this, but was guilty of other fashion atrocities)—but not flipflops. Don't get me wrong, I've worn many a 'flop in my day, usually in the summer or around the house. I recognize that the soft squishy sound made by a wet flipflop is one of life's subtle joys. But I find their sudden ubiquitousness alarming.
I'm not exactly sure when the Gucci flipflop debuted, but it has apparently existed in some form for awhile. Outkast have a song called "Flip Flop Rock" on their 2003 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below containing the lyrics (delivered by Jay-Z):
When I'm in the mood I rock the S Dot tennis shoesThe most recent incarnation I could find is a pair of women's "thong sandals" which retail for $325. Hence the premise of this week's strip, the extreme upscaling of "low" fashion.
The "sex" water wings in the third panel are based on a real item from Dolce & Gabbana, the "sex" belt, which is covered with the word "SEX" and retails for $185.99. Actually, there are a few versions of the sex belt, for those who care to investigate further.
This is neither here nor there, but while doing some Google research for this strip, I somehow came across a Halloween costume your dog probably won't appreciate very much. Fortunately for her, it appears to be no longer available. [Update: reader Bryan helpfully points out that the hot dog costume is once again available.]
Saturday, October 08, 2005
This editorial on the Miers nomination gets it about right.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Astute readers will note that this week's strip does not fault the New York Times for trying to stay financially afloat; nor does it suggest that columnists should not get paid. I don't follow the philosophy that everything should be free, man (insert bubbling bong sound here). I used to subscribe to the Times' print edition until I moved to an address where they don't deliver. Here's the problem: right-wing pundits dominate today's media while progressives are desperately trying to make their voices heard. The last thing the country needs right now is for some of the most influential progressive voices -- and “progressive” here for the most part just means empirically-based -- to be even further marginalized. By charging a fee and, very significantly, taking them out of web syndication, the Times is causing these people to lose much of their ability to influence political debate. Last fall, Bob Herbert wrote about efforts to intimidate elderly black voters in Florida; his revelations caused quite a stir (though not enough of one, of course). That might not happen anymore.
There is no progressive answer to the stream of misleading propaganda spewed on Fox News -- that is, no reality-based 24-hour news channel doing real investigative reporting and taking an informed, critical approach to White House spin, fundamentalist extremism, and psycho-capitalist BS (see "This Week's Strip" post from 6/1/04). Lefties are still trying to get a foothold in radio, much less TV. The fact that the Wall Street Journal charges online viewers, or that the Times has also put some wingnuts behind that $50 wall, hardly makes a dent in their movement’s dominance. But the NY Times doing this for their sane columnists makes a big dent for progressives.
So, the problem does not originate with the NY Times. They are victims of the ongoing decline of newspaper subscribers in this country. But we should all care about what this does to the state of the political conversation in this country; as if this were even conceivable, it puts progressives even further behind than they already were in actually having any influence on Americans’ views of the world. Ideas do filter down from newspapers to conversations over the water cooler. Let us hope that the Times’ solution does not set a precedent, and that someone can come up with a better way.
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