Monday, April 23, 2007
As soon as the image of the Virginia Tech killer with his guns drawn started popping up, I knew what I was doing for this week's cartoon. When I saw that, my heart sank. How delighted he would be if he could see how eagerly his bait was taken.
For all the discussion out there about possible causes and motivations behind the Virginia Tech shootings, I am surprised how few people are talking about such massacres as media spectacles. As Cho's "media kit" makes plain as day, these shootings are not just about killing people; they are about fame. By releasing his home video and other materials, NBC allowed itself to get played. It doesn't stop there, though; as Josh Marshall points out on TPM, NBC actually branded the video with their logo, making the text of my third panel even more apropos than I'd thought. What, if anything, do these people find tacky?
I agree the video was likely upsetting to the victims' families and friends, but that is not the issue that concerns me most. Broadcasting disturbing footage can serve the public interest -- for example, informing viewers of the gruesome realities of war. But there was little such educational value here. The big problem lies with the next killer who sees the platform Cho was given, and decides they would like to go out in a similar blaze of "glory." I'm not saying we can't talk about Cho; there's something to be gained from examining his behavior and learning what the warning signs look like. His Yosemite Sam pose, however, is superfluous to this effort.
I read somewhere that, unlike the U.S. media, the Canadian Broadcasting Company decided to describe the video instead. Our neighbor to the north proves they are saner than we are yet again! (Incidentally, I will be visiting Canada soon.)
Someone has set up a blog and petition to protest NBC's decision here. As you can see, I've let them use my cartoon.
I hereby pronounce Alberto Gonzales the most frighteningly botlike member of the Bush administration. I have yet to see this man display even a trace of warmth or humanity. As nutty and unsavory as Ashcroft was, at least he seemed somewhat organic. There was some feeling there when he sang that song about the eagles. The only emotion Gonzales seems to convey is prissy umbrage. One imagines he could watch Quaker children being waterboarded in a Syrian sewage canal without pausing from the next bite of his sandwich. He is pure adminidroid; he is the cold, hard face of authoritarianism. But let us not locate this problem in the man. He is merely the extension of a movement. His firing, while necessary, will solve little.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I've known for a while that a Slowpoke book cover is visible in the background in some episodes of "Queer as Folk." I'd very much like to rent those episodes, so if anyone out there catches one, I'd greatly appreciate an email letting me know the season and episode number (or title). Thanks!
[UPDATE: Props to reader Taru in Finland, who says there's a Slowpoke poster visible in the third episode of Season Four.]
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I illustrated one woman's makeover story for C-VILLE's fabulous new fashion supplement called "Sugar."
Monday, April 16, 2007
I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around the Tech shootings. It's been a weird 24 hours here, with swirling storm clouds and extremely high winds (we lost power for much of last night and this morning), and now this. CNN Headline News kept playing the disturbing cellphone video footage of shots being fired as I stood in a long line at the post office with others mailing their tax returns. People weren't talking much. Let's just hope this doesn't inspire a wave of copycats, as is so often the case.
Because sometimes, you've just gotta be weird.
I've spent a lot of time staring at cereal boxes while munching on my morning bowl, and I've often been struck by the lush photography: the giant strawberries plunging into an enticing bowl of benuggeted flakes; milk splashing upwards in playful arcs of wholesome goodness; milk dribbling off an overloaded spoon piled high with flakes and fruit. Who takes these pictures, anyway? Certainly not anyone I know. It's a skill, to be sure. Any food photographers out there, feel free to write me about the tricks of your trade.
While researching this strip (yes, I even research the non-political ones), I discovered the Wikipedia entries for Yoo-hoo, HoHos, and Cheez-its. Assuming the corporations are not writing these entries, I'm curious about the kind of person who spends his or her free time writing encyclopedic entries about lowbrow snack food. I'm frequently bored, but never that bored.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I learned recently that the turkey Bush held up during his surprise photo-op -- I mean, trip -- to visit the troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving Day, 2003 was not made of plastic, as I have portrayed in a couple cartoons. It was a decorative, albeit real, show turkey not intended for consumption. I apologize for the error. Lord knows no one needs to make stuff up about Bush to make him look like a boob.
I'm pretty certain the turkey was widely reported as plastic, at least initially. It was the perfect metaphor for an administration so hell-bent on deception.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I try to avoid simply linking to articles on this blog, but Gwen Ifill's guest column in the Times today takes on that fluffy-haired dildo in fine style.
Whew, it's been a busy couple weeks here at Slowpoke HQ, what with the WAM! conference and a big freelance assignment -- a full-page color comic for the C-VILLE, which I shall link to when the issue comes out.
I've had the basic argument of this strip -- the tendency for news media to obsess over Iraq to the exclusion of other important issues -- kicking around in my head for some time. I made some statement to this effect during my presentation in Cambridge, which garnered at least one audible murmer of agreement from the audience. As I mention in the strip, I'm not saying Iraq isn't important. It's pretty damn egregious if I say so myself. Moreover, the news media also obsess over plenty of stupid stuff like celebrity bimbos in rehab, to the exclusion of stories with substance. I don't think the plight of the poor in America would necessarily garner any more coverage were we not at war. But wouldn't it be interesting if it did get the same kind of intensely dramatic treatment? Workingforchange.com summed up the cartoon nicely on their blog, where they invoked the John Edwards line, "It's time for us to be patriotic about something besides war." I'm liking Edwards quite a bit these days.
Creating the night-vision camera effect in the second panel was kinda fun. Note the subtle application of the Photoshop noise filter to simulate graininess. Aw yeah.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
So the WAM! conference rocked. I got to meet all kinds of writers, editors, bloggers, illustrators, and all-around cool women of the media milieu. Here's a photo of me giving my presentation. Cartoonists Stephanie McMillan and Mikhaela Reid are on my left, and Drooly Julie is to the upper right.
Photo shamelessly lifted from Mikhaela's Flickr page, where you can view more shots from the weekend.
We also met up with fellow Cartoonist With Attitude Brian McFadden of "Big Fat Whale" fame for some drinks at the Cambridge Brewing Company. Brian's hair was as big as I've ever seen it, in a good way. I had a 9.5% ABV Belgian-style ale that left me pleasantly addled.
On the way home my flight out of Boston was delayed, causing me to narrowly miss my connection back to Charlottesville. There are few things more heartbreaking than dashing across an airport only to see the plane you are supposed to be on pulling away from the gate. Let's just say I wound up seeing far more of the East Coast that day than I'd intended.
At last, the cartoon featuring condoms that I promised a couple weeks ago. It started with a NY Times article about the Calvin Klein marketing campaign; the emoticondoms sprang to mind pretty quickly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the term yielded no hits on Google. Any aspiring entrepreneurs out there who feel like manufacturing these, feel free to contact me about royalties.
The Bluetooth vibrators, as I just found out, are another story. I should have known that this sort of thing has been in the works for a while. This particular field of technology even has a name, which I hereby declare to be my favorite word of all time: teledildonics. You can read all about teledildonics here (not safe for work, albeit not egregiously so). Scroll down to view the rather amusing Sinulator control panel and the absolutely terrifying-looking Thrillhammer. Hat tip to reader Charles for the info.
I hope at least some of you geeks out there appreciated the l33t gag. If you haven't heard of leet, you can read the sprawling Wikipedia entry here. A variety of leet translators such as this one are available online.
In conclusion, I would just like to say teledildonics, teledildonics, teledildonics.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I'm still in Boston at the moment, without an easy way to FTP the new strip, so it should be posted Monday evening sometime. The WAM! conference has been great -- more on that to come.
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010