Friday, October 30, 2009
I interviewed my colleague Tom Tomorrow for Campus Progress. Did you know I discovered "This Modern World" while working as a college student vacuuming dust bunnies off of unused library books? Or that Tom T. makes seven cups of coffee a day? These exciting scoops and more over at Campus Progress!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A must-read in Vanity Fair:
At this moment, there are more females serving on the United States Supreme Court than there are writing for Late Show with David Letterman, The Jay Leno Show, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien combined. Out of the 50 or so comedy writers working on these programs, exactly zero are women.I guess that offers some insight into the sausagefest that is late-night TV (see my earlier blog post on the subject).
On a lark, I alerted ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper to this one via Twitter yesterday -- Tapper was critical of the WH decision to limit Fox News's access, referring to the network as a "sister organization." Let's just say I seem to have tapped some of his buttons. A lengthy tweet war ensued, with Jake calling the cartoon "vile" and me suggesting that he seemed to think any crackpot should be given WH access. But then he mentioned he was an amateur cartoonist, and a surprisingly good one, I'd say, and we ended up chummy. If you're curious, you can read the whole entertaining exchange on our Twitter pages. (You'll have to scroll down a bit on his, as he tweets a lot.)
Jake gets bonus points for making himself accessible to his audience. And for being a cartoonist, of course. But he's still wrong about Fox! The right has been promulgating this meme that people are mixing up Fox's news programming with their opinion shows. But there's an abundance of evidence that the news agenda is set by the top brass, is filled with inaccuracies, and has resulted in a deeply misinformed viewership. Let's put it this way: compare Fox News to another Murdoch-owned entity, the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ generally has decent news coverage, with an insane editorial page. The divide is clear. Fox News is out to punk people, and for that, they don't deserve legitimacy. For the sake of journalism and democracy, you gotta draw the line somewhere.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
From the NYT's fascinating multi-chaptered story written by a journalist who was captured by the Taliban:
My Taliban guards slept beneath bedspreads manufactured by a Pakistani textile company and emblazoned with characters from the American television show "Hannah Montana" and the movie "Spider-Man." My blanket was a pink Barbie comforter.
The statistic used in this cartoon, about 3/4 of people who declare bankruptcy due to medical bills having health insurance, comes from this Nicholas Kristof column, which quotes from this American Journal of Medicine study (PDF). At the very least, given how much money we're funneling into these companies, you think we'd at least get some peace of mind. But no, they don't even give you that.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
[UPDATE: Thanks to whoever made most of the corrections I suggested!]
My Wikipedia page has contained an inaccuracy for, like, years now, and no one has corrected it. It seems like bad form to edit your own entry, so I'm hoping one of you nice readers will rise to the occasion.
The first paragraph reads that Slowpoke "often focuses on current events and college life (at the University of Virginia)." While I suppose early on I drew a couple cartoons set on a college campus, anyone who reads the strip regularly knows that's a pretty bad description.
There are other problems, too: my latest book, Slowpoke: One Nation, Oh My God!, which came out a year and a half ago, is still not mentioned in the "Books" section. And the "Awards" section needs to be updated to reflect that I won 2nd place in the 2009 Alternative Newsweekly Awards. And, you know, I do stuff outside of Slowpoke too, like magazine illustration; I've done work for Nickelodeon (R.I.P.), The American Prospect, Women's Review of Books, etc. Just sayin'.
And if you're feeling really ambitious, the Slowpoke page has some of the same issues... it only mentions three of five AAN awards, and my latest book is missing. And while my cartoon runs on Universal Press Syndicate's gocomics.com, it's not really a UPS comic -- that whole box should go. Also, I've done some noteworthy interviews since the one listed (hint: with the Washington Post and University of Virginia Alumni Magazine).
I use Wikipedia all the time and like it a lot, but there is something to be said for professional editors. Especially in a time when people are increasingly defined by their Wikipedia entry.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I liked Bob Herbert's column on the ridiculous and unnecessary building of increasingly posh sports stadiums:
The auto industry is on its knees and we’ve got school buildings in sorry shape and we can’t even rebuild a public hospital in New Orleans. But the Dallas Cowboys have a brand new billion-dollar-plus domed stadium that looks like something out of “Star Wars.”Also, via the Freelancers Union, this depressing and, in my experience, accurate NPR piece about a self-employed family struggling with health insurance bills.
"When I was looking for this insurance, there were many days when I got no work done. And if don't work, I don't get paid. Being on the phone with insurance companies, being on the computer trying to research things, it was all-encompassing. And the fear of having no insurance can be quite paralyzing."Anyone who thinks having good health insurance is simply a matter of "working harder" can stuff it up their behind.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Continuing with Slowpoke's Greatest Week Ever, check out this sweet piece of real estate:
And yes, they paid me. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Arianna!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
No, I'm not talking about the Dow, silly! In much more important news, this site had over 10,000 unique visitors yesterday, thanks in part to the people of Sweden. I realize that's probably a slow day for big blogs, but for us it's a milestone. Of course, web hits don't pay the bills (I haven't added advertising because the rates seem too low to be worth crapping up the site)... so the ordering of a signed print or my latest book is encouraged.
[Adding: Oops, we did it again! Nearly 14,000 on Thursday. From now on, I'm only going to draw comics featuring iPhones, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and the Terminator.]
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
All these people nattering about how Obama's Nobel is premature. Well, duh! But as a cartoonist sent from the future to try to prevent the apocalypse through witty drawings, I know more than everyone.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Just to toss in my two pennies: let's not get our panties in a bunch. Obama hasn't ended Bush's wars, but he has used the bully pulpit to try to end the "Clash of Civilizations" view of the world. Other countries still remember the Bush administration all too keenly, even if ahistorical Americans seem to have forgotten.
[Adding: Just read Josh Marshall's take, and I couldn't have said it better --
Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.]
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Continuing with my report on What I Did in Europe, I thought I'd share a few photos from Paris, which is a veritable wonderland of good things to look at and eat.
It's a boulangerie for change!
I definitely got the impression, by the way, that Obama is a rock star in Europe. At one souvenir shop in London, amidst piles of Union Jack-adorned swag and miniature red phone booths, they were also selling Obama t-shirts. My Italian publisher also said students in Padua (Italy's version of Cambridge, Mass.) were jumping into the water fountain on the big plaza when Obama was declared the winner.
The Sexodrome! In the red light district, not too far from where I stayed. The windows show mannequins performing various sex acts.
A couple shots of the playfully surreal Stravinsky Fountain.
Love the above translation.
I did a double-take when I saw this tile space invader. Turns out it's one of those street art things perpetrated by a guy who, appropriately enough, calls himself Invader.
Some cool graffiti down the street from my hotel.
I was interviewed along with a few other cartoonists (Tom Tomorrow, Lloyd Dangle, Alison Bechdel) for a grimly-titled cover story in FAIR Extra! about the threats posed to our genre.
One correction to the article: while I have lost about a third of my clients over the past year or so, not all were due to the Village Voice Media decision to drop comics from all the papers in its chain. I had only been running in the Voice.
I would also add that I don't think altweeklies are quite as doomed as the article suggests, though many will likely operate at a reduced page count for a long time to remain viable.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Curve ran an excerpt from Slowpoke: One Nation, Oh My God! in this month's issue. Look on page 17. They also sent me this nice little graphic along with my digital tearsheet, so I figured I'd use it.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
From the London Paper tabloid:
Yeah, I didn't think she was a real hockey mum, either.
And... a tea technology breakthrough!
Yes, you read that correctly -- it's a SIX-MINUTE BICCY! Best accompanied by a sixty-minute man. Ahem.
As far as I can tell, the news is about the same stupid crap as when I left, so I'm just going to continue prattling about my trip to Europe for a while.
All of the items described in this cartoon are drawn from actual experience. Mr. Slowpoke and I made our own cafés on a few different occasions. In France, you can drink wine anywhere, so we would just pop open a bottle and glug like hobos.
I think this might be the first Slowpoke cartoon to feature male genitalia. But hey, it's "art"! Speaking of said danglies, here I am with David:
Note the transfixed female viewers all around.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Okay, time to get this baby rolling again. As you may have noticed, I was in Europe for a while. This was not due to some great cartooning windfall (HA!), but because Mr. Slowpoke and I had airline vouchers to use up, and the trip was something we'd wanted to do for a long time. We stayed in cheap hotels with plumbing issues, and with friends, and ate countless doner kabobs.
Special thanks are in order for people who were extra cool to us. I finally got to meet the publishers of the Italian translation of Slowpoke: America Gone Bonkers. Federico and Guido run BeccoGiallo, a cool Italian comics imprint that specializes in graphic novels with a political edge.
After getting me blotto on pre-dinner drinks at three separate wine bars, they took us to a Sardinian restaurant where I ate the greatest, most memorable dinner of the entire trip. The food kept coming and coming -- all of it amazing.
In London I met up with Phill Jupitus, the comedian, actor, singer, cartoonist, and all-around Renaissance man who interviewed me for the BBC last year.
Phill invited us to a taping of the BBC quiz show "Never Mind the Buzzcocks," which he hosts.
The taping consisted of some 90 minutes of extremely silly banter loosely tied to music trivia. In other words, it was right up my alley. The moderator for the evening was Alex James, the bassist for Blur, who now runs a cheese farm. Afterwards, Phill ushered us into the green room -- yes, folks, I have been in the same green room as the bassist for Blur! And also the guy who did the voice of Darth Maul, Peter Serafinowicz. Not that I actually talked to either of them.
In Paris we met up with Slowpoke reader Donna and her significant other Peter:
They very kindly bought us wine and charcuterie at a cafe on the Left Bank, and gave us good sightseeing advice. Between the four of us, I believe I was the only person at the table without at Ph.D. I like to think this says something about the intelligence of Slowpoke fans.
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