Thursday, March 26, 2015

Q Toon: Scenes from a Mall

California lawyer Matt McLaughlin has plopped down $200 to propose an initiative for the state ballot mandating the execution of gays and lesbians. When I first heard about Matt McLaughlin's so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act," my first thought was that Matt McLaughlin must fancy himself an Andy Kaufman for the 2010s. Matt McLaughlin cannot possibly be serious.

Unfortunately, according to all news reports, Matt McLaughlin is not answering reporters' calls, and his answering machine is full, so it's really hard to tell whether Matt McLaughlin is a jerk who thinks he's funny, a jerk who thinks he's edgy, or a jerk who thinks he's Hitler.

I guess the media will have to camp out on Matt McLaughlin's doorstep, and hound all Matt McLaughlin's neighbors, Matt McLaughlin's ex-girlfriends, Matt McLaughlin's mother and Matt McLaughlin's legal clients in order to find out exactly what kind of jerk Matt McLaughlin is.

Performance Art or Hate Speech, there doesn't seem to be any way for California to deny Matt McLaughlin his right to collect signatures from other performance artists and hate speakers to get this blatantly unconstitutional measure on the state ballot. Not that this sort of stunt was totally unanticipated:
The growing number of proposed initiatives – from 47 in the 1960s to nearly 650 in the 2000s – prompted lawmakers to revisit the issue [of increasing the filing fee] in recent years. They contended that raising the fee would help defray the average $8,000 in administrative costs for state officials to prepare the title and summary for each proposal. It could also dissuade people from ...turning in what would generally be viewed as a frivolous proposal.
California has long had a problem with its citizens approving expensive ballot initiatives on the one hand and initiatives refusing to pay for them on the other. Turns out that's how the initiative process itself works.

Californians who love their annual avalanche of ballot initiatives counter that raising the filing fee sends a message that democracy is a plaything of the rich; nor do they want one of their elected officials to have the power to block any ballot initiatives.

In the end, we are left to trust that there aren't 365,888 hateful performance artists in all of California willing to put their names on Matt McLaughlin's affront to civilization.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Mar 26, 2015
And thank goodness they don't have cheap ballot initiatives in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RIP Jim Berry

Jim (James O.) Berry, creator of the long-running panel cartoon "Berry's World," died last Friday at age 83.

Berry received the National Cartoonists Society's Divisional Award (Silver Reuben) for Best Newspaper Panel in 1965, 1966 and 1972, and was a president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists in 1981-82. In a career that stretched from the Kennedy administration to that of the Second Bush, his work appeared in about 1,000 newspapers.

"Berry's World" had a gentle humor that didn't spark angry letters to the editor. Berry didn't draw cartoons calling the Vietnam War a clusterfuck, Nixon a crook, Carter an incompetent, etc. His single panel (and Sunday strip) generally portrayed one everyday person speaking to another about something topical. Even if the people in the cartoons were celebrities or well-known politicians, these cartoons were usually set in the moments outside the public eye where they were just as regular folk as the rest of us. The 1974 example above left shows recently married globe-hopping Secretary of State Henry Kissinger being chided, somewhat, by his new bride, for being away from home so often.

About the closest Berry came to a barbed comment were cartoons such as this 1979 cartoon (at right) suggesting that Carter's Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan might be starting to behave like Nixon's Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. (There was some other cartoon that apparently ticked off Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard; I don't know the details of that story, however.)

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I should mention that another past president of the AAEC also passed away last week. But when I lived in Delaware, I was too young to read Jack Jurden's cartoons in the News Journal, and his work didn't appear in any of the newspapers where I grew up in Wisconsin, so he wasn't an influence on my formative years in the way that the omnipresent Jim Berry was.

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

I didn't take time to check that there wasn't already a Purgatory Corners before drawing this cartoon.

So if that's the name of your hometown, novella, or web comic, please accept my apologies. And no fair posting it between now and Thursday.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Juxtaposition of the Day

From my Facebook feed yesterday:
The "GOP lawmaker" pictured, by the way, is Oklahoma's freshman Senator James Lankford, continuing this week's Oklahomatic theme.

The only edits I made to this screen shot were to crop this section of it and to blur the name of the person who Liked the story. We're left to wonder whether Facebook's algorithm thinks that Sen. Lankford's Master Faith politics are straight out of the Hitler Youth Handbook, or that he just looks like the guy who sang the song.

P.S.: If you're interested in reading what Sen. Lankford said, here's the story. If you don't know what "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" means, see the movie.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Q Toon: Reserving the Right to Refuse Service

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Mar 19, 2015

ReBubbacan legislatures in one red state after another are falling all over themselves to pass laws guaranteeing businesses, landlords, first responders, medical personnel and whomever else a right to discriminate against same-sex couples.

In Oklahoma, Representative Emily Virgin (D-Norman) introduced this amendment to the "religious liberty" bill working its way through her state legislature:
"Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites. The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.”
At the moment, Ms. Virgin's amendment has helped to stall the Oklahoma bill.

Meanwhile, another piece of execrable legislation taking authority for issuing marriage licenses away from civil authorities and turning it over to religious clergy passed the state House on March 17. While it might still be possible for gay and lesbian couples to find a Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Reformed Jewish or Unitarian Universalist cleric somewhere in the Sooner State to bless their union, the bill seems to me to discriminate blatantly against atheists and agnostics.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Q Toon: It's a Darlin, Darlin Day

Because everyone gets to be a little bit Irish today, here's a cartoon from 2003 wearin' the green.

Faith, an' have a safe an' happy St. Paddy's Day!