Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q Toon: The Bully Pupil

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 28, 2014
It's Back To School time at Bergetoons Central!

From my vantage point as someone who remembers being bullied a couple of times in junior high school, anti-bullying policies in America's schools seem like a no-brainer. Kids have to go to school; they shouldn't have to put up with physical and mental abuse while they are there.

And yet, some people who call themselves Christians strongly disagree.
In Arizona, legislators had their anti-bullying bill teed up for passage in March [2012]. But then, Cathi Herrod, chief of a lobbying group associated with Focus on the Family, decided that the bill was really part of an effort to "force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles". Although the bill doesn't refer specifically to any one victimized group, Herrod successfully pressured lawmakers into rejecting it. Senate minority leader David Schapira, a sponsor of his Senate Bill 1462, called her a "legislative terrorist." "Cathi Herrod, an unelected lobbyist, killed a bill that would protect all Arizona kids purely because of her intolerance of gay kids," he said.
In Michigan [in 2011], the "anti-anti-bullying" lobby went on the offensive with some legislation of their own. In a bill dealing with the bullying issue, they inserted a provision that would have exempted bullies who acted out of "a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction". With an irony that seems more than usually cruel, the bill was named for a Michigan teen who had committed suicide after years of bullying.
Michigan ultimately cut the "Who Would Jesus Bully" exemption from its bill, but Christian groups continue to push other states to include it in theirs.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act in the 111th Congress only to have it die in committee They have brought the bill back for consideration in the current Congress, but it appears doomed to the same fate.

Again, it's the Christian Right who came to the defense of bullies. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, characterized the bill as an effort by then-Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Kevin Jennings of to turn public schools in to NAMBLA orgy houses:
"When [Jennings] founded GLSEN, his idea of a safe school was one that pushed a radical homosexual agenda by even encouraging first and second-graders to engage in homosexual activity. So I think that's the impetus behind this bill. We have an administration that wants to push a radical social agenda."
To see what Safe Schools laws may be in effect in your state, see the Family Equality map.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Air Travel in the Postwar World

A United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver was diverted to Chicago this week in order to eject a pair of passengers who got into a fight over the two inches of space that are the difference between sitting upright and "reclining."

From the Associated Press story:
"The source of the problem: a Knee Defender, the $26.30 device that clamps onto an airline tray table, preventing the passenger in front of you from reclining their seat. ... On Monday's Flight 1462, the woman seated in front took offence and the man behind refused to remove the device, even when asked to do so by cabin crew. That's when she threw a cup of water in his face."
One school of thought says (from the same story),
"When you pay to ride in a plane, you're paying to use the seat - and if that means the seat reclines, well bad luck for the person behind. Of course, we should all be reasonable and, if the passenger behind asks nicely, most folk will put their seats forward. Nobody hops on to a plane planning to be an a**hole. Except maybe him."
On the other hand, 
"Just when you’ve resigned yourself to the tiny bit of air space you’ve been allotted for a trip that will take hours, the person in front of you blithely flips back the seat and takes away another six to eight inches. Just try to get out of your seat and go to the restroom now.... Why do people push their seat back when they know it’s going to inconvenience the person behind them? Can’t we appeal to everyone’s better nature and say, for the good of all, that it would be better if we didn’t do that?"
Which brings me to A Bird's Eye View of the Postwar World," a 1945 collection of cartoons and short humor pieces about what people expected life to be like when World War II came to an end. (Consolidated Book Publishers, 153 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.) I have a tattered copy of this paperback that originally belonged to one of my parents or grandparents. And by "paperback," I mean that even the cover is newsprint.

Here's an example of what people 70 years ago thought air travel was going to be like:
(Cartoon by someone named Garrity. Some of the cartoons have credits; this one doesn't.)

So that's what's in front of the curtain screening first class passengers from the rest of us in steerage.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

I want you to picture in your mind the Three Musketeers. Imagine them fighting some dastardly foe.

Do you have that image in your mind now? Good.

Your mind's eye didn't see them using muskets now, did it?

Shouldn't we call them the Three Swordsmen?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Q Toon: Ice Bucket List

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 21, 2014
Between the time I drew this cartoon and it had a chance to appear in print, somebody turned the idea into an internet meme featuring any female bĂȘte noire. Randy Bish went for the same idea, too. I have to assert that I like my execution of it better. I may be somewhat biased.

Daryl Cagle calls this phenomenon of one idea striking multiple cartoonists a "yahtzee," and the only reason more cartoonists haven't drawn this cartoon this week is that there happens to be so much more to be outraged about right now. If this had been your typical no-news August, there would have been more of these.

The MGM version of "The Wizard of Oz" turned 75 on Sunday, and has been a source of ideas for just about every editorial cartoonist who grew up with the movie -- drawing politicians lamenting "if I only had a brain" (or courage, or a heart) or depicting some wicked so-and-so sending out flying monkeys or drawing "Surrender (fill in the blank)" in the sky, or being exposed as Toto pulls back the Wizard's curtain. It's also the go-to reference for any cartoon having anything to do with the state of Kansas. Or not being there any more.

Dick Locher hit the bulls-eye with a February, 1979 cartoon depicting President Jimmy Carter being scolded by Dorothy for being a very bad man for not fulfilling his promises, and responding despondently, "I'm not a very bad man, I'm just a very bad Wizard!" It was such a good cartoon that Locher has drawn it again and again. Well, it's firmly his idea now, so nobody else gets to draw it.

This is at least the third time I've drawn from the Wizard of Oz inkwell. It's a cultural reference everyone can understand; and since I hardly ever get out to see new movies, I'm left to draw about old ones.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the release of a film starring a bunch of these little buggers.

Oh, I guess there were a couple of gay icons involved in the production, too.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Q Toon: That's So Gay

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 14, 2014
Gay Games 9 has been underway in Cleveland and Akron all week The Games wrap up this Saturday, so I would have been better off drawing about it last week, had it been on my radar at the time. Must do something about that cheap-ass radar.

There hasn't been a great deal of news coming out of the Games -- certainly not at the very start of the Games when I was at my drawing board. Mayor Frank Jackson said that they would make a good dry run for his city hosting the 2016 GOP convention, so I considered some gag about it making a good dry run except that the GOP delegates would be more interested than the athletes in Cleveland's hookers.

But that would probably have been seen as an undeserved slam at Cleveland. Or at its hookers, several of whom are probably very fine individuals if you get to know them. Since Cleveland has been so open and welcoming -- heck, as I noted yesterday, even the Cuyahoga County Republicans put out the welcome mat -- I rejected that idea.

Instead, this week's cartoon is about the official slogan of Gay Games 9: "That's So Gay." The slogan is meant to arrest your attention, and it succeeds at that.

My cartoon barely scratches the surface of what events are in competition. Not pictured are such events as ballroom dance, rodeo, darts, billiards, rock climbing, badminton, bowling, martial arts and golf.