Monday, August 30, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek

Here's this week's coming distractions.

This guy's face is fun to draw. I find that men's faces are, for the most part, easier to draw than women's (see last week's attempt at Joan Crawford). For eighteen years of trying, I've only drawn a couple good caricatures of Hillary Clinton, for example. The rule isn't universally true, however; I have had fun with the faces of Ellen DeGeneres, Ann Coulter, Rosie O'Donnell, and others.

But this week, it's all about the boys.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

R.C. Bowman Cartoons from 1900: The Philippines

Here's Part VI of a series, resurrecting cartoons from The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman.

Interrupting the Class

The United States took over the Philippines from Spain as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898; a year later, Filipinos began fighting for independence. The fighting continued until President Aguinaldo surrendered in 1902. R.C. Bowman drew a connection here between the Philippine Revolution and the Boxer Rebellion in China.

The Filipino: "That's worse than a government without the consent of the governed."

The above cartoon references the post-Reconstruction moves to forcibly disenfranchise Black citizens; the issue in 1900 particularly concerned North Carolina. Newt Gingrich's talking points memo instructing all Republicans to use "Democrat" even as an adjective wouldn't come out until 90+ years later, so R.C. Bowman refers to the state Democratic Party with the label "North Carolina Democracy."

Keeping it alive

This is the one cartoon of Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo in this book (although it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the few photos I've seen of him). The rebellion's feet are soaking in the sentiment, common in the U.S. Democratic Party, that the U.S. had no business being an imperial power. It was less a peacenik stand than one favoring a limited federal government, and a disinclination to accept non-whites (non-Protestants as well) in any way that might make them citizens of the United States. The Tea Party would have felt right at home in the Democratic Party in those days.

The Philippines: "What yer got?"
Cuba: "Pie."
Philippines: "Where'd yer get it?"
Cuba "Mah Uncle Sam gin it to me; en maybe ef you was halfway decent, he' git you some."


Yes, there's a racist condescension in this cartoon, but what else would you expect?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blanche Is Not Hungry Today



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 26, 2010

When Chris saw this cartoon, his first thought was that this was a reference to Streetcar Named Desire, so I guess I have to explain that Blanche is not Blanche DuBois. Or Blanche Devereaux. Blanche Lincoln, Blanche Calloway, or Blanche Barlow.

I had hoped that the eyebrows, the shoulders and the bird would help identify her as Blanche Hudson.

It doesn't help that the person on the left is an amalgamation of two completely different people and ends up looking like neither. I had tried sketching her with Ann Coulter's hair and Bette Davis' eyes, but I decided I needed to have Baby Jane Hudson's hair to have any hope of anyone recognizing the movie connection.

I suppose I needed to have her singing "I'm Writing a Letter to Reagan."


At any rate, the subject of the cartoon concerns the flap in right-wing circles over Ann Coulter's scheduled feature appearance at GOProud's "Homocon" conference, where she is billed as "the right wing Judy Garland."

"The publication of emails exchanged between Ann Coulter and the editor of anti-gay site WorldNetDaily regarding Coulter having been dropped as a keynote speaker at a WND event has sparked Coulter’s ire. The right-wing icon launched into WND editor Joseph Farah, calling him a "swine," and suggesting that the content of the fringe-right site is selected as a matter of publicity seeking.

"The roots of the disagreement between Coulter and the fringe news site began with Coulter accepting an invitation to speak at the first "Homocon," an event hosted by right-wing gay group GoProud. Once WND got wind of the upcoming appearance, they struck Coulter off their list of speakers for an event ["The Taking America Back National Conference"] scheduled to take place in Miami."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1900 Cartoons of R.C. Bowman, part V

Step right up, gentlemen; now's your chance to Pe(e)k-in.

Exactly how is that city pronounced, since it has variously been transliterated Peiping, Pekin, Peking, and now Beijing? All I know is that the current spelling has the least potential for puns.

Russia (the head waiter): "No shirt waists allowed here. I will have to invite you gentlemen to leave."

Really, I'm only including this cartoon because my own cartoon this week didn't come together the way I'd envisioned it. Something about this cartoon eludes me. Apparently shirt waists were a big social problem in 1900.

Getting scorched.

There's a very similar cartoon to this one in the book showing the British lion in South Africa getting his tail scorched because of whatever China is dumping into the ocean.

The United States received the Philippines from Spain as a result of the Spanish-American War two years earlier, and there was plenty of domestic debate over what to do with the islands. According to the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. should have had no interest in territory in the Eastern Hemisphere; there was also nativist sentiment against opening up citizenship to all those non-white non-English-speaking people. Coming soon: more cartoons about the aftermath of the Spanish-American War.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek


I needed to have googled an old Bugs Bunny cartoon this week. Instead, I wasted an hour or two hunting for a book I still swear I have somewhere of movie still shots.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

1900 Cartoons of R.C. Bowman, part 4

Russia: "Now, gentlemen, don't get excited. There's no hurry."

One thing I find particularly interesting about this series of cartoons is the pre-World War II depiction of Japan. The human in the front of the group above represents Japan, and is very different from the buck-toothed, coke-bottle-glasses wearing stereotype that my post-war generation grew up with.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall./ Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

The Boxer Rebellion marks Japan's arrival as a world power. While Germany, Great Britain, Russia, France and the U.S. all sent troops to China, the largest contingent was from Japan -- even though the Japanese are represented by the smallest fellow in the above cartoons.

It turns out to be a hornet's nest.

Friday, August 20, 2010

R.C. Bowman's 1900 Cartoons: China

Part 3 of my continuing excerpts from The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman:

The Powers: "This horrible work was done in your shop, wasn't it?"
China: "Yes, but I didn't do it, therefore I'm not to blame."


The Boxer Rebellion had been underway for a couple years when Minneapolis Tribune cartoonist R.C. Bowman drew these cartoons. The Boxers (I Ho Ch'uan, Yìhétuán or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists") and Muslim "Kansu Braves" targeted foreign diplomats, capitalists and missionaries with savage intensity, because European imperial powers (England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Austria-Hungary) had begun carving China up into their own spheres of influence -- much as they had done with the rest of Africa and southern Asia. The dowager empress, Cizi (Tz'u Hsi) overthrew the western-backed Guangxu Emperor and supported the Boxer rebels' goal of evicting the foreign powers from China.

Li Hung Chang claims to have the simon pure article (and incidentally, it's for sale).

In June 1900, the Boxers attacked foreign compounds in the cities of Tianjin and Beijing; the German envoy was killed (and skinned, and his heart eaten by the Muslim general) as the Europeans retreated into a fortified area near Beijing's Forbidden City. The Boxers set fire to the area, destroying much of the Hanlin Yuan, described as "the oldest and richest library in the world."

The Boxer: "Why don't you shoot?"

In July, 222 Chinese Eastern Orthodox Christians, 182 Protestant missionaries and 500 Chinese Protestants, including women and children were killed in the Taiyuan Massacre.
Li Hung Chang: "Uncle, let me take your flag to wipe out the blots."
Uncle Sam: "No!!!!"


Next: more cartoons about China's Boxer Rebellion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Steve Slater's 15 Minutes



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 18, 2010

This is one of those cartoons during the drawing of which I changed my mind about basic concepts several times after I started inking it. One thought was that I should have drawn the two guys working as hair dressers instead of jogging, since a.) the situation would suit the catty punch line, and b.) jogging doesn't really lend itself to conversation, what with the heavy breathing and all. Then I thought of a punch line that was funnier than the punch line that I had pitched to my editor. I kept the two guys jogging, but I decided to squeeze that second punch line in at the bottom of the cartoon.

After all, I don't suppose I needed to save that second punch line in case I might want to do more cartoons about the Jet Blue flight attendant story someday.

Oh, I'm sure Steve Slater will show up on a future season of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here," or in a cameo role as himself in Will Ferrell's next film. But I think the window for drawing Steve Slater cartoons is closing fast. Air travel is getting to be increasingly unpleasant for everyone involved, and the next time somebody wigs out on a plane, there's a good chance that it won't be so funny.

Monday, August 16, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek


Unless you're Ted Rall, a cartoonist wants to take an occasional break from drawing about the serious issues of the world to remark on somebody's fifteen minutes of fame.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More 1900 Cartoons of R.C. Bowman

This is part 2 of my series retrieving the editorial cartoons drawn by R.C. Bowman for the Minneapolis Tribune in 1900.
(They get real mad at Teddy for getting "solid" with the Dakota girls.)

There are no cartoons of the incumbent President, William McKinley, in the Meanderings of Willie and Little Steve series of cartoons. McKinley considered it unseemly for a president to campaign for his own reelection, so that put the campaign in the hands of surrogates such as Vice Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt.

(That nasty Croker boy teaches Willie how to smoke.)

An issue included in each of these cartoons is the Ice Trust scandal which sunk New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck that year. It was revealed that the American Ice Company, having secured a monopoly over the supply of ice to New York City, planned to double the price, and that the mayor owned $680,000 in American Ice stock which he had not paid for. Teddy Roosevelt, as Governor of the state of New York, launched the investigation of the scandal. It didn't really have much to do with Bryan or Stevenson, save that NYC's Tammany Hall was a major force in Democratic Party politics. The tiger was the conventional cartoon representation of Tammany Hall.

(It looks like they are going to get caught in an awful storm.)

By now, it should be pretty obvious that Bowman's and the Tribune's sympathies lay with the Republicans. That said, the Bryan campaign was pretty hopeless from the start. McKinley had been elected in 1896 during a severe recession and presided over a robust recovery; the U.S. won a relatively easy victory in the Spanish-American war; and the discovery of gold in Alaska, the Yukon, and South Africa greatly expanded the world's supply of the precious metal (rendering moot Bryan's signature issue from 1896 of getting the U.S. off the gold standard.)

(The storm has passed, and thus endeth the second battle.)

Coming soon: Big Trouble in Big China.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

RIP Rick Luehr


A friend from many years ago passed away this week. Rick Luehr was one of my co-workers on the University of Wisconsin at Parkside Ranger back in the 1980's. (He's the guy behind me in the photo above.) He was confined to a wheelchair for just about all his adult life, but never let that keep him down. He had a quick wit and will always be remembered for his wicked sense of humor.

I think it was in October of 1983 that then-Interior Secretary James Watt notoriously derided a commission on coal mining as being politically correct because it consisted of "a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple." Rick came to a campus Hallowe'en party that year as the coal commission: wearing blackface, a woman's wig, and two Stars of David on his shirt. That costume earned him a write-up in the Racine Journal Times. Another Hallowe'en, he draped a white sheet over himself with tiny plastic trees and sports figures, and came to the party as a local ski slope.

Not all his witticism was self-deprecating of course, but those are the two incidents kept fresh in my memory because there are photographs. Most of his bons mots are lost in the deep recesses of my mind.

His friends on Facebook have been recalling his acts of kindness and support as well as his humor. I can't possibly eulogize Rick better than this blog entry by another Ranger alumnus, Tony Rogers.

Rest in peace, Rick. You have been an inspiration to everyone you met.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The cartoons of R.C. Bowman

After my Aunt Barbara died in 1989, her family found a copy of The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman among her possessions and figured that I would probably be interested in it. I've never been able to find out much about R.C. Bowman; he isn't referenced in Maurice Horn's The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, or Stephen Hess's and Milton Kaplan's The Ungentlemanly Art. Two of his 1898 cartoons about the Spanish-American War do appear on page 101 of Syd Hoff's Editorial and Political Cartooning, however.

The cover of the paperback book my aunt left me has been deteriorating, and the binding is almost non-existent, but the pages are in good condition. In the interest of posterity, I plan to post some of R.C.B.'s cartoons here from time to time. I can make no claims that he was a great cartoonist, but I think it's interesting to see these old cartoons from the heartland.
(Bryan: "You better run on home now, Charley. Me and Adlai will take care of your little dolly baby.")
The book begins with several cartoons in a series called "The Meanderings of Willie and Little Steve." William Jennings Bryan (Willie) ran his second unsuccessful presidential campaign against William McKinley in 1900 with Adlai Stevenson (Little Steve) as his running mate. Stevenson had been Vice President in the second Grover Cleveland administration; I'm not sure why Bowman drew him wearing a dress.
(Charley Towne to Willie Bryan: "I don't want to play wid you's chumps/ Aw, go wan, you make me sore./ I'll go home and start a new boom./ You's can't con me any more.")


Charles Towne was a Republican Congressman from Minnesota from 1895 to 1897; he lost his reelection campaign running in 1896 as an Independent. He was a contender for the People's Party (commonly called the "Populists") Vice Presidential nomination in 1900 but ultimately turned it down. A divided Populist Party split between endorsing Democrat Bryan for a second time or running its own candidate, Wharton Butler. (Towne would be appointed to fill Minnesota's senate seat as a Democrat in December, 1900 upon the death of Cushman Davis, serving only eight weeks until his elected replacement, Moses Clapp, was sworn in. He was a Democratic Congressman from New York from 1905 to 1907.)
(They get into some poison ivy.)

The Populists were based in the agrarian south and southern plains states, started by people who thought that big banking interests in the northeast had too much influence over both the Republican and Democratic parties. There initially were Populist politicians who wanted to unite the interests of poor whites and poor blacks, but by 1900, the voices of white supremacists carried more influence within the party. The Democrats, whose coalition included Southern establishment politicians, already had a significant white supremacist base.
(Stevenson: "Jump on him again, Willie. It's the only way we can carry North Carolina.")

Coming soon: What the hell was the Ice Trust?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perry v. Schwarzenegger



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 11, 2010

The two people in the lower right of this cartoon are Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, two anti-marriage activists. This is the second time I've drawn Gallagher in a cartoon, and it's because her troll-like looks are fun to draw.

Once U.S. District court Judge Vaughn Walker issued his strongly worded decision declaring California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the strategy of the anti-marriage forces was revealed. Having utterly failed to present any legal defense of Prop 8 in the court, Maggie Gallagher, Tim Wildmon, and the Faux News network immediately began their appeal to the phobias and prejudices of the general public.

The religious right has been able to pass these measures in nearly every state where they've tried because they find it easy to use fear and innuendo to convince a majority to trample the rights of a minority. Then they squawk and scream when judges refer to the law and constitution, not popular opinion and the Pentateuch, to find that the minority deserves protection.

Tim Wildmon has even gone so far as to propose that Judge Walker be impeached -- I guess on the grounds that if Walker is openly gay, he should be disqualified from ruling whether gays have a right to marry. (By the same logic, a judge who is married or engaged to be married ought also to be disqualified. So should a judge who openly professes a faith with a stand either way on the question of marriage equality.)

Unless the right manages to push through a constitutional amendment replacing the judiciary branch with popular referenda (which might actually be easy to accomplish in California), Perry v. Schwarzenegger will be appealed through the court system, and the appeals will have to concern themselves with Judge Walker's ruling itself, not a reintroduction of the allegations that same-sex couples are unfit to be parents, or that reproduction is the sine qua non of marriage, or that gay sex is nasty icky poopy.

An aside: if you wouldn't mind having your sex acts described in exact detail in a court of law, you're probably doing it wrong.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek


The topic of this week's Q Syndicate editorial cartoon should not come as a surprise to anyone.

I mean, what LGBT news publication will want to be caught this week without a cartoon about whether Brett Favre will come back for another year in the NFL?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Target ♥s Tom Emmer



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Aug 4, 2010


LGBT rights groups are dismayed by political donations made by Target corporation (and also Best Buy) to a Minnesota business PAC called MnForward, which supports antigay Republican candidate for the state's governor, Tom Emmer. Target (and Best Buy) have had 100% positive ratings from the Human Rights Campaign for LGBT-friendly workplace policies, but Emmer is on record as opposing not only marriage rights for same-sex couples, but also Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships, and anything else more intimate than Total Stranger relationships.

Target has responded to the criticism of their donation to MnForward by saying that they reserve the right to support any candidate whose vision for Minnesota they consider to be business-oriented. HRC has responded with an ad of its own:



"[Y]ou have severely damaged those carefully cultivated reputations and violated the spirit of the gold standards bestowed on you. In fact, the long-term effects on families that shop at Target and Best Buy throughout Minnesota and the U.S. will be devastating."
--HRC newspaper advertisement, August 1, 2010

It's not just Tom Emmer's anti-marriage policies that raise concern. Emmer's campaign has also donated $250 to "You Can Run, But You Can't Hide," a so-called Christian punk rock group that advocates killing homosexuals:
“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination... If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that.”
--YCRBYCH front man Bradlee Dean, on their AM radio show, May 15, 2010.

Emmer, who has appeared on Dean's radio show, visited Dean's home, and attended a meet-and-greet fund raiser for the group, has at least disavowed their Death to Gays stance; but he claims that the band are "nice people."

Apparently, Emmer has a much more flexible definition of Minnesota Nice than I had when I was at St. Olaf.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sneak Peek This Week


This caricature didn't come out quite the way I'd hoped. An inopportune wayward blob of ink didn't help matters. Still, I think the chin should have been smaller.

It's not Carol Burnett, if that's what you're thinking.