Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This Week's Toon: Joe Biden



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 29, 2010

I spent a long time alternately scouring the internet for news and staring at a blank sheet of bristol board this weekend before coming up with this cartoon.

Christmas is usually a bad time to come up with cartoon ideas: governmental newsmakers have gone on vacation, and it's too late to draw any more cartoons about the holidays. Unless some terrorist tries to smuggle explosives in his underpants, we cartoonists are usually left with no other topic than the weather (wherefore all the cartoons remarking that the arrival of winter must ipso facto disprove global warming).

But at long last I found the story that Vice President Joe Biden had said in an interview on "Good Morning America,"
"I think the country's evolving, and I think there's an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. That is my view. But this is the president's policy, but it is evolving. I think the country's evolving."

If there's anything we cartoonists love, it's politicians like Joe Biden, Ed Rendell, and, yes, Sarah Palin, who delight in saying out loud exactly what they think. Especially at Christmas.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Before the DOD Had DADT

This is, I believe, the first cartoon I drew about the topic of opening the military to service by gays and lesbians. It was one of the first agenda items announced by President-elect Bill Clinton, and was met with swift resistance (in spite of the fact that we were not fighting two wars at the time. Not even one).

This cartoon dates from late November, 1992.

Don't Ask Don't Tell, 1993-2010



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 22, 2010

And shut the door! You're letting in all the nasty weather!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gays in the Military: 1993

Now that the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is finally in sight, a look back at one of the earliest cartoons I drew on the topic of gays in the military:



(I think I might have drawn an earlier one between Bill Clinton's election and his inauguration, but I'm almost certain I had never addressed the topic before that.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek

Since my syndicated cartoons appear mostly in weekly, biweekly and monthly publications, I have to try to draw a little bit into the future. I can't predict the news, of course, but it does mean that Christmas is over and it's on to the new year.

2010 was a cantankerous year from start to finish, which will be duly reflected in this week's Q Syndicate cartoon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Very Hate Group Christmas



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 16, 2010

This week's Q Syndicate cartoon features several of the antigay organizations recently named as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): the American Family Association, National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, the Liberty Council, and others.

The Family Research Council has responded by calling the SPLC, founded in 1971, "marginal," and took out an advertisement in Politico and the Washington Examiner headlined "Stop Hating/Start Debating" -- in essence, calling their designation as a hate group itself hateful. The tear-stained letter was co-signed by House Speaker-designate John Boehner and 21 other Republicans.

Crooks and Liars has a rundown of the debate here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Week's Patch.com Cartoon


I had to draw a number of cartoons about Tax Incremental Financing districts when I drew for The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, and now I have been called on to revisit the subject for the Greendale, Wisconsin edition of Patch.com. Patch.com is an AOL venture into local news; the first of its Wisconsin editions went live this week.

Here's the link to Viviana Buzo's story. For further background, Southridge dates back to the 1970's, and was a big deal for Milwaukee, suburbs and exurbs at the time. But that was before every Tomville, Dicktown and Harrisburg got its very own megamall. Then, Boston Store parent company Bon-Ton bought out Younkers and closed Southridge's thus redundant anchor, and Southridge has not been able to attract a new anchor store to replace it.

And now I see that Viviana has tweeted that M&I (formerly Marshall & Isley) Bank will close its Southridge Mall location, creating yet another empty space.

Still, it's in better shape than the second kid in line, the 1980's vintage Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Milwaukee.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

R.C. Bowman's 1900 Cartoons: Minnesota Governors

In continuing celebration of Minnesota's certification at long last of the election of Mark Dayton as governor, here are a couple cartoons from The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman about the 1900 gubernatorial election.


Minnesota G.O.P.: "You want to watch out, now. I got lost in this pass two years ago."
Cap. Van Sant (the new guide): "Well, you know I wasn't on the job then."


Republican Samuel R. Van Sant narrowly won the 1900 gubernatorial election after being denied his party's nomination in two previous elections. He beat out the incumbent governor, John Lind (the mountain in the above cartoon).

Swedish-born Lind started out his political career as a Republican, appointed by President James Garfield to a position in the U.S. Land Office and then being elected to Congress from Minnesota. Due to differences with conservative Republicans, he switched to the Democratic party, losing the 1896 gubernatorial election but winning the 1898 race -- the first Democrat elected governor of Minnesota in 50 years.


Minnesota G.O.P.: "Thunder, man! That transfer's no good; it's two years old."

I can't say whether this is just the way cartoonist R.C. Bowman saw Lind, or whether this is an example of why you can't cite Wikipedia as a primary reference, but Bowman's 1900 cartoons of John Lind sure look a lot older than what Wikipedia says is a 1899 photo of Lind.

Lind would have been 56 years old in 1900, while Bowman was 30. Perhaps Bowman thought 56 was ancient; but Lind would outlive Bowman by 27 years.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

John Corley McCain, Jr.



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 9, 2010

Arizona Senator John McCain makes another appearance in this week's cartoon for his dogged insistence that gay and lesbian servicemembers lie about their lives and loved ones if they have the temerity to wish to defend their country.

The reference in this cartoon, for those too young to remember it (or in those Southern school districts where the Texas School Board version of U.S. history holds sway) compares McCain to Alabama Governor George Wallace blocking the University of Alabama door in 1963.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

R.C. Bowman on Minnesota Politics

To celebrate Mark Dayton's election as Governor of Minnesota, I present this week some of the cartoons of R.C. Bowman (b. in Michigan in 1870; d. in Minneapolis, May 30, 1903) about Minnesota politics in 1900.


Some Minneapolis boys who will work their way into the big show."

I wish I could fill in the background about these cartoons better. Beyond the obvious fact that Tom Shevlin and S.E. Olson were active in Republican politics, I have only been able to find that Devlin was in the lumber business and had a son who made a name for himself in college football (Yale, College Football Hall of Fame), and that Olson started a chain of dry goods stores in 1881 which has been bought out and renamed many times over the last 139 years. (Some Twin City residents may remember it as Powers/Donaldsons.)


Whoa, boy!

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, I have absolutely no knowledge of P.B. Winston, Rosing, C.D. Baldwin, or T.D. O'Brien. Kansas City was the site of the 1900 Democratic National Convention, at appropriately named Convention Hall.

Bowman wrote no text for his books beyond that which was originally included in the cartoon -- there is no foreword or postscript -- so the topics of the cartoons were presumably common knowledge to anyone at the time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This Week's Sneak Peek

Judging from Admiral Mullen's sullen scowl, I'm not in the festive holiday mood just yet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another 1900 cartoon by R.C. Bowman


Indiana: "This is what a lady gets for being the bone of contention."

I haven't posted any cartoons from R.C. Bowman's The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman in a couple months. After the last post, which featured Bowman's cartoons about Montana Senator William A. Clark, I had a brief and pleasant exchange with a reporter working on a story about Clark's daughter Huguette (who may or may not be alive somewhere at age 104).

I've also been asked whether I knew when Bowman died. That information was not in the 1901 book, and Google only turned up that the Minneapolis Tribune published another book of his cartoons in 1903 (Bowman "doubtless exerts much influence In the Northwest," said a one-paragraph article in the New York Times reporting the book's publication), so I turned to the listserve of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. J.P. Trostle referred me to the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

There I discovered that Bowman's full name was Rowland Claude Bowman, and that he lived from 1870 to 1903. It also appears that the OSU BICL&M might have a copy of the 1903 book, and I hope it's in better condition than my copy of the 1901 edition.

Now you know as much as I do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Umpty-umpth Cartoon on DADT



Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Dec 1, 2010

I had to draw this cartoon before the Pentagon study was in fact released, so I'm quite happy that it did indeed include the finding that the Marine Corps harbors the greatest resistance to gays and lesbians being allowed to serve in the military without lying about themselves.

I'm also pleased that I was able to draw this marine so that he didn't look like a second consecutive attempt to mimic Tom of Finland. No, this fellow looks more like a character in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Now, one additional note about the topic of this week's sneak peek blog entry, the current cover of Time magazine: If you see fit to include "Ilovely computer virus," "Chandra Levy disappears," and "The Dark Knight released," does it really make sense that the first legal same-sex marriages in this country didn't rate any mention at all?