Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Week's Toon: On the Internet

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jun 22, 2011

While I was busy drawing last week's Weiner cartoon, the blogosphere was rocked by successive revelations that a Syrian lesbian blogger was actually a married American guy, and so was the lesbian blogger that outed him/her. "Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari," posting under the nom de blog "Gay Girl In Damascus" was unmasked as 40-year-old Georgian Tom MacMaster after questions arose whether Amina could possibly exist. One of the blogs to unmask MacMaster was "Lez Get Real," started in 2008 by "Paula Brooks"; and when news media came to Brooks for her version of the story, she turned out to be Paula's husband, 58-year-old Ohioan Bill Graber.

The whole thing became the stuff of Shakespearean farce.

In the guise of Paula Brooks, Graber corresponded online with Tom MacMaster, thinking he was writing to Amina Arraf. Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian.

This week's cartoon riffs on a famous 1993 Peter Steiner cartoon. I've set it in another popular setting for New Yorker cartoons, the psychiatrist's couch. New Yorker cartoonists have to submit hundreds of cartoons just one of them published, so it's no wonder that they feel a need for psychiatric help.

Other locales you're likely to see in a New Yorker cartoon are the patent office waiting room, a bar, a high rise office, and a courtroom. People share the New Yorker cartooniverse with talking animals, the Grim Reaper, famous works of art, and the occasional dread Gahan Wilson monster.

As far as I know, the cartoon framed on the psychiatrist's wall is not any actual New Yorker cartoon, just a likely one.

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