Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where's My Weiner?

A friend of mine asked me why I drew this week's cartoon about Roger Ailes's bomb-proof glass office instead about Congressman Anthony and his famous Weiner. After all, everybody is doing Wiener jokes this week.

To a significant extent, I thought that the Roger Ailes story, from an article in Rolling Stone, deserved more exposure than it has gotten.

The Weiner story, on the other hand, has gotten so much exposure that it's hard to find some angle that hasn't already been bludgeoned to death by cartoonists for daily papers. This is one of those stories where the cartoon practically draws itself -- which means that several cartoonists let it do just that. I've seen seven or eight cartoons of the congressman singing some parody of the Oscar Mayer Wiener song, for starters. "I can't say with certitude" is the punch line of a handful of others, and, of course, In more cartoons than one can legally shake a stick at, Weiner appears in his undershorts, flashing passers-by, and in the company of the crowded field of other male politicians who have been caught in sexual shenanigans.

Daryl Cagle calls this phenomenon a "Yahtzee" whenever it happens, and it happens a lot. Take the recent World Health Organization report that cell phones might contribute to cancer risk. That spawned several cartoons in showing Death (that hooded figure with a scythe) on a cell phone saying "Can you hear me now?" The other common approach was to draw someone talking or texting on a cell phone about the WHO report while driving, immediately prior to a car accident. As Editorial Explanations noticed, these cartoons were alike right down to the color of the car. (I have to wonder if the driver in the John Cole cartoon is receiving the text message sent by the driver in the Gary Markstein cartoon.)

We cartoonists also have to compete with the Daily Show, Colbert Report, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and all the other late-night hosts, whose teams of writers can snap up all the easy jokes and have them broadcast before our ink is dry. I've rejected several cartoon ideas because one sounds like something Saturday Night Live would do, or another is bound to be on a graphic over John Stewart's shoulder.

Those graphics over John Stewart's shoulder really get me, sometimes. Why oh why can't they just settle on one over-the-shoulder joke? Why do they persist on some of the best stories in showing one joke after another there? At least David Letterman has the decency to pace himself, even telling the same joke night after night for months on end.

So, anyway, my apologies for disappointing all those readers who were relishing the prospect of another Weiner cartoon. I'll catch up on the Weiner jokes later.

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