Thursday, January 30, 2014

Q Toon: Virginia Is for Loving

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jan 30, 2014
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) announced last week that his office would ask a federal court to find his states constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage to be a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution -- a 180̊ turn from his Republican predecessor, jurisprude Ken Cuccinelli.
Mr. Herring cited legal cases in which he said Virginia’s leadership had failed its residents by arguing against school desegregation in Brown v. the Board of Education, interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, and women’s admission to the Virginia Military Institute, a state-supported military college, in United States v. Virginia.
“Too many times in our history, our citizens have had to lead the way on civil rights while their leaders stood against them,” Mr. Herring said. “This will not be another instance. It is time for the commonwealth to be on the right side of history and the right side of the law.”
I've overlooked Virginia's laws against mixed-race marriage in this week's cartoon in favor of some sillier laws, even though the parallel with its laws mandating mixed-sex marriage is fairly obvious. My source for the other laws in the cartoon -- apparently still on the books -- is Dumb Laws in Virginia, where you'll find that an anti-bribery law exempts political candidates, it is illegal to hunt on Sunday unless you're after racoons, and the women of Norfolk are required to wear corsets after sundown.

Monday, January 27, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

This week, Bergetoons tackles the burning question of the proper time and place to wash your filthy mule.

Don't laugh. Our neighbor to the north likes to wash his ass out on his driveway, and you wouldn't believe what a ruckus some of the other neighbors make over that.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Breaking Local News!

A propos of nothing in particular, here's a cartoon from my archives -- July of 1999, to be exact -- about TV news coverage of a big local tragedy. The reporters can't tell you much: the firefighters are still trying to put out the fire, the gunshot victims are still on the operating table, police have cordoned off the structural collapse, or authorities aren't letting camera crews anywhere near the plane/train/ship. But the folks at the TV station are staying on the air, determined not to be scooped by the folks at the other TV stations...
The names in this cartoon are of Milwaukee local anchors and reporters at the time, but I'm pretty sure this cartoon could be about local TV stations just about any time, anywhere. I believe that the particular story which inspired this cartoon was the Big Blue crane collapse during the construction of Miller Park, which killed three construction workers.

The long form address of my now defunct Geocities page on this cartoon won't take you anywhere, incidentally. Geocities got bought up and shut down by Yahoo!/SBC Global/AT&T years ago. Oh, and that thing the guy in the cartoon is staring at is what televisions used to look like.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Q Toon: African Øueen

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
•Jan 22, 2014
Welcome to another episode of old-timey movie reference theatre at Bergetoons. We haven't seen any new movies in almost a year at our household, so my inspiration has to come from Turner Classic Movies and NCIS reruns. This one's kind of a stretch, given that I've migrated Rose and Sam Sayer's nationality from Great Britain to the U.S.; but even given that this isn't the best caricature of Katharine Hepburn of all time, I guess it's still more recognizable than a reference to "Mogambo" would have been.

As America's religious homophobes have recently lost ground in their culture war against gays and lesbians, some have seized upon Africa as their new Promised Land (see Roger Ross Williams's "God Loves Uganda"). So-called evangelists such as Scott Lively have lobbied African governments such as Nigeria and Uganda to pass draconian laws criminalizing LGBT advocacy and association -- even holding hands in public, or running a business that caters to gays and lesbians. This new overkill comes even though homosexual sex itself was already illegal in these and 29 other sub-Saharan countries. (Not that super-Saharan governments are any friendlier, mind you.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

It could be difficult for people to recognize anybody in this week's cartoon. I'm hoping that it doesn't matter whether the reader picks up on the reference or not.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Herblock Doc

HBO will show a documentary about the 20th Century's greatest editorial cartoonist, Herb Block, on Monday, January 27. I am certainly looking forward to watching it.

I couldn't help but notice when I saw the trailer for the film the other day that there while they showed several journalists and TV satirists talking about Herblock, the trailer included no editorial cartoonists. The web page for the trailer also cited no editorial cartoonists, unless you count Jules Feiffer.

My fellow inkslingers assure me that some of them are in fact included in the documentary, which was previewed at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention in Salt Lake City last summer. (I am still kicking myself for skipping that convention, and not just for the chance to visit a city where I can actually find my own cartoons in print.)

I drew the cartoon accompanying this blog post back when Herblock died in 2001. It employs an approximation of Herblock's drawing style and a handful of his recurring characters as well as a prominent reference to a couple of his most famous cartoons.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Q Toon: Show Me Yours and I'll Show You Mine

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
≈Jan 15, 2014
After seeing a flurry of blog and Facebook posts about two trans* guests "schooling" Katie Couric for asking them about their gender reassignment process, I expected to see some insistently rude questions followed by a finger shaken to the tune of "Oh, No, You Didn't!" The Baltimore Sun headline, after all, was "Katie Couric's Offensive Interview Reveals Need for Transgender Visibility."

In preparation for this week's cartoon, I watched Couric's interview with model Carmen Carrera and actress Laverne Cox to see what in particular was offensive about the interview. What I saw was Couric asking a question about Carrera's gender reassignment surgery and being told that Carrera didn't want to answer such a personal question. Couric said she understood and moved right along to other questions. When she joined the other two on the show, Cox seconded Carrera's dislike of questions about their genitalia.

The tone of the discussion appeared friendly and sympathetic throughout. Couric didn't seem so insensitive or intrusive, really. After all, this is the woman who invited America to come along on her own colonoscopy.

So instead of using my cartoon to rake Katie Couric over the coals, I've resurrected Celiva Drewledge, a fictional talk show host character from a cartoon I drew over 15 years ago. She looks more like Katie Couric today than she did when I first drew her, but as the cartoon indicates, she's had some work done.

* No, you're not supposed to check for footnotes today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where Does the Time Go, and Why Did It Take My Coffee?

Excuse me while I vent a little on a mundane topic that has nothing to do with editorial cartooning.


Like most people, I need to leave the house at the same time every morning. I try to engineer my morning so that I can get everything done in the morning that has to be done before I leave without running late, and every morning, I run late. Everything seems to be running like clockwork at first, but then Time To Leave suddenly picks up speed while Things To Get Done somehow become way more complicated than they have any right to. I have a theory that Morning Time skips over any minute or second with a "4" in it.

Take this morning. At 10 minutes before Time To Leave, I've eaten breakfast, made lunch, rinsed the dishes, showered, shaved, dressed, taken out the garbage and pocketed my keys. All that's left is to pour my coffee into a thermos, turn off the computer, put on my coat and go. I should be running right on time, wouldn't you think?

So I pour my coffee into my thermos and turn the coffee maker off. I go from the kitchen to the office to turn off the computer. I return to the kitchen. Eight minutes have elapsed. There is a rule somewhere that posits that anything involving use of a computer always takes four times as long to accomplish as you think it will. Don't ever let anybody try to tell you that a computer is a time-saving device. Computers suck time big time.

Now with two minutes before Time To Leave, my coffee thermos has disappeared. It isn't on the kitchen counter. It isn't on the breakfast table. It isn't by the coffee maker, the sink, the stove or the toaster. It isn't by the computer. It isn't in the living room. It isn't in the bedroom. It isn't in the bathroom. It isn't in the laundry room. It isn't in the dining room. It's not in the refrigerator. It's not in the cupboard.

If you haven't guessed, Time To Leave has been and long gone by the time I've looked in all the places that make any reasonable sense for my thermos to be. I'm considering checking the garbage, even though the reason I took it out was that there was barely enough room in the bag for the coffee grounds, and certainly not enough for a six-cup thermos.

The thing is, my better half gets home before I do these days. And I strongly suspect that I'll be greeted with a question about why on Earth I left my coffee wherever he will have found it the moment he walked in the door.

Monday, January 13, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

Looks like somebody has been hitting the coffee pot a bit too much this morning.

Could it be Joe Biden in drag?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Q Toon: I See Your Punt

One thing I like about this cartoon is that it's not just a tribute to a cartoonist who was one of my earliest influences: he just happens to be from St. Paul, Minnesota.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
ϠJan 8, 2014

The back story is that Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe spoke out in 2012 against a proposed Minnesota state constitutional amendment excluding gay and lesbian couples from marriage rights; he also spoke out rather emphatically in support of the Ravens' Brendan Ayanbadejo. According to Kluwe's account on Deadspin, Vikings owner Zigi Wilf expressed approval of Kluwe's outspokenness, but head coach Leslie Frazier and Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman cautioned him to tone it way down.

While Kluwe is critical of Frazier and Spielman for being wishy-washy, he portrays Special Teams coordinator Mike Priefer as a completely loathsome bigot:
"We were laughing over one of the recent articles I had written supporting same-sex marriage rights, and one of my teammates made a joking remark about me leading the Pride parade. As we sat down in our chairs, Mike Priefer, in one of the meanest voices I can ever recall hearing, said: 'We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.'"
Kluwe alleges that Priefer had it in for him over Kluwe's pro-gay stands, and that's what eventually led to his being cut from the team. Vikings management has launched an investigation into Kluwe's charges.

Monday, January 6, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Seattle is going all the way this year. I'm guessing that they'll face Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, although that's a pretty tough division to predict.

And, of course, they have to contain Colin Kaempernick next week. Should be an interesting game.

None of which has anything directly to do with this week's cartoon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Q Toon: Marriage Comes to Utah

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
ϪJan 2, 2014
National Organization for Marriage spokesguy Brian Brown inspired this week's cartoon during his appearance on MSNBC's Up on Sunday morning. 

Host Steve Kornacki wanted to talk about how much better marriage equality has been polling recently, even in red states. Aisha Moody-Mills of the Center for American Progress was willing to oblige her host, and Business Insider Josh Barro discussed the three avenues of legal opinion, legislative action, and popular vote along which marriage equality had advanced in 2013.

Brown, representing Straight Privilege, wanted to focus his fire on Robert Shelby, the Utah District Court Judge who found Utah's prohibition of same-sex marriage disciminatory. Brown repeatedly called Shelby "an activist judge," echoing the charge of Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

As Kornacki had already pointed out, Shelby's nomination was supported in glowing terms by both of Utah's Republican Senators, six-termer Orrin Hatch and Tea Partisan Mike Lee.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in introducing Shelby to the Senate Judiciary Committee said: “Whenever we have a judicial vacancy in Utah, no matter who occupies the White House, I look for a candidate to recommend who is widely respected in the legal community and who can be widely supported in the Senate. Bob Shelby certainly meets that test.”
 During the confirmation process, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, described Shelby as "pre-eminently qualified" and predicted he would be "an outstanding judge."
Dang sneaky, those activist judges.