Monday, June 29, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

You might have caught this story in the news this week.

I might show up on fusion.net this week -- it's a venture between Yahoo! and ABC that I hadn't heard of before. If I do show up there, it will be through the "Graphic Culture" link under the "More" tab.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Postwar World: Womenfolk and Tech

It has been a month since Swoopback Saturday has leafed through A Bird's Eye View of the Postwar World, so here we go. We were discussing postwar predictions for the fairer sex, some of which were little more than flimsy excuses to draw some cheesecake.
But of more interest (to me, anyway) are when the cartoonists let their imaginations run wild predicting a world of amazing gadgets, time- and labor-saving devices, and changes to everyday life.

You will probably have to click on this picture to be able to read George Shellhases's flights of fancy, since I didn't separate them out into separate graphics:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage Equality Flashback

In celebration of today's Supreme Court ruling extending marriage equality to all fifty states -- and the separate dissents by each and every one of the justices in the minority, here's a cartoon from last year. 
Chief Justice Roberts wasn't in this cartoon, but I have a sneaking feeling he'll join this hapless trio in next week's cartoon.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Q Toon: Terms of Enragement

Given how the assassination of nine Black Americans in Charleston, South Carolina's Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church during a Bible study last Wednesday night has dominated the news in the U.S. this week, my Q Syndicate cartoon this week is only very tangential to LGBT issues.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jun 25, 2015

This weekend on NPR's On the Media, Brooke Gladstone noted what she called the media's rules for different races when it comes to mass murder:
"If [Dylann] Roof were Muslim, he would have been identified swiftly and universally as a 'terrorist.' Reporters would focus on his 'recruiters,' which in his case could be a multitude of white supremacist web sites, or one of the many hate groups that exist legally in his own state. But when the suspect is white, he's an 'aberration,' immediately furnished with a name, a family, a history, and a diagnosis. Whereas a black suspect, for instance, accused of far less or nothing, more often is displayed as a nameless emblem of a social disease."
In the days since, The Guardian of Great Britain led American media in unmasking the Council of Conservative Citizens as Roof's on-line recruiter. Digging further, American media found that the head of the CCC, Earl Holt III, has donated thousands of dollars to Republicans over the years (including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ron Johnson, and Representative Paul Ryan); Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are among the presidential candidates now stumbling all over themselves to turn away that cash.

Well, who could have known that an organization sharing its acronym with the Coo Clucks Clan would be a bunch of racists? Besides the Southern Poverty Law Center, that is.

And while Republicans have been hastily disavowing Roof's recruiter, Walmart, Amazon, Target and even the state of Alabama have taken the rebel battle flag off their shelves and flagpoles. Anything to keep the subject away from gun control, I suppose. Minneapolis might even rename Lake Calhoun.

I do so hope that Roof is being kept up to date with these developments in the Race War he wanted to spark.

Monday, June 22, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

There will be no chickens on the other side of the road this week.

I'll take this opportunity, however, to update my entry the other day about Trinidad and Esperanza's wedding and the Telemundo-Milwaukee coverage thereof. I had said that there had not yet been any repercussions from the Anglo or Latino communities.

Since then, a pastoral candidate who works with the Emaús congregation has spent two Sundays leading worship at a Lutheran Latino congregation in Milwaukee, and he tells us that he did undergo some skeptical questioning there about the wedding. So it's safe to say that a same-sex wedding at that particular church would be a harder sell than at Emaús.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

We Shall Overcome. Someday.

In light of Wednesday night's terrorist assault on Mother Emanuel AME in Charlotte, I was trying to think of some cartoon I'd drawn about racism to post here on Spyback Saturday. It's not as if I've never addressed the topic, but I couldn't think of anything I've drawn that would be particularly germane in the current context.

So instead, here's a photo that ties together race relations with Fathers' Day.
I don't actually remember much about this photo. All I know about this photo is that it was taken at a civic picnic in the summer of 1968, after the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations; I think this must have been during a prayer or something. That's me, my Dad and my brother.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Q Toon: Courage!

This week's Q Syndicate cartoon was probably inspired by watching so much Game of Thrones ... and by this picture (at right) in the Bible my church gave all of us Sunday School children way back in the days before Good News for Modern Man came out.

This particular edition has a comprehensive concordance, dictionary of biblical terms, maps, and, peppered judiciously throughout, a number of color pictures on glossy paper. The publisher didn't credit whoever was responsible for the pictures, unlike most of the considerably older Bibles I've seen which usually have a list of all the "plates" right after the table of contents.

This particular painting always looked to me as if the Emperor were somehow disintegrating down the wall, and I've never quite figured out what that red swath is supposed to be. Tattered cloth? Fading paint? Blood? Did he choose poorly?

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jun 18, 2015

The other source for this cartoon is the continued complaining from the religious righteous about how expecting wedding bakers and florists to treat their customers with equal respect is Just Like The Holocaust.

It's still a bit premature, I think, to make a joke out of Auschwitz; so, with apologies to my Sunday School teachers, I present Saint Godwin, the patron saint of Tiresome Hitler Analogies. (And just in time, Phyllis Schlafly has gone and compared antigay Christians to their lion fodder forebears. Is she a reader of this humble blog?)
P.S.: I drew this cartoon well before A Jerk With A Gun decided to shoot up a church Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina last night. No connection with last night's events is intended. But I would nevertheless suggest that there are greater threats to Religious Liberty than Adam and Steve patronizing their local florist.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Prospectus Subrepticius Huius Septimanae

Hey, everybody, it's a toga party!

I don't recall ever going to a toga party. The sheets I had in college had one of those bold late '70's stripe patterns, which wouldn't have looked particularly authentic.

Not that anybody gave you points for authenticity at those parties.

Or so I hear.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bathroom Humor

The other day, I made an off-hand reference to two conservatives who have been obsessed with our nation's toilets. It's Stickleback Saturday, so what better excuse to dredge up a couple of my old cartoons about them?

First was Phyllis Schlafly, spokesperson for the Eagle Forum and vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The proposed amendment, which passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly in 1972, would have guaranteed women equal rights before the law with men. Schlafly is credited for derailing its ratification, predicting that the ERA would result in unisex bathrooms, same-sex marriage, and compulsory military service for women. The ERA fell three states short of ratification in 1982.

There was some talk of reviving the ERA after Democrats swept the 2006 elections. Only talk, apparently. Most public buildings still offer a choice of men's and women's rest rooms, and there hasn't been any military draft since the Vietnam War, As of this writing, we're still waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling on whether marriage equality should be the law of the land even without the ERA.

I drew the above cartoon for the Kenosha [Wisconsin] Tribune when the deadline for ratification had passed in July of 1982. I believe I've mentioned the Tribune before; it was a very short-lived newspaper that failed to survive that summer.

I have no idea whether Schlafly's husband, John Fred Schlafly Jr. bore any resemblance to the man in the cartoon. Or whether they had a dog.

✍ ✍ ✍

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) had a very different interest in public rest rooms. The conservative Idahoer (yes, that's a word) had racked up a solidly antigay voting record in the House and Senate when, on June 11, 2007, he was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport for soliciting sex from an undercover policeman in the men's room.

The nation learned how men supposedly invite sexual encounters by sticking a foot underneath the stall divider; Senator Craig protested that the officer had misinterpreted his habitual "wide stance." He later revised that to "I'm a wide guy," but ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Meanwhile, the second stall from the right in the men's room next to the lottery shop actually became a tourist attraction.

I drew a couple earlier cartoons about Craig, but my favorite is this one from June of 2008, when the retiring senator announced that he planned to write his memoirs.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Stop the #Presses!

In case you get your news from your Twitter feed:
And in case you just got a smug look on your face because you get your news from TV's Most Trusted Name In News...
...or your venerable, black and white and red all over newspaper:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Q Toon: P.E. Eww

If you're a public official, and you want to tell a joke, it had better be a good one. If the joke is even slightly off, we inkslingers may never let you hear the end of it.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jun 11, 2015
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was regaling guests at a religious broadcasters' conference with his God Guns Grits 'n' Gravy Elitist opinion of  Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce.
"Now I wish that someone told me when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in P.E. I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.'"
I'd say that at least Huckabee was finding some facility to fret over besides public rest rooms, the obsession of every conservative from Phyllis Schlafly to Larry Craig, except that he used "Omigosh There'll Be Trannies Flashing Kids In The Lavatory!" as the lead-in to his shower joke.

I'm just guessing, but I'd be willing to bet that Jenner has given more thought to what it means to be a man or a woman than Huckabee has. And to put it in language that even the former Governor might understand, I'm sure that Jenner didn't put herself through all this public notoriety just so she could enjoy the longer lines for the ladies' room.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Egalidad de Matrimonio

The pastor of the Latino congregation at the church where I work weekdays presided over the marriage ceremony of two Latina members this past Saturday. On Monday, a reporter from the Milwaukee Telemundo station came to do a story about it.

Apparently, this wedding is a first in some way -- it's not the first same-sex wedding in Wisconsin, in my hometown, or in the Lutheran church, but it may well be the first church wedding of a Spanish-speaking couple in the Milwaukee Telemundo viewing area or something like that. (None of the other Latino congregations here in Racine belong to denominations which bless same-sex marriages, but there are Latino ELCA congregations in Milwaukee which theoretically could.)

Trinidad and Esperanza had a civil wedding in Illinois in 2014 when same-sex marriage became legal there and it was not yet legal here in Wisconsin. After a court decision brought marriage equality to Wisconsin last fall, they decided that they wanted a proper church wedding.

Pastor Jhon Freddy has been preparing his congregation for this moment for months. At the start of the wedding ceremony, he gave a good, long pause after asking whether anyone had objection to the wedding, adding that behind people's back the parking lot afterward was no time to voice those objections. The TV report aired on Milwaukee Telemundo Monday evening, and the church has linked to the report on its web site and Facebook pages; so far, there has yet to be any sign that people are upset about it.

Within the congregation, there is more friction over the crucifix and image of the BVM that were added to the chancel in wooden diptychs mounted on the wall after the Latino congregation was set up (some Anglos find them excessively Roman Catholic, and some Latinos are annoyed that the Anglos close the diptych doors during the English service). Most people who objected to marriage equality left the church when the ELCA national assembly voted in 2009 to leave the choice of whether to marry same-sex couples up to individual congregations and clergy.

Outside the church, there were already Catholics accusing Emaús of poaching their flocks, and of not being a Real Church. I don't imagine that the people raising those objections on line will take Trinidad and Esperanza's wedding as anything but further proof that they are right.

Judging from Facebook "likes" at least, there appears to be a healthy base of support for Trinidad and Esperanza within the Emaús congregation -- although I can't speak to the Facebook pages of everyone who has shared the link. Two days later, I'm not fielding angry phone calls or emails. Neither the English-language TV stations nor the local newspaper have picked up the story -- nor has the North American Lutheran Church, the break-away group that left the ELCA in 2010 over The Gay Thing.

But it's still early.

Monday, June 8, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peep

We're peeping rather than peeking this week.

The legend of Peeping Tom was grafted onto the story of Lady Godiva some six centuries after her famous ride through Coventry. Linguists have noted that "Tom" is not a name one would expect to find among 11th Century Anglo-Saxon townspeople. The idea that Tom went blind (or was blinded by others) after being the sole resident of the town to sneak a peep at the naturalist equestrienne may or may not have been a part of his original story.

Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Did you know that there is no feminine equivalent of "Earl"? The closest modern day title would be "countess."

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Parading with Pride

Welcome once again to Swashbuckleback Saturday. June is LGBT Pride Month, so I've dug up one of my cartoons from 1999.

Nowadays, the Religious Right has been seeking Special Rights to avoid having to do business with lesbian and gay consumers, but back at the end of the 20th Century, some Religious Rightwingers had hit upon the idea that LGBT Pride Parades should be forced to allow them and their antigay bullhorns to participate.
They were reacting in part to LGBT groups that had agitated to be allowed to march in St. Patrick's Day parades. That agitation, however, had already resulted in the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the right of parade organizers to exclude groups they disagreed with. Justice David Souter, writing for a unanimous court in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston (1995), said, "One important manifestation of the principle of free speech is that one who chooses to speak may also decide what not to say."

By the way, "MCC" refers to Metropolitan Community Churches, a protestant denomination founded by gay pastor Rev. Troy Perry in 1968.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Q Toon: Remember Me?

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was indicted last Thursday, accused of  paying someone known as "Individual A" $3.5 million in hush money over a case of sexual misconduct with a male student when he was a high school wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois.

Hastert is not accused of the actual sexual misconduct, the statute of limitations having expired long ago. Instead, he is accused of lying to the FBI about why the former congressman began making large cash withdrawals from his financial accounts in 2010; he had claimed it was due to a lack of confidence in the banking system and that he was keeping the cash.

Making huge cash withdrawals isn't illegal, but banks are required to file a "currency transaction report" on all cash transactions exceeding $10,000 thanks to the Patriot Act, which Hastert had taken credit for crafting and passing in a 2011 interview.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jun 4, 2015

My cartoon, riffing on a 2014 appearance by Hastert on C-SPAN currently gone viral, deals less with the idea of the Patriot Act coming around to bite Hastert in the butt than his voting record on LGBT issues. In addition to Hastert's antigay votes on marriage equality and employment non-discrimination, I could also have included his stance on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.

In case you are too young to remember, the Republicans in Congress had forced the appointment of a special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, to look into Whitewater, an Arkansas property scheme in which the Clintons had lost money. Finding nothing impeachment-worthy there, Mr. Starr moved on to investigate charges by Paula Jones that Mr. Clinton had sexually assaulted her while Governor of Arkansas. Finding insufficient evidence of wrong-doing there, too, Mr. Starr proceeded to investigate an apparently consensual extra-marital affair between the President and Monica Lewinsky, a 20-something intern at the White House.

Mr. Starr subpoenaed the President to testify under oath, wherein President Clinton flatly denied the affair. Physical evidence contradicted the President's testimony, so the House voted to impeach. Not over the sex stuff, Republicans protested, but over the perjury.
"Mr. President, I am saddened that there is clear and convincing evidence that the President lied under oath, obstructed justice, and abused the powers of his office in an attempt to cover up his wrong-doing. I regret that the President's behavior puts me in the position of having to vote for these Articles of Impeachment and to pass this matter on to the U.S. Senate for final judgment. ... In this nation, all men are created equal. Simply put, the President in our representative democracy is not a sovereign who is above the law. Tomorrow, we shall pass a difficult vote. The President's inability to abide by the law, the Constitution, and my conscience have all led me to the sound conclusion that impeachment articles must be passed." — Rep. Dennis Hastert, in the Well of the House, December 18, 1998
It is ironic, then, that Hastert, is now charged not with whatever sexual shenanigans he engaged in at Yorkville High, but with lying under oath and paying Individual A off in an effort to evade justice.


A propos of our discussion the other day of racial and gender diversity in cartoon characters, I blew an opportunity to be ethnically inclusive when I changed the C-SPAN interviewer from Pedro Echevarria to Steve Scully. Mea culpa.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This Week's Sneak Peek

This week's cartoon probably should have included a credit line somewhere to John Oliver's This Week Tonight program for borrowing its recurring "The Most Patient Man in the World" feature. After going off on "Wm. Charles" for making a career out of plagiarizing other people's artwork, I realize that someone might think I'm trying to claim the moniker as my own idea instead of sneaking a sly reference to him into a very small part of the cartoon.

Besides which, now that I've googled it, the feature is called "The Most Patient Man on Television," which I'd have caught in time if it had been on Oliver's show last night.

Apologies in advance for my oversights.