Saturday, October 17, 2015

October, 1985

It's Smackback Saturday again, and for this week's trip in the wayback machine, I've hauled up a couple of my cartoons from an October 30 years ago.

So there's no theme here, really. Back in the 1980's, one of the papers I drew for was the NorthCountry Journal, a monthly newspaper out of Poynette, Wisconsin, focused on environmental issues. Every month, the editor would send me the topic of the next issue's editorial, and I'd draw something to match.

Acid rain, not climate change, was the chief environmental concern of the era. Acidity caused by such things as burning waste products and fossil fuels, was raising the pH levels of streams and lakes, although industry and others which relied on burning stuff resisted calls for change.

The cartoon riffs on a slogan in a long-running TV ad about a masochistic tuna fish. The problem, of course, is that there are not now, nor have there ever been, tuna in Wisconsin's lakes and streams.

The cartoons for the NorthCountry Journal had to be send through the U.S. Mail, so I drew them on 8.5"x11" typing paper. In 1985, the ones I drew for the local UW-Parkside Ranger, on the other hand, are on 14"x17" bristol board, and don't quite fit on my scanner.

Like this Spaghetti Western themed cartoon, drawn after the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, a Mediterranean cruise ship seized by the Palestinian Liberation Army on October 7, 1985. The hijackers had shot and killed one Jewish American, wheelchair-bound retiree Leon Klinghoffer, forcing two of the ship's crew to dump his body overboard. They later agreed with Egyptian negotiators to give up the ship in exchange for safe passage to Tunisia, but the Egyptian plane carrying them was intercepted by the U.S. Navy and forced to land at a NATO air base in Sicily.

Italian Carabinieri arrested the hijackers after friction between American and Italian authorities over which country had jurisdiction over Air Station Sigonella. Italy released all but four of the terrorists, releasing the hijackers' leader, Muhammad Zaidan, a.k.a. Abu Abbas, over U.S. protests. Egypt, for its part, demanded that the U.S. apologize for forcing its airplane off course. Zaidan/Abbas remained a free man until U.S. forces captured him in Iraq in 2003, where he died in custody.

I've already posted a cartoon or two from October, 1985, in previous fits of nostalgia, so I'll wrap up with this one on a topic that never goes out of style. 1985 was when Tipper Gore founded the Parents' Music Resource Center and pushed for those explicit lyrics warnings that used to be pasted onto the covers of music, back when music didn't come to you by downloading it off the internet (which, as you know, was invented by her then husband, Tennessee Senator Al, Jr., which must have figured in their divorce some way or another).

"Why can't they be like we were: perfect in every way? What's the matter with kids today?" -- Bye Bye Birdie, 1963