Monday, October 31, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cubbies and Tigers and Goats, Oh My

It's Spitballback Saturday here at Bergetoons, and what better way to celebrate the generations-long-awaited return of the Chicago Cubs to the World Series than to dredge up some cartoons about their 1908 world championship?

The Chicago Tribune has stronger ties to the Cubs, but the next seven cartoons are all from the Chicago Examiner. (And to anyone who thinks its unfair of me not to include cartoons about the Cleveland Indians' last championship, 68 years is a long time, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer's copyright claims are longer.)
"Where Ignorance is ----!!!" by A.C. Fera for Chicago Examiner, October 10, 1908
A.C. Fera created a couple of easily forgotten comic strips for the Examiner: "What You Lafin At?" (which was the punch line in every one of its nearly a dozen episodes) and "Just Boy," which was renamed "Elmer" and drawn by Doc Winner after Fera's death in 1925. In 1908, he was one of the Examiner's sports cartoonists.

The Chicago Examiner didn't have a comics page in those days, although it did employ sports cartoonists, which was pretty standard practice back then. Action photos being difficult to come by, most newspapers broke up the gray print of the sports page with posed photos of the athletes, but also cartoons. Sometimes both were spliced together: a drawing of a cheering fan drawn in the background of a photograph of a pitcher, quarterback or horse.
Montage for Chicago Examiner, October 13, 1908
While you'll occasionally see editorial cartoonists taking a break from politics to draw about sports, Drew Litton is the only guy I know of still drawing a regular, dedicated editorial sports cartoon. There are a few others, such as Phil Hands, who supplement their editorial work with cartoons for the sports page cheering on the local university team during football season.

The rest of these cartoons from 1908 are by Sidney Smith, best known for creating The Gumps comic strip. The Examiner had hired him as a sports cartoonist earlier that year; he (and Fera) occasionally filled in for Frederick Opper's daily diatribes against William Jennings Bryan and Illinois States Attorney Jacob Kern on the editorial page as well.

Here's Smith's front page cartoon for the Chicago Examiner as the Cubs won the National League pennant against the New York Giants. The print in the dialogue balloons is quite tiny, even when embiggenified, so I've left these files larger than I usually do.
"Victory" by Sidney Smith for Chicago Examiner, October 9, 1908
According to the Examiner, a near riot broke out at the end of the pennant game. New York fans rushed out onto the field, pummeling and throwing debris at the players and the police. Manager Frank Chance suffered a broken clavicle; pitcher Jack Pfeister and catcher John Kling were badly bruised; and one spectator, a fireman named Henry T. McBride, was killed in a fall from the stands.
Detail of "A Tale of the Future" by Sidney Smith for Chicago Examiner, October 12, 1908
Joe Tinker and Frank Chance, of course, were two of the principals in the immortal Tinkers to Evers to Chance double play combination, executed 54 times between 1906 and 1910.

Part of the job of a sports cartoonist, of course, is drawing cartoons when your team comes up short, as the Cubs did in game 3 of the series.
"New Dish for the Tiger" by Sidney Smith for Chicago Examiner, October 13, 1908
Cubs take series before the smallest crowd in World Series history.
"Solid Comfort" by Sidney Smith for Chicago Examiner, October 15, 1908
You've probably been wondering why the hell goats keep showing up in 1908 cartoons about the Cubs. This goat is Buck Nix, a recurring character in Smith's sports cartoons. In 1911, Smith moved to the Chicago Tribune, where he renamed the goat Old Doc Yak for the daily strip and Sunday comic which were eventually turned over to the Gumps.
"Good-by to Baseball" by Sidney Smith for Chicago Examiner,  October 15, 1908
The Curse of the Billy Goat was still 37 years in the future, thanks to Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, and more to the point, of a smelly goat that he brought to game four of the 1945 World Series. Kicked out of Wrigley Field because of the goat, Sianis reportedly uttered the fateful curse, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs went on to lose the Series to, as fate would have it, the Detroit Tigers.
"One of Those Old Fashioned Chewing Matches" by Carey Orr for Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1945
108 years after their last World Championship, can the Cubs pull it out this time? The final word today goes to Susan Sarandon's character in Bull Durham because, as Cubs fans know full well, you gotta believe.
"I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball... It's a long season and you gotta trust. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball." Annie Savoy, in Bull Durham

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Q Toon: Bad Chemistry

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🎃Oct 27, 2016
After two consecutive Trump cartoons, I'm taking a week off from rigging the election for Hillary Clinton to post a toon for Hallowe'en.

This was not the year for some sort of false equivalency cartoon of kids wearing Donald and Hillary masks frightening the bejeezes out of the citizenry. A cartoon of Trump as a jack-o-lantern is so obvious you could see it coming last July. A cartoon of Hillary Clinton trick-or-treating with a Wikileaky bag might have been tempting, if there were the slightest possibility of attaching relevance to my LGBT readership to it. There isn't, so some other desperate cartoonist is welcome to that idea.

There is one subtle tie between this week's cartoon and the 2016 campaign which some page designers may have caught. The caption is in a font, BF Tiny Hand, which creator Mark Davis based on Donald Trump's handwriting.

Monday, October 24, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


If you have things that go bump in the night, perhaps your poltergeist just needs glasses.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Campaign 1916

As we draw tantalizingly closer to the end of the 2016 campaign, Stumpback Saturday takes a look over its shoulder at editorial cartoons of the issues of the final weeks of the presidential election of 1916.
"Troubles of a Good Natured Man" by Luther Bradley in Chicago Daily News, 1916
Luther Bradley's Woodrow Wilson seems nonplussed by pups bearing his own foreign policy slogans of Watchful Waiting and Too Proud to Fight, here joined by his decision to stay out of arbitrating the railroad workers strike.

The Wilson campaign slogan that lived on in popular memory was "He kept us out of war," which inspired Republican John Darling to draw the following cartoon. Uncle Sam smarts under a barrage of bricks and planks representing national humiliation, the Lusitania, Mexican insolence, British naval blockade and opening of U.S. mails, 1914 hard times, Democratic extravagance, and "After the War?"
"He Kept Us Out of War" by John "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, 1916
I like a couple of John McCutcheon cartoons from late October. In the first, he flips "He kept us out of war" on its head; and indeed, as the Zimmerman telegram would show, the German foreign office would have been perfectly happy to keep us out of their war, too.
"He's Curious to Know" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1916
In the second, McCutcheon grudgingly acknowledges Wilson's claim to prosperity and peace (signed "World War" and "Watchful Waiting" in reference to the president's initials), but begs to attribute problems of national prestige, Mexico, pork, patriotism and paper preparedness to him as well.
"The Ones He Exhibits" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1916
At the Duluth Evening Herald, where they were confidently predicting a landslide victory for Wilson, C.F. Naughton, repeating a frequent image in Democratic cartoons, sees Hughes haunted by Wilson's question "What would you have done?" regarding American response to the war in Europe.
"The Republican Tam O'Shanter" by C.F. Naughton for Duluth Evening Herald, October 23, 1916
The Republicans at the New York Evening Sun weren't fazed by that question at all.

"He Never Had to Ask That" by Robert Carter in New York Evening Sun, 1916
Up the street at the New York World, Rollin Kirby depicts, for the umpteenth time, Hughes as a patsy for the German Kaiser. Hughes had given up a seat on the Supreme Court to accept the Republican nomination, so Kirby draws his replacement robe as a patchwork quilt of former presidents Taft and Roosevelt, the Republican old guard, Wall Street, jingoism, pacifism, women's suffrage, and hyphenated Americans (especially German-Americans).
"In Place of the Ermine" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, 1916
In fact, Hughes proclaimed himself neutral regarding whether to support Europe's Allied or Central Powers. For that matter, Wilson actively pursued the German vote; German-speaking surrogates promoted the incumbent president to German-American audiences. In the end, German-Americans did not vote as a bloc, and were not a significant factor in the election's outcome.
"The Missing Link" by Wm. C. Morris for Harpers Weekly Independent, November 6, 1916
Sid Greene's summary of the campaign probably resonates as strongly today as it did a century ago.
"You Poor Fish" by Sidney J. Greene for New York Telegram, October 28, 1916
The label on the fish reads, "Catostomus commersonmii  in plain English, this means sucker."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Q Toon: Gays for Trump

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Oct 20, 2016
I watched most of last night's presidential debate. I was driving with it on the car radio as it began, then called it up on an iPad once I got home (my husband had the Cubs-Dodgers game on TV). I tried reading the npr.org transcript to catch up on what I missed between car and what they were live streaming, but deciphering the Verb8im Inc. account was rather challenging. Editors have fixed it now, but I kid you not: last night, it had Donald Trump praising the late Justice Coolio.

Anyway, an hour into the debate, my iPad got so upset that it severed its internet connection and refused to go on. So I missed the last half hour of the program; please excuse me if I make some statements below that would be proven false by the final thirty minutes of the debate.

There hasn't been much attention paid to LGBT issues this election cycle (Republican primary roadkill such as Mike Huckabee notwithstanding).

Hillary Clinton mentioned her support for LGBT issues such as marriage equality very early in the debate last night, but discussion for the evening quickly snagged onto her emails, Trump's boorish behavior, whether she lied, and whether he'd accept defeat. Chris Wallace had questions about other things, but nobody is going to remember what they were.

Which is a shame, since there have been so many important issues that have been entirely ignored by the candidates and most of the media. The Veterans Affairs system is a complete mess, even as the nation's endless wars are still producing more and more demand for its services. Or, given how heavily our banking, infrastructure and election systems rely on the internet, what would the candidates do toward shoring up the nation's cyber-security? And how do you solve a problem like Korea?

No, the media are all talking about how Donald Trump wouldn't promise to accept the results of the election. If the question had been whether he thinks it's responsible to keep telling his rabid followers that nefarious forces ("You know what I'm talking about!") are plotting to steal the election from them, that would be one thing. But as phrased, it was just another version of the question every candidate who is behind in the polls gets: "Are you ready to concede the election today?"

Well, at least Trump had his sniffing and snorting under control last night. For the first sixty minutes at any rate.

Monday, October 17, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


There comes a day when you wake up, look in the mirror, and realize that your days as a svelte, satin-skinned twink are over.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hearst v. Great Britain

The Brits would not have been pleased with this August 3, 1916 front page of the Chicago Examiner. 
Hearst newspapers openly supported the Irish cause.
This week in 1916, friction between the British government and William Randolph Hearst's media empire came to a head. The publisher of a chain of newspapers including the New York Journal-American, Chicago Examiner and San Francisco Examiner, Hearst opposed U.S. entry into World War I; his International News Service was repeatedly censored by the British government over its coverage of allied reverses and criticism of British policy at sea.
"Freedom of the Seas" by Harry Murphy for Chicago Examiner, September 18, 1916
Not that Hearst was a pacifist by any means: he had famously used his newspapers to prod the U.S. into the Spanish-American War, and he was presently promoting American military activity in Mexico. His was more of an "America First" policy against entanglement in European alliances.

Hearst praised isolationist Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan for trying to keep the U.S. out of Europe's war after the sinking of the British RMS Lusitania. While Hearst papers did express outrage over the torpedoing of the Lusitania, they argued that it wasn't worth our going to war over it (unlike, say, the Maine).
"A Corking Affair" by Harry Murphy for Chicago Examiner, October 6, 1916
Hearst denounced the Allies' naval blockade of the Central Powers as an unfair restriction of U.S. trade. He editorialized that the British were opening some U.S. mails in order to uncover trade secrets in our dealings with China and Japan. He supported opening American ports to shipping from any country, including German U-boats. Rumors even circulated that Hearst was a spokesman for the Kaiser — when the British government banned Hearst's International News Service from sending dispatches from England, Hearst had reporter (and alleged German propagandist) William Bayard Hale arrange for INS dispatches to be transmitted by wireless to Long Island from Nauheim, Germany.

This Chicago Examiner cartoon by Harry Murphy mocks the British for being thwarted at sea by the German U-boats; Uncle Sam looks on, safely bemused, from behind his three-mile sovereignty limit.
"The Goat-Getters" by Harry Murphy for Chicago Examiner, October 10, 1916
Complaining that Hearst was peddling fictitious war reportage — often from equally fictitious war correspondents — the British government banned his International News Service from sending news dispatches from England. Hearst responded with this full-page, flag-festooned editorial, "A Reply to the Malignant and Lying Accusations of the British Government That We Distort and Garble War News," in the Chicago Examiner on October 11:

From the editorial:
"The action of the British government in ordering the British censorship to refuse the International News Service the use of both mail and cable facilities for the dispatch of news to America was excused in the fashion characteristic of the British government. ...
"The unforgivable sin of the International News Service was that it would not willingly suppress true news, distort true news, AND DISSEMINATE FALSE AND LYING NEWS to suit the British censorship and the British government.
"The unforgivable crime of the great newspapers owned and conducted by William Randolph Hearst — at whom this petty exhibition of official spite was aimed — is that they are American newspapers, honest newspapers which tell the truth without fear and without the least concern as to whether the truth is agreeable or not to the British government or to any other government on Earth."
There follows paragraph after paragraph of examples of how the British government and press had previously castigated the French, Belgians, Russians and others whom they now heralded as heroic brothers in arms in the fight against Germanic tyranny.
"WELL THERE YOU HAVE THE BEST example of British press agitating — and Judas and Ananias rolled in one could not equal it."
"Busy on All Fronts" by Harry Murphy for Chicago Examiner, October 13, 1916
A postscript here: I had wanted to use cartoons and coverage from Hearst's New York Journal-American in this post. I would assume that Hearst's hand was heavier on the editorial till in the Big Apple than in the Windy City. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find Journal-American source material from this period on line.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Q Toon: Hubba Hubba

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Oct 13, 2016

"Padre" in this cartoon is Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who three years ago was telling us that "we need to dispel the myth... that a person's private morality has no effect on his ability to run for office or to serve in office. Look, character is what counts, and a person's judgment in his private life spills over into his other life."

Yet Jeffress was one of the first professional evangelicals to endorse a thrice-married casino mogul who stiffs his workers and contractors; and now that we know Trump thinks sexual assault is an acceptable way to say hello, Jeffress is standing by his man. "Look, I might not choose this man to be a Sunday school teacher in my church, but that's not what this election is about."

Other professional evangelicals such as Ralph Reed and Gary Bauer continue to defend Jabba the Trump in a triumph of partisanship over principles. If you missed last night's The Daily Show segment on this, it's well worth a watch.

Pat Robertson gave this weird explanation on his 700 Club: "“A guy does something 11 years ago, it was a conversation in Hollywood where he’s trying to look like he’s macho. And 11 years after that they surface it from The Washington Post or whatever, bring it out within 30 days or so of the election and this is supposed to be the death blow and everybody writes him off, ‘Okay, he’s dead, now you’ve got to get out of the way and let Mike Pence run the campaign.' The Donald says no, He’s like the Phoenix. They think he’s dead, he’s come back. And he came back strong. So, he won that debate.”

“Coach” Dave Daubenmire, a failed candidate for the Ohio legislature and founder of Pass the Salt Ministries, argues that he can support a candidate who grabs vaginas as long as they are not her own: “I think it’s pretty clear that the Bible teaches us that women should not be in authority over a man. ... Rather than worrying so much about the immorality of a sinful man, what about the biblical principle that when a woman rules over a man … it’s a sign of judgment of the Lord?”

Billy Graham's Christianity Today this week editorialized, however, that while it is committed to being officially neutral in the presidential race, and cannot support Hillary Clinton, it urges Christians to stay as far away from Trump as possible.
"What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one. ...
"Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us."

Monday, October 10, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


This is one of those week's when I think my rough pencil sketch has advantages over my polished ink finished drawing.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fifth Grader Sings the Blues

In a departure from our usual habit of dredging up cartoons from 25, 35, 75 or 100 years ago, this week's Swingback Saturday hearkens all the way back to last week's Q Syndicate release.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Sep 29, 2016

I was on vacation in Italy over the last two weeks, with an old iPad that doesn't block, copy and paste particularly reliably, and I didn't have the patience to type in the lengthy computer code for the AAEC thumbnail link.

As with this week's cartoon, this was a cartoon drawn before packing my suitcase, with fingers crossed that events wouldn't render either toon inappropriate in some way. Much as I would have loved to hold forth on the Clinton-Trump or Kaine-Pence so-called debates, my crystal ball was too cloudy to give me any ideas I could draw in confidence that Trump wouldn't turn out to be an eloquent statesman, or Kaine wouldn't come down with laryngitis.

In case someone out there has been jonesin' for another dose of 1916, here's a cartoon from about the time of that year's Republican convention that I didn't figure out how to include last July:
"Candidate Hughes Will Make His Campaign As Rooseveltian As Possible" by Wm. C. Morris for Harpers Weekly Independent, July 31, 1916

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Q Toon: The Talk

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Oct 6, 2016

I like to take note of National Coming Out Day when I can, because it's still not an easy thing for many LGBT people coming to grips with their identity to do — even though conditions have improved greatly over the last few years (under a Democratic President, oddly enough for those of you still having difficulty deciding how to vote next month).

It has become easier for friends and family of LGBT persons to deal with, also, but that's not to say that it's a breeze for everyone. Coming out is an act of will for friends and family also: to include the significant others in family and in conversation in the same way as those significant others of opposite-sex relationships; or to speak of one's transgender relative without exhibiting feats of jaw-dropping gymnastic pronoun skills.

Monday, October 3, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek


Se avete visto questa signora prima, significa che i miei editori hanno rilasciato i miei cartoni animati di vacanza nell'ordine sbagliato.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Thomas Hearings

Scandalback Saturday hearkens once more to the thrilling days of 1991, when I was still striving toward my goal of being the world's oldest college cartoonist.

In September of 1991, the Senate held confirmation hearings on President George H.W. Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court of Clarence Thomas to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall. (That was three whole months after Thomas's nomination, believe it or not!) Where Civil Rights icon Marshall was a consistent liberal on the court, Thomas had a staunch conservative record during his career in United States Department of Education, later at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and then during his 16 months as a federal judge.

Civil rights groups opposed him on the basis of his record against affirmative action; women's rights groups suspected that he was against abortion rights. At the hearings, he stubbornly refused to discuss his views on the latter subject.

The congressmen in that cartoon are Democrat Senators Howell Heflin of Alabama, Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Paul Simon of Illinois, and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin. Most cartoonists at the time drew Ted Kennedy and/or Joe Biden to represent the committee, but I wanted to include my home state Senator whose place was at the end of the table.

When Anita Hill, who had worked with Thomas in the Education Department and the EEOC, came forward to accuse Thomas of sexual harassment, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee summoned her to one of the most bizarre hearings ever held in Congress. On live TV and radio, the nation heard such lurid details as: "Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office, he got up from the table at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, 'Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?'" The hearings were a national obsession.

Thomas scolded the Committee, calling of the hearings "a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree."

Anita Hill's treatment by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee was no better, caricaturing her as a vengeful, delusional spurned hussy who concocted her story ten years after the alleged event.
The Republicans in that cartoon are of Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, of Alan Simpson of Wyoming, and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The Senate narrowly voted, 52 to 48, to confirm Thomas's nomination on October 15.  11 Democrats crossed party lines to confirm, while two Republicans crossed over to vote nay.

Meanwhile, Thomas's chief sponsor in the Senate, Missouri Republican John Danforth, was also a prominent supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Citing opposition to racial quotas in the workplace, Bush had vetoed a stronger Civil Rights bill the year before  no other president has ever vetoed a Civil Rights bill successfully.
The watered-down 1991 version passed the House 381 to 38 and the Senate 93 to 5, more than enough to override a presidential veto if Bush had chosen to try it again.