Thursday, June 22, 2017

Q Toon: Irony in the Fire

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jun 22, 2017

As risky as it was to draw a cartoon on Sunday featuring Steve Scalise (R-LA), the Congressman and House Majority Whip who was shot in the hip while practicing for a GOP-vs.-Democrat baseball game, the point of this week's cartoon is to highlight the role of Capitol police officer Crystal Griner.
Griner, an out and married lesbian, may even have been the one who fatally shot the failed assassin, James T. Hodgkinson.
Law-enforcement officials didn’t say who fired the fatal shot, but witness Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, said it was Griner who took down the shooter, James Hodgkinson.
Flake later visited both officers in the local hospital where they were being treated, and said he “thanked them for saving my life.” ...
[Rep. Rodney] Davis (R-Ill.), who was at bat when the shooting began, said, "They're the ones that saved countless innocent lives and they're the heroes of today."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), who was also at the practice, pointed out that they fought against superior firepower, because the shooter had a rifle and they had only pistols.
"But for their heroism there's no question that there would have been much more carnage, no doubt about it, because no one else there was armed and this shooter was not only active but he was really unloading so many shots," said the congressman, still in his baseball clothes at Capitol Hill hours later.
Griner was, of course, one of three officers who defended the congressmen's lives, but her status is worth pointing out, given Mr. Scalise's record (and that of Republicans generally) against marriage equality for same-sex couples. According to, Scalise 

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted to amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted to protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • Voted that any State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)
  • Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
Now, as far as comparing himself to KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is concerned, this refers to a remark reported by Stephanie Grace, a Louisiana political reporter and columnist:
“He was explaining his politics and we were in this getting-to-know-each-other stage,” Ms. Grace said. “He told me he was like David Duke without the baggage."
Now, I'm not from Louisiana, but David Duke has popped up on the national scene repeatedly since being elected to the Louisiana statehouse in 1989. I'm left wondering what, if anything, there is about racist bigot David Duke that is not baggage. Benito Mussolini at least made the trains run on time; what good has Duke ever done?

I acknowledged at the top of this post that drawing a cartoon about a victim of violence that levels the even slightest degree of criticism his way is rather dicey. (Now that Mr. Scalise has been upgraded to "fair" condition, I'm going to say that perhaps makes him fair game.) But some have tried to blame this shooting on editorial cartoons that have been critical of Republicans.

The Facebook "likes" of the gunman, a Bernie Sanders volunteer left disgruntled by last year's election, included a number of nationally published editorial cartoons, notably one by Stuart Carlson in 2015 about Scalise's speech to a white supremacist group in 2002.

Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles was also shared on Facebook by Mr. Hodgkinson, and has responded to criticism that his cartoons critical of Republicans and the Trump administration are somehow to blame for Mr. Hodgkinson's shooting spree — a criticism coming from people who have suddenly developed amnesia about their own rhetoric over past eight years.
[A]s to the question of incitement of violence, let’s indeed look at that. I am opposed to violence in just about every instance. But there are those who specifically define gun ownership as a tool of violence intended for potential use against the government. I have written here before about the dangers of this line of thinking. And it is not an isolated phenomenon, as it has been championed by a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Those words have consequences. Some less mainstream presidential candidates like former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have echoed it, while 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) raised eyebrows when she floated “Second Amendment remedies” to protect against an out-of-control government.
Clay Jones adds to the list Donald Trump's suggestion to gun advocates that they take care of Hillary Clinton if she were to win the election: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.” And who can possibly count the number of right-wing AM radio and internet blowhards, NRA spokesmen and drunk uncles who have spewed the same incendiary Second Amendment Solution idiocy?

So now they're shocked, shocked! that someone outside their bubble was listening, too?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Clean-up in Aisle 17

I couldn't quite hit on a theme for Scattershot Saturday this week.

I considered several topics; today is the 45th anniversary of the discovery of the Committee to Reelect the President's break-in of Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, so I could have rustled up some cartoons of that event... but that stuff is a little recent for the scope of this blog.

Instead, here's a photo I took of the Watergate Hotel when I was on a school visit to Washington D.C. in 1974.

And another one with my finger in front of the lens.

Seeing as it's Fathers' Eve, I looked for some century-old cartoons about Fathers' Day, but came up dry. Overlooking Fathers' Day is apparently nothing new, and you'll probably find one or two tried and true jokes about how Dad gets short shrift compared to Mom in tomorrow's funny papers. Just don't expect to find any fancy restaurants open for Fathers' Day brunch.

So what I've decided to do is go back and expand on a couple of cartoons from last week. For example, the panel excerpted from Ray N. Handy's 1917 travelogue of his hometown, Duluth, came from this two-page spread.
from "Cities Beautiful 8: Duluth" by Ray N. Handy in Cartoons Magazine, July, 1917
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Since I only presented the top half of Frank O. King's The Rectangle last week, here's the bottom half.
From The Rectangle by Frank O. King, in Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1917
And, for good measure, his Rectangle from 100 years ago today:
from The Rectangle by Frank O. King, in Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1917
ibid, again
Coming back to that school trip to D.C., here's, a photo I took of a display about cartoons that was at the Smithsonian Institution during that trip. I have never been back to that part of the Smithsonian since then, so I don't know whether this is a permanent exhibit, and if so, whether they've updated it to include, say, Tom Toles or Ann Telnaes.

You'd think they'd want to include some animated gifs by now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Q Toon: Putin The Issue to Rest

Meanwhile, at another Russian investigation...

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jun 14, 2017

With all that has been going on in the U.S. of A. lately, it's easy to lose track of what's been going on elsewhere on the planet. This week's cartoon is a reminder that the Chechen government continues its pogrom of gay men. European heads of state have spoken out against the arrest, torture, and murders of gay men in the majority Islamic republic; a few who have escaped from Russia have been granted asylum in Lithuania and Germany. But,
[I]nternational condemnation of the atrocities has not translated into concrete assistance for Chechnya’s at risk and terrified gay men. So far, we only know of a handful of individuals who have been granted asylum in safe countries. According to the Russian LGBT Network, there are about 40 individuals currently in hiding in Russia, desperately trying to flee the country.
Staying in any part of Russia is unsafe. Former detainees remain within easy reach of the Chechen authorities and there is a high risk of honour killings – there are cases where LGBT people have been followed to other regions and attacked by their relatives.
Novaya Gazeta broke the original story in March, and as of late May, they report that while the arrests seem to have stopped, many of those arrested remain in custody, and 26 men have been killed.

In response to international pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in May to launch an investigation into the matter. Whether that investigation will have any effect on the Chechen government, whose dictatorial leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, continues to deny the very existence of gay men in his country,
“Chechen society does not have this phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation. For thousands of years the people have lived by other rules, prescribed by God,” [Kadyrov] told Russian journalists.
So far, the Russian investigation hasn't turned up much. At the site of the prison camp where the gay men were reported to be held, investigators allegedly found only a demolished building covered by debris.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Buy Bonds, Not Booze

Snootfulback Saturday returns to the thrilling days of yestercentury to resurrect cartoons about grain, alcohol, and Liberty Loans.

A few weeks ago, I included a John "Ding" Darling cartoon of not-as-yet-President Herbert Hoover reviewing his "troops," consisting of various foodstuffs. Ding was not the only cartoonist to admire Mr. Hoover; Bill Sykes at the Philadelphia Evening Ledger portrays him here as a watchcat returning to scatter the forces of Waste, Greed, Selfishness and Speculation threatening the nation's food supply.
"Watchful Waiting" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, June, 1917
The prospect of food shortages and profiteering was a concern that predated the U.S. entry into World War I, but concern over them was only amplified once war was declared. Taking advantage of these concerns was the Prohibitionist movement. The temperance and prohibitionist movement dated back decades, its political viability now gaining strength in part because of America's war footing, yet even more due to extension of voting rights to women.
"The Menace" by Joe Murphy in San Francisco Call,  June, 1917
Oscar Cesare illustrates the menace of booze to the U.S. food supply employing a parallel to one of the main issues for the country having entered the war.
"The Mine" by Oscar Cesare in New York Evening Post, June, 1917
I've never seen the issues of prohibition and Daylight Saving Time tied together before; doesn't having more daylight hours in the evening give a guy more time to spend in the tavern after the day's work is done? Or did Harry Murphy count on those early mornings deterring whisky-soaked nights?
"More Daylight, Less Whisky" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, June 9, 1917
Passage of the 18th Amendment was still two years away in 1917, but "dry" municipalities were proliferating all over the country. Cartoonist Ray Handy of the Duluth News-Tribune touted his hometown's aridity in one panel of a two-page spread on Duluth's attractions in Cartoons Magazine.
Detail from "Cities Beautiful 8 - Duluth" by Ray N. Handy in Cartoons Magazine, July, 1917
Meanwhile, June 10-16 was designated as Liberty Loan week, so the nation's cartoonists dutifully turned their pens to the task of inspiring their fellow citizens to lend the government money to fund the war effort. For the most part, the cartoons illustrate my Cartooning Rule of Thumb that cartoons arguing in favor of anything are flat and uninteresting. (So I'm only going to show you seven of them.)

There are only so many ways to cartoon what a swell idea sending extra money to Uncle Sam is, after all. Frank King's "Rectangle" (of which this is only the top half) hit all the bases that Sunday.
"The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1917
The original Liberty Loan —there would be three more— was authorized by Congress to raise $2 billion toward the $7 billion war credit. Liberty Loans offered a fixed return rate of 3.5%, tax-free, promising greater security than a bank in those days before the FDIC — when no bank was too big to fail. Another $1.8 trillion, however, was to be raised by various war taxes, so getting Americans to lend Uncle Sam even more money was going to take some hard selling.
"We Can't All Play..." by Bill Sykes for Philadelphia Evening Ledger,  June, 1917
Bill Sykes was one of quite a few cartoonists who drew a different Liberty Loan sales pitch every day that week. Certainly, there were several well-drawn cartoons, but most were fairly ponderous. Here's an example of both tendencies.
"Bringing Up the Ammunition" by Robert Carter in Philadelphia Press, June, 1917
There were, of course, occasional attempts at humor.
"C-A-S-H!!" by Brinkerhoff in New York Evening Mail, June, 1917
But one cartoon after another simply harped on the need for citizens to do their public duty.
"Help Her Carry It" by Milton R. Halladay in Providence Journal, June, 1917
On the other hand, the Chicago Tribune's John McCutcheon offered a practical argument based on the Liberty Lender's self-interest (no pun intended); inches away, the front page editor attempted to use civic pride to goad his fellow Chicagoans to do their part.
"This Is Liberty Loan and Marine Corps Week" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1917
In the end, most Liberty Loans were made not by individuals but by banks and investment groups who recognized the investment opportunity. The blunt propaganda from American cartoonists, advertisers and celebrities notwithstanding, the average citizen was uncomfortable with the idea of entrusting his savings to the government — especially given the taxes that he had no choice but to pay.
"A Proud But Touching Parting" by John "Ding" Darling for New York Tribune,  June, 1917

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Q Toon: Go Away, Kid, You Bother Me

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🌈Jun 8, 2017
I shouldn't admit this, but the one thing that doesn't work in this cartoon is its very premise.

Not the part about Ivanka's tweets. That much was real.

But if there's one thing you and I know about Mr. Donald Joffrey Trump, it is that he is not really, really busy making policy decisions with his staff this month. He's watching TV today, phone in hand, ready to cast self-serving — check that, make that deranged — tweets about Jim Comey's Senate testimony.

He's also not dedicated to any philosophy, antigay or otherwise, other than continuing the con job that has so improbably propelled him from real estate swindler to Trump University scammer to children's charity fraudster to President of the United States. The men on the other side of the table in this cartoon may be dedicated to slashing the budget for HIV/AIDS, blessing discrimination against same-sex couples, and keeping transgender persons out of public lavatories, but Trump is interested only in keeping the suckers who have thus far fallen for his con job from turning against him.

On top of all that, doesn't Jared have something he's supposed to be doing, like bringing peace to the Middle East, running the Office of American Innovation, setting up super-secret back channels to the FSB, diverting the doomsday asteroid, or something?

Monday, June 5, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Tune in later this week for the Ghostly Trio plus another appearance by 67% of the Stooges.

On a totally unrelated subject, is there some other, non-racist term Bill Maher could have used on Friday to convey his disinclination to work on a farm field?

And how odd it is that "habitable" and "inhabitable" mean the same thing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cough And the World Coughs With You

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more, and they won’t be. They won’t be.” — Trump

Continuing his administration's War on the Environment, Donald Joffrey Trump made it official on Thursday: the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in order to keep Pittsburgh's citizens hard at work in the coal mines. Having singlehandedly saved the Clean Coal biz, Mr. Trump can now turn his attention to loosening the regulations that are stifling our very, very fabulous alchemy industry, and rescuing the jobs of all those seamstresses spinning straw into gold.

After an exhaustive examination of every tittle and jot of the Accord, Mr. Trump has discovered that it requires the United States to be the one and only country making the sacrifices necessary to keep this world inhabitable. And he will have none of that. If he has to, Trump will bring those melting glaciers to the negotiating table at Mar-A-Lago himself and hammer out an agreement to make global temperatures even better than they are today.

Plus tax cuts.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Gay Games People Play

Writing Thursday's Qtoon post, I thought I had already posted a Sportsback Saturday retrospective on the Gay Games on this here blog; but it turns out that I was thinking of a post on my long defunct GeoCities site. GeoCities, for those of you too young or attention deficient to remember, was a web hosting service bought out by Yahoo! in 1999. Ten years later, it and its 38 million user-built pages were demolished by the Vogons of the internet in order to make way for a hypertext bypass or something.

I gave a quick summary of the split between the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and the Gay & Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) Thursday, and I don't want to hash through all the details here, but some context is necessary in order to present the cartoons I drew about it back in the '00's.

The FGG initially awarded its 2006 Gay Games VII to the city of Montreal in the fall of 2001, accepting the Canadian city's bid over those of three U.S. cities. It was a story of interest only to LGBTQ athletes and media, there being other things dominating the national psyche at the moment.

FGG officials grew worried about Montreal organizers' optimistic predictions of doubling the participants from the 2002 games in Sydney, Australia. More worrisome, given that Gay Games IV, V and VI had all lost money, was Montreal's multi-million dollar budget. Two years after awarding the 2006 games to Montreal, the FGG rescinded their decision and awarded the games to Chicago instead.

In the summer of 2005, the Cook County Board overwhelmingly passed a measure welcoming Gay Games VII to town, after which Republicans on the board suddenly discovered that they didn't want to welcome a bunch of FGGot athletes to town after all and vehemently disassociated themselves from the resolution.

The original links to the Chicago Free Press, Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune reports seem to have disappeared, but Wikipedia still has the details:
Commissioners Gregg Goslin, Liz Gorman, Carl Hansen, Tony Peraica and Peter Silvestri, the only Republicans sitting on the Board of Commissioners, withdrew their names from the proclamation. "I'm a pro-family kind of person and conservative on social issues. That's nothing against the gay and lesbian community, but it's nothing I want to advance as a cause celebre," Peraica told the Chicago Sun-Times. In the same report, Gorman said that she doesn't support "special rights for any group."
Trying to explain his original vote in favor of the proclamation, Peraica fumbled, "I must have been out of the room."

Meanwhile, undeterred by the FGG moving their games to Chicago, Montreal continued with its plans to host what would now be World OutGames I that same summer. From my 2006 GeoCities post:
The Gay Games survived the sweltering heat in Chicago in July, to be followed by the Outgames in Montreal about a week later. 
Again, from my original post:
The Chicago Tribune has been covering the Gay Games, although I've missed any coverage in its sports section. On the other hand, the coverage has made the front page, in spite of eruption of hostilities in Israel and Lebanon, a rush hour train derailment, and the President saying "shit" on an open microphone. The Trib stories have dealt with such topics as corporate sponsorship of Chicago's games and the hurdles some third world contestants have overcome to attend at all. ...
The Chicago Sun Times did a nice job of providing coverage, at least on line, including a photo gallery (the same pictures are also in Yahoo!'s photo gallery). The games got their own full page (The Sun Times is a tabloid), with pictures, toward the back of the news section.
That the Montreal games were a financial disaster is indisputable. But Montreal journalist Richard Burnett has pointed out that if you added the 12,000 athletes who competed in Chicago to the 12,000 who competed in Montreal, you would get the 24,000 originally projected by Montreal organizers. There may have been a few athletes who participated in both events, but most had to choose one or the other. Burnett claimed that Martina Navratilova told him that in the continuing aftermath of 9/11, "Europeans opted to come to Montreal because it's easier to get a visa. America is like a prison with barbed wire. They don't want to let anybody in these days."

Ms. Navratilova's comment notwithstanding, the U.S. can hardly be accused of not accommodating Chicago's games. While airport security measures remained in effect, we weren't yet trying to ban Muslims from the country, and the federal government had issued a blanket waiver of a travel ban in effect since 1987, specifically to allow non-U.S. citizens with HIV/AIDS to travel the United States to participate in or to attend the event. (The ban was completely lifted in 2010, in time for Gay Games VIII.)


Well, just for the sake of ending on a positive note, the one other time I have drawn about either Gay Games or Out Games was in celebration of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, which attracted about 9,000 contestants, and netted a $150,000 profit when all was said and done.

Which is pretty impressive, especially when you consider how often the more famous Olympic games turn out to be a white elephant for their hosts.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

And They're Off!

With all that is going wrong in the world these days, what did I choose to draw about this week?

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jun 1, 2017

World OutGames abruptly canceled this week's games in Miami over the weekend, to the surprise and shock of athletes as they arrived in town for the competition.
Most of the sports events, along with opening and closing ceremonies, were canceled at the very last minute amid a flurry of financial woes and possible impropriety. By Friday night, Miami Beach Police and the State Attorney’s Office announced they were opening a fraud investigation “due to the potential misappropriation of funds.”
Only soccer, aquatics and country western dance events would go on. The City of Miami Beach, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Miami Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce scrambled to keep some of the planned events, but most athletes paid thousands of dollars for nothing.

Ah, well, I suppose there are worse places to be stuck with nothing to do than Miami Beach.

The World OutGames are not to be confused with the Gay Games, founded in 1982 and planning their tenth games in Paris next year. World OutGames split with the Gay Games over the 2006 Games, which were to have been held in Montreal, Ontario, Canada. Montreal's organizers and officials of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) were unable to agree on budgeting for the event, and the FGG ended up awarding that year's games to Chicago. Montreal went ahead with its plans anyway, and the World OutGames were born.

The Chicago Gay Games ended in the black, while the Montreal World OutGames ended up $5.3 million Canadian in debt. The next World OutGames in Copenhagen in 2009 managed a profit, donated to Danish LGBT charities, but the after the games in Antwerp in 2013, the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) failed to publish any financial or registration figures.

P.S.: Sorry if you were expecting a cartoon about a topic with which you were already familiar. If we're still debating the meaning of "covfefe" next week, I promise I'll draw a biting cartoon about it.