Saturday, July 2, 2022

Independence Day 1922

"The Old Man Who Never Grows Old" by Grover Page in Louisville Courier-Journal, July 4, 1922

It's a holiday weekend here at Bergetoons Central, and we're in the mood to take a break from the Trump Putsch, supply chain issues, monkey pox, and SCOTUS returning us to the days when men were men, women were chattel, and the environment was at the mercy of everyone who had a bunch of shit they wanted to send up a smokestack or dump in the lake.

"His 146th Birthday" by Charles Kuhn in Indianapolis News, July 4, 1922

The United States turned 146 years old on July 4, 1922, although one might quibble that Uncle Sam was actually a few years younger than that. But let's not: he was already an adult when he first appeared shortly after the War of 1812. Whether he turned 36 that year would be difficult to determine, given the ageless quality attributed to him by Grover Page and Charles Kuhn. 

"A Privilege and an Honor" by Gustavo Bronstrup in San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 1922

100 years ago, most cartoonists were content to put aside for a moment whatever contentious issues they were dealing with. Gustavo Bronstrup, an American-born cartoonist, chose to celebrate naturalized citizens arriving here from other countries — even as the drive to end our open-door immigration policy was gaining steam.

"The Spirit of the Day" by O.C. Chopin in San Francisco Examiner, July 4, 1922

Independence Day wasn't about to drive all unity and harmony from existence, however. As evidence, contrast O.C. Chopin's Independence Day cartoon with his opus on July 5:

"Another Declaration of Independence" by O.C. Chopin in San Francisco Examiner, July 5, 1922

John McCutcheon also thought it was time for a new Declaration of Independence:

"A Second Declaration of Independence Needed" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1922

Northern California is still a part of California, and the Harding Administration had just scored a victory in limiting the growth of naval armaments, so those Declarations of Independence are still pending. (Well, we've kind of left those 1922 arms limitations in the dustbin of history...)

"Oh For the Spirit of '76" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, July 4, 1922

Clifford Berryman brings up an issue more in the forefront of public concern, but in a hopeful way. Organized Labor was fighting back against the postwar  anti-labor practices of Big Business and the Harding administration. The national strike by United Mine Workers of America, begun in March, had turned deadly in June.

"They Seem to Have Forgotten About Us" by Edward Gale in Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1922

W. J. Lester, owner of the Southern Illinois Coal Company in Herrin, Illinois, had originally agreed with the UMWA to observe the strike; but when the price of coal went up, he hired non-union workers to produce and ship out coal.

Enraged that the owner had disregarded their agreement, on June 21, union miners shot at strikebreakers going to work, where the mine had armed guards. When striking union members armed themselves and laid siege to the mine, the owner's guards shot and killed three union miners in an exchange of gunfire. The next day, union miners killed superintendent McDowell and 18 of 50 strikebreakers and mine guards, many of them brutally. A twentieth victim from the non-union group was later murdered, bringing the death total to 23. Ultimately, three miners and 20 non-miners were killed, including the superintendent and 19 strikebreakers.

"We Had Been So in Hopes" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, July 4, 1922

Meanwhile, railroad workers renewed their threat to go on strike as well over wage cuts mandated by the Harding administration. Union members had voted not to go on strike the previous October after the Railroad Labor Board had agreed to delay halving railroad workers' pay. But by summer, it was becoming clear that the Interstate Commerce Commission intended to go forward with those cuts sooner or later.

"Dampened" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, July 3, 1922

For the time being, however, the Railroad Labor Board managed to kick the strike farther down the line.

"North Dakota Celebrates" by John Cassel in New York Evening World, July 3, 1922

Changing topics but continuing the firecracker motif, John Cassel celebrates the primary election victory of "Non-partisan League" senatorial candidate Lynn Frazier over incumbent Porter McCumber for the GOP nomination. A former governor, Frazier had been recalled from office in October, 1921 after a campaign against him by banking and industrial agricultural interests. 

Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 are the only two U.S. governors ever to be successfully recalled. Frazier, however, won election to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1941.

"Back to the Unsafe and Insane Fourth" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 4, 1922
Nelson Harding throws everything but the Dyer anti-lynching bill (see yesterday's post) into his cartoon of stuff scaring Uncle Sam witless. I guess his Uncle Sam grew old after all.

"Still Burning" by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, July 4, 1922

If we're going to give an Independence Day award for cantankerousness and curmudgeonry, the prize goes to Fred Morgan of the Philadelphia Inquirer for taking a perfectly innocuous holiday drawing and ruining it with a Get Off My Lawn You Damn Kids caption. 

"Life's Little Tragedies" by Alfred G. "Zere" Ablitzere in New York Post, July 3, 1922

So let us end instead with a couple light-hearted Independence Day cartoons from the funny pages.

"Freckles and His Friends" by Merrill Blosser for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., July 4, 1922

Wishing you a happy, safe, sane, and curmudgeon-free Fourth, I remain,

—Your Friendly Gayborhood Cartoonist.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Speaking of Lynching

I was going to save this cartoon, published 100 years ago today, for Saturday's Graphical History Tour; but it doesn't quite fit tomorrow's theme. But it affords a nice segue from Clarence Thomas's "high-tech lynching" complaint in yesterday's cartoon to tomorrow's thrilling episode.

"Voice of the Negro" by Russell in New York Age, July 1, 1922

Rep. Leonidas C. Dyer was a Progressive Republican Congressman from St. Louis, Missouri. He first proposed his bill to make lynching a federal crime in 1918 in response to the race rioting in East St. Louis the previous year. Casualty estimates because of the attacks by White mobs vary wildly from 39 to 150 Black Americans; some 6,000 more were left homeless. Local police were reportedly ordered not to fire on the White rioters, allowing the violence to run unchecked for over a month.

Recognizing the fecklessness of local authorities, Dyer's bill called for the federal government “to protect citizens of the United States against lynching in default of protection by the States.” But it failed to pass the Democratic-led House. Dyer reintroduced his bill in 1920 after the "Red Summer" of 1919, and again it failed.

Republicans took the House, Senate and Presidency in the elections of 1920, and Dyer's third try passed the House of Representatives on January 26, 1922, encouraging Black Americans' hopes. Southern Democrats, joined by Idaho Republican William Borah, successfully filibustered against the Dyer bill however, arguing that lynchings were an issue that should be left for states to deal with. They even excused lynching by claiming that the practice was a reasonable strategy to protect White women from supposed amorous advances by Colored Folk.

They were, in the words I put in Ginni Thomas's mouth yesterday, "okay with it."

Dyer would never see his bill become law. He was defeated for reelection in the Democratic sweep of 1932, and died in 1957. All the while, Southern Democrats repeatedly filibustered anti-lynching bills.

Republicans found a way "to win the lily white South," but not in a way Congressman Dyer or cartoonist Russell would have appreciated. Over the rest of the 20th Century, as the rest of the Democratic Party became increasingly committed to civil rights for Black Americans, the progeny of those Southern Democrats left the party: first as Dixiecrats, and eventually taking over the Republican Party.

Only after overcoming a threatened filibuster by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul would any federal anti-lynching legislation become law. President Joe Biden finally signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act on March 29, 2022.

Nearly a century after this cartoon was drawn.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Q Toon: Clarence Concurs


You may have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court completely overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood last week, thereby turning nearly half a century of women's rights of bodily autonomy over to the politicians in their state capitols.

The majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito promised pinky swear on a stack of Bibles that the Court's decision had no impact on other rulings resting on a constitutional right of privacy earlier Courts had found in the 14th Amendment. 

Justice Clarence Thomas, however, wrote a separate concurring opinion declaring that all bets are off.

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote on Page 119 of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, also referring to the rulings that legalized [access to contraception,] same-sex relationships and marriage equality, respectively. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

Thomas added, “After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

As has been pointed out many, many times this week, Loving v. Virginia was conspicuously absent from Justice Thomas's list of demonstrable errors in need of correction. As cavalier as Thomas is in advocating wholesale annulment of same-sex marriages like mine, he is suspiciously circumspect in regard to resurrecting the anti-miscegenation laws that would break up his own. Anti-miscegenation laws that remained on the books in a majority of states well after ratification of the 14th Amendment — for nearly a century in the case of Thomas's home state, Loving's appellee.

Point made, counselor. Move on.

So, what further constitutional provision errors might Thomas have in mind to correct?

Perhaps cases such as Cruzan v. Director Missouri Dept. of Health (1990), which limits the state's right to force you to undergo a medical procedure against your will. Republicans have been all too eager to pass laws forbidding certain medical procedures (e.g., abortion, gender therapy); we'll see how long it takes for them to pass laws requiring certain medical procedures.

Given that they purport that America's gun violence problem is solely a matter of mental illness, my prediction is: sooner than you think.

Thomas, currently the Court's longest-serving Justice, has been itching from Day One to roll back Americans' rights to 1868 in areas ranging from affirmative action to gun regulation to union rights. And very high on his little list is marriage equality.

Back in 2020, Thomas wrote a dissent in the Court's decision not to hear a case brought by Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"[T]his petition provides a stark reminder of the consequences of Obergefell. By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix," Thomas wrote. "Until then, Obergefell will continue to have 'ruinous consequences for religious liberty.'"

Joining in and concurring with Justice Thomas? Samuel Anthony Alito.

Monday, June 27, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

If you've been following my cartoons, you probably knew where I was headed with this week's cartoon already.

So here are a couple of leftover thoughts from this past weekend.

When the Supreme Court decision was announced on Friday, I was some 8½ miles away from my drawing board; but I changed my Facebook cover photo to the cartoon I drew back in May when the draft of Justice Alito's decision was leaked.

Friends and strangers quickly shared the cartoon — it will be a while before I find our how extensively — while all the other editorial cartoonists were still at their drawing boards coming up with new responses. And friend of the blog Mike Peterson included it in the next morning's Comic Strip of the Day column at Daily Cartoonist.

All appreciated, and many thanks for the support.

And this janitorial note:

I included a cartoon in Saturday's post that had appeared in the Quayle Quarterly. I haven't been able to find out which issue it was in; I know where I used to have the actual magazine in my old apartment, but in 17 years, it is one of many things that has never found a proper home in our current house.

I'll probably find it someday when looking for something else, assuming it wasn't in the box of stuff that got soaked when our basement flooded 16 years ago.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Too Jejune for Junes

Last Saturday, I asked what was so rare as a J.N. "Ding" Darling cartoon in June. The answer, for now, would be mine. 40 years ago, my June cartoons were rare indeed, whereas "Ding" drew nearly three dozen of them 100 Junes ago.

"South Atlantic," June, 1982

Starting out as a cartoonist for college newspapers, I didn't have anyone to publish anything I drew in June at first. But if I had an idea I really liked, I'd draw it anyway. Clearly, I had expended a considerable amount of thought coming up with this parody of "South Pacific" about the Falkland War between Great Britain and Argentina in May and June of 1982.

"Contingencywise," June, 1982

Drawing cartoons like this one about the resignation of Reagan's first Secretary of State, Al Haig, was useful in terms of keeping in practice and honing the craft. And in this particular case, beefing up the portfolio of work I would send out to newspapers who might be looking to hire a cartoonist.

"Isn't It a Shame..." in Quayle Quarterly, Winter, 1992?

Skipping ahead one decade, here's a cartoon I drew in June of 1992 that wasn't published for months later. It happens to be the only cartoon I drew in June of 1992 in spite of freelancing for the Racine Journal Times. Perhaps there were no local issues of interest that month.

Instead, I offered this to a national magazine, The Quayle Quarterly, devoted to the wet-behind-the-ears Vice President of the United States, J. Danforth Quayle. Quayle had spoken out strongly against Candice Bergen's TV sitcom "Murphy Brown" for a plot arc about the title newscaster choosing to become a single mother.

Given the Republican Party's committed opposition to abortion, those of you too young to remember 1992 might have expected Mr. Quayle to have applauded Ms. Brown's decision to carry a pregnancy to term. But those of us with a few more birthdays under the bridge remember that the abortion issue to the religious right was never about when a fertilized egg becomes a human. 

It was always about sex. Sex outside of marriage = always bad. Shame, shame, shame on you, Murphy Brown. And your little bastard, too.

With no other cartoons from June, 1992 to show here, let's now leap ahead another decade.

"Mixed Marriage," for Q Syndicate, June, 2002

To balance the drawing vs. publication discrepancy of my Dan Quayle cartoon, this next cartoon was actually drawn in December (hence the 2001 copyright tag) for release in June.

As helpful as it may be to have some ready-drawn cartoons on hand for those occasions when I wouldn't be sending a fresh new one for syndication, it is nearly impossible to predict what topics and issues will be a propos in the future. Routine events such as Pride Month, Thanksgiving, and Christmas only go so far, and might not coincide with a vacation, health crisis, or everyday writer's block.

Continuing the topic of trying to stay in the closet:

"Out to the Ballgame," June, 2002

Now, I don't remember whether there was some ballpark that observed Pride Month with a Cross-Dressers Get In Free Day in 2002. But this cartoon does remind me of the time a guy pretended to be Front Row Amy at a Milwaukee Brewers game some years back. 

Front Row Amy is a Milwaukee institution of sorts. For years, this young lady has had season tickets in a front row seat behind home plate. She always pays rapt attention to the game, keeps score, and applauds every pitch that goes the Brewers' way. You never, ever see her having refreshments of any kind.

She favors — exclusively — very low-cut tops that highlight her impressive cleavage. In tight TV shots of left-handed batters, you can't miss that cleavage in the background. These days, she always wears a facemask, but Brewers fans would recognize her anywhere.

She doesn't attend each and every home game; her seat may be empty, but there's usually somebody else more than happy to fill such a prime spot. And for one game, it was some dude who showed up in a long-haired black wig and a top that was as low-cut as any of hers.

Until a later inning when he switched to a Batman costume.

Finally, I could have drawn this Pride Month cartoon six months early, but I didn't.

President Obama had rescinded the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy back in December, 2010; and yes, military recruiters did start showing up at Pride events to enlist new recruits. 

The homophobic Right has since dropped the word "recruiting" in favor of the apparently more ominous sounding "grooming," so this cartoon doesn't work as well as it did ten years ago. I mean, this guy could be telling Darlene that he spied a hair stylist's booth or a dog show, but do you even find that sort of thing at Pride events? 

So, no, it doesn't make sense as an editorial cartoon with groomers instead of recruiters. But fear not: there are still opportunities for parody.

Some enchanted evening
You may see a groomer
With a sense of humor
across a crowded room.
You'd better decide
to hang up the phone
And leave any briders or groomers alone!  

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Q Toon: Driven to Distruction


So I've finally gotten a cartoon drawn about the arrest almost two weeks ago of the 31 white heterosexuosupremacists in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. With them in their van were plans to attack the LGBTQ+ Pride event underway there that weekend.

Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a community organizing group that advocates for inclusivity and democratic principles, said [the planned attack was] a far cry from an isolated incident.

“People should be paying attention to these arrests far beyond Coeur d’Alene,” Ward said via email. “Idaho is a bellwether state for where the rest of the country may be headed in terms of how anti-democracy groups try to build power and how effectively they’re blunted.” He noted that in 2020, Idaho was among the first states to “turn anti-transgender attacks into law” by banning trans women and girls from school sports and that the local Republican Party has supported candidates for the library board who ran on pulling LGBTQ books from shelves.

Republican politicians have been whipping up these amateur fascists with a constant drumbeat of anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant, racist, pro-violence rhetoric and legislation. Their ranting seems especially heated this year, but it has been going on for decades now, amplified by their cheerleaders and coaches at Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, and social media echo chambers.

Perhaps I should have identified the politicians in the lower panel of this cartoon. I've drawn about some of them before; Idaho Governor Brad Little is a newcomer here, however. 

The Idaho House passed legislation in March that would criminalize gender-affirming medical treatment for minors, tacking it onto existing laws banning female genital mutilation. The state Senate refused to take up the bill, thus saving Gov. Little from having to sign or veto it.

As for the rest of the motley crew in my cartoon, we've already discussed Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order classifying transgender therapy as child abuse, the "Don't Say Gay" law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Congresstroll Lauren Boebert's malice against colleagues' transgender children, Ohio's pending bill, and Reprehensible Marjorie Taylor-Greene's anti-LGBTQ+ rantings and ravings. I just haven't gotten around to those same policies in Alabama, Arizona, and a host of other GQP-run states. 

That, along with their racist appeals to get "Critical Race Theory" — an academic topic on the level of multivariate calculus and quantum physics — out of public elementary schools is exactly what drives neoNazis like these "Patriot Front" lunatics to think they must save the White Cis Male Race from replacement by colored transgender wimminfolk.

Heck, I certainly understand the appeal of the LGBTQ+ experience.

Is it that attractive to everyone? Probably not.

But you can't tell that to the idiots in the U-Haul. They're listening to someone else.

[J]ust as police must contend with the growth of extremist groups, the public must pay attention to the elected officials and personalities in the mainstream who ignite the talking points that ultimately animate far-right groups.

When they see a mainstream politician pick up on something they agree with, they see that as validation,” [Kurt Braddock, a professor at American University] said of false claims some Republican lawmakers have made about trans people being “groomers” and “pedophiles.” “Just like the ‘great replacement theory,’ it trickles down to the far-right elements and they run with it.”

Monday, June 20, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

It is with considerable sadness and great pique that we report on the imminent passing of the website of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists after a long illness. has been experiencing difficulties for a while now; for my part, some of my cartoons weren't going "public" from "private" when they were supposed to lately. Other cartoonists had problems uploading their work at all.

The code developed by the original web design company in its effort to accommodate the various goals of the AAEC and its sundry members has proven to be impossible for our current company to fix, and the general consensus seems to be that it's time to put out of our misery.

It was nice for us having a place to store our work on line; but even though Facebook might continue to urge your friends to wish you a happy birthday for years after you're dead, nothing on the internet is quite as permanent as we were once led to believe. Except for that Ancient Aliens Crazy Hair Guy meme.

To anyone who has gone to the AAEC site to repost cartoons that I have split up into individual panels here, I can only apologize and refer you to any of the links on the right side of this page that go to publications that post my work on line. is survived by its Facebook page and Twitter feed. Memorials to the AAEC are appreciated.