Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Headlines

For 40 years now, I've been marking the end of each year by taking a picture of newspaper front pages and magazine covers from the previous year. Originally they served as a sort of bookmark in my photo albums; nowadays, the only photos I print out for putting in albums are the best ones from vacations, but I've kept up the habit anyway.

The choice of reviewing a year this way tends to skew what stories are included. The Greek default crisis, for example, didn't make banner headlines in the newspapers in my corner of America. Silvio Berlusconi's resignation wasn't the top story of November 8 as far as midwestern editors were concerned, either. The independence of South Sudan was below the fold, if not on a back page.

Stock market plunges and rises in unemployment make headlines; economic recovery (or stagnation) rarely does. The end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Almost a non-event once it finally happened. Marriage equality in New York? I don't get any New York newspapers here. Well, I can find the New York Times, but their headlines are seldom legible in these photographs.

Disasters usually make headlines, unless they happen on a Saturday night after the Sunday paper has gone to print. Monday's headline may be something tangential, such as "President Promises Aid Package." Even if the disaster is fresh, my local newspaper figures everyone has already heard about it on cable news and Facebook, so its headline is either the number of dead (in spite of the fact that the number is bound to have changed between press time and finding the paper on your doorstep) or some pull quote like "It Was Terrible!"

Other stories unfold over the course of several months. As significant as were Wisconsin's protests against Governor Walker and his Republican putsch -- and similar protests in Ohio -- and the Occupy protests -- it seems unfair to give them the same weight as the protests in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. (To say nothing of the protests in Bahrain, Yemen, and those in Tunisia that sparked them all... and these headlines indeed say nothing about them.) Time's "Person of the Year" cover will have to suffice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Q Toon: John Lawrence

John Lawrence, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, died on November 20 at the age of 68. While his death was not kept secret, it only came to national attention after a lawyer in the case attempted to invite him to a commemoration of the ruling.

Tyron Garner, the other man arrested with Mr. Lawrence (and also a petitioner in the court case), died in 2006.

The arrest stemmed from a false complaint from a malicious neighbor of gunshots in Lawrence's apartment, because of which a Harris County, Texas, sheriff's deputy entered the unlocked apartment with gun drawn.

In a curious development, Dale Carpenter (who used to write for Q Syndicate in its early days) is coming out with a book in March which charges that Lawrence and Garner were not in fact engaged in any sex act when arrested for “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”; indeed, Lawrence had told Carpenter that the two had never had sexual intercourse before, during or since.

At any rate, the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that Texas' antisodomy law was an unconstitutional infringement of personal liberty, overturning an earlier case, Bowers v. Hardwick. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, departing from his insistence that only the U.S. Constitution should inform a case, trotted out a parade of horrors that the court's decision would void laws defending Civilization against same-sex marriage, bigamy, prostitution, bestiality, necrophilia, and masturbation. (And what hope does Civilization have if the State can't outlaw masturbation in the privacy of one's home?)

The court's ruling voided anti-sodomy statutes in thirteen states. If you live in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, Idaho or Michigan, you can thank John Geddes Lawrence for fighting for the right of you and your consenting adult partner to deviate from the missionary position without ending up on the National Registry of Sex Offenders, condemned to jail time followed by living under a freeway overpass.

Thanks to Dr. Thomas Schmeling for alerting me to this story!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All, and to All According to Their Needs

For the heck of it, here's a cartoon I drew for the old Minneapolis Gaze Magazine for Christmas 1993, the day after all the presents have been delivered.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Scott Walker's "Holiday Spirit"

This feel-good ad by "Friends of Scott Walker" has been in heavy airplay here in the Badger State as he seeks to thwart a probable recall election:

As Chris points out, if this governor were not a Republican, Fox News and AM radio would be giving him holy hell for declaring war on the word he and Mrs. Walker fail to utter.

Intrigue Surrounds Heiress' Death at 104

In the course of posting cartoons from The Minneapolis Tribune Cartoon Book for 1901: Being a Collection of Over One Hundred Cartoons by R.C. Bowman last year, I included a series of cartoons about Montana Senator, newspaper publisher and copper mining millionaire William Andrews Clark. Those cartoons caught the eye of reporter Bill Dedman, who has been covering the legal tangle over the financial affairs of Clark's sole heir, Huguette Clark, who died this past May at the age of 104 after living almost her entire adult life as a total recluse.

To explain the cartoon again: William Clark was elected to the U.S. Senate from Montana (with the strong support of the newspaper he owned) but forced to resign when evidence of bribery surfaced. Still determined to keep the office he had bought and paid for, he arranged for Montana's Lieutenant Governor to appoint him Senator on the same day Clark resigned -- the Governor being conveniently out of the state that day.

Whereas other robber barons (sorry, I mean Job Creators) of the day, such as Rockefeller and Carnegie, left civic and charitable institutions to bear their names, Senator Clark left his name only to Nevada's Clark County, keeping his money in the family after he died in 1925.

Since corresponding with Mr Dedman, I've been following the story of the Clark estate with some interest, and there are new developments today.

"Based on 'shocking' evidence of tax fraud, a judge on Friday suspended [Ms. Clark's] attorney and accountant ... from handling her $400 million estate.
"The judge said there was more than enough evidence that the two men engaged in a tax fraud that allowed the elderly woman to run up an IRS bill of $90 million in unpaid gift taxes, interest and potential penalties."
The judge in the case declined to rule on the question of allowing descendants from Senator Clark's first marriage to enter into the legal dispute, which involves two wills signed six weeks apart in 2005, when Huguette was 98. The first leaves most of her fortune to those descendants; they are cut out of the second will entirely, although the aforementioned attorney and accountant would make out handsomely from it.

Bill Dedman's series on the Clark case is on line on this page.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Q Toon: Pfc. Bradley Manning

The defense in the pre-court martial hearing of accused Wikileaker Pfc. Bradley Manning argues that the U.S. Military has no one but itself to blame for having foolishly entrusted its Top Secrets to a gay soldier with gender identity issues in the first place.

From msnbc:
"The defense stated Saturday that Manning, 24, had written to one of his supervisors when he was stationed in Iraq before his arrest and said he had concluded he was suffering from gender identity disorder, which is classified as a medical disorder in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. He included a photo of himself dressed as a woman in the letter and said the issue was affecting his ability to do his job or think clearly. A defense attorney and a witness also stated that Manning had created a Facebook profile and opened at least one email account using the name 'Breanna Manning,' which the attorney described as an 'alter-ego.'"

As for myself, I reserve judgment on whether Pfc. Manning's actions amount to high treason or not, but I wish his defense would concentrate on the government's habit of stamping "Top Secret" on everything from aircraft crash reports to last month's cafeteria menu at Foggy Bottom.

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

Somehow, I forgot to post a sneak peek last week. Not that anybody missed it, but I do try to post more often than once a week even if it's just to say "Next on Bergetoons...."

So anyway, here's this week's sneak peek, and just a few words to try to clarify something I wrote over the weekend -- or maybe just to walk it back a little. Plagiarism is a serious charge, and I still hope that the Steve Breen cartoon I mentioned is not in fact a case of it. I really like Breen's work, and think he's a very good cartoonist. It is entirely possible that both he and Jeff MacNelly were inspired independently by Winslow Homer's painting. I have no way to know one way or the other.

You would think, moreover, that if he had any recollection of having decided to redraw a cartoon he'd seen somewhere else, Mr. Breen wouldn't risk the opprobrium from his fellow inkslingers by submitting the thing to Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year where anyone who owns MacNelly's Directions is bound to see it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Plagiar-Vu All Over Again

I just received my copy of The Best Editorial Cartoons, 2012 edition from the publisher the other night. Its founder, Chuck Brooks died shortly after the deadline for submissions, so one wonders how many more editions of the book there will be.

There are more on-line only cartoons in the book than ever before, and a few idiosyncratic choices -- there is only one Tom Toles cartoon, for example (aside from the one in the chapter for cartoons which won awards this year), but five by Chuck Asay. In my humble opinion, Toles is far and away the better cartoonist, but Asay's worldview is more in line with the late Mr. Brooks's.

I was struck by two cartoons: one by Jeff Stahler and another by Steve Breen. Mr. Stahler just lost his job at the Columbus Dispatch over charges of plagiarism -- charges which have relaunched a debate over what in fact constitutes plagiarism. Accusers pointed out cartoons which seemed to echo New Yorker cartoons, although some of the questionable cartoons involved ideas which easily could have occurred to multiple cartoonists independently (what Daryl Cagle calls "Yahtzees"). Cartoonists have also been debating where to draw the line between a plagiarized idea and a common meme.

The Stahler and Breen cartoons in BECY illustrate the murky of this delineation. Stahler's cartoon shows presidents from Nixon to Obama saying one word each of the sentence "We must reduce our dependency on Mideast Oil." To my mind, that recalls a Mike Peters cartoon about the Vietnam War, drawn for the Dayton Daily News and reprinted in Time magazine and other national outlets, in which presidents from Eisenhower to Ford said one word each of the sentence "Victory is just around the corner." (One of them must have had two words, but I don't remember which.) Other cartoonists besides Jeff Stahler have used the same gimmick since -- at least once on the topic of energy independence -- and it just seems to me to be lazy to swipe Mr. Peters's basic idea to rehash it as your own.

Steve Breen's cartoon is more disputable. He substitutes President Obama for the hapless boatman in Winslow Homer's painting "The Gulf Stream." Breen duly credits Homer, as he ought, but I was instantly reminded of the 1974 cartoon by the late Jeff MacNelly depicting President Nixon in the exact same painting.

Is that plagiarism? Just about every editorial cartoonist in the country, myself included, has drawn some parody of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" to comment on every topic from the weather to inflation to marriage equality. The same with several of Norman Rockwell's paintings, da Vinci's "Last Supper" and James McNeill Whistler's "Arrangement in Gray and Black: The Artist's Mother." But any first grader is bound to recognize those paintings to some degree or another, whereas many adults are not familiar with the works of Winslow Homer at all. Some cartoonist, forgotten to history, was the first to draw each of those parodies, and the rest of us have, let's face it, swiped those ideas.

Does the fact that an image is already well-known make it okay for a cartoonist to swipe it? Aside from paintings, many cartoonists have borrowed and re-borrowed many images from movies. I have no idea who the first cartoonist was to draw Toto pulling the curtain aside to reveal the humbug behind whatever politician is projected as the Great And Powerful Oz, but many have drawn that same cartoon since. (There's one in the new BECY about Newt Gingrich, who has also inspired a new round of Grinch Who Stole Christmas cartoons for anybody who missed them back when he was Speaker of the House.)

We cartoonists traffic in cultural images all the time, so it makes sense that we'd reuse images that everybody knows. The tricky part is reusing less well-known images that only Art History majors and other cartoonists will recognize.

Oh, and I have one cartoon in the book, by the way. Most of my favorite 2011 cartoons before the book's deadline were about flash-in-the-pan stories (does anybody remember the Craigslist Congressman any more?) which would have required a paragraph of explanation, so I'm not at all disappointed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Q Toon: Perry Christmas to All!

This past week, LGBT citizens got a good preview of the choice they have between the major political parties next year. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton stood up before the U.N. to defend the equal rights of gays and lesbians around the globe; and Texas Governor Rick Perry posted a TV ad in which he bemoaned as a Christian that gays can serve openly in the military, but schoolkids can't celebrate Christmas.

And by "celebrate Christmas," he means of course that Christians are not allowed to use the public schools to proselytize other people's children.

Think about it. It's amazing how free we are in America to celebrate Christmas. We can display larger than life glow in the dark nativity scenes on our front lawns. We can send Christ Is the Reason For the Season cards to all our Jewish friends. We can spend our property taxes to put religious messages on City Hall (and if you doubt that, just witness the furor when anybody tries to say No to it). We can wear hideous sweaters in public.

In my other career as a church employee, however, I can tell you that what churches are worried about most this year is that Christmas falls on a Sunday -- meaning that the church will be obliged to hold a worship service that will be attended by the pastor, the altar guild, organist, and an usher doing double duty as the acolyte. If we're lucky, some son or daughter of the congregation who arrived back in town too late on Saturday to make it to the Christmas Eve service will bring Mom and/or Dad to the Christmas morning service.

I was taken a bit aback the other day when I asked one of the talented musicians of one of my congregations whether he would be available to play a song at the Christmas Eve service, and he gave his regrets with the reason that Christmas Eve is "family time." Somewhere along the line, without my noticing exactly when, there has evolved a separation of church and family time.

This phenomenon isn't universal; one of my churches includes a congregation predominantly made up of Mexican immigrants and first generation Americans. I suspect that their attendance numbers on Christmas morning will put the Anglo congregations to shame, even though their Christmas Eve worship service is bound to run well into the night.

I don't mean by any of this to scold. I guess where I'm coming from is that I recently read the church history published in 1956 by a Lutheran congregation somewhere on the border of North Dakota and Montana to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding. The book included stories told by those of its founding members who were still alive, and the tales of winter hardship are truly impressive. (One old-timer speaks of how their winters came as such a rude shock to newcomers who were used to the "mild winters" of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota!)

The congregation hadn't quite finished building their church when a three-day late October blizzard hit; after everyone finally dug themselves out of their homes, they had to shovel feet of snow out from the inside of the church. The first time Christmas fell on a Sunday after their founding was 1910; it would be interesting to know what their worship service was like that day. I wonder if they even had Christmas Eve services. When you recall that back in 1906, these rural settlers didn't have snowplows or lighted highways, their stories of getting lost in the snow at night, unable to get home until dawn broke, are absolutely harrowing.

So anyway, I hope everyone reading this has as much family time as they can possibly stand this Christmas. And if there are any of you who are anxious to Keep Christ In Christmas, rest assured that it's very likely that there is a church just minutes from your house where someone would be more than happy to see you.

Weather permitting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Qtoon this week: Barney Frank Retires

If a public figure wears glasses, and the public generally never sees that public figure without them, a cartoonist is obliged to draw glasses on a caricature of that person. In fact, the glasses are often an essential identifying feature of the person. But some situations call for the glasses to be off... and the My Name Is ___ label to go on, as the familiar face becomes unrecognizable without them.

Such a wordy cartoon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mr. Trump, a True Diplomat

"Most of the important candidates will come. Huntsman has 1% of the vote. I don't think he's coming. And by the way, Mr. Huntsman called my office a number of times trying to set up a meeting; I didn't have a meeting with him; and then he went on a debate and he said 'I didn't meet with Mr. Trump like everyone else in the room,' so, I'm sure he'll tell the truth about that, because he's a Mormon."
-- Donald Trump, by phone, discussing his very own Republican presidential candidates' debate, on MSNBC's Daily Rundown this morning (around the 2:35 mark):

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This Week's Sneak Peek

You might not be too far off if you took a guess that this week's Q Syndicate cartoon has something to do with redistricting.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

I chose not to draw this week's cartoon about World AIDS Day today. After 30 years, I'm not sure what new things there are to say about the disease.

And yet, after 30 years, I'm unsettled as to what image to use to symbolize AIDS. Ten years ago, I used a skeletal death figure, even though many people living with AIDS have reason to object to that as a characterization. (And, in my very limited personal experience, I count among my friends about as many living with AIDS as have died from it.)

In October, 1985, I was asked to draw an illustration to go along with an article about AIDS by Kari Dixon for the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside. For that illustration, I chose to illustrate the pariah effect the disease had in those days, when it was new to the public consciousness and there was no treatment.

(You have heard of Nathaniel Hawthorne, I hope. I certainly expected that a college readership would have.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Qtoon: Red Meat for Republicans

Well, look who's back!

It was back in October that Newt Gingrich called same-sex marriage a "temporary aberration that will dissipate," but he was back in the pack of also-rans then. Now that he is once again the Not Romney, his opinion of same-sex marriage matters to more than just his half-sister Candace and her wife.

As horrifying as the prospect of a Gingrich presidency is, he is actually rather fun to draw. He is, in fact, a cartoonist's dream. He's about as impolitic as anyone in politics could be, stubborn, egotistical, and prone to rash statements. And does anybody think he really has it in him to make it through eight years married to Callista?

Heaven forfend he should start an affair with wife-to-be #4 while in the White House and get impeached over it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vintage Barney Frank cartoons

16-term Congressman from Massachusetts Barney Frank announced yesterday that he would not run for office again in 2012. He cited his redrawn district as one factor, and that at 71, he wanted to spend some time in academia before settling down to retirement.

As the first out gay man in Congress, he has been the subject of occasional Q Syndicate cartoons over the years. Rep. Frank's office requested the original of this one from August, 1998.

At the time, revelations of the affair between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky were coming out fast and furious; that the famous semen-stained blue dress was in existence and in evidence was a recent headline. While many congressional Democrats whispered that perhaps it was time for Clinton to resign and let Al Gore assume the presidency, Barney Frank was vocal -- and alone -- in his defense of the President.

Later that year, Frank was joined in the House by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who has the distinction of  being the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to Congress. The above cartoon  refers to an incident where Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) was recorded referring to the Gentleman from Massachusetts as "Barney Fag."

After a separate incident of Armey making a poor joke about Frank's homosexuality, a reporter asked Frank if he wanted an apology from the Texan. "I’m trying to think of what I would be less interested in than an apology from Dick Armey," he replied. "Maybe the lyrics to the national anthem of Bhutan."

I'll wrap this post up with a cover I drew for Q Salt Lake. Playing up Rep. Frank's role on the House Banking Committee, I drew him as he might look on U.S. currency. This was in 1999, well before the subject of this week's Q Syndicate cartoon advocated throwing Mr. Frank in jail for the temerity of imposing rules and regulations on the banking industry whose reckless abandon (not, as Republicans have been trying to convince people ever since, schoolteachers' retirement plans) created the worst recession in 80 years.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

It sure would have been nice to have had some warning that Barney Frank was going to announce today his intention not to seek another term. As you can see, this week's cartoon will have something to do with another (former) congressman with a talent for keeping the conversation interesting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Q Toon: Rush on Coach Sandusky

Last week, Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience, "[Jerry] Sandusky has to be — he’s a gay guy. Nobody’s mentioning that aspect, because it’s just too dangerous." The Gay Mafia, Limbaugh explained, is enforcing omertà on the mainstream media, keeping the former Penn State assistant football coach's homosexuality hidden way back in the closet.

This cartoon would have been easier to draw if Limbaugh hadn't taken the care to draw a distinction between gays and pedophiles. Right-wingers have a long history of broadcasting their belief that there is no difference between two consenting adults having a sexual relationship on the one hand and pedophiles or "Man-on-Dog" on the other. So I at least give Limbaugh credit for steering clear of that canard.

Another problem with this cartoon is that Limbaugh got more publicity out of calling Michelle Obama "uppity" this week, defending NASCAR fans who booed the First Lady as she, Dr. Jill Biden, a veteran and some children of servicemen prepared to say "Gentlemen, start your engines" a at a Florida race. Somewhere, an editor is wondering what Jerry Sandusky's legal problems have to do with a radio blowhard calling Mrs. Obama "uppity."

(Remember when all those elitist liberals booed First Lady Laura Bush at that one event? Yeah, neither do I.)

A couple weeks ago, when I drew a cartoon about Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, I was happy to see that  videos of him were going viral in the meantime, because it meant that there would be more readers who had some idea who he was. I don't need to worry about people not knowing who Rush Limbaugh is (although I will never forget a guy I dated for a while who thought that Senator Jesse Helms was an ally of the LGBT community; you can fool some of the people all of the time). I do expect, however, that a lot of readers will have no knowledge of anything Rush Limbaugh has said about the scandal at Penn State. 

With any luck, there will be some news event of common knowledge to draw about next week -- although there's a big holiday this week shutting down Washington D.C. and many of the big-name newsmakers around the country are taking most of the week off. Unless I finally find some gay angle to the Occupy Movement (oh, God, I hope Offisa Pike is straight!), I suspect that next week's cartoon will be just as obscure as this week's.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Q Toon: J. Edgar

And the winners in the expletive derby are "Gadzooks" and "Dang."

For all I know, J. Edgar Hoover was as foul-mouthed in private as Richard Nixon. Hoover came across as a hard-as-nails crime fighter, all business, who made it his business to know all the dirt on everyone in the country. That was before Susan Rosenstiel told Anthony Summers that Hoover got dressed up in drag to go out to Roy Cohn's private parties, where he was introduced to her as "Mary."

A little bit more back story to the cartooning here: I wanted to draw Hoover in drag in this cartoon, but after David Simpson's latest plagiarism scandal, I had to be careful not to copy Pat Oliphant's cartoon of J. Mary Hoover -- especially now that I gave This Land permission to cite me as having spotted three previously unnoticed examples of his down-to-the-crosshatch copying of other people's cartoons. (I would note that other cartoonists have spotted the same cartoons; The Oregonian's Jack Ohman also left a comment on This Land's previous article.)

To keep Hoover's garb contemporaneous with Hoover himself, the dress in the cartoon is patterned more after Marilyn Monroe's famous updraft dress or something out of the Folies Bergères. Not that it wouldn't have been fun to have shown him dressed like Snooki or Lady Gaga.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

We almost went to see this movie this weekend. I wish we had gone to see it, though; it would have been helpful for this week's cartoon to know what sort of expletives Clint Eastwood and Dustin Lance Black put in the mouth of Leonardo DiCaprio's J. Edgar Hoover.

Tune in later this week to discover my choice.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Joe. (My God.) Walsh.

When I decided to draw this past week's cartoon about Illinois freshman Congressman Joe Walsh, I was worried that hardly anybody outside of his district would have any idea who he was. I certainly had never heard of him before.

I needn't have worried. The congressman has been caught -- twice --on video going batshit crazy at constituents, and both incidents have gone viral. He even made Willie Geist's "Week in Review" segment at the end of Morning Joe today.

So Joe Jervis of the blog Joe. My. God. took note of my silly cartoon, and almost all of the reader comments approve enthusiastically. (Sorry, Charlie.) I appreciate the feedback.

It feels good to be ahead of the news curve for once!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Q Toon: Joe Walsh, Family Supporter

This news item may not have the shock value of Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story, but we're giving it the notice it deserves here at Bergetoons. Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Teaparty, not the former Eagles guitarist) was recently named a "True Blue" member of Congress by the right-wing, gay-bashing Family Research Council. His "unwavering support of the family" falls somewhat short of supporting his own, however; he is more than $117,000 behind in child support payments to his ex-wife and children.
The thick nine-year-old divorce file in Cook County Circuit Court chronicles how every few years Laura Walsh has gone to court saying her ex-husband is not paying [child support] and asking a judge to order him to pay, sometimes garnishing his wages.
He claims that he and his ex agreed to let him slack off on child support.

Running for Congress is mighty darned expensive, you know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

Yes, this week, we're handing out awards!

Incidentally, I guess there is nothing coming of the ire from a prominent blogger to which I alluded a couple weeks ago. I was only forwarded a portion of the e-mail he sent to an editor, so I don't believe I could fairly characterize his opinion. Since that editor did not print the letter -- perhaps it wasn't meant for print -- there's no kerfuffle, no dispute.

That particular blogger has since become far more interested in the Occupy Wall Street protests, so unless and until the topic of whether Barack Obama has done anything for the LGBT community comes back to the fore, move along; there's nothing to see here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The David Simpson Plagiarism Scandal

Yet another case of plagiarism by fellow cartoonist David Simpson has been exposed. Simpson lost his job at the Tulsa World in 2005 after he was caught copying a 1981 cartoon by Bob Englehardt of the Hartford Courant. Lately, Simpson had been drawing for Urban Tulsa. A week or so ago, alert cartoonists recognized a cartoon about giving a jump start to a bomber in a junk yard as having been copied from a cartoon drawn by the late Jeff MacNelly during the Carter administration -- even the other junk in the cartoon was in exactly the same place. Rival publication This Land then unearthed three more copied cartoons. The resulting calumny has forced Simpson into early retirement.

Since the Urban Tulsa doesn't keep an on-line archive of its cartoons (and I guess Simpson is the only cartoonist in the world who doesn't post his stuff on the internet), This Land posted pictures of Simpson's UT cartoons requesting help spotting any more plagiarized work. I spotted three right away: #3 is straight out of an August, 1972 cartoon by Pat Oliphant; #12 rips off another Oliphant cartoon from December, 1975. #35 copies a Jim Borgman cartoon from August, 1985.

Then there's #16. It's not the entire cartoon that is copied from a September, 1975 Jeff MacNelly cartoon, it's just the garbage truck. I remember that garbage truck well.

Because I used it as a model for a garbage truck in a May, 1987 cartoon.

The garbage truck was the sole focus of the original MacNelly cartoon, which blamed New York City's sanitation workers for their contribution to the Big Apple's financial mess. The cartoon showed the Manhattan skyline inside the back of the truck.

Back in the Reagan administration, we didn't have the Google like the kids of today have. If I needed to draw a garbage truck in a cartoon, my options were a.) draw one from memory, b.) see if the dictionary has a picture of one, c.) drive around town until I found a parked garbage truck and draw it, or d.) Don't I have a cartoon of a garbage truck in my scrapbook somewhere?

So I'm reluctant to include Simpson cartoon #16 in the list of plagiarized cartoons, because it would mean I plagiarized, too. Besides MacNelly's garbage truck, I've referenced horses drawn by Pat Oliphant, whose drawings of horses in motion are some of the most alive and vibrant you will ever see in black and white. I certainly don't copy them, and I also reference Animals: 1419 Copyright-Free Illustrations of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Insects, etc., A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources selected by Jim Harter (Dover Publications, Inc.You can probably find it in the art section of your local bookstore) .

We cartoonists copy images all the time. Just think of all the cartoons riffing on Shepard Fairey's poster of Barack Obama over the word "HOPE." (The poster image itself was swiped from an April, 2006 photograph by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia for the Associated Press.)

When Moammar Khadaffy was killed, several cartoonists whipped out cartoons showing the remnants of Pan Am flight 103 at Lockerbie, Scotland. Some didn't even bother to draw the image, but rather scanned the photograph and used that image as the basis of their cartoons.

Bob Gorrell
Creators Syndicate Inc.

Oct 20, 2011
None of them credited the photograph or the photographer. Was that plagiarism, then? The copyright notice at Wikipedia would seem to say yes. The "Fair Use" doctrine gives us cartoonists the wiggle room to say no.

By the way, just to be clear: I do not in any way think there is any possibility that David Simpson ever saw my 1987 cartoon about Ronald Reagan and the Contras. I'm very certain that he referred to Jeff MacNelly's cartoon when drawing his garbage truck. But since I remember the 36-year-old cartoon I used as a model for a cartoon I drew 24 years ago, I find it utterly incredible that Mr. Simpson claims he can't remember where he found his sources.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Q Toon: The Theoconoclasts

Now that gay and lesbian military personnel no longer have to lie about themselves, and since some of them are able to marry, a group of service members and veterans has filed a lawsuit that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory. DOMA, passed by the Republican Congress in July, 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, forbids any aspect of the federal government from recognizing the marriage of any same-sex couple in any way.

From the Washington Post:
Massachusetts Army National Guard Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, 41, and her wife, Casey, 34, are serving as lead plaintiffs in the suit, which includes five other troops and two career Army and Navy veterans. The McLaughlins, from Foxboro, Mass., married in December 2009 and have 10-month old twins. Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.
Although Shannon pays for the twins’ health care through her military benefits, Casey, a former high school history teacher who gave birth to the twins, pays about $700 a month for a separate health-care account, the couple said. ...If Shannon is deployed, Casey would be barred from taking the twins to regular medical appointments at a nearby military base, the couple said.
“What Shannon and Casey are seeking is the same treatment that their straight counterparts, who are legally married, receive every day without question and take for granted,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which helped organize the suit and once represented troops discharged for violating “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Likewise, same-sex widows and widowers of servicemembers are ineligible for survivors' benefits, unlike different-sex widows and widowers. Happily, there is nobody yet with standing to bring suit in that respect, but someone will inevitably be in that position someday.

It will be interesting to see how this legal issue plays out in court -- if the Republican-dominated state legislatures produced by the 2010 elections don't fast track a constitutional amendment first.

Monday, October 31, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

After a decade and a half, is there any new angle on the Defense of Marriage Act?

 Tune in on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Week's Toon: the Pall Bearer

Cartooning about youth suicide is dicey. It's not funny, and you don't want to glorify one suicide and thereby inspire others. (I'm not even going to link to the story that inspired me to concentrate on this topic, for that very reason.) For this week's oeuvre, I started out trying to come up with some incisive observation for a grieving parent to make, but ended up turning my focus to someone else:

When kids commit suicide, their parents are permanently devastated. Their friends grieve for years, but heal and go on with their lives. But do the bullies who drove them to it even notice? Or do they just grow up and continue to leave their mark on the world by posting insults on internet comment pages?

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

I was thinking of drawing a Hallowe'en-themed cartoon for this week, but nothing quite came together in that direction. Last week's cartoon will have to suffice in that regard: it wasn't what I had in mind when I drew it, but it would be easy for someone to look at my memorial cartoon for Frank Kameny and see his ghost haunting the White House.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Week's Toon: Frank Kameny

Readers, the conventional wisdom goes, love cartoons memorializing the recently deceased. Editorial cartoonists, by and large, hate them.

Sure, there are cartoonists like Mark Streeter of the Savannah Morning News who draw obituary cartoons at the drop of a hat. But most cartoonists draw them begrudgingly, usually cranking out a cartoon of a single tear dropping from some object or logo associated with the dead person. Or St. Peter greeting the late lamented at the Pearly Gates with some catch phrase associated with the stiff -- even if the deceased was not a Christian.

(I heard objections to a cartoon I drew after the death of Meir Kahane that showed him storming away from the Pearly Gates upon finding that Palestinians were allowed in. On the one hand, I'm told that there is no Jewish concept of heaven; but on the other hand, where did Jesus come up with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus if the idea of someplace nice where Lazarus ends up were alien to his audience? How do you draw being in the bosom of Abraham?)

Matt Bors has drawn a cartoon mocking the obituary cartoons for Buddhist Steve Jobs which depicted him at heaven's gate. In coming up with a more Buddhist concept of the afterlife, it ends up being less than respectful of the dead, but cartoonists love this cartoon.

This is the second obituary cartoon I've drawn this year (the first being for Liz Taylor); in these cases and several others, I've let the deceased speak for him or herself. This quotation is from a 1965 essay by Frank Kameny titled "Does Research into Homosexuality Matter?" If you are interested in reading the quotation in context, you can find it in We Are Everywhere: A Historical Source Book in Gay and Lesbian Politics.

P.S.: Yes, Mr. Kameny came up with the "Gay Is Good" motto years after he picketed the White House. His picket that day was nowhere near as pithy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

I guess that's it for the cartoons about the Milwaukee Brewers and Miller Park. Thanks to the Brewers for a fantastic year (allowing the Cardinals to score outscore the Rams notwithstanding).

So it's on to more current cartoons here at the old blogstead. Here's this week's sneak peek. For the benefit of any fellow cartoonists visiting this page, let me just point out that those are not the pearly gates back there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

From the Vault: Another Brewers Toon

Of all the cartoons I've drawn about the Milwaukee Brewers, I think this is my favorite.

When Miller Stadium first tried out its new retractible roof, there were some kinks to work out. It screeched loudly, for one thing, and rain got through some areas. I only imagined this problem, however.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

From the Vault: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

As we cross our fingers that a return home will somehow help the Brewers overcome Shaun Marcum's pitching, here's a cartoon I drew in November of 2003 to accompany a Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee editorial lamenting the difficulty for a city of Milwaukee's size to assemble a great team under the MLB salary cap.

No lutefisk in this cartoon, although it's another example of having fun naming shops in a mall. (Having background people talking on the phone has been another of my leitmotifs.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

In re Obama at the HRC

I am told that a prominent gay blogger is greatly displeased with last week's cartoon about President Obama's speech at the Human Rights Campaign dinner.

There may be more to post about it later. For now, I haven't heard anything from him directly, and haven't seen the conversation that is reportedly taking place.

From the Vault: I Sense a Theme

Randy Wolf got the Brewers' pitching back on track last night, so there is new hope for the Brew Crew. Fans might even excuse a couple of losses if it means winning the division title at home (but not of the 12-3 variety!).

Anyway, here's another Milwaukee Brewers cartoon from my days at the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee; this time the editorial had something to do with team owner Mark Attanasio's interest in determining what it is that draws fans to a ballpark.
I suspect that he found that the answer has something to do with a winning record.

The Minneapolis lady, by the way, is a tribute to Minneapolis Tribune cartoonist Richard Guindon. Apparently, there is some connection in my mind between baseball and lutefisk.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

From the Vault: Meaty Issues

If I were really, really, really, really optimistic, I could save this cartoon for Game 7 of the National League playoffs. But unless the Brewers manage to overcome their hitting and pitching slump, I'm afraid Milwaukee's racing sausages have had their last run in the nationally televised sun for the year. But having included lefse in yesterday's cartoon, I thought I'd haul out this one to continue the theme of Norwegian cuisine.

This 2003 cartoon (predating the chorizo guy) was drawn to accompany a Milwaukee Business Journal editorial critical of a New York Times article which had portrayed Milwaukee as a decaying, crime-filled rust belt wasteland with third-rate sports teams and no future. I guess the Times also mentioned the racing sausages. The BJ editorial sniffed that the Times reporter didn't know whereof he wrote.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Q Toon: Won't You Save Marriage from Those Sweet People?

Like Jim Borgman, I like drawing cartoons set at shopping malls just so I can give names to all the stores in the background. When I drew for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Christmas shopping was a recurrent theme of December editorials, giving me the opportunity to toss in The Hardhaberdashery, All Things Argyle, and Sandy's Sundries.

That whimsical approach didn't work when the topic of the editorial was on trying to boost the fortunes of a troubled mall -- Milwaukee's Grand Avenue Mall has been losing business for years -- and there were some unfortunate incidents at the Mayfair Mall which sparked editorials which would have been undercut by peppering the cartoon with frivolous shops.

But as fun as these background shops are to create, they are actually anachronistic. In the heyday of the shopping mall -- back in the 1970's and '80's -- malls were populated by lots of little specialty shops. (Does anybody remember the Saturday Night Live sketches about a shop that sold nothing but Scotch® Tape?) But the typical mall today is populated mostly by clothing stores and optical shops, with the occasional shoe store and a bunch of kiosks selling cell phones and piercing ears. The only real specialty shops are in the food court.

At any rate, I can only hope that the names of some of those stores are clues to the setting of the cartoon, since it isn't definitively stated until the last frame.

And before any Tar Heelers get upset, I'm not trying to suggest that North Carolina is totally devoid of nice people, okay? It's just that Minnesota has cultivated a reputation for niceness, don't ya know.

Michele Bachmann notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Coming Out Day

I didn't draw a National Coming Out Day cartoon this year, so here's a look back at the one I drew ten years ago. At the time, it felt a little too early to turn attention to such personal concerns, so my approach was to turn that feeling around.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

This week, we're taking a trip to the mall and talking with the lady at the marital aid kiosk.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Like Hitler

Some redneck with a guitar Jr. got hisself axed from his gig singing the opening to ESPN's Monday Night Football this week. I was at a meeting, so I missed the first half of the game, and didn't know anything about it until the next morning.

Funny thing is, I thought the game ran pretty long. You'd have thought that skipping the "Are You Ready for Some Football" opener would have shaved a good five or ten minutes off the show.

Well, anyway, the problem was that the guy had gone on Fox 'n' Friends and compared the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler. To most of Fox News's audience, that's about as controversial as vanilla ice cream -- and ESPN might have let it pass if Monday's game were between Atlanta and Houston -- but ESPN ultimately decided that this was a metaphor too far.

Last month, Phil Hands, editorial cartoonist for the Wisconsin State Journal, took some heat for a cartoon in which a protester against Governor Scott Walker responds to Walker's announcement that he will "focus on creating jobs" by saying, "Ya know, Hitler created jobs in Nazi Germany!" The cartoon followed a Nazi protest in Milwaukee, at which some flyer distributed by counterprotesters included a remark that Hitler, like Walker, sought to bust unions.

Hands still has his gig at the WSJ, which is a good thing. We really don't have many editorial cartoonists drawing about state politics in Wisconsin, what with the Milwaukee J. Sentinel having fired all its cartoonists and the Capital Times going web-only. Joe Heller appears in several state newspapers, and Mike Konopacki and Gary Huck draw for Labor papers. Since the Racine Post logged off, I haven't had a real outlet for any Wisconsin issue cartoons other than this here blog.

A friend asked me recently if I've ever used Adolf Hitler in a cartoon. I could only think of two, and have only been able to find one. Dating from 2003, it isn't likening anyone to Hitler; instead, it had to do with an allegation that Hitler was gay. 

The other cartoon was probably in the 1980's, and may be lost to history. If I ever run across it, I'll try to remember to post it -- it's just that I don't remember what it was about. Just vaguely that I drew him shocked or surprised about something or other.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Q Toon: Obama at the HRC Dinner

Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday, President Obama listed his administration's accomplishments in furthering LGBT rights.

Originally, I had set up this cartoon to liken LGBT voters unhappy with President Obama's record to those Republicans who fantasize about Chris Christie getting into the presidential race -- having had those same fantasies about Rick Perry's bigger head until he actually became a candidate.

Since I drew the cartoon, Christie has decided that he won't run for president after all, which leaves the Republican party stuck with its earlier dream candidates. And Mitt Romney.

I'm glad that I decided that the Christie analogy version of the cartoon was too preachy. I cast about until I hit on the "Mama didn't raise me..." line, which seems to argue against the original point that I hoped to make, but I think it's a better cartoon. (It still allows President Obama to point out the positives in his record.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

This week's cartoon features the President of the United States and a list of things this cartoonist is no longer able to gripe about. No wonder it's such hard work to come up with cartoon ideas every week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Q Toon: Controlled Outbursts

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today, I saw Mitt Romney tell Joe and Mika that unlike Rick Perry, he had to work with an opposition-led legislature and therefore knows how to reach across the aisle and get things done. That, he predicted, would be the style of a Romney presidency.

Should the Democratic leadership declare that their Number One Goal is to make sure that Romney is a one-term president, that could be a little difficult. Not as difficult as if he were facing opposition from the lockstep Republican legislators; Will Rogers' quip, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat," still holds true. has got nothing on the [Insert State Name Here] Club for Growth. Code Pink is peanuts next to the Tea Party.

Radical conservatives made their 2010 gains after a summer of disrupting the town meetings of Democratic Representatives and Senators in a coordinated campaign to provide the media with ample dramatic footage of supposedly grass-roots opposition to Health Care Reform and all things Democrat. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" at President Obama during a State of the Union address.

And while Republicans in Congress have shielded themselves from heckling by charging constituents money to attend their town hall meetings, or conducting town hall meetings over the phone (where they can cut off any unruly outburst, and which it would be illegal to record), Republican presidential candidates are finding that the enthusiastic behavior their party's activists have encouraged is not limited to shouting down the opposition.

Texas leads the nation in death row executions. Wild applause! Should medical care be withheld from some 30-year-old without insurance? Heck yeah! Is that a gay soldier risking his life in Iraq in service to his country? Boo!

What is a political party to do?

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

 The party of Joe Wilson is discovering that not all the news is made on the stage.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Job Creators Toon

You know those rich people President Obama is talking about taxing at rates unheard of since the boom of the 1990s? No, not those famous actors, heiresses and Wall Street speculators. We're talking about the hard-working industrialists who have spent the last couple of decades making their companies lean and mean by laying off as many employees as they possibly can.

They are job creators now.

Turns out that the only thing preventing them from creating more jobs is that they still have to pay taxes. (We certainly can't wait around for all those laid-off employees to stimulate the economy.) The Bush tax cuts haven't been around long enough to encourage our job creators to get around to any job creating, but never fear. The Republican party is dedicated to making sure that job creators' bank accounts stay fat and contended.

So our Republican governors and state legislators have been hard at work cutting workers' pay and benefits. Republicans in Congress have discovered the federal debt after eight years of ignoring it, and are willing to bankrupt the entire country to get the federal government shut down. They are willing to "broaden the tax base," which sounds better than "raising taxes on the poor, out of work, and elderly," and are eager to stop government spending on -- well, the poor, out of work, and elderly.

Whenever you see one of these Republican politicians, they repeat the same lines about protecting our job creators, cutting taxes, getting rid of government regulations (such as worker safety standards, consumer protections, anti-pollution laws and the like) and making it more and more difficult for anyone harmed by lax safety standards, defective products, pollution, or the like to sue them in court.

And through it all, you never see the Charles Koch's lips move.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Q Toon: Bachmann Tooner Overheard

This week should, I suppose, have been time for a cartoon about the end at long last of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," had I been confident enough that there wouldn't be some last second maneuver from out of the blue to stop its repeal. Happily, the transition to equal opportunity in the military has been achieved smoothly and without a hitch -- which doesn't make for a particularly funny cartoon, but perhaps Chuck Asay or Michael Ramirez will draw some cartoon heralding the End Times that will inspire a cartoon next week.

So here instead is another Michele Bachmann cartoon. In case you missed it, Bachmann claimed in a TV interview that some woman at a campaign appearance had told her that the woman's daughter had been given the vaccine to prevent the cancer-causing Human Papillomavirus, and the daughter had subsequently become mentally retarded. Medical authorities swiftly condemned Bachmann's claim, and Bachmann retreated slightly by saying that she was just repeating what some anonymous woman had told her. (But in these days when everybody and their dog has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog, don't you think someone would have already found some trace of this phantom mother by now?)

Meanwhile, it looks like Bachmann is Last Month's Flavor of the Month, so I'm now working on my Rick Perry caricature. Tune in again tomorrow for my first attempt.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cameo guest appearance

Yours truly makes a guest appearance in Dave Brousseau's comic strip, "A Couple of Guys" this week. Dave is marking his strip's 15th anniversary by having the title couple renew their vows in a New York wedding. (Joey and Eric had earlier gotten married in Massachusetts, but are New York City residents.)

I'm in the second panel, seated next to Joan Hilty and Paula Martinac at the wedding. Chris thinks that Cartoon Me needs to look more like Chuck Todd to look like me; but Cartoon Me has more definition to his jaw line than I do, and his bald spot is safely out of view, so I'm not about to complain.

This Week's Toon: Gqhadđaƒphįyee

Well, that's just silly.

Or is it?

The lawyers for Brandon McInerney, the boy who shot and killed fellow student Lawrence King amidst an entire classroom of kids, successfully achieved a hung jury by use of the "Gay Panic Defense" -- that is, the idea that killing someone can be excused if the deceased is the same sex as the killer and thought that the killer was cute. This transfers all blame for the crime onto the victim, and transfers all victimhood onto the killer.

(Important: this only applies in the case of same-sex attraction. A gal is not allowed to kill a guy who asks her out on date, no matter how much of a creep she thinks he is. Creeps like him go on to become influential businessmen, lawyers, congressmen, and AM talk radio hosts who look out for the interests of their fellow creeps.)

The gay panic, blame-the-victim narrative appeared in the initial Associated Press account of the murder:
"Larry King was a gay eighth-grader who used to come to school in makeup, high heels and earrings. And when the other boys made fun of him, he would boldly tease them right back by flirting with them.
"That may have been what got him killed."
And somehow, in spite of the undisputed facts that McInerney told a friend the day before the shooting that he intended to kill King, that McInerney brought his father's gun to school, that McInerney sat down in the seat behind King (who didn't happen to be wearing any makeup, high heels or earrings that day), waited 20 minutes and then shot King in the back of the head at point blank range, the jury couldn't agree whether this was murder in the first degree or not.

So is it so silly to think that Muammar el-Qaddafi might try the same tack? It would at least garner him the sympathy of some in the religious right who have leapt to McInerney's defense.

Michael Brown, founder of ICN ministries ("Israel, the Church and Nations"), blamed gay activism in general:
"Some of the teachers in Larry's school, along with his adoptive father, specifically accused former assistant principal Joy Epstein, an open lesbian, of encouraging Larry's flamboyant behavior in order to promote her 'agenda.' If there is any truth to this, it is not just irresponsible, it is reprehensible. (At the least, there is no indication that she discouraged his pushy, sexual behavior.) ... It is true that Brandon McInerney murdered Larry King in cold blood, but gay activism is complicit in his death.
(By the way, who could Brown be quoting with that "agenda" crack? Not Ms. Epstein, I bet.)

Consider Tim Ravndal, the Tea Party leader in Montana who complained on Facebook that America is no longer America because you can't kill homosexuals at will any more and asked for an instruction manual on how Matthew Shepard was killed. (At least Ravndal was forced to resign.) Conservatives from North Carolina Congressman Virginia Foxx to presidential candidate Michele Bachmann argued against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes act on the grounds that criminalizing assault and murder of LGBT people is an infringement of free speech.
* * *
When Chris saw this cartoon, his first question was whether Qaddafi had really said that the people he has killed are gay. When there are stories like that of the Catholic woman who is afraid to leave her house for fear that her children will see same-sex couples, it can be hard to tell fact from exaggeration. My convention for real news stories is to have "News Item:" in front of the caption. Perhaps captions such as this week's need to be prefaced with "Might Be an Onion News Item."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13, 2001

Much has been said about the period of national unity that followed the 9/11 attacks. This cartoon is a reminder that the first to hurl accusations against other Americans were those on the religious right.
(Okay, there was also Ted Rall.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Week's Sneak Peek

It looks like I'm taking a break from domestic politics this week.

Or am I?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Psalm 46:1-3

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, 2001

The day before 9/11 was a Monday like any other Monday. In the morning, I scanned the above cartoon and sent three versions to Q Syndicate: a TIFF, a bitmap, a grayscale JPEG at 600 dpi and another at 100 dpi. I had drawn the cartoon Sunday night about Lynn Johnston's cartoon, "For Better or For Worse," in which one of the young characters had recently come out as gay. Some newspapers were deleting references to Lawrence's sexuality on the grounds that it was inappropriate for the funny pages.

I went to my job after that. I don't remember anything about the workday; the church where I work was planning for Sunday School Rally Day the following Sunday, so there would have been certain out-of-the-ordinary considerations for getting the bulletin started. An elderly woman was scheduled to come play piano for the senior citizens' group on Tuesday, and I remember that she was anxious about it and phoned for directions and details about how much music she should expect to play.

That evening, I got the e-mail from the Milwaukee Business Journal containing the first draft of that Friday's editorial, a eulogy for Milwaukee philanthropist Jane Bradley Pettit. My job for the BJ was to draw a weekly editorial cartoon to illustrate the editorial; my editor kindly attached a couple of photos of Mrs. Pettit to his e-mail. I spent most of the evening drawing the cartoon below, listening to Monday Night Football on the TV. (The Denver Broncos beat the New York Giants). I'm pretty I spent longer deciding what to draw than actually drawing it.