Monday, September 29, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

Having spent so much time at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning this weekend, I just tore a page out of a children's book for this week's cartoon.

And won't those children be ticked off when they find out!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

At the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

I spent yesterday at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, sitting behind Chicago Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis and getting to be the 40,000th person to tell him how excellent his very personal cartoon this week about domestic abuse was.

I was curious to know how long his internal editor might have held up his cartoon idea between "Should I draw this?" and "I have to draw this," His answer: "55 years."

His presentation to the room at large included discussion of complaints he has gotten over the years. One example concerned the cartoon shown above, an apology for having supported Iraq War II ten years earlier. Somebody had responded by agreeing with his eventual opposition to the war but complaining, "Where were you ten years ago?"

To which his response was, "Did you not read the beginning of the cartoon?"

Thursday, September 25, 2014


This week's cartoon probably comes too late for my monthlies and too early for my weeklies. With Adrian Peterson smiling back at me from my breakfast box of Wheaties, where else could I go this week?
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Sep 25, 2014

By my count, this is the fifth cartoon I've drawn this year about the NFL — which is a lot, if you consider that I draw one cartoon for Q Syndicate per week. I'm already at one out of ten for the year.

I suppose something had to replace "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

Honey? We haven't been violating the league's copyright by re-purposing the accounts or descriptions of their games for something other than our private use, have we?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Q Toon: The Secretive Nym

Turning our attention now to what has been classified as a First World Problem:
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Sep 18, 2014

Facebook has lately gone on a tear against drag performers whose Facebook pages are under their performance names rather than the names on their drivers' licenses -- closing down the performers' Facebook pages and requiring them to change the name on their accounts. This is because of Facebook's "real names" policy, which is supposed to protect against accounts set up to impersonate another user, for example. As a company spokesman put it, the policy is intended to “prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.”

Cross-gender personalities from San Francisco to Seattle have been up in arms over abruptly losing their pseudonymous accounts.

The NymWar does sound like a strictly First World Problem if you only consider this:
The problem here is that Facebook is strong arming many performers to switch their pages over to Fan Pages/Like Pages, which, for all intents and purposes, are the most useless thing on Facebook. Unless you have thousands of dollars to shell out for ads to get your page boosted for views, Like Page posts get lost among a sea of InstaGrams and viral trends.
On the other hand, these performers can face real-life stalking and harassment, or loss of employment. The Personnel Department at Beige Cubicle Inc. is very likely to think twice about hiring Harry Jones after they look up Harry Jones's Facebook page and see dozens of photos of Harry Jones on stage at Folsom Street dressed as Sister Ivanna Smooch. Gay bashing, moreover, is still a very real thing, and anyone who transgresses gender boundaries makes an easy target.

Given that the "real names" policy has been around for years, why has Facebook suddenly gone after so many drag performers?
A source at Facebook explained that, in general, profile pages are only reviewed when “a member of the Facebook community reports it to us,” adding that, “In these instances, the profiles would have been reported to us.” Given the high number of queens being “hit hard,” as Miz Cracker put it, someone has clearly made a serious project of reporting drag profiles to (or perhaps from within) the company.
A coalition met with Facebook executives this week, but were rebuffed.
A company spokesman said that Facebook would temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community whose profiles have been deactivated: "This will give them a chance to decide how they’d like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Because Sexual Harassment Is Funny

In the second installment of cartoons from 1945's A Bird's Eye View of the Postwar World, we have a look at the workplace environment according to cartoonist Eric Ericson:
One hardly knows where to begin.

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek / R.I.P.

This week's sneak peek comes with a Requiescat In Pace for one of the cartoonists who influenced my career, Tony Auth, who succumbed to brain cancer yesterday at the age of 72. He had retired from the Philadelphia Inquirer only two years ago. He continued posting cartoons on line; his last cartoon is dated July 1.

His deliberately simple style came from the theory that the message rather than the artwork should be the focus of the editorial cartoon. It also lent itself to the move from pen and ink to digital artwork, a medium he championed to others in the craft. (I'm still a troglodyte in that regard.)

A tribute from his editor is here.
The back cover of Auth's 1977 book of cartoons, Behind the Lines

Sunday, September 14, 2014

200 Years of Star Spangleness

In celebration of the Star Spangled Banner's 200th birthday today, and for the benefit of everyone who has wondered why anybody's national anthem would pose an unanswered question, here are all four verses of Francis Scott Key's original poem:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
There have been several renditions of our national anthem sung at American sporting events, from the sublime to the horrendous, but I'll bet riots would break out if any singer ever tried to get through all four verses.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Q Toon: Sure 'Tis Like a Morn in September

New York LGBT organizations are less than impressed by the decision by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) to allow Out@NBCUniversal to march in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade next March. Out@NBCUniversal is the LGBT employee group for the media corporation broadcasting coverage of the parade, and will be the only LGBT group allowed to participate.

The last time an LGBT group marched in the parade, in 1991 (also, briefly and without permission, in 1992), it did not go very well at all. Since then, the AOH had refused to allow any LGBT  group to march in the parade until now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This Week's Sneak Peek

I can't top Steve Benson's cartoon from last Friday, or Lena Dunham's tweet, or Howard Stern's eulogy.

Nor do I wish to pile on with yet another cartoon depicting Joan Rivers at the Pearly Gates castigating St. Peter for wearing white after Labor Day. As many others have observed, it's kind of lazy to commemorate a Jewish person that way. (On the other hand, cartoonists haven't come up with a recognizable image for being taken into the bosom of Abraham.)

So instead, I'm going for brach.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers

In memory of Joan Rivers' passing yesterday, here's a cartoon of mine in which she appeared in 2008; a Hollywood writers' strike was expected to affect that year's award shows.

I freely admit that, had Ms. Rivers actually been forced to critique picketing writers' couture, she would have come up with much fiercer -- and funnier -- comments than I put in her mouth.

P.S.: The memorial cartoon I had in mind to draw for next week is too similar to today's cartoon by Steve Benson, so I may have to choose some entirely different topic.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Q Toon: Coming Clean

Prior to the St. Louis Rams' decision not to sign openly gay linebacker Michael Sam, ESPN aired a report from Josina Anderson that focused to a weird degree on whether Michael Sam was showering with his teammates or not:
"Another Rams defensive player told me that Sam is, quote, 'respecting our space,' and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is kind of waiting to take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable, while [Kendall] Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree told me that they didn't know that specifically, and also weren't tracking that. Now, while Langford told me, 'Listen, I have not been in the shower at the same time as Michael Sam,' he said that there definitely could be a million reasons as to why that is; he said he could be doing extra work on the practice field, he could be riding his bike, he could be doing extra cardio. But overall, Langford said, he seems to be adjusting to the life in the NFL and to the state of the game..."

At the risk of having no punch line for this week's cartoon, I didn't want to ridicule Rams players, who for the most part seem to have been most gracious and complimentary of Mr. Sam. Langford was quoted in Anderson's report as saying, "If he doesn't make our team, I'm pretty sure that someone will pick him up on another team. ... He's shown some flashes." (His pre-season flashes included eleven tackles and three sacks, in case you're counting.)

And Chris Long responded to the report by tweeting "Dear ESPN: Everyone but you is over it."

After first defending the report by saying that "multiple Rams brought up the shower topic," the network eventually apologized: "ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."

Since I sent this cartoon in to Q Syndicate, the Dallas Cowboys have picked Sam up for their practice squad. The former Mizzou defensive end is reportedly thrilled to return to Texas, his childhood home.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Burger King's Five Spot

According to their current ad campaign, Burger King wants to redesign the $5 bill...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Sneak Peek

Since the Kochs haven't yet drafted legislation for your statehouse Republicans to outlaw it, and Hobby Lobby hasn't declared it against their religious beliefs, happy Labor Day to all my readers.

Even the service employees who are keeping those burgers flipping and alwaysing those low prices today, because, you know, you are our future.