Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Headlines

Since ’16back Saturday coincides with New Year's Eve this year, I'm going to post my annual photo of newspaper and magazine front pages here.

I offer my usual caveats: with only newspapers from the midwestern United States to choose from, I can't include many big international stories, such as the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The slow crushing of the rebellion in Syria lends itself more to photojournalism than a banner headline. And I might have included the death of Fidel Castro if he hadn't already turned the reins of power over to his brother years ago.

Meanwhile, I don't have a home paper publishing my stuff that would put together a 2016 in cartoons spread, so here are my own favorites from this crappy year:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Q Toon: One More Voice We Will Never Hear Again

This has been a bad year for popular music headliners: an incomplete list of the musicians we lost in 2016 includes David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Paul Kanter, Maurice White, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and, sometime before dawn on Christmas Day, George Michael.

There was a temptation to base this week's cartoon on Michael's "Last Christmas."  Instead, the quotation in this week's cartoon, and the headline of this post as well, come from "White Light," a song George Michael wrote after recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia in 2012.
So I just kept breathing, my friends,
Waiting for the man to choose —
Saying this ain’t the day that it ends.
There’s no white light,
And I'm not through —
I’m alive, I'm alive,
And I've got so much more
That I want to do with the music.
Was it music that saved me?
Or the way that you prayed for me?
Michael's t-room arrest in Beverly Hills in 1998 prompted his coming out as bisexual, and could easily have sunk his career and soured his legacy. But just as there was a tension in his music between the profane ("I Want Your Sex," for example) and the sacred ("Praying for Time," among others),   numerous reports have come out since his death about his philanthropy: proceeds from "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" went to the Terrence Higgins Trust,a London HIV charity; and proceeds from "Jesus to a Child" went to a Childline, a London youth support center.

People are reporting on Twitter personal instances of Michael's charity which he had wanted to keep private. He volunteered anonymously at a homeless shelter, footed the medical bill for a TV game show contestant, and set up trusts for disabled children and adults.

So you can remember his public persona as a sexy, sensual pop phenomenon; or the private individual who saw social needs and worked to address them.
'Cause either way
I thank you.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Last Christmas Sneak Peek

I had been hoping to find some topic for this week's cartoon other than North Carolina bathrooms or Donald Berzilius Trump. But this is not how I wanted things to go-go.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Night Before Christmas 1982

For Santaback Saturday this Nochebuena, I've dug up a front-page cartoon a very much younger me drew for the UW-Parkside Ranger for Christmas of 1982.

I drew it on the back of a 14"x22" student activity poster advertising a past event. The original drawing is way too large to fit on my scanner, so I've broken the cartoon up into three pieces. If you're reading this on computer, you can embiggenify the images; if you're reading this on your phone, what the focaccia! You can't read cartoons on an itty bitty phone screen!

The cartoon ended up in a cardboard art portfolio with the rest of my oversize college works, which was standing on the floor when our basement flooded a couple years ago. There's considerable water damage to this one, including highlighter ink bleeding through from the other side.

If you're too young to remember 1982, I apologize for not offering context for this cartoon. Explaining the joke would spoil what little humor there is in this parody.
I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Content Kwanzaa, Serene Solstice, or the Seasons Greetings of your choice.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Q Toon: Gonna Party Like It's 1921

I figured that enough of the weekly papers which run my cartoon are going to run "double issues" this week (meaning that they won't publish next week), that their editors will be looking for something with a year-end theme.

Donald Berzilius Trump is assembling an incredibly right-wing cabinet. Recent Democratic presidents have always felt compelled to include some Republicans in their cabinet; Barack Obama named three to his inaugural cabinet and was vilified as a ultra-liberal extremist anyway. Even George W. Bush named a token Democrat as Secretary of Transportation. There's no seat at the table in Trump's White House for anyone but Republican ideologues, tycoons and racists, however.

But since I draw for the LGBT press, I couldn't draw this cartoon without sounding the alarm for the future of marriage equality.

If you think my concern is unwarranted, consider all the efforts in Republican statehouses to legislate marriage inequality. In Arkansas, the state Supreme Court ruled that while husband and wife are both recorded as parents to a child, even if one of them is not related by blood, same-sex parents are not.

Several states have put forth so-called religious liberty laws to the effect that anyone can discriminate against same-sex couples as long as they claim religious belief as their excuse. And by anyone, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that that means any corporation: your employer can refuse family leave, your insurer can refuse to cover your spouse; your hospital can refuse to let one spouse make decisions on behalf of (or even visit) an unconscious spouse.

It's not just wedding cakes, and with no check on their power, Republicans have promised that it's about to go national.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

1916: Eggs, Dachshunds, Horses and Lions, Oh, My

I've still got a few more cartoons from my December 13, 1916 copy of The Outlook magazine, so here are some almost random cartoons from a century ago. I'll even throw in a couple other cartoons as a bonus.

Prompted by a Chicago alderman, a women's group called the Political Equality League announced a protest against the price of eggs on November 26, 1916. Unless the price were lowered from 50 cents per dozen, the PEL pledged to boycott eggs entirely.
"If James E. Wetz, the Egg King, carries out his threat," [Alderman George Pretzel told the group], "I may be in jail soon for conspiring to boycott him; but I am willing to take this chance to break the egg trust. There are about eight men in the trust, who sell to one another in order to keep the price up."
As egg prices continued to rise, others joined the fight against Mr. Egg over the next year, such as the National Housewives League and the Kansas City Restaurant Association. Prices hit a high of 65 cents per dozen before being cut in half in 1917.
"Boycotted" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, December, 1916
It may be unintentional, but the posters on the wall in Kirby's background are reminiscent of those that would be festooned all over the background of the typical Thomas Nast cartoon (especially the question "What are you going to do about it?"). The lower one refers to a Chicago Commissioner of Weights and Measures, who persuaded local theaters to display a notice on their screens reading,
"Smash the egg gamblers—Join the egg boycott. It's the man higher up—not the retailer. Practice economy in use of eggs. Buy only for aged, infirm and children. Decrease demand and watch price come down. It's up to you."
At The Outlook, the editors attribute the rise in egg prices to the seasonal fact that hens lay fewer eggs in cold weather. The editors recommend "cold storage":
"It requires only the foresight to purchase fresh eggs in the spring, when they are cheap and plentiful, and to preserve these same eggs until the following winter, when they are scarce and dear. Eggs can be preserved for a much longer time than this in crocks filled with a solution of water-glass or silicate of soda."
Nelson Harding finds a clever pun for a cartoon critical of a bill by a Rep. Fitzgerald (D-NY), Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, enacting an embargo on the exportation of foodstuffs for one year, to be enforced by the U.S. Army and Navy.
"The Dog in the Measure" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December, 1916
The aim of the bill, opposed by farmers and others in the food industry, was to drive down the cost of groceries. Harding here opines that the bill would benefit Germany by cutting off American exports to Great Britain. (England was already blockading American exports to Germany, as we've noted before.) The bill was also opposed by Rep. Adamson of Georgia, Chair of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, whom we have met previously in his bill regarding the railway workers' strike.

Let's give some attention to a few cartoonists from outside the United States, shall we? Turning a cliché back in on itself in this cartoon featuring British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Canadian cartoonist Sam Hunter is skeptical of the latest peace proposal from the Kaiser:
"Looking the Gift Horse in the Mouth" by Sam Hunter for Toronto World, December 21, 1916
So is this Parisian cartoonist, I suppose. At least I'm guessing the speaker in the cartoon is a French soldier; the Western front had been fought on French soil, not German soil. for two years and counting. Besides, the uniform seems consistent with that interpretation. If so, then the other two men must be German citizens, unless the soldier is German and the two with the plank are from a neutral country.
"Peace?" by cartoonist in Le Rire, Paris, December, 1916
What's with that P? Are they Privates from Prussia? Peaceniks from Pays Bas? Damn that French cartoonist for not putting one of those helmets with the pointy spire on top on somebody's head so we historically illiterate 21st Century Americans can tell who's who!

There's no ambiguity in this British cartoon featuring Kaiser Wilhelm and Chancellor Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg.
"The Lion that Grew" by F. Carruthers Gould in Westiminster Gazette, London, December, 1916
A full-page cartoon in the Canadian bi-weekly La Bataille offers a much less smug view of the war. As Europa grimly packs half the seed of Europe, one by one as cannon fodder, the U.S. appears as the light ("la lumiere") on the horizon. (I'm sure I don't need to remind you that Canada, as part of the United Kingdom, was already at war.)
Untitled cartoon by Phyl (LaFerrière?) in La Bataille, Montreal, December 14, 1916

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Q Toon: Throwing in the Towel

After nearly a month of resisting, North Carolina Governor Pat "Bathroom Bill" McCrory has finally conceded defeat in his reelection bid.

I was seriously considering drawing last week's cartoon about his refusal to recognize that the Tarheel State had voted to replace him with Democrat Roy Cooper, and I'm relieved that I didn't; McCrory conceded the morning after, and promptly trotted up to Trump Tower to apply for work with The Donald's administration.

It was a bright spot in an otherwise utterly crapulent election season. McCrory's defeat holds out the hope, however faint, that in spite of the GOP's best efforts to disenfranchise all but their most devoted voters, the electorate may still hold an incompetent Republican responsible at the ballot box.

As long as Vladimir Putin isn't Wikileaking the other side's emails.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Another Week, Another Sneak Peek

This week's cartoon features the hair to the throne.

Sorry. I couldn't stop myself.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Date Drawn in Infamy

Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, so naturally, I was curious to find the first editorial cartoons drawn in response.

By chance, John "Ding" Darling (1876-1962) had already drawn his cartoon for the Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 Des Moines Register about Japanese aggression in the Pacific.
"Now Why Should anyone Mistrust Japan" by John "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, December 7, 1941
This was not Darling's first cartoon raising the alarm about Japanese or German aggression. He firmly believed that the issues left unsettled after World War I were a threat to American interests. His career having spanned from before that Great War, Darling's support for the League of Nations to preserve peace, and the need for America to participate therein, ran counter to most of his fellow Republicans.

His post-attack cartoon portrayed a giant Uncle Sam cradling a dead seaman in his arms while scores of tiny islanders beseech him for protection from a rattlesnake with swastikas for scales and its rattle disguised as an olive branch.
"Please Excuse Hon. Doublecross" by Benben? in Pittsburgh Press, December 8, 1941
The rest of these cartoons were drawn immediately after the Japanese attack. I haven't been able to find anything out about the above cartoonist, whose name appears to be Benben. This may have been a syndicated feature, since I'm finding no other cartoons by him in the Pittsburgh Press; their editorial page usually featured the syndicated work of Harold Talburt, and less often, their own Ralph Reichhold (see below). Perhaps some staffer at the Press stepped in to provide a Pearl Harbor cartoon for the Monday afternoon editorial page when none other was available.
Jacob Burck was born Yankel Bochkowsky in Białystok, Poland in 1907; he came to America at age 7, his family settling in Cleveland, Ohio. His work for Communist publications such as New Masses and The Daily Worker in the 1920's and '30's didn't prevent this leftist cartoonist from a 44-year career with the Chicago Times and later the Chicago Sun-Times until 1982, although publisher Marshall Field III had to defend Burck against efforts by Sen. Joe McCarthy and the House Unamerican Activities Committee to have him deported. Other newspapers, however, by the score dropped Burck's syndicated cartoons during the Red Scare.

His cartoons won the Pulitzer in 1941 and the Sigma Delta Chi award the following year. A few months after health issues forced his retirement, Burck died from injuries sustained in a fire at his home caused by his smoking habit.
"Tiger in the East" by Jacob Burck in Chicago Times, December 8, 1941
Daniel Fitzpatrick (1891-1969) started his career at the Chicago Daily News before Joseph Pulitzer Jr. hired him in 1913 at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where "the universally acknowledged" (at least according to the State Historical Society of Missouri) Dean of Editorial Cartoonists would stay until his retirement in 1952. Pulitzer granted Fitzpatrick latitude to abstain from cartooning when he disagreed with the editorial stance of the newspaper; Fitzpatrick took leaves of absence when the Post-Dispatch endorsed Republican presidential candidates in 1936 and 1948.

Fitzpatrick won Pulitzer prizes for editorial cartooning in 1926 and 1955. He remains famous among editorial cartoon fans for his wartime cartoons depicting a gigantic swastika rolling heavily across Europe, crushing all in its path or being heroically resisted, as the occasion demanded.
"How to Save Face?" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 8, 1941
With Fitzpatrick's retirement, the Deanship passed to another cartoonist who cut his cartooning teeth at the Chicago Daily News, Herbert Block (1909-2001), best known as Herblock. Not yet having landed the plum position at the Washington Post, Herblock was in Cleveland at the start of World War II, drawing for the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

His pre-war cartoons in support of the Allies got Herblock called onto the carpet at NEA's offices in New York, where syndicate president Fred Ferguson pressured him to stop criticizing isolationists. For his part, Herblock couldn't change his views to match Ferguson's, and was frustrated at the syndicate rejecting several of his cartoons. Relations only got worse after the war began, and the syndicate, under the pretext of following Roosevelt administration calls to save paper, told him to draw smaller, square cartoons. The syndicate reversed that decision the next year, after Herblock won the first of his three Pulitzers.
"The Only Course" by Herbert Block for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., December 8, 1941
Born in Prague and emigrating to America as a child, A. Vincent Svoboda (1877-1961) was the editorial cartoonist of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1940 to 1952. Prior to that, he had drawn for the New York American, Harper's Magazine, Saturday Evening Post and movie posters. (Note: "A." is Svoboda's middle initial in most of the references I've found, but it's given as his first initial in early Brooklyn Daily Eagle articles about him.)
"United We Stand" by Vincent Svoboda in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 9, 1941
Joseph Parrish (1905-1989) followed fellow cartoonist Carey Orr from Nashville to the Chicago Tribune in 1936; along with Daniel Holland, they were dubbed "The Terrible Three From Tennessee" by publisher Robert R. McCormick. (Yes, the Trib had three editorial cartoonists at the same time!) The Tribune cartoons leading up to World War II promoted "America First" isolationism in keeping with Republican orthodoxy, but with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the newspaper and its cartoonists committed themselves fully to the war effort.
"At Your Service" by Joseph Parrish in Chicago Tribune, December 8, 1941
That's the phenomenon noted by the Pittsburgh Press's Ralph G. Reichhold (1894-1989), depicting the isolationists abandoning their America First pickets. What I've been able to find about Reichhold is that he had been drawing for the Press since at least 1936, created its long-running avian cartoon character Donnie Dingbat (originally to spice up a routine weather article) and retired in 1955. As an occasional feature, he would draw a cartoon collage illustrating selected letters to the editor.
"It's a Different Story Now" by Ralph Reichhold in Pittsburgh  Press, December 10, 1941
The Milwaukee Journal's Ross A. Lewis (1902-1977) carries forward the theme of the nationwide commitment to the war. In December of 1929, He was inspired at the New York Art Students' League by the "Ash Can School" style of Burck, William Gropper and Robert Minor. Lewis began drawing occasional local issue cartoons for the Journal, which otherwise relied on the syndicated work of "Ding" Darling. Darling's support of Herbert Hoover's reelection resulted in the pro-FDR Journal offering Lewis a regular position on the front page, which he filled until 1967. Along the way, he was awarded the Pulitzer for editorial cartooning in 1935 for a cartoon arguing that both sides shared blame for labor-management violence.
"If There's Another Job to Do, We'll Do It" by Ross Lewis in Milwaukee Journal, December 8, 1941

Friday, December 9, 2016

R.I.P. John Glenn

Space pioneer and former Senator John Glenn (D-OH) slipped the surly bonds of Earth yesterday. I had only drawn a handful of cartoons about him, mostly during his unsuccessful race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984.

On paper, he was a formidable candidate: a national hero, a popular senator from a swing state, spotless reputation — he was a major figure in a highly anticipated movie that had just come out in the fall of 1983. Sadly for him, it was not his year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Q Toon: Welcome Flaggin'

Until the Bidens move out of #1 Observatory Circle, Mike and Karen Pence are renting a home in Chevy Chase. A half dozen or so of the Vice President-elect's new, temporary neighbors there are flying rainbow flags in protest of his signing of Indiana's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" blessing discrimination against LGBT citizens as long as there's a faith-based excuse for it. His record also includes support of "conversion therapy" and opposition to just about every LGBT civil rights measure, from marriage equality to respecting gender identity to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The flags are “a respectful message showing, in my case, my disagreement with some of [Pence's] thinking,” neighbor Ilse Heintzen told the Washington D.C. ABC affiliate. “I have no idea what he will think about, but I hope he will change his mind.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cartoons of the Week

For these Saturday posts, I usually try to tie things together with some unifying theme, but this week's is a pretty thin thread. Some time ago (long enough that I've forgotten how), I came into possession of three issues of The Outlook magazine from November and December, 1916. A regular feature was their two-page "Cartoons of the Week."

To be honest, the 1910's are not generally thought of as the heyday of editorial cartooning. Thomas Nast and Johannes Keppler were gone, and while there were such well-regarded cartoonists as John Darling, Rollin Kirby, John McCutcheon. Boardman Robinson, Art Young and Robert Minor coming into their own, most ink-slingers (and grease-slingers) traded in didactic, derivative fare: hapless Common Men, imperious European royalty, harridan suffragettes, and other images that had already become cliché. (And labels, labels everywhere!)

So how did magazine editors of the day decide what the best Cartoons of the Week were?
"The Man Who Is Out in the Wet" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, November, 1916
In the three issues that I have, all the American cartoonists drew for publications in New York, where The Outlook was also published. We can suspect that inclement weather on the way to work inspired at least two New York cartoonists and at least one sympathetic magazine editor.
"Poor Shelter" by Bell in New York Evening Post, November, 1916
The Outlook editors didn't seem to mind running redundant cartoons alongside each other, such as the two above. Last week, I included a cartoon by Nelson Harding of the Kaiser whipping a Belgian farmer to force him to labor for Germany, smoke rising from the farmer's home in the background. This cartoon ran alongside it.
"For His Own Good" by Robert Carter in New York Evening Sun, November, 1916
I don't believe the editors at The Outlook were trying to show up the cartoonists; the cartoons that used the same similes they would have used in a 500-word editorial are simply the ones that appealed to them. Given two cartoons of Kaiser Wilhelm whipping a Belgian, why not use both? Drives the point home, right?

Nor do I think that American editorial cartoons of the period are any worse than my own. I'll wrap this post up with a pretty decent holiday-themed cartoon that expressed a cartoonist's feelings on the topic of child labor laws — drawn, it should be noted, for a magazine. Not a newspaper.
"Gee, I Wish I Was a Kid Again" by Calvert H. Smith (?) in Harper's Magazine, December, 1916
I'm close, but not 100% sure that I'm correctly crediting Calvert H. Smith for this cartoon. Smith's reputation is for photorealism (see samples here and here, both signed "Calvert"), whereas this cartoon strikes me as more impressionistic. Wikimedia has a pen-and-ink cartoon from Life magazine with the same "Calvert" signature (here), but credits the cartoon only to "Calvert." The same signature appears in this cartoon, in a style closer to the one above, and credited by the blogger to Calvert H. Smith.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Q Toon: The Reason

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Access Equity Rights Now."
Access Equity Rights Now  is a call to action to work together and reach the people who still lack access to comprehensive treatment, prevention, care and support services.
Access Equity Rights Now  is a call to action to strengthen the commitment to HIV research evidence-based interventions.
Access Equity Rights Now  is a call to action to all HIV stakeholders to unite and overcome injustices caused by violence and the exclusion of people on the basis of gender, class, race, nationality, age, geographic location, sexual orientation and HIV status.
Access Equity Rights Now  is a call to action to repeal laws that infringe on people’s human rights and deny communities the ability to participate in the world as equals.
Access Equity Rights Now  reminds us that all our gains will be lost if we do not continue to push forward and build a strong global movement to change the course of the epidemic.
On the positive side, 18 million people now have access to life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS, and new infections were down 58%. But reading between the lines of  Executive Director for UNAIDS Michel Sidibé's message this year, that reduction is largely because there are fewer transmissions of the disease from mother to child.
We are winning against the AIDS epidemic, but we are not seeing progress everywhere. The number of new HIV infections is not declining among adults, with young women particularly at risk of becoming infected with HIV.
We know that for girls in sub-Saharan Africa, the transition to adulthood is a particularly dangerous time. Young women are facing a triple threat: a high risk of HIV infection, low rates of HIV testing and poor adherence to HIV treatment.
Because HIV+ patients are living longer, we are also encountering the new challenges of treating HIV/AIDS  in older patients, who are at increased risk of age-related illnesses compared to the general population. The United Nations is calling for a "life-cycle approach" to meet these challenges in the years ahead.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving Leftovers

For Stuffingback Saturday today, we have Thanksgiving leftovers of a sort, with hopes that your fourth Thursday of November was a pleasant one, with plenty of inspiration for the giving of thanks.

In 1916, Thanksgiving fell on the last Thursday in November, not necessarily the fourth one; so 100 years ago today, Thanksgiving hadn't happened yet. Here's John McCutcheon's Thanksgiving Day cartoon of November 30, 1916:
"The Face at the Window" by John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune,  November 30, 1916.
The Face at the Window, of course, being war-torn Europe, where French cartoonist Abel Faivre had drawn this next pathos-laden cartoon not for the American Thanksgiving holiday, but for All Saints' Day at the beginning of the month.
"Where Must I Pray for Papa?" by Abel Faivre in l'Echo, Paris, November 1, 1916
The issue consuming the cartoonists with allied sympathies was Germany's deporting of Belgian citizens to replace German soldiers in the factories and farm fields.
"Are You Ready to Make Munitions for Germany?" by Louis Raemaekers for De Telegraaf, Amsterdam, November, 1916
Use of a whip, rather than a gun, was a leitmotif of American cartoons on the subject.
"To the Step-Fatherland" by Nelson Harding for Brooklyn Eagle, November, 1916
On the other side of the trenches, the German press played up the Allies' lack of significant progress in the war. And, true enough, the Western Front was still well West of die Vaterland.
"Shall We Soon Be on the Rhine?" unsigned for Lustige Blaetter, Berlin, November, 1916
As far as whipping up sentiment against Allied behavior toward neutral countries was concerned, however, German criticism here lacks the punch of Raemaekers's and Harding's work.
"So You Don't Like My Blacklist?" by E.N. for Meggendorfer Blaetter, Munich, November, 1916
Further south, Serbian, French and Russian forces captured Monastir (present-day Bitola, Macedonia) from Bulgaria on November 19. 130,000 allied fighters died in the fighting or from disease while Germans and Bulgarian losses numbered about 61,000. The Monastir Offensive did not prove a decisive defeat of Germany's Balkan allies, and shelling of the city continued throughout the war.
"Back Home" by Clive Weed for Philadelphia Public Ledger, November, 1916
Returning to this side of the pond, we find that Pancho Villa was still pestering the U.S. Army. I've run this cartoon before, and now that we've passed by its 100th birthday, here it is again. More leftovers.
"Breaking In Again" by Sidney Greene for New York Evening Telegram, November, 1916
That's all, folks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Q Toon: Broadway Has Its Eyes On You

This kerfuffle over the cast of Hamilton addressing Vice President-elect Mike Pence in their audience over the weekend has served to distract national attention from a number of important stories about the incoming administration. Sure, some media reported that Donald Berzilius Trump settled the lawsuit over his Trump University Scam for $25 million; and the appointment of a racist Attorney General and a fascist Chief of Staff. But since a growing percentage of Americans get their news from late-night comedians, there is a danger of those of us in the Humor Biz aiding and abetting Trump's efforts to redirect the nation's attention toward issues of his choosing.

The curtain call speech was pretty mild stuff, especially if you compare it to the organized shout-downs of any attempt to discuss the Affordable Care Act in 2009. You'd never know it from the howls of indignation from the Tweeter-in-Chief, however.

What Brandon Victor Dixon (Vice President Aaron Burr in the play) actually said was:
“You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening — Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you hear just a few more moments. Sir, we hope that you will hear us out.
“We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”
To Trump's base, this was one more case of librul ayleets lookin' down there nozes at Middla Murkan Valews — because that's a one-way speedway, ain't it? — so Trump is delighted to divert their righteous indignation in the direction of the Great White Way.

So where do I get off calling Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the IIIrd a racist, antigay bigot?
  • Testifying before the Senate as it considered Sessions's 1986 nomination for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Figures testified that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK until I found out they smoked pot." Sessions passed the comment off as a joke.
  • Concerning another allegation, Sessions testified, "I may have said something about the NAACP being un-American or Communist, but I meant no harm by it."
  • As Attorney General of Alabama, Sessions worked to deny funding to student Gay-Straight Alliances at The University of Alabama, Auburn University and The University of South Alabama, stating "an organization that professes to be comprised of homosexuals and/or lesbians may not receive state funding or use state-supported facilities to foster or promote those illegal, sexually deviate activities defined in the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws."
  • He is on the record against hate crime protections, marriage equality, and open military service by LGBT persons, calling gay rights "a threat to Western Civilization."
Well, I could be wrong about him.

He could, perhaps, be a complete misanthrope. My first cartoon about him, was back in 2009. A Filipino woman was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the "Uniting American Families Act," which would have granted the partners of same-sex binational couples the same protections different-sex couples have, when her 12-year-old son started crying over the prospect of one of his mothers being deported. Sessions reportedly muttered to his aides, "Enough with the histrionics!"

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frankie Joe Kicks the Bucket

In today's episode of Salzback Saturday, we observe the 100th anniversary of the death of Franz Josef (Francis Joseph, if you prefer the Anglicized version of his name), Emperor of Austria-Hungary, on November 21, 1916. The 86-year-old Hapsburg-Lorraine monarch, on the throne since 1848 (consider who the world leaders were in 1948 — when Queen Elizabeth was still a princess — to give yourself an idea of how long that is) had been in declining health for a few years.

Memorial cartoons today are no better today than they were back then, and perhaps they have gotten worse. I did not see any Imperial Eagle With A Single Tear, or St. Peter Cheerily Welcoming Franz At The Pearly Gates.
"Peace" by Nelson Harding for Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 22, 1916
From what I've been able to find, most American cartoonists neither praised nor castigated the Emperor. Nelson Harding (above) draws a cold irony about the Emperor finding peace after his country had launched the war then having consumed Europe for two years and counting. Bill Sykes's cartoon below looks instead to the succession of Franz Josef's grandnephew, Karl. If there was supposed to be something The Future was whispering to History, sadly, the Philadelphia Evening Ledger neglected to print it.
"Concerning the New Emperor" by Charles "Bill" Sykes for Philadelphia Evening Ledger, November 23, 1916
Of the cartoons I found, only John McCutcheon's attempted to assess the Emperor's legacy. For those unfamiliar with European history, Austria-Hungary at the start of the War was considerably larger than the two countries are today. The Empire covered the present-day Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and portions of Italy, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Wars had flared up in the Balkans shortly before World War I, and would rekindle in the early 1920s.
"Francis Joseph's Hyphenated Family..." by John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1918
To appreciate McCutcheon's cartoon, you must also consider the campaign against "Hyphenated Americans" during the presidential election, which would only intensify once the U.S. entered the War.

I wanted to include some cartoons from the belligerent nations here; The Great War: 1914-1918, The Cartoonists Vision includes one by a British cartoonist (I can't make out the signature) depicting Kaiser Wilhelm drawing back from Franz Josef's bier, musing, "Well, you did have the luck of dying in your bed. I wonder whether I shall!" The shadow of a noose appears on the wall above the Kaiser's shadow.

Compared to Great Britain, Italy and Russia were more directly engaged in fighting Austria-Hungary, so their cartoonists take a more caustic view of the Emperor. This first Italian cartoon was no doubt drawn before Franz Josef shuffled off his mortal coil, although it appeared in the United States afterward. Kaiser Wilhelm and Emperor Franz Josef are the thumb and forefinger of the hand; the other fingers are Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Sultan Mehmet V of Turkey, and Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany.
"The Black Hand of Europe" by "Egggini" for Il 420, Florence, ca. November, 1916
This Italian cartoon is probably representative of its country's response to the Emperor's death, and probably Russia's as well. (I suspect Russian cartoonists heaped even worse ignominy on the Emperor, perhaps having his corpse shredded by wild pigs. If there were such cartoons, they were too rude for American editors of the time, and I have yet to master Googling in the Cyrillic alphabet to find Russian sources.) The caption translates to "Need for Hygeine"; the cart reads "Universal Sanitation."
"Need for Hygeine" drawn for Numero, Turin, December 3, 1916.