Thursday, June 30, 2016

Q Toon: What a Friend We Have

After accepting the congratulations of his minions and toadies following the mass murder in Orlando, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Berzilius Trump tweeted:
"Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people who will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."
Campaigning in Atlanta, Trump appealed not only to the LGBT community, but the communities of gays and lesbians as well:
"The LGBT community, the gay community, the lesbian community — they are so much in favor of what I've been saying over the last three or four days. Ask the gays what they think and what they do, in, not only Saudi Arabia, but many of these countries, and then you tell me — who's your friend, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?"
The Twitterverse responded with the hashtag #AskTheGays, in which it seems pretty obvious that Trump hadn't Asked The Gays before speaking on our behalf.

The next week, The Donald held a closed-door meeting with right-wing evangelical Christian leaders and announced the formation of a "Religious Advisory Board" including vocally antigay luminaries such as former Focus on the Family president Dr. James Dobson, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., Bishop Harry Jackson, First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress, and Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed.

We're still waiting for the formation of an LGBT Advisory Board for whenever Trump decides to #AskTheGays.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You Brexit, You Buys It

As cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek

We've got The Donald living bigly in the works. Be sure to tune in laterly this week!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

100 Years Ago: War with Mexico

100 years ago this week, the Wilson administration's election slogan that "He Kept Us Out of War" was in trouble. You may recall an Australian cartoon that ran here a couple Salsaback Saturdays ago anticipating imminent war between the U.S. and Mexico.

You can always click to embiggen these images, but only so far; so here's a close-up of the above Naughton cartoon:
C.F. Naughton for Duluth Herald, June 24, 1916
The first thing to establish when going to war is that your adversary has no business being in charge of itself. Racism (witness any vocal Trump supporter) is an early tactic:
July, 1916 Cartoons Magazine cover after a cartoon by Nelson Harding in The Brooklyn Eagle
Virtually all the U.S. cartoonists I saw published predicted an easy thrashing for that upstart south of the border. The first Mexican-American War was more or less of a cakewalk, and was a distant memory (as distant as World War II today, but without the movies). The Spanish-American War was fresher in memory, and how much more difficult could the Mexicans be than Spain had been?
May for Cleveland Leader
Luther Bradley for Chicago Daily News
C.F. Naughton for Duluth Herald, June 26, 1916. (Unsigned, again!)
There was at least one editorial cartoonist, however, who seems to have suggested that the "Punitive Expedition" hadn't been such a piece of cake so far.
Charles H. "Bill" Sykes for Philadelphia Evening Ledger

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Q Toon: Danse Macabre

On the evening after the Orlando massacre at Pulse, Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California told his congregation:
"Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um, no, I think that's great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight. ... There’s no tragedy,...I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.” 
After a terrorist attack, you expect the nut jobs at the Westboro Baptist Church to crawl out of their cesspool to insult the victims. When the victims are LGB or T, the Westboro cult has its share of company among so-called Christians.
"The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves.” -- Pat Robertson, 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network
"The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of, just, disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay? Obviously, it’s not right for somebody to just, you know, shoot up the place, because that’s not going through the proper channels. But these people all should have been killed, anyway, but they should have been killed through the proper channels, as in they should have been executed by a righteous government that would have tried them, convicted them, and saw them executed." -- Pastor Steven Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Arizona
“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now. And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.” Pastor Donnie Romero, Stedfast Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas
Meanwhile, in Buford, Georgia, someone decided to spray paint over a hate message against gays and transgender persons that had been out front of The Back to the Bible Holiness Church for weeks before the massacre. Pastor Bobby Weeks bizarrely claimed that "I haven’t cursed anyone. I haven’t called anyone a name" with his sign which read "God created man and woman. Satan created gays and transgender." He further claimed that everyone is "welcome" in his church.

I suspect that the vandals possessed the same degree of restraint, love, and charity as Mr. Weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

So You Want to Be a Cartoonist

It's been a long, emotionally draining week. Personally, we here at Sketchback Saturday think it's time to lighten up a bit, if only for a moment.

Putting together some of these collections of 100-year-old cartoons, I've lately been scouring Cartoons Magazine from the era, enjoying the cartooning advertisement section. I wouldn't want to say anything disparaging about the K. Rickett Practical Cartoon Lessons, but I'm afraid that neither James Jordon nor Fitzgerald Nassue made a lasting name for themselves in the world of cartooning as far as I can tell.

For only a fifth of the cost of K. Rickett's Practical Cartoon Lessons, one could just purchase some cartoon ideas from the MacKay Studio in Philadelphia. Astound one's audience by turning a four-leaf clover into a bobbed hair-do, or a music stand into a rear-view of an elephant taking a bath!

The reader would be advised to act fast; there was not to be much of a future in vaudeville cartooning.

Kind of like newspaper cartooning today.

The future, we cartoonists are told, is in animation. Editorial cartoonists Ann Telnaes and Mark Fiore have moved all but exclusively from print to animation, for example; but W.L. Evans was way ahead of them.

Oh, to have lived in the days when there was a Big Demand for Comic Artists. If animation wasn't your thing, the Landon Course of Cartooning promised that Comic Series Drawing was A Growing Field:

Appearing in the lower left corner of the Landon ad, "Freckles and His Friends" was still running in the local newspaper when I grew up, although the Freckles I knew was completely different from the kid in the 1921 advertisement. He was a teenager, for one thing, nearly indistinguishable from Archie.

Freckles started out as a seven- or eight-year-old kid, and at first, cartoonist Merrill Blosser let his title character grow up; in the 1930's, Freckles was a star of his high school football team. But at that point, Freckles stopped aging; so in the 1950's, Freckles (seen here in the black sweater) was still hanging around the Shadyside malt shop:
Merrill Blosser: "Freckles and His Pals," May 19, 1954
After Merrill Blosser retired from cartooning in 1966, Henry Formhals, Blosser's assistant since 1935, continued the strip for another five years. Freckles never grew his hair long, smoked pot, or protested the war. Given his advanced years, he must have had a deferment of some sort.

But I digress. Returning to the topic at hand, here's a cartoon by a cartoonist not trying to sell aspiring cartoonists on the opportunities of cartooning a century ago:
Jim Navoni for Cartoons Magazine, June, 1916

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Q Toon: The Grim Sower

Today's cartoon uses a very peripheral sidebar to the Orlando massacre to comment on an aspect that isn't at all peripheral. But to begin with, the antiLGBT Lieutenant Governor of Texas tweeted the text of Galatians 6:7 on Sunday morning after the Orlando nightclub massacre. He deleted the tweet later that day, explaining that he didn't mean to say what it seemed to say about the terrorist victims.

If the gun-lovers in this country refuse to connect the dots between easy access to weapons of mass murder and mass murder itself, terrorists are more than happy to connect those dots.

I've seen plenty of arguments that the real issue is not assault weapons, and Republicans immediately looked for other ways to frame the issue. Donald Trump wasted no time congratulating himself for having called for quarantining the nation indefinitely (yeah, right: "until we figure out what's going on"). And Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's sorry excuse for a Senior Senator was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN this week:
“The AR-15 that was used in this terror attack, killing 49 people, you wouldn’t describe that as an assault weapon?” Blitzer asked. “You’re differentiating between that and a fully automatic assault weapon? Because that weapon certainly did kill a lot of people.”
“So do bombs,” Johnson replied. “So there are other ways that terrorists can slaughter people. It’s their ideology. Their ideology calls for the slaughter of innocents. That’s the root cause. It’s not law-abiding gun owners that are the problem here, it’s Islamic terrorists.”
Republicans have decided that real problem is that President Obama refuses to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism." But even if saying "radical Islamic terrorism" somehow had a Rumpelstiltskin effect against those who inspired the slaughter in San Bernardino and Orlando, we'd still have the radical Christian terrorists who inspired the slaughter in Charleston and Oak Creek. And all the radical gun-worshiping terrorists from Littleton to Sandy Hook in order categorical.

There is a meme going around which attempts to counter the NRA argument that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" with a photograph pointing out all the armed "good guys" around President Ronald Reagan just before he was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. It somewhat misses the point in that Hinckley was indeed stopped by some of those good guys — after he had wounded four people, yes, but he did get stopped.

Hinckley was armed with a .22 caliber Röhm RG-14, and only hit Reagan at all because one of his six bullets ricocheted. Had he been able to get his hands on a a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle, or any of the other assault weapons made readily available to "bad guys" since 2004, Ronald Reagan's presidency would have been a historical footnote tucked between those of William Henry Harrison and James Abram Garfield, and there would probably be a monument somewhere in memory of many "good guys," photographers, and by-standers who were in front of the Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek

I drew two cartoons on Sunday, both in response to the massacre in Orlando that morning. The one I'll post in a couple days was first, about an issue secondary to the tragedy. I figured that by the time my cartoon appeared in print late in the week, all the shock and sympathy cartoons and memes would have been well circulated.

As I drew it, it occurred to me that for the Florida papers that run my cartoons — the last time I had checked, Watermark in Orlando had been one of them — it was too soon to move on to secondary issues. I stayed up a little later to draw the cartoon I posted here yesterday.

I asked my editors at Q Syndicate to offer both cartoons for publication this week, and Susan agreed.

If you live in one of the markets where my cartoons appear in print, you will be able to tell how quickly the editors where you live moved from grief to anger.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Q Toon: Orlando

I've asked my syndicate to release two cartoons this week. This is the more immediate of the two.

A sick, twisted, perverted excuse for a human being opened fire in the crowd at Latino Night at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, at last call, and held the people who couldn't get away hostage for three hours before being shot and killed by police.

Edward Sotomayor, Jr., 34, was one of about 50 people killed in the terrorist attack. His employer at an LGBT travel agency, Al Ferguson, told the Orlando Sentinel that Sotomayor was a bright young man who loved to travel:
Sotomayor was keenly aware of the dangers facing gay travelers, and of prior incidents of mass violence like the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, Ferguson said.
But he never let fear stop his adventures.
"What I will say, over and over again, was he was a person who said, 'We cannot be afraid,'" said Ferguson. "I know his friends are going to be the exact same way… we are not going to be afraid."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

100 Years Ago: The Democratic Convention

Scrollback Saturday continues yesterday's review of cartoons about the 1916 political conventions. Let's start with one by Sidney Smith ("Old Doc Yak," "The Gumps") on the news pages of the Chicago Tribune.
Sidney Smith for Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1916
100 years ago today, the Republicans had wrapped up their convention in Chicago, and the Democrats were gathering for theirs at the Coliseum in St. Louis.
Robert Carter in New York Evening Sun, June, 1916
Incumbent President Woodrow Wilson and Veep Thomas Marshall were unopposed for the Democratic nomination, so there wasn't any of the drama of the previous week.
C.F. Naughton for Duluth Evening Herald, June 14, 1916
Other than the occasional speaker going too far in promising four more years of peace and prosperity, there was nothing for Republican cartoonists to remark upon except everything they already disliked about the President's policies.
Robert Carter for New York Evening Sun, June, 1916
If the cartoonist (or his publisher) liked Wilson, you picked up your newspaper to find this sort of hagiolatry on the front page:
Luther Bradley in Chicago Daily News, June, 1916
Or this:
C.F. Naughton for Duluth Evening Herald, June 14, 1916
Should we read anything into Naughton's cartoon that he left plenty of room to sign his cartoon, but didn't?

In those days, several newspapers would have cartoons, some topical, featured on various pages besides the front and editorial pages. Sidney Smith's cartoon at the top of this post is one example; here's another by Frank King ("Bobby Make-Believe," "Gasoline Alley"):
Frank King for Chicago Tribune, June 12, 1916
Taking a less partisan approach in the Sunday funnies, A.E. Hayward's Colonel Corn, having gotten nowhere with the Republicans, tried to impress delegates to the Democratic convention.
"Colonel Corn" by A.E. Hayward in the New York Herald, June 11, 1916.

Friday, June 10, 2016

100 Years Ago: The Republican Convention

Jay N. "Ding" Darling, in Des Moines Register and Leader, April/May (?), 1916
I usually save these retrospectives for Saturdays, but there are enough cartoons this time to warrant making two posts out of it. 100 years ago this week, the Republicans met at the Colosseum in Chicago to nominate their candidate for President of the United States.
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 7, 1916
It's important to note that a century ago, presidential nominations were decided at the party conventions, not by the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. There were state party caucuses, of course, and newfangled primary elections, but you didn't have a "presumptive nominee" coasting into the convention unless he were the incumbent president. The candidate who arrived at the convention having won the most primaries (five) with the most votes was Iowa Senator Albert B. Cummins; but he came in fifth on the first and second ballots, released his delegates on the third, and that's why you have never heard of him. (I think he may be the fellow in the sousaphone in Ding's cartoon atop this post.)
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 8, 1916
Theodore Roosevelt was a personal friend of cartoonist John T. McCutcheon, and as we've seen, he and the Tribune publishers were Ready for Teddy in 1916. The Republican Old Guard, however, were determined not to accept the progressive Roosevelt as their standard bearer.

The Progressive Party (distinct from progressives in the Republican Party) renominated Roosevelt at its convention, also in Chicago, even though the former president had turned his back on that party as soon as the 1912 campaign was over. Roosevelt nevertheless sent conventioneers at the Colosseum a note threatening to run as a Bull Moose a second time if the Republicans nominated Charles Evans Hughes...
Billy Ireland for the Columbus Dispatch, June, 1916
...but once the Republicans nominated Hughes anyway, Roosevelt ended up telling the Progressive Party that he would support the Supreme Court Justice.

I see no "entHughesiasm" in McCutcheon's convention week cartoons for the Republican nominee. It appears to me that McCutcheon was more impressed with the keynote speech of the man who would be the Republican nominee four years later. Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding appears in consecutive McCutcheon cartoons on Thursday and Friday.
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 9, 1916
Instead of the usual McCutcheon cartoon, the front page of the Sunday Tribune carries a picture of Hughes so huge that the headline reporting his nomination is only one column wide. (The Saturday Trib did sport a banner headline anticipating the Hughes nomination, but there was no McCutcheon cartoon that day.)

Meanwhile, at the New York Herald, a full page editorial cartoon by W.A. Rogers was an established feature of the Sunday newspaper:
William A. Rogers for New York Herald, June 11, 1916
Rogers's cartoon appears to be a full-throated endorsement of the Republican nominee, but if you look carefully, you'll see that he was warning the country that a victory for Hughes would be a victory for the Daleks.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Q Toon: Nothing Pearsonal

Nope, no bathrooms this week:

Trey Pearson, lead singer of the Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, came out to his fans as gay in a letter to his fans and an interview in the Columbus, Ohio, culture magazine (614) last week.

In an effort to suppress his homosexuality, Pearson married and fathered two children. His coming out is without a doubt going to be rough on his family. The record suggests it will also be hard on his career.
Ray Boltz, whose songs were staples in evangelical churches throughout the 1990s, came out as gay in 2004. Grammy-nominated Anthony Williams  became the first openly gay gospel artist in 2009. Jennifer Knapp, another Grammy-nominated Christian artist, acknowledged that she was a lesbian one year later. And in 2014, popular worship music artist Vicky Beeching told The Independent that she too was a lesbian.
These musicians paid a hefty price. Since Christian music fans tend to be conservative and believe that homosexual acts are sinful, you won’t hear these artists’ music played in most churches or on Christian radio these days.
If continuing under the weight of living a lie were a tolerable thing, going through the pain in one's family and professional life would hardly seem worthwhile. To understand why anyone would turn his/her life upside-down to get out from underneath that weight, here is how Pearson put it in another interview:
One thing [author and former pastor Rob Bell] told me was, “Just remember, the truth is the safest place in the universe.” And that’s definitely been my mentality in being to get through this whole thing and in the way that I want to represent it publicly.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Week's Sneak Peek

In this week's cartoon, we're gonna have words.

Lots of words. Big words. And by big words, I mean they're gonna be yuge. These are gonna be the biggest, best words you've ever seen, believe me. I can't tell you what those words are gonna be, but I guarantee you that everybody's gonna love them. Nobody puts out better words.


Monday, June 6, 2016

D-Day, 72 years on

Omaha Beach, viewed from the water's edge, minus the enemy fire from above.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Um Yah Yah

The reunion committee for my alma mater requested a drawing for this week's reunion booklet. I couldn't make the reunion myself, so you'll have to indulge me this Semesterback Saturday as I wallow in a bunch of personal nostalgia.

I had fun thinking up things to put together to make this drawing, although I did have to start all over once I recalled that while Kodak "110" cameras were yielding rectangular pictures since 1972, square photos were still quite common.
I tried to come up with things that might spark memories (while most of us still have them), so I included a "caf card" for a student with an implausibly Norwegian name. The Lion's Pause was a student-run coffee shop in the basement of Ytterboe Hall where student musicians would perform; students produced LP records of those groups in 1980 and 1981. Ytterboe Hall is gone now, in spite of student protests to "Keep Ytt Up," but there is a new Lion's Pause in Buntrock Commons.

There was the football game covered by ABC television, whose producers expected a marching band to perform during halftime. We didn't have a marching band per se, but St. Olaf is a musical school, so it wasn't difficult to pull one together. It even had a cellist.

A streaker ran through our graduation ceremony; the shorts we wore back then were almost as immodest. The "New Dorm" opened for residence in time for our senior year; it was later named for Sidney Rand, President of the College during our freshman through junior years. President Carter named Rand as Ambassador to Norway in 1980, sending Vice President Mondale to our campus to swear him in.

Back in my salad days, I cartooned for the campus newspaper, the Manitou Messenger. I've got one cartoon that shows a little bit of campus geography:

And one that betrays the fact that I had been in the utility tunnels underneath the campus, which was and presumably still is a no-no.

My freshman year cartoons tended to be pretty non-topical, but by my sophomore year, campus administrators began showing up in my cartoons fairly regularly, as well as a reincarnation of Rollin Kirby's prohibition-era "Mr. Dry" to represent the college alcohol policy. This one riffs on the limestone architecture of every 20th Century building on campus:

(Some older buildings, such as the women's gymnasium  converted to being the Speech-Theatre building before our freshman year but still smelling of chlorine  were painted gray to more closely resemble the limestone ones.)

And finally, a cartoon one of my Resident Assistants freshman year asked me to draw to cajole students selected to participate in a psych survey he and a classmate were doing. Mark (on the right) wanted the Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum motif, even though his partner didn't exactly have a roundish face. The dialogue is also theirs.
I have no word how their career trajectory has been, or how famous their psych study became, in the decades since.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Q Toon: Stall Tactics

Most of the media covering Donald Berzilius Trump have been focusing this week on the donations he promised to veterans' charities, and his petulant response to being questioned about it. (I suspect that voters don't care how Trump treats the media quite as much as the media do.)

The Donald was more comfortable answering questions on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, even when the topic of transgender people and their bathroom needs arose.

The actual exchange:
KIMMEL: “You said, and I thought this was very interesting, you believe that transgendered people should be able to use whatever bathroom they want to which is contrary to what a lot of people, most people, in your party believe. Why do you think people have focused on that?”
TRUMP: “What really I’m saying is—and I think it’s pretty simple—let the states decide. And you know, we have to protect everybody. It’s a very, very small group. Right now, it’s a very small group.”
KIMMEL: “Would you say though, if you were voting personally or a member of New York State, you would vote for that right?”
TRUMP: “Well, the party generally believes that whatever you’re born, that’s the bathroom you use.”
KIMMEL: “Well, what about you?”
TRUMP: “Me? I say let the states decide.”
KIMMEL: “Would you personally support it? I think you do.”
TRUMP: “Would I support—no, what I support is let the states decide and I think the states will do hopefully the right thing.”
KIMMEL: “And what’s the right thing?”
TRUMP: “I don’t know yet. I mean, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know.
That's really being unafraid to tell it like it is.

One thing that concerns me is Trump's comment that "It's a very, very small group. Right now, it's a very small group." He leaves open the possibility that this "very small group" might not be such a small group later on; and if we've learned anything about The Donald, it's that if you give him enough time to come up with an outrageous solution to a perceived threat, he will.