Thursday, November 30, 2017

Q Toon: Last Man Standing

Adding Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor to the list of disgraced sexual shenanigangsters, I believe we're getting dangerously close to witnessing any more allegations just becoming so much background noise.

Either that, or unless women suddenly decide to adopt the chador or habit as everyday dress, men are going to be forced to wear thick woolen mittens at all times. And pants which sound an alarm whenever dropped below the waist.

No, I'm pretty sure this will all blow over and everything will go back to status quo ante.

You don't think so?

I caught part of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebration of David Letterman on PBS last week. Senator Al Franken had been the first presenter in the ceremony, but because of the recent accusations against him of sexually improper behavior, the telecast edited out his appearance and the part of Letterman's acceptance speech in which he paid tribute to Franken. Franken is also missing from the list on the Kennedy Center's web site of the evening's featured speakers.

I couldn't help thinking how ironic it was that Letterman was publicly humiliated by a sexual impropriety scandal of his own only eight years ago.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

School for Sex Scandal

I've been over the river and through the woods with family over the Thanksgiving holiday, so I may have missed whatever new accusations of sexual harassment or under age dating or indecent exposure have come out against whatever beloved, respected, or powerful politician, entertainer or sports figure came out Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. It's not as though I've been incommunicado with the world, but given the vast range of political opinions around our dinner table, some subjects just had to be ignored for a while.

But now that we're all back home with our Thanksgiving leftovers, Sexcapadeback Saturday reheats cartoons of selected sexual scandals that I've had the occasion to draw about. This mess didn't start with Harvey Weinstein, and it probably won't end with Charlie Rose. It goes way back, and there has often been one Usual Suspect in particular.

Because of the accusations against Alabama Inquisitor Judge Roy Moore, conservatives want to re-litigate the sexual dalliances of President Bill Clinton. His peccadilloes fall in that gray area between consensual affairs and clear and obvious sexual harassment; Monica Lewinsky was no 14-year-old, but she was a subordinate employee, and the episode displayed, more than any of Clinton's other affairs, a profound lapse of judgement on the President's part.

But if we are to re-litigate the Clinton imbroglio, it's only fair to file an amicus curiae brief about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, too. After all, unlike Bill Clinton, Justice Thomas is still regularly collecting a government paycheck.

Sexual harassment scandals are the exclusive province of no political party. But the Edwin Edwards test often determines the degree of damage to the accused: the Louisiana Democrat once boasted, "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

In 2006, Republican Congressman Mark Foley lost his reelection bid in Florida over revelations that he propositioned male pages who worked in his office.

Four years later, it was Democrat Eric Massa of New York who was compelled to resign as the House Ethics Committee investigated reports that he habitually groped male members of his staff. He admitted on Glenn Beck's Fox News program that "not only did I grope [a staffer], I tickled him until he couldn't breathe," but then he denied on Larry King's CNN program ever having groped anyone.

The revelations that House Speaker Dennis Hastert had molested student athletes when he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois came out only after he had left office. The statute of limitations had run out on those incidents; he was convicted of violating banking rules when he paid hush money to the now adult victims of his predatory behavior.

Sexual harassment typically involves an imbalance of power: adult vs. adolescent or child; employer vs. employee; faculty vs. student; celebrity vs. average citizen. Or the strong arm of the law vs. the legally vulnerable:

Many of these cartoons have involved male-on-male misdeeds because I draw cartoons for the LGBTQ press, so unless the perpetrator has a history of telling us how immoral we are, it's extremely rare that I turn my pen to heterosexual hanky-panky. In part it's also because for so long, male-to-female sexual harassment was passed off as relatively normative — even funny. (You can draw a straight line from Pepe LePew to Al Franken.)

When it comes to sexual relationships between adults and children, however, we have always reacted with more seriousness, whether we're talking about girls or boys. (Gauzy recollections of heterosexual boys coming of age in The Graduate and The Summer of '42 notwithstanding.) Prior to the Roy Moore accusations, the right-wing media played up man-on-boy pedophilia scandals because it was so easy to extrapolate sexual misbehavior victimizing under-age males with consensual and healthy relationships between adult gay men.

The LGBTQ community constantly needs to remind Republican Puritans that one thing is not always like another thing. Again and again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Q Toon: Good News/Bad News Bears

I'm throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this week's cartoon. Gosh, I hope I'm able to find something else to draw about next week.

Danica Roem received a fair amount of press when she was elected to her state legislature, not only because she is the first openly transgender person elected to such a position in this country, but also because she unseated a lead sponsor of Virginia's version of a "bathroom bill."

You might also have caught coverage of Australia's non-binding referendum on marriage equality; over the month of October, over 12 million Australians sent in their ballots by mail, with nearly 62% of respondents voting Yes.  While the 80% voter participation fell somewhat short of  regular compulsory elections, that's a rate greatly above any national election in the U.S.

Other news items may have escaped your notice unless you follow LGBTQ news closely. This past Monday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, by which time 25 transgender persons had been murdered in the U.S. in 2017. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), that sets a record.

HRC is sounding the alarm over five Trump-Pence administration judicial nominees openly hostile to LGBTQ rights, Jeff Mateer, Damien Schiff, Leonard Steven Grasz, Mark Norris, and Stephen Schwartz. I drew a cartoon about Mateer in September.

I didn't include the name of Ohio State Representative Wes Goodman, a married "up and coming conservative" who pushed anti-LGBTQ legislation by day and "exchanged salacious texts and emails with gay men he met on Capitol Hill, and sent sexually suggestive messages to young men" by night; he was forced to resign over "inappropriate behavior" with a man in his state office in Columbus.

And finally, anti-LGBTQ repression is on the rise in Turkey as the country abandons its secular government in favor of a sharia-based one. This week, the governor of the capital Ankara banned "any events such as LGBT... cinema, theater, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security." Gay pride events have been banned in Istanbul for the past two years, although homosexuality is not a crime per se.

I visited Turkey once, in 1996, and I would have liked to go back; that first visit only scratched the surface of the place. But there's no chance I would go there the way things are now.

Ah, well. We'll always have Australia.

Monday, November 20, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Where's Debbie Downer when you need your happiness punctured by somebody who can't keep a straight face?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Italian Front

Saltareback Saturday continues our tutorial on World War I. In my opinion, the War to End All Wars gets short shrift in American history lessons, considering how pivotal it was in revealing European monarchies as sclerotic and dysfunctional. The Italian campaign of that war is ignored all the moreso; but I've married into an Italian-American family and been fascinated by the history of the place during visits to the Old Country. So indulge me a little, would you?
"Clouds That Will Pass" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, November, 1917
Russia's withdrawal from the war had allowed Germany to come to Austria's aid in the Battles of Isonzo. Greatly outnumbered as a result of this turn of events, Italian forces surrendered the line at the Tagliamento River and retreated to the Piave. Austro-German forces employing chemical weapons captured the highlands of Asiago and the Brenta valley, pressing toward the Venetian plains.

As far as some Germans were concerned, this was just desserts for Italy's having deserted the Triple Alliance when war broke out in the summer of 1914 and subsequently having declared war on its erstwhile allies in May of 1915.
"Vittorio der Meineidige" by Olaf L. Gulbransson in Simplicissimus, Munich, November 20, 1917
Olav Gulbransson's cartoon of King Victor Emmanuel III fleeing buxom furies includes a notation that the cartoon is based on a work of Franz von Stuck, "Orestes Erinyes." There is no record that the royal family was ever considered to be in danger, but given the situation unfolding in Russia, Simplicissimus's cartoonists delighted in imagining the Vaterland's conquest of Rome.
"Wenn die Not Am Größten" by Erich Schilling in Simplicissimus, Munich, November 20, 1917
Allied commanders prepared for a worst-case scenario of losing everything north of the Adige. Many priceless statues, paintings and ivories, as well as the famed horses of the Basilica of San Marco, were spirited away from Venice in case that city were to fall to the Germans.
"When 'Kultur' Reaches Venice" by W.A. Rogers in New York Herald, November, 1917
Jubilant German cartoonists depicted the removal of art and artifacts somewhat differently.
"Furchtbare Panik" by Karl Arnold in Simplicissimus, November 20, 1917
Most American cartoonists accepted their role of cheerleader for the Allies, either drawing cartoons of Germany and the Kaiser as menacing evil despoilers of civilization...
"The Progress of Kultur" by Oscar Cesare in New York Evening Post, November, 1917
...or encouraging readers not to give up hope, belittling the enemy's successes.
"Maybe There's a Nail in the Boot" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, November, 1917
It is worth noting that when Italy entered the war, its army had significant numerical superiority over Austrian forces in the Alps. Italian military leadership relied, however, on strategies that were 100 years out of date. Italy's casualties in the eleven Isonzo offensives were huge yet yielded negligible results, and troops brought in to replace soldiers killed were severely under-trained. Supply lines were stretched beyond their limits, and low morale led to desertions and mutinies. The newly appointed Italian commander in 1917, General Luigi Cadorna, was widely despised by his troops, but you wouldn't know that from Allied cartoons.
"No Touchdown!" by Homer Stinson in Dayton News, November, 1917
No, American readers were more likely to see disparaging assessments of Germany's partners in the war...
"Und Only Mein Unselfishness Iss Safing You" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, October, 30 1917
...And, above and below, thanksgiving that Great Britain and France were coming to Italy's rescue.
"In the Nick of Time" by Bert Blessington in El Paso Morning Times, November 13, 1917
By the way, there is much to see and do in Venice. If you ever visit, which you ought to do before climate change puts it all under water, don't miss those gleaming bronze (well, probably mostly copper) horses at St. Mark's Basilica. The ones you can see from the Piazza di San Marco are modern replicas, but for a modest fee and a trip up a very old and worn staircase, you can look at them up close and personal. You can also see the originals, which date from antiquity, in the museum up there. Only then can you fully appreciate how much they've traveled, from ancient Greece to Constantinople to Venice to Paris and back to Venice again. And wherever they were hidden in 1917.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Q Toon: Moore-ality Play

Cartoonist and content provider Daryl Cagle coined the term "Yahtzee" for when two or more editorial cartoonists draw the same idea on the same topic. That's what happened with the cartoon I drew on Sunday night, because I've seen the same basic idea, more or less, in the meantime drawn by Steve Sack and Phil Hinds. (Sack, as ever, did the concept up best, if I do say so myself, since he's not the sort to say it himself.)

Anyway, it's too late to change my cartoon now, and besides, all the other great ideas about Alabama's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate have already been taken.

When I was at the drawing board, my chief worry was that Judge Moore would drop out or be forced out of the race between then and now.

I needn't have worried. A poll found that 37% of Alabama Evangelicals, and 29% of the electorate in general, claimed they were "more likely" to vote for Moore after the allegations against him were made public. Dinesh D'Souza, or whomever he was plagiarizing, tweeted that he used to be lukewarm about Moore, but now "we must elect him." An Alabama politician compared Moore to St. Joseph, Step-Father of Our Lord, and an Alabama pastor slammed Washington Republicans as "sissies" for withdrawing their support of Moore.

On the other hand, current polls show that Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, has come from behind and may have as much as a 12-point lead. Jones, a former U.S. Attorney during the Clinton administration who prosecuted Klan members who bombed a black church in 1963, has been careful to distance himself from national Democrats. Republicans are desperately considering delaying next month's special election, or pushing a write-in campaign for incumbent Luther Strange, whom Moore beat in the September primary.

I don't know whether Alabama is one of those states that requires a run-off election if nobody gets over 50% of the vote, but it seems likely (that being one of the tactics southern states used to safeguard against Black candidates coming out ahead if the White vote were split); that would be a possibility if Republicans split between Moore and Strange. National Republicans would prefer a Strange-Jones runoff or maybe a Strange-Moore runoff, but could be stuck with a Moore-Jones runoff prolonging their present agony.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, an evil wizard at the byzantine rules of politics, has even floated the idea of having Strange resign from the Senate before the December election, in order to force a new election. If Moore should win next month's election outright, the Senate could vote to expel him, allowing Alabama's Republican Governor to appoint a replacement. That seems a long shot with little precedent, but so did refusing to consider President Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

These are interesting times. Strange days, indeed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Environmental Stewardship: Oikos

by John Berge

Economy and ecology both stem from the Greek word for household, oikos. The former also includes the root for managing, and the latter for studying. So it should be no surprise that when we look for ecological solutions, we frequently find economical benefits.

Switching from incandescent lamps to compact fluorescents and then to LEDs (light emitting diodes) has produced financial savings as well as energy and pollution savings. One of the larger energy usages in our household was the fluorescent lamps over my tropical plants in the basement. Since they are on twelve hours per day, 365 days a year, they were a significant cost to operate, but I also had to periodically replace the burnt out bulbs or even ballasts. I recently replaced them with LEDs – no bulbs to replace for probably the next 14 or 15 years and much less electricity used.

I have also replaced the old circular fluorescents in the kitchen with some nice-looking LED fixtures and am looking forward to replacing the fluorescent lamps in the basement drop ceiling. We buy our electricity generated solely from wind power, so I am not actually reducing our carbon footprint with these changes, but I am lowering our costs and maintenance problems. (Have you ever had to change a fluorescent bulb in a basement drop ceiling, fighting cobwebs and the little mementos left by a vole or mouse that came in for the winter?)

These first paragraphs were all about our household (our oikos) but I hope that this will give you some ideas and impetus to reexamine the lighting in your household. It will not only save you money and hassle in the long run, but if you still get your electricity from a coal-burning power plant, you will reduce your household’s carbon footprint and contribution to global warming or climate change. If you want to check into a wind power source for your electricity, contact me or one of the other clients of Arcadia Power.

There are other energy saving changes for your oikos that each of us should consider to be good environmental stewards in both the economic and ecological sense. If there is considerable condensation on your windows as the weather gets colder it is time to install doubly- or triply-glazed windows that will probably be much better sealed and weathertight than those originally installed in your home. If it is too late to install them this season, you can get almost the same saving with the shrinkable plastic film that is stretched over the inside of your windows. Check for leaks around your doors and upgrade your caulking and weatherstripping as needed.

Full house insulating or re-insulating can be expensive and possibly too difficult to do in the winter, but it is economical in the long run. Attic insulation may be the most important as heat rises and can escape through the ceiling and attic. Extra layers of insulation can generally be easily added in the winter. When our house (and maybe yours) was built, eight or nine inches was fairly standard. Now double that amount is suggested or possibly required. So get up into the attic and see what is there and what must be done. Since batts of attic insulation are added from the inside, there is no reason to wait or procrastinate.

Saving energy is good environmental stewardship, saves money in the long run, and will be doing your small part in fighting global warming. Wisconsin has no fossil fuel deposits, but it does have wind and sunshine. Why should we be sending so much money out of state for coal, natural gas and fuel oil?

Monday, November 13, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

I've been trying to come up with a cartoon idea about this fellow for quite a while now.

This week's cartoon incorporates bits and pieces from the roots of several discarded cartoons; let's see if they work together at all.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Late Election Results

This week's elections in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere gave new hope to a beleaguered Democratic Party. It was much the same 25 years ago this week, when Democrats, who had seemed incapable of overcoming their electoral disadvantage in the South, Midwest and West, put an end to 12 years of Republican rule. Souljahback Saturday returns to my thrilling cartoons of yesteryear, as a nation overlooked accusations of sexual harassment to send Bill Clinton to the White House.

Here in Wisconsin, we participated in the Democratic sweep. We ousted Robert Kasten to send Russ Feingold to the Senate, and Armed Forces Committee Chair Les Aspin won decisively over first-time congressional candidate Mark Neumann. But the President-elect had other plans for Aspin...
...little realizing that two years and two elections later, the third time would be the charm for Mr. Neumann.

On his way out the door, President Bush issued a controversial pardon to Caspar Weinberger, who had been Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan and had been indicted for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal in June. Prosecutors added a new count to the indictment less than a week before Election Day, based on a diary entry that contradicted President Bush's claim of being "out of the loop" while the Iran-Contra scheme was concocted.
In December, the additional indictment against Weinberger was thrown out due to the statute of limitations having expired. Bush pardoned Weinberger and five other Reagan administration officials in time for Christmas.

On October 30, President Bush had come to my hometown to be interviewed by Larry King. I had joined a group of protesters on the presidential limousine's route to Memorial Hall, waving a sign mocking a quip Bush had made during one of the presidential debates about Bill Clinton's paper-thin experience in foreign policy.
From inside his brightly lit limousine rushing down Sixth Street at 35 miles per hour, it is extremely unlikely that President Bush was able to read any of our signs, or even to detect that we were protesting at all.

A month later, I drew these last two cartoons by way of appreciation for his handling of four years in which the world went through fundamental change seemingly overnight. I couldn't stand along the road waiting for his motorcade to drive by again, so as much as anything else, these were my apology for that Millie poster. Oh, we were (and are) still stuck with Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, but David Souter didn't turn out to be so bad.

I was particularly pleased at how this cartoon turned out visually, and it remains one of my all-time favorites.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Frankie and Donnie in the Q Cartoon

"And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything." — Donald J. Trump

The 2005 Billy Bush tape was not enough to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, but the barrage of allegations against boorish celebrities has succeeded in the premature end of another fake presidency: that of Frank Underwood on Netflix's House of Cards.

In his public statement after Anthony Rapp accused him of sexually assaulting him at a 1986 cast party, Kevin Spacey claimed not to remember the incident. He blamed the alcohol, but it appears that the incident simply didn't stand out.

Spacey, if reports are to be believed, has been using Mr. Trump's motto above as a personal modus operandi toward fellow actors, bartenders, a reporter, a military set advisor, and any other attractive male in the 14-to-29-year-old age bracket who have caught his eye, even before he achieved stardom himself. At the same time, he steadfastly refused to come out publicly as gay until that revelation was overshadowed by his being outed as a creep and pedophile.

Indeed, that "when you're a star, you can do anything" motto held true for decades. Harry Dreyfuss alleges that in 2008, Spacey repeatedly groped him in front of his father, Richard Dreyfuss. Personally, I do not know anybody, gay or straight, who would grope an 18-year-old in front of his or her parents without suffering the loss of some teeth; but in this case, Spacey was the elder Dreyfuss's boss and an idol of the younger Dreyfuss, who at the time tried desperately to keep his father from noticing what was going on. (Spacey, through his publicist, denies the incident ever took place.)

It has proven a simple matter for Netflix to kick Frank Underwood out of the White House; how the imaginary U.S. fares under Claire Underwood's presidency makes little difference to us in the real world.* With Red America having overlooked Donald Trump's crass objectification of women last year, real U.S. is stuck with him for the next three seasons.

And nobody else down the line of succession appears to be much of any improvement.

* I don't watch the show — I watched the BBC version years ago, and once through that wringer was enough — so I don't know how its First Lady overcame the constitutional barrier to being her husband's Vice President. But you can put your mind at ease that there is absolutely, positively, 100% guaranteed no way that Melania Trump will be President of the United States.

Isn't that right, Edith Wilson?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Russia's October Revolution

Samizdatback Saturday returns yet again to the year 1917 and one of the pivotal events of the 20th Century. (Have you realized that the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time this year line up neatly with the centennials of Russia's February and October revolutions?)
"Set 'Em Up Again!" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, November 10, 1917
News that the Bolshevik forces of Nikolai Lenin (commonly spelled in the U.S. at the time with an extra "e" at the end) were overthrowing Alexander Kerensky's coalition government was greeted abroad with amusement by those who fancied it a momentary development and alarm from those who foresaw it as a lasting one. To the world socialist movement, it was a welcome step on the road to global revolution.
"Was die Sozialisten Wollen" by John Lenz in Vorbote, Chicago, November 14, 1917
But as a Dr. Frank Billings assured his fellow Americans after returning from a Red Cross mission to Russia in August and September, "Those who know Russia believe that socialism cannot last. Why? Because the seat of socialism is confined to a narrow part of the country, of which Petrograd is the center. That is the seat of all of the anarchy."
"Enthroned?" by John H. Cassel in New York Evening World,  November, 1917
"The Prussian Eagle Swallows the Russian Leaders" by Robt. Satterfield in Cleveland News, November, 1917
Nearer to the situation, cartoonist L. Barski sounded the alarm in the Polish satirical magazine Mucha, at the time published in Moscow due to German occupation of Warsaw. "Wolność" is Polish for "freedom."
"The Child and the Matches" by L. Barski in Mucha, Moscow, by November 25, 1917
"With His Head in the Clouds" by William Hanny in St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, November 26, 1917
Of more immediate concern to the Entente powers was the Bolsheviks' need to consolidate their power, from which continued participation in the Great War was a great distraction. The restraints on Russia's feet in the Italian cartoon below refer to Leninists, Maximalists (a violent socialist faction), and Tsarists; the German helmet of the fellow in the rear reads "Lenin & Co." The cartoonist clearly had no clue what Lenin looked like.
"Russia Might Be Victorious, But--" by Giove "Tony" Toppi in Il 420, Florence, Italy, before November 18, 1917
Working from Moscow, Polish cartoonist L. Barski knew very well what Lenin looked like, and produced this scathing cartoon of him:
"All Russia Is At Your Knees" by L. Barski in Mucha, Moscow, November, 1917
In case you're wondering how a cartoon this critical of Vladimir Lenin could be published in Moscow, that is where the Kerensky government had retreated when the Bolsheviks took over St. Petersburg. Mucha continued publication essentially uninterrupted until World War II, although its conservative politics were presumably unwelcome once the Bolsheviks gained control of Moscow on November 12 (October 31 Old Style).

How Mucha survived, I do not know (even its Polish Wikipedia page is very cursory and makes no mention of its exile to Moscow), and I know even less about the cartoonist L. Barski. Internet sources I've found do not list him as a contributor to the magazine, and one hopes for his sake that "L. Barski" was an alias.

Kerensky still appears in charge in this Russian cartoon, occasioned by Ukrainians' attempt to take advantage of Russia's revolution to declare their independence.
"Delirious with Freedom" in Novy Satirikon, St. Petersburg/Petrograd, before November 11, 1917
The Ukrainian assembly had declared autonomy in June. By the time the country declared its independence in November, it had become a Soviet Socialist People's Republic.
"Russland" by Theodor Thomas Heine in Simplicissimus, Munich, Novembeer 13, 1917
The view from Germany was that Russia would remain beholden to American moneyed interests, and indeed the U.S. had pledged considerable funds to support the Kerensky government. The signature on the next of these German cartoons is difficult to make out through the benday dots; my best guess is that it reads "W. Geróm." Whereas American cartoonists had forsaken the character of "Brother Jonathan" in favor of "Uncle Sam" a generation earlier, the name was apparently still in use in Berlin.
"Ein Sklave Ist Sie" by W. Geróm (?) in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, before November 18, 1917 
As we've noted before, all sides of the Great War promoted the propaganda that the other side of the conflict was bound to succumb to starvation. As Dr. Billings reported,
"The food question and the question of destitution is one, perhaps, that is borne out somewhat by fact. In our investigation of the food supply, we found that the grain crop of 1917, together with the surplus of other years, is quite sufficient to sustain the people until another crop shall have been grown. There were more cattle in Russia today, more sheep and more swine, than there were in 1914. There is food enough in Russia, but the fault lies in its distribution." 
It was true that Russia's railways were not up to the task of getting food from the peasant farms to the rapidly growing urban centers even before the war began. The war only exacerbated the problem; the railroads were no better at getting food (or any other supplies) to the troops, leading many soldiers to desert, defect, or mutiny.
"Der Hunger in Russland" by Wilhelm Schulz in Simplicissimus, Munich, November 27, 1917
Sympathetic to German interests, the Swiss satirical magazine Nebelspalter was encouraged by the Russian people's war-weariness. Surely enough, the Bolshevik government would sign a separate peace with the Central Powers in March.
"In the Cafe of Nations" in Nebelspalter, Zurich, before November 11, 1917

Friday, November 3, 2017

Hi Y'All, Lawrence County

The cartoon I published a couple weeks ago of Cthulhu drowning his sorrows in a beer appears to have caught on — at least moreso than most of my work. I had a request from the Independent Voter Network to use it, which I referred to my distributor at Q Syndicate since it was a current cartoon (and it did show up at on Hallowe'en).

It showed up on my Facebook feed, as an October 26 post from someone unfamiliar to me that had subsequently been shared by someone on my friends list — and, as it turns out, by at least 2,975 other people.

That's a couple thousand more friends than I have, and it prompted me to do a quick Google search. I found the cartoon in the usual places: my own site, the AAEC page, subscribing publications, political message boards and such.

And one surprise: The Times Dispatch of Lawrence County, Arkansas.
Screen grab from yesterday.
Lawrence County is in the northeast corner of the Toothpick State, with a population of about 17,000. It is home to Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, a town whose official web page boasts that "Residents can enjoy the rural charm of a farming community with its winding roads and fields farmed for generations." County residents voted 72% to 22% for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton last year.

In short, not the typical publication to carry a gay left-wing cartoonist from Wisconsin.

But then, this cartoon wasn't skewering any particular politician by name, so I haven't had a flood of messages about how I'm a biased librul godless pervert heathen headed straight for aitch-ee-double-Toothpick State.

Some people do pick up on my original intent, though. Some guy objected to the cartoon on the Independent Voter Network's Facebook page, complaining, "Where were these cartoons when the Muslim Obama was in office! Independent??? Just a closet democrat!" So there's still time for the good citizens of Lawrence County to get their dander up.