Saturday, February 2, 2019

February Festivities

So you have a cartoon due for February 2 and you've got no ideas and there's nothing in the news to inspire you and your bristol board is as white and pristine as the newfallen snow. So you look at the calendar and see, Oh, Goody! February 2 is Presentation of Our Lord! I'm saved!

No, of course it's Ground Hog Day, that wonderful festival when we all suddenly care what the weather is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for some reason (and how to spell it). I live in Wisconsin, where we're in for six more weeks of winter at the very least whether some overgrown rat sees its shadow or has the sense to stay in its burrow.

What's the ground hog got to do with it, anyway? Those Punxsutawney bastards don't have to drag the critter out of its box to figure out whether it's sunny or overcast.

But it's a holiday, even if it's rather one-dimensional, and you can always drag some inspiration for a hackneyed cartoon from it. Sadly, unlike Christmas, there's only one movie about Notorious GHD, and we've all drawn some version of this cartoon.
So perhaps you shouldn't discount Presentation of Our Lord Day so quickly. In Mexico, it's Candelaria, and time to take the yuletide decorations down. They celebrate forty days of Christmas, which is why having a live evergreen in the house and singing that partridge in a pear tree song have never caught on there.

Fortunately, February is chock full of holidays, unlike, say, August. With Valentines Day on the fourteenth, you have the quadrennial cartoons of presidential aspirants wooing the heart of the Republican elephant or Democratic donkey.

Or, if your governor's name is Tommy Thompson, you can pursue another Valentines Day theme.
Did you know that the Jewish equivalent of Valentines Day is Tu B'Av in August? Save that factoid for those late summer news doldrums!

Returning to February: Presidents' Day will come just in time so that the renewal of Trump's government shut-down can start on a day when the government was going to shut down anyway.
Just so you readers from around the world know, we don't celebrate all the presidents on Presidents' Day. Most Americans wouldn't know James Polk from Calvin Coolidge, and we'd be at each others' throats if someone tried to make the day about any president since JFK.
No, the day is all about Honest Abe Lincoln and Even More Honest George Washington, either of whom supplies our cartoonists with a smörgåsbord of clichés.


Finally, I'm not forgetting the most important February holiday of all: Superbowl Big Game Sunday. (Until I cough up the dough to be named Official Cartoonist of the NFL, I gotta be careful about infringement of that trademark.)
The story behind this cartoon is that when I was drawing for The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, editors Gary Miller, Mark Kass, or Steve Jagler would email me the topic (and usually the entire copy) of the coming issue's editorial so that I could draw a cartoon to accompany it. But this particular week, and they emailed me that the editorial board hadn't decided what the editorial should say; for a change, they were giving me carte blanche to draw about whatever I wanted (but taking into consideration that the Beej readership was very different from my audience at the UW-Milwaukee Post).

With the Green Bay Packers heading for The Big Game, however, there was precious little else being covered by Wisconsin news media. Packers cheerleading was the only memorable part of Tommy Thompson's State of the State message, fercryinoutloud.

I don't remember the editorial having been about managed stock funds, either.

Well, that's all for this edition of Sciuridaeback Saturday. It's time to take down the Christmas tree. We can't leave it up until Mardi Gras like we did last year.

Mardi Gras isn't until March.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget next year is a Leap Year! Happy February.

    ReplyDelete