Saturday, May 30, 2020


Sivasback Saturday this week marks the 100th anniversary of when the United States didn't occupy Turkey.
William Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, ca. Oct./Nov., 1918
The chief Entente forces battling the Ottoman Empire in World War I were Russia and Great Britain; but since the Bolsheviks took over Russia and pulled out of the war a year before Armistice Day, it was the British and their ANZAC forces who defeated the Turkish army.
"While the Going's Good" by Clifford Berryman in Washington (D.C.) Everning Star, October 10, 1918
When the war was over and the allies divvied up the spoils, the British took Ottoman territories in Palestine and the Arabian Gulf (and see how smoothly that worked out?), and the French claimed Syria and Lebanon. Had Russia seen the war through to the end, Armenia and other portions of modern-day Turkey would probably have fallen to St. Petersburg. But since Russia had bugged out early — and given the major powers' fear of the spread of communism — British Prime Minister David Lloyd George proposed that Turkey be made a "mandate territory" of the United States.
"This Old Bird..." by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, February 1, 1919
In mandate territories, as created under the Article 22 of the League of Nations' Covenant, governing power was transferred from whatever their Central Power ruler had been to one of the victorious Entente nations. The theory was that their peoples weren't able to rule themselves just then, but would be guided by their mandatory power toward self-rule in the future — as distinct from colonies, to which there was no promise of future independence.
"Uncle Sam, Please Take the Lady Under Your Protection" by Johan Braakensiek in De Amsterdamer, probably in late 1919
The League had no authority to assign any mandate to a non-member country such as the United States. Lloyd George argued, however, that somebody would have to take care of the place, and preferably not the Sultan.
A map of Armenia in the May 8-15, 1920 edition of The Independent surely stretches things a bit.
A major sore point of the Turkish question was the status of Armenia. The 12th of Wilson's 14 Points suggested that Armenia and other ethnic minorities of the Ottoman Empire might someday gain independence:
"The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development..."
"Prohibition's Greatest Martyr" by Leo Thiele in Sioux City Tribune, ca. July, 1919
The Armenian genocide was well known outside the Ottoman Empire, although the word "genocide" wouldn't be coined until 1943. The Ottoman government had long viewed its second-class Christian citizens as a fifth column responsible, if only by their mere existence offending Allah, for the country's losses in war dating back to the 19th Century.
"Crated in Constantinople" by Ralph O. Yardley in San Francisco Chronicle, June/July, 1920

"He'll Be Leaving As Soon As That Fuse Burns" by Hubert Harper in Birmingham Age-Herald, by May 9, 1920
After a disastrous defeat in battle by Russia in Russian Armenia early in World War I, the Ottoman government's tacit approval of massacres of Armenians escalated into an active, official policy of arrests, deportations, death marches, and executions. Depending whom you believe, 600,000 to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered between 1914 and 1918.
"Armenia" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1920
As horrified as American and European governments (including Germany and Austria-Hungary) were by the Armenian genocide, and fully aware that it would continue as soon as Turkey was left to its own devices, none of the Entente victors were keen to remain involved in the Caucasus.
"Armenia, the Wall Flower," by Johan Braakensiek (?) in De Amsterdamer, ca. early 1920
After all, unlike the British and French mandate territories, Armenia had no oil, no Mediterranean vacation spots, and no sites precious to Western Christianity. The strongest argument to be made was that somebody had to keep Bolshevism from spreading southward.
"The Armenian Mandate" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1920
So on May 24, 1920, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for the authority to administer the
 Armenian mandate. Given the Chicago Tribune's stiff isolationist stance, John McCutcheon's cartoon seems surprisingly open to the idea.
"Who! Me?" by Albert T. Reid in The National Republican, May, 1920
"Can He Give It a Home?" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, June, 1920
The cartoons here by Albert Reid and William Morris were more typical of U.S. Republican-affiliated cartoonists and columnists.

"Go Away" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, June, 1920
Between isolationist Republicans and anti-imperialist Bryanist Democrats, Americans were increasingly disinterested in foreign entanglements. To nobody's surprise, the G.O.P. majority in the Senate rejected Wilson's request on June 1, 1920, joined by thirteen Democrats.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Q Toon: Hallelujah Virus

At his press conference on May 22, Donald Berzelius Trump declared, "I’m identifying houses of worship—churches, synagogues and mosques—as essential places that provide essential services," and threatened to — somehow — "override" any governor who refused to exempt houses of worship from stay-at-home measures.

Every congregation I know of has discussed having parishioners space each family six feet apart from the other families when their church reopens, which sounds fine in theory. In practice, somebody is going to have to give up the pew their family has sat in since 1925. Someone is bound to leave in a huff.

Neither Lutheran church where I work plans to return to in-person worship services for at least a month, and are still discussing what worship will look like whenever we do. A suggestion at one is to limit attendance by having families take turns which weeks they come in to worship, and having people carry their own hymnals back and forth from church to home. The other expects to avoid congregational singing altogether, among other changes.

Local churches that have reopened include more conservative Missouri and Wisconsin synod Lutheran congregations; fundamentalist, charismatic, and independent denominations have also been eager to bring their congregations back together. It will be a few weeks before we learn how successfully they all manage to safeguard their members' health.

I suspect that the crowds jostling each other in the Lake of the Ozarks pool over the weekend and the party animals crowding the bars in Wisconsin  — QED —  are more at risk than congregations that avoid singing, sharing communion, having coffee hour, laying on of hands, passing the peace, passing the plate — oh, that's going to hurt! But few congregations are likely to settle for just a psalm, a sermon, and skedaddle every Sunday, so the omens aren't promising.

Two California churches that defied state and local health guidelines to hold special Mothers' Day worship services appear two weeks later to be linked to spikes in COVID-19 cases in their respective counties. Assembly of God in Redwood Valley has seen nine cases among parishioners who attended its May 10 service. Local authorities in Butte County are hesitant to blame their spike in the virus to the Palermo Bible Family Church service attended by over 180 persons, but
"We are seeing a pretty dramatic increase in cases," Dr. Andy Miller, the county public health officer, said Friday. "We thought we would see an uptick in cases when we started to open up, but in the last two days, we have seen seven new cases in Oroville alone."

HBO's Avenue Five is a satire set a decade or so in the future, about a luxury tourist spaceship that gets knocked a little off course. (Stay with me here; I'm coming back to my main topic shortly.) As a result, the ship may take years to get everybody back home, and the passengers are upset. It then turns out that the captain and crew are merely actors employed for show, and eventually several passengers become convinced that the whole cruise is a fake and that they're not in outer space at all.

A bunch of them rush the airlock and out into space where they are instantly freeze dried, in full view of the rest of the passengers. A dozen or so passengers remain unconvinced that leaving the ship is fatal; they, too, rush the airlock and become desiccated ice sculptures floating in space.

When I saw that episode, I thought, well, that's absolutely ridiculous. Nobody is that stupid. It couldn't possibly happen.

Now that we've seen how many hard-core covidiots we have in this country, I know that it definitely would.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

This Week's Sneak Peek

Mike Peterson at Daily Cartoonist gives a round-up of some of the responses to the Steve Brodner challenge. (I'm honored to make his cut, as well as a link yesterday to Saturday's post!)

I have no idea whether Brodner's challenge was inspired by somebody's mash-up of the New York Times front page and a Michael de Adder cartoon, or perhaps just by seeing the Times on the newsstand next to that day's Daily News.
Perhaps it was this JustVent fellow who saw the two papers on the newsstand or the Newseum front page gallery or whatever and came up with the original mash-up. Who knows?

Anyway, a number of cartoonists didn't simply go for the laff as I did, and Mike's post at the Daily Cartoonist is well worth checking out.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Accepting the Steve Brodner Challenge

There's a chance that you may see a lot of cartoonists posting cartoons just like this one this weekend.

This time, it's not yahtzee, what we call it when a bunch of cartoonists just happen to draw the same idea. This time, it's on purpose.
Trump did go golfing this Memorial Day weekend, after ordering flags to be flown at half staff in honor of the victims of the novel coronavirus.

And on Sunday, the New York Times devoted the entire front page plus two inside pages, to very brief excerpts from obituaries for about 1% of the nearly 100,000 U.S. victims of COVID-19.


That's almost two Vietnam Wars in three months.

Thirty-three 9-11's.

25,000 Benghazis.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day 1920

Saluteback Saturday presents a handful of Memorial Day cartoons from 100 years ago.
"The Day of Memories" by Bob Satterfield for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., ca. May 30, 1920
Before being moved to the fourth Monday of May in 1971, Memorial Day (a.k.a. Decoration Day) was always on May 30, which fell on a Sunday in 1920. In Bob Satterfield's cartoon for the day, a pair of gentlemen who might perhaps be veterans recall their fallen brethren from the Civil War and the recently ended World War I. The institution of Memorial / Decoration Day evolved from local observances during and immediately after the Civil War, which is the reason why the holiday was still closely associated with the War Between the States.
"Buddies" by Magnus Kettner for Western Newspaper Union, ca. May 28, 1920
Magnus Kettner one-ups Satterfield by adding a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He thereby makes himself the first cartoonist to conflate Memorial Day and Veterans' Day; but to be fair, "Veterans' Day" wasn't a thing yet. (President Wilson declared "Armistice Day" on November 11, 1919, but Congress didn't officially establish the federal holiday until 1938, and it only became "Veterans' Day" in 1945.)
"Their Day" by J. Thomas in Bend (OR) Bulletin, May 29, 1920
This cartoonist tosses in props to the fallen in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. I've run across Mr. Thomas's work before, and only in the Bend Bulletin, so he may have been a staff artist there. Otherwise, I know nothing about him.
"The Day He Salutes the Past" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 30, 1920
Not to be outdone, John McCutcheon makes sure to include every American war in his cartoon; he even draws two graves for soldiers fallen in the "Indian Wars" on either side of the Civil War. Neither of those soldiers is Native American, however.
"To the Unknown Dead" by Walters in Connecticut Labor Press, May 29, 1920
Ain't no Johnny Reb in these cartoons, neither.

The above cartoon was drawn to illustrate a fictional story about two Civil War veterans finding the son of "Sergeant Calvin Hunter, Company B, One Hundred and Eighty-seventh Regiment, the New York Volunteers," a soldier whose remains were buried in an unknown grave somewhere. The lad has decided to pretend that his father is buried instead at this out-of-the-way spot in the local cemetery, and the story continues as a paean to the soldiers left in unmarked graves.
"Memorial Day" in Pittsburg Sunday Press, May 30, 1920
I don't know who drew this full-page illustration for the front page of the Pittsburg (sic) Press's Sunday Magazine section, in spite of a feature article in the same edition introducing readers to the King Features cartoonists, illustrators, humorists, and columnists due to become regular features on June 1. The signature appears to be "INN," with possibly another letter before the I. "G.A.R.," appearing several times in the drawing, refers to the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union military veterans, founded in 1866 and dissolved upon the death of its last member in 1956.
"One Day that Spans the Seas" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, May 30, 1920
I was hoping to find better copies of these last two, in which the focus returns to the Great War fresh in readers' memories. Carey Orr's cartoon was identified as having been originally published in the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune; I hadn't been aware that the Trib ever published a separate Paris edition.
"A Memorial Day Retrospect" by Elmer Bushnell for Central Press Assn., ca. May 30, 1920 
Elmer Bushnell was a versatile artist, employing pen and ink, grease pencil, and here, in an effort to be less cartoon-y than usual, perhaps a wash. Dark drawings on yellowing newsprint such as this one didn't microfiche well, and scanning the microfiche for the internet didn't improve matters, much as I have tried to clean it up. I'll have to keep an eye out for a clearer reproduction of this cartoon.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Q Toon: Wreck-It Wrath

There is a class of religious authority whose shtick is blaming teh gayz for every series of unfortunate events. Their god doesn't approve of LGBTQ+ people, so he sends hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, pollen, and Please Continue To Hold music.

So it's hardly surprising that someone would come along saying that the coronavirus appeared because LGBTQ+ rights have God's panties in a wad. In the days when LGBTQ+ people were still treated as pariahs, of course, disasters were completely unheard of.

God's wrath would have nothing to do with so many of his loudest preachers claiming to be his messengers on earth while devoting themselves to the ideals of Ayn Rand and Donald Trump, who are about as far apart from the teachings of Christ as you can possibly get.

Now, it does appear that Patient Zero of the second wave of the virus that hit South Korea may have been a gay man who went barhopping as soon as the country reopened the bars. On the other hand, a second wave of the virus in China has been traced to a laundry worker for the city of Shulan, and I don't hear anyone advocating against clean clothing.

Here in the U.S., we'll see South Korea's one irresponsible party boi and raise them a couple thousand gun-waving, mask-eschewing MAGAlomaniacs.

Monday, May 18, 2020

This Week's Sneak Peek

It's so hard not to crank out one lame joke about haircuts after another when, every time I walk into the bathroom, there's some old boomer in the mirror who hasn't gotten the memo that it's no longer 1978.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

It's Over, Over There

Today's Slowback Saturday would probably have been more appropriate a week or two ago...
"Thank God" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 8, 1945
I may be a little late to mark the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, but I prefer to think that I'm observing Memorial Day a little early.
"Slowly Emerging from His Last Foxhole" possibly by Harold Talburt in Washington (D.C.) Daily News, by May 7, 1945
I haven't been able to find the signature on this cartoon, but I suspect it was by Harold M. Talburt. Individual units of the German armed forces were surrendering for days ahead of the official surrender of the German government. Hitler's suicide was on April 30; the allies accepted Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz's May 7 surrender at 9:21 p.m. local time on May 8. (It was already May 9 in Moscow and points east, which is why Russia and Israel observe the anniversary a day later; the German Army Group Center in Prague held out until May 11.)
"Journey's End" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May, 1945
Many American cartoons celebrated the end of the war in Europe with images of swastikas, Mein Kampf, or other symbols of the Nazi regime in ruins. Of course, Hitler had been dead for a week, so there were no new cartoons, as there had been at the end of World War I, of the German leader suffering defeat.
"The End...And a Beginning" by John Milt Morris for Associated Press, by May 7, 1945
Many cartoonists focused instead on the victims of war and their hopes for a peaceful world to come.
"Peace" by Vaughn Shoemaker in Chicago Daily News, by May 8, 1945
All may have gone quiet on the European front, but the war continued to rage in the far east.
"It's a Date—See You in Tokyo" by Jacob Burck in Chicago Times, by May 7, 1945
Cartoonists conveyed a general sense that with Mussolini and Hitler out of the way, it was only a matter of time until Japan surrendered also. But nobody suffered the delusion that it was going to be easy.
"Holding Us Down to Earth" by Dorman H. Smith for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., by May 7, 1945
Dorman Smith was the prolific and widely distributed cartoonist who replaced the liberal Herb Block at the conservative Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1943. I could have easily replaced all of the V-E Day cartoons in this post with Smith's and still have captured all the moods of the day: exultation in victory, sympathy for the liberated millions, grim determination to soldier on in the Pacific, etc. (There is also a slim possibility that the cartoon I've credited to Talburt was actually by Smith; but while I found many of Smith's cartoons reprinted several times in a wide variety of newspapers, I have only found "Slowly Emerging from His Last Foxhole" in one.)
"And Now..." by Jim Berryman in Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, May 8, 1945
In missing the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, I also missed the 45th anniversary of the very different end of another armed conflict.
"Will the Last One Out..." by Wayne Stayskal in Chicago Tribune, April 27, 1975
On the 30th anniversary of Hitler's suicide, the People's Army of Vietnam completed their conquest of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. The U.S. hastily evacuated its embassy of all personnel, as more refugees than could be accommodated scrambled to board the departing helicopters.
"This Is the Way the World Ends..." by Bill Mauldin in Chicago Sun-Times, April 30, 1975
U.S. troops had ceased hostilities over three years earlier, Americans having grown weary of a seemingly endless war that showed no progress and deeply divided the body politic. Skirmishes continued between South Vietnam and North Vietnam and their Viet Cong allies. When North Vietnamese forces launched a new major offensive in 1975, South Vietnamese forces crumbled before them. President Gerald Ford found no support in Congress for sending American reinforcements.
"First World War..." by Jeff MacNelly in Richmond News Leader, by May 11, 1975
The fall of Cambodia, South Vietnam, and Laos was widely viewed as marking the end of "The American Century."
"Second Thoughts" by Don Hesse in St. Louis Globe-Democrat, by May 9, 1975
But there would be a momentary lapse in the hand-wringing in mid-May. Gunboats of the Cambodian Navy seized a U.S. merchant ship, the Mayaguez, in the Gulf of Thailand. 65 hours later, the U.S. Air Force and Marines overwhelmed the ship's captors. Eighteen Americans died in the operation, but all 39 crew members of the Mayaguez were returned safely to their ship.
"Mayaguez Incident" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1975
That the Khmer Rouge apparently had no intention of keeping the Mayaguez crew captive indefinitely was immaterial to a nation desperately in need of something to feel good about.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Q Toon: Faith, Hope and Love, aBiden

Human Rights Campaign issued their endorsement of Joe Biden for president this week on the eighth anniversary of his having proclaimed his support for marriage equality. That support was not an isolated outlier on LGBTQ+ issues, as the announcement explained:
As a Member of Congress over 36 years, Biden championed dozens of pieces of legislation providing greater protections for LGBTQ people. His support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) advocated for our dignity in the workplace. And his courage to do what’s right, even though it may be unpopular, twice stopped two constitutional amendments enshrining marriage discrimination as the law of the land. Biden’s early support for HIV/AIDS resources helped establish the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. While as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden helped secure the reauthorization of PEPFAR, which significantly expanded the funding and targets for treatment, care, and prevention of HIV/AIDS and repealed a statutory ban on visas for people who were HIV-positive.
As Vice President, Biden continued his decades-long fight for LGBTQ hate crime prevention playing an integral role in passing the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He played a leading role in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and opening service for transgender people giving LGBTQ service members the visibility and respect they deserve. In 2012, his support for the freedom to marry marked a major turning point for the marriage equality movement, contributing to a sea change in public opinion that ultimately culminated in a Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that made marriage equality the law of the land.
Throughout his career, Biden has been ahead of the curve on expanding protections and rights for transgender Americans. In 2012, he called transgender rights the “civil rights issue of our time” articulating a truth that many — even in his own party at the time — left unaddressed. He reiterated that statement when launching his LGBTQ platform earlier this year. He worked with President Obama to install transgender Americans throughout the administration including to positions within the White House. Throughout his campaign, Biden has elevated the need to address the epidemic of violence facing the transgender community — especially transgender women of color — and articulated a strong plan to empower transgender Americans in the workforce to help combat conditions that lead to that disproportionate violence.
Not that Biden's LGBTQ+ record is solid gold. In 1996, he voted for the Republicans' "Defense of Marriage Act." He had a lot of company; it passed the Senate 85-14. (Bernie Sanders joined 65 Democrats and Steve Gunderson, R-WI, in voting against it in the House; none of this year's other major presidential contenders were in Congress at the time.)

On the other hand, the only LGBTQ+-positive thing the Corrupt Trump Administration can point to is Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell's advocacy of decriminalizing homosexuality in other countries, which has yet to produce any tangible results.

The Log Cabin Republicans endorsed his reelection last year, notwithstanding Trump's attacks on transgender service members in the U.S. military. Rhapsodizing that "For LGBTQ Republicans, watching the 2016 GOP convention before Donald Trump took the stage was like a dream fulfilled," the Log Cabinettes were swayed by general issues of tax cuts and trade negotiations. Frankly, the Log Cabin Republicans are no more likely to withhold their endorsement of an incumbent president of their own party than the Stonewall Democrats would be.

The Stonewall Democrats haven't made a presidential endorsement yet this year. Social distancing, don't you know.