Saturday, January 30, 2021

Returning to the Philippines

One of the gratifying things about doing this here blog is that every so often, I see spikes in views of an entry I made years ago of R.C. Bowman's cartoons in 1900 for the Minneapolis Tribune about the American occupation of the Philippines. I imagine that there is a history teacher somewhere who references that post in his/her class materials about the Spanish-American War.

So today, let's catch up with the American occupation of the Philippines in 1921.

"It Ought Not to Take Long to Decide" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, ca. Jan., 1921
More than two decades after booting the Spanish from the archipelago halfway around the world, the U.S. was still in charge over there. Certain isolationist Republicans and Bryanist Democrats were still uncomfortable with the U.S. having become a colonial power, and with a new isolationist administration about to begin, there was a push to consider letting go of the Philippines. 

Labor interests feared that competition with Filipino labor would depress wages; business interests weren't happy competing with cheaper Philippine sugar and tobacco. The idea of counting all those non-white people as American citizens didn't sit well with a lot of residents of the 48 states, either.

"Uncle, Can't I Go Out and Hunt Wolves?" by Albert Reid for National Republican, ca. Jan., 1921

The argument against it rested on concern over Japanese military build-up. The U.S. and Japan were both beefing up their naval forces, resuming a pre-war rivalry in the Pacific Ocean.

"Each Thinks He Is Being Pursued" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, Jan. 3, 1921

We'll return to that topic next week. Suffice it to say that although there was plenty of war-weariness in this country, there was also plenty of suspicion that our erstwhile ally had designs of Pacific hegemony.

"The New Aesop" by Gale in Los Angeles Times, ca. Jan., 1921

As President, Warren Harding sent a commission to the Philippines to report on whether the Philippines were ready for independence. The commission ultimately decided against letting the Philippines go, citing all the benefits they saw the U.S. as having brought them, from Manila's sewer system and improved mail delivery, to religious liberty and a free press.

"The Philippinos in Danger," unsigned, in Manila Independent, by Jan., 1921

For an example of that free press, we have here a Filipino editorial cartoon that Cartoons Magazine included with the others in today's post. The title may well have been added by the American magazine, since it seems a poor fit with the dialogue. Binibini Philippines quite reasonably asks Uncle Sam to unchain her if he and Japan are going to fight — although it's hard to tell whether Japan-San is playing with his battleships or grabbing at the lady while she isn't looking.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Now, Now, Little Lady

Less than a month after hordes of Trumpanzees stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by a defeated President who simply couldn't wrap his mind around the idea that losing an election means you have to leave office, the Republican Party came out firmly in favor of forgetting all about it.

The Arizona GOP has officially censured fellow Republicans Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain (widow of the party's 2008 presidential nominee) for having the temerity to suggest that Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Oregon's GOP issued a letter claiming that the assault on the Capitol was somehow a "false flag" operation perpetrated by liberals. And all but five U.S. Senate Republicans voted to declare the House's January 13, 2021 vote to impeach Trump unconstitutional, because a week later, Trump wasn't president any more.

Since it is settled law that you can't charge a president with a crime and haul him into court, that leaves only impeachment. Republicans were quick to impeach back when they cornered a Democrat into lying about a blow job; their position back then was that censure simply wouldn't do.

For weeks, Democrats in the minority had pushed for a floor vote — censuring Bill Clinton for his behavior and substituting a censure resolution for impeachment articles by sending the latter back to the House Judiciary Committee. The parliamentary tactic was rejected as non-germane; an appeal vote failed and House Democrats briefly exited the chamber in protest.

So we have the problem today of whether and how to hold a president accountable for his actions when he or she is supposed to be handing the office over to someone else.

I have not found any evidence that our Founding Fathers ever considered the possibility of a future President of the United States refusing to accept the results of an election that he lost. Somehow, the very idea was inconceivable; John Adams and his son were none too happy to turn the presidency over to Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, respectively, but they did it without filing spurious lawsuits, firing half the Justice Department, or entertaining pillow salesmen's proposals for martial law.

Likewise Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush all dutifully handed over the keys to the Oval Office to the men who defeated their bids for reelection.

Woodrow Wilson, whatever his faults, recognized that if he lost his 1916 reelection bid (which appeared to be the case when he and the morning papers went to bed Election Night), that the four months before Charles Evans Hughes would be sworn in to succeed him could leave the U.S. without solid leadership with World War I raging overseas. Wilson reportedly planned to appoint Hughes Secretary of State, then resign along with Vice President Marshall so that Hughes could take over sooner.

Donald Trump's disgraceful behavior may be an outlier now, but there is no guarantee that it won't become standard procedure in the future.

In fact, there is every indication that, at least as far a the ReTrumplican Party is concerned, that is exactly what will happen.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Q Toon: Welcome to the Job

Signalling a reverse after four years of Trump Health & Human Services appointees who were devoted to okaying religion-based discrimination against transgender persons, President Biden's nominee for Assistant Health Secretary is Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender person herself.

Pediatrician Dr. Levine has been Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health since 2017, and before that the state's Physician General. In those posts, she has overseen Pennsylvania's response to COVID-19 and the opioid epidemics, and established the state's medical marijuana program. If confirmed as the nation's Assistant Health Secretary, she would be, among other things, the Surgeon General's boss.

A Republican state legislator from western Pennsylvania, Jeff Pyle, responded to Dr. Levine's appointment by posting a derogatory image about her on his Facebook page, sparking immediate backlash. "I had no idea" that the post would be "received as poorly as it was," he mewled after deleting his post.

Breitbart News persistently misgendered and deadnamed Dr. Levine throughout its reporting on her nomination. Over at Fox Noise, Tucker Carlson attacked her appointment and

falsely referred to Levine’s gender as her “sexual orientation or sex life,” saying, “This is like the perfect encapsulation of everything I despise about neoliberalism. You're supposed to be thrilled by this person's sexual orientation or sex life or whatever, her personal life.” He concluded with a rant that Levine’s nomination was “an effort to see how big a middle finger can we wag in the face of the country..."

But at least he got her gender right. You take your progress wherever you can find it these days.

Monday, January 25, 2021

This Week's Sneak Peek

I am completely distraught by Packers Coach Matt LeFleur's decisions to go for a 2-point conversion when he should have let Mason Crosby kick, and to send Mason Crosby out to kick a field goal when only a touchdown would save the game.

So this week's cartoon is kind of dark.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Gulf War I

It's time for the thirty-year-old thread of cartoons at this here blog to go to war with Iraq.

in UW-M Post, Milwaukee, Wis., January 14, 1991

President George H.W. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein an ultimatum: withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, or the international coalition Bush had been painstakingly assembling since Iraq annexed the emirate in August would attack. Hussein called Bush's bluff.

in UW-M Post, January 22, 1991

And it was no bluff.

There was no "Khattam Shud military base," by the way. Khattam Shud is the villain in Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which I had recently read. It also translates as "completely finished."

in UW-M Post, January 29, 1991
Not that we could know in January that the war would be over in a matter of weeks. As Hussein and his commanders pulled their army back from the front to defend the capital (and seemed more committed to shelling Israel than hindering U.S. military advances), coalition forces prepared for a possible siege of Baghdad, urban warfare, and the prospect of heavy civilian casualties.
in UW-Parkside Ranger, Kenosha, Wis., January 31, 1991

The retreating Iraqi army burned oilfields in their wake, to the alarm of environmentalists the world over. 

"Don't Look Now" was a follow-up to "Before, During and After," even though my parents may have been the only people to see both cartoons at the time.

in UW-M Post, January 31, 1991

I liked this cartoon so much I drew it twice, once for the Parkside Ranger and a week later for the UW-M Post. The second cartoon is a slight improvement over the first, in which there was only one cot; the Bushes in the later cartoon are also doing more than just standing around in their cell.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hammerin' Hank

 “God put you here for a reason. And the reason he put you here is not for you to stand still. He put you here to make you understand that ... you gotta do all you can to try and make things better for other people.” — Henry Aaron

Bernie Brewer

I had to come back for just one more.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Q Toon: I Will Survive

At some point, possibly as late as 9:30 this morning, the Trump "Miss Me Yet?" meme is going to start popping up all over social media.

The answer is now, and shall always be, no.

There was plenty to draw about during the other presidencies for whom I voted, and I expect that there will be plenty of material for cartoons in the years ahead. Perhaps even, for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ media clientele who run my cartoons, some will come from Pete Buttigieg's Department of Transportation. 

I can't recall ever drawing a cartoon about the Department of Transportation before, but stranger things have happened.

Stay tooned.

P.S.: "Clientele" sounds like it would be a good Drag Name.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Chillin' with Bernie

Your Uncle Bernie is in town for a couple days, so why don't you two have a night out? Show him around town, stop somewhere for a few drinks, get to know each other. It'll be fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Toon: Pillow Talk

In his final hours as President, Donald Joffrey Trump has been quickly running out of allies. Cabinet members and even Yertle McConnell have turned their backs on him, now that they've gotten out of his corrupt administration everything they possibly can.

The only friends Trump has left are the ones who want a pardon out of him. And My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell, who stopped by the White House on Monday to offer his ideas on how to impose martial law on the U.S., just like all those leaders of shithole countries Trump used to look down upon.

Makes me wonder what Lindell needs a pardon for.

Monday, January 18, 2021

This Week's Sneak Peek

So what does a political cartoonist draw on Sunday night when the cartoon won't be published until after Inauguration Day?

Let's peer over my shoulder and find out.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Inauguration Day 1921

As we approach an Inauguration Day that will be at once subdued yet (ought to be) joyous, Simpleback Saturday marks the centennial of another such occasion, the inauguration of Warren Gamaliel Harding as President of the United States. Let's start off with some cartoons from his fellow Ohioans about Harding's inauguration.

"And It's Just as Binding" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 1921

It will have occurred to the observant readers that Inauguration Day 1920 was not 100 years ago this week, but on March 4, 1921 ― and we must here pause to give thanks for the FDR-era Republicans who pushed the Inauguration Day up to January 20.

"Pardon Me! But We're Sitting Out This Dance" by Harry Westerman in Ohio State Journal, Jan. 1921

The occasion for these January, 1921 editorial cartoons about Harding's inaugural was his January 10 telegram to Senator Philander C. Knox (R-PA) insisting that official ceremonies be scaled back drastically, and ancillary festivities be cancelled entirely.

"What's the Use" by William Donahey in Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 1921

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, Harding's telegram read:
"I have been reluctant to intrude my views relating to inaugural plans, but I cannot longer remain silent without embarrassment and misunderstanding, which I had rather avoid. Please convey to your committee my sincere wish for the simplest inaugural program consistent with the actual requirements in taking the oath of office and the utterance of a befitting address. I respectfully request that congress [sic] will not appropriate and your committee will not expend any fund whatever. ... I have addressed a message of like import to the inaugural committee asking the abandonment of the parade and ball..."

"The Inauguration" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, Jan. 12, 1921

Congress had appropriated $50,000 for Harding's inaugural, and the inaugural committee had raised a further $141,000; but Harding suggested that instead of erecting the customary platform at the Capitol and setting out seating for the guests, his inauguration ceremony be held on the east porch "in stately simplicity," or even indoors.

No caption, by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, Jan. 11, 1921
(The nonplussed gentleman in Clifford Berryman's cartoon is his personification of D.C., here having doffed his spectacles and without his usual tri-cornered hat. I have not been able to discover upon whom this character was modeled; and as far as I've been able to determine, the only name Berryman ever gave him was "D.C.")

"Having Undergone the Experience of Moving..." by Gaar Williams in Indianapolis News, Jan. 12, 1921

To the chair of the inaugural committee, E.B. McLean, Harding wrote:

"I beg respectfully to suggest to your committee the complete abandonment of all plans for an inaugural celebration. ... You were good enough to accept the chairmanship of the committee at my request, and you and your associates have my lasting gratitude for the time and labor you have given to preparation. However, if it is becoming to express my preference, I wish you and your committee to know that the expression of extravagant expenditure and excessive cost would make me a very unhappy participant."

"All Dressed Up and No Place to Go" by Leo Thiele in Sioux City Tribune, Jan. 1921

Clifford Berryman's Mr. D.C. would no doubt be extremely offended to see Leo Thiele's depiction of the Reception Committee — Washington hotel keepers, modistes and concessions holders  — as common footpads. Perhaps, however, his Mr. D.C. might have approved of Thiele's quintet's seizure of the opportunity to recoup the District's taxation without representation, often a topic of Berryman's Mr. D.C. cartoons.

"Now He'll Have to Think Up Something Else to Criticize" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, Jan. 12, 1921

As reported by the New York Tribune, January 20, 2021, the announced plans for the inaugural were "More Simple Than That of Lincoln":

"A small stand will be erected on the first landing of the Capitol steps. It will be large enough for the President, the President-elect, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Inaugural Committee, and the other officials. The stand will be roofed and voice amplifiers installed.

"A space will be roped off on the Capitol steps for members of the House and Senate, members of the Supreme Court and the diplomatic corps. No seats will be provided for them. If stormy weather prevails, the ceremony will be in the Senate Chamber.

"The Committee estimated that the stand would cost $1,500. No provision was made for music or an escort for the President."

In case my attentions are focused elsewhere come February 27 and March 6, I'll skip ahead here to Clifford Berryman's Inauguration Day cartoon:

"You Are President by the Greatest Vote in History..." by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, March 4, 1921

There was a tradition in the 20th Century of editorial cartoonists welcoming incoming administrations, whether they aligned with the new president or not: Herblock's "Clean Shave" cartoon in 1969 is a paramount example. This Berryman cartoon, however, is the most obsequious example of the genre I have ever seen. "I am confident you will make good," says his Uncle Sam, "and I will support you heartily."

I do not need to name the editorial cartoonists who have spent the last four years unquestioningly adopting that as their motto toward the most corrupt president in U.S. history. Harding's administration was almost as corrupt as the current outgoing one; but since Berryman's approach to editorial cartooning tended to avoid personal or pointed attacks, and the extent of the corruption in Harding's administration didn't come to light until after his death, I don't expect to come across any indication that Berryman came to rue this particular welcoming cartoon.

P.S.: The 20th "Lame Duck" Amendment moving the presidential inauguration up from March 4 to January 20 also changed the beginning and end of congressional terms from March 4 to January 3. Next to Clifford Berryman's March 4 cartoon, the Washington Evening Star noted the departure of retiring members of the 66th Congress.

Heading the list was former Speaker of the House Champ Clark (D-PA), defeated in the Republican landslide of 1920, who died anyway on March 2. Another departing legislator who didn't make it to Harding's inauguration was Sen. Charles Henderson (D-NV). He was shot in his office on his last day there by a man who believed Henderson had wronged him in a land deal decades earlier; Sen. Henderson survived the attack, however, and there's a city in Nevada named after him.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Toon: Bob Good, The Bad, and The Gutless

Heaven knows we mustn't offend the people who have been chanting "Lock her up!" about the candidate 65 million people voted for last time around. They are such sensitive dears.

And yes, that is how Mr. Good wore his mask during his speech on the House floor.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Q Toon: Praise the Lord and Pass the Regulation

If nothing else, the Corrupt Trump Administration, for all its craziness and criminality, delivered for the right-wing "religious liberty" crowd. They carried him into power and has been unshakable in its loyalty to him throughout these four ghastly years, no matter how many pussies he boasted of grabbing, how many blatant lies he told, or how many of the seven deadly sins he could squeeze into a single tweet.

On Thursday, the day after Trump's Qult followers assaulted the Capitol, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized rules giving faith-based organizations the green light to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens at will

Most prominently, the new regulation would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare services to refuse placement into LGBTQ families or discriminate against LGBTQ youth. Religiously affiliated adoption and foster care centers have been pushing for this change in regulation, including Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia, which currently has a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a First Amendment right to reject same-sex couples on religious grounds.

This hardly comes as a surprise; Trump appointees who came into office at HHS arrived with a solid record of pushing back against LGBTQ rights. To head HHS's Office of Civil Rights, Trump brought in anti-LGBTQ activist Roger Severino, who has shown up in this here blog a handful of times.

Thursday's regulations had to be tweaked after first being published last June in order to satisfy the Supreme Court ruling in a couple of civil rights cases. The later addition of a fourth Justice likely to join Alito, Kavanaugh, and Thomas in dissent may not yet be enough to overturn last summer's ruling.

There, too, the religious right got what it wanted out of their thrice married failed casino owner who couldn't find Two Corinthians with a concordance.

By the way, I kind of expected some blowback over including a nun in this cartoon. But that was before I saw photos of Sisters of Our Lady of the Blessed Stable Genius indeed among the Qult of Trump at his rally.

h/t Jeff Parker

Probably antifa, right?

Monday, January 11, 2021

This Week's Sneak Peek

Is there an LGBTQ angle to last Wednesday's cluster putsch at the Capitol?

Someone in the mob was waving a rainbow flag that repeatedly showed up in television coverage. It must have been some GOProud Boy, I suppose; there's no point in denying long thread from Ernst Röhm to Milo Giannopolis.

But there's no rainbow flag in this week's cartoon, of which this today's sneak peek is only a corner. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to draw a rainbow flag this small?

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Half Past D'Annunzio

After the events of this week, Sconfittaback Saturday very much would like to return, at least for a few minutes, to a supposedly simpler time a century ago.

"D'Annunzio, der Unersättlische" by Theodor Leisser in Ulk, Berlin, Dec. 17, 1920
Before we move on to 1921, there are just a few odds and ends left over from the final days of 1920 to take care of. Italy had joined the Entente powers in World War I with the expectation of being awarded some Italian-populated regions of Austria-Hungary along the Adriatic. The Treaty of Versailles gave Italy less than some had expected, particularly one Gabriele D'Annunzio.

"No Mere Flight of Fancy This Time" by Dorman H. Smith for NEA, Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921

Prior to the war, D'Annunzio was a famed poet and playwright, so most of the cartoons here make at least passing reference to his poetry. Keenly interested in flight from the earliest successes of the Wright Brothers on, he dropped propaganda leaflets over Vienna in what became known as "The Flight Over Vienna" ("il Volo su Vienna"). This act of derring-do was more symbolic than it was effective; his poetry on the leaflets didn't translate into German particularly well. But it was ballsy enough to make him a hero in some quarters and to burnish his delusions of grandeur.

"At the End of His Rope" by Edward Gale in Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921

After the war, as American, British and French occupying forces prepared to hand the city of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) over to what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, D'Annunzio led an uprising of 2,000-2,600 irregulars to seize the city. The population of the urban center at the time was majority Italian, but surrounded by Slavic peoples.

"Back to Earth" by Bob Satterfield for NEA, Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921

D'Annunzio expected the Italian government of Giovanni Giolitti to annex Fiume; but instead, Italy blockaded the city to pressure his surrender. D'Annunzio then declared independence for "The Italian Regency of Carnaro," publishing a charter that presaged the fascism of the next decade. Meanwhile, Giolitti negotiated the Treaty of Rapallo with what would later become Yugoslavia, establishing "The Free State of Fiume." Failing to win foreign allies to his cause, and pummeled by shelling by the Italian Navy, D'Annunzio and his Italian Regency surrendered in December, 1920.

"The Theatre of War" by Paul Plaschke in Louisville Times, Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921

Many of the American cartoons upon D'Annunzio's defeat play off Roman mythology and classical themes. (I'm not sure why Bob Satterfield felt it necessary to label Pegasus, but I especially like Gale's "Literary License" plate on the flying horse.) Plaschke is inspired by a considerably lower class of theatre; "Punch and Judy" derives from the Venetian "Pulcinella."

"Stranded" by Rollin Kirby" in New York World, Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921

In Paul Plaschke's Punch and Judy cartoon, the "Italian Government" is represented by a caricature of King Vittorio Emanuele, who would be more recognizable to American readers than would Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti. So here is an Italian cartoon of Giolitti, who was Prime Minister five times between 1892 and 1921.

"Questione Fiumana" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in L'Asino, Rome, December 12, 1920

Giolitti's fifth government lasted from June, 1920 to June, 1921, during which time he tolerated the increasing strength of the armed Fascist squadrici and welcomed their support, out of fear of the Italian Socialist Party. Giolitti was not a Fascist himself, but continued to believe that Benito Mussolini and his party would moderate over time once they participated in governance. He lived long enough to learn how mistaken he was.

"A Fiume" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in l'Asino, Rome, January 9, 1921

This last cartoon highlights cartoonist Gabriele Galanta's socialist outlook, here in spite of his anti-fascist and anti-war stance. But hey, why let a little thing like Antifa pacificsm interfere with one's perfectly healthy irredentism?

Friday, January 8, 2021

Toon: Mayhem Like Him

Here's a list of U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives who still stand by Mr. Trump's scurrilous, fantastical electoral conspiracy "theories" even after the riot of Qultists at the Capitol that he and they actively encouraged:


Ted Cruz (TX); Josh Hawley (MO); Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS); Cynthia Lummis (WY); John Kennedy (LA); Roger Marshall (KS); Rick Scott (FL); Tommy Tuberville (AL)


Robert Aderholt (AL); Rick Allen (GA); Jodey Arrington (TX); ; Brian Babin (TX); ; Jim Baird (IN); Jim Banks (IN); Cliff Bentz (OR); Jack Bergman (MI); Stephanie Bice (OK); Andy Biggs (AZ); Dan Bishop (NC); Lauren Boebert (CO); Mike Bost (IL); Mo Brooks (AL); Ted Budd (NC); Tim Burchett (TN); Michael Burgess (TX); Ken Calvert (CA); Kat Cammack (FL); Jerry Carl (AL); Buddy Carter (GA); John Carter (TX); Madison Cawthorn (NC); Steve Chabot (OH); Ben Cline (VA); Michael Cloud (TX); Andrew Clyde (GA); Tom Cole (OK); Rick Crawford (AR); Warren Davidson (OH); Scott DesJarlais (TN); Mario Diaz-Balart (FL); Byron Donalds (FL); Jeff Duncan (SC); Neal Dunn (FL); Ron Estes (KS); Pat Fallon (TX); Michelle Fischbach (MN); Scott Fitzgerald (WI); Chuck Fleischmann (TN); Virginia Foxx (NC); Scott Franklin (FL); Russ Fulcher (ID); Matt Gaetz (FL); Mike Garcia (CA); Bob Gibbs (OH); Carlos Gimenez (FL); Louie Goober Gohmert (TX); Bob Good (VA); Lance Gooden (TX); Paul Gosar (AZ); Garret Graves (LA); Sam Graves (MO); Mark Green (TN); Marjorie Greene (GA); Morgan Griffith (VA); Michael Guest (MS); Jim Hagedorn (MN); Andy Harris (MD); Diana Harshbarger (TN); Vicky Hartzler (MO); Kevin Hern (OK); Yvette Herrell (NM); Jody Hice (GA); Clay Higgins (LA); Richard Hudson (NC); Darrell Issa (CA); Ronny Jackson (TX); Chris Jacobs (NY); Mike Johnson (LA); Bill Johnson (OH); Jim Jordan (OH); John Joyce (PA); Fred Keller (PA); Trent Kelly (MS); Mike Kelly (PA); David Kustoff (TN); Doug LaMalfa (CA); Doug Lamborn (CO); Jacob LaTurner (KS); Debbie Lesko (AZ); Billy Long (MO); Barry Loudermilk (GA); Frank Lucas (OK); Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO); Nicole Malliotakis (NY); Tracey Mann (KS); Brian Mast (FL); Kevin McCarthy (CA); Lisa McClain (MI); Daniel Meuser (PA); Mary Miller (IL); Carol Miller (WV); Alex Mooney (WV); Barry Moore (AL); Markwayne Mullin (OK); Gregory Murphy (NC); Troy Nehls (TX); Ralph Norman (SC); Devin Nunes (CA); Jay Obernolte (CA); Burgess Owens (UT); Steven Palazzo (MS); Gary Palmer (AL); Greg Pence (IN); Scott Perry (PA); August Pfluger (TX); Bill Posey (FL); Guy Reschenthaler (PA); Tom Rice (SC); Mike Rogers (AL); Hal Rogers (KY); John Rose (TN); Matt Rosendale (MT); David Rouzer (NC); John Rutherford (FL); Steve Scalise (LA); David Schweikert (AZ); Pete Sessions (TX); Jason Smith (MO); Adrian Smith (NE); Lloyd Smucker (PA); Elise Stefanik (NY); Greg Steube (FL); Chris Stewart (UT); Glenn Thompson (PA); Tom Tiffany (WI); William Timmons (SC); Jefferson Van Drew (NJ); Beth Van Duyne (TX); Tim Walberg (MI); Jackie Walorski (IN); Randy Weber (TX); Daniel Webster (FL); Roger Williams (TX); Joe Wilson (SC); Rob Wittman (VA); Ron Wright (TX); Lee Zeldin (NY)


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Q Toon: Cast Away

Pre-S.: All of this had been written before yesterday.
While we're waiting to find out whether democracy can survive the onslaught from RePutschlicans, there has been a little controversy lately over the casting of cisgender, straight actors in LGBTQ+ roles in movies and on television.

The latest wave comes after James Corden's performance as a gay theater actor in "The Prom." I haven't seen it myself, but Corden has been criticized for portraying his character, Barry Glickman, as a flamboyant, self-important, swishy, insulting caricature of a theater queen — as, no doubt, the character was written and the director wanted him acted.

So the knock on Corden is that he took a role away from a card-carrying member of both SAG and the LGBTQ+ community. Had Dan Levy portrayed Barry Glickman as a flamboyant, self-important, swishy, insulting caricature of a theater queen, everything would be hunky-dory.

We can go down the rabbit hole of whether only gay actors should play gay characters, left-handed actors should portray left-handed characters, Catholic actors should play Catholic characters, evil masterminded actors should play evil masterminded characters, ad infinitum until ad domum revertir vaccarum.

There is nevertheless a serious issue here. While television has been making great progress in LGBTQ+ visibility, the people who make movies are in the habit of casting their top grossing actors in leading roles whether those roles suit them or not. Witness John Wayne as Genghis Khan in "The Conqueror," Natalie Wood as Maria in "West Side Story," Burt Lancaster as Massai in "Apache," and most cringe-worthy, Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yoniushi in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," or just about any other portrayal of Chinese or Japanese characters by actors of European descent.

Transgender actors and activists question whether someone who is not transgender can fully appreciate how a transgender person thinks and feels. And some cisgender actors, lesbigay and straight, are coming to agree, including actors like Jeffrey Tambor and Wilson Cruz who have portrayed trans characters in the past.

The flip side of the coin, of course, is that LGBTQ+ actors could be limited to playing only LGBTQ+ roles. No Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson. No Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes. No Ian McKellen as King Lear.

But I guess it makes no difference to the plot if you imagine that Gandalf is gay.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

He Must Go

This President of the United States is a clear and present danger to the Republic.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Jedes Neujahr Ist Wieder Alt

Happy New Year to you all. For our Saturday this week, here's a look at the editorial cartoons German readers were chuckling over, a century ago as 1921 got underway.

Cartoon by Riü? in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, January 2, 1921
I think that this cartoon (I think the signature reads "Riü," which may be a stift name) is probably an advertisement for an international brand of fire extinguisher rather than an editorial cartoon; but it seems to illustrate the same sort of eagerness to get the Old Year over and done with that we have all felt at the end of 2020. The text spanning the globe translates as "Fire does not spread if you have Minimax in the house."
"Prosit Neujahr 1921" by Helmuth Stockmann in Ulk, Berlin, December 31, 1920

Germany was still unsettled after the failed Kapp Putsch and the Spartacist Uprising in March, and the Ruhr Uprising in April, attacking the Ebert government from the right and the left. The enormous national debt would spark hyperinflation, but cartoonist Helmuth Stockmann expresses a subdued glimmer of hope that the new year might prove better than the old one.
"1921" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, January 2, 1921

Werner Hahmann gives a more sober outlook in this rather expressive two-color cartoon somewhat marred by those blue blotches. I can't tell whether they come from age or the original printing process. 

"Europa 1921" by Theodor Heine in Simplicissimus, Munich, January 1, 1921
Theodor Heine's vision for the new year is bleaker still, extending hard times to the entire continent. 

"Ein Guter Witz" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatch, January 2, 1921

Arthur Johnson, Kladderadatsch's half-American cartoonist, imagines Woodrow Wilson winning a second consecutive Nobel Peace Prize — an extremely improbable event given his administration's failure to win congressional support for his postwar policies, and insofar as no individual has ever been awarded the prize twice.
"Die Neujahrsnacht eines Unglücklichen" by Wilhelm Schulz in Simplicissimus, Munich, January 1, 1921
I'll toss one more New Year's cartoon in here, although this one clearly demonstrates my complete lack of fluency in German.