Thursday, May 13, 2021

Q Toon: Keeping Up with the MAGAshians


At the moment, one of the leading candidates to replace Governor Gavin Newsom in California's recall election is former Olympian, Wheaties cover athlete, and surreality TV personality is Caitlyn Jenner. In a crowded field, that may simply be a matter of name recognition, but California has a history of electing  celebrity candidates; viz., Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono, and Clint Eastwood.

You will note that all five celebrity candidates in that paragraph are Republicans. Non-GOP celebrities running for office elsewhere tend to get dismissed as lightweights in general elections (except in Minnesota).

In a series of interviews, Jenner's grasp of the issues has proven less than impressive: she didn't vote in the last election because she wasn't interested in any of the propositions on the ballot, and she is upset that homeless people have driven away the owner of the airplane hangar across from hers. So why is she running?
Although a lifelong Republican and a Trump supporter, the 71-year-old performer possesses a flimsy résumé; she’s not a natural candidate any more than she is a crooner. The smart money in California says she doesn’t have a chance to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom, who enjoys the support of 56 percent of the California electorate. (Though the examples of Donald Trump, Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono suggest you can’t be too sure.) 
She told Dana Bash that she would make up for her inexperience in government by surrounding herself with "really good people," which sounds an awful lot like a certain twice-impeached former president's promises in 2016. But the Politico article speculates that her run is "a reality show by other means," or perhaps intended to set up a congressional run.

Interviewers have had a hard time pinning Jenner ("I don't like labels") down on the issues — even on the one issue with which she is most identified. Accepting the Arthur Ashe Award at the 2015 ESPY's, she voiced her support for young trans athletes, telling the audience, "I also want to acknowledge all the young trans athletes who are out there — given the chance to play sports as who they really are."
But now that Requblican legislatures around the country are passing bans on transgender athletic participation, Jenner has done a complete 180, telling TMZ, "This is a question of fairness. That's why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls sports in school. It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girl sports in our schools."
When Sean Hannity attempted to bring up the subject during their airplane hangar interview, Jenner kept diverting the conversation away toward Joy Behar or Jenner's mother having misgendered her. As Hannity pressed her on the issue, Jenner complained, "To be honest with you, I don't know why they keep asking that. What do you think, Sean? I don't know. Why do they keep asking me that question?" and decided to come out strongly against wildfires instead.

Drawing Caitlyn Jenner is going to present a challenge to cartoonists insofar as, well, let's just say it's pretty obvious that she's had some work done over the years, and it has made drawing her in a way that avoids charges of being anti-trans damned near impossible.

I completely understand that Ms. Jenner wishes to appear the way she sees herself, and she may not see herself as a 71-year-old woman. There's nothing exclusively transgender about that, or even exclusively Californian. Plastic surgeons are able to sell the fantasy that nips, tucks and collagen injections will make someone look like Angelina Jolie circa 2003 because nobody sees themselves as Dame Judy Dench except Dame Judy Dench's stunt doubles.

Some other cartoonists are choosing not to dignify Ms. Jenner's campaign by expending ink and pixels on her. That's their choice and their right, and solves the problem of how far to take her caricature.

But LGBTQ+ news is my bailiwick. Until she sinks to asterisk levels in the polls, I may be stuck with her.

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