Monday, February 28, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

I heard on the TV this morning that February 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day, the day that we salute the magical little being who flies all over the world collecting children's baby teeth for whatever nefarious plan she has been devising all these years. Genetic experiments, probably, or creating a DNA database on us.

This is one of those fluff stories the news anchor can read to lighten the mood after telling you about the latest local murder and the war in Ukraine, to make you feel he/she is friendly and relatable. If it had been a slow news day, the station might even have sent a reporter to stand outside a dentist's office.

What struck me in the report was that the current average price for a baby tooth these days is $5.36. 

Talk about inflation! I realize (more and more every day) that I'm just an old fogey, but back in my day, you young whippersnappers, the tooth fairy gave us a dime per tooth! One thin dime!

And we liked it!

If you ask me, the kids to-day are making off like vulture capitalists. Back in the olden days, a dime could get you a couple sticks of Bazooka Joe bubble gum or a decent sized candy bar. And who cared, because you were going to lose your baby teeth anyway and the sugar would just speed up the process and voilá! More dimes!

I haven't bought Bazooka Joe bubble gum in over half a century, but I'm pretty sure you can still get an awful lot of it for $5.36, assuming they still make the stuff. Heck, even if they don't, you can probably still buy a respectable pocketful of it on eBay.

Mark my words, like the gum, this baby tooth bubble is bound to burst one of these days; and when it does, I can only pity the poor five-year-olds who are left holding the bag of worthless enamel at the time.

Well, anyway, here's a pencil rough for this week's cartoon.

Gawd, I hope that's not the tooth fairy.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

What So Proudly We Hailed

In light of the lack of effective options to deal with Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, I offer a remembrance of a diplomatic success story 100 years ago.

The U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan reached agreement in February, 1922 on the Five-Power Treaty to limit naval build-up. A parallel Nine-Power Agreement (the additional powers being Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and China) guaranteed that each would respect China's territorial integrity. Furthermore, the U.S., Great Britain, France and Japan agreed that in the event of a crisis in the Far East, they would consult with each other before taking any other action.

"A Record Catch" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Colliers, Feb. 18, 1922

As any student of history knows, those agreements wouldn't last forever; but they remained successful for over a decade. Whatever else the Harding administration is remembered for, this set of treaties are still considered its crowning achievement.

"Ding" Darling's cartoon depicts President Warren Harding and Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes more than satisfied with their catch. "Japanese War Talk Peril" is only partly subdued, apparently.

"Naval Strength" by Clifford Berryman in Evening Star, Washington DC, Feb. 17, 1922

Americans concerned about runaway armament spending lauded the agreements, which were more favorable to the Anglo powers than to Japan. As we noted a few weeks ago, thanks to U.S. eavesdropping on diplomatic cables between Washington's guest diplomats and their home countries, Hughes's negotiators knew what they could get the Japanese to accept.

"Rückkehr von der Abrüstungs-Bescherung in Washington" by Hans-Maria Lindloff in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, February 26, 1922

Skepticism out of Germany of the treaty was only to be expected, but it was not all cheers and congratulations in the U.S., either. Isolationists in the Senate, particularly William Borah (R-ID) and Hiram Johnson (R-CA), promised to be a tough sell.

"Every Where That Mary Went" by John Cassel in New York World, Feb. 25, 1922
Yet even among the men drawing cartoons for rabid isolationist Randolph Hearst, there wasn't much said against the specifics of the treaty. The arguments rested for the most part on a distrust of foreign entanglements.

"Reforming the Sharks" by Harry Murphy for Star Publishing Co., Feb. 22, 1922

To them, U.S. diplomats were not the bountiful fishermen of "Ding" Darling's cartoon, but gullible naïfs wading into treacherous seas, whether they answered to the idealistic Woodrow Wilson or the normalcy-minded Warren Harding.

"Taking Candy from a Child" by Harry Murphy for Star Publishing Co., March 2, 1922

For sheer silliness, no Hearst cartoonist surpassed Frederick Opper. For months, his "Sammy and His Pals" series portrayed England, France and Japan as wantonly imposing their will on the Hughes negotiating team. His Uncle Sam was aware that he was being duped, but seemingly powerless to do much of anything about it.

"Sammy and His Pals" by Frederick Opper for Star Publishing Co., ca. March 2, 1922
Hearst's national chain of newspapers made him the Fox News of his day; if Murphy and Winsor McCay were his Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, then I suppose Opper was Hearst's Greg Gutfeld.

"Sammy and His Pals" by Frederick Opper for Star Publishing Co., ca. March 4, 1922
As William Morris's cartoon alluded to at the end of last week's post, there was talk in 1922 of changing the national anthem — or, to put it more accurately, to establish an official one in the first place. Many Americans considered "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" to be the national anthem, but there were a number of rival tunes, including "Hail, Columbia" and "America, the Beautiful." "The Star-Spangled Banner" wouldn't be officially declared our national anthem until March 3, 1931.

One would think, given the anti-British editorial policy Randolph Hearst expressed through his stable of cartoonists, that Star Publishing Company would have been happy to see "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," since it was set to the tune of "God Save the King," kicked off the piano rack. Perhaps that's why Opper's revision, even though it doesn't scan to the same tune, expresses Uncle Sam's feelings exactly.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Q Toon: Historical Figure of Speech

This week's cartoon comes to you just in the nick of time for African-American Heritage Month, with no apologies to the Aryan snowflakes working to outlaw it from schools across the nation.

Having spent the past half century agitating to impose Christian prayer and creationism pseudoscience on the public educational system, they are now concentrating on telling teachers What Must Not Be Named, Mentioned, or Discussed. Fer Pete's sake, we only discovered the 1921 Tulsa Race Pogrom last year, and already we're all supposed to forget it ever happened.


Of course, the same culture warriors have always wanted LGBTQ+ people to stay locked in the closet, neither seen nor heard, so Bayard Rustin is something of a two-fer in the educational erasure agenda. His record doesn't include the sort of "judge by the content of their character" quotations that could be twisted to support pretending that racism and homophobia are things of the past.

So here are a few quotations from Bayard's career worth remembering:

"Most of the time the reservoir of racism remains stagnant. But—and this has been true historically for most societies—when major economic, social, or political crises arise, the backwaters are stirred and latent racial hostility comes to the surface. Scapegoats must be found, simple targets substituted for complex problems. The frustration and insecurity generated by these problems find an outlet in notions of racial superiority and inferiority.” ― Bayard Rustin, Down The Line

"[T]he Negro today finds himself stymied by obstacles of far greater magnitude than the legal barriers he was attacking before: automation, urban decay, de facto school segregation. These are problems which, while conditioned by Jim Crow, do not vanish upon its demise. They are more deeply rooted in our socioeconomic order; they are the result of the total society's failure to meet not only the Negro's needs but human needs generally.” ― Bayard Rustin, Down The Line

“It ... was an absolute necessity for me to declare homosexuality, because if I didn't I was a part of the prejudice. I was aiding and abetting the prejudice that was a part of the effort to destroy me.” ― Bayard Rustin

"If we want to do away with the injustice to gays it will not be done because we get rid of the injustice to gays. It will be done because we are forwarding the effort for the elimination of injustice to all. And we will win the rights for gays, or blacks, or Hispanics, or women within the context of whether we are fighting for all." ― Bayard Rustin

“When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” ― Bayard Rustin

"We are all one ― and if we don't know it, we will learn it the hard way." ―Bayard Rustin

Monday, February 21, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

 You won't exactly see this striking young man in this week's cartoon...

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Keep the Dents in Presidents' Day

Hey, kids! Let's get our Presidents' Day holiday weekend off to a roaring start with some 100-year-old cartoons celebrating the Father Of Our Country!

"Washington Still Lives" by Robert L. Ripley in New York Globe, Feb. 22, 1922

If Washington still lives, someone had better tell Uncle Sam. Because I don't think he's still decorating for Christmas.

And yes, that cartoonist is the Ripley of "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" fame. "Believe It Or Not" started out as an occasional diversion from Ripley's sports cartoons for the New York Globe; this tribute to George Washington is another.

"February 22, 1922" by Clifford Berryman for Evening Star, Washington DC, February 22, 1922

Hanging a sketch of our first president where it blocks Uncle Sam's view of the seas ahead doesn't seem to me to be the brightest idea in the world; but as long as Captain Sam can see the horizon, I guess that's where anything that might be in the way is likely to turn up. 

It might be a nuisance when trying to navigate by the stars, however.

"If His Dad Could Only See Him Now" by Dorman H. Smith for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., February 22, 1922

Okay, let's get serious. (As George Washington once said, "I cannot tell a joke.") Dorman Smith was pretty pleased with how the Republicans were running things in Washington D.C., so he celebrated the fact that, unlike Europe, the U.S. hadn't been ravaged by war in 57 years. 

Nelson Harding, on the other hand, used Washington's birthday to comment on domestic legislation to grant a bonus to U.S. World War I veterans. The bonus itself was hugely popular, but the issue of how to pay for it had the bill hung up in Congress, and it failed to pass.

"Washington (D.C.)" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 22, 1922

When Congress made Washington's Birthday a national holiday in 1971, they managed to schedule it on a Monday that is never on his actual birthday, either Julian or Gregorian. Some people urged that the holiday be named Presidents' Day in order to include Abraham Lincoln, a name change that quickly become commonly accepted, in spite of not being the official name Congress gave to the third Monday in February. 

So here are some cartoons commemorating Abraham Lincoln on his 113th birthday, starting with some meticulous trompe l'oeil by the great Winsor McCay:

"Lest We Forget" by Winsor McCay for Star Publising, February 12, 1922

I'll follow that with a Lincoln cartoon from Leo Bushnell, like Nelson Harding, using a dead president's birthday to comment on paying bonuses to Great War veterans. 

"His Words Are as Apt Now As in '65" by Leo Bushnell for Central Press Assn., Feb. 12, 1922

The image of young Abe Lincoln studying in a log cabin by candle light has always been attractive for story-tellers, so it is hardly surprising that cartoonists would draw youngsters studying Mr. Lincoln in turn:

"Lincoln" by Magnus Kettner for Western Newspaper Union, February 22, 1922

Besides, they didn't have Doris Kearns Goodwin to draw studying Old Abe back then. She, by the way, has a 3-episode series about Lincoln coming up on the History Channel next week.

"Handicapped" by Gaar Williams in Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1922

And finally, a cartoon that is a little off topic today, except for that pissed-off portrait on the wall:

"The Interloper" by William C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, ca. Feb. 24, 1922

I don't suppose Mr. Morris would have cared for this year's Superbowl halftime show, either. Or, for that matter, any of the other shows since Al Hirt, Doc Severensen, and Lionel Hampton got Tulane Stadium groovin' in 1970.

Well, that's all the festivity I can offer you this early on a Saturday morning. But if you're stretching your own Presidents' Day celebration all the way from here to Tues. 2/22/22, enjoy your 2²-day holiday weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Q Toon: Citius, Altius, Fortius – Alternatus

Okay, I'll admit that I don't know of any of this year's Olympic athletes who are openly transgender, two-spirit, or polyamorous.

But hear me out.

Once upon a time, the word "gay" was put forth as a catch-all term for all non-heterosexual persons. But it was put forth by male homosexuals, so female homosexuals decided that they deserved a separate designation and labeled themselves "lesbians." Bisexuals then realized that they had been excluded, and the term "lesbigay" was born. (Thank goodness that nobody has felt a need for separate words for male and female bisexuals. Yet.) 

But that left transgender persons out of the community, so "lesbigay" was ditched in favor of the "LGBT" acronym. The acronym has become longer and longer with each non-heteronormative interest that didn't see itself in what was previously there. Since nobody can remember what letters are in there any more, or what order has been agreed upon, most of us use "LGBTQ+." 

The "+" is the equivalent of when the Professor and Mary Ann were just "and the rest."

We're seeing the same thing happen to the Pride flag. For years, it consisted of six stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (a pink stripe atop the original version quickly disappeared). Then somebody decided that those colors excluded people of color, so black, brown and tan chevrons were added on the hoist end. 

More chevrons for "and the rest" interests are still getting shoehorned in (mostly for groups that also have their own distinct pride flags). We hadn't followed the North American Vexillological Association's principles of flag design to begin with, anyway; but we will have to stop the proliferation of chevrons before the center yellow and green stripes get covered over entirely.

I'm certainly not advocating for closing off the gay liberation movement to any of these subgroups. Whoopi Goldberg tried something similar in a discussion of racism recently, to her regret.

What got her in trouble was the current move to define racism as something that applies only to white people's attitudes toward people of color — in spite of the fact that the Nazis (and they weren't alone) held that "inferior races" included Jews, Roma, Slavs, Italians, Irish, and on and on, even before you got to measuring skin tones. As any geneticist will tell you, "race" is strictly a social construct. Even standing a Swede next to a Hutu, "race" has no biological meaning.

So also with sexuality. If society decides to come up with words to describe people whose sexual orientation is toward bleached hair, or brown eyes, or a Korean accent, I suppose we'll have to add them to the ever-expanding LGBTQIA2XYZIEIO alphabet. Along with the chubby chasers, furries, latexophiles, hermits, kilt fetishists, people whose tastes include both oysters and snails, and your weird cousin Kyle.

It's all a social construct. And construction season is never really over.

Let's just sit back and enjoy the games, okay?

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Editorial Cartooning Editing No-No

 I ran across this while researching 100-year-old cartooning this week. 

"Will Such Stuff Calm Her Appetite" by William Morris, altered by Sapulpa (OK) Herald, Feb. 27, 1922

The editors of the Herald of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, have here taken an editorial cartoon that clearly showed German President Friedrich Ebert serving something unpleasant to French Marianne, and superimposed labels on it to force it to apply to a local issue.

This is a no-no.

At least they didn't edit out the signature, but it is unlikely that the editors of the Sapulpa Herald checked with cartoonist William C. Morris to see whether he had any opinions about the town's referendum whether to change to a manager-led civic government. The editors probably figured that Morris would probably never see their bowdlerization of his cartoon anyway.

With the easy availability of image editing software, this sort of thing happens way too often nowadays. A cartoonist slaves away at his or her drawing board or Wacom to produce an editorial masterpiece of biting satire, and some schmuck with Windows Paint slaps a couple of their own Comic Sans labels over it, making the completely opposite point or making it about some completely unrelated issue entirely. They then tweet it out or post it on Facebook, and their friends help it go viral.

Somewhere along the line, a cartoon about a woman confessing that she voted for Obama becomes instead a call to assassinate politicians, and gets published in a church newsletter. Really. Sometimes nobody knows who stole the cartoon. Sometimes the thief turns out to be the richest man in the world.

Now, you may have noticed that my Saturday retrospective a couple weeks ago included a cartoon of mine that copied a classic cartoon by Sir David Low. I'll have you know that I did not photocopy or trace that, or any other cartoon I've drawn that directly references another cartoon or cartoon character. I'm also fairly confident that Sir David would not have disagreed with my criticizing an American Nazi by comparing him to Hitler.

We cartoonists pay homage to the greats — Low, Darling, Nast, Daumier, Tenniel, Seuss — all the time. To make it clear that we are not being completely original, we credit the original artist: "With apologies to... " ... "After..." ... "Stealing brazenly from..."

If you need to figure out who The Greats are, I'd say that the first criterion is that they're dead. I'll go out on a limb here and stipulate that even though Pat Oliphant was a great cartoonist before he retired, he's still alive, so his cartoons are out of bounds.

Of course, referencing pop culture is fair game, which is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. (Truck driving simile used with apologies to Shakespeare.) Some cartoonists are bound to draw  Batman cartoons this week if the latest movie does well, and they're not going to credit Bob Kane. 

Just be very careful about borrowing Disney characters. Disney can afford better lawyers than you can.

Unless you're the richest man in the world.

In which case, I was only kidding about calling you a thief.

Monday, February 14, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

 As a 60-something gay white guy, I appreciate that not everything in popular culture is geared to appeal to my demographic any more. Movies based on video games. QVC codes playing solitaire pong on my TV screen.

Superbowl halftime extravaganzas.

Last night's was quite a show, whether you like West Coast Rap or not. Admit it.

Back when I was the age of those rappers, and so were the guys who decide who gets to be the Superbowl Halftime Show, people who were 60-something then thought U2 and Aerosmith and Christina Aguilera and even Prince were the worst halftime acts ever. (Bring back Up With People and the collegiate marching bands!)

You can't please everyone, and they aren't all that interested in what the AARP generations think, anyway. If you don't like the halftime show, heck, there's your chance to finally go to the bathroom without missing the commercials.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm After They've Seen D.C.?

In January of 1922, President Warren G. Harding and Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace convened an agricultural conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss the difficulties faced by U.S. farmers. The end of World War I meant that European farmers could return to their fields, drastically reducing demand for, and therefore prices of, U.S. farm goods. Meanwhile, the costs of farm machinery and of transporting goods to market remained steady.

"No Wonder He Is Peeved" by William Hanny in St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, Jan. 25, 1922

Washington Evening Star's front page cartoonist greeted the conferees the Sunday morning of the president's conference.

"To the Agricultural Conference" by Clifford Berryman in Sunday Star, Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 1922

Early arrivals might have caught Berryman's cartoon the previous Tuesday, contrasting the administration's solicitousness toward the nation's farmers with its demands of deep wage cuts in the railroad industry, resulting in threatened labor strikes that were the topic of a December Washington conference.

"I Wish I Had Friends Like Yours" by Clifford Berryman in Evening Star, Washington D.C., Jan. 17, 1922

Not everyone was as happy as Berryman's farmer at the train station, however. Cartoonist and former Congressman John Baer complained that the guest list featured some characters his Non-partisan League found highly suspect: business tycoons, bankers, and representatives of farm groups opposed to the NPL.

"Why You Must Help" by John Baer in National Leader, Minneapolis, MN, Jan 23, 1922

The leftist NPL wasn't the only one complaining about whom the powers that be considered representative of farmers. Senator George H. Moses (R-NH), for example, complained that the so-called Agricultural Bloc then promoting an agricultural tariff bill in the U.S. Senate (Moses preferred a national sales tax) consisted only of southerners, and no actual farmers. 

"The only three farmers in the Senate," he told the National Boot and Shoe Manufacturers Dinner, "one from Maine, another from New Hampshire, and a third from New York, have never been invited to the farm bloc, where they set up the ruthless, selfish legislation.

"I Speak for Real Farmers" by Clifford Berryman in Evening Star, Washington D.C., Jan. 19, 1922

"The bloc does not know," he added, "that a farm exists north of the Mason-Dixon line or west of the Mississippi River, and they give no consideration to the truck farmers in that territory. All they know is hogs, corn, wheat and cotton."

For his part, Secretary Wallace promised that Harding's conference would include bona fide "dirt farmers," including women (six of them).

"What Baer Saw at the Conference" by John Baer in National Leader, Minneapolis MN, Feb. 20, 1922
For all the National Leader's griping that the conference was closed to like-minded farmer-activists, John Baer somehow managed to get past the guards to sketch some of the invited guests. He was clearly more impressed by some — notably Senator Edwin Ladd (R-ND) and perennial presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (D/Pop-NE) — than by others.
"Under the Mistletoe" by Charles Plumb for American Farm Bureau, Dec. 1921 or Jan. 1922
Speaking of folks who didn't impress the National Leader, the biweekly newspaper ran a snarky critique of the above cartoon from the American Farm Bureau in its January 23 issue:
"The Leader has never been impressed with the cartoon service (charge, 30 cents per cartoon) sent to the press by Mr. [J.R.] Howard's American Farm Bureau federation. We have felt that Mr. Baer and Mr. Morris could draw more to the point than Mr. Howard's cartoonists. But we confess that one of the cartoons sent out by the A.F.B.F. is VERY MUCH to the point. ...
"We regret that Mr. Howard did not send us this cartoon earlier, as it deals with the good old Christmas custom of kissing pretty young girls who venture under the mistletoe. Of course, the holiday season is over until next winter. But the act of certain gentlemen in making love to the American Farm Bureau federation, and the willing response of the federation thereto, is a continual performance. ...
"Through Mr. Howard's confession in this cartoon, it appears that the American Farm Bureau federation, pictured as a charming girl, welcomes the caresses of various gentlemen who DO NOT ORDINARILY stand in line to make love to farmer organizations. Mr. Howard indicates in the drawing that the board of trade is not yet quite willing to receive a kiss from the fair lips of the federation. The board is urged to be a 'good sport' by the packers."
"A Tractable Beast" by John M. Baer in National Leader, Minneapolis MN, Jan 23, 1922
So, did the agricultural conference accomplish anything? Even within the National Leader's pages there was disagreement.
Cover cartoon by William Morris in National Leader, Feb 20, 1922

On the plus side, the passage of the Capper-Volstead Act on February 18, 1922, legalizing the sale of farm commodities through farmer-owned cooperatives, enabled farmers to bypass the middlemen. Congress would pass the Agricultural Appropriations Act later that year, creating the U.S. Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
"Everybody 'Helping' Farmer" by Wm. Morris in National Leader, Minneapolis MN, Feb. 20, 1922
In order to get its own candidates on the ballot in Minnesota in 1918, the Non-Partisan League created the Farmer-Labor Party (FLP). Derided as socialist or even bolshevik and condemned for his opposition to U.S. participation in World War I, its candidate, David Evans, still managed to make the 1918 governor's race a close one, and to keep his coalition of farmers and organized labor together.
"Be Kinda Hard to Hitch 'Em" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, Feb. 24, 1922

The FLP failed to catch on around the country; but in spite of the Republican tenor of the time, it would score its first major victory in 1922, as Minnesota elected Henrik Shipstead to the U.S. Senate. A distant third party anywhere else, the FLP became Minnesotans' chief alternative to the Republican Party, and the Democrats there sank to third-party status.

"Blocked" by Harry Murphy for Star Company, Jan. 26, 1922
Ain't it swell when the blocs come together? 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

How Did We Nazi That Coming?

 Too obvious to draw; too irresistible not to meme. 

Q Toon: DeSantis Suit

As much as I would prefer to put out simple, direct single-panel editorial cartoons, I've ended up drawing a lot of four-panel cartoons this year, because cartoons about news stories that aren't necessarily front and center in the national conversation require a bit of exposition. My topic this week, however, while a local story, got the attention of the White House the other day — mostly because, as Jennifer Psaki pointed out, it's really part of a vast right-wing conspiracy national trend. 
“Make no mistake: This is not an isolated action in Florida. Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders taking action to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be."
"Don't Say Gay" bills forbidding any mention of LGBTQ-ness in public schools are nothing new in Right-wing Kancel Kultur, but Florida legislators have now apparently taken a cue from Texas's anti-abortion law. It's not the state that will restrict teachers' freedom of speech; they're just deputizing their antigay minions to sue! sue! sue!

A Florida bill that would limit classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity and encourage parents to sue schools or teachers that engage in these topics is speeding through the state House and Senate.

It's being called a "Don't Say Gay" bill by LGBTQ advocates, who fear that if this bill is signed into law, it could act as a complete ban on the lessons on LGBTQ oppression, history and discussions about LGBTQ identities.


Rep. Joe Harding, who is the sponsor of the legislation, hopes it will "reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children," according to the bill's text.

Governor DeSantis has expressed support for the bill, alleging that

“We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff’,” DeSantis said. “They won’t tell the parents about these discussions that are happening.”

He continued: “That is entirely inappropriate.”

Republicans pushing the bill have claimed that its reach is limited to pre-K through third grade curricula, but the legislation’s language does not, in fact, make any mention of curriculum instruction or grade-levels. Its vague language bans “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity,” which could be stretched to include even the most tangential, casual mention of someone's parents or spouse.

Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel for the ACLU of Florida, testified to the state Senate Education Committee against the legislation, calling it “government censorship.”

“If passed, it would effectively silence students from speaking about their LGBTQ+ family members, friends, neighbors and icons. Additionally, it would bar students from talking about their own lives and would erase their very existence,” she said. “These are not taboo subjects, but banning them makes them so."
The Republican-dominated committee sent the bill to the full state Senate on a strictly party line vote.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Case of the Purloined Paragraph

So today I'm continuing my way through Tales of the Alhambra, coming to the end of one of the stories, and there hasn't been a typo since page 247...

...and there is — at least! — an entire line missing from the very last paragraph.

Monday, February 7, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

A propos of nothing.... 

I've been reading Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving lately. My copy is one of those books you find in a dozen or more languages at the gift shop of any tourist attraction, bought by my parents when they went on a tour of Spain and Morocco several years ago.

Presumably, this edition uses Irving's original text, and was not translated back into the original English from Spanish. But the cut lines on the color plates are all in Spanish, and European-style 《quotation marks》 are used throughout.

It clearly was never proofread by an Anglophone. Every page is riddled with typographical errors, which Mom usually wrote corrections over. Most of the time, even when the typo results in a wrong word (e.g., "ripe" vs. "ride"), one can figure out what the word was supposed to be. In one instance, however, the context of a typo "theree" could have been either "there" or "three."

Mom didn't write a correction on top of that one.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Two By Two by Two

It's time to stop being so stingy with these dusty old cartoons every Saturday! This week, I've got a whole bunch of my own February cartoons from years ending in "2" for your nostalgic pleasure. Let's start with this valentine from February, 1982:

in UW-Parkside Ranger, Somers, Wis., Feb. 11, 1982

I had forgotten about this cartoon until seeing it in the Ranger's on-line archives a few weeks ago. I guess I don't have the original any more; I may have drawn it expressly to fill a hole on page one, the original cartoon instead of a copy getting glued into position on the master sheet.

I'm pretty sure I never gave it away to anyone in hopes that they would be my valentine.

in UW-P Ranger, Somers, Wis., Feb. 25, 1982

As you can tell from the Valentine cartoon, I did a lot of cross-hatch shading in those days. A different technique that I dabbled with was rubbing a charcoal pencil over portions of the cartoon with a textured book cover behind it. I abandoned that approach when I switched over from drawing on plain old typing paper to sturdier bristol board.

in Journal Times, Racine, Wis., Feb. 5, 1992

Goose stepping ahead to 1992, I drew the above homage to Sir David Low's classic cartoon, in which Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin meet over Poland. Low's cartoon comes to mind any time two vehement opponents find common cause. In this case, the stand-in for Hitler was a bona fide Nazi David Duke, then a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, who had put himself forward as a presidential candidate in the Republican primaries despite having run as a Democrat just four years earlier. 

Wisconsin law at the time put on the ballot any candidate recognized by national news media, while allowing the bipartisan Election Commission the final say. The Commission denied Duke a spot on the ballot, albeit along party lines. Ordinarily, Duke would have condemned the American Civil Liberties Union as a bunch of criminal-coddling commies, but he welcomed their help in getting on the ballot in Wisconsin and other states.

The courts ruled in favor of Duke and the ACLU, but no matter. Pat Buchanan, with a longer record of Republican Party activity, won the lion's share of the white racist vote.

in UW-Milwaukee Post, Feb. 13, 1992

With the Olympics just getting underway and the Soviet Reunion set to invade Ukraine any day now, I couldn't resist revisiting this cartoon about the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. This was the last time that the winter games would be held in the same year as the summer games, and these were the first Olympics held after the break-up of the USSR slightly over one month earlier.

Athletes who had trained to represent the USSR now found themselves without a country — or at least, in many cases, without a country that had an Olympic Committee. Athletes from Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan participated as representatives of "Unified Team" (Объединённая команда, or, officially, "Équipe unifiée"). The team won 54 gold medals among them, the winners standing on the podium as the Olympic flag was raised to the tune of the Olympic Hymn.

in The Biz, Milwaukee, 2002

2002 finds me drawing cartoons for The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee and its effort to spin off a flashy youth-oriented monthly supplement called The Biz. The Biz cartoons are my first works in full color. The version of Photoshop that I had at the time didn't have CMYK capability, but I did get to see The Biz in print, and I don't think the RGB files printed badly.

As with almost every other of my cartoons for The Business Journal, I was sent an article in need of an illustration. I have no recollection of what this article was about. Teamwork, I suppose.

for Q Syndicate, February, 2002

I wasn't even using computer-generated grayscale shading yet. There's quite a lot of cross-hatching in the above cartoon, much more than you're likely to find in anything I draw these days.

for Q Syndicate, February, 2012

Ten years later, I hadn't started sending colorized cartoons to Q Syndicate, but I saw that Dallas Voice was colorizing them on their own. This cartoon, about the outing of a closeted Arizona sheriff who had starred in John McCain's "Build The Dang Fence" commercial, was syndicated only in grayscale and bitmap versions. Figuring, however, that I needed to start offering a color option to syndicate subscribers, I upgraded my Photoshop and started playing around with it. 

The difference between RGB and CMYK formats is difficult to show on-line; but essentially, RGB format uses the red, green, and blue pixels on your screen to create 256 colors, whereas CMYK format is designed to use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK ink on paper. An RGB image doesn't contain any true black per se, so CMYK is a better format for printing cartoons that do.

February, 2012

I had already colorized several cartoons for the on-line publications The Racine Post and the Racine iteration of, AOL's foray in the late '00's to sponsor local news content. Likewise with the occasional cartoon that was published only on this blog, such as the above cartoon about right-wing advocacy for an amorphous religious exemption to Obamacare.

The cartoon started as a doodle while I spent an afternoon in a hospital waiting room. After I got home, I went ahead and committed it to ink and thence to computer screen and the interwebs.

A few months after this, I began sending colorized cartoons to Q Syndicate. It would be three years before I ever got to see how my CMYK formatted files actually turned out in print, when I attended the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention in Columbus. I still also send a grayscale cartoon to the syndicate, although to my knowledge, Philadelphia Gay News is the only newspaper that prints them that way.