Saturday, June 24, 2017

Elements of Surprise, Part I

Stunback Saturday today presents an excerpt from Summerfield Baldwin's scholarly treatise on the topic of the Elements of Surprise in Cartoon, from the July, 1917 issue of Cartoons Magazine, the foremost academic journal of comicologists in its day.  Take it away, Mr. Baldwin:
Carlisle, I believe, is responsible for the statement that "it is in and through symbols that man, consciously or unconsciously, lives, works, and has his being; those ages, moreover, are accounted the noblest which can best recognize symbolical worth, and prize it the highest." No more appropriate motto could be inscribed over the gate to a cartoonists' hall of fame, for it is by means of symbols that the cartoonist has most of all contrived to charm and amuse the generation to which he has come.

. . .

By definition, the art of the cartoonist is to parody fact without imitating it. But parody obviously requires representation, and the solution of this complex and partly self-contradictory problem lies in the symbol. The symbol represents without copying. Hence, to construct an effective parody, one must first invent such symbols as are at once intrinsically humorous and instantly recognizable. The cartoonist has perforce adopted this solution into his æsthetic creed, and, presumably, before he undertakes to create a new comic character, he compiles from his own imagination, and (to a certain extent) from the imaginations of his fellow-artists, an exhaustive dictionary of the symbols necessary to portray his pen-child's reactions upon the highly artificial life it is destined to lead.
"Mutt and Jeff" by Bud Fisher
One of the first entries in this dictionary is unquestionably labeled Surprise. For a good part of the humorous effect of a strip of comics is due to a dénouement in which one of the protagonists is astonished by the word or deed of the other. ... [I]n at least half of the cartoonist's work, the appeal is made by the shock caused by the impertinent, unintelligent, or witty remark, or by some method of a more physical nature. There is, consequently, a tremendous need for a good collection of surprise symbols.

. . . 

The oldest and best known hyperbolical symbol of surprise is the exaggeration of quite an ordinary start into a complete back-somersault. Mr. Voight employs this method considerably in his Mr. Petey series.
"Mr. Petey" by C.A. Voigt
Thus in one of the strips before me, Petey Dink and Henrietta are in their bathing suits (they wintered at Palm Beach, you know); they are posing (so they suppose) for a society photographer. When this courteous young gentleman comes up and asks them to move a little, so that he can photograph the couple behind them, the blow to their self-esteem so shocks them that they immediately back-somersault themselves out of the picture.

The effect of the stout nether extremities of Henrietta is, as you can imagine, deliciously indiscreet. Mr. Voigt apparently funks trying to do the facial expression of surprise, for in most of the astonishment pictures of his that I have seen, he arranges the composition so that the back-somersault carries the faces out of the range of his pen.

The natural temptation of the easy-going but hard-worked comic page cartoonist is ultimately to eliminate the rather complex apparatus of a back-somersault by so cutting off his picture that only the feet and lower legs of the surprised character are visible. Consequently, within recent years, this device has become one of the most common of the symbols of astonishment. 
"Baron Bean" by George Herriman
Probably Tad was the first to employ it. The feet of the Judge, projecting above his official desk, when a sally of some petty criminal or pretty jury woman has upset his judicial dignity, have enough irreverence for law about them to satisfy our suppressed wish (as Doctor Freud would say) to commit contempt of court. Then, too, the desk furnished an excellent excuse for hiding the rest of the Judge's person.

It had a similar value in Mr. Hoban's Jerry on the Job, when the job consisted of being a jack-of-all-trades around a railroad station. Many a lunch-counter customer has by some unintended witticism thrown Jerry off his balance, and eliminated all but the disproportionately large feet of that youth from the picture.
"Jerry on the Job" by Walter Hoban
Jerry, as you know, has been guarding a railroad lately (military business, by the by, has been creeping into the comic section very rapidly) and one day, one Private Matters' idiotic excuse for neglect of orders caused Jerry utterly to lose his equilibrium and to fall flat on the station platform. This particular symbol of surprise was quite a pleasant surprise in itself, especially as with the hyperbole there was coupled a slightly altered arbitrary device for indicating Jerry's state of mind. The usual cloud was present, but instead of the customary star, or question mark, or exclamation point, there was a small, thick black cross, inexpressibly mournful in its connotation. But I am anticipating.
And here, having already exhausted the attention span of the average internet surfer, Stunback Saturday must take a break. We will continue the with the wisdom of Summerfield Baldwin in half a fortnight at this very same juncture.

Next week: Hold onto your hats, gentelemen!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Hashtag Iron Stache

There was a flurry of internet interest in liberal/progressive circles earlier this week in the announcement of a declared candidate for the Democratic nomination to run against Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Randy Bryce isn't the first candidate to announce in the 2018 race; there is also David Yankovich and Charlie Breit on the Democratic side, and returning Tea Partisan Paul Nehlen to challenge Ryan on the Republican side.

Yankovich was the first Democrat to announce candidacy for the seat, but has only very recently moved to Wisconsin's First Congressional District from his home state of Ohio, so I think it's unlikely that he has much support here. Breit, who lives in Pleasant Prairie, is a member of Forward Kenosha, and Bryce is a longtime union activist from Caledonia, so the race for the nomination is probably between the two of them. (But see postscript below.)

Iron worker Bryce, who tweets under the hashtag "Iron Stache," has run for school board, State Assembly, and State Senate, but never successfully. He stood no chance in the 2014 State Senate race, given the Republicans' redrawing of district lines in 2011, but he came in a distant second in the primary for the 2012 Assembly race (the unopposed Republican received more than three times the combined total of the two Democrats' votes), and also fell short in the ten-way 2013 school board primary.

He was ejected from the Senate chamber in Madison in 2015 for yelling that Wisconsin was "turning into a banana republic." He told the press that he had planned to testify against a so-called right-to-work bill, but when Senate leaders prematurely shut the meeting down, shouting was the only option he had left.

He wasn't the only person to get hauled out of the State Capitol since the Republican putsch of 2010, but that, and his very emotional inaugural campaign ad did help him raise $100,000 in the first day of his congressional candidacy. My own Facebook feed included some progressives and liberals who Ain't From Around Here talking about contributing to his campaign; we'll see how long that lasts.

Because Ryan can raise $100,000 over brunch.

P.S.: Janesville School Board Vice President Cathy Myers has now become the third Democrat in the race. Janesville is on the opposite end of CD-1 from where I live, so I don't know anything about her; but that is Ryan's hometown, and she has the endorsement of her State Senator.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Q Toon: Irony in the Fire

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Jun 22, 2017

As risky as it was to draw a cartoon on Sunday featuring Steve Scalise (R-LA), the Congressman and House Majority Whip who was shot in the hip while practicing for a GOP-vs.-Democrat baseball game, the point of this week's cartoon is to highlight the role of Capitol police officer Crystal Griner.
Griner, an out and married lesbian, may even have been the one who fatally shot the failed assassin, James T. Hodgkinson.
Law-enforcement officials didn’t say who fired the fatal shot, but witness Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, said it was Griner who took down the shooter, James Hodgkinson.
Flake later visited both officers in the local hospital where they were being treated, and said he “thanked them for saving my life.” ...
[Rep. Rodney] Davis (R-Ill.), who was at bat when the shooting began, said, "They're the ones that saved countless innocent lives and they're the heroes of today."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), who was also at the practice, pointed out that they fought against superior firepower, because the shooter had a rifle and they had only pistols.
"But for their heroism there's no question that there would have been much more carnage, no doubt about it, because no one else there was armed and this shooter was not only active but he was really unloading so many shots," said the congressman, still in his baseball clothes at Capitol Hill hours later.
Griner was, of course, one of three officers who defended the congressmen's lives, but her status is worth pointing out, given Mr. Scalise's record (and that of Republicans generally) against marriage equality for same-sex couples. According to ontheissues.com, Scalise 

  • Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
  • Voted to amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted to protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
  • Voted that any State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)
  • Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
Now, as far as comparing himself to KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is concerned, this refers to a remark reported by Stephanie Grace, a Louisiana political reporter and columnist:
“He was explaining his politics and we were in this getting-to-know-each-other stage,” Ms. Grace said. “He told me he was like David Duke without the baggage."
Now, I'm not from Louisiana, but David Duke has popped up on the national scene repeatedly since being elected to the Louisiana statehouse in 1989. I'm left wondering what, if anything, there is about racist bigot David Duke that is not baggage. Benito Mussolini at least made the trains run on time; what good has Duke ever done?


I acknowledged at the top of this post that drawing a cartoon about a victim of violence that levels the even slightest degree of criticism his way is rather dicey. (Now that Mr. Scalise has been upgraded to "fair" condition, I'm going to say that perhaps makes him fair game.) But some have tried to blame this shooting on editorial cartoons that have been critical of Republicans.

The Facebook "likes" of the gunman, a Bernie Sanders volunteer left disgruntled by last year's election, included a number of nationally published editorial cartoons, notably one by Stuart Carlson in 2015 about Scalise's speech to a white supremacist group in 2002.

Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles was also shared on Facebook by Mr. Hodgkinson, and has responded to criticism that his cartoons critical of Republicans and the Trump administration are somehow to blame for Mr. Hodgkinson's shooting spree — a criticism coming from people who have suddenly developed amnesia about their own rhetoric over past eight years.
[A]s to the question of incitement of violence, let’s indeed look at that. I am opposed to violence in just about every instance. But there are those who specifically define gun ownership as a tool of violence intended for potential use against the government. I have written here before about the dangers of this line of thinking. And it is not an isolated phenomenon, as it has been championed by a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Those words have consequences. Some less mainstream presidential candidates like former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have echoed it, while 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) raised eyebrows when she floated “Second Amendment remedies” to protect against an out-of-control government.
Clay Jones adds to the list Donald Trump's suggestion to gun advocates that they take care of Hillary Clinton if she were to win the election: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.” And who can possibly count the number of right-wing AM radio and internet blowhards, NRA spokesmen and drunk uncles who have spewed the same incendiary Second Amendment Solution idiocy?

So now they're shocked, shocked! that someone outside their bubble was listening, too?


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Clean-up in Aisle 17

I couldn't quite hit on a theme for Scattershot Saturday this week.

I considered several topics; today is the 45th anniversary of the discovery of the Committee to Reelect the President's break-in of Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, so I could have rustled up some cartoons of that event... but that stuff is a little recent for the scope of this blog.

Instead, here's a photo I took of the Watergate Hotel when I was on a school visit to Washington D.C. in 1974.

And another one with my finger in front of the lens.

Seeing as it's Fathers' Eve, I looked for some century-old cartoons about Fathers' Day, but came up dry. Overlooking Fathers' Day is apparently nothing new, and you'll probably find one or two tried and true jokes about how Dad gets short shrift compared to Mom in tomorrow's funny papers. Just don't expect to find any fancy restaurants open for Fathers' Day brunch.

So what I've decided to do is go back and expand on a couple of cartoons from last week. For example, the panel excerpted from Ray N. Handy's 1917 travelogue of his hometown, Duluth, came from this two-page spread.
from "Cities Beautiful 8: Duluth" by Ray N. Handy in Cartoons Magazine, July, 1917
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
ibid.
Since I only presented the top half of Frank O. King's The Rectangle last week, here's the bottom half.
From The Rectangle by Frank O. King, in Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1917
And, for good measure, his Rectangle from 100 years ago today:
from The Rectangle by Frank O. King, in Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1917
ibid, again
Coming back to that school trip to D.C., here's, a photo I took of a display about cartoons that was at the Smithsonian Institution during that trip. I have never been back to that part of the Smithsonian since then, so I don't know whether this is a permanent exhibit, and if so, whether they've updated it to include, say, Tom Toles or Ann Telnaes.

You'd think they'd want to include some animated gifs by now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Q Toon: Putin The Issue to Rest

Meanwhile, at another Russian investigation...

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jun 14, 2017

With all that has been going on in the U.S. of A. lately, it's easy to lose track of what's been going on elsewhere on the planet. This week's cartoon is a reminder that the Chechen government continues its pogrom of gay men. European heads of state have spoken out against the arrest, torture, and murders of gay men in the majority Islamic republic; a few who have escaped from Russia have been granted asylum in Lithuania and Germany. But,
[I]nternational condemnation of the atrocities has not translated into concrete assistance for Chechnya’s at risk and terrified gay men. So far, we only know of a handful of individuals who have been granted asylum in safe countries. According to the Russian LGBT Network, there are about 40 individuals currently in hiding in Russia, desperately trying to flee the country.
Staying in any part of Russia is unsafe. Former detainees remain within easy reach of the Chechen authorities and there is a high risk of honour killings – there are cases where LGBT people have been followed to other regions and attacked by their relatives.
Novaya Gazeta broke the original story in March, and as of late May, they report that while the arrests seem to have stopped, many of those arrested remain in custody, and 26 men have been killed.

In response to international pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in May to launch an investigation into the matter. Whether that investigation will have any effect on the Chechen government, whose dictatorial leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, continues to deny the very existence of gay men in his country,
“Chechen society does not have this phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation. For thousands of years the people have lived by other rules, prescribed by God,” [Kadyrov] told Russian journalists.
So far, the Russian investigation hasn't turned up much. At the site of the prison camp where the gay men were reported to be held, investigators allegedly found only a demolished building covered by debris.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Buy Bonds, Not Booze

Snootfulback Saturday returns to the thrilling days of yestercentury to resurrect cartoons about grain, alcohol, and Liberty Loans.

A few weeks ago, I included a John "Ding" Darling cartoon of not-as-yet-President Herbert Hoover reviewing his "troops," consisting of various foodstuffs. Ding was not the only cartoonist to admire Mr. Hoover; Bill Sykes at the Philadelphia Evening Ledger portrays him here as a watchcat returning to scatter the forces of Waste, Greed, Selfishness and Speculation threatening the nation's food supply.
"Watchful Waiting" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, June, 1917
The prospect of food shortages and profiteering was a concern that predated the U.S. entry into World War I, but concern over them was only amplified once war was declared. Taking advantage of these concerns was the Prohibitionist movement. The temperance and prohibitionist movement dated back decades, its political viability now gaining strength in part because of America's war footing, yet even more due to extension of voting rights to women.
"The Menace" by Joe Murphy in San Francisco Call,  June, 1917
Oscar Cesare illustrates the menace of booze to the U.S. food supply employing a parallel to one of the main issues for the country having entered the war.
"The Mine" by Oscar Cesare in New York Evening Post, June, 1917
I've never seen the issues of prohibition and Daylight Saving Time tied together before; doesn't having more daylight hours in the evening give a guy more time to spend in the tavern after the day's work is done? Or did Harry Murphy count on those early mornings deterring whisky-soaked nights?
"More Daylight, Less Whisky" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, June 9, 1917
Passage of the 18th Amendment was still two years away in 1917, but "dry" municipalities were proliferating all over the country. Cartoonist Ray Handy of the Duluth News-Tribune touted his hometown's aridity in one panel of a two-page spread on Duluth's attractions in Cartoons Magazine.
Detail from "Cities Beautiful 8 - Duluth" by Ray N. Handy in Cartoons Magazine, July, 1917
Meanwhile, June 10-16 was designated as Liberty Loan week, so the nation's cartoonists dutifully turned their pens to the task of inspiring their fellow citizens to lend the government money to fund the war effort. For the most part, the cartoons illustrate my Cartooning Rule of Thumb that cartoons arguing in favor of anything are flat and uninteresting. (So I'm only going to show you seven of them.)

There are only so many ways to cartoon what a swell idea sending extra money to Uncle Sam is, after all. Frank King's "Rectangle" (of which this is only the top half) hit all the bases that Sunday.
"The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1917
The original Liberty Loan —there would be three more— was authorized by Congress to raise $2 billion toward the $7 billion war credit. Liberty Loans offered a fixed return rate of 3.5%, tax-free, promising greater security than a bank in those days before the FDIC — when no bank was too big to fail. Another $1.8 trillion, however, was to be raised by various war taxes, so getting Americans to lend Uncle Sam even more money was going to take some hard selling.
"We Can't All Play..." by Bill Sykes for Philadelphia Evening Ledger,  June, 1917
Bill Sykes was one of quite a few cartoonists who drew a different Liberty Loan sales pitch every day that week. Certainly, there were several well-drawn cartoons, but most were fairly ponderous. Here's an example of both tendencies.
"Bringing Up the Ammunition" by Robert Carter in Philadelphia Press, June, 1917
There were, of course, occasional attempts at humor.
"C-A-S-H!!" by Brinkerhoff in New York Evening Mail, June, 1917
But one cartoon after another simply harped on the need for citizens to do their public duty.
"Help Her Carry It" by Milton R. Halladay in Providence Journal, June, 1917
On the other hand, the Chicago Tribune's John McCutcheon offered a practical argument based on the Liberty Lender's self-interest (no pun intended); inches away, the front page editor attempted to use civic pride to goad his fellow Chicagoans to do their part.
"This Is Liberty Loan and Marine Corps Week" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1917
In the end, most Liberty Loans were made not by individuals but by banks and investment groups who recognized the investment opportunity. The blunt propaganda from American cartoonists, advertisers and celebrities notwithstanding, the average citizen was uncomfortable with the idea of entrusting his savings to the government — especially given the taxes that he had no choice but to pay.
"A Proud But Touching Parting" by John "Ding" Darling for New York Tribune,  June, 1917

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Q Toon: Go Away, Kid, You Bother Me

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
🌈Jun 8, 2017
I shouldn't admit this, but the one thing that doesn't work in this cartoon is its very premise.

Not the part about Ivanka's tweets. That much was real.

But if there's one thing you and I know about Mr. Donald Joffrey Trump, it is that he is not really, really busy making policy decisions with his staff this month. He's watching TV today, phone in hand, ready to cast self-serving — check that, make that deranged — tweets about Jim Comey's Senate testimony.

He's also not dedicated to any philosophy, antigay or otherwise, other than continuing the con job that has so improbably propelled him from real estate swindler to Trump University scammer to children's charity fraudster to President of the United States. The men on the other side of the table in this cartoon may be dedicated to slashing the budget for HIV/AIDS, blessing discrimination against same-sex couples, and keeping transgender persons out of public lavatories, but Trump is interested only in keeping the suckers who have thus far fallen for his con job from turning against him.

On top of all that, doesn't Jared have something he's supposed to be doing, like bringing peace to the Middle East, running the Office of American Innovation, setting up super-secret back channels to the FSB, diverting the doomsday asteroid, or something?

Monday, June 5, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Tune in later this week for the Ghostly Trio plus another appearance by 67% of the Stooges.

On a totally unrelated subject, is there some other, non-racist term Bill Maher could have used on Friday to convey his disinclination to work on a farm field?

And how odd it is that "habitable" and "inhabitable" mean the same thing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cough And the World Coughs With You

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more, and they won’t be. They won’t be.” — Trump

Continuing his administration's War on the Environment, Donald Joffrey Trump made it official on Thursday: the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in order to keep Pittsburgh's citizens hard at work in the coal mines. Having singlehandedly saved the Clean Coal biz, Mr. Trump can now turn his attention to loosening the regulations that are stifling our very, very fabulous alchemy industry, and rescuing the jobs of all those seamstresses spinning straw into gold.

After an exhaustive examination of every tittle and jot of the Accord, Mr. Trump has discovered that it requires the United States to be the one and only country making the sacrifices necessary to keep this world inhabitable. And he will have none of that. If he has to, Trump will bring those melting glaciers to the negotiating table at Mar-A-Lago himself and hammer out an agreement to make global temperatures even better than they are today.

Plus tax cuts.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Gay Games People Play

Writing Thursday's Qtoon post, I thought I had already posted a Sportsback Saturday retrospective on the Gay Games on this here blog; but it turns out that I was thinking of a post on my long defunct GeoCities site. GeoCities, for those of you too young or attention deficient to remember, was a web hosting service bought out by Yahoo! in 1999. Ten years later, it and its 38 million user-built pages were demolished by the Vogons of the internet in order to make way for a hypertext bypass or something.

I gave a quick summary of the split between the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and the Gay & Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) Thursday, and I don't want to hash through all the details here, but some context is necessary in order to present the cartoons I drew about it back in the '00's.

The FGG initially awarded its 2006 Gay Games VII to the city of Montreal in the fall of 2001, accepting the Canadian city's bid over those of three U.S. cities. It was a story of interest only to LGBTQ athletes and media, there being other things dominating the national psyche at the moment.

FGG officials grew worried about Montreal organizers' optimistic predictions of doubling the participants from the 2002 games in Sydney, Australia. More worrisome, given that Gay Games IV, V and VI had all lost money, was Montreal's multi-million dollar budget. Two years after awarding the 2006 games to Montreal, the FGG rescinded their decision and awarded the games to Chicago instead.

In the summer of 2005, the Cook County Board overwhelmingly passed a measure welcoming Gay Games VII to town, after which Republicans on the board suddenly discovered that they didn't want to welcome a bunch of FGGot athletes to town after all and vehemently disassociated themselves from the resolution.

The original links to the Chicago Free Press, Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune reports seem to have disappeared, but Wikipedia still has the details:
Commissioners Gregg Goslin, Liz Gorman, Carl Hansen, Tony Peraica and Peter Silvestri, the only Republicans sitting on the Board of Commissioners, withdrew their names from the proclamation. "I'm a pro-family kind of person and conservative on social issues. That's nothing against the gay and lesbian community, but it's nothing I want to advance as a cause celebre," Peraica told the Chicago Sun-Times. In the same report, Gorman said that she doesn't support "special rights for any group."
Trying to explain his original vote in favor of the proclamation, Peraica fumbled, "I must have been out of the room."

Meanwhile, undeterred by the FGG moving their games to Chicago, Montreal continued with its plans to host what would now be World OutGames I that same summer. From my 2006 GeoCities post:
The Gay Games survived the sweltering heat in Chicago in July, to be followed by the Outgames in Montreal about a week later. 
Again, from my original post:
The Chicago Tribune has been covering the Gay Games, although I've missed any coverage in its sports section. On the other hand, the coverage has made the front page, in spite of eruption of hostilities in Israel and Lebanon, a rush hour train derailment, and the President saying "shit" on an open microphone. The Trib stories have dealt with such topics as corporate sponsorship of Chicago's games and the hurdles some third world contestants have overcome to attend at all. ...
The Chicago Sun Times did a nice job of providing coverage, at least on line, including a photo gallery (the same pictures are also in Yahoo!'s photo gallery). The games got their own full page (The Sun Times is a tabloid), with pictures, toward the back of the news section.
That the Montreal games were a financial disaster is indisputable. But Montreal journalist Richard Burnett has pointed out that if you added the 12,000 athletes who competed in Chicago to the 12,000 who competed in Montreal, you would get the 24,000 originally projected by Montreal organizers. There may have been a few athletes who participated in both events, but most had to choose one or the other. Burnett claimed that Martina Navratilova told him that in the continuing aftermath of 9/11, "Europeans opted to come to Montreal because it's easier to get a visa. America is like a prison with barbed wire. They don't want to let anybody in these days."

Ms. Navratilova's comment notwithstanding, the U.S. can hardly be accused of not accommodating Chicago's games. While airport security measures remained in effect, we weren't yet trying to ban Muslims from the country, and the federal government had issued a blanket waiver of a travel ban in effect since 1987, specifically to allow non-U.S. citizens with HIV/AIDS to travel the United States to participate in or to attend the event. (The ban was completely lifted in 2010, in time for Gay Games VIII.)

🏆

Well, just for the sake of ending on a positive note, the one other time I have drawn about either Gay Games or Out Games was in celebration of the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, which attracted about 9,000 contestants, and netted a $150,000 profit when all was said and done.

Which is pretty impressive, especially when you consider how often the more famous Olympic games turn out to be a white elephant for their hosts.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

And They're Off!

With all that is going wrong in the world these days, what did I choose to draw about this week?

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jun 1, 2017

World OutGames abruptly canceled this week's games in Miami over the weekend, to the surprise and shock of athletes as they arrived in town for the competition.
Most of the sports events, along with opening and closing ceremonies, were canceled at the very last minute amid a flurry of financial woes and possible impropriety. By Friday night, Miami Beach Police and the State Attorney’s Office announced they were opening a fraud investigation “due to the potential misappropriation of funds.”
Only soccer, aquatics and country western dance events would go on. The City of Miami Beach, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Miami Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce scrambled to keep some of the planned events, but most athletes paid thousands of dollars for nothing.

Ah, well, I suppose there are worse places to be stuck with nothing to do than Miami Beach.

The World OutGames are not to be confused with the Gay Games, founded in 1982 and planning their tenth games in Paris next year. World OutGames split with the Gay Games over the 2006 Games, which were to have been held in Montreal, Ontario, Canada. Montreal's organizers and officials of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) were unable to agree on budgeting for the event, and the FGG ended up awarding that year's games to Chicago. Montreal went ahead with its plans anyway, and the World OutGames were born.

The Chicago Gay Games ended in the black, while the Montreal World OutGames ended up $5.3 million Canadian in debt. The next World OutGames in Copenhagen in 2009 managed a profit, donated to Danish LGBT charities, but the after the games in Antwerp in 2013, the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) failed to publish any financial or registration figures.

P.S.: Sorry if you were expecting a cartoon about a topic with which you were already familiar. If we're still debating the meaning of "covfefe" next week, I promise I'll draw a biting cartoon about it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

School's Out for Summer

As I look out upon the sea of youthful faces ready to take on the world with determination, dedication, hope, and mountain ranges of student debt, I am reminded of the words of countless commencement speakers from years, decades and centuries past.
"Look to the future, blah blah blah, something about challenges lying ahead, blah blah blah, commencement is not an end but a beginning, blah blah blah, follow your dreams, yada yada yada."
So herewith I present to you, the graduating class of 2017, a couple of full-page cartoons I drew back when I was following my dream of becoming the oldest college newspaper editorial cartoonist in the western hemisphere. This one is from 1993:
You may be too young to remember this, O class of MMXVII, but there used to be this thing called a newspaper, and it used to have a dozen pages of what were called Classified Ads, which was where you would look for jobs if you hadn't spent your undergraduate years currying favor with employers in your field. There was an internet, sure, but the only jobs on the internet were jobs making the dial-up noise sound less like Godzillas mating. And the only people interested in those jobs were geeky bespectacled nerds who spent every Friday and Saturday night hunched over their computer screens.

Which is even more depressing than you think, because this is what passed for internet porn in those days:
(•) (•)
) . (
(  v  )

Of course, those geeky bespectacled nerds are now richer than Croesus, and I use that expression because this graduation ceremony is the only place where anybody will know who the hell Croesus was.

But all was not necessarily doom and gloom as the Twentieth Century began to wane. In the year previous to the above UWM Post issue, I had drawn a more optimistic cover cartoon about the end of the school year.
Of course, that cartoon was about underclassmen, and has no relevance to you, O graduating seniors of Twenty and Seventeen.

Because you have one thing that they haven't got! A diploma! Hie thee hence from these hallowed halls of academe armed with your Th.D. in Thinkology, and go thither into the world to think deep thoughts. Just like Jack Handey.

Why, look at me. Yes, even I eventually took my leave from illustrating the editorial pages of the free campus paper and have since become a moderately, or to put a finer point on it, nearly successful cartoonist, wit, and bon vivant. But I never forgot where I came from.

Nor should you, O graduating class of the square root of 4,068,289. Remember where you came from, because you just might need to go back.

But call first to make sure your folks haven't converted your room into a home office.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Here's a Saudi Do

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍May 25, 2017

Donald Joffrey Trump's first foreign trip abroad, surprisingly, was not to Russia. Can you believe it?

No, his first stop was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he somehow managed to go the entire trip without tweeting that his hosts were fostering Radical Islamic Terrorism. Trump did advise the Saudis and an auditorium full of leaders of Islamic nations that they needed to drive the terrorists out of their countries. (Just don't drive them into ours.)

It is hard to see how these Islamic countries are to make any headway in stopping terrorism if their rulers do not lead by example. Their state-sponsored terrorism includes the persecution of their own LGBTQ citizens. Arrest, public whipping, torture, and execution -- whether by the state itself or the state encouraging family members to handle it -- is meant to terrorize the LGBTQ out of existence.

We know that Egyptian President Sisi was in the audience, since he was in that bizarre photo with Trump, King Salman touching the Glowing Orb. I don't know if Indonesian president Widodo, or Afghanistan's President Ghani, or Pakistani President Hussain, or Chechen President Kadyrov were there. We do know that newly reelected Iranian President Rouhani was not present.

It's not just a Muslim thing, of course. Antigay state-sponsored terrorism is practiced and in Nigeria and several other African countries. And, it has to be noted, Trump's BFF Putin was persecuting LGBTQs in Russia well before Mr. Kadyrov took up the cudgel.

Monday, May 22, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

A reader commented on yesterday's cartoon of Sheriff Clarke, asking whether I were "Planning on a follow-up, celebrating Clarke's 'masterful' plagiarism."

CNN reported that Clarke plagiarized portions of his 2013 masters thesis on US security, but the charge itself is rather wonky.
Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.
According to guidelines on plagiarism posted on the Naval Postgraduate School's website, "If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation. The length of the phrase does not matter. If someone else's words are sufficiently significant to be worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential, even if only a few words are involved."
So in answer to the question, I'll keep this in mind, but failure to use quotation marks isn't likely to make me rush to the drawing board. There are plenty of worse things in Clarke's record.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sheriff David Clarke

Here in the Milwaukee media market, we're watching a little drama surrounding our local mini-Trump, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

Unless you watched his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, you might not know much about Mr. Clarke. Nominally a Democrat, he was appointed Milwaukee County Sheriff by Republican Acting Governor Scott McCallum in 2002; while the Democrats were figuring out that he wasn't really one of them, Republicans with no local races of their own have been free to cross over to make sure he won every primary since then.

He has spent his tenure attacking every other elected Democratic official and endorsing Republican ones. Clarke hasn't been in town much lately; tired of just being the darling of Milwaukee AM radio, he's been working hard to take his shtick national. (There's also the pesky matter of inquests into some deaths including one of a newborn infant in his prison, which he has been happy to escape. The inquests, I mean, not the prison.)

And now he says he's been named Department of Homeland Security’s liaison to state and local authorities although that's news that DHS and the guy currently in that position haven't heard from the White House.

Twitterer Charles Clymer, a genderqueer army veteran, and writer, noticed that the pins and medals festooning Sheriff Clarke's uniform when he appears in public were not ones that he had earned.
“Look at this fucking guy’s uniform,” Clymer said, in the second of a long string of tweets on the subject. “You see all that shit pinned all over his dress uniform jacket? That’s not supposed to be there.” Clymer went on to break down each individual medal, their placement and their apparently spurious provenance. Clymer acknowledged that legitimate medals are earned, and should be worn with pride, but accuses Clarke of “stolen valor” and calls Clarke’s collection, “a sloppy assortment of badge replicas arranged neatly, [that] looks imposing.” 
Clymer's not the only one noticing that Clarke's medals aren't exactly, shall we say, kosher.
Clymer’s Twitter rant led Daniel Sieradski (a former JTA staffer) to review Clarke’s photos. He found one where the sheriff is sporting the insignia of Israel’s traffic police. ...
Clarke may have received the pin when he toured Israel and Russia in 2015, in what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported was a trip funded by the National Rifle Association.
Okay, it’s possible. But it makes one wonder: Did he earn the pin? If so, how? Did he head off a battle royale on the notoriously clogged road straddling Jerusalem’s Old City and Sultan’s Pool? Did he avert a crisis on the LaGuardia ramp into Tel Aviv? Did he bring peace, love and understanding to the hot, messy hell that is the Checkpost road, connecting Haifa with its northern suburbs?
We asked Clarke for background on the pin. He has yet to reply.