The Man gets credit for this idea. We were driving around in the desert both lamenting the loss of our glasses, but apparently he found his under the seat, whereas mine have been gone for a couple of weeks. Doubtless they will turn up again after I have spent several hundred dollars and several hours of my life replacing them. Anyway, he said our glasses were probably together having little baby monocles. Monocle is a funny word. We also like to imagine our cell phones mating. We are funny people.
Everything’s off-kilter, and being angry about it doesn’t seem to help. In fact, I feel like my attitude is probably starting to annoy people, so I tried to shift back to something resembling my previous brand of humor without completely abandoning the perspective that the United States of America is completely screwed up right now. I cannot authorize a federal investigation into Russian interference with the US election. I can’t force John McCain to rally Congress around the goal of restoring sanity to politics. I can’t protect my own health coverage. But, here and there, if you look around, you can fix little things, sometimes.
Of course, if we had just done a better job of teaching schoolchildren to recognize and reject logical fallacies for the last 30 years, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Ditto germ theory and the role of vaccinations in preventing the spread of infectious disease.
Organizing books is my personal meditation. You don’t have to break into people’s houses to do it. Public school libraries will usually let you just come in and do it for free. Some places actually pay you to do it!
I’m worried about public education in Arizona. I mean, it’s worrisome all over America, but I live in Arizona, which typically ranks about 49th out of 50 in educational funding. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority for a lot of the population, which includes many aging retirees who just don’t care about other people’s children. But public school funding is important, if only so you don’t end up in a state full of ignorance. You wouldn’t believe how important education is to an outcome of competent adults.
There are 2 schools of thought concerning the nature of education. For me, education is a process of teaching people how to think, so that can adapt to new conditions and make intelligent choices as situations arise. For some people, education is about teaching people what to think, so they parrot your opinions and don’t believe in the validity of any others. Facts are facts, and if your facts cannot stand up to independent analytic scrutiny, your facts are actually opinions, and if your opinions are so frail they fall apart upon examination, why would you expend so much effort to protect them?
That’s what education is for, to keep humanity moving forward, to improve our odds as a species to achieve the best possible outcome. To prevent us from making the same mistake over and over.
I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be able to keep drawing webcomics, in part because drawing webcomics is not a lucrative profession, but also because I started drawing webcomics with the intention of being funny, and increasingly, as the days go by, I don’t feel funny. I hear myself making jokes at parties and people laughing at them, and I still don’t feel like anything’s funny. I feel like I’m pretending to be funny. Being funny right now is like dressing in drag. The end result may be stunning, but it knows it’s playing an imitation game.
Watching my work become increasingly unfunny scares me, despite the positive feedback for telling the truth.
The effect of the Desmond Tutu comic–3 serious panels, followed by a punchline–seemed like a good compromise, so I tried it again. I leave it to the reader to decide. Can I put swastikas in panel 2 and banana cream pies in panel 4? Admittedly, this piece has a little less cohesion than The Fourfold Path.
Panel 2 was troublesome. I Googled “anti-semitic graffiti,” but I couldn’t bring myself to reproduce most of the things I found. I’m not saying “kike” is the line for me–I bet a lot of people wouldn’t even recognize it as a slur, and it certainly isn’t an n-bomb–but I didn’t want it in my comic, either. It’s hard enough going through life knowing that there are people who flat-out want me dead because of the shape of my nose.
Anything I could say about panel 3 has already been said by commentators more eloquent than I. As we transition into a world where the president of the United States thinks it’s perfectly fine to publicly, in front of a large audience and many cameras, mock a man’s physical disability while that man is attempting to do his job, who can really predict the depth of the rabbit hole? What does comedy even mean in this world? Reality is more bizarre and unpredictable than any joke I could think of. I’m the rare person who never enjoyed The Daily Show because it frankly depresses me that comedians were the only people telling the truth, and that they had that much to say.
If you would like to read the sad comic reproduced in panel one, you can find it here: The Weight of the World.
Dave McKean, if you are unfamiliar with his name, is the artist who created the covers for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, among other things.
In real life, my hips are not that small. But I guess in real life, the president-elect is not that orange. The size of his hands, the color of his skin: these are the least of the problematic concepts that those who believe in equality, freedom, and the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America will struggle to explain to ourselves and the children in our lives in the coming months.
It’s not like I intentionally hold grudges, but some people just crawl under your skin and poke at you like so many grass seeds stuck inside a pair of wool socks. Maybe reading this Desmond Tutu book (The Book of Forgiving) will help me find release from the irritation. But also, nothing’s sacred.
So far it’s an interesting work. It’s hard to imagine people embracing their torturers, the murderers of their loved ones, but apparently people do it. Perhaps the truth and reconciliation process will seem more obvious when I get farther into the book. He’s probably onto something with this fourfold path. Definitely, hanging on to anger and seeking revenge is terrible for your mental health. I think I’ve shared the avuncular Syd Lea’s “The Feud” before; it pretty much spells out what that mentality does to a person.
It’s magical that I managed to draw this comic tonight. I started to get a headache, took some medicine, wrote the script, and then got hit with a tidal wave of migraine, that kind of pain that makes you think you might throw up at that very moment. So I turned off all the lights and sat quietly in the dark drinking fizzy water and breathing until the pain got bearable again, and then I drew the pictures. My head just hurts a normal amount; I think the full-blown migraine happened because the winter sun comes into the kitchen at just the right angle to hit me in the eyes when I make dinner this time of year.
I tried to to the shading but it’s not all there and my eyes just couldn’t look anymore. It’s still a good comic.
This is the latest T-shirt design. I know it’s completely weird and unsellable, but literally my entire M.O. is to just do the thing that my muse tells me do, regardless of how ridiculous it seems. Then, later on, I wonder what the heck I was thinking, but some percentage of the time it works out for the best. The poet Syd Lea once told me that I should keep doing whatever felt right to me regardless of what anyone else said. He said, “Be stubborn, woman.”
Not that I needed that advice. Maybe he figured I was just going to do that anyway.
The original version of this design was the last panel of the first BJC comic, about how sometimes your own mother doesn’t understand you so you can’t expect much from the rest of the world. Even in context, it’s bizarre. The benefit of this sort of extremely niche design is that if anyone else does appreciate it, you know you truly have commonalities at the core.
If you’d like to purchase this bizarre comic panel on a variety of clothing, paper products, and household items, you can obtain It’s OK If You Don’t Understand Me in my RedBubble shop.
Tomorrow I guess I’ll go back to drawing longer comics. Maybe.
Back when I was single, after the invention of the internet, but before newspapers seemed completely obsolete, I placed a personal ad in the local alternative rag, which included an anonymous voice mailbox where my suitors might woo me by recording spoken word messages, to be retrieved at my leisure. I ended up dating the glibbest of these guys for a year, and still talk to him occasionally, but most of the wooers failed to wow me with their woo. One of them failed really spectacularly.
His message began by saying that he was a vegetarian, which was actually fine with me. At the time, I was a vegetarian, too. But this guy was very passionate about his vegetarianism, to the point that his entire message was about how important it was to him that he never find himself in the vicinity of meat, and how disgusting meat was, and how he could never date someone who ate meat because the smell of it, the idea of it upon his lover’s lips, was overwhelmingly vile. He spent so long complaining about his distaste for meat and meat-eaters that the voice message cut him off in the middle of the sentence. Undeterred, he called back and continued his tirade for several minutes more.
Needless to say, he did not get the callback.
As to this comic, I just keep thinking of Temple Grandin saying, “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.”
If I felt better I would have taken the shading further (like, but making the tower look cylindrical instead of 2-dimensional) but you can see I tried. I really tried.