Tag Archives: symbolic

Un-American

UNAMERICAN_edited-1.png

I guess it depends on what values you believe the symbol actually stands for, and whether or not you can recognize when that symbol hangs from an incongruent foundation.

Not much more to say about this. America has been guilty of atrocities, but I like to think injustice is not the foundation of the system. Rather it’s a human flaw that can be addressed. We don’t have to embrace it. We don’t even have to accept it as inevitable. We can recognize it, bring it to light, and address it. Then the Rabbit told me today that genocide and slavery are the structural supports of the nation, and that we will have to tear the house down and rebuild.

History is ridiculous. And living through it is nerve-wracking. This comic comes from a place of fear, but I guess most of significant human events comes from that place.

I’m not sure how my brain connected to this James Thurber story, which I probably haven’t read in 20 years. Everyone should read James Thurber. Actually, everyone probably has and just doesn’t know it. His most famous story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” figured prominently in my freshman English class in high school. He’s a wicked, funny man. I wish I could write with his clarity and wit.

As for the last panel, I don’t know all that much about HUAC and Joe McCarthy, and I imagine there probably were plenty of Nazi sympathizers running around in the ’50s, but of course they weren’t open about it. They didn’t publicly host Nazi gatherings. They didn’t freely state their intentions to dismantle the federal government. Anyway, McCarthy claimed that the State House was “infested with Communists.” Later, as I understand it, he died penniless and friendless. In between he made a lot of people’s lives miserable.

He was a terrible human being, but in Bizarro America he gets to point his finger.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Dragon Comics 38

I'm not kidding. If you can't handle painful symbolic representations of brutal reality, go read Ziggy. Or Garfield. Or Marmaduke. This is nowhere near as bleak as it's gonna get.

I’m not kidding. If you can’t handle painful symbolic representations of brutal reality, go read Ziggy. Or Garfield. Or Marmaduke. This is nowhere near as bleak as it’s gonna get.

If you’ve been following the adventures of Snake and Dragon (make sure your brain reads that to you in the voice of Boris Badenov ) this all makes perfect sense. If you haven’t, let me know what you make of it. As I may have mentioned, short fiction has never been my forte. Stories and characters develop over time, and this arc is far from completion.

Brutal honesty is something that I do, but typically only when it’s either directed outward, or, if it’s directed inward, when there’s no one else there to notice. Broadcasting my own issues is pretty far beyond me.

When I was a kid, I was frequently told what an incredibly and offensively selfish human being I was, and, probably as a result, I grew up into a martyr and a nurturer with zero instinct for self-promotion. Possibly, promoting my faults is not the path to commercial success, but at the same time, I don’t really know a single artist who doesn’t deal with these issues in some way. When your sole goal in life is self-expression, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fear. Artists have to project a ruthless belief in themselves. You cannot make art if the snake or the parrot or whatever is sitting there over your shoulder screaming about how badly it sucks, how badly you suck.

We all have the snake, but until we either tell it to shut up or learn to ignore it or stand up for our own belief in what we’re doing, we don’t get to create.

When I just considered myself a writer, I wrote about 4 hours a day. Now, I typically draw between 5 and 8 hours a day. That doesn’t mean I don’t hear the snake. I’ve just been telling it to go to hell every 30 seconds since the beginning of the year. Once you get the habit, it gets easier not to care about the snake’s definition of failure. The act of creation is the measure of success.