Tag Archives: wealth

2 Ways of Looking at Socialism

socialism_edited-1

Little known fact: Uncle Sam is a champion fencer, and can take down an unarmed banker with an epee blade in under 2 minutes. Well known fact: babies contribute nothing

I almost didn’t draw this comic today. I almost didn’t draw any comic today. For one thing, this is an illustration where my lack of advanced cartooning skills kills me, because this would be 10 times as powerful with better drawings. For another, it has been made clear to me that my views on democratic socialism, while widely shared among those with whom I went to school and my current friends, are pretty far from the mainstream, and downright offensive to some.

It’s confusing to me how people can own 3 mansions and 12 cars and not think about the less fortunate at any point in their lives. I personally earned about $300 last year, and I gave pretty much all of it to charity (I am a special case, obviously, living on The Man’s largesse, some of which I also gave to charity) in addition to having a regular volunteer job, which I’ve been doing for over 11 years. But apparently, there are some people who think it’s totally fine to stockpile vast resources they could never hope to use in 50 lifetimes and give nothing to the community while there are homeless, hungry kids on the other side of the tracks whose lives would be immeasurably improved with 1% of what the rich people don’t use.

If the American presidential election were held today from among the current candidates, but only the people I know on Facebook were voting, the tally would stand at something like 80% Sanders, 15% Clinton, 1% Trump, and 4% whoever else remained in the Republican clown car. But America is diverse, and apparently some people somewhere do not think Donald Trump is the most selfish, least responsible, sorriest excuse for a leader ever to take to the campaign trail. We’re talking about a guy who hates women, hates minorities, hates the poor (so already, this guy hates probably 85% of America), has bankrupted 4 of his own companies, spit on the media, and clearly has no understanding of what a person might be expected to do should that person be elected president. (Hint: the president has to answer questions about what he’s going to do with meaningful and honest statements; the president doesn’t get to skip important meetings because he doesn’t like the person moderating them.) We’re talking about a guy who claims he built an empire from nothing, a guy who considers a million dollar loan from his dad “nothing.” (I also read that, if he had just put that million in some kind of standard money market account, he would be 10 times as rich as he is now. This really isn’t a person you want making budget decisions. This isn’t a leader. It’s a taker.)

So, that’s my story. I just drew something that’s going to make me unpopular, but I’m standing behind it. Sharing is caring. Unchecked selfishness is sick. Regardless of who is elected president of America, I still believe in socialized medicine, fully funded public schools, the post office, the highway system, and having firefighters available to people of every income level, including no income at all. Anyway, as an artist, I’m compelled to tell the truth. Anyway, this is my blog, and if you don’t like it, you can go start your own blog and post original art and writing 5 days a week and send it out into the world for strangers to judge and see how that feels. (Hint: something like this.)

In panel 1, I made the worthless lowlife receiving the handout an artist, obviously. The arts are always the first thing to go. But when I was telling the Girl about FDR and the WPA the other day, the first thing that came to my mind was that there was funding for artists in the WPA. There are still great works of art, which you can see today, that were commissioned by the government. There was a time when the government paid lots of artists to create art, and that art elevated the country. That art inspired people who were beaten down and wanted to give up. And that was democratic socialism. If you visit national parks, many of the roads and improvements you use will have been forged by young workers hired by the WPA. You might think we don’t need art and parks, but I promise you, we do. Without art and parks, there isn’t much point to anything else.

In panel 2, I chose the communal table because this type of dining is very powerful. My mother was a big believer in large dinner parties, and I take it ever further. If you know how to cook, you can make a lot of food for a lot of people without having a lot of money. If there are people, I cook. It is always joyful to share food, no matter how little I have. This guy I know from Benin, who owns a local restaurant, once told me, “In my country, we say that if you share with your friends, you always have more food.” Maybe that sounds paradoxical, but in my experience, it’s 100% true. I feed people, and it inspires them to feed people, and everyone gets to eat. We don’t begrudge those who can’t contribute today. We know that if we give them something now, it will boost them up enough that they’ll contribute tomorrow.

And if they don’t, you know what? It’s still the right thing to do.

Check, Please

check your privilege_edited-1

I can also validate your parking if you like. But I can’t validate you as a human being. 

I predict that this comic will perform well across all platforms except for the ones where people celebrate their own lack of diversity and feel threatened when anyone questions their dominant paradigm. You know who you are. But amongst my friend, 99% of whom are academically trained lefties and front line civil rights activists, I expect a warm reception.

Or not. Who knows what people like? Not me.

I went to this bar last night. We were coming back from the Girl’s musical performance and I got a text from Misses Kitty that read, “queer munch now, 3 mins from your place.” There were no follow-up texts. Fortunately, I could read the secret bestie code and guessed that she wanted us to meet, and where, so we did, and found her sitting with about 20 people, maybe half of whom I recognized.

One woman called me over and said, “I can’t even tell you how I got there, but I was reading your blog.” But, as it eventuated, she hadn’t been reading my blog. She had been reading my old homepage, from about 10 years ago, so I’m actually really curious how she, or anyone else for that matter, could have ended up there, and also awed and amazed. She didn’t look familiar to me, but mentioned that we had met at a party about 3 years earlier. That’s pretty typical; The Man takes me to a lot of parties and I’m terrible at recognizing faces. Certainly, she hadn’t been searching for me when she stumbled upon my work, but rather clicked through and recognized me afterward.

She went on. “I’m Israeli, and I was reading your essay about Israel.”

The essay about Israel is 20 pages long, and I wrote it over 15 years ago, when I was a lot more sarcastic. “Oh, man, I hope you weren’t offended!” I said.

“No, I loved it!”

It’s nice to be recognized, and to know that people are actually reading. With pleasure. Even 15 years later. When I told the Rabbit this story, she told me about a friend of hers who write an essay 8 years ago that was suddenly picked up by a major media market this week. She was like, “Uh, OK.” But writing on the Internet is enduring. If it’s relevant, it doesn’t matter how old it is.

Which reminds me: I need to rehost some essays that I wrote for an old project that the Rabbit and the Bear and I did about 10 years ago, on a site that vanished because we stopped paying for it even though it was still getting 70+ hits a day when it hadn’t been updated in 3 years. You never know when someone’s going to need my extremely tongue-in-cheek but also technically accurate guide to pleading the insanity defense for murder, or my rant about Internet trolls.

 

Dragon Comics 100!

And the next thing you know you're lying at the bottom of a lake with a black arrow sticking through your chest and there's 5 armies shoving each other around your front yard, and nobody wants that.

And fifteen minutes later you’re lying at the bottom of a lake with a black arrow sticking through your chest and there’s 5 armies shoving each other around your front yard, and nobody wants that.

I’ve published 100 4-panel webcomics! That means I get to recycle this panel:

Ooohh...cake...

Ooohh…really old recycled cake… 

It’s even more relevant now than it was the first time around, because the snake is well and truly vanquished.

For a while it seemed like I should end this experiment with a big bang on the 100th comic, but it seems like there are other places to go with Dragon. At the same time, there are a bunch of other projects that are calling my name, too. So the best course of action seems to be that I will work on whatever I feel like when I feel like it: do some Dragon, but not as much, work on old projects, and start new project. There will probably come a point in the near future when I’m not drawing Dragon Comics 3 times a week or updating this blog 5 times, but I’m not going to stop entirely, either.

One of the other projects I intend to get going this year is going to be a big one, something a lot more serious and considered than what I’ve been working on this some, something that will hopefully interest an audience outside my friends and family and the few people who have randomly stumbled upon and then managed to appreciated my casual late night humor. Believe me, I appreciate you guys too. But badly drawn comics, however amusing to me, are not my final aim, and some of these panels take a couple hours. I want to do something in a very different style, something that’s more story and character driven than a webcomic, and more lovely and detail oriented than this artwork.

I’ll probably take a vacation from QvD in the near future, but I’ve already got a couple more comics scripted as well as a super-cute photograph of a little kid wearing my merch, in addition to a scanned mandala, so this week will be business as usual.

Just a Simple Dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

This is a small little drawing, I’d say, but it feels complete, for what it is. Needlenose, being aerodynamic, requires no extraneous parts or ostentation. There’s something to be said for pared down design and utilitarian simplicity.

When I dream at night, my dreams usually unfurl like feature-length reels of film: passion, intrigue, and drama in 3 acts. I am a spy, a soldier, a detective. I travel through time. I change genders, I change age, I change race. I change species. I complete quests and solve mysteries. On the rare occasions that I dream myself back in high school or completely naked, I manage to power through the dream without any noticing that I forgot my locker combination or my pants.

My childhood daydreams were even larger. I needed my own island to protect myself from the world. Literally: an island. Specifically: a mansion on an island where I would live in complete seclusion with my books and my faithful manservant. I would write my novels, unaffected by the rest of the world, a one-way system of communication in which my ideas would be received by an adoring public without my ever needing to venture from my protective base. But I know now that what a person dreams and what a person needs are often worlds apart.

Needlenose needs no adornments to fly, and I don’t need an island to exist happily in this world.

I still dream big. But I live economically. Perhaps my lifestyle is not quite so stripped to the bare essentials as this thin little dragon, but it is richer in art than it is in hard currency, and I’m still creating.