Keep Keef’s Kickstarter Kickin’!

Friend, colleague, and fellow Masshole Keith Knight is making a graphic novel about his time spent as a Michael Jackson impersonator in the mid-eighties. I’ve heard many first-person accounts of his be-gloved adventures and know they’d make a most-excellent graphic novel. Make it happen by heading over there and pledging what you can; and get Keef’s generous donation incentives in return!

Sanford, Fla. Neighborhood Watch News & Notes

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As a white guy, I never had to deal with profiling. Except when I wear a hoodie and people assume I’m a hipster rather than just a chilly dude.

Here’s a fun tip if you happen to be armed and live in a “Stand Your Ground” state: If you let the unarmed dude who scares you know you have a gun instead of shooting him right away, he’ll probably stop doing whatever it is scaring you. Unless the thing he’s doing is simply being black. People can’t stop doing that.

New “Due” Process

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Two weeks ago, Eric Holder gave the Obama Administration’s long-awaited justification for blowing up American citizens in countries we are not at war with. It was bullshit. Many Democrats, and even liberals and progressives, aren’t making a stink about this because “their guy” did it. This is the same (or worse, actually) shit Bush pulled with John Yoo and expanding unitary executive powers so the President becomes above all checks and balances. There’s a reason why the position is not called “The King.”

If you haven’t already, check out Tom Tomorrow and Ruben Bolling‘s cartoons about Obama’s, and all future presidents’ citizen-killing powers.

Big Fat Book Club

Lately I’ve only been able to read in what little free time I have between putting down the Wacom and passing out (either from plain-old sleepiness or with an assist from drinking) at night. Although I’m perpetually behind on my reading, there’s some great new stuff that’s been keeping me up WAY past my bedtime, and probably contributing to my increasing crankiness of late.

First up is Boston Phoenix writer and fellow Jamaica Plainer Chris Faraone’s 99 Nights with the 99 Percent: Dispatches from the First Three Months of the Occupy Revolution. It chronicles his impressive coverage of last fall’s Occupy movement. Starting with Occupy Boston’s takeover of Dewey Square, he crisscrossed the country reporting on Occupations as quickly as they sprung up. He was one of the few journalists who actually attended general assemblies and dug deep into the heart of the movement, unlike most in the media who either reported on drum-circle goofballs, or lamented that Occupy didn’t have any demands. (SURPRISE: If you talked to them, they did!) Here’s hoping the movement emerges from its winter hibernation, and when it does, Chris’s reports will be the first I’ll read.

Next is one of the alt-weekly cartoonists who inspired me to pursue this shitty career, Derf, whose latest book is My Friend Dahmer. A longer version of his earlier comic of the same name, it’s a graphic novel about Derf’s teen years spent with the serial killer. It’s funny and poignant, but not in a Lifetime movie kind of way. Obviously Dahmer was a huge fucking weirdo, but Derf draws a portrait of the kind of fuck-up we all knew (or were) in high school. It is my great shame that I have an unsigned copy of the original My Friend Dahmer comic. I met Derf once in Columbus, Ohio at SPACE, in 2003 or 2004, but forgot to schlep my copy out to the midwest for him to sign. He will not remember this meeting, as I knew my comics were super-shitty at that point in my career, so I just acted like a fan when I bought my signed The City collection.

Lastly but not leastly, David Rees, of Get Your War On fame, will release a primer on his latest passion project, Artisanal Pencil Sharpening next month. I went digital a couple years ago, but this thoughtful treatise has me rethinking that decision. One cannot “sharpen” a stylus, and therefore the cartoons I draw with it will never be as sharp as those drawn with a skillfully sharpened pencil. I’ve yet to see a live demonstration, but hopefully us rubes in Boston will be treated to one in good time.

Personal Poverty Trainer

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This cartoon is my response to this whiny article from a couple weeks ago. Primary stuff and Snowe’s resignation kept me from doing a comic on it at the time, but the main guy from the article, Andrew Schiff, appeared on All Things Considered last week, and annoyed me so much that I had to come back to it.

The election circus, and slightly less-than-shitty jobs numbers have kept income inequality out of the news, especially with the dispersal of Occupy Wall Street, but it should always be front-and-center. If people don’t earn enough, they can’t buy shit, which is a huge hindrance to economic growth. Way more than some douche not being able to rent a beach house in Connecticut.


The Endangered Moderate Republican

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Olympia Snowe called it quits last week, citing the insane partisanship that’s crippled our government for, oh, let’s say forever. She and most in the commentary class have claimed that it’s due to equal amounts of stubbornness on both sides of the aisle. They are fucking wrong, or lying.

The GOP has always tried to court their dumb base by dangling a few racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic carrots while they quietly worked to enact their corporatist agenda. Now the dum-dums are fully in charge, dragging the party so far to the right that we’re ARGUING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION IN TWENTY-FUCKING-TWELVE!

The Democrats have been centrists for my entire life. Spooked by 1968 and Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency, the party can’t even be seen with an actual self-identified liberal or progressive, let alone let them influence their agenda. Clinton was a centrist Democrat, and if you ignore his lofty speeches, and look only at what he’s accomplished, Obama governs like a moderate Republican.

Or at least what once was considered a moderate Republican before the Know-Nothing Renaissance. The shifting of the GOP towards the far right has caused the entire national dialogue to shift along with it. It’s a game of tug-o-war, and while the GOP and the Tea Party are pulling in the same direction, the Democrats won’t let the far left help. So the end result is weak-ass Democrats just trying to maintain the status quo as Republicans tug us back into the 19th century.