Educating the Obvious

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The inspiration for this strip is this recent court ruling. That article features some great quotes from the teacher in question, James Corbett, such as “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”

But unlike Corbett, I’m not actually anti-religion, just anti-know-nothings whose faith crumbles at the mere thought of anything beyond a literal interpretation of their ancient book of choice. And they’re bringing this country down into a stupid-hole we’ll never escape from. To see how far we’ve already fallen, check out this informative graph from Tony Piro.

And the latest Krugman op-ed details the terrifying reality of the Republicans being the anti-facts party, from science, to economics, to pretty much any fact a nerd has saw fit to put on Wikipedia.

This is What Conservatives Give a Shit About?

I get tons of boring email. It comes with the territory. But it’s Friday night, I’m finally setting up a Netflix account of my own, enjoying a fine IPA, and all of a sudden, this professor storms into my inbox with long-winded righteous indignation!  I normally would ignore such blathery, but I blame the IPA. His email, in full:

Dear Mr McFadden,

Will you read a letter from a conservative art historian who teaches at [REDACTED] College?

Since early childhood I have been a fan of political cartoons, and love to see a point made cleverly with visual means, whether or not I agree with the politics. There are cartoonists of the left who make me laugh, even as I disagree with them, and vice versa.

But I think your lemonade stand bit this weekend in the Times fell flat, and in a way you didn’t intend. As you well know (to judge by the comments on your blog), conservative businessmen or Republican governors do not tyrannize lemonade stands. This is exclusively the province of petty soul-crushing bureaucrats, the bland mediocrities that Hannah Arendt described for us. If you want to scorn, mock, ridicule or otherwise lampoon us on the right — it should be vaguely related to something we actually do. In fact, since your cartoon appeared, your own Massachusetts gendarmes just shut down a 12-year old’s stand.

And here’s a litany of similar cases.

Anyway, the rest of the cartoon is fine but it struck me that that panel was dishonest, and the one thing that’s fatal to the political cartoonist is dishonesty. Vulgarity, obscenity, any of the seven deadly sins is perfectly fine in a cartoonist, but not dishonesty. I won’t bore you any more, but for your files I am attaching here an essay of mine on the subject that appeared in Commentary in 2003. It’s only the pdf of the galley; the title was “Cartooning, Right and Left.”

Somehow I have the feeling that I’m not the only one who’s taken you to task about lemonade.

politics aside, congrats on your posting to the Times,


And my well-thought-out reply:

Thanks for the essay, professor!

Somehow I have the feeling a passive aggressive somebody needs to look up the definition of tyranny. And “for my files”? Yeah, I went down to Big Fat Whale Special Collections right away with those op-eds and put them in an acid-free box…with my poop.

Mitt Romney’s Corporate Monster

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I’ve covered corporate personhood before, but Mitt Romney’s mouth gave me the opportunity to revisit it again. If you’re not familiar with the concept of corporate personhood, Ruben Bolling’s latest cartoon will get get you up to speed.

When I drew the monster knocking over the lemonade stand, I wasn’t intending to make a case for patent reform like the feckless Democrats are doing instead of supporting an actual jobs bill, but corporations do abuse patents to stifle competitive growth. Check out this episode of This American Life if you’re curious. And speaking of lemonade stands, Kevin Moore has been following this summer’s meme of mean ol’ gubbamint depriving little kids of their unfettered free market rights.

I’d Rather Poo in Public Than Brag, But…

Steven Heller over at Imprint said some nice things about me, and in the interest of making sure work keeps coming my way, I had to share.

Now, “The Strip” by Brian McFadden, which was moved from the back page to the more prominent page 3, is the first thing I jump into on Sundays. And it is well worth it. His wit is dry, smart and on topic for the times.

I’d much rather share hatemail, but the Times doesn’t link to this site, so I haven’t gotten any yet. I imagine the haters Google my name, and as a result, this douche is catching all my flack.

Mobility Unemployeds

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The government finally figured out that the scooter racket is a scam. And yeah, this is another cartoon about unemployment. It is way more important than the deficit, and actually a major contributor to it.

And minority unemployment is at Depression levels. We can gawk at what’s going on in the UK, but the conditions are the same, if not worse, over here.

Next Week: Alternative Economic Indicators

Austerity Survival Guide

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Unless you’re a rich dick, the “recovery” of the last year or so never materialized. Growth has been anemic, if at all, and unemployment is still at 9%! I know I’ve been harping on the unemployment thing, but it’s a pretty big deal. The more people who are working, the more revenues come in, even with the shitty Bush tax cuts being extended by Obama in perpetuity.