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February 26, 2009 12:01 AM

Recovery

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I admit it. I'm stuck on this subject. I find myself barely able to contain my rage every time I think about these greedy bastards taking our money and giving themselves massive bonuses after tanking the entire world's economy. What if we just pick one of these bonus babies at random, drag him out of his home, and let people who've lost their homes stone him in the public square? I know, I know, it's just not a thing I ought to be advocating. It's a violent revenge fantasy, and it's beneath me. But it would only take one, I'm guessing, for the others to voluntarily give back their ill-gotten loot. A guy can dream, can't he?


February 25, 2009 12:01 AM

State of Things

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I learn things every day. Last night's address to the join session of Congress was not, technically, a State of the Union address. The Constitution calls for the president to inform Congress on the state of the union "from time to time." Early presidents did so in writing. Woodrow Wilson began the modern practice of addressing Congress in person in 1913. Because the State of the Union address is traditionally given soon after Congress convenes, newly-elected presidents, who presumably still don't have a firm grasp on the actual state of the country, have avoided calling their first speeches to a joint session of Congress a formal State of the Union address. Whatever President Obama calls the speech, we all know what state the country is in.


February 24, 2009 12:01 AM

Fill 'er Up

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True, the stimulus bill gives less back to Colorado than to any other state but one. On the other hand, the Democratic National Convention was held in Denver, and Obama came here to sign the stimulus bill, as well. I guess we should be grateful for what we got. They say we get less because we're in better shape than most of the rest of the country. If this is better than everywhere else, things must be even worse than we thought. I've reserved my spot under one of the new bridges the stimulus package will build.


February 21, 2009 12:01 AM

Good News!

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February 20, 2009 2:15 PM

On Chimps and Cartoons

I normally don't like to weigh in on the drawings of other cartoonists, but the outrage sparked by the deranged chimp cartoon by Sean Delonas of the New York Post begs a comment. The cartoon in question shows two policemen and the body of chimpanzee full of bullet holes. One of the cops is saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

First off, I don't know Mr. Delonas. He may be a perfectly wonderful fellow; I generally enjoy the company of cartoonists, regardless of their political bent. I'm good buddies with Mike Ramirez and Scott Stantis, and get along famously with Mike Lester, three of the most rabidly conservative cartoonists in the land. So, trust that what I say isn't colored by any political bias.

How can I put this politely? I've never thought of Delonas as a particularly skillful cartoonist. I've never been partial to his drawings, and I've never seen one of his ideas that I'd wished I'd thought of, the second highest compliment one cartoonist can pay another (the highest is stealing the idea and redrawing it with just enough differences that it can't be called plagiarism). The chimp cartoon is a real puzzler. The story of a crazed monkey being shot by police after attacking a woman isn't the kind of thing I'd gravitate to as an apt metaphor for much of anything, much less for the stimulus package. I generally like my metaphors to have some kind of resonance with the subject at hand, or at least to be in the same solar system. The chimp thing is what we call in the business "a reach." In this case, a very, very long reach.

As I said, I don't know Delonas, so I have no way of gauging if his cartoon was meant to have the racial overtones that have been attributed to it. Many readers came to the obvious conclusion that Delonas was comparing Obama, our first Black president, to a monkey, in the grand tradition of American racism. It may well be that the cartoon was just another one of his awkward attempts at being funny, but if a racial taunt wasn't his intent, then he should have known better than to come up with this turkey (to inject another species into the mix). It's not as though it's a big secret that our sad racial record includes a long history of comparing Black people to apes. Even if he didn't know what he was doing, some editor at the paper should have saved him from himself.

I suspect that the Delonas flap led to the AP story we ran in this morning's paper, about cartoonists treading lightly on Obama caricatures.

Well, of COURSE we're being cautious. We're in uncharted territory here. We cartoonists are always walking a fine line between good caricature and racial stereotyping when it comes to drawing ethnic minorities. We live in an extremely race-conscious society. A good caricature by definition exaggerates a person's most prominent features, and tries to reveal something innate about his/her personality. Knowing when to make lips or noses or ears bigger and how to shade the complexion gets a lot harder when you're dealing with an Arab, a Mexican, an Asian or a Black person.

In time, my caricature of Obama, and those of other editorial cartoonists, will evolve, just as our depictions of Reagan, Clinton and Bush changed as their presidencies took shape and their personalities were revealed. It's just going to be a little harder to get it right with the new guy. There will be plenty to ridicule--there always is--but it won't be his race.

February 20, 2009 12:01 AM

New Model

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GM and Chrysler, evidently having burned through the billions already given them, are back in front of Congress, asking for more bailout money. I'm proposing that we create a new measure of automotive efficiency, one that reflects current realities.


February 19, 2009 12:01 AM

Cleanup

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The recent collision of two satellites was an inevitability, given the amount of space junk orbiting the earth. The debris from the smash-up created even more garbage, which is now so prevalent that it imperils communication satellites, and both the space station and the Hubble telescope, not to mention anything else we send up there in the future. I see only one solution.


February 13, 2009 12:01 AM

Negative Reinforcement

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I kept wondering why, no matter how much money got put back into the banking system, the credit markets won't unfreeze. Then it hit me. Every time these guys refuse to lend money, the government ponies up more billions. If it were me, I'd keep playing that game until the Treasury was empty, which apparently is exactly what the bankers are doing. There's a reason why they're rich and we aren't.


February 12, 2009 12:01 AM

Marriage Counseling

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Perhaps the most bizarre argument (to my mind, at least) against gay marriage is that it somehow (radioactive emissions, brain waves, weird voodoo) erodes the sanctity of marriage (whatever that is). How, exactly does this work, anyway. I've been married to the same woman for more than 30 years, and despite being in regular contact with a number of gay and lesbian friends who are in stable, committed long-term relationships, my marriage seems to be okay. I guess my inability to obsess about what my friends (gay and straight) do in the privacy of their own bedrooms somehow gives me immunity from the corrosive effects of gay marriage on my connubial situation. I do know what does erode far too many marriages, and it's not the gay couple down the street. It's the tried-and-true standbys: addiction to gambling, drugs and alcohol, money woes, physical and emotional abuse and good old-fashioned cheating.

February 11, 2009 12:01 AM

Coming Clean

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Never let a good metaphor go to waste. Steroid use is a highly versatile one; it can be used in reference to anything that's large. A-Rod's admission that he used performance enhancing drugs just gave me a reason to plug it into this cartoon.


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