Here’s the fifth girly kitty strip (no kitty in this one though. Last one tomorrow):
News: Minimum Security is not syndicated in print at United Media (I hope that will happen in the not-terribly-distant future), but one newspaper contacted them anyway, and now I have my first daily paper! They started running the strip on 7/1.
For print, I have to draw four weeks ahead. To catch up, I drew 10 last week, and for the next two weeks I’ll draw 10 each week, for 30 strips in three weeks. Right now I’ve drawn them through 8/1. I have to be an extra week ahead before my trip to San Diego (for the Comic-Con) in two weeks. I haven’t drawn so much all at once since I worked on the graphic novel.
After the obit panel I moderated at the AAEC convention, I guess I have obit cartoons on my mind. Anyway, I could not help myself — as soon as I thought of this I had to draw it. And isn’t it swell how the whole country is setting off fireworks tonight in celebration of him being reunited with his Lord?
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”
— Frederick Douglass, 1852
Here’s one more ebay auction for today, a collection of rabbit heads, a vengeful angry “Bunny Gang.” The leader is Bunnista, of course.
I made these one afternoon when my brother and I were playing with Sculpey. It was a lot of fun!! I’m selling them all as one group.
There’s a wonderful class being given by Derrick Jensen focused on his book Endgame, and run through the Derrick Jensen discussion group.
There are many ways to approach each weekly assignment, and he offers choices of what to write about. For the first assignment I answered the question: “What are some of the fundamental lies of this culture?” with a drawing:
I’m back from a trip to San Antonio, for a convention of the AAEC (Association of American Editorial Cartoonists).
One funny thing I heard was Mike Lester’s response to people who ask him why he never draws positive cartoons: “Those are called greeting cards.”
Another hilarious moment was when Ted Rall presented Clay Bennett (who wins every cartoon award imaginable) with a huge trophy with a cheerleader on top, called something like the Clay Bennett Award of Incredible Distinguished Excellence for Winning Awards as Clay Bennett. (There was some other, funnier, adjective instead of “incredible” but I forgot what it was).
I moderated a panel discussion with Joel Pett (Pulitzer Prize-winner from the Lexington Herald-Reader) and Mike Thompson (of the Detroit Free Press). They both gave great, interesting (and of course funny as hell) presentations. Here’s an article from Editor & Publisher about the panel:
By Dave Astor
Published: June 26, 2008 11:51 PM ET
SAN ANTONIO Some readers live for them. Some contain ideas that have been done to death. They’re obituary cartoons, and the bad and the good ones — including recent tributes to George Carlin and Tim Russert — were autopsied during a Thursday session at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) convention.
One panelist, Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press and Copley News Service, offered a “12-step recovery program” to avoid weak obit cartoons.
He said don’t draw Pearly Gates scenes “unless there’s a twist,” don’t draw a tear coming out of something (like the cartoonists who drew a crying NBC peacock for Russert), don’t place just-deceased celebrities in heaven just because they’re celebrities, and don’t do a celebrity obit cartoon unless the person merits one (that leaves out Anna Nicole Smith, he noted by way of example).
Thompson also said it’s OK to put politics into an obit cartoon, and that you can be negative about people who passed away. “You can’t offend them; they’re dead,” he observed wryly.
But often the most cliched obit cartoon is wildly popular among readers, noted another panelist, Joel Pett of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader and New York Times Syndicate-marketed CartoonArts International.
Much of the time, said Pett, he gets mail saying things like “we hate you” and “you don’t deserve to live.” Then he does a sentimental obit cartoon, and for a day the comments are “we love you” and “you’re a genius” — as was the case when Pett drew an image of Barbaro the horse in the sky.
“You can’t get enough beating of a dead horse in Kentucky,” was his deadpan explanation.
Panel moderator and “Minimum Security” cartoonist Stephanie McMillan cited a cliched George Carlin obit cartoon she saw that showed the comedian — famous for his seven words that couldn’t be said — at the Pearly Gates with Saint Peter stating: “You can’t say those words here, either.”
Thompson, who gave an elaborate computer-generated presentation, spoofed the overuse of Saint Peter by showing a sketch of Saint Peter entering heaven — but there was no one there to greet him at the Pearly Gates.
The Free Press cartoonist also displayed a sketch of John Denver at the gates of hell, wondering why he ended up there. The reason? He had sung “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” while alive.
Obit cartoons praised for their originality during the session included one by Jim Borgman (Cincinnati Enquirer/Universal Press Syndicate) showing the ashes of a dead Nazi scattered into the sea as fish swam away in disgust, and another by Matt Davies (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y./Tribune Media Services) marking the first anniversary of 9/11 with a tribute to a neighbor he knew who had died in the World Trade Center.
Also praised was a cartoon by Steve Sack (Minneapolis Star Tribune/Creators Syndicate) picturing Enron’s corrupt Ken Lay swiping death’s wallet as death took him on the boat trip to hell, a drawing by Bruce Plante of the Tulsa (Okla.) World showing Don Knotts locking himself into heaven (as he’d lock himself in jail in “The Andy Griffith Show”), and a cartoon by John Cole of The Scranton (Pa.) Times-Tribune showing seamstress/civil-rights icon Rosa Parks sewing black and white pieces of cloth together (Many other cartoonists did a cliched scene of Parks riding a bus to heaven.)
And one more cartoon praised was a drawing by Ben Sargent (Austin American-Statesman/Universal) showing the grave of Creators columnist Molly Ivins with the word “Farewell” on it. Sargent, playing on the name of one of the columnist’s books, had someone near the grave say: “Molly Ivins can’t say that, can she?”
Possible future obit cartoons? Among those shown was a sketch by Mike Keefe (Denver Post/Cagle Cartoons) of Dick Cheney telling death “F— you” and one of a Corel Painter software package shedding a tear for Corel user Nick Anderson (Houston Chronicle/Washington Post Writers Group). Anderson is also president of the AAEC.
Dave Astor (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior editor at E&P.
I’ve been practicing all last week with Illustrator and the wacom tablet. Illustrator is much more forgiving of a shaky line than Photoshop is. But then there are all those confusing line fragments and handles for curves and other mysterious things. I love the way it responds to pressure though! The line looks like real pen and ink. I have a lot to learn, but I think I’ve made some good progress. Here’s part of a page of a graphic novel proposal I’ve been working on:
More from the Safeway coupon booklet. Did you know that Campbell’s soup is good for the environment? As implied by the accompanying photograph of a happy family running on grass, it makes people healthy (you’d be less likely to run and laugh if you’re not well-nourished, or if your soup had toxins in it, wouldn’t you?), and good health is of course a function to environmental sustainability, so…. we’re left to figure out that connection ourselves. Presumably the cans don’t have that poisonous plastic lining that most cans have? We don’t know. The ad doesn’t mention this. What it DOES say is that because the soup is condensed, the cans are smaller than they would be if it wasn’t, so 130 million pounds more of metal per year would have been used if the soup already contained the water that customers add at home. But they put it a different way. They say this 130 million pounds of metal was “saved.” (Left in the ground? The mining companies said, “let’s not mine this last 130 million pounds of metal because Campell’s soup doesn’t need it”?) Let’s not think about how much metal was USED, more metal that would have been “saved” if people made soup from ingredients not purchased in cans. Let’s focus instead, as we’re supposed to, on all the metal that *wasn’t* used, that could have been, if Campbell’s was not condensed. Let’s focus on the drawing of the Earth with leaves coming out of it behind the image of the soup can, and the words “earth-friendly” at the top of the ad. $1 off on 4 cans!
I recently got a booklet of Safeway coupons on “earth-friendly products.” Conserving natural resources is “at the heart of” their business, it says. If I were a trusting sort, I would think this must obviously mean they don’t sell anything the production of which harms the planet. But alas, I would be disappointed. In the business world, conserving just means destroying not quite as wantonly as usual, and feeling deserving of congratulations for that restraint.
Safeway celebrates the fact that since 1990, more than 150 billion Pepsi containers have been recycled. “That’s a big number but we know it can be much bigger,” the booklet says. It’s big, all right — real big! 150 billion! With a “b”!
They generously offer $1 off of two twelve-packs, so we can recycle even more Pepsi cans. Don’t you feel all green and fuzzy now? Let’s get out there and buy plenty of Pepsi!
|[May. 27th, 2008|07:54 pm]|
|I’ve seen a few episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and I find it to be one of the most depressing things ever. Why are these people married when all evidence shows that they deeply hate each other? All she ever does is control and attack him, and all he ever does is whine and try to escape. She makes bizarre demands, and he disappoints her, over and over and over. She thinks it’s important to do things like vacuum curtains, and he doesn’t, and so she yells at him for not being helpful enough. This is supposed to be amusing? Is it anything but grim and abusive?|
A Review of Derrick Jensen’s “As the World Burns” Necropolis Now
by ADAM ENGEL
Poor Bannanabelle. She wants so badly to save the environment–painlessly. But her best friends, the more politically savvy Kranti and Bunnista, the one-eyed lapin fugitive from a vivisection lab, keep shooting down her politically correct ideas. No, recycling and changing light bulbs won’t be enough, not like “that movie” suggested (whose producer won a Nobel Prize perhaps?). Solar energy requires copper mining, the burning of fossil fuel energy to create panels etc., and ethanol requires fossil fuels and poisonous fertilizer and pesticides for the growth and processing of corn. Planting a tree (for every thousand Big Lumber cuts down) won’t do it, nor will taking shorter showers, particularly since, according to Jensen and McMillan, 90 percent of all “fresh” water goes to industry, agriculture, and to water golf courses. Anyway, these are all “individual” solutions, as if only individuals, not a planet united against the corporate forces that caused these problems, could “solve” the immense complexity of the problem threatening all life on earth, Kranti points out. Certainly “new technology”–nano, nuclear, or otherwise–won’t “save us,” merely create, as all “new technologies” have, more filth, waste and misery for the benefit of whatever corporations control it.
So what are these two spirited, but politically powerless, young women to do?
Go down! Down the rabbit-hole — the empty socket where Bunnista’s pre-vivisection right eye had been?–for a non-human, all-too-non-human glimpse of “our” current reality.
Down to a world in which invading alien robots, machines from outer-space, whose diet consists of animals, vegetables and minerals, that is, the LIVING Earth, are able to bribe their way through the Corporocracy by offering the President of the United States unlimited supplies of the gold they expel from their mechanical anuses (they’re machines, after all; what would we expect them to shit?).
A world in which multi-national corporations become concerned that the alien robots are eating the planet–because that’s the corporations’ job. Those darn machines are eating into corporate profits. Big no-no. The Corporocracy demands that the President rescind the permits he granted the aliens, which allow them to eat the planet, or they’ll kill him, just as they would any other corporate slave who threatened the bottom-line. Nothing personal.
A world in which Bunnista is labeled a “terrorist” by the corporate media for liberating abused animals from the torture chambers of a vivisection lab then blowing up the empty building. Moreover, the “terrorist” rabbit blew up a dam in order to save the lives of fish. No one was hurt, but corporate property was damaged. Furthermore, there was a school some miles away from the vivisection lab; hence, the “news-casters” announce, cute little “innocent, innocent” children “might have been harmed” had they somehow managed to be near the lab Bunnista destroyed in the middle of the night.
A world in which Kranti and Bannanabelle, refusing to snitch on Bunnista, are thrown into a concentration camp built to contain rabbits, all of whom are now “potential terrorists,” simply because they’d been labeled “bunnies” due to a “bureaucratic error.” Even a flesh-and-blood prison guard, observing them at close quarters, believes, in spite of her own eyes, that they are bunnies–because their ID tags list them as such. An apt metaphor for the Power Elites’ ability to make us see what they want us to see, even if we don’t actually see it.
But despite all this, despite the Life against Death circumstances of our “current situation,” AS THE WORLD BURNS is not a book for doomsday pacifists or nihilists.
Jensen and McMillan, like their characters–animal, vegetable and mineral–are warriors for LIFE.
So what’s the solution? What are Kranti and Bannanabelle, going to do to stop the machines–alien, societal and corporate–from devouring the planet?
A little bird tells them. A little bird, and other “earthlings”–animal, vegetable and mineral. The “solution” is something wild, far wilder than most of us domesticated human machines, ensconced in our machine-like social orders, can comprehend. Most of us, but not all. Nevertheless, it is not until a substantial number of us–animal, vegetable and mineral–unite to destroy ALL machines–mechanical, societal and corporate–that the Living Earth can continue to live. Otherwise, sooner rather than later, she’ll become just another blank planet, a cold, dead rock, or a very, very hot one.
“All plots end in death,” Don Dellilo wrote. Not necessarily so, according to the authors of AS THE WORLD BURNS. The plot of Jensen and McMillan’s graphic novel is open; the “end” (or the new beginning) is ours to decide.
The proverbial “writing on the wall” has long since become illegible, scrawled over by layers of agit-prop graffiti screams. We are among children, terrified children longing to be dead. Unix/Network programmers and systems administrators–keepers and maintainers of yet another machine — have a term for broken bits of code, cut loose by a faulty “killing” of a particular program: orphans. Orphans, these fragments of once “living” applications, wander the System, until they become “zombies,” dead code cluttering the System. They must be located and neutralized lest they jam the System, cause it to crash and become inoperable. We are such “zombies.” The question posed by Jensen and McMillan is whether we submit to neutralization, allowing the System to continue, or can we somehow “patch” ourselves together into a new program (not a machine, a living system) one that will destroy the Machine in order to save its victims–the living.
True, we’re in a terrifying situation, despite the soothing words of the nice, pretty people on the TeeVee “news,” but Jensen and McMillan’s message is simple enough for even WE MODERN CITIZENS to understand: we’re being suckered, had, taken, fooled, bamboozled. “Yeah, yeah,” we shrug. “Everything is a crock.” But there’s the rub. We don’t know “everything.” We don’t know anything. We don’t even know what “is” is.
The problem is not that animals, trees, mountains can’t “speak,” but that we can’t or won’t hear. The problem is, we’re in a world of six billion head-trips and most of us keep tripping over same fat heads. The problem is our much vaunted “way of life.” For who or what in the world is more dangerous (within the Greater Machine itself) than the “productive citizen?” Even the “destructive consumer” converts some of the junk to energy before it becomes waste. We “productive citizens” produce and produce and produce only waste. Too much junk to be consumed. Too much junk for the planet–even to the depths of her polluted oceans — to absorb.
I always thought the line, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life,” from Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is hard to Find,” was the ultimate “reality-check,” the ultimate wake-up call. Not so. The majority of Productive Citizen/Consumers would plod on through their “American Way of Life, more or less unaffected by a bullet to the head. AS THE WORLD BURNS is just such a bullet: absolutely necessary for the rude awakening of humanity; unfortunately, there’s little humanity left, and at this point, it seems, even a high-velocity depleted uranium round would arrive too late– for most of us.
Derrick Jensen is an activist, philosopher, and the author of ENGAME, A LANGUAGE OLDER THAN WORDS, THE CULTURE OF MAKE BELIEVE, and other books.
Stephanie McMillan’s comic strip, MINIMUM SECURITY, appears five times a week at United Media’s comics.com, and has run in dozens of publications worldwide since 1999. The strip was published as a book in 2005.
ADAM ENGEL can be reached at email@example.com
Big Green Fiddles As the World Burns Dodging Ecocide
by MICHAEL DONNELLY
US Greenhouse Gas emissions increase by 2% per year. If everyone did everything recommended in Al Gore’s movie as their personal contribution to curbing their share of the toxic releases–and mind you 100% compliance with Gore’s suggestions is what we’re talking here–it would lower emissions by 21%. The other 79% comes from sources Al Gore studiously avoided–factory farms, heavy industry and other political sacred cows. Heaven forbid, Al Gore suggest anything that would cause corporate America any gas pains. Nope. It’s all on us and even if we do change every bulb, run biodiesel/ethanol in our vehicles, properly inflate our tires and recycle every yogurt container; our collective emissions savings would hardly be noticeable in the overall scheme of things. In addition, the grain required to make enough ethanol to fill an SUV’s tank just once could feed a human being for a year.
Talk about inconvenient truths. Such brutally honest factoids abound in As the World Burns; 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (Seven Stories Press) a graphic novel by Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame, A Language Older than Words and The Culture of Make Believe) and Stephanie McMillan (creator of the comic strip Minimum Security). The “plot” involves a couple young girls who seek to make sense of what is happening to their planet. A group of robot aliens come to Earth and are granted permits by our idiot-in-chief president to gobble up the planet’s resources in exchange for lots and lots of gold ingots. Conveniently, the gold ingots are a byproduct of the robots’ operating systems–yep, they shit gold.
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Graphic Novel Review: As The World Burns – 50 Things You Can Do To Stay In Denial by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan
by Richard Marcus
The day doesn’t go by any more without there being at least one story in the news that concerns the environment. From either business denials of the Kyoto accord, arguments for and against the validity of global warming, to a story about the latest change in conditions around the world. Today was no exception, as American Marine Biologists have moved the polar bear onto the endangered species list primarily due to loss of habitat.
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Can’t Make a Decision, Ladies? Call Bill Napoli.
by Mikhaela B. Reid
If anti-abortion politicians are so sure they can tell women what to do with their bodies, why not make them deal with the rest of women’s decisions? That was the premise of political cartoonist Stephanie McMillan’s response to South Dakota State Senator Bill Napoli’s comments that he could see an exception to the state’s near-total abortion ban for a raped and “brutalized” religious virgin, but not for “simple rape.”
In McMillan’s cartoon, a young man asks his sister Kranti which salad dressing she would like, to which she responds that as a woman, she can’t make a decision without calling Bill Napoli at home or at work. The cartoon contains the relevant phone numbers.
According to the Rapid City Journal, Napoli received a “flood” of calls, which he claimed were mostly “intolerable filth.”
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My Dinner with Napoli
by Nancy Goldstein – Raw Story columnist
Published: Wednesday March 29, 2006
I wasn’t sure whether to use chorizo or bacon in my paella last weekend, so I called South Dakota state senator Bill Napoli and asked him to make my decision for me.
Stephanie McMillan inspired me to contact Bill — one of the most vocal supporters of the new state ban on virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. McMillan’s brilliant cartoon, which has been making the rounds of the blogosphere, lampoons Napoli’s conviction that women can’t be trusted to make decisions about our own bodies — and conveniently provides his work and home numbers.
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Secret Service Raids Another Exhibit
Fear and Art
by STEPHANIE McMILLAN
I admit that it frightens me. On April 7, Secret Service agents arrived just before the opening of an art show in Chicago and launched an investigation into one of the pieces hanging there, a set of mock postage stamps by local artist Al Brandtner. The image on the stamps is a revolver pointing at the head of President Bush with the caption “Patriot Act.”
The piece is part of an exhibit titled “Axis of Evil, the Secret History of Sin” at Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College. 47 artists from 11 countries designed fake postage stamps thematically exploring “depths of evil,” depicting a range of political and religious leaders while spotlighting issues such as racism, war and sexual abuse.
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