Bent Flying Devil


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This “stooped” cartoon got a range of mail from “Love it! Can I buy the original art?” to “I am offended by your mocking bone disease.” That disparity is fairly typical. Sorry to anyone who thought I was mocking them. I just thought it was a funny pun when you compare the word “stooped” with the usual T-shirt that says, “stupid.” Now, don’t get upset all over again, I am not saying that people with posture problems are stupid. Some of them are, some of them are not. Their posture has nothing to do with that.

So what can we say for sure about this dinosaur cartoon? Well, it’s a cartoon and it’s got a couple of dinosaurs in it; whether or not it is funny is a matter of personal opinion. If you know that modern-day birds are thought to be dinosaurs’ closest relatives, you’re a few steps closer to finding it funny. If you didn’t know that until you read this post, you are perhaps having an “aha” moment. Whatever you are experiencing right now, I hope you enjoy it.

This final cartoon is a shout-out to my Catholic (or former Catholic) readers. After several decades of soul-searching and education, I am atheist. But I was raised Catholic and remember very well attending “confession” when I was a kid. Our church’s confessional booths looked very much like those in this cartoon. For the unindoctrinated, here’s how they worked: A priest sits in the middle booth with small windows on either side of him, each with a sliding wooden panel so he can alternate between sides and hear the sins of the adjacent booth’s occupants. Unlike in the movies where you can see through the window, they are usually covered by a tight screen or curtain so that the priest can hear the confessor, but not see his or her face. (Which would render this comic irrelevant because the confessor would never be able to see the scary mask.) If you were a “good” Catholic, you would enter one of the outside booths, kneel in front of the window and wait until you hear the window panel slide open, which means it’s your turn. You then recite some preordained mumbo jumbo like, “Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been x days (weeks, months, years) since my last confession…” then you would list your sins and how many times you committed them. When you’re finished with your list of shameful acts, the priest says something like, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I absolve you of your sins. As penance, say x Hail Marys and x Our Fathers. (Those are colloquial names of popular Catholic prayers.)

To be honest, most of my sins were made up. I was in grade school and did not yet drink, carouse, embezzle, or murder, so I would just say “I lied to my parents two times, I fought with my sister 800 times,” etc. We were required to go to confession once a month, so we had to say something. I confess I have not been to confession since I was a child so I don’t know how they do it now. I’m sure some still do it this way, while more modern churches probably have you sit face-to-face with a priest and talk about your filthy alter ego, the way you would with a therapist. I’m just guessing about that, though.

Churches of all kinds have used fear of eternal torture to control people for centuries, as anyone knows, though they are loathe to admit it. I think it would be a refreshing move toward honesty if they wore a scary mask while doing it.

Finally: Most of my family is still Catholic, so I don’t wish to offend the faithful with this post. If you’re interested in a startlingly eloquent and intelligent discussion of the sort of damage organized religion does to societies, watch this speech by famed actor Stephen Fry, given during a debate with Catholic officials over the question of whether the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world . Video Clip.


38 thoughts on “Bent Flying Devil

  1. In the debate with Mr. Fry, on the other side, was a lady named Anne Widdecombe, a former Member of Parliament. You Americans have probably never heard of her, and are better off for it. Imagine a grumpy old Catholic version of Ann Coulter with the bedside manner of Margaret Thatcher. Ow.

  2. Thanks Dan for that video—I love Stephen Fry and this video just reinforces that admiration for his beliefs and his eloquent way of stating them.

    • Word-play has always been one of my favorite aspects of Bizarro. I think my favorite of all-time was “Joan of Arc burnt the steaks.” With the rejoinder, “Don’t speak with your mouth full, that’s how rumors get started.”

    • I LOVE that ad and wish I’d thought of it myself. On average, five humans per year are killed by sharks worldwide, while humans kill 70 million sharks per year. A guy is in the ocean killing fish and I’m supposed to feel sorry for him because one bit back?

      • And once again, you prove yourself to be an arrogant, misanthropic douchebag. Nice.

        BTW, PETA is continuing its idiocy by claiming that cow’s milk is linked to autism. Do you really want to defend or associate yourself with those retards?

        • Yes, I do still support them. Their basic mission statement is to get information about animal cruelty into the press. They’ve learned over their long existence that the best way to do that is to sensationalize something. While being interviewed about the ludicrous thing they said or did, they can talk about animal cruelty and get people talking and thinking. It has worked well; people hate PETA (which PETA doesn’t care about) but they assimilate the information and change their consumer habits. Cow’s milk is not good or necessary for humans of any age and many studies suggest it actively contributes to several diseases and conditions. Getting people to drink less or give it up is a good thing.

          And regarding the shark incident: The only way a person can feel sorry for someone who gets bitten by a fish while he is killing fish is if they revere humans as sacred above all other animals. I do not.

          • I don’t mind that Peta is against animal cruelty. But they’re anti-human, and you are just like them. Sorry Piraro, but you’ve lost a fan and a reader. So goodbye, and go fuck yourself.

            PS: Obama is the same as Bush. Face facts, you fucking sheep.

      • For allergy reasons, I can’t be vegan. Years ago I was out on San Francisco Bay and we ran over a thresher shark, injuring her beyond repair. We netted her and made the diagnosis and put her out of her misery. We argued about what to do with her and ended up not throwing her back. My fellow passengers were omnivores, but knew the status of sharks and fighured it would be the last time we would ever eat shark, so we did. I made sharkfin soup and other dishes from the shark and we celebrated its life and thanked it.

        I do believe in the ban on sharking and sharkfin soup. Sharks are a very necessary part of the marine ecosystem and destroying them alters the ecology in terrible ways.

        Raised Roman Catholic, I am now an Orthodox Christian, where all parish priests are married men. I feel kids are safer around them . Besides, if I have marital problems, my priest is going to understand what I’m going through a lot better. Our new assistant pastor says he’s living the dream, but he doesn’t have kids yet.

    • “Vulgarity is the linguistic crutch for the inarticulate.” It doesn’t aide you in proving your intellectual superiority at all, which, on it’s own, isn’t obvious to anyone here. Certainly not to me, and I speak only for myself.

  3. Excellent piece by Mr. Fry.

    One of my earliest memories is the fear of not having “enough sins” in the confession chamber on Sundays. On Saturdays, I would practice my list of lies, sibling squabbles, etc., and would make some up if I felt I hadn’t enough. What a stooped exercise.

  4. I laughed out loud at “I’m with stooped” because of the play on words. Never thought you were making fun of people with bone disease.

  5. When I was a kid and had to confess, they used to give us a list with several questions to help us remember our sins. That saved me from embarrassment because my most frequent sin was (well… still is) “I committed impure acts against my own body”.

  6. Thank you so much for this video. People who dare say the obvious, who say what we, many of us, think but are afraid to say, these people deserve our greatest respect and gratitude. Where do see this type of frankness any more? TV with its inanity, its ignorance, its base moronity if I may coin a word, no longer keeps us informed. On the contrary, it aims to keep us stupid and ignorant.

    We now live in a world where information is meted out in carefully censored bits to serve the interests of a very select few in order to maintain their inordinate, obscene share of power and wealth. To stand up to that power, to invite its wrath, wrath easily up to the task of obliterating those who dissent, takes a person who has fire in their belly. Oh that we could see and hear this type of courage enough to shake us out of our torpor.

    I come here to your blog because I find your cartoons very funny. But I also come to see and read things you say about religion. I love the irreverence, it’s such a breath of fresh air. Your stand on homosexuality and other issues that pop up often lead me to say, Yes, yes, yes!!. Of course you know that some people will be ticked off and not

    Off to watch some TV now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • I “shared” this video on Facebook. I thought it might stir up some discussion even if people disagreed with it. Recently a friend posted an old picture of me when I was 19 or 20 and there were 27 comments (how in the hell did she go downhill so badly). With this one of Fry, the silence was deafening. So thank you again Dan, it surely impressed me.

  7. “stooped” made me laugh for some bizarre reson.. maybe cuz today was my first visit to the chiropractor . I always feel like that guy.. but after my first adjustment, I was standing taller and my disposition was considerably brightened.. I cried when he did my neck..but the rest I just yelled ow! I found out where all my stress has taken up residence for the past thirty years..just below my neck on the right really makes you feel stronger..physically and emotionally… I knew that about birds and dinos, so, it’s true, being stooped does not mean your stupid. I always asked my Mom b4 confession, “what were my sins? what did I do? ” she said..just say you fought with your brother and sisters…even at that young age I thought it was ludicrous..but I just didn’t know THAT word..just the feeling… Thanks, Dan : ) today was just awful..I was hoping you would have posted your Blog when I got home.

  8. I read the confessional cartoon as scaring gays straight. Perhaps it’s was the nose on the mask that led me in that direction. Too funny. I wonder if you’ve received videos from those religious cancers who protest at military funerals. Anderson Cooper aired the one he received. One of those “you know you’ve made it when…” initiations.

  9. I am shocked, yes SHOCKED by the dinosaur/bird cartoon. I’m not sure why I am, but being shocked at the other ones is already taken, so I’m working on it. The nerve! How dare you!

  10. All your comics are refreshingly funny. Even the offensive ones. I tried drawing comics but it’s never good enough and I don’t like people to look at it and go, “Hey that’s pretty good” or “That’s nice.” Shouldn’t matter cause their dumb and have no sense of humor.

  11. I am glad Stephen Fry separated individual believers from the institution of the church. Just as there are many atheists who do great works in the world, there are many individuals who do great humanitarian works in the name of their faith, at times at odds with official doctrine. I am a Christian (also a former Catholic actually), but I bristle and speak out when I hear other Christians condemning homosexuals. That is not the love Jesus spoke of. And don’t get me started about evolution. As though God couldn’t get the ball rolling with the big bang and a set of initial conditions and a few tweaks here and there. To me that’s infinitely more interesting than “poof, there it is!”

    But I don’t debate atheists because I know for me it’s about faith and personal experience. It’s not something you can convince someone about through arguments, no matter how logically presented. All you can really do is say you are a believer, explain why, and go about your business, hopefully as a good example. There are too many who do evil in the name of religion to expect any reasonable person to suspend their disbelief without having someone they can point to and say, “my life would be better if I lived like that … maybe my death would be beter too.”

    Sorry for standing on the soap box a bit. I love your work and sense of humor Dan and I respect your opinions, though I might disagree with some. I think it would be quite sad if someone didn’t come back, as Paula suggested earlier, just because they got “ticked off” at your opinions or those of your comment posters. They would be missing too much fun :-)

  12. Raised Catholic. Fervent believer until the day I was questioned in confession:” Is that all?”. It was. But I was not believed. Turns out just as well in the long run. Yes! To Stephen Fry! Thank-you for sharing. Clarified a lot of my feelings. Love your cartoons, read daily. Am saving up for a cat cartoon T-shirt.

  13. …or maybe it did work, but since it’s not approved i can not see it,… or maybe i just suck along with my html. :P lmao… btw, josh is not very mature (in a spiritual, universal, source energy, consciousness expanding “the force” sort of way). ;) …i can see what he’s getting at,… but he just doesn’t get it. :/ …in time,… in time. ~go

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