Stormy Weather


Bizarro 07-24-16 hdrWEB

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Bizarro 07-24-16 WEBBizarro is brought to you today by Hallucinations.

It’s been a shitstorm of a week here at Rancho Bizarro. I published a cartoon on Friday that a lot of people misconstrued so I posted an explanation and apology on my FB page, and that led to hundreds of comments and arguments. More on that later in this post.

The cartoon above is the one I thought would be controversial, but so far, no flak. I was thinking about tennis being played on hardcourt, on clay, and on grass (a drug pun?) and my mind went to tennis being played on hallucinogens. That would make for a funny picture, I told myself quietly inside my head, and then I drew it.

The drawing itself is mildly reminiscent of the illustrations I did for my coloring book for grown-ups, which comes out this October. (You can pre-order it here, as a matter of fact. I guarantee you’ll not find a book at this price that has as much elaborate art to get lost in, so buy a dozen! In fact, this book is as close as you can get to a drug trip without actually taking any drugs, though the publisher opted against using that line in their publicity efforts.  Here’s one of the simpler images.)

bz panel 07-18-16

Monday’s cartoon was based on an experience I had in Europe when I was 20 years old. As it turns out I had not been bitten by a werehamster, I had unwittingly eaten a magic mushroom purchased by a friend legally and over-the-counter in Amsterdam. I did not attempt to play tennis.

bz panel 07-19-16

Human society has become such a ludicrous, complicated mess in the past 10,000 years that I’m sure things like the scene above happen all the time.

bz panel 07-20-16

Thinking too much is something we humans do extremely well. Fear is like a heavy black sack over your head; it blinds you to common sense. Common sense would tell you that millions of people have flown all over the world every single day for many decades and only a very small percentage have died from it, so it must be safe. But it might also seem like common sense to be afraid of 58 tons of metal hitting the ground at 170 miles an hour. Here’s where you have to decide to vote with your intellect or with your emotions.

This is also how terrorism works. What terrorists want is for the rest of us to be afraid and make bad choices. It might seem like common sense to stop Muslims from immigrating to your country, to round them up, interrogate them, keep them under close watch or even deport them. But the vast majority of victims of terrorist attacks are Muslims, and the vast majority of Muslims are like you and me and don’t want any trouble. Terrorists know that when foreign governments persecute Muslims, or even just make them feel very unwelcome, it breeds more terrorists. Maybe only one or two in 100,000, will snap under pressure and join the cause, but that’s all they need to keep the cycle of fear and persecution going, which breeds more terrorists.

So you’ve got politicians telling you that 50 tons of metal hitting the runway at 170 mph is dangerous, and you’ve got other politicians telling you that air travel is statistically safer than driving a car. Do you vote with your mind or with your fear? (Spoiler: Those who vote with fear will not see the logic of this argument.)

bz panel 07-21-16

Speaking of immigrants, I thought a sign like this might be helpful at customs. Or, perhaps it should more correctly say “Anything bad that happens to you in this country, even if you were acting like an idiot and it was completely your fault, could result in a big payday if you get the right attorney.”

bz panel 07-22-16

That brings us to this cartoon, which caused so much trouble last week. Many people thought that I was insinuating that sexual orientation is a choice, which is an argument that many bigots use to criticize non-heterosexuals for religious reasons. (They insist homosexuality is a sin and something has to be a “choice” to be a sin. You couldn’t call being freckled a sin, because you were born that way and had no choice.) This upsets me for a couple of reasons. 1) I do not believe sexual orientation is a choice and I am loathe to be mistaken for this kind of bigot, and 2) millions of non-heterosexual teens live in misery (and some even commit suicide) over the negative social pressure they endure for not being “normal,” and I do not want to add to their troubles.

The fault is mine, of course; I should have worded this cartoon differently to make my point more clear. Accordingly, I’ve changed the wording and posted the new one below so if you want to forward it or post it on FB or whatever, please use that one.


bz panel 07-22-16 WEB

When I explained and apologized on my FB page last Friday, I got a lot of support from people, but mostly in the form of “F— ’em if they can’t take a joke” and “No apology necessary––if people don’t get it, screw ’em”. I understand that sentiment and agree, and I don’t usually apologize to people who are simply too thin-skinned to play with the big kids. But when vulnerable people like adolescents are involved, I prefer to err on the side of safety.

Others (from the right and the left) said that it is ridiculous that we have to label our sexual orientation in the first place and that it’s nobody’s business. I agree with that, too, but America isn’t there yet. After centuries of persecution for being different, people are hungry for the opportunity to stand up and say “I’m not a pervert or a freak and you’re a bigot for labeling me as such”. To do that, you’ve got to develop pride in who you are specifically and be able to talk about it publicly. The growing list of initials is a shorthand for that. I’m not immune to the ridiculous side of this growing list, however, and that’s what this cartoon was about in the first place. In fact, I’m told the list has already grown since I wrote this cartoon four weeks ago. (To my conservative readers who say that I only poke fun at the right wing, here’s an example of me laughing at my own side.)

bz panel 07-23-16

My last cartoon for the week is about another favorite subject of mine, anthropology. I’ve been reading some E. O. Wilson lately so my mind has been in the distant past.

If you’re looking for a super gift for that someone special or your own special self, please consider a beautiful, archival, limited-edition, signed and numbered, fine art print of one of my favorite Bizarro cartoons. OR an original drawing from a published Bizarro comic. Both can be found at this online art gallery.  (The color ones are prints, the b/w ones are original ink drawings.) It’s a great way to support me and a damn fine way to spruce up your trailer down by the river!

Another great way to support me is to drop a few monetary units into MY TIP JAR. Whether it’s a one-time donation or a small monthly contribution, it will help Olive Oyl and me continue to live indoors, which we have come to prefer!

Thanks, Jazz Pickles!


36 thoughts on “Stormy Weather

  1. Dan I don’t know if you ever read the comments sections of your comics on the ArcaMax site but the L G B T Q garnered over 100 comments. Most people understood what you were saying but a few got upset.

  2. Brilliant use of the airplane comic to highlight how easy it is to use fear to manipulate perceptions by playing on people’s emotions. This is especially effective when the stakes are high (people could die) despite the fact that the probability an event occurring is extremely low. Fear mongering works. :(

    On a positive note… I’m stoked for the coloring book!

  3. I liked the airplane cartoon because one of my brothers is a retired airline pilot. I’m sure this kind of thing went through his head a few times over the 35 years that he piloted large airplanes through the sky and landed them successfully.

    I liked the cartoon with all of the warnings as I thought it was poking a bit of fun at the all the warnings we see in the US on everything (like don’t use a toaster while taking a bath, etc). I have heard, not sure if it is true, that there are no railings on the cliffs of Dover, England, as it is presumed that people know if you walk off the edge of the cliff, you will fall and get seriously injured or killed, so you don’t do it.

    • Here on the So Cal coast, we have lots of areas with steep cliffs and people do occasionally walk off the edge. I am amazed and delighted that there are still very few barriers; just a few warning signs!

  4. The cartoon about the agents from the secret government is a best with your statement below it. And yes, it is SO true. I’ve worked for various government agencies at county, state and federal levels for the past 40 years and it’s just getting worse. I don’t know if it’s affirmative action, big government, really bad technology or what. But with 293 calendar days left it’s just getting more hilarious by the day. So thanks for this that I will keep at my desk to reflect on daily and I look forward to see what you have next week. I currently have a low level job at the welfare office if that inspires you at all. 40 years of going backward and climbing DOWN the ladder of success, ever seen that? I am not really an idiot, I promise and maybe that’s why I started going downhill. Haha

    • The fastest way I could get off the graveyard shift and away from a certain supervisor (CA state service) was to take a demotion and move to another department. I did that twice but I ended up at Dept of Fish & Game, a fun place to work. Retired about 16 years ago. Best of luck.

  5. Hey, is there some sort of prize for being the first to complain? If not, I’ll just go back to wandering about looking for pokemons.

  6. You’re awesome. Yes, the wording around gender and sexuality can be tricky. I might have said “Currently, you can identify as…” But your wording is fine. Thanks for being someone who cares about these things.

  7. I love the idea of a werehamster, but the scale is all wrong. I know that I am being a picky, but it did take me out of the joke and ruined it for me.

    • How about “black wallaroo” instead? He looks about 47% of the other bar patron, so that puts him at wallaby/kangaroo size. Would that offend wallaroodles? Will they mind being called wallaroodles?

  8. Dude, you must never, ever apologize. I understand your sentiment about vulnerable people, but:

    1. In my experience, it is almost never the vulnerable people who are complaining. It’s almost invariably a bunch of busybodies acting on their behalf, without their knowledge or permission. The very worst insult to minority groups of whatever kind is to assume they’re a bunch of children who cannot ever stand up for themselves.

    2. Apologizing will not help. It has the exact opposite effect: once you apologize, it confirms, in their minds, that you are indeed guilty and knew it all along, and then the bullying gets even worse.

    When it comes to this sort of witch hunt, the very best response (in my always ever so humble opinion) is to invite them to go have carnal relations with themselves. Or, if you really want to be polite, to invite them to get a life, which is what people who scour cultural products for any signs of political incorrectness really should be doing.

    Loved the mastodon cartoon… :-)

  9. Hey Dan,
    Will you be selling your colouring book in the UK?
    Also, the listing needs some more pages – i.e. those without colour!

    • I’m not sure if they’ll be shipping to the UK or not. That’s up to the publisher and their distributors. I’ve got no connection to that end of the biz, so I guess all I can recommend is to wait until it is officially available and try to order it. At some point closer to publication, I assume Amazon will include a “What’s inside?” button where you can view some of the pages in the book that are without color. I’m looking forward to that! Did you click on the link in my blog post that showed one of the b/w images?

  10. The hallucination one takes be back.

    I was watching Naruto back in the day, and most episodes were pretty normal, except for the one I happened to watch in the end phase of an acid trip. And yes, it really was special, the main character was hallucinating heavily in a pretty scary way. That sure was an experience.

  11. I really dislike the statistical comparison of the likelihood of you dying in a vehicle vs. that of an airplane since I’m pretty sure that the statistics of SURVIVING a vehicle accident vs. that of an airplane is pretty skewed to the vehicular side of things. So being somewhat of a reasonable, intelligent human, I will fly in airplanes but I don’t have to like it.

    Oh, and the only people I fear are those with extreme and narrow views who use harm (physically or mentally) to push their opinion on others. …And that can come from any type of person in any given context regarding any idea or thought.

  12. Dan, thanks for being a talented cartoonist that lives on the right (correct) side of history. Sometimes it seems that open-minded folks in the public eye are becoming less numerous all the time, and that good folks have fewer voices, as it were. I have always highly regarded your work even before I knew this about you, but even more so now. Good on ya.

  13. Wow, you took on a few things this week, and dealt with them in an absolutely appropriate way. and made me laugh, which is the point, right ?
    THANK YOU for what you do.
    I’ve had a petsitting Biz for over 20 years ( dogs, cats, peacocks, snakes, rats, etc.) and I know I’m not always appreciated the way I should be. I just want you to know that you are the ONLY cartoonist I follow anymore, and I LOVE your humor & your artistry. I APPRECIATE what you do !!
    Thank You ♥

  14. I can’t for the life of my find the 2nd object in today’s 7/28 comic! I see the eyeball and it looks like there’s something funky going on in the tree on the left, but can’t make anything out.

    • It’s a bit of a trick question. The two secret symbols are the eyeball in the grass, lower left, and the alien who is delivering the line. I normally draw him small and inside his flying saucer. :^}

  15. Ha! The Secret Service cartoon reminds me of something that happened (or, did it?) 35 years ago. I was upstairs in our apartment when I heard my 2 year old talking, it wasn’t really too odd to hear him talking as he had a black and white invisible dog that he would play with occasionally, but I could tell this was more than a play conversation, I came downstairs just as he said “Bye” and hung up the phone, I asked who he was talking to and he said “Granny” I asked if she had wanted to speak with me and he said no, just a very few minutes later I answered a knock at the door and there were two men in black suits and sun glasses standing there, they said they were FBI agents and asked who had recently been using the phone, I told them my son, they insisted on seeing this son, asked if there was anybody else in the house and then told me that my son had called President Reagan’s personal number and wanted to know how my son got the number, after assuring them that my toddler really wasn’t a danger to National security and that he thought he was talking with his Grandmother, they let me know that it was a nuisance and extremely hard to change the number and maybe I should teach my son to not play with the phone, I told them that I doubted very much that Levi would remember the number he had dialed at random, they finally left and we have had an amusing story to tell all these years later.

  16. I just received my jazz pickles tee-shirt a couple of days ago. It’s beautiful. I’ll have to be sure to wear it for my next band rehearsal.

  17. RE: The LGBTQ thing….

    There once was a phrase, common about 25 years ago now and often emblazoned on pins and T-shirts, which I miss:

    “Don’t assume I’m straight”

    Which pretty much says it all that needs to be said, IMHO.

  18. Labelling homosexuality as a mental disease was considered science, not bigotry, by the psychiatric mainstream as recently as 1973.

    Saying sexual orientation is not a choice sounds much like claiming homosexuality is a mental disease. It attaches a stigma to any sexual orientation that is not “normal”.

    • I think I understand what you’re saying but I don’t think that saying sexual orientation is not a choice is the same as calling it a disease. My hair color, food preferences, and favorite music aren’t conscious choices, but neither are they a disease.

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