Bush Voyeurs


bizarro 09-04-16 hdrWEB

(Enjoy these cartoons more through the magic of embiggenation. Click any article of clothing within a cartoon to achieve it.)

Bizarro 09-04-16 clr WEB

Bizarro is brought to you today by Another Monkey Cartoon.

What happens when a super smart British lady crouches in the bushes for 56 years? We find out a lot about chimps and also ourselves, since we are their closest relatives, that’s what! Some of what she learned is that, like us, chimps sometimes commit random acts of violence against their own kind and that we, like them, if imprisoned in a zoo, sometimes go crazy and throw poop. Yes, I am intentionally writing this paragraph as a sixth-grade C student might write a school report.

On a different topic, there are NINE secret symbols in this cartoon, so click it, embiggen it, and get started searching!

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These parents are playing one of those rock ‘n’ roll guitar video games, which is reportedly a lot of fun but makes you look pretty goofy. This child has been scarred for life by happening upon it. Do any of you Jazz Pickles have memories of embarrassing things you caught your parents doing when you were a child after you went to bed? Keep the language clean, please.

I actually used to sleepwalk quite a lot as a kid and have a few vague memories of walking into the living room where my parents were watching TV and being led gently back to bed. Another time I was awakened in the middle of the night by my parents bursting loudly and frantically into my room and turning the light on. They were visibly terrified and told me that I had screamed (in my sleep, apparently) in such a blood-curdling way that they were sure I was being attacked or kidnapped. I didn’t even remember having a nightmare. So strange.

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Somebody in some comments somewhere scolded me regarding this cartoon for making fun of depression because it is a serious illness. Yes, it is. I’ve suffered from it my entire adult life, starting when I was about 19. I was on antidepressants from 1996 until two years ago, when I quit. (The safe, medically recommended way.) Since then, I’ve been able to manage my depression pretty well with meditation, positive thinking, and staying busy on art projects that feed my soul, like oil painting. (Cartoons are fun but they don’t have as powerful an effect on me, probably because they are a business with deadlines.) Anyway, reading that placebos work as well for depression as do antidepressants made me change the way I thought about it. It isn’t to say that depression isn’t real or that antidepressants are phony, it says that the power of the mind to heal itself (and the rest of the body) is more powerful than we often realize. It isn’t easy to tap into that power, but it is possible. I’m not advocating this approach for everyone, I’m just saying that for me in this case, it’s working pretty well. Though it isn’t always easy. One small part is to realize that feeling good all the time isn’t a natural state of being and to just relax and be more accepting and less troubled by feeling anxious or depressed from time to time.

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A few weeks back I did a cartoon about the growing LGBT list of sexual identities and I got some flak from people who thought I was ridiculing non-hetero folks. I apologized appropriately for the misunderstanding and admitted that the cartoon was poorly worded and could easily have been seen that way. (I can be a jerk but I don’t like being seen as a jerk in a way that I’m not actually a jerk. And I have zero tolerance for homophobia, hence my revulsion at the thought of being seen that way.)

With the cartoon above, I only got one complaint from a dude who seemed to just want me to be homophobic so he could hate me. Whatever. Truth is, I didn’t think I’d get a lot of heat from this gag because it isn’t ridiculing anyone, it’s simply pointing out that our attempt to label every single type of sexual identity, preference, orientation, and lifestyle is a very unwieldy process that has no logical end. I think eventually our society will get to a place where we don’t have to label ourselves, we can just be who we are and nobody will give a shit what we do in our private moments or with whom we do it. Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, though. Somehow, I think bigots will always be with us.

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Here is a cartoon about a very stupid criminal. Stupid people committing crimes is one of my favorite things, actually. There are any number of stupid criminal examples on the Interwebs that will make you smile. If you are a stupid criminal and you resent my making fun of you in this way, you can leave a nasty comment but I won’t apologize.

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This Egyptian cartoon tickles me for a couple of reasons. One is that imagining people from great civilizations of the ancient past talking like modern-day nitwits instead of thoughtful British intellectuals like they do in Hollywood films is funny. The other is the unquenchable thirst our species has for magical solutions, which I also find amusing. If you’re one of those folks who believes it is possible that aliens built or taught the ancient Egyptians to build pyramids is reasonable, you’re probably miffed right now imagining the smug look on my face as I typed that last sentence. See? I told you I could be a jerk.

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I don’t usually care much about the latest technology, but I am actually fascinated by self-driving cars. The technology isn’t totally there yet, but it is sufficient to easily see how self-driving cars can and will be far more safe than human drivers. In my opinion, almost anything would be a safer way to drive a car than letting just any old human do it. Driving tests are not nearly hard enough to ensure safe driving.

That’s it for me this week, Jazz Pickles. It is always so rewarding to spend time with you in this manner. Thanks for your donations, monthly contributions, purchase of my occasional books and your newspaper subscriptions. Without you, I’d not be able to afford this ludicrous activity I call a career.


53 thoughts on “Bush Voyeurs

  1. On first glance (before I saw the explanatory rectangle at the bottom), I thought the car/ expressway cartoon was about GPS systems. Whenever we went out of town in the car, husband designated me navigator & then often proceeded first to ignore & then get ticked off with my map reading. So we got a GPS — which he proceeded to ignore & then get pissed off at. I felt vindicated. (I also do a lot more driving when we’re both in the car.)

    The ATM brings up memories. When we first bought our house — correction when the bank first bought our house (“for us”), the first few months especially we were particularly skint. My daughter, then 5, and I had the habit of stopping at a cafe after school for drinks. I told her we’d have to cut back on that for the time being. Her response: “Just put your card in the wall, Mommy.” Now 28 and having bought her first home (with the bank), she knows you only get money from the wall IF there’s money in your account……

    • I tried to get a reasonable skin color but one problem is that newspapers print everything much darker than it looks on computer so I have to split the difference between the two mediums.

      • Interestingly, a few years ago I got to visit a newly opened tomb with one of Egypt’s top researchers. (I’m a scientist, myself.) The paint had not yet crumbled off the walls and the colors were still relatively vivid. I was surprised to learn that the ancient Egyptians used lighter skin tones to indicate power and position. Lighter skin meant that you didn’t have to work in the sun. The higher up the hierarchy, the lighter the skin color depicted on the tomb paintings. Weird, huh?

          • That’s also why in the Bourbon court (the French kings, not the drink) the fashion was that pasty white makeup, the paler and whiter the better to separate them from the commoners.

            John Adams was aghast when he first had to interact with them. Ben Franklin, on the other hand, played up his “backwards hick from the new world” schtick to the hilt, to the delight of all the ladies.

      • Historically correct. The ruling class stayed pale! They also were plucked hairless to avoid insect predators. Like English jurists and upper classes, they wore wigs.

    • Egyptians, who were the royalty, were not as dark as you would have thought them to be. Same system as still exists in India: the lighter the skin, the higher the caste.

    • The ones listed under the secret symbols link in the most recent post are all the official ones, although I sometimes include “O2” in my cartoons as a shout-out to my girlfriend, Olive Oyl.

  2. My favorites were the Goodall family reunion, the Egyptian pointy things and self driving care rage. I’m old fashioned. I clip them from actual paper, carry them with me and force them on unsuspecting friends during a lull in the conversation. I don’t understand why it is that when they see me reach for my wallet they start to shudder.

    • There’s some anecdotal history to enforce that idea, for sure. There are probably even some studies about it but I’m not up on the latest.

  3. Medication treats the symptoms, not the causes, of depression.

    I wonder what would have become of the great Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff if he had been medicated to deal with his depression?

    • I suffered greatly from the age of 19 until I was in my mid 30s and started taking antidepressants. I worried that my creativity or humorous “edge” would leave but it didn’t.

    • Really, Mike? And just what do you consider the “causes”, if not for the neurochemical imbalances that ADs counter? Remembering that feeling down because bad stuff happened to you is not in itself “depression”….

      • Bad stuff happening can, in fact, trigger depression. After Rachmaninoff’s 1st Symphony (1897) got such bad press, he was unable to compose anything of substance. After 3 months of daily hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in 1900, he was finally able to do serious composing again. His 2nd Piano Concerto (1901) is dedicated to his therapist Nikolai Dahl.

        • actually, the theory that depression is caused by chemical imbalance was proven false a long time ago. depression is very real, as is psychosis, but if you look at the research over the past 60 or so years you can quickly see that antidepressants and antipsychotics actually make things worse a lot more often than they help, and that the only real treatment is good social support and traditional psychotherapy. if you’re interested enough to have an opinion, i warmly recommended reading https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/1491513217 – enlightening material, and surprisingly optimistic towards the end.

    HA! Took me a minute, but I got it.
    I am always amazed at the amount of “art” you create for a simple gag (and i mean that in the best way possible) I am currently working on an online cartoon series and i am constantly refering back to BIZZARO for inspiration & reference (= copying!). Dunno what i am going to do when you retire!

  5. Some thoughts…

    If it weren’t for antidepressants, I might not be alive right now; I can still remember the change in my mind-set the moment they took hold. I only used them for a few years to get me over the deepest part of my depression, and haven’t felt the need for them for quite awhile. My self-cure? *Cats!!* Seriously. No…I mean, *seriously*.

    I read predominantly Science Fiction, and more than once I’ve come across a future version of our society where, indeed, “every single type of sexual identity, preference, orientation, and lifestyle” is practiced and considered normal. It’s so refreshing. One thing I like about those societal portraits is that marriage is usually a legal contract between any number of people (and, sometimes, that includes non-humans and even non-biologicals) of any “sexual identity, preference, [and/or] orientation” that lasts only a set amount of time before needing to be renewed, with intelligent mechanisms in place to alter them as needed.

  6. 🌈 So way back in the 1980s when I first encountered “LGB” I had this notion to reorder them alphabetically and pronounced it “Biggles” (qua Monty Python), whereupon I was informed that the L was first to address lesbian invisibility. Someone added a Q to the string by the end of that decade.

    I’ve seen F appended to it as well, meaning “Friends.” Quite possibly this fell out of favor due to a 1990s sitcom with the same name that thought it would be a hilarious punch line to have a character say, “my ex-wife was a lesbian” for years on end.

    I have lately seen LGBT* because in some contexts “Trans*” has an asterisk, though I’ve never found the footnote.

  7. #1) In the 8/31 cartoon — with the LGBTQ on the blackboard — I like the alien done in white chalk. You enlisted the teacher to help with the secret symbols!
    #2) Re the 9/4 Goodall cartoon — As a student of your icons (=secret symbols) I enjoy seeing the tweaks you give them. Like the “The Pie of Opportunity.” I have always seen it as having a mind of sorts, even an intelligence — the dimples in the crust make it look like it has eyes! I see it is a vegetarian crocodile, lurking just under the surface, looking for more blueberries! Like — maybe somebody is dropping tidbits on the ground there at the Jane Goodall picnic?
    #3) And where is Jane in the cartoon? I think that is her with her back toward us at the end of the table. Right? Thanks for celebrating & validating the joy & enlightenment that she has brought us.
    #4) You Rock, Man!!! Piraro is in the same community as Jane.

    • I intended Jane to be the one standing under the “O” on the Goodall sign, talking to the guy in the purplish shirt. I’ve more to say about your other comments but I’m out of the country right now, it’s late at night, and Olive Oyl is giving me the stink eye for not coming to bed by now. :^}

      • Thanks loads for the reply. I hope you can reply further — but you are a busy guy!
        Yes — I see Jane now; thanks for the help!
        How cool that you made her so unobtrusive — that was how she achieved what she did — & is still doing.
        I’m hoping you can give us a clue whether there is any validity to the Pie of Opportunity / frugivorous crocodile notion. (Is this cartoon available for sale?)
        We hope you are getting your rest!

        • You can buy a very nice, color print of that cartoon (or any of mine) on archival watercolor paper through this site. Just use the calendar function below the cartoon at the top of Bizarro.com’s homepage to pull up the image you want, then click “Buy Prints” below for your options.

          The pie/crocodile thing is inadvertent. I never realized it looked like a croc until readers started asking me why I put a grinning crocodile head in some of my cartoons. Most people see it as a piece of pie, I think, but it is not uncommon to interpret it as the croc.

  8. Do any of you Jazz Pickles have memories of embarrassing things you caught your parents doing when you were a child after you went to bed? – No, but this reminds me of the song from the 50’s, “Rock and Roll Waltz” by Kay Starr.

  9. I love your comic strip. I read it in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and use the Comics Kingdom website to look for symbols. Thank you for your comic strip. I look forward to it. By the way,to read your Sunday strip I buy THE ELYRIA CHRONICLE-TELEGRAMS as the PD does not carry your Sunday strip.
    I also found four paperback collections of BIZARRO at Ben Franklin’s in Oberlin.
    What are your favorite comic strips? I love POGO,KRAZY KAT,and the Consevatives,LIL ABNER & DICK TRACY.
    Have you considered a James Joyce themed strip? I could see you illustrating FINNEGANS WAKE.
    Thank you for making my days better.
    Richard Lence

    • Thanks for the terrific comments. I don’t have time to answer in detail now since I’m out of the country and am not supposed to be “working”. Mi mujer is giving me a look that means to close my computer and take some time off. :^}

  10. I only got 8 symbols in the Goodall reunion, and realized that, in desperation, I was looking in the grass and weeds for “Nina”s. Does that date me?

  11. We’ve been searching your Goodall pic for a 9th secret symbol without success. Found: eyeball, dynamite, crown, bunny, bird, alien, pie, fishtail, ? Any hints?

  12. LOVE the anti Depressant one,i too have suffered since i was a teenager… (probably also ended up with PND) (i Am now 59 and 11/12ths…) and Hubby (70) has suffered for YEARS , he even had a few khronic years of Suicide attempts(GEE those were FUN Tears!!!) But i LUV depression jokes, adore Grim Reaper jokes , i just love to laff.. Depression , and all that tags along with it despite the MESS it has made of our lives along the way ,tickles my funny bone when a joke is done well.. (and you do all of them well) (you do lose me with politics tho.. i am an Aussie.. ) Regards You talented man!!! Kath

  13. Regarding the antidepressant cartoon, I’d be willing to bet that the “Studies show” translates to one study that hasn’t been confirmed. Bluntly, most people, and especially most journalists, don’t understand how science works. So every time there’s a new study, it gets treated as The New Truth, with no recognition of the facts that a single report does not “prove” anything, and science takes a while to sort things out. In particular, any study that gets reported to the press before it gets confirmed, is immediately suspect. (Remember the “cold fusion” debacle? That’s what happened there.)

  14. “Make American Flat Again” had me laughing so hard, I nearly passed out! I read your strip everyday, and this one was especially hilarious!! Thanks for starting my day out with some really great humor!! I’m not a Facebook subscriber, which is the reason I’ve commented on the website.

  15. Love the LGBQIA reference. I wrote a defense of heterosexuals, particularly divorced parents who are prejudiced against by family law courts and therefore persecuted in some instances from raising their kids because of vitriolic ex-spouses who get their way of alienating the other parent. In many cases those who have been oppressed, in many but not all cases Dads, have experiences that may lead them to be more compassionate toward other “classed” or labelled people such as those of the LGBT community. My point is that it is quite possible such misjudged folks (mainly hetero men) may turn out to be the most significant allies to the those others in our society discriminated against. The new SCOTUS decision is certainly going to be interesting in regards to custody policies, and I got a bit peeved at my former atty when I asked him about the significance of decision on custody last year: he said, “It will be good for us lawyers because it will mean more marriages and therefore more divorces.” (Why attorneys are often considered the underbelly of civil society, and I’ll refrain from saying what I really think of him after all.) Anyhow I think your cartoon and comment signifies the counterbalance of fear often directed toward heterosexuals (heterophobia). I was going to add a funny thought about the growing list of letters, but suffice it to say I hope this affirms our shared hope that perhaps one day we won’t have to be defined by either orientation or phobia.

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