Small Domiciles

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(To embiggenate any cartoon, move your screen closer to your face. Or just click the image.)

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Beard Espalier.

The number over my signature in today’s Old West Extravaganza tells us that there are seven Secret Symbols to hunt for and I think I might have even gotten the count correct this time. Lately, there have been a spate of inaccurate symbol counts and I apologize for that. Like I used to tell my 7th grade math teacher, “What’s with your obsession with absolute accuracy all the time? Geez.” 

This cartoon is a simple chuckle with no deep meaning. I have found lately, as have a slight majority of American voters, that reasons to laugh are a bit more difficult to come by. Who knows what the hell people who didn’t bother to vote are thinking. Hopefully they’re thinking that getting off their asses to register to vote online and then mailing in their ballot isn’t too much trouble to avoid the consequences of living in a country ruled by a con-artist, fascist thug. If they aren’t thinking that now, they likely will in the coming years.

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This cartoon about child safety raised a bit of a donnybrook on my FB page this week as people argued about how much hovering over our children is too much. Obviously, children are precious and you don’t want to risk losing one to a preventable accident. On the other hand, “helicopter parenting” can cause a child to believe the world is a deadly place and can make them fearful and fraught with anxiety for the rest of their lives. My own opinion falls soemwhere in the middle, I think; bike helmets and carseats are a good idea while slathering your kid with antibacterial lotion and putting them in full body armor is probably overkill.

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Here’s a cartoon I expected to get criticism for from uber-religious types, but so far, I’ve been wrong. I suspect my anti-Trump comments of late have perhaps chased all of those kinds of readers away.

I don’t pretend to know everything but some things are kind of obvious, I think. I’m not against the idea that the universe may not be entirely happenstance and that there may be some kind of universal connective force that holds things together in some thoughtful way––anything is possible––but I’m not one to believe in the kinds of anthropomorphic, anthropocentric gods that human cultures have invented and turned into religions. If that kind of god existed, it seems a no-brainer that it would have shown us fire at the very least. If the creation myths about god(s) having a similar relationship to humans as parents have to their children were remotely true, how do you justify tossing them into the wilderness without the slightest bit of guidance? It’s like having a baby and just abandoning it in the forest with a note that says “I created you. If you survive starvation, wild animals, and hypothermia and manage to grow up, come find me and tell me how awesome I am.” 

You may notice that I routinely refer to “god” as “it” instead of him or her. That’s because I can think of no reason that such a god would need sex organs.

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Here’s a cute little something about a funny little critter that has adopted a pirate. Another simple smile for a difficult time.

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I guess beards were on my mind the week I wrote this batch of cartoons. I know it’s easy to make fun of all the trendy young men who are growing huge beards and mustaches these days but put me down as someone who really enjoys it. Since I first fell in love with art and history as a child, I wondered why men’s fashions had become so boring and couldn’t wait to be a grownup and wear more interesting clothing and eccentric facial hair.

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I wrote this cartoon before the election. It doesn’t take sides, per se, but was born out of my yearning for a more intelligent, dignified campaign season. I’m afraid those days are long gone for the time being. Meanwhile, hate crimes and school bullying is on the rise since Trump and his deplorable behavior have dominated the headlines. Tragic.

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Last cartoon of the week is about a texting dog who didn’t get table scraps. Poor Smoky. Olive Oyl and I always worry a bit about how pet sitters are treating our cat and dog when we’re out of town. How I’d love for them to be able to tell us what their lives were like while we were away.

FYI: Below my holiday gift ideas, I’ve posted what I think is a short and fascinating excerpt from an article about our current political climate. Scroll down if you’re so inclined.

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS THAT WILL HELP SUPPORT MY FUTURE CARTOON EFFORTS:

Thanks for reading, Jazz Pickles. There’s still time to order Bizarro holiday cards and get them in the mail to your fave peeps!

Here’s my new coloring book full of outrageous surreal art that is fascinating and inspiring to grown-ups and kids alike! Also available at your local bookstore or any online book stores. ($5.99 each. No kidding!)

Prints of Bizarro cartoons make great gifts, too! Get them from Bizarro.com by using the calendar function below the cartoon at the top of the home page to pull up the image you want, then clicking the “Buy Prints” link below. ($30 to $100)

Larger, nicer, limited-edition, signed and numbered, museum-quality, framed prints of some of my favorite Bizarro cartoons… ( $200)

…and some framed original Bizarro art from that same site. ($1000)

ONE LAST FASCINATING POLITICAL THING: Like most Americans, I’m dead sick of politics so I tried to keep it out of this week’s commentary, without much success, I’m afraid. But I came across a fascinating passage in an article in the current (Nov 28, 2016) issue of The New Yorker that gave me chills. A philosopher in the late 90s eerily predicted exactly where we are now, 18 years in advance. Just wanted to share it. This excerpt is from an article by David Remnick entitled, “Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency.”

Before and after the election, a passage from Richard Rorty’s 1998 book, “Achieving Our Country,” circulated on social media. Rorty, a left-leaning philosopher, who died in 2007, predicted that the neglected working class would not tolerate its marginalization for long. “Something will crack,” he wrote:

The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. . . . One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. . . . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, folks. Good luck to us all.

 

20 thoughts on “Small Domiciles

  1. Dan –

    Reading your commentary on the ‘Fire–right off the bat’ cartoon reminded me of ‘Time Bandits’ (1981):

    Evil – When I have the map, I will be free, and the world will be different, because I have understanding.
    Minion – Uh, understanding of what, Master?
    Evil – Digital watches. And soon I shall have understanding of video cassette recorders and car telephones. And when I have understanding of them, I shall have understanding of computers. And when I have understanding of computers, I shall be the Supreme Being! God isn’t interested in technology. He knows nothing of the potential of the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how He spends His time! Forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!
    Robert – Slugs.
    Evil – Slugs! He created slugs. They can’t hear! They can’t speak! They can’t operate machinery! I mean, are we not in the hands of a lunatic? … If I were creating a world, I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o’clock, day one! [zaps one of his minions accidentally, minion screams] Sorry.

  2. That was where Evil failed. By eight o’clock, lasers were already scheduled to be discovered almost 4904 years later by people who hadn’t been born yet in a country that didn’t exist.

  3. Just bought your “stem cell snowmen” cards for my friends and family who understand the real me. Can’t wait for the comments.

  4. As a college philosophy teacher at my religious school in Chicago once mused, “Can you imagine the size of God’s testicles?”

  5. ≈ I’m sure that God or Non-Gender-Specific-Parent Nature tossed a few thunderbolts and forest fires at us pretty early on. Our mastery of it is another story, but we do learn by example. Maybe someday we’ll figure out how not to overdo it.

    There’s a trendy argument kicking around these days based on a calculation that raw vegan foods don’t meet the caloric needs for fueling a large brain, therefore it took cooking meat to evolve the way we did. Of course, cooking and meat-eating are entirely different things, but this doesn’t seem to occur to the large-brained mammals making the argument. Given a digestive system that struggles with meat and a brain that does fine with cooked plantfoods, I’m able to deduce a slightly different evolutionary scenario.

    • Jym,
      I’m blaming reality TV. Turns the mind to mush in minutes.

      I would have also blamed tabloids and the plethora of magazines about People — Us, them, Hello ,OK — but I think reading anything is Just. Too. Exhausting. for far too many these days.

      In the food department, I’d think that all the “fast” food consumed by a population waddling toward obesity would account for limited, if any brain power. All that fat clogs up everything.

  6. Dan,

    I’m curious about two things regarding the fire training no-brainer.
    • Which creation accounts support the notion that not the slightest bit of guidance was given?
    • It seems to me that the expectation that man should have been trained in practical matters depends on the purpose of creation. If it was to get a created species to produce self-driving cars and nanotechnology as quickly as possible, then certainly, more guidance would have saved us a lot of trouble! I don’t think many creation account posit that as the reason, though.

    • I consider all creation stories to be human myths developed to make sense of a world we were not able to understand, so I don’t find the specifics of each particularly interesting to parse. When I wrote the cartoon, I was just thinking a little fire would have been nice on cold nights for the millions of years it took us to develop a big enough brain to figure out how to control it. :^}

  7. Loved the god, fire, cave man ‘toon. And I am one of those uber religious types. BTW if you move to Mexico and they build the wall will you be able to get back into America. We Italians look Latino. Wait . . weren’t we the first Latinos? Yes, and we weren’t welcome back then either!

    • Haha. As long as I have my U.S. passport, I’m thinking they’ll let me back in. I’m thinking more the other direction, however, that as the new administration takes office, Americans may begin flowing into Canada and Mexico and those countries will build a wall to keep them out. That may have been Trump’s plan all along when he said, “…and they’re going to pay for it.” :^}

  8. If you like that kind of prognositication, how about this one from Kurt Vonnegut’s 1952 classic “Player Piano”:

    Now you people have engineered them out of their part in the economy,
    in the market place, and they’re finding out — most of them — that
    what’s left is just about zero…
    What do you expect? … For generations they’ve been built up to
    worship competition and the market, productivity and economic
    usefulness, and the envy of their fellow men — and boom! it’s all
    yanked out from under them. They can’t participate, can’t be useful
    any more. Their whole culture is shot to hell.

    Things, gentlemen, are ripe for a phony Messiah, and when he comes,
    it’s sure to be a bloody business.
    Messiah?
    Sooner or later someone’s going to catch the imagination of these
    people with some new magic. At the bottom of it will be a promise of
    regaining the feeling of participation, the feeling of being needed on
    earth — hell, _dignity_.

  9. Loved the parents’ note to their baby! A succinct and poignant way of putting something which, frankly, I would have thought would (and should) bother religious people more than it apparently does.

    Reminded me of Feynman and his brilliant way of addressing something similar: “It doesn’t seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil – which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.”

    Love your work, btw!

    PS. Not sure conversing with one’s pets is such a great idea. A whole lot of pet owners might find out their precious babies do not worship them as much as they thought they did ;)

  10. Jazz Pickles – just want to let you know that many of Dan’s books are still available. I’ve ordered 5 of them as a form of therapy – less expensive and statistically equally as successful in reducing depression. My first session was Bizarro Heroes. It definitely has some just instant gut-wrenching laughing cartoons I’ve never seen before. In addition, Dan employs styles you don’t normally see in the newspaper. (I have to figure out how to get the Superman cartoon with the bus into my lecture.)

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