Disguising Insanity


(Click the cartoons to embiggenate the chuckles.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Obvious Connections. 

Technology is terrific in many important ways but it is increasingly difficult to ignore the poisonous side effects. Like encouraging armies of idiots to act on their stupidity. Exhibit one: The current U.S. president.

Without the Internet’s undeserved veil of authenticity to hide behind, the crazy people who drive consipracy theories would just be lunatics shouting on a street corner, as they were before the Internet, and virtually everyone ignores a lunatic with a bullhorn. But now, they are able to find and build an audience, convince enough people of their insane ideas, and even influence the president himself enough so that he fills the White House with like-minded kooks.

If you’ve been in a coma in recent months or just ignoring the headlines as a last ditch effort to keep your head from exploding, the Cheeto Mussolini has surrounded himself with people who believe, among other types of outrageous, childish nonsense, that any number of well-documented domestic tragedies where innocent adults and children were massacred by madmen were “dramas” executed by the government in an attempt to use public outcry to take Americans’ guns away. Yes, they believe that but still walk free among us. The parents crying out in agony over the deaths of their children during an average day at school were, in their minds, “crisis actors”. They believe that and still hold jobs. (Jobs in which you can get away with large amounts of drool on your shirt.) And they also believe that none of the thousands of people that it would have taken to pull off these kinds of stunts have uttered a peep about it to anyone, including the press who are also in on the hoax by the tens of thousands worldwide.

They also believe that Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats were operating a child sex slave ring out of a set of tunnels beneath a family-friendly pizza parlor in D.C.  And when a lunatic who bought this absurd story hook, line, and sinker walked into said pizza shop with a rifle and held employees and customers hostage while he looked for tunnels and slave children, found none and gave himself up to the throng of cops surrounding the place, they believe that he, too, was an actor hired by the government to cover up the sex slave tunnels. Because to some people it seems more logical that hordes of wealthy, powerful politicians spend their time, efforts and resources acting out some ludicrous Hollywood horror film and eating kidnapped children for brunch (probably covered with an expensive cheese from one of America’s sworn enemies, like France) than it is that one simple-minded man with a gun believed an idiotic story on the Internet and went to find it.

In defense of the apparent millions of Americans who believe fairytales like these, it is human nature to crave stories that explain things that are difficult to understand, and if virtually anyone hears the same thing enough times, they will begin to believe it, even if only subconsciously. But it is the simple-minded who fall first and hardest, of course, and that’s the base Trump plays to.

I think it is worth mentioning that there are two kinds of simple-mindedness: those who are not well educated and those who just don’t have the genetic brain power to discern logic from fantasy. Folks who are uneducated can study their way out of their stupor, the others cannot. The main question I find myself grappling with in regard to America’s future is whether or not intelligent people (who are willing to vote) outnumber the conspiracy kooks by enough to rescue the U.S. from a very long period of inmates running the asylum. And will there be much left to salvage if they do.

Another cartoon about the unfortunate connection between captive fish and toilets.

Teepees were the original campers, at least in the Western Hemisphere. Some people still use them, although few drag them around behind horses.

One of my biggest disappointments about Hollywood is that they didn’t follow “Bride of Frankenstein” with “Wedding of Frankenstein”. Perhaps it is because of the difficulties they would face having to invite every family member of the numerous people whose body parts were used to create the two of them.

I got some dandy hate mail about this cartoon from the folks mentioned in my opening paragraphs. Here are two of my favorites.

I suspect these two are of the variety that cannot study their way out of their stupor.

Here’s how “fake news” journalists conduct interviews. How long before the conspiracy community begins to circle microphones in pictures of journalists and claim they are ice cream cones? It’s probably already started happening by the time you read this.

Thanks for dropping by, Jazz Pickles. Below are some ways you can experience joy by helping to support the art and ideas that matter to you. If you’re enjoying my work online instead of in a newspaper, as most people do these days, I don’t get a penny for that. As the society and the economy changes, I have to look for new ways to make a living in this field. Thanks in advance for your support.

Get a few copies of my new book, full of crazy groovy art and only $6. (Buying it from any site that sells books is fine, doesn’t have to be the one I linked here.) 

Make a one-time donation or a monthly contribution to the good people at Rancho Bizarro (there are only two of us––my beloved Olive Oyl and me) who fearlessly bring Bizarro to you 365 days a year in spite of the obvious dangers of publicly attacking a powerful, thin-skinned, authoritarian egomaniac.

Buy a print of any Bizarro cartoon you can find by using the calendar function on Bizarro.com. Starts at around $25.

Buy a larger, limited-edition, signed and numbered, archival, color print of one of my personal favorite Bizarro cartoons from an LA art dealer. ($200) They also sell some of my original ink drawings from Bizarro. ($1000)

Until next time, be well, be smart, be nice.


73 thoughts on “Disguising Insanity

  1. Dan, keep up the great work! Those two hate mails you included reminds me of the “crank mail” that FFRF (.org) shares routinely. Most of those are also in the “cannot study their way out of their stupor” category.

  2. Several of this week’s comics fit a saying I use frequently. Ignorance can be cured, stupidity is forever. I’m convinced that one of the hallmarks of being human is the ability to laugh at ones self. Prime example – Cheeto Mussolini (I’ve used Mango Mussolini as well).

  3. So difficult to escape the “Reality-Challenged”, but you provide me with a pretty good avenue of exit with every panel of your imagination. Thanks!

    • Prickly City is a cartoon that was always very conservative….until the Trump era. The artist, Scott Stantis, has just not been able to come around and drink the orange cool-aid. We see it in the L.A. Times. There is also a very conservative columnist, Jonah Goldberg, who is still resisting!

  4. Another week of excellent creativity! I like the partial self-portrait in the lower right corner of today’s dose of reality.

  5. Like me, you’ve probably noticed all those places along the highway advertising “self storage.”
    I’ve come up with all sorts of comical scenarios to accompany the caption, “Self Storage”; some obvious, others not so much.
    I wonder if you, Dan Piraro could do something really original with that?

      • Self-storage alt-cemetery

        “Police recently raided two self-storage facilities in the Boston area and found 12 decomposing bodies in one storage unit in Weymouth, MA, and the cremated remains of another 40 people at a storage facility in Somerville, MA. The human remains are tied to an unlicensed funeral director in Boston, police say.”

  6. I thought the pit cartoon was one of your best–it’s how I’ve felt since November. I still choose to believe that those smart enough to vote outnumber the ones who cannot learn.

  7. Just fed the bunny; I feel that if I like your work, I should do something back. Even here in Europe your humour is appreciated. Much !!

    BTW, I love your insight on the Cheeto Mussolini.


  8. So good! I love your work, and always wait in anticipation for your next batch! I’m from Canada and the “trump for president” thing has definitely kept a lot of us cringing at the things he says and posts on the internet! Probably a good choice that you moved to Mexico!

  9. Thank you for another set of laughs as well as your always interesting opening essay. The “Pit of Political Despair” made me laugh, although I may go looking for it soon. I’m sorry you have to put up with hate mail, doubly painful for the ugly comments and for the misspellings and lack of coherent grammar and punctuation. I think those of us who love your work need to speak up and, I hope, outnumber the haters.

  10. Dan, thank you for being there and communicating so concisely. I’ve been following you for years and you, against formidable odds, just keep getting better. Way to go.
    Also, your artwork keeps getting better. I suspect that, at your current rate of improvement, several classical artists will have to shuffle about to make room for you. Guys like Picasso and da Vinci and wassname . . . Warhol (who never impressed me). Of course, Dali will remain unmoved but that is because he got there before you and, well, Dali.
    Long life to you, Dan, and may your pen and brush be always loaded and ready to go. You are one of my contemporary heroes. (I always save you for Sunday. I don’t go to church, you see.)

  11. Thank you for “Cheeto Mussolini” (I will steal that one) and your comment about your favorite emails. But no thanks for sharing the news that millions of people think some domestic tragedies were orchestrated by the government. I had not heard that one. Now I need to crawl back under my rock and start sucking my thumb again after 60 years of cold turkey, but first I’ll pay the bunny.

  12. Soldier on, Senor!
    Is there a slight note of despair creeping into your work?
    We need you in these bizarre & parlous times!!!
    Recently I thot you were maybe going to introduce a new icon / secret symbol.
    You called a bit of attention to it yourself on the weekly rundown.
    It was a blue moose — a mere figure in a crowd of blue non-meese.
    It was a bull — the antlers were quite unmistakeable.
    He was off on the right side of the cartoon.
    Are you contemplating a new icon?
    And — When was the last time you brot out a new icon?

    • I suspect a new icon will appear before year’s end but I’ll not say what it is yet. Not a moose, I’m afraid. I’ve not added a new icon since about 2001.

  13. The larger and stronger the US government has become the less the mainstream media has been critical of it. Conspiracy theories thrive precisely because [a large part of] the public correctly sees the media is not doing its job. For example, why was the Hinckley family’s close ties to then vice-president George Bush buried by the national press? Far more people have learned about that through “alt-news” sites than ever learned about it from the national media.

    People believe the tons of nonsense on alt-news sites because those sites also bring out facts and “far more likely than not” stuff that the mainstream buries or flat out ignores. The mainstream is just as beholden to advertisers as alt-news is. For years they were in bed with the tobacco industry, the same is now true of the pharmaceutical industry. They still spread the long discredited nonsense about the evils of butter.

    If the mainstream media wants to regain its credibility with “the rest of us” and destroy the more-than-shaky credibility of alt-news, they might start by cleaning up their own act. Otherwise their criticism of alt-news rings hollow.

  14. Don’t let them get you down. Either being smart works and you’re doing it with your cartoons. Or what we think of as smart is not as smart we thought and hoped. We may go extinct, but as far as I’m concerned, you’re doing it right.

  15. The tunnelling sex slave ring sounds like a recycling of a tall tale spread by at least some of the mainstream media a quarter century ago. The bizarre (and thoroughly discredited) claim was that Satanic Ritual Abuse had been occurring in tunnels underneath the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, CA. I first heard the claim from Gloria Steinem at a Boston Public Library lecture. She clearly believed it had happened.

    People are not especially critical of stuff that fits their agenda.

  16. Still not biting enough! You need to remind people the Cheeto Mussolini is simply a “useful idiot” for Bannon, Miller and other White Nationalists.

    And you have to stay funny.

    The two rules appear to be mutually exclusive. Good luck.

  17. Isn’t it curious how those irate Trump supporters attack you over a cartoon which did not mention Trump at all? One must assume they recognized themselves in there somewhere… :-)

  18. Thanks for the fun and the funny comics, you have a warped sense of humor which is right up my alley. Keep up the good work, keep doing the comics with other characters in them (which i love dearly as does my daughter) and lastly put more Mavericks and Comets in your comics. (Just kidding).
    Take care.

  19. Oh by the way, those two letters / e-mails, it’s called humor, ha, ha, not to be taken seriously, comedy, fun. I guess some people just don’t get it. I find it funny, that’s all that matters, i think most people get your humor also.
    Carey Butler

  20. Just an FYI, the Bride of Frankenstein (which should be the Bride of Frankenstein’s Monster) was not “stitched together” like the original. She was synthesized using Polidori’s technique so wouldn’t show all those sutures.

  21. Intelligent humor and our ability to laugh because of it, keeps the ugliness away. You provide that shield. Thank you.

  22. The Standing Bear cartoon today is priceless! We need a national holiday named, “this was not your land” day; a sobering acknowledgement of the greed and inhumanity of foreign invaders. Thanks!

  23. I like the the 3/4 cartoon — with the soccer coach being interviewed.
    We get a chance to makes some nice little inferences —
    [which is what humor is all about].
    1) We can infer It’s pretty cold out by their clothing … &
    2) The ice cream has not melted onto her hand becuz it’s cold out ….
    3) She sez, “Last question,”& we infer they’ve been talking a long time …
    4) And — we can infer from his gaze that the coach has finally cot on! …
    5) And — Piraro has an issue with soccer coaches? Or maybe it’s just with organized sports?
    Well done, Senor!

  24. Just curious. Was there a cartoon for Feb 27? I didn’t see it in this posting or the previous one.

    Good stuff as always.

    • Wow. The crazy thing is that I didn’t notice I had omitted the cartoon from the 27th and nobody else has mentioned it to me before now. Yes, there’s a good anti-Trump cartoon for that day. No idea how I missed it. Perhaps I’ll post it tomorrow in a mini-blog and write some comments about it.

    • Like virtually every other issue in the world, it’s not black and white. These issues are so much more complicated than an authoritarian daddy figure is going to lead you to believe.

      • It’s not a black or white issue – or necessarily an Hispanic one either.

        Dan, I met you years ago at a cartoonist convention type thing in Kansas City. You were with Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), and 2 or 3 other cartoonists giving autographs at a Barnes & Noble. I had a neck brace on, which was probably the only thing that distinguished me from the hundred or so autograph seekers that evening. I doubt you remember.

        Anyway, really enjoying your anti-Trump cartoons. Some other nicknames for him are Dolt 45, The Mean Tangerine, Tax Cheeto, Twitler, and Hair Führer.

  25. As part Native American, of course, I loved (!) the humor in the cartoon. Thanks again, too, for reminding us our grateful forefathers appreciated the opportunity to be here just like every American from whatever country they may have come from. K. Wakefield

  26. I guess you are from Ponca City. Your cartoon of Chief Standing Bear’s great-great grandson President Standing Bear kicking out all the illegal Europeans is a hoot! If the rest of you are not aware, Chief Standing Bear took the US Government to court in 1879 and won the right to be called a human being.

    • I actually did spend five years of elementary school in Ponca City. I went to St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1963 to ’68.

      • Hi, Dan.
        I taught HS in Dodge City and we retired to PC a few years ago. I keep busy working part time at the public library and trying to think up cartoon ideas to send you. Keep up the good work. I read your cartoon in the local newspaper.

  27. You couldn’t resist dipping your toe where it ill belongs, I see. Two political comics fall flat on their faces because…they’re just not clever or witty. And yet you showed your true colors for them? Poor choice. A bizarre choice, you might say. Had they been clever…I guess we’ll never know.

  28. I liked the ice cream one, it made me laugh! Because, at first it looks perfectly normal, then I’m alerted to something bizarro upon reading the dialogue, so I check the picture a bit closer and sure enough, something bizarro :)

    Regarding the stupid things President Trump believes, most of them are NOT from the Internet, rather they’re from FOX “News”. My own congressman, of whom I’m deeply ashamed (but somehow he keeps getting elected and has represented my district for the last 13 years), religiously believes everything on that show and truly has even crazier ideas than Trump.

    You do have a good point, Dan, that the Internet enables anyone, no matter how crazy, to build a following. However, I find the Internet is still by far the best for fact-checking (provided one exerts a decent effort to do the research). I cannot trust any single source of information – a huge number of which have proven to be suspect or heavily biased – but thanks to the Internet I can check several sources in a matter of a few short minutes and get a more balanced picture. I can also get news that mainstream outlets don’t cover. Sometimes current events conflict with the agenda of many of the mainstream outlets and might displease their advertisers, so they get biased or poor coverage.

    Note: When I refer to the Internet, I’m not talking about Facebook or Twitter alone. I mean, type an event into your favorite search engine, for instance Bing or Google, and click on a few of the results and compare their accounts. Citizen journalism, made possible by the Internet, is great. We know about the horrific punishment endured by the #NoDAPL protesters thanks to some of them being able to share their photos and videos on the Internet, even live, in real-time.

    • Agreed. Fox News laid the groundwork for the nutjobs and the Internet gave them the means to do it. I think that folks who follow conspiracy kooks are more prone to confirmation bias than others and thus more likely to remain in the small circle of kook sites while loudly distrusting any news source that might give them a more realistic perspective.

  29. The problem with the – very true – description of simpleminded, idiots, conspiracy theories, the internet etc. is that the people who fall into those categories of idiots will never, ever understand texts like this.

  30. At least the commentary on this thread is educated. I agree we need a new icon. Something that can be adopted by us other cartoonists too, to show solidarity. Resist!

  31. Hey Dan. Have always loved your quirky and pithy work ever since it started showing (years ago) in local papers (The Olympian and Tacoma News Tribune). My spouse and I are always looking for the pie, the eyeball, the TNT, etc. all of which are great side entertainment to your main content of sharp wit and now political commentary. I read some of the recent comments about you needing to show respect for The Big Orange and his ilk, but really, since they (and such commenters) deserve little, if any, of that. One earns respect by positive, humanistic, caring actions, not by coming up with what we’ve seen and heard so far. From two die-hard fans in Olympia, who both have K2 brand ski’s, we appreciate what you do!

  32. I was expecting that your Sunday comic would have the exact same words on the sandwich board on the other side in a speech bubble. Was it a space consideration? The thought that it was unnecessary? Or was it that a speaking character has to be paid more than someone in a non-speaking role?

  33. I normally do not post “comments”, but just read your March 8 comic in the LA Times. One of the greatest comics ever. So on point and delivering the most lucid message on the discredited, and ridiculous, argument re inoculations causing autism. You truly scaled the heights on that one.

  34. I saw your cartoon yesterday and the joke was about vaccine injury children (and adults) with autism. I have twin boys and when they received a certain vaccine one of my twins changed. He no longer babbled, looked at his twin or looked at us. He became silent. Our kids are not a joke and to compare this to a unicorn, Big foot, a mermaid is beyond insensitive and insulting to our kids. I hope you do not know anyone who has autism because if you did shame on you…..

    • First, let me way I am sorry for your family’s experience. It is heartbreaking and tragic and I am truly sorry my cartoon upset you. I hasten to add, however, that it was in no way meant to mock or ridicule disabled people or children harmed from vaccines. It is only meant to address that which the overwhelming majority of the medical community considers to be a dangerous myth––that “vaccines cause autism”. From what I’ve read, while a small percentage of children have experienced serious side effects and disability after vaccines (some that seem very much like autism and perhaps are) there is no real evidence that vaccines are the cause of the rise in autism, in spite of research done in that area. Medical experts are adamant that it would be far more tragic for large numbers of people to forego vaccines and return to a time when many thousands of children died each year from the diseases that vaccines prevent.

  35. Mahalo 4 ur intelligent riducule. The Orange Pecker Head is such an embarrassment. Per ur cartoon with the ‘Fantasy Grouping’ including a vaccine, I needed 2 send u this plausible theory: Please note that the vaccine itself is not the cause of Autism, rather the nasty preservative introduced so large batches came be made. Small fresh batches can = $ loss. 20+ vaccines ‘recommended’ b4 age 5 pile up the deadly preservative by which a child’s yet developing system can fry and become Autistic. Autism has become common due to this practice. Unheard of in the days of 1-2 vaccines for older kids. Here on Maui ur work is appreciated and valued. U really r brilliant, u know. Aloha

  36. Dan, sir,
    Where is the shoe? I haven’t seen the shoe! Why? Yes, the pie, the bird, the boom stick, the alien, the bunny. Please remind a fan about the meaning for the use of the shoe…… Please, and keep me laughing anyway. Thank you. One life, glad to be here laughing.

    • You’re right, the shoe doesn’t get into the show as often as some of the others. I’ll make an effort to change that.

  37. Boarders without Borders, and then you paint us a picture? Or is it the other way around. I appreciate how your cartoons and prose or prose and cartoons assault my senses. Nice job, sir. But I cannot get my wife to appreciate the genius you display. She is of another universe and has the I.Q. to prove it. Some speculate we came from “out there” , an equally puzzling statement. ha ha, (in lower case ), for now…….

  38. If the moron authors of those two hate emails spent as much time studying basic grade school grammar maybe they’d be intelligent enough to construct two consecutive sentences without grammar errors.

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