I’ve done quite a few cartoons about the famous “Ascent of Man” illustrations. This one is specifically about the tech age and how so many people have utterly abandoned their bodies and “real” lives for online substitutes. It would take who-knows-how-many years to get to this point in evolution, of course, and we’ll likely kill ourselves off as a species long before then.
More fun than that doomsday scenario is this bit of hate mail that I got last week about my Old West chiropractor cartoon from a couple Sundays back:
“To whom it may concern: In regards to the comic posted in the Detroit Free Press recently, ‘In between crime waves, we let the chiropractor use it’. This comic showed a picture of a person hanging in reference to chiropractors. I as a chiropractic assistant found this extremely inappropriate along with several patients and the Chiropractor himself. To all of us who believe in chiropractic we found this very offensive and would ask you to refrain from such absurdities in all other comics in the future.”
I never cease to be amazed by the way America has become a nation of thin-skinned, humorless victims who seemingly look for an opportunity to be offended by a casual comment or joke. I can’t for the life of me imagine being insulted by this kind of gag, no matter how religiously dedicated to chiropractic I might be. I blame the culture of “political correctness” for this kind of wasted indignation. As a nation, we are so used to seeing public figures deliver “humble” apologies for hurting some sector of the public’s feelings that we think we are owed an apology every time we see something that falls short of venerating something we are or hold dear. In my opinion, this isn’t just a waste of time and effort but is childish and ridiculous. So, rather than apologize for publishing a cartoon that fails to hold chiropractic up to the high standards that this particular reader deems “appropriate,” I offer the following cartoon about chiropractors from 2008. In this one, I managed to offend both chiropractors and mobsters. Can’t wait for the hate mail to come in and the bullets to start flying.
Have you ever felt the need to run away from “civilization” and live a more natural life? It seems to me that there is little about civilization that is civilized and little about humans that is humane. Accordingly, I have found myself rethinking my choices in this world. It’s not that civilization is treating me badly, it most certainly isn’t, especially on a worldwide scale. It’s more about getting in touch with what I am, not what I’ve become as the result of social pressure and historical tradition. In my recent readings about the origins of human societies, I’ve begun to see that we are far from what we should be, and my instincts tell me that I’d be much happier and live a more meaningful life if I were more true to my nature. That’s where my head’s been at lately and why I wrote this cartoon.
OLD BIZNESS: I came across this cartoon from 2002 on a different subject and thought it was amusing. I share it with you now in hopes that you will, too.
So I was thinking what would happen if Adam and Eve’s neighbors happened by just as they were standing naked together, talking to a snake and eating a piece of “forbidden” fruit. Now, I know in the classic version there were no neighbors because Adam and Eve were the first humans, but according to the same story, they had a couple of sons, Cain and Able, and one of them grew up and got married. So where did his bride come from? This leads me to believe that either this is a traditional myth used to teach a certain lesson, or incest was okay for a very long time (until there were enough people to find someone to mate with to whom you were not very closely related.) Ew. I’m going to assume it is a myth.
Another myth in our culture is that women actually want your honest opinion when they ask if they look fat in something. The lady in this cartoon decides to only ask the question once, with all her dresses on at the same time. I like that idea––one question, one lie.
My final salvo this week is a cartoon with an editorial message on the childish behavior of our species toward each other, the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, and the Earth itself. I’ve been reading a lot lately about anthropology and where we went wrong, mental health in a materialistic, technological world, and the science behind spirituality. (Yes, there actually are areas where the two intersect and it is fascinating, especially to this diehard atheist.) I’ve never been so enthralled by a subject. Olive Oyl and I are currently transitioning off of our anti-depressants for good (we hope) with a fairly rigorous regimen of vitamins, minerals, exercise, and meditative practices. We’re both excited to be able to say goodbye to the sinkhole that is allopathic medicine. I’m convinced that pharmaceuticals are among the worst things ever invented by humans. Many bacteriologists are confidently predicting the end of our species will not come in the form of climate change or nuclear war, but disease and bacteria that is smarter than us or our antibiotics. I’ll let you know how it goes (regarding our quest to be happy without pharmaceuticals, not the end of human civilization.) BIZARCHAEOLOGY: From the year 2000 I bring you a cartoon about which I have just spoken in the paragraph above. Stay tangy, Jazz Pickles.
Does anyone out there have a modern solution to the password thing? You’re supposed to use different passwords for all your sites to reduce the possibility of having your identity stolen, but how do you remember them all? If you write them on a list, someone will steal the list and steal your life. I’ve taken to keeping a list but writing it in code. But sometimes I can’t remember what the code is. Gosh, life in the future can suck sometimes.
This giraffe gag is a bit of a throw-away joke, but I’ve always enjoyed reminding myself to look at things objectively, as though I’d never seen it before. In doing so with a giraffe, it occurred to me that no other animal resembles it; it truly looks Photoshopped.
It also occurred to me when I was writing this batch that most of the single women I’ve known (and a good number of ones in relationships) seem to nearly worship their cats. No judgement––cats are lovely creatures worth adoring––I was just wondering if there was a reason. If there is, I’ll likely never understand it, as most things about women are inscrutable to men.
SECRET TRIVIA FOR JAZZ PICKLES ONLY: I originally drew this cartoon for a different caption but it was decided it would be too incendiary in the light of current gun issues in the U.S., so it has been relegated to the Internet only. See the original caption here. Seriously, what is it about so many Americans that they equate godliness with the right to carry guns? It’s mystifying.
Sorry for the missing posts over the weekend. The site was wearing it’s cranky pants and wouldn’t let me post.
This is the most literal example of “gallows humor” you may ever see. And in the end, it isn’t dark at all, which sort of takes it out of the category altogether. Oh, the contradictions of life.
Those Jazz Pickles who are paying close attention may notice that I’ve used this background before. I switched it up a bit and moved things around and added some stuff to suit this gag, though. I figure if Hollywood can reuse sets, why can’t I? If you want to compare and contrast, here’s the previous use of which I speak.
BIZARROLD: In the archival section today, I offer you a vision from 2004 of what Tarzan might’ve looked like had he been raised differently.
Here are some Thanksgiving leftovers for your amusement. When I first submitted the cartoon at left, which ran on Thanksgiving Day, my editors were worried that it was too brutal and asked if I really wanted to publish it. I did and here it is. Thus far, I have gotten one piece of angry mail from a reader who said, “you have crossed the line. Why would you have a naked black woman posed as a human Turkey? It wasn’t funny and during these times of rioting and strained race relations the last thing we need is some hack artist making disgusting drawings that demean a national holiday AND a nakedblack woman lying on a dinner table!” Given what this reader thought they saw, I can’t blame them at all for being incensed. The person on the table is not black, nor a woman, but is Cynthia’s husband, who presumably objected to a turkey-free Thanksgiving dinner. As a long-time animal rights advocate, I have met other activists who lose their ability to separate their hatred of cruelty from their hatred of the species that inflicts it. Cynthia is one such person who ends up losing her shit and offing her husband. Even the turkeys know this is the wrong approach. Most vegans I know do, too.
My day-after-Thanksgiving cartoon is about genetic engineering, but it isn’t about the typical subject of GMO crops. It’s about the fact that humans have engineered turkeys to grow SO much bigger than they naturally grow, so rapidly, that long before they are actually adults their legs can barely support their weight. To me, this speaks volumes about the American obsession with food. It has been my experience that outside of a few large, cosmopolitan cities on the coasts, most Americans are anywhere from noticeably overweight to morbidly obese. The fact that there are so many TV shows about cooking––and an entire cable network devoted to food––says it all. It is not a matter of opinion but that of fact that the practices we have routinely adopted for producing and consuming animal-based food are slowly killing us, destroying our environment, and causing an almost unfathomable amount of suffering among non-human animals. That’s science, not faith.
I try to stay off my soapbox about this for most of the year, but the holidays bring it out in me. I promise to lay off the topic for a while now.
My final cartoon of the week is just a chuckle about Catwoman. I hope you enjoy it.
An email buddy of mine, Michael Lagace, sent me the idea of an “evil Knievel” twin and this is how I used it. I had a good time drawing Evel, as he was one of my childhood heroes. The kids in my neighborhood and I used to build ramps out of plywood and stacks of old tires or whatever we could get hold of to prop it up, then jump our bicycles over it at great speed. Yes, it was dangerous, and bones were broken. For all I know, Knievel may be the person for whom the ubiquitous statement, “Don’t try this at home!” was invented.
Now that it’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S., I’ve drawn some holiday cartoons. More to come in the next couple of days. As my regular readers know, I’m an ethical vegan, meaning I don’t buy or consume anything that contains the products from an animal’s suffering. I don’t evangelize anymore, but am always happy to discuss it when asked, or talk about it on my blog when moved to do so. I’ve come to see the planet as a large organism with billions of working parts, and humans are but a tiny, dispensable part of that. Accordingly, I try not to do anything to cause unnecessary damage or suffering to my host or my fellow earthlings. I truly think the human race acts like a cancer on this organism, consuming it until we kill it or it kills us, the latter being the most inevitable result. I’ve become convinced that we will be responsible for our own demise in the near future if we don’t adopt these kinds of attitudes and practices worldwide. I have no delusions that this shift in the human paradigm will happen in my lifetime, of course, so I’m preparing for extinction. :^}
BIZOMBIES: On a lighter note, here’s a view of what Thanksgiving for extraterrestrial creatures with similar attitudes to ours might look like.
My effervescent and sublime life partner, Olive Oyl, came up with the idea for today’s cartoon. The breadth of her skills continues to amaze me and I consider myself a very lucky man.
If you’ve ever played the enduring classic board game, “Clue,” you’ll doubtless recognize Professor Plum as he enters the Office of Admission and admits what he’s done. I got a good chuckle from it and I hope you do, too. Plus, even though the drawing is not particularly complex, there are still 5 secret symbols to search for. Click the image for a larger view.
Prehistarros: From the pile of Sunday cartoons in the corner of my basement labeled “1999” comes this rendition of the traditional “Is there a doctor in the house?” trope. Jazz Pickles with keener observational skills will notice that I make a cameo appearance in the audience.
As my regular readers know, I’ve been through two divorces and cannot recommend the experience. All that is in the distant past now but now and then a nice divorce gag occurs to me. When your job is coming up with a fresh gag 365 days a year, anything that goes into your head is likely to come back out later as a cartoon or twelve.
Mr. Potato Head is a fun trope for cartoons but so many have been done that it’s tough to come up with a new one. This time, I went dark.
As a person over “a certain age” it still amazes me how computers have become second nature for the young. I often have to ask a member of a younger generation to solve tech problems for me. I’ve still got them beat when it comes to philosophy, though.
BIZARRO BOOMERANG: From 1999 is this cartoon I did along the same lines. Zack Berry was the little kid who lived next door to me way back then.