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Holy Hate Mail

bz panel 12-26-13bz strip 12-26-13bz panel 12-27-13bz strip 12-27-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Sanforized Swinging.

I trust you all had a lovely holiday this week, except for those of you who disobeyed my command and had a lousy one. You should’ve listened to me.

As expected, I got a couple of complaints about my religious cartoon on Xmas Day. I post them here for your analysis.

From this blog’s comments section: “I take great offense to your immature, diabolic publications which you call comics. You are insulting our Almighty God many times over from previous printings. They are not funny by any means, neither are you amusing whatsoever. The papers should be ashamed to even publish your disgusting creations. They have the same mentality as yours.”

According to this poster, I am insulting a magical, invisible person with Satanic cartoons which are neither “funny” nor “amusing.” I was hoping to score in at least one of those categories, but I guess I failed.

This next complaint came by email: “As an American Christian, I was deeply offended by the cartoon strip of 12-25-13 that showed Mary degrading the three wise men for “just one small gift each”. Any religious person would know that of all people, Mary would be the least interested in physical gifts.  She’d just given birth to the greatest gift TO humanity.

 

Would you be equally quick to offend Muslims with a cartoon strip eluding(sic) to a recently departed Muslim complaining of only receiving 35 vestal virgins or showing one of someone asking a blind person if they’d seen any good movies lately?

For less, Salmon(sic) Rushdie received a fatwah for writing Satanic Verses.

 

Please be considerate of all religions whether you believe in any or not.

In this note, I learn that Mary would never had said anything like what I have her saying in my cartoon. But since my I.Q. is above 75, I already knew that. In fact, I supposed that very fact was exactly what made the cartoon funny. Apparently, I was wrong. The writer goes on to ask (in common, Fox News vernacular) if I would do a similar comic about Muslims, especially knowing that “Salmon” Rushdie was sentenced to death for doing “less.” No, I would not, because I don’t want to be sentenced to death. Perhaps she is saying that she and her kind are equally irrationally superstitious as are the Taliban. I certainly hope that is not the case. She goes on to wonder if I would draw a cartoon about a blind person being asked something stupid. No, I would not, but only because her proposed scenario isn’t funny. I have done jokes about blind people that were funny, however, and likely will again. She concludes by asking me politely to be “considerate of all religions.” That is not likely, I’m afraid. I’ve found that most Christians have a better sense of humor than she does and know that the humor in the comic in question is precisely that Mary would not say such a thing. They read it, smile, and move on to something more important.

This cartoon makes no attempt to denigrate anyone’s personal beliefs, but I feel that an adult in our society should know that if they believe in myths as literal truth, they may on occasion be the butt of a joke. I suggest that rather than becoming indignant, they take this kind of soft jab as a badge of persecutory honor, like the early Christians but without lions. Who knows, it could actually increase their reward in the next life.

This brings me to a point I’ve been thinking about since I was a young Christian and believed the gospels were historical truth. The nativity story is from the Gospel of Luke. Even if the writer of this gospel knew Jesus personally (highly unlikely, according to modern scholars) where did he get that story? How did he know what happened in Mary’s personal life before Jesus was born? Did he interview her?

Mary: So when I was a young virgin, an angel came to me in the middle of the night and told me I was pregnant by magic.

Luke: And you were engaged to Joseph at this time? How did he take this news?

Mary: Oh, he was really pissed at first and threatened to have me publicly stoned.

Luke: I know! Right?

Mary: But eventually I convinced him that if he did, God would smite him bigtime so he backed off. It always bothered him that Jesus didn’t look anything like him, though.

Or maybe because the original writer of that particular gospel was Greek, and the heroes of Greek myths were routinely the product of  virgin births, that these myths got combined when the stories about a dead folk hero that had been passed verbally for decades were finally written down? Seems logical. But logic and this kind of religious doctrine are always mutually exclusive.

I also always wondered what Mary and Joseph did with the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the three kings gave them. That stuff would’ve been worth a fortune to peasants like them, yet they never mention it again. You’d think if they saved it for Jesus’ college education, the scene where he tells them he’s not going to college but is just going to wander around the countryside with a dozen of his bros would’ve been in the Bible somewhere. I don’t know. Just thinking out loud.

bz 06-13-01 scissorhandsWEBJAZZ PICKLE JAR: From 2001 comes this strange cartoon that has nothing to do with anything else on this page. And who really cares if it doesn’t?

 

Red-nosed Reefer

bz panel 12-24-13bz strip 12-24-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Family Time!

Oh, my, it’s Christmas Eve! Here at Rancho Bizarro (where I live, as opposed to Bizarro International Headquarters, where I and my team of mutant camels create Bizarro products) we don’t put up a tree, but rather a green folding chair with all of the delightful holiday cards we’ve received this season taped to it. So far, there are three, but the mail hasn’t arrived yet today. Thanks to my parents, Kate and Michael, and John and Anne, who sent cards. Your unnecessary depletion of our planet’s precious, life-sustaining forests is much appreciated!

Today’s festive graphic is from the brain pan of my known associate, Wayno of Pittsburgh. Few people know this, but December is Wayno’s favorite month because he makes lots of extra money. He’s only three-feet tall and dresses as an elf pretty much year round. But in December he carries a coffee mug with him and people just give him cash all month. What a sweet deal! If you’d like to read what Wayno says about today’s collaboration, he has posted his comments here under the delightful title, “Jah, Humbug!”  Wish I’d thought of that first.

PICKLED JAZZ: In today’s archival time machine, we take a peek at another old Xmas cartoonbizarro 12-25-11 WEB that combines some of the surreal imagery of the modern holiday. This one still makes me chuckle, and I am a trained professional.

Whatever your December 24th is about, I hope you enjoy it to a ludicrous extent.

 

Merry Corporate Machine

bz panel 12-23-14bz strip 12-23-13Bizarro is brought to you today by The Importance of Font Choice and Kerning in Package Design.

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I was deathly ill over the weekend. Thanks for all the well-wishes and home remedies, Jazz Pickles. I am happy to report that the Grim Reaper has been sent on his way with nothing to show for his trouble and I am miraculously well again. Sometimes it is good to have your ass kicked by Mother Nature for a day or two to remind you of what is truly important in life: Mexican food, scotch, cigars, and all of the other things you cannot enjoy when you can’t go more than a few minutes without barfing like a freshman on spring break.

Even better news is that it is CHRISTMAS WEEK IN AMERICA!!  This is my second-favorite time of year because it precedes my absolute favorite time of year, which is the week after Xmas when this ugly, noisy, greedy mess of a department-store-created “holiday” is as far away as possible! Ah, the sweet silence of January!

Yes, I’m a Scrooge and I admit it. To settle the minds of all the armchair psychologists trying to diagnose my hatred of such a wonderful season, nothing terrible happened to me to make me this way. Nobody I loved died on or around Xmas, I wasn’t the only Jewish kid in a Catholic school, my father didn’t come home drunk on Xmas Eve dressed as Santa and smelling of whiskey, beating my siblings and me with a holly wreath and shouting, “Who’s merry now, you little shits!?” then pouring gasoline over the tree and all of our presents and burning the house down leaving us to spend Xmas day in a homeless shelter with several other families of drunken Santa dads who were now in jail.  Nothing like that ever happened. In fact, I loved Xmas as a kid. I even played it to the hilt with my own daughters when they were children. But now that I’m an adult, I have put away childish things and mostly just want to be left to live in my own, quiet, grown-up world––one in which “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” were never written.

Okay, I admit it, my distaste for Xmas is about two things:

1) I don’t like corporate-manufactured happiness under which all decent citizens are required to pay heavily.

2) My first wife was a holiday nut.

For the first 16 years of my adulthood, my starter wife, Kalonopin, would decorate the entire house for every little holiday, the day after the previous holiday was over, and sometimes sooner. While I was out trick-or-treating with the kids, she was at home unpacking Thanksgiving decorations. While I was napping after Thanksgiving dinner, she was unpacking Xmas decorations. Almost year round, the house looked like a photo shoot for one Martha Stewart holiday show or another. The month of December was the worst, of course, as we bundled the kids up after dinner every night and drove around town for hours looking at Xmas lights. If there was a sleigh ride somewhere, we had to go. If there was a Xmas village of some sort, we had to visit and take a million pictures. She bought so many gifts for each of us that we began a tradition of opening one up every night during the month, leaving only a paltry dozen-or-so for Xmas morning. (I am not kidding.) We watched classic Xmas movies every night from TGiving to Xmas and beyond, listened to Bing Crosby’s famous Xmas album every bloody day and night, every room in the house glowed and twinkled with lights. It was a kind of holiday marathon that would leave lesser men dead by their own hands. So when the kids were grown and their mom and I were divorced, I said goodbye to it forever. Except in cartoons.

Even without that absurd background, however, the corporate Xmas machine is plenty enough to make me want it to go away.

Here are a couple of fun ones from the not-too-distant past which I hope you will enjoy.bizarro 12-23-12 XMAS WEBBZ 12-21-11 XmasWEB I’ll post a few more in the next couple days. In spite of my satanic hatred of this time of year, I do wish all my JPs a grand and groovy holiday week! I hope your crappy bosses let you off work for more than one day!

Surreal Santa

Bizarro 12-25-11 Hedr WEBBizarro 12-22-13 WEBbz panel 12-21-13bz strip 12-21-13(To enlarge any image, click upon it.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Holiday Party Attire.

As I write this, I am in hour 30 of a Bulimia-style crash diet during which I have been ejecting all food and liquid from my body through my mouth with great discomfort. I also have the accompanying aches and pains of such a condition, making me feel as though I’ve been thrown from a speeding car. So I’ll keep this brief.

The title panel above was doctored from an actual department store Santa photo of my sister and I with some strange man in the 1961. This is not the title panel that appeared with my Sunday cartoon today, however. This is.

Today’s Santa cartoon features some fairly complex art that I think turned out pretty well. The interesting thing about snow is that when it is smooth, there’s nothing quicker and easier to draw. When it’s been trampled on, there are few things more complex to try to draw. I think this snow turned out pretty well for what it is. The reindeer turned out well, too, and if you look closely, you will see one of them sampling the nearly omnipresent “slice of pie.”

I will conclude today’s post with yesterday’s cartoon. I was too sick to even remember where my computer was, much less how to operate it, so it didn’t get posted.

One nice thing about puking your guts up for a day or two is that you get in really good shape. I’ve lost weight, and I’ve got a rock-hard six pack. The rest of me looks like a Halloween decoration, however.

Belts and Drugs

bz panel 12-19-13bz strip 12-19-13Bizarro is bbz panel 12-20-13rought to you today by Dead Sexy.

The rodeo-clown-pants fad has long been a favorite target of mine. When young men first started wearing baggy pants falling down below their butts, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen (and I was right) and I thought that given the unadulterated stupidity of it, and the inconvenience of shuffling around town with your pants half down as though you were using the toilet when the fire alarm went off, I thought the fad would pass quickly. (I was wrong.) By my unofficial calculations, these pants have been in style now for around 20 years. We now have an entire generation of children who will grow up thinking it is normal to wear comically-huge pants. It may be a sign of the apocalypse. So the idea of an international organization that provides belts to baggy-drawered boys is an appealing idea. Not that they would use them. (My apologies if I have offended any Jazz Pickles who wear comically-huge pants. You may make fun of my mustache if you like.)

 

 

 

And here is a cartoon about everyone’s favorite subject: DRUGS! Honestly, the holidays in my family were not nearly as much fun as they are now before the invention of Prozac. A generous helping of marijuana can make the holidays go down easier, too. So I’ve heard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIZARRCHIVES: Here’s an oldy-but-goody from 1999 that tells the same story in a different way. I really dislike the character art in this one but it is what it is so there you go. No sense crying over spilt cliches.bz12-29-99

Various Approaches

bz panel 12-16-13bz strip 12-16-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Ginger Bread House.

 

 

My old buddy, Dan McConnell has been thinking about fish again and in so doing, came up with this gag idea for me. One can’t help feeling sorry for the poor, struggling fish who has been flushed out of the tank, until one realizes it is not a real fish at all, but a drawing made to look like a fish. This is just part of the magic of cartooning.bz panel 12-17-13bz strip 12-17-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My second cartoon today is a collaboration with my pal, Cliff Harris, the King of Wordplay. Here, as is often the case with Cliff, he is playing with words. For those readers not sufficiently familiar with English to decipher the joke, “preposition” and “proposition” are similar words that mean completely different things. In the grammar world, we call these Soundsimilarisms. bz panel 12-18-13bz strip 12-18-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My third cartoon, today’s, in fact, finds my known associate,Wayno of Pittsburgh, playing with the classic cartoon canonical cliche of a “fly in the soup.” But wait, what’s this? It isn’t a fly at all! Wayno always has clever things to say about our collaborations so go here and see if he disappoints on this one. My guess is he doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REZARRO: My moldy corpse from the archive heap today is from ’08, before many of you reading on your smartphones were even born. I humbly admit that I still love this gag. It was directly inspired by the famous Miss Teen USA contestant and her regrettable answer to a supremely difficult question back in 2007. See the short video here.

Feel sorry for her here.bz 04-10-08TexasCapitolWEB

Kooky

Bizarro 12-15-13 Hdr WEB(To enlarginatify today’s kartoon, klick on the katalytic konverter of any kar in the lot.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Holiday Hostages.

Good Sunday, Jazz Pickles, and welcome to Karl’s Klown Kars. Karl is the kind of guy whose motto is “Why use another letter where a K will do?” He has krazy kavalkade sales on his klown kars each Kristmas and serves kamomile wine koolers to his kustomers.

Shown here are two new kustomers who want to downsize to an even smaller klown kar than the one they kurrently own now that their kids have klattered off to kollege. They like the kool spotty kar but feel it is too kolossal for them. I suspect they’ll be more komfortable in the red kar with the blue flower, but I kould be wrong.

Okay, enough with the Ks. It’s making me sick. This gag is a collaboration with my known associate, Wayno of Pittsburgh. I’ve done many clown cartoons in the past and quite a few have been in collaboration with my giant-shoed pal, Wayno. See the entire cadre of clown cartoons that he and I have done together and read what he says about this one here. Then come back for the archive section of today’s post, below.Bizarro 12-15-08 smWEB

PAZZ JICKLES: Here’s my Xmas cartoon from 1999, in which Santa leaves an unexpected bit of creativity for some Xmas participants. Were they naughty or nice? I hope both, or else they’ve been missing out on a few of life’s more enjoyable activities.bz12-25-99

 

Internet Holiday

bz panel 12-13-13bz strip 12-13-13bz panel 12-14-13bz strip 12-14-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Frozen Maxi Me.

It’s been a strange two days, Jazz Pickles. I’ve not been able to post anything on FB because I used a naughty word. If you’ve not read the story, see my previous post.

In addition to what I said yesterday regarding censorship, political correctness, and the power of Facebook, I’d like to say that Facebook has become, by its ubiquitous nature, a primary means for hundreds of millions of people to communicate for personal and business reasons. When FB shut me down, my blog readership plummeted because so many of my fans are used to finding out about it from my FB posts. This power that FB has is a new, gray area. I never thought about it before, but FB’s ability to damage the business and personal lives of their membership (estimated at over a billion) gives them a dangerous and unprecedented amount of power. I’m not sure what the answer is, but it’s a problem we should be thinking about.

On the topic of the cartoons in this post, the first one is the brainchild of my good friend, Cliff Harris the King of Wordplay. This joke isn’t about wordplay, but it’s goshdarn good, in my humble opinion.

The Santa cartoon is wordplay, and appeals to me because I find the Xmas commercial onslaught in the U.S. most unappealing. Just yesterday I went to a pet store to buy indestructible objects for my evil dog, Jemima, to destroy and was subjected to what seemed like at least 100 hours of “Let it Snow” on the store’s PA system. It’s stuck in my head now until probably March of next year. One year I was in Thailand for the month of December and found almost as much of it there. Maybe next year I’ll go to Jerusalem. Surely they don’t beat everyone over the head with Xmas carols and Santa Claus. Or do they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

PALEOZARRO: This seems like a good time to revisit some Bizarros from Xmas past. This one from 1999 also touches on the commercialization of Xmas. I’m not a religious person, so the “true meaning” of Xmas is not a concern of mine as much as is the visceral barrage of commercialism. You’d think you could escape it on a pirate ship, but apparently not. bz12-10-99

I’ve Been Unliked

Bizarro is brought to you today by Big Brother.

I’ve been in Facebook exile for the past 24 hours because I responded sarcastically to a childish insult left on my page. bz panel 12-12-13

This has nothing to do with the fact that today’s cartoon happens to be about Facebook; that’s just a coincidence. Evidently, one of the words I used in my reply to a comment left on my site is banned by the FB gestapo and I was given a “time out.” My response was removed, even though the reason I used the word was because I was sarcastically repeating a childish reference that the original commentator used. His openly belligerent comment, with the so-called offending word, was not deleted. The message I saw yesterday said I was banned for 12 hours. This morning, 24 hours later, I can view my page but I cannot “like,” comment, or post on it. They don’t say how long this particular punishment will last. (UPDATE: I’m back to full functionality on FB as of today, more than 48 hours later.)

There is no list of approved words, you just have to intuitively know what might offend The Almighty. I’m not making more of this than it is, but it is worth noting that the very first thing a totalitarian regime does is limit speech.

Here is a screen shot of the comment left on my page. My original, sarcastic reply was this: “Even retards need comics, Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 9.07.25 AMDonald. I hope you’re enjoying them.” My comment was removed and resulted in a ban of indeterminate length. Meanwhile, Mr. Russ’s comments remain.

I think it is worth noting that the allegedly offensive word I used––retard–– is not violent or hateful in the context in which I used it, as a callback to the childish insult of Mr. Russ. This word is on the invisible list of banned words purely because it may hurt someone’s feelings, regardless of context, apparently.

In the larger scope of things, perhaps the most popular bragging right of the United States is our freedom of speech, and it is worth all the hullabaloo. But as a free nation, we’ve imposed upon ourselves language restrictions in the form of “political correctness.” Ask yourself if you really want to live in a country where you are not allowed to say anything that might risk hurting the feelings of anonymous someones, somewhere out there. I find this notion childish and offensive, especially as a humorist and artist, whose job, as I see it, is to push social buttons and challenge the thinking of the populace. This is exactly the value of freedom of speech and it is utterly disabled when we try to regulate what others say, no matter how distasteful we may find it.

Companies like Facebook and Google are fun and useful, but if you think they are not in a position to control the world, you’re not paying attention. Just saying.

Should the Facebook Taliban decide to reinstate my right to use my page, I’ll be posting again. If not, I hope you’ll remember to check my blog without my FB reminders.

Beasts of Love

bz panel 12-11-13bz strip 12-11-13Bizarro is brought to you today by I Didn’t Name This Album, I Only Linked To It.

Those living outside the Jazz Pickle Jar may think that Bunny’s Pie Repair has something to do with this gag but it doesn’t, really. It’s just a fun store to stand in front of when you’re part of a cartoon.

Our chimp friend here is about to make a terrible mistake, by the way. One should never offer to change in major ways in order to participate in a romantic relationship. Take it from me, an imaginary relationship expert, if you don’t love someone the way they are, you should find someone else.

This refers only to large changes, of course, like not being a jerk anymore or dying your hair. Small changes like not farting in front of dinner guests are acceptable requests. I would also warn against dating outside of your species.

 

 

 

 

REGURGITATED PICKLES: This old cartoon from 1999 reveals another person’s attempts at finding true love. What woman wouldn’t love a guy willing to sacrifice his dog just to meet her?bz 09-29-99

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