CSotD: Gators and snappers and little feathered dinosaurs

Prickly City (AMS) may have it right, I suppose. There were all sorts of reasons for the great thunder lizards and their ilk to give up and die: Climate change and meteoric clouds and who know what else?

Besides, we needed the fossil fuels.

Though, if you look around, you’ll still see alligators and snapping turtles and those colorful little feathered dinosaurs who come eat seeds from the feeder on my porch.

They didn’t all just roll belly up and die, did they?

So here’s my point of view on it all: When I was doing career fairs in high schools, kids were always required to ask me what the job paid.

I’d admit that it was about the lowest paying career field that required a college degree but that I really didn’t care, because it was so much fun that I’d have probably done it just in exchange for food and shelter. And there were times I did it for less.

I admire your versatility, Jim.
Oh, me, I’m a failure. Sorel, my teacher, taught me all I know. “What do you want to do,” he asked me. I said I wanted to be a diplomat.
“Do you have money?”
“Are you related to anyone famous?”
“Then forget about diplomacy!”
“But what can I become?”
“That’s no career.”
“Not yet. Travel, write, translate. Learn to live anywhere, beginning now. There’s a future in it. The French have ignored the world for too long. A paper will always pay for your fun.”

Jules et Jim

There’s a link, to be sure, between “a paper will always pay for your fun” and “learn to live anywhere,” and any artist in any medium has to sort out the realities. But, again, if being able to travel matters that much, make it part of your work.

Take acting: For every actor pulling in $X million on their next project, there are a thousand more who are about to lose their studio apartments in the current strike. They all know the way to San Jose, but they’re sticking with it.

In fact, as I’ve noted several times, a college friend who has done quite well in Hollywood explained to me, “A lot of people want it, but not everyone has to have it. You have to have to have it.”

I guess the T-Rexes didn’t have to have it, and the gators did. I’d rather be a gator.

Come to think of it, I’d rather be an orca, or a porpoise. Not that they aren’t facing the same climate crises the rest of us are dealing with, but they’ve at least got Britain’s Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation behind them, working to eliminate captive entertainment.

As seen on this poster, there is currently a exhibition in Herne Bay, a coastal town in southeast England. I greatly suspect the Glastonbury Hoo-Ha is a much larger deal on the UK’s summer calendar, but they’re getting plenty of ink in Herne Bay, and, more to the point, they have a huge number of cartoonists participating and I doubt any of them asked what it paid.

American cartoonists get all pissy about being asked to work for free and I don’t blame them, when it comes to a prospective client who is making money on the deal. I’ve heard all the jokes about “dying of exposure,” but genuine exposure is not to be sneered at, as long as nobody is going to Barbados on the proceeds.

Some of the Herne Bay artists are quite well known, like Jeremy Banx, whose work appears here often.

Others, like HardToonz, were new to me. Until now. And now he’s not. See how that works?

List him among the alligators and snapping turtles, not the T-rexes.

And add Guy Venables to that list. Guy was already on my radar, and, if you’re a regular reader here, on yours, well before he made this contribution to the Herne Bay effort.

In fact, you probably remember him for his efforts to fight a pointlessly cruel effort to make migrant children feel less welcome in Britain, in which the bureaucrats painted over cheerful cartoon murals at reception areas. An outraged Guy proposed painting them right back, not because he needed the money or the exposure but because it was the decent thing to do.

The Powers That Be wouldn’t allow it, but his proposal had already aroused an army of cartooning volunteers who are currently working on free coloring books for children new to the UK.

And while you are waiting for the coloring books to come out, you can wander over to Charing Cross Library to see an exhibition of cartoons about the theater, pick up some signed prints and attend a few talks and workshops.

Now, granted, the UK is a great deal smaller than the US, and so perhaps they just seem to have more events going on because it’s all happening in a smaller space.

Still, there’s a substantial Little Red Hen factor here, with too many people waiting for someone else to sow and reap and grind the wheat and bake the cake, and I’ll bet T-Rex wondered why someone wasn’t doing something about that meteor cloud while snapper and gator were busy climbing under the mud.

I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

But I will add that, if you’re wondering what it costs and how much it pays to address the problem, you’d better not be drawing cartoons about bureaucrats asking the same questions about other things that need to be happening.

More to the point, ask yourself this:

What do these three cartoonists have in common?

Jack Ohman

Joel Pett

Kevin Siers

Partial credit if you said they are three Pulitzer Prize Winning cartoonists who were laid off by their newspapers.

Full credit if you observed that they are three Pulitzer Prize Winning cartoonists who tightened their belts and got back to their drawingboards.

And a half-letter grade of extra credit if you observed that there is no more Pulitzer Prize in cartooning anyway.

But that’s the short answer portion of the exam.

The essay questions will be asked Oct 5-8 at the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists convention in San Francisco.

If you work in this field, you need to be there. Details to follow soon.

And if you worry about those details, whether it’s too expensive or too far away, well, then I guess you don’t need to be there.

But you’re gonna miss an interesting bunch of alligators, snapping turtles and little feathered dinosaurs.

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Gators and snappers and little feathered dinosaurs

  1. Dinosaur remains did not become part of fossil fuel deposits. It’s pterodactyls, not petrodactyls.

      1. Mike, I see your point here, but a willing suspension of disbelief for an anthropomorphic psychopomp does not require us to accept things that are verifiably false, or we would all have to take Mallard Fillmore at face value.

      2. Two responses:

        First, if you want editorial cartoons without metaphors and familiar symbolism, we aren’t going to have a long conversation. Andrew Jackson wasn’t actually a king. There was never any beast known as a Gerrymander. And the statue of Lincoln could not possibly put his face in his hands and weep.

        Second, pterodactyls are not dinosaurs, even though (see Objection One) people lump all those prehistoric reptiles under the “dinosaur” category. If you refuse to allow for normal imagination, metaphors and figures of speech, at least get your literalism correct.

        Bonus argument: I wrote about editorial cartoons. I want them to survive. In case I didn’t make that point.

  2. All true — except for the dates of the AAEC Convention in San Francisco. That’s Oct 5-8, 2024.

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