CSotD: Regrets, I’ve got a few to mention

Brewster Rockit (Tribune) gets to lead off for a second day in a row, having shifted from the informational back to the absurd.

As noted, I stayed home rather than driving the four hours to my old digs in the Adirondacks, and I missed both totality and a good party, but we had a nice picnic at the dog park with a little over a dozen dogs, none of whom looked up at the Sun because they were too busy panhandling.

But it wouldn’t have been a four hour drive. My son popped up to a clear spot 117 miles away and it took him six hours to get home, most of it bumper-to-bumper on the Interstate.

My intended destination was another 74 miles farther away, so I’m okay with the party I went to, which wasn’t in the totality but was only seven miles from the house.

Today, my social media is full of eclipse snapshots, which are repetitive, but it also contains quite a few postings from people bragging about being so doggone cool that they didn’t go anywhere or even look up.

It’s funny when Brewster, a noted bonehead, misses something by happenstance, but it’s decidedly uncool to decide to be too cool.

It reminds me of back when everyone in college was talking about The Graduate, so I made a point of not going. But I was 18 years old and entitled to think I was cool.

Once I outgrew it, I went to, and enjoyed, that movie.

Bill Bramhall does a nice job of capturing the double-talk and con games that emerged from Trump’s statement/non-statement about abortion. Too bad so much of the press missed the fact that Trump didn’t say it should be up to the states, but, rather, that it will be up to the states.

In other words, he simply restated the result of Dobbs, added a lie about Democrats murdering babies after they were born, and shifted the pea from under Cup #2 to inside the palm of his hand.

As Oliver Darcy reported in Reliable Sources:

Those of us whose memories go back beyond last week recall that there was a time when he was, to paraphrase the old man from Catch-22, “fanatically pro-life.”

The idealistic Natelys of this world never seem to catch on.

Spoiler: Nately died on his next mission.

And speaking of spoilers, Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) laughs off the notion that Bobby Jr could be a spoiler, his poorly organized, erratic campaign taking votes away from the sleek, well-financed Biden campaign.

Except that what financing Bobby has comes from millionaires who are also helping finance the Trump campaign, and the other day Bobby’s NYS campaign head said the quiet part out loud: This farcical, hopeless race for the presidency is simply intended to drain Biden votes, with the goal of putting Trump back in the White House.

No? Listen for yourself.

The question is, does Bobby know he’s being exploited as a stalking horse, or is he genuinely wedded to positions that will attract middle-of-the-road voters away from Biden?

Steve Brodner points out that he’s echoing Trump in several key ways, and it’s certainly worth adding that he’s an anti-vax fanatic, which you would expect to take votes from Dear Leader.

On the other hand, we’re talking about low-information voters, like the college kids who plan to not vote for Biden because of Gaza, but don’t realize, first of all, that while Biden is playing games attempting to bring Netanyahu in line, Trump is a hawk who would advise Israel to get in there and finish the job.

And, of course, there’s the matter of Dear Leader’s promise to do away with reproductive freedom — both abortion and birth control — to build concentration camps, to end birth citizenship, to restrict freedom of the press, to execute drug dealers …

I remember being a young idealist, but they make Nately look like Metternich.

Juxtaposition of Say What?

BC — Creators — Friday, April 5

BC — Creators — Tuesday, April 9

On a far less critical level, these two were not part of a continuing story arc, just the same gag four days apart. Perhaps a flaw in having a strip done by two people? I’ve got to think that, if they’d been submitted for the same week, an editor would have caught this, but perhaps they arrived in two different batches.

When two different strips use the same gag, I suspect a ghost writer who didn’t let one client know another client had bought the idea, gagwriters being one of the unspoken factors in comic strips.

When the same strip does it, it seems more like a brain fart.

Patrick Marran did an excellent job of both combining the eclipse with the Pope’s condemnation of trans kids and surrogacy, and getting this Francis up on GoComics in a timely manner.

I can’t claim neutrality: I wrote Pope Paul a letter in 1970 asking him to give Catholics clear guidance on the war in Vietnam, since he had the authority to declare it either just or unjust. If he was against the war, Catholics could claim conscientious objector status, while, if he was for it, well, we’d know where we stood.

I got a response several weeks later asking me to pray for peace, but not addressing my request.

Now he’s insulting a member of my family.

In matters of sex and gender, you might as well ask the rabbi how to cook an Easter ham.

A Retraction, with an Admonition for All

In yesterday’s collection of eclipse cartoons, I included this Michael de Adder cartoon.

Several hours later, someone on social media posted this photograph of a long-ago eclipse:

Had I seen the photo first, I would not have included the tracing. I wish I’d known.

And there’s more to it. I like memes and used clipart to make one the other day. But memes are not cartoons, and I am no cartoonist.

And here’s the crucial point: Cartoonists can’t complain about Artificial Intelligence if they’re going to pull stunts like this. An homage to well-known art is fine, done freehand with meaningful adaptations. Most cartoonists include “apologies to …” in the corner, acknowledging the original.

But never mind those warnings about staring at the eclipse.

Just don’t stare at your lightbox. It’ll destroy your vision.

28 thoughts on “CSotD: Regrets, I’ve got a few to mention

  1. What a lot of people are missing about the Democrats talking about RFK Jr is that they are less worried about him being a spoiler against Biden and more interested in TURNING him into a spoiler for Trump. They aren’t AFRAID of RFK Jr, but see him as a potential tool.

    RFK Jr’s positions on vaccinations and immigration and conspiracy theories puts him in line with a lot of MAGA folks who are a little tired of the Trump act. If the Democrats can brand RFK Jr from that perspective and minimize his environmental positions, there’s a good chance he’ll pull from Trump.

    1. Exactly. I can’t think of a single Democrat, either in the media or real life, who considers RFK Jr a legitimate threat to Biden.

      He’s a much bigger threat to Trump, as they’re both lunatics with similar stances on issues.

    2. A lot of the Trump supporters I see on line see Democrats as low information voters, brainwashed and moronic. As such, they happily see RFK Jr luring away Biden voters.

      They, of course, see rank and file Trump supporters as authentic Americans, having real American values. They see Democrats as either the lazy urban poor, voting for government programs to enable them to take money from the real Americans to feed their indolent lifestyle, or socialist type urban yuppies who want to destroy America.

      They ignore the fact that Hillary Clinton conceded the night of the election and instead claim she never accepted the election results because she later pointed out she did win the popular vote.

      But Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the million mom march on DC on the day of Trump’s inauguration. That in comparison to the events of January 6th, 2021 (who created the rally that the protesters marched from to attack the Capitol).

      Its hard to say how to establish what is objective reality any more.

  2. My partial-eclipse view was total–totally blocked by clouds, which were there in the morning and there at sunset. Whether I’d have looked at it if it was visible in my city or not, I watched the eclipse on TV, and was as unmoved by it as I would have been had I seen it live. I’ve seen partial eclipses before, so I knew what happens. I hadn’t been particularly impressed by the experience the first time. People on TV appeared to feel it was a life-changing thing, or at least “cool.” I agree that it was cool, as in not too hot. Maybe I never had a sense of wonder for this particular event, but I know I’ve had many regrets about missing many things in my life. And this isn’t one of them.

  3. I dunno, I can’t agree with the criticism of B.C. when Garfield has been recycling the same half-dozen gags for the last 4 decades.

  4. “Does Trump support a federal election ban?”

    Darcy inadvertently hit the nail on the head with that line. Of course he just wants to be anointed.

  5. Wow. I think you’re completely off base regarding the Michael de Adder cartoon. The photo has nothing to do with the point that Michael was trying to make in the cartoon, and was simply used as reference – something that artists, and illustrators do all the time. I don’t believe the reference photo was traced, but even if it was, what’s that got to do with anything? Are you suggesting Michael de Adder can’t draw? That somehow he’s cheating? That’s ridiculous and feels like a cheap shot. I’m not sure why you would do that, given Michael´s incredible body of work.

    1. It’s like the 5th time he’s implied these things. It’s personal. He’s said nothing positive about my work since well before I got the job at the Washington Post. Thank you for your comments.

      1. I remember I did pencil in all the boxes as a guide in that drawing. But just the boxes.

      2. For the record, and granted our search engine is fallible, it seems I’ve featured your work 10 (other) times over the past year, all but two times entirely positive, and those two fairly bland in their criticism. If you’d like to turn this into “a thing” we can, but look at these first:

        april 19 — https://tinyurl.com/2s3shfyr
        May 24 — https://tinyurl.com/4nebahuh
        june 19 — https://tinyurl.com/54twj4fr
        sept 29 — https://tinyurl.com/y74yphvt
        Oct 15 — https://tinyurl.com/53dnwh7n
        Dec 3 — https://tinyurl.com/m8hxu9yy
        Dec 8 — https://tinyurl.com/32fxv4ke
        Jan 25 — https://tinyurl.com/4pnkvnxh
        Aug 24 — https://tinyurl.com/3j9ec4yv
        Feb 9 — https://tinyurl.com/34t7zdam

      3. No. There’s no thing. This is your blog. If you like my cartoon, run it. If you don’t, don’t run it. I don’t care about that.

        There isn’t a person in the association that hasn’t seen my originals in some AAEC gallery show and they are clean pen and ink watercolours that look almost identical to what you see in the paper. But reading your blog, it’s like you’ve never seen one single original from me ever. You think I use trickery. You don’t know my work, clearly. It makes no sense to me that you run these obscure comments made from detractors and accept it as face value, while as your friend, you could zoom me and I’d show you my process. It’s simple. I draw them in ink and colour them in watercolour. If I used the ipad I draw them in virtual ink and colour them in virtual watercolour.

  6. When I drew this I was getting out of this profession. I was almost out. I didn’t care one way or the other what anybody thought. Then I got the job at the Washington Post and I was back in, like the Godfather. It took me a year to stop drawing on the iPad and return to paper. I started caring again.

    I didn’t trace this but I drew my preliminary sketch over the drawing to save probably 15 minutes. 15 minutes. I may have done this a few times that year. I was always looking to save 15 minutes because if you save yourself 15 minutes it adds up to 3.5 hours when you draw 15 cartoons. I spent those 3.5 hours with family, doing family stuff. Maybe I should have got a job at Walmart, but I didn’t.

    I bought the iPad to cut corners. To cut corners on coloring mostly. Drawing 15 cartoons can’t be done without cutting corners. Corners that many people cut.

    There are people you hold up as geniuses that do nothing but use photographs in the way you think I do. If a thumbnail image in google search looks like a photograph, it’s probably been traced by the cartoonist.

    Do a google search of the major cartoonists. If some of their work looks like photographs, it probably is. I mean it’s obvious with one. Yet you’ve done nothing but praise them.

    The ipad may have led to this garbage. But the truth is, I’d do it again. I had a lot of free time to spend with family because of it. I cooked dinner. Or just took a break.

    I’ve done great work on paper and the ipad in the past three years but you only show my work if you’re throwing shade. I mean, I’ve done some of the best work out there, along with many other excellent cartoonists. But you only show my work if you have something negative to say about me. This is the third time this year. I’m taking it personal. I did nothing to you except say you do important work in San Fran. And you do. But flipping stop it already.

    I have had two major shows of my work and another one coming up. Lord Beaverbrook Gallery, Mount Allison University and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Major Galleries. All on paper. All you show are the cartoons I may have done quickly or work that may have been my third cartoon of the day in a time I didn’t care.

    1. Generally speaking, “Everyone else is doing it so why is it bad that I’m doing it” is not a good defense even when it’s true.

      Wanting to spend more time with your family is a valid reason to not spend as much time free-handing comics. I do not believe, however, that crediting the source would have eaten that time back up.

      1. I’m claiming that as my defense. I don’t need defending. I did nothing wrong.

  7. On one of the community info sites I browse one person (I didn’t read further) told how “underwhelmed” she was by the eclipse. WTF was she expecting ?

  8. Talk about shooting the messenger.

    In regard to a previous comment- yes, editorial cartoonists use reference material to learn from and to see how things are put together. But as one of my college art instructors advised, look and study the photos and then put them away and create your own drawing. Don’t even get me started about tracing.

    And saying that many people cut corners isn’t an excuse. If you want to be considered a professional editorial cartoonist, act like one. Everyone has problems in one’s life and low points in a professional career. There are plenty of excellent draftsmen in our profession who don’t do this, even during difficult times.

    Mike brought up a really good point about AI. If you don’t like the fact AI is using other people’s art to make so-called originals, you should be pretty clear where you stand on this. It’s the Art of Editorial Cartooning, not the Copying or Tracing of Editorial Cartooning.

    1. I don’t cut corners now. I’ve been drawing almost exclusively on paper.

      And by cutting corners I don’t mean tracing.

      I mean:

      -copy and pasting elements of the drawing over and over like cars in traffic. Stuff I already drew.
      -filling backgrounds with the tamper.
      -using layers to create other elements.
      -not having to dip your pen over and over.
      -using filters.
      -using digital pens that have pen nips you can’t buy at the art store
      -coloring my cartoons digitally.
      -having unlimited redraws because you paper is not starting to look crusty.

      Things most people have been doing since photoshop came along.

      And guess what? I don’t any of this now. I draw them.

      I am an excellent draftsman.

      You have been a staff cartoonist since 2000ish. You don’t know what it’s like to have to work for 5 newspapers. Have three deadlines in one day.

  9. I stand by that cartoon. It’s all drawing. It’s not my best drawing. But it’s fine. It’s not traced.

  10. Ann, I don’t work for the Washington Post anymore. I’m not a threat to you anymore. Yet you share this on Twitter. Why do I still live rent free in your head? And why is it furnished with Ikea?

    1. Michael, we encourage healthy and even lively debate, but not personal abuse. Knock it off.

  11. Again, if we -cartoonists/illustrators/designers- believe AI steals our original art, we shouldn’t be copying or tracing other work and passing it off as our own. As Mike wrote in the above post, “An homage to well-known art is fine, done freehand with meaningful adaptations. Most cartoonists include ‘apologies to …’ in the corner, acknowledging the original.”

  12. Much ado about nothing. [Is this better?]

    20,000+ cartoons drawn in my lifetime, 19500+ on paper. You’re
    complaining about 5-6 of these remaining cartoons. And there’s nothing
    wrong with these 5-6. I standby all my work. Even the crap, the drawing
    in this one is crap.

    I treat all cartoonists with respect, even if people question how
    they are made because I’ll put my work up against anybody in the world. I
    was looking forward to working with you. And even after I realized that
    you didn’t feel the same [sad face], I still promoted your work. I do
    not even hold animosity towards you. I was the one who insisted on the
    Honorary Canadian Award, sorry Honourary Canadian Award. I actually
    think it’s kinda funny how stone cold serious you are considering we
    draw cartoons for a living. Nobody in the real world cares about us as
    much as we do. Laugh about it. It’s just a cartoon. It’s just 1 of
    20,000 I forgot about until somebody reposted it.

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