From the mailbag
Fans and pans
Since I don't have time to blog much myself, here are a few recent letters. Lindsy from California writes:
Just wanted to tell you that your cartoons are so right on! I love "It's My Religion", you really nailed the absolute hypocrisy of the "religious" right with the frame at the end- really speaks to how this belief system has taken on a racist/sexist/homophobic/politically-oriented mind of its own. Also loved the Conservative spring fashions- "Schoolhouse Frocks"!! So nice!Alex in Iowa City agrees:
your latest cartoon was perfect. as a former xian protstnt fundamentalist/evangelical, I have chafed at the terrible logic and ethics of my former way of thinking and the control of many by this insidious "people of faith" movement. you caught the hypocrisy and the tactics perfectly.But Tom K. in Grosse Pointe, Michigan does not:
Your cartoon "It's My Religion" was seroius bullshit. Muslims, many of whom favor female mutilation, honor killing and forced marriages of 12 year olds make the fundamentalists (contemptable as they might be) depicted in the cartoon seem like pikers. Yet the cartoon targets the parking ticket scofflaws and lets the serial killers off easy. If you only have the balls to go after soft targets who you know would never hit you back, you're in the wrong business.I agree whole-heartedly with that last sentence. Here was my response:
What you decide to draw cartoons about matters. When a paper gives you a forum , you have a moral obligation to make the best use of it.
Thanks for your thoughtful letter. I hope my cartoon didn't give the impression that I am not whole-heartedly against Muslim extremism as well or that I am not deeply concerned with the oppression of women and gay people under Muslim fundamentalist sharia laws in Africa and the Middle East. I have written about these topics in my blog (for example Iran's recent execution of two teenage boys for the "crime" of being gay) but that was not the topic of this cartoon.Greg writes in response to Bush vs. My Cat:
You are certainly right that what a cartoonist draws about matters. But it also matters that cartoonists not just all draw the same thing. Opposition to Muslim fundamentalism is a topic well covered by my fellow cartoonists, whereas very few other cartoonists deal regularly with gay issues and women's issues, the subject of this cartoon.
An individual cartoon can not encompass all issues or it winds up being a kitchen sink and not making a coherent point.
This was a great cartoon. However, I feel very guilty because I voted for George W. Bush in both of the last elections. I might be going to HELL after the disastrous, illegal war in Iraq. Some 2400, or so, U.S. soldiers have been killed. I don't know how many other people, Iraqi and others, have died. All for no reason!Hey, like I said in 2004: anybody but Bush. Actually, the whole Bush vs. My Cat cartoon was inspired not only by my beloved cat's idiotic attraction to electrical wiring, but by a long passage from one of my favorite books of all time, Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.:
I belong to a right-wing church that absolutely HATED Bill Clinton. George W. Bush was God's man for the U.S. Presidency. Well, under President Clinton, the United States was doing quite well financially. Under President Bush, the United States is now indebted over $2 TRILLION to Communist China. I hate to admit that the right-wing churches just don't seem to understand that George W. Bush is leading the United States down the path of financial ruin. Really!
How I wish that I would have "consulted" my cat Buddy, now deceased, before I voted for George W. Bush. At least I wouldn't have felt so guilty about things. This country is getting "worse" in things like: Government Finances, Military, Honesty, Domestic Affairs, Foreign Policy, etc. I think that most of the world now HATES the United States.
Your cartoon "speaks" the truth LOUD and CLEAR. When us people get to make decisions and choices that are "worse" than those of animals, like cats, I can only think that God is very unhappy with this nation. George W. Bush is telling the very people, who elected him, a bunch of lies.
Perhaps we should elect a CAT to be the next United States President!
I urged that kings were dangerous. He said, then have cats. He was sure that a royal family of cats would answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never know it, they would be wholly inexpensive; finally, they would have as sound a divine right as any other royal house, and "Tom VII., or Tom XI., or Tom XIV. by the grace of God King," would sound as well as it would when applied to the ordinary royal tomcat with tights on.(Emphasis mine, and you can read the rest of the chapter if you need context)
"And as a rule," said he, in his neat modern English, "the character of these cats would be considerably above the character of the average king, and this would be an immense moral advantage to the nation, for the reason that a nation always models its morals after its monarch's. The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it. The eyes of the whole harried world would soon be fixed upon this humane and gentle system, and royal butchers would presently begin to disappear; their subjects would fill the vacancies with catlings from our own royal house; we should become a factory; we should supply the thrones of the world; within forty years all Europe would be governed by cats, and we should furnish the cats. The reign of universal peace would begin then, to end no more forever...... Me-e-e-yow-ow-ow-ow -- fzt! -- wow!"
So, yeah... my dumb cat for President! Keep the letters coming, folks!
(And apologies to Stuart who wrote me a letter about immigration that I intend to respond to in detail when I get back from a wedding in Austin, Texas.)