Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Three new toons: Trans workplace discrimination, NYPD spies & predatory credit-card lenders
This cartoon was inspired by the recent re-firing of longtime Largo, Florida City Manager Steve Stanton after Stanton announced he planned to transition to life as a woman and change his name to Susan. (I only say "he" because Stanton is, as I understand it, still using that pronoun for now.) I say "re-firing" because the Largo City Commission held a hearing after its initial discriminatory decision to fire Stanton, and made the same bad decision again despite testimony in his favor.
Stanton's firing is far from unusual, so I decided to make the cartoon about anti-transgender workplace discrimination in general, rather than focus on that case. I'm not sure how many people realize that in most places in this country, employers are legally permitted to fire transgender and gay employees on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We need a national ENDA (employment non-discrimination act) and now!
I haven't seen the new documentary "Maxed Out" yet, but I did just read a terrifying must-read investigative series in the Boston Globe, "Debtor's Hell: Preying on Red-Ink America", that takes a close look at unscrupulous debt collection practices.
Finally, it came out in the New York Times last week that the NYPD spent tons of time and money placing spies in non-violent peace groups around the country before the 2004 RNC. The cartoon was inspired by this bit:
Marco Ceglie, who performs as Monet Oliver dePlace in Billionaires for Bush, said he had suspected that the group was under surveillance by federal agents — not necessarily police officers — during weekly meetings in a downtown loft and at events around the country in the summer of 2004.
“It was a running joke that some of the new faces were 25- to 32-year-old males asking, ‘First name, last name?’ ” Mr. Ceglie said. “Some people didn’t care; it bothered me and a couple of other leaders, but we didn’t want to make a big stink because we didn’t want to look paranoid. We applied to the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act to see if there’s a file, but the answer came back that ‘we cannot confirm or deny.’ ”
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The origins of the phrase "Multiple Choice Mitt"...
I'm curious because back in October 2003 I did a cartoon called Multiple Choice Mitt, the original of which was purchased by the ACLU of Massachusetts and given as a gift to Massachusetts Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi. The cartoon was actually about the death penalty and not other issues, but it's just a weird coincidence, so I'm wondering where I got the term. Is it just the fun alliteration? I tried googling it and I couldn't find any pre-2007 examples, but there have to be some out there as I believe I was referring to something in particular (yes, I'm losing my memory at the age of 26).
Update: I looked back at my notes from 2003 and discovered that I was referencing the same thing the lefty bloggers are--a famous debate between Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney in 1994, when Romney claimed that he was strongly pro-choice and Kennedy countered that he was really "multiple choice". Mystery solved!
Monday, March 26, 2007
New Toon: The Addict & the Enabler
All of this seems to be wrapped up in the idea that sending more troops to die is the best way to support the troops. If you believe the war is wrong, that makes no sense. Refusing to fund the war isn't refusing to support the troops--a bill could be written that would fund only a pullout, no?
P.S. I know, I know. I realize I'm just angry and griping and idealistic, and Pelosi is just doing what she has to do, and they're aren't enough votes for an earlier pullout and Bush is most likely going to veto this thing anyway. But I'm still frustrated with the entire Congress--the vast majority of Americans have been against the war for some time now, but instead of a pullout all we've gotten is a surge.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007
Mikhaela featured in new book about killed cartoons
Killed Cartoons: Casualties of the War on Free Expression by David Wallis (Editor).
Here's the promo text:
In KILLED CARTOONS: CASUALTIES FROM THE WAR ON FREE EXPRESSION (W.W. NORTON), which features nearly 100 cartoons and illustrations, editor David Wallis gives you the chance to see what major magazines and newspapers tried to suppress. The collection, heralded by cartoonist Gahan Wilson of the New Yorker as "amazing in its range," includes spiked art about everything from the Iraq War to teen fashion trends. Works by renowned contemporary artists such as Garry Trudeau , Steve Brodner, Edward Sorel, Doug Marlette, Ted Rall, Paul Conrad, Matt Davies and Anita Kunz are displayed alongside unearthed gems by legends like David Low, Herblock and Norman Rockwell.It's a very cool collection, with killed gems from all over the ideological spectrum. And editor David Wallis also wrote a piece for Women's eNews focusing on killed prochoice cartoons ("Editorial Pages Nix Toons Mocking Abortion Foes"), here's some of his interview with me from that:
Last year, Reid, a self-syndicated cartoonist, created "Every Sperm Is Sacred," a strip about the morning-after-pill. In Reid's dystopian America of 2020, the Supreme Court has upheld a "Spermy Protection Act," a show of power by the "sex-cell rights movement." ... . The idea for the strip was formed in Reid's pro-choice knitting group, "which sounds hippie and granola but it's not," she says. "It's a mini women's think tank."
"Every Sperm Is Sacred" reflects Reid's anxiety about the crusade not only to overturn Roe v. Wade, but to limit the availability of contraception.
"They are saying that the morning-after pill is abortion, which it is not," says Reid. "RU-486 is the abortion pill; the morning-after pill is a contraceptive . . . They are saying that the rights of the sperm and the egg override the rights of the woman."
Welcome new CWA member Steve Notley!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Updated: Mikhaela, Jen, Stephanie and Feministing's Jessica Valenti at WAM 2007!
March 30 - April 1, 2007
Stata Center, MIT, Cambridge
Keynote Talks by Ellen GOODMAN & Thenmozhi SOUNDARARAJAN
Over 60 featured SPEAKERS & PANELISTS, including: Cynthia ENLOE, Loretta ROSSm E.J. GRAFF, Sonali KOLHATKAR, Lyn Mikel BROWN, Caryl RIVERS, Jessica VALENTI, Liza FEATHERSTONE, Gloria FELDT, Rita HENLEY JENSEN, Rebecca TRAISTER and more.
Over 30 PROGRAM SESSIONS, including: Making the Most of Digital Media, Why Journalism's Ethos Distorts News, Packaging & Selling Out Girls, Feminist Action for Media Accountability & Justice, The Freelance-Editor Relationship, Becoming a Citizen Journalist, The Web as a Site for Black Girls' Resistance, Making Documentaries for Social Change, Big Coverage, Big Cash, Women Using International Media, Sell a Book Proposal Without Selling Out, Promoting Justice Through Hip-Hop, and of course...
- Resistance Through Ridicule: Cartoons & Humor in Activism.
Sunday, April 1 @ 10 a.m., featuring Mikhaela Reid, Stephanie McMillan ("Minimum Security"), Jen Sorensen ("Slowpoke") and moderator Jessica Valenti (of Feministing fame).
Humor can be serious stuff. Last year cartoonist Stephanie McMillan turned anti-choice politician Bill Napoli's support for a near-total abortion ban against him by encouraging women to call him for help with the most minor of decisions; her "Call Bill" cartoon became so popular she auctioned it off to raise money for a reproductive health clinic. Subversive women cartoonists are claiming space in male-dominated alternative and daily newspapers, and using their cartoons to help make change. The popular blog Feministing mixes anger with irreverence, turns a familiar symbol inside out with its logo of a busty mud-flap girl making a rude gesture, and got props from a mainstream magazine for making feminism "fun again."
Can humor and cartoons make activism accessible and reach audiences that might otherwise might be apathetic? How can writers, bloggers, activists and editors use humor and art as political tools? Are art and humor a form of activism? Cartoon-filled slideshow and discussion, anger & laughter guaranteed.
Monday, March 19, 2007
New Toon: Supporting the Troops, the Bush Way
For some of my older toons on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, see "Patriotism, Pentagon-Style" and "Letters of the Law". It's always struck me as particularly painful that under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, LGB service members can't communicate honestly and openly with their sweethearts for fear of being outed.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007
It's hard out there for gay-themed political cartoons...
Now I can barely cover a tiny fraction of Big Gay News Stories with my biweekly cartoons. Big LGBT News is just Big News period, now. I haven't even had a chance to draw about the discriminatory firing of a transgender city manager in Florida or a transgender college dean in Michigan. I haven't had a chance to draw about Ann Coulter's F-word flinging. I don't think I'll be able to do anything about Gen. Peter Pace's "homosexuality is immoral" crap.
Anyway, just in case I don't get to draw about the Coulter business, here's my two cents: she's the same psycho crazy racist deranged homophobic hate-monger extremist she ever was, but it's somewhat nice that fewer mainstream outlets can continue to pretend she's a reasonable conservative commentator whose views deserve an airing.
BUT it astonishes me that grade-A homophobes like Mitt Romney are (who introduced her with great pleasure at CPAC right before she started throwing around the word "faggot") would bother trying to distance themselves from her. The man's entire presidential campaign is based on rallying gay-haters. His campaign slogan might as well be "I hate gay people and want to restrict their rights and make discrimination against them legal way more than these other guys". So what's the difference between him and Coulter?
Or George W. "amend the constitution to protect traditional marriage" Bush and Coulter, for that matter? Maybe Bush stays away from Coulter's vocabulary, but he's the one who puts into practice what she preaches...
New deadline and new prizes for Life Without Fair Courts Cartoon Contest
Lambda Legal’s Life Without Fair Courts
Editorial cartoon series and illustration contest
Deadline: April 16, 2007
Cartoons required: One 6" x 9" cartoon or illustration, in black & white or color, at least 300 dpi. Can be single-panel or multi-panel.
Send to: email@example.com
Prizes: 1st prize is nationwide exposure in The Advocate; 2nd prize is a $150 gift certificate to the comic book store of your choice and 3rd prize is a $50 gift certificate to the comic book store of your choice.
Judges: Mikhaela Reid, Joan Hilty, Phil Jimenez, George Stoll
Without fair courts unmarried people might not be able to buy condoms.
Without fair courts gay and lesbian people could be prosecuted for having sex in their own homes.
Without fair courts America's schools could still be segregated by law.
Lambda Legal’s “Life Without Fair Courts” alternate reality editorial cartoon series by artist Mikhaela Reid depicts what life would be like if courts had not upheld the Constitution in past landmark cases. Check out the first four in the series on our site and in The Advocate.
Get involved by showing us what this country might be like without fair courts and landmark civil rights cases, or by depicting discrimination still going on today against LGBT people or other groups.
Lambda Legal has teamed up with Prism Comics and media sponsor, The Advocate, to present the Life Without Fair Courts Illustration Contest. Submit your entry between January 16 and April 16, 2007 to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win nationwide exposure of your work or gift certificates to the comic book store of your choice.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Cagle Reader Reactions, part 1
Hi Mikhaela,And of course I've gotten some negative mail, too, though not nearly as much as I expected. Here are a few of the more tame ones without any really nasty language:
I just saw two of your cartoons in the Cagle newsletter. I just about fell out laughing! These are fantastic!!! I just HAD to write a note to say "Keep it up, girl!".
Rebecca D Terrill,
I became aware of your cartoons today via Daryl Cagle. From what I have seen I like them very much and agree 100% with them. I wish you nothing success and freedom. Keep up the excellent work.
Also, very interesting and pretty first name.
You go, girl!
Hope you can get placed in as many "square" media as possible.
Dear Talented One,
You Rule! At last, and not a moment too soon, a real, live, American with a genuine sense of self mockery and social satire: a sense of humour.
The Poms lost their's when Tony Blair took Bush II seriously and are now confusing humour with schadenfreude, derision coupled with a powerful sense of inferiority.
Bless you, Possum! More power to your pencil!
I just found you premiered on Cagle's site too, having just finished the Institute for Humanist Studies newsletter.
Excellent, now I find your cartoons in multiple sites.
I'm glad for you.
As a 50 year old woman, I say "GO FOR IT". I have a difficult time dealing w/ the Republican hate mongers clothed in high morals. Draw as many cartoons as you want to. I'll enjoy reading them.
I was just introduced to your cartoons by an email from Daryl Cagle and MSNBC. I regret I haven't had the opportunity to view your work before but I commend you on your stand in the two cartoons included in Cagle's email. Even though as a lobbyist I am usually associated with the corporate position, I believe that the Bush administration and the former Republican majority have for too long intruded on the private personal choices of Americans. The decision to conceive or not to conceive is a personal choice between a man and a woman and the inclusion of the government in that decision represents an unholy trinity. Even though the cartoons included in the email didn't include gay rights I see by your comments that you have also taken a stand about that as well. The decision of two people of whatever sex to love each other is also a personal decision and one the government should embrace instead of regulating and prohibiting. I hope that when my children are old enough to make a choice of a mate that society will support them in whatever choice they make.
Thoughtful expressions such as yours will eventually assist in turning American attitudes towards personal liberties into mainstream thought instead of just "alternative" thinking. Thank you for helping to make America more free.
I look forward to your future work.
Jim "JJ" Lantry
California Legislative Advocates
Yay! not all of us are too dumb to appreciate your cartoons...keep up the good work! Arty Gladstone, Lauderhill, FL
You're attacking this issue from a completely new (to me) direction, and I love it! You bring a female viewpoint and sense of humor to this issue.
Please keep working, and I wish you great success!
Great stuff! I felt shocked, a bit, and that doesn't happen much. I teach political science at a junior college in California, and I think to myself that any subject's fair game, and I found myself wondering if I would use your cartoons to illustrate reproductive rights. I appreciate that you could give me pause and provoke thought.
Glad to see you on Cagle! Don't remember seeing you in the Albuquerque Alibi (our prevailing weekly alternative). The quality of your thought/drawing and sarcasm should find a welcome audience here in the Land of Enchantment. Hope you can present yourself to them at a time when their purse-strings aren't too tightly held.
I loved your ‘every sperm is sacred’ cartoon. Love it Love it, forwarded it on to my 75 year old mom who is wildly liberal and thinks that protecting humans after they are born is so much more important than denying women the right to control their own bodies. I love her commitment to this and know that she’ll appreciate your sentiments as much as I.
For some years I have thought of re-writing the lyrics to this famous Monty Python song, I am stumped because I am neither a poet nor a lyricist, but were I to attempt it would go something like this…
Every Vote is sacred,
Every vote is great,
If a vote gets wasted,
God gets quite irate.
That’s at what point I lose my train of thought, I’d love to see someone do something with this, I could see a song of it plastered on YouTube or something but again, I have no talent, just some random ideas.
You probably know way more way cool people than even live in my hometown so if you don’t do a cartoon of it maybe someone you know could sing it to me baby,
Love your work!
Valerie B.R. in Spokane, Washington
Republican pharmacists did this? Really? Not good old fashioned left wing socilaist sociopaths?!!!! The same ones who gave condom's to school kids!!! I may read your cartoons, but I do not think they are cute, clever or funny.
Sorry, but I don't see any humor in your work. Maybe you can get a job with one of Larry Flint's publications.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
New Toon: Sgt. Dobson's Boot Camp with Rudy and Mitt!
Giuliani is currently polling way ahead of Romney and McCain. But word is that he doesn't stand a chance with religious right voters due to his adultery, serial marriages/divorces and pro-choice/pro-gay views and history. Romney even claims Rudy is pro marriage equality, but there's no evidence for that. And Rudy's recently been emphasizing that he only believes in marriage between "a man and a woman".
I have a long history of both despising Mitt Romney and drawing cartoons about him--I started out as a cartoonist for the Boston Phoenix when Mitt was just a slimy gubernatorial candidate. I watched him get progressively more anti-gay and anti-choice and it saddens me to think he has even a chance at the White House. I think he's polling third, but he's now the most anti-choice, anti-gay candidate running.
As for Giuliani, I'm no fan.
P.S.Welcome to readers from Cagle.com!
P.P.S.I'm still going to do a cartoon about anti-transgender workplace discrimination, but it'll be for next week, folks.
P.P.P.S. I wish I had the time this week to do something extra about the Walter Reed hospital mess and problems in the VA system. My grandmother Melba was a disabled Korean war veteran, and it was something she was deeply passionate about. I did this 2003 cartoon back when she received a letter from the VA asking to give back part of her meager benefits check.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Welcome new CWA member Ruben Bolling!
Stand up against workplace discrimination!
I touched on this issue in a recent Lambda Legal cartoon as well. We need a national employment non-discrimination act for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people, and we need it YESTERDAY. It may be 2007, but millions of Americans can still be fired without recourse for being gay or trans, and it happens every day in much less high-profile cases.
Update: Yet more on the case from the Blend.
New Toons: Rats Gone Wild, HPV, Hate Report
This is a somewhat random assortment--the Rats Gone Wild and NYC Condoms cartoons were drawn for Chelsea Now, of course, and the other two are my usual weekly strip. The HPV/cervical cancer vaccine issue is complicated, and I'm not necessarily endorsing a mandatory vaccine, just registering my total disagreement with the whole "my precious little daughter won't EVER have sex so she doesn't need a vaccine" crowd.
P.S. Regarding NY Comic Con: suffice it to say I got to hang with Keith Knight, Alison Bechdel, David Rees, R. Stevens, Ted Rall and others, which made the whole business worthwhile.