Saturday, February 27, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
And now, this message ...
Okay, it's a commercial. But it's a pretty interesting commercial from a guy who, until a couple of years ago, never did interviews or talked about his work. I know this because I did a series of interviews with cartoonists who were carried in the paper where I was then working, and he was the only one who turned me down, though he did so very politely.
Which means that I look at things like this and think, "If I'd only done that series about three years later, I'd have had the complete set of artists ..."
In any case, it's a commercial for something my handful of readers might actually want.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Moderate schools of Islam face pressure
It's worth remembering that not all of Islam is militant. In fact, most Muslims are not. In this report, students at a Sufi school in Yemen talk about their studies, and about the pressure their schools face under the eye of a critical Western world that sees the growth of al Qaeda in the area and does not understand or differentiate between types of Islam.
Here's a graphic I did just after 9/11 as part of my educational work at the Post-Star in Glens Falls, NY. We offered it to other papers and several published it in the days following that disaster. I don't know if it will blow up enough in a new window to be legible, but, if you click on it, you'll at least have a better chance of reading it.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Monday, February 08, 2010
I'm still tinkering around with this new website, but I'm at the stage where I could use a little feedback before I try to promote it to a larger world.
It's a pretty simple idea -- just put up a strip each day, provide a little entertainment and maybe point two or three people a year to some of the collections that are available out there.
Comic strips, and their creators, are in an odd kind of bind. People like comics. They clip them out and put them on their refrigerators or tape them to their cash registers or pin them on their cubicle walls, but not enough people make the next step and actually support the artists by visiting their web sites or buying their collections.
So how do you try to raise that consciousness? It is a puzzlement. If they pursued comics more rabidly, they would find the collections on their own. But people tend to be passive. They see what is in the paper and they often like what is in the paper. They'll even bombard the editor with complaints if the cartoon is left out of the paper or, lord help us, dropped from the line-up.
But they don't see what is not in the paper, nor do they think much about it. And I don't know that this will help. But it will make me feel like I'm doing something, and, after all, isn't that what it's all about? The appearance of action?
Anyway, come visit www.comicstripoftheday.com and let me know what you think.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Not me. I just got here, and I live about 25 miles too far away anyhow. But plenty of people down the road a bit lost a good neighbor recently.
Here's how they'd help him out.
Here's how they remember him.
Folks around here make good neighbors. And, yes, sometimes good fences come into it, to reference another New Englander. I think even Frost must have known, as Jerry clearly did, that you can always reach over, even climb over, a good fence.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Specifically, CBS turned down an advertisement from the United Church of Christ in 2004 that showed minorities and gay couples being turned away at some churches but being welcomed to services at a UCC church. According to this article, the reason given was a policy against any advertisement which "touches on and/or takes a position on one side of a current controversial issue."
CBS apparently has admitted to loosening the restrictions in light of the current economy, but still rejected an advertisement for a gay dating site, reportedly because the ad showed a gay couple celebrating a touchdown by kissing.
So the question is, has CBS decided to accept controversial ads, or just the ones somebody in their power structure doesn't consider controversial?
And, to be fair, the other question is, does the Focus on the Family ad say the things its critics claim? I add all the "reportedlys" to this because I happened to be working at an NBC affiliate when Donald Wildmon, a conservative clergyman noted for protesting indecency and blasphemy in the media, launched a campaign against a planned miniseries on the life of Christ, threatening sponsors with a boycott because the story was blasphemous, based on wild and baseless rumors of what the script contained. Today, Zeffirelli's "Jesus of Nazareth" is a staple of Christian broadcasting around Easter.
But let's assume the advertisement is what it is said to be: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother saying how glad they are that she didn't choose to have an abortion when she was pregnant with him. I don't see how this ad is less controversial than an ad from the UCC saying, "All people are welcome here" or an ad for a dating service that suggests that gay couples kiss when they are happy. No more controversial, but also no less. And thus the question of why CBS is airing the ad deserves to be asked, and the question of fairness answered.
I would go farther and say that I approve of boycotts as a way of expressing displeasure, and, if people want to write to other Super Bowl sponsors and express their anger, individually or collectively, I would encourage them to do so.
The comments section of the above-linked article on HuffPost contains threats by a number of outraged readers to not watch the game. I strongly dislike reading these comments because I kind of like to cherish the notion that liberals enjoy some intellectual advantage over conservatives. This "that'll show'em" response makes it impossible for me to hold onto an attractive idea which I already knew wasn't true.
Yeah, don't watch their damn Super Bowl. That'll show'em!
But ... that'll show who?
Small gestures matter, even if they are only personal ones. But they have to carry some weight, however light. I carry on my own personal boycott of Arizona Iced Tea and its affiliated products, because they had proposed bringing out "Crazy Horse Malt Liquor" over the protests of his family, who asked them not to use the name, noting the damage alcohol has done to Indians, and, in particular, the staunch temperance views that their famous ancestor had held. The proposal fizzled anyway, but I'm not buying their damned drinks. Now, I don't think that's going to cause any comment in the board room at Arizona Iced Tea because (A) I haven't told them and (B) my dollar a month canned beverage habit isn't going to nudge their P/L by a whole lot one way or t'other. Still, it's money they aren't getting from me and to hell with'em.
Let me just say that nobody who believes that is in any position to make jokes about tin foil hats.
If you don't want to watch the game, don't watch. But don't claim you're making a statement, because you are not costing CBS a single ratings point or a single penny of revenue. You are not having an impact on Focus on the Family. You are not advancing the cause of women's right to privacy or to control of their bodies.
You are simply having a very private, very quiet hissy fit that will have no possible effect on anyone except, perhaps, those who have to hear about it at the office. Either do something or do nothing, but don't be silly.
And, finally, for those who wonder where God stands on all this, I submit this Owen Dunne cartoon, which ran in January, 2000, after the Rams won the Super Bowl over the Titans in a squeaker. (Click on it for a more readable size.) Of course, we all know that, if God doesn't give the New Orleans Saints a victory, it means He really did strike down the city as divine punishment for the pro-choice policies of America, just like Pat Robertson said.