February 10, 2006

Undercover update from CPAC

A member of the Log Cabin Republicans tears Exodus International and the Family Research Council a new one.

As noted before, the full coverage of CPAC is here.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:54 PM

Perhaps they should have their own water fountains, too

Ohio legislators: don't let the children touch teh gay.

Christ on a crutch.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:55 AM

February 9, 2006

"God bless Denmark?"

It's that wonderful time of year again... that's right, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And how could the event go on without, once again, a brave new generation of Campus Progress undercover operatives blogging about the whole event from inside the convention?

A few of my favorite bits so far:

Chris Simcox, president of the infamous gun-toting Minutemen, tried to convince us that all he really cares about is helping immigrants--his organization's armed vigilante defense of the Mexican border is really an effort to help Mexican families, etc. Fortunately, I've not been here long enough to buy that, nor have I been brainwashed enough yet to believe his claim that "there are WMDs coming across [American] borders every night." Keep trying, Chris! Maybe sometime soon this "Conservative Pride" sticker will start seeping into my skin and I'll suddenly recognize the need to deport the 2 million some immigrants working in the US.

We headed back to the main speakers room and struggled for seats--which was confusing because earlier they were all over the place. I checked my schedule and realized why--The Right Honorable Rick Santorum was set to speak. Not one to miss a bona fide sales pitch of crazy, I found a cozy spot on the floor and hunkered down. What followed was his heartwarming speech on the importance of family values and a story about the cold-heartedness of Sen. Hilary Clinton (who, coincidentally, was quite the high-profile target today), which the crowd loved. Finally, he made what was perhaps my favorite part of his speech. Sen. Santorum began talking about the importance of children being raised by "stable" families. A "stable" family, he argued, is one that included, among other things, the sanctity of marriage in the form of a union between a man and a woman. I was a little perplexed at this point because I didn't know that gay marriage had anything to do with the 50% divorce rate in this country.

We arrived to the impassioned words of Congressman Tom Tancredo, who was getting fairly riled up over immigration and the tendency of America to do things to appease the international community and not our best interests, quipping "And by the way--GOD BLESS DENMARK." Indeed.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:37 PM

The doublethink navy forges ahead

Admiral McDipshit:

Bush went to King's funeral because of the stature of her life and the work she accomplished during it. Again, he "reached out" -- and what happened? The political leaders on the left turned the funeral into an embarrassing recapitulation of the Wellstone funeral, using the corpse of King as a soapbox to harangue a President who had simply come to pay his respects. Instead of focusing on a moment of unity, when people from all walks of life and political persuasions could meet and agree that Coretta Scott King had made a positive difference for America, they turned it into a partisan sniping show, with the ever-bitter Jimmy Carter making himself the center of attention, as always.

Some people never learn.

Umm... and exactly when was there some kind of concensus that's what happened at the Wellstone funeral?

It seems to me that the political underlings on the right turned the funeral into an embarrassing recapitulation of the Wellstone funeral, using the corpse of King as a soapbox to harangue the left who were respecting the political beliefs of the person they actually knew, unlike the person who just showed up after a lifetime of opposing everything they believed in. Three years ago, Bush announced- on Martin Luther King Day- that his administration would support a lawsuit challenging Affirmative Action.

Ah, yes, those ungrateful uppity negroes refusing to show President Bush respect after all he's done for them.

"Some people" know a lot more than you want them to, Cap'n.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:58 AM

February 8, 2006

As a white guy, did you just throw up right now?

The most disturbing part of the fake outrage over Coretta Scott King's funeral is the absurdist mentality of right-wingers on black outrage. I can't think of anything more insulting to an entire race of people than acting as if they'll change their minds by simply telling them they're not feeling the way someone wants them to.

I know, despite CNN's attempts to the contrary, that Rev. Lowery received a standing ovation for pointing out that there weren't any WMDs in Iraq, which is apparently outrageous because it's, well, true. However, I'm not a black person, so it's impossible and ludicrous for me to consider I know how black people "should feel" overall about the anti-Bush comments delivered yesterday.

You see, I'm not as lucky as Day by Day cartoonist Chris Muir, who has an imaginary black friend to tell him how outraged black people should be.

Let's analyze this strip, shall we? In the first panel, token liberal woman asks her black friend how, as a black man, he reacted to the funeral. Quickly, black friend shuns liberal woman and her petty liberal dividing of people by race and says that, nay, as an AMERICAN, Democrats ruined King's legacy by continuing to divide people.

And it's a good thing Muir had his character say that he doesn't see the issue as just a black man, since Muir doesn't have a goddamn clue what black people think about anything.

See, the problem Muir faces in his strip today is that most black people in America don't like the President. They don't support him, or his policies. So the first thing Muir has to do is pretend that actually isn't the case.

Thankfully, he has the power of setting up a perfect scenario in which his thoughts about black people won't be seen as pathetic and meritless as they truly are. If it wasn't for the character being black, the entire "gag" wouldn't have made any sense. It was necessary to have the black man say that all races should be outraged at partisanship.

Now, I noted above I'm a white guy so I can't tell how black guys think. But I can take a stab at how some white guys think. And with my experience in white ignorance, I'm pretty sure that whether he realizes it or not Chris Muir is too stupid to see the racism and irony in specifically choosing to have the black guy be the one to say that other people are being trying to use race as a political issue.

When I started writing this post, I was furious at Muir; now I'm just sad. It's depressing to me that he doesn't understand his racism. He doesn't realize he is; he'll never believe he was. Black people should be just as outraged as white people at the comments delivered at the funeral- not because he has any understanding of black people, but because the figment of his imagination told him so. And right-wing bloggers will chuckle at this one like all his other fabricated liberal-vs-conservative scenarios: oh, those silly, stupid black people! When will they smarten up like this imaginary conservative and realize how liberals are bad for them? Get it? It's funny!

And so we are left with Chris Muir, who if deserving of any credit it should be for his total mastery of creating straw men day after day (heh) to strengthen his opinion that liberals are intolerant and divisive. Since the trademark of the Right seems to be ending posts with faux-sincere "advice" for the opposite side, by all means allow me to return the favor and offer some helpful advice to right-wingers chortling at "their" cartoonist: if you're at the point when the most prominent black person you can put on your side of an issue is a fictional character in a white man's shitty webcomic, your authority on cultural unity escaped this planet's gravity quite some time ago.

Update: More on Muir's imaginary black friend from the ever-talented Jason Yungbluth. It's interesting to see how many strips Muir made where a black man was conveniently around to mock black liberals.

Second Update: Ampersand's remix. Beautiful.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:11 PM

Umm... yeah

I'm really sorry that pointing this out pisses off conservatives, and by that I mean I'm of course not, but I would tend to think that if you're actually concerned that the friends and family of a woman who fought for civil rights and peace and suffered government wiretapping would bring that up at her funeral, you shouldn't be surprised people at it would be upset with you after going to war, opposing civil rights, and ordering illegal government wiretaps.

But what do I know, I didn't know Coretta Scott King the way every conservative blogger on the internet did.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:01 PM

February 7, 2006

Purdy indeed

Casting the fear of human-like animals to the wind, go meet the brand-new Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

Between 'roos using laptops and baby pandas chugging beer, I think I've officially cornered the human/animal hybrid blog logo market.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:26 PM

A confession

Okay, in light of the whole Mohammed cartoon outrage issue, I want to confess something about my personal experiences with racism, racial stereotyping, and self-censorship in cartooning.

A few months back when Tom DeLay was indicted and everyone kept making that "you could indict a ham sandwich" line, I did a strip called "Ham Sandwich: a true crime story." The gag was all the criminal exploits of a ham sandwich. In one panel I talked about how the sandwich converted to Judaism in prison to avoid being killed because it wouldn't be Kosher.

Thinking back, I remembered that my original idea was to have the sandwich convert to Islam, and not be executed because it wouldn't have been Halal. I changed it because I was worried the stereotype of converting to Islam in prison was a slur against black prison convicts, or that I was suggesting people who converted to Islam were criminals. Looking back on it, I realize that probably makes no sense whatsoever.

So, yeah. There you have it: my personal experience with racial self-censorship in cartooning. I changed the religion of a sandwich.

Reading some editorial cartoon sites this morning, and observing the onslaught of self-righteous cartoonists who are all now sketching stereotypical Muslims in turbans carrying scimitars and lopping off heads, I realize I'm far from the line these guys have crossed, but for the sake of openness, there you go.

On the other hand, people meet me at shows and tell me their favorite character in the strip is the ghost of Adolf Hitler. So I really have no idea what passes for sensitivity in this business anymore.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:47 AM

February 6, 2006

Latest comic - "Stay safe with Huey™"

I had an immense amount of fun with this one, mainly because I got to make the comic in a somewhat unique way. Apologies to the non-existent masses of people out there who buy my originals, but there's no original for this strip. I actually designed it like the pamphlet/web page it means to spoof, assembling little bits of graphics from here and there into a final document. It wasn't exactly exciting, but a fun change nonetheless. Anime in-jokes didn't hurt the entertainment value, either. You can, however, buy as many full-color signed prints of this strip and any others as you want. In fact, that you have not done so I can only consider at this point a direct, personal insult.

I'm actually interested in the shelf life of this human-animal hybrid stuff for a more legitimate reason, though. As I've mentioned many times before on the site, I've been laying out ideas and sketching characters for a sort of short-story series/graphic novel/long form comic... thing. One of the story ideas actually revolves heavily around something like animal/human hybrid issues and the politics of synthetic genetics and stuff like that. Or, in a way that makes that sound not totally boring, I've been sketching giant humanoid robot cats. Some with swords. I'm a weird boy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:03 AM

February 5, 2006

Puppies and ice cream

Say, do you kids love contests? I know you do. Well the contest running right now on CampusProgress.org through Wednesday is a fun one: send in your best title for a Bush policy proposal- in other words, a great name that sounds like the exact opposite of what the policy actually does.

In the spirit of the contest, the winner will win the complete 4-volume set of the collected essays of George Orwell. Go crazy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:44 PM


From reader Jim Marfia, a bit from am upcoming Newsweek article:

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program.

During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen.
Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.

Guard the kitties, folks.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:39 PM