October 11, 2007

Maryland calls! Tallyho!

Okay, folks, we're pretty much done for this week. If you want any further entertainment from me over the next few days, you'll just have to come visit me at the Small Press Expo and buy a copy of the new book.

If you're in the area, please give SPX a try. And be sure to vote for Junk in the Toaster and Other Brilliant Ideas from Some Guy With a Website in the "Debut Comic" category for the Ignatz Awards!

See some of you at the slideshow Thursday night as well! 7:30 PM at the Barnes & Noble Bethesda, 4801 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD. (One block from the Bethesda Red Line stop)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:25 PM

These writer types are a scream


LONDON - Doris Lessing pulled up in a black cab where a media horde was waiting Thursday in front of her leafy north London home. Reporters opened the door and told her she had won the Nobel Prize for literature, to which she responded: "Oh Christ! ... I couldn't care less."

Lessing later said she thought the cameras were there to film a television program. Vegetables peeked out from blue plastic bags she carried out of the cab.

"This has been going on for 30 years," she said, as reporters helped her with the bags.

"I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all, the whole lot, OK?" Lessing said, making her way through the crowd. "It's a royal flush."

"I'm sure you'd like some uplifting remarks," she added with a smile.

Lessing, who turns 88 this month, is the oldest winner of the literature prize. Although she is widely celebrated for "The Golden Notebook" and other works, she has received little attention in recent years and has been criticized as strident and eccentric.

Asked repeatedly if she was excited about the award, she held court from her doorstep and noted she had been in the running for the Nobel for decades.

"I can't say I'm overwhelmed with surprise," Lessing said. "I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off."

I'm guessing the remainder of the conversation involved neither the thanking of Jesus or predictions of trips to Disney theme parks.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:32 PM

October 10, 2007

Osama bin Malkin

I've been busy this week preparing for the Small Press Expo so I haven't really had the amount of time necessary to explain in complete detail just how contemptible Michelle Malkin is. I admire Ezra's challenge to Malkin to debate her on the actual merits of SCHIP. Ezra knows his policy, and far be it from me to think I could compete with his expertise on that field. But examining Malkin, as Ezra himself would likely concede, is really unlikely.

What amazes me about all of this is how, ultimately, we don't just call Malkin precisely what she is: a terrorist. Really, does one need to be a mass-murder to fit this description? So-called "left" lunatics from animal rights groups who smash windows and burn fur stores are terrorists without shedding a drop of blood.  No, clearly Malkin isn't responsible for ordering the death of 3,000 Americans (putting aside, of course, supporting a war that caused exactly that) and yet you really do wonder when that moment is going to come- when is Malkin going to make one of her coy, subtle references to knowing where someone lives, or posting their home address, or saying where they work- and then have one of her fanatics go off and go too far.

Last year, I was called twice on the phone by a screaming right-winger.  Both times it was 24 hours after writing a post about Malkin.  The second of these calls actually had the caller claiming he was Malkin's husband before hurling epithets at me and then hanging up- amusing if only for the fact that he used the wrong first name. To claim Malkin does not nurture and endorse a fan base ready to do all the dirty, nasty grunt work she desires so as to keep her own hands clean is laughable.

The difference then, I guess, between bin Laden and Malkin is that bin Laden is actually braver than her- he admits when he's out to hurt people.

And let's not dismiss the severity of that act- hurt. Michelle Malkin likes hurting people. She likes making students be victims of harassment; she enjoys bloggers losing their jobs; she giggles at the ability to vilify the parents of a brain-damaged child. In a just world, Child Services should be checking on her children to make sure they aren't being hurt, having an unstable lunatic with repeated visions of violence and inflicting suffering on others as a primary caregiver. Instead, she issues a fatwah against an American family for speaking against the faith.

Does that all sound a little familiar? That's the voice of a crippled, evil man in a cave somewhere in Central Asia, who fancies himself the "true" voice of Islam, and believes that he alone is the sole arbiter of what is just and good, and that by any means necessary, one must strike out against his enemies. And don't forget- every one who opposes him is a moonbat- I'm sorry, I meant infidel.

What makes it all so frightening? Malkin is ten times the terrorist bin Laden is. Her video manifestos aren't slipped through channels to press leaks- the press invites her on the air to scream death-to-America. She fancies herself an oppressed journalist the way bin Laden fancies himself an embattled holy man. "Journalism." My god. To be a real journalist- Jesus, to be a real human being- is to understand that calling what Malkin does "journalism" is as poisonous to the practice as bin Laden's rants are to what defines being a Muslim.

Malkin, hell-bent on destroying someone whose views conflicted with the ideology she wants to spread- this time around, a small child- did not commit anything an actual journalist would call "journalism." She didn't call the family and ask for an interview. She drove up to their house- to their house- and then declared on her weblog she "interviewed" the father's co-workers. That's not reporting a story. That's saying what a cowardly, evil monster like her really wants to get across- look, I know where you live. I know who your friends are. I can find you.

What Malkin did this week wasn't new, it was just slightly varied, just the way terrorists find a new weak spot in a security system to launch their attack. Over a year ago, she found a weak spot in a college student's address and posted it online... but of course, that doesn't mean you should go hurt them. Then she scoured Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan's blogs to talk about what horrible people she thought they were... but of course, that doesn't mean you should try to get them fired. Like any good terrorist, it's all about sending your deluded followers to do the dirty work.

I wonder what Malkin will say about the first person to go to jail for carrying out a mission for her. I wonder if she'll write to them in prison.

And all the while, she wraps her calls for "action" against the "enemies" of her personal philosophy acts of "journalism." She's just a messenger for the true faith, isn't she? Poor, poor, misunderstood Malkin.

Like any successful terrorist group- be it any angle from the IRA to al-Qaeda to the Michigan Militia to Hezbollah- Malkin realizes she requires sympathy. It's what they always say hours after the bodies begin to be pulled from the rubble, isn't it? "We're not the enemy, they made us do this." "Look at how we are oppressed." "They knew what they were supporting- they're fair game." "We will be heard." Like any other terrorist, if Malkin failed to cast herself as the victim then her extremism would have no support.

It's all well and good that we recognize things like Malkin as "assholes" and challenge them to debate us on issues, but that will truly be ineffective if it merely solidifies her among her base as the queen of martyrs. Suggesting you will defeat Malkin in a debate is as ludicrous as suggesting you'll defeat al-Qaeda in one. We defeat bin Laden by calling him illegitimate, and calling him dangerous, and accepting that everything to come out of his mouth is horrific, useless babble. And then- and this is key- we work to prove that his movement is wrong. We make him watch people embrace free speech. We make him fail to stop women from voting, or controlling their own bodies, or going to school.

We give every kid in America health care and watch the country not fall into socialism because of it.

We know what has to be done to stop madmen like bin Laden, and we don't need to link to his blog to get a counter-opinion. Until we start calling Malkin what she is, then each time we invite her on television- each time we consider her calls for jihad as a legitimate viewpoint- than we truly are doing nothing less than negotiating with terrorists.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:24 PM

October 8, 2007

The book's here!

The copies of the book just arrived from the printer, ready and waiting for SPX this weekend!

Junk in the Toaster and Other Brilliant Ideas from Some Guy With a Website is on the ballot for the Ignatz debut award category at SPX, where it will lose cripplingly to Bill Griffith. Nevertheless, PLEASE feel free to tell all your friends, family, mailing list readers, etc., that it's debuting at SPX and if you're attending, consider it during the voting process. Your humble cartoonist thanks you.

For the rest of you- a few of you have written about the book and getting yourself a copy, so here's some infromation that I hope will be helpful:

-The book is 150 pages, larger than all the other books I've made combined.
-Copies will be available for sale on the website either next week or the week after, depending on how many are sold at SPX and any potential need to order more copies.
-All books sold will be signed and sketched in by your truly.
-The cost of the book will be somewhere in the $12-14 range, plus shipping (probably another $2-3).

I don't really have any kind of "pre-order" mechanism in place, but given all that information, if you're interested in a copy, by all means send a quick e-mail to and I'll make a note of it so I know how many additional copies to have ready for sale. As always, please write to say you want to buy a copy only if you really, you know, mean it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:58 AM

"Flagged for context"

Latest comic - click here!

I was explaining to someone what The Silly Season meant, and I realize that all you need to do to describe it is mention last week's news cycle being wasted on whether or not Barack Obama wears a flag pin on his lapel. I thought it would be really funny to question the strength of other groups' values if they didn't respectively wave the symbolic banners of their own movements. Then I sat back and awaited the angry letters.

Buy some crap and join the list.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:13 AM