Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Poll THIS.

I am not, I repeat, not a political cartoonist. But sometimes the line between politics and satire get pretty darn blurred. Like, when there's a really major election coming up...
As far as I can tell, our political process in the US now consists of people who have various levels of skill in manipulating their public personas, and in destroying the public personas of others. This is done using this thing called media, which is a bunch of people who want to sell advertising by getting lots of attention.
So here's how you play: You position yourself as an Interesting Public Person, otherwise known as Someone Who Can Attract A Lot Of Attention, then the media follow you around. Then you make people you don't like Interesting by saying Interesting Bad Things about them. Then the media follow that around too. Whoever does this the best and at the right times wins something called an Election. But before that, there are the Polls.
Polls are where the media attract Attention by counting things about Interesting Public People. They are supposed to be newsworthy because they tell us how the Voters are Feeling. About something or someone. But actually, they are just another way to keep the Interesting Stories going that attract that Attention the media need to make money.
I am fascinated by how newspapers and TV news and other news outlets subtly tell a "story" through their use of headlines, photos and video. Got something unflattering to say about a candidate? Show an unflattering photo. Maybe a sneer or a funky chin angle. Trying to show Controversy (since that's always Interesting?) Juxtapose two stills of the two supposedly warring parties facing toward one another, with angry looks on their faces. Never mind that the pictures were taken on different days, for different reasons, of different people. Tell the Story! Play into the Script! Because that's how you get Attention and Money.
This is big big business for the media, who need the Attention/Advertising, and the Personas, who need to raise money and win and run the world. Or their corner of it.
And frankly, it looks like that's about all that's left of the political process. The only time an issue is brought up is as fodder for The Story, for the Interesting People to play out their Narrative in the media.
And don't even get me started on voting blocs. You know, the Soccer Moms, the Unmarried Women, the Boomers, the Gen X- or Y- or whatevers, all that. People have universal needs. They need food, shelter, love. They are not voting blocs. They do not swing elections en masse. This is just another way to tell an Interesting Story and attract Attention. And make Money.
Until us dumb ol' people out there slogging through our workdays and stuff begin to insist that we have more in common with our fellow voters than not (boring, no conflict there, not gonna play in the media) and that we'd like some Real Problems Solved, please, and no, I don't want to submit some stupid question on YouTube so the media can go off on how the Internets are affecting politics or whatever Narrative, I'd just like people to be able to get healthcare, thanks, we're gonna be stuck with this Attention Economy.
And it has nothing to do with solving problems. It's an Attention Economy, not a government. It's about Winning, not about solving problems. Solving things is boring. Controversy is interesting. It sells media.
So next time you're wondering what the hell happened to our electoral process and why it has nothing to do with anything relevant, just follow the money. 'Cause if it sells advertising, it'll be part of the Big Story. If not, it won't.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Share! Share! Share!

Hey, see that little envelope icon at the bottom of each post?
That lets you email an entry to someone.
So if you see a cartooon you like, send it to someone you like.
Maybe somebody is having a rough day and you'd like to lighten the load a little.
Anyway, feel free to send and send!
It is excellent karma to do so.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Rock On.

Every piece of music, or art, or writing that you see in your daily travels originated somewhere, probably as an idea in someone's head or a doodle or a snippet of music or a lyric. It's really a very personal process, most of the time. Putting your creative self out there is taking a risk.
One of those risks is having your really successful song turned into background music for when people are picking out shredded mozzarella cheese or frozen pizza.
I think about this every time I go to the grocery store. On the one hand, shoot, your song is so well-known that it's literally everywhere. On the other hand, it's gotta be painful to hear your ballad done in one of those soft grocery-store-music flute arrangements. Ouch.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Ha Ha Haaa!!

Recently a company notified me that there had been a security breach and names and passwords had been stolen for all of their customers. So they suggested that we all go out and change our passwords on everything we've ever done on the Internet in our whole life. Neat.
So I went out and mucked around with all my passwords - the ones that I know I have, anyway, and now I'm pretty confused. Confused, but secure, darnit! Even from myself.
A while back, I had a credit card number get stolen. I knew this because all of a sudden my statement showed up with charges for all these toll roads. In Spain.
My first thought was, I'd kinda like to be driving on a toll road in Spain. I've gotta do that sometime. I was kind of envious of whoever this person was, flitting about Spain doing crimes with people's credit card numbers.
Anyway, on another random note, watch this video if you've ever sat through a PowerPoint presentation. It's worth it. The question/answer part at the end is the best.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Get a Bag. Get a Bunch!

Okay, I got my grocery bags today. They are bigger than I expected, yay! And they are machine washable which is very cool when you're getting groceries 'cause we all know that insides of grocery bags get a little icky with yogurt and raspberry juice and whatnot.

And I of course can't help pointing out what a great gift these are, especially if you're trying to convince some relative of yours to please just change this one habit 'cause it's really not that hard, especially since they've now got this handy bag which you just so thoughtfully gave them. See?

So, have at it! And while you're at it, let me know if you think of any other products that would look fabulous festooned with Brainwaves stuff.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Stop It!

Some years ago I was in this meeting with this perfectly nice lady, and about halfway through she took off her glasses and proceeded to lick them clean.
Someone I know just had the exact same experience in a meeting this week.
So I've got to do this for public service purposes... if you are one of those people who licks your glasses clean in meetings, stop. Cease. Put your tongue away. Put your glasses away. Keep those things apart. Please.
This is one of the major reasons I continued cartooning through all my years in corporate crazy-land: moments like this. I mean, you can at least hope that one of those lens-lickers out there will see the cartoon and maybe think, "Hey, that's gross. I think I won't do that any more." If I can reform just one of these people, I will have done my job.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Angry Legos

This cartoon warms my heart - first, because we are a total Lego household. We just got the big castle with the attacking skeleton-guys and the really cool dragon.
Secondly, this was my 1,000th cartoon. That was a while ago, since by now I've inked over 1,500, but that was a pretty cool milestone.
I'm kind of superstitious about what cartoons or what topics end up as what number of cartoon. Well, maybe not superstitious, but I do kind of make note and think about it. So I thought it was kind of nice that number 1,000 was about Legos. Angry Legos, Legos without beer, but Legos nonetheless.
We're off to run around in the redwoods for a couple of days... see you after Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Take a Pill

Doesn't it seem that someone should market an all-purpose sugar pill?
Or maybe they do already, and we just don't know if it's the one that supposedly causes dry mouth or nausea or um... embarrassing sexual side effects...
Maybe they could call it the "Take a Pill Pill," and the tagline could be "For when you just feel like you ought to be taking something."
I also find it interesting that in those drug ads on TV, they always juxtapose the disturbing list of side effects with shots of happy people running in a field, or holding hands on the beach, or whatever. They know the images will supercede the words in your TV-viewing brain. But if you sit back and watch, it's pretty funny - like they're happy about bowel dysfunction or erections that last more than 4 hours.
La la la! Come run in the field anyway! Cue music.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Me on Tee Vee: Whee!

Well that was fun! The segment came out really well and the kids did great. Those Channel 7 people sure know what they are doing. Anyway, I'll post a link to the video clip when they put it up on the website... fun!

Here's the page about the segment where I think the video will live once they load it:


Monday, November 5, 2007

Me on Tee Vee! November 6th!

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm going to be on a show called "The View From The Bay" on Channel 7 on Tuesday November 6th - it's at 3pm...

I talk about cartooning, and teaching kids, and stuff -- I haven't seen the segment, but hopefully it'll be pretty fun. The kids were pretty funny. They enjoyed yelling into the microphone attached to my shirt.

So, check it out!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Big Thoughts About Little Drawings: Hipness

Whenever I'm out and about, I can't help but wonder about every person I see - where are they going? What are they thinking about? And, how did they end up wearing that particular outfit? Was it an accident, or maybe a quirk of the laundry, or perhaps a very carefully considered statement?
What I have noticed is, actual coolness and the ability to dress yourself are not directly related. I have met more unassuming-looking (or even nerdy) people who have done more fabulous stuff with their lives to make this point a hundred times over.
So, here's to all those fashion-challenged peoople out there who are saving the world without looking good doing it.

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