I decided to take a week off from the Republican primaries and other assorted nonsense in order to address the pressing matter of "five-fingered" footwear. The other naked-themed items leapt out at me around the same time. I don't have a problem with minimalist shoes or other back-to-basics products, but I do find them curious cultural artifacts. Simplicity has major authenticity in this cluttered world. (Somewhat-related strip here.)
While researching this strip, I learned that Naked juices are owned by PepsiCo and Odwalla by Coca-Cola. It's like a high-end fruit drink proxy war!
I assume most people have heard about Mitt Romney's dog-on-car incident, especially now that even Newt Gingrich is attacking him over it, but to recap briefly: back in the '80s, Mitt stowed the family pooch in a carrier on the roof of the family station wagon for the duration of a 12-hour drive to Ontario. After several hours, the dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus, developed gastric distress that made itself evident on the windows of the station wagon. Mitt stopped at a gas station to hose down the dog and the car, and continued on his merry way, Seamus still riding aloft.
As I drew Mitt's bus, I got to thinking about the Romney campaign logo. I find the symbolism of these things fascinating. The Romney logo divides the "R" into red, white and blue stripes. It sort of looks like three people standing in a row, or an abstractly-shaped waving flag. But what I see most is an R within an R within an R: the rich protecting the rich protecting the rich.
Most people seemed to appreciate this week's cartoon, but I've noticed a couple comments elsewhere suggesting that I've been dishonest with my statement that more whites than blacks receive food stamps. These critics assert that because America's white population is significantly larger, a higher percentage of blacks receive nutrition assistance, and I'm a big fat liar for not presenting things this way. To which I say: these nitwits are totally missing the point.
It's no secret that poverty runs high among African-Americans due to a variety of historical factors, and I'm not trying to cover that up. Nor am I trying to pit racial demographics against one another. I'm simply pointing out that when you hear Republicans talking about people on food stamps, they tend to explicitly (or sometimes implicitly) refer to blacks, despite the fact that 5.15 million white households receive food stamps vs. 3.2 million African-American, as of 2009. The fact is, poverty is pretty diverse, and no one group should be singled out as "the food stamp people."
You'd think that decades in politics would knock the racist claptrap out of someone like Newt Gingrich, but, well, this is the GOP we're talking about. Instead, he just substitutes polite-sounding phrases like "African-American community" and "demand paychecks" for "those lazy blacks." How does one go about demanding a paycheck, anyway? I'd like to be able to do that, and have one show up. That would be cool.
The dialogue in the third panel refers to Ron Paul's Paranoid Kook Reports, which contained the theory that the LA riots only came to a halt because everyone went to pick up welfare checks. And right-wing noise machine poopshoveler Brent Bozell said on Fox News that Obama looked like a "skinny ghetto crackhead." Rick Santorum has also made similar comments to Newt's.
To be clear, my point here was not to pick on poor whites, but to criticize the singling out of one group when poverty cuts across multiple demographics. For data on food stamp usage, I looked at this USDA report (big PDF, via the ThinkProgress article linked above; page 75 has the breakdown) and this, which documents disproportionate rural usage, largely by children.
Tagg Romney recently tweeted this:
Above video via a Plum Line post about a conservative laid-off mill worker who says Romney (and Bain Capital) destroyed his life.
Three years ago around this time, I was asked to draw a comic for C-VILLE Weekly about events in the year ahead. At first it felt like I'd been asked to predict the future, and I thought it would be difficult. But after a bit of mulling, I found I could write an entire two-page comic addressing many of the "big" news stories of 2009 -- Obama's inauguration! The Star Trek reboot! The First Puppy! -- before the year even happened. It made me realize just how much news is formulaic. Not to diminish the importance of good journalism; on the contrary! It is the antidote to normalizing fluff.
So I decided to do a mini-version of my "predictive" comic, in a sense. Just remember it in November when you hear some pundit waxing triumphant about the American electoral process, which will most assuredly have sucked in a thousand ways, no matter who won.