Note to my conservative friends: There is more than one use for the word “cocked.”
Back when I was a staff cartoonists I was always required to draw cartoons commemorating Christmas, Thanksgiving, Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and whatever else came up. I hated them. It was like approaching the drawing board with the mission “draw a bad cartoon today.”
There’s a lot to miss not being on staff at a newspaper. I miss the paycheck and benefits. I miss the people. I miss the arguments in the newsroom. I don’t miss the required pandering. My editor ran the same syndicated cartoon every year on Christmas Eve of Santa in his sleigh waving a newspaper with the headline “Santa visits Fredericksburg.” The cartoon had a blank spot where editors could paste the name of their town. I would argue with him every year to stop running the cartoon and ask “how many readers of our editorial page still believe in Santa Claus?” I stopped fighting him about it after a few years and just took the day off.
Since I don’t have editors cracking whips on me anymore then I’m not going to purposely draw bad cartoons. I’ll draw them and realize they’re bad later.
I’m not against using holidays as metaphors and analogies. They are current events. I do hate the tired cliches like sitting on Santa’s lap asking for stuff. I refuse to draw that cartoon ever again. Though back on my staff days, I’d save the lap analogy for a tough idea day in December when deadline was looming. It was always an easy out. Now I just try harder. Freedom and drawing your own ethical lines is expensive, but it’s kinda worth it.
I hope each and every single one of you has a happy holiday, Christmas, whatever you wanna call it. I don’t have any plans so I’ll probably be drawing cartoons.
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