I’ll be honest. I used to do these kinds of crappy cartoons. In my case, it was a compromise with my editor. I’d do the anti-climate change cartoon and go home early, and the next day he had to leave me alone to do whatever I wanted. Of course, he didn’t know that but I kinda trained him that way. It was how I justified it to myself. Then something happened. I got bored.
I got bored with the way I was working. I spent the majority of my career trying to think like a political cartoonist which influenced me to race my cartooning colleagues to be the first with commonly used analogies, like sinking ships, mazes, Lucy holding the football, people going over cliffs and ledges. I decided to change the way I approached my job which meant I had to change the way I thought. I spent nearly twenty years training my brain to think like other cartoonists. From that point, I was going to train it to think differently. I’m still training it. That was around 2009. But it meant no more clichés and definitely no more cartoons I didn’t really believe in. The clichéd weather cartoons were gone.
I’m still bored. Not of my work but of the entire genre of crapping out clichés. I think the best political cartoons in history are being produced in this era, and by just a few cartoonists. The rest, meh. I’m just as tough on myself. At the end of the year when I have to go through every cartoon over the past 365 days, I end up cringing looking at my own work. Then I get bored with my work all over again.
The majority of cartoonists are still rushing to be the first with the lame cliché. Liberal cartoonists do it too. Over the past month, I’ve seen about a dozen cartoons each of Trump boxed in a wall and as Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. Several cartoonists have done both of those analogies. The worst part of all of this is that the newspaper industry supports this lazy tripe. If you look at any of the weekend roundups of the nation’s political cartoonists in The Washington Post, USA Today, or Politico, you will see the clichés every single time. Editors love them. I’m not really worried about pissing off those editors because they rarely run me anyway.
And as bad as liberal cartoonists can be about it, I find the conservative cartoonists much more egregious in this area.
There is not a conservative cartoonist who hasn’t drawn Elizabeth Warren in Native-American garb and at least 39 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cartoons since the election. They all got the Venezuela/socialism talking point. And of course, they all have to do the Climate-change-doesn’t-exist-because-it’s-cold-outside cartoons. They do those every year. You would think after thirty or forty years in the business they would understand there is a difference between climate and weather.
Sure, the president of the United States doesn’t understand the difference between climate and weather, but he also thinks wheels are older than walls. Here’s a tip; don’t get your talking points from a guy who doesn’t know the differences between “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” Don’t believe me? Go look at yesterday’s Trump tweets.
I’d like to say, at least these conservative cartoonists were able to take a day off from drawing about Ocasio-Cortez in order to draw their yearly anti-climate change cartoons except this morning, I’ve seen two that included her. Seriously.
Did I tell you I get bored with my industry?
Watch me draw.