“Too soon” in this cartoon is accurate and it’s not.
Editors are word people. Most cartoonists prefer as few words as possible. Yes, even me. While a cartoonist believes the best cartoon is one without any words (this is true), an editor will sometimes suggest, or demand, that there be more text and labels. From my experience, this isn’t always a big deal and it’s just something cartoonists and editors don’t see in the same way. A cartoonist should be able to explain to the editor why his suggestion doesn’t help the cartoon and he should also be able to listen to the editor just in case his suggestion actually does improve the cartoon. Most of all, you need to respect what’s being offered.
But the other area where cartoonists and editors differ is on “too soon.” Often when there is a tragedy, especially one that involves a death, editors will say “too soon,” unless they want you to do a memorial type of cartoon. These are necessary at times but honestly, they’re usually not good cartoons. There are exceptions to this but crying Uncle Sams, Statues of Liberty, or weeping bald eagles suck. But when an editor says “too soon,” what he really means is never. Most cartoonists don’t do “too soon.”
Even readers will yell at me that a cartoon is “too soon.” Those readers may not know me well enough because I don’t really do too soon. I don’t worry that much about negative reader reaction, especially if I feel I’m saying something I believe needs to be said. I stand behind my work. Also, I’ll take another shot tomorrow. If you don’t like me today, maybe you’ll like me tomorrow.
9/11 was definitely a too soon situation when it was too soon. But that kind of dragged on. In fact, it’s still dragging.
There is so much to reflect on with 9/11. There are so many details and aspects of it. And when I saw there was a new documentary on Netflix on 9/11, I didn’t really wanna watch. When I see the previews for all the upcoming 9/11 specials, they’re telling what time I don’t want to watch my TV. I don’t really wanna live through that again. When I talked to one of my copyeditors this morning, she thought this cartoon was too light for the subject and said she didn’t want to watch the documentary. Another cartoonist has already commented on the cartoon with “yikes!”. Maybe this is the wrong cartoon for the 20th anniversary. I had another idea that was much more insightful and sophisticated, but it had a lot of words and panels. And I kinda wanted to capture the “too soon” part of this. Even my copyeditor who thought this was the wrong cartoon said she can relate to the “too soon” part since she did work for newspapers.
Lately, I’ve been getting into some of the documentaries on Netflix. Check out Cocaine Cowboys. How To Be A Tyrant was entertaining but more like Cliff Nights on fascist history. I watched Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster, but fast-forwarded through the middle of it because man, Metallica is whiny. I’ve watched a few episodes of Fear City on the New York mafia in the 70s (it’s good, even with Rudy Giuliani in it). I’ve watched a few episodes of Toughest Prisons (some are hard to watch). I’ve watched every one of the creations of classic movies from the 80s and 90s, and I don’t even like Dirty Dancing. There’s a documentary on video games. I started to watch the one on Jeffrey Epstein but honestly, I had a hard time with all the icky details. It’s weird I can watch Evil Genius, where a guy gets his head blown off, but I can’t watch things about pedophiles.
And when I saw the preview for the 9/11 documentary, I thought it was probably something put together really well, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch it. So I started watching it. I got halfway through the first episode (they’re in installments) when my internet went out. My internet went out because Cox sucks. Since I have internet TV, and no cable, I couldn’t watch it. When my internet was finally restored, I wasn’t in the mood any more. I had to build myself up to put it on the first time. But I do plan to finish it. I think I probably should go through it again. But, I don’t want to watch all the memorials. Is it still too soon?
I have a really good friend who was born right before 9/11 and it intrigues me that she doesn’t know a world before 9/11. Perhaps a documentary for her will be on that. I wonder how she feels about watching stuff on 9/11 now. It’s not as much reliving for her as it is is for me and you. I’m going to ask her about that.
For me to watch a documentary on 9/11, it’s to remember that day and learn behind-the-scenes stuff. Or maybe it’s more for the personal stories of survivors. But I haven’t learned anything new from this one yet. Perhaps this documentary will ask hard questions. Why haven’t I learned anything from this documentary yet? Because I was there. I remember what I was doing when it happened. I remember that entire day. It’s a day I don’t want to relive.
Since I started this blog, I got three more comments on this cartoon on Facebook. And they’re all negative. So now I don’t know how to feel about it because I don’t know if the negativity is for the right or wrong reasons.
But then again, maybe the negative comments (all from friends and supporters) kinda proves the point of this cartoon.
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