Dead Conspiracies


I’m kinda hard to offend, but it’s possible. The kind of things that offend me is bullshit, “fake” news, and conspiracy theories. I can also be offended while also amused by a conservative’s lack of any sense of irony. I was offended this morning when a couple of readers at GoComics accused me of not doing research with my “Let’s go Brandon” cartoon. They pointed out that I had Biden at a world summit with Putin, but Putin didn’t go to the climate summit. I know that which is why I didn’t put the name of the summit in the cartoon. It’s called “creative license.” But what offended me is being accused of not researching when I’m pretty confident I do it more than most cartoonists.

I believe most of my colleagues research before they draw. When I say “research,” I mean they actually read an article on the subject which often leads to reading another article and then another, in addition to watching cable news coverage of the subject. I also get the impression some of my colleagues only read the headlines, and I’m not just talking about conservatives here. There’s a couple of guys out there who I’m embarrassed for their shoddiness and lack of knowledge on the issues. And then, there are the cartoonists who get all their information ONLY from conservative media. Today, for example, several goose-stepping cartoonists are doing cartoons on Biden paying immigrants $450, which shows they’re only reading Breitbart, Daily Caller, and being told what to draw by Tucker.

This is my way of telling you that I researched the Dead Kennedys. But, I didn’t research enough.

I’m a huge music fan. I play guitar. I write songs (or at least I used to). I’ve been in bands and I’ve even made an album. I own more guitars than I need but not as many as I want. I love music. I rarely draw a cartoon without some music playing. I love music.

There’s diversity in my taste. I love the Beatles and the Stones (Beatles are better). I like some Elvis but am more intrigued by the cult of Elvis than the music he didn’t write. I like Creedence. I loved Kiss when I was a kid, but now realize they’re not a good band and can barely tolerate them today. I like some classic rock and 80s hair metal but I only listen to it now and then as after I do listen to it, I don’t want to hear it again for a long time. I’ve heard enough Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zepellin that I never have to listen to either ever again. I don’t like country music but there are a few country songs I do like. I like some rap. I think Eminem, Ludicrous, and Jay-Z are geniuses. When I listen to Taylor Swift’s Folklore album, I think she must have an IQ of 1,000. But, I never really got into punk rock.

I like punk rock-inspired stuff, like the Pixies and Nirvana. I love the entire early-90s Seattle sound, but Pearl Jam is NOT punk rock. For me, the true predecessors to punk rock are The Kinks and very early Who (“I can’t explain” is punk, baby. So is “Lola.” C’mon he’s singing about a transvestite in 1970). Most of the music I like has pop in it. I like a catchy riff and a hook. That’s why I never really got into bands like the Dead Kennedys. While the Ramones and The Clash have hooks, which are poppy, DK does not. Nirvana is full of pop and one of my very favorite bands, though I never have to listen to “Smells like Teen Spirit” ever again. By the way, the Grateful Dead and Phish SUCK!!!

Sorry, I did it again. I took a while to get the major point. The point is, I researched this cartoon. I have always been familiar with DK, as in, I knew they existed. I knew they were from the 80s. I could recognize the logo, but I didn’t know much about them. So, I researched, mostly to see if they are still around. They are but not in the original formation.

By the way, Quiet Riot is touring again, with only one original member. That’s not Quiet Riot. That’s a cover band. So, how many original members are left in the Dead Kennedys. I don’t know. I pretty much stopped reading after I learned they are from California, still together, and have a black drummer. Since I drew it, I’m so glad I looked that up. But I didn’t look up any names. So when a reader on Facebook commented on this cartoon, “Jello would approve,” I blew my punk rock street cred by asking, “What?”

Jello Biafra is the former lead singer and a founding member of the Dead Kennedys. See? Another band touring without its original lead singer. I did not know that. So OK, build my gallows high. I don’t know a lot about some iconic punk bands. However, I have always believed, even without listening to them beyond the point of realizing I don’t like their music, that the name “Dead Kennedys,” while offensive (as it should be), is one of the greatest band names ever. Punk to me is like bluegrass. I can appreciate it without actually liking it. You really shouldn’t have street cred for liking horrible music.

I like the ethos of punk rock but I don’t like music that’s just “bam bam bam bam.” I don’t get a lot out of that but I do appreciate that playing fast takes a lot of skill for a band to perfect. If the Clash is punk, then I like punk…somewhat. The Clash is overrated. How in the hell is “Rock the Casbah” a punk song? Mostly, they bore me. The Ramones only have about three good songs. I have a friend who was in a slightly famous punk band in the 80s and 90s, and every time I hear him sing, I know that’s not his real voice. He sings in some sort of fake British-inspired accent which makes him come off as a tool. He even speaks in it between songs. That doesn’t kick ass to me. Soundgarden kicks ass.

Often, it seems to me that the punk label is only used as an excuse for the band not being able to play their instruments.

When I kinda rebelled at The Free Lance-Star (liberal cartoonist at a conservative newspaper, editor tried to fire me, I was on probation, got screamed at often, and while being paid to express myself, was told not to really express myself), I wanted my cartoons to kinda be the punk rock of political cartooning. Don’t laugh. I realize I’m not there, but I’m not the Nickelback of cartooning either (but I know who is). I think I’m more Seattle and underground New York (between Soundgarden and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). If my cartoons were music, they’d only have three chords but a lot of change-ups. There would be breaks and restarts that catch you off guard. There would be angry political statements in the lyrics. And, they wouldn’t be nearly as successful as other cartoons, but the followers (my readers) would have to be unique to appreciate them. This is why I’m not Nirvana. They were successful. Basically, I am recording in my garage.

But, what is this cartoon about? It’s about Qanon, the cult that pushes stupid conspiracy theories like there’s a deep state of satanic worshipping baby eaters. Q was behind the Pizzagate shit. They’re big advocates of the Big Lie with a bunch of them being a part of the Trump insurrection. They’re a racist group of idiots and believe Trump will be reinstated. A lot of them believe Trump will be reinstated and make John F Kennedy Jr his vice-president.

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Hasn’t JFK Jr been dead for the past two decades?” Yes. JFK Jr died in 1999. He’s still dead. But the Q cult, which the FBI has labeled a “terrorist threat,” gathered in Dallas, where his father was assassinated in 1963, to wait for his return.

These motherfuckers were literally waiting on the Great Pumpkin. It’s really getting hard to cartoon this shit. I imagine if waiting for JFK Jr to arrive, and instead, all they got was Don Jr, that the crowd would be as disappointed as Sally when instead of the Great Pumpkin, all she got to see was a beagle. Though, I hate to compare a beagle to Don Jr. No, Don Jr wasn’t there…just in my imagination.

The Qnuts thought JFK Jr was going to show up at 12:30 PM on November 2 (I don’t know why that date was because he died on November 22. See? I research). At that time, they all recited the Pledge of Allegiance while decked out in all sorts of Trump merchandise, which you can find available on the Trump store website. Do you need a box of six pencils for $20.00? No? Why do you hate America?

Spoiler alert: JRK Jr did not show up.

The crowd waited for an hour because no one knew if he was just going to magically appear, come down from the heavens, or arrive in an Uber. Maybe he was stuck in traffic. He probably wouldn’t want to take a plane (too soon?). Some in the crowd waited and waited, but it eventually drifted away. But, maybe there are some still there. Has anyone checked on Linus?

Don’t lose faith in Qanon and its ability to invent new conspiracy theories. They had a backup premonition. JFK Jr would appear later that night…at a Rolling Stones concert. If you were going to make a stupid crazy prediction involving the deceased showing up at a Stones concert, why not predict Charlie Watts is back on the skins? If JFK Jr was going to show up at a concert, I think Dead Kennedys would be more appropriate. I did mention that Jello has been replaced.

Jared Holt, who researches domestic extremism for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, said, “Even though this event is ripe for mockery, and I think people should allow themselves to laugh, I think we need to reconcile with the fact that hundreds of people turn out for a celebrity who has been dead for two decades.

“What drove them out to the streets is a kind of a representation of a broader sickness.”

That’s the danger. If you’re so far gone into the sickness to travel across the country to wait for dead celebrities to show up…and serve Donald Trump, then you’re sick enough to try to overthrow the government to install a fascist cult leader as dictator. You may even be sick enough to kill.

But believing JFK Jr is going to arrive is just as sick as believing Donald Trump won the election, that it was stolen from him, and that he will be reinstated.

Holt says we should recognize how dangerous these people are, but we should still mock them. That’s what I do.

I mock bad politicians…and bad music. OK, two more things that offend me.

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  1. I actually had someone I USED TO email with tell me over a year ago that this was going to happen. And I don’t know which is more unlikely: JFK Jr (and/or JFK, who was also supposed to appear) coming back from the dead, OR that either of them would be a rethuglican.

    I have a theory that somewhere, in someone’s mom’s basement, a group of guys (isn’t always guys?) are making this sh*t up just to see how gullible these folks are, and what kind of results they can get out of this . . . they’re probably yukkin’ it up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is a rumor that the person representing themselves as Q is a liberal dem attempting to make these fools appear even more foolish as they already appear. If that’s true, I’m all for this!


      1. I disagree. Some of the things Q-pers do are on the level of amusing antics and it’s easy to laugh, but a lot of their activities and beliefs have the potential for great danger. What if the guy who took his rifle to the pizza place had gone in there shooting? How many Marjorie Traitor-Greenes, David Cawthorns and Lorena Boeberts do we need in Congress? Are you going to be all for this when they start killing for their cause?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t say you were in favor of killing anyone, so don’t twist the meaning of my post. Some of the Q-nuts are genuinely disturbed, and encouraging them in any way is risky and is the equivalent of abetting whatever they do. Almost every day, the Qongress-Qs are encouraging their catchfarts with thinly veiled incitements to violence.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I wasn’t encouraging anyone. What’s your beef? Also, do you really think that these Q fucks are bothering to read anything on this thread? Stop now before you start looking like a bigger idiot.


  2. I don’t know enough about punk and grunge — except that I don’t like either — to be upset or happy you think two of my favourite bands from the 60’s and 70s are related to them — the Kinks were Mods and the Who were definitely rockers, though not necessarily Rockers. No matter, this post is about the most roundabout bit of speechifying I have ever seen you partake in, and by the end I was not sure if you wanted JFK Jr to show up in Dallas or not.
    I don’t think I ever knowingly heard a Dead Kennedys song (Did they even record?) though yes, I too have heard of them. I guess if I listen to you, Clay, I should not want to hear a Dead Kennedys’ song, though I never let anyone else make up my mind for me. Personal experience and taste has to count for something, doesn’t it?
    Anyway, fun read, I think. Without it I never would have known their drummer was Black –did you know the drummer for the Barbarians had no hands? “Are You a Boy Or Ar You a Girl” — or that Qanon was garage-based, like The Kingsmen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just hope next time they decide to wait for dead people to show up, the do it again where I can watch them on a webcam, drink mulled wine and relentlessly mock like I did the other day…it was fun! 🍷

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like your work so much, clay. But why the gratuitous swipe at the grateful dead, who were so much better then either skynyrd or zep could have ever hoped to be

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Damn, I dislike WordPress, but here we go again:

      Grateful Dead, so much better than Zep!?


      You must be joking 🤣


  5. Just imagine my eyes are rolling while I say this…”Nice to see Fredericksburg still has intelligent editors!”


  6. You type about doing your research and usually you’re spot on, but…Fact: There are NO original members in Quiet Riot (QR) now. You may have believed that Rudy Sarzo is an original member because he played bass on most of the tracks on their multi-platinum 3rd album Metal Health. In reality, Chuck Wright was the original bass player when they opted to resurrect the QR name. They had issues with using QR as their name again because QR was Randy Rhoads’ band. When Randy left to join Ozzy’s band, they felt that the name wasn’t appropriate anymore. But when management gave them only 2 choices for names to use, they decided that QR was a much better choice than the other name. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Randy’s guitar playing Clay, but he was (R.I.P.) a fukin genius…and I NEVER use that word lightly. Also, the Dead Kennedys beat the shit out of The Clash, Ramones (not THE Ramones) and Pearl (Ugh!) Jam on their most stellar days. Oh, and a big FUCK OFF to the QAssshole crowd. DC out


      1. It doesn’t really matter since Quiet Riot sucks. And yes, I’m familiar with Randy Rhoads. I was there. Also, how dare you How dare YOU!!!! Pearl Jam is a band with actual songs. They shouldn’t even be compared to the Dead Kennedys. Ugh. Don’t make me come down there.


      2. For some reason I can’t reply to your reply directly. Damn WordPress. Thanks for your response! And, yes, I understand that you were there when Randy was blazing a trail for many an imitator and not near as gifted guitarist to try and be him; I just get the impression that you’re not much of a metal/hard rock guy. I apologize that if assumptions I made were out of line. Also, you probably should come to Arizona and spend some time here right now. The weather is beyond awesome! Take care and keep up the killer work! Sincerely…me!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a metal and hard rock guy in the 80s but I grew out of it. I still like some of it but I burn out on it quickly. I honestly wasn’t aware of Randy until he died, and then I learned a lot and listened to him. He was amazing. He was already technically better than the rest, but he had something none of them had which was a background and love for classical guitar playing, which he incorporated into his songs with Ozzy. While others could copy him, they couldn’t bring in that background. But I was a fan of Eddie Van Halen and Billy Gibbons. Those guys were original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great response! I couldn’t have said it better. So, when are you coming to AZ? When you do, choose Tucson or any surrounding Pima County town. We don’t have the conservative fucknut disease that the rest of this state prides itself in. I would compare where I live to living in the oasis branded as San Antonio. I hope to see you soon 😉


      1. Maybe I was thinking of Austin, TX? Wherever SXSW takes place. I understand that they don’t have as much of a hard on for abortion restrictions in those parts. Talk about major contradictions all within one measly sentence.


  8. If I was going to Arizona, it would be in the winter. And I know it can get cold there. I was stranded on the side of the road with my future wife about 30 miles outside of Phoenix in a busted-down car on New Years Day, 1988. We were stuck there for about 12 hours. I peed on a cactus.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It even gets cold in Yuma, AZ (‘The Armpit of the USA’) – I actually had to buy gloves whilst I was there one winter for a few weeks. And the next time I was there, it was 120 degrees in May.

    Liked by 1 person

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