Betty


CjonesRGB01032022

Betty White defeated me.

If you’ve been here more than twice, you are probably aware that I don’t like what we call in the business “obituary cartoons.” And even when I do draw them, I try not to use the pearly gates or Heaven tropes. Even in a week with some very high-profile deaths, John Madden, Arch Bishop Desmond Tuto, and Harry Reid, I didn’t draw an obit cartoon. Though I did consider drawing one cartoon featuring all three of those people, I was in Washington, the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict had just come in, and I didn’t feel like doing it. But, you would have liked it.

You would have liked it because people like nice obit cartoons. I had a couple of editors in the past tell me they were their very favorite cartoons, which I found very disturbing but it’s indicative of editors in the newspaper business. They prefer nice and sweet over harsh and brutal. Readers like them too. I once had a widow call me the day after her husband died to thank me for the cartoon I drew on it (to be fair, she already knew me). That blew me away because with all the things going on around her on that day, she took a moment to call me.

But to me, I think these are the worst cartoons in the business. They’re not a real challenge to cartoonists and they don’t put a lot of thought into them. For example, they’ll often put atheists, Muslims, and Jews at the pearly gates. When I worked at newspapers, I learned that the nice and sweet Heaven/pearly gates tropes worked really well with local people. Those days were basically days off.

I once made a deal with Free Lance-Star editor that every time I had to “take the day off” to draw a nice non-irreverent cartoon, that I got to do a hard-hitting cartoon the next day without him hassling me about it. You know, my job. Once, upon seeing an obit cartoon I drew, my editor told me he liked it so much that he nearly had an orgasm, I replied with “I’m gonna go home now, take a shower with steel wool, and throw up several times.” That editor often freaked out.

However, obit cartoons have always been a challenge for me.

They’re a challenge for me because I don’t like nice and sweet. Political cartooning is a negative art form and I’m a negative person, at least in regards to the issues I cover. When it comes to politics and expectations of those who are rich and powerful, I’m a glass-half-full-of-horse-piss kind of person. So, they’re a challenge for me because I usually try something irreverent with them. That doesn’t mean I’m trying to be cruel or vindictive to the recently deceased, but more like trying to make a point. Those are the best obit cartoons in my business. And sometimes I get screamed at a lot when I do those. My Mike Nesmith cartoon received more harsh reactions in 2021 than any of my guns, abortion, Trump, or January 6 cartoons did. My GoComics page lit up that day.

So I tried the same approach with Betty White. I wanted to use her death to make a point, but not in a cruel way toward her. I gave up on pointing out she died on the last day of 2021 because by the time any newspaper could publish the cartoon, readers will be so over documenting the new year. Quite frankly, aren’t you a little tired of all the year-in-review shit by now? So, I thought the more interesting aspect was that she died 18 days short of her 100th birthday. C’mon, death. Why would you do that?

There was a huge television special planned for her 100th birthday. People Magazine already had her on the cover for her 100th. Stop the presses. But, before I could get my cartoon idea, I had to find my point. I couldn’t find one.

I couldn’t find one except that everyone loves Betty White. How many times have you heard someone quote Betty White? Seriously, you have. I love Betty White, and I’m a negative person. She’s awesome. In fact, I re-watched The Proposal about a week ago which was made when Betty was around 90, and she was fit and spry in that. She also stole the movie, even with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds starring it, just like she stole every scene she was in on The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hot in Cleveland. She stole Saturday Night Live from the entire cast of comedians. She beat Deadpool…and she beat me too.

She beat me because I broke down and drew a nice and sweet cartoon for Betty White, the animal lover. I couldn’t find any other way than to be nice and sweet to Betty White. And while I don’t believe in Hell, one would probably be made for me if I did something other than nice and sweet for Betty White. And one of my proofers, Laura, told me that this is the cartoon that best shows how Betty White would want to be greeted in Heaven.

Laura and Hilary, my two proofers, kinda gushed over this cartoon and even forgot to tell me if all the words were spelled correctly. Laura told me she liked the cartoon more than I did. I believe her. And you will probably like it more than I do too.

But I do like it. Don’t tell anyone, but I smiled a few times while drawing the dogs. Aw, shut up.

Don’t you start with me on this cartoon being nice and sweet. Not you too. But, I like Betty White. I in fact, I love Betty White…and I love dogs too.

Shut up.

Watch me draw:

Music note: I did not listen to any music while drawing this cartoon but I did attach the chorus of Taylor Swift’s “Betty” to the 30-second TikTok vid of this (the version without the F-word). I thought it was kinda sweet with it.

Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.

Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 18 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.

Tip Jar: if you want to support the cartoonist, please send a donation through PayPal to clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.

Watch me draw:

13 comments

  1. I have worked in animal rescue for many years and I fully understand how important Betty White was to the animal welfare community. This cartoon is absolutely perfect and correct for recognizing her contribution to the life saving work she did with animals as well as for brightening all the human lives she touched. Thank you for stepping outside of your normal box to draw this tribute to an exceptional woman who will be sorely missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, crap! It didn’t kill you to draw a nice cartoon of Betty White, did it? From what I’ve read, she was quite irreverent and could be foul-mouthed, so I’m thinking she might have enjoyed your essay about your torment as much as the cartoon itself.

    And I’m sorry to tell you: I did too! And I love Betty White AND dogs. So there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not the Pearly Gates, but the Rainbow Bridge for Rescuers:
    THE BRIDGE

    Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp
    as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent
    arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day
    like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved
    people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the
    pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

    It wasn’t long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low
    and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for
    while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen
    far too often.

    He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no
    sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at
    The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy
    and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of
    the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the
    sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he
    approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel
    who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only
    those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

    With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the
    fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself,
    also elderly and infirm. They weren’t playing, but rather simply lying
    on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The
    Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and
    waiting.

    One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn’t understand what he had
    just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a
    while to explain it to him.

    “You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just
    as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes
    clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the
    love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence.
    Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort
    him across The Bridge.”

    The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, “So
    what will happen now?” As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds
    suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be
    seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was
    suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy
    again, just as they were in the prime of life.

    “Watch, and see,” said the second animal. A second group of animals from
    those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At
    each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch
    behind the ears. The newly-restored animals fell into line and followed
    him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

    “What happened?”

    “That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those
    who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new
    families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found
    homes. When rescuers arrive, they are allowed to perform one, final act
    of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they
    couldn’t place on Earth across The Rainbow Bridge.”

    – Author unknown

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Andréa (hey, guys, I got it right again!), for this story. I sent a copy to my brother, who belongs to about 6 or 7 cats, more or less. Some of them are former strays, but a few of them are real rescues, like the Road-Almost-Kill that he scooped up from the side of the (what else) Road and paid about $1,000.00 for a vet to patch her up.

      She likes him a lot, for some reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ya know, Clay, you probably didn’t need to put the “BETTY WHITE” Label on Betty White in this Graphic Editorial. Hell, even a Hundred Years from now, in some Museum or Hall Of Fame, the Label would not be necessary.

    Like

  5. Love, love, love it. I feel the exact same sorrow I did when Robin Williams left us. Thank you for the sweetness of your drawing. pal

    Liked by 1 person

  6. great cartoon. I was sad to hear of her passing so close to being 100 (feel that way whenever someone dies at 99). Looking back at the deaths in 2021 was surprised to see so many Mary Tyler Moore alums on the list: Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner (while I was looking up the names saw a director also on the list)

    Liked by 1 person

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