This is the note that accompanied this cartoon to my clients today:
Yeah, I’m a bad boy.
I didn’t do today’s cartoon lightly. I had serious doubts about this cartoon as soon as I thought of it and I wasn’t certain I would draw it. This is a curse word and for many, it’s equivalent to the n-word. It’s bad.
I also knew that if I did it differently that it would make the cartoon weaker, which is something I’m not fond of. So, I sent it to a few trusted individuals. Two of my friends who are straight said I should find another way to do this, although they did like it. One of my straight friends said, “Go for it,” though I had to factor in that she might be a bit crazy and she gets banned on social media a LOT.
My cousin in Houston, who is gay, married, and is the same age as I am, said while it made him uncomfortable, that was the point and I should do it as is. As he said, it’s OK since it’s the elephants saying the bad word.
A fellow cartoonist, a Herblock Award and Pulitzer Prize winner loved it but told me to sleep on it. He was concerned it would be misinterpreted. His wife, another person I have great respect for, said the same thing. I slept on it and woke up with the decision to change it, to use asterisks in the word.
But then…Laura Hutchison, a former editor from my last newspaper job, who is a high school teacher today and a board member of the Herblock Foundation (though not speaking for the board here), replied to a message I had sent last night.
She said she loved it and I should go for it. She said adding asterisks would only make it weaker and destroy the power and the point. We had a long conversation about it and she was more concerned about me taking hits for it, but believed in the cartoon without any changes.
So, I know you probably won’t run this and I’m Ok with that. I just want you to understand where I’m coming from and that I’m not doing this lightly…and I fully expect to take some hits for it. I probably won’t have any Facebook access for the rest of the week.
In pushing me to do this cartoon, Laura, the teacher, wrote:
I’ve gotten to the f ‘em stage of life. We’ve been teaching the Harlem Renaissance. My kids have had some majorly deep conversations about race and change and the lack of change. I have a male student who has the most exquisite nails, and no one blinks an eye. Gay couples hold hands in the hallway. The “don’t say gay” law pushes people back into the closet and makes them feel “wrong.” Moll and I never hold hands in public, and when people ask if we are sisters, we usually lie and say yes. We came up in a different time. I didn’t come out until I was 31. I lived more of my life as a lie than I still have as who I really am. I hate seeing the clock turned back to a time like that.
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 19 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.
Watch me draw: