gaslighting

The Best Gaslighter


Merriam-Webster has announced that “gaslighting” is its word of the year. After six years of conspiracy theories, online trolling, deep fakes, and just bold outright lying, why did it take so long?

2022 saw a 1740% increase in lookups for “gaslighting.” What is “gaslighting?” It’s “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.” Merriam-Webster writes, ” the term comes from the title of a 1938 play and the movie based on that play, the plot of which involves a man attempting to make his wife believe that she is going insane. His mysterious activities in the attic cause the house’s gas lights to dim, but he insists to his wife that the lights are not dimming and that she can’t trust her own perceptions.”

For years, the best examples came from domestic abuse. I think a more modern example is the song “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy where the singer tries to tell his girlfriend that it wasn’t him despite the fact she saw him “creeping with the girl next door” and he continues to tell her it wasn’t him even though she saw them both “butt-naked banging on the bathroom floor, and on the counter, the sofa, the shower, seeing the marks on his shoulder, hearing the screams getting louder, and even catching them on camera. The singer even admits, probably just to Shaggy, that his reasoning doesn’t make sense.

Several years ago while walking my dog late at night, I heard a guy and his girlfriend having an argument outside. She was accusing him of cheating and he kept denying it. Then, she pulled out his cell phone and showed him a photo he took of his mistress giving him oral pleasure. I had to pause to hear this and told the dog to at least pretend to be pooping so I could eavesdrop. The guy claimed it wasn’t him and eventually his girlfriend, “Well maybe it’s not you.” Even my dog wanted to scream out, “Why would he have another guy’s penis on his cell phone? Leave him!”

That is gaslighting. It’s not just lying, but telling someone that reality isn’t real. It’s telling a person they didn’t see or experience what they lived through.

Love can make people stupid which means MAGAts must really love Trump.

In politics, it’s not just Donald Trump lying that he created a great economy, but telling people it was terrible before he walked into the White House. This was seriously gaslighting, telling an entire nation that they didn’t live through what they lived through. Remember that entire “American Carnage” speech?

Last week, I had Twitter trolls parsing and explaining that Donald Trump didn’t say “terminate” the Constitution despite his very words saying, “terminate the Constitution.” They even combine gaslightings saying articles in the Constitution should be terminated only because the election was stolen. That’s double gaslighting.

Republicans have successfully gaslighted Hunter’s laptop to the point that people aren’t noticing that there’s nothing on it. Elon Musk is gaslighting the Twitter Files, telling people it’s huge and reveals so much corruption even though the files don’t show anything like that. Republicans are now saying that Democrats and Twitter conspired together to suppress the laptop story…and the FBI was in on it too. People are convinced that if the nation knew Hunter Biden owned a laptop, Trump would have won the 2020 election. Gaslighting doesn’t have to make sense.

Donald Trump even tried to tell people it wasn’t his voice on the Hollywood Access tape even though we’ve all heard it and he previously admitted it was him. You can just imagine the gaslighting he’s done to Melania.

Donald, I heard you on the Hollywood Access tape bragging about “grabbing them by the pussy” and that you can do it because you’re famous.

It wasn’t me.

But I heard your voice on it.

It wasn’t me.

And then you came out of the bus with Billy Bush and…

It wasn’t me.

And then that porn star said he had sex with you in a Las Vegas hotel room.

It wasn’t me.

And that she spanked you with a rolled-up magazine with Ivanka on the cover.

It wasn’t me.

It’s the same rolled-up magazine you keep on your side of the bed.

It wasn’t me.

And over 20 women accused you of sexually assaulting them.

It wasn’t me.

And the porn star described your penis as looking like a tiny cartoon mushroom.

It wasn’t me.

But your penis does look like a tiny cartoon mushroom.

It wasn’t me.

Gaslighting works because in case you haven’t noticed, Melania is still with Donald Trump.

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 clayjonz@gmail.com. You can also snail it to P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402.

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Don’t Look Up


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Did you miss me? I took a couple days off through Christmas. Do you remember the last time a day went by, less enough two when you didn’t get a new cartoon from me? I can’t. Instead of drawing cartoons, I hung out by myself during Christmas weekend eating Chinese food and watching movies.

I can’t remember everything I watched but what stood out for me was Klaus, a Boy Called Christmas, Hawkeye (the Marvel series), Encanto, Love Hard, and Don’t Look Up.

Don’t Look Up has been the subject of a lot of conversations since it premiered on Netflix. It’s trending on Twitter. There’s a lot of debate, not just over the message in it, but whether it’s a good movie or not. It seems that most critics hate it. But what do critics know?

If you haven’t seen it or heard about it, Don’t Look Up is a comedy on Netflix that is a parody of a lot of the shit we’ve lived through over the past few years.

I’m going to try not to give any spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the movie and want to be totally surprised and entertained, don’t read the rest of the blog:

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as an astronomer and he and his grad student, played by Jennifer Lawrence, discover a planet-killing comet headed directly to Earth and giving our planet six months before its doomsday. The world reacts with indifference.

Meryl Streep is president and after being informed of this planet-killing comet, she wants to “sit tight and assess.” She talks about her poll numbers during a briefing (who does that remind you of?). Her chief-of-staff is her son (who does that remind you of?), played by John Hill. They ignore the impending disaster (what does that remind you of?), they politicize the comet (what does that remind you of?), when the administration does want to focus on the comet, it’s only to distract from a political scandal (what does that remind you of?), they try to make money off the comet (would we do that?), and one of the scientists is villainized by the press and administration for alerting the public of the coming disaster (who does that remind you of?).

Eventually, two sides emerge. Those who believe the comet is coming and those who think it’s a hoax. “Don’t look up” becomes a right-wing slogan.

The film has an amazing cast. I think the best performances came from Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meryl Streep. I felt Leo was out of his element in a comedy and failed to really deliver a great performance, which is unlike him. I guess as great of an actor as he is, he’s no Tom Hanks, or even a Will Ferrell, who can bounce back and forth from comedies to dramas. In fact, Will Ferrell’s movie-making partner, Adam McKay, wrote, directed, and produced this movie. Do NOT let that scare you off as he’s made other tongue-in-cheek dramedies like Vice. I hope Adam McKay keeps making political movies.

Despite this great cast of heavyweights, I didn’t think the movie was that good. At first, I felt that maybe just because it’s making an important point about climate change, the pandemic, Trumpers, capitalism, an unequal economic system, and just how vile the last administration was, that liberals are supposed to like it, never mind if it sucks. It’s a great concept. I made a post about it on Facebook and invited my friends to give their own reviews. They were mixed.

One friend asked me what it was that I didn’t like about it. That made me think. In fact, the entire thread made me think and I realized that even though it’s not a great movie, there were aspects I did like. Maybe this is another Big Lebowski where nobody likes it until years later.

Another friend on Twitter compared it to Dr. Strangelove, which many others have compared it to as well, except my pal called it a “TikTok Strangelove.” I think that’s pretty accurate. But, I think I found the real problem with this movie.

When Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015, I struggled to caricature the guy. Then I realized I was trying to draw a cartoon of someone who was already a cartoon. I was trying to lampoon a human being who was more a collection of vile personality traits than he was a human being. So, I went crazier with the caricature. A lot of Republicans have pointed out that my Trump caricature doesn’t physically look like Trump, but they all know it’s Trump.

Often with Trump and his goons, I found it hard to draw satire on what was already insane. I would sometimes draw a cartoon of exactly what happened, without adding any spin. What I learned was that it’s hard to satirize satire. How do you parody insanity? So, I learned how to draw cartoons making fun of what was already a satire. It was a problem other cartoonists and Saturday Night Live had to figure out as well. What do you do when newspaper headlines look like they came from The Onion?

The problem with Don’t Look Up is that it doesn’t ever fully figure out how to satirize satire. People refusing to look up and see what’s coming straight at them isn’t that far removed from people voting for Donald Trump even after hundreds of thousands die from his ineptitude. This paradoy of denial isn’t that far removed from Republicans saying vaccines don’t work while the virus is literally killing the unvaccinated, most of whom are Republicans. The denial in the movie isn’t that far removed from people denying they lost an election.

It’s hard to use Don’t Look Up as satire when here in reality, people are refusing to look up. People in this nation refuse to see what’s right in front of them. Documentaries of the Trump administration are funnier, in a scary way, than the movie Don’t Look Up.

Don’t Look Up uses the tagline, “Based on truly possible events.” But here in the real world, the Trump administration was an actual event. The storming of the Capitol by white nationalists to overturn the election and install Trump as a fascist dictator was an actual event.

The film Don’t Look Up probably hopes to make people look up instead of just entertaining those who have been looking up for the past six years. This film will not change minds. I know this from experience as I don’t think I’ve changed one mind with my cartoons over the past six years. Don’t Look Up will remain a film for the choir it preaches to. It’s not like Trumpers would understand this movie or see themselves in it anyway.

But, this much analysis means this movie deserves another chance. I’m going to watch it again. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch it. Don’t just settle for my impression of it. Watch it, then let me know in the comments what you think.

Look up.

Music note: Today’s tunes to toon to were The Shins and the Smashing Pumpkins.

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: