March Madness

Woke Brackets

I got home really late last night and I was exhausted. I checked out of my hotel in Pigeon Forge early in the morning, drew my cartoon at Starbucks, then got an Uber to the Knoxville airport, ate, flew to Atlanta, and had a Frosty during that four-hour layover while my flight was delayed…then delayed again, flew to Washington, took the Metro to Springfield, called a Lyft to take me home to Fredericksburg…and then stayed up two more hours because while being exhausted, I was also kinda wired. I ordered some food from Wawa and then they canceled my turkey sandwich, so I went ahead and cooked something at 1 a.m.

I spent that time catching up on the news and reading about Republicans blaming wokeness for SVB’s collapse. And then I saw an article about the military’s “woke” response to Russia downing a U.S. drone, and then something about March Madness popped up and I thought, “Can I blame wokeness if my bracket busts?”. That’s how I write sometimes. I thought the idea of a woke bracket was funny because it really sounds stupid. And then I found out this morning that woke brackets are a thing.

Proofer Laura told me this morning that she thought I had invented woke brackets, and I thought I had too…but she Googled and it’s a thing, though it seems most aren’t about basketball.

In 2021, Outkick started this bracket thing where readers can vote on Twitter called the “Woke Bracket Challenge” where I think you pit one bracket predictor against another which turns it into something I don’t care about at all.

And then I found the “anti-woke bracket” from the Washington Examiner, a failing conservative online publication based in Washington, D.C. You make your picks based on which schools have the fewest “freedom-hating bureaucrats” at their institution. It’s based on a report from the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, which has counted all the diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators for every school in the Power Five conferences, and then compared that number to the number of teaching faculty at each university and wow…someone has too much time on his hands.

And I thought it was already a huge distraction and waste of time with the regular brackets.

As I’m trying to understand these woke and anti-woke brackets, it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t have to understand it…because all the right-wing goons who scream about woke can’t tell you what woke is. Ron DeSantis sure can’t and neither can Bethany Mandel, an author who co-wrote a book (with a DeSantis goon) claiming the far-left has indoctrinated today’s youth with racial ideology, victimhood, culture, and “gender madness.” When asked to define “wokeness,” Mandel couldn’t.

Mandel was on The Hill’s online show, The Rising when co-host Briahna Joy Gray asked her to define the word “woke.”

Mandel’s response was, “So, I mean, woke is sort of the idea that, um,…This is going to be one of those moments that goes viral.” And it did.

Mandel then said, “I mean, woke is something that’s very hard to define, and we’ve spent an entire chapter defining it. It is sort of the understanding that we need to totally reimagine and reduce society in order to create hierarchies of oppression. Um, sorry, I—it’s hard to explain in a 15-second sound bite.” So she wrote an entire chapter defining it but couldn’t define it.

The co-host of the show, libertarian Robby Soave, jumped in to rescue Mandel and defined woke as “the tendency to punish people formally or often informally for expressing ideas using language that is very new that no one would have objected to like five seconds ago.” Wrong! It’s not about punishing people who disagree with you. Soave wasn’t even close. It’s about understanding.

While Republicans are howling about wokeness and clearly struggling to understand it, a new poll by USA Today found that 56 percent of those surveyed say the term means “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.”

Republicans are going to have to find another word to describe all that bullshit they’re crying about, because “woke” isn’t it. They’re claiming that understanding social injustice makes them a victim while writing books that blame the left for indoctrinating kids into victimhood.

And like Republicans with “woke,” I don’t understand college basketball this year because I didn’t follow it, which means my bracket has just as good of a chance as anyone else’s.

Music note: I listened to The Pixies.

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Blocking Bigoted Brackets


No matter how much Trump and his band of goons adjust and modify their bigotry, federal courts continue to deny them from making their hatred U.S. law.

After No. 45’s first ban on Muslims from select countries was knocked down by federal courts, he went back to the drawing board. This time he put a smiley face on it.

His first argument for the travel ban was that we’re facing such a dangerous threat from Muslims that the ban can’t wait. Then he made the ban wait so it wouldn’t distract from a speech where he used coherent sentences.

His second argument is that it’s NOT a ban against Muslims. He and his people are using this argument despite the fact Rudy Giuliani said Trump called him and asked how they can create a ban on Muslims and do it legally, and that Trump said he was calling for a “ban on Muslims entering the United States,” and that other time where he said “Islam hated the United States.”

Hawaii saw Trump’s newest ban and instead of saying “mahalo” they said “aloha.” Aloha as in goodbye. While English speakers use “aloha” to say hello and goodbye, in the Hawaiian language it means peace, affection, compassion, and mercy. Each of those components are missing from Trump’s Muslim ban so it’s no wonder Hawaii’s attorney general took it to court, and the court put a temporary restraining order on it.

Trump said the judge was “overreaching,” and 45 is a man who knows all about reaching and grabbing the wrong places.

It’s no wonder Hawaii would want to reject a ban on a class of people. Japanese-Americans make up around 30% of the state’s population and they’re well aware of this nation’s history of reactionary executive orders that discriminate against certain groups of people. During World War II the government decided that people of Japanese descent in the United States could not be trusted, so they interned them in camps like prisoners of war. Men, women, and children were locked behind fences. Homes and businesses were lost. It has become one of the greatest failings of the United States and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

Hawaii is rejecting Trump’s bigotry. I stand with Hawaii, my former home for a year.

To Hawaii, I say “mahalo.”

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Weathering Your Bracket


I hate weather cartoons. I’m also not crazy about March Madness cartoons as everybody incorporates a bracket into some political issue. I’ve been guilty of that in the past but I stopped doing those after I was no longer being paid for an editor to bark at me.

But, newspaper editors LOVE weather cartoons about as much as they’re afraid of Trump cartoons. And since I got this feeling that I’m going to be doing a LOT of Trump cartoons this week, I took one for the team.

I’m not going to complain about this winter storm a week before Spring begins. We’ve been lucky this winter. I also don’t want August weather in May, so let it snow. I have seen a serious drop in “oh no it’s snowing so global warming can’t exist” cartoons this year by conservatives.

I don’t follow basketball very well but this year I’ll be pulling for UVA (Virginia) once again while also having a soft spot for Gonzaga. Google how to pronounce “Gonzaga.” I found out this week that I’ve been mispronouncing it throughout my entire life…or at least since I found out that school existed about two decades ago.

I’m officially three days ahead with cartoons right now. This cartoonist needs sleep.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, etc.. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Trump Madness


I haven’t drawn a Donald Trump cartoon in a week. The last one I did was on the violence at his rallies. I liked the last one so much that I didn’t draw another one even as the violence continued, and Trump talked about starting a riot. There were plenty of other issues to focus on. But with Donald Trump in the race I can’t be expected to go too long without drawing another Donald cartoon.

With March Madness going on (Go VCU and UVA!!!) there were a few “bracket” cartoons last week. There are already a few this week. I expect more next week. I’m avoiding that cliche but I do like to insert pop culture and current sporting events into political cartoons.

I’m sure if Trump University fielded a basketball team that The Donald would claim they had the best balls.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!