By the Comics Curmudgeon
“Why can’t you draw something nice for a change?” This, I imagine, is probably what hard-working political cartoonists hear from their parents all the time, as their chosen profession requires that they use their talent exclusively for drawing political figures, who are both evil and physically unattractive, rather than depicting, say, handsome movie stars frolicking with adorable baby seals. But does spending so much artistic energy on the jowls of our political leaders lead to an unhealthy fascination with the ugly and the disturbing? Let’s meet some artists who have stared into the abyss a little too long.

First up, we have a perennial favorite: Dick Cheney’s big floppy man-boobs. Now, we accept that the “fetishistic medieval-style torturer” is a long-standing and useful figure in cartoons about torture (see the Wizard of Id for endless laffs on this subject) and, since early 2002, U.S. foreign policy. And we accept that if, through some unfortunate series of events, Dick Cheney decided to take off his shirt, he would almost certainly have big floppy man-boobs. But why, we ask you, why does he have to show them off when he’s in his torture outfit? Wouldn’t that actually interfere with his torturing? What if one of the sinister terrorists were to break free of his restraints and tweak the vice-president’s nipple? Surely U.S. torture regulations demand that he cover up!

You know who else has big floppy man-boobs? Freddie Mac, apparently, who, it occurs to us now looking at this cartoon, does sound more like a tough-talking Damon Runyan character than an integral part of our financial system. Still, his big floppy man-boobs are nothing compared to Fannie Mae’s big floppy woman-boobs. Apparently this is some sort of cautionary tale about what happens when the enormous pendulous breasts of mortgage lending are unrestrained by the brassiere of government regulation.

Speaking of boobs, a note to political cartoonists everywhere: we know that donkeys and elephants are convenient visual shorthand for members of the two major political parties in this country, and that you sometimes like to depict them walking upright and talking like ordinary men and women. But please, save the portrayal of kindly barmaids with ample bosoms as donkey-headed beast-women for your password-protected furry art Web site — especially where Bill and Jesse are concerned, because you know that it won’t take too many beers before they start contemplating hitting it “donkey style.”

The slander-based community at least doesn’t have floppy boobs of any sort. But why can’t it be bothered to wear a shirt that fits properly? We have nothing against our fellow Americans of larger than average size, but trust us, a well-tailored shirt is the difference between being a crazy Internet hate-spewing weirdo and a respected hate-spewing TV pundit.

(The black executioner’s mask is, of course, a totally valid fashion choice that we respect.)

Finally, is there something more terrible than floppy boobs and beast-women and paranoids in filthy, ill-fitting shirts? Sure there is: John McCain’s face! At least, that seems to be the case if this cartoon is any indication. In real life, WALNUTS!’s mug has been ravaged by age, cancer, the Communist Vietnamese, and hate; here his visage has been transformed into a tapioca-like mass, his jowls sagging under the weight of tumor after tumor. And that, my friends, is definitely not change that we can believe in.

EXCITING COMICS CURMUDGEON VIEWING OPPORTUNITY! Do you enjoy the syndicated teevee gameshow Jeopardy? Well, this coming Tuesday, July 22, your Comics Curmudgeon will be competing on said show, attempting to supplement his meager blogging income with sweet, sweet trivia cash. Check your listings for local broadcast times! And if you live in or near Baltimore, feel free to stop by P.J.’s Pub at 3333 N. Charles St. in Charles Village at 6 p.m. or so to watch the show with me and my fawning fans!

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  1. Hey, Josh–didja see the article in the Wall Street Journal this week about Mort Walker’s cartoon museum and its pitiful hobo odyssey? Are cartoons really art, anyway? And if they were, would there be anything worse lower than the hideous doodles in “Beetle Bailey,” which, aside from being racist and homophobic, is also totally unrelated to anything in actual military life?

    Just askin’

  2. My compliments to the artist in Panel 5. Stubbiness abounds.
    However, were Dick “Mitties” Cheney to remove his shirt I’m sure we’d find a blinking control panel.

  3. Hey, congratulations on getting on Jeopardy, here’s hoping you can make a few million and then spend the rest of your life doing nothing and reading comics (or, wait, is that your life right now?)

  4. Whenever Dick Cheney is out of the spotlight for any amount of time, I get scared and wonder what is happening to all those unaccounted-for babies and deer. Then I see this and I start drinking before noon.

    Best of luck on Jeopardy- I just hope you’re not up against Mary Worth and Margo. They are not above breaking kneecaps.

  5. Ben Sargent obviously put a lot of thought into Cheney’s costume — the studded armband, the buckled bandolier, the Dubya brand — I think I know what he does in his spare time.

    And good luck on Jeopardy! Two of my good friends got picked to take the second round of tests in the next few weeks. I am quite bitter, but pretend to be happy for them.

  6. So far four of my friends have been on (and I live in Georgia; weird, huh?). The best finish was second place, which included many fabulous prizes including a year’s supply of Lee Press-On Nails. So hey, you don’t have to win it all to win big! Break a leg!

  7. Josh,

    We need your help. The American Political Cartoon, that noble institution that has existed since the early days of newspapers, is being downsized out of existence. Please, won’t you think about the ink-stained wretches who provide us with laughs, and outrage all in one 5×3 panel? Won’t someone think of poor Pat Oliphant, or KAL, or Doug Marlette? In all, our nation’s way of life and freedoms are being destroyed one by one, this is your call to save it! Give generously to the Fferret Rescue Mission for the Preservation of the Political Cartoon (FRMPPC) today. Any amount will help keep these poor starving artists in India Ink and posterboard!

  8. Josh on Jeopardy? I’m already tuned in! Awesome.

    I can pretty much guarantee I’ll get more correct answers than you, but alas, at home, with no way of ringing in. Kick some ass buddy! If you fail badly, maybe next year they’ll have you on the ‘celebrity’ tournament… christ, those guys always suck.)

    [/jeopardy nerd]

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