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Annual State of the State of Cartooning Address

When I was a kid I didn’t listen when the Master Sergeant sarcastically encouraged me to consider a backup plan (to my plan to be a cartoonist).

“Doing what?”

“Carving gargoyles. See all the cathedrals in the want ads — hiring stone masons? Your odds of finding work are just as bright, Sunshine.”

I’m glad I didn’t listen. I got lucky. I drew in the last century during the Golden Age of Print and my luck continued through this century’s turbulent transition to digital. These days when young cartoonists ask me for career advice I tell them, “Learn to carve gargoyles.”

It’s impossible for cartoonists to keep up with today’s relentless whirlwind of news. By the time we’ve inked, scanned and uploaded our cartoons our subject’s been eclipsed by 12 new scandals. By the time we upload our hand-rendered cartoon it’s been preceded online by a multitude of memes and YouTube rants; not to mention overshadowed by the comic observers of late night TV. We can see why the producer of “This American Life,” Ira Glass, derided editorial cartooning as “a 17th century medium.”

Ironically, practitioners of our dissed and slowly dying 17th century art form are still sufficiently feared by tyrants to get killed, imprisoned or banished in this darkening century. To the benefit of tyrannies too many regions have become news deserts.

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Harvey Weinstein Walks Free! (not)

It’s very rare that I draw cartoons in advance of a news events, because it’s taking a gamble that the cartoon will prove inappropriate or just plain wrong. However, last Friday, when the news reported that there might be a hung jury, I thought I’d give my rather simple Harvey Weinstein idea a shot.

Today, the jury came through with guilty verdicts on the two lesser counts, sending the ex-movie mogul to jail while the appeals process begins. However, what rendered the cartoon moot is society’s gain.  –Taylor Jones

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The Ugliest Woman in the World

When I was at my busiest in the 70’s and 80’s, I would occasionally take a little time to do a personal project. I used to call them “suites”. They would be a small set of linocuts on some subject that interested me at the time. In truth, I wanted to periodically break from having to work for an art director and fulfill the expected results in a manner that would be appealing to a large audience of readers. I was, of course, mainly working for magazines and newspapers. With these personal projects, I could be my own art director and BOY did I give myself a lot of freedom! I didn’t intend for anyone other than myself to see them so I could break from my usual style a little. With my “suites” I could stretch my creative, more “abstract” muscles a bit.

The subject that got to me the most was the “World’s Ugliest Woman”, Julia Pestrana. The backwards “S” in the linocut was an honest mistake I made in the cutting… I decided to leave it in. I think it’s my favorite part of the picture. Julia was from a tribe of very short Mexican Indians. In her life she was exploited by an agent who married her and toured her around the world. She was presented before the public always beautifully dressed in bright dresses. She had children …

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Baseball Soup

My favorite food dish is Portuguese kale soup. It’s nickname is “baseball soup” because of the large baseball sized potatoes in it. It also blends the flavors of the Portuguese sausages, chourico and linguica with cabbage, lima and red kidney beans and soup chuck with the large bunch of kale. It’s a thick soup, almost like a stew sometimes although some people, like my Aunt Angie used to make a thinner watery version of it. My father and mom taught my wife, Leann how to make it and she does a PERFECT replica of the version I grew up with … except for the bugs floating in it. You see, we grew our own kale in a little garden in our yard and it was impossible for my grandmother, who lived with us and did most of the cooking, to wash out all these tiny little bugs that were embedded in the kale leaves. So, they got well cooked into the soup …

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Chappatte’s Brilliant Book!

Our brilliant CagleCartoonist, Patrick Chappatte, just came out with a brilliant new book, “This is the End.” Order the book here, for only $16.95.  See Patrick’s Best of the Decade here.  See our archive of Patrick’s newest cartoons here. 

Patrick made cartoon news last year when he was dropped by the New York Times in response to a cartoon another cartoonist drew, that Patrick had nothing to do with.  Sometimes editors don’t make a lot of sense.  Patrick’s book features his last cartoons from his years working with The New York Times.  I asked Patrick to send me some of his favorite cartoons from the book, along with his comments –here are some of Patricks great cartoons along with his comments …

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The Lady With The Moustache

… (Frida Kahlo) was an exotic creature wearing long Mexican folk dresses (which helped to hide her polio-withered right leg) and many rings, bracelets and heavy looking necklaces. On the walls of her bedroom hung the pictures of her heroes Marx, Mao, Lenin and Stalin. She had an affair with Trotsky when he escaped from Stalin and lived with the Riveras in Coyoacan, a suburb of Mexico City. She flitted in and out of the Communist Party switching allegiances from one faction to the other from time to time along with Diego. When she died, there was an unfinished portrait of Stalin on her easel which I saw when I visited her famous “blue house” in Coyoacan. She loved animals and had many hairless dogs, tiny deer, parrots and monkeys. She led a fabulous bohemian life creating endless self portraits and cultivating a small cadre of students which were affectionately known as Los Fridos. She was kind and loving and passionate and I was in love with her … and still am.

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Bad Law Gut Punch II

The California legislature dropped a second bomb on us with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This poorly written, overly broad law is intended to affect only very large companies and protect consumer information that should be kept private, but in their sweeping ignorance, the legislature has scooped Cagle.com up along with the Silicon Valley giants.

The CCPA imposes a huge $7,500.00 per violation fine for failing to properly disclose information about an individual and delete a user’s data upon request; the colossal fine is intended to threaten Web behemoths like Google and Facebook, who make billions of dollars reselling consumer data. The law applies to companies with over $25 million of revenue, or companies that earn over half of their annual gross income from reselling consumer information, or who maintain data on 50,000 or more people –it is the 50,000 threshold that snares our tiny, little business along with many other unintended small business victims …

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The Rest is History

… On my studio wall I have a photograph of all the workers in one division of the Goodyear plant. My father is in the back row, my mother is sitting down in the first row right next to her sister, my aunt Laura. I don’t know whether or not my mom and pop knew each other at the time this shot was taken. I decided to make a picture of this group. I named it “Portrait of My Mother and Father.” It’s a linoleum cut. I drew it directly from the photograph so when I printed it of course it came out in reverse. I did it mainly with brown ink on brown wrapping paper to give it a bit of an aged, old fashioned look. The heads of my mother and father (which I had circled), I printed in bright colors on bright colored paper …

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