Now Back to Our Show

Ok, I haven’t felt much like updating lately because my goal here at the end of the day is to be above, all other considerations, a humor site. I mean, a comic strip should be funny, right? It’s not like we’re at the New Yorker here

*disclaimer: If any of you are scouts for the New Yorker, I retract and I would be proud to appear in your fine publication

 

**disdisclaimer: If any of you are White Supremacists who have no use for New York intellectuals or their namby pamby sympathizers, I retract and would under no circumstances appear in that commie rag

 

***disdisdisclaimer: If you are white and offended that I used the phrase White Supremacist than you are free to go and read the New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Post or any other publication more aligned with your proclivities. Or you can write and tell me why I’m wrong. Martin is not above intelligent discourse from the fan.

So…. yeah… not feeling funny and I decided to go and lift my spirits by going to see Christopher Titus, my all time favorite comedy legend. For an hour and a half I laughed until my sides hurt

Then I was back here. In the world. Where things are happening.

ticket

Things like this.

Or not happening. I’ve been told those things may be in my head. But they seem to be in a lot of friend’s heads as well. So maybe we as a nation lost our minds collectively in some sort of Jungian soup. Or maybe it’s the Matrix, Neo. Or it’s possible it’s the Economy, stupid. I know I feel malaise but I can’t pinpoint the source.

Repetition

I’m not smart like this guy.

 

But then, I go to tie my hair up and I can hear something crinkly and I feel something papery and I know there’s something in there. Leaf? Receipt Jimmy Hoffa? I spend a good three minutes trying to comb it out before I realize I still have my wristband from the show on and the paper is rubbing the hair by my ear.

mnr

I’m also not smart like these guys.

I’m provided a moment for self deprecation, wry introspection and a moral (just because you can’t find something doesn’t mean it isn’t there and the things you find may be different than the things you sought) as well as a way through my writers block to this very blog entry.

And  when I (re)discovered that paper strip all I could hear in my head was Titus ultimate line from his 5th Annual End of the World Tour, thinking about the loonnnnng buildup to his father’s final punchline.

Oooooohhhhhhh………

Funny, a**hole.

The Home Stretch

I know these past few months have been rough on all of us and this is the last chance I have to throw my two cents in before we pull the ripcord on this freefall. I know that the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is still endorsing evil is a tantalizing proposition (in a loose sense- because it’s not exactly going to get Tantalus foaming at the mouth like one of Pavlov’s dogs), but there comes a time when the focus needs must go onto the lesser part.

devilfin

I know that’s not very elegantly phrased but I was hoping to confuse anyone who might want to send me to a camp next week. Oh please, let Born in East L.A. stay an amusing vehicle for Cheech Marin and not a harbinger for an entire disinherited generation. I don’t want to go to a camp. I’ll be good! … ish…

In the mean time, please enjoy this new comic as the first in my new side series, 99 Ways to Spi. It’s a gentle and hopefully cute reminder that no matter what your creed, color, orientation or presentation, there is still one common enemy of which we can all be soundly afraid.

spider1

And that enemy is spiders. Spiders that will kill us all.

May (deity, ideology or force of your choice) have mercy on us all in 2017 and protect us from the spiderwrath,

Martin

The More Things Change…

…the more they really change. Can we agree that 2016 has been a really weird year?

gothic

Yup. This weird.

 

I’ll start by saying that cartooning is something that I enjoy. A lot. I’m not the best in the world at it, but have you seen what Garry Trudeau’s early work looks like? Have you seen what Scott Adams looks like now? I will get better. It’s a promise from me to you and, more importantly, from me to me.

Speaking of Scott Adams, I don’t know how many of you noticed this piece he wrote regarding this hellstorm of an election, but he has formally endorsed Donald Trump after stating that he knows nothing about the issues but that he does know that Hillary’s supporters are bullies.

As a certain type of successful white man, he then goes on to talk about how his books are now being downgraded on Amazon as a result of his political uncorrectness (I know it’s incorrectness but I’m fighting back against PC thugs telling me how to wurd). Writers are speaking out against him motivated only by a desire to diminish his authority because of course that and jealousy are the only reason that any writer ever writes about another writer.

A Graveyard Smash

And we all know jealousy makes monsters of us all.

 

This is honestly the kind of writing I would expect from the apologist balladeer of the crappy workplace (my two cents are ‘it’s funny because it’s true!’ is the same logic that gave us Hogans Heroes).

Contrast this with something that I read recently in the book Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts. I would go so far as to say Charles Schulz was the most commercially influential cartoonist in American history. All of the plushies, lunch boxes, coffee mugs and assorted desiderata (I love that word so much) of all the cartoonists working today might approach the level that Snoopy and the gang reached. I assume so, without bothering to research- but it feels right doesn’t it?

In this book there is s0me correspondence between Schulz and a teacher named Harriet Glickman. Harriet very kindly writes Schulz and tells him his comic is so wonderfully received and influential, could he please see his way to add a black character to help with integration? Schulz, again very kindly, writes back that he wouldn’t dare as he would be afraid to come across as condescending to people of color. He writes back and forth with some of Harriet’s black friends expressing his concerns, they share with him some of theirs and eventually Peanuts sees the introduction of Franklin, its’ first black character.

My point? Success comes with privileges and responsibilities, just like being a spider powered superhero. Fifty years ago there was a cartoonist so beloved that he probably could have been president himself who modestly and circumspectly approached the controversial issues of the day- and to be fair I did get a whiff of the protection of his commercial interests at play. Fast forward to today and a niche cartoonist whose niche is not politics and who claims to know little of the issues asks us to upvote his books on the interwebs as a political statement.

I don’t judge or claim to understand either of these men because I have walked nowhere in their shoes. To that end I would like to propose that a well endowed ivy league school give me a LOT of money from their sociology department (first dibs to Princeton so I can meet Paul Krugman) and I promise to fully document all the effects overnight success imposes on a bleeding heart liberal. I look forward to discussing my views on the capital gains tax with you.

Frugally,

Martin

#NotAllClowns

So now that we’re into October, it’s that time of year when we’re hyper focused on all sorts of creepy, crawly beasties. I’m talking, of course, about politicians and clowns (assuming that’s not tautological).

Honestly, what is up with all the clowning around? School campuses across several states have heightened security because of clown sightings and here in Utah, one PD has issued a statement telling people not to shoot random clowns and also detailing the scenarios in which they would (read: We’ll shoot any clown we would have shot even if he didn’t have a stupid red nose). Someone took a shot at a “clown” yesterday in Kentucky with an AR15, but the only problem was that clown was a woman in a white afghan walking her dog. But hey, let’s make sure we keep those second amendment rights strong or clowns… are gonna getcha.

Now I’ve been a lifelong fan of horror and one thing I know is that the things people find entertaining in a frightening sort of way are a way of minimally addressing the things of which they are actually afraid. You can talk about things without talking about them. Like how Invasion of the Body Snatchers is about communism or War of the Worlds is about colonialism or The Day the Earth Stood Still was about about the 2016 election cycle (boy that GORT was prescient!).

I’m going to go out on a limb here that’s probably going to get me hung from it, but I’m going to say this clown hysteria is our collective fear about racism coming to a boil. There’s a hashtag floating around out there, #IfISeeAClown. It’s people talking about all the things people say they’re going to do to a clown if they get attacked by one. You know why there’s an IfISeeAClown hashtag? Because people know they can’t post an if I see a Muslim. Or a Black. Or a trans person. Or whatever it is that you hate because they are so different that their mere existence makes you fear for your life.

sadclownfinal

I’ve seen articles about how sad this furor is making the real clowns. Stephen King went on Twitter and told people to stop it with the clown hysteria already. Cops have told people to knock it off or they’re going to get shot. The Ringling Brothers Clown College have thrown their two cents in. Think about this. We are more aligned as a country for stopping hypothetical clown killings than we are understanding of Black Lives Matter.

My point is that we have to quit dealing with our problems through evasions and metaphor like kids at a fourth grade dance that won’t cross the room to talk to each other because boys are icky and girls have cooties. If you want to talk about racism and otherness, America, let’s talk about racism and otherness.

Get on that dance floor already.