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Why Don't You Two Get A Room?

I've been watching these two flirting while pretending not to flirt since about 2002. The elephant would watch the donkey all the time, and the donkey would watch back, while they pretended to hate each others' guts. The donkey would pretend not to give a shit -- not speaking to him, not returning his calls, but the whole time she'd look for excuses to be around while the elephant was in the room. It got to be pretty annoying after a while -- the donkey would be flirting her ass off, and the whole time saying it was nothing, just a little bipartisanship, all in a spirit of compromise.

It only got worse after 2004 -- the donkey practically throwing herself at the elephant, while acting all coy, like she didn't even care, the elephant behaving like a cold bastard toward her, while anybody with half a brain in their head knew he really wanted to fuck her brains out.

The goddamn' donkey got even worse around 2008 or so -- smarmy coy looks, suggestive touching, soppy goo-goo eyes, all the time insisting there was nothing to it. Finally, about the time of the health care vote, she was all but falling all over the elephant, and it became insufferable. It was all I could do to keep from yelling "for crissakes, why don't you two just get a room, already?"

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Submitted by mike flugennock on

Y'know, that bit damn' near happened by accident. When I did the first rough sketch for this, I was like, whoa, cool! The Donkey's almost right in the center of the bed! Sweet!

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Submitted by Valley Girl on

Well, why not throw in more sexism here? I mean, women deserve to be raped, right?

Yeah, I get your point, but I get tired of "cleverness" that relies on sexism. Kinda like "dumb blond" jokes.

Submitted by hipparchia on

you read mike flugennock so i don't have to.

i saw the cartoon, thought that the theme of republicans and democrats being in bed together was too trite to bother reading the post, and so i skipped it entirely.

then i saw your comment and felt compelled to read the post. double eek. the sexism in the written portion is worse than the triteness in the illustration.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Hope you are well. Long time no talk! I miss you!

Thanks for adding another voice to mine. I just gets so tiresome, doesn't it?

And, it was the written part that triggered my response.

xo

Submitted by hipparchia on

i got a netbook [long story] so now i can blog from anydamnwhere . . . just as soon as i figure out this wireless stuff.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

to do math or science, right?

I mean, Larry Summers said so, so it must be correct.

Heh! Sorry for using the word "bitch" Hipp, but I trust you know what I mean, given the context. Uh, yeah, I do get pissed off with this crap.

xo

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Yeah, I guess we just know....

Oh, now that's intriguing- about the comparative menageries! LOL. xo

Submitted by hipparchia on

everything is a feminist issue with me! i'm not just another pretty butterfly, yanno. ;)

but on a more serious note, yes, my opinion of this 'satire' is that it needs a do-over, on a couple of levels.

Submitted by hipparchia on

you can't tell which is what in the cartoon, which is why my first reaction was that the cartton's theme was so trite and that i wasn't going to bother to read the rest of the post.

in the rest of the post, the donkey IS portrayed as female, and only after reading the written part was i offended as a feminist. before that point, i was just bored.

i would like to add, at this point, that the drawing skill is good enough and the satirical bent keen enough that the author should definitely keep developing those. he just needs to stop relying on tired old tropes and offensive stereotypes to relay his message. that's difficult to do, but it is doable.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

according to my comment on another thread. I was implying challenge with my comment above and your warm greeting to me and your wry humor disarmed me. So instead of a competitive cognitive exchange over this you launched a good will exploration, even though we are starting out from different perspectives we can explore with partnership and cooperation, thoughtfulness and grace. Humanist paradigm shift!!! You triggered it. High EI.

Okay, now I find Mike's cartoon brilliant. Okay, the text is raw, I just reread and see where you all are coming from with that, granted, but my payoff was the visual!! Hmmmm, attributing the donkey as the female ... hmmmm... women are seen as more emotional than men traditionally, and Dems are supposed to be more empathetic and sensitive to people, more nurturing to citizens than Repubs (but not significantly any more, only in their rhetoric and prior branding), because I see the love/hate relationship of Dems and Republicans who have lost "impulse control" in terms of their corruption and wanting of the same illegitimate payoffs, their steamy, illicit in-bedness with their lobbying corruption. Their obsessive and addict-like relationship excludes all others. Like cheating spouses, they are ignoring those they SHOULD be committed to. Despite outside the bedroom posturing, they have no focus on legitimate others.

And what Mike brilliantly did was situation the Dem donkey in the CENTER of the bed! Which is symbolic for where the damn legacy Dem party has moved in terms of the Republican party and is continuing to move.

I seem to be having trouble processing some of the rules here from some. I am not offended by "sheeple" in terms of political incorrectness, in fact I once got chided for calling Obama o-pologists (which I thought was so clever) "O-possums" which I thought was quite clever of me. I am angry and feel that anger is legitimate referring to Obama deniers by that label. There are worse things they could be called than these animals. Walter Lippman called citizens long ago the "bewildered herd". Pretty apt. Maybe I would not say this directly to apologists trying to coax them away from their stance, but sharing here among the choir, why not?

I have also called Congresspeople prostitutes and Palin a media whore which has pissed people off and have referred to Hillary by her first name. My consciousness has been raised by the feedback but these issues don't resonate that strongly with me still. I consider myself a feminist, have considered myself one for a very long time.

As for the cartoon, Mike's commentary was raw, granted, not how I would have put it ... yes .... angry at both the male and female symbols, I take it more rage at the Dem party selling out than misogyny but it did put me off granted, hopped up and testosteroney, but I think the cartoon itself ROCKS!

Submitted by lambert on

... are, unsurprisingly, to be found at the Moderation link.

There's no "rule" about sheeple, or any of the other words that you mention; I try to moderate for things I can draw bright lines around; that's the only way to be fair to readers. My comment expressed a personal preference; if there had been a rules violation, I would have, as it were, thrown a flag. R talking points are easy to moderate for exactly because they're manufactured. Plenty of other talking points and tropes that I find less than useful, or even offensive, I don't moderate for. For example, I think that calling Congresspeople prostitutes is insulting to prostitutes; but I don't moderate for that. Therefore, there's no "rule" about it.

As far as propriety, or civility, or whatever, all that has to work itself out, as writers display adaptability. Such is life.

Remind me why cognitive has to be competitive, and why that's, in any case, to be deplored?

Submitted by mike flugennock on

Granted, my commentary may have been a little blunt, but I was trained as an editorial cartoonist, not an op-ed scribbler. Besides, I also prefer to express myself in plain English, not "Beltway". Just because I'm from DC, it doesn't mean I have to speak their stilted, obilque, Sunday morning talk show jargon.

But, aaaaa-aaanyway...

Try as I might, I can't think of any better description of the Democrats' relationship to the GOP than that of a stereotypical "needy" woman with zero self-esteem desperate for attention and approval from a rotten, abusive guy who doesn't care about her. The Democrats are willing to be used -- and abused -- in any way possible as long as they get to be the GOP's "bitch" (pardon my vernacular). Check it out, since at least the Reagan Years; the Democrats were Reagan's "bitch" in the '80s, Newt Gingrich's "bitch" in the '90s, George W. Bush's "bitch" in the '00s, and now they're going to be Boehner's "bitch" for at least the next two years. (Reaching out across the aisle? Bipartisanship? Cooperation? What a goddamn' joke.)

What's especially painful, though, is to observe the Democratic Party's relationship to its Left/progressive "base" (jeezus, I'm so sick of that term), which is nothing if not a similarly abusive relationship. My final "detachment" from the DP came in 1996, just at the beginning of the Presidential campaign season, during the first big wave of Left/prog resentment at the Clinton Regime's three-year lurch to the right. Ralph Nader had just announced his candidacy for the Greens; a White House/Democratic Party flack was quoted in the press as saying that the Left and progressives would vote Democratic in '96 because "they had no place else to go" (I voted for Nader in '96 -- and in '00, and in '04).

Aside from the sheer crass arrogance on the face of it, what especially struck me about that remark was that it was remarkably like the kind of mindfuck talk that abusive husbands use on their wives to break down and demoralize them -- to tell them that nobody cares, nobody will support them, and that they have no place else to go.

At first, I thought I was going a bit over the top, and that I was trivializing spousal abuse and battery. So, I mentioned this to a friend's wife who, along with her law studies, also took a minor in Womens'/Gender Studies, and asked if I was trivializing spousal abuse by characterizing the DP's relationship to its Progressive base this way; her answer, without hesitation, was "Absolutely not. I've been thinking that myself".

I couldn't shake the thought after that. I started thinking of the number of abusive relationships that end in the woman dying as a result of the abuse, and then thinking of the progressive Left's clinging, empty, abusive relationship with the Democratic Party and wishing I could ask them all at once: what are you going to do the night that sonofabitch comes home drunk again and beats you to death?

Submitted by mike flugennock on

...calling Hillary Clinton by her first name?

Big damn deal. Did any of the razzers see the masses of placards, t-shirts and bumper stickers exhorting us to support "Hillary For President"? Christ, that had to be the most infantile shit I'd ever seen. "Vote For Hillary" -- like she's sixteen years old, running for President of the student government at her high school or something.

Meg Whitman pulled this shit, too, apparently. I saw fotos of the press conference where she was conceding, with "Meg 2010" signs in the background... like she was a goddamn' cheerleader running for senior class president. Hell, that even sounds like a cheerleader's name... in fact, at my high school, we actually had a couple of girls named Meg who were in the varsity cheerleaders or the drill team and who, at one point or another, ran for president of our class or the school SGA. Ugh. Talk about "grow the fuck up" -- jeezus, man.

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Submitted by vastleft on

there was a pretty good reason that Ms. Clinton is often referred to by her first name in shorthand contexts. Her last name, by itself, typically refers to a certain former president.

Submitted by lambert on

Exactly the choice I made. If you say "Clinton," that's ambiguous, and if you say "Hillary Clinton..." Well, I was typing so damn much I wanted to save any keystrokes I could. And I didn't like HRC much. So there we are!

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Submitted by Aeryl on

Depending on who used it, like "bitch" does. When Melissa McEwan and Red Queen use it, you know it is being used by people who are claiming solidarity with you. When John Avarosis uses it, you know it is being used by someone who is trying to associate negative attributes of breeding female dogs with women who won't do what he wants.

"Hillary" as a moniker from her supporters wasn't the real problem, the sensitivity to the easy usage of her first name, came from her detractors who would demonstrate a modicum of respect towards the male candidates, by referring to them in a professional manner, wheras Clinton was continually denigrated by not extending that same courtesy to her. "Edwards, Hillary, and Obama" or "Obama, Edwards, and Hillary" was the constant refrain on the blogs everywhere.

Yes, the decision to further personalize herself, understandable after a decade of attacks that painted her as a power hungry harpy who fed on the souls Republican children everywhere, led to this problem, but it was obvious when people were deriding her with the use of her first name. Just like it kind of is now, when other male politicians get referred to by their last names, or even snarky nicks that aren't based on the genders(I almost said race, but I do remember VL registering an observation about the loaded usage of the "Boy" in Obama's nick "Boy Emperor". I haven't noticed if he's stopped using it)

And to be perfectly honest, if the use of her first name was encouraged by her campaign, well campaign's over folks, let's revert back to casual professionalism now, okay.

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Submitted by vastleft on

(for practical purposes) unique ID, whereas "Clinton" isn't?

I don't know, absent of context, that one can tell whether someone was merely using handy shorthand rather than a desire to belittle.

In a related (though not identical) matter, sometimes it was clear that people were making racist hay with Obama's middle name. Other times, they're merely citing his whole name... and sometimes being falsely accused of racism for doing so.

One, ideally, looks to cues for intention on such ambiguous matters. (With accent on the word "ambiguous," because potentially offensive language and imagery ranges wildly on how taboo a particular construction should be held to be).

Also, please clarify who "he" is re: the use of "Boy Emperor." I.e., it's certainly not a construction I've ever used, lest your pronoun be misunderstood.

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Submitted by Aeryl on

That's why I say that it could be told who was using it for which purpose, usually by context.

Mike, having already been called out for sexist shit, does not get a free pass from me when it seems to me that he deriding Clinton by referring to her in a highly personal manner. And I'm probably not the only one.

And the "he" would also be Mike, since he was the person you called out for that.

Submitted by mike flugennock on

During the '08 campaign, we had a major pissfight on the editorial board of DC Indymedia* over articles using the word "cunt" to describe women such as Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, or Condoleezza Rice. We finally came to the conclusion that the term "cunt" was entirely OK as long as it was preceded by the phrase "filthy, greedy, bloody-handed old fascist".

As far as the "Boy Emperor" thing goes, I've only seen it used in the Leftie blogozone, always in reference to Obummer as somebody who's over his head in his job and obviously out of his league, in reference to his two -- count 'em -- two years as an Illinois state legislator, and two -- count 'em -- two years served in the US Senate before becoming El Presidente in the manner of an American Idol winner.

Personally, I don't have a big problem with "Boy Emperor" in that regard, although I've been trying to use my new personal favorite, "President Precious".

.

*I was kicked off of the DC Indymedia Editorial Board about a year and a half ago for -- for all intents and purposes -- being "too radical". That's right -- kicked off the Indymedia Board for being too radical. Ain't that some shit? I considered it an honor of sorts, being bounced for basically violating the Party Spirit.

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Submitted by okanogen on

FYI, round points work best for your purpose.

As long as you are doubling down.....

Submitted by mike flugennock on

...I mean, c'mon, gang. Let's face it -- Hillary Clinton really is a power-hungry harpie. Over a decade of watching her in action have totally shown her to be a nasty, scheming... uhh, "rhymes with 'witch'". I mean... she was a goddamn' corporate attorney; she sat on the Board Of Directors of Wal-Mart, f'crissake.

Submitted by lambert on

... for women to a corporate attorney?

Wouldn't, say, "weasel," do just as well?

* * *

Even leaving aside the moral dimension, if everyone one the left adopted your verbal formulations -- as, indeed, the Obama campaign did in 2008, and for which the Ds paid great price in 2010 -- literally none of the policies you claim to support would have a snowball's chance in hell of being adopted.

I mean, c'mon. Have you considered displaying some adaptability, here?

NOTE Re "indymedia" and "cunt." I don't moderate for misogynist language, because it's better to let those who can display adaptability display it by experiencing critique. But it would be possible to do, since it's mechanical, stereotyped, bad writing, just like conservative talking points.

Submitted by hipparchia on

that she herself repeatedly invited her supporters to call her hillary. i saw it on her campaign website and read it in emails from her campaign several times before i switched to calling her by her first name.

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Submitted by vastleft on

Such as "sheeple" or "Obots."

They suggest that the criticized is fully incapable of rational thought.

See: "prophecies, self-fulfilling."

Submitted by jawbone on

:D

Especially when used by someone who is trying to reflect the onto the user the idea of fierceness and strength and protectiveness. For someone who couldn't complete a gubernatorial term!

Submitted by mike flugennock on

Y'know what always got a laff out of me about Palin's "Mama Grizzly" schtick is that Palin at one time bragged about hunting animals from a helicopter, and also wisecracked during the '08 campaign -- paraphrasing a bit, here -- that there was a place for animals in Alaska, right next to the mashed potatoes.

I pity the thousands of people in indigenous communities in Alaska and northern Canada who still hunt to feed themselves, for the bad name hunting is getting from doorknobs like Sarah Palin.

Submitted by jawbone on

are animals whose traits are supposed to suggest something admirable about the two parties, right? And each animal symbol can be used to also deride or criticize the other's party and party supporters.

In our myths and literature, especially folk tales, animals are often stand ins for different types of people or their traits.

This cartoon certainly has nailed for most of us what's going on between the two legacy parties, captured it in bold strokes, no words necessary. Of course, the words written here and elsewhere laid the groundwork for that understanding.

The more I check out this cartoon, the more I like it. And it certainly would make peole think about what's going on in our politics, if they hadn't already noticed.

Point being, I don't want to take away from our discourse the use of animls and inanimate objects as symbols for what we see as issues or traits in certain people or political ideologies.

Think Animal Farm, eh?

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Submitted by vastleft on

Certain ones have historical associations that make them far more loaded, cliched, or degrading than others.

The legacy parties accept and use the donkey and elephant as their avatars, so it's of course fair play to use them.

Submitted by mike flugennock on

...what better way is there to describe the behavior of the millions of voters, doped up on cable TV punditry, Sunday-morning talk-show blather and off-the-hook campaign ads who march off the the polls to vote based on what they hear and see from said pundits, blather and batshit campaign ads?

And, what better term than "Obots" for the legions of frightened, desperate Liberals and Democrats who should know better, but who happily and willfully throw away all manner of critical thought -- engaging in mindless, delusional, cultlike behavior -- and whose voting decisions are almost entirely based on fear, desperation and delusions? The Obots of 2008 made 2004's Anybody But Bushers look downright rational by comparison.

In 1992 I voted out of fear and desperation -- for Bill Fucking Clinton. I'm still kicking myself.

Submitted by mike flugennock on

"Obama Fan Base"? Huh. That'll work nicely, I think.

"Base" is pretty much the word for 'em, too.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't want to break an arm patting myself on the back, but we do put a lot of thought into language here. A lot of it is crafted, just like your art is, and a lot of our language propagates elsewhere, even if we are the blog that everybody hates and nobody reads. So, when I have to explain why calling a corporate attorney a "cunt" or a "harpie" (instead of, say, a "weasel" or a "spittle-dribbling lackey of the banksters with all the moral values of a tapeworm"), it's as if I was standing behind you when you were drawing and spilled ink all over the drafting board, or, if you were a chef, took the best knife and used it to cut some cardboard with.

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Submitted by okanogen on

A better way to describe the behavior is to describe the behavior, rather than the people. Just a suggestion.

As for this:

"the millions of voters, doped up on cable TV punditry, Sunday-morning talk-show blather and off-the-hook campaign ads who march off the the polls to vote based on what they hear and see from said pundits, blather and batshit campaign ads."

Ya got links for that? Seriously, because I can't find anything on the Google that says that is what is making people march off to the polls. This link (and potentially biased due to the source) says the numbers using TV (and newspapers) as their primary source are declining and the internet is increasing (as of 2008). Here's a little more food for thought.

Oh, and here is a very interesting quote that basically puts the kabosh on whole (somewhat offtopic) "sheeple" characterization (i.e. "low information", mouth-breathing voters, knuckle-dragging their way to the poll booth):

Whether they take place on the internet or off, traditional political activities remain the domain of those with high levels of income and education.

Contrary to the hopes of some advocates, the internet is not changing the socio-economic character of civic engagement in America. Just as in offline civic life, the well-to-do and well-educated are more likely than those less well off to participate in online political activities such as emailing a government official, signing an online petition or making a political contribution.

To be on topic, I also found the entire storyline remarkably offensive and sexist. Like Hipp, I didn't read it at first because the cartoon was so trite. Anyway, it's not even a close call.

I understand you are pissed off. Could you find a way to express it without resorting to really screwed up allegories like this one?

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Submitted by john.halle on

Before this posting disappears below the fold, I thought I'd convey my appreciation for Mike's work over the years, which I have known since encountering it in Sam Smith's Progressive Review probably a decade ago. I personally think it's brilliant-some of it e.g. the Decision 2004 poster, near or at genius level. Same with "There's Room Under the Bus". These have the same resonance for me that, say, CSNY's Ohio did for the sixties generation.

So while no one is above criticism, I think we should keep in mind that artists operating at this level of proficiency and inspiration are extremely rare.

If we're serious about building a movement we should recognize how valuable they are and think about what we need to do to keep them around.

And that means, at minimum, being charitable when we find fault with their work.

Submitted by lambert on

Thinking as an editor, I like having political cartoons, and it's the nature of the beast that I'm not going to like every single political cartoon, if for no other reason than the daily grind. (Just like post, post, post, so cartoon, cartoon, cartoon. Not every post is going to be the best post EVAH, and neither is every cartoon.) So, as John asks, let's have a little compassion.

Somewhere, Mike remarked that he wasn't an Op-Ed writer, but an artist, and some of the tangles we've had here have been about words, and words and pictures, with Mike coming at things from the visual angle, and commenters coming at things from the verbal angle. So, this has been a bit of a culture clash, perhaps, because not just word choice, but (in our own small way) shaping the discourse is important here -- and the critique is the way to do that. One might think of all Correntians as budding Op-Ed writers ;-) So it is to be hoped that all continue to reinforce each other. (Also, just in the same way that "your argument is not you," so "your art is not you." Maybe. That's a tough one.)

Submitted by hipparchia on

with Mike coming at things from the visual angle, and commenters coming at things from the verbal angle. So, this has been a bit of a culture clash,

i'm a rabid fan of political cartoons, and addicted to cagle.com to boot [since back in his days at slate]. i'm thrilled to see a regular political cartoonist here at corrente.

the 'clash' is over the sexism in his written words here in this particular post.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I like a lot of, and about, Mike's cartoons, but some of the feedback here might be well worth his consideration.

I appreciate that he engages in the debate about the implications of certain symbolism. Whether or not he's moved by it is, of course, his choice.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I don't care if he's Michelangelo.

First off, playing the "a woman I know said otherwise so all you feminists are obviously wrong" is a classic evasion employed by those propagating sexist tropes. You can always find some female, somewhere, who will go along with the most egregious misogyny. That doesn't negate the objections any more than the existence of a single Obama supporter claiming he's really a liberal negates the fact that he's not.

Second, the objections were primarily to the text, which drags in a lot more than women with abusive spouses:

The Democrats are willing to be used -- and abused -- in any way possible as long as they get to be the GOP's "bitch" (pardon my vernacular). Check it out, since at least the Reagan Years; the Democrats were Reagan's "bitch" in the '80s, Newt Gingrich's "bitch" in the '90s, George W. Bush's "bitch" in the '00s, and now they're going to be Boehner's "bitch" for at least the next two years.

There's just no way to spin that as positive or expressing solidarity (Aeryl). And it just gets worse as you go along -- the donkey is a "smarmy coy" "goo goo eye[d]" stereotypically "needy" abusive spouse's "bitch". WTF?

Abuse is a complex thing, and going into all the complexity is a topic for another time, but the idea that it's women's stereotypical "neediness" is keeping them in abusive relationships really needs responding to: one of the primary reasons women stay in abusive relationships is fear. Most women who are killed by their abusers are killed when they try to leave, or just after they leave. Most abusers accompany abuse with threats of killing (either the woman herself, her children or her family); the women in those relationships realize damn well the likelihood of these threats being carried out. We have come a long way in understanding the dynamics of abuse and changing attitudes away from the whole "she must have deserved it" line, but not so far that propagating stereotypes about female "neediness" keeping them in abusive relationships has become some sort of neutral commentary.

Going beyond the sexism discussion, if they D to R relationship has to be sexualized, I think I disagree with the abusive relationship analogy altogether. The Ds show far too much intentionality and, yes, desire, for that. I was thinking that a riff on Stockholm syndrome might have worked better, as far as gender neutrality goes, but it's not that. If we're going to talk in gender stereotypes, I'd say the Democrats suffer from some sort of grave masculinity-envy. The Republicans, after all, are the warmongers, "tough on crime", and the "enemies" of all those welfare slackers. It's like the Ds want a turn at being the real men of politics for a change. The fawning adoration of the Ds for Rs runs much more along those lines than abused spouses; witness the vicious misogyny rampant in blogistan during the campaigns -- it fits right in.

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