Beginning Monday, the story-line I’ve been hinting at in recent JJ strips begins to take shape, and I fully expect that in the next week or so I may lose half of the small readership I have. I don’t have a big Social Media Imprint, so I don’t expect that I’ll be picking up new readers in large enough numbers to compensate, but then–I don’t have all that much to lose, right? In this case, my conscience overruled my better judgement and sense of self-preservation. I’m moving Jetpack in this direction at this time at the behest of some internal moral compass; I really don’t have a choice. These are the thoughts, the ideas, the issues that are presenting themselves to me now-at this time, at this place. And Jetpack is my outlet, and so here they must go.
I can’t begin to convey the depth of sorrow, futility, despair and disgust I’ve felt in the wake of our recent election. I know I’m not alone in this, but that knowledge doesn’t seem to ease the stress level–and I find I’m having difficulty sleeping nights; my anger and fear are so great. Make no mistake–I believe our recent election is an aberration; our President-elect a poseur and a con-man who ran a campaign based on intolerance and hatred; who preyed on weakness, fear, sexism and racism in the interests of lining his pockets and those of his his billionaire cronies, who together will gladly send our nation and world over the cliff as long as they can insulate themselves from the carnage. I needn’t go into the details, the details are self-evident, and I’m not a political analyst or watchdog; I’m a cartoonist. And if my little comic strip is about anything, its about difference; its about an individual who does not conform to institutionalized concepts of “normality”, and the various ways in which the people around him respond to those differences. At a moment in which we’ve elevated a bigot and a bully to the highest office in the land, and given license to an ever-growing number of expressions of hatred and intolerance in his name, we each have to do what we can to fight back in the name of justice, equality and diversity. I’m a cartoonist. and this is what we do.
We also do what we can to make it funny. That’s our job too, maybe the bigger, tougher part of it. It’s easy just to rant–it’s easy writing this. It’s hard work to make something worthwhile, funny, and entertaining of one’s little opinion or observation about something so disagreeable–but that’s the task at hand. Because humor reaches people in a way very few Op Ed pieces can. And let’s face it, demagogues are a rich comedic resource from which cartoonists have been drawing inspiration for as long as there has been pen and ink. To waste such an opportunity now would amount to a crime against my forebears.
I don’t have any illusions about the power of comedy to change things.( Nor illusions about how many readers I reach.) Neither “Duck Soup” nor “The Great Dictator” could turn the tide against the rise of fascism, nor stop the war from coming. But they did contribute to the culture of resistance, and in doing so were among the things that gave life to the hope that all was not lost. Everyday now, the actions of the incoming administration give cause for the gravest of fears; it is not to make light of the seriousness of our predicament that we take pen to paper, but to give some sustenance to the flames of resistance, the light of hope.
All this high falutin’ morality aside, I swore to myself that when I returned to JJ, I was doing it for the fun of it–and damn, if this isn’t fun.