A Punch in the Head
Following some comments, both positive and negative, on my Drumposaurus Rex cartoon, I was inspired to write this lengthy essay, which I am posting here on Medium in a slightly revised and expanded form.
A year ago, I very deliberately decided to spend 2016 focusing on developing my style and direction as an artist. I feel like it has been worth the effort. As well as working on defining my actual drawing style, I have been making a lot of notes on all sorts of philosophical ideas which seem to have coalesced around the result of this election, and resulted in this article. It’s a lot to read in these times where nobody got time for that, but it’s stuff I’ve been piling up and sorting through for a while, and this seemed like the perfect time for a crazy, wordy, info dump. #dumpday.
So, I guess we shall now see what the Trump era brings. I was actually a big fan of “The Apprentice” as a gameshow, so I’m sure I shall enjoy the spectacle. Not that this means I endorse Trump in any way, except as a gameshow host. I am glad that, so far, he has taken a gracious and conciliatory tone. However, words clearly mean absolutely nothing to this man. I think he enjoys making people think he is going to do one thing, then doing something completely different. We all have plenty of reasons to be very worried, but can’t take anything for granted.
On some level, I think Donald Trump was trying to scare us off. It sure seemed like it. I really think South Park is right when they say he didn’t WANT to win. I’m sure he doesn’t mind now that he is president, but I wonder if launching “Trump TV” was really his goal. The more scary he sounded, the angrier we all got, and the better he did. And his audience just loved that we were getting so wound up at what they considered to be “jokes”. Looks like we played right into his tiny hands! Let’s all pray that he isn’t the man he says he is.
My personal feeling is that he is a narcissist. He just says whatever he thinks the people around him want to hear, so that they will love him just as much as he loves himself. Apparently Narcissists are extremely easy to manipulate once you know they are Narcissists. I think that explains everything, even down to why all his cronies always have such happy looks on all their faces all the time: they are controlling him as much as he is controlling them. That is probably going to be the key to how we deal with him going forward.
Narcissus was always an interesting character. I remember hearing that story very early on, and finding it particularly creepy and sad. Probably because I too have a tendency to be vain. How ironic that I am disabled. Sometimes I suspect it is because I was a bit of an asshole in a former life. Either that, or I just like playing life on hard mode. At least I didn’t pick “Deadly”. Anyway, you can put my vanity down to my Chinese Horoscope: I am a Rooster. Next year is the year of the Rooster. I was looking forward to it, but I recently found out that apparently the year of the Rooster is not a good one for Roosters! Bah! Not that I believe in that nonsense… much. Also if I have ever stung you with my scorpion tail, it’s only because you pierced my flimsy armor.
I’m not sure that my cartoon, or this rant, are about anger, as my friend Dana suggested. It’s really just how I see it. If the result had gone the other way, my cartoon would have been of wicked witch Hilary sweeping up Washington with her broomstick. Of course I am very pro-witch and would have loved to see one in the Whitehouse… and who better to clean house than a women?!?!?! Ack — Sorry!!! See how Trump’s victory is already lowering the tone of everything!
I guess the world wasn’t ready for the wicked witch just yet. Instead, we’ve decided to try and milk a bit more fun out of doing things the olden ways. So stupid.
For me the top priority is, and should always have been, to look after our planet. Even in the bible, Adam and Eve’s only job was to look after the garden and they fucked it up and so got punished. I wish more of these bible thumpers would get that message. Anything we do that destroys the planet is destroying ourselves and our future. Even if climate change were a hoax, looking after our planet should still be job #1!!! Our earth has a boundless capacity to feed and power us all, and we have the technology to make that possible. We do not need to be fighting over resources. It is only greed that makes us do so.
I don’t know if greed is good or not. I define good as helping another living thing, I define evil as hurting another living thing. Stuff you do for yourself is neutral, except as it helps or harms others. The greater the intelligence of the thing being harmed, the greater the evil. Likewise, the more intelligent life you can help flourish, the greater the good you do in the world. So what do you do when someone comes up and punches you in the face? Ha ha! Well, I guess Jesus said we should turn the other cheek. I will tell you more about the last time I got punched in the face in a moment.
Right now the question humanity must ask itself, is should people be able to live like kings? Clearly we want some people to be able to do that. I enjoy the spectacle of the Royal Family. One thing they do that an elected official cannot, is make you feel like you are all part of the same family. In this modern age it is an anachronism, but still a charming one. Benevolent dictatorship is probably the nicest form of government, but one person’s benevolence is another person’s persecution. Any sort of monarchy is going to be inherently unequal. Equally unpleasant is enforcing everyone to be at the same level, which is communism. Either path is contrary to diversity. Next to caring for our planet, diversity is really the most important thing thing we should cherish. We need to celebrate the diversity of other peoples view and opinions, even as we sometimes hate those views, or find them hateful. Allow them to live their own lives free from persecution, as they let us lead our lives freely. The universe is large enough for diversity, but our own back yards are not. Anyone who wants to control large numbers of people is against diversity, it just makes their job so much harder. Basically I think that diversity is good for us in so many ways.
After the planet and diversity, my third priority is education. There is no way you can convince me that more education for more people should not be a primary goal of any good society. Man does not live by bread alone. If you are a farmer you are growing food and nourishing our bodies which, by my definition, is inherently good. Likewise, to be an educator and nourish the brain is equally important. That is a big part of what makes us human. Right now in the USA there seems to be some confusion about this, and a lot of the debate seems to boil down to a battle between farmers and educators. I have a feeling that that is a division/diversion created by those who would seek to control us, rather than a genuine conflict.
So, to sum up, my political goals are:
- Look after our planet
- Diversity for Health
I believe with great certainty, these things, in this order are the top priorities for the human race. If we embrace them, many of the rest of our problems will just disappear on their own.
Also, all of my three goals begin at home, in our own back yards. I know that my own garden us not nearly as well tended as it could be. Still, as a disabled cartoonist, home is where I spend most of my time. And that is OK. I like it and love the life I lead. I realized recently that I have exactly the life I dreamed of leading when I used to watch “Too close for comfort” in the late seventies/early eighties. Not long after that I decided that money was not going to be a primary goal for me in life, and that becoming a cartoonist was.
The pursuit of happiness IS in the Declaration of Independence, and the pursuit of money is NOT. However, our government seem to be solely focused on money as a measure of our prosperity. It is true that money does increase happiness up to a certain point (around $100,000 a year)[http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2019628,00.html], but after that it does not. There should be a lot more governmental imperative put on trying to scientifically measure just what actually does make people happy.
So, haters of my Drumposaurus Rex image, if you’ve read this far, maybe you will see that my views are not necessarily what you think they are. I am exercising my first amendment right to free speech, and no, right now I cant think of a better use of my time. However, of course I do have actual work to do and a family to support. I am a self-employed disabled immigrant from the southern United Kingdom. I have lived in San Francisco for over two decades. I became a citizen after Obama got elected, and I realized how important that election really was to whole world.
I happened to grow up thinking that the United Kingdom was the greatest country in the world, but you will be happy to hear that the US government did a great job of indoctrinating me during the citizenship process, and I am now very happy and proud to be a US citizen and have the freedom to stand up for what I believe in. I believe I have that freedom in the UK too, but yes, I would say that I have even more freedom here. However, freedom is a relative concept, and totally dependent on my top 3 political goals: ultimately, we are all imprisoned on this planet together and we all need to properly understand what that means in order to thrive in our diversity. There is no freedom until we can do that. I sometime think that in In many ways freedom is the right to lie about ourselves and who we are. Or, less harshly, to reinvent ourselves and change if we want to. But we are living in an increasingly less private world, and living a fully truthful life becomes more and more inevitable. Still, I do believe very strongly in the right to seek freedom.
In my opinion, Trump won the election because of the failure/decimation of the labor movement in America. Without strong unions it was easy for the manufacturing to move away. Now it is gone. Without a decent labor movement, people turned to Trump as the next best thing. That is why some people in the industrial north who liked Bernie said “OK, now I am voting for Trump”. For too long the Democratic party has been too afraid to present a proper leftist argument, and instead offered us conservatism lite. Maybe Trump can actually bring some manufacturing back, but, like King Canute, he can’t turn back the tide of history. My friend @picassolemon was telling me how his grandfather was involved with the Unions in Britain and helped fight for the 40 hour work week. That is now something we all take for granted, but I was amazed to think that it has not been around that long. Trust me, corporations would love to get rid of it.
Corporations are so necessary to life in the modern world, they allow us to work together to create amazing things. However, they operate with a mob mentality and can be exceedingly dangerous and powerful forces of destruction. If we are going to give them the rights of people under the Constitution, then they should also have to suffer the consequences. e.g. if a corporation is found guilty of murder, it should be put out of business. Good news for its competitors. Get to work on that, lawyers!
I have Spina Bifida and need leg braces, and find it increasingly hard to be self-ambulatory. So, you see, I am very much dependent on the system and society. My life 100 years ago would have been pretty miserable, if not over by now. I am also very well aware that I am only able to afford to enjoy the good life I do because of my privileged upbringing. This meant I was privately educated, went to university in London, travelled the world (a little) and was able to find and hold a job. I was not outwardly much affected by the disease in my twenties, but it has been a constant factor in my life. The form of Spina Bifida I have is called Occulta, which means hidden, and because of its sometimes chronically socially embarrassing symptoms, it was something I was very private and secretive about in my early life. It is only as I have grown older and the outward symptoms have become more obvious that I have become more able to freely talk about it. In so many ways, it is both a blessing and a curse.
As Someone with Spina Bifida, I have a tremendous amount to say in on the subject of healthcare, too. For now, I will just say that after being offered some extremely experimental surgeries, I have, for many years now, opted to largely be treated with acupuncture and tai chi stretching. Though these have not managed to cure my underlying disease, they have helped slow its progression and my overall heath is very much improved because of this practice. So many of our healthcare and employment problems could be solved by less reliance on drugs, and more on one-on-one human interactions. How many people are working as insurance clerks, pushing bits of paper around when they could be out actually helping people instead. Ultimately, I think the best prescription for most problems is the 6 second hug:
I’m currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In the book, Rubin refers to hugging for at least six…medium.com
Thanks @jayneehowe for that tip!
I work from home as a freelance illustrator. Aside for pointless political cartoons like the Drumposaurus Rex, I do a lot of work for children’s’ magazines and educational course-books/ etc. Also some corporate work whenever I can get it ;)
I do a lot of jobs for an illustration agency in the UK. The British pound plummeted after the Brexit, so actually Trump’s victory has already personally benefitted me as the Dollar fell a little back in line with the pound again. Thanks to the will of God, I am a middle class white male… it’s only the disability thing that I have to worry about. By the way, when I talk about God, I am not really talking about a man with a long white beard who lives in a cloud. There is so much talk about God in the world today. Jesus defined God as love, which seems like a pretty simple thing to believe in. Interestingly, Love is found inside of our hearts, not up in the sky. I also believe in Mother Earth below us who gave birth to us, and the Father Sun who draws us up towards the stars. My favorite is the god of the clear blue sky. I like to think of God as the externally spinning vortex that is the universe.
Alan Moore says that if gods and demons exist anywhere, they exist in the minds of human beings. However just because something exists only as an idea it still means that 1) that it does exist, and 2) it can be very powerful. Moore points out how the idea of a chair is so much more powerful than an actual chair. You can destroy the actual chair, but if you have the idea of a chair, then you can always make another one. He really is a great thinker. In my work, I strive for originality. I may not always succeed as I would like, but the pursuit is the thing. I heard on the radio recently that Shakespeare is so good because he thought of so many ideas and concepts first. So many of his phrases have become embedded in the language. Likewise the ideas of the great teachers are great because they were the first to have those ideas. Once someone has had an idea, it is easy for someone else to have the idea too. People who never try to have original ideas can take them for granted and fail to appreciate their importance, or even be afraid of them.
I think that ideas are generated by the eternally spinning vortex that is the universe. The universe gets so bored with the oneness of existence that it splits itself up into atoms and creates life just to keep things interesting. Our atoms have been around since the beginning of time, and will be here until it’s end. Right now they think they are us, but as Buddism says, the self is an illusion.
If you think that ideas come from either God or the Devil instead, then I think the definition I gave of good and evil above should help you figure out which ideas came from where.
As for time, I believe that it is the most valuable commodity we possess. It is truly the one thing we don’t get any more of. All we have are the precious moments of our life, which are constant and all around us, if we look for them. I think that anytime you are paying someone else for their time, you are getting the better deal. Unless the person you are paying is doing something they love, in that case you can both be happy.
Ultimately we need to question the nature of the work we are doing and why we are doing it. If you are just working to survive then you will be unhappy. If you are physically able to work, and want to work, but can’t, then you will be unhappy. I think it was a lot people like that who voted for Donald Trump. I truly hope he can help them. There is way too much anger in this country. We all get angry, but it makes us too easily manipulated by those who want to control us, and ultimately we only hurt ourselves with it, and even make ourselves sick with it. The thing you hate is always a reflection of a weakness in yourself.
So, the last time I was punched in the face was a couple of years ago. I was gimping up the hill towards my house when I saw two tough-looking guys crossing the street towards me. The shorter one was in the lead and had a scowl on his face, he wore a black woolen hat and had a bushy black beard. He came up to me very menacingly and I was somewhat relieved when he asked me if I lived in “the green house over there”, pointing in the direction of my home. “Oh, yes.” I replied, and he punched me in the face. Because of my disability, I pretty much collapsed like a leaf, which seemed to surprise him. Also it meant that he didn’t really manage to hurt me at all. He stormed off down the street, leaving his companion gaping. The companion helped me up and apologized for his friend and then hurried off after his friend who was now a block away. I stood up and started yelling after them about hitting disabled people for no apparent reason. There were some construction workers between us now who witnessed my shouting, so I felt reasonable safe from further reprisals.
I never did really suss out why the guy hit me, but he clearly did it for a reason and seemed to know me, so I must have done something to piss him off. In the end I decided that he might have been this bald, clean-shaven alcoholic guy who used to sometimes sleep in the bush in front of my house. I wouldn’t have minded this too much, except twice he had horrible diarrhea all over the place which I had to clean up. The second time was particularly nasty as there were runny shit covered clothes and all sorts of mess everywhere. Definitely one of the more unpleasant jobs I have ever had to deal with, and at 47 years old I have had to clean up a lot of shit in my life. Anyway, the next time I found him there, I told him to move, and when he didn’t I turned a hose on him. That was an asshole thing of me to do, but I felt I was within my rights. I don’t know, I can have a way of pushing people’s buttons. When I was a teenager, my friend Jim used to tell me that one day someone was going to come up and punch me in the face. Well, I guess they finally did. Ha ha! It kind of made me feel like now I have paid the price, I have a license to continue behaving in an annoying fashion. It’s funny how violence has the exact opposite of it’s intended effect.
Throughout my life I have been lucky enough to enjoy the company of so many amazing people from all kinds of different backgrounds, from all over the world. I truly believe that most people are good, but apparently approximately 1 out of 100 of us is a psychopath, 4 in 100 for CEOs. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you should definitely read Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test”. All Ronson’s works are aces, and I have learned a lot from his incredible, intrepid journalism. Psychopaths have been useful to human evolution, because they do the jobs the rest of us hate, and they may otherwise be perfectly law-abiding citizens. Psychopaths have the same rights as the rest of us. A better understanding of psychopaths might contribute to solving many problems in law-enforcement. I really don’t think the guy who punched me was a Psychopath, just a very angry person who I had pissed off in some way.
Trump’s election is like a punch in the face to the liberal agenda. We can choose to react to it however we want, but it has happened, and now we have to deal with it. Personally, I feel artistically energized by it. Plus I am glad to be in my California bubble, where I can safely hurl insults at the right-wing agenda.
My mother has a story about how when I was very small, she found me drawing on the wall in blue crayon, saying to myself “That’s very naughty,” over and over. For me, drawing cartoons has always been kind of naughty. If you tell me there is something I am not supposed to draw, then I want to draw it. That is probably a negative thing, and it has often gotten me into trouble, but I just want to understand what the power of a cartoon is. Why do they anger people so much? Why did the terrorists kill those Charlie Hebdo cartoonists? Just for ideas.
Alan Moore says to consider the word “Spell”. He says that words on paper are literally what magic is. Words on paper are the magic glue that hold our society together. Lawyers are like the wizards who manipulate this magical power that controls our lives. Moore promotes the idea that ink on paper is a superior technology to electronic bits. I think that is why digital user agreements are so long — the magic is just so much weaker. That is all for good, and insurance allows us to live much more safe, secure and stable lives in the tornado of existence.
I suppose that my cartoons are my own little magic spells, which I hope will do some good in the world. I realize this Drumposaurus cartoon is kind of negative, but I’m sorry to say that it is Trump’s own words that have stirred up this image in my brain — not some democratic brainwashing. He has a powerful ability to spin up his own vortex around himself, and we all are being carried along in it. Anyway, even though it is negative, I don’t think a cartoon will hurt Mr. Trump very much. If it does, then he really shouldn’t be doing a job like President of the United States of America.
Maybe Trump is the person who can enact things like immigration reform & sensible gun control. Maybe he can fix Obamacare (AKA Romneycare), which was always just the thin end of the wedge, and badly in need of an upgrade. Only Nixon could go to China. Whatever, we get the medicine we need from life, and either he will make things better or worse. Praise Allah that we live in a country where we can vote him out if we don’t like what he does.
Anyway, Please feel free to express your own comments and opinions on this article and on my cartoons. That is why I make stuff: to stimulate conversation and debate. I am dedicated to finding truth and trying to make a better world, or at least to get a laugh and maybe even make a buck or two. Unlike Donald Trump, I do believe that words matter, and that our problems can be solved through better communication. I do sometimes worry, though, that we might be living in the times of the Tower of Babel. As Philp K. Dick once said: reality is whatever still exists once we stop believing in it.
OK commentary done. Thanks 4 reading if U did, I truly appreciate it.
If you enjoyed the above and would like to support my work, follow me at http://www.Patreon.com/cartoon — much as I would like to be fully principled as an artist, reality still exists and I gots bills to pay!!!
T-Shirts, stickers mugs etc. available in my Redbubble store here: