Here’s a wrap of some of the stories of 2015 — through cartoons, of course.
2015 started out pretty bad. On January 7th, two brothers stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo and murdered a dozen people, including four cartoonists, in the name of Al-Qaeda.
My reaction cartoon was simple but tried to illustrate the stark contrast between violence and peaceful freedom of expression.
At The Gabbler, we published a piece comparing the mightiness of the Pen and the Sword.
In the following days, world leaders wasted no time in using the attacks to pretend like they cared about the freedom of the press, despite their universally poor records in the treatment of journalists in their own countries.
In the Middle East, things didn’t improve much this year. The Syrian Civil War remains an intractable proxy war, and ISIS continues to hold vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Also, Saudi Arabia started a war in Yemen. One of my cartoons focused on the close relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia following the transfer of power to a new dictator.
The Iran deal was an incredibly divisive agreement, and both pundits and politicians alike pretended they could predict what the effects would be. I took that opportunity to do a cartoon about the difficulty of figuring out what news and policy is “good” and “bad” in a region as complicated as the Middle East.
The issues with the criminal justice system were on full display this year, and the movement to address racial inequality and police brutality continues to grow. Protests in Baltimore were covered extensively by the media, though many commentators were really only interested in one small portion of the story.
In the search for policy that could reduce police brutality and provide answers about altercations between the police and the public, both the left and right pushed for the expanded use of police body cameras, a policy which has some pretty serious flaws. This cartoon was on Fusion’s Graphic Culture:
In other technological developments, Apple pushed out a new line of wrist-computers that can save you from the hassles of your pocket-computer.
The good news is that the attitude of the country, generally speaking, seems to be moving in a good direction on a lot of issues. Early this summer, the Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling on marriage equality, and preserved the Affordable Care Act, and most people were happy about it. But anything that’s bad news for these guys is good news for the rest of us.
Somewhere around the beginning of 2015, the 2016 presidential election officially began.
At the Gabbler, we made Tinder profiles for all the candidates.
Elizabeth Warren decided against running for president, and I can’t say I blame her for wanting to get as far away from presidential politics as possible.
Last year I had the idea to draw a few comics about the election in the form of a reality T.V. show. Once the primaries began and racist reality T.V. star Donald Trump became the frontrunner, the actual race became pretty indecipherable from the metaphor I was using.
The Republican primary field has mostly been a race-to-the-bottom trash competition where candidates have suggested every manner of outrageous policy from carpet-bombing cities in Iraq and Syria, to calling for a registry of Muslims to building an impossible wall along the border with Mexico.
One of the meaningless words that kept popping up all the time:
Following a second terrorist attack in Paris in November, then another in San Bernardino, California a few weeks after, the fear-mongering and xenophobia in this country hit a new high. More than half of the governors in the U.S. said they would refuse refugees fleeing the violence in Iraq and Syria, and many people questioned how we could adequately vet people coming into the U.S.
No one has capitalized on this fear more effectively than celebrity-turned-far-right demagogue Donald Trump.
At the Gabbler, we set Trump up to discuss philosophy with renowned 16th century explorer Vasco da Gama, because why not?
And, just to see where we stand at the end of 2015, lets check in at one of Trump’s recent rallies:
Thanks to everyone who read, commented, shared, and published these cartoons this year!
Here’s to a better 2016!