Stressing Your Parents Out and Mining The Tarkine - My Weekend Cartoon Roundup

Usually, for the Sunday Tasmanian cartoon, I'm given a specific subject to draw on. This Sunday I was given an article on children stressing out their parents. (Sorry, I can't find a link for that article. You'll just have to take my word for it.)

I decided to link that story with this one about a very young protester in Sydney.
Mining in the Tarkine has reared it's ugly little head in the news yet again. Now the mining industry is making commercials extolling the historic and traditional virtues of mining in that area. I just decided to put this whole history into comic documentation. I'm sure it's 100% accurate - just like their commercial.


You Can Lead a Horse to Forestry...

So, Nick McKim decided to let the government give Forestry Tasmania $20 Million.

In a couple days time, everyone'll be singing "Kum Bay Yah" around the Forestry Peace talks table.


The Trans-Bass Walkway

Today's cartoon was inspired by a new walkway put in over Argyle Street. Somehow, I linked that idea to  traveling to Melbourne. There's a lot of reduced airplane rates at the moment. Maybe that's where I got the idea.

Aside from all that, I think that dolphin is the best dolphin I've ever drawn.



There's a certain website that's causing a lot of distress among teachers in Tasmania and probably throughout the world. I'm sure sites like this are set up with the best of intentions. (insert stifled laugh) But when you've got a site that gives users the ability to comment anonymously, then you have to be prepared for the obligatory trolls.

There must be something about the light of a full computer screen that turns these sweet little children (again, the stifled laugh) into horrible spineless troll.com's.

Oh, who am I kidding. When I was young and stupid, I talked about teachers behind their backs just like all of my friends. Kids are very prone to that sort of mob mentality when it comes to teachers and classmates. I'm not advocating this behaviour. I was a victim of it as well as a proponent. I'm just saying that it's been around for much longer than the internet.  Websites like Rate My Teachers are really just a glorified venue for cowardly note passing at the back of the classroom.

So, what's the solution to this new zit on the pimple-clustered face of today's youth?

I'm gonna play the "responsibility" card.

Victor Frankl, in his excellent book Man's Search For Meaning, said that if the United States has a Statue of Liberty on the East Coast then they should have a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. I agree with this with every logical cell in my brain. Freedom is wonderful glorious right, but some people can abuse it until it is mangled beyond anything recognisable. These people are trolls. They hurl insults and bile from behind the screen of anonymity and call it, "freedom." Many of them, especially the kids, would act very differently if they had to confront that person, face-to-face over a cup of tea.

I'm gonna end this before I degenerate into a rambling cantankerous old codger. But at least you know who I am and where I stand.


The Abbott Calling The Kettle Black

Sometimes, you've got to get a cartoon done super-quick. The morning of the day this was due, my wife and I had to meet someone for breakfast, then go to an after-hours doctor (it was Saturday) across town to see about her sore throat and my earache.

Then we drove back home so that I could get to work on the next day's cartoon. Instead, I took a 40 minute nap. (I told you, I was sick.)

After all of that, I got myself into high gear on getting this cartoon done, which (being a Sunday cartoon) had to be finished and delivered earlier than my usual deadline. So, if it looks a little bit rushed, that's why. I also had to squash the entire cartoon after I was done colouring it because I can never get the Sunday dimensions just right. For some reason, they're different to the other days.

The story behind this is from a comment that Tony Abbott made about a controversial Muslim leader's visit to Australia. Disproportionate opinions aside, I don't think Tony is very qualified to be castin' that first stone.

Oh Sure, They Laughed At Me Then. They All Laughed...

The headline on the paper was an actual headline that I saw my internet news feed. (I can't find the link for it, so you'll just have to trust me.)

So, how could any cartoonist pass up the imagery invoked that immediately comes to mind?


Not in Kansas Anymore.

As you can probably guess, the Supertrawler is still on everyone's minds as it gets closer and closer to Tasmanian waters. There's a massive opposition to it, with an online petition reaching nearly 95,000 signatures.

Tassie has also been getting some horrendous winds. Most Tasmanians expect this sort of thing every spring, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't come as a shock when they do come.

I just threw those stories together along with some wishful thinking and, VOILA! I have a cartoon.

And now, a small rant:

The Age newspaper has sacked three of Australia's best cartoonists: Oslo Davis (who is a great guy and has had cartoons published in just about everything imaginable), Andrew Wheldon (who has cards in every newsagent in Australia - and they're usually the funniest ones you can find!), and Judy Horacek (who has been keeping the Wilderness Society afloat with sales of her t-shirt designs for at least a decade - and illustrated one of the books in Clementine's As-Soon-As-She-Grows-Out-Of-Board-Books library.)

What sort of stupidity lies behind a decision like this? I know I'm preaching to the choir here. Most people who will be reading this are more than likely already fans of the cartooning medium. But I want to take a moment to make a case for the cartoonist - because I don't want this sacking thing to become a trend.

Let's start off with the fact that a publication of any sort needs to have some kind of visual to make it palatable for the general public. Visuals, be they photos, graphs or even...cartoons, are easier for the eyes to digest than text and therefore provide a doorway for the reader to launch themselves into reading should they find the visual stimulating in some sort of respect. We've all seen those books in the library that have a plain binding and only text inside. These books have done nothing to excite the senses - no interesting typography, no decorations on the spine and definitely no illustrations. These are the books that end up stabilising wobbly tables. No one wants to read books like this unless there is some sort of specific information within its stale pages that they feel is important enough to wade through the drudgery to find.

Let's face it: publications need art.

The second observation that needs to be made is that an overabundance of a certain type of art in a publication can dull the impact of that art. Digital photography has become both a blessing and a curse to the medium. Personally, I don't think digital photos look as good as film, but that gap is closing with every new camera that comes out. The other problem that digital photography has unleashed upon the medium is that there are now billions of photos. Everywhere. And the publishing industry is saturated with them. They're cheap and easy to use whether it's in a home publication or a professional mass-media magazine. But with this convenience comes a deadening to its impact. A photo has to be much more outstanding to be memorable nowadays.

Don't get me wrong, I think photographers are essential to a newspaper or magazine. I just don't think they should be the only form of visual communication.

Cartoons, on the other hand, are still a bit of a rarity in the publication world. Sure, they're way more expensive than photos, but they add a uniqueness (and, hopefully, wit) to a publication that makes the investment worth the extra money. Look at magazines like The New Yorker and Mad Magazine. Both of these are hugely successful publications that employ the best cartoonists in the world to illustrate their covers, articles and spot cartoons. I mean, I don't even care about what's going on in New York and I still pick up the latest issue of The New Yorker to look at it whenever I'm looking at magazines.

I attribute the continued success of these magazines to their commitment to good, distinct cartoons.

So to my colleagues in cartooning (namely Oslo, Andrew and Judy), don't fret too much about being dumped. I'm sure this is just a kind of publication mid-life crisis for The Age. They'll probably come crawling back on their hands and knees when they realise how empty and dull their paper is without you. But hopefully you will have moved on, to somewhere that values your work for what it is: a beauty mark among text that people still look for with the anticipation of a kid looking for the comics in the Sunday paper.



A Supertrawler By Any Other Name...

The FV MARGIRIS has renamed itself the "ABEL TASMAN" and it has made quite a few Tasmanians very angry.

You'd be angry too if something that was going to decimate a vital component to an ages-old ecosystem was named after someone who came to Tasmania and opened the door for his people to come in and decimate... oh, you get what I mean.