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Star Trek vs. the Internet

This cartoon won a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators yesterday, which is both a huge honor and now somewhat bittersweet. Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 5:13 PM | link
Sparky’s List update

The time has finally come to phase out Amazon payments, due to some upcoming changes in their system. I’m working on getting that set up, but in the meantime, new subscribers can join via Paypal. Current subscribers stand by — once I get a new system in place, I’ll send out all the details via Sparky’s List.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 1:34 PM | link
Cartoon flashback

A comic I did for the Village Voice in 2007, when Billo — fresh on the heels of his sexual harassment scandal — decided it would be a good idea to publish a book of advice for young people. (Click for larger images.)

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 9:25 AM | link

A cartoon from 2010:

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 11:06 AM | link
Charlie Hebdo

My initial cartoon reaction is here.

Some useful links:

– Joe Sacco’s response to the massacre and Ruben Bolling’s response to the response. I respect both these artists immensely, but am definitely more in agreement with Ruben on this:

Charlie Hebdo and the Muslim community’s reaction to it is a complicated issue. But the murders are not.

Twelve people were murdered because of the publication of ideas.

We can try to figure out what those ideas are, but it is irrelevant to our reaction to the murders.

We can look at the value of those ideas, but it is irrelevant to our reaction to the murders.

– Before last week, I’d never heard of Charlie Hebdo, so I’m getting up to speed just like anyone else. Some useful context from French writers here and here. Adding: another good analysis here.

– John Scalzi has some thoughts on freedom of speech:

2. I also recognize that I know almost nothing about Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper, or the tradition of satire and comment that it exemplifies in French culture. From where I sit, a lot of what I’ve seen of it looks kind of racist and terrible. And I understand that Charlie Hebdo didn’t just go after Islamic extremists, and that it went after other groups and people just as hard (and just as obnoxiously). But it reminds me that “we go after everyone equally” doesn’t mean that I feel equally comfortable with all of it, or that it has equal effect. When I say #JeSuisCharlie, it doesn’t mean I want to create or post what I think are racist caricatures and justify them as satire, applied on a presumed equal opportunity basis.

3. But then again my comfort level is about me, not about Charlie Hebdo or anyone else. Free speech, taken as a principle rather than a specific constitutional pratice, means everyone has a right to share their ideas, in their own space, no matter how terrible or obnoxious or racist or stupid or inconsequential I or anyone else think they and their ideas are. I also recognize that satire in particular isn’t about being nice, or kind, or fair. Satire is inherently exaggerated, offensive and unfair, in order to bring the underlying injustice it’s calling attention to into sharper relief. Trust me, I know this. (Satire also has a high failure rate, and the failure mode of satire, like the failure mode of clever, is “asshole.”) A lot of what I’ve seen from Charlie Hebdo isn’t for me and seems questionable, and that’s neither here nor there in terms of whether it should have a right to be published…

8. If there is one silver lining to the horribleness of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it is that people have been confronted with the fact of something they take for granted — the right to say what they want to say, how they want to say it — is something that others will literally kill to punish. That Charlie Hebdo is a problematic example — that is offensive, and intentionally so, and it does make people uncomfortable and angry — is, well, good isn’t the right word. Instructive. Sometimes we have to be reminded that free speech isn’t just for the speech we like, or the speech that’s easy to be reasonable about.

…Also: this short video of a Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting is really worth watching. And, an interview with the editor of Liberation.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 3:47 PM | link
Philadelphia story

Most of the time, a paper drops the cartoon without ever acknowledging having done so, and it takes readers a few weeks to realize you’re not running there any more. So I owe a thank you to Philadelphia Daily News writer Will Bunch, whose work I’ve been reading for years, for giving TMW a proper sendoff as it loses its longtime Philly print home in the City Paper.

Adding: I storified some thoughts on the editorial zero sum mentality.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 10:53 PM | link
New Sparky’s List option–Paypal!

If you’re not sure what Sparky’s List is, read this.

The short version: These are uncertain times for weekly cartoonists. I lost three major papers and a few smaller ones in 2014 — some went out of business, others decided to save a few bucks by dropping cartoons. Sparky’s List is the best way I’ve come up with to offset these losses, allowing readers to directly support my work. Join up and you get the cartoon delivered to your inbox each week before publication. It’s like time travel, except in a very specific and not very useful way.

Up til now, the only payment option has been Amazon (due to a legacy integration with the maillist service I use). But now due to popular demand, you can also subscribe through Paypal, at a variety of levels. I thank you in advance if you choose to help out — you are helping to keep This Modern World afloat and alive, and that’s no small thing.

Adding: if I get 10 new subscribers before midnight New Year’s Eve, I’ll turn off the disturbing dance party Vine in the post below.

…okay I think 3 more subscribers and the terrifying dancing things go below a “read more” link.

Update: Got enough new subscribers to keep my promise — dancing guys hidden. But don’t let that keep you from signing up! Let’s have a little end-of-the-year pledge drive here. If I get fifty new subscribers it will offset at least one of the papers I lost this year!

Update 2: Amazon is changing their system, and until I figure out what this means, I will only be accepting new subscribers through Paypal.

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 4:42 PM | link

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