Sunday, July 12, 2009
Bizarro is brought to you today by Summer Weather.
I've been getting a lot of emails and blog comments in the last couple of days about the cartoons of July 10 and 11. I drew these five or six weeks ago and I suppose I was having an ambiguous week. Sometimes I get experimental in subject matter, or humor, or color scheme, and even if it doesn't work for everyone, I think it keeps the feature fresh. For me, at least, which I think is important. If I get bored, it will show.
This cartoon about the happy family means nothing more than what it looks like. It's just funny to me. "Let's get started!" doing what? I don't know. What do happy, perfect families do at home at night? I don't know anyone who had one, so I've no experience to draw from.
When I was a child, my own family looked very normal from the outside, the quintessential Ozzy-and-Harriet dreamworld. And even though we ate dinner together every night, then settled in to watch TV, it was not the utopia pictured above.
Night after night, we were forced to watch industrial training films from the linoleum industry over and over again. To make certain we were paying attention, my mother shot live rounds over our heads. Dad watched from a dog cage under the dining room table, barking and panting like a Golden Retriever. One of my sisters was born with gills and lived in an oil drum full of water. Her splashing would spot the TV screen with rainbow dots of magnifying liquid.
Maybe this cartoon was just therapy for me.
REGARDING YESTERDAY'S CARTOON: A few people have complained that suicide isn't funny. I agree, I lost a good friend to suicide. But humor of this kind is a uniquely human practice and serves a valuable purpose for us. To find humor in what scares or horrifies us gives us a psychological edge over the tragedy. This kind of humor has existed in human cultures for as long as we've been writing things down.
Some time ago, I promised a reader I would not picture suicide in my cartoons for the very reason that some of you were offended, and I've kept to that. But I think a cartoon such as this one is so far fetched and the reader is left to wonder/assume what has happened to the woman, that it does not strike the same chord. To me, anyway. One person accused me of being sexist because the cartoon insinuates that all men want when they come home from work is sex from their woman. This cartoon is not about what men want when they come home from work, but that if a man comes home from work and sees his partner's clothing spread seductively in a trail across the floor, 99% of them are going to think of sex. Either she is seducing him, or she has already seduced someone else. It's not insulting, its human nature.