Friday, September 17, 2010

Freaks












Bizarro is brought to you today by
Nut-Gathering Robots.

I'm proud to present to you today one of my favorite cartoons in ages. The 21st Century Freakshow is brilliant, and I can say that without fear of immodesty because I didn't write it. (Damn!) I think I did a good job of drawing it (be sure to click it to see the larger version) but the original idea and sketch, pretty much in this form, came from my brilliant friend, colleague, and occasional collaborator, Wayno. I hate his guts. And I love him for donating this idea to Bizarro. He's a mensch.

The first state fair I ever attended was in Tulsa, Oklahoma around 1972 or so and back then they still had the old-school freak shows which consisted mostly of deformed people in cheap costumes. The "Abominable Snowman" was a guy with elephantitis of the feet, wearing a fake-fur caveman outfit and holding a big club. The "Alligator Girl" was a very old woman in a bikini whose entire body was covered in a scaly skin disorder of some kind. They sat all day in a plywood cubicle sort of thing inside a tent and you paid your money and went up and looked over the wall to see them. The look on their faces could be described as zombiesque and who could blame them? It's also worth noting that one of the attractions was invariably "The Fat Lady." At the time, a 300 lbs. woman was a rare sight, but they were no bigger than the average Walmart shopper of today.

Though still not to my taste, the freak shows of today are much more interesting, for my money. They are primarily people who do really weird things, like picking up a Buick by connecting a chain to the loop in their pierced tongue, or someone who has tattooed their entire body with all 44 presidents of The United States. I'm glad the old freak shows are gone, but I'm also glad I got to see one before they disappeared. I'm not sure why, just one of those odd experiences that one can appreciate in retrospect. At the time, however, I found it sad and haunting.

Speaking of freaks, next up is this gorilla cartoon which probably isn't all that funny to non-vegan folks. When you tell people you don't eat any animal products, the first question they often ask is "where do you get your protein?" The idea that humans need mounds of bloody animal protein to be strong and healthy is medically untrue; a myth perpetuated by the meat and dairy industries. There is plenty enough protein in plants to be healthy and strong, as any of the many huge, strong herbivores can attest: gorillas, rhinos, giraffes, cattle, etc. Children raised on vegan diets (after they finish their own mother's milk, of course) are many times less likely to develop most of your big diseases like cancers, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc. And they grow just as tall (but not as wide) as their burger-eating peers.

Don't forget to tell your NY area friends to come to The Steam Powered Hour on Sunday night where I'll be doing some music and comedy. Empty rooms are not good for comedy.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a frequent meat eater, I find your comment that "non-vegan folks" won't find the comic funny highly offensive to vegetarians.

Wayno said...

Thank you, sir Dan! I'll take your kind words as a hearty three thumbs up.

James said...

Several "lower" primates are known to kill and eat other primates.

Just wondering what your opinion is of the evolutionary hypothesis that early human ancestors evolved into the human species precisely because they learned to eat animal protein (namely the marrow of animals killed by other predators)?

Without access to that ultra-rich animal protein the human brain could not have developed as it did. Or so the story goes...

Jennifer said...

Thanks for bringing up the glory days of the ole'state fair. The great state fair of Oklahoma began yesterday, and this year it shall not include the alligator woman, but we will be regaled by the likes of wrestlers Motorcity Machine Guns vs. Beer Money, Inc. Oh how far we've come!

Piraro said...

@James...It's an interesting topic, for sure, and one that I've enjoyed reading about for years. Concepts about early humans change all of the time and each theory about how we got our big brains tends to have a fairly short life as new fossil evidence emerges. The most recent theory I heard is that the human brain is as large as it is because our skull doesn't completely fuse for x number of years after our birth. A chimp's fuses at 3 years and, perhaps not coincidentally, chimps are about as smart as 3-year-old humans. So the theory goes that the brain grows until it can't anymore and that our big brains have to do with a mutation in our bone growth rather than the brain itself.

An older theory I read a few years back is that our species was not able to get a substantial amount of animal protein until after we began to hunt efficiently with language to coordinate our efforts, which was, of course, after our brains were already big.

I suspect we won't know the real answer for a very long time, if ever. The modern human brain does not need animal protein after we are weened from nursing, this much we do know.

mims said...

hey, my son and I love your comic, daily consumers.

HE (11 years old) came up wiht a funny idea for you....

Caption: Timmy misunderstood "TAlk Like a Pirate" Day.

Talk bubble: That should be enoughh gasoline, hand me some matches.
Of course, to be run on TLAP day.

Anonymous said...

I don't like to get into these things, but I will just this once. Protein is protein, and complete proteins are easy enough to find without eating animals or animal products. But what about B12?

Sorry to be anonymous, but google already knows enough about me.

-Another James

Piraro said...

@anonymous...I take a tiny B12 tablet once a week and that's that.

Victor said...

erh.. don't gorillas eat insects too?

Aardwolf said...

the freak show comic is pure gold

apakdel said...

the caption should read: "hey vegan gorilla! aren't you going to give me a self-righteous holier than thou speech today?? I did eat a rat earlier."

Rob said...

I'm not vegan (love my eggs and dairy), and I'm really not even a full vegetarian. (Eat seafood 2-4 times a week.) And yet even *I* keep getting that silly question about where I get my protein!
[Bangs head on wall.] :-P

On a different note, it's pretty wild that we've come to a point where those of us without tattoos are considered the unique ones!

Aaron W said...

I highly appreciated the freakshow comic, especially the (optimistic) equivocation of someone who eats ANYTHING as being a modern-day freak, but,
it was hard for me to get the reason you chose the word "Geek" till I researched the word further, as the common modern usage (at least in my experience) is to someone who's (maybe a bit freakishly, and to the exclusion of other things), technically inclined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek

dongs said...

next to the gorilla, can you draw a lion with some meat hanging out of his mouth and a meerkat asking if he is getting enough vegetables?

Matt said...

Thank you for posting the picture as I saw it in the Boston Globe on Sunday and I have been thinking about the Blank Woman as I feel as you or the person who thought of it that EVERYONE seems to be getting a tattoo! I also love the one that I forgot who says "minutes go by undocumented." I think it's so true!
Thank you for creating and publishing these!