A Children's Treasury Of Stupid Cartoons About the Auto Industry
By the Comics Curmudgeon
If you asked the average American in olden times (1960) what glories would await them, auto-wise, in the Mysterious Future Year of 2009, they would be all like "flying cars" and "nuclear-powered cars" and "cars operated by intelligent ro-bots." They certainly would not say "cars made in Japan, because American automakers have entered creative, moral, and actual bankruptcy (in that order)."
Which just goes to show what I always say: People in olden times were stupid. Now that the impossible has happened -- now that Americans are too poor to buy the stupid, overpriced cars they've traditionally bought, and all the factory workers that the car companies promised to support for life persist in not dying -- we turn for answers to the one group capable of giving them to us, in clear and horribly misguided visual form: political cartoonists.
Clicking on the pictures will make them bigger, but will not help sell any more terrible Pontiac Shitmobiles.
Whoa, check out this model! It comes with the new GPS, by which, apparently, we mean a purse-lipped Barack Obama sitting in the passenger seat! Get it? Because Obama is ... telling the auto industry where to go, we guess? Or maybe instead of saying "TURN ... IN ... 250 ... FEET," the Obama-GPS uses catchier phrases like "Blam!" and "Get your own damn fries!" Or maybe it just tells you to TURN LEFT ALL THE TIME, GET IT, HAW HAW, BECAUSE OF THE SOCIALISM. Anyway, the point is that Obama is your new GPS, even though it means that GM had to make its new models somehow even more hideous than their previous hideous cars, so as to accommodate the president's freakishly large head.
Look, it's another cartoon in which people are attempting to buy a car from a dealership! Virtually everyone reacts to such a situation with immediate and visceral loathing, so it's obviously a great set-up to pull readers in to your whimsical cartoon world. Anyway, this comic is mostly notable for its portrayal of Uncle Sam -- only this is a new Uncle Sam, for a new millennium! Instead of the lean and comically tall Uncle Sam of tradition, this Uncle Sam has a an enormous beer gut and thunderous thighs; instead of the natty if archaic chinbeard of yore, this Uncle Sam sports three or four day's worth of stubble; and instead of pointing angrily at cowardly noncombatants or rolling up his sleeves and preparing to cold-cock Tojo with a wrench, he's just kind of shuffling aimlessly around an auto dealership, making everybody uncomfortable. He probably smells pretty bad, too!
Hey, you know how the government is intervening in the auto industry? Well, it may well be that you think that government intervention in private industry is a bad idea generally, and you want to draw a cartoon about it. That's totally OK! And heck, it's totally legitimate to compare the government "tinkering" in the affairs of private car companies with a mechanic fiddling with the engine of an actual, physical car. That's a great metaphor! So sure, go ahead and draw a fat mechanic with the words "GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION" on his stained t-shirt, surrounded by scattered auto parts, and then write "MR. BADWRENCH" under him. I don't mind! Only here's the thing: If people don't know that the government is intervening in the auto industry, they really aren't going to get your cartoon. And that's OK too! There's no way you're going to be able to explain it in cartoon form. You just have to let people read about this stuff on their own. So whatever you do, resist the temptation to write "AUTO INDUSTRY" on a random engine block dealie next to the mechanic. You think it's helping, but it's just making things worse. It's just making things worse.
What's the best way to tell a top CEO to leave? Offer him a pistachio! HA HA HA HA ha ha ... ha ... um. There's probably some kind of pistachio recall going on which vaguely excuses this madness, but I refuse to check on that because I want to appreciate this cartoon as the glorious non-sequitur that it was when I first encountered it. The artist, the mysterious "D. Barstow," is the same lunatic genius behind last week's two favorites, "moneybag gay priest cruising" and "talking conservative stem cells who fuck," so you this insanity is just par for the course. Anyway, if I were Sketchily Drawn GM CEO Who I Guess Looks Vaguely Like Rick Wagoner, I'd be less concerned with the pistachio than I would be with the sinister dimensional portal to who knows where that appears to be opening in the wall behind me.
Goodness, hasn't everyone been informed that our black president has by his very existence ended all racism everywhere? Yet here we have Barry depicted as two different terrible stereotypes: the obsequious house negro, and the violent, slap-happy pimp -- IN THE PANEL LABELED "DETROIT," NO LESS, DO I HAVE TO SPELL THIS OUT FOR YOU? Shame on this cartoon! Specifically, shame on it for not following through to its logical conclusion. Yes, servant-Barry is dressed in a butler's tuxedo (like TV's Benson, himself a construct of white TV producers meant to reinforce the racial hierarchy). So why isn't back-of-my-hand Barry dressed more like, say, this?
But being either a pimp or an Uncle Tom would certainly be preferable to being some sort of slope-foreheaded, hunchbacked, enormously toothy drooly subhumanoid in a hideous yellow shirt. This cartoon comes to you from Honduras, and the fact that the US Air Force isn't reducing Tegucigalpa to a smoldering ruin RIGHT NOW is proof that America has lost its edge.