By the Comics Curmudgeon
"Why can't you draw something nice for a change?" This, I imagine, is probably what hard-working political cartoonists hear from their parents all the time, as their chosen profession requires that they use their talent exclusively for drawing political figures, who are both evil and physically unattractive, rather than depicting, say, handsome movie stars frolicking with adorable baby seals. But does spending so much artistic energy on the jowls of our political leaders lead to an unhealthy fascination with the ugly and the disturbing? Let's meet some artists who have stared into the abyss a little too long.

First up, we have a perennial favorite: Dick Cheney's big floppy man-boobs. Now, we accept that the "fetishistic medieval-style torturer" is a long-standing and useful figure in cartoons about torture (see the Wizard of Id for endless laffs on this subject) and, since early 2002, U.S. foreign policy. And we accept that if, through some unfortunate series of events, Dick Cheney decided to take off his shirt, he would almost certainly have big floppy man-boobs. But why, we ask you, why does he have to show them off when he's in his torture outfit? Wouldn't that actually interfere with his torturing? What if one of the sinister terrorists were to break free of his restraints and tweak the vice-president's nipple? Surely U.S. torture regulations demand that he cover up!

You know who else has big floppy man-boobs? Freddie Mac, apparently, who, it occurs to us now looking at this cartoon, does sound more like a tough-talking Damon Runyan character than an integral part of our financial system. Still, his big floppy man-boobs are nothing compared to Fannie Mae's big floppy woman-boobs. Apparently this is some sort of cautionary tale about what happens when the enormous pendulous breasts of mortgage lending are unrestrained by the brassiere of government regulation.

Speaking of boobs, a note to political cartoonists everywhere: we know that donkeys and elephants are convenient visual shorthand for members of the two major political parties in this country, and that you sometimes like to depict them walking upright and talking like ordinary men and women. But please, save the portrayal of kindly barmaids with ample bosoms as donkey-headed beast-women for your password-protected furry art Web site -- especially where Bill and Jesse are concerned, because you know that it won't take too many beers before they start contemplating hitting it "donkey style."

The slander-based community at least doesn't have floppy boobs of any sort. But why can't it be bothered to wear a shirt that fits properly? We have nothing against our fellow Americans of larger than average size, but trust us, a well-tailored shirt is the difference between being a crazy Internet hate-spewing weirdo and a respected hate-spewing TV pundit.

(The black executioner's mask is, of course, a totally valid fashion choice that we respect.)

Finally, is there something more terrible than floppy boobs and beast-women and paranoids in filthy, ill-fitting shirts? Sure there is: John McCain's face! At least, that seems to be the case if this cartoon is any indication. In real life, WALNUTS!'s mug has been ravaged by age, cancer, the Communist Vietnamese, and hate; here his visage has been transformed into a tapioca-like mass, his jowls sagging under the weight of tumor after tumor. And that, my friends, is definitely not change that we can believe in.

EXCITING COMICS CURMUDGEON VIEWING OPPORTUNITY! Do you enjoy the syndicated teevee gameshow Jeopardy? Well, this coming Tuesday, July 22, your Comics Curmudgeon will be competing on said show, attempting to supplement his meager blogging income with sweet, sweet trivia cash. Check your listings for local broadcast times! And if you live in or near Baltimore, feel free to stop by P.J.'s Pub at 3333 N. Charles St. in Charles Village at 6 p.m. or so to watch the show with me and my fawning fans!


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