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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why We Suck

Oof. It's Donna Barstow!

I hadn't even heard of her until Josh Fruhlinger (also known as The Comics Curmudgeon, and also also known as Cartoon Violence) started making fun of her. Even then, I couldn't tell whether or not I was perhaps ridiculing a developmentally-disabled five-year-old (who had strangely been given a job drawing political cartoons), and maybe should stop.

But she's an adult of some kind, and the fact that she can't create a coherent one-panel narrative is graced and enhanced by the fact that she seems to have lots of time on her hands, and answers any criticism of her fine self first person. Like the picked-upon kid in grade school who finally just screams, "YOU LEAVE ME ALOOONE!", this doesn't make things any easier.
As a rule, she shows up and starts ranting a lot of underinformed things about the Fair Use doctrine, and starts threatening lawsuits and/or server crashes. Between her lack of artistic talent, inability to make a simple joke and propensity for freaking out in public, she serves as the poster child for Why Editorial Cartoons Are Stupid, basically.

How did I put that? Oh yes:
"How to make an already unfunny joke even less funny: have one of your unfunny strawmen attempt to explain the punchline within the context of the joke.
You can do this with anything. Two (generic people, animals, items) walk into a (bar, police station, the White House) and say, “Gee, (easily generalized-about group) are sure going to (like/not like) this (thing that is going on, or is not going on)!”

But did you follow that first hyperlink up top? I haven't been able to export it back to here, so it's only a link, but that's where she becomes a special case. More on this to come.

So here's exhibit A.

Donna attempts to make the most common joke known to humanity (possibly the most common joke told among primates): Men Be Like Dis, Wimmin Be Like Dat.

But she can't do it, because her reasoning apparatus has been compromised or something. For one thing, it's not an especially funny scenario, nor is it realistic. In what I think she's showing us here, these people are already dating (or at least he just keeps showing up and watching her TV). Despite this fact, he uses a phrase that probably a stranger/maybe a distant acquaintance/no one at all would use.

And then we note how insensitive the male beast is (muted trumpet sound effect)...

Exhibit B:

Does this or does this not look like something that a seven-year-old who has listened to their parents talking politics for half a minute might draw? I certainly did, when I was kid: I came from a family of newspaper people, and wanted to be thought Clever.

But what is the pistachio supposed to represent? What are the squiggly lines? What does this actually say about the specific topic under discussion?

It's almost a political statement. But not really.

Now this, this here's a political statement, I guess.
If you had thought before that perhaps Donna is one of those people who would describe themselves as Conservative, consider the name that she copyrights under, which is "The Opposite of Wrong".
So now I feel like it's not too cruel to call her dumber than Glenn McCoy. At least he can actually make a point, regardless of how badly.

You can feel here how there's an undercurrent of anger at something, but...There's at least two attempted jokes going one here, and neither of them work. Honestly: what the hell is the joke, as laid out by its author?

We're back to a gender critique of some sort. The caption, which isn't available here, was "Paging Captain Jack Sparrow".
This image originally appeared on doubleX, who should know better. So should Slate, and the New Yorker. Her shit is everywhere, and I'm wondering why this is. What could she possibly have on them?

The fun thing is, once you get beyond making fun of how retarded she is, the assholes on the left end of the spectrum start coming out of the woodpile. I mean, there is a special kind of idiocy that allows one to create a sentence like:

"Racist cartoonist Donna Barstow, who is here seen being responsible for racist cartooning on the subject of swine flu, has unsurprisingly dabbled in racist cartoons before."

Well, thanks for that. Then they go on to get all frothy about the stupid cartoon where she renders Barack Obama as a Chia Head. This cartoon, like all of her cartoons, is underinformed to put it nicely. Not living where anyone else lives, to put it another. But to immediately jump to 'racism!' is...Ah, 'typical', is what it is.

Even better? Late in the comment thread, we get to meet the face of Donna that one could describe as homophobic -or could they? Because that cartoon doesn't make any sense, either.
She says so herself:

"Am I being disrespectful? Or funny? Only an editorial cartoonist knows for sure. I was surprised when Proposition 8, here in California, got picked up by gays all over the country as a rallying cry. I thought it was a state by state thing. I mean, didn’t Massacusetts say yes? And maybe other states."

So let's see...You aren't being funny. I can say that for certain...And I guess that if you're unable to marry in California, you could always move to Massachusetts?

But let none of this deter The Womanist, who wrote this amazing piece of freighted wordification. She starts off by referring to our (demonstrably, I believe) brain-damaged subject as a "pearl clutcher", which is a term The Womanist came up with all on her own.

And so we start to see how stupidity and shit reasoning beget themselves. Donna has a job publishing things that seem so full of political import, but mean absolutely nothing, and seem diagnosable. Renee publishes pointless diatribes with some of the worst circular logic I've seen outside of freshman year seminar, and receives the approval of others who don't reason so well...Which may very well be most people. These particular fish just happen to love their purported victim status.

So, since I can't seem to find a copy of that cartoon that will allow itself to be dragged back here (it appears on her blog), let me lay it out for you:

A white man and a white woman are seated on a couch. They are watching a television that has an poorly drawn image that nonetheless is clearly supposed to be Barack Obama. The white man has a string of words emitting from his mouth. They read, “I can’t believe it’s been 100 days and he’s still standing. Do you think it’s like Reaper, and he made a deal with the Devil?”

The comic appears in the context of some stupid little story about how her favorite teevee shows are being cancelled, like 'Reaper'. Then she suggests that somebody already should have shot the President by now. Good fucking lord, Donna. Get help.



Blogger reid said...

I never heard of this woman before, so thanks for destroying what faith I had left in humanity and their 'toons. About one in a hundred cartoonists are decent but the other 99 are paid and published all over the place. Reading Barstow reminds me of a low-rent Cathy mixed with a frustrated high school paper, it literally makes me ill that this passes for political commentary on anything at all. I don't understand how her particular work is palatable let alone marketable but then if I consider those who read Slate and New Yorker (they were good at one time, yeah?) I suppose it makes more sense. Those publications obviously don't know better, which also troubles me.

What ever happened to that talking tiger and the idiot kid? Now that was a cartoon!

2:24 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

The best way I ever heard it put was in 'Might' magazine in the '90's:

"Even if the headline read 'Hitler, 103, dies after choking on baby flesh in Argentina', there would still be an editorial cartoon with a tiny swastika crying a little tiny tear."

5:38 PM  

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