Tuesday, November 8

Intro-Feedback-Setup-Punchline-Repeat.

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A Lifetime Of Laughs: The Boycott Unity Retrospective.

Immediately following the 2004 Presidential Election, I had what friends and loved-ones would remember as a “freak-out of embarrassing proportions.” The phone was shut off, the CDP went on hiatus and I wore nothing but black to work. I shut the television off; sat down, and thought about all the work I had gone through over the last few months to ensure that what happened… didn’t happen. It was a huge feeling of failure and deflation, like when I got kicked off of the golf team in High School because I was failing Geometry. I sucked and everyone knew it.

Every day felt like I was drowning in thick gravy, and not the good kind that Grandma used to make. Everyone in Madison walked around town like they had just been punched in the gut. I came to the quick conclusion that me and the Missus didn’t have enough money to leave the country for good, so I settled on the next best thing.

I started a political cartoon.

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Boycott Unity was born. If anything, it was a way to cheer myself up, sling some mud and act like I was actually making a difference. I couldn’t draw, and Paint was the only program I was proficient in, so I took pride in the fact that it looked like hell, and just focused on the dialogue.

Boycott Unity centered around 2 main characters. They didn’t have names, and were told apart only by the size of their mouths. The small-mouthed fellow was the self-intelligent liberal. The voice of progress and sarcasm, logic and reason, but always quick to realize his place in the big picture. He knew what was wrong and how to change it, but he normally sunk his energy into things that mattered none to his future. He's a lot like me.

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The larger-mouthed gentleman represented everything that I dislike about the right wing, and everything logical conservatives dislike about the right wing, as well. He talked without thinking, conversed without listening and believed the unbelievable. He was essentially the worst conservative ever; a composite of everything that keeps you from talking to men in suits.

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Without question, these characters were satires of both ends of the spectrum. People like this don’t really exist, although everything they said came from somewhere in reality. It just made sense for me to use two political representatives who really had no business giving their opinion. I think that this cartoon summed this mindset up perfectly.

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Most of the time, Boycott Unity focused on current events and world happenings. Around the time of the strip, the war in Iraq was picking up more steam and critics, and George Bush was re-elected to office. The debate was hot over the concept of pre-emptive strikes.

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Already, people were talking about who would bring the Democrats to glory in 2008.

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For about a week, I had a storyline where our Conservative friend attended the President's inagural ball.

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A lot of strips focused on misconceptions we have concerning opposing political parties. The idea that we like to mash together everything we hate about conservatives or liberals and assume that they all think that way is foolish and irresponsible.

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As was shown in the 2004 elections, Liberals take things for granted, they don’t work hard enough to invoke change and they focus too much of their time on things that make no difference whatsoever. This angers me, mainly because I’m living proof. These strips were mostly about how mad I am at myself, because I’m slacking off on doing something important.

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I wrote this strip shortly after the death of my Grandfather. It cheered up my family as much as it could have.

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Other times, I removed politics entirely from the strip, and just let the characters screw with each other. Every now and again, you had to remember why they enjoyed each other’s company in the first place.

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The song he's singing here is "Mama Said Knock You Out," by LL Cool J. It's funnier when you know that going in.

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Sometimes, things were written directly out of problems I was having in my own little world. Things like work, relationships and family would make their way into a Boycott Unity cartoon.

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Every once in a while, the bad news and mud got so deep I couldn't help but get serious for a second. Well, you know, as serious as a stick figure can get, I suppose.

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This was one of the most commented cartoons I've ever done. It generated a lot of positive feedback, and for that I am proud.

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Well, this one may have actually received more feedback, now that I think about it.

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People always asked me, “why are they friends?” My answer is that they need each other. One can’t exist without the other in the real world, and people often forget that. Everyone needs a counter weight, and everyone needs someone to fight with. Otherwise, the imbalance would destroy them. They knew that they needed each other, and they were willing to accept that.

After about 70 of these little 4-paneled turds, I decided to call it quits. First and foremost, I didn't like doing them anymore. You'd be absolutely amazed at how much work goes into something as simple as this cartoon. Try creating a few of them, and you'll drive yourself insane. You'll try to remember what life was like before you had to make a joke every fourth line of a conversation. I felt like I did what I wanted to do, and it was a good time to knock it off before the strip started to really suck.

Another reason I gave it up was that not a lot of people seemed interested in it. The CDP was getting good traffic, but it was like pulling teeth to get people over to Boycott Unity. I was feeling frustrated, which led to this; one of the last strips I did.

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Looking back one year later, I found myself actually enjoying these; probably a little too much. For some reason, I took a lot of pride in these damn things. Once I pulled the plug on the strip, I removed all of the comics from the interweb permanently (until now, of course). Afterwards, a few people told me that they missed them and wanted to see them again, which made me feel fuzzy.

It's funny how angry I was a year ago. Either that, or it's sad how jaded I am one year later. People get used to their surroundings, and for better or for worse, that has pretty much happened to me. Sure, the news still makes me sick, I refuse to engage in debates anymore and the Fox News Channel needs a severe keelhauling, but I don't feel the need to take it to the streets too much anymore. I haven't given up, I just temporarily forgot what I was fighting for.

I'm not an angry Liberal. I'm not a Conservative hater. I'm a concerned, smart-ass American who can't draw. As you've hopefully noticed, I don't talk politics on the CDP anymore, because it's neither the place nor the time for such discussion. Rather, I hope that this entertained you somewhat, and perhaps reminded you of where we have been in the last year.

At the very least, I think they're pretty funny.

NEXT: Sweeps Month Continues!

Comments:
Still funny the second time around. What's wrong with Gabe? Is is the wiener thing?
 
Gabe gets his own post tomorrow.
 
Some of thoese I don't even remember reading. I probably just wasn't paying attention.
 
You did a great job with the Boycott Unity stuff, I probably should have been reading them, but back in the day I just couldn't bear to visit political sites after the election season... Just kind of sick of it, you know? Even the smarter thoughtful stuff like what you've got here.
 
I used to do the cartoons 5 days a week (Monday-Friday), so there's a good chance that a lot of them got overlooked. I actually pitched the strip to a local paper, and they never wrote me back. Can you believe it?

I liked how the characters bounced off each other, and I thought about doing another strip with them that wasn't necessarily political in nature. Perhaps they can stop by the CDP every now and again, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Ben can draw, maybe I can talk to him about starting something new.

I know what you mean. After the elections, there was just so much that one could take before they had to take a big step back. This WAS my big step back.

I'm going to make books out of the BC Collection and give them out as Christmas presents to relatives I hate.
 
I always loved your comic strips, honey.

Please make a book of them. thank you.
 
How about a 12-month calendar thing? That might rule.
 
I cannot claim inclusion to either of these two parties; I guess I am just fed up with the bickering between them both while problems continue to mount. But aside from all of that, I thought you might find the following attachment funny. In no way do I condone or practice its content.

History of the World...Part I
The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer
and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the
beer. These were the foundations of modern civilization and, together,
were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:
Liberals and Conservatives.
Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of
agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can was invented yet,
so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to
be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.
Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to barbeque at night
while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as
"the Conservative movement."
Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the
Conservatives by showing up for the nightly barbeques and doing the
sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal
movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest
became known as girlymen.
Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the
invention of group therapy, group hugs and the concept of Democratic
voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that Conservatives provided.
Over the years, Conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most
powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the
jackass.
Modern Liberals like imported beer (with lime added)(& foo foo coffee),but most
prefer white wine or imported, bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef
well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard Liberal fare.
Another interesting evolutionary side note: Most of their women have higher
testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys,
journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are
Liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't
"fair" to make the pitcher also bat.
Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for
their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks,
construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate
executives, fighter pilots, athletes and generally anyone who works
productively outside government.
Conservatives who own companies hire other Conservatives who want to work for a living.
Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers
and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more
enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the Liberals remained in
Europe when Conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the
Wild West was tame and created a business of trying to get MORE for
nothing.
Here ends today's lesson in world history. It should be noted that a Liberal
will have an uncontrollable urge to respond to the above instead of simply laughing at it.

Are you laughing?

Tinman
 
Oh no, has Ryan's aunt Holly put you on her mailing list now, too??
 
"Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't
"fair" to make the pitcher also bat."


That's funny, because it was the most true statement in the entire piece.

That's what I'm talking about. Liberals think that Conservatives are Bible-toting carnivores who carry loaded guns. Conservatives thing that Liberals are pansy-ass granola munchers who can't do anything for themselves.

Neither are right, and neither are wrong; it's just another broad stereotype that we give to a certain group of people. We've done it forever.
 
Thanks for stopping by, Tinman. Your ranting is always appreciated.
 
I forgot to mention, I especially like the goatee one. The Relevant magazine site had a good bit about goatees and Baptist youth pastors a while back. Unfortunately I'm one of those guys who kept the goatee too long (though I did see the light before it got too bad).
 
The goatee one is straight out of my own experiences. Most everything that he says in that strip came straight from the mouth of the Missus, with the exception of the conservative stuff.

I like goatees more than she does, and she's just jealous because she can't grow one. Nah, she was right all along, but it's still fun to do every now and again.
 
Maybe I'll grow a goatee and sport some plaid flannel this winter. It's about time we started getting nostalgiac for 1993.
 
That reminds me of a little game I play when I walk around downtown Madison. It's called "Hipster or Homeless?"

Remember, there's a new Beavis & Butthead DVD out, along with a new Nirvana collection to boot. 1993, here we come.

By the way, did anyone notice that Arrested Development Season 2 was out on DVD? The episode(s) last night were worth waiting for. My head hurt, I was laughing so hard.
 
Yes, I bought AD-S2 DVD the day it came out. I thought we had talked about that here, but now that I think about that, I think that was somewhere else. It's amazing the new stuff I catch when I rewatch episodes, some subtle and some not-so-subtle that I should have noticed the first time. Like Skip Church's Sunday Brunch Special.

Loved that poster in George Michael's room, something about Failing and Fun both starting out the same. "He'd only really like it for the receipt."
 
Come on Ryan, you didn't even think my aunt Holly comment was funny? I thought it was brilliant.
 
I don't even know who Aunt Holly is and that made me laugh.
 
This is rehashing the obvious, but Arrested Development is amazing. Every joke makes you laugh 4 times, because you've seen it 4 different times in 4 different circumstances in 4 different episodes. It's out of control. It's like a huge in-joke that's appreciated by only the quickest and the brightest.

And the "Godzilla"-style ending this week? I want to create my own trophy just so I can give it to them.

Tha Aunt Holly comment was funny, but I missed it the first time around because we both posted at the same time. That woman is an empty glass.
 
I think that the brilliant-ness of the comment is going way over your head. You don't seem to be appreciating the sheer wit and genius of it.

Pasteguy-Aunt Holly is one of Ryan's relatives who used to have Ryan on her mailing list and send around emails of religious nature (often about how Muslims are horrible, send this to 10 friends, etc). They were often offensive and unfounded. Ryan has since been removed from her list, as he would respond to every email citing sources for the email's falsity and writing long commentaries about their incorrectness. It was quite comical, really. She, however, did not find it amusing as he would "reply all" when he would write back to the emails.
 
Come to think of it, I have the transcripts of a lot of those conversations. There's no better time than Sweeps Month to bust them out.
 
I'd like to see that. Occasionally I get on people's email lists like that. My favorite was the one about Harry Potter trying to convert all our kids to Satanism... But it's true, because the article quoted an honest to goodness newspaper... The Onion.

I used to respond to stuff like that, but most of the time I try to keep my mouth shut and show people a bit of grace, since I do stupid stuff all the time in other areas of my life. Especially if they're honestly sincere in their concerns, and actually actively do things in real life to make the world a better place and not just angrily forwarding emails (which sadly is the case a lot of times).

Unless they do it all the time, or unless the stuff is just obviously hateful, in which case I'll do my best to humiliate them by replying all with a link to snopes.com.
 
Oh, believe me, this was hateful. I'm pretty sure it all ended with me being more or less called a scarlet woman.

There is so much to the story, but so little time.
 
I was just telling the Missus about that Harry Potter/Onion flamewar some years back. I just sat back for 3 months and laughed until I cried.

Trust me, if this woman was doing anything to make the world a better place, I'd leave her alone. Instead, she's a chain-mail vixen who refuses to let truth and morality stand in the way of an awful story. Every family has one or ten.

Snopes usually shuts 'em up real quick. I may air a few of these before the month is through. They are quite funny, because she takes these things so seriously, and I more or less just want her to stop spewing drivel.

It's like a debate on the O'Reilly Factor. Eventually, Bill will just give up and say, "cut that punk's mike!" All of a sudden, Bill wins the argument.
 
What a great bunch of cartoons. I can imagine how tiring it must have been at the time, but I'm glad you posted them back up.

It seems like too many people are unwilling to poke fun at themselves, or to find a middle ground on issues political or social. Nice to know you're trying to get people to think that way.

Good job!
 
Thank you so much for checking out the cartoons, and also the kind words; I really appreciate it.

Everyone knows they have to work hard to get what they want, but when you start to take yourself too seriously, you lose sight of what's really important.

I wanted to make people laugh and do something semi-important at the same time. It's just stick figures saying stupid stuff, but even the most amateur political stuff has a message.

Thanks again, and don't be a stranger here!
 

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