Posts Tagged ‘Candorville’

Candorville lampoon of Senator Bunning “treasonous and traitor-like”

From yesterday’s Lexington Herald-Leader:

Sen. Jim Bunning made newspapers across the United States again yesterday — this time in the funny pages.A national cartoonist with a reputation for wry political humor took a swing at Kentucky’s Hall of Famer after Bunning called for The New York Times to be charged with treason.Candorville, which runs in about 50 papers across the nation as well as another in Ecuador and the Pacific Stars & Stripes, featured a faux political commercial yesterday from “Senator Bunting.” However, the face on the TV is that of Bunning, a Republican in his second term in the Senate and a pitcher in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The strip’s main character, Lemont Brown, hears the ad apparently from the bathroom — the third panel features a flush as “Bunting” denies that his attack on the “Candorville Chronicle” is politically motivated.Cartoonist Darrin Bell said Bunning caught his eye last month after condemning the Times’ report on the Bush administration’s not-so-secret surveillance of international banking transactions.”Senator Bunning at the time seemed to be the GOP’s point man for the treason charge against The New York Times, so he was the logical one to use as a representative for the whole party,” Bell said yesterday. The flush was “the most appropriate” activity that came to mind, he said.He had not gotten any feedback yesterday from Bunning’s office on Capitol Hill. “I don’t really expect to. Somehow, I really doubt they read Candorville,” he said.Bunning’s office did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment for this story.Bell said he doesn’t see his work as falling into either the Democrat or Republican camp. In the 1990s, he was called a fascist for picking on President Clinton.”I just go after whoever’s in charge,” Bell said.As for Senator Bunting, he could make a return appearance, but that depends on Bunning.”He’s got my attention,” Bell said. “The next time he gives me material, I’m going to use it.”

Apparently, one reader was not amused:

I have always thought political cartoons to be inherently anti-Republican, and this has gotten to be even worse with all the nationwide progress witnessed in the last 5 years. It’s even possible that this drawn criticism has in fact lent itself to limiting the progress we have had…because it’s so treasonous and traitorlike.Posted by: Bill

This was one of the comments below the article (comments have since been removed, possibly because the argument got sort of heated. People stopped just short of burning each other in effigy. Barely.The “treasonous and traitorlike” comment doesn’t interest me as much as “limiting the progress we have had…” in the last five years. What progress is that, again? And if there is any progress, how can it be undone by a comic strip? If only Bill would have explained himself further. It would have been fascinating.

Candorville on Stem Cell Research

Chuck posted the following:

I’d like to make a comment on today’s strip–but I’m afraid it would take too much time. Suffice it to say: We apparently value our own citizen’s lives over those of other country’s citizens. But 10000 in 4 years is less of a holocaust than millions over 30 years. 

First of all, it’s not 10K in 4 years. John Mcglaughlin stated the current tally of dead Iraqi civilians at more than 160,000. The lowest estimates, as of 2004, were in the mid 30,000’s. As a percentage of Iraq’s population, it would be the same as if at least 3 million American civilians had been killed. Feel free to check me on that – I was never great at math.The stem cell research issue has nothing to do with abortion. Scientists are not using aborted fetuses, they’re using excess blastocysts left over from in vitro fertilization. Blastocysts that would be thrown away anyway. They’re never – never – going to become living, breathing human beings. They’re going to become rotten dead cells sitting at the bottom of a dumpster under banana peels.I don’t know about you, but if I were a blastocyst, I’d sure want them to use my stem cells to save countless lives before I rot. At least I would want that, if I had a brain.UPDATE…And then there were the e-mails like this one (I’ve included my responses below):

“What a fake comparison!   The US military did not kill ONE civillian on purpose.   Most of the civillians killed were killed by  terrorists.  The only reason some were ACCIDENTLY killed  by allied forces is that the cowardly terrorists hide behind civillians after they set off rockets.  They are followed to housing which may or may not contain civillians.  Then the allies send a rocket to the house where they hide.     Some of the civillians killed are terrorists own families (who ought to run from them).   Others are just innocent victims of terrorist cowardice.   Sometimes people dressed in civillian clothes carry weapons or run toward our soldiers or Iraq’s and are killed because they are perceived to be threats.  Our soldiers have to make split second decisions to kill or be killed.  In a few cases, these were innocent people, but again, understandably perceived to be threats.    Sometimes the terrorists have even sent children with bombs or grenades toward our military!   This is a clever way to kill our military and a child, and blame US!   Many of those killed were teens in civillian clothing with weapons.   Are these INNOCENT civillians?   No.  Is this OUR fault?   Of course not!  Terrorist wars are not like others where civillians are nowhere near.” 

I’m sorry, I thought you were complaining about Monday’s cartoon. You seem to be complaining about something else entirely, because Monday’s cartoon said nothing about the US military killing civilians on purpose. The cartoon spoke of innocent civilians killed during the war. It doesn’t matter who killed them, it only matters that they were killed, and people such as yourself think that their deaths were worth it if it’ll save more lives in the long run. That’s all the cartoon said. I have no idea why you’re trying to pretend that I said what I didn’t say, unless you’re doing it because you can’t dispute what I actually did say.

“But terrorists have to be stopped.   What would you suggest?   That we allow them to get strong and confident, take over Israel, and finally take over our country?  (Do you know any history of what happened after we chickened out of the VN war?   Would you have wanted to live in Cambodia?  Laos?  VN?)    You liberals never have a solution of your own!!!!  All you know how to do is criticize others.”

“Chicken out” of Vietnam, a war we had no business fighting in the first place? How old are you, by the way? Adults don’t usually speak this way about life and death matters. The solution would have been to not invade Iraq, a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, had never attacked us, and was not about to attack us. The tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are now dead would still be alive, and because our manpower wouldn’t have been diverted from Afghanistan, we might have actually caught Osama bin Laden.

“Also, your figures are greatly exaggerated.   “Tens of thousands” of Iraqi civillians have not been killed.  This is a baldfaced lie!   Get your figures straight!”

I never state anything as a fact unless I’ve researched it. If you have a problem with the numbers, take it up with the Administration whose invasion caused chaos in Iraq. You can also take it up with the Stars & Stripes (the military paper that reported on the death toll reaching 50,000 –, or with CNN, which reported that 14,000 of those deaths happened just this year (and the year’s only half over) –

  You call our presence “occupation”.  It’s true that some in the Sunni party wants us out (Of course!   They were benefitting from Saddam’s reign and living like kings.)  but the people of 3 ethnic groups who got saved from Saddam’s evil death plan do not consider our presence “occupation”.    They know that if we leave before the present administration is strengthened, they (and the Israelis) are all dead ducks, just as if Saddam were still ruling.”

    The definition of “occupation” (from something called a “Dictionary”):1. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.2. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.”If you have a problem with that, don’t bother me with it, take it up with the good folks at Brittanica.

” (By the way, I suppose you have ignored all the news about  finding the more than 500 weapons of mass destruction, some with mustard gas, and some with sar  — (news which certain people have been trying to suppress for a couple of years.)   You liberals all owe the Bush administration an apology.   Wasn’t it kind of stupid to assume that Saddam had gotten rid of his WMD’s when we KNEW he had them during the gulf war?”

No, I didn’t ignore it. I did something called “paying attention,” which you may want to take a stab at some time. Those 500 “weapons of mass destruction” were pre Gulf War weapons that were useless, and that were disposed of exactly as we instructed Hussein to do in 1991 – by burying them deep in the desert. You’ve been suckered by Rick Santorum, who was so desperate to hold on to his Senate seat that he fabricated this WMD find. The Defense Department denied that these 500 shells were the WMD we were looking for, and went on to say that they could never be launched because they were already degraded and useless prior to our invasion.By the way, that’s the second time you’ve spewed “liberal,” as if it’s something bad. Do you even know what “liberal” means? Are you aware that our Constitution is a liberal document written by our liberal Founding Fathers, based on the liberal principles of the liberal Enlightenment? Anyone who believes in that Constitution – and in the separation of powers, separation of church and state, and Bill of Rights protections it enumerates – is a Liberal. 

The second fallacy of your fake comparison is that there is absolutely no proof that stem cells from embryos (which are tiny baby humans!) are superior to stem cells from the placenta (which is the tube connecting mother and baby when the baby is in the womb.)   The placenta cells can be harvested without killing anyone!!!!!  (This is because the placenta is discarded after the birth)  So there is no need to kill a baby human!!!!!  There should be no argument about this!   It is absolutely not necessary to kill baby humans!    And these are truly innocent, unlike some of the “civilians”.   Carol Barnes 

Again, your arguments would be taken more seriously if you were actually talking about something the cartoon said, rather than making up strawman arguments (look that up) to knock down. The cartoon doesn’t say embryonic stem cells are the only way, or even the best way. The cartoon is about the argument against embryonic stem cell research contrasted with the argument rationalizing the death of tens of thousands of civilians. The cartoon is about hypocrisy, and none of the red herring issues you’ve raised disputes what the cartoon actually said.And by the way, there is no proof that placentas provide stem cells that are as useful as those found in embryos. That’s not for you or I to say, that’s something only the scientists can determine – if only people such as yourself would allow them to do their work in peace. And NOBODY IS KILLING A BABY HUMAN. These are excess blastocysts that are going to be thrown away. Not a single one of them is ever going to be allowed to grow into a human, unless hundreds of thousands of Carols across the country volunteer to be inseminated with them and give birth to them….Have you done that, Carol?  

Candorville book sells out (sort of)

Thanks to those of you who still had a little money left after your job was outsourced and Exxon-Mobil mugged you on your way to the unemployment office, I’ve just sold my last copies of the Candorville: Thank God for Culture Clash book! A new batch should arrive tomorrow, so if you ordered a book in the last few days, you should be receiving it by the end of the week.Although the book’s doing well, and a second one is coming out in just a couple months, this book needs to do a little better in order to ensure a third one with full-color Sundays. So if you haven’t yet bought the Candorville book, now’s the time. You can get them from the Candorville website (where they’re defaced with an autograph and a sketch), from Amazon, or better yet, you can ask for it at your favorite local bookstore (if they don’t have it in stock, they’ll gladly order it for you).

Calling all spinners — explain how Bush has “made us safer.”

There are times when being right makes you the happiest person in the world, and then there are the times it makes you crap your pants. Guess which one of those times this is. I want every angry, slogan-spouting flag-waiver who’s ever written in ordering me to “leave the President alone, he’s making us safer” to take a second, put down your copy of the National Review (the one with the Sean Hannity centerfold), and write to me again. Write to me and explain why our intelligence agencies now say the Iraq occupation has increased the threat of terror.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the document’s general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified.Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would once again strike on United States soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003.National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by all of the spy agencies.More…

New Candorville book, collector’s edition available here!

The new Candorville book, “Another Stereotype Bites the Dust,” isn’t in stores yet, but I have managed to get my grubby hands on a few dozen copies, so you can get it today from the Candorville website!Book 2 picks up where the first one left off. Lemont’s recent disastrous date with the Crazy Vegetarian Chick and his constant rejection by the New Yorker have him feeling down, but Lemont is maintaining, and things are looking up. Clyde decides to become his own boss, Susan’s on the fast-track for promotion, and Lemont finds a new reason to keep on writing, the New Yorker be damned. Amidst failed love connections, voter disenfranchisement, a nosy neighbor with a big secret, and a surreal and cathartic visit from a long-lost relative, Lemont, Susan and Clyde keep on keepin’ on. And contrary to popular conspiracy theories, they keep all their civil liberties — at least according to the notes, videotape, and transcribed e-mails compiled by Federal Agent Murph.”Another Stereotype Bites the Dust” chronicles the second nine months of Candorville. While the strips stand on their own, they really shine in book form, and that’s because “Candorville” is a story that has a beginning, it’ll have a middle, and, ultimately, an end. The larger story will take 50 years to tell, but within that super arc are dozens of roughly nine-month long chapters (not coincidentally, each book contains nine months of strips). Get in on the ground floor with the first two books.You can buy “Another Stereotype Bites the Dust” from your local bookstore soon, or you can order it from them now. You can also pre-order it from Or, you can buy it today right here. For the collectors out there, if you buy the books through the Candorville site, they come autographed, numbered, & with a sketch of either Lemont, C-Dog, or Susan. So you’re guaranteed to get at least 1/3 of your money back when you re-sell it on eBay.*Lastly, you may have noticed that has been completely redesigned in honor of the new book. Please let me know what you think, whether there are any glitches (pages not working, pages inavdvertently written in Swahili, etc.), or if you have any bright ideas about how to make it even jazzier.*By “guaranteed,” we mean “not guaranteed.” Candorville books have not been approved by the Federal Government, and have been known to cause insomnia, laughter, and bouts of questioning the dominant paradigm.

Appearance: Schulz Museum, October 21, 1p.m.

As part of the Schulz Museum‘s celebration of the 40th anniversary of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” they’re hosting a panel featuring myself and three other cartoonists, all discussing how Peanuts influenced our work and the industry. The other talking heads will be Keith Knight (of “K Chronicles” fame), Paige Braddock (Jane’s World) and Michael Jantze (The Norm). Afterward we’ll be hanging around to sign books and talk with visitors.Schedule of Events for October 21, 2006•12noon – Showing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (in Museum’s Theatre)•1pm – Panel discussion about the impact of Schulz’s work (in Theatre). Panel includes Paige Braddock, Michael Jantze, Darrin Bell, and Keith Knight•2-3pm – Cartoonists sign books and talk with visitors (in Great Hall)•3-4pm – Producer Lee Mendelson speaks about making It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown (in Theatre) and then sign books (in Great Hall)•4pm – Can Charlie Brown match wits with the Bully? Find out at the preview showing of Charles Schulz’s last animated special, He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown (in Theatre).Museum hours and directions!

Vote and be deported

One reader wrote in to complain about today’s strip, which he’s absolutely, positively, “150% sure” is an example of Candorville “makeing up stuff all thu time!” (Since he was so creative with the spelling, I figured I’d leave it as it was). I was very surprised to learn that Mr. “Fuk off looser” (well, that’s how he signed his letter) hadn’t been paying attention to the news. Sadly there’s no need to “make stuff up” when real life has become stranger than fiction.

Channeling one’s inner loser

Not a week goes by that I don’t check my inbox and see a variation of the following question: “Mr. Bell/Darrin/Moron, how do you get the characters in ‘Candorville’ to seem so three-dimensional? I want to work long hours for 1970’s wages as a cartoonist someday, but my characters seem so flat and lifeless.”Here’s how you do it, kids: stay in school, read as much literature as you can get your hands on, and always cross at the crosswalk (I don’t know what that has to do with learning about character development, but it’s a good idea anyway).Other tricks: Pay attention to the people around you, and create backstories for them in your head. See a homeless person? Create a story about how he ended up that way. Not only will you be on the road toward developing three dimensional characters, but focusing on the plight of another human being helps you develop your “compassion muscle.” Unless, of course, you come up with some calvinist backstory about how the guy’s homeless because he deserves to be, which would be a pretty boring, two-dimensional story.Or you can take the easy way out, and simply channel your inner loser. Be critical of yourself. Have you done anything stupid that you wish nobody would ever know about? Don’t repress it deep in your subconscious, where it’ll fester until it eats some choice part of your soul. Don’t live in denial. Confess your loserness to the world. Not only will it keep your soul from being eaten, it’ll give you some quality character development.Case in point:Of course, for this strip I used option A. I would never do something like this in real life.•••

Candorville on YouTube

According to Time Magazine, we are all the “Person of the Year,” and much of the credit for that goes to YouTube. YouTube’s begun to fulfill the promise of the Internet: Just a few short years ago, the national pastime of America’s youth (myself included, I confess) was sitting in front of a flickering TV screen addicted to the mindless crap (and the occasional thoughtful crap) Hollywood flings at us. YouTube helped change all that.Today, more and more people under thirty are sitting in front of an unblinking LCD screen addicted to the mindless crap (and occasional gems) flung at them by their peers. The difference is – and I promise this is the end of an analogy inspired by an unpleasant trip to the zoo’s Bonobo cage – now anyone with a video camera, Final Cut and an Internet connection can fling their poop right back.Case in point: According to Time, YouTube’s turning point came when someone posted SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” sketch online earlier this year. Visits to the site jumped by over 80% and kept on rising. Time suggests that you check it out on YouTube, but good luck finding it. If it’s still there, it’s buried somewhere amidst page upon page of “Lazy Sunday” parodies uploaded by random people.But I think this is another case of the Media not putting two and two together. Around the time YouTube blew up, another video was posted to the site. It was much funnier, far more relevant, and even a bit inspiring. It was groundbreaking. Yet again, the mainstream media drops the ball. Here is what, I believe, actually led to YouTube’s success:

In case you’re wondering, this was apparently based on a strip from late 2005:…and since nothing escapes C-Dog’s notice (it only took him a year):C-Dog, “Other Guy” and I all want our royalties, YouTube.•••

Chicago Cancels Candorville

What a New Year’s present. Today the Chicago Tribune cancelled Candorville, as well as Prickly City. This was in my inbox this morning:

Dear Mr. Bell: My New Year’s present from the Chicago Tribune was dropping your strip. Every morning it has been my pleasure to read Candorville. I am angry (pissed is better). My next e-mail goes to the Trib editor who made this stupid decision. I’m hoping enough of us make a fuss to get you back.W.H.P.Skokie, Illinois 

Another reader wrote:

Dude,I’ve really liked your strip since it appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Liked pretty much everything about it, even the references to Josh! I can’t believe the Trib dropped your strip–is there anything that the readers can actually do to get it back in?Fred N.

I don’t know if there’s anything readers can do, but when you approve or disapprove of something in your favorite paper, writing a letter to the editor is a good idea. It’s the only way newspapers know what their readers feel about their content. You can try writing to the Tribune and letting them know how you feel. Papers do sometimes listen to their readers.Happy New Year!

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