With all the talk of insta-animation, I took a stab at it myself. I finished next week's animation a week early after about 45 minutes of easy clicking. Satire-bots are on the way!
It all started with an email soon after the Pulitzer announcement. I began receiving loads of very kind emails with the subject line "Congratulations!" or "CONGRATULATIONS!!!" Those emails were very nice, but they made me a complete sucker for spam emails that also tend say "Congratulations" or "You Won An Award!" After uncharacteristically falling for a few spam emails, I ignored emails that kept arriving in my inbox with congratulatory subject lines and Chinese characters.
Update #2: Clearly Hong Kong is made for cartoonists:
The latest Little Suzie Newsykins episode is up and running!
While Little Suzie is resolving to get more done this year, just like the new Republican crew in Congress, I am resolving to blog more. (Or much at all, for that matter.) I've been a terrible/nonexistent blogger, mainly because I've become accustomed to speaking through my cartoons and characters rather than in text. It's also taken me quite a while to use words like "I" and "me," since those have generally been no-no words in the world of journalism. Of course that was before the world of the Interwires (unless you were Andy Rooney, that is).
Here are a few of the stand-out articles I came across while researching this week's animation. As you can probably tell, the stories of Darrell Issa's past held a particular attraction for me, although there is plenty of fishy business in the present as well.
Little Suzie is going to stick to her New Year's Resolution and I'll do the same. More soon . . .
This week's animation is up and running here. Harkening back to the honky-tonks of John Boehner's youth.
Now, I love his personal story just as much as the next beer-drinking son in a large family, but he seems to be working mostly for the selfish corporations who don't have to mop the floor of a bar. The little guy is working for the big guys. Here's a nice stomach-turning article for you. Ugh. You'll need a beer after reading it.
Obama's "Self-Defense" animation is now embeddable! You can nab it here or on my youtube channel (the embed feature is a little hidden on youtube, trying to make that more obvious).
This was a really fun animation to create, nothin' like some good cartoon violence to move things along.
Well, it seems there has been an update to Boss Tweed's "Stop them damn pictures" plea, only now it's coming from a young man taken in by Islamic extremism.
The audio from bomb threat the call-in is rather chilling, and silly, at the same time. "So stop your drawings and — stop your drawings of our prophet Muhammad," said the crazed nutball right before he deserted his wife and kids and threw his life away.
Ugh. Why do people have to force their religious views on others, particularly on, um, cartoonists?
The full transcript and video is finally in (see below, begins around the 52-minute mark), and you can now judge for yourself. Did Steve Jobs call me a liar?
It's those pesky live blogs and paraphrased "transcripts" that fanned the flames of this story. My read on this is that, besides calling me a "nice enough guy," Steve Jobs was a little peeved that I didn't try to resubmit before the Pulitzer win. (As I stated before, the reason I didn't resubmit was because Apple said the NewsToons app would only be approved if it didn't "ridicule public figures.")
I'm hopeful that the "ridicules public figures" edict is no longer in force, but Apple hasn't come out and said one way or another. Jobs uses the "95% of apps are approved" line of response quite a bit--- which I hope means satire and political cartoons are welcome and will contribute to a bright future of journalism for Apple and for cartoonists!
At the risk of joining the ranks of Steve Jobs-ologists, his one comment I take issue with is that political cartoons, by their very nature, defame people. As far as I know, defamation is a legal description that goes above and beyond clever satire. You can get sued for defamation, it's very rare for a political cartoon to defame. Tweak, needle, anger, yes. Defame, no.
Let me know what you think or if you legal scholars out there can enlighten me.
Even though I should be finishing the latest animation right now, I just wanted to give you an update about the latest Jobs/Apple/app dustup. I'm still trying to make sense of what Steve Jobs actually said, but here's an excerpt from his appearance last night at the WSJ's D8 conference:
7:18PM Walt: So what happened with this candidate?
Steve: We had a rule that said you can't defame other people.
Kara: Determined by your app people.
Steve: Yes... and political cartoons got caught in that. We didn't think of that. So this guy submits his app and he gets rejected. We didn't see that coming. So we changed the rule, but this guy never resubmitted... then he wins a Pulitzer Prize, and he says we rejected him. So, we are guilty of making mistakes. We're doing the best we can, we're learning as fast as we can -- but we thought this rule made sense.
Right after that, Jobs apparently said this:
7:19PM Steve: We're doing the best we can, we're fixing mistakes. But what happens is -- people lie. And then they run to the press and tell people about this oppression, and they get their 15 minutes of fame. We don't run to the press and say "this guy is a son of a bitch liar!" -- we don't do that.
Now, before you freak out and lose sleep like I did, this was taken from a live blog, and other live blogs from the same event are a little mellower. I'm trying to track down the full transcript or video (the event was filmed, but they're only releasing excerpts) and will update when I've found it.
If I'm hearing Steve Jobs correctly, he's essentially calling me a liar who is just seeking 15 minutes of fame (which, as a cartoonist, is a very funny thing to hear from someone who speaks in front of 30-foot screens projecting his image).
What I am seeking is a clarification from Apple on their policy regarding satire and "ridiculing public figures," and a response to the
I meant to do this sooner, but here are the 15 cartoons that I submitted for my Pulitzer Prize entry. These were all done in 2009 and are now all embeddable youtube videos.
Like my other animation, these are all drawn with a brush dipped in ink, on paper first, then scanned into the computer and animated in Flash.
I know I promised to go into more detail about my recent Pulitzer win (still amazed and floating on air), but it seems that story has been eclipsed by interest in the fact that Steve Jobs and Apple reject apps that “ridicule public figures.” For more back-story, you can look here, here and here.
While I’ve been a fan of Apple and use their gadgets and gizmos to help create my cartoons, it’s good to see Apple’s anti-satire bent is getting some attention. I’m still amazed a company that created this ad is now so hostile to political content:
Satire and “ridiculing public figures” are not only good for our Democracy, they can be good for business—for Apple and for independent creators. (Once Apple accepted my previously-rejected app, NewsToons, it shot to the top spot for paid news apps, beating out CNN and the Drudge Report.) While the iPhone and iPad won’t solve all of the problems facing cartoon journalism today, they do represent a life preserver in a sea of closing newspapers and hugely profitable websites that refuse to pay creators.
In short, satire and ridicule good, Apple policy of rejecting political content, bad.
While mine is not the first political satire app to be rejected by Apple, it seems to have received the most attention thanks to the recent Pulitzer win. (And thanks to Laura McGann’s Columbo-like questioning that broke the story. “Just one last question . . .”)
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (where I am a board member) has called on Steve Jobs to see the light and do what’s right for journalism and free speech in the good ol’ US of A.
“While the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists realizes that Apple is a private sector company, Apple is also becoming one of the primary ways people publish news and information. With that innovation comes new responsibility.
A vigorous public discourse, opinion, satire and, yes, ridiculing public figures, are essential to journalism and our Democracy. Our nation would be a very different place if early technological innovators like Benjamin Franklin and those who followed him, forbade their presses from being used to ridicule public figures.”
Now, to answer a couple of questions people have been asking.
1.) Did you change the app’s content in any way before resubmitting it to Apple, in order to get approved?
No, I definitely did not. When you ask a political cartoonist to change something about the political content of their work, their usual impulse is to do the exact opposite. For example, back when I worked for a newspaper I was told by the new publisher to go easier on George W. Bush, which promptly caused me to go harder on Bush.
Which, um, led me out the door where I happily returned to working for myself.
2.) Why didn’t you tell Apple to go to hell and instead create an app with one of their competitors?
The reason I decided to continue working with Apple is that I want to see them put satire and independent political voices into their mix of apps. My NewsToons app is now one of those voices, and by the way, is still in violation of their Ye Shall Have No Ridicule policy.
Had I walked away in protest, there would still be no political animation in Apple’s app store. My goal is to show the inconsistency and subjectivity of their approval process. You shouldn’t have to win a Pulitzer or get on teevee just to get your political app approved. With the help of others, I’ll continue to push for Apple to open their doors to a wide range of satire, news and politics. If you have had an app rejected because it ridicules public figures, email me. (And, yes, I may create an app with one of their competitors.)
3.) Will you continue to update your app and add improvements? (Also sometimes phrased as, “Why does your sucky app take so long to load?”)
Yes, I will continue to add improvements to the app and it’s functionality. The first version is very simple and had a tiny development budget. (Unfortunately, I’m too dumb when it comes to programming to do these things myself.) The massive response to this app has made loading take longer than it should, but we’ll change that soon. I’m also really looking forward to making new apps that are more game-like.
Long story short, I’m really hoping this is just temporary confusion at Apple HQ as they change from a fortress-like computer company to more of a media company.
The Fourth Estate is becoming Estate 4.0.