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!
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.
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I'm hopeful that the "ridicules public figures" edict is no longer in force, but Apple hasn't come out and said one way or another.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.
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.
Holy-moley, what a 24 hours! I've been meaning to do a quick blog post about receiving the Pulitzer but have been way too swamped with the whole whirlwind. Stay tuned for a full update and some inside tidbits that aren't reported. (Or at least things you wouldn't think of, like how I am now a complete sucker for those spam emails with the subject line "congratulations!".)
Thanks to all of you who have written or called, and to everyone who has supported me over the years.
The death threats keep coming this fine morning. I guess the Tea Party crew is determined to have “death panels” one way or another. The dustup started because of this cartoon:
“Learn to Speak Tea Bag” ran on my usual client sites, including NPR, which really set off the guys over here, here (note Condi giving child flowers down by "donate" button), here, here and here. Before you could say, “due to a pre-existing condition, your health coverage has been denied,” there was a full-fledged viral campaign by right-wing media outlets and blogs to jump, scream and shout about this animation. Which, to me, is just great!
I say that not because I get some thrill out of receiving emails that are in all capital letters or have more exclamation points than letters in the alphabet, I say that because one of the most important functions of a political cartoon, or political animation, is to foster a discussion. With thousands of comments posted, loads of emails and tweets, discussion was definitely fostered, and then some. It’s the “then some” that worries me.
Of course discussion on the web is not known for its civility, but it finally dawned on me the strangeness of receiving death threats at the same time a crazed Somali extremist tried to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Muslim extremist, meet Tea Party extremist. Tea Party extremist, meet Muslim extremist.
That is not to say all people who associate with the Tea Party movement are killers, just as not all Muslims from Somalia are killers. I have very good friends from Somalia, and I have wonderful relatives in Idaho who are pro-gun, anti-government conservatives.
People in this world, my dear Tea Baggers, are not always categorized into easy boxes of Left vs. Right, Socialist vs. Patriot.
As a matter of fact, I myself am a left-leaning, pro-gay-marriage San Franciscan, Catholic, anti-Bush, anti-Nader guy who guts his own fish, has cut down trees with a chain saw and took political science classes with Mary Cheney. Is your head imploding yet?
Surprisingly, one of the aspects of the animation that seems to really enrage the Tea Party set is the term “Tea Bag.” Their claim is that the cartoon uses “bag” instead of “party” in order to take a cheap sexual shot at the Tea Party patriots. You can do your own research on the alternative meaning of “tea bag,” I won’t link to anything here. Oh, except maybe I should link to some Tea Whatever sites that use the very term that appalls them so. Here a bag, there a bag, everywhere a bag bag! (Too bad the sexual angle eliminates any discussion of why the Tea Party crew thinks attempting to reform a disastrous health care system amounts to Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, etc.)
Another aspect of the rabid criticism is that NPR, an organization living high on the hog thanks to the mother’s milk of government (animal metaphors, all around!), should not be funding my anti-Tea Bagger cartoons with taxpayer money. But alas, NPR does most of its villainous work using sponsorship, pledge drives and good ol’ fashioned Capitalism! According to the NPR site, a tiny one to two percent of their yearly funding comes via grants from crazed Socialist organizations like the National Science Foundation, CPB and (gasp!) the NEA. After all is said and done, the amount of taxpayer money that changed hands because NPR posted “Learn to Speak Tea Bag” was about, um . . . two-dollars and twenty-five cents. If you want to dig deeper into NPR’s financial statements, they are publicly available here.
If that sort of taxpayer funding bothers you, you definitely should avoid any taxpayer-funded city streets, return your government-sponsored digital converter box and avoid doing business with any bank that owes its existence to a taxpayer bailout.
To all of you who have written emails and comments, I really wish I could respond to every one of you. I truly appreciate your taking the time to write, even if we may be on different sides of the political fence. If there is one thing that my politically mixed San Francisco/Idaho background has taught me, it is benefit of continuing a discussion even if you don’t agree. Too often these days, the Left and the Right immediately shut down if you are deemed to be from the opposing camp. Here’s to good discussion even if we don’t agree.
Now please don’t kill me :-)
I know, I know, I’ve already been remiss in blog-posting. This is due, in part, to the bloody events of the weekend, events that don’t happen all that often in the City of Saint Francis. (Sorry, Francis, but there are certain city ordinances that must be upheld.)
Now that I can safely say I know something about killing (surprisingly cooperative) fowl, let’s move on to one of the most common questions asked at the Mark Fiore Industries Consumer Questions and Complaints Division. “How do you make these cartoons?”
In this installment, I’ll explain the idea phase of my process.
First up, Trolling-for-Topics. I begin by reading the newspaper (Paper!)-- although most of my research is done online-- until something jumps out at me that makes me angry, strikes me as wrong or is hypocritical. The best animation ideas usually have their beginnings in a news article that pisses me off. This part of the process can happen gradually over the week(s) as I listen to the news, read or watch a bit of cable news. (I generally avoid most television news because it tends to make me feel slimy after a while.)
Next, I crawl into my sketchbook, where I have been writing notes about various news topics. Words, or an event may draw my attention—anything from depressing/sad news that
Well, I fought it as long as I could. See, I’ve always thought that since I spout off as I do every week in my animation, it would be a bit excessive to add a blog where I spout off even further. I mean, look, I’ve only written three sentences and have already used the word “I” eight times. The journalism side of me resisted stepping out from behind the omnipotent opinionated curtain.
That said, it makes me feel a bit more human to be allowed to use the word “I,” and be able to talk more about my work, creative process or whatever comes up-- like this behind-the-scenes look at a recording session for last week's animation, for example:
The wild head-bobbling character you see in this video is none other than,
A new audio message has been left.
About Mark Fiore: