What Happened?

Crater of Imbecils

Here’s the cartoon I drew to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing (it ran in the Omak Chronicle this past Wednesday).

This was such an important human moment, earned with tremendous intellectual and inspirational effort, which got me to thinking: What the hell happened to the general population’s science-based reasoning skills in the last 50 years? (After I drew this, I realized I forgot to add Flat Earthers–in fact, there are so many other cockeyed conspiracy theories which deserve a place in that crater that it terrifies me.)

Technical achievements mean little if we selectively believe whatever conveniently agrees with our world view, our religion, our politics…

© Brad Skiff

A little accomplishment

“I don’t like to brag,” people say with their lips pursed to preen themselves. Self-aggrandizement is socially awkward, but at the same time, we take pride in the things we do fairly well, hence our many specialized blogs. My particular blog is heavy on photography, with some poetry and fiction scattered within. But my professional hobby is drawing editorial cartoons for multiple publications, a few of which are also included here.

Most every year my work garners awards at the state-level, and that’s an honor, of course. But the truth is, there are not that many cartoonists submitting work to newspapers in my state, especially middling-to-small publications. Most of those papers subscribe to a syndicate and purchase work by nationally-syndicated cartoonists. At the national level, however, there are many more folks who do what I do: draw and submit opinion pieces with a local slant.

Last week I was notified that I had taken First and Third Place for the category of “Best Original Editorial Cartoon, Daily and Non-Daily Division” in the National Newspaper Association’s annual contest for 2018. Now, I’m not up against all the syndicated folks or the few remaining staff cartoonists at large, metropolitan papers; their work falls under a different organization’s auspices. But still, across the nation there are many artists who draw for middling-to-small papers, of which there are still thousands, which makes my accomplishment very meaningful to me.

Political opinions can be very polarizing, so I don’t expect everyone reading this will agree with my cartoons, but here are the two winners. The First Place cartoon deals with Bitcoin miners setting up huge server farms in my county, which happens to provide the cheapest power in the United States. Douglas County has put a moratorium on such operations as they draw huge amounts of electricity from the grid.

The Third Place cartoon is of the oft-parodied painting, “American Gothic.” Pot is legal now in my state, so pot farms have sprung up all over the place. In addition, one farmer here in Eastern Washington installed solar panels on large swaths of his land to make a profit. I thought I’d update the painting…

Undermining

American Gothic 2018

© Brad Skiff

 

There are fewer of these kids that it seems…

The other day, after a productive period of work in my freshman art course, I asked my high school students to put away their chalk sets and wipe down the tables. A teacher poked her head in to ask me a question while the kids went about their task of cleaning the room, so I didn’t provide my usual oversight. Still, after the bell sounded and the room was emptied of my charges, I noticed the tables were spotless and, instead of a jumbled pile of chalk sets on the back counter, someone had gone to the trouble of neatly stacking the thirty-odd sets of pastels for me.

Kids today.

They’re not at all like the knuckleheads in the cartoon below, which I drew to illustrate that school isn’t just about pragmatic knowledge. Yeah, I see that kind here and there, but they’re not as prevalent as you might think. After twenty three years in the classroom, I find cynicism toward our youth is generally unmerited. Sure, they’re not adults yet, and mistakes will ensue. But they’re never boring, and more often than not, they possess boundless promise!

Kids These Days

Commercial Reasoning

I am not a religious person, but cultural traditions run deep, and family is so very important to me. Here’s my Christmas cartoon for the Omak Chronicle this year. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the day, and to those who do not, I hope you find warmth and love in your lives.

A little lighter

Ho-Ho-Ho–sh*#

I drew this a few years ago, but hey, Christmas is almost here, so I thought I’d share.

If eight reindeer are going to pull the Big Guy across the world through the air, constantly changing altitude, Then I would imagine Santa’s sleigh should have a windshield. Or, maybe I’m just applying too much logic to venerable tradition. Or perhaps I’m just twisted. I’ve been accused of that once or twice.

Now, I know real reindeer waste would be more like pellets machine-gunning Santa’s face (perhaps a better cartoon?), but with all those clandestine stops, on what is no doubt a tight schedule, stress is bound to manifest itself. Perhaps one or two of Santa’s trusted powerhouses develop nervous stomachs? I think the result would look more like this…

A Sleigh Necessity

A war on which holiday?

War on Thanksgiving

The War on Christmas.

It’s a common complaint which echoes in the minds of those who feel the traditions of the holiday have been trampled by the boots of political correctness. “Never mind that Americans hold many diverse beliefs,” they say (and for a long time, I was a vested member of that chorus); “America is being undone by the degradation of those very traditions which gave us a national identity.” I understand those arguments all too well having been raised in a conservative, military town. Yet, the last time I looked, Christmas was doing just fine in America.

Barely have the Halloween decorations been unpacked when stores also begin clearing isle space for that jolly fat man and his assortment of colorful baubles. The lonely faux wreath dangling on a hook above neatly stacked boxes in the middle of the isle is a dead giveaway. But how about that other holiday? The one right between Halloween and Christmas, the one granted a measly half an isle behind the discounted sale items? The one we are supposed to celebrate together, as Americans, and be thankful for the abundance which fills our lives?

Oh, there’s a war on a holiday this time of year, but I fear too many have missed it: the war on Thanksgiving. After all, now retailers open for Black Friday sales right after Thanksgiving dinner (you can skip doing the dishes!). And, for those who wish to avoid unsightly fisticuffs at the stuffed toy isle, you can gleefully max out your credit cards from the comfort of your worn recliner (which, you suddenly notice, can also be replaced with one click of a button). Cyber Monday, hell yeah!

While many fear the boots of political correctness, I guess for me, I fear the boots of crass commercialism and it’s manipulation of American society. And, so I drew this cartoon.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you find peace.

My Halloween Cartoon

Here’s my Halloween cartoon for this year. It runs in tomorrow’s Omak Chronicle. I got to thinking, with all the free-flowing partisan vitriol around us, maybe these two dead souls should rise again…

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wanting Zombies