bz panel 09-09-13 dummybz strip 09-09-13dummyBizarro is brought to you today by Quiet Flight.

I had a terrific time this weekend in Santa Rosa where I did a comedy show at a private seminar, and in Sacramento where I did a comedy “talk” at my buddy’s restaurant, The Plum Cafe & Bakery. It was fun to meet some new Jazz Pickles. Thanks to all of those who came out to see me this weekend and especially to the Cowan family for popping out on Sunday and having lunch with me before the talk.

On to more fascinating things, here’s a lovely bit of HATE MAIL that I got from my Sunday cartoon this weekend.

When I saw your strip in today’s (9/8/2013) paper, I could barely control my anger. To even suggest that firefighters are starting fires or encouraging the spread of fire is totally irresponsible. Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples, but as a rule firefighters, both career and volunteer, are responsible public servants who do their job out of a sense of civic responsibility and pride. Publishing a strip like this only proves that you know nothing about the sacrifices made daily by these dedicated public servants. Then again, what else could we expect from an egotist like you. I demand a very public apology be published by you as soon as possible.

Just in case your wondering about my qualifications, I am a retired volunteer with 27 years of service on a rural fire dept. and have an Associate Degree in Fire Protection. I’ll be waiting for the apology and if I don’t see it, I will lobby our paper to discontinue your strip.

I love this kind of mail! It immediately makes me wonder what kind of person thinks that newspaper cartoons like mine are close enough to reality to warrant anger.  Particularly one like this that clearly derives the joke from the opposite of reality. One can only imagine what kind of fever this person gets himself into over TV commercials with ridiculous premises. Or maybe he only gets riled about things related to firefighting. We may never know.

He demands an apology, so here it is: I’m sorry you are one taco short of a platter. Get well soon.

BIZARRCHIVES: Here, for your historical enjoyment, is another of my many crash test dummy cartoons, this one from 2007. bz panel 06-29-07CRASHPop back in tomorrow for another crash test dummy cartoon; likely the only time in my career I’ve done two in a row! (This kind of random, pointless statistic is what passes for excitement in the life of a cartoonist.)

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77 Responses to OH SWEET HATE MAIL

  1. RidiculousMouse says:

    I hope that guy never reads “Fahrenheit 451.” Then he’d REALLY be incensed!

  2. Heidi says:

    Sheesh! I wonder what this person might have said to Ray Bradbury.

  3. Lou Stoole says:

    I have a movie recommendation for your retired volunteer rural firefighter friend: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285917/

    The film is based on a real-life full-time big city fire captain and arson investigator, John Leonard Orr, who was convicted of serial arson in and around Los Angeles. Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Leonard_Orr

  4. Lou Stoole says:

    Do you ever get hat mail (letters from people typing too fast on old, sticky keyboards)?

    Based on your photographs and self-renderings, I’m guessing you’re the kind of guy who would generate lots of hat mail.

    Moustache mail too…

  5. Becca Putman says:

    Apparently your hate-mailer didn’t know about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Then the comic makes perfect sense. Perfect, terrifying sense.


    • Rachel Rodgers says:

      How about the movie Back Draft? If I recall correctly, it is about a “rogue” fire man who intentionally sets fires! Piraro is presenting the facts. I guess people just can’t handle it when reality hits them head-on! Get your noses out of sit-com world and come to terms to the fact we are not living in Never~Never Land! Keep up the good work Piraro! You are doing just fine. I have always loved your Cartoons. True, some of them can be controversial just like Rush Limbaugh’s commentaries, just tell ‘em; “if you guys can’t hack what these folks dish out, go elsewhere!”

  6. david coutant says:

    Oooh, an ASSOCIATES degree. You don’t know who you’re messing with.

  7. Ted Logdon says:

    I don’t understand the problem.
    Your cartoon depicts responsible public servants doing their jobs out of a sense of civic responsibility and pride.

  8. Nimit says:

    Hi Dan,

    I had a pun joke that I thought a lot of math-y people would appreciate. A random walk is a mathematical technique used to find the minimum value of a function when other more rigorous algorithms completely fail. A random walk is also something you might take when you’re not “taking the road well traveled”. A random wok is just a Chinese cooking vessel. I don’t know if you could spin a funny joke out of this but if you could, it would make us math-y Jazz Pickles very happy!

    Thanks for your time!

  9. Crash T. Dummi says:

    When I saw your strip in today’s (9/9/2013) blog post, I could barely control my anger. To even suggest that crash test dummies are failing to prevent vehicular accidents or encouraging the spread of vehicular accidents is totally irresponsible. Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples, but as a rule crash test dummies, both career and volunteer, are responsible public servants who do their job out of a sense of civic responsibility and pride. Posting a strip like this only proves that you know nothing about the sacrifices made daily by these dedicated public servants. Then again, what else could we expect from an egotist like you. I demand a very public apology be published by you as soon as possible.

    Just in case your wondering about my qualifications, I am a retired dummy with 27 years of service on a rural automotive research laboratory. and have an Associate Degree in Accident Prevention. I’ll be waiting for the apology and if I don’t see it, I will lobby the internet to discontinue your blog.

  10. Fred says:

    I wonder if the reader so upset about your fireman cartoon has ever considered a larger fiber content to his diet.

    • Piraro says:

      Excellent question.

      • Lou Stoole says:

        I suspect the retired volunteer firefighter may need to eat a couple of hay bales worth of fiber to clear things up.

        Nevertheless, I, among others, sincerely appreciate his many years of volunteer service to his Nebraska community.

  11. Bill says:

    I particularly love one technician checking his watch, and the other leaning on his hand.

  12. Joe says:

    Holy cow! He must really get riled up by Wile E Coyote/roadrunner cartoons! Or perhaps the comeuppance cancels out the (intended) violence.

    I love ALL your cartoons. Please don’t ever retire.

  13. danmccartist says:

    I hate this “Lesser-known crash testing” cartoon. Everybody knows that walkers have bright green tennis balls on the front two legs. I’m going to lobby my retirement home until this cartoon is changed.

  14. Julie says:

    I’m stuck on the “Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples…” point your buddy makes in his rant. What makes a firefighter a “bad apple”? Does he/she start the fires? Refuse to save the puppies? Arrive at the scene only to point and laugh? Pull out a cigarette and ask the homeowner for a light? Makes me wonder. Would you please ask him when he write you again demanding an apology for insulting his tacos? Inquiring minds want to know…

    • Piraro says:

      That jumped out at me, too. Who are these “bad apple” firefighters? And what did they do?!

      • Lou Stoole says:

        Seriously folks, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Leonard_Orr

        For more, read Joseph Wambaugh’s “Fire Lover: A True Story.” It’s a good read about a bad apple firefighter.

        Gee, just imagine a fire captain/arson investigator who starts fires!

        It’s like, I dunno, a Bizarro cartoon!

        • Piraro says:

          Surely Law and Order or CSI has done a plot like this.

          • NitricAcid says:

            I remember The Beachcombers had an episode like that, when the area was struck with a very bad set of forest fires. It turned out that the eight-year-old kid of one of the on-call firefighters was setting the fires so that his dad could have a more stable income.

            Sometimes, I feel sorry for Americans, not having grown up with The Beachcombers. But then I remember that most of them had more than two channels.

  15. PepperReed says:

    Methinks the man doth protest overmuch… anyone not wearing a tinfoil hat (there ya’ go, HAT MAIL) can see that its a joke. Perhaps he recognized himself drawn in your cartoon…

  16. Steve T. says:

    Wow…can’t believe that guy could get so “fired up” over a cartoon. Hope you had on your asbestos pants to withstand the “backdraft”…this comic was brilliant and simply made me LOL. ..and has nothing to do with my awe and respect of firefighters everywhere. Keep up the “hot” streak! (Woo look at me, I’m “smokin’ here…)

  17. LOL! I’d love to meet the Cowans.

  18. sam cufevi says:

    I worked in theatre in London’s west end for many years. It was protocol to have a fireman on duty overnight. He/she would sleep in the theatre.
    Pepe, one of the firemen on duty, would, on a daily basis, come into the green room and unceremoniously set something on fire. A tea towel, a newspaper, it didn’t really matter. Then he would exit, leaving us mere mortals to stamp around like demented idiots putting out the fire.
    For this man to suggest that Pepe was a “bad apple” is a deplorable insult and I demand an apology.
    A bad applogy will suffice.

    • Piraro says:

      Haha. I’d love to meet Pepe.

      • sam cufevi says:

        Sadly, he is no longer with us. Many years ago, and I may just be making this up, he ran into the comics section of a burning newspaper. He managed to save Beetle Bailey, Otto the dog, Frank, but not Ernest and one of the kids from family circle.
        His fellow firemen held a memorial for him. Each, as they took the podium to say a few words about him, chastising himself for not realising Pepe’s innate inability to differentiate between real people and, well, doodles.
        To add insult to injury and in a bizarre twist of irony, the eulogy was delivered by a glove puppet.

        • sam cufevi says:

          I don’t mean to end on a downer. I’m sure he’s alive and well and still causing mayhem in an upstate Pepe farm.
          I suspect that were I still in contact with him, I’d have sent him your toon and he’d have laughed uproariously. Along with each and every other fireman I have known.

  19. Lance Johnson says:

    Might those be slow-speed cameras mounted in the crashtest room?

  20. Micah Cowan says:

    Wow. I didn’t even notice you take that picture of us. And with such skill! My moustache never looked so awesome!

    Thanks for letting us join you for lunch. It was a real treat!

  21. Donna Shore says:

    Again, like I said earlier today, to quote George Carlin:
    “If you love somebody, set them free. If they come back, set them on fire!”

    Sorry to be repetitive but the retired fireman should get a sense of humor.

  22. Grant McKenna says:

    This is not a complaint.

    Walkers actually are tested, with crash test dummies, of a sort. Old people slip and hurt themselves very much more easily than the young do, so the company that does most of the research in this field [Zimmer Holdings] uses all kinds of dummies and people in testing; it was their work that helped establish the need for inclined slopes rather than stairs in rest homes, for example.

    And I guess their staff are used to tests taking a while.

  23. Sounds to me like that hoser was like totally pumped up over nothing. Like he should like stop reading the funnies and instead like maybe grow hydraynges (sp??!!).

    I add the likes because I so despise them I thought maybe they have a saturation point at which the whole like friggin world explodes or something. Like.

  24. Dan, are you familiar with the work of (retired) humor columnist Dave Barry? He wrote a hilarious article (see here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-06-11/features/8902080413_1_impaired-mister-language-person-humor-column ) about the humor-impaired people who were always sending him hate mail. Definitely worth the read.

  25. Doug Clegg says:

    Thanks Dan for both of these (the crash test and the fire truck) Just gotta face it… some folks just don’t have a sense of humor.
    I could give you all sorts of qualifications about why I could take exceptions to most of your “funnies” but, yours are the only ones left in production that make me laugh. Keep it up and give us all hell when you get the chance:-) We need all the humor we can get right now.

  26. Daddy Chaps says:

    Don’t take the hate mail to heart-I have almost as much time and experience in the fire service as that guy and I would have spewed my coffee on the Fire truck if I didn’t know to not drink and look at Bizarro world.That was funny.If he wants to lobby his paper to drop you,I would pay his paper boy to leave the paper where the sprinklers can get it. Some people are just too f-ing touchy.

  27. TwoOptions says:

    Why is the hate mail gentleman so upset? He isn’t a JP and most certainly doesn’t belong to the JPFD depicted in the ‘toon. If he’d noticed that and made an effort to look up the dictionary for ‘Jazz Pickles’, maybe his sense of humor would’ve increased by a taco.

    Also, your explanations about each ‘toon go a long way in getting people to understand and appreciate the concept behind the gag, the time and effort in creating it, et cetera. It’s a pity that newspaper strip readers are missing out on this.

    By the way, you already voluntarily apologized when you said “…if anyone reading this cartoon recently lost their stuff to fire, sorry.” But we all love us some hate mail, don’t we? Thanks for sharing such stuff!

  28. 88TF says:

    How can someone be mad at that cartoon? Strangest thing ever.

  29. “Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples,”

    “There is NO cannibalism in the royal navy. that is to say, we have the problem relatively under control.” – Monty Python

  30. Lise says:

    My son, the volunteer firefighter, put this cartoon on the fridge. My husband didn’t get it. Oh, the irony!!!

    PSS resurrect the Kiersten, Kirsten, Kristen cartoon, that gave my mom such a laugh.

  31. Ian Totman says:

    If just reading the ‘hate mail’ I’d consider the possibility that it’s ‘trolling’/funny.
    “…I could barely control my anger…” – classic hyperbole
    “To even suggest that firefighters are starting fires or encouraging the spread of fire…” – just too funny; I’m sure there’s a name for it (taking part of the story then twisting it to something else). Maybe there’s a word from the world of politics?
    “Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples…” – now this becomes Monty Pythonesque, and was the point in the mail where I thought for sure it was a joke.
    “Then again, what else could we expect from an egotist like you…” – is this a hidden reference that you wrote this yourself? :-)

    • Piraro says:

      I had the same experience reading it and didn’t know if it was a joke. There’s so much depth to that letter. A commentor on my FB page called him an “Injustice Collector.” LOVE that phrase!

  32. Kayle says:

    My take is that you had the misfortune of having that firemen cartoon published too close to “Patriot Day”, the official holiday name for 9/11 (which my students don’t get off; then again the Freshpersons were 6 when the attack occurred). A friend who draws a syndicated comic told me once that Sunday strips are usually drawn 6-8 weeks in advance, which requires two or three calendars to be up on the wall of his studio in order to avoid any accidental problems of this sort.

    However, there’s a special circle of hell for those without a sense of humor.

    • Piraro says:

      That’s true about Sunday comics being submitted many weeks ahead of publication. I often schedule cartoons to run on holidays or whatever without noticing I’ve done it.

  33. Chris Cowan says:

    Thanks a bunch for the shout out! Getting to have lunch with you pretty much made my life!

    I’ll bet that hate letter is in itself great comic gag material. Really, you could almost just include the letter verbatim in a comic.

    Reminds me of this old Dilbert comic: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1993-02-05/

  34. Kari says:

    Wow! I’m pretty sure I’ve met that guy before … and I pretended I didn’t! Gaaahhh!!!

    I just discovered your blog and am having a gas! Love it!

  35. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thank you!

    • Piraro says:

      I’m so sorry but I don’t actually run this site or have control over it. I’ll as the person who set it up for me if she can fix it. Sorry for the trouble.

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