Try as I might to stay out of politics in my comics, some issues just grab me by the throat and force my hand. This is one such issue.
No matter how long I live I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone cares who anyone else marries.
Personally, I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage issues whatsoever. Marriage should be left to the individuals entering into it: a civil contract, an agreement on a handshake, a religious ceremony if you like, a costume party in the woods, whatever makes sense to the people doing it. But the government’s interest in the institution is entirely misplaced in this day and age. Why do married people get tax breaks, special treatment from hospitals and insurance companies, or any special treatment at all from anyone, unless the powers-that-be are trying to direct and control society to their own end? We know from history that this never turns out well for the rest of us.
Some would say that family arrangements outside of two heterosexuals legally bound to each other for life work to erode society but there is no evidence of this in the real world. Families consist (and have always consisted) of virtually every combination of people, places, and things that one can imagine, and yet the world has not spiraled into chaos as a result. Children need loving adults in their lives, as many as they can get, and never does it occur to them to ask what kind of thingy the people who care for them have between their legs.
Outside of the archaic and fearful “rules” of certain religions, there are no logical objections to an all-inclusive attitude toward marriage. And religious notions are not something America is supposed to be legislating.
So if the government is going to keep their grimy hands in the marriage business, they must open the institution to anyone willing to pay the price of admission. Anything else would be a transparent attempt to control the direction of the human race, which is as futile as attempting to control the weather. (Although we’ve had some luck controlling the climate, and look where that’s gotten us.)
I conceived of this cartoon back in my first year of syndication in 1985 when I was just a child cartoonist, but the drawing was perfectly awful. (OMG, look how ugly it was!) I’d forgotten all about it until I came across it again recently but I liked the concept so much that I decided to draw and publish it again. I hope you enjoy looking upon it as much as I did redrawing it in a less ugly fashion.
Last Monday’s cartoon was this one about a vending machine called The New York Experience. I lived in NYC for almost ten years and can say that I enjoyed it very much for the first four or five, but then it began to really wear on me. There’s lots to do and tons of terrific history, of course, but the vibe of the city is stuck-up, irritable, and aggressive, the weather sucks big time all but a few weeks out of each year, and the bureaucracy that one encounters with even the simplest of tasks is enough to make you shoot yourself. If your wifi or cable TV is out, be prepared to wait a week or more for a service appointment. If you’re going to the DMV to get your driver’s license switched over, be prepared to wait four or five hours in line. Going to a post office is like visiting prison: bullet-proof glass, surly inmates and sadistic guards. I was happy to leave and honestly don’t care if I ever go back.
Tuesday’s cartoon was also about NYC, but in a less realistic way.
Moving to the West Coast, my Wednesday cartoon highlights the attention many Californians put on invisible forces of the universe. No definitive way to tell how much is real or imagined.
Thursday’s gag takes a shot at politicians and their never-ending scandals. The older I get, the less I trust anyone in a position of power.
Friday’s funny explores one woman’s battle with the power of temptation and a store manager’s gracious attempt to humor her.
And my Saturday cartoon is a wildly reckless foray into the world of politically correct language and is therefore fraught with danger. These days, a single slip of the tongue or ill-conceived email can ruin a person’s career. Polite language has a place in society but in my opinion, we’ve gone a bit overboard in the U.S.––far too many people are looking to be the victim of hurt feelings and take someone down.
Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. I hope you’re enjoying your life wherever you are today (even in NYC!)
So I was thinking what would happen if Adam and Eve’s neighbors happened by just as they were standing naked together, talking to a snake and eating a piece of “forbidden” fruit. Now, I know in the classic version there were no neighbors because Adam and Eve were the first humans, but according to the same story, they had a couple of sons, Cain and Able, and one of them grew up and got married. So where did his bride come from? This leads me to believe that either this is a traditional myth used to teach a certain lesson, or incest was okay for a very long time (until there were enough people to find someone to mate with to whom you were not very closely related.) Ew. I’m going to assume it is a myth.
Another myth in our culture is that women actually want your honest opinion when they ask if they look fat in something. The lady in this cartoon decides to only ask the question once, with all her dresses on at the same time. I like that idea––one question, one lie.
My final salvo this week is a cartoon with an editorial message on the childish behavior of our species toward each other, the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, and the Earth itself. I’ve been reading a lot lately about anthropology and where we went wrong, mental health in a materialistic, technological world, and the science behind spirituality. (Yes, there actually are areas where the two intersect and it is fascinating, especially to this diehard atheist.) I’ve never been so enthralled by a subject. Olive Oyl and I are currently transitioning off of our anti-depressants for good (we hope) with a fairly rigorous regimen of vitamins, minerals, exercise, and meditative practices. We’re both excited to be able to say goodbye to the sinkhole that is allopathic medicine. I’m convinced that pharmaceuticals are among the worst things ever invented by humans. Many bacteriologists are confidently predicting the end of our species will not come in the form of climate change or nuclear war, but disease and bacteria that is smarter than us or our antibiotics. I’ll let you know how it goes (regarding our quest to be happy without pharmaceuticals, not the end of human civilization.) BIZARCHAEOLOGY: From the year 2000 I bring you a cartoon about which I have just spoken in the paragraph above. Stay tangy, Jazz Pickles.
Does anyone out there have a modern solution to the password thing? You’re supposed to use different passwords for all your sites to reduce the possibility of having your identity stolen, but how do you remember them all? If you write them on a list, someone will steal the list and steal your life. I’ve taken to keeping a list but writing it in code. But sometimes I can’t remember what the code is. Gosh, life in the future can suck sometimes.
This giraffe gag is a bit of a throw-away joke, but I’ve always enjoyed reminding myself to look at things objectively, as though I’d never seen it before. In doing so with a giraffe, it occurred to me that no other animal resembles it; it truly looks Photoshopped.
It also occurred to me when I was writing this batch that most of the single women I’ve known (and a good number of ones in relationships) seem to nearly worship their cats. No judgement––cats are lovely creatures worth adoring––I was just wondering if there was a reason. If there is, I’ll likely never understand it, as most things about women are inscrutable to men.
SECRET TRIVIA FOR JAZZ PICKLES ONLY: I originally drew this cartoon for a different caption but it was decided it would be too incendiary in the light of current gun issues in the U.S., so it has been relegated to the Internet only. See the original caption here. Seriously, what is it about so many Americans that they equate godliness with the right to carry guns? It’s mystifying.
Here’s a lovely pastoral view of a truly free-range chicken farm where some of its residents are planning a vacation. It is nothing like where real chickens come from.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently about the important things in life and have decided that the amount of money and “things” you have isn’t one of them.
This idea from my good friend, Cliff Harris the King of Wordplay is a bit dated, but only if you don’t know jack-shit about history. Henry Kissinger was once one of the most powerful people in the world. Now he’s relegated to a carnival midway booth, which is both deep and funny, if you look at it a certain way.
BYGONE BIZARRO: Here’s a fun one from 2000. If you’ve ever been in a recording studio, you’ll find this hilarious.
Tuesday: I was on a jury once for a one-day civil trial and it was boring as hell. I can imagine after a long trial wishing that someone would kill me. (Get a print of this cartoon.)
Wednesday: Some birds dig predigested worms and bugs from their mother’s throat when they’re young. This guy is one of those, but he needs to grow up. (Get a print of this cartoon.)
Thursday: If you find yourself tempted to believe that any substantial amount of America’s problems are being caused by illegal aliens, remind yourself that historically this is an ancient technique by dishonest governments to shift blame. And it almost always works. In this case, the corporations who run our country and their puppet politicians say, “Yes, things are lousy, but it isn’t our fault. It’s their fault!” Then they point to illegals, gay marriage, abortion clinics, terrorists, climate change scientists, whatever “other” they can find to unite the rest of us against something other than those in charge. Don’t fall for it. You’re smarter than that. (Get a print of this cartoon)
DEJA VIEW: Since Tuesday was Election* Day in the U.S., here’s a cartoon from 2001 in which I recommended some things I thought could improve the country. None of my suggestions were followed as near as I can tell.
*A choice between two politicians already chosen by the corporations who run America.
Today’s (Sunday) cartoon is about the lamentable corporatization of America. I know it has advantages, like cheaper crap with which to clutter up our lives, but it also has a terrible price. Small businesses get run out of business daily, jobs are shipped overseas by the tens of millions, minimum wage is below poverty level, laws are passed to allow corporations to effectively “buy” government officials, and a small busload of people at the very top keep all of the money and the rest of us have increasingly fewer options for working for anyone other than the megacorporations that own our country. If what has happened in so many other countries is any indication, what will happen is that as the gap widens between the immorally wealthy and the rest of us, most of the country becomes a ghetto, with a few gated, guarded, armed, compounds where the very rich live as prisoners of their greed. (We’re already starting to see this last symptom.) They may eventually be overthrown by mobs of hungry peasants, as was the case during the French Revolution, or they may never be able to leave their mansion/prisons without a phalanx of armed guards for fear of being kidnapped, as is the case in present day Rio De Janeiro and quite a few other places. Think of this the next time you get angry about government programs that attempt to level the playing field. This kind of social collapse for America is not as far-off as we are lulled into thinking and neither side of that kind of income gap is a comfortable place to be.
And now for something completely different, here are my comics from the past few days, which have no deep, depressing messages.
As they say in my home state of Oklahoma, I went “hog-ass wild” on the art on today’s comic. Not only are there a whopping 10secret symbols to look for, don’t miss the extra details I put in this one, or my toil will have been in vain. The reflections in the counter tops and floors, the nuanced positions of the characters as they record their every movement (bowels included?) with their smart phones, and the tiny image in the screen of the phone of the man in the foreground. I hope you enjoy it. If you will allow me to be even more immodest for a moment, I’d also like to say that I’m proud of this gag. (For a larger view, click any coffee mug.)
VINTAGE JAZZ PICKLAGE: From the vaults of my archival dungeon I offer you this fun little nothing from 1999. I still enjoy this gag and hope you will, too. Two of the dogs in this cartoon were mine at the time I drew this. The orange and white on on the couch (Steve), and the dark brown and white one on the blue chair (Bruno).
In this imagination of the not-too-distant future, I indulge the climate change deniers with a world in which they still run things. Corporations have found that there is still more money in pollution than in intelligent energy solutions, and so the human population of Earth is left wearing expensive contraptions to protect them from the hostile environment.
Yes, I know that the climate of the Earth changes naturally and our species’ time here is likely limited one way or another, but to hasten this rare paradise’s demise for the sake of a few extra million bucks in the pockets of a handful of already-filthy-rich executives is simply idiotic. And yet, many of us continue to pretend it isn’t happening and that the whole thing is a plot by scientists to get their names in the paper.
PALEOZARRO: Way back in the last century, I did this Sunday cartoon about a different kind of idiocy, also relating to the so-called “end of the world.” All of these scenarios is actually the end of humanity’s world. The planet will go on quite happily without us.