Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday afternoon toons: Special "boxers or briefs?" edition

There are a few toons out there today about something other than AIG bonuses.

But not many.

For the record, what I find repulsive about the prospect of those former Masters of the Universe getting bonuses for running their corporations, dozens of dependent industries, thousands of associated companies, and most of the world economy into the ground is not so much the money--it obviously means a lot to the bankers, but it's trivial compared to what's already been lost, and to losses yet to come. What disgusts me about the bonuses is their perfect appropriateness as a symbol of the corruption and dysfunction of the industry and of regulatory oversight.

Dysfunction and corruption on a small scale make for an evening of good theater. Give them billions to fool around with, though, and you've got a major problem.

Let's start with Daryl Cagle's round-up where, just to expedite matters, we'll just pull all the bonus-themed toons here into one angry mob: Daryl Cagle, Nate Beeler, Mike Lane, Larry Wright, David Fitzsimmons, Steve Sack, and--my favorite of the lot--R. J. Matson.

And now, for those of you who are wondering if anything else went on in the last few days, the p3 Picks of the Week: Cameron Cardow, Patrick Chapette, Mike Keefe, Eric Allie, Jimmie Margulies, Milt Priggee, R. J. Matson, Steve Benson, Rob Rogers, and (yet again), Jimmie Margulies,

The p3 Envelope with the Answer goes to Michael Ramirez.

p3 World Toon Review: Stephane Peray (Thailand), Ingrid Rice (Canada), Alexander Zudin (Russia), Herbjørn Skogstad (Norway),

A truism among teachers is that "we don't grade on sweat." Ann Telnaes demonstrates the wisdom of this rule.

Speculation still sometimes pays off: A copy of issue #1 of Action Comics, in which Superman made his 1938 debut, sold at auction this month for $300K and change. The seller originally bought it for one dollar. (Hat tip to Oliver Willis, who also reminds us that the Man of Steel wasn't the only thing Joe Shuster drew to make rent.)

Batocchio, impresario of the Right Wing Cartoon Watch (which the p3 Sunday toon review has been proud to feature), is packing in the RWCW for the indefinite future. The reason--copyright pressures.

Creators Syndicate, which represents several of our regularly featured cartoonists, has raised a copyright objection to us posting their work here. We suggested a few accommodations, but they were all rejected (if fairly politely). This isn't a big site, and we’re not making money at it, but we do respect their intellectual property rights. It’s hard to "excerpt" an editorial cartoon, making "fair use" difficult, and the main reason we posted the cartoons in the first place rather than linking them was for readability since we were discussing them. I’ve said it before, but I appreciate both Mike Lester and Glenn Foden writing and being good sports about the series. Nor would I begrudge any cartoonist for objecting to being included (although our snotty attitudes were not the issue here).

If and when RWCW returns, we'll either not be using Creators Syndicate cartoonists, or will simply link their work versus posting the actual cartoons here. Many other cartoon roundups use a link format. I don't think that would be as fun or readable for our purposes, but, uh, some might argue the series never really excelled at those elements anyhow.

I'm afraid Creators Syndicate objected to past posts in the series and not just posts going forward. That's not surprising, but is deeply unfortunate. Since fixing past entries (by substituting links) would be a massive undertaking, for now, we’re simply blocking all of the pictures, although the posts remain. I doubt many people are traipsing through the archives, but if you’re looking for a specific cartoon we featured, I can probably hunt down the official version and e-mail you the link.

And now you know why the p3 Sunday toons have links, but not images--with a few rare exceptions, most conspicuously Jesse Springer's work, since he's granted permission for its use here. The problem is that one of the basic principles of the fair use exception in copyright law--that you don't reproduce the entire work--makes sense with text but not images. For a while, I tried to finesse that problem by including only details from the toons I was linking to. That may or may not have made the posts more attractive to readers, but it was a royal pain to edit and in the end, as Batocchio's story suggests, I probably was on no firmer legal ground than if I'd just used the whole image.

I also regularly use YouTube videos, and some of that material is public domain, but a lot of it probably isn't. I'm probably no closer to compliance with fair use law by doing so; I'm just shuffling the problem off onto YouTube if any copyright holders object.

Meanwhile, p3 looks forward to the day when Batocchio works out a way to bring the RWCW back.

(By the way, the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin usually includes a political toon round-up at his blog most weekdays. Links, no images--which seems to have emerged as the new boxer/briefs question. Thanks, Batocchio.)

Guest toon: At the K Chronicles, Keith reviews his career choices in the context of a dicey economy.

Meanwhile, Portland homeboy Jack Ohman offers some advice on the very same topic.

Because last summer's debacle apparently didn't discourage them, the New Yorker made another stab at topical political humor on their cover last week.

If your home has that "too rich" appearance: Tex Avery was fond of the documentary-style cartoon, in which a narrator walks you through a string of loosely-related sight gags, each one quick enough that you're on to something else before it has a chance to wear thin. A popular meme as consumer-oriented industry geared up again following WWII was imagining "the future," as in "the car of tomorrow," "the farm of tomorrow," "the TV of tomorrow"--all of which Avery spoofed at one time or another--and today's pick from 1949 at MGM, "The House of Tomorrow." Putting aside his obvious mother-in-law issues (in fact, issues with just about everyone but the family dog), was Avery 60 years ahead of the curve on the McMansion-based housing bubble (and taxes)?

p3 Bonus Toon: Jesse Springer points out that the Oregon downpour we're now facing isn't the one we usually complain about in the spring, although there's no sign of a let-up:

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