I reckon it could be Mr Magoo - shortsighted and a bit dim!

08 Jul 2011

Hi Christina,

Ik ben het met Shams, hoewel zijn opmerking was nogal bot. Ik denk dat je de muis gebruiken om straight draw in de computer. Het is alsof je probeert om te schilderen met een penseel vegen!

Ondanks deze het bericht dat u duidelijk te communiceren en professioneel, en je hebt een goed oog voor detail en kleur. Ik hoop dat u niet de traditionele methoden te verwaarlozen - bijvoorbeeld potloden en verf. Ik zie een goed talent hier.

Overigens, aarzel dan niet om mijn Nederlands te bekritiseren. Ik ben niet erg goed, maar het zal me niet tegenhouden proberen!

19 Mar 2011

I do like your drawing style, Kianoush. It is very distinctive and reminds me of the cartoons in the old Punch magazine.

I think there’s some wishful thinking here, though. Maybe what you say is so if you consider war as a specifically human activity … although humans are part of nature too. In reality, from whales to bacteria and from the greatest oaks to the smallest fungus, conflict and combat are entirely natural.

18 Mar 2011

What’s to understand, scowlyguy? I find some of Kianoush’s cartoons difficult to understand, but this one seems clear to me. The Earth is being fed industrial processes and other polluting activities that make it sick. Am I missing something?

17 Mar 2011

I often read that war has become industrialised. It was claimed that GW Bush said war is good for business. Has peace become big business too? War and peace … sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which. In Orwell’s 1984, Minipax is the Ministry of Peace which concerns itself with war. Has 1984 become the political handbook for the 21st century?

17 Mar 2011

For me, a cartoon is most powerful when a simple illustration makes me think deeply. Your cartoon certainly does this, though I’m not sure whether I’m thinking what you intended me to. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Let me share my thoughts. I see a man wearing glasses and riding in a basket supported by a speech balloon. He has spent all his money on the glasses and the basket, and he can’t now afford to buy clothes. It is not freedom of speech alone that will lift the man aloft, but rather what he says. Sadly the speech balloon is empty; he has nothing to say and the basket is crash landing.

I’m sure others see a different story. Perhaps they would like to share their thoughts.

15 Mar 2011

I don’t understand the message. Who is holding the candle? Or is it a stick of dynamite? And what has it to do with Paris? Is Ben Laden threatening France, or is France supplying weapons to terrorists? I don’t get it.

15 Mar 2011

I think "bio" is what I would call “organic”. I understand that you are saying that although some pesticides have proved to be damaging other than to pests (especially when they are mis-used or over-used), stopping using them altogether is just as foolish. We need to learn how to use them safely and appropriately.

I like the barcode on the shopping bag; does it actually read anything in particular?

Tjeerd: My computer isn’t working very well and I accidentally posted the message before I had finished. Can you fix this please?

15 Mar 2011

Sorry my previous message was delayed. Yes, I wanted to write a note rather than an essay (which takes time), but I was also distracted by the awful pictures and reports from Japan. It is so sad to see how many lives have been grievously devastated; how many jobs and homes and friends and relatives have been lost in this tragedy.

It is even sadder to think how much of this was actually avoidable. There is nothing clever about saying “I told you so”, but the suggestion not to build on a flood plain seems particularly appropriate. Yet will anything change? Well there is a story in the Bible (and a similar one in the Quran) that indicates that building your house on sand was known to be a bad idea a long time ago. It seems a lot of people still haven’t taken the hint and may never do so.

15 Mar 2011

I should probably have said this before. Can we strike a deal, Spiros? I will allow for artistic licence if you will tolerate me being pedantic occasionally. (The clue is in my pseudonym.) Please don’t think I am being overly critical; I am trying to be helpful.

Let me say first, though, that you have illustrated your point clearly and with impact … and I wish I could draw like that. And I reckon the main purpose of a cartoon is to make the reader think; it certainly does that for me.

The key thing that bothers me is that your cartoon, and particularly your comment, suggests that increasingly deadly weather is an established fact and that it is happening now. It isn’t, and it isn’t. I took it to be ironical. Maybe I was starting from the wrong assumption. Please allow me to explain.

You can see (cartoon 1052) that I’m not very good at films and history. I am good at science. It is a little complicated but I’ll try to be brief and not too patronising.
• Climate is changing. Over the whole history of the Earth, climate has been changing all the time. There is no reason to think that it will ever stop changing.
• Much effort is being expended to decide whether what humans do (pollution and so on) is making climate change faster (which looks likely). In order to target any actions effectively (and to avoid making things worse), it will help a lot if we can say where, when, and by how much climate will change - which, despite what we might read, is still very uncertain.
• If what humans have done so far (anthropogenic processes) is making climate change faster, the effects haven’t yet kicked in to any significant extent. There is an enormous lag in the system. For example, any effects resulting from 20th century atmospheric pollution may not peak until after the middle of the 21st century.
• Of course it is important, but, as you will see in my previous message, I believe there are more urgent matters that need serious attention right now (and some of these will ameliorate our worst predictions for climate change anyway).

And why do our various representatives and agencies seem to have their priorities out of order? Well that’s a subject for a whole new essay, but I’m sure we have all seen many cartoons asking to what extent the hot air produced by our politicians might contribute to global warming :-).

15 Mar 2011

Thanks for your explanation, Spiros.
Now you mention it I vaguely recall an old film called Battleship Potemkin. I think it was Russian and I remember navy cadets fighting (though I may be mixing it up with a similar Japanese film). I think Odessa is in the Crimea. And that’s about it.
I probably saw the film on TV, but it could be 40 years ago! I guess it didn’t make much of an impression. In fact I seem to recall black & white, subtitled, slow, bleak, clunky, and boring. (Knowing me I probably escaped to the kitchen to read a book.) I’m afraid your reference totally passed me by though.
However, I’m always trying to fill the gaps in my education, so I have now looked it up. Thank you for prompting me to do so.

11 Mar 2011

That's five out of five for me so far. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

11 Mar 2011

Ouch! My vote too.

11 Mar 2011

Hey, Elena. I’m English; I can only do understatement; but the faintest praise I can manage for this is BRILLIANT! So simple, so powerful.
It makes me think of the quote “I’m sorry for the long letter, but I didn’t have time to write a short one”. This must have taken you ages. I wish I could vote twice!

11 Mar 2011

What a brilliant idea, Elena. I can’t understand why some people are so frightened by it.

11 Mar 2011

That’s great Elena. The graphic style is brilliant, distinctive and very effective. I particularly like the big shadow/little shadow that subtly emphasises the difference.

May I take this opportunity to mention a personal annoyance? “Gender equality” should mean equality of opportunity, not enforced equality. Also, although the emphasis is quite rightly on the unfair treatment of women, there are occasions where men are unjustly disadvantaged too.

I would also like to comment on the news from Brussels (that you may be aware of). Some idiot bureaucrat from the EU administration has decided that gender should not influence car insurance charges, even though this is actually determined only by risk. It is a fact that, generally, women are safer drivers than men, but they may be forced to pay the same (which of course will mean more) in the future.

11 Mar 2011

I hope I'm not too late to add my comment. What a brilliant caricature.

10 Mar 2011

I agree. It is a neat idea and successfully illustrated. Does it relate to a specific news story – maybe in Odessa? (Or am I reading too much into the title?)

The comment from eleanna_31 suggests that the cartoon is based on a proposal. If so is the proposal published somewhere here? Can I propose a cartoon theme? How do I do that?

Incidentally, what is with the area beyond the top step? It looks a bit like one of those optical illusions. Actually it makes me feel a bit queasy if I look at it too long! Was this intentional?

10 Mar 2011

Yes tloudon, impressive and scary … and WRONG! Unfortunately, Spiros, the irony will be missed by most people.
The best that climate scientists can say so far is that their climate models indicate that local climate may be changing more than non-anthropogenic processes would account for, and that a changing climate may result in more extreme weather events. They are doing their best to understand what will happen in the future but the Earth’s climate system is rather complicated.
In the meantime there are many things that we need to address that are actually making us more vulnerable to “normal” weather extremes:
• stop destroying forests; they modify local climate, slow water runoff, and stabilise the ground.
• restore bogs and coastal marshes, and stop destroying mangroves; these absorb a lot of the energy of storms and protect inland areas.
• stop trying to control rivers that otherwise supply silt to maintain coasts and delta systems. Without it they just wash away.
• stop building on flood plains. (The clue is in the name!)
• help our education providers to teach facts rather than myths.
And, of course, the areas mentioned above are just as (if not more) important as a habitat for unique flora and fauna as the higher profile Amazon Rainforest.

Would you (or anyone else here) be bold enough to do a cartoon with, say, a guy with an axe, one with a chain saw, one leaning on a digger, - and don’t forget the guy with the clipboard – explaining to the family whose house has just blown down or washed away: “Nothing to do with me, pal. It’s the climate change that’s to blame.”

10 Mar 2011

Absolutely yusefghanima, why not American presidents (several of whom oversaw serious attempts to wipe out the North American aboriginals), and why not Churchill and other British prime ministers, and why not Che Guevara? You will see that I included several Western leaders in my (rather long) comments below, and also many more that Jan-Erik could have validly included, but, as he says, it’s a cartoon not a wall painting!
When I compiled the list I did take Jan-Erik’s description “killers” literally and tried not to judge whether or not the killing was justified or appropriate (although I did exclude national leaders in time of generally acknowledged wars – except, of course, where they used the war as an excuse to kill off their political and/or business opponents). Even then we are only considering the leaders here, but there had to be many more people who pulled the trigger and planted the bomb because they thought the killing was justified. As Alexander says, tyranny of any kind is bad, but it can be debated for years as to whether and how much it is justifiable, and sometimes it really is a necessary evil.
But many books have been written on the subject of justification (or otherwise) of mass killing, and often without any satisfactory conclusions. The main point for me is that Jan-Erik has published a cartoon that makes me think, and it also makes me think about what I think and why. It certainly appears to have stimulated others to do the same, given the 25 comments (so far); and the comments themselves do likewise. That’s has got to be a “good thing” and indicates a resounding success in my book.
Finally, I have to contradict yourself, yusefghanima, and Jan-Erik. I suggest there is NO truth, only the pictures inside our own heads.

08 Mar 2011