Cartoon: The Brave Truth-Teller

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I’ve met this guy dozens of times – the (typically) white (typically) male guy who seems to be constantly patting himself on the back for his own bravitude in stating forbidden views that, somehow, despite being forbidden and despite the iron grip that “political correctness” has on our national dialog, people are in fact saying all the time.

Some of these folks – Jordon Peterson comes to mind – have really built a brand on this silliness. Arguably, Donald Trump was elected president on this silliness.

Speaking of which, this comic originally had a different kicker, which I had actually drawn before trading it for the one I used.

As my mom pointed out to me, the Trump comparison is so obvious that it pretty much goes without saying, so why even say it? (Also, looking at it now, “massive” might be taken as a fat joke, which certainly wasn’t my intent.)

This one took FOREVER to draw! In my original layout, panel 3 pretty much looked like panel 2, except with a crowd gathered in front of the main character. But repeating the layout like that just seemed so boring… So I decided to use this bird’s eye perspective instead.

It was an interesting challenge, I had fun drawing it, and in the end there were 36 (I think) people visible in that panel. See above re: Taking forever. I hope y’all enjoyed looking at it!

In panel 2, if you look in the far background on the right, you can see a tiny figure way in the distance, also waving his arms and yelling. That was my little (literally) nod to how these folks, despite their worship of their own individuality, are really a common type one runs into again and again.

For the final panel, I tried to make it look just a bit more “real”; more detailed coloring and shading, and populating his room with some details (an open book, sneakers kicked off on the floor, etc), to contrast with the character’s daydream.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

PANEL 1
A white man with an exaggerated “fashy” haircut – shaved close on the sides, longer and neatly combed on top – stands on top of a hill, one hand raised, declaiming. He’s wearing a blue polo shirt. Cumulus clouds cross the sky behind him. He is speaking loudly with a stern expression.

BTT: I am the Brave Truth-Teller!
BTT: I speak the truths that ordinary people are too cowed to say!
BTT: Come hear my incredible courage!

PANEL 2
The same scene, but the “camera” has backed up a bit, and in the foreground a couple more white people – a man and a woman – are looking at the Brave Truth-Teller in delighted surprise. Waaay in the background, we can see a tiny figure on a distant hill, who also seems to be declaiming.

BTT: I’m the only one who dares to say:
BTT: I will not used your “preferred pronoun!”
BTT: Men are the real victims of sexism!
BTT: Whites are the real victims of racism!
BTT: Fat people are objectively gross!
MAN: Gasp! That man! He’s speaking the truth!
WOMAN: Is that allowed? He is so BRAVE!

PANEL 3
The “camera” is now straight above the Brave Truth-Teller, pointing down at him as he goes on. He is now surrounded by a big crowd of smiling admirers. They seem to be almost all white people.

BTT: Hitler was a lefty!
BTT: Liberals are totalitarians!
SOMEONE IN CROWD: Brave Truth-Teller! May I put you on TV?
SOMEONE IN CROWD: May I give you a million dollars?
SOMEONE IN CROWD: May I give you a book contract?
SOMEONE IN CROWD: May I have sex with you?
SOMEONE IN CROWD: Me too!
SOMEONE IN CROWD: You should run for office!

Instead of having a bottom panel border, panel 3 turns into a thought balloon at the bottom. The thought balloon leads to…

PANEL 4
The Brave Truth-Teller is sitting in an ordinary looking home. He’s in a plaid armchair, with a laptop on his lap. There’s a non-matching ottoman in front of the chair. Next to the chair is a little round table holding a lamp, a coffee mug, a pencil, and an open copy of “12 Rules For Life” by Jordan Peterson. His sneakers lie on the floor nearby. There’s a window, through which we can see a bush and a tree outside, and a dresser with some books on top and a half-open drawer. The colors in this panel are a bit more naturalistic than in the previous panels.

The previous panel’s art is in a thought balloon, leading to the BTT’s head.

BTT (thought): Someday…

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE CARTOON
The BTT, smiling, is speaking with Barry the Cartoonist, who isn’t smiling.

BTT: Until then, I’ve got my own youtube channel.
BARRY: Of course you do.

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115 Responses to Cartoon: The Brave Truth-Teller

  1. 101
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    An issue here is that people tend to perceive the position on a spectrum very differently based on whether they themselves are or feel targeted (and their other biases, experiences, etc). Lots of discussions between pro- and anti-SJ people consist of one side dismissing the level of concern of the other and vice versa.

    For many kinds of discrimination, you also have people who already believe in a common pattern and look for confirmation, where they get upset over things that others may (or may not) find ridiculous. An example is micro-aggressions.

    It gets even more complicated when people started pattern matching and/or reading between the lines. For example, desipis seemed to have perceived the comment by Elusis as a covert call for a ban, while you perceived desipis’ later statement as a covert demand for a ban. Neither original statements seemed to have been intended as such, but they were perceived as an attack by the other side.

    I think this very thread could be used to confirm the stereotype

    I extracted this part from your sentence, because I think that this is true in general (and thus also for your opponents) and not just for you. I think that this thread reinforced everyone’s biases…

  2. I have edited this comment for clarity.

    Of course, Jeffrey, other processes are sometimes at work as well. A commenter, for example, might be (without any malicious intent) so self-involved, so centered on what they have to say and what they think is important that they fail really to listen to what the others in a conversation are saying.

    You could have ended your comment @94 with “Kate, I see what you mean.” Instead, you felt it necessary to lecture us, at length on what this thread might look like from “a perspective outside that of AlasABlog,” as if a number of people–Elusis, me, Jake, Grace, Harlequin–had not said, quite emphatically, that what has concerned us since desipis’ question @39 is what this thread feels like internally, to more than a few of us who are members of this community (a community which includes desipis and, now, you, since you have been commenting here for at least a couple of years, I believe).

    You seem to think that I have concerned myself in my comments to you with your intent, and perhaps I have been a little less than precise with my language. So let me be more clear: I have no idea what you intent is when you write your comments; what I know (in the sense of having evidence in front of me that I can comment on), what I can try to say something meaningfully about, is the impact of your discourse on this discourse community. So, for example, you reduce our concerns about our community to this:

    This very thread could be used to confirm some vicious stereotypes about the ways in which progressives use “I’m feeling pain” to silence opposing views.

    Whether you intend it or not, that is insulting, not just because it is wrong. As more than a few people have pointed out no one on this thread has tried to silence anyone. It is also insulting because it reduces to mere personal pain, to one or more individuals’ “hurt feelings” what is in fact a seriously important issue: how to have a conversation with those you disagree with that is respectful of who they are, what they think, and so on–again, going back to desipis’ question @39 (and I will remind you again that this issue, with this commenter, has a long history and context on this blog that you admit to not really knowing about).

    You may think that is a relatively minor issue compared to the real, more substantive issues at hand (whatever those may be). However, when you are part of a group whose identity and perspective has been denied and derided, often with violent consequences to you and people you love, if that basic level of respect suddenly becomes contested, a point of negotiation–which, whether desipis in this instance intended it or not, was the effect of his question–then what is the point? Why bother engaging someone who so fundamentally disrespects you that they will not, in their discourse, even acknowledge your presence? And if you are someone who see this happening and you are not a member of that group, shouldn’t you point out what is happening when it is happening, or at least hold to account whomever is perpetrating that disrespect? (And please remember that we are talking here about a comment thread on a blog. As Grace put it in her comment @79, given the bullshit you have to deal with in your daily life, why waste your time? Obviously, in the larger cultural arena, there are reasons why someone might want to engage in that kind of discussion, but the people who do that are, generally, public figures who have, in some way or other, trained or prepared for that kind of encounter.)

    You may wonder why I have bothered with this comment when I said earlier that I was done. There are two reasons. First, I wanted to be clear that I have not, in any of my comments, been talking about your intention–even if my language may have been imprecise on that account. Second, though, and more importantly, you often have interesting and thought-provoking things to say. I am, for example, very interested to see what conversation develops if Grace decides to respond to you recent comment on the Mint Garden. It’s your meta-commentary, the way you seem to feel authorized to lecture us about discursive processes and practices–almost as if you have appointed yourself a kind of moderator–that I wish you would stop.

  3. 103
    Grace Annam says:

    Jeffrey Gandee:

    Kate, I see what you mean, but have you considered what this thread looks like from a perspective outside that of AlasABlog?

    I’m not Kate, but for myself, I care more about Elusis and her experience here than I do about silent lurkers or strangers just discovering the blog.

    I do think there is a tendency among SJ folk to prioritize the minimization of hurt feelings when conversations start to veer toward difficult topics…

    Jeffrey, do you understand that this is not about hurt feelings?

    Grace

  4. 104
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    LimitsOfLanguage gets me.

  5. Comment deleted for unnecessary snark. —RJN

  6. 106
    Ampersand says:

    while you perceived desipis’ later statement as a covert demand for a ban.

    Huh? No, I really didn’t.

  7. 107
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    My mistake. I misread.

  8. 108
    Kate says:

    Thank-you Grace. There has been a change in debate here for the worse over time, which I can’t put my finger on. It isn’t just about hurt feelings. There is a loss of respect, on both sides.

  9. 109
    Jake Squid says:

    There’s been a lot of change in the right wing commenters the last few or five years. I find them a lot more difficult to converse with. Or maybe the right has just become more difficult to converse with. Or maybe I’ve become less patient.

  10. 110
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Jeffrey, do you understand that this is not about hurt feelings?

    Grace, can you really blame anyone from coming away with a poor understanding of what is being communicated in this thread? Everyone, me included, is doing a terrible job communicating and reading charitably. There are way too few clarifying questions and way too many attempts to pounce on shitty interpretations of arguments. Everyone decided they have nothing to learn from anyone else long ago.

  11. 111
    Mandolin says:

    Honestly, I think it’s an ongoing process. Many liberal commenters here over time have felt the environment is too hostile, and left. The fewer who remain then end up in an environment with less support which may feel more hostile, and which some leave, meaning even fewer people remain, etc.

    We can’t coerce people to stay; the moderation more or less reflects what Amp is comfortable with, I think, so that’s static; people who are looking for a space to be contrarian in have more energy for arguments than people who are looking for an emotional stasis.

    It’s not a great sieve, but I think the current feeling is that the possible cures so far are worse – am9ng other reasons (e.g. moderating is exhausting, who is going to do it, etc) many of them would obviate the one of the primary purposes of the blog, to be a space where amp is comfortable debating.

  12. 112
    Jake Squid says:

    By “change in right wing commenters”, I mean who they are as opposed to the commenters changing their style. I feel like there used to be a few worth talking with but that number has really emsmallened.

    But that could be an inaccurate impression.

  13. 113
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    There is a loss of respect, on both sides.

    Definitely.

    This seems to be happening everywhere, both online and in meat-space. Some of my extended family have stopped talking to each other due to politics. I have second cousins who don’t know their grandparents, even though they live close by. I went home about a year ago and a confederate flag was flying on a pole in front of my mom and step-dad’s house… in Ohio (seriously wtf). I just can’t tell if it’s always been like this and I’m just now noticing it as I get older, or if the 80’s 90’s and 00’s were just unusually harmonious. It feels like people identity more strongly with their politics now than when I was a youngster, so politics is more personal, but I really have no idea if that’s true.

  14. 114
    Grace Annam says:

    Jeffrey Gandee:

    Grace, can you really blame anyone from coming away with a poor understanding of what is being communicated in this thread?

    Yes.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, it seemed pretty clear to me.

    But, also, if we’re going to throw up our hands at how hard it is to try to understand what someone else is saying, our time could probably be better spend watching grass grow. If we are misunderstanding, perhaps the solution is to re-examine our understanding.

    Grace

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