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Sometimes I like doing cartoons making fun of my “own side.”
Part of being a progressive these days, it seems, is realizing that every piece of art or entertainment we might enjoy or love is somehow problematic, or if not, could be revealed to be problematic at any moment.
And that’s how it goes. When it comes to older works, that’s how it should go. If we never look at old works and go “yipes,” that means no progress has been made. If we never look at things that artists and public figures once got away with – Roman Polaski comes right to mind – and say “that’s not acceptable,” that means no progress has been made.
But it’s still an odd-feeling situation. And, from a certain perspective, a funny one.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has five panels, with the same two characters – a young woman wearing glasses and a pink scarf, and another young woman wearing a long yellow jacket. In the first two panels, the two are sitting around an apartment, on a couch.
Scarf woman is reading a comic book, and speaks enthusiastically to Jacket woman, who looks unconvinced.
SCARF: Have you read this comic? It’s really awesome.
JACKET: I heard the creator was arrested for beating his girlfriend.
Scarf tosses the comic over her shoulder. Jacket looks a bit angry as she talks, waving a hand in the air.
SCARF: Screw comics, then. We’ll just browse the internet.
JACKET: Yeah! We can google how the workers who make our devices are horribly abused.
Scarf tries again, but Jacket rejects the idea again, standing up with her arms crossed, turning her back on Jacket.
SCARF: Let’s watch an old movie. Something made before the internet.
JACKET: Hitchcock, Kubrick, Bertolucci… Lots of directors abused their actresses back then. Just like today.
The two characters, after a quick back and forth, both yell to the sky (or ceiling) in abject frustration.
JACKET: R. Kelly.
JACKET: Are you joking?
BOTH: AAAGH! EVERYTHING IS PROBLEMATIC!
The two characters are now out in a beautiful, sprawling park, with trees and rolling hills, sitting on a hillside. Scarf is smiling and leaning back; Jacket has her arms crossed on her knees and still looks crabby.
SCARF: Isn’t it great out here, enjoying clean, unproblematic nature?
JACKET: Stolen land.