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In June 2020, after demonstrators tore down a statue of Andrew Jackson, then-President Trump “We should learn from the history. And if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again.” U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, objecting to renaming military bases named after Confederate figures, said “I just don’t think that Congress mandating that these be renamed and attempting to erase that part of our history is a way that you deal with that history.”
This idea – that removing statues and renaming bases is the same as forgetting history – is bizarrely commonplace. Apparently if a Republican is wealthy enough, they teach their children history through statues rather than using schools and books like the common folk do?
The gag in this cartoon is, I admit, pretty obvious. But I hope it’ll give some of you a chuckle, just as it did for me when I thought of it.
I tried using a different “brush” (since I draw on computer, the “brushes” are all virtual) to draw this one, hoping to end up with a looser, freer line. But I think it had the opposite effect, making the lines tighter than usual. The truth is, I’m just too much of a control freak about my lines, and it makes it hard for me to loosen up.
Of course, constantly trying to get an effect that I rarely achieve is part of what makes my job continually interesting to me. So that’s a silver lining, I guess. (Looks at the lively inkwork in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, sighs.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Two people, a woman wearing a hair band and a man with a mustache and a checkered shirt, are talking in some sort of sculpture gallery with arched doorways. All of the sculptures we see are “busts” – that is, sculptures of just the head and shoulders of various people, on pedestals. In panel one, we can make out sculptures of Lincoln and Washington.
Headband and Checkered are talking angrily at each other. But they’re not angry at each other – they’re sharing their mutual anger at things happening in the world.
HAIRBAND: Removing “racist” statues is terrible. We shouldn’t forget the past!
The man in the checkered shirt waves his arms as he makes a point. His hand bumps a bust of George Washington, knocking it over.
CHECKERED: They’re not just removing statues – they’re erasing history!
The two of them both flinch away from the statue as it crashes to the floor. We can see little shattered pieces of the statue, including a nose and mouth, bouncing up from the floor. The checkered shirt man looks especially distressed, holding his hands to either side of his face.
CHECKERED: Oh no! The bust of George Washington!
The two of them are looking down at the floor – presumably at the shattered remains of the statue – and looking puzzled.
HAIRBAND: George who?
CHECKERED: Um… I don’t know.