Cartoon: Overwhelmed


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This cartoon is another collaboration with Becky Hawkins


Another cartoon that was, for me, more about communicating a certain feeling than it was about telling a gag.

I’m in love with how Becky’s art came out on this one. Becky has been using the “ribbon lettering” to funny effect in her work for years, and I’ve always loved how it looks, so I was really happy to find a way to use it in a political cartoon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each of the panels shows the same character, a bearded man wearing glasses and a checked shirt open over a tee shirt.

PANEL 1

The man is walking, bent over like he has a heavy weight on his back. He’s surrounded by a twisting, circling ribbon that says things like: ABLEISM LONELINESS TRANSPHOBIA RACISM POLICE VIOLENCE DISEASE POVERTY GENTRIFICATION and so on. The man is talking to himself. The background is a dull greenish gray.

MAN: There’s too much wrong with the world! I’m overwhelmed!

PANEL 2

The background turns bright yellow as the man straightens up and talks towards the sky, with an expression and body language indicating determination. The twisty ribbon has disappeared.

MAN: Enough! From now on I’ll just think about the single most important issue! Which is global warming! No other issues matter if the Earth is destroyed!

PANEL 3

The background color dims back towards a green-gray as the man thinks it through, a hand on his chin in a “I’m thinking” gesture.

MAN: Of course, we can’t deal with climate change until we can hold corporations accountable…

MAN: …which can’t happen without a better government…

MAN: But we can’t have a better government while elections are so broken…

MAN: …which means we have to be looking at racism! And classism!

MAN: …and… and…

PANEL 4

The background has become a dull green gray, similar to the first panel but darker. A yellow spotlight-type light picks out the man, who has crouched onto the ground, face down, almost in a fetal position. The ribbon is back, but this time, instead of swooping around him in many directions, it’s a single big spiral seemingly pressing him down. The lettering on the ribbon says “CLIMATE CHANGEVOTING RIGHTSBROKEN DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM RACISM POVERTY…” and so on.

This panel has no dialog.


This cartoon on Patreon.

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11 Responses to Cartoon: Overwhelmed

  1. 1
    Regina says:

    I feel this one. And then there is the thing that a lot of these issues cause tremendous pain and use up the resources of the people affected and why I do think that climate change is the most pressing issue we face it feels wrong to ignore that. But… it is so overwhelming. Heck, it is sometimes already overwhelming just dealing with “life” – completely without thinking about any of these issues.

  2. 2
    Görkem says:

    Although we often hear it, I just cannot reconcile myself to the idea that climate change is the only issue we can focus on. I have just spent too long caring about poverty and economic equality to consciously set them aside. Maybe this is just locked-in thinking on my part.

    Of course some say that addressing poverty and economic inequality are necessary to end the climate crisis. I don’t think this is true, for two reasons – firstly, that it is quite easy to imagine a world dominated by corporations and economic elites who preserve the climate out of reasons of self-interest but still fail to distribute wealth fairly. But secondly, and more fundamentally, too often the conversation becomes circular – we are told we need to put climate change before other issues, but then told that poverty, inequality, sexism, racism, etc etc are all part of the climate issue – and if that’s the case, then when we say climate “first”, what could conceivably be second?

  3. 3
    c u n d gulag says:

    I’m impressed.
    Never having met me, and you pegged me!
    Sadly, that’s me nowadays…

  4. 4
    Eva says:

    Very timely. You nailed it, once again.

  5. 5
    Polaris says:

    Corporations will voluntarily make more ecological decisions when either the customers are willing to pay for it or they can make more profit by say recycling chemicals in the process.
    Also not having to deal with the Middle-East and having less imports is a big incentive for countries to become undependent of oil.

    Ordinary people whose impact on slowing global warming is only a few seconds at best shouldn’t stress too much about it.
    Sure recycle your trash and take a bicycle to work if able to but don’t lose sleep over flying to a holiday.
    I mean what kind of pressure does it put on the scientists and engineers actually working on fixing the problem?

  6. 6
    Görkem says:

    “Corporations will voluntarily make more ecological decisions when either the customers are willing to pay for it or they can make more profit by say recycling chemicals in the process.”

    If enough Green parties were elected globally, they would create a tax environment that forces corporations to pay for their climate-externalities. Corporations would not like it, but if they had no realistic way of weaseling out of it (e.g. changing operations to jurisdictions with exernality-waiver tax systems) they would suck it up, pay the taxes in the short term and adjust their operations to be low tax in the long term, and in doing so (assuming the tax regime is well designed) drastically lower their carbon output.

    But even this rosy scenario leaves corporate capitalism largely in place. Some individual corporations would probably go out of business, but they would be replaced by new carbon-friendly corporations that would recreate all their other sins. A climate-tax regime would not offer any incentives for corporations to pay living wages, for example.

    It’s similar to the argument that it is not sufficient for corporations to appoint more female or queer or even trans CEOs if the female, queer or trans CEOs just continue existing exploitative practices. In fact we have to quite a significant degree seen this, at least with female and queer CEOs. There is the theory that while individual female or queer CEOs can still be exploitative, there is some kind of tipping point where the global corporate executive community will become so female/queer overall that there will be a cultural tipping point and kyriarchical corporate practices will begin to evaporate across the board (presumably also among straight male CEOs). But I am equally doubtful.

  7. 7
    Polaris says:

    If enough Green parties were elected globally, they would create a tax environment that forces corporations to pay for their climate-externalities. 
    For starters less than half of the world’s countries are democratic.
    Secondly that would require alternative green parties more on the right.
    What is more likely is some green politics becoming mainstream like plenty of right wingers would love not having to import oil from the middle east.

  8. 8
    Görkem says:

    True, but international tax policy is to a large extent the product of an agenda set by a relatively small group of wealthy countries, most of which are democratic (with some notable exceptions, admittedly).

    I don’t agree re: Green parties moving to the right. What I have described – a tax policy that prices-in climate externalities – is the stated policy aim of pretty much all politically significant Green parties, including the German, Swedish, French, Australian and Spanish Greens. The international Green electoral movement largely made its peace with the existence of market-oriented financial capitalism in the 90s. This is kind of what I am talking about – the current goal of Green parties is not to disestablish capitalism but to get capitalism working for the climate, rather than against it.

  9. 9
    Polaris says:

    I don’t agree re: Green parties moving to the right. What I have described – a tax policy that prices-in climate externalities – is the stated policy aim of pretty much all politically significant Green parties, including the German, Swedish, French, Australian and Spanish Greens. The international Green electoral movement largely made its peace with the existence of market-oriented financial capitalism in the 90s. This is kind of what I am talking about – the current goal of Green parties is not to disestablish capitalism but to get capitalism working for the climate, rather than against it.

    I’m not talking about existing Green parties nor them keeping their current electorate.
    There is a myriad of reasons for why people won’t vote for leftist green parties from immigration to preferring nuclear over fossils.

  10. 10
    Görkem says:

    @Polaris: I was talking about existing Green parties. I don’t think Green parties getting elected requires them to move to the right (of where they currently are), or at least, I don’t think that moving to the right is the universal solution to Green electoral challenges. Plenty of “left wing” non-Green parties get elected, why can’t left wing Green parties get elected also?

    I use “left wing” in quotes because I think that the current crop of electorally semi-successful Green parties that we have really are Green parties of the right, in that they have largely disavowed socialist and anti-establishment politics in favour of a market-oriented solution to environmental problems. If they were to move any further right they’d be saying that environmental issues should only be resolved if it doesn’t inconvenience business in any way, and at that point they wouldn’t really be Green parties in any meaningful sense (and more immediately, they wouldn’t contribute to the kind of scenario I am envisaging).

  11. 11
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Discussion of the same topic, but from the angle people people pressuring each other to display concern rather than an individual getting swamped.

    https://www.metafilter.com/192450/Our-Never-Ending-Empathy-for-Everything-Is-Backfiring

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