Cartoon: Doing Too Little vs Helping Too Many


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This month’s collab with Becky Hawkins has more of Becky in it than usual, I think.

This cartoon originated in a remark Becky made, that most safety net debates seem to boil down to doing too little versus helping too many. What Becky said stuck in my head, and I came back to her with this cartoon script.

Of course, in the real world, the same person is seldom taking both parts of the argument. But I think of the blonde woman in this strip as representing the split and contrary nature of the American political system as a whole.

This is an issue area I’ve done cartoons about before, and I’m sure I’ll come back to it again. Americans have a fear of giving money to the wrong people (and it’s not very well hidden that “wrong” often means “brown”) that continually hinders us from becoming a compassionate society.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show the same two people. A redhead wearing thick glasses and a green jacket over a checkboard sweater – let’s face it, they look like a nerd – is sitting at a desk, with a stack of papers on the desk. (I’m a nerd, so I’m allowed to say that.) Standing next to the desk is a blonde woman with a blue dress and a matching blue necklace.

PANEL 1

Redhead gestures towards the stack of papers, smiling. Necklace leans over to look at the papers, raising an eyebrow.

REDHEAD: Check this out! I’ve created a proposal for better welfare benefits.

NECKLACE: Hmmm…

PANEL 2

Necklace points to something on the papers, looking a little annoyed.  Redhead is concerned by what she’s saying.

NECKLACE: But this plan leaves so many people out.

PANEL 3

Redhead leans back over the papers, writing rapidly with a pen. Necklace leans over, hand on chin, as she looks at what Redhead’s writing.

REDHEAD: Good point… Here, let me just fix some things…

PANEL 4

Redhead, looking proud, holds up a paper to display to Necklace. Necklace angrily yells, throwing papers into the air.

REDHEAD: Okay, how’s this?

NECKLACE: NOW YOUR PLAN HELPS PEOPLE WHO DON’T DESERVE IT!


This cartoon on Patreon

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10 Responses to Cartoon: Doing Too Little vs Helping Too Many

  1. 1
    Görkem says:

    Why did you choose to make the face of American anti-welfare politics a woman? And why is the welfare advocate a man?

    I would think the opposite setup would be a much more accurate depiction of where male politicians and men’s rights activists, vs female politicians and feminists, stand on the issue of welfare reform.

  2. 2
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I can’t speak to men’s right activists vs. feminists, because I haven’t been paying attention to anything MRAs have been doing in a while, but when it comes to politicans in the US and here in the UK, at least, the division is primarily on party lines and not gender.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    IIRC, Becky did the character designs, not me.

    But I’m not at all sure the welfare advocate is a man. The character could be male, female, or gender-free, and I’d accept it with how the character is designed.

  4. 4
    Görkem says:

    OK, but the question still stands as to why the anti-welfare person is a woman?

    @Eytan: Feminism definitely supports a more generous welfare system as class discrimination againstthe poor is a facet of kyriarchy.

  5. 5
    Becky Hawkins says:

    Hi! I drew this comic, and I modeled the anti-welfare woman after conservatives like Ann Coulter and Marjorie Taylor Greene. (Incidentally, she also looks like that school board member in Wisconsin who said that families would “become spoiled” by a free school lunch program.) I agree with Eytan that attitudes about welfare are divided along party lines, and not at all gender lines!

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    I’d add that Becky and I have each done a LOT of feminist-themed cartoons where the character symbolizing the view we agree with is female, and the other character is male. Usually that’s just what makes sense for the cartoons, for the reasons you mentioned. But for me, it also becomes kind of boring and in an odd way pedestalling if we’re never willing to show a female character we disagree with. I want to be able to “cast” women in all sorts of roles, including sometimes having women representing the views I disagree with.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    @4:

    OK, but the question still stands as to why the anti-welfare person is a woman?

    In America at least I know of no particular reason why that person should or should not be either sex.

    @Eytan: Feminism definitely supports a more generous welfare system as class discrimination against the poor is a facet of kyriarchy.

    “Feminist” is a rather broad term. While you may consider this to be a requirement to consider one’s self a feminist I have to wonder if that’s something that all self-described feminists consider essential.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    I think requiring 100% of self-described feminists to consider a more generous welfare system essential is too stringent a standard; by that standard, there is nothing that feminism – or any other political ideology – can be said to support.

  9. 9
    Görkem says:

    “While you may consider this to be a requirement to consider one’s self a feminist ”

    I am not putting requirements on anybody. It is certainly not up to me, or indeed any man, to decide who gets to be a feminist.

    I am just tremendously appreciative of the great work that feminist groups have done to ensure a more equal society, not just for women, but for everybody!

  10. 10
    Corso says:

    I feel sympathy for Amp(and/or Becky)… If their characters align demographically with the people you’d assume would make the arguments their characters are making, people complain that they is typecasting… And when they bucks those expectations, the complaint is that it lacks realism.

    It’s actually kind of ironic considering the topic of the comic itself.

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