Social Reality

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Bizarro is brought to you today by Alternate Income.

When I was young and playing in a band I had to spend a lot of time in hip clubs. I didn’t like them then and like them even less now. It has nothing to do with tattoos, really, but this is a good way to show the level of hipsterness involved in my imaginary Club Ennui. Not all people with tattoos are hipsters, of course. Many are rednecks, carnies, racists, or artists. (On a side note, I like the word “ennui” quite a lot. It describes a particular subtlety of human emotion for which we don’t really have as good a word in English.)

Tattoos are popular these days and with that comes the popularity of making fun of people with tattoos. The most typical affront is “how will you feel about your tattoos when you’re in a nursing home?” But that premise only works if most of one’s fellow residents in said nursing home don’t also have gobs of blurry tattoos, which, of course, by the time the current tattooed generation hits the old folks encampments, they will. I have tattoos, but my good friend and fellow cartoonist, Michael Capozzola, with whom I collaborated on this cartoon, does not. He can poke fun at me now but just wait until we get to the nursing home together. We’ll all call him “Pinky.”

When I moved to Texas in 1979, it was still legal to drink alcohol while you drove your pickup truck with a weapon hanging on the gun rack behind you. You could also fill the back of the truck with children if you wanted, and many locals did. I’ll never forget the local politicians who stood up in the state legislature to make impassioned speeches about “Texas tradition” when it was first suggested that these activities be outlawed. Clearly, many had fallen out of the back of pickups too many times.

This old cartoon from 1998 brings up the subject of art in our society. From the comments I’ve gotten over the years, I realize that many people think that exposure is all that artists really want. While an audience is essential to artists, to keep producing their art while living indoors and eating regularly, they must also generate income. Things like this blog, no matter how much I enjoy doing it or you enjoy reading it, give me plenty of exposure but no income. In the real world, I get money from newspapers that buy Bizarro and from selling products like books and T-shirts that feature my cartoons. In a bad economy, those suffer along with everything else. And, if the economy doesn’t turn around one day soon, I’ll be out of work just like everyone else. I’ll have to quit Bizarro and go back to what I was doing before I was syndicated: selling state secrets to foreign governments. I don’t know any state secrets, of course, but I have a good imagination and foreign spies won’t know if I’m telling the truth or not. They are “secrets,” after all, so how can they say with any certainty that I am making them up? It’s foolproof.

If you don’t want Bizarro to disappear from the web and/or your local paper, buy my books and products, leave money in the tip jar on this page, and put me in your will. While being executed for treason would be a very dramatic ending to my Wikipedia page, I’d rather retire in a humble shanty on the beach.

To put off my execution, click these links and give generously: Tattoo –  SnowmanVenus