Definite Ambiguity

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Bizarro is brought to you today by…

While at the National Cartoonists Society’s annual convention a couple weeks ago I met a cartoonist from Vancouver. She reminded me of a cartoon I did in 1999 that became her favorite. I’d forgotten all about it but looked it up in my archives and wanted to share it with you. It is a bit of an inside joke to cartoonists, but I’m sure that anyone can understand it.

The inspiration for the gag was the vast numbers of letters that people like me get that say something along the lines of, “I don’t ever find anything funny about your cartoons and they don’t even make sense. You should consider another line of work.”

The thought this kind of letter expresses is completely understandable; not all cartoons are for everyone and there are many in the newspapers that I feel the same way about. But what is odd to me is the fact that they took the time to express this thought to me. What do they hope to gain? Do they actually expect me to say, “Gosh, you’re right. I’m throwing away my pens and enrolling in a tech school today. Thanks for enlightening me!”?

Cartoonists like me (and my regular readers) actually take pride in the fact that not everyone gets the joke. Feeling that you’re in a special club of people who are able to think around corners is part of the fun of Bizarro. Or at least, I hope it is. When I get letters like this, I usually just tell the person that they are absolved from their responsibility to read Bizarro. Or, more simply put, “If you don’t get it or like it, don’t read it, stupid. Are you a masochist?”

Thanks to Susan Camilleri Konar for reminding me of this cartoon. Check out her work here, she’s got some great cartoons.