Mark Fiore

Three-Eyed Billy

Three-Eyed Billy: 'Hi there, future squirrel eaters!' (Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, 10 April 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.)

“Hey, it works for climate, why not shake the very planet, too!”

Three-Eyed Billy

Um ....

Er ....

Ah ....

How about … “Don’t ask, just click.”

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Fiore, Mark. “Three-eyed Billy embraces the apocalypse”. Daily Kos. 10 April 2015.

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The Strange Realm ‘Twixt Law and Justice

Detail of frame from 'Racist E-Z Cash', animation by Mark Fiore, 13 March 2015, via Daily Kos.

While it is generally considered unwise to sound as if I am joking about such grave matters―

Now that the Department of Justice report on Ferguson has been released, the veil has been lifted on a corrupt system that bled that town’s African-American citizens of their income, rights and freedom. Ferguson’s Municipal Court had become a criminal enterprise bent on increasing revenue by bleeding citizens dry.

The racist jokes and comments forwarded by city officials are the tip of the iceberg in this DOJ report. Though that sort of racism is abhorrent, extorting money under threat of additional fees, fines and jail time is what really boggles my mind. Funny how problems arise when you’ve got a judge who is also a prosecutor and defense attorney, all at the same time. (Not to mention the assorted co-conspirators who seem to be straight out of Idiot Racist Central Casting.)

Sure, Ferguson is a mess, but what is particularly tragic is that a system of debtors’ prisons festers nationwide. And while not every city or town robs citizens at the barrel of a (police) gun, racial disparities in the criminal justice system provide fertile ground for the abuses seen in Ferguson.

Mark Fiore’s post for Daily Kos is especially helpful, because we all know a few people who just cannot be bothered to comprehend those paragraphs, and in this case the editorial animator has been cool enough to provide a cartoon to explain it. And it even moves and talks. Just watch and listen.

So pass it along. Every little bit helps. Because this really is an example of the vast difference that can arise ‘twixt law and justice.

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Fiore, Mark. “Racist EZ-Cash”. Daily Kos. 13 March 2015.

A Jump in the Water, Come on Baby Get Wet With Me

Detail of animation, 'Brian Williams and the Frog of War', by Mark Fiore, 13 February 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.

Perhaps it is a bit early in the day to be diving into the comics page, but we might as well pick up where we left off yesterday. Well, okay. Sort of. You know what I mean.

Mark Fiore animates the “Frog of War”, who in turn reminds that NBC News’ Brian Williams is hardly the only person to have lied about what went on in Iraq during the Bush Wars. The cartoonist himself reminds:

Sure, it boggles my mind how Brian Williams could embellish and “misremember” an event like his helicopter ride in Iraq years ago, but the firestorm around his imagined combat experience is inordinately fierce compared to the relative silence around all of the other Iraq War-era ‘misrememberings’, journalistic and otherwise.

Remember the networks’ “military analysts” who were part of a coordinated Pentagon propaganda campaign to sell the war, who personally profited from defense contracts at the same time? I don’t remember any higher-ups in the media or the military getting fired or suspended because of that shameful episode.

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A Lingering Question

Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, 14 November 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.

“One of the most fascinating things about this election was comparing what people actually believe in versus what or who they actually voted for. Voting against your own interests seemed to be the dominant theme in this election. Happy with your Kentucky Kynect health exchange, brought to you by Obama’s Affordable Care Act? Then you’ll definitely want to vote for Mitch McConnell so he can keep trying to dismantle Obamacare bit by bit. Huh?”

Mark Fiore

To the one, the election is over and the People have spoken. In Iowa, intelligence and basic competence are anathema; in Kansas, voters objected to the prospect of fiscal solvency; Colorado voters decided it just wasn’t a year in which the human rights of women in their state have anything to do with anyone. Voters knew, going in, what they were asking for, and what they asked for is more gridlock, melodrama, and basic uselessness of government. So, yes, the election is over, and we need to get used to it. To the other, though, a couple brief points:

• It is difficult to not focus on that sense of amazement; this is difficult since people are expected to simply shut up and move on, but history will have a hard time explaining what happened in this year-six election. Perhaps some will point to Obama, and that only makes sense if people ignore actual facts or wonder yet again about the racism question; if this was a referendum on Obama and his policies, then it’s hard to comprehend why people who like what the ACA does would vote against it. Perhaps they believed the media narratives, which make sense unto themselves but only if the audience accounts specifically for the fact that actual facts are barred from that discourse. As Rob Corddry once joked in a role as a media correspondent, “Listen buddy: not my job to stand between the people talking to me and the people listening to me.” Unfortunately, it’s not simply a joke; Jim Lehrer, a titan of television journalism, agreed that it was not his job, as a reporter, to separate fact from fiction. But that’s the thing: To the one, the election is over. To the other, though, explaining what happened in any justifiable historical context requires addressing the apparent paradoxes in the outcomes, so we will continue to see such bewilderment as cartoonist Mark Fiore expresses.

• The second point is simple enough: If you choose to complain of gridlock and other governmental silliness over the next couple years, and you voted for Republicans in the 2014 midterm, then you need to shut the hell up and stop complaining about getting what you wanted. It would be one thing to leave such blatant stupidity to itself, except it seems somewhat contagious. Consider a nearly unhinged proposition: In order for President Obama to show “leadership” satisfactory to these people, he must follow the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. Think about that for a moment; Obama must show leadership by not leading, unless Republicans want to skip on tough votes, in which case Obama needs to show leadership, for which Republicans intend to either sue him in court or impeach him in Congress. When it comes to What American Voters Want, this actually seems like a newly-discovered valence of absurdity. It’s one thing to say the GOP is playing politics; it’s quite another to pretend that such idiotic shenannigans are not what our Republican neighbors want. So when our conservative neighbors lament government inefficiency, the appropriate response is to tell them to shut up and stop complaining about getting what they voted for.

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Fiore, Mark. “The screw you strategy”. Daily Kos Comics. 14 November 2014.

#GamerGate: Moving Pictures and Megalomania Mix

Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, via Daily Kos, 31 October 2014.

Hold the Line, against new and different games produced by girls … who are not sufficiently buxom and supportive of your awesome manliness!

Be Brave, good gamer soldiers … and continue your anonymous attacks against these upstart good-for-nothing girls!

Mark Fiore

In a way, it really does seem to come to that. The #GamerGate phenomenon would be entertaining for all of a few seconds, much like we stare at someone we think is attempting spontaneous and nearly-insane comedy right before we realize, to our horror, that we are about to laugh at a spastic disability. In truth, the phenomenon would not even be a one-hit wonder except for a spectacular nexus of bigotry and juvenilia.

Detail of animation by Mark Fiore, via Daily Kos, 31 October 2014.Mark Fiore’s moving (ha!) editorial might sound like open satire, but such an assessment would be somewhat insulting, as it would suggest the artist required some sort of herculean labor to simply run down the checklist of hashtag-GamerGate.

Online, we are supposed to call it Poe’s Law, which is an alpha geek’s attempt to claim originality for pointing out that truth is necessarily stranger than fiction. However, we ought not knock Poe’s Law, because the internet age does raise, by orders of magnitude, the frequency with which the question arises whether we are viewing the real thing or a vicious satire. Evangelical Christianity, the Republican Party, Fall Out Boy, and now #GamerGate.

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