Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Pixar shorts have always been a favorite youtube search of mine. I especially love the tennis ball commercial one where there are two tiny birds watching a tennis game being played by two chickens. Then with out meaning to one of the chickens accidentally picks up one of the tiny yellow chicks assuming that it is a tennis ball and bats it across the court. The other tiny chick finds this hilarious and proceeds to text his friends this ridiculous event. The scene cuts to the chicks friends who receive the message and laugh hysterically and then the scene cuts to another group of chicks who are watching a youtube of this event. This gave me an idea on how pixar might depict Laura's and my texting project. Perhaps Pixar would do something by showing the rate of a text exchange and how it becomes misinterpreted over time. Pixar has a Theme of using small verses big characters where there is always a victim who rises to the top. Where the small outcast character becomes victimised and then proves his worth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fritz the Cat



A late entry, I admit, but I do hope it’s still good. In any case, in the past couple days I’ve been looking at the work of R. Crumb. One interesting note, the R is short for Robert. Okay, not so interesting. Also, I may be stalling a bit. But, to get back on topic, I read quite a few strips of Fritz the Cat, a comic by Crumb, and I was quite entertained. The works are violent, sexual, and still very applicable; the formula for good comics, at least, in my opinion.



As the picture states, the comic takes place in a “supercity” – a parody of any big American city, really, but what first comes to mind for readers, and what Crumb was most likely implying, is New York City – filled with anthropomorphic animals, which are basically the personalities of city dwellers. Fritz itself, its also implied, is the inner workings of Crumb’s mind; what he wants to be and say put into the persona of a conning, smooth-talking hipster cat.



The characters still, for the most part, hold true today. Though the situations may not still be exactly the same, I know I’ve witnessed, and even participated, in complaining about people pretending to like the things that I liked long before it was “mainstream” and cool to do so, as a for instance. In an art school, its almost impossible to not hear, if not take part in conversations (read: rampant bitch-and-moan fests) like these.

I found the articles really interesting this week. Julie Doucet’s work was a great example of caricature in the form of comics. In a way I feel she had caricaturized her diary and all its contents. Not only did she successfully caricaturize art school and its clichés, but the very words at the top of each frame, loaded with sarcasm. I feel that the contrast between the words and the pictures is what makes Doucet’s comics successful.

It was intriguing to consider the work of Pixar to be caricature, for I’ve never truly connected animation to caricature, yet everything Pixar makes is basically personification or a caricature of one thing or another, whether it is a car, monster, lamp, snow man from a snow globe, or birds.

Another aspect of Pixar’s work that I hadn’t contemplated was the physiognomy involved in their character design and animation. The article compares some works to Daumier’s drawings, in that taking the physical features or expression and morphing them or having the features suggest something about the character’s personality. The idea of physiognomy is more apparent in animation and cartoons that we give credit for. The very aspect of character design is founded on the same notion. In animated movies, there’s very little time for the audience to get to know the character, thus the animator or character designer’s job is to save time by telling the audience as much as they can about the character visually.

For instance, in Monster’s Inc., Sully has a rather broad frame with geometric but rounded features and is fluffy and bear –like as well as having a smile on his face, thus the impression the audience gets is one of kind-hearted good-guy hero. Mike on the other hand, is short and goofy looking due to his ab-normal proportions (really big head and small appendages) but has circular features, thus the audience knows that he’s the funny side-kick. Yet, Randall, the antagonist of the movie, is very snake-like, and has angular /sharp features with a crooked posture as well as smile, thus the audience feels wary and untrusting about this character.

Mr. Natural


Mr. Natural is a Robert Crumb original which is Crumb's most recognizable work for me. He was created in the 60's as a counterculture icon depicted as a prophet or higher being. His character is a mystic guru who proclaims the evils of modern living and encourages a natural lifestyle. Although he is an icon who preaches good messages, his character has been known to be cynical, moody, self-pittying, as well as condescending.
I have an appreciation for the work of Robert Crumb. Watching short clips of documentaries on Robert Crumb has allowed me to see his style of illustrations and producing his work. He seems to be a very tormented and awkward man, who is boggled by his own creativity. His mode of working is striking to me. He explains that when he begins a new illustration that the meaning of the image doesn't become apparent to him until it is finished.

Pixar Shorts

This was one of the more difficult posts for me, as I'm not really into comic books nor do I find myself seeking out Pixar movies. YouTube pulled through with some pretty comical Pixar shorts. Although comments on the videos state that they may or may not be made by Pixar, they are witty and actually pretty great. From the Pixar movies that I have seen pieces of, I have noticed this separation of humor, some of which is directed at children, while there are jokes that are clearly meant to be understood by the adults taking their children to the movies. In this regard, Pixar seems to be a marketing genius, why not make cute animations that occasionally allude to adult content to bring in audiences of all ages. Since apparently I have the inability to properly post images on this blog, i'm not even going to try to post video clips. Basically, go to youtube and type in pixar shorts. The one that was posted by college humor is one of the better ones, but there is a mouse singing to cheese in a mousetrap that has a surprise ending, haha.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pixar




In regards to the animation production company Pixar I find the most prominent aspect of their feature length blockbuster films is their ability to so impeccably incorporate the personal traits and aspects the celebrity who is playing a character in the film. That is to say that when a character is portrayed in a Pixar film they generally bear a striking and clear resemblance to the person voicing the character, in terms of gestures, mannerisms, personality, and even appearance (One might say a character looks like what you would expect someone with that voice to look like, a topic often relevant with the world of talk radio). For example the rat character Remy from the Pixar film Ratatouille in my opinion bears a striking resemblance to the actor playing him, Patton Oswalt. Of course Pixar is not the only animation producer to employ this technique with great effect, Dreamworks Animation for example also often achieves this (Kung Fu Panda comes to mind). Naturally achieving this type of resemblance suggests a strong and clear understanding of caricature and the types of traits which best portray the essence of a person's general character. This is what I find most impressive about some of the films produced, imagining the difficulty of creating a character bearing resemblance to a specific person while still working within the specific guidelines of that character (creating a car that looks and acts like Larry the cable guy).

A Brave New World






It is interesting to consider how kids today are growing up on Pixar films, when as a child I grew up on the Disney films. I wonder if the change will have a very large effect on the future generations to come.

Disney films are often criticized for being too mushy, or too cliché. The heroines often have barby doll figures where the heroes have six packs; idealism is pervasive through the imagery depicting the main characters.

Though Pixar also pushes the importance of family ties, friendship, loyalty, bravery, and morality, it approaches film in an entirely different way, which not only results in their films being less cliché, but also leads to more complex characters, more humorous plot lines (or a least a strong vein of humor running parallel to a more serious plot). It also leaves greater room for caricature, both of current society as well as its characters.

Disney tends to pick a well known historical (in the case of Pocahontas) or a fairytale (The Little Mermaid) and dramatizes this story. The story is plot driven; the characters are generally flat and straightforward. The good characters may have some flaws that they have to work though but at heart the good characters will always redeem themselves and the bad will be destructive and deceitful. Though Pixar films also have a definite plot they create an alternative world for their characters, parallel in some ways to the human world but not exactly the same. Human characters and situations carried out through the lens of a fish, a car, a toy, a rat or a super hero. There is this curious play between the modern human world and the factious personified world created by the animators, which allows for a commentary or satire on the modern world at the same time as maintaining a distance from it. For instance, the Incredibles is a film about a disillusioned father who is chasing past glories, so that he neglects taking care of his family and spending time with his kids. However, by making him a super hero not only adds another complex layering to the plot, creates lighthearted tone, while still getting a serious touching message across to its audience. We are sucked into the world of aging super heroes’ and amused by characters like the costume designer Edna Mole, and accordingly it is much more tolerable, enjoyable film as an entertainment than a moral tale. It feels less like we as an audience are being preached at, and more like we are being treated to a good laugh.

Pixar’s approach also gives them the liberty to be satirical; like in the Incredibles they criticize the stupidity of lawsuits by having a man sue Mr. Incredible for interfering with his suicide and win. Or in Wally by having the whole human race turn into a bunch of fat emaciated blobs to absorbed in their digital media to notice one another. Because of the ridiculousness of the criticism everyone recognizes the jab but no one takes offense to it, thus the quality of lighthearted fun is sustained.

Everything in a Pixar film is interpreted though a different medium, though the terms of the world they set up. Attraction in the terms of a car, political suppression and propaganda in the form of an energy corporation run by monsters, even the humans are not really humans with their large eyes and rubbery animated skin. This approach allows a well-known story plot line to sustain a high interest in its audience that leads to a lot of play for the animator and entertainment as an audience member.

Pixar has created a variety of fun animated films, nearly all of which utilize a technique often used in caricature- non-human characters that are never the less central and personified. Animals, bugs, toys, cars, and robots- all which become central. In Up!, the talking dogs are given the explanation of collars invented that allow dogs to speak- both with the effect of personifying the dogs, and also bringing in a comedic element through the bridging of animal/human roles- the dogs still display a fair amount of dog traits, including a fascination with squirrels and impulse to chase thrown objects, while simultaneously assuming human-like roles.
WALL-E has a very interesting dynamic, with the robot story taking the front while an underlying story of future humans plays out. While the robots are not particularly verbally articulate, there is something resembling a robot love story playing out. The dual story lines help explore possible future issues, while keeping the story somewhat light and fun.
The final scenes of both movies have some aspects that are definitely within the realm of caricature. UP! has an old man fight, where both have back issues, and one spits out dentures as a defensive attack. There is also a dog fight featuring the "cone of shame". WALL-E features a captain/auto pilot fight, which is both amusing and triumphant- the humans of WALL-E are fat and taken everywhere in moving chair/computer things. The captain struggles to stand up, and eventually manages to many cheers. I'm told this seen also references/caricatures a film I've never seen ( 2001: A Space Odyssey).
Animation lends itself nicely to a combining caricature and comedy into stories. Pixar has done a nice job exploring that. I'm quite fond of Ratatouille, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and the animated shorts I've seen as well, but WALL-E and UP! are the most fresh in my mind. And UP! won as Oscar for best score this year. Very effective main theme.

One Vote 4 Pixar…

My apologies- I lost track of time…Anyways…I am interested in Pixar. I really enjoy taking my younger cousins to see these movies, as they are so easily accessible to children of all ages. I love how they include jokes for adults as well- I never understand why a fish belching is THAT funny, and yet my cousins don’t get what was funny that made me laugh. Since Pixar is creating these characters from top to bottom, artist get to decide everything from there look, clothing, quirks, voice, everything- they can make each character become the best possible version of itself. Cartoon and animated characters are great for this reason, they are not simply playing a role that will change in the next film, and they are very easily recognizable as themselves. And who doesn’t love Pixar outtakes? Now that is seriously funny.

The New York Time’s review compared the works to Daumier and Messerschmidt’s modeling, and as I thought about it I would have to agree. The facial characteristics that Pixar utilizes is often a very clear indicator of the character’s disposition, and I feel that this exaggeration of face helps to anthropomorphize this fish/monster/car so that we can truly enjoy each of the unique qualities that where created for each character- as well as the film as a whole.

Black and White

I was visiting my friend in Ohio, and we went to the Akron art Museum. There was this one piece that stuck out in my mind and that I think correlates to the reading. Unfortunately, I’ve been searching for it all day and I just can’t find it. I’m sorry! I’ll describe it to you. It was a very simplistic piece. It hung on the wall and was white lettering, set against a black background. It had the word white and then the word black on it with their respective definitions. White- the color of milk or fresh snow, the opposite of black, free from color, free from spot or blemish, morally or spiritually pure innocent and untainted. Under this definition ran the definition for the word black: black- the very darkest of color, the opposite of white due to the absence of light, dirty, soiled, characterized by hostility or anger, full of misery or gloom, very evil or wicked, connected to the devil. That was it.

Not only do we overuse the word grotesque so as Paseo de Peralta suggests, it becomes a jaded slang term in our general repertoire of vocabulary, we also use it in a very single minded way. In general the term grotesque is used so that it is synonymous with the word disgusting, however it is more complex than we give it credit for. Grotesque however can also mean disordered (out of place), unique strange. Peralta mentioned that there must be a contradiction involved for something to be grotesque. Also, that “ that conflict must already exist within the mind of the beholder such that the confusion stems not only from the anomaly to which we bear witness in the world, but the anomaly that is revealed with in us. I think this is why we are so compelled, so sated by the grotesque, at the same time as being disturbed by it. It’s always satisfying to have an emotion we have felt represented well in a phrase we read or in an image we observe. It gives us something physical that we can relate to, something on the outside, visceral world that our elusive internal states can reach out and clutch onto, so that they themselves can achieve greater density and reality and become less like air. There is solid evidence that our emotion exist beyond our whimsical fancy that it may do so. Accordingly, we are drawn to the grotesque we encounter, for it is an extreme version of the grotesque within.

I consider the art piece in the Akron Art Museum to be grotesque for precisely this reason. On seeing the word black and white paired up right next to each other we make them representative of people instead of just colors or words. One becomes all too uncomfortably aware that the words absence of light, soiled, and evil being associated with the term black and the terms pure spotless and light being associated with the term white. Also they are set up as opposites, which work for colors but not for people. On one level they are just definitions for words: He was black with rage, her sole was white and pure. However our knowledge of Caucasians mistreatment of African Americans in this country: slavery, to segregation, to African American (as well as other minority groups) continued quest for equality, makes those two words charged. One asks: is black connected with evil merely because we can not see with the absence of light, and accordingly we distrust the dark, or is it proof that our language itself holds hidden prejudices on what it means to be a dark skin or light skinned. The piece is charged in our minds because of our history as Americans and our knowledge of that history, we have grown up with the minority acts and stories of cops type casting African Americans, or bosses who are sued for firing an employee based on race. It is a sensitive topic in our error and almost magnified in our minds due to our constant awareness of it, and efforts not to offend anyone.

The piece is particularly effective because it causes us to question ourselves. We start to feel guiltily that our minds jumped to race and people when the piece was only referring to a word. Do people use these terms as proof of racial superiority? I use those terms, am I then prejudice because I recognized these words as people instead of just words. But I don’t believe these definitions are true on any level in reference to people? Do I believe I am superior on any level? Prejudice here is the grotesque, and its brought to us in this rather second hand way though the use of two words and their respective definitions, our mind however makes the jump connecting the two. It strains toward the word prejudice as well as steers away from it with an equal intensity. It’s almost a coal, too hot to touch, so that in the end we have are afraid to look at our own thoughts on the subject, afraid we may find a monster there.

Pixar Growth

If we're going to talk about Pixar then the best film I can think of that the studio has done is Wall-E. I have not seen Up so I can't say anything about that. Wall-E however is a breakthrough and stand up achievement of Pixar's dynamism. When films were first invented they had no sound built in. Then when sound entered film many filmmakers and critics thought sound would distract image and tear the medium apart. Sound and image have not destroyed each other and have a middle ground, but Wall-E returns to this sense of little verbalism. There are mechanical sounds and environment bytes but for the first half and the bulk of the movie there is not human language dialect among the robots. In this way Wall-E is the a movie in which every person of any culture can experience the same events untouched by language barriers. It is the most mature Pixar film I've seen and touches on the current environment crisis on our planet as in the future earth of Wall-E

Pixar has come a long way not only in animation technology but story structure too. The first movies that gained them popularity was a Bug's Life and Toy Story. Although these movies had definite themes and development they only scratched the surface of deeper messages. The same with the Incredibles a lot of conformity of the 1950's and the study of uniqueness, these are big themes but the endings leave only half digested ideas for movie goers, especially the children that are the target audience.Ratatouille was the first major step to a complete theme because it was movie that taught that a man or rat can become anything he wants to be and overcome obstacles.

Pixar is company that has continually grown in ideas and concepts for animation entertainment. Studios like Dream Works reached new heights with movies like Shrek, but have not maintained a steady progression and increased sophistication within movies. In comparison Dreamworks are Cheetos against cheese on cracker with Pixar. Pixar in the forseeable future will continue to create more significant media and surprise us with better stories than before.

Julie Doucet

Julie Doucet is a Canadian cartoonist who illustrates everyday struggles to the audience. Issues between the sex's, issues with life, anxieties, dreams and frustrations with human interactions. Her comics are seen by others as grotesque, I am not sure I entirely agree. However, I understand that her mainly black and white illustrations are dark and eerie in setting, but they are of the everyday happenings that bring about the turmoil and deep- seated sadness, anger and frustrations of living within society now a days.

Her New York Diary is a direct representation of life and its ups and downs. I read the situations of this girl Jewels- and she seems to be caught in situations of school, life and relationships- how is this grotesque? She has fairly odd dreams and the images may at times are intense the people she comes across are at times extreme- even the sudden urges that she comes across on the daily are taken into consideration within her dreams.

Her comics are of both worlds- the realistic and fantasy/ grotesque. That way the reader/ viewer can feel a connection subconsciously. The understanding of real life and the crazy reactions that are thought but never acted upon- which are shown then are translated into a dream like state of this character Jewels. As stated in the packet " first our own uncertainty about what we really think and how much we actually wish to reveal." Her exaggerated figures are representative of her highly stylized eerie environments- they balance one another. The line is an important tool that she uses well, it allows her to highlight or accentuate certain features on her characters or within the atmosphere of the frames.

This comic series is her voice, a form of freedom in which she shows the life of this character as a "series of contradictions," and as the storyline continues the reader becomes engaged- and continuing to read on the ending is usually an abrupt stop and we are snapped back into reality.

Pixar

The reading wasn't very helpful in addressing my curiosities about Pixar. I always think about the caricatures they create and how they can make them convincing. For instance, the old man in the new movie "UP" has a square jaw that helps accentuate his grumpy face. He has a walker with tennis balls on the feet. The way he is depicted is the essence of a grumpy old man. The little boy that tags along with him is a nerdy kid that is overweight. He wants to be an adventurer. The little boy's appearance helps the viewers get the humor in his nerdyness. I think the viewer understands him as humorous because he is a little fat kid. If he was a little skinny kid, he might just be seen as annoying with no real lovable humor. Also, in the movie "A Bug's Life", the caterpillar is fat and stupid and that makes him really funny. The praying mantis is a guru type figure who is partnered up with a gypsy-like moth. The characters are really successful as caricatures because they are taking stereotypes that are funny and creating a character around this. It's har to really talk about the qualities of Pixar without having an example fresh in my mind. Maybe we should watch a movie in class. May I suggest one of the ones I have mentioned?

I watched the animated, and X rated, 1972 film Fritz The Cat, a creation of R. Crumb's. I was not prepared for this film. I'm just going to write about it and hope something coherent comes out.

I loved this fucked up little film. I was also at times shocked and horrified by it. It doesn't hold back and doesn't care who it offends. It is a merciless parody of the 1960s which is psychedelic, pornographic, and disturbingly violent, yet filled will philosophical social commentary. Fritz is all about sex and drugs, but starts to get idealistic, starts a race riot, characters get killed, characters get raped, he gets involved in terrorist activities, and in the end he's still all about sex and drugs. It's a comedy.

Fritz himself represents a 60s college student, a poet, and is very socially idealistic. Which means he's an ignorant, cliche revolutionary, who just wants to get high and fuck. That's they way Crumb realizes the character, with only "a little" cynical truth to it. It's a very unforgiving look at the wanna-be college hipster types.

The way the film, and Crumb, comment on racism is very interesting. All blacks are represented as crows, which is a way to mock the Disney stereotype caricatures of films like Dumbo. The main focus of the racial commentary is on white people's pretentious attempts to identify with blacks and "act cool" by idealizing and acting out white perception of black behavior. Fritz even gives a little speech about white guilt. It ends with Fritz exciting a riot between the crows and the pig caricatured police and getting a lot of crows and pigs killed.

Sex is everywhere in this feature, as it is central in Crumb's work. Fritz is a sexist, and views women as sexual objects or bitches. The only time he seems to sympathize with a woman is after he sees her get beaten and raped. I do believe the film is critical of sexism, yet it does celebrate sexuality from a sexist male perspective. The women are rarely seen as positive, independent, or strong characters. So it's criticism of sexism comes off very weak.

I did enjoy the films irreverent take on 60s characters, and I also loved its biting analytical criticism. There were things which genuinely disturbed me, and jokes I just couldn't laugh at. I think this is an important cultural film, and I think intelligent people should watch it, think about, and have fun with it.

pixar

In the reading about Pixar, it was interesting to see the way Pixar movies were compared to the cartoons South Park and the Simpsons. It talked about the way Pixar movies were "people-pleasing popular art;" They were pleasing in the way they stuck to tradition and conventions, the typical good guy, bad guy, and comedian constructing the over all plot to the stories. These movies are successful in the way that they stick to tradition, and use the newest technological advancements in order to give life to lovable characters. These new advancements in technology, allow for a better description of the characters and their actions throughout the movie, giving them a new sense of life, and allowing for a better viewer experience. Is it the constant advancements in technology and craftsmanship that makes the newest Pixar movies just as lovable and exciting as the old ones? You would think year after year of watching these similar stories, most likely bits and pieces overlapping, we would get tired, and bored with them. But year after year, we will watch, love, and be entertained by the newest Pixar production. What makes this sense of sticking with tradition so successful?

When compared to the subversiveness of the Simpson's and South park, Pixar movies were described as an "urge toward conformity." These two cartoons are successful due to their ability to shock the audience with their depictions of an often uncomfortable reality. They present controversial stereotypes, moving away from any sense of conformity or 'aim to please.' And yet, their sense of rebellion excites society, pleasing them just as much as Pixar's sense of conformity.
It is interesting to see these two types of caricature, take such opposite means of being successful, and continuously entertaining.

Julie Doucet insights

While reading the various comics and interviews by Julie Doucet I was intrigued by how cynical and naive she seemed. Granted her life was in Montreal, Canada but was more well known in Europe and the United States. She had a view of the world through an outsiders eye, her comics are acted through a person telling a story as if they observe it, but do not live it.

Her naivete shows through in NY Diary, as she makes her way through art school and the banal activities they make her do. She waits until the very last minute to fill her sketch book and reflects on all of the experiences she has had during the semester. It is interesting to see how excited she is at the beginning but it quickly wanes as the comic goes on.

In her comic the Madam Paul Affair she tells a story that happened to her but from an outsiders point of view. She seems to take the cynical view as well and points out all of the things that goes wrong in her life. Such as the struggles with her boyfriends to school work. In the comic about her break down she even uses the grotesque to highlight and emphasize her frustrations with her job. She uses odd looking human like figures that are popping up from the ground.

Doucet makes her comics funny with the way the figures are drawn and overly exaggerated, but also makes them relate able in that they describe reality. Her work is dark and black and white with a strong line quality and has to do with human interaction. The strip above highlights her cynical world view insight into the world around her.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grotesque caricaturist Ralph Steadman


Reading about grotesque imagery, doing and edcation assignemnt, and Monday discussion made me relook at Ralph Steadman. He is a Biritsh caricaturist and cartooninst most famous for his illustrations of Hunter S. Thompson.

On Monday when we looked at the image of the Sopranos and whether it was a realitic scene or not, I reasoned that it was. Realism is an image that draws upon the physcial likeness of our world and then adds an agenda to the image. We couldn't consider the Soprano picture with bodies on the beach as real because dead bodeis everywhere is not something people can concieve as possible unless they witness a massacre.

Ralph Steadman at one point in his career experimented with drugs and his drawing style developed a new psychedelic medium. When people see his drawings they asume a surrealist drawing is in front of them. But Steadman like all his literary drawings, draws from the discritpion of the writing he works from. Hunter a rabid drug user had his experiences altered by trips and hallucinations. But to Thompson such visual effects were reality. By processing the experience and creating as a picture isn't Steadman creating a realistic image? Read the story and look at the picture and the event seems concievable. With Hunter's text the picture looks like ficition.

Steadman's redenring of figures is certainly grotesque in that the human body is not celebrated in any way romantically and is beastly and deforemed by paniced sensations. But this grotesqueness is what the truth is of the matter and the way we relate to grostesque imagey is relevant to how we are attached to story.

In DieHard if John McClane is shot I don't feel a sickening reaction because I can only bond with him at one level of his situation. In the film Audition the main character at the end of move is tortured and it becomes more personal because you know his desires as the film progresses and his pain is slow and graphic.

People only react to grotesque displays based on how much they believe in them. If there is little inference then the scene of violence is ignored as fantasy and not absorbed as a full moment.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Art School Scum Special - the graduate

It's that time of the year... spring fever has set in for some of us, and for those of us who will be graduating in three weeks... senioritis. It's a terrible disease which is not easily curable (however most survive), but for some of us, it will become a terminal illness. May 2010, graduation day, a day that I have been dreaming of for 16 long years. Time to be out in the real world and show them what I've got! But... not until I eat this bowl of ice cream and browse the net for a while...

Going to school for a BFA is a scary thing, at least for me. To this day, I wonder if my degree will be worthwhile or simply laughed at. With so much seemingly more important issues going on in the world, I wonder, where does art fit in? In this cartoon, the student graduates from art school. His dream is to be a big time artist, but he never seems to get around to making that dream happen. Straight out of school he takes a minimum wage job at a coffee shop and in the back of his mind he is always thinking, "I was going to be an artist." This is a very legitimate fear of mine, to be cursed with the unfulfilled dreams of being an artist. For some, this fear will be the ultimate downfall of their career. As for me, it will drive my work to insanity (which will make me famous... at least that's the idea).
Is caricature grotesque?
Not always. It certainly is more likely to contain the bizarre visual appeal of the grotesque, rather than the visual appeal of beauty- largely because the grotesque is more useful in getting a message across, and caricature tends to be full of exaggerations, which bring it in the direction of grotesque-ness. But while certainly being somewhat akin to the grotesque, it also often does not actually reach grotesqueness. At what point should we call something "grotesque"? The word is apparently over-used to the point where the meaning starts to become muted. I certainly have a tolerance built up when it comes to seeing grotesque images. If a caricature contains that strange visual appeal of something that is not beautiful, yet does not truly horrify us, is it still grotesque?

This James Gillray caricature is creepy, though not horrifying. The figures, while not beautiful, are oddly fun to look at. Is it grotesque, or am I merely overusing the word?

Culturally misleading

I don't know if this fits under physiognomy, but I see how the mural is truthfully misrepresenting. I am concerned however that the mural may be to abstract in thought on my side. It has symbols that are associated with Asians, but I am afraid that it could be read as Japanese or Chinese. Am I making it too generic? It could work, sometimes people assume I am Chinese or Japanese. This is where I am unsure if it is physiognomy, it describes a culture and a person without being correct. It says they are one heritage based off of looks, I know that we are not morphing ourselves into horses, but we are morphing into skulls and going deeper into our cultures and letting our looks dictate how we are seen. Is the mural doing what we want it to do?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grotesque, Caricature, or something in Between

The grotesque has always been strongly associated with caricature, and even placed in the same category by some theorists, notably those who saw simple distortion as the basic principle in grotesque art. Caricature may be briefly defined as the ludicrous exaggeration of characteristic or peculiar features. Reactions to grotesque art and caricature are often quite different. Caricatures are seen as humorous distortion because a recognizable character or typical person are stylized in a ridiculous manner, reaching the point of abnormal. There appears to be a fine line between caricature and grotesque. Exaggeration of physical attributes is seen as caricature, but when the attribute is excessively abstracted until that attribute controls the rest of the face or image. Earlier in the semester we focused on Daumier, whose caricatures push past humorous and do move into the realm of disgusting.
cartoon_daumier.transn.lg.jpg
Re-evaluation of this image in the context of comparing grotesque art with caricature reveals a darker side. In the slide lecture it was difficult to see the details of the work, but in this print the details speak to grotesque art, not caricature. There really isn't anything amusing about a dead child. I see caricature as quick, witty, and a bit crude. The image is strong and well defined, but does not send a message synonymous with caricature. I don't see a reasonable exaggeration that is inherently the difference of the two.

ModernismGeorgeGrosz.gif

Just as a balance to show that grotesque doesn't always have to be disgusting in art, this George Grosz painting "Amalie" shows the lighter side of extreme exaggeration. Exaggeration of exaggeration or exaggeration for its own sake is also referred to as grotesque art. The use of simple objects and shapes to create a portrait is an interesting relationship to the print collages done by Richard Hamilton.

Texting Etiquette



will u b my friend? i plan 2

talk thru text only. sry. i dont

hav nuff time 2 call. i tell jokes

w/ j/k after them 2 show im

kiddin. i say wuz up but wont

talk if i pass u. sry. i dont hav

nuff time.



Just as we have rules surrounding the dinner table it was not long before the informal texting world met its formal side pal in etiquette. Although texting makes communicating much more efficient and convenient, be watchful that not all your communicating is through texts. I personally have found that some people prefer texting over phone calls and the opposite. We live in a world of preference.
There is still however for most people a proper way to text especially in the business world and in our own lives.

THERES A TIME AND A PLACE:
Consider where you are when you are texting. Driving while texting is usually not a good thing for your own sake and for who ever is trying to read your garbled up texts jfuhskjfosjif!
I've done this while at dinner, but texting while you are currently talking with someone face to face can be rude . You want to wait to text when you have some time to pass, or if it would be rude to call because your in a library or someplace quiet. So that means to those of you who still have the touch tone button volume up to turn it down. No one wants to hear you pressing buttons doo dooo doo doo do doo thats the whole point of a text; silence. Also you may already know this one, but turning your cell phones off or on vibrate is a must in a theater plus even though it may be off people will still get frustrated if they keep seeing your blue screen light up every 10 minutes.

NO SARCASM:
Tone is a very difficult thing to convey through email or text. So sarcasm, humor, or emotional texts should be avoided at all costs. It is alright to use a few text slangs here and there, but let your 13 year old siblings handle the serious de coding. This may sound silly to some of you, but if you are texting for business you will actually want to use full punctuation. This shows that you care and have the time other wise it just seems like u either cant spell n r just 2 lazy. WHEN YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS you are basically just yelling via text. This is pretty much the easiest "tone" if any to convey.

FWD: FWD : FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD
Don't send it to the next 10 people! The things that probably annoy me the most are those forward texts. You know the ones that tell you how the man of your dreams will show up if you only send this text to everyone you know in the next 10 minutes or your going to live a lonely pathetic, life that is if you give a dam. Well I don't and nether does anybody else these texts are just annoying.

MAKE IT SHORT
Basically if it takes you more than a minute to write out a text than you might as well call them and tell them. Texting is meant for short forms of communication. Unless you are in a situation where you absolutly can not call it is rude to give someone a term paper to read. Also try to leave texting to the lighter topics. If there is a serious or formal matters like a break up, apology, condolences, initial contact or an issue that needs sorting it is always best to do it in person. Im going to throw this in there, also try not to text when your phone is about to dye unless you are telling the person who you are texting that it is, other wise you will probably leave them hanging and they will assume you are mad and avoiding them.

KEEP IT CASUAL
Keep in mind text is a casual form of communicating and should by all means be treated like one. So in most cases texting should probably remain between friends and family on a personal level. Never text your boss or professors unless you have been given permission prior.

So those are some simple rules in texting etiquette: There's a time and a place for everything except sarcasm and forwarding so keep it simple and casual; your texting will be prim and proper in no time!


Music Video/Rock'n'Roll History Homage.


http://www.pp2g.tv/vZHh6ZnQ_.aspx

For their 2006 album, Stadium Arcadium, The Red Hot Chili Peppers made a music video for their hit song, Dani California. The video was directed by Tony Kaye, director of American History X, and features the band in segments that highlight the evolution of rock music. The band impersonates specific figures as well as eras/styles of rock music. The film quality and appearance is also a direct parody of the times selected. The music doesn't change, so the band uses costumes and mannerisms to pay tribute to the bands of rocks past.

The video starts off with curtains opening with grainy 50s era style footage. The lead singer impersonates Elvis' physical mannerism, while the music and voice is the Peppers'. The band does not just represent Elvis', but styles of bands of that era of music, by their haircuts and mannerisms. Then the video transitions to the Beatles impersonation, the drummer stands out here, copying Ringo's mannerisms exactly. Then it goes to the first color segment, in full psychedelic power, impersonating 70s era personalities like Jimmi Hendrix. Another segment dedicated to the 70s rock scene in general, the scene reminds me of the Rock Band game, which features this song. Then to a David Bowie segment, glam rock get-ups with the bassist looking like Bowie instead of the singer. Then back to black and white with a Sex Pistols segment highlighting 70s Punk era. Jumping into the 80s with goth rock with the singer made up with a devil-lock hairstyle, signature hairstyle of Glenn Danzig from the The Misfits. Then the segment featuring Hair-Metal, the heavier 80s version of Glam, with the band dressed-up like Poison or Motley Crue. Cut to the candle lit Nirvana parody, which is my personal favorite, getting through the 90s grunge era. Finally the band gets up to date, with the band being themselves, but the singers outfit does suggest Green Day.

The rest of the music video takes place in the modern era with pieces of the past eras cut in. Though tribute impersonation, the Peppers' show the history of their medium. This is caricature as homage. The Peppers' are very aware of what came before and their own place in rock music. To me that makes this one of the best music videos ever made.

we have gone too far and not far enough...


I think about this all of the time. Did you know that science knows more about the surface of the moon than it does about the deep sea? Humans are, by nature, very curious animals. We want to know why things work and by doing this, we can progress as a species, as we have been doing for centuries. Curiosity killed the cat is an expression that comes to mind. Is it possible that our own curious nature will be the downfall of us? Maybe if we don't learn to help those in need and try to solve issues that are already eminent, we will lose touch and fall into a place of ultimate doom. Yes, I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but if you think about it, we are a bit backwards. NASA spends billions and trillions of dollars on research to go to Mars and explore Europa and figure out when and impact of an astroid will occur that will threaten our existence, but what is the point of all of this when we can't even ensure proper lives to the habitants of our planet, regardless of astroid or not. How can we even think of settling on another planet when we can't take care of our own? This earth is so beautiful. It really is extrordinary just how fortunate we are to live and be human so we can experience the planet in it's entirety. Every time I walk outside, I try to soak up the beauty, not matter if it is raining, snowing or a sunny day without a clou in the sky. Aren't we lucky that the sky is so blue and the plants are so green and that water can reflect that? Why are we searching for greener grass when we have it all right here? I understand the need to satisfy curiosity of the unknown, but no matter how strong that desire is, how can we abandon our own? There are people starving to death every day. There are a sleu of problems that need fixing and there is a lack of money too. Maybe we should curb our curiosity for just a while and use our other humanly capability; compassion. It is in us as a species to fix what we have done and make our species thrive in conjunction with the thriving of the planet. If we don't try to fix what is wrong here, then what is the point in caring if the sun explodes or an astroid smashes into us? Curiousity killed the cat.




How is this allowed to happen?








Laughter & caricature






This weeks reading got me thinking about a discussion we had in class regarding whether or not The Simpsons was a subversive cartoon. The Simpsons, like many caricatures we have studied, uses the application of certain stereotypes, in order to create its identifiable characters. No matter how bazaar some of their struggles may be, in the end, we are able to relate some aspect of the cartoon to every day life, whether it be a representation of someone we know or of our own personal traits. The author of "Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque," discusses the way "caricature is an exaggeration of ugly or ridiculous attributes unique to one person or typical of groups." It is this exaggeration that makes the Simpsons such a lovable cartoon, and evokes laughter amongst it's audience. It is also this exaggeration that brings about conflicting meanings, and the possibility of the Simpsons to be seen as subversive. The exaggerated "behavior or demeanors" of the Simpsons characters often brings its viewers a feeling of superiority. Is it this greater sense of self that brings us laughter?
The reading discusses the way in which, "Laughter is an expression of a double or contradictory feeling." We are often torn between laughing "in unison with the object of our amusement," and laughing at it. Although we would like to think that our laughter is genuine, it is often followed by this feeling of superiority; while we may laugh along with Homer and his family as he continuously fails to do anything productive or helpful, inside we are relieved to see it happening to someone other then ourselves. Laughter can also take on the form of suppressing an uncomfortable reality. Many exaggerations of stereotypes or conflicts within the Simpsons could be seen as degrading our cultures morals. In some cases, viewers could be faced with the conflict of whether or not they should really be laughing at the joke presented; in this case, laughter could be a result of the viewer feeling uncomfortable, or uneasy. Is it the ability of laughter to take on different forms, that makes the Simpsons so successful? Is it the application of humor and laughter that allows viewers and critics to overlook the possibility of subversiveness in the cartoon?

Glenn Beck is torture





This cartoon depicts a prisoner of prisoner of Guantanamo Bay being forced to watch the Glenn Beck show. To him, and to the majority of sane Americans, this show is torture. He is frightened and confused because he thought that Obama had banned the use of torture on inmates. It is frightening to think that people actually believe what this idiot says and continue to watch him on a daily basis. He is a selfish, rich, pompous asshole who does not care about anyone but himself and his political views. He stated once on his show on Fox News, "When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining." What kind of human being is so insensitive to people who lost their families in a national tragedy? Also, when asked why he thought that the Californians who lost there homes in the 2007 fire deserved it, Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."
How can someone take this guy seriously? How can someone like this be on the air for as long as he has? The only use this man has for me is for a couple of good laughs when the Daily Show with John Stewart make fun of his ridiculous statements. I couldn't imagine watching his show without the comedic commentary of John Stewart.. it would be torturous.

The first time I saw a Diane Arbus photograph in person, I kept going back to it. I was at the Moderna Museet in Sweden and the image was Child with a toy hand grenade 1962. There is such a subtle shift in her characters that allow the images to appear haunting. I am sure that I probably witness people in some act of frustration each day, but it is the stillness of a photograph, or painting, that allows me to be disquieted. Robert Storr’s reading seems to base the idea of grotesque on a series of contradictions, such as the dichotomy of corruption and innocence, so that the once normal elements can emerge morphed into provoking, freakish, odd, and well grotesque works of art (or literature).

By comparison to Arbus’ photographs I was thinking once again of the works by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein (did I post him previously for his images of Disney characters? I cannot remember). Anyways, wounded children are a common subject in Helnwein’s works and stand in as a metaphor for the innocence of children and how it has been betrayed by “the physical and the emotional suffering, inflicted by one human being unto another” (Gregory Fuller). His work often exists in public spaces, his prints so monumental that they loom over you like a billboard, but he is not advertising a product, he is advertising a look at humanity. His work simply poses questions, and yet provides no answers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Simpsons and The World

Contrasting my own comic book against against the Simpson's episode Mom and Pop Art I immediately see that the ideas of what qualifies as art emerging from the two products. In the Simpson's Homer accidentally creates a sculpture out of anger and doesn't even assume it has value. Later on however he finds that there is an audience of art lovers that are enticed by his sculpture. His venue is however short and his fans become tired of his new sculptures that are no different from his previous catastrophe. This leaves Homer in a state of self reflection of himself as artists and what he has to offer in terms of his thinking and creating.

The nameless artist featured in my comic book is faced with a parallel dilemma like Homer but in reverse. He drifts alone at sea with nothing on his canvas caught in a period unproductiveness and short on hope or ideas. He witnesses a seagull pooping and he is invigorated by the scene. He returns to a studio and defecates like the seagull on to a canvas and presents it to an audience in an exhibition. Unfortunately no one understands his painting and he is given no acclaim but he holds onto his notion that what he has done is art. In the end he is a failure and becomes mad homeless person still cluthcing onto his idea in his head.

Both medias focus in this idea of producing art while the Simpson's takes a hopeful road, my own work is no a pessimistic creation. Although the story and ending of the comic will be slightly altered. In the end both pieces rely on how strongly people respond art. In the Simpson's Homer is a champion, falls, and then rises again in the end. The artist in The World never rises to fame in his own lifetime. It is all a measure of success in ones lifetime.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surrealism


To what extent does surrealism distinguish itself from escapism in terms of global media and art? Being a follower of escapist culture, I have come to recognize the varying degrees to which it is employed in such cultural media as advertisement, news, business and more apparently, television, video games, art, and music. The overall saturation of which can be viewed as a gauge of sorts, measuring the implicit nature and degree in which escapist views have integrated themselves into the culture. That is to say that, considering the history of the particular culture, one can look at the media of said society and judge to what degree escapism is embraced, to what degree the anxiety of the members of that society dictates the catering of its goods and media. Japan is an probably the best example of a society employs escapism in the form of various child-like media such as cartoons, mascots, stuffed animals, key chains, etc. Hello Kitty is a well known product of such a culture.

Monday, April 12, 2010


After watching the Simpsons in class and discussing the elitist humor that show is based on, I began to start to think about all the childhood cartoons that I watched as a child and realized that almost all had a somewhat elitist position, in terms that there were characters designed specifically to be “dumb” and make the audience feel smarter as well as add comedy.

One cartoon that is iconic and universal that I feel best represents this idea of elitist humor is Looney Tunes, specifically Bugs Bunny. In every episode, Bugs Bunny out smarts and makes fun of some other character, whether it’s Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martin, Wile E. Coyote, or many others.

In correlation with my final project of caricaturing Alfred and referencing the famous “Hatfield- McCoy feud”, I found a Bugs Bunny cartoon titled, “Hillbilly Hare”, where Bugs Bunny squares off against the two “Coy” Brothers who think Bugs is a “Martin” which is a direct suggestion of the two families, but changes the family surnames.

The cartoon basically introduces the audience to “Ozark County” and it’s backwoods ways, where Bugs, who is trying to vacation away from Elmer Fudd, meets the two Coy brothers who fill in for Elmer in trying to hunt the hare, and as usual are embarrassed and out witted by Bugs. Then while trying to catch Bugs, the Brothers are duped into dancing with a pretty girl who turns out to Bugs in drag. Bugs then distracts the brothers with square dancing calls, and eventually manipulates the calls so that the brothers have to hit each other with logs, dance with pigs, and eventually dance off a cliff and then run away.


I was unable to post the actual video, but here is a link to the full cartoon:

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/bugs-bunny-hillbilly-hare/dc32def3be8bc1df56eddc32def3be8bc1df56ed-1547797857206



From our Native Tongue to our Naive texts


I realized the other day that my phone is dying like really dying . Its inside screen has discontinued its function which in turn is limiting my own functions. I have been unable to read texts that extend over a certain amount of characters and the other day its front screen started to spas out and I mistakenly deleted a text from someone which I am sure will come back to haunt me later. Sure, I would be fine with out my phone no problem, I lived in the 90's once, but I will not be so fine with the assumptions that will be made by my friends and family after my phone dyes as to why I am all of a sudden not responding to texts or calls my mother especially. Even though I am more than able to speak to my friends personally to rectify this issue I am less likely to "run" into them with out arranging a meeting or being informed of a get together via phone text. So until class or a club function or they check facebook they will probably assume everything you can imagine.
Perhaps maybe I am not answering my phone because I am mad, lost or avoiding human contact. This once happened where a friend confessed almost every offense for fear that I was giving them the silent treatment. When really I might just have a dead phone. How did we ever communicate in the 90's?
Our ever dependence on artificial forms of emotion like the smiley :) the wink ;) or what ever you can make of this......... lml(0-0)lml........... have caused us to be an ever more artificial assuming society. For example a person may be used to their friend always ending their text conversations with a smiley :) but then when they forget to include a :) assume a serious tone even when they fail to include one of these :( >( . Notice the difference in these two phrases, " your such a goof" and , "your such a goof ;)" one could be read as a demeaning statement and the other could be taken as far as to be a flirty gesture.
When there is an absence of our second language, technology, we some how forget to return to our native language in natural forms of expression and everything goes to chaos.
I think that we have always been a culture that assumes, but whether our assumptions have leaned on the side of optimistic or pessimistic I suspect has changed. Just as our view of the future used to be upward and positive filled with the space age visions of Utopian living I think our assumptions may have been less quick to sour. In the twilight zone it took half a day at least for motives to become questionable. Now with our dreams dampened with doomsday disarray I feel that we have become quicker to judge. Technology has made information so much easier to miss read in a time where your world could change with one text with in one second.

With all the ways we use visual stimulus and technology to replace the natural human emotion we tend to forget how we used to function and communicate. Our language like all languages has changed enough to leave us guessing when we are forced to return to our native tongue instead of our naive texts.

Which Art Student Are You?



Stereotypes, whether we like to believe it or not, we all have them. Before coming to Alfred, I always thought that the "art student" was a stereotype all in it's own, but that was a very misguided perception. Turns out, once you put the top art students from high schools all around the world, the "art student" stereotype becomes much more diluted.
This artist, Chuck Dillon, categorizes art students into these groupings: dirty student (as seen above), club student, stressed student, snob/fine art student, environmental hippy student, comic book geek student, brown noser student, loner/alien student, gamer student, student 1.0, anime student, goth/emo student, hip hop student, returning student, metal student, talkative student, average/good student, that amazing disappearing/reappearing student, mom student, winey student, legalistic/christian student and lastly the professor that is often mistaken for a student- student.
As you can see, a stereotype can be broken down into many fragments to allow for all of us to be classified under some kind of absurd stereotype. So... which art student are you?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

who is worse?



For my final project idea, I had thoughts of comparing those on Fox News to horrible people such as Arafat or Bin Laden due to their intensive right-wing propaganda. This cartoon is a great example of what I may do for my project. In this cartoon, the Fox News debaters are on the same level as many leaders that the American public do not see as great people, such as Fidel Castro and others. It is no wonder why Obama would not want to meet with them because all they try and do is to convince people that Obama is a horrible person. One of these people, in particular is Sean Hannity.

This cartoon on the right was drawn shortly after Sean Hannity returned to Utah for the second time in one year. Big deal.. right? Well the only reason why he returned is because he was asked to speak after some college students had booked Michael Moore, film maker, to speak at Utah Valley State College. People were upset that these students didn't as their parents first, because apparently college students still need parents' permission in the Mormon state of Utah. Since free speech got thrown somewhere in the mix, Sean Hannity was scheduled to talk 9 days after Michael Moore. This cartoon says it all, " You've saved us from having to hear other ideas!"... other ideas which may be a little less ridiculous than the conservative mindset these people are in. Although I do not nessesarily agree with Michael Moore's films, he does have progressive ideas and ways of showing the uncommon knowledge to the public. He is the complete opposite of what Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are all about.
However, I think that those at Fox News are not allowing this country to move foward.
Some Sean Hannity quotes:
"It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state."... although it is in the first amendment...
"Can we pray for the re-election of George Bush?”.. REALLY?
"First of all, this president -- you know and I know and everybody knows -- inherited a recession...it was by every definition a recession" This was said in response to Bush being elected. Apparently he had inherited a Clinton recession. As I recall we were doing pretty well before Bush stepped into office...
"I never questioned anyone's patriotism.".. But then previously had said to Stanly Cohen , "Is it you hate this president or that you hate America?". Talk about contradictory.
And here is a terrifying quote from Glenn Beck, another person on Fox News:
"The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be "What the hell you mean we're out of missiles?"

Tea Baggers

Members of the Tea Party movement, known by some as Tea Baggers, are protestors of the “liberal agenda;” basically any new laws and legislation that they believe go against their welfare and the welfare of the country. They got the name of their group from, obvious to most Americans, the protestors of taxation without representation – the Boston Tea Party. Both have their similarities. Comparatively, they are both political extremists. However, the activists at the Boston Tea Party, assumedly, did not put people’s lives in danger. The Tea Baggers were known to cut people’s brake lines when the health care bill was passed, not to mention, as the picture shows, debatable abuse of the first amendment to the point of slander.


And this week looking at a something not a political cartoon... the muppets. Specifically a video I stumbled across earlier this week, which can be found here. Most of the muppet characters are animals, with a varying degree of human behaviors. Animalized people or humanized animals, or however they might be considered. This particular video uses ironic humor. And singing muppets. It also breaks down the viewer/subject issue somewhat towards the end. While culturally animal characters may be used as a more acceptable way of analyzing human behaviors at times... I'm not really sure of the cultural implications here. All animal!muppet characters can talk. And sing. The most commonly used human muppet characters (who do show up here) are generally in the role of spectators/critics, often either breaking the forth wall or coming close.
In comparison with the Simpsons- less based on family life/routine life style. Simpsons resemble- and presumably are- humans, though abstracted appearance may have some similar advantages as using animal characters- lightening the mood, making exploration of bizarre behaviors more acceptable.

MAD at Obama



MAD magazine a long and rich history in caricature work. Started in the 1950s by EC comics, who are also responsible for Tales From The Crypt, and now owned By DC comics, creators of Batman and Superman. The comics feature a recurring mascot character named Alfred E. Neuman, whose origins can be traced back to 19th century character, The Yellow Kid. The magazine specializes in comical comic strips, often parodies featuring grotesque caricatures of public figures.
MAD has mocked many a president in its time, and now it's Obama's turn at bat. here MAD not only mocks the president, but also the peoples perception of him. In the first one we see an issue from the first months of the his presidency. Mocking the media concern with his first 100 days, with his first 100 minutes. The perception of all the worlds problems getting suddenly lumped on his shoulders and Obama feeling the pressure. MAD give him their signature "big head" caricature style. They also exaggerate and mock his smoking habit. On the oval office desk we can see piles of paperwork, newspapers featuring economic collapse headlines, an Obama campaign "change" mug full of coffee (suggesting sleeplessness an stress), a file with a nuclear symbol and IRAN written on it, and what is the most disturbing, gross thing on the table in my opinion, the messy, half drank bottle of Pepto-Bismol. While this cover instantly provokes a laugh, it's pretty damned dark to joke about our nation in such a crisis. Kind of reminds me of Dr. Strangelove humor.
Then we have the latest issue of MAD, with our little wise-ass friend Alfred E. Neuman. Here sporting an I heart Obama t-shirt, but he's got out his sharpie and put an "'ed" after the heart. Joking on the presidents love loss and increasing unpopularity since his election. And believe me this isn't the end of mockery our president will see at the pens of our friends over at MAD magazine.