[Personal nonsense – with broader implications in the USA. Maybe.
Charlotte, Virginia, USA witnessed the iceberg tip of the neo-Nazi/Fascist/KKK movement today and last night, the one Donald Trump played to get into office and paid off by giving important positions to its adherents: Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, Bannon, Gorka, etc.. Trump, of course, had nothing to say specifically condemning these terrorist White Nationalists and their rampage. What he said was open-ended enough, the “Alt-Right” (i.e. Nazis) openly says on Twitter “he loves us.”
I expected nothing better.
Anyway, I make political cartoons and underground comix. I teach philosophy… when there’s work. I’m controversial because I believe in liberal democracy, neo-Stoicism, am a sort of existentialist in the Ortega y Gasset vein… which, in the USA, now, is enough to make one so out of (goose) step with people that run things, I have a difficult time finding a teaching position. 52 years-old, excellent teaching record, excellent work record, no criminal record, better educated than many that I compete with… but, no thank you.
Misfortune? Could be. Fate goes as it will. Fortuna’s wheel spins. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I send out political cartoons… hard to get published in the States, now. Newspapers are dying, they’ve shrunk, space is at a premium. Most get their cartoons from a syndicate — and getting syndication is not easily done, no matter how good one is.
But I popped one over to my hometown in Georgia – why? I’m an idiot. Nostalgia. Curiosity. Who knows… just to see. In the end,
I even offered the damn thing for free. So, this is what happened thus far:]
As a friend said the other day, “Didn’t you leave Dahlonega?” Dahlonega being where I was born, raised, and after university, trapped within for an extra 16-17 years.
My response, in part, was, “It didn’t leave me…” as in, it haunts me. For a plethora of reasons, few worth mentioning, all personal. When I talk about Dahlonega, I speak with a broad brush – mainly about its worst elements, its racism, hatreds, parochialism, escapism, false history. I rarely talk about the good people, the nurturing and encouraging people – there are many and many were very good to me and for me.
Many good examples of living well and caring. Many good changes. And NGC, then NGCSU, now NGU really kept me alive, opened the world to me. That place and the professors and friends were the mercy of HaShem, the Divinity on me.
Yes, I used to write editorials in the local paper – 2001-2006 when I was banned for making about 23-25 vociferous right-wingers angry.
It doesn’t matter. Really. I got away with editorial murder – I wrote essays, not editorials. I pushed the limit every time as I figured each editorial would be my last. Until it was, to the relief of the weak and angry.
This year, from Texas, I have now submitted 2 editorial cartoons – one about Roberta Green using a pro-Klan billboard on an historical building to blackmail the city council into letting her demolish it and create an eyesore. That one did not fly as it was too “mean.”
I submitted the Stephen Miller one this past week – as I knew what would erupt in Charlottesville, VA this weekend days ago. I got a “heads-up” message.
Nope – that didn’t make it either, this time for a completely non sequitur “reason.”
Hell, it doesn’t matter my stuff won’t go in The Dahlonega Nugget. I don’t matter – I’m just a guy who thinks and makes things that are hard to see and read. Unpleasant. The part of truth I see is unpleasant. It’s my gift.
Unfortunately, no one wants to risk anything on spreading “unpleasant” around. Maybe we’ll lose customers! Maybe we’ll get angry calls! Maybe we don’t agree with this!
The First Amendment gives me no right to be published in a private paper… or anything else if the editor doesn’t approve, care, or give a damn. Or perhaps I’m just no good. I’m unsure. Them’s the breaks.
So, this is what i wrote instead – the editor did say i could write a letter to the editor. This is well under the 500 words.
So, if you’d like to follow the mini-drama of a nobody who accomplishes not much, start at the bottom, work your way up. This is the e-mail exchange. Really, just for my personal records and memory.
I’ll stick the cartoon on at the bottom as a reminder.
On Saturday, August 12, 2017, 6:28:24 PM MDT, Richard Van Ingram wrote:
[If you won’t run the political cartoon, run this as my letter to the editor. Thanks.]
I submitted a political cartoon of Stephen Miller, 31 year-old White Nationalist, racist working as a White House “adviser,” pretending the immigration policy which he helped design is not racist in effect and origin.
I dressed him in a Gestapo uniform with SS Nazi and Klan symbols – both for irony and to openly display what he believes.
Yet, you chose not to run it or any other political cartoonist aside from the water-thin stuff from “Powell” that holds a monopoly on the editorial page. I’m certain you have to pay him. I offered to let you run my carton free of charge. You may even run a disclaimer – I don’t care. I speak for myself, not the paper; I always did.
It’s not as if you cannot run two cartoons and even shrink mine down. It is a matter of choice on your part.
Instead, you said I may write a letter to the editor (as anyone else). Your choice – you are the editor.
So, this is the letter. My request is a response, in the paper, detailing your policy and rules for submissions of political art. If such is completely forbidden, tell us why – what’s the standard? Is there one? Is it reasonable? Ad hoc? Consistent?
In light of the Nazi terrorist riot in Virginia Friday and Saturday (11-12 August), my carton is relevant. That was on purpose. I keep up with these groups, what they plan. I knew that the rally in Charottesville, VA was going to happen – they advertized it.
The cartoon spoke directly to the occupation of our White House by fascist and Nazi advisors. Sycophants. Miller is likely to become Communications Director within the next week or so. If people had cared or paid attention well before this violence, we may have minimized the influence of these groups or slowed it.
Pretending this shift beyond far-right into racist fascism, pure immorality, is not actually happening gives it power. Satirizing and calling out its idiotic beliefs might help others think twice before drinking the Nazi-flavored Kool Aid, no matter what it calls itself.
But if no one sees the message, that vague opportunity never occurs. If it doesn’t come from me, it should come from someone. No, I’m no one special, but I do stand up against things I am sure, by reasoning and history, are wrong. Maybe others will send you even better cartoons. If you don’t recognize this as speech, just like a letter, explain why.
Richard Van Ingram
On Thursday, August 10, 2017, 8:29:44 PM MDT, Richard Van Ingram wrote:
You’re welcome for the congratulations. You earned it.
As for writing a letter: Perhaps.
Jim Powell has had that spot in the company’s papers for quite a few years. Is he someone’s nephew? His work certainly has nothing about it to challenge or annoy… which I suppose is the point.
This is a different answer than what you told me last time when you said you’d be happy to consider running political cartoons by someone not named “Jim Powell” — and, yes, he already had that “slot” filled at that time. Logically inconsistent, but doubtless effective in delaying any possible second attempt on my (or anyone else’s) part.
Your paper, your decision.
My cartoon will shrink – easily – to fit an area of a column of 500 words. You may use it free, copyright remains mine. But I imagine space isn’t the actual issue. I really can’t waste much energy imagining what that issue might be: beyond my control.
Pictures are far more powerful and visceral than words… this kind of drawing, at any rate.
And, presently, I’m unsure I have words, 500 or less, for readers in Dahlonega. I’ll let you know tomorrow. You’ll run ’em or not if I write ’em. Them’s the breaks.
Thanks for the time.
On Thursday, August 10, 2017, 3:20:44 PM MDT, Matt Aiken <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Good to hear from you and thanks for the congrats. I appreciate the submission but when it comes to editorial cartoons we’ve filled that slot with Jim Powell. Would you consider a letter to the editor instead? You’d have 500 words to play with if so. If interested feel free to send it my way and we’ll save you a spot.
On Aug 9, 2017, at 4:28 AM, Richard Van Ingram wrote:
Congratulations on having the editorial page recognized. That page is the heart of a newspaper – any of them. That the quality has returned under your leadership speaks volumes.
Yes, I was skeptical when last you told me you were running the paper differently; I am happy to have that skepticism put to bed. A rare occurrence in this age.
Having said that, I asked last go ’round (during the Roberta Green fiasco) whether I might submit other editorial comics for consideration. You said to do so. I understand at the outset what I do may not be… acceptable. It never was. But I am of the belief my “hometown” could do with a message from its red-headed stepchild once in a while, the philosopher who also draws, is published elsewhere, and lives in a wider world both in terms of ideas and familiarity with a variety of humans.
At least, when I draw political cartoons and comix, they’re funny and brief (unlike my essays). Yes, i am vicious, but the pain passes quickly.
So, here’s a submission. You can reduce the thing and it will still look good in print, but I work large (as is usual) and send the large versions.
Let me know what you think.
11-12 August 2017
Richard Van Ingram