Saturday, May 12, 2018

Order in the Court

Mike Beckom - remember yesterday when I was trying to advise you a little about toons? Take this one for example. I was not an Obama fan. In this one, I wanted to make the point that I thought he was circumventing Congress and going rogue and doing things that were above and beyond his executive powers. I think I 'said' that rather eloquently without stomping my feet or shaking my fist. The message was delivered. If you could manage to find a way to deliver your message without coming across as trying to beat us over the head with it, it'd be more effective.

by the way, as for delivering the message....this toon appeared in Forbes magazine as well as every single newspaper I draw for.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Mike... Black American politicians are the only elected officials who aren't held accountable to a political agenda that benefits the group they identify with. Even the first Black POTUS had to sneak in pro-Black policies that would benefit the African-American or Washington D.C. would've cried "Foul!" and blew a gasket. And he was the best one. 10,000+ Black politicians have the Black citizens of the nation fairing poorer than they were BEFORE this boom. Black politicians champion everybody's agenda but their own. It's very frustrating.

So the gag idea that Obama believed he was omnipotent flies in the face of the historical record regarding the nature of systemic racism in this country, as well as how he actually functioned in office from an objective, bipartisan viewpoint. Because of this, I'm not sure how I could actually use your advise. It seems like you're asking me to change my message to be more appealing to the very institution gate keepers that are the problem with the world.

I'm confused how you could think that being subservient and walking on egg shells around a dedicated abuser would make this figure stop abusing you.

Mike wrote: "'d be more effective."

More effective at doing what exactly?

Mike Beckom - @Muhammad, when Obama was elected, I really wanted him to prove his nay-sayers wrong and do something spectacular. He instead, seems to have failed spectacularly. In fact, the ONLY groups he truly looked out for are muslims and illegal immigrants. What I was trying to say to you with my 'advice' was that you need to change your delivery. Have you ever seen one of those guys who stands on a street corner screaming at the top of his lungs while supposing to 'preach'? After a while, everybody just walks by and totally ignores the message. The street preacher may be making a great point, but because of his delivery, no one will ever know. When I want to get my kids attention, I rarely raise my voice. In fact, I lower it just a little. They listen more. If you want folks to see and or 'hear' your can't always stand on the street corner screaming at the top of your lungs.

Muhammad Rasheed - Your opinions of President Obama come directly out of the GOP partisan political rhetoric catalog, Mike, and are easily debunked with a casually searched "Obama legacy" documentary.

Regarding your 'talk softly' advice, it's obvious that Blacks have been talking softly as a group since 1619, and we still haven't achieved full citizenship, political enfranchisement and economic inclusive in this land we helped build. Can you deny that MLK's "non-violent/peaceful protest" way of speaking was "soft talking?" Yet he was killed, and his movement gains immediately sabotaged. Again, everything you're advising reflects the opposite of what an objective analysis of historical data reveals: An abuser wants you to whisper at him--if you bother to fight back at all--while he continues his abuse unopposed.

Muhammad Rasheed - [VIDEO] White Georgia Police Brutally Arrest Elderly Black Woman

I don't think it's my cartoons that need to be "nicer" or whatever.

Mike Beckom - the street preacher analogy was the best I could do. Let me be frank and cut right to it. When I saw your toons for the first time, I was intrigued because as I've already told you, you have a unique style. Uniqueness is of high value in the toon biz. However, once I saw the next couple of toons, it became clear who and what you are. You are someone who only wants to foment anger. You promote your agenda with reckless abandon without ever ONCE offering any real solutions to what you see as society's ills. That being the case, your message becomes just another angry street preacher shouting at the top of his lungs. You want to rail on and on about social injustices perpetrated upon your people. We get it. BUT....who cares? The more you shout, the less society is gonna listen. MY PEOPLE were the FIRST inhabitants of this land that you and I and all the rest of us reside on. MY PEOPLE had everything they'd ever known, owned or thought they were - stripped from them or stolen.....and they were brutally murdered by the thousands.....because they had the audacity to breathe and be. You wanna talk injustice - MY PEOPLE could write the book. I could become like you and begin shouting at the top of my lungs about every single thing that's been done to my people but, it serves no purpose. MY CARTOONS regularly appear in newspapers and on web sites that are read in tens of thousands of homes on a weekly basis. EVERY ONE of those folks gets to 'listen/read' what I think about everything under the sun. I don't scream at the top of my lungs - and my message is heard.....and continues to be heard....and has been for over 15 years. Now young street preacher, let me impart this final bit of wisdom and I'll leave you......if you truly want your message to be heard, you need to adjust your delivery. When I was in school, one of my professors taught us that in communication, the message has to be RECEIVED for it to be effective. If your message isn't being received (and it isn't), then you become just another shouting voice that folks wander past without ever HEARING a word you scream.

Muhammad Rasheed - You don't think I should be angry after watching the clip of these cop thugs rough handle this woman that could be my mom, Mike? My anger is righteous as a member of the God-fearing oppressed. If I'm discouraged from the anger that is due to me, then what will stop the abuses of the one who clearly has no intention of stopping his abuse?

You advise a tissue-soft and weak-sounding cartoon will make the racist sadist give up his dedication to evil against my people. Forgive me if I am skeptical.

Mike Beckom - which of our 'voices' gets heard more? Mine or yours? I didn't say not to be indignant or outraged. I said you need to adjust your delivery if you ever expect to be heard.

Muhammad Rasheed - When you say "YOUR PEOPLE" are you referring to the Jews?

Was it milksop soft talking that stopped the holocaust, Mike, or was it the Big Guns of anger and war that freed them?

Mike Beckom - my people were Native Americans. Cherokee Indians, to be specific.

Mike Beckom - @Muhammad... you thought JEWS were the original inhabitants of this land? ok, now I'm laughing at you just a little.....

Muhammad Rasheed - lol I didn't get that far. My anger got me to typing when I reached "without ever ONCE offering any real solutions."

There's one one real solution to systemic racism, and I talk about it often. My turn: *laugh*

Muhammad Rasheed - Do you ever make cartoons that address the special political problems of the First Nations?

Mike Beckom - @Muhammad... you mean like this one?

Mike Beckom - or maybe this one......

Muhammad Rasheed - I'm talking about actual First Nation problems, like the fracking oil pipeline.

Mike Beckom - nope. no point to it. I don't know enough to speak intelligently about it and I prefer to NOT skin my ignorance when avoidable. I speak about problems that others are talking about with my toons. I don't live out in the west where the fracking is happening. Therefor, the folks who read my toons wouldn't truly care about it. If the readers don't read it or care about it, the editors won't run it. Thus, no point.

Muhammad Rasheed - I see.

We take a completely different approach to the point of our art then.

Muhammad Rasheed - It gives a little insight into your "it'd be more effective" comment.

You meant writing for an institutionalist editor figure.

Mike Beckom - I live in South Carolina. I am a conservative editorial inkslinger. However, I'm also an equal opportunity skewerer. I will hit both parties when the chance comes up. I live in a deeply red state and a red section of the country. Were I to draw toons continually bashing Trump, nobody would read them. As you can see, I DO hit him on occasion. Were I to hit him every time I draw a toon, NOBODY would listen.

Muhammad Rasheed - I use my art as pure self-expression, and it naturally follows the shape of my research and interests. I don't write for a gate keeper's approval.

Mike Beckom - I use mine to say what I'm thinking. I don't scream at anyone. I don't continually try to beat anyone over the head with it. I say my idea and move on.

Muhammad Rasheed - Well, the nature of my research is the dark part of history and society that people don't like to think about (which is a big part of the problem). Since I don't hide from the ugly in my work, people who ARE used to hiding from it very well may think I'm screaming. lol But it's the history that we refuse to learn from that does all the screaming. I just draw it.

Mike Beckom - I guess that is what they mean when they say 'with age comes wisdom'. I'm old (54). I have learned that if I wanna say something that is not gonna be popular or that might piss people off - there is a WAY yo do it. Yes, my editors DO have the final say in what is published. THEY are in charge of the content of their papers. HOWEVER, I CAN make a point on occasion as long as I don't do it with every single toon. One of my editors is very liberal. When Obama was in office, she actually emailed asking me to draw something other then an Obama toon. I got the message. I didn't agree with everything all of the other presidents have done or said and I don't with the current POTUS. There is a way to get my message across and a way that it won't happen. If I stand on the corner and scream, nobody will ever hear me. If I pick my battles, I can make a point and EVERYBODY hears (sees) it.

Muhammad Rasheed - Mike wrote: "HOWEVER, I CAN make a point on occasion as long as I don't do it with every single toon."

That sounds oppressive, and makes me feel claustrophobic and trapped just from reading it. It does explain the heart space of where the primary thread of your advice comes from, and I am no longer mad at you for trying to control my self-expression. I understand.

(I'm not doing it though, but that's different. :P )

Muhammad Rasheed - Also, stop calling yourself "old" when you're only 54, because it's depressing me.  :(

Mike Beckom - @Muhammad... I remember not so long ago that 50 seemed old. Age is a number. I fight growing old every day. My hair, however, gave up that fight long ago. I prematurely turned white. Got all my hair...but it's snow 54. :)

Muhammad Rasheed - That means you need to relax; drink more water.

Muhammad Rasheed - Maybe lay off the pork.


Mike Beckom - I would never try to control anyone or how or what they draw. Our 1st amendment rights let us create as we wish. I only wanted to tell you that your message would gain more traction if you 'consider' not screaming about it with everything you draw. You have talent. Of the billions of people that inhabit this rock, there is a minuscule fraction of those who have the ability to create as we do. USE that but use it intelligently. Why scream and have NOBODY listen when you can speak and have EVERYONE hear you? Oh and I drink a couple gallons of water per day. LOVE me some pork, though. Bacon, pork chops, fatback, pigs I'm hungry.

Mike Beckom - the white hair is genetic AND a partial result of a lifetime of bad decisions..... ;)

Muhammad Rasheed - My message isn't for everyone, I'm smart enough to recognize that. I don't long to create that "universal appeal" kind of strip that has to be stripped of all life & flavor so it can be crossover loved by every demographic. I'm not looking for "sterile" but for authentic honest self-expression. Some people will like it, many won't. I'm only interested in reaching the ones that get me.

Mike Beckom - M. Rasheed wrote: "My message isn't for everyone, I'm smart enough to recognize that"

Ok, but if your message isn't heard by anyone except the people who think as you, what have you accomplished? You're 'preaching to the converted'. I assume (yes, I know what happens when we assume) that you draw in order to express your outrage, to vent, and to try to get others to hear you. You won't ever get those you vent about to hear you as long as all you do is scream. I'm a child of the 60's. I grew up in a time when segregation was ending. Where I live in SC, racism was and is alive and well. I have always had dark skin. Been called many names and treated differently because of it. I've strived to treat people as people. When I was a production supervisor - I saw folks who worked and folks who didn't. I 'see' people based on the content of their character, whether or not they take care of their family, pay their bills, are kind to others, etc. Color is irrelevant to me. When I draw one of my toons, I want to speak to ALL people.....not just a select group.

Muhammad Rasheed - Mike wrote: "Ok, but if your message isn't heard by anyone except the people who think as you, what have you accomplished?"

Hopefully igniting the spark that will eventually lead to action. I have no control over how my art is received. My job is to create it.

Mike Beckom - FWIW, I don't have a 'studio'. I have a desk, computer, scanner, Intuos pad. I typically draw by hand on a sketch pad that is placed on my lap. I use my lightbox to transfer the pencil (#2 pencil) sketch to bristol board paper. I ink that, scan it into my computer and then paint using photoshop. no high tech gizmos for this guy. I'm strictly 'old school'.....well, except for the photoshop. I CAN paint by hand, though.

Muhammad Rasheed - My process is similar. I sketch it out with a mechanical pencil (usually on copy paper), ink it with Higgin's Black Magic, a #102 nib and brush, erase pencil, scan, photoshop, done.

Muhammad Rasheed - Stand by... our discussion today has inspired one.


Mike Beckom - I actually like it!

the artwork is good, the humor is funny, the point is made and you didn't hit anyone with a sledgehammer. well done, young jedi. oh crap....I just quoted star trek....or star wars...or star something...not a fan of that stuff.

Muhammad Rasheed - Of course you like it, cuz that's what you were telling me.  :P  hahahaha

Andre Owens - Your message resonates with me. I’m tired of folks trying to tell Black folks how and what we can express.

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