Troublemakers – Part One

(LtoR) Batton Lash,Jackie Estrada, Kika Kane, Mary Ann Crabb

(LtoR) Batton Lash,Jackie Estrada, Kika Kane, Mary Ann Crabb

Cartoonists are a strange breed. Most people assume that we are all of a liberal bent, but there is a strong libertarian streak in our genes that shows itself at the most inopportune moments. It can be costly to our careers, not to mention friendships. People don’t like to see their heroes portrayed as bumbling idiots, with grossly twisted physical features. Sorry. It can’t be helped.

Last weekend, Mary Ann and I ventured into that pit of rampant libo-progressive politics, San Francisco. There’s nothing like walking out on the balcony of your hotel in the morning and catching that first whiff of salty air, mixed with the unmistakable scent of human urine.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love San Francisco. But after my continual rants about the overbearing power that the “coast people” wield over us ignorant hillbillies, I have to watch my step in Pelosi country. I could get mugged by one of the many downtrodden minorities who have been exploited by my privileged white heritage.

Our reason for visiting The City was the annual Alternative Press Expo (APE) at the Concourse south of Market Street. It’s an opportunity to recharge my batteries, surrounded by others of my despicable ilk. The hall is brimming with a wide variety of genres, from scantily-clad warrior women armed with exotic weaponry that would never pass muster in the Golden State, to cute little bunny rabbit comics and figurines. Gay lesbian cross-species sex comics are openly displayed. A staunch religious conservative would have a cow, but in this atmosphere, no one would notice.

My own tastes are less exotic, but the friends I go to commiserate with are no less dangerous to the well-being of The State. We dabble in politics.

One of the first things I did was seek out Batton Lash, a cartoonist who does a comic about Wolff and Byrd, a pair of lawyers who specialize in supernatural law. They’ll defend Frankenstein from the angry villagers, or the Wolfman for peeing on your leg. It’s fun stuff, but it wasn’t those kind of monsters that led me to his table.

When I found him, I asked if I could shake the hand of the only cartoonist I know who has been publicly denounced on national television by liberal factotum, Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s Last Word. Batton also moonlights as a political cartoonist with writer James Hudnell on Breitbart’s Big Government , a conservatarian website despised by most liberals. Back in 2011, they did a parody of President Obama and his wife, Michelle, lampooning the First Lady’s War on Obesity. Batton will be the first to tell you that it was not his best work, just a crude jab at the Big Nanny state. It might have gone unnoticed and forgotten, had it not been for O’Donnell’s on-air rant.

Now O’Donnell has every right to criticize the cartoon, although the charge of racism was a stretch. The real crime he committed was identifying Batton’s wife, Jackie Estrada, informing his rabid audience where they live, and encouraging them to harass the couple. Jackie, one of the founding mothers of the San Diego Comic-con, told me they were flooded with threatening emails, and they were afraid to even go outside of their home or answer the phone for some time after the incident.

And the truth of the matter is that neither Batton or Jackie have a racist bone in their bodies. Batton is an unapologetic libertarian, and like most libertarians, believes we are all equal and free in this world. And that there are no sacred cows in our chosen profession. I’m proud to call them my friends. So sue me.

(I’m providing links regarding this story in the comments section, because they are not working in the main article for some reason. Maybe some government plot, but more likely operator incompetence.)

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15 Responses to Troublemakers – Part One

  1. Ryan Mount says:

    > first whiff of salty air, mixed with the unmistakable scent of human urine

    I’d like to LAX to this as well. The entire airport. Every square inch. I can smell it from Grass Valley.

    > although the charge of racism was a stretch.

    Whatever happened to that classic retort of “it takes one to know one?” That used to be a great defense.

  2. Robert Lovejoy says:

    Or, “skunk smells his own first.”

  3. Chris Peterson says:

    Or “He who is without sin cast the first stone?”

    Obviously, when Oberman left, which nearly killed MSNBC, they had to tell O’Donnell to change his game, from the long time insider who gave Oberman the inside scoop on how things were playing out, to the attack dog he has become.

    Not exactly a pitch that’s in his wheelhouse, and I doubt he even writes his own stuff anymore. Too bad actually, because he went from a reporter of singular clarity, albeit biased, to just another network talking head.

    And SF should take a note from Naples, Italy. When I was there decades ago, they had urinals on the outside of dept. stores, right between the display windows. Seemed odd at the time, but at least the place didn’t stink of piss.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      “I am not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to ‘progressive’. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I lie to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals.”
      -Laurence O’Donnell, November 6, 2010 on Morning Joe

      O’Donnell has always been that way. Smug and self satisfied with none of the essential humanity of his old boss, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        Full story:

        After the Blue Dog democrats got handed their hat in the 2010 election, O’Connell said that they had run too liberal a campaign for their conservative districts. Liberal blogger Glen Greenwald took him to task for the comment, suggesting that he wasn’t as liberal as he said he was.

        O’Donnell then made the above comment in a back and forth on a TV show. The full comment goes on to explain his reasoning, which is pretty sound, but you’re right; it was a pissing contest of who could be the furthest left, and O’Donnell came off as rather juvenile.

        What I find very amusing is that when you put that quote in your search engine, there are 6,352 references to, “O’Connell ADMITS to being a socialist,” as if he just came out as a pedophile or a killer of kittens and puppies. Socialism is part of the fabric of our nation, and treating it as some unspoken pariah is not only ridiculous, it’s politically ignorant.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          I think it was William F. Buckley who stated all Democrats were socialists and Republicans were reluctant socialists. Socialist as a label became anathema here when it became synonymous with Soviet in the US collective mind.

          I’d be perfectly happy if “liberals” would embrace the democratic socialist label used in europe, let libertarians take back liberal (classic liberal just confuses people) and then give libertarian back to libertarian socialists.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Agreed. I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the populace believes a socialist is a communist. Libertarian socialist is a growing movement. Too bad the common Joe hasn’t a clue what that means.

            Let’s face it; most of the crap that we suffer under today is due to the fact that the majority of Americans are, in the larger sense, politically ignorant and intellectually lazy.

            And, as far as activists:
            “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” – Henry David Thoreau

            Ah well.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “Agreed. I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the populace believes a socialist is a communist. ”

            I’d be willing to accept that 90% of self described socialists aren’t significantly different than 90% of self described communists, a distinction without much difference. Think People’s Front of Judea vs the Judean People’s Front:

            REG: Listen. If you wanted to join the P.F.J., you’d have to really hate the Romans.

            BRIAN: I do!

            REG: Oh, yeah? How much?

            BRIAN: A lot!

            REG: Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People’s Front.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            As you no doubt know, there are a myriad of forms of socialism; from Stalinistic authoritarian, to one that is perfectly compatible with capitalism but gets it’s power from the bottom rather than the top, (anti-authoritarian), and everything in between. so, your probably right that most people who claim to be socialists may have completely diverse definitions of it, but I’d be very surprised if the majority, (here in the US), were anywhere near endorsing a system where individuals share equally through the state, and capitalism is completely removed. (communism).
            Other than religious communes, in which someone directs the social order, supposedly from authority given them by a higher being, (coughbullshit), there aren’t many of these examples to be found in our society. (I may believe in a more equal sharing of profits realized between labor and owner, but no one gets the eggs from my chickens unless I want to give them to them.)

  4. Terry Pittsford says:

    In regard to Chris’ statement that a lot of people think socialism and communism are one in the same. As some realize they are not but in can be said that socialism is a stepping stone to communism. None other than Nikita Khrushchev alluded to that difference when during the Cold War, declared, “We cannot expect Americans to accept communism overnight; we will succeed by feeding them small doses of socialism until one morning they awake to find they have communism.” I don’t know why but in view of current events in our White House these days, this is a particularly significant statement except in this case, Mr. Obama is aiming for a major jump between socialism an out and out despotism. Good comments, Chris.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      The reign of George the Lesser came much closer to being that of a despot. (“You’re either with me, or you’re against me.”)

      At most, Obama is a demagogue in Aristotle’s 5th example of democracy. Truth be told, we have a government rife with demagogues, which is the result of no longer being a democracy in which all citizens are equal and decrees have usurped the law of the land.

  5. Just wondering: Is Batton’s nickname “eye?”

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