Nuclear War is Winnable!

One thing about this period was that it was that time when things started getting weird in Media And Government Land, ranging from frivolity like Reagan inadvertantly mouthing off around live mics, mentioning his plan to "...begin bombing in five minutes...", to far more evil intentional mouth-offs, such as then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger's declaration that a nuclear war would be "winnable".

nukewarwinnable650wI remember being absolutely gob-smacking amazed at that. How the hell does he decide whether or not we've "won"? I'd ask myself, would it be if our side had enough people left to put on a halfway decent victory parade, as opposed to the pathetic, raggedy-assed second-generation mutant rumble shown above?

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MX Malt Liquor

Come 'round the bend, you know it's the end --
the fireman screams, and the engine just gleams!

--grateful dead

Smoke-In's over, summer was survivable, time to quit bitching and get back to some ball-busting.

The MX "Peacekeeper" mobile launcher system was, basically, an entire railroad designed to move MX launchers from one bunker to the next, presumably with the idea that if you ran an atom bomb railroad, you could keep your atom bombs from being hit so easily -- because, as everybody in the atom bomb business will tell you: it only takes one to hit it.


Just how the beer ad analogy came in, I don't quite remember... something about "Night Train" wine, or the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull, or something...

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1981 White House Smoke-In Poster

I don't know about anyone else, but at the time, it seemed like a single year under the Reagan Mob was forever, and getting worse. What a relief to finally quit doing cartoons about how grim things were getting and do a good old Smoke-In poster, this time with a Hollywood theme (of course) in honor of our esteemed host of Death Valley Days (or "Daze", which things were in at the time). This is one of the last serious Smoke-Ins they were able to pull as the Just Say No™ rhetoric was just starting to take hold, and a generation of high-school and college kids decided they all wanted to be Gordon Gecko and Timothy Geithner when they grew up.


This piece wound up as a color full-age ad for the 1981 White House Smoke-In appearing in High Times magazine. Sadly, that's the only piece I ever got into High Times, likely because their art director, a guy named Jeff Tiedrich, was also the art editor of the Yipster Times around 1977-79, and was shit-canning my stuff there as well -- before he moved on, and the task of picking out the art fell to a guy who was quite a fan of mine back in the day: Yipster Times co-founder/co-editor and Yippies co-founder Dana Beal.

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MX Penis

The week that the Reagan Mob won the MX Missile appropriation vote, Time Magazine had Reagan on the cover, at his desk in the Oval Office, smiling that nasty, crooked, lipless smile (how is it that our last three Repuglican Presidents: Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, all had nasty, crooked, lipless smiles?) holding the tally slip recording the roll-call vote on the MX system. I first caught sight of that cover one night in the check-out rack while waiting to pay for some beers down at the drug store and thinking jeezus, why don't they just run a foto of him with his dick in his hand?


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Weighted Down by the '80s?

These days, our gentle punditocracy would call the mom and dad shown below "values voters", but back then we just called them "right-wing religious-freak nutjobs" -- not quite as elegant, but more truthfully desciptive. Another better-known Yipster Times/Overthrow piece, a back-cover subscription ad poster from the summer of '81 which asked its readers the question, "Weighted Down By The '80s?" That's right, not a year into the new decade, and every aspect of life -- workers' rights, reproductive rights, civil liberties, education, popular culture -- was hammer-down on the highway to hell.


You know when an outfit calls itself "Focus On The Family", all of our families are in huge-ass trouble.

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The Gipper as "Major Kong"

"Survival kit contents check! In them you will find: one 45-caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleepin' pills, tranquilizer pills, one miniature combination Rooshian phrase-book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewin' gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair'a nylon stockin's... shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff...!"
--Slim Pickens, as Major Kong in Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove.

reaganridesbomb650wActually, to be honest, I actually wasn't consciously trying to directly mock Kubrick in this piece -- I hadn't seen Strangelove in some years, not since early in college -- but was whacking on the whole media-manuafactured image of Reagan as some good old cowboy type; at the time, it seemed like every other issue of Time or Newsweek or the magazine supplements in the Sunday papers had some glorifying portrait shot of Reagan in his old buckskin jacket and his big ol' hat sitting on a horse at his ranch, looking all raw-boned and macho, ready to fight Ivan with just his ol' six-guns

This was picked up in the late spring of '81 for the cover of the Yipster Times -- or, the Overthrow, as it was renamed in early '80, to commemorate the fall of the Shah Of Iran. This, in my opinion, wasn't such a hot move as even though the Shah was walking scum who got what he deserved, his replacement by an opportunist gang of theocrats wasn't exactly what everybody was hoping for. Besides, I thought, Overthrow just didn't have the same kind of upbeat, laid-back "ring" as the name Yipster Times. I thought Overthrow sounded like the name of a 'zine put out by the Maoist International types, or the Spartacists, or one of those other teeth-grinding vanguardist outfits.

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Missile Defense

Finally on a roll at the Yipster Times. Before you start laughing, 13.9% was a ball-buster for a mortgage in 1981, at least as I recall -- even for the "fixer-upper" portrayed below. This was about the time that the legendary Largest Arms Buildup Since The First Cold War was being cranked up, about the time the air-traffic controllers' union was busted, and real wages first began its long, slow slide into the toilet.


Our "leaders" were hitching us back up to the war machine, our wages were hitting the dumper, but at least the goddamn' Rooskies couldn't get us.

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Rise, and Be Healed!

During my last two years of college, one of the things my roommate (the other cartoonist for the campus weekly) and I enjoyed most on Sunday mornings was bong hits and coffee for breakfast while watching the local TV evangelists for cheap laffs -- TV evangelists were funny back then -- while waiting for the local Sunday morning Tarzan Film Festival for even more cheaper laffs (a lot of local channels were running Tarzan movies on late Sunday mornings back then; what was the deal with that?).

The biggest hit around our dorm was a guy with a pompadour a mile high and a pastel blue suit (that looked like he'd stolen it from the local news anchorman) who broadcast out of Pulaski, VA -- my bud and I went to Radford College, in the city (for down there) of Radford, VA, just across the river and down the road a piece -- who used to "heal" people on the air, usually wheelchair-bound, deaf, mute, and gullible (interesting, he never did have any blind people on that program). He'd gibber a bunch of phrases strung together as if on heroin, top it off with a little "in Jesus' name, out, thou (insert affliction), OUT!", and he'd smack some deaf/mute kid in the forehead and push him back onto the deacons. They'd stand the poor sucker back up, and the preacher would snap his fingers around the kid's ears and say "say 'thank you, Jesus'", and the kid would offer up some barely-intelligible groaning and the preacher would exclaim, "ohh, isn't it wonderful?"; the audience would burst into applause and "amens" and my roommate and I would laugh so hard we shot bongwater out of our noses...

...all in the cause of satirical and artistic inspiration, of course.


So, after a few months of this, I finally start wondering... why is it always the forehead? No matter what the affliction -- not just deafness, but paralysis, arthritic limbs, asthma -- Pompadour Boy would always smack his marks... uh, faithful ...on the friggin' forehead! Here, in another early Yipster Times piece, I imagine the day that Reverend Pastel is challenged to heal hemorrhoids on his program. A cheap gag, I know, but I learned early on that good execution can often save a really lame gag. It sure did here; I mean, it did get into the Yipster Times.

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Separation of Church'n'State

Ahh, the re-emergence of conservatism. Morning in America. A great time to be an American, as long as you were rich, well-connected, and/or a raving religous freak -- like the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, VA (creepily, right near where I went to college) who suddenly was a nationwide rock'n'roll star who pissed on the separation of Church and State the First Amendment, and who was insisting that "what Jesus would do" would be to build a couple of new aircraft carriers and an orbital missile defense system and station a naval task force in the Persian Gulf...

thatsallfolks550wThis piece states what I think Jesus would've done, which, in keeping with proper conservative fiscal policy, would be to save a buttload of cash by converting all those cute little old Baptist churches out there with those cute little old steeples into missile silos, as long as we were in the process of bringing God back to government.

Seriously, though... could you imagine being in your pew one Sunday morning when the klaxons go off in town and the preacher unlocks the cover on the firing button and cuts that sucker loose? It'd probably look like that one scene in one of the early Planet Of The Apes sequels, which sucked (but then, all sequels suck, pretty much), but had this one memorable scene where a bunch of second-generation mutant survivors are in a makeshift church where there's a single, unfired, loaded missile launcher at the pulpit; all the "congregation" are singing this nasty discordant hymn, and the "minister" finishes the service by mashing the "launch" button. Well, that one scene was really cool -- even though the rest of it sucked -- and, anyway, that's what it'd look like.

That's all, folks.

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