We're Still Hiring

About this time, the implosion of the Dot-Com Bubble was really starting to ripple through the economy, causing an uptick in unemployment and a "recession-ette" -- nothing like the massive Fail we're experiencing now, of course, but still quite a jolt at the time.

In the midst of all this was the run-up to Iraq War v2.0 -- batshit-crazy Neocons throwing absurd lies and fabrications at the wall in hopes something will stick, craven Democrats fighting each other to be first in line to support Bush's lunacy, and an increase in aggressive military recruiting tactics -- i.e. stalking high-school kids coming out of class or at the shopping mall, threatening kids with imprisonment in Guantanamo when they attempted to back out of enlistment.


In this piece, I'm sort of wondering aloud about whether or not the Neocon Mob were actually banking on the increase in unemployment to supply them with the volunteer cannon fodder they needed to properly stomp on Iraq and steal its resources and destroy its culture. Need a job, kid? No prob, dude; the Army is still hiring!

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"Pre-Emption" Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

This was my first -- and so far, only -- "made for TV" poster, a "throwaway" idea that'd been rattling around in my head for a while, which I drew for the benefit of a crew from Swedish Public Television (STV) who'd come to town to interview me in my studio and to show my posse and I out for an evening's wheatpasting in the wake of my big bust-out in the Washington Post.


This particular piece was done during the run-up to Iraq War v2.0, in which President Chimp was pushing the doctrine of "pre-emptive war", which was basically the foreign-policy version of those scenes in old Three Stooges comedies where Moe bashes Larry upside the head from clear out of nowhere; Larry asks "hey, what'd you do that for?", and Moe says "that's for what you were thinking!"

I've chosen not to post the video of the actual STV segment here, as due to my nervousness about public speaking, my studio interview segment shows me saying "like" and "you know" in every other sentence, totally going against everything I was taught by my tenth-grade English teacher and my college Oral Interpretation teacher with regard to proper public diction and the avoidance of "vocal tics" (which is what "like" and "you know" are) in public speaking. STV actually portrayed me and my work in a very positive light as part of "the other America" in the Bush Era, but I was still terribly embarassed at what a bashful public speaker I am... like, you know...right?

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Cover Art, The Progressive, October 2002


After the Washington Post feature and the Swedish Public TV interview, this pretty much capped off what I liked to call my "Elvis Year" -- at least until '06, when I got to go on a couple of right-wing talk-radio interviews, where I had the pleasure of making the hosts crap their pants while asking me why I hated America as a result of my participation in the Holocaust Cartoon Competition.

Thankyuh, thankyuhvurymuch.


"Poster Boy of Protest", in the Washington Post

washpoststyleSep2702_650wFor a number of years in high school and college, one of my big dreams was to take over Herblock's job at the Washington Post -- or, perhaps, to hit the front page in the Post's Style/Arts section. Needless to say, as my work took a more radical turn, I realized that my chances of making the Arts page -- let alone becoming the successor to Herblock -- were slim at the very best, and I got a little more realistic and focused my attention to creating cover cartoons for the Yipster Times or trying to break into High Times or Rolling Stone.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself the subject of a front-page "personality profile"-type story appearing on the front page of the Post Style section a good twenty-odd years after my giving up on the idea of ever breaking into the Post at all. The Post had done a couple of previous Style profiles on local antiglob/antiwar movement figures, and apparently, now, it was my turn; it turns out that a certain Post reporter who'd been covering the local movements since Seattle had been a fan of my work for quite awhile, ever since it began appearing with regularity, wheatpasted on DC's streets beginning with the original "Blood For Oil" series during Iraq War I.

It was with a mixture of surprise and ironic glee, then, that I found myself and my work "writ large" on the front page of the lifestyle section of a major US city daily, getting top billing over -- of all people -- Catherine Deneuve (ooh la-la) and Robert Duvall. I was even more surprised to see myself getting an even-handed, quite positive treatment, as I was worried at how I'd be portrayed in print after seeing how the op-ed columnists were savaging the anti-globalization movements ever since Seattle/WTO and A16.

Story by David Montgomery; photographs by Andrea Bruce Woodall.
Adobe pdf file, 4.3mb


Strike for Statehood!

Time for another parody of an iconic American image, this time the famous photograph of the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima island during WWII. Once again, it's not like it's been done before, but like all the great Renaissance painters doing their own versions of the Annunciation and Crucifixion, I decided it was time for me to do my own version of Iwo Jima.


This piece advertised the planned "Peoples' Strike" focused on the residents of Washington, DC who, the organizers of the "strike" assumed, had reached the point where things had gotten bad enough to spark a mass general strike to coincide with the IMF/World Bank meetings. Sadly, somehow, despite the loss of the city's only public hospital, the closure of homeless shelters and the sale of schools and the property under them to condo developers, many residents of DC chose not to join the "strike" as apparently things still hadn't gotten bad enough -- either that or, as I suspect, they were awaiting permission from the local Democratic Party to organize and rise up on their own behalf.

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Fall 2002 IMF/WB "Map"

peoplestrike_color650wPart of the '02 IMF/World Bank festivities was a planned widespread, networked civil disobedience around the city of Washington, DC, which organizers hoped would include major highways and subway lines in and out of the city. In order to dramatize the organizers' intent, this poster depicted the entire city of DC squeezed and choked at the various intersections of highways and rapid-transit lines -- or, resembling some kind of weird alien bodily organ, depending on how much Star Trek you've watched.

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Fall 2002 IMF/World Bank Series

By this time, the approach of summer meant one thing: time to get going on the posters for the Fall World Bank/IMF Mobilization! A more militant local outfit, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, was taking a large part in this year's mobe as many in the movement were becoming dissatisfied with the more "moderate" position of the large NGOs such as Global Exchange, and DC's own Mobilization For Global Justice (originally formed to organize the A16 WB/IMF actions in 2000).


As was customary, my posters for the IMF/WB Mobe sought to be simple, easily-read portrayals of the issues our movement was addressing; in addition, this year I also added a series of images depicting our movement's vision for a peaceful and just society, to shut up all those conservative wags out there predictably whining "we all know what you're against, but what are you for?"

Complete set, Adobe pdf file, 3m


Pig Nation

In the midst of all the fear and paranoia following 9/11, George W. Chimp somehow thought it a good idea to show The Terrorists™ how courageous we all were by getting out and going shopping, and actually went on TV, looked us all in the eye, and told us that. That crass, shallow admonishment remained seared into my brain for some months before finally emerging as a fully-formed inspiration in the wake of the release of the latest Star Wars "prequel" with its attendant marketing blitz of toy tie-ins and Star Wars-themed McDonald's happy meals.


The original idea, "Pig Nation", came from Abbie Hoffman's famous remarks regarding the keep-up-with-the-Joneses, ticky-tacky suburban house-dwelling, station wagon-driving middle-class America of the late 1960s. It seemed an even more appropriate and apt description of the modern-day McMansion-dwelling, blockbuster movie-going, SUV-driving America of the early 21st Century.

This piece also appeared in Adbusters Magazine's annual "big ideas" issue in 2005.

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Afghan Women's Liberation

Needless to say, the media environment was one of rah-rah flag-kissing zaniness. So, it was with little surprise that I opened the Washington Post's World News section to find a steaming heap of blather that had to be some of the worst "safari journalism" I'd yet encountered, at least in the Post. With the predictable headline starting with "Lifting The Veil..." in what had to be the most cynical ever attempt to rope Liberals into supporting the brutality, the article attempted to indicate that one of the major "war aims" of the US was to restore "women's rights" in Afghanistan, citing as "success" the fact that the beauty parlors had re-emerged from underground, and that the local video-rental shops had re-opened. Never mind that the Taliban were still forcibly keeping girls from going to school, or forcibly keeping them shrouded in burquas, at least the women of Afghanistan could go out and have their nails done, or rent the entire first season of Sex And The City on high-def DVD.


This piece attempts a more accurate portrayal of the state of "liberation" of Afghan women.

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What Has Ariel Sharon Learned from the Holocaust?

The State of Israel -- headed at the time by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, architect of the 1982 brutalization of Lebanon as Israeli Defense Minister and quite possibly with the largest overall girth of any world leader -- was going on another one of its recent periodic ass-stomping parties in Palestine, this time directed at the towns of Ramallah and Jenin. It was starting to look more and more like the Nazis moving into Warsaw every day, to the point where the comparison was far more accurate than your average overblown "Godwin Rule" Nazi analogy rant on Usenet. While comparisons to Warsaw 1940 and 1960's South Africa are today made by everybody and their cat -- including former US President Jimmy Carter -- in early '02, with the big Crusade still going on in Afghanistan, to dare compare Israeli State behavior in Ramallah and Jenin to the Nazi occupation of Warsaw was taking a huge-ass chance not only with the rightist/zionist factions among Jewish America, but with the then-highly intimidated US Left as well.


A lot of folks here will also remember this piece in the context of the infamous Danish cartoon brouhaha because this fracas spawned the now-legendary Holocaust Cartoon Competition sponsored by Hamshahri, the major Iranian daily paper out of Teheran. As you recall, the contest called on cartoonists around the world to submit Holocaust-themed cartoons as a challenge to people who claim to support free speech to put their money where their mouths are. Iranian president Ahmadinejad, himself a Holocaust denier, was expecting to see cartoons denying the Holocaust; what he got instead was an outpouring of cartoons critical of US/Israeli policy on Palestine, cartoons which compared the Israeli aggression in Palestine to the Holocaust — cartoons which, by their very nature, assumed not denial but acknowledgement of the historical fact and reality of the Holocaust. As I recall, there was a grand total of one — count ‘em, one — cartoon actually denying the Holocaust in the entire competition.

I, along with five other Americans, were participants in this contest and exhibition, to which I submitted the cartoon you see above, which basically asked what Prime Minister Sharon and others of a generation of Israeli leadership old enough to have lived through the Holocaust, exactly what they’d leared from it; my own answer was that they’d learned precisely the wrong things, as both history and recent events had shown they’d become that which they themselves hated generations ago.

Needless to say, I caught a shitstorm of howling criticism from not only the reactionary right-wing Zionist factions, but the reactionary US right wing, in the form of interviews I gave on a couple of right-wing talk-radio programs whose hosts bitched and fumed at me for being “anti-Semetic”, when anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see that the cartoon was not a slag on Judaism or Jews but a direct, pointed criticism of Israeli state behavior in Palestine. Talk about your great truth beginning as blasphemy; here we are three years later, and everybody from the UN to former US President Jimmy Carter is comparing Israel’s behavior in Palestine to the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, and to South Africa’s apartheid era.

It was tough going for a while, there, but man, it sure is nice to be right.

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