Influence Numero Uno, 1960s Style

R. Crumb Was My Guru in Dem Days

The 1960s were a difficult time for me. I was all set to start graduate school in film history and criticism in September of 1966, when, quite suddenly, I was in a coma at Fairview General Hospital, with my body surrounded by ice to bring my temperature down. It was then that my pituitary tumor decided to make a major incursion on my optic nerve and brain that almost carried me into the next world. Somehow, I struggled back to consciousness, received the last sacraments of the Catholic Church (the aptly named Extreme Unction), and was ready to remove a “cyst” (that’s what the doctor called it) from my pituitary.

Did I even know what the pituitary gland was? Not really. Within a few days, my brain was hinged back to allow a surgical suction device to remove the enlarged and inflamed gland. When later I saw my neurosurgeon and asked how big the tumor was, he answered, “About the size of a grapefruit.”

When I finally made it to Los Angeles after Christmas in 1966, I noticed some changes to my ways of thinking:

  1. I felt that because of my weird ten years of illness that I was, for all intents and purposes, from Mars.
  2. Quite suddenly, I lost my faith in religion.
  3. I found myself with a really weird sense of humor.

Self Portrait of Cartoonist R. Crumb

Since I was now in Los Angeles, I drifted toward certain local influences, such as The Los Angeles Free Press, an underground newspaper that mirrored my own sense of disillusionment. Then I made the discovery of R. Crumb, whose Zap Comics, Fritz the Cat, and other series were required reading. There was Mister Natural, Flakey Foont, and a whole galaxy of characters. Admittedly, there was a lot of misogynistic sexuality, which was a Crumb trademark, but that was the way I was feeling  about myself. It rubbed me the wrong way that women seemed to lie so casually and hurtfully. It was years before I understand that was a defense mechanism from weirdos like me.

Some of Crumb’s Early Misogyny

Oddly, I never outgrew my admiration of Crumb’s work. I no longer accept all of Crumb’s own neuroses and psychoses, but I believe he was a great cartoonist, and that his work will be remembered long after I am gone.

 

Enroute to Infamy

Mr. Fish Cartoon of a Narcissistic Trump Taking a Selfie

I couldn’t resist sharing this cartoon with you of our narcissistic Presidentissimo. As his enemies close in on him, he becomes ever more objectionable. Does he think his base will protect him? I don’t think his base is growing at all.

 

Jim Carrey Takes on the Trump Troll

I Scream, You Scream …

Actor Jim Carrey looks to be on the point of starting a brilliant new career, as an Anti-Trump Twitter Troll. The tweet that went with the above picture is:

Jim Carrey

@JimCarrey

 Dear Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery @NPG, I know it’s early but I’d like to submit this as the official portrait of our 45th President, Donald J. Trump. It’s called, ‘You Scream. I Scream. Will We Ever Stop Screaming?’

Even more artistic is this one about General Kelly:

 

Guess Who

The accompanying tweet reads as follows:

Jim Carrey

@JimCarrey

 All who enter his crooked carnival with integrity are doomed to leave without it. General Kelly has been trampled by his own compromise. Who dares be the next to ride the carousel of fools?! Muahahaha!!!

Finally, I couldn’t pass up this attack on the current Speaker of the House of Representatives:

Paul Ryan

And the tweet thereunto appertaining:

Jim Carrey

@JimCarrey

 Tone deaf Paul Ryan brags that his tax bill is going to make low income voters an extra $1.50 a week! That’s almost enough for a box of Band-Aids. Who needs healthcare? WAKE UP REPUBLICAN BASE! You are parked on the tracks, cheering for the train that’s about to run you down. ;^P

You can see all the pictures by clicking here.

When Betty Boop Was a Dog

Wanna Be a Member? Wanna Be a Member?”

“Wanna Be a Member? Wanna Be a Member?”

Today, Martine and I went to see a program entitled “The Greatest Cartoons Ever!” at the Alex Theater in Glendale. It was the 6th Annual show of cartoons put on by the Alex Film Society. Most of the cartoons were outstanding, but the one that caught my eye was a pre-Code black and white cartoon released in 1931 by the Fleischer Studios. Directed by Dave Fleischer, it starred Bimbo the dog and a very early Betty Boop.

Bimbo is trucking down the street when he falls through an open manhole, slides down a ramp into a strange kind of funhouse, and is accosted (see picture) by a bunch of strange members of a secret society who ask him: “Wanna be a member? Wanna be a member?” When Bimbo loudly answers, “No,” he is sent further into the funhouse where there are various life-threatening traps including knives, an anvil-like device full of sharp blades, and other threatening traps.

Several times, he is asked by the members of the secret society whether he wants to become a member. Each time he vociferously refuses. Finally, one of the members takes off his costume and is revealed to be Betty Boop, which makes Bimbo change his tune. He becomes a member, and all the garbed members are revealed to be Betty Boops.

There is one difference, however. Betty and her backup dancers all have floppy dog ears. No matter: Bimbo is now delighted to join with such “pips.”

If you have six minutes, you can see the cartoon on YouTube. It’s pretty wild.