A Lifetime Of Laughs: The Boycott Unity Retrospective.
Immediately following the 2004 Presidential Election, I had what friends and loved-ones would remember as a “freak-out of embarrassing proportions.” The phone was shut off, the CDP went on hiatus and I wore nothing but black to work. I shut the television off; sat down, and thought about all the work I had gone through over the last few months to ensure that what happened… didn’t happen. It was a huge feeling of failure and deflation, like when I got kicked off of the golf team in High School because I was failing Geometry.
I sucked and everyone knew it.
Every day felt like I was drowning in thick gravy, and not the good kind that Grandma used to make. Everyone in Madison walked around town like they had just been punched in the gut. I came to the quick conclusion that me and the Missus didn’t have enough money to leave the country for good, so I settled on the next best thing.
I started a political cartoon.
Boycott Unity was born. If anything, it was a way to cheer myself up, sling some mud and act like I was actually making a difference. I couldn’t draw, and Paint was the only program I was proficient in, so I took pride in the fact that it looked like hell, and just focused on the dialogue.
Boycott Unity centered around 2 main characters. They didn’t have names, and were told apart only by the size of their mouths. The small-mouthed fellow was the self-intelligent liberal. The voice of progress and sarcasm, logic and reason, but always quick to realize his place in the big picture. He knew what was wrong and how to change it, but he normally sunk his energy into things that mattered none to his future. He’s a lot like me.
The larger-mouthed gentleman represented everything that I dislike about the right wing, and everything logical conservatives dislike about the right wing, as well. He talked without thinking, conversed without listening and believed the unbelievable. He was essentially the worst conservative ever; a composite of everything that keeps you from talking to men in suits.
Without question, these characters were satires of both ends of the spectrum. People like this don’t really exist, although everything they said came from somewhere in reality. It just made sense for me to use two political representatives who really had no business giving their opinion. I think that this cartoon summed this mindset up perfectly.
Most of the time, Boycott Unity focused on current events and world happenings. Around the time of the strip, the war in Iraq was picking up more steam and critics, and George Bush was re-elected to office. The debate was hot over the concept of pre-emptive strikes.
Already, people were talking about who would bring the Democrats to glory in 2008.
For about a week, I had a storyline where our Conservative friend attended the President’s inagural ball.
A lot of strips focused on misconceptions we have concerning opposing political parties. The idea that we like to mash together everything we hate about conservatives or liberals and assume that they all think that way is foolish and irresponsible.
As was shown in the 2004 elections, some Liberals take things for granted, they don’t work hard enough to invoke change and they focus too much of their time on things that make no difference whatsoever. This angers me, mainly because I’m living proof. These strips were mostly about how mad I am at myself, because I’m slacking off on doing something important.
I wrote this strip shortly after the death of my Grandfather. It cheered up my family as much as it could have.
Other times, I removed politics entirely from the strip, and just let the characters screw with each other. Every now and again, you had to remember why they enjoyed each other’s company in the first place.
The song he’s singing here is “Mama Said Knock You Out,” by LL Cool J. It’s funnier when you know that going in.
Sometimes, things were written directly out of problems I was having in my own little world. Things like work, relationships and family would eventually make their way into a Boycott Unity cartoon.
Every once in a while, the bad news and mud got so deep I couldn’t help but get serious for a second. Well, you know, as serious as a stick figure can get, I suppose.
This was one of the most commented cartoons I’ve ever done. It generated a lot of positive feedback, and for that I am proud.
Well, this one may have actually received more feedback, now that I think about it.
People always asked me, “why are they friends?” My answer is that they need each other. One can’t exist without the other in the real world, and people often forget that. Everyone needs a counter weight, and everyone needs someone to fight with. Otherwise, the imbalance would destroy them. They knew that they needed each other, and they were willing to accept that.
After about 70 of these little 4-paneled turds, I decided to call it quits. First and foremost, I didn’t like doing them anymore. You’d be absolutely amazed at how much work goes into something as simple as this cartoon. Try creating a few of them, and you’ll drive yourself insane. You’ll try to remember what life was like before you had to make a joke every fourth line of a conversation. I felt like I did what I wanted to do, and it was a good time to knock it off before the strip started to really suck.
Another reason I gave it up was that not a lot of people seemed interested in it. The CDP was getting good traffic, but it was like pulling teeth to get people over to Boycott Unity. I was feeling frustrated, which led to this; one of the last strips I did.
Looking back one year later, I found myself actually enjoying these; probably a little too much. For some reason, I took a lot of pride in these damn things. Once I pulled the plug on the strip, I removed all of the comics from the interweb permanently (until now, of course). Afterwards, a few people told me that they missed them and wanted to see them again, which made me feel fuzzy.
It’s funny how angry I was a year ago. Either that, or it’s sad how jaded I am one year later. People get used to their surroundings, and for better or for worse, that has pretty much happened to me. Sure, the news still makes me sick, I refuse to engage in debates anymore and the Fox News Channel needs a severe keelhauling, but I don’t feel the need to take it to the streets too much anymore. I haven’t given up, I just temporarily forgot what I was fighting for.
I’m not an angry Liberal. I’m not a Conservative hater. I’m a concerned, smart-ass American who can’t draw. As you’ve hopefully noticed, I don’t talk politics on the CDP anymore, because it’s neither the place nor the time for such discussion. Rather, I hope that this entertained you somewhat, and perhaps reminded you of where we have been in the last year.
At the very least, I think they’re pretty funny.