Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

On Outrage

Tim Kreider has a great column on nytimes.com about the good and bad that comes with cartooning while outraged. Kreider is the creator of the weekly strip "The Pain, When Will It End?" which he stopped drawing this year.

Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure. We prefer think of it as a disagreeable but fundamentally healthy involuntary reaction to negative stimuli thrust upon us by the world we live in, like pain or nausea, rather than admit that it’s a shameful kick we eagerly indulge again and again.

Outrage can make for great cartoons. When you look back on them years later, as Kreider notes, they can appear shrill. You've calmed down since then. The immediacy wears off over time. But this medium is about timeliness and the times often call for outrage.

I'm always negotiating the balance between proper anger and humor in my work. Everyone has their own happy spot and I'm usually satisfied with the result (while simultaneously being unsatisfied with my work, of course). On one end of the spectrum you have someone like Mr. Fish, who draws uncompromising cartoons that often eschew humor to make political points. The other end is overrun with substanceless, witless gag cartoons. Trying to focus the outrage into solid work doesn't appear to be a concern for as many cartoonists as it should be.
07.15.2009 |



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