Friday, March 13, 2009

Quarter Pounder (part 1 of 2)

This week, there's couple calamity in Cajun country, and our mocha Mandingo has to do what a man has to do when he and his guy friends motor toward a Gaelic festival.

Jiminy Cricket! What an awesome city, Dianne!

I can’t wait to get out and see it! Did you pick up breakfast, hon?

Yep: Beignets and coffee—black, like I like my woman.

Ha, ha … You so crazy.

And I bought you a little souvenir.

… Uh, Cal, honey … what is this?

It’s called a Big Lip Doll! A local New Orleans artist sells them … a real throwback!

Well … it is that.

It just goes to show how culturally rich this city is! Come on, let’s eat so we can—

So this artist, he’s … being ironic, I take it?

Like, how?

Like he’s making these to commemorate how far we’ve come in the struggle for civil rights.

Hmph … nom nom nom … I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way.

I mean, this artist is black, right?

No, white guy. Great painter. He sells prints of these exaggeratedly featured, bare-chested black men playing music, engaged in sports, or otherwise performing in some capacity.

You know, that’s kind of problemati—

Oh, and here! I also thought you might like this.

… Um, voodoo??

Yeah, I figured it’d help you reconnect with your African heritage, with your black magic roots!

OK, see, Cal … This is what I’m talking about when I tell you that you’re caricaturing me.

What, hon?

You’ve made me into a cartoon! You’re viewing me through the same anti-black racist cultural lens perpetuated by the entertainment industry. I might as well be ... Scooby-Doo to you!

... Scooby Scooby-Doo, where are you? We need some help from you now …

Cal, I’m being serious—

You know we got a mystery to solve; oh, Scooby-Doo, we’re ready for your act …


Don’t hold back!

CAL!!! OK, see, this is what I’m talking about when I say you zone out into La-la Land every time I want to have a frank discussion about race.

OK, Dianne, fine. I apologize. But let’s discuss this later, huh? The day’s getting on without us.

… Oh, alright.

Now if we hustle, we can still make it to the Step ‘n’ Fetch outdoor musical theater production of “Mammy Sho’ ‘No How T’ Make Dem Sweet Potato Pies.”

I thought we were going to check out the Black History Museum.

Oh, but why look at exhibits when we can see black history in action! Look, the show stars timeless legends such as Uncle Remus, King Zulu, Little Black Sambo, and many more!

… You … you … can’t be serious …



If you go, I’ll buy you an Afro pick.

I’m leaving.

But Dianne, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to something like this without you!

I wonder why.

With you by my side, every time I laugh at one of those ol’ Dixie wisecracks or slapstick scenes of black buffoonery, I’m content in the knowledge that because my girlfriend is black, I can’t be racist!

Bye, Cal.

But … without you I won’t even be able to walk the streets in this city without feeling insecure about my potential latent racial prejudices. Aunt Jemima postcards are posted in virtually every storefront window!

Oh, that must be so hard for you to deal with.

But, but … without you I feel trapped in this very hotel room! How am I supposed to know whether I should take offense to the minstrelized rendition of the black Cajun chef in the gaudy oil painting on wall?

What does your conscience tell you, Cal?

Jiminy Cricket, Dianne! Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually consulted my feelings??

Gee, Cal, that makes me feel special.

I’ve been taught since childhood that if I unquestioningly ape and parrot social cues—especially those of ostensibly learned white subcultures—I’ll never in my adult life have to navigate the gray mists of moral uncertainty.

And that should I ever come across anything racial in nature without having a prescribed reaction to said thing handy, I should mechanically turn off to it, label it as simply “ethnic drivel,” and march expeditiously, feigning self-righteous certitude, out of the room.

Sigh ... And so it goes.


Meanwhile ...

So Jared, your wife plans this mancation every year?

Yep, every Christmas there’s an envelope under the tree with a confirmation for a phat hotel suite—booked and paid for—in some phat location.

And we all just pitch in for gas, food, and liquor.

… And women. Heh heh heh.

… Excuse me?

Oh, he’s just kidding, Beau … Larry, cut the crap!

Yeah, that first year in Charleston—Mm, mm, mm … They’ve got four whole pages of strippers in the Yellow Pages … Four pages!

Larry, we talked about this, dude … He’s just pulling your leg, Beau. Don’t mind hi—

And that second year in Vegas, well … I’ll just say what goes down in Vegas, lives on in perpetuity in the mind!

… as well as the loins.

Charley! Shut him up, will you? Huh, huh … That Larry’s such a kidder, Beau.

Hey, Larry, chill out, man. You know what Jared said about Beau.

What, exactly, did Jared say about me?

Sigh … Look, Beau, you being a copyeditor or whatever for the local newspaper now …

Reporter, actually.

… Having a readership of a handful of, you know, several tens of townspeople and all …

And seeing as how Jessica, my wife, uses pages of the Morning Timber to wrap deliveries of her specialty hand-crafted soaps …

He’s afraid you’re going to squeal about the mancation in one of your articles.


Jessica makes her own soap?

Yeah, dawg; she’s for real … Her “Mahogany Essences” bar is off the chain.

It’s just that if Jessica were to read about what goes on—

Spill it, already! What exactly is so nefarious about these trips?

Well … we are headed to New Orleans.

… for St. Patty's Day.

But you told me the hotel reservation was in Galveston, Texas!

… It is.

Jessica always books a hotel room at the beach during the winter.

It’s supposed to keep us out of trouble. Heh heh heh.

Sip sip

Heh heh heh.

Maybe it’d be best if I just got out now and caught a bus back—


We’ve already crossed the Louisiana border … the Point of No Return!

Says who?

Says the blood pact we all took before we left.

I didn’t—

Oh, no? Remember pricking your finger on my suitcase handle before leaving? Remember washing your hands with Jessica’s special, homemade “Lava” soap?

There wasn’t bloo—

Oh, but there was.

Dern blood pacts … How do you think Jared talked me into mowing his lawn in the nude last summer?

Because you’re an exhibitionist libertarian who likes to drink?

Sip sip ... ‘Tis true, ‘tis true.

Is it getting hot in here to anyone else?

Larry! Keep your clothes ON!!

At least until we get to Bourbon Street.

You guys are insane!

Speaking of that blood pact, I hope you’ve all had your tetanus shots.


Because [jerk] I’ve been feeling [spasm] kind of [cringe]




Lol, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Sigh.

Heh heh heh.

It’s rabies.

To be continued on 3/20!!


Vanessa said...

I sense an imminent rendezvous.

Jackson Brown said...

:-) An imminent rendezvous that has yet to be written or illustrated. Uungh, it'll get done.

btw, those Big Lip Dolls ... they're real.

And interestingly, the artist doesn't feature them on his website, just on ebay--and in his New Orleans store, of course. Too controversial, perhaps?

Dude's artwork is great, but those dolls ... hmmmm

Abdel Shakur said...

"I’ve been taught since childhood that if I unquestioningly ape and parrot social cues—especially those of ostensibly learned white subcultures—I’ll never in my adult life have to navigate the gray mists of moral uncertainty."

You have no conscience. You're definitely a racist.

Jackson Brown said...

Automatons. Wooden bodies. Pinocchios. :-)

And that's not to say that members of minority groups don't follow "scripts," as well. In fact, to a certain extent, one's capacity for survival now depends on how much and how well one is able or willing to suspend one's conscience for the good of a larger instistitution. It's when racism is an intrinsic part of that larger institution that a problem arises.

And this fact complicates the issue of "blame," seeing as how this willful ignorance is a function of personal survival. Hopefully in this week's comic (as well as in previous ones) and in ones to come, the narrative has addressed and will address racism as not simply a problem in and of itself but also as symptomatic of a larger problem with how we collectively (and individually) create and perpetuate problematic terms for our own survival.

Macon D said...

I see you've sharpened your skewers. Nice and sharp.

Especially good line here, though of a different sort:

You’ve made me into a cartoon!

Heh! More meta in the mix, please.

I am not Star Jones said...

I want more! Please give me more!
I came here via Stuff White People Do and I'm glad.

Jackson Brown said...

Thanks for visiting!

Here's a link to one of my personal favorites, until I can produce a new comic for next week. :-)

Shawna said...

Reading this in conjunction with the pamphlet " Teaching Young Children to Resist Bias: What Parents Can Do" is certianly . . . illuminating.

What do you say about the social scripts for those of us who walk such a fine line that we're adopted into whatever group, minority or majority, we happen to be spending our time with? To be told you ARE what what everyone else is makes it hard to define the self or assume knowledge of other. But if you assume there is no other, you're a faker. If you assume everyone is other, you're a hater.

Would love to see that addressed here. :) Please, create a social script for me :P.

Jackson Brown said...

Sounds like a great idea for a comic!

I have a two-parter coming up soon that addresses something sorta along these lines; I still have to write the second half, so maybe I'll be able to incorporate some of the ideas you're talking about.

Ellen said...

I think Jared's wife is probably giving him a lump of coal this year.

Jackson Brown said...

lol, yeah ... the real-life mancations are far tamer in comparison, I promise. :)