Politics and the profession
posted: January 21, 2007
Drawger recently got a boost in traffic from the right-leaning blog, Little Green Football. Why did the LGF traffic arrive to wander around here? Basically, to bolster their commonly-held view that artists and illustrators, in particular, are afflicted with a severe case of Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS for short). Drawger is singled out by LGF contributors as a case study in examining the disease as it manifests itself in the arts.
The topic in which Drawger came up? An article on the much-debated Call For Entries poster  from the Art Directors Club. LGF's view on the poster? It's supporting evidence that the artistic community damages the USA with a self-loathing liberal agenda. The unquestioned conclusion over at LFG is not so much that the artistic merits of the poster are highly suspect, but that it's content provides conclusive evidence of an out-of-step artist intelligentsia, bent on doing harm our nation.
Within the many comments, "...the makers of images are solidly opposed to the US war effort", fairly well summed up the unified view. "Artists who would be doing posters and other images if this were WWII are today solidly on the other side", was a quote that also got some attention.
It's informative to know how the graphic arts community is perceived in these divisive times. Clearly, the illustration community is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as an active ingredient of the far-left.
Illustrators themselves may see this differently. The profession is largely a "gun for hire" racket, after all. A professional may find themselves working for EXXON one day and SAVE THE FURRY SEALS the next. How an illustrator thinks politically rarely has much to do with paying the bills and taxes.
From an outsiders point of view however, this is clearly not the popular consensus. The left largely embraces the graphics community as their own, while the right generally views the entire enterprise as highly suspect and at the very least, not contributing to solutions.
Is this worth thinking about? LGF clearly has a political agenda that is narrow and not particularly inclusive, or tolerant of dissent. They are not the issue. The widely held perception of the graphics profession on both the left and right is an issue that might need some attention, however, if the profession is to be trusted by all.
SteveBrodner January 21, 2007
Zimm: Artists are extremely sensitive, perceptive people, very in touch with their humanity. It makes sense that these people would be most affected and clearly responsive to injustice and cruelty in the world. They support, overwhelmingly, seeing what people in society can do together to relieve these conditions. There are others who do not. LEFT/RIGHT labels stop us from discussing the real issues. The war, the Katrina response, the shredding of the Constitution were the responsibility of the I Got Mine, Screw You crowd. Let's call them that. I-GMSY's. I believe artists as well as thinking and feeling people everywhere want this gang to get their filthy hands off of the levers of government until they can start caring about something other than their flat screens. There are good Republicans. There are bad Democrats. But all politicians are bad to the extent that we take a back seat in the public arena. BTW, important anti-war march on DC next Sat. Join us and send a message to the Democrats!
Tim O'Brien January 21, 2007
Evidence of this Green Football interest can be seen over at Anita's New Yorker Cover thread on Saunder's Blog.
Leo Espinosa January 21, 2007
I'm freaked out by green footballs flying around. Yikes!
David Gothard January 21, 2007
See what happens when I leave the studio for just one day. Am just now reading Saunder's Anita thread that I'd completely missed. Art Buchwald said his life's only regret was that he never made Nixon's "enemy list". He was told he was not important enough. Well, Drawger, it would seem, has become important enough to be monitored by the neocons. A feather in the cap. DG
dale Stephanos January 21, 2007
So what's the problem? Is there anyone who frequents these parts who disagress that it's packed with lefties? I think, as mentioned somewhere upthread, as hired guns, illustrators, also known as small businessmen/women transcend their politics (well, some of us at least) to participate in the great capitalist engine of America. Maybe picking nits with the NEA grant crowd(I wish) would be more appropriate to their argument. I mean, at least they're getting government money, which the right loves to hate. It seems to me that using the Drawger crowd - which from my sideline view looks to be loaded with some of the industry's top earners - as an example of the "out of step artist intelligentsia" is ignorant. It lumps ya'll in with the "Artists". Which we all know illustrators are not. ;-)
Stephen Kroninger January 21, 2007
Anita Kunz signs her work. I doubt she need take seriously the opinions of a bunch of anonymous soreheads whose only outlet appears to be blogging on obscure right wing websites.
Zimm January 21, 2007
Last summer I got a bunch of kids to pack up school supplies, which I then forwarded to Iraq to be distributed by our armed forces. It was a good thing to do, in my mind. It didn't have anything to do with where we (me and the kids) positioned ourselves on a war we mostly can't comprehend. It was just school supplies for kids that could use them. We didn't stick American flags on the packages. We weren't trying to sell anything. Recently, I've been planning similar projects. For example, I've been imagining a line of humorous note cards, geared towards our service men and women stationed over-seas. A line of cards that folks might be jazzed to send to their hip hop, heavy metal, or indi-rock sons, cousins and friends in the armed forces, that they would really appreciate. For me, these types of projects aren't about left, right, or even center. It's just about trying to help out with reality.
Adam McCauley January 21, 2007
Word, Stephen. I'm all for some dissenting viewpoints, just not anonymous ones. It's meaningless to have a discussion with a phantom. There's a lot to talk about with this crazy situation in the Middle East. As Anita said, her cover is inspiring conversation, which is very good, even more so that a commercial illustrator can have a chance to make some personal observations.
Harry Campbell January 22, 2007
I guess they're looking for caricatures of Hussein with an American boot up his ass, Uncle Sam kicking tail, etc. It's an interesting topic, what some artists did during WW2, all those WB cartoons with strong racial stereotypes, etc. Propaganda? What was different then? We weren't completely righteous, we imprisoned thousands of Japanese Americans etc. I'd like to think if I was alive and working then that I wouldn't have jumped on that band wagon. I'm sure there are some illustrators out there that would do pro American propaganda illustration. I know of at least one Bush supporting right wing-ish illustrator. By the way, I have a flat screen-but I only watch left leaning documentaries, Front line etc.
Robert Saunders January 22, 2007
Good you brought this up, Zimm. I assumed eventully Drawger would draw the attention of right-of-center interests. I generally maintain what I like to think of as a moderate stance to encourage debate by all sides. To me the center holds fast. Reason shouldn't fall victim to ideology. That's my angle, this morning, anyway.