Showing posts with label Peter Bagge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Bagge. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Founding Father's Funnies by Peter Bagge, Joanne Bagge

Rating: WARTY!

This is a day late in celebration of Independence Day. I was otherwise occupied yesterday, and no, that does not mean I was laid-out drunk somewhere! I can't remember the last time I was drunk, but then probably, neither can you!

Why this was titled using the word 'funnies' is a mystery to me because it wasn't even remotely funny. I think it's meant to hark after the Sunday papers "funnies" but I find those tedious, so maybe I should have left this one on the library shelf? Too late! I read it. Or some of it. It wasn't appealing enough to read it all.

It was a series of riffs off of supposed historical, but purely fictional events, describing how the founding fathers did this, that, and the other thing - mostly the other thing in fact. I'm surprised they didn't have George Washingtooth busting his cherry. Actually that might have been funny. You could make jokes about his teeth having a woodie while he wasn't even able to get his pinnace across the Poontang!

I'm equally surprised that idiot Ben Franklin wasn't flying a kite in a thunderstorm. Folks, that doesn't mean he's a genius, it means he's a moron - an idle tinkerer with far too much time on his hands. These days he'd be called a slacker, but because he lived two hundred and fifty years ago, he's labeled a genius? Go figure. But thankfully he was absent - at least in that scenario.

The graphic novel was supposed to illustrate how amusing these things were, but the things were simply not amusing, and while the illustration was competent the emphasis was more on ill than patent, so it wasn't that great. This meant that there was neither the written word nor the fine art to entertain, and this book definitely needed one or the other. In the absence of both, I sure can't recommend it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge

Title: Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story
Author: Peter Bagge
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Rating: WORTHY!

This amazing graphic novel relates the true story of Margaret Sanger, who has to be, by anyone's definition, a strong female character - and one who happens to be real. She wasn't a saint by any means, but she did devote a long and successful life to women's issues and brought real changes. And BTW - that image on the cover isn't an invention....

The graphic novel follows her life pretty closely, beginning with her youth - the sixth of eleven children born of a mom who had been pregnant no less than eighteen times, and who was slowly dying from tuberculosis, a pernicious disease which claimed many victims, some of whom were famous, such as pretty much the entire Brontë family, Erwin Schrödinger, John "Doc" Holliday, Anton Chekhov, Frédéric Chopin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ho Chi Minh, Simón Bolívar, Desmond Tutu, Voltaire, and so on. Not everyone who contracted it died from it. Both Tom Jones and Ringo Starr had TB as children, for example, but they, like Sanger, have lived to a ripe old age.

Margaret Sanger was born om the same year as the Battle of Rorke's Drift (1879) as Margaret Louise Higgins. Her mother died when Margaret was still a child. She was put through school by her older sisters. She married at 23, but her new home in the suburbs burned down and she and her husband moved to New York City where she joined the New York Socialist Party, and began training as a nurse. Her experiences brought her face to face with what can only be described as the horror of being a woman in a large city in the Edwardian era.

Thus began her fight to establish birth control - something which was an uphill battle for years, because the men who held the reins were insensitive morons. She began writing columns for a magazine named "New York Call" discussing sex education under the banners: "What Every Girl Should Know", and "What Every Mother Should Know". With these she ran into trouble with the US post office which considered sex education to be an obscenity, and would seize anything that was put into the mail on this topic! Can you believe this crap?

Disgusted and outraged by the plight of women and the intransigence of the powers-that-be, Sanger started her own monthly newsletter called "The Woman Rebel", which used the controversial catch-phrase: "No Gods, No Masters", and presenting birth control as a free-speech issue. Indicted in 1914 for violating obscenity laws for mailing this newsletter, Sanger went on the run for a year, fleeing to Canada and then to England where she met Havelock Ellis. Meanwhile her husband was convicted of handing out obscene material in an entrapment, and he spent thirty days in jail!

Traveling in Europe, Sanger learned about diaphragms from the Dutch back in the US, she opened a opened a family planning and birth control clinic in Brooklyn in 1916 for which she was arrested. The following year, she was convicted, the judge ruling that women did not have "the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception."! Seriously? What a dimwit. This did not stop her from launching a new monthly magazine titled "Birth Control Review" that year.

Note that Sanger was not in favor of abortion. She was only in favor of preventing the circumstances arising in which a woman might be forced to consider such a thing - something which the modern church seems to find problematical for reasons which can only be described as one of the mysteries of religion. Sanger also had some things in common with the eugenicists, although she wasn't a complete radical. She believed in preventing birth of those who might be considered "unfit", which in some cases would include compulsory sterilization. Again, Sanger was a woman, but that doesn't mean she was a saint!

Sanger was full of contradictions. Even as she was took the lead in opening a birth control clinic in Harlem staffed by black doctors, she was also known for her observation that aboriginal Australians were "just a step higher than the chimpanzee". So: far from perfect.

Even so, the good that she did far outweighed her misguided views, and her legacy has been a lasting one. Peter Bagge has done a huge service in producing this graphic novel, which is brilliantly illustrated by him, amusingly narrated by him, and true to life. I urge you to read it, and thereby to never forget this battle which had to be won to help get women to where they are today: high on the foothills of a peak which still has to be climbed.