Just to let you know there’s a new Phoenix out.
That’s better. My apologies; following an entry titled ‘Last Post’ with the sudden and total disappearance of this blog may, just possibly, have created a misleading impression. Don’t worry. The blogging will continue until morale improves.
The fact is I’d decided that, as I am pretty much specialising in creating and hosting WordPress sites these days, it was kind of embarrassing that my own blog was still hosted by someone else. Up to now it’s been a free WordPress.com site. This is a fantastic service if you just want to blog, but if you install WordPress on your own server you can create a really capable website. Which is exactly what I’m doing for a lot of people these days – in fact I’m on the verge of officially launching it as a business. More of this… shortly.
Anyway I hit a snag while changing the domain name I.doubt.it to point to the new version, which meant that most readers could see neither. It was a simple problem, but I’d no time to fix it because it happened just before I left on a visit to the Netherlands to see the big Heironymus Bosch exhibition. Of this too I hope to speak in the near future.
But for now, a happy Paddy’s Day to all of you in places where it’s still Paddy’s Day. Here in Ireland it’s been over for some hours, and I’m off to bed.
But there are so many ways it could be worse than that. Worst of all would be a return to power of Fianna Fáil. And the return of Ireland to the zero-sum game that most of last century was wasted on, where people give their loyalty to parties for much the same reasons they give it to football teams.
So I cannot bring myself to vote for the coalition parties just to keep FF out. That would be to join in the zero-sum game. There is a real chance in this election of bringing in a government that includes neither of the big two conservatives, for the first time ever. That would really be something.
Even if it had to include Labour, yes. Indeed that may be their only hope for salvation as a party. (If the question is not theoretical – there will be precious few Labour TDS after this collaboration with the punishment regime.) Their choice will be to join with Sinn Féin and other groups on the (very) broad left, or forever be seen as the condom Fine Gael use when they fuck us.
Second only to the return of FF, the worst possible outcome of this election would be if people believed that the ritual sacrifice of our poor to the austerity gods returned prosperity to the land. In fact our economy is so naked to outside forces that government action has very little to do with its ups and downs – as FG will be only to happy to explain themselves if they’re in power when everything tanks again, in a year or two. So even if you think this is a recovery, it’s not a good reason to reward the parties. They didn’t start it, they can’t keep it going.
The worst outcome wouldn’t be a FF/FG alliance. Sure that wouldn’t be stable – how could it be, when these parties are defined by not being each other? – but it would change the game forever. And it would be so funny.
I think there is a real possibility now of government without FG or FF, and I urge you to vote that way.
But even that isn’t my dream outcome. What I’d really like to see is a government entirely composed of non-party candidates. Ideally, of people who’ve never even stood for election before.
Political experience is what got us where we are now.
A lot has happened since I last wrote. I fell in love, I lost my memory, and I represented my country as a cartoonist at the European Parliament. Had quite a nice Christmas too. I really don’t know how I’ll find time to tell all these stories.
For the meantime, here’s a selection of cartoons I assembled for the Cartooning for Human Rights event:
The Phoenix Annual is out! I have a comic strip in it which attempts to come to terms with what a strange year it’s been.
It’s not really possible.
I’ve a couple of cartoons I like a lot in the current Phoenix. This is my favourite of the ones they didn’t use. You always feel like you’ve done a better quality cartoon if you don’t need any words.
I assume you’ve all come to terms with this story by now. Yes processed meat definitely definitely causes cancer, but… that’s OK for some reason. You can frame it in more or less scary ways. A few years ago I heard one researcher put it this way: “There is no safe dosage for smoked or chemically preserved meat.” In other words, even the smallest amount increases your risk of cancer.
Which is terrifying. It’s only when you look at the actual figures that you get some perspective. I don’t remember them precisely, but the gist was that processed meats take the very small chance you have of contracting bowel cancer, and increase that by a small percentage. So yes, cutting processed meats out of your diet will decrease your risk of getting bowel cancer, but it reduces it from very small to very slightly not as small.
Or put it in another way: Among the reasons for and against meats, be they ethical, environmental, or nutritional, this makes bugger all difference.
The cartoon I admit doesn’t convey all the subtlety of that.
In other cartoon news – there’s something big coming up. I don’t want to talk about it much yet because, well, I guess I’m superstitious. Also, because I can’t really get my head around it yet. More details when I calm down!
That wasn’t even going to be my big news. Last night I drew the first comic strip I did for far too long. It’s for the Phoenix Christmas annual, and damn I like it. I was already fully excited by that, so now I don’t know where I am.
It’s weird how the Pope was fêted in the US almost as a left-wing radical, just because he doesn’t wholly approve of unbridled greed. People, he’s the Pope. He’s head of the vast thing, that does all the things.
I’m lost for words here. The one I did for the current Phoenix probably says it all.