Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chip Bok: This Guy Gets His Own Blog?

The BJ has a new feature: a blog by editorial cartoonist – and Reason Magazine moonlighter – Chip Bok. Draw me a frowny face.

Granted Bok’s politics are not my politics and granted it’s hard to laugh with the other side, but the guy just isn’t funny. On those rare occasions where I agree with his take, he’s still not funny. For example, check this cartoon about the Miers nomination. Or this one about Cindy Sheehan. Laughing yet?

Contrast that last cartoon with this excerpt from a George Will editorial around the same time.

Many warmhearted and mildly attentive Americans say the president should have
invited Sheehan to his kitchen table in Crawford for a cup of coffee and a
serving of that low-calorie staple of democratic sentimentality -- "dialogue."

Since her first meeting with the president, she has called him a
"lying bastard," "filth spewer," "evil maniac," "fuehrer" and the world's
"biggest terrorist" who is committing "blatant genocide" and "waging a nuclear
war" in Iraq . . . it is difficult to imagine how the dialogue would get going.
He: "Cream and sugar?"
She: "Yes, please, filth-spewer."

OK, that’s funny.

Bok’s blog consists of him commenting on his cartoons and leaving room for comments. Now that’s funny – unintentionally but still. Chip doesn’t exactly traffic in subtlety. We don’t need tips for limning his sledgehammer witticisms. What do you think the comment on this cartoon would be? “I wanted to suggest that people who question in any way any part of the war on terror are morons. In case you didn’t get that.” The BJ’s teaser says “the only thing better than a Bok cartoon is a Bok cartoon with commentary;” I say the only thing less necessary than a Bok cartoon is a Bok cartoon with Cliff’s Notes.

As for the comments, live in fear. Given the way the news forum has been overrun by playground bully Freepers, the comments in an already right-leaning BJ blog will be singularly dispiriting.

All in all, I gotta ask, why Bok? The best newspaper-based blogs use the technology to build a community and generate an ongoing conversation between the journalist and audience. That sort of conversation is the essence of Mike Needs’ relationship with his audience. Betty Lin-Fisher (who is a friend) has a similar thing going. Either one would do great with a blog. (Note to self -- talk to Betty.)

On the other hand, those people have to actually put in time on the job. If my only responsibility was coming up with a pat right wing bon mot and risibly illustrating it, I would probably be good for more than one or two posts a day.