Humour Illustration Politics

Alt-Right, the Comic Strip

This was originally posted over on Medium and a copy of it was moved over here for consolidation purposes in May 2020.

Online last night I saw a bunch of people accusing the left of being bigots for protesting against racist and sexist rhetoric. The argument appears to be that the left are hypocrites for not respecting the freedom of expression of racist, sexist and discriminatory people to be racist, to be sexist, and to discriminate.

At its heart there is a tension here and it’s a tension as old as political theory —that all people should have as much freedom as possible but without compromising the freedom of others. But it’s a tension that we work out over time, in law and in practice. Fundamentally, most on the left have come to the conclusion that stopping people acting in racist, sexist or discriminatory ways results in far more good than harm — a feeling that those who experience sexist, discriminatory or racist abuse seem (for some reason) to feel even more strongly.

Anyway, I find the rhetoric on the alt-right about this stuff beyond offensive and awful — somehow equating threatening to take fundamental rights away from people with protesting about those rights being taken away. And I didn’t quite know how to express my frustration. And weirdly, the best I could come up with was a few short comic strips.

So here they are — five short strips which I think express the absurdity of the hypocrisy and contradiction in the alt-right position. Feel free to use them however you want (as long as you don’t edit the text in them). I’m releasing them under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives International License.

Donald Trump wants to register Muslim Citizens
Donald Trump and the birther myth
Donald Trump discusses grabbing women ‘by the pussy’
Not pretty enough to harass
False statements regarding Mexicans and crime
Advertising Humour

The Gieves & Hawkes Homoerotic Photo Novella…

Wandering through London the other day with an old friend from University, I stumble upon Savill Row and the main London shop for Gieves & Hawkes. After a couple of seconds parsing the adverts I find myself disoriented and confused. They are extraordinarily weird. They have an ostensible father/son theme, but it’s a strange articulation of it. It’s set in weird environments more appropriate for romantic photography and using many of the same icons – the loosely hanging tie, the power differentials of looking and looked at, a rich evening light. After a while I come to view them as a strangely subversive public gay photonovella. I therefore present the four photos that they had in the window—the only four (this is not a case of selective editing)—under the title, The conquests of a Silver Fox and posit that their clothing is now mostly being marketed at older gay men of phenomenal wealth who are looking to buy gifts for their younger male companions. Or at least I’m contending that this reading is at least equally plausible as the father/son reading and that it may be intentional that both can be supported by the same imagery.

Apologies about the reflections in the glass.

Design Humour Life

On Space Art in Sebastopol…

This is so much fun. Where to start? Okay. So in September last year a few of us went to the O’Reilly FOO Camp. It’s an invitation-only event in Sebastopol in California where everyone’s expected to present what they’re thinking about or working on and where lots of fascinating conversations happen. It’s an honour to be invited and my favourite event of the year. I wrote about last year’s experience extensively with this post in particularMaps, Invaders, Robots & Throwiesbeing the most directly relevant to what I’m about to show you.

Anyway, one of the fun things that happened over the weekend was that Chris DiBona announced that Google were going to be doing a flyover of the campus and that we should take the opportunity to make some interesting art projects that would subsequently be visible from Google Maps and Google Earth. So we did.

The rumour is you’ll be able to see this in context on the sites and services concerned sometime in the middle of February, but Chris has been gracious enough to send me a Creative Commons-licensed snapshot of the entire campus showing both the project that Cal, Simon, Paul, Heathcote, Suw Charman, Biddulph and I put together (with help from lovely people like Jane), and the competing project that Chris and Jane masterminded themselves. So here they are. First off the Space Invaders that Cal, Biddulph, Simon, Paul, Heathcote, Suw, Jane and I put together:

And next up the Cylon raider created by Jane, Chris and their team:

You can see the whole photo here for the moment (be warned, it’s a couple of meg in size) and here below are some pictures of the building process as it happened. All photos are from Julian Bleecker’s FOO Camp set.

Humour Technology

When iPods take over the Earth…

This is a bit of a frivolous post, but what the hell. It’s better than nothing. Highly entertaining images from the latest episode of the Simpsons. Firstly Ralph being a unitard:

But my particular favourites, which I’m sure I’ll have to find a way to work into some presentation on design practice at some point in the future, concerns MP3 players. As the man in the future says, “If only we’d known that iPods would unite and overthrow the very humans they entertained…”

Made me laugh, anyway…


Shiny TV lady watches me clean my flat…

Well here’s something weird that happened to me today. Yahoo! has this thing called The 9 and it’s like nine memes that they think are funny or cool or interesting or whatever and it’s presented by this lady who is sort of perfect and shiny and full of happiness and not in the slightest bit frayed around the edges. The very idea of her and me operating on the same planet seems to me completely implausible. But now she’s watched me cleaning my flat and somwhere deep inside I can’t tell you how funny I find that. It all feels a bit backwardsI thought I was supposed to be watching the shiny lady on television while cleaning my flat, not have impossibly airbrushed happy people glued to their screens while I do the dishes. Totally freaky bizarre. Thank you Great Aunt Yahoo for making my afternoon more entertaining than I could possibly have expected!

Don’t forget of course that you can see this video in its full original context on – home of pointless ephemera, grouchy curmudgeonising and occasional brilliant insightery since 1999.


Clean your flat in sixty seconds…

I just got back from the US after Hack Day and I’ve been away a while and I’d forgotten what a wreck my flat had become in the build-up to Future of Web Apps. Anyway, I’d been recently introduced to the OSX time-lapse app Gawker and I sort of wondered whether making a bit of a performance out of the whole thing might be a suitable self-motivator! And it totally was! Here’s the result – two hours of post-work cleaning in sixty seconds! And now with added Hoff! Why don’t you have a go too? I love the idea of a whole Internet full of performance cleaning.

There’s a slightly higher quality version in Quicktime of the whole thing here: Cleaning my flat in sixty seconds.


My dark secret is out….

It seems my secret is finally out – I pay my bills and lead my decadent glamourous lifestyle through my experitise in online poker! And I live in the Castro Valley! And my beard is awesome! Thanks to Nikolaj for spotting this one:


Superman vs. Wikis…

It’s not really versus as such. I went for the sensationalist title. Apologies. Anyway, a depowered Clark Kent in the latest issue of >52 has an assistant use a wiki to look up a weird alien creature that has appeared in the middle of Metropolis holding a submarine in its maw. Reminds me of the time a few months ago I discovered that Ms Marvel was writing a weblog in-comic. Like, “Today I got totally into this fight with this guy and I used my super punching but he just wouldn’t stay down and then… etc.” Awesome. Next month, Wonder Woman spends all day on You Tube…

For those of you who can’t get through the very bad picture, it reads, Wow, that was a good guess… Here we go! Ballostro, a mythic protocrustacean beast rumored to attach itself to seacraft in search of land prey. S’pose we can wiki out the word ‘rumored’ right, Mr Kent?


Do you like crisps?

It’s been getting such a lot of entertaining responses on Flickr that I thought maybe I should post this little creation of Paul Hammond and Simon Willison more publically:

I mean, who’s going to say no to that?

More seriously, it’s probably indicative of my just-returned-from-holiday state that I can’t cohere enough of a thoughtstream together to actually write proper posts. Hopefully this image is enough to tide over a weblog temporarily gone to the dogs. Right? Right? I’m sure I’ll be back on sparkling literary form shortly – I’ve got a bunch of things I want to talk about in more depth when I get a bloody moment. In the meantime, the comments on the Flickr thread are almost funnier than the thing itself. Much recommended…

Humour Television

How to attract Jeff Bezos' attention…

So Jeff Bezos has invested in 37signals, which follows on nicely from his previous investment in Biddulph and I have been thinking about this, and following the pattern we have determined that the next three companies that Bezos is likely to invest in will start with 31, 25 and 19. According to Google Sets they are also likely to end, respectively with ‘functions’, ‘description’ and ‘options’. Since there doesn’t appear to be anything at the end of, or I can only recommend that aspiring entrepreneurs should consider buying them immediately. I’m going to cut for the chase and go for as having the lowest possible number and longest string of letters that I can find. How can I fail!