Bob the Nerd Vampire

Originally published as a February 28, 2010 webcomic for Everyday Citizen



Last summer, my nieces were talking about the movie Twilight. While they were talking, I interjected and asked what would happen if there was a vampire that looked like Napoleon Dynamite? While one niece looked rather annoyed at me, the younger niece laughed and asked me to do a cartoon on a nerdy vampire. She made up the name Bob the Nerd Vampire, and I waited until I got some time to think of a story. So here is Bob the Nerd Vampire.

For some reason, it’s important for me that my nieces know something of the women’s rights movement and the freedoms and opportunities that they have now because of the struggles of past feminists and women’s suffragists. During the Democratic primaries in 2008, my friend Jan Lieberman explained to me how historic and important Hillary Clinton’s run for the Presidency was for women, and how it blazed trails in the same way that Barack Obama’s run for the Presidency was. The candidacies of Hillary and Palin were a culmination of the many centuries of work, from the Mary Wolstonecraft’s pamphlet A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to the meeting at Seneca Falls in 1848, to the feminist revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Our country is blessed to have had women like Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, Sojourner Truth, Emma Goldman, Angela Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinham and Betty Friedan .

During the holidays last year, I had a conversation with my mother-in-law where she related how life was for women in the 1950s and 1960s. She told me how circumscribed women were at that time, limited in their opportunities and in certain gender roles that society imposed on them. We got around to this conversation when my mother–in-law noted her amazement at the opportunities that her daughter has today that she would not have had 30 or 40 years ago. She credited the opportunities that women have now to the struggles of feminists like Gloria Steinhem in the 1970s to expand women’s rights. When I read about how Iranian women are now fighting back against the fundamentalist strictures, I think of how they are continuing a struggle that women all over the world have been fighting and I think of how lucky my nieces are for the victories that have been won by American feminists and suffragists.

I remember reading somewhere that the feminist revolution was liberating for both men and women, that neither has to be trapped in sexist roles and that they could relate to each other more as equals. In my own life, I have been strongly influences by strong women. My mother has a quiet strength and had the courage to move to a foreign country with few friends and raise four children often alone while my father was in a naval tour. My sister is a strong and determined woman, much more assertive than my brothers and I, and she has been a positive role model for my nieces. My mother-in-law is an intelligent and well read woman who, like my sister, strongly asserts her views and is the glue that binds her family. Her daughter, my wife, is a kind and strong woman who has her mother’s strenghth and compassion. My sister-in-law is a lawyer who defends battered women and is very involved in local issues of her community. My other sister-in-law is a stay at home mother who has raised 4 children well and has instilled in them good values. My last sister in law is an accomplished musician and small business owner. And one of my closest friends, Jan Lieberman, worked hard for children’s literacy and appreciation of the arts as a children’s librarian and has given me a lot of sound advice from her 70 years of life experiences.

I have to admit that I am not an expert in the history of women’s rights, but here are a list of some books from the library that I’ve read and that have been recommended to me. I know that a better list of books could be listed, but these books have won my admiration for these women subjects. I hope my nieces grow up to be strong, compassionate and independent woman. Please feel free to comment and add a book or two of women who’ve influenced you.

Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, is the book companion of the PBS documentary that Ken Burns did on the lives of Stanton and Anthony and their fight for women’s suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were activists in the 19th century who fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights, especially the right of women to vote. Their early experiences working for temperance and for abolition helped train them for the fight for women’s suffrage, and they helped organize a woman’s right convention in Wesleyan Chapel, at Seneca Falls, New York in July 19 and 20, 1848. During the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton read a document called The Declaration of Sentiments which described the numerous ways in which women were made dependent to men and deprived of their rights, and declared that women were men’s equals, and they deserved the same liberties as men, especially the right to vote. In the following years, Stanton and Anthony would write, lecture, organize and challenge the existing laws to gain equal rights for women. In her most famous speech, given on January 18, 1892, before the House Committee on the Judiciary and again on January 20 to the Senate Committee on Women Suffrage, Stanton gave an eloquent reason on the necessity of women to have an equal and independent voice in government.

“The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear, is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself. No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men desire to have them do so, they must make the voyage of life alone, and for safety in an emergency they must know something of the laws of navigation… It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman.”

We Flew over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold is the memoir of Faith Ringgold, a preeminent African American artist, children’s book author and feminist activist. Ringgold creates these wonderful story quilts, where she paints scenes with historical African Americans on a quilt to make a point about the complex relationship between African American men and women and their contributions to the fight for equal rights in the political and the artistic worlds. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ringgold was very active the movements of the time, making posters for the Black Panthers and other political groups, painting a mural for the Women’s House of Detention in Riker’s Island in New York in 1972, and organized protests against art institutes like the Whitney Museum to pressure them to include more art from women and minority artists. In 1970, Ringgold became involved in the Women’s Liberation movement, and she was criticized in certain segments of the African American community who felt that the Women’s Lib movement was mainly a white women’s cause. Ringgold wanted to learn more about the contributions of African American women to the feminist movement and learned a lot from Gerda Lerner’s book Black Women In White America which was published in 1972. In her memoir, Ringgold wrote about that moment:

“I named them The Feminist Series and they were also my first acrylic paintings. On these painted landscapes I printed in gold paint statements made by black women, dating from slavery times until the present. I found these statements in Gerda Lerner’s ‘Black Women In White America’, a book published in 1972. Lerner’s book came at a time in my life when I really needed to know about the past feminist history of black women. I felt renewed when I discovered that, along with Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, there were many other black women who were in the vanguard of the feminist movement.

I inscribed several of Sojourner Truth’s statements onto my new series. One was from a speech she gave in New York City in 1853: ‘I want to tell you a mite about women’s rights and so I came out and said so. I am sitting among you to watch and every once and a while I will come out and tell you shat time of day it is.’ I found another powerful Sojourner Truth text, which I also put into the Feminist Landscape series. In 1867 in New York City she announced defiantly: ‘I used to work in the fields and bind grain keeping up with the cradler, but men doing no more got twice as much pay… We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. I suppose I’m about the only colored woman that goes about to speak for the rights of the colored woman.’ I was also fascinated with Maria Stewart, credited with being the first American woman public speaker. In a speech in 1833 in Boston, Stewart proclaimed:’Men of eminence have mostly risen from obscurity; nor will I, although female of a darker hue and far more obscure than they, bend my head or hang my harp upon willows for though poor I will virtuous prove.’ Amy Jacques-Garvey, the wife of Marcus Garvey, the leader of the Back to Africa Movement, said in 1925: ‘Be not discouraged, black women of the world, but push forward regardless of the lack of appreciation shown you.’ She continued with ‘Mr. Black man, watch your step! Ethiopa’s queens will reign again and her amazons protect her shores and people. Strengthen your shaking knees and move forward or we will displace you and lead on to victory and glory.’

Shirley Chisholm, one of the few contemporary women included in Lerner’s book, is the only living woman in my Feminist Series. Chisholm was the first African-American woman to run for the presidency of the United States. She told an audience in a speech in 1970 in Washington D.C.: ‘I don’t want you to go home and talk about integrated schools, churches or marriages if the kind of integration you’re talking about is black and shite. I want you to go home and work to fight for the integration of male and female, human and human.’ Chisholm also made the famous statement that: ‘Of my two handicaps, being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.’ Chisholm had really been the woman who first inspired the Political Landscape Series. In the spring of 1972 I had been invited to a benefit (at Flo Kennedy’s house) to raise money for Chisholm’s presidential candidacy. For this event I made the first Political Landscape paintings on which I inscribed supporting messages for Chisholm. Don’t ask me to quote any of the texts because I don’t remember them. I sold them, however, and contributed the money to her campaign fund.

Back in the early seventies black women were in denial of their oppression in order to be in support of their men. This made it very important for me to put the word of these valiant black feminists in my art so that people could read them and be as inspired as I was.”

Off Our Rockers and into Trouble: The Raging Grannies by Alison Acke and Betty Brightwell is the story of the activist group The Raging Grannies. The Raging Grannies started in 1987 in Victoria, British Columbia, and were made up of white, middle-class, educated women between the age of 52 and 67 and they were made up of anthropologists, teachers, businesswoman, counselors, artists, homemakers, and librarians. Initially they joined peace groups to protest the visit of US Navy warships and submarines in the waters surrounding Victoria, but they became tired of the sexism of the peace groups that they were in and formed their own group. More than 60 Raging Grannies groups have formed around the country and they became involved in many social causes, from issues of the environment, gay rights, corporate excess, militarism, women’s rights and reproductive freedom issues. I had never heard of this group until I encountered them a month ago at a health care reform rally in Campbell, California in front of the office of Congressman Mike Honda. They would often use political theater as a form of protest, and they would sing satirical songs that put in a humorous light some very important issues. Pam Walton productions, an independent film company based in Mountain View, California, made an informative documentary about the Raging Grannies and their efforts in the Bay Area.

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For is a comic soap opera by Alison Brechel that chronicles the lives of lesbian friends and comments on social and political issues. I first read about Alison Bechdel’s strip in Ted Rall’s comic collection Attitude 2: The New Subversive Alternative Cartoonists and have periodically run into the comic at various progressive papers and websites. Launched in 1983, Dykes to Watch Out For became one of the most widely read lesbian oriented comics, and it followed in the tradition of Lynn Johnston’s For Better or Worse, and Frank King’s Gasoline Alley in developing a cast of characters and watching them age and grow in time. In the Attitude 2 Bechdel says that her strip tried to combine the commentary of The Nation magazine and the serial quality of the “Friends” television show, and she was describing the particulars of lesbian lifestyle in hopes of getting universal experiences that all people shared. Bechdel said in the Attitude 2 interview:

“I assume that alternative weekly editors probably think straight readers won’t be interested in a queer cartoon, that lesbian stories are somehow not human stories. This makes me very tired.

I was just reading an article about the playwright August Wilson, about how he refused to translate black experience for a white audience or to explain it. He just put it onstage and ‘dared to be particular.’ The article described Wilson as simultaneously ignoring the mainstream, and taking his place in it. That’s what my goal is. And I think I’m slowly but surely making headway. If I were only writing about gay and lesbian issues, I don’t think crossover would be possible. But I write about all kinds of things. I just happen to do it through this particular, queer lens. I’m waiting for straight people to catch up, and to see that these stories are about them too.”

I think Dykes to Watch Out For is a wonderful strip, but I have to admit that I haven’t been able to read more than a few of the comic strips. In the library, however, is a wonderful graphic novel memoir by Alison Bechdel called Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. It’s a wonderful and somewhat poignant story of Bechdels’ coming out during her college years, and how James Joyce’s Ulysses became a point of common interest between Alison and her father. Julie Enzer, a lesbian activist, poet and writer, wrote in a tribute to Bechdel in her blog CIVILesbianIZATION: Dykes We Love – Honoring Alison Bechdel:

“While reading the new compendium may be a personal journey for many, as it was for me, the book also documents our history. In its pages unfold the demise of Mad Wimmin books, the triumphal election of Bill Clinton, marches and demos and marches and demos for gay and lesbian rights, LGBT rights, queer rights, abortion rights, solidarity with central America and countless other causes, the dispiriting vote for Clinton after he championed and signed ENDA, Al Gore’s loss, Bush’s reelection, sodomy law repeal, the advent of marriage equality. The big political moments are all there.

So are all the nuanced moments in lesbian life–sex in many positions and with many emotional and physical consequences, changing footwear (from Birkenstocks to Doc Martins to Australian boots), childbearing, child rearing, friendships, fights, passionate breakups, forestalled affections, illicit affairs, and, through it all, anger and outrage at new and different things.”

The oral history Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom, chronicles the life of Bella Abzug, in the words of friends, colleagues and even her enemies. Bella Abzug served in the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977 and she was also a lawyer, an antiwar activist, an early feminist and an organizer for various left wing causes. In the 1950s, Bella went to Mississippi to represent Willie McGee, a black Mississippian convicted of raping a white woman and sentenced to death. In spite of threats to her life by white supremecits, she managed to stay McGee’s execution twice before he was eventually executed. She also represented people accused of Communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Congressional committee. In the 1960’s, Ms. Abzug founded of Women Strike for Peace to protest nuclear testing and the Vietnam War, and she later campaigned for Senator Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 Democratic Presidential primaries. In 1970, Ms. Abzug ran for Congress, winning the 19th Congressional District elections with 55 percent of the vote.

Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom commented about Abzug’s desire to organize women and use them to pressure the government towards action:

“She began her life’s work as an advocate and organizer, developing policy and legal arguments, making connections between ideas and constituencies. Then in 1970, at age fifty, she ran for office for the first time and was elected to Congress, representing a progressive district in Manhattan. Being on the inside was a new experience for her, but Bella became one of the most respected strategists in the Congress. Friend and foe alike marveled at her mastery of congressional procedure and her innovative approaches to legislation. Moreover, she continued mobilizing pressure on the government, organizing women around the country to participate in lobbying her colleagues, and securing funding and authorization for the First National Women’s Conference, which she chaired after she left office…
…With each evolution her career underwent, her core commitment to social justice took on a new dimension… From the beginning she was committed to diversifying and enlarging the reach of any movement she became a part of.”

The Complete Persepolis is the creation of Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian cartoonist and children’s book illustrator who lives in Paris, France. Persepolis chronicles Satrapi’s childhood in Iran as the Shah fell and Islamic revolutionaries take over the Iranian government and forces its religious doctrines on their countrymen. Sartrapi’s parents are leftist and the family looks on in horror as the proletariat revolution that they were hoping for turned instead into the fundamentalist Islamic takeover of the Ayatollah Khomeni. As Iranian women see their rights and their independence unravel, the younger generation find more covert ways to rebel, secretly listening to Western rock music and attending underground parties. Satrapi knows friends and family members who suffer under the Iranian government’s oppressive rule. Most heartbreakingly, Marjane’s beloved uncle Anoosh, a socialist dies in prison. Sartrapi’s independence and outspokenness increasingly becomes a danger to herself and her family in a country that tries to stamp out those qualities from Iranian women.

Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year, by Doris Hadock and Dennis Burke chronicles Doris Hadock, who walked across the U.S. in 2000 at the age of 90 to highlight the need of campaign finance reform. Hadock has a history of social activism and reveling against the mainstream. She was a flapper as a young woman of the 1920s, performed one-woman feminist plays in the 1930s, and in 1960 Doris and her husband protested nuclear testing near an Eskimo fishing village. During the 1990s Doris did a 3,000 mile walk from California to Washington D.C. to highlight the need for campaign finance reform. As she walked, she met Americans of all stripes and classes, all eager for the average person to have some say again in the democratic processes. Doris wrote in her book:

“In my long walk, I am trying to get some new laws passed that will make it easier for people to be responsible for their own communities and their own government. I worry that the influence of very rich companies and very rich people make it difficult for regular people to feel that they are in charge of their own affairs. We need to get the big, special interest contributions out of our elections. Those contributions shout down you and me, and there is no true free speech nor true political equality so long as this condition persists.”

In 2004 Doris Hadock to run for the Senate seat for New Hampshire against incumbent Republican Judd Gregg that was documented in a wonderful movie Run Granny Run. Doris had never run in any political office before but she continued repeating the themes that she made during her walk in 2000. The highlight of the film is the runup to the televised debate with Judd Gregg. Despite her initial nervousness, Doris was an articulate and reasonable voice for progressive change.

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion is written by Sara Miles and it chronicles her conversation into Christianity after walking into St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco one day and taking the communion bread. Nothing in her background prepared her for this sudden conversion. She came from a family with 2 atheists as parents, her friends were strongly leftist and deeply suspicious of established religion, and as a lesbian, Sara was wary of the anti-gay rhetoric that many conservative Christian churches seem to espouse. Yet, in the months that followed, Sara became a regular in St. Gregory’s and she began a food pantry program for the poor in the church neighborhood that changed both Sara and her new church.

Sara was very involved in the progressive movements in third world countries, volunteering for the human rights group the Center for Constitutional Rights to investigate the grassroots situation in Nicaragua, El Salvadore and the Philippines in the 1980s and 1990s. When she became a Christian, she first studied Dorothy Day, the radical Catholic activist, and found in Christianity a social conscience that had much in common with her leftist politics. Miles would write:

“Mine is a personal story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert: a blu-state, secular intellectual; a lesbian; a left-wing journalist with a habit of skepticism. I’m not the person my reporter colleagues ever expected to see exchanging blessings with street-corner evangelists. I’m hardly the person George Bush had in mind to be running a ‘faith-based charity’. My own family never imagined that I’d wind up preaching the Word of God and serving communion to a hymn singing flock.

But as well as an intimate memoir of personal conversion, mine is a political story. At a moment when right-wing American Christianity is ascendant, when religion worldwide is rife with fundamentalism and exclusionary ideological crusades, I stumbled into a radically inclusive faith centered on sacraments and action. What I found wasn’t about angels or going to church or trying to be ‘good’ in a pious, idealized way. It wasn’t about arguing a doctrine- the Virgin birth, predestination, the sinfulness of homosexuality and divorce- or pledging blind allegiance to a denomination. I was, as the prophet said, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. I found it at the eternal and material core of Christianity: body, blood, bread, wine, poured out freely, shared by all. I discovered a religion rooted in the most ordinary yet subversive practice: a dinner table where everyone is welcome, where the despised and outcasts are honored.

And so I became a Christian, claiming a faith that many of my fellow believers want to exclude me from; following a God my unbelieving friends see as archaic superstition. At a time when Christianity in America is popularly represented by ecstatic teen crusaders in suburban megachurches, slick preachers proclaiming the ‘gospel’ of prosperity, and shrewd political organizers who rail against evolution, gay marriage, and stem cell research, it’s crucial to understand what faith actually means in the lives of people very different from one another. Why should any thinking person become a Christian? How can anyone reconcile the hateful politics of much contemporary Christianity with Jesus’ imperative to love? What are the deepest ideas of this contested religion, and what do they mean in real life? In this book, I look at the Gospel that moved me, the bread that changed me, and the work that saved me, to begin a spiritual and an actual communion across the divides.”

Courage In A Dangerous World: The Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt, edited by Allida M. Black, is a compendium of Eleanor Roosevelt’s political writings from the 1930s through the 1960s. Roosevelt was first lady, delegate to the United Nations, newspaper columnist, Democratic Party leader, and social activist who strongly fought for liberal values during the course of her life. In her writings, from speeches, articles, and her newspaper column My Day, Roosevelt commented on the state of women’s rights, civil rights, economic justice, workers’ issues and constantly pushed the Democratic Party to take stronger liberal positions when the party was equivocating. Her book is introduced by a speech that she made entitled Freedom and Human Rights:

“It depends on what each of us does, what we consider democracy means and what we consider freedom in a democracy means and whether we really care about it enough to face ourselves and our prejudices and to make up our minds what we really want our nation to be, and what its relationship is to be to the rest of the world.

The day we know that then we’ll be moral and spiritual leaders….

You are going to live in a dangerous world for quite a while I guess, but it’s going to be an interesting and adventurous one. I wish you the courage to face it. I wish you the courage to face yourselves and when you know what you really want to be and when you know what you really want to fight for, not in a war but in order to gain a peace, then I wish you imagination and understanding. God bless you. May you win.”

The book How Shall We Tell Each Other of the Poet? The Life and Writing of Muriel Rukeyser is a series of essays from fellow poets, former students and fellow activists on the effect Muriel Rukeyser and her writings have on their lives Muriel Rukeyser was a famed poet, political activist, pilot and teacher who was deeply involved in many of the progressive movements from the 1930s to the 1970s. During the 1930s Rukeyser reported on the second trial of the Scottsboro Boys in Decauter, Alabama, reported on the antifascist Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, that had been organized to protest the regular Olympics that took place in Nazi Germany, reported on the Spanish Civil War erupted and wrote various articles supporting the Spanish Republicans. During the 1940s Rukeyser used her poems to highlight an industrial disaster in West Virginia where an untold number of migrant workers, many of them African Americans, died of silicosis poisoning because of inadequate precautions taken by Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation in the drilling of Hawk’s Nest Tunnel. In the 1970s, she traveled with Denise Levertov to South Vietnam to protest the Vietnam War and she traveled to South Korea in her capacity as president of the PEN American Center to hold a vigil outside the prison cell of the radical Catholic South Korean poet Kim Chi Ha.

Part of the book focuses on her poetry, part of the book focuses on her teaching, and part of the book focuses on her political activism. The contributors of the book are former students, fellow poets and readers who have been inspired by her. Here is one of her most famous poems.

THE POEM AS MASK

Orpheus

When I wrote of the women in their dances and wildness, it
was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone down
with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from myself.

There is no mountains, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued child
beside me among the doctors, and a word
of rescue from the great eyes.

No more masks! No more mythologies!

Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.

Just As I Thought is a collection of essays, lectures and magazine columns that Grace Paley has written over a 30 year span, from the 1960s to the 1990s. These essays follow Paley’s years as a political activist, poet and teacher, In many ways, her career is similar to Muriel Rukeyser, except that Grace Paley is known mainly for her short stories. In the course of 40 years, she wrote about 45 short stories, and they have garnered Paley much acclaim. Paley has acknowledged the benefits that she and other women writers have had from the feminist movement. In her essay “Two Ears, Three Lucks” that introduces her book The Collected Stories, Paley wrote:

“As for the big luck: that has to do with political movements, history that happens to you while you’re doing the dishes, wars that men plan for their sons, our sons.

I was a woman writing at the early moment when small drops of worried resentment and noble rage were secretly, slowly building into the second wave of the women’s movement. I didn’t know my small-drop presence or usefulness in this accumulation. Others like Ruth Herschberger, who wrote Adams Rib in 1948, and Tillie Olsen, who was writing her stories through the forties and fifties, had more consciousness than I and suffered more. This great wave would crest half a generation later, leaving men sputtering and anxious, but somewhat improved for the crashing bath.

Every woman writing in these years has had to swim in that feminist wave. No matter what she thinks of it, even if she bravely swims against it, she has been supported by it- the buoyancy, the noise, the saltiness.”

I discovered Paley about 3 years ago, and she became a role model for me as an artist who also wants to be an activist for social change. Here is the poem “Responsibility” by Grace Paley

Responsibility

It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the poet to stand on street corners
giving out poems and beautifully written leaflets
also leaflets you can hardly bear to look at
because of the screaming rhetoric
It is the responsibility of the poet to be lazy
to hang out and prophesy
It is the responsibility of the poet not to pay war taxes
It is the responsibility of the poet to go in and out of ivory
towers and two-room apartments on Avenue C
and buckwheat fields and army camps
It is the responsibility of the male poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the female poet to be a woman
It is the poet’s responsibility to speak truth to power as the
Quakers say
It is the poet’s responsibility to learn the truth from the
powerless
It is the responsibility of the poet to say many times: there is no
freedom without justice and this means economic
justice and love justice
It is the responsibility of the poet to sing this in all the original
and traditional tunes of singing and telling poems
It is the responsibility of the poet to listen to gossip and pass it
on in the way storytellers decant the story of life
There is no freedom without fear and bravery there is no
freedom unless
earth and air and water continue and children
also continue
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman to keep an eye on
this world and cry out like Cassandra, but be
listened to this time.

If you enjoy this cartoon, take a look at these links for more of my political cartoons at Everyday Citizen:

Jasper Joins Two Protests
Jasper Debates War
Jasper Finds His Way Home
Jasper Escapes the Detention Center
Jasper At A Detention Center
Jasper Meets a Poet
Jasper’s Day
Jasper Tackles Health Care
Jasper Protests the War
Jasper and the Economy
Jasper Sings a Protest Song
A Cartoon on a Gay Marriage Trial in San Francisco
The Road To Health Care Reform Cartoon
A Cartoon about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
A Cartoon about My Experience in an Evangelical Church
A Cartoon about Political Debate
A Cartoon On Gay Marriage

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About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Since my time in college, my goal has been to be a successful children’s book illustrator. I’ve illustrated 3 books: Two Moms the Zark and Me by Johnny Valentine in 1993; Night Travelers by Sue Hill in 1994; and Cherubic Children’s New Classic Story Book Volume 2 for Cherubic Press in 1998. I’ve painted murals for Lester Shields Elementary School in San Jose, the Berryessa branch of the San Jose Public Library, and Grace Community Church in Los Altos. I’ve had a few illustrations published in South Bay Accent Magazine and I will have an illustration published in the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine.
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