Politics and Business, Business and Politics


I was quite happy to receive an email from Mary Parsons at THE AMERICAN PROSPECT asking me if I had the time to do an illustration or two for a story on the education of Elizabeth Warren, currently running in Massachusetts against incumbent Scott Brown.  Elizabeth Warren.  Her observations from a good while back on the nature of many factors contributing to a company’s success became the basis for Obama’s now infamous and misinterpreted “You didn’t build that” speech.  No stranger to Washington she nonetheless has been an outsider to the world of running for office.  She’s up against a politically savvy opponent and she has committed her own share of mistakes in the process.  Mary’s suggestion was to play it like some schoolyard scene.  It was up to me to make it work.  Drawing on my own memories of the stresses of grade school life, I worked up a few approaches of some naïve kid’s encounter with school yard bullies. 


Warren has an interesting face to caricature.  It’s wide open and almost painfully sincere often with a somber worriedness.  The next thing was to play her body language against the collective language of the toughs. Besides the schoolyard I tried a new kid in the classroom approach as well.  Both ways could have worked well in my estimation.  Mary went with the schoolyard. 


The main image needed a follow-up.  I suggested one of the opener sketches that didn’t get selected, which focuses on the aftermath of the encounter.  As the outcome of the election hasn’t happened yet we couldn’t treat the spot with any sense of finality.  We could comfortably say that the experience has not been a breezy one for Warren so far.


It's good to show sketches from the standpoint of watching how emphasis, and therefore composition, changes. No need to show all the sketches. I don't think I've ever drawn Scott Brown so it was an extra challenge to distill his relatively generic good looking guy mixed with hard ass player in 5th grade and still make it look like him.

I actually had hoped that this one would get approved. One of those "Woooooah Nilly" moments.

With the proper placement for the gutter this worked real nicely on a two page spread. I drew on my memories of the Catholic school girls at my old grade school, St. Joes.

What remains on this thread are some of the final illustrations done for Steve Charny at ROLLING STONE. This was my last under his tenure. "Guess Who's Profiting Most From Super-Pacs?" By the no-nonsense Tim Dickinson. No surprise. Who profits from all the negative ads on TV? Neither Obama or Romney but the corporations running the stations who jack up their ad rates (an interesting loophole- normally they would need to give discount rates to political candidates, but since these are ads run by Super Pacs- you know the ones that have no affiliation to the candidates, just the truth- the discounts don't apply) and make boat loads of money.

Another outstanding piece by Matt Taibbi on what Wall Street learned from the Mob on how to play with markets.

"How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform" by Taibbi. The Dodd-Frank bill was already being destroyed by the corporate and financial lobbyists even before it became law. It has since been cut and torn apart in legal wars (here's another shocker- Justice Scalia's son is one of the chief representatives for the financial institutions). It was a welcome break to portray the Wall Street crowd as something more than swine. I happen to like pigs. I think they conduct their affairs with more ethical behavior than many on The Street.

"Right Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney" by Tim Dickinson, another of RS's solid journalists. The article was grim with facts on how things work nowadays so a funny image was definitely called for to balance it. Mitt's pole dance for dollars- lots and lots of dollars. Do we need explain anything more?

"Too Corrupt To Fail", another gem from Matt Taibbi. Reading Matt, it's always a guilty pleasure to bust out laughing while reading his observations, all the time feeling like you should be crying at the reality of what he is reporting.

Apparently this one hit Matt's funny bone real hard. "The antagonists were Hugh McColl Jr. and Ed Crutchfield, the respective leaders of North Carolina National Bank (which would take over Bank of America) and First Union (which turned into Wachovia), both based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Obsessed with each other, these two men transformed their personal competition into one of the most ridiculous and elaborate penis-measuring contests in the history of American business – even engaging in the garish Freudian spectacle of vying to see who would have the tallest skyscraper in Charlotte." Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314#ixzz25X8Yngx5