I'm still worried about people looking over my shoulder as I write these cartoon installments. Mainly I'm worried that people will conclude that I'm writing and drawing an anti-semitic cartoon. Honestly I'm just drawing what Brooks wrote, and what Brooks wrote was a basic zombie story involving an Israeli civil war where mainstream Israelis battle ultra-Orthodox rebels. In fact, in real life there is a lot of tension between mainstream Israelis and ultra-Orthodox Israelis due to the fact that ultra-Orthodox Israelis are exempt from mandatory military service, have strict views about how women should be dressed, and also tend to rely on a sort of government aid similar to welfare in the US due to the fact that ultra-Orthodox Judaism has severe restrictions against many forms of modern-day employment.
Mostly though, I've been worried about anti-semitism because I just found out that an acquaintance of mine is anti-semitic. It always breaks my heart whenever I find out that people I know, live with, and love turn out to be anti-semitic. I was so saddened when I found out how many Mongolians fanatically (and stupidly) love Adolf Hitler. This was about three years ago. Then, last week, a friend of mine on Facebook started posting articles about Jewish serial killers, Jewish plans to assassinate all Palestinians and finally an article talking about the "80-year plan" Israel and all international Jews (which, I guess, includes me too though I've been entirely ignorant about this fact so far) know about and are in the process of bringing into action. Under this plan all Arabs in the world will be slaughtered and all other non-Jews forced into concentration camps.
Man, nobody ever tells me anything!
This acquaintance who had been posting these stories on Facebook is a flamboyant French national who has been living in Mongolia for several years. I met him in Ulaanbaatar four years ago during an English language competition. He had a fantastically funny, Gaulish way of talking with lots of gesticulating and indignant emotion. He spoke good but not great English (though it was certainly better than my French) and he had lots of bad things to say about the administrators of the school where I was working at the time. He had worked at that school but later moved to another English language academy in the Mongolian capital city. I dismissed his criticism of my employers at the time but it later turned out that he was absolutely correct in his evaluation of their characters.
Thus my dismay and unhappiness last week when I realized he was an anti-semite. After posting several indignant responses in bad French ("De quoi penses-tu? Personne veut tuer des Juifs? Seulement les Juifs faient des atrocites? Il y a deux cotes a cet histoire! Pourquoi aimes-tu les mentis des gens anti-semitiques??!" etc.) I un-friended him. Well, c'est la vie.
Going on to my page from "Bethlehem, Palestine," I'm not so fond of my drawing here. I haven't been too clear about where Saladin is in relation to the two Hasidim with the gun. Panel 2 where two Israeli soldiers hold back a furious ultra-Orthodox Jewish settler as the settler's house is bulldozed is, well, sort of copping out on the background. Most of the pictures I could get of the Israeli countryside shows mostly dry, burned-out land and constant sun. Everything is white-hot and brilliant so there's not much to draw for a background. Plus Panel 3 shows the Hasidim's overcoats being quite flat. There are no wrinkles or shadows on their lapels or anything. I'm pleased with Saladin's face in Panel 4 but generally I'm not a fan of my latest effort. The next page should have a larger splash-panel on it though with both the Hasidim and Saladin in the same picture so the reader will have a better idea of where they are in relation to each other. After all, if I'm confused how would a reader respond?
In other news, regarding my day job, I've been offered a permanent position at the day club. I've accepted and am now working there five days a work ...and just plain working six days a week. Last week Congressional Representative Patrick Murphy came by to talk to the clients at the center. I was so surprised to see him. The last time I saw Patrick Murphy was in October 2012 when he was a young upstart in his late twenties with no previous experience in politics. Despite being a clumsy neophyte Murphy nevertheless was making a naive, somewhat half-hearted effort to unseat the mighty Rep. Allen West. Murphy was busy at a lecture at the local library where Gloria Steinem was speaking for an afternoon. He was young and rumpled and awkward with a plain, button-down shirt and Wal-Mart trousers. He wore a campaign button that he himself didn't appear to believe in while he shook hands with the women who were at the lecture.
Rep. Allen West signs littered the landscape of Martin County like florescent yellow fungus. The local papers were full of fawning descriptions of West's barbecues where the candidate stood tall yet accessible with shirt sleeves rolled up masculine forearms. You were more likely to find Green Party signs here than Patrick Murphy signs. Polls were murky with both Murphy and West campaigns releasing completely opposite poll numbers showing their respective candidates ten points ahead of the competition.
I was resigned to the loathsome West remaining my county's Congressional Representative. Then, astoundingly, a miracle happened.
That rumpled, piteously eager-to-please young man I had seen at the branch library WON THE ELECTION! I couldn't believe it!!! The margin was only about 1,000 votes, but still! I was dumbfounded and disbelieving.... and I wasn't the only one. The enraged Allen West demanded a recount, determined that if he was going down he was going to go down ugly. Many protests, lawsuits, and recounts later it was determined that West not only lost but lost by a wider margin than previously recorded. West finally conceded and the young Patrick Murphy, Rep. Murphy now, was sent off to Congress.
I didn't see Rep. Murphy again until last week and boy had he changed!
Rep. Murphy had come to our facility to address the issue of the Indian River Lagoon pollution. Still he stayed to introduce himself to the elderly at the Adult Day Club. He introduced himself, gave firm handshakes all around and conversed while steering clear of anything remotely substantive or controversial. "Are you a Democrat or a Republican," asked one old man with mild dementia.
"Democrat!" Murphy said.
"Ah, okay," the old man replied, "I can't remember if I am."
Murphy also greeted the daughter of one of our more lower-cognitive elderly clients. The daughter was helping her mother from the bathroom. The older lady was somewhat pleasantly notorious around our Day Club because it was well-known that she had been a topless dancer in Las Vegas during the fifties. It was something we all liked to think about.... that the creaky, demented creatures we cared for were only showing us the worst parts of their long lives. It made us feel less depressed about human existence. Plus it's just generally funny to know that Granny used to flash her ta-tas back in the day.
This lady's daughter was far more sober than her mother had been. "We don't talk about my mother's naughty dancing days," she once informed me seriously, "As far as we're concerned, mother was a much happier person after she had met Dad and found Jesus."
Well, okay, fine... but to tell you the truth I am dying of curiosity to see a photo of this woman during her "naughty dancing days."
Not that any of these observations were said in front of Rep. Murphy. Instead the daughter greeted our Representative respectfully. "Is this your mother?" Rep. Murphy asked her.
"Yup. That's my mom."
"How do you do ma'am?"
The old woman smiled.
"I know you take care of your mother well," Rep. Murphy said to the daughter, "She's truly a blessing."
"Yeah Mom, you're a blessing," the daughter said as she still held onto the older woman while they both walked away from Murphy. "You used to beat me but you're still a blessing."
That last part was said in a murmur and away from Rep. Murphy's hearing, but I caught it anyway.
Yes, Rep. Murphy had changed since I had first seen him in October, 2012... but only because he had gone professional. Rumpled political wannabees with uncombed hair don't win elections... not unless they're facing dreadfully awful opponents like West and have a record turn-out of Democrats on their side. This was the case in 2012.... but I'm not sure about 2014. Pollsters are not giving Murphy great odds on retaining his seat next year but now I have hope.
Rep. Patrick Murphy may now have turned into a Ken doll but he's still a good guy.