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50 Comments

    • NCHammer
    • Posted July 29, 2009 at 8:07 pm
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    Wait, are you saying these things don’t exist.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm
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    It’s like “They Live”. You put on the glasses and you are suddenly able to see through the myth of American exceptionalism and lies put out by the right-wing talking heads, like O’Reilly, and finally see the world as it truly is. You overcome the brainwashing given to you by right-wing talk radio and are finally able to return to reality. Most of the people in the comment section of this site could use a dose of reality.

    • NCHammer
    • Posted July 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm
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    Indeed.

    Also, the chick on the left (which I learned only recently wasn’t a dude) looks like Agent Smith and/or Neo from the Matrix.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm
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    Why did the sequels have to suck so much?

    • wootabega
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:05 am
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    Ah yes, only those darn LIBERALS try and manufacture their own issues of bigotry and hated and oppression through their twisted views.

    LIBERALS.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:14 am
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    You mean LIEBERALS. You have to learn the party approved speech if you want to fit in here.

  1. This Illustration, again, explains the talent behind Zack’s art. It’s the 3D effect that always amazes me. And the detail, oh that detail, how it gets into the bones of people who think like this, Liberal or not. They do exist, you know? Great job Zack, I’m telling you, great line also, “See things the way you’d LIKE to see them” You are very consistent in your work, always contemporary and top notch quality!

    • onward xtian loldier
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 9:27 am
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    no it doesn’t shut up

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 9:52 am
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    “Shut up!” he explained.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:07 am
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    These comics are an example of Zack seeing liberals “how he’d LIKE to see them” as opposed to how they actually are. Reality is complex, exaggerated strawmen are much simpler.

  2. Thanks Jose, you’re much too kind. BTW I think the glasses are now available– I hear sales are way up in Manhattan, also in the San Francisco area.

    Norman: Don’t we all wish we had the pith and wit of an onward xtian loldier?

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 11:47 am
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    One need not refute any conservative assertions here; one needs only state that other conservatives assert them (from the “echo chamber”), or simply note that they are conservative (and this “biased”). Either fact alone is enough to “refute” even the assertion ant 2+2=4.

    I learned 2+2=4 from a biased mouthpiece of the mathematical-logical complex, my arithmetic teacher. Therefore, it cannot be true.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm
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    Why waste time presenting a logical argument in response to fallacious strawman?

    Furthermore, your illustrious leader seems to believe that invoking Hitler is the best way to conduct a reasoned debate.

    Finally, anytime I attempt to give a detailed argument, I am ignored. I think it is quite clear why you all are hesitant to participate in a real discussion. The only comments that you dare to reply to are short, snide remarks.

    Attempting to carry on a real conversation here is a tremendous waste of time and effort. You all retreat from logic and take refuge in your distorted view of reality and post little more than self-congratulatory remarks.

    • onward christian lol
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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    bu-bu-bu-bu-but…OBAMA!!!

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm
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    OK, Jake, let’s address American exceptionalism, which you call a myth.

    America is the first country in the world to purposely place checks and balances between its sources of power by design. England’s Magna Carta and other examples of checks and balances throughout history have arisen when a group gathers enough power to oppose successfully existing power. America is the first place to do this in institutions (the Presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court) before they came into being.

    One of the reasons for these check and balances is a view of human nature which came from the Reformation; namely, that ALL men are sinners. Rather than merely hope our elected representatives are all saints, the authors of the Constitution harnessed Man’s sinful nature as a break upon the corrupting influence of political power.

    No other country has so sought–with some success–to thwart autocratic power PREEMPTIVELY.

    • ikabod
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 5:09 pm
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    Victims do indeed exist. Yet, making victims is what liberals do. The sooner liberals find a victim the sooner they do their best to keep them that way. Dependency is not just a good idea its a voter!

    • Jake
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 7:52 pm
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    So, you acknowledge that the Magna Carta, which existed before the American constitution, contained checks and balances, but you assert that the constitutional idea of checks and balances was a novel idea. Here is a theory for you, perhaps the founders had the benefit of hindsight and instead of being these amazing, all-knowing individuals, they just looked at the Magna Carta and said, “hey, this is a good idea, let’s use this in our country.” I think deciding against reinventing the wheel is hardly exceptional. I am pretty sure people learned from history long before the founding of the US.

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 7:38 am
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    Then compare the foundings of other new nations since 1776. Were there any checks and balances to the French Revolution? If so, the Terror that followed would never have happened. Were there any checks and balances to the Bolshevic (Zack, spell checker?) Revolution? If so, it would not have devolved into the dictatorship of Stalin. In both those cases, checks and balances were only established AFTER dictatorial power was overcome.

    What about new nations not founded by violent revolution? Were there checks and balances in the Weimar Republic? If so, Hitler would never have been able to make his chancelorship into dictatorial power. Were there checks and balances in Zimbabwe? If so, Robert Mugabe wouldn’t have been able to make himself dictator.

    The same can be said of dozens of nations, whether founded on bloody revolution, imposed by victors in war, or established after independence. Nearly all of the post-colonial world has devolved into serial dictatorships.

    On the other hand, nations such as India after British rule, Japan after WWII, South Africa after apartheit (sorry about the spelling), and Israel after the UN ended the Diaspora did not devolve into dictatorships and oligarchies, because they really did reuse the wheel of checks and balances, in the way that the US had done FIRST.

    Checks and balances were first established to prevent dictatorial power in the founding of the United States. Everywhere else, they were established AFTER dictatorial power was successfully fought, or AFTER the founding of the United States.

    Pretty exceptional, isn’t it?

    • Jake
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 8:08 am
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    “Pretty exceptional, isn‚Äôt it?”
    Nope.

    I still don’t see how using someone else’s ideas when creating your nation/product/whatever should count as innovation. Learning from the past is not uniquely American. People built on historical ideas before the US was founded, and they will continue to do so until humanity ceases to exist. There is nothing new about looking to the past to find useful ideas. Checks and balances had been put in place before the US was founded; thus, using checks and balances is in no way exceptional.

    Oh, and the French Constitution of 1793 did establish separate legislative and executive branches and a host of civil rights and liberties. However, due to perceived threats to the republic, the constitution was in some ways suspended (see the PATRIOT Act and Bush’s suspension of habeas corpus for modern examples from the US [the US is not exceptional in its bad choices either]).

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:16 am
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    So the FIRST pre-emptive use of a weapon against tyranny is indistinguishable from its use after the fact, eh? An ounce of prevention is the same as an ounce of cure? Dr. Jenner’s innoculation against smallpox is the same as treating the disease after its onset.

    Thank you for informing me that the French tried to implement the same preventative measure that the US innovated. Too bad they failed.

    By the way, Lincoln used the president’s constitutional right to suspended habeas corpus to prevent captured Confederate soldiers from simply being released to fight again.

    • Jake
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:34 am
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    Ok, so Lincoln was as wrong on that particular issue as Bush is.

    Thank you for trying to give me a history lesson about the development of the French Republic, too bad you failed.

    Using someone else’s good ideas is not exceptional. It is a rational approach, but the capacity for reasoning is one of the defining characteristics of man. Applying existing ideas, in ways that are not novel (establishing separation of powers at an earlier stage than other countries is not novel in any meaningful sense of the word), is not exceptional. If this is the best you can come up with, then I feel my claim that American Exceptionalism is a myth has been shown to be true. You are setting the bar for being exceptional so low that it has lost all meaning.

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:54 am
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    I’ve made my case, and you think you have refuted it. Let others judge on this dialog.

    I picked only one of the reasons why America is, in the words of Michael Medved, “the greatest country on God’s green earth.” There are others, but I have not brought them up, for to do so in this discussion would be to change the subject.

    Annuit Coeptis

    • Jake
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:16 am
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    So, bringing up other reasons in support of American Exceptionalism would be changing the topic? How does talking about American Exceptiionalism change the topic away from American Exceptionalism? Using facts to support your claim is somehow irrelevant to the topic? Your ideas suddenly make a lot more sense now. Facts are not relevant to discussion, I now understand how you can hold views that seem at odds with reality.

    Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:26 am
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    Any engineers out there want to comment on Jake’s assertion that the first use of existing methods to prevent rather than react to a problem is innovative? If it isn’t innovative, then the United States Constitution’s implementing checks and balances to PREVENT tyranny rather than AFTER it occurs is not exceptional.

    If this isn’t exceptional, that doesn’t mean there are no other things about the United States that make it exceptional. Jake said, “If this is the best you can come up with, then I feel my claim that American Exceptionalism is a myth has been shown to be true.” This indicates that if I fail with one illustration, I would necessarily fail with all others. How does that stand up to logic;

    Supposition: A is a member of the set B.
    Analysis: A is shown not to be a member of set B (an analysis I dispute).
    Conclusion: B is the empty set?

    • Joe
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm
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    This was a great cartoon, but more than that I am encouraged by so many witty, hilarious, intrepid people putting their talents to work!

    A revolution is taking place it seems. If the media refuses to hold governement accountable for the people, then the people will rise up yet again.

    Thanks for the laugh and smile ūüôā

    • Joe
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:55 pm
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    Norman,

    Or C – America is not allowed to be exceptional because D – Socialism demands mediocrity and E – by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, built upon Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, then F – everyone must receive a failing grade if one receives a failing grade. This way, we all act like the robots we are supposed to be.

    I’m looking for my Chairman Mao Red Jumpsuit, how bout you?

    • Joe
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:00 pm
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    Oh, I forgot to add G –

    as in G_d, he who laughs at those who reject righteousness and him in favor of their own arrogance and idols.

    G – as in G_d’s writings were required reading by our Founding Fathers. They in fact bought bibles for schools. Children grew up learning Proverbs, Psalms and the famous stories of right and wrong, good and evil, failure and perseverance to succeed at anything in life with faith.

    Thats is how this nation became exceptional, not by group think failures who cannot succeed at anything in life unless they bring down others to their levels.

    Levels like – they’re going to do it anyway(get high, do drugs, have sex, see porn, yada, yada, yada) so lets make sure they have clean needles and condoms.

    Yeah boy… thats the ticket, lol. ūüėČ

    • Jake
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:51 pm
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    The key part of that statement is “If this is the best you can come up with.” Your apparent inability to present any other aspect that you feel makes America exceptional seems to indicate that in your mind, A is the only element of set B. On analysis, we can see that A is not a member of that set. So, based on the currently available evidence, B is an empty set. You were invited to show other elements of set B, but instead you just responded with the illogical claim that presenting other elements of the set would somehow result in us no longer talking about that set. It is quite clear from this assertion that removing A from B has resulted in an empty set, but you are attempting to dodge this by saying “B is not empty, I just want to keep all the other elements of it secret because that somehow strengthens my case,” which is clearly a nonsense position.

    1. Claims should be evaluated on evidence
    2. You claim America is exceptional (B)
    3. You submit A as evidence of this claim
    4. A is shown not to support your claim
    5. You submit no further evidence for your claim
    6. Analysis on A exhausts all submitted evidence
    7. None of the submitted evidence supports claim B
    8. Based on exhaustive analysis of the evidence given, we must conclude that claim B is false.

    • buckitz
    • Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:24 pm
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    I see the maiden aunts are back- not the figures in the cartoon, some of the posters.

    Everyone always has a maiden aunt that sneers and wrinkles her nose at other’s accomplishments, and critiques and nitpicks to no end, and wrapped with each nasty remark is the truth, she’s envious of what others can achieve.

    • Jake
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:05 am
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    “Wrapped with each nasty remark is the truth.”

    There, now it is correct. Envy plays no role, and the criticisms are all accurate.

    I guess facing criticism is difficult for those who are incapable of producing independent thought. “Oh no, papa Rush didn’t give me a talking point for this, what should I do? Thinking is hard.”

    • buckitz
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 3:36 am
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    Jake, Your just so cute.

    • buckitz
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 3:37 am
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    okay, before you cutely grammar police me,
    “You are so cute.”

    Do your knuckles go white when you type?

    • Jake
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 5:56 am
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    I haven’t “grammar policed” anyone.

    “Do your knuckles go white when you type?”
    What are you talking about?

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 10:42 am
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    One of the tactics of the left in these discussions (and I don’t accuse you, Jake of doing that in this discussion) is to change the subject when one is loosing.

    For me to abandon the innovative use of checks and balances as a preventative as an example of American Excpetionalism by bring up another example would be to admit defeat on the first example. That I will not do.

    If in my business I were to use existing technology normally used after a problem occurs, to prevent that problem in a way that has never been done before, I would patent it and grow rich. Innovation IS exceptional.

    If I were to use another of the tactics I’ve seen the left use (again, I don’t say you, Jake, have used it), I would ask that if you don’t think the United States of America is exceptional, why don’t you find a country that is and move there?

    • Jake
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 11:01 am
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    I am about to sleep, so I will deal with your other points later; however, this one is simple:

    “I would ask that if you don‚Äôt think the United States of America is exceptional, why don‚Äôt you find a country that is and move there?”

    I don’t think any country is really more exceptional than any other, so moving doesn’t change anything. Every country is special in the same way that every person is special. However, being special in this sense is not particularly meaningful.

    • Buckitz
    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm
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    Zack,
    One reason I keep coming back to this blog is that it reminds me of MAD Magazine.
    I have an old early sixties copy that has Kennedy and his family and his love of football, all topics were up for grabs back then.
    Dave Berg mocked both hippies and the middle class, and no one pulled their hair out when they saw themselves.
    I miss that.
    I miss the artistic integrity and the self depreciating humor from long ago.
    Your art reflects that.

    • Max
    • Posted August 2, 2009 at 3:12 pm
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    The suggestion that leftists see the world though “rose-tinted lenses” is hardly far fetched. After all, most of them were supportive of, or at least sympathetic with one variant or another of Marxism – far and away the most murderous political movement in human history. As Orwell once observed, the unforgivable sin of leftists is that, though they rejected fascism, they did not reject totalitarianism. Could any historical fact be more damning, more utterly discrediting?

  3. Nice debate, guys (Norman and Jake), and little need for me to insert my two cents into it over the past couple days. To me the emptiest of empty sets though would be the set of arguments against American Exceptionalism, since I see it confirmed in every immigrant(to the tune of many millions) from every nation on earth who leaves behind home, culture, native tongue and friends in order to live in the most opportunity-laden country the world has ever seen. To this day it has not been more movingly expressed than it was by Emma Lazarus in the final few lines of her poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, as she extolls elegantly the relative value of so many nations’ putative glory (i.e. “storied pomp”) in favor of the opportunity– for even the poorest and most deprived of immigrants– to make a good life for oneself and one’s loved ones– an opportunity so roundly denied or compromised across the globe.

    “…”Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  4. Beautifully put, Joe– you managed to crystallize just about all of it in that post. To be sure, by the way, religion has been misused in parts of the world, can be misused here as well– but to therefore renounce it (thus renouncing, in effect, the ultimate spiritual verities of established and undebatable parameters of Good versus Evil) is as idiotic as renouncing Education because some teachers (e.g. in totalitarian states) misuse Education.

  5. Buckitz– thanks for the kind words. I’m humbled to be compared to the old Mad Magazine, staffed as it was by some of the best humorists and artists around. As you point out, Mad took shots at all sides politically, and though I make no pretense at even-handedness personally, I do see my “mission” as being to try to add balance to the overwhelming blanketing of our culture with Left-leaning humor, from Doonesbury to Letterman and all the thousands in between.

  6. Max: Orwell was a towering presence in the pages of history, a brilliant spokesman for freedom and humanity, and his denunciation of the Left as referenced by you should be heeded by every thinking person across the political spectrum. Thanks for the valuable perspective.

  7. Norman: again, stellar job of arguing for American Exceptionalism, and good question RE: “Why not move?” as addressed to those who find nothing particularly compelling about America. Certainly if I didn’t care one way or another about a town in which I lived I would pick up and move to one more enriching and gratifying! But of course Jake answers the query with the realtivism that “no country is any more exceptional than any other.” This, more than all that went before it in your discussion, damns the leftist cause most efficiently in my view. Are we to gather that, say, North Korea, a concentration-camp-like state with no electricity and no pets (dogs and cats are food for a starving people) is no less exceptional than, say, England, France or America? And does this leveling view really apply equally to people (and all things, I guess)– so that Michelangelo is no more exceptional as a human being than some unknown, middle-aged pizza-delivery man? How about homes; is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater no more exceptional than an anonymous mud hut industinguishable from every other mud hut adjacent to it in some poverty-stricken land? Speaking of poverty, the poverty of the Left’s take on reality never seems so desperately starved as when it posits this notion, preposterous as it obviously is to all but those steeped in the quasi-religious belief systems of the Left.

  8. Jake: And again, thanks for your very useful and eloquent comments. Although I have taken the time just now to minimally respond to the dozens of comments over the past few days, I most often cannot respond due to time constraints. I maintain, or try to, a busy career totally apart from Diversity Lane and the 10 hours or more weekly that I put into these cartoons and this blog often seems like far more than I can afford to spend. Further time put in, e.g. on responding to the many interesting comments here, is unfortuately well beyond my capacity time-wise.

    • Jake
    • Posted August 3, 2009 at 5:56 am
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    I seem to be coming down with the flu, among other outside pressures, so I will probably be taking a break from posting here for a bit. I’ll get back to Norman’s points when I am feeling well again.

    Cheers

  9. Jake: Best of luck with a speedy recovery.

    • Norman Hines
    • Posted August 3, 2009 at 7:36 am
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    Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well, Jake. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    I saw the movie “The Incredibles” again. Your remark “Every country is special in the same way that every person is special. However, being special in this sense is not particularly meaningful.” was made in a slightly different way in tha movie, first by Dash and then by Syndrome, “If everybody’s special, then no one is.”

    If this is your definition of exceptionalism, then I cannot convince you that America is exceptional no matter how many examples I cite.

    Lincoln believed that the Union had the only government that was “of the People, by the People, and for the People” and feared that its demise would make that Ideal “perish from the earth.” That was his view of exceptionalism, and mine.

    Get well soon.

  10. Great point, Ikabod: victims = voters. So do patronized and coddled illegal immigrants. It’s sad to imagine that one of our two key political parties yearns feverishly to expand their base upon a population of illegals, i.e. criminals; but that is exactly what they seek to do.

    • ikabod
    • Posted August 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm
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    Get better, so we can continue to disagree with each other. Its always good to have some healthy debate round these parts.

    • Mark
    • Posted August 3, 2009 at 8:16 pm
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    I live in Australia, which also has a problem (although not as bad) with illegal immigrants, but it too is increasingly being influenced by loads of do-gooder lefties hell-bent on tell us all how we should live all the while ironically trumpeting ‘diversity’ and ‘human rights’ and ‘anti-discrimination’. Indeed, the state I live in, Victoria, is fast becoming the worst at it. So, similarly, we have lots of people who like nothing better than to tear down this country as being intrinsically unjust or something. But as Norman has pointed out with the US, I don’t see loads of people getting on rickety boats and moving to Indonesia or Papua New Guinea from here. I don’t exactly know how the political systems of Australia and the US compare in great detail, but I bristle when I hear that secular or socialist ideas are supposedly so much better when their short track record is clearly much worse than the Judeo-Christian ones. (and then there’s all that freedom in Islamic countries…) Clearly, biblical principles – especially concerning truth, justice and opportunity – matter a great deal. My two cents, FWIW.

    Love your cartoons, btw, Zack. The style is great, they are consistently flat out funny, but in a way, you have such an easy target! And yeah, I remember the MAD magazines too and see similarities. Keep up the good work, it has relevance beyond your shores.

    • Donna C
    • Posted August 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm
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    Wow Mark…I just have to comment on the last sentence of your wholly great post: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, IT HAS RELEVANCE BEYOND YOUR SHORES.

    If Zack should take compliment from anything that has ever been said here, it is that comment alone. In truly speaks volumes about his talent. Thank you for that!


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