Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tintin, the Picaros and the Gallaudet Revolution

Commentary by D. McClintock

While I do cartoon blogs here, I also like to blog on other cartoonists' work. One of the most famous cartoonists I would like to blog on is Hergé, creator of The Adventures of Tintin. Have anyone of you ever read these classic books? They are among my favorite graphic novels that I love to read. Let me briefly introduce the artist Hergé, then I will get to the point of my essay here, the parallels that I see between his book Tintin and the Picaros and the Gallaudet revolution. You'll find this a little amusing as well as interesting.

Hergé (real name George Rémi, b. in Brussels, Belgium in 1907) was a Belgian illustrator who began his career by doing work for a local newspapers. He originally created a comic strip Tintin for a weekly supplement for children that would appear in the newspapers on Thursdays -
Le Petit Vingtieme. Tintin first appeared in Le Petit Vingtieme on November 1, 1928. Since then Tintin ran for more than four decades, with his adventures graphically depicted in twenty-two series. According to biographer Michael Farr,"worldwide sales of the Tintin books totalled over 120 million, with the annual figure topping four million as the adventures came to be translated into more than fifty languages - from Arabic and Chinese, Icelandic and Indonesian, Japanese and Korean to Persian and Serbo-Croat, not forgetting optimistic departures into Esperanto, Latin and Luxemburgisch."

There's one language that Tintin was never yet translated into...American Sign Language. Wonder how this could be done? Maybe through a comic strip in Hergé's honor or a play or a vlog drama of Tintin and his friends? Something to chew on...

Actually, for your information, one of the characters in Tintin's Adventures is deaf. Well, more likely, late-deafened. This character is named Professor Cuthbert Calculus, and he is the one in the middle between Tintin and Captain Haddock on the front cover (see above), with his trademark battered green derby hat, his goatee and his granny eyeglasses. Calculus, in my opinion, is one of the funniest characters I've ever seen in comic book literature. Biographer Michael Farr describes Calculus' first appearance in the following paragraph:

His introduction on page five of Red Rackham's Treasure is a comic tour de force, contrasting Calculus' quiet persistence with Haddock's explosive impatience at the professor's deafness - a "little hard of hearing" by his own account. "I'd like to speak to Tintin," the professor inquires politely after Haddock has despatched the crowd of "fancy-dress freebooters" claiming to have a connection with Red Rackham. "Why? No doubt your name happens to be Red Rackham?"
"Yes?" replies an uncomprehending Calculus. And when, after another unsuccessful exchange Haddock blasts:"YOUR NAME!", the comedy reaches a climax with Calculus' staggering reply:
"Gone away? What a pity! Never mind, I'll come again. I particularly wanted to speak to Mr. Tintin himself." The combination of deafness and inventive genius provides a rich vein of humour for the rest of the Tintin series. Like Haddock, the professor never misses an adventure and even has one named after him, The Calculus Affair. "The dear professor!...Another whom I never suspected would take on such importance," Hergé came to admit.
(Tintin The Complete Companion, Michael Farr, Last Gasp of San Francisco, First Edition 2002, p. 106)

All information on the creator Hergé and his beloved character Tintin can be found on www.tintin.com. You can even order his books or other products from this website.

I have been reading Tintin since when I was a child, when my mother gave me a French translation of Flight 714. (Incidentally, this was how I learned French! Comic books are one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, fyi!) At his personal library my late grandfather the diplomat had a wide collection of Tintin as well as other graphic novels from different countries, some in different languages. Seated in a plumb leather armchair in his stuffy office, I would read those books while he was either busy working on documents on his desk or running errands with my father. Ah, cherished memories...

Because so many years had passed since then, I started re-reading Tintin recently. This was shortly after the Gallaudet protests when I saw parallels between his last book Tintin and the Picaros and the Gallaudet revolution. The story is quite amusing.

General Alcazar wanted to overthrow depot General Tapioca, who had previously seized control of government from him in his country San Theodoros (a fictional country set in South America). But he was frustrated by his band of guerrillas' drinking problem. A successful revolution cannot be carried out by a bunch of drunks, he pointed to his friend Tintin. In the book we find that alcohol was actually supplemented in boxes by air from General Tapioca to Alcazar's band of guerrillas in the jungles, to keep them inebriated. Tintin found a solution to Alcazar's problem: Calculus' special medicine. To help cure Captain Haddock's alcoholism, Calculus invented a kind of pill that would make the drinker sick every time he or she drinks alcohol. Tintin successfully cured Alcazar's band of their drinking problem by secretly spiking their food with Calculus' pills. Tintin also successfully convinced the passionate Latino generalissmo Alcazar to lead a revolution without violence, without a shot fired, without a drop of blood. How Tintin, Alcazar, his band and their friends pulled off this feat...I'll leave this to you to read the book. I don't want to spoil the ending!

The story of the revolution on campus of Gallaudet University is similiar to the Picaros story. There was in the beginning a great deal of toxicity we dealt with in blogs and protests on the campus...anger, hatred, profanities, threats of violence. All probably fueled by alcohol or God knows what else in the students' lives. Maybe not every student involved in the protests, mind you. But it was clear last October that the toxic emotions ran very high, and this would have erupted into something bigger and uglier we wouldn't like or accept. One poster left a comment on my blog, that appeared to advocate violence on campus, giving a hint that a riot was inevitable. I told this poster that violence did NOT need to be the solution to every problem! I know from seeing other blogs that many alumni, professionals and mature students share this view. We needed to educate those young, new students who didn't understand better.

I would not allow violence to happen on campus, period - because there are children living on the same campus. MSSD students. Children going to school, too...KDES students. Any act of violence, any move towards organizing a riot on campus, would not only be outrageous but stupid as well and dangerous to the safety of children on campus.

Thankfully debate followed. We bloggers and protestors took time to debate the issues back and forth, and - what happened? Reason prevailed on campus. Reason won over violence. We have proved ourselves to the world that we're smart. That, like Tintin and his friends, we are capable of intelligence and self-control. You should applaud yourselves. With exception of someone's blemished toe (aptly nicknamed "The Stubbed-Toe Gate" by critic Mike McConnell), no blood was shed, no bullet was fired, no lives were fortunately harmed or lost. Gallaudet is now becoming a good example that a peaceful revolution is indeed and can be possible!

¡Viva la revolución de Gallaudet!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Cartoon

Good Ol' Fashioned Maryland Crabbake

"Behave, Will Ya?"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Artist's Response to Ridor's "This is Cool, Is It?"


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Artist's Response to Ridor's "This is Cool, Is It?"

Recently today, blogger Ridor wrote a piece about the SuperASL T-shirt that is selling like hot cakes on BuyASL.com. I read it with amusement, knowing who created it. Folks, here's the link to his blog, "This is Cool, Is it?" Be sure to check out a photograph of himself wearing the T-shirt that I - yes, I - created. It's worth a few good laughs. Hey, Ridor, muy gracias....you can let out the air now! ;)


Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm the one who designed that famous T-shirt Ridor talked about. The credit for the idea goes to BuyASL.com. I was approached by them and asked to design a logo that is similiar to Superman but that has the word ASL incorporated into it. I designed three logos, and they picked one. I was paid my commission for the logo design. FYI, I do not receive any residual on this T-shirt. It is for the deaf community. BuyASL.com is a company known to be very supportive of the deaf community.

This design that I created is intended as a novelty item, to put a spin on the issue of American Sign Language with humor. This is the message that I believe BuyASL.com is trying to convey with this design, that it's OK & cool to communicate in ASL and that ASL is...SUPER-cool!I would like to let you a little on my background. I'm not an ASL extremist, either. I do not see this design I made as a symbol for ASL extremism, and I do not think it should be taken as such. I see this design as a proactive, positive message in support of ASL as our language.

I learned sign language at age 8. Before then, I was an oralist. I was a student at one of the most famous oral schools, Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, MA. As you may know, Clarke School banned sign language in the classroom and frowned upon its use outside the school building. At the dormority where I lived, we'd communicate by handmade signs and grunts - short, brief speaking. Not everyone at Clarke I knew was skilled at speech and lipreading, including myself.When I first learned sign language, it opened a world for me. I will never forget this day when I first learned sign language...like my hospital stay and survival, it was one of several major turning points in my life. I am sure it was the same for many, many deaf people.

The school where I learned sign language was at Amoskeag School for the Deaf, a small day school in Manchester, New Hampshire. The type of sign language taught there, however, was PSE (Pidgin Signed English). PSE is like a combination of SEE and ASL. When I saw ASL signed, it was at an elementary school where my bus would pick up some students, and my first impression that ASL was a language spoken by kids at elementary school level. Boy, was I wrong!MSSD was where my mind changed and expanded. While I was a student at MSSD for three years from 1978 to 1981, the way I signed was heavily influenced by the people I met there and the school plays that I participated in. Despite MSSD's official policy of total communications at that time, ASL was widely practiced everywhere I went. It was at MSSD when I realized ASL was a common language that the deaf community in America communicated in.

Through my involvement in theatre I learned to develop profound love and respect for this beautiful, visual language called ASL. Since then I've been an ASL signer and will always remain one to my death.So...folks, ladies and gentlemen, to celebrate our love, honor and respect for ASL as our language, PLEASE buy the Super-ASL T-shirt from BuyASL.com! And don't forget to buy 6 wrist bands of “GOT ASL?”....$ 2 from each sale will be donated to the FSSA Coalition or the GUAA! Go to this link:http://www.buyasl.com/Wear one TODAY and look SUPER-COOL! Get it?Many, many thanks to everyone, y'all for your time reading and for your support towards Gallaudet University / Kendall Green!

D. McClintock,artist
posted by Dan McClintock at 1:37 PM

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Public Service Announcement: Hypertension

Greetings, folks!

I am feeling much, much better today. What an ordeal I went through! Let you know I was in two hospitals recently this month. I spent 1 week in the first hospital from November 2 to November 8. I was in another hospital again on November 12 to 13. I was treated for hypertension, chest pain, and other medical conditions that I shall not go into details here. At the first hospital I was informed by a doctor that I had nearly what was called a myocardial infarction (a minor heart attack). Wow - I was fortunate to have made it to that hospital in time! It was a close call.

Folks, I'm not the same man anymore since my release from the hospital. I feel changed in many ways. My long stay at the hospital made me think a great deal about my life. This is not the first time I've had a brush with death. But this was one of the closest I've ever had, quite a serious one! I feel very, very glad to be alive. You can't imagine how so precious and valuable it is just to breathe one more day of air!

To my friends and well-wishers, I am very fine, thank you. I am still undergoing a process of healing, which will take time. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Now, here is my public service announcement. Folks, hypertension is no laughing matters! I would strongly encourage my generation (age 40-45) to consider lifestyle changes because what happened to me early may happen to them later in their sixties! Whatever your age or background you come from, whether you are an athlete or not, get your blood pressure checked - often. This may be a lifesaver for you! You may never know when it may change, and you may never be aware of it!

If your doctor finds that your blood pressure is higher than normal (over 130 and up), it's time for you to consider serious changes, such as in diet and execrise. Salt is the culprit of many medical problems that are caused as a result of hypertension. If you happen to like salt or eating salty food, I would advise you to switch to sea salt or kosher salt, which are considered more nutritious than regular, table salt. Table salt (sodium chloride) is BAD for you! It causes blood vessels to constrict, thus restricting the flow of blood throughout the body, and it leads to dehydration, which is not good for the body. You'd be amazed at how much salt the average American eats. The normal requirement for body intake is about 2-3 grams of salt per day, but the average American eats more than 5 grams a day! Even if he or she doesn't sprinkle much salt on his or her food, it may still contain lots of salt that he or she wasn't aware of when he or she made a purchase. Frozen dinner and canned food, for example, contain high amounts of salt. Hence, my strongest advice to fellow hypertensives: if you were recently diagnosed with hypertension...AVOID frozen dinner and canned food! Don't touch them within ten foot! They're very, very bad for your blood pressure!

Also either cut down or quit drinking alcohol, and if you're drinking whole fat milk, BEST switch - to fat-free skim milk! If you don't like the taste of fat-free skim milk, try 2% at first for a while, then switch to 1% and later when your taste buds adjust, switch to fat-free skim milk. I guarantee you this will work...you'd be amazed at how quickly your taste buds can adapt to! Or try this alternative and drink either soy or rice milk, which is good for your health.

You may have already heard this, but cutting down on red meat and eating more fish or poultry, followed by more vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains in your diet, can and do definitely cut down the risks of heart disease. Try it, my friends!

If you have any question about hypertension or heart disease or salt-free diet, email me. (I warn you, though, I am not a physician and my opinion here should not be taken as qualified medical opinion. You must consult your own doctor if you have specific issues or questions you want to find answers to. I can only provide information and links here.) I am willing to help other deafies understand better this issue of hypertension and heart disease.

That's it for my PSA here. Coming next, Artist's Statement re BuyASL.com t-shirt.

- Dan McClintock

New Politicial Cartoon

Saturday, November 11, 2006

More news & cartoons coming later...

Hello, folks, this is to let you know I am taking a break from blogging for a while until I recuperate fully. But look forward to news and cartoons coming soon in the near future! In the meantime, thank you for your support!

- Dan McClintock, cartoonist

In Honor of American Veterans

We thank you for your service to our country and your dedication to our principles of democracy and freedom.