Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jerry Falwell's Interpreter

politcal cartoon by D. McClintock


Jerry Falwell, the famous Bible-thumpin' televangelist of the Religious Right, passed away on May 15, 2007. I watched with bemusement Ridor's brief video blog on Falwell. His reaction to the breaking news was predictable. When I saw the breaking news I was flooded with memories of my involvement in fundamentalist Christianity during the heydays of the Religious Right in the '80s. (Yep...I was a born-again, evangelical Christian!) Anyone remember Riverdale Baptist Church in Landover, MD.? That church had many deaf members in its congregation and it provided interpreted services as well as separate Sunday school classes for children and adults. When I was at MSSD I'd attend this church almost every Sunday for two years. The church would later have a fall-out with the deaf community during the late '80s (I think) over the issue of interpreters. I believe Rev. Jerry Falwell was a guest speaker at the church a few times, although I've never personally met or listened to him. The stories I heard of him from deaf patrons and interpreters who met him present quite a different picture of the personality apart from the image he was portrayed as in the media.

Whatever you think of him, whether you agree with his politics or not, it is indeed true that he was very deaf-friendly and he provided interpreters at his church for many years. It is true that his university provide support services for deaf and hard of hearing students. I happen to know of a few deaf Christians who went to Liberty University, and they reported to me how great and kind as a person Rev. Falwell was. That is one big positive thing that can be said about him. The interpreter whom I met at Riverdale Baptist Church described him as very "warm and affable" and that he was easy to approach if you wanted to discuss a problem and he'd listen to you with wide-open attentive eyes or ears. Well, it's a shame this aspect of his personality wasn't shown much on television. Plus it did not help that he made several outrageous statements over the years, especially those over 9/11 and Telebubbies (which I thought were stupid). Even more puzzling was his friendliness with Rev. Sun Myung Moon, world-famous cult leader who claimed to be the Messiah and who had himself coroned as a king in a Senate office in Washington, D.C. (click on the link and you'll see a picture of them chummy with each other, buddy-buddy!). Falwell became something of an embarrassment to the Religious Right movement, anyway, shortly before I dropped out of Christianity in '83. This may surprise you, but as someone that was close to being a Young Republican back then, I used to admire him. Oh, well...

I think I read somewhere from a personal account that Jerry Falwell mellowed a bit as he aged and he concentrated his efforts on theological issues and running an university after the Moral Majority disbanded. I wonder what his reaction was like when he arrived to find heaven filled with Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists...(I don't believe in hell). :-D

My sincere condolences to Falwell's family and friends and the deaf Christian community in Va. who know him.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Deaf C-Blogs Links

After browsing through the roll of blogs in DeafRead, I see that a number of deaf c-blogs (short for cartoon blogs) is growing. For those of you folks who are interested in deaf-related cartoon artwork, I would like to introduce you to those links: - posts cartoons by various deaf and non-deaf artists on a regular basis - although I haven't contacted the bloggers themselves (Ward Nyholm and Ginny Paja-Nyholm) yet, it seems to me that their cartoons were created using the software, Comic Life Deluxe. (see ) I don't know if they can be appropriately considered as professional cartoonists (those that do artwork by hand and who make a living by selling cartoons or comic strips), but the creativity and humor used in their work would make them digital cartoonists. - My old RIT colleague and friend, Maureen Kluska's website. Hey, Moe, come back, will you? We miss your cutesy cartoons! - also my old RIT colleague and friend! Matt Daigle's website. He's the fella who created DeafRead's logo.

If you see a link to a deaf c-blog you'd like me to post, let me know!

Deaf Cartoonists Society

G'evening, folks! Today is my day off from work on the book project, which is very near to completion. Whew! Working in the field of children's book illustration was an interesting experience for me and I'm enjoying it. I am not at liberty to give you details yet on this book that I am doing illustrations for, but when it is ready, I will certainly post a press release on the company's behalf. Parents and children, whether deaf, hoh or hearing, will like this new treat coming soon in the future!

It has been a while since my last entry in the deaf blogosphere. To new bloggers and visitors of DeafRead, I'd like to introduce myself. I am an illustrator and a cartoonist. It is now 30 years since my first career opportunity came up when I was 11 and did illustrations for my stepfather's 1977 New Hampshire Farmer's Market Almanac. That must be a rare publication by now - probably hard to find - but if any of you fans of my artwork ever happen to find it, let me know! :>

Last night my friend and I went to a SCCS (Southern California Cartoonists Society) meeting, which is held on a monthly basis. I was the only deaf cartoonist attending, with my friend who volunteered to interpret for me. Dean LeCrone showed us his homemade movie, Dean LeCrone vs. The Mutants of Comic Con , which we thought was amusing. While we watched the movie, Joe Schmidt, another fellow cartoonist (who happens to know how to sign) , drew a portrait of me sitting at the table. I was so impressed by his accurate rendering of my profile and thought I'd show it to you. Thanks, Joe!

Now, my thoughts after I watched LeCrone's video of Comic Con. Folks, as you may know, Comic Con is coming up soon this summer (July 26-29 2007) at San Diego Convention! For more information on the annual event, see their website, Interpreting services will be provided at the event for deaf/hoh patrons. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a booth for deaf cartoonists this year. I was informed by a Comic Con staff member that booths sell out very fast and that the best time is to get a table in a year advance. Besides, one must have a publication in order to reserve a booth. Publication with my artwork will not be yet released until at a later date. Nonetheless, I am not giving up on my dream of a deaf cartoonists booth at Comic Con. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage other fellow deaf artists to get together and form a Deaf Cartoonists Society. The Deaf Cartoonists Society would be modeled after the National Cartoonist Society, with which SCCS is affiliated. DCS' mission would be to exhibit artwork by deaf cartoonists in a museum or a gallery. We have a year ahead of us to get a booth in '08, so I will be concentrating my effort on finding sponsors for supporting a DCS booth now that I have connections to Comic Con. If any of you artists are interested in getting involved, let me know! There's still an opportunity for those who would like to meet me in person or get an autograph from me...SCCS and NCS are hosting a Comic-Con Kick Off Party at Buster's Beach House and Longboard Restaurant at 807 Harbor Dr. (next to Convention Center). I'll be there! Hope to see you come!