Some years back political cartoonist Stephanie McMillian did a visitor period at Twin Oaks and I had fantasies of one of the communities new industries being radical humor. She is a clever, quirky, cartoonist with an impossible message to deliver and just the right tool to do it. Her latest salvo in this on-going public education and activation campaign is on target and at exactly the right price.
I discovered Stephanie’s work while I was staying at an amazing squat in Barcelona called Can Masdeu. The squats library had a copy of the book she illustrated, As the Word Burns: 50 simple things you can do to stay in denial. Which is a quick read, if it does not cause your brain to explode.
Her impossible message is that all of the individual efforts to make things better (recycling, getting off grid, even sharing with your friends) don’t make any difference if you don’t take on the structural problems of capitalism. This is the acid test for radicalism. Either you believe that you need to step out of your comfort zone and fight for systemic change against quite impressive monsters or you think personal positive actions are enough. [If you think things are just fine as they are, you have somehow stumbled onto this blog by mistake.]
Stephanie is hardly a one trick pony. Using satire and the powerfully accessible format of cartoons, she lures you into a critique of the status quo which is inescapably tight in it’s reasoning while still amusing.
Like most good propagandists, Stephanie is prolific. With an impressive list of books and serialized cartoons. Above are a couple from her Code Green series which focuses on the ecological issues and how corporate media twist perceptions. Below is an image from her upbeat activist daily affirmations cartoon series.
And because I am confident that you have read to here, because the cartoons keep drawing you farther down this post. Here is the link so that you can get Stephanie’s latest coloring book for kids, priced at what ever you can afford – I paid $25. Or if you are looking for the longer, more adult version of the story (without coloring), you can order the full length hold-in-your-hands physical book here. Or for those who are fully digital these days, you can get the adult version of the eBook here, again at the price you choose.
I want my son Willow to understand this stuff, and the only thing more important than that, is that we adults act on this knowledge now.