Boeing flies south; hopefully folks down there can take a joke


David Horsey, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist for SeattlePI.com, noted the other day:

David Horsey, SeattlePI.com, November 6, 2009I doubt if I have ever drawn a cartoon that didn’t upset somebody. It goes with the territory. In fact, some would say it’s part of the job description.

I’ve grown a pretty thick layer of teflon. The daily messages I get telling me I’m an idiot, a shill, a talentless drone and a hack pretty much bounce right off. Sometimes, sick as it may seem, I actually enjoy making people mad.

Apparently, I did that pretty successfully a few days ago with a cartoon that poked fun at the good people of South Carolina. On Wednesday, I got a call from a reporter at a Fox TV news affiliate in the Palmetto State. He asked me what I thought about the controversy my cartoon had stirred up. I had to ask him, “What controversy?” The reporter explained that my image of some non-union South Carolinian Boeing workers surrounded by various symbols of the Bad Old South was not getting many laughs in his part of the world.

The cartoon is something of a doozy, and definitely seems to constitute some form of “fightin’ words”, but this whole Boeing fracas has people’s sensitivities raw.

In the days that followed, I received numerous e-mails that made the displeasure clear. One, from someone who identified himself as a proud descendant of Confederate soldiers, said simply, “Oh, you poor ignorant bigot.” Another called the cartoon “racist,” although I’m not sure how that term could be stretched quite that far. A longer, impassioned missive came from Father Titus Fulcher, the pastor of the Charleston Melkite Greek Catholic Community. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

    As a ten year resident of the greater Charleston metropolitan area, I am deeply hurt and disappointed by your cartoon depicting five “non-union South Carolina workers” in a most offensive style and arrangement (the hound dog, Confederate Flag, Moonshine Still and hangman’s noose). It is understandable that the good people of Seattle would be disappointed at Boeing’s decision to build its plant in South Carolina versus Washington State; however, the projection of grossly inappropriate, bigoted and stereotypical images could seemingly only serve one purpose – to cater to a prejudicial view of “Southerners” as ignorant and racist lowlifes.

Father Fulcher concluded with a question: “And does not every State have in its past things it has long since abandoned as inappropriate?

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Catching up on Sonics news


I obviously haven’t been trying hard enough. This story made Rolling Stone last month, and I completely missed it:

Founded in the early Sixties by refugees from other Tacoma groups, the Sonics were newcomers to a fiercely competitive Northwest scene already ruled by more technically accomplished bands like the Wailers (not the Jamaican group) and Paul Revere and the Raiders. “There was no decision to play more aggressively than the other guys,” Parypa says of the Sonics’ first rehearsals and shows. “A lot of it was lack of ability. We couldn’t play with technique. So we pounded on everything instead” ….

…. “The Witch,” a Number Two hit in Seattle, established the Sonics as regional heroes, and they were soon making a thousand dollars a night in Northwest clubs, huge bread for the day. But the band’s singles, issued on local labels, never charted in Billboard, and the good gig pay kept the Sonics close to home. “We were immature and un-business-like,” Parypa admits. “Our immediate goal was, how many women can we pick up tonight? We’d put our instruments in the van after a show, and not get them out again until we had to play someplace else. If we had a recording session, sometimes we didn’t write the material until we were in the studio.”

Now that is a proud heritage.

“If you come to these shows expecting top musicianship, you’re in the wrong place,” Parypa warns. “But if we can blow your face off, that will be cool.”

Really cool, indeed.

• • •

Also in Sonics news:

• Tony Sachs reviews The Sonics at Cavestomp for Huffington Post
• Knute Berger on The Sonics at Crosscut
• Mary Huhn covers the return of The Sonics for—get this—the New York Post
• And from overeas, the British site ContactMusic did not let The Sonics’ reunion go unnoticed