These cartoons made him the target of multiple death threats and assassination attempts. As a result, Westergaard lived, for the rest of his life, under police protection and in hiding.
Mafalda is a 6-year-old girl. On the one hand she is a real child who hates soup and loves pancakes. Yet, at the same time she is very much concerned with humanity and world peace. An political episode of Mafalda that is often cited is the one with the ‘south-up map orientation’.
Umberto Eco wrote a piece on Mafalda when she made her book debut in Italy with Mafalda la contestataria (1968), ‘Mafalda the rebel’.
In the same period, she is also on the cover of another Italian book, Libro dei bambini terribili per adulti masochisti, (Book of Terrible Children for Masochistic Adults), also from 1968.
This happened two years ago but I only found out today.
Also, I had never heard of Joe Frank.
Today, I googled for Ken Nordine and ASMR (one of my guilty pleasures) and I found Joe Frank.
I listened and liked immediately and immensely. Frank is an absolute genius.
Up there in absurdity with the likes of Roland Topor.
Joe Frank was a French-born American writer radio performer known for his philosophical, humorous, surrealist, and absurd monologues and radio dramas, says Wikipedia.
Typical radio dramas include “Bad Karma” (2000) and “That Night” (1994).
“Bad Karma” opens with:
“I’m sitting at a dinner party attended by Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Seated at another smaller table are Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, Pinochet and some others I don’t recognize. And then there’s a third table, sort of a children’s table, it has shorter legs and smaller children’s chairs. And sitting there are Richard Speck, Gary Gilmore, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and Charles Manson.”
Synopsis from “That Night”:
“Joe’s uncle drowns while fishing a week after retiring, urban animal criminals, voyeur complains about a nude woman, sex with nuns in a limo, an elderly marching band and homecoming parade has been lost for 40 years and is being chased by homecoming queen’s fiance, creating life-size maps, to Jesus: why is there so much suffering, we’re on the edge of chaos, it’s great to feel a part of nature monologue with traffic background, monologue on sleep (repeated in other programs).” 
“That Night” also mentions maps on a 1:1 scale, just as Borges did in his one-paragraph story “On Exactitude in Science”.
Clive James was an Australian-born author, satirist and critic working in the United Kingdom.
His self-deprecating tone was priceless.
Querying my database, I found out James also expressed his political views. As early as 1969 he contributed “Wind Up Black Dwarfs” – a plea for realpolitik – to London OZ.
Gahan Wilson was an American author, cartoonist and illustrator.
I was unacquainted with the work of Wilson. Dave Letterman introduced him in the 1980s as the “guru of gruesome, wizard of the weird and the Michelangelo of the macabre.”
Me being European, Wilson reminds me of Tomi Ungerer (1931- 2019) or Roland Topor (1938-1997) and perhaps more of Topor, since like Topor, Wilson was not political.
Since I found out about his death, I watched the “The Waitress” episode of The Kid (2001) and Wilson’s appearance at David Letterman’s (March 30, 1982) when he published Is Nothing Sacred?. I also listened to a reading of the wonderful story “The Sea was Wet as Wet Could Be” (1967).
His cartoon “I am an insane eye doctor and I am going to kill you now…” is frequently cited as of his best work. In it, a non-suspecting man reading an optometrist’s ‘eye examination’ with the text cited is approached from behind by a knife wielding optometrist.
There are body horror elements in his work and the cartoon “Harry, I really think you ought to go to the doctor.”, in which Harry is a regular man with the head of a prawn, is positively Lovecraftian.
He is famous for writing “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book” (1967), “My Acid Trip with Groucho” (1981) and for designing/and/or/distributing the FUCK COMMUNISM! (1963) and Disneyland Memorial Orgy (1967) poster.
He was severely criticized by Robin Morgan in 1970 in “Goodbye to All That“:
“Goodbye to lovely “pro-Women’s Liberationist” Paul Krassner, with all his astonished anger that women have lost their sense of humor”on this issue” and don’t laugh any more at little funnies that degrade and hurt them: farewell to the memory of his “Instant Pussy” aerosol-can poster, to his column for the woman-hating men’s magazine Cavalier, to his dream of a Rape-In against legislators’ wives, to his Scapegoats and Realist Nuns and cute anecdotes about the little daughter he sees as often as any properly divorced Scarsdale middle-aged father; goodbye forever to the notion that a man is my brother who, like Paul, buys a prostitute for the night as a birthday gift for a male friend, or who, like Paul, reels off the names in alphabetical order of people in the women’s movement he has fucked, reels off names in the best locker-room tradition—as proof that he’s no sexist oppressor.”– “Goodbye to All That” (1970) by Robin Morgan
The entire issue where he is depicted with a spray can of “instant pussy” referred to, can be read here.
Tomi Ungerer was a French illustrator known for his children’s books, as well as his satirical and erotic work for adults.
I’ll never forget the moment at he end of the interview when he started singing “Die Gedanken sind frei” and many of the German-language invites joining in.
Fornicon (1969) [above] is a collection of 60 prints of scenes of funny machine-aided sadomasochistic male domination. When I say machine-aided, think Rube Goldberg machine. Box sets of these prints are being sold for as high as 3,000$. Books can be had for as little as ten dollars.
Ungerer’s humor is quite like that of Roland Topor.
It’s been a while since a piece of writing has given me so much pleasure.
It had me sniggering all the way through.
Especially this excerpt:
- “Ambrogio on the one hundred twelfth thrust shall finally have driven home his business with his wife, but shall not impregnate her this time, but rather another, using the sperm into which the cooked leek that he has just eaten with millet and wine sauce shall have been converted.”
But really, the whole passage is excellent in its power of imagination, in its ability to trivialize providence and omnipotence, in making it ridiculous by giving inane details, which seem like endless digressions à la Tristram Shandy. If you’re curious, you can read the rest of that passage here.
I wondered what the exact nature of the ‘triumphant beast’ of the title of the text was, and why, if so triumphant, it needed to be expelled. Some googling learnt that the beast is the the Pope or the Catholic Church.
Sadly, the wit in this text was fatal for Giordano. After a trial that lasted eight years, Bruno was burnt at the stake in 1600 for his derision. He was barely 52.
PS. I came upon Giordano Bruno by studying De rerum natura, that breviary of atheism, which can be briefly summarized by reading the following three passages: 1)on the helplessness of the human infant, 2) on the inability to reach bodily satisfaction and 3) on the pleasure of standing on shore watching a shipwreck.