June 30, 2006

Cast Off and Set Sail

I can't shave left handed very well.

Finally! Today I had my cast removed--two weeks early on good behavior--so I can enjoy my trip to Israel without the restrictions of the cumbersome device. Even though my arm is technically still broken, with my new removable splint I'll be able to swim in the Dead Sea, shower without wearing a bag on my arm, and shave with my right hand. Oh, I can also cartoon again, which was the first thing I did! Actually, it was the second.

But the cartoons will still be on hold until I return from Israel. I'm departing at midnight on Saturday for the ROI120 Conference in Jerusalem on July 2, and I'll be traveling through the Holy Land until July 18. So if you are a fan of the cartoons and would like to meet, feel free to send me a note!

That's it for now ... Next week in Jerusalem!

Lord of the Dead Ringers

Tobey Maguire in the Spider-Man 3 Trailer

It is easy to confuse Elijah Wood with Tobey Maguire, they look so much alike. But wtf is up with these two virtually identical shots, one from Spider-Man 3 and the other from Lord of the Rings?

I ask because the striking similarity between the two actors plays an important part in the plot of my Taglit-birthright israel cartoon trilogy, beginning with the Passover special, Elijah the Prophet. I thought I was creating a fictional rivalry, in which a beleaguered Maguire resents being constantly confused with his top billing doppelganger, Elijah Wood. But is Tobey actually jealous of Elijah in real life, so much so that he insisted on recreating Wood's famous "reach for the ring" scene with a ring reach of his own?

You be the judge.

June 25, 2006

Bunch of FLAGS

NYC Pride Week concluded today with The MARCH down 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It was nice to see support from Jewish organizations, including Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, NYC's synagogue for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender Jews, their families and friends; and The Union for Reform Judaism Greater New York Council.

Elijah and Tobey would approve!

June 19, 2006

So you thought Jew could dance

Hehe, I can't stop watching this clip! When Orthodox Jewish So You Think You Can Dance contestant, David Warshaw, was disqualified after falling flat on his face in the middle of his routine, I'll bet he thought the worst was over. But the embarrassment didn't stop there, with video clips of his yarmulke-popping punim-plant quickly circulating on the Internet. Although the videos have all been removed from sites like YouTube at the request of the copyright owner, you can still enjoy Warshaw's flying kippah act in the form of an animated GIF, commonly used in the signature files and profiles of LiveJournal members.

You can also see the extended clip, complete with judges' reaction. I like the way thet cover their heads in astonishment, as if to compensate for Warshaw's dislodged beanie.

June 16, 2006

Jew Orleans

The New Orleans Holocaust Memorial stood unscathed in the wake of Katrina

Last week I spent Shavu'ot in New Orleans, immersed in a multicultural mélange of ceremony and activites. Not only did I celebrate life on Bourbon Street, New Orleans style, but I also participated as a groomsman to my good friend Christopher Argiropoulos in a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding.

Chris, beaming Greek Orthodox groom, and his loyal smirky Jewish groomsbot

The devastation caused by hurricane Katrina was evident and widespread, especially the further I got from the French Quarter. I did not take photos of abandoned neighborhoods, where dark waterlines on the exterior of houses exceeded 8 feet high, because that was not the point of the trip. It was the week of Shavu'ot, a celebration of a new harvest, and what better place to celebrate than in a city on the verge of complete renewal.

Lara, Jewish Robot, Marlon, and Chris ... all having Sex on the Beach!

With every dark hurricane cloud there is a silver lining. This "Lucky" fellow is a carpenter, and he's been busier than ever, rebuilding a fantastic city.

June 11, 2006

Caricature Witness

I'm not one for politics, the topic usually makes my eyes glaze over ... unless it is being presented on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But a good smear campaign can be somewhat entertaining, especially when one party is accusing the other of anti-Semitism. Such is the case with Webb vs. Miller, two candidates for US Senate in the Virginia 2006 elections.

The matter came to my attention today when I received an e-mail from a supporter of the Webb campaign, who forwarded me a PDF flyer in which Miller was depicted as hooked-nosed, pockets full of money, and "the anti-Christ of outsourcing". The problem? This seemingly innocuous cartoon was perceived as an anti-Semitic slam against Miller. Quelle suprise.

The supporter who contacted me sought my expert opinion because of my involvement in cartoons and Judaism. He explained that, first of all, the Webb campaigners who designed the flyer didn't even realize Miller was a Jew. Also, even though the caricature of Miller has a crooked nose, that is what Miller actually looks like in real life.

So is it anti-Semitic to portray a real-life wealthy, stereotypically hook-nosed Jewish politician by distributing cartoon flyers containing a fairly accurate caricature of the candidate, complete with crooked nosed and money-stuffed pockets?

I say "no", the cartoon seems fine to me.

But then again, as I explained to the Webb supporter, I have a high threshold for offensiveness, so I may not be the best person to ask. In fact, I've been known to offend with my cartoons, without even trying. (Who is more racist, the cartoonist who draws a slanty-eyed, buck-toothed, straw hat-wearing Chinese food delivery boy, or the person who complains based on the assumption that the character is Chinese?)

But I did point out that it probably was not in the campaign's best interest to describe the candidate as "the anti-Christ of outsourcing". Mentioning Christ in a political campaign, especially in the context of a "Christ Killer", is never a sound tactic.

Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with it.

June 01, 2006

Elijah vs. Tobey

If you have been holding your breath waiting for the conclusion of the Elijah cartoon series cliffhanger I produced for Taglit-birthright israel, then you can finally exhale. Today I am pleased to present the third and final episode in the Elijah trilogy: Elijah vs. Tobey. Will Tobey Maguire finally exact revenge on his arch nemesis Elijah Wood, Prophet and spokesperson for Taglit-birthright Israel?

Watch the advance release of EVT to find out!

All illustration, animation, voices, and music by The Jewish Robot (me). Music inspired by Gustavo Santaolalla's theme music from Brokeback Mountain.

Mirrored from the Taglit-birthright israel Ecard site