One of my preferred topics for editorial cartoons has always been American mistreatment of indigenous people. Nothing makes me feel better than dreaming up a solid cartoon that reminds us all about the sordid history of our country’s crimes against Indians. The only thing more satisfying is seeing my ideas validated.
This weekend POCHO Florida Burro Jefe Santino J. Rivera sent me a “heads-up” about a Tweet featuring one of these editorial cartoons. I clicked the link and just about fell out of my chair.
The graphic in the Tweet was a side-by-side presentation of my cartoon showing a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan next to a photograph of a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan (image, above.)
They are eerily similar. The strange part was that I drew my cartoon in 2002, and the photo was taken last week in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland “Indians”:
At first I thought it was just a hilarious comparison. Then I began examining the two images more closely and got a little weirded out. I went to the archives to pull up the big, high-res version of the toon (below, double-click to enlarge) and compared it to the photo. I immediately noticed the face paint, the writing on the shirt, the similar headdresses, and the nearly identical right hand position of the mascot-lovin’ dude:
When I noticed the nearly identical pose of the Native protester in the photo and in my cartoon, I started tripping out.
My work has sometimes been imitated in life, like when the Mitt Romney embraced my Self Deportation immigration policy, which started as a reality-hacking hoax/joke.
Somehow this felt different than mere prescience or amazing foresight; it was something else.
I hate to embarrass myself further, but I must admit that I am a wannabe physics geek. Oh, I can’t do any calculations more complex than figuring out restaurant tips, but I am interested in black holes, time travel and the like.
You might have heard some say that time doesn’t actually exist, and that all we have is the present. I’d like to think that maybe in 2002 when I was coming up with the cartoon, the image popped into my head directly from 2014 as it was happening and getting posted to the 2014 Internets.
In this scenario, events create ripples in spacetime and move both “forward” and “backward,” and eventually reach every point in spacetime. Or a cartoonist desperate for ideas.
So, while that sounds cool and otherwordly, the more likely scenario is that the Native American sportsball team mascot issue is not going away overnight, and has only moved a little since I drew that toon in ’02.
Regardless, we have to keep talking about this issue, and hopefully one day my cartoons will be but reminders of a very different past and future.
If there are such things.
PREVIOUSLY ON TEAM MASCOTS:
- La Cucaracha: But I like my ‘Indian’ team mascot! (toon)
- La Cucaracha: Fight, fight, fight for the home team (toon)
- Mexican Football League fans: ‘WTF is the big deal about team names?