Kate McKinnon’s Cat

This afternoon, I deleted my Twitter account. I got up today thinking I’d re-engage with the world. I now see my mistake…

I suppose I did it because I’m in a bit of a transition. I’m clearing my decks, deciding what (if anything) I’ll do next. At the bottom of this post is a project I had on the go for weeks, since the beginning of lockdown. It’s unfinished but, what the hell… It wasn’t a great idea to begin with.

I had this crazy idea of drawing a comic strip based around my dreams. Each weird thing I dreamt about would provide the next panel in the strip. I like the nature of non-sequiturs and this was really just an experiment in that. It makes no sense. It’s a major “fail”. But it’s also another thing I’ve produced recently. Perhaps it’s even one of the reasons I’m doubting myself.

That’s probably why Twitter is not good for me at the moment…

It’s not so much the cretins that get to me – those American QAnon types “triggered” when I question their cult – as much as the judgemental nature of a medium in which people contribute very little but have the power of a single “like” to decide if you are or are not relevant.

The straw that broke this particular camel’s back was trivial but isn’t that the nature of straws?

I’d been sick of seeing pictures of Nigel Farage pointing at the English Channel so I mocked up the Photoshop in my previous post, which, I’ll be honest, was the first thing to make me laugh-out-loud in days. Yes, it was childish. Yes, it was a little tasteless. But, so what? It made me laugh and laugh a lot. It landed exactly on that spot where I like my humour. So, in my naïve optimism, I posted it.

I waited.

Nothing.

Then a comment.

“Over ambitious”.

What the hell does that mean?

I didn’t even recognise the follower who said that. For a moment, I thought it meant the high concept ITV show was over ambitious but then I realised they were talking about my gag. Suddenly my Photoshop had no comments. Then it had a snide comment. Then the snide comment was liked by somebody I don’t know but claims to be some kind of media critic on the BBC.

Nice way to break it to me guys! I’m unfunny. I get it.

It’s a strange phenomenon you only notice when you try to be funny for “an audience”. The audience starts to explain your own humour back to you. The first time I saw this, it freaked me out. Some reader told me that I kept doing something, as though I wasn’t aware of my doing it. It was a silly gag, using repetition. It was meant to be an affectation. Most people understood it but this guy just thought it annoying.

It happened again after my Stan book came out. People kept telling me that I wasn’t fooling anybody with my spoof letters. I had to explain to them that I wasn’t intending on fooling anybody. I was inviting them to join in with my silly game, so they could be funny in response.

I feel the same way now about that Farage gag. “Too ambitious” because it would fool nobody? But I wasn’t trying to fool anybody. I was commenting — in my crude, unfunny way — about the crass nature of reality TV shows on ITV, as well as making a vulgar joke about Farage fingering a cow.

But you know what they say about jokes that you have to explain…

And, yes, I know my moods have been all over the place lately. I am not, let me assure you, bipolar (or not, as far as I can see, in any proundly meaningful sense). I’m functioning quite normally but with a really low level “grumpiness” which results in my having no enthusiasm for my work. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to get up after a fall. Increasingly, though, I feel like Sisyphus pushing that bloody rock up that hill. Every step feels harder than the last. My enthusiasm wanes. Every time I land on my arse, I begin to feel comfortable with the view from down here.

Anyway, this project feels like it’s the gaping hole where my sense of humour used to be. I’m glad to post it, even though it’s unfinished. It might break the spell I was under that I really had to finish it.

And, again, it makes no sense. It really is the product of dreams. The first dream happened at the beginning of lockdown when SNL began producing their shows from home. One in particular had stuck in my mind so I ended up dreaming about Kate McKinnon’s cat…

4 thoughts on “Kate McKinnon’s Cat”

  1. Really sorry to hear that david but not surprised. I still enjoy it but I realise it’s about how your trying to use it. I also wonder if its because, due to your work, you feel the need to follow people who are paid to have opinion after relentless opinion. Its not as good as it was pre C2015 but as I say for me it’s still a positive. Social media broadens my world to a huge degree. Which is sad I away but there you go. Both accounts?

    1. Oh, you know how I am. Once I’ve over my latest pissed-off sulk I’ll probably chicken out and re-enable it before they delete all my data. In fact, now I think about it, I realise I have some cartoons in Martin Rowson’s competitions. If I don’t enable it, I can’t be included. Shit. I better go and re-enable it now… [And it’s back… I can’t even walk away in a strop…]

      I’m sure a lot of my current moodyness is because of lockdown. I have two people to look after and I’ve avoided going out now for six months. Climbing the f***ing walls.

      I like Twitter. I like following journalists. I just don’t need people constantly telling me I’m crap. It sounds infantile of me — terribly weak — but Eric Morecambe was said to carry a cutting in is wallet of his very worst review. All I know is that it’s very hard to dispell the feeling of worthlessness that Twitter sometimes engenders.

  2. Easier said than done, I know, but I wouldn’t take Twitter responses to heart – you’re still there fretting when they’ve moved on to being nasty/dismissive/whatever to the next person. I think Twitter has some great points – interesting, funny, informative (though I have to bear in mind that I’m as capable of being manipulated as anyone else by the various “triggers” that abound) but it makes it easy to be heedlessly mean without consequence. My view (I was going to precede that with “For what it’s worth” but that implies I treat my view as valueless so away with it) is that your cartoons are usually funny – some very, some less so but humour’s subjective – and the idea of a cat subletting a condo in Louisiana after an agressive marketing campaign made me laugh.

    1. You’re absolutely right. It easier said than done. When you doubt yourself (and who doesn’t?) any criticism, however mild, scalds. But I had a day away from the PC yesterday — didn’t even turn it on — and I’m feeling a little more restored. Even have plans to do some work today! And glad that at least one person got something from the daft cat thing I did. 😉

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?

Really?

Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.