Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 12, 2020
As virus outbreak spreads, schools face a dilemma
When the new coronavirus surfaced at Saint Raphael Academy after a school group returned from a trip to Italy, officials decided to close the Rhode Island Catholic high school for two weeks.
February 4, 2020
Instead of cancelling classes, the school in Pawtucket instituted “virtual days” where students are expected to work from home, check for assignments through an online portal and occasionally chat with teachers.
A few miles away, a public charter school also closed after a teacher who attended the same Italy trip awaited test results. But at Achievement First, the two days off were treated like snow days — no special assignments and no expectation that kids keep up their schoolwork.
As more schools across the United States close their doors because of the coronavirus, they are confronted with a dilemma in weighing whether to shut down and move classes online, which could leave behind the many students who don’t have computers, home internet access or parents with flexible work schedules. As the closures accelerate, children at some schools, like Saint Raphael, will be able to continue some form of learning, while children at schools with fewer technological or other resources, may simply miss out.
September 3, 2013
The deep technological and wealth gap that exists nationwide between poor and affluent students has made the coronavirus outbreak even more challenging for school officials, who are wrestling with not only health and safety decisions but also questions about the ethics of school closures.
These deliberations have been playing out in schools all around the country during the outbreak, from urban districts in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles to rural ones in Nebraska and Pennsylvania.
“If we shut down for a week or two weeks, and some of the kids can do it but some can’t, what do you do?” said Edward Albert, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. “There are some places that don’t even have phone service.”
Although widespread closures are a new development in the United States, they are already a reality in nations that have been hit harder by the virus. The United Nations’ education agency, UNESCO, says nearly 300 million children in 22 countries on three continents were being affected by school closures last week. In response, it has begun supporting online learning programs. (PBS)
Meanwhile, Ontario’s elementary teachers are set to resume contract talks with the government on Wednesday, but they’re warning that if bargaining doesn’t produce an agreement, the union will resume job action after March break. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 11, 2020
Economic Prescription for Coronavirus: ‘You’ve Got to Go Fast’
The government can’t prevent the coronavirus from damaging the U.S. Economy.
February 28, 2020
The usual tools that economic policymakers rely on, like tax cuts and stimulus spending, won’t restore canceled conferences, unclog supply chains or persuade wary consumers to go out to bars and restaurants. Even if such policies would help, they conflict with the advice of health officials who are urging “social distancing” to slow the spread of the virus.
But that doesn’t mean policymakers are powerless. Economists say well-designed programs could limit the damage and help ensure a quick rebound.
President Trump said Monday that he would meet with congressional leaders to discuss a “very substantial” payroll tax cut and other measures. Many economists are skeptical of that approach, arguing that a payroll tax cut would be too small and too poorly targeted to be of much help.
June 28, 2018
Instead, they recommended a variety of other steps, some narrowly aimed at addressing the outbreak and some intended to bolster the broader economy. One lesson from the last recession is that the government has to move quickly.
“You’ve got to go big, and you’ve got to go fast,” said Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve staff member who is now director of macroeconomic policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a left-leaning research organization. “If you don’t go fast, you’re not going to short-circuit it.”
Here are some forms that such intervention could take: 1) Fight the disease. 2) Cushion the blow. 3) Stimulate the broader economy. 4) What about payroll taxes? (Continued: NYTimes)
CHRONOLOGY OF A CARTOON GONE VIRAL
This particular editorial cartoon has gone through several modifications than the original one published above on March 11, 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The original double wave cartoon received attention around the world and was modified, rather crudely, with adaptations made to my Canada flag, and translations squeezed in to replace my English “be sure to wash your hands and all will be well.” Some of the changes were done fairly well. Some of the people behind the alterations took the time to ask for permission to do so, and preserved my moniker, while others did not.
Nettuno 1958 – 5 aprile 2020
Here’s a version drawn with credit for audiences in Mexico. Found on Twitter on account @adn40 and shared March 25, 2020:
Another adaptation done for audiences in France. Website called, Acheter en Espagne: Le meilleur site sur l’immobilier en Espagne pour la clientиle francophone.
If only I got a penny for everywhere this cartoon landed I’d be rich!
Possibly my most shared, cropped, and altered cartoon ever.
A crude repurposed image showing a third wave, with my moniker cropped out, appeared in wide circulation on various social media platforms in May, 2020. It appears someone with some knowledge of image editing software duplicated the recession wave, added a third wave by colouring it rather fluorescent green and replacing the wording to climate change. In doing so unfortunately, my signature, or moniker as cartoonists call it, was deleted out. It was on its way to being meme-ified – unsourced and unsigned, the bane of editorial cartooning. I believe the flag in the above example is Argentina’s.
Meanwhile, a hemisphere over in the UK, someone revised the Argentinian version, and replaced the label recession with “Brexit”. Look closely and one will note the Union Jack flies atop the Palace of Westminster! Credit goes to Twitter account RRI Tools for pointing this out in June, 2020 with this tweet.
I thought these ideas behind modification were pretty good ones, but the crop jobs weren’t so great, and the flag of Argentina only caused confusion on an idea that could work for anyone around the world. So it was then that I decided to remove the flag and create an authorized version bearing my signature. Here it is:
Originally drawn for March 11, 2020. Revised May 23, 2020.
But it seems someone else in another corner of the planet, Ricardo Hurtubia, a teacher from Santiago, Chile, had added a third wave as early as April 4! Good on him for keeping my moniker in there. News to me by the time July rolled around:
con mis fantásticas habilidades para Power Point, he logrado esta obra de arte luego de un día entero de trabajo
(broma ?, pero el mensaje de fondo va en serio?) pic.twitter.com/qPrmSaneRy
In September, 2020, this beautiful hand drawn rendering was flagged by someone in Venezuela on Twitter. This is an example of the old saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Thank you Alejandro!
Not long after the above tweet was posted, an anonymous twitter account holder going by the name of Cilantrófago, posted a re-adapted image in Spanish that cleaned up Mr. Hurtubia’s, somewhat, adding a 4th wave. His major failing, however, is chopping out my moniker, and unfortunately, for Cilantrófago, he or she qualifies as a Social Media Jackass.
In mid June, I was included in a tweet sent out by David Obura, a director of Cordio, East Africa, a marine ecosystem consultancy based in Mombasa, Kenya. He’s also a scientist with the Earth Commission. A 4th wave had been added as a further warning regarding the effects of climate change on the world’s ecology. He isn’t actually the person who added the “biodiversity collapse”, but liked what he saw and sent it out. The re-adapted version is quite a good one, with a thought provoking message, the lettering is close enough to my own, and the image retains my moniker. Thumbs up, but I would like to know who the person is behind the re-adaptation.
The readapted readapted version of the cartoon became the centre piece of a demonstration with a Samba Band on Paignton Promenade (in Torbay, Devon, England) Sunday afternoon, August 30, 2020 with the “Four Waves Banner” shown below and paraded by the Green Spirits group:
In April 2023, the banner lead a parade and was carried to Parliament Square in front of Westminster Palace in London during a weekend of massive protests called “the Big One” on the climate crisis.
Organizers of another protest march in the UK wished to use the same image in public. An artist acquaintance of the environmental organization leader kindly asked if it was okay for him to design his own commissioned rendering of the image on wood measuring 8 by 4 feet. Happy to help a fellow artist on the other side of the planet the nod was given (though, as always, the artist deserved more compensation.)
Tweet from Nov 10. 2021
Then it ended up along the banks of the River Clyde during the gathering of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. This tweet informed me of it’s location on Nov. 10, 2021.
Enchanted by the passion of the Green Spirits, and after receiving more licensing permission to use the 4 waves, I decided to update the cartoon to include the biodiversity collapse wave. The caption bubble was also enlarged, and my moniker was placed in the top corner.
Dr. Madhu Pai, MD and McGill University Professor and Canada Research Chair of Epidemiology & Global Health convinced me to tweak the illustration a bit to advance his concerns of conditions such as TB, HIV, malaria, maternal health, etc. that have become worse due to COVID-19 and lockdowns.
As of Autumn 2020, according to google image search, there are more than 1680 posts of these variations across the Internet on various social media platforms and websites.
Finally and noteworthy is an overriding subject going beyond the pandemic, Healthcare distress, the economy, Brexit, Climate Change, war …the end of the world, it’s the chronology of this cartoon as a meme.
“There’s a difference between using a familiar symbol and copying someone else’s cartoon, and, while some asked for permission and credited him, others did not. It’s a common experience for cartoonists in this Ctl-C, Ctl-V world, and MacKay’s analysis is excellent.”
Who knows how much, from Finland, Svante Suominen’s effort using the illustration to promote #SavePondHockey helped his cause which he asked in a Twitter exchange, our group fights “climate change by organizing outdoor hockey tournaments and donating the profits to climate campaigns / action. We’d love to use a quickly hacked image that is based on your idea and design work as a featured image in our blog. Would that be OK for you?” He was given clearance to do so, merely for having the decency to ask.
Like so many images cartoonists offered up to the Internet, dark forces are at the ready armed with design software to butcher artists work and memes-ify them to serve their appetites for likes and retweets. Just as egregious to discover signed cartoons reworded to suit partisan stances effectively turning satire into propaganda, is the removal of monikers and the extraction of intellectual property. We learn as children not to do this when we hand in assignments for school and that we should always source words borrowed from others. Why is it when theft of imagery that’s turned into memes is taken so passively?
On April 27 2021, a supportive follower made me aware of a new adaptation with the logo of Extinction Rebellion attached to it. The new image shows a different rendering of the waves with a couple of labels changed. Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental movement that has its roots in the UK and has captured the attention in recent months for huge non-violent rallies and civil disobedience against governments not doing enough to fight climate change and prevent the inevitable ecological extinction. It has been very successful in raising awareness and is influencing similar movements around the world. It is, however, not without criticism, with charges of being extremist, classist, and short-sighted with regards to diversity. In 2019, eight ER protesters made fools of themselves when they took their demonstration to the London Underground and disrupted an evening commute for thousands of transit users by unfurling a banner on the roof of a subway car. Respect for the work of artists seems to be another one of Extinction Rebellion’s shortcomings. It is ironic indeed that an organization called Extinction Rebellion has made my connection to my own design extinct with this:
Over a number of years, responding to people responsible for repurposing creative content has revealed interesting personality characteristics. Most people will realize they’ve done wrong, remove the vandalized content, and apologize.
Junked up nonsense found on Twitter. Zero likes, zero retweets, zero idea.
Some won’t respond at all. Others will reply, and dig in their heels with claims that it’s some kind of human right to screen grab someone’s work online, alter it, and repost it as they deem fit. What compels people to modify visual work may be a genuine expression of support adding ones own thought to a message. Well meaning perhaps, as in the case of the DIY art restorer who, in 2012, decided to fix Ecce Homo, a fresco painted by Elías García Martínez in a church in Borja, Spain, but who was roundly condemned and mocked for the results. Or, it may just be a narcissist’s lack of thoughtfulness by co-opting imagery to communicate a message unrelated to the intent of the creator of the image. Several of the worst cases have been called out as the Social Media Jackasses for their bad behaviour.
Along comes a post on Instagram where an account run under the banner of a big international bubble tea chain called Tiger Sugar used the image below to promote franchise expansion. A glance through the account shows an endless scroll of not so witty memes mixed with photos of their swirly brown syrup concoctions aimed at a younger smart phone addicted set. A message was left under the post requesting removal of the altered image. As of the time of this writing the post remains and thereby grants Tiger Sugar bestowal of recognition into the pantheon of intellectual property thieves.
Tiger Sugar was not given permission readapt the messaging
Noted is this eerily similar looking version found on this page on a site called EcoMatcher. They aren’t based in any particular country but whether the renderer knew it or not, that’s pretty much exactly what I drew in the very first version (posted at the top of this page) to represent Canada, from the rockies in the west to the Toronto skyline in the east. Seems the readapters of the image had a pretty good idea of the original cartoon’s chronology. It bears a striking resemblance to Svante’s rendering above.
Finally, From GreenMoveID, an environmental organization in Indonesia that shared this modification in November, 2020. For non-English speaking countries it’s important to get the message out, and frankly this rendering is beautifully done, and good for them for the credit:
If we all let our guard down, it could be that the Covid-19 Pandemic is actually the opening before a bigger disaster comes. The government must think further ahead in making policies to tackle this pandemic. GreenMoveID (Indonesia) posted this on Nov. 9, 2020, @greenmoveid acknowledging mackaycartoons illustration for inspiration
Another unique perspective by a Warsaw based organization called Social Simulations.
Waves, boulders, impending doom, stock photo.
In December 2023, I shared a panel with Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake City Tribune, and Rod Emmerson of the New Zealand Tribune for an episode of Daryl Cagle’s podcast on the subject of editorial cartooning Climate Change. In my selection of cartoons I highlighted my odyssey with this cartoon here:
The authorized version of the 4 Waves cartoon is available on a wide range of ethically sourced apparel and products through the MacKaycartoons Online Boutique.
Authorized for sale by Graeme MacKay through this link.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday March 10, 2020
For Steven Del Duca, winning the Ontario Liberal leadership was the easy job.
Del Duca, a former cabinet minister, succeeds Kathleen Wynne as party leader after his landslide first-ballot victory at Saturday’s Liberal convention in Mississauga.
Now Del Duca faces the far more difficult tasks of rebuilding his third-place party, taking on incumbent Premier Doug Ford, and giving Ontarians who want Ford gone a compelling reason to vote Liberal in 2022 rather than NDP or Green.
Here’s what’s on Steven Del Duca’s to-do list:
1. Introduce himself to Ontarians
October 23, 2001
People who follow politics closely know Del Duca from his six years as the Liberal MPP for Vaughan, Ont., including four years in cabinet. But for the vast majority of Ontario voters, he’s unknown.
His back story has the potential for some appeal: he’s a first generation Canadian, son of a Scottish mother and Italian father. He went to law school, graduating from Osgoode Hall in Toronto in 2007.
While even his supporters admit he’s far from the most charismatic politician Ontario has ever seen, they argue he is smart, hard-working and plain-spoken.
2. Deal with his baggage
May 15, 2015
Del Duca’s tenure as transportation minister is not without controversy. He was criticized in the 2018 auditor general’s report for approving construction of two GO stations against the advice of Metrolinx staff, including one at Kirby, near his Vaughan riding.
Del Duca defends the move as the right call, saying the analysis by Metrolinx didn’t take into account expected population growth.
Just last month, CBC News revealed Del Duca built a backyard swimming pool without all the necessary permits and too close to neighbouring conservation land, according to municipal bylaws. Del Duca calls it an “embarrassing … honest mistake” and is seeking a land swap to bring the pool into compliance.
As a key member of Wynne’s government, Del Duca will also need to figure out whether to distance himself from her record, embrace her accomplishments, or toe some fine line between the two.
3. Rebuild the Liberal machine
March 30, 2016
Among Del Duca’s most important tasks now: “the unglamorous but very, very important work of party building,” says one of his senior campaign advisers. This means nurturing local riding associations, recruiting candidates, developing policies and raising money, all with an eye toward the June 2022 election.
The 2018 election disaster left the Ontario Liberals with not only their worst result in party history, but also with a financial mess. The party raised just $970,000 last year, according to donations recorded on the Elections Ontario website. It’s a far cry from the PCs’ haul last year in excess of $4.8 million. Doug Ford raked in more than $2 million on just one night this past week, at his annual leaders’ dinner.
4. Contrast with the NDP
April 18, 2018
Much could change by the time Ontarians go the polls in 2022, but right now the next election looks set to be a referendum on Doug Ford. People who want to vote “no” in that referendum will have options other than Del Duca’s Liberals, chiefly Horwath’s New Democrats.
Given that the Liberals and NDP (as well as the Greens) will be fishing in the same pool of anti-Ford voters, Del Duca needs to contrast himself as the clear alternative. He’ll likely do that by painting the New Democrats as ineffective in holding Ford to account, as he did in his speech to the convention Saturday, and by whipping up fears that an NDP government would harm the economy.
5. Face off against Doug Ford
November 1, 2019
There are plenty of voices out there insisting there’s no way Doug Ford can win a second term in 2022, but that’s a rather naive view. Ford loves campaigning, he has a formidable re-election team and his party is rolling in cash.
The Liberals cannot simply rely on Ford losing. Del Duca knows that, as does his team. “Anyone who suggests that this government is done for doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” said his senior adviser. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 7, 2020
Did basic income drive people to quit work? Not according to a Mac study of recipients
Three-quarters of people who were employed before joining Ontario’s ill-fated basic income pilot project continued to work while receiving the no-strings-attached monthly stipend, according to a new study.
November 17, 2018
And more than one-third of those low-wage workers were able to move to higher paying and more secure jobs, according to the study by McMaster University researchers being released Wednesday.
The findings shatter the belief among skeptics that basic income discourages people from working. It also appears to contradict the Ford government’s charge that the experiment was “failing” before it was cancelled in July 2018, the report argues.
Based on a survey of 217 former participants in the Hamilton-Brantford area and 40 in-depth interviews, the report also found those receiving basic income had better mental and physical health, fewer hospital emergency visits, more stable housing and an improved sense of well-being.
December 21, 2006
“These findings show that despite its premature cancellation by an incoming government that reneged on its electoral promise to see the pilot through to its end, basic income recipients in the Hamilton-Brantford pilot site benefited in a range of ways,” the report says. “In this sense, the pilot was nothing short of successful.”
The findings are “particularly surprising” since most respondents received basic income for less than 17 months, including nearly one-third who got it for less than 13 months, it adds. The $150 million provincial experiment was expected to last three years.
The report, funded by the Hamilton Community Foundation, McMaster University and the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, acknowledges it can’t fill the research gap created when the project was cancelled.
December 18, 2018
“The results do, however, dispel some of the fears of the opponents of basic income including that it will lead to a wholesale abandonment of paid employment,” it says.
For those who were working before the pilot project, the basic income meant they could take chances on a new job or career, according to the researchers, who conducted a 70-question online survey from January to August last year.
Several respondents became self-employed. Others were able to leave a bad job and search for something better or upgrade their skills. And some used their basic income benefits to spend more time with family members or children who may have special needs, the report says.
Respondent James Collura says his $900 monthly basic income benefit gave him the courage to ditch a “dead-end,” part-time job as a bank teller in Hamilton for more “fulfilling” employment at a float-therapy business.
“With basic income, taking a leap from a secure job suddenly became something I was more comfortable with,” he says. (Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday March 6, 2020
Biden’s older voters are showing up. Sanders’ young voters aren’t
March 3, 2020
Super Tuesday was not so super for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He lost most of the states up for grabs, and it’s quite possible that he’ll end up with fewer delegates on the evening than chief rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sanders’ struggles reflect an inability to connect with older voters, while at the same time failing to generate large youth turnout.
We saw a very familiar age gap across the Super Tuesday states. Sanders crushed it with younger voters. Looking across all the contests with an exit poll, Sanders won an astounding 61% to Biden’s 17% among voters under 30 years old. He even beat Biden by 20 points (43% to 23%) among those between 30 years old and 44 years old.
January 20, 2016
Sanders, however, struggled mightily with older voters. Biden won by 22 points (42% to 20%) with voters 45 years old to 64 years old. With senior citizens (those 65 years and older), Sanders managed to come in third with 15% (behind Biden’s 48% and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s 19%).
Now you might be tempted to look at those numbers and see that Sanders won those under 45 years old by more than he lost those 45 years and older.
The problem for Sanders is the under 45 group make up a smaller piece of the pie. In no Super Tuesday state with an exit poll did those under 45 years old make up more than 42% of voters. Those under 45 years old were just 35% of the electorate in the median state.
The lack of younger voters in the electorate is, of course, usually the case. Those under 45 years old make up the minority of Democratic primary voters in 2016 as well. Sanders’ theory of the case, though, is his that candidacy can generate youth turnout.
A look at the results on Tuesday night suggests that he failed to do so.
The lack of strong youth turnout didn’t stop Sanders from his big win Nevada earlier this month. Unfortunately for Sanders, he did 4 points, 6 points and 7 points worse on Super Tuesday compared to Nevada among those 18-29 years old, 30-44 years old and 45-64 years old respectively. He actually did 3 points better among seniors on Super Tuesday than in Nevada, but Biden more than compensated for that by doing 19 points better with those 65 years and older.
Indeed, Biden did better in every age category on Tuesday compared to Nevada as he became the clear alternative to Sanders.
Going forward, the math is simple enough for Sanders. He’s either gotta win more votes from those voters who regularly turn out, or he’ll need to bring more young people to the polls. Failure to do so will result in a Biden nomination. (CNN)
The challenges of getting a caricature right. Below, shown using an iPad, captures the struggle I had drawing Bernie Sanders for the March 6, 2020 editorial cartoon. It’s maybe the 6th or 7th time I’ve ever drawn him, and despite he may have reached the final chapter of his political life (post Super Tuesday 2020), I think it’s my best drawing of him.