Erasing the offensive past, followed by erasing the offensive present.

Erase the attitudes of the past cartoon

A cartoon about erasing the past because of its flaws, then erasing the present because of its flaws.

This cartoon is about the current trend (2020) for some groups to want to erase evidence of the parts of the past that they find offensive. This is manifested in the pulling down of statues of people who had links to the slave trade.
The point of the cartoon is that I think that such attitudes and approaches are misguided, as they require a (selective) moral purity that is impossible in a complex world full of complex people. The wish to erase the moral imperfections of the past would lead to the wish to erase the moral imperfections of the present, and in an imperfect world full of imperfect people the consequences of that could be a form of repression not dissimilar to some of the religious and political repressions of the past. Bear in mind that people are still capable of creating repressive societies in the misguided belief that they are doing a good thing – people don’t change, just their situation.
The imagery in the cartoon is based on the Bonfire of the Vanities – the burning of objects that the church considered sinful, such as books, art and mirrors which happened in Florence, Italy in 1497. It also relates to book burning by the nazis in Germany and the destruction of degenerate or subversive objects in other states ranging from communist regimes to the Taliban.

Drawn: 3rd July 2020
Cartoon reference: a813
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Leicester lockdown and pubs reopening cartoon

Leicester lockdown cartoon

Leicester lockdown and pubs reopening cartoon

A cartoon about the fact that pubs are about to reopen in England next weekend as the coronavirus lockdown is eased, just as the city of Leicester is put back into a higher state of lockdown (with no pubs allowed to open).
The possibility of young people leaving Leicester and getting very drunk in pubs outside the lockdown zone seems very likely to me. They will have to drive out of Leicester, and then return in a state of intoxication. A very worrying prospect.

Drawn: 1st July 2020
Cartoon reference: a811
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The campaign for the removal of controversial statues – cartoon

Taliban guide to statue destruction cartoon

A cartoon about the campaigns to remove statues of controversial figures (which I call the Down with Statues campaign).

The cartoon is a comment on the righteous zeal of the protesters who are demanding that statues of controversial figures, especially (or maybe exclusively?) those with links to the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism, be removed from public spaces because the statues are judged to be offensive.
The cartoon questions the implications of an excess of righteous zeal, as it can be used to justify extreme acts and extremism in general.
The cartoon draws attention to the destruction of the Buddhas of Banyam by the Taliban in 2001 and the destruction of artefacts in Iraqi museums by ISIS in 2003, both acts that were motivated at least partly by righteous zeal aimed at objects that the perpetrators deemed offensive. Parallels can also be made with other iconoclastic movements.
A cartoon about intolerance, self-righteousness, iconoclasm,

Drawn:18th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a808
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Offensive and approved terms in politically correct and woke language – cartoon

politically correct and woke language cartoon

A cartoon about the concept that the use of any term that is not politically correct or woke-approved to define race or gender is offensive.

This cartoon is about the tendency for the use of unapproved terms to describe people, especially in the spheres of race and gender politics, to be viewed as offensive and open to condemnation, even if used innocently.
The terms that are approved and disapproved sometimes change quite regularly, so it can be hard to keep up.
Notice that I’m not giving any examples of approved or disapproved terms here, in case I inadvertently get it wrong. Also, as the cartoon states, to merely mention a disapproved term as an example is viewed as offensive itself.
At the time of drawing this cartoon the tendency to police language for political purity seems to be on the rise, however it’s been there for as long as I remember. In fact I drew my first cartoon about it in the 1980s.
A cartoon about woke language, political correctness, linguistic purity, Orwellian language, political purity.

Drawn:16th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a807
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Judging historical figures by contemporary standards

statue toppling cartoon

A cartoon about toppling statues.

This cartoon is about the judging of historical figures by modern standards of ethics and morality.
The cartoon was drawn during a campaign of statue toppling in 2020 that started with the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol. Colston made money in the slave trade. His statue was erected to celebrate his later philanthropic donations.
The cartoon attempts to illustrate the problem of judging historical figures by the moral and ethical standards of today by showing the absurd (and hopefully comic) situation of a statue being toppled because the person represented by the statue was not a vegan. Veganism is generally speaking a very modern lifestyle choice that would be unknown to historical figures.
It is also about the phenomenon of people sometimes committing disproportionately excessive acts if they hold their views with a high degree of righteous zeal.
It is also about mission creep – the current campaigns about statue toppling began with racism but may extend to other areas.

Drawn:11th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a806
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Edward Colston statue cartoon

Colston statue cartoon

A cartoon about the irony that Edward Colston’s money was used to benefit worthwhile institutions in Bristol (and London).

This cartoon is about the complex and messy nature of financial and social endeavour, and the complex and messy nature of people.
It is about the broader issue of how money is generated to finance society in general, especially its more worthy aspects.
This is not a cartoon defending the statue of Colston (as I’m generally against the concept of statues of prominent people anyway, although I wouldn’t get rid of the either).

Drawn:8th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a804
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A cartoon about the gender pay gap as it applies to trans people

gender reassignment and pay gap cartoon

Cartoon about the gender pay gap and transgender people

The cartoon shows a person who’s undergone gender reassignment from male to female being given a pay cut in alignment with their new status as female.

A cartoon about salary and wage differentials and the gender pay gap applied to trans people.
Drawn: Jan 2018
Cartoon reference number: a777
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Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown enforcement cartoon

coronavirus covid-19 lockdown enforcement cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus cartoon – enforcing the lockdown.

As part of the coronavirus lockdown people are allowed outside only for limited reasons, one being taking exercise.
In city parks the police have been moving people on who they see sitting on park benches, as this is not exercise.

A cartoon about policing the lockdown, social isolating.
Drawn: April 2020
Cartoon reference number: a772
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The etiquette of using a mobile phone in an art gallery

The etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery cartoon

A cartoon about the etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery.

The cartoon shows a visitor to an art gallery talking on a mobile phone in the gallery.

The cartoon is about the tensions that can occur in public spaces concerning the inconsiderate use of mobile phones, especially if the user speaks in a load voice and seems oblivious to their surroundings.
Art galleries are usually quiet spaces (although there are some schools of thought that think that they should be more lively (and therefore more accessible to people who feel intimidated by the reverence normally afforded to art).
The other visitors to the gallery are looking very disapproving.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art015
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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The “post truth” society

Cartoon about ignoring the truth in favour of prejudice

Post truth cartoon.
Truth and facts being ignored in favour of emotional or prejudiced viewpoints.

The concept of ignoring the facts when reaching a decision about something, and letting the heart rather than the head rule, seems to be a phenomenon that’s on the rise. It has recently been labelled ‘post truth’.
In the cartoon I’ve linked it to the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, which are frequently used as a way of justifying irrational or unproven ideas.
The rise of post truth tendencies is said to be linked to people’s increasing use of social media via phones and electronic media and the tendency for internet algorithms to send people only information that they already agree with – however the tendency has always been there in the way that people purchase newspapers that agree with their political and other views.
It may also be linked to the current mistrust of experts.

Cartoon reference number: a756

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People immersed in their smart phones unaware of events in the real world

people engrossed in their smart phones unaware of events in the real world

A problem of immersive technology – smart phone users oblivious to events round them

This cartoon is about the way that the use of smart phones encourages people to withdraw from the real world and to become totally immersed in their phones.

In the cartoon the two young people in the foreground are completely unaware that the city behind them is being destroyed by an alien invasion by flying saucers or ufos (and that this is the reason that their phones have lost their signal). The only thing that they notice is that the signal to their phones has gone.
The cartoon is an illustration of the potential dangers of immersive technology.
It was first published in Prospect magazine, April 2016.
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“No Platforming” – the banning of speakers in debates

Cartoon - no platforming debates

“No platforming” – the movement to deny a debating voice to speakers who’s views may be offensive to some of the audience.

This cartoon is about the phenomenon of denying a platform in debates for speakers who’s views may be found offensive by some of the audience.
The phenomenon is particularly prevalent in universities.

“No platforming” can be seen as a form of censorship masquerading as a virtue. It is built on the premise that people have the right not to be offended.
This may be a worthy aim, but it’s very much open to abuse, as the ‘right not to be offended’ can easily become a means of stifling debate.
Apart from anything else, the airing of controversial views are crucial to the health of democracy.
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The campaign to remove statues – white male privilege – cartoon

Remove statues campaign cartoon

A cartoon inspired by the campaigns to remove statues of slave traders and imperialists from the public sphere (in 2015).

This cartoon is about the tendency for social grievances around issues such as race and gender to be directed towards people of higher privilege, so in western society almost all grievances are ultimately directed towards white men. Specifically middle-aged or old white men, as young people often have grievances directed towards older people (middle-aged men tend to be commoner targets than older men as they are often in higher positions of power or authority).

The cartoon was drawn in 2015, five years before the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020. I expect the campaigns to remove statues of other controversial figures such as Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford University (Rhodes Must Fall) will now be given new momentum.

Drawn: 2015
Cartoon reference number: a805
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Cultural infantilisation cartoon

Infantilisation cartoon

A cartoon about infantilisation in modern society.

An animal hat worn by an adult.

A cartoon showing an adult wearing a hat with an animal face on it. These hats are currently very popular for small children. There is a tendency for these animal hats to be adopted by young (and not so young) adults, usually female.
The person is reading a sociology book that is a critique of the trend towards the infantilisation of culture.
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Self-driving cars cartoon or driverless cars cartoon

Self-driving or driverless car cartoon

A cartoon about driverless cars.
How driverless cars may affect society

Driverless cars are also known as driver-free cars, self driving cars, autonomous cars or robot cars.

This is a futurology cartoon, predicting the future when self-driving cars are ubiquitous.
My view is that people will drive round whether they need to or not, simply because they can – a bit like the way people currently spend large amounts of their time glued to mobile phones even though they don’t necessarily have anything pressing to say. You can read an article of mine on the subject of driverless cars here.

Drawn: 2017

a674

Cartoon – the medicalisation of personality disorders (and of normal personality traits)

medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
The nature v nurture debate on human personality
Neurological origins of behavioural traits

A cartoon about the tendency to invoke medical reasons for deviant personality traits, for abnormal personality traits or even for normal aspects of personality.
It shows one aspect of the nature v nurture debate

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.
In this cartoon I’ve invented a medical condition that is being used by a parent to justify her child’s aberrant or antisocial behavior

The cartoon reflects the tendency to claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the dna
The image is not meant to imply that there is no neurological basis for behaviour, just that it can sometimes be used as an excuse for bad behaviour
The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Prospect magazine in May 2013

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Snooper drones cartoon

private snooper drones

Personal spy drone cartoon
The use of drones for private detective work

A cartoon about one of the implications of the spread of drone technology in the future if drones become available to the public as personal drones or as civilian surveillance drones in general

The drone in the image is being used by a husband to spy on his wife
Advances in drone technology have implications for civil liberties, with the possibility of a Big Brother society

Click below for another cartoon about the possible use of personal drones Snooper drones

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Personal snooper drone cartoon – drones used for stalking

personal drone used for stalking - cartoon

Personal spy drone cartoon
An idea about the implications of drone technology
The use of drones for stalking

A cartoon about one of the numerous possible misuses of drone technology in the future if drones become available to the public as personal drones

The drone in the image is being used by a stalker to stalk a woman.

Click below for another cartoon about the possible use of personal drones Snooper drones

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Illustration – people using mobile devices oblivious to their surroundings

spring blossom ignored by phone users - cartoon

An illustration about the tunnel vision of cell phone users
People using mobile devices being oblivious to what’s around them

A cartoon showing people using mobile phones or other portable electronic devices, totally ignoring the world around them

The cartoon shows a spring blossom tree in full bloom, with people staring at their phones instead of at the tree.

This is a variation on the idea that mobile phone users bump into people and objects because they aren’t watching where they are going, as they are too engrossed in their phones

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The phenomenon of over-assertive charity collectors – cartoon

charity mugger or chugger cartoon

Charity collection methods cartoon, showing a ‘charity mugger’ or ‘chugger’.

A charity mugger or chugger is person employed by a charity, or by an intermediary fundraising agency that is employed by the charity, who stands in the street and tries to stop people and persuade them to make donations to charity, usually in an over-assertive manner. This method of collecting for charity became an issue at the time that this cartoon was drawn, hence the derogatory name that was coined for the collectors.
Rather than saying “Not now” (as is usual) the passer-by is wearing a t-shirt with the message “Not now” printed on it.

A cartoon about charity fund raising techniques.
Drawn: Nov 2012
Cartoon reference number: chug001b

Health and safety gone mad – cartoon

Health and safety gone mad cartoon

Cartoon. Health and safety gone mad.

A cartoon about the petty rules and over-zealous implementation of laws concerning health and safety regulations.

A humorous illustration showing an officious official making a judgement on a health and safety issue. A child wrapped in cottonwool to protect it from danger – but the cotton wool leaves the child’s face exposed to danger.

Cartoon reference number: a423

Celebrity child abuse cartoon

child abuse - eligible for compensation cartoon

Politician and celebrity child abuse cartoon

In the wake of the Jimmy Savile affair there is a danger that unscrupulous lawyers will jump on the current wave of awareness of child abuse and will fish for victims, in a similar way that some law firms fish for victims of accidents in order to profit from the compensation claims that can be made.

A cartoon about paedophiles, paedophilia, compensation culture, litigation culture andchild sexual abuse.
At the time that this cartoon was drawn the list of celebrities and politicians who were being accused of historic sexual abuse was growing by the day – Jimmy Savile, Dave Lee Travis, Cyril Smith, Max Clifford, Stuart Hall…

The cartoon shows an advert in a gents toilet, where adverts for slightly dodgy legal practices can sometimes be found (such as for firms offering to win you compensation for mis-sold insurance protection plans)

Cartoon reference number: a418

Exam results cartoon – the hugging students tendency

exam result hugging - cartoon

Students hugging when they get their exam results

A cartoon about the recent trend in television news coverage of exam results for students to be filmed hugging each other when they get their grades.

The caption of this cartoon reads:
“I see that on your application form you’ve put down that your main reason for wanting to join our A level course is ‘To get hugs from teenage girls when the results come out’.”

The cartoon shows a man of dubious character applying to join a college of further education A-level course so that he can get hugs from attractive young female students when the exam results come out.

ed204

Child development cartoon. How to bring up the perfect child

Cartoon - book on how to raise the perfect child

Cartoon showing an ambitious mother reading a book about how to raise the perfect child

Child development cartoon. An ambitious mother reading a book on child rearing called ‘How to Bring up the Perfect Child‘. The mother is saying to her child ‘Not now dear, I’m busy.’

A cartoon about child rearing, parenting skills, hothousing, developmental psychology, education, educational psychology, yummy mummy, yummy mummies, misdirected ambition, bad parenting.
Cartoon reference number: a085
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Cartoon about statistics, statistical probability and statistical bias

statistics cartoon - probability

Cartoon about statistics, statistical probability, statistical bias and unreliable statistical surveys.

A cartoon showing a person collecting statistics but deliberately ignoring a statistic that doesn’t fit with his preconceived bias as to what the results should be.

A cartoon about unreliable statistical analysis, including such things as self-selecting groups, observer bias, prejudice.
A cartoon about statistical data collection and biased analysis.
Cartoon reference number: a035
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Graffiti and vandalism cartoon. Urban deprivation cartoon

Graffiti cartoon. Urban street map - you are here

Urban deprivation cartoon
A street map of the local area vandalised with graffiti

An illustration of urban decay. Two people looking at a street map covered in graffiti. An arrow on the map reads: you are here

A cartoon about inner city deprivation, vandalism, no go areas, defaced environment, hooligans, gang culture, disadvantages neighbourhoods, slums, wrong side of the tracks

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Smoking ban cartoon

Smoking ban cartoon. Smokers standing outside office block in street.

Smoking ban cartoon
Smokers in street

Smokers standing in the street outside an office block. The office block is the government’s Department of Health

A cartoon about cigarettes, health, smoke, secondary smoking, no smoking, smoking prohibition
Cartoon reference number: smo710

Blind date cartoon – trying to impress a date

Dating cartoon. A man and woman out for a meal. He says he wants to dedicate his life to making the world a better place. She thinks - Damn, he's flawed

Dating cartoon
Blind date cartoon

A man and woman out for a meal. He says he wants to dedicate his life to making the world a better place for all humanity. She thinks “Damn, he’s flawed”
A man trying to impress a woman with his concern for the world. It backfires

A cartoon about virtue signalling, ethics, morals, expectations, personality, motivation, concern, selfishness, charity, charitableness, caring, uncaringness, trying to impress someone.
Drawn: 2009
Cartoon reference number: fla710

Transport policy cartoon. Demolishing houses to widen a road

Road transport cartoon. Road widening scheme demolishing a house. The inhabitants are leaving

Transport policy cartoon
Infrastructure priorities cartoon

An illustration showing how transport and traffic policies can sometimes take priority over social issues such as housing policy.
The convenience for the motorist is seen as paramount – to the detriment of other considerations such as the environment and the social structure.

A road widening scheme demolishing a house. The inhabitants are evicted. A sign apologises to motorists for any inconvenience or delay in their journey.
A cartoon about traffic, road building, transport infrastructure, urban and rural environmental degradation, housing blight, road widening, traffic increase, cars, demolition.
Drawn: 2010
Cartoon reference number: tra710

Language cartoon: the evolution of spelling

young people talking in text message language cartoon, with text message spelling - txting

Language use cartoon – the evolution of spelling
Cartoon showing young people talking in text message language

The cartoon about the evolution and development of spelling, showing young people in conversation, with the spelling in the abbreviated form of text messages or sms messages. Two older people nearby are saying that they don’t understand a word young people are saying anymore.

A cartoon about progress, evolution of language, corruption of language, texting, sms messaging, c u l8er, linguistics, generation gap, generational differences, intergenerational cultural shifts.
Cartoon reference number: tec003
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Learning curve illustration. The decline of educational standards & dumbing down

Learning curve cartoon

Education cartoon
Learning curve illustration

A bookshelf representing a learning curve. The learning curve/shelf is curving downwards due to falling educational standards. The books on the curve are falling off the end due to the downward curve.

The illustration is dealing with lowering standards in schools, colleges and universities, library closures, dumbing down, knowledge acquisition.
Drawn: 2011
Cartoon reference number: edu001
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