Covid cartoon – the ‘Rule of Six’ social distancing

covid-19 social distancing cartoon

The UK government has stated that people must not congregate in groups larger than six – the ‘rule of six’.

In an attempt to stop the cover-19 virus spreading more due to lax adherence to social distancing rules the UK government has introduced a new rule to prevent large groups of people meeting up.

The cartoon depicts the characters from the famous Hollywood Western film the Magnificent Seven adhering to the new rule.
Drawn: 10th September 2020
Cartoon reference number: a844

Ethnic diversity cartoon

ethnic diversity cartoon

cartoon.

The cartoon shows a lecture about the desirability of ethnic diversity. Almost the whole audience is white.

The inspiration for this cartoon came from the phrase that performers at some events use when describing the audience as ‘a sea of white faces’.
Of course the audience at some events may be predominantly white because that reflects the ethnic mix of the locality or because of the differing interests of different ethnic and cultural groups, however sometimes it is a result of issues around discrimination concerning opportunities and access, as is implied in this cartoon.
A cartoon about race, racism, bame issues, discrimination, unconscious discrimination, cultural discrimination, racial bias.
Drawn: 8th Sept 2020
Cartoon reference number: a843

Cartoon – what art is offensive?

Offensive art cartoon

To what extent should art galleries reflect contemporary concerns?

A cartoon about changing the exhibits in art galleries and museums to reflect contemporary society and to avoid offence.

It’s quite common in art galleries that exhibit contemporary art for the art to reflect contemporary concerns (or at least the contemporary concerns that concern the art world).
This cartoon shows a historical artwork being judged by contemporary mores (or rather, the mores of a particular sector of society that embraces ‘woke’ values).
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a841

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon

Cartoon about pressure not to conform.

The term code switching is usually interpreted as as the phenomenon of altering one’s behaviour in order to conform with a social group.

In this cartoon the pressure is to be nonconformist and unconventional.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a839

Hate crime cartoon or hate speech cartoon

Hate speech cartoon - hate crime cartoon

Hate speech cartoon or hate crime cartoon.

A comment on the fact that the UK laws around hate crime and hate speech only apply to actions or comments directed at people because they are members of a number of five specific groups. Expressions of hatred on account of a person’s colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability are forbidden. Amongst other things the categories don’t include class, which I find intriguing, meaning that calling a working class person riff-raff is okay!

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a838

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon.

A cartoon about the concept of code switching.

Code switching in its current definition is the phenomenon of a person changing their behaviour in order to fit in with other people. It’s often used when people of a minority culture alter their behaviour in order to fit in with a majority culture.
Code switching is often interpreted as something that people shouldn’t really have to do, as it stops them being themselves.
This cartoon illustrates an example of when code switching would be a very good thing.
Code switching is in many ways a rebranding of the normal social activity of modifying one’s behaviour in different social settings. It is currently viewed by some people as a bad thing partly because of the current philosophy that you should “be yourself”.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a837

Code switching cartoon – from working class to a class at Oxbridge

working class code switching cartoon

Code switching cartoon.

A cartoon about the concept of code switching.

The current usage of the term code switching refers to the action of people changing their behaviour when they are in different cultural settings, usually in order to blend in. In this sense it is most often used with reference to ethnic minority people who are interacting in predominantly white social groups.
The cartoon illustrates a relatively less well remarked upon example of code switching, which is when white working class people need to blend in with white people from higher social classes, here exemplified by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In education the working classes tend to have lower attainment levels than other classes as a result of social discrimination.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a836

You can be whoever you want to be – cartoon

You can be whoever you want to be – cartoon

A flaw in the aspirational concept of “You can be whoever you want to be”.

The cartoon illustrates a problem with the currently popular encouragement to schoolchildren that when they grow up they can be whoever they want to be.
The aspirational, motivational expression makes the assumption that everyone will strive for a worthy goal. I don’t think this is necessarily the case.
In fact the concept gives people license to aim towards whatever they desire, which wouldn’t be a good thing.

Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a835

The changing meaning of ‘white supremacy’ – cartoon

White supremacy cartoon

A cartoon about the changing meaning of ‘white supremacy’

In recent months I’ve noticed what I think is a shift in the meaning of the term ‘white supremacy’.

To me the term has always meant the conscious policy of domination by white people over other people, often using violent means, and the implicit superiority of white people over other people.
A white supremacist under this definition would typically be depicted as a fascist or a member of the KKK, as in the cartoon.
Recently the term white supremacy seems to often be used by groups such as BLM (Black Lives Matter), to refer to contemporary US society (and western society in general). This society is white dominated, true, but that doesn’t make it supremacist in the fascist/KKK sense.
A danger of using the term to describe current society is that it labels all white people as conscious co-conspirators in the oppression of ethnic minority people, thus potentially making all white people ‘enemies’. I believe that quite a few of them would rather be described as allies.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a842a

The shifting definition of ‘white supremacy’ – cartoon

White supremacy cartoon

A cartoon about the changing definition of ‘white supremacy’

In recent months I’ve noticed what I think is a migration in the meaning of the term ‘white supremacy’.

To me the term has always implied the conscious policy of domination by white people over other people and the implicit superiority of white people over other people.
Under this definition a white supremacist would typically be depicted as a fascist or a member of the KKK, as in the cartoon.
Recently I’ve noticed several commentators on race issues stating that the western world is a ‘white supremacist society’. This society is indeed white dominated, but that doesn’t make it supremacist in the KK/fascist sense.
I think that a danger of using the term to describe contemporary society is that it can be interpreted as labelling all white people as conscious co-conspirators in the oppression of ethnic minority people, thus potentially making all white people ‘enemies’. I believe that quite a few would rather be described as allies.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a842b

The blame game – cartoon

I blame you cartoon

The blame game – cartoon.

A cartoon showing a protester with a banner proclaiming “I blame you”.

The cartoon is about people who need to place the blame for things on other people rather than on circumstances. This includes blaming people for their attitudes rather than analysing the circumstances that make people hold those attitudes.
A cartoon about protestors, political demonstrations, guilt.
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a830b

Last Night of the Proms wordless anthems – cartoon

last night of the proms cartoon

Last Night of the Proms – cartoon.

A cartoon about singing of Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia at the last night of the Proms

The last night of the Proms has been controversial in some people’s opinion for many years, due to the singing of the songs Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia. The words of these songs are described as jingoistic and vainglorious with their references to the greatness of the British empire.
This year (2020) the songs are going to be performed without the words. It’s said that this is because of the covid 19 pandemic, but I suspect that it’s at least partly due to the current climate of sensitivity to issues around race and empire.
The joke in the cartoon is that the BBC has turned off the subtitle facility for the broadcast, so that even the words don’t even appear as subtitles, and therefore people at home can’t sing along with the tune karaoke-style.
For the record, I’m not a big fan of the words, but I’d like to see them just fade away as an irrelevancy than actively ban them.
Drawn: 31st August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a833

Conspiracy theory cartoon

Conspiracy theory cartoon - road sign

Conspiracy theory cartoon – sign of the times.

A road sign with multiple roads leading to conspiracy theories.
One road leads to truth, but the road is closed.

The cartoon is about the current proliferation of (and acceptance of) conspiracy theories, as we now seem to live in a post-truth fake news world.
The climate of conspiracy theories is a sign of the times, hence the sign and the title of the cartoon, Sign of the Times.

Cartoon drawn: 30th July 2020

Cartoon reference number: a826
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Diversity cartoon – inclusion and employment policy

workplace diversity inclusion cartoon

Diversity cartoon – inclusion in the workplace.

A cartoon about diversity policy in employment and in recruitment.

The cartoon shows an interviewer in an organisation’s hr department interviewing a man. The interviewer is saying that her organisation promotes a policy of diversity and inclusion, however the policy doesn’t extend to the man being interviewed.
Diversity policies that are aimed at reducing discrimination tend to be targeted at race, gender and sexual orientation. This frequently puts white working class males at a disadvantage, partly because they do not belong to a recognised disadvantaged group under the UK government’s 2010 Equality Act and partly because they do not have enough points under the concept of intersectionality.
Drawn: 19th July 2020
Cartoon reference number: a821
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Cancel culture cartoon

Woke cancel culture cartoon

A cartoon about cancel culture and historical thought crimes.

This cartoon is about the current (2020) phenomenon of cancel culture. This is the concept by which a person is ostracized or shunned if they are judged to hold unapproved views or have attitudes that run counter to those of the arbiters of what are acceptable views. It is a subsection of woke culture.

Cancel culture is responsible for such phenomena as no platforming, where people with proscribed views are denied the ability to put their views forward for debate, particularly in universities.
It is often applied to people based on attitudes that they held in the past. By this criterium practically everyone on the planet should be cancelled, which is one of the points of this cartoon. The saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” comes to mind.
Cancel culture is often applied to historical figures from several centuries ago, particularly (at the moment) to those involved in some way in the transatlantic slave trade, and is manifested in the current campaigns to remove statues.
Cancel culture can be viewed as having a stifling effect on culture and debate, with its, to me, zealously censorious woke attitudes and its Orwellian implications.

Drawn: 7th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a815
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Popular culture caricaturing of race and gender cartoon

Racist & sexist demeaning caricatures cartoon

A cartoon about racist & sexist demeaning caricatures.

This cartoon is about changing attitudes to race and gender in popular culture.
The cartoon shows someone watching the tv programme The Black and White Minstrel Show in 1975, and someone else watching RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2020.
The cartoon draws attention to the jolly, pantomime portrayal of black men in the first show and of women in the second, and tries to make the point that while the cartoonish portrayal of black men in black face is now deemed unacceptable, the caricaturing of women as over-sexualised grotesques (similar to glamourised pantomime dames) is currently promoted in some parts of society as celebratory and ‘fun’.

The Black and White Minstrel Show was an extremely popular programme in the 1960s. I was a child at the time, and even I liked it, despite the fact that I was of an the age at which Top of the Pops was essential viewing. It was considered to be harmless family entertainment. The show was on the tv during a time of rapid social change, including a large increase in the black population of some parts of Britain, so by the mid 1970s the show was viewed in a different light and was finally discontinued because of its outdated attitudes.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a contemporary (2020) manifestation of part of lgbtq culture.

Drawn: 6th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a814
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Leicester lockdown cartoon – and pubs reopening

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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Offensive and approved terms in politically correct and woke language – cartoon

politically correct and woke culture 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 within woke culture 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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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 cartoon – lockdown enforcement

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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Feminist art cartoon

Feminist art cartoon

Feminist art cartoon

An art installation in an art gallery, consisting of a washing line with souvenir tea towels from art gallery gift shops hanging from it.
The tea towels are of famous artworks, all by male artists.
A cartoon about the dominance of men in the art world (and by extension in a few other places).

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art084
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Regulations about the depiction of children in art

depiction of children in art cartoon

A cartoon about regulations about the depiction of images of children in art.

The cartoon shows an old oil painting of a child in an art gallery.
The painting has been restored and modified to comply with regulations concerning the depiction of minors.

The child’s face has been pixelated to comply with the rules.
In real life rules on the depiction of children apply to certain media (in which the faces may be blurred), but not to old oil paintings.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art024
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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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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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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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 toppling of the statue of Edward Colston by protesters in Bristol because he was involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
It 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 them either).

Drawn:8th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a804
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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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The outcome of multiple conditions on opportunity – intersectionality illustration

intersectionality cartoon

The outcome of multiple life conditions on opportunity and outcome – intersectionality cartoon

This illustration was drawn for Marxism Today magazine in the mid 1980s.
It features a machine into which babies enter at the top and adults leave at the bottom.
The machine represents the workings of society, with tubes and pipes representing functions such as education, class, race, gender etc.
The adults leaving the machine have all been filtered through the various parts of the machine to produce different types of people. The types of people are produced to suit the conditions and needs of society.
The illustration could be interpreted as being about what is now called intersectionality (although it was drawn in about 1984 or 1985, before the term intersectionality was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw).

Drawn: mid 1980s
Cartoon reference number: a845
intersectionality cartoon

A detail of the illustration

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 cartoon

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.

Cartoon drawn: 2015

Cartoon reference: a705
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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 and protests 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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