News & Criticism

The Washington Post and Peter Bagge, Sittin' In a Tree

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The Washington Post's Peter Carlson spews big love over our own Peter Bagge's form of unique cartoon journalism in a profile today. Some excerpts:

Reason is a libertarian magazine and Bagge is a libertarian cartoonist, always eager to satirize the war on drugs or gun control laws or other governmental restrictions on personal freedom. But he doesn't just sit around drawing cartoons. He goes out and covers events like a reporter, jotting down quotes and sketching in his notebook. Then he turns his observations into multi-page comic-strip essays that are funny and smart and surprisingly nuanced.

"I call it cartoon journalism," Bagge, 49, said in a phone interview from his home in Seattle. "I don't know what else to call it."

Over the past six years, Bagge has covered political campaigns, protest marches and, in one hilarious piece, a very earnest convention of polygamists, swingers, sadomasochists and transsexuals, where a panel discussion on legal issues inspired a rather dumpy woman to ask this question: "If I adopt my live-in lovers, would I be violating incest laws?"

……….

In the current Reason, the one with his hideous self-portrait on the cover, Bagge travels to a gun show, interviews people on both sides of the gun control issue and ultimately concludes that, yes, an American should be able to own a bazooka: "If I don't hurt, threaten or disturb anyone with it, then why can't I own one?"

His reasoning failed to convince me, but I enjoyed the piece anyway. Arguing with Bagge is part of the fun of reading Bagge. As libertarian polemicists go, he's a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.

Check out our Bagge archives and bow before the wonder of our own cartoon journalist. And visit Peter's personal site. And to tie today together into a neat bow, yes, Peter used to draw Bat Boy for the dearly departed Weekly World News.

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  1. As libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.

    That’s not really much of a complement.

  2. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I liked the one on malls quite a bit.

    And as I have said before, Peter’s early Hate stuff was uncomfortably close to my own life in the early 90s

  3. The reason Peter is more fun than Ayn is this: Unlike Rand, Bagge admitts to drawing caricatures.

  4. As libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.

    That’s not really much of a complement.

    Maybe not, but it’s todays money quote. 🙂 Or maybe it’s todays LOL quote.

  5. Bagge is good……but he’s no Chip Bok!!!

  6. Ayn Rand wasn’t a libertarian, as we all know.
    In fact, libertarianism is what Rand thought of when she was three. But she grew up.

  7. Bagge’s strip – I wish there was a better term for what he produces – about “Bums” had a lot of heart.

  8. mad props bagge

  9. “If I don’t hurt, threaten or disturb anyone with it, then why can’t I own one?”

    Some libertarian Bagge is! Of course you should be able to threaten people with your bazooka, as long as you don’t actually carry out the threat. Free speech, anyone?

  10. Bagge is great. It took a little while for him to grow on me, because in general the “underground comix” style of drawing kinda grates on my eyeballs, but what he does is great.

  11. The gun piece was really good, but Bagge lost me in the last few panels when he tried to pull off the libertarian macho flash.

    As libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.

    Talk about damning with faint praise.

  12. Sometimes I think Dan T. is one of Bagge’s cartoon characters come to life, like in that 80s music video.

    This is one of those times.

  13. That cover pic of him w/ the bazooka rocks the farm.

  14. Peter Carlson is just shilling for big Bagge.

  15. All we need now is the “Classics Illustrated” version of “Atlas Shrugged” illustrated by Bagge.

  16. Sometimes I think Dan T. is one of Bagge’s cartoon characters come to life, like in that 80s music video.

    This is one of those times.

    Actually it’s one of those times where a libertarian presents a crazy viewpoint (“we should be allowed to own bazookas”), I make it a micro-step crazier and people react as if the original position was somewhat reasonable.

  17. Just curious why you think that’s crazy, Dan?

  18. Just curious why you think that’s crazy, Dan?

    I think it’s crazy because a guy with a bazooka (assuming by “bazooka” we mean any sort of personal rocket launcher) could use it to blow up cars, topple small buildings perhaps, shoot planes and helicoptors out of the sky, and what not.

    Plus, if you take the stance that any weapon should be legal as long as the weapon owner agrees not to actually use it, you’ve got the potiential for even more dangerous weapons to be used.

  19. a guy with a bazooka…could use it to blow up cars, topple small buildings perhaps, shoot planes and helicoptors out of the sky, and what not.

    A guy with a water faucet in his house could use it to manufacture methamphetamine. I think it’s crazy that people could have water faucets in their homes.

    I keed, I keed! I’m actually not too big on people having bazookas, grenades, nukes, C4, or any of that stuff made to take out large targets.

  20. BUT…I wouldn’t mind trying out that stuff in teh desert…that’d be cool.

  21. My main point, of course, is that threatening somebody with a bazooka does not do them harm, and thus should be legal from the true libertarian viewpoint.

  22. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO DAN T.

  23. Down…set…hut, hut…hut, hut..

  24. I declare this thread good!

  25. “As libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand”

    Wow, talk about a backhanded compliment.

  26. I have no problem with people owning bazookas, it’s the rockets they fire that caue problems.

    Has anyone ever met a libertarian who thought it was OK to point a loaded gun at someone’s head, as long as you didn’t pull the trigger?
    Anyone?

  27. As libertarian polemicists go, he’s a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.

    That’s because all of Peter’s humor is intentional…

  28. I don’t understand how what Peter Bagge does is any different than what Garry Trudeau does. Oh, yeah … the parts where Bagge goes out and covers events like a reporter, and is funny and nuanced.

    Seriously, though, Peter Bagge’s cartoons are my favorite part of Reason.

  29. But she grew up.

    And then grew up some more, and became old and cranky.

  30. ….libertarianism is what Rand thought of when she was three.

    libertarianism is what she thought about when she pinched a nice loaf…..

  31. Has anyone ever met a libertarian who thought it was OK to point a loaded gun at someone’s head, as long as you didn’t pull the trigger?

    Of course not. Dan T lights the hay mow on fire once again.

  32. Actually it’s one of those times where a libertarian presents a crazy viewpoint (“we should be allowed to own bazookas”), I make it a micro-step crazier and people react as if the original position was somewhat reasonable.

    It was once perfectly legal for Americans to own cannons. Dude, those things were state-of-the-art in 1795. They could take out the whole side of a tavern with one shot.

  33. And finally (TWC may be finally be done*) when Liberty Magazine surveyed the LP about what guns were meant to be privately owned it turns out that most libertarians surveyed figured that the second amendment did not include the right to keep nukes in the garage. A large majority were pretty comfy with things pretty much as is. Not that many voted yes on bazookas. I don’t recall the exact breakdown but you might be able to find it at Liberty’s website. BTW, Jesse was working there then and can bear me out on this survey I bet.

    *I’m stalling cuz I’ve got to tile the downstairs bathroom floor and I don’t wanna do it.

  34. In fact, libertarianism is what Rand thought of when she was three. But she grew up.

    …and then proceeded to kick Chuck Norris’s ass.

    Sigh….i really need to work on this big tent thing….but you have to admit Randians kind of ask for it.

  35. My main point, of course, is that threatening somebody with a bazooka does not do them harm, and thus should be legal from the true libertarian viewpoint.

    Huh??

    I thought libertarians where against the use of cohersion?

    Oh wait we are….and Dan T is once again proven dead wrong.

    Hey Dan T, did you hear that Sheehan is a democrat hating libertarian just like me?

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/22/INGC6R23F41.DTL

    WHOOooooo HOOoooooo!!!

    *runs naked down the street

  36. guy with a bazooka…could use it to blow up cars, topple small buildings perhaps, shoot planes and helicoptors out of the sky, and what not.

    And a guy with a penis could go around raping people, contaminating people’s beverage containers perhaps, and killing grass and whatnot.

  37. Stevo Darkly,

    A free man without a penis will not be free for long.

  38. Esteemed Reason poobahs,

    Please commission Bagge to create a visual representation of Dan T. and publish immediately. Even better would be attaching it as an avatar to all of his posts.

  39. No, the Second Amentment is not absolute. But the burden of proof is on the government to prove why the individual shouldn’t have the bazooka, not the other way around.

  40. Before Bagge, the best cartoons in Reason were by Randall Hylkema. What’s he doing now? But Bagge’s way better than Hylkema anyway.

  41. Has anyone ever met a libertarian who thought it was OK to point a loaded gun at someone’s head, as long as you didn’t pull the trigger?
    Anyone?

    I guess there are no true libertarians.

  42. We give up, Dan T. Since you know more about our political philosophy better than we do, please enlighten us. Please site your references to libertarian sources arguing that there’s nothing wrong with threatening someone who hasn’t done anything to oneself with a deadly weapon.

  43. I think it would be fun to see Bagge’s rendition lf all the H&R regulars and irregegulars.

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