Too Much Crazy: Tom Tomorrow on Right-Wing Madness in the Age of Obama
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Let me go back to a little bit of inside baseball about cartoons and publishing. With the decline of newspapers, what is the future of your field? Are we going to see Tom Tomorrows come along in the future and be able to make a living?
TT: I’m not entirely sure, to tell you the truth. As I say in the introduction to the new book, I get a lot of advice about how to make a living online, mostly from people who don’t. There are people who are apparently making a good go of it online, but they seem to be relatively few and they seem to be mostly doing comics about gaming and online culture. It’s a different thing. None of my peers, none of the other alt-weekly political cartoonists – we’re not ever going to make a living selling T-shirts. It just doesn’t work that way. And you don't make significant money from books. I have never lived off the books alone. So if I don’t continue to publish books, that’s more of a loss just because I really like publishing books.
And we have to piss people off for a living. Making people angry, pushing people past their comfort zone, that's our job. So direct audience support is a questionable model for us.
For me personally, the past few years have been very up and down. The Village Voice Media chain cut cartoons from all their papers except the Voice itself. Losing all those papers -- I spent a decade building up and establishing this syndication. Having this cartoon run in newspapers literally in every major American city. And then they called me up, told me they were cutting cartoons so they didn't have to eliminate somebody's job. And, you know, your heart goes out to that person.
But the alt-weeklies are still the primary steward of this thing that I do and some of my friends do. There’s not very many of us. And there’s fewer, it seems, every month. I know we’re all moving online and yada, yada, yada. But honestly, what we do grew up around the alt-weeklies, grew up for the alt-weeklies. And if the alt-weeklies don’t honor that stewardship, I'm not sure the art form survives. And I think that would be a shame. I mean, nobody’s committing hari kari -- I'm sure everyone will go off and do other creative things. But I do think something will be lost. And I just wish there was more recognition of that.
After many years at Salon, you recently made a move to DailyKos. How's that working out?
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America) . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter .