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Cartoon art humor from an artist, brother, and friend...

Sharon, Sam, Josh, Danny, Bear and I are leaving this weekend for a week in New York City (and New Jersey) mainly to see the closing of an art exhibition featuring art by my brother, Thomas Lanigan Schmidt. It was a pleasant surprise to open the email this morning and find that Tommy had posted a different piece of art on his Facebook page -- very different from his usual materials. I had not seen this cartoon, and laughed out loud, as I hope by sharing we can get others to do.

But this is also a serious confrontation with this generation's attack on the love and life and aesthetics of working class and poor people, here in Chicago and in most major cities. The exhibit we are driving east to see -- that Tom's nephews will be seeing next week at the Museum of Modern Art (Queens PS1) -- is called "Tender Love Among the Junk", a "retrospective". I'm glad the boys will be seeing it as we all grow older.

Art again proof. A picture can be worth thousands of words.This cartoon does the job as precisely as the thousands of words we have published here at Substance over the years.

It is particularly poignant at this moment as Chicago's rulers scream that the only way art can be available for poor kids in Chicago is if its teachers are non-union and privatized or it some schools are closed so that others can have "art" (and iPads, and air conditioning...).

As we begin to pack for the trip, I was listening to that self-important ruling class shill, Phil Ponce repeating the talking points of Barbara Byrd Bennett and Rahm Emanuel -- and his ruling class sponsors -- while hosting Jesse Sharkey and Wendy Katten on "Chicago Tonight." Jesse and Wendy did well, as usual, because the truth always outflanks propaganda and nonsense.

Chicago Tonight has actually let Barbara Byrd Bennett get away with claiming that Chicago's African American children can only get libraries and art classes in their schools if the city can close down dozens of schools. The "austerity model" that neoliberals push and prattle screams that the poor and working class kids are not "entitled" to art, music, and the other things that the ruling class and rich get unless we are willing to sacrifice.

M brother's exhibit in New York is called "Tender Love Among the Junk." Anyone interested can learn more about it via Google (I especially recommend the You Tube video).

The very notion that art should be rationed to the poor and working class is not new in history, or in the USA. But it remains as offensive today in Chicago as it did when we were growing up in Linden, New Jersey, in the 1950s and 1960s. So I couldn't resist sharing the cartoon shared on line by my brother with Substance readers.

"But don't you agree that underperforming schools should be closed????!!!!" they ask and repeat over and over and over with that smugness that only comes years after, as a novice reporter, a guy has become a media big shot by jumping through all the hoops.



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