Wednesday, 28 July 2010

“Please leave your message at the gunshot.”

John Callahan, a sharp cartoonist whose life experiences with alcoholism and quadraplegia translated into irreverent and witty vignettes of political incorrectitude that were published in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, died last week.

Caustic humour was his extreme sport of choice.

Like his friend Gary Larson, the creator of “The Far Side,” Mr. Callahan made drawings with a gleeful appreciation of the macabre he found in everyday life. He was, however, a man who lived his life with disadvantages, some of them self-wrought, and he viewed the world through a dark and wicked lens.

“This is John, I’m a little too depressed to take your call today,” the message on his answering machine said. “Please leave your message at the gunshot.”

Bemused by the culture of confession and self-help fostered by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera, he was uninclined in his work to be outwardly sympathetic to the afflicted or to respect the boundaries of racial and ethnic stereotyping, and his cartoons were often polarizing: some people found them outrageously funny, others outrageously offensive.

From here.

His outlaw, outsider and out-of-bounds view of the world was pure Bouffon artistry.


Beijing York said...

Oh no, another talent lost too soon. I might go to hell but who cares... I thought this one was also funny:

"And there was the drawing of an aerobics class for quadriplegics, with the instructor saying, “O.K., let’s get those eyeballs moving.”"

RIP John Callahan.

deBeauxOs said...

BY, here's his website.

Over the years, I've purchased many Callahan and Larsen cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and other memorable occasions simply because their humour was so much more relevant than the standard Hallmark glurge.

Lene Andersen said...

I remember my first exposure to Callahan. It was in the 80s, he was focusing mostly on disability cartoons and I was in university, the only wheelchair user on campus. He blew the roof off the top of my head, he made me laugh about disability in a way that was very rare then (come to think of it, it still is). He took crip quick humour and made it public, horrifying all the able-bodied idiots around me who took it all very seriously and every person with a disability I ever met saw him as a liberator.

My favorite cartoon of his is the one you posted and years ago, I did an homage to it

I will miss him a great deal.

deBeauxOs said...

Here's one of my favourites.

Callahan believed in equal opportunity; he savaged every imaginable group with his sardonic and jaded view of the world and he succeeded in offending everyone at least once.

Beijing York said...

Thanks for the link, dBO. I loved his sense of humour even if it was very dark.

deBeauxOs said...

Clickable link for Lene's post. In fact, check out her whole blog - I've added it to our sidebar.

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