I remember cartoonist Sam Gross from his days penning cartoons for the National Lampoon. He had a talent he did. I remember one cartoon of a goofy looking kid with a coat hanger that appeared to be attached to his head. The caption? “I was a failed abortion.” And that was one of his cleaner drawings. His cartoons usually elicited a response to the effect of “Oh my God, that is so gross!” which was funny given that he signed his work “S. Gross.” Since then he’s enjoyed a steady gig at the somewhat less puerile New Yorker but apparently the 74-year old cartoonist has not lost his ability to uhm… provoke.
Back in 1997, Gross was watching a news story about a swastika that had been drawn on some dude’s garage. He thought it was a little silly that this was the lead story. So he decided to have a little fun with the symbol:
Ten years and 500 sketches later, Gross … has finally made good on his promise with We Have Ways of Making You Laugh: 120 Funny Swastika Cartoons… The book is exactly what the title says it isâ€”each cartoon features a swastika, either fashioned out of an inanimate object or affixed to an article of clothingâ€”though whether you agree with the “funny” modifier likely depends on your sense of humor.
Of course all the usual suspects, led by Abe Foxman and the ADL, are up in arms about the book, but Gross for his part claims he is simply trying to demystify the swastika and rob it of it’s emotional punch. So are his cartoons funny? Crass? Liberating? Seems like a perfect thing to contemplate during Purim what with the revelrie and the Amalek references and the almost genocide. You can get a sneak peak at his book at Radar Online where a collection of Gross’s swastika cartoons are available in a Gallery.
I still think that Sam Gross is awesome by the way.