Every cartoonist must face the challenge each summer of coming up with stuff without the help of politicians, who hibernate until early Autumn. It forces us to satirize issues and society, which can be refreshing, especially to those who don't pay much attention to the political shenanigans which are the staple for which editorial cartoonists mostly feed on.
One of my first cartoons of Stephen Harper was drawn in August of 2002, after a rare appearance on Parliament Hill some months after assuming the leadership of the Canadian Alliance:
CBC/Globe & Mail talking head Rex Murphy, himself void of ranting on anything of substance in the depths of summer, referred to Harper as "The Invisible Man of Canadian politics"
. The cartoon was inspired by that kind of talk in the media and of other reports of UFO, so it made for a convenient combo cartoon.
Predictably, UFO stories tend to make their appearance when nothing else is happening in the news. Along with politicians on awol, journalists use the summer to go on extended vacations. Shark attacks, crop circles, and stories on killer bees tend to fill the spots where more substantial local reports are usually read. Something has to fill the void left by the reporters on holidays so when the newsroom 'b' teams can't report on anything locally they serve up the wire stuff.
Even on this second full Summer day, the newsroom might appear to have its normal staff size, but it's easy to see the summertime slide of attitude make its mark all around. Colleagues are taking extra long lunches, and cutting out of work well before 5:00. Many of the guys are wearing their tiresome Bermuda attire, and the gals are wandering around with their noisy flip flops. They may not be on vacation yet but their minds are on vacation mode.
Cartoonists, on the other hand, will need to be on the ball. While we lament the absence of politicians and the fodder they provide, we should embrace the coming of the silly season to draw on the things we often overlook. In the past I've cartooned on the not so significant stuff as depicted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, with the promise of more to come...if only, to get out of the office early.