Monday, May 29, 2017

The Theme Song For Our Time Is "It's Only Make Believe"

Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) — succumbing to media fatigue coming out of the Middle East and Europe — gives way to VR (Virtual Reality) in today's 'toon. In the e-mail that brought today's TMW to this blogger's In Box, Tom (Dan) wrote:

This cartoon will probably make some readers think of The Matrix, or possibly the work of Philip K. Dick, but the actual inspiration is a science fiction novel called Simulacron-3 (1964, 1999), by Daniel F. Galouye. It’s the story of a computer scientist who develops a simulated world for purposes of market research, only to discover that he himself is a character in a simulated world, and that “reality” is one level up.

I’ve played with this theme once before, back during the very start of the campaign season, when things already seemed so weird and out of control that it seemed to fit the moment. In retrospect, we didn’t even know the meaning of “weird and out of control” back then, and I’ve been wanting to update it for the Trump presidency, perhaps to use as a recurrent theme. So if you have a vague feeling of deja vu reading this one, there’s a reason for that (which is why I have young Billy referencing the “last time” he had this discussion, in the first panel).

I wanted to include a small closing panel in which the Billy of the "real" reality, in the last panel, asks the Professor: "Hey do you think *we're* living in a simulation?" and the Professor replies, "Eh, never really thought about it." But alas, there was not room for this closing touch -- perhaps next time I visit the Simulacron.

And since it’s a holiday weekend again, I have to file my cartoon several days early, which is increasingly difficult in the era of Trump — I’m much more comfortable sitting on them until Sunday night, just in case there’s any late breaking news before the new one goes live on Monday morning. But at least this one isn’t tied to any specific news story (though the professor’s last two word balloons in the fourth panel will pretty much fit anything that might come up).

Have a good weekend, all. Next week will probably be full of surprises, because every week is these days.

Until then,

Dan (aka Tom)

And so, dizzy readers, we depend on TMW's Mad Scientist, Dr. Wilbur von Philbert — and his sidekick/apprentice, Billy — to offer a virtual explanation of how we got into this mess. It's not real! Is it? If this is a (fair & balanced) prophecy of a time where nothing is as it appears to be, so be it.

[x TMW]
The Simulacron
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow." His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]

Copyright © 2017 This Modern World/Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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