A Womb With a View

A Womb With a View
March 15, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's the Abortions, Stupid!

As this cartoon featuring Umbert's super smart buddy Elwood illustrates, the current economic crisis is deeply rooted in another American crisis-the loss of nearly fifty million Americans in the past 40 years. Think about it. If the fifty million people we allowed to be legally aborted were alive today what impact would they have had on our economy? Multiply all of the products and services that a person typically uses in their lifetime by fifty million and we are talking about trillions of dollars in added GDP. Then there's the gaping hole in the federal treasury that likely would not exist if the added tax dollars of fifty million workers was flowing into Washington, not to mention the balance that would have been restored to the ratio of workers to retirees, thus keeping Social Security and Medicare solvent. And how's this for irony? The national teachers unions support abortion, guaranteeing the death of over one million future pupils per year! If class sizes are an average of 27 students, that's over half a million teachers over a twelve year period who won't be hired to preside over all those empty desks.Class dismissed!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Children, An Endangered Species

If the recent media circus over the Casey Anthony trial demonstrated anything, it is how low on the totem pole children are in this country. Who is going to pay for that child's murder? No one! This woman gets off scot-free and is probably headed for a small fortune in book deals and movie rights. But this isn't unusual, it is typical. Children are murdered every day in this country and no one seeks justice on their behalf because their murder is considered somebody else's constitutional right. Has abortion made us so desensitized to the death of children that we are going to start thinking of the Caylee Anthony's of the world as simply late-term abortions? Dr. Kermit Gosnell is under indictment for the murder of several infants whom he killed AFTER they were extracted from their mother's wombs in attempted abortions. Yet so called pro-choice groups consider what this man did at his West Philadelphia clinic health care for women.
I feel sorry for children today. Not only are they no longer safe in their mother's wombs, they are no longer safe when they exit the womb. Child abuse today is rampant and children are being forced to grow up too fast in a pop media culture which imposes a sexually charged template on adolescence. And the perpetrators of violence and sexual abuse against children are treated like victims themselves by a society too weak to impose   judgment and enforce its laws. It's a toss up whether Umbert is better off staying in the womb for another ten years or taking his chances on the outside.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ten Years in the Womb Today!

It was ten years ago today, the very first Umbert cartoon appeared in print in the pages of the National Catholic Register. Then editor Tom Hoopes had called me a few weeks earlier in response to my intitial presentation package sent to 150 Catholic newspapers around the country. He was the first to respond and said he had to have the Umbert strip for his new "Culture of Life" page in the Register.Talk about perfect timing. The Register and about a dozen other papers signed on as charter subscribers to the new self-syndicated strip. Others turned Umbert down politely, including one editor who said it was a "one-joke idea" which could not be sustained over the long run. A couple of thousand strips later, I think I have blown that argument out of the water. While it would seem that a strip about a baby in the womb would be very limited, Umbert has proved to be a very fruitful source of story ideas and new characters. Elwood, Vita, Fredo, Cousin Eb, Angel, and B.L. ZeeBub are just some of the dozens of characters which have been added to the strip since its inception...or should I say CONception? Umbert has spoofed everything from politics and Hollywood to the environmental movement, Broadway,  and Ben & Jerry's. 
Still and all, Umbert hasn't enjoyed mainstream popularity due to its strong pro-life message, but I have refused to water it down to make it more palatable to the general public and will continue to do so. In ten years, this little guy has really grown on me, so I will endeavor to keep him alive and kicking for another ten years, God willing. If Umbert is not a regular feature in your diocesan newspaper, or church bulletin, please contact your editor or pastor and suggest they adopt Umbert for their publication. Information is available at Umbert's "womb-site" www.umberttheunborn.com or have them contact me at umbertmail@aol.com.
Thanks for ten years of loyal readership and support!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Where Do We Draw the Line?

The recent scandal over an abortion clinic in Philadelphia, a veritable "chamber of horrors," as it was dubbed by the press, raises a lot of interesting questions, not the least of which is, why is everyone so shocked? Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been charged with the deaths of several infants who were aborted alive and then killed outside of the womb by severing their spinal cords with a pair of scissors. The public was not only horrified, it demanded  legal action against those who allowed this clinic to operate unimpeded and uninspected. And yet, had he done the exact same procedure while the children were still IN the womb his actions would have gone unnoticed, just another routine day in the life of a provider of "women's health care" services. What is it about a few inches of birth canal that confers such profound humanity on the individual deserving of full legal protection when one's head passes through it and invites such utter contempt for the meaningless blob of protoplasm growing on the other side? Does the baby undergo some mystical transformation during the birthing process? I just don't get it. In my opinion, every abortion clinic is a chamber of horrors and we should all be horrified that we have allowed them to continue their unfettered reign of terror for almost four decades. No, not horrified,...ashamed!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do the Math!

In this classic cartoon, Umbert points out that we are all nine months older than we give ourselves credit for, that is, if we truly believe that life begins at conception. Thus, when we celebrate our birthday we are actually celebrating the anniversary of our date of birth, not our actual age. But we even get that wrong. When a person celebrates his twenty-first birthday, for instance, he is really celebrating his twenty-second, ignoring the fact that the day he was born was actually his first birthday. Of course, he IS celebrating the 21st anniversary of his day of birth, but this has no bearing on his age because he is actually twenty-one years and nine months old. And so, truth be told, we ALL lie about our age, by at least nine months. Does any of this matter? Not really, we're going to continue to do the fuzzy math and forget that we existed in our mother's bellies for a good long stretch. It seems to be human nature to get it wrong when it comes to measuring time, like the turn of the millennium fiasco. People went nuts celebrating the twenty-first century as midnight approached on December 31, 1999, completely oblivious to the fact that the new millennium was still a whole year away and didn't begin until January 1, 2001. Are we all on the same page now? Great! Happy Birthday, Happy Conception Day and Happy Anniversary, whichever may apply.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God Save the Kingdom!

Americans love the British. After all, England was the country that gave birth to colonial America and its oppressive taxation gave birth to the United States. (Little did our founding fathers realize how oppressively we would eventually tax ourselves.) And when the British royals have a wedding, Americans tune in and hang on every word, every picture, every pip-pip (or pippa), and every cheerio. Let's face it, the Brits have class and we have class-envy.
So it's only natural that many Americans envy the British health care system and want to adopt it. They tout the U.K.'s government-run national health care as a model of efficiency, compassionate care, and affordability. Yeah, I guess you can't beat free, but remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for." The prescription for most ills in England seems to be "take a seat," as the Brits must suffer interminable waiting periods for hospitalization or to see a doctor. Nearly a million British citizens are typically waiting to get into a hospital. Is this really what we want to do to the greatest health care system in the world?
But, as Umbert's friend Nigel points out, we Americans are spoiled. Naturally, we like our diseases cured before they become terminal. We're funny that way. And we don't like rationing in this country. It reminds us too much of all the rationing we had to do when we were helping the Europeans out of a little mess called World War II. But that's exactly what's in store for us if Obamacare is allowed to be implemented.
I love our British cousins but if we really want to improve health care here in the states, we need to learn from their mistakes and avoid the disaster that has become the National Health Service.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Banned Parenthood

The biggest thing I struggled with in creating the Umbert the Unborn comic strip was the question of its message. Many  people advised me to make the strip more mainstream and avoid the pro-life issues altogether-that having an unborn comic character alone would be a positive pro-life gesture. The problem with that is the byline reads "by Gary Cangemi." Anyone who knows me knows that it is impossible for me to be subtle or subliminal about important issues such as abortion. I simply would not be able to contain myself and my inner Umbert would have to be unleashed. I don't think the word abortion has appeared in any mainstream newspaper comic strip except perhaps Doonesbury, the "A" word simply isn't used. But for me, that's not a taboo, it's a dare. Thus, when I began the Umbert strip, I said to myself, "Why not?  Snoopy has the Red Baron, why can't Umbert have Planned Parenthood as his chief nemesis?"
I quickly learned that Umbert could get away with it. By confronting abortion and its proponents directly and honestly, Umbert leapfrogs over the cringe factor and leads readers straight to his point, arrived at through his naive yet flawless logic. In Umbert's way of thinking, an organization that calls itself Planned Parenthod should not be in the business of aborting children. ("I don't know what they're planning, but it sure isn't parenthood!")
Newspaper editors of course would shudder at the idea of a crusading pro-life baby sandwiched between such poignant comic strips as Beetle Bailey and Blondie. After all, who wants to deal with abortion while ingesting their Rice Krispies?
I toyed with the idea of a mainstream version of Umbert, called "A Womb With a View," but eventually dismissed it. It just isn't in my nature to do something halfway. I would rather do it my way and fail than succeed at a watered down version. The womb needs a champion to defend the unborn against the Planned Parenthoods of the world. The very idea of an organization which kills children in what should be the safest place on earth...a mother's womb, should be a source of shame for every taxpayer in America whose hard-earned wages are being used to keep this evil enterprise operating. As long as I can lift a pen, Umbert will be that champion.
By the way, a few years ago, my pro-life friends in Missouri purchased the rights to Umbert to run the strip as an advertisement in their local mainstream newspaper and sent me a copy. Imagine my delight at seeing Umbert the Unborn positioned directly below one of the most popular strips in America...Garfield. Coincidentally, I live on Garfield Avenue.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Fine Mess-age!

My studio is full of memorabilia of the things I loved as a child growing up in the suburbs. Among them is a shelf I have dedicated to the memory of Laurel and Hardy who, in their time, were the funniest two guys on the planet. I couldn't get enough L&H films on TV and reveled in the inevitable disasters to which their simple-minded antics invariably led. It's sad when young people enter my studio and have no clue who these two geniuses were. Their films are never shown except once a year on TCM. 
Anyway, so what does this have to do with Umbert? A few years back I decided to include a pair of fraternal twins in the strip and thus I came up with Doby and Toby. What a perfect way, I thought, to pay tribute to my childhood favorites Laurel and Hardy than to model the twins after them. Thus Doby is the chubby, bossy "Ollie" and Toby is the hapless, dull-witted "Stan" (who thinks Doby was adopted).
Doby and Toby are played strictly for laughs; no heavy duty messages or issues with these two. I would imagine that the odds of multiples in the womb being aborted are relatively small though I have heard of instances where it has been done. A couple in Australia reportedly aborted their twins sons because they already had three boys and wanted a girl. Such thinking is beyond my comprehension. 
The idea of twins interacting in the womb, however is nothing new. The first recorded instance of it occurs in Genesis, when Jacob and Esau reportedly jostled in their mother's womb. With Doby and Toby, I try to illustrate (as did Laurel and Hardy) that two souls can have a tumultuous relationship and yet still be friends or, in this case, brothers for LIFE.
Happy Easter/Happy Passover!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Respect at All!

Like most cartoonists, I get many of my ideas from the popular culture and, when I can turn a popular idea to serve the pro-life cause, I never hesitate. So it was a natural for me to borrow Rodney Dangerfield's classic line, "I get no respect, and superimpose it on the lack of respect for unborn human life in today's culture. Once I did that, the Umbert comic strip practically wrote itself for two weeks. Rodney's impeccable timing and unabashed frankness were easy to parody in the character of Ronny Dangerfetus. As I drew each panel I even found myself clutching at my tie and stretching my neck from side to side.
The strips went over so well, I even incorporated them into my public speaking engagements, doing a riff of Dangerfetus cartoons whenever I sense the audience getting a little restless. It works every time.
But seriously folks, RD reminds us that respect is something to which every human being is entitled from the moment our Creator confers that humanity upon us. In a perfect world, maybe every child would be planned for, wanted, and loved, but, as Ronny Dangerfetus would say, "how's about two outa three?"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Are You Reddy For This Pro-Life Parody?

Ever since I was a kid reading MAD Magazine, I have loved song parodies. During my stint as political cartoonist for Scranton's weekly papers, I discovered I had a knack for writing song parodies to skewer the local politicians and thus was born "Scranton Carols" which I did every December. One day I even heard one of the local talk-jocks singing them on the air.
After launching the Umbert the Unborn comic strip, I figured it was only a matter of time before I would find a way to incorporate song parody into the strip. I did a series of Umbert strips in 2007 in which Umbert stages a Broadway Musical called "Unborn Babes on Broadway,"sending up some of Broadway's biggest hits with a pro-life twist. Later, I parodied a couple of popular songs, including Helen Reddy's feminist anthem, "I Am Woman." In it, little Vita, child of a single mother who is contemplating an abortion, sings to her mom, reminding her that she too is a woman with rights that need to be respected.
Unfortunately, I cannot produce these songs in any audio format unless I secure permission from the copyright owners, but there is no law against you singing them yourself. You know the tune, just substitute my pro-life lyrics and have a blast!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hug Babies, Not Trees

As this Umbert strip illustrates, the logic of the environmentalist movement is often used by Umbert to defend the unborn. In one series of strips, Umbert tried to have the womb declared a federally protected wetland. In other strips, Umbert tried to enlist the sympathy of the environmental left by disguising himself as a baby harp seal, a tree, a bear, and a spotted owl, since the Supreme Court declared open season on unborn baby humans. It's only fair. The Left uses pro-life arguments to defend animal and plant life all the time. It's merely a question of priorities I suppose. We place human life at the top of the list and they place it at the bottom, somewhere between the boll weevil and the West Nile virus. Personally, as much as I love nature and animals, I find it difficult to swallow the appeals of PETA and their cohorts when many of these same people think the slaughter of human infants in their mother's wombs is a woman's inviolable right. Abortionists are brutally murdering viable late term babies and they want me to worry about a duck not having a big enough swamp to splash around in? Give me a break!
Can you imagine the reaction from the left if someone were to suggest controlling deer populations by catching the pregnant females and aborting their fawns? I guarantee you a conniption fit deluxe! Rest assured Umbert will continue to hoist these tree huggers with their own petards.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Absurdity of Umbert

Over the years I have received numerous complaints from "the other side" that my comic strip is stupid and absurd because it features a talking, thinking baby in the womb. My initial reaction was "DUH!" Don't these people read comics? The whole idea of comics is absurdity, the suspension of disbelief so that dogs and cats and, yes, even babies can talk and think and do anything our imaginations permit. I'll be willing to bet these people never wrote to Charles Schulz to complain about his talking beagle, or to Jim Davis regarding his lasagna-eating talking cat, or to Walt Disney concerning a certain talking mouse. And I'M the absurd one?
Umbert represents the unborn child who CAN'T speak for himself and for whom many refuse to speak because they refuse to recognize that he is a REAL human being. Giving a voice to the voiceless is what Umbert is all about and, if that is absurd, then I am a dyed-in-the-wool, Camusian absurdist and proud of it. God bless cartoons and cartoonists, in all their absurd glory. Sometimes, they're the only ones who make sense out of an absurd world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Welcome to my blog site!

This is my first blog dedicated exclusively to Umbert the Unborn. I will update this site weekly with the Umbert cartoon of the week. Whether or not you agree with my point of view, I ask that you please keep your blog entries respectful and civil as I consider Umbert to be a family feature.

Todays' cartoon features Fredo the Frozen embryo, a character I added to the strip several years ago. Fredo lives in a frozen embryo lab waiting for the doctors to give him a warm place in his mother's womb. Unfortunately, Fredo's wait seems to be interminable and he considers his assets to have been frozen indefinitely. He's all for global warming and could use about a gallon of hot chocolate. Fredo reminds us that frozen embryos are people too and that we must respect them as much as life in the womb. As a pro-life advocate, I oppose in vitro fertilization and the creation of human embryos for cold storage. While I sympathize with couples who cannot produce a child, the possibility of the human embryos being destroyed or used for scientific experimentation is not justified by the desire to have children. Fredo is my poster child for the plight of over 500,000 embryos currently in laboratory limbo.