Following the legendary cartoonist-vs-realist rant over at Yerf, I have come to a conclusion. The basic argument seems to be that cartoonists are intimidated by realists, don’t feel they measure up, and thus are not putting out art, which means there’s more realism untempered by cartoons, which means cartoonists feel even more unwelcome, etc, etc, ad nauseum. The fact that there’s a lot of good cartoons put up by people who must, by process of elimination, be cartoonists, seems to not be a factor.

Lo! (I always wanted to say “Lo!”)I have brought my awesome anthropological powers, which can spot a Homo habilis at a hundred paces, (it doesn’t come up much, but I’m confident that if one shows, I’ll be able to spot it) to bear on the matter, and I have, therefore, some observations.

It appears that the cartoonist species is not, as heretofore believed, a single species, Cartoonus artus. Instead, it consists of two subspecies, capable of interbreeding but morphologically distinct. I believe, in fact, that in the strange islands of the Internet, we’re observing speciation. Much as Darwin’s finches evolved into seperate forms, so, too, evolve the internet artists into seperate niches. Much could be written about these forms, but for our purposes today, we will speak only of the genus Cartoonus.

The first form of this, found in many areas, which I have observed from my blind on the Yerf recents and occasionally in the wilds of VCL and DeviantART, is a hardy breed, pursuing their artform alongside various species of the genus Realistus with great dedication, seeking or at least, not avoiding critique, and weathering the usual abuses and indignities heaped upon an internet artist with great fortitude. We will call them Cartoonus artus robustus.

While adaptable to a broad range of habitats, C. robustus is not very numerous, probably due to the relatively lengthy gestation and natal period of the species, and unfortunately, to competition from it’s kin, below.

The second subspecies is much more common, but harder to see, being a shy, timid breed. However, their vocalizations can often be heard, particularly on forums. Until suitable DNA tests can be run to see if they are, in fact, a distinct species, I will refer to these as Cartoonus artus lowselfesteemus.

While the two subspecies share an overlapping range, C. lowselfesteemus produces less visible work, probably due to their tendency to hide their drawings under bushes and coconuts whenever a naturalist strolls through the area. This species is much less flexible than C. robustus and can be driven out of an area by yelling and gestures, unlike C. robustus which, while generally pleasant, can be dangerous when roused. (I have seen several colleagues hospiralized for C. robustus bites, although they usually deserved it.) While C. robustus will defend its territory by force, C. lowselfesteemus will not, preferring only to issue loud vocalizations, and is easily uprooted from a given area if it thinks the other species don’t like it.

It has been proposed, given the timid nature of C. lowselfesteemus that special measures be taken to preserve the breed, including frequent hugs and making the Realistus species wear embarassing hats. The premise is that not only C. lowselfesteemus but C. robustus will benefit from such programs, and the artwork of the Cartoonus spp. will thus be preserved for all time.

I have a different proposal.

C. lowselfesteemus like the dodo, is on it’s way out. It is a species that cannot defend itself, recent evolution is towards flightlessness, and no amount of heroic measures will help if there’s a storm or god forbid, an angry wombat loose on the island. It is being outcompeted by other species, who have as much right to the habitat as the C. lowselfesteemus itself. I propose instead that we take steps to maximize the habitat for C. robustus which will preserve virtually all the genetic variability of Cartoonus genus in a far more robust and durable form, capable of matching wits with even the largest and wiliest of the Realistus species, and allow C. lowselfesteemus to gracefully join the ages. Nature will eventually drive C. lowselfesteemus extinct, as it did the ancestral finch on the Galapagos, even if we cuddle them and give them pet bunnies and healthy fruit snacks, but if we act now, we can hopefully prevent this species from dragging its cousin down with it, thus preserving the lineage for all time. For those who feel that it is unacceptable to let ANY species go extinct, even when Nature is obviously in the mood, it may well be feasible to remove the C. lowselfesteemus entirely to seperate centers where they can have their egos massaged appropriately, away from the dangers and environmental stresses that they are so obviously ill-equipped to handle.

I will be taking donations for my “Save The Cartoonus Robustus” fund, if anyone would like to donate to this worthy, worthy cause. Thank you, and good night.

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