Tag Archives: sh*t my president says: the illustrated tweets of donald j. trump

Educator’s Perspective: “Sh*t My President Says”

It’s said that no work of literature is written in a vacuum.

One of the first things you learn to do as an undergrad in any course in literature is to unpack the political, cultural, and societal implication of whatever it is you’re reading, because whether the author intended it or not, he or she was assuredly influenced by the circumstances in which it was written.  Even as a high school student I learned that Shakespeare’s fascination with witchcraft in Macbeth is likely an influence of the King under which he was writing, who had an interest in the occult himself; The Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm both have their roots in a kind of British political anxiety, and the only way that On the Road can be more of a manifesto of the early counterculture movement is if copies of it are beaten by riot officers.

Yet I’ve always been more interested in the political, cultural, and social capital hidden away in the more obscure media, the stuff that, for whatever reason, has for so long escaped the notice of conventional scholarship. Though teachers have long adored the political cartoon there remains a strange, standoffish attitude toward the comic book, as though we’re all still in the 1950s and Dr. Wertham is sitting across from us making all sorts of uncomfortable eye contact over a stack of World’s Finest. Thankfully that attitude has receded significantly in recent years and I’m happy to see more and more that teachers like myself are having success in using the rife political and cultural content of comics as a springboard to discuss ideas as diverse and grandiose as race relations, diplomacy, and the importance of de-mystifying the “other”ness of foreign cultures, peoples, and ideologies.

The conversation about the political and sociocultural implications of comics – really, of all media – is always hobbled somewhat when it hits a K-12 classroom environment.  There begin conversations about correctness and age-appropriateness, and whether a book can or should be introduced to the student population for fear of indoctrination. Year after year mainstays like The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird are called into question by school boards and parent groups across the country, and while their reasons are varied they general boil down to what we want our children to discover about who and what we are.  Works that are censored for classroom use have a common thread: they oftentimes highlight the worst of us, in an attempt to ensure that we avoid making the mistakes of our ancestry.

That being said, it seems highly unlike that Shannon Wheeler’s “Sh*t My President Says” will ever see regular use as a implement of classroom instruction, given that it is both a comic book, and therefore still a subject of academic uncertainty by some of my colleagues, and demonstrative of one of the most deranged, startling, and ultimately embarrassing garbage fires of the 21st century.  It is eye-opening in its candor, tragically funny, vitally informative, and ought to be required reading for anyone hoping to study the political machine of the early 21st century. It may very well be one of the most important historical artifacts of this decade.

All because of Twitter.

“Sh*t My President Says” is a perfect example of the historically-embedded nature of media. Even without Wheeler’s accompanying caricatures of Trump as a riotous toddler with a phone fetish, the collection of our mentally-errant President’s 140-character temper tantrums provides a sobering look at just how we got to where we are. Taken with Shannon Wheeler’s supplemental artwork, the Tweets take on a second life: their childishness is thrown into a stark relief with the inclusion of the author’s idealized boy king Trump, and indeed the whole work might read as a fiction were we not living it as we are now.

From a teachable standpoint, nothing beats a work that provides the subject’s words as they were uttered while simultaneously offering a responding critique of them. In this way Shannon Wheeler has submitted to his audience a kind of living primary source, an artifact that both serves to document history as well as record our collective reaction to the oftentimes unbelievable events of our current political climate – which, of course, is a form of history in and of itself.

Is it teachable? Absolutely, and pertinently so: in much the same way that we recognize the crassness of the language in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or the sexuality of “The Awakening” as indicative of the societies and cultures of the time in which they were written, Wheeler’s compilation of the fractured thoughts of our enfeebled Commander-in-Chief are likewise a reflection of the state of our society. Wheeler provides a means to process an pivotal event in American political history in a way that is accessible for its simplicity, honest for its presentation, and as painless  an experience as it could be possibly be for the author’s satirical approach to her bumbling, foolhardy subject matter.

Nevertheless, I give Mr. Wheeler a great deal of credit for his work in compiling this trainwreck of a timeline in recording the Trump tweets he has.  For the levity with which it is presented, there is something truly sinister about seeing these words become actions, and those actions engender other, more awful actions. Longtime exposure to those levels of ego-maniacal word vomit cannot be healthy for an individual, and I hope sincerely that Mr. Wheeler recovers quickly for his exposure.

While its unflinching revelation of the worst of our potential all but guarantees it never sees widespread classroom use, I fully expect that passages from “Sh*t My President Says” will find their way into political science and literature classrooms across the globe. This cutting work of comics journalism is a vibrant reminder of how we ended up in this mess, and I wager that there’s more than a few daring educators willing to make the case that, like Mockingbird and Rye, just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean that we turn a blind eye to its implications.

Literature isn’t written in a vacuum – but sometimes the stuff that inspires it sucks nonetheless.  It’s our job to learn from it, and works like Wheeler’s make that possible.

Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Sh*t My President Says

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump by Shannon Wheeler.

The comic is in comic book stories today.

Get your copy now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump
Amazon or Kindle or comiXology or TFAW

 

 

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Shannon Wheeler Talks Sh*t My President Says

At San Diego Comic-Con there were a few releases I was super excited for. One of those was Shannon Wheeler‘s Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump which takes President Trump’s Tweets and give them a comic twist. Wheeler has drawn cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion—he’s very, very, good, okay?

But these cartoons, plus the Tweets, it’s absolutely fantastic and a must have for anyone interested in politics and humor, or want a good laugh as the world crumbles around us.

EVERYONE is going to want this book — even the haters and losers (Sad!).

I got to talk to Shannon about the book and what he learned reading all of those Tweets.

Graphic Policy: What got you interested in even doing this? The concept alone sounds like torture.

Shannon Wheeler: I was actually going through my own cartoons trying to put together a book collection. I was sick of looking at my own art. I was complaining about it to a friend of mine. He goes “You don’t want to write your own stuff. Why don’t you just illustrate Trump’s Tweets?”

GP: You’ve gone through his entire history to figure out what to draw?

SW: Through Twitter I found a programmer who had downloaded all of them. I got them as a PDF, started reading through 30,000 Tweets. At the same time there were all these sites popping up that were archiving, a bunch that go through and organize them differently. At the same time there were all these articles about his outrageous Tweets. I’d use those as well. Whenever something would come up in his speeches or in the news and I’d Google search the keyword and his handle.

GP: Going through so much, is there anything that sticks out to you about his patterns, what he says, topics he touches upon?

SW: Yeah. A lot of people have talked about his psychological makeup. The narcisim. The pettiness. The immaturity. That’s well trodden. But, what I thought was interesting was his image of himself. He thinks of himself as a stand up guy, here’s the honorable one. What he’s doing is right. And that’s why drawing him as a child made more sense. There’s a “common sense” aspect to children, “it’s snowing outside, there must be no Global Warming.” That’s the view Trump has, that “common sense” point of view of life.

GP: The end result is Trump as kid-like. Were there other versions of him that you tried to use?

SW: Yeah, I started off trying drawing him as ugly, a large brutish man with tiny hands, and whatever. And slowly there’s a petellence, and maybe that’s the word. I probably drew a hundred different versions. Until a Tweet came a long that felt like a little kid and I felt this works.

GP: Did you always envision a book?

SW: Yeah, it was a book. First I started with can I do this. Then I thought this would be much more interesting than another collection of my stupid ideas.

GP: The one thing I immediately think of is the trolls. Is that something on your mind.

SW: I’m not really good at receiving anger and such. I fully expect there to be a backlash and people attacking me. I’m trying to prepare for that.

GP: That’s what the block button is for. In the back of the book you have a really interesting observation. FDR had radio, JFK had tv, and Trump has Twitter. Do you think this is his tv and radio?

SW: I supposed so. I don’t know how people reacted at the time, but I’m sure both said radio and tv was crazy and the worst thing ever. It’s similar. It’s Trump getting himself out there and exposing himself in an unfiltered way. It’s part of his appeal, a reaction against a super guarded persona, warts and all.

GP: FDR’s chats were clearly scripted, JFK was a natural on tv. This is probably the most unfiltered we’ve ever seen a President, really any politician.

SW: Yeah, but that might be an act too, which I thought about. It could also be a thing he uses for distractions as he passes his agenda. I feel like I’m adding to the distraction, I feel a little guilty at times.

GP: He’s the perfect example of politics as entertainment and you’re doing entertainment diving into politics. Do you see him as the ultimate blending of those two things together?

SW: That’s interesting. Those two things have been blending for a long time. I think, so far. Every generation probably says that. He’s made reality television and taken that to politics. Nobody knows where it’s going to go.

GP: I don’t know if you get the sense but it feels like he’s putting on a show. He’s taking the heel concept of wrestling and as long as he gets the big pop, that’s all that matters.

SW: He does think he’s the hero and he’s putting forward the sense that fake media, the polls were fake obviously, these things that validate everyone is a liar. It’s you and me against the crazy world. He also likes the attention too. It’s a layered thing.

GP: With the number of Tweets that are in the book, how much is sitting on the table not in there?

SW: There were 30,000 Tweets and a couple hundred in there. When people cite 30,000, most of them are “buy my book” or “I’ll be talking here.” I think it’s close to 5,000 Tweets. I wanted it to be relevant, so there’s stuff about Russia and his Tweets about wanting to be Putin’s friend. Those are the one’s I pulled. As new events happen, Sessions become more relevant. I pulled one.

GP: As far as what’s in the book, how’d you choose what to include?

SW: I wanted there to be a story arc with a beginning, middle, and an end. So I’m picking them to create a narrative. We probably left about a hundred on the floor. Lots more to do.

GP: You’ll be busy… two to eight years?

SW: Hopefully not.

GP: During the Mueller hearing he was threatening to live Tweet. Then you said you were going to live sketch. When he didn’t Tweet what was going through your mind.

SW: At first I thought “oh crap this is embarrasing and really stupid.” Then I thought somebody hid his phone. So I did that as a cartoon and a series of cartoons as to where’s Trump’s phone. It’s under the couch, in a tree, an FBI agent has it.

GP: At one point did it click to do that?

SW: About 15 minutes.

GP: With the live Tweeting, I’d think most of these have multiple takes. How’d it work with the live aspect, one and done?

SW: Yup, from the hip. A lot of times I’ll do sketches and I’ll put them up on Twitter and Facebook and later rework them into something later. In a lot of ways I’ve become unfiltered, there might be a misspelling or bad drawing, I just put it up and move on to the next one.

GP: I’d think there’d be a point where you’re having fun but at the same time think this shouldn’t be happening.

SW: Yeah, there’s a point I think it’s so stupid and I’m laughing and it slowly becomes awe crap. This is real. We can make fun of this guy for being stupid or petty or mean or vulgar or thin skin, all these things or he’s stealing money from the country. A lot of the things he criticized Hillary or Obama, I think it was jealously. When he saw them, he thought I should be doing those things. The Tweets are relevant in that sense.

GP: Was there anything that was too mean and you don’t want to touch it?

SW: We pulled one Rosie O’Donnell one in there. There was one were I thought it was a really cheap shot, it was his fragrance, everyone built an empire. I thought of him sweating and I had him on a toilet. It was a cheap shot, but I’m not above being stupid.

GP: Is there anything that’s shocked you about this?

SW: What’s shocked me is that its kind of become normal. Where I’m not shocked anymore. The one thing that has shocked me is that I can’t tell parody anymore. I read something and there like “look at this shocking Tweet” and I think “oh my god” and I think it’s parody and he really said it and I think it’s parody and he really said it. That’s weird to me.

GP: I’ve asked this to a few folks in your line of work. Things are so absurd now, does that make your life more difficult?

SW: I don’t know. What I like is the social satire and looking at myself and asking what are the hypocrises I’m living, diving in myself. That doesn’t really change. I liked The Simpsons where they had Homer buying triple chocolate and when they did it, it was such an exaggeration it was ridiculous. Now we have this as a flavor.

GP: The Simpsons had Donald Trump as President.

SW: Right.

GP: When you see what should be parody in real life, what do you think when you see that?

SW: One of the jokes I made during the Bill Clinton scandal, in the future politicians would use the scandal to their advantage. They’d sell the sex tape to fund their campaign. I’m still able to be a bit more extreme than what’s happening.

GP: Has there been any reactions to the book that has surprised you?

SW: How enthusiastic people have been. I thought there’d be some enthusiasm and a lot of people would be mad at me. We did a panel at San Diego Comic-Con and it was standing room only. They were turning people away. That kind of shocks me. There’s a hunger for this kind of pushback. It gives me some hope.

GP: You’ve already done an addendum. Will there be a book two?

SW: I hope not. I hope we look back and ask “what’s a Tweet?” where you have to explain what it is. I like to do universal and lingering. I hope this is here today and gone tomorrow, like a pet rock. It’s been piling up and there’s enough for a second book already.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting!

 

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: Dark Nights: Metal #1 (DC Comics) – Snyder and Cappulo back on a Batman book that will have huge repercussions and changed for the DC universe. Hell yes!

Southern Bastards #17 (Image) – This book doesn’t come out often enough, and I’m only complaining because it’s so damn good.

Aquaman #27 (DC Comics) – This has been such a good arc with incredible art and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #8 (Marvel) – This has been such a pleasant surprise to me and a lot of fun. Duggan knows how to tie the ridiculousness with action so well on Deadpool, and he brings that to this series.

Astonishing X-Men #2 (Marvel) – A really solid first issue that hit the nostalgia home run much more than Gold did for me. The ending teased something huge but I’m sure that was just a trick by a certain character.

 

Brett

Top Pick: American Way: Those Above and Below #2 (Vertigo) – Jon Ridley alone is enough to get me looking forward to this series but the first issue knocked it out of the park having me excited to read the second.

Catalyst Prime Superb #2 (Lion Forge Comics) – The first issue was solid and delivers on Catalyst Prime’s promises. I want to see where this second one goes to see if it can continue the positive direction of the entire line.

Future Quest Presents #1 (DC Comics) – A new anthology-ish series that continues the adventures of some of my favorite childhood characters.

Motor Girl #8 (Abstract Studios) – Easily the best comic on the market. It mixes humor and feels in a way no other comic is doing. Just utter perfection and the one I look forward to each and every month.

Sh*t My Presidents Says: Illustrated Tweets of Donald Trump (IDW Publishing) – Shannon Wheeler’s cartoons that bring President Trump’s tweets to life are collected in this book. It’s both funny and… sad.

Preview: Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump

Shannon Wheeler (w & a & c)

Some people are saying, I don’t know, you tell me, but a lot of people are saying this is the greatest book of the year. This guy, Shannon Wheeler, he draws these cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion—he’s very, very, good, okay? Now he’s illustrated the most incredible tweets. Wow! You won’t believe what he does with these tweets. I mean, these tweets changed the world, folks. It’s true! It’s very true. EVERYONE is going to want this book — even the haters and losers (Sad!).

HC • BW • $15.99 • 120 pages • 5” x 6.5” • ISBN: 978-1-60309-410-8

 

Sh*t My President Says’ Shannon Wheeler Will Live-Draw Trump’s Livetweets

Shannon Wheeler knows Donald Trump pretty well — or at least his Twitter account. Wheeler read the president’s complete archive of over 30,000 posts and illustrated over 120 of the best tweets for his new book Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump. Now, in reaction to rumors that Trump (despite all advice to the contrary) plans to “livetweet” the Senate testimony tomorrow of former FBI Director James Comey, Wheeler has announced that he will live-draw Trump’s livetweets, bringing vital new insight to these important contributions to American presidential history.

To follow along at home, follow @MuchCoffee on Twitter or the hashtag #shitmypresidentsays.

In Sh*t My President Says (in stores August 2017), Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Shannon Wheeler tackles the 140-character president. For the first time, Donald Trump’s most revealing tweets are collected, curated, and transformed into razor-sharp cartoons, offering a subversive and illuminating glimpse into the mind of the most divisive political figure of our time. Whether you love him or hate him, this take on Trump will help you come to grips with the man and his ideas thanks to Wheeler’s signature mix of slapstick and sophistication.

Sh*t My President Says will be a 120-page hardcover book, 5” x 6.5”, published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing. It features a foreword by Esquire cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. The book goes on sale August 2017 and can be pre-ordered now with ISBN 978-1-60309-410-8 wherever books are sold.

Top Shelf and IDW Announce Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump by Shannon Wheeler

Top Shelf Productions is pleased — big league — to announce Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump, in which Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Shannon Wheeler tackles the 140-character president.

“Some people are saying, I don’t know, you tell me, but a lot of people are saying this is the greatest book of the year. This guy, Shannon Wheeler, he draws these cartoons for the New Yorker, MAD, the Onion — he’s very, very, good, okay? Now he’s illustrated the most incredible tweets. Wow! You won’t believe what he does with these tweets. I mean, these tweets changed the world, folks. It’s true! It’s very true. EVERYONE is going to want this book — even the haters and losers (Sad!).”

In Sh*t My President Says, Donald Trump’s most revealing tweets are transformed into razor-sharp cartoons, offering a subversive and illuminating insight into the mind of the most divisive political figure of our time. Whether you love him or hate him, this take on Trump will help you come to grips with the man and his ideas thanks to Wheeler’s signature mix of slapstick and sophistication.

For the first time, these revealing snapshots of the world’s most powerful man will be collected, curated, and brought to memorable new life as cartoons. This compulsively readable hardcover will reach stores in August 2017.