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Go Fish: a book to open your eyes

Today we are talking Fish; not our scaly water-dwelling Earth-mates but rather an all too aware and devastatingly honest artistic genius, Mr. Fish, who published one of our favorite books: Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People.

Fish is, for lack of a better descriptor, a political cartoonist. With an unbelievable talent for generating a body of work that manages to offend everyone in one way or another, Fish shares with the world drawings and captions that highlight false truths, societal short comings, and failings of humanity as a whole. Mostly harping on religious, economic, and political offenses, Fish utilizes savagely sharp satire to successfully portray the realities of life with clarifying wit and cutting humor. But it's important to recognize that he does so without a drop of innate cynicism; at his core, Fish is simply cursed with unenviable and stunningly unbiased clarity on the state of the world.

We like to believe Fish is a hopeless optimist when it comes to people and, as a result, anyone or anything that acts counter to this—by either forcing injustices or failing to live up to an expectation of thoughtful decency—causes him sincere distress that he then expresses through exquisitely rendered cartoons. Looking at his cartoons, we the audience are witnessing Fish wrangle with disappointment. Importantly, there is no despair in his emotional work; even in his most somber pieces the expression is predominantly anger because, ultimately, Fish maintains an expectation that people are capable of more. With this comes the belief that there is an opportunity for betterment, however unlikely it may be. A man who witnesses injustice and has no faith in change doesn't typically have the desire to artistically point out such failings!

That is not to say that the anger is always pleasant or palatable. Fish's work often teeters on being too visceral and too provocative. But thats exactly the line he should ride. A political cartoon, in our opinion, is nothing but commercialized fodder if it doesn't elicit a profound response. Whether that be an inspiration to take action or a palpable sense of unsettling outrage, cartoons should never lull you into a feeling of comfortable validation.

In this tumultuous time of division, injustice, and unnervingly deep-seated frustration we find ourselves turning more and more to Fish to clear through any political misdirections or over-simplified activism and offer a glimmer of the hard truth. We can always count on Fish to make us look, make us see, and make us feel, for better or worse.

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