A self-trained cartoonist and illustrator, August J. Pollak graduated in 2003 from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied animation for his BFA in Film & Television.
His weekly comic strip, XQUZYPHYR & Overboard, started and ran for four years in the NYU student-run newspaper, the Washington Square News, and continues to this day on the political news weblog xoverboard.com and elsewhere. Profound one moment and random the next, XQUZYPHYR & Overboard blends a unique sense of humor with serious social criticism.
Since October 2004, Pollak has been part of Campus Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress designed to promote progressive ideals and counter right-wing influence on college campuses.
Simon Owens: Which conservative bloggers do you think create the most spin? And if you had to pick a conservative blogger to label a worthy adversary, which blogger would that be?
August Pollak: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really rank bloggers, left or right, by how much they spin. I only know that if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too great I simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t read it. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t read any nonsensical radical lefty blogs where every post is about Bush being a mass murderer or Hitler or anything like that. And the only conservative blogs I honestly look at on a more than casual basis are the extreme right-wing sites like FreeRepublic, if only to see what their reaction to a certain event is. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t consider those Ã¢â‚¬Å“adversariesÃ¢â‚¬Â as much as people you should just keep an eye on for your own protection. Sometimes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s humorous and sometimes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s scary. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m actually amazed with some bloggers like Ezra Klein and Oliver Willis who have civil exchanges and Ã¢â‚¬Å“online friendshipsÃ¢â‚¬Â with conservative bloggers. Trying to be friendly with right-wing bloggers, especially the ones who came in swinging the 9/11 bat and started screaming about how I Ã¢â‚¬Å“hate AmericaÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t support the troopsÃ¢â‚¬Â is pointless to me. I have no desire to play the battered spo
SO: I love your fresh-feeling cartoon style. Do you ever use it to make political cartoons?
AP: http://www.xoverboard.com/cartoons/index.html Been doinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ this seven years, long before the blogging. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be appearing in Ã¢â‚¬Å“Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists,Ã¢â‚¬Â edited by Ted Rall and due out in June.
SO: As someone who just graduated college, how do you think the campus political scene is gearing up for the 2006 elections? Are college students going to make it out to vote?
AP: Well itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that recent at this point; I graduated in spring of 2003. But I currently work for an organization that focuses primarily on getting students engaged on campuses nationwide: www.campusprogress.org. From both personal and work experience, politicians shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just be focusing on the youth and campus vote, they should be actively targeting it. In the 2004 Presidential election, there was only one demographic block that went to the more progressive candidate: the youth vote.
SO: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?