Date: April 14, 2018 01:58PM
He was a favorite late-night talk show host whose “Coast to Coast“ program was regularly piped into the Phoenix area from his broadcasting trailer home in the Nevada desert.
He promoted the idea that the so-called “Face on Mars” was actually built by an ancient race of humans who lived on the Red Planet. In one of my cartoons, I drew him as the “Face on Mars” in the form of the mug of Bozo the Clown. His irate followers inundated me with complaints. Bell didn’t much like the cartoon either but played it and his fans like a fiddle. Never mind that this so-called “Face” was simply a minor mesa that, when struck at a particular angle by light, took on the shape of a human face. That reality was proven by a U.S. spacecraft, Viking 1, sent to Mars for a low-level flyby to take photos of the planet, but never mind such inconvenient details.https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.space.com/17191-face-on-mars.html
Bell was also an outspoken right-wing anti-government conspiracy theorist. After the Oklahoma City bombing, he was stoking the flames of far-right radicalism with his goofy hooey broadcast on local Phoenix radio station KFYI, which I would listen to for its pure entertainment value. I drew him pushing the plunger on a wired-up bomb with lightning bolts as radio waves coming out of it and pointing toward the federal building in Oklahoma City. He went ballistic over it. We actually talked about it in an off-air phone conversation where he threatened to sue me for $100 million and claimed he would be able to prevail using a lawyer on contingency. He never followed through. He didn’t seem to understand that cartoons employ exaggeration, parody, metaphor and satire to make their points and are not to be taken literally, otherwise they wouldn’t be cartoons. If he did understand that, he still ran with it on his moonbeam show and his devoted listenership lapped it up. (I would like to think that perhaps my criticism of him on this matter may have had some influence on his programming). Here’s how one observer
described that encounter:
“Who is Art Bell?
“Art Bell is a late-night radio talk show host who appears on more than 200 stations nation-wide. He is probably the foremost proponent of the New-World-Order/space-alien conspiracy--You see, the guvmint wants to take our guns so that we are defenseless against the real rulers of the world, aliens from outer space.
“In the past, Art devoted most of his shows' (there are two, ‘Dreamland’ on Sundays and ‘Coast to Coast’ on weekdays) resources to far-right/militia topics. That changed after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Shortly after the bombing, Steve Benson of the ‘Arizona Republic’ published a cartoon that laid the blame for militia violence at Art's feet. Art freaked out, and denied it, but his shows are now less militia oriented and more devoted to the paranormal than they were before. Where before, his conspiracies centered on the tri-lateral committee's conspiracies to enslave us, today his conspiracies have the guvmint working hand in hand with aliens in a plan to enslave us. Either way, we're screwed.”http://www.u.arizona.edu/~shunter/bell.txthttps://books.google.com/books?id=yuikrvWlamQC&pg=PA96&lpg=PA96&dq=Art+bell+Steve+Benson+cartoon+Oklahoma+City&source=bl&ots=470kLQFaRO&sig=9rn9yCBG_n0AnQG3bulf4Bt9UBI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGruHvwLvaAhVSmVkKHalxC_AQ6AEwDHoECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=Art%20bell%20Steve%20Benson%20cartoon%20Oklahoma%20City&f=false
Bell was quite the circus ringmaster and had a committed following, which included some out-of-this-world groupies who probably should’ve been committed.
Edited 16 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2018 01:14AM by steve benson.