Saturday, April 24, 2010
Republicans Have a Suggestion
I drew this cartoon in response to a cartoon by Chuck Asay (a link to that cartoon is in yesterday's blog entry, below). You don't see cartoonists openly referencing other cartoonists in argument the way you see, for example, Keith Olbermann criticizing Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter mocking Frank Rich.
In part, that's because it's no longer common for a city to have more than one newspaper, let alone more than one editorial cartoonist. Even where that is the case, few readers subscribe to both papers. Olbermann can tell you what Beck said, but I can't necessarily reprint Asay's cartoon within mine. So I tried to draw a cartoon that stands by itself, but I thought it was professional courtesy to indicate that the inspiration for the cartoon derived from someone else's cartoon.
A similar point came up recently over a cartoon Darryl Cagle drew critical of what he saw as lazy cartooning by other cartoonists over the Catholic Church's sex scandals. He drew five panels showing common themes such as Pope Benedict walking blind, with devil's horns, hiding boys underneath his robe, etc., with the conclusion that anybody can be a cartoonist. A Virginia newspaper which ran his cartoon asked him to respond to the avalanche of complaints about it from people who thought he (and that newspaper) were endorsing those caricatures of the Pope.
Cagle runs an on-line syndicate for editorial cartoons, so he sees lots of cartoons every day. The editor of the Virginia newspaper sees several cartoons every day from whatever syndicate(s) to which the paper subscribes. But the readers of that paper only see the one cartoon printed per day, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the newspaper did not print the cartoons which inspired Cagle's cartoon.
Well, back to the subject of my cartoon. Until recently, Chuck Asay was the longtime cartoonist of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. He's a consistently conservative cartoonist on any subject you care to name; his approach to cartooning has always reminded me of a stodgy old Sunday School teacher. They're the sort of cartoons that say, "It's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out," or "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would that mean you'd have to, too?" His cartoons lack the bite of Mike Lester's or the minute detail of Michael Ramirez's, but they do have the same slavish devotion to the Party Line.
But fellow cartoonists tell me he's a genuinely nice guy. And you can't say that about all of us cartoonists.
His cartoon yesterday illustrated the Republican talking point that Democrats don't let Republicans contribute to legislation. Leaving aside the fact that when Republicans were in power, they completely shut Democrats out, Asay's cartoon ignores the fact that when Congress was trying to put Health Care Reform together, they passed several Republican-sponsored amendments and bent over backwards in a futile attempt to get any Republicans on board. Asay's cartoon is specifically about Financial Reform, and conveniently overlooks Senator Chris Dodd's efforts to have input from Republicans such as Tennessee's Bob Corker as the bill was being written.
But Republicans these days have painted themselves -- or have been painted by the Tea Party -- into a corner of having to oppose everything Democrats do. Heaven forfend that they contribute anything other than "Hell no!" to the discussion.